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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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OF P II I L A U K r, r H I A . PA. 

c^z^i^ez... /^t- /^ 

BX 8915 .B67 18A8 v. 5 
Boston, Thomas, 1677-1732. 
The whole works of the late 
Reverend Thomas Boston, of 

^t. ;«wv>., .;>•. V />i v^ 









VOL. V. 





















PsAi.. cxlii. 5. — I cried unto thee, O Lord, I said, Thou art my refuge and my 

portion in the land of the living, ... ... ... ... ... 44 


PsAL. cxlii. 5 I cried unto thee, O Lord, 1 said. Thou art my refuge, and my 

portion, in the land of the living, ... ... ... .. ... 55 


PsAL. cxlii. 5. — I cried unto thee, O Lord, I said, Thou art my refuge, and my 

portion in the land of the living, ... ... ... ... ... 6S 



PsAi.. XV. 1, — Lord, who shall abide in thy tahernacle ? who shall dwell in thy 

holy hill? »2 

PsAL. XV. 2 — He that walketh uprightly, 1<>1 



PsAi.. XV. 2. — .\nd worketh righteousness, ... ... ... ... ... 110 


PsAL. XV. 2. — And speaketh the truth in his heart, ... .. ... 120 



James v. 12. — But ahove all things, my hrethren, swear not, neither by heaven, 
neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea, be yea, 
and your nay, nay ; lest ye fall into condemnation. ... ... ... 1.32 



Prov. xiv. 29. — He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that 

is hasty of spirit exalteth folly, ... ... ... ... ... ... 150 


Rotn. xii. 19 — Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto 

wrath; for it is written. Vengeance is mine ; 1 will repay, saith the Lord, 171 



Matth. v. 44, 45. — Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to 
them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefuUy use you, and per- 
secute ycu : that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven, 
for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain 
on the just and on the unjust, ... ... ... . . . ... 181 


EzEK. ix. 4. — And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city. 


through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the 
men that sigh, and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the 
midst thereof, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 201 


£zEK. ix. 4. — And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, 
through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foieheads of the 
men that sigh, and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the 
midst thereof, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 210 


John XV. 14. — Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you, ... 221 



EccL. ix. 10. — Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might ; for 
there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave 
whither thou goest, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 248 



Like xix. 5. — Zaccheus, make haste, and come down : for to-d;iy I must abide 

at thy bouse, ... ... ... ... ... ... . . ... 272 



Hfb. iv. .3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, ... .. 281 


1 John v. 19. — And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in 

wickednei>!>, ... ... ... ... ... ... .. 3lil 



1 John v. 19. — The world lieth in wickedness. 

2 Cor. vi. 17. — Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith 

the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing ; and I will receive you, ... 349 


Mark x. .30. — He shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and 
brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecu- 
tions ; and in the world to come, eternal life, ... ... ... .. 374 


PsAL. xxvi. 19. — Gather not my soul with sinners. ... ... ... 443 


EccL. vii. 1. — A good name is bptter than precion= ointment; and the day of 

death, than the day of one's birth, .,. ... ... ... ... 461 


PsAr,. 1. 5 Gather my saints together unto me ; those that have made a cove- 
nant with me by sacrifice. ... ... ... ... ... ... 501 


Song ii. 17. — Until the day break, and the shadows flee away; turn, my Be- 
loved, and be thou like a roe, or a young hart on the mountains of 
Bether, 526 



LiiKF. xii. 40. — Be ye therefore ready also : for the Son of man cometh at an 

hour when ye think not, .. ... ... ... ... ... 656 


IsA. xxsviii. 19, — The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day : 

the father to the children shall make known thy truth, .. ... 586 




Written in 1699. 

[For a pattern to every preacher of the Gospel.~\ 

Ah ! Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm 
of the Lord revealed ? This day seems to be a day of darkness and 
gloominess ; the glory is departed even to the threshold of the tem- 
ple. We may call ordinances Ichabod ; and name the faithful 
preachers of Scotland no more Naomi, but Marah, for the Lord 
deals bitterly with them, in so much forsaking his ordinances as at 
this day. The Lord hath forsaken them in a great measure, as to 
success attending their labours. They toil all tlie night; but little 
or nothing is caught : few or none can they find to come into the 
net. So that Jeremiah's exercise may be theirs, chap. xiii. 17. " If 
ye will not hear it, ray soul shall weep in secret places for your 
pride ; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears." 

And thou, my soul, mayst make this thy exercise, if thou hadst 
a heart that could mourn either for thyself or others. Though in- 
deed it is no great wonder that God does not countenance with 
much success the like of me, who (if I may or dare class myself 
among those that are faithful) am the meanest, the most unworthy 
of them all, not worthy to take his covenant in my mouth, who am 
a child in piety and the mystery of godliness, though not in years ; 
who am a poor fool, having a weak heart and a shallow head; who 
might rather be learning of others than teaching them ; who can but 
wade about the outer parts of that depth, into which others can en- 
ter far ; who have so little love to Christ, and so little pure zeal for 
his glory ; can say so little for the truth, and so little against er- 
ror ; who am altogether unworthy and insufficient for these things : 
no wonder, I say, God does not countenance me, when others, that 
are as tall cedars in the Lord's vineyard, do so little good, even 

YoL. V. B 


others tli.at arc great men in the cliurcli for piety and learning. 
But yet seeing I am called out to preach this everlasting gospel, it 
is my duty to endeavour, and it is my desire to he (Lord, thou 
knowest) a fisher of men. But, alas ! I may come in with my com- 
plaints to my Lord, that I have toiled in some measure, but caught 
nothing, for any thing I know, as to the conversion of any one soul, 
I fear I may say, I have almost spent my strength in vain, and my 
labour for nought, for Israel is not gathered. my soul, what may 
be the cause of this, why does my preaching so little good ? No 
doubt part of the blame lies on myself, and a great part of it too. 
But who can give help in this case but the Lord himself? and how 
can I expect it from him but by prayer, and faith in the promises, 
and by consulting his word, where I may, by his Spirit shining on 
my heart, (shine, Sun of righteousness), learn how to carry, and 
what to do, to the end the gospel preached by me may not be unsuc- 
cessful ? Therefore did my heart cry out after Christ this day, and 
my soul was moved, when I read that sweet promise of Christ, 
Matth. iv. 19. Follow me, and J ivill make you Jishers of men, directed 
to those that would follow him. how fain would ray soul follow 
him, as on other accounts, so on this, that I might be honoured to be 
a fisher of men ; Therefore my soul would fain know what sort of 
following Christ this is, to which this sweet promise is annexed. 
I would know it, (Lord, thou knowest), that I might do it, and so 
catch poor souls by the gospel, and that I might know whether I 
have a right to this promise or not. let thy light and thy truth 
shine forth, that they may be guides to me in this matter; and let 
the meditations of my heart be according to thy mind, and directed 
by thy unerring Spirit. Grant light and life, Lord my God ! 

Folloiv me, and I tvill make you fishers of men. 

In these words there are two things to be considered. 

1. There is a duty, Folloiu me. Wherein consider, (1.) The ob- 
ject, me, even the Lord Jesus Christ, the chief fisher of men, who 
was sent by the Father to gather in the lost sheep of the house of 
Israel, who was and is the infinitely-wise God, and so knew the best 
way to catch men, and can instruct men how to be fishers of others. 
(2.) The act, Folloiu (Gr. come after) mc: Leave your employment, 
and come after me. Though no doubt there is a direction here to 
all the ministers of the gospel, that have left their other employ- 
ments, and betaken themselves to the preaching of the word, viz. 
that if they would do good to souls, and gain them by their minis- 
try, then they are to imitate Christ, in their carriage and preaching 
to make him their pattern, to write after his copy, as a fit mean for 
gaining of souls. 


2. There is a promise annexed to the duty. Wherein we may 
consider, (1.) The benefit promised ; that is, to he made fishers of 
men ; which I take to be not only an investing of them with autho- 
rity, and a calling of them to the office, but also a promise of the 
success they should have, that fishing of men should be their em- 
j)loymeut, and they should not be employed in vain, but following 
Christ, they should indeed catch men by the gospel. (2.) The foun- 
tain-cause of this, I, I will make you ; none other can make you 
fishers of men but me. 

Thou raayest observe, 1. Then, my soul, that it is the Lord Je- 
sus Christ that makes men fishers of men. 

Here I shall shew, 

I. How Christ makes men fishers of men. 

II. Why unconverted men are compared to fish in the water. 

III. That ministers are fishers by office. 

I. How does Christ make men fishers of men ? 

In answer to this question, consider spiritual fishing two ways. 
1. As to the office and work itself: and, 2. As to the success of it. 

First, He makes them fishers as to their oflice, by his call, which 
is twofold, outward and inward, by setting them apart to the office 
of the ministry; and it is thy business, my soul, to know whether 
thou hast it or not. But of this more afterwards. 

Secondly, He makes them fishers as to success; that is, he makes 
them catch men to himself by the power of his Spirit accompanying 
the word they preach, and the discipline they administer, 1 Cor. i. 
18. " The preaching of the cross — unto us which are saved, is the 
power of God. 1 Thess. i. 5. " Our gospel came not unto you in 
word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much 
assurance." He it is that brings sinners into the net which minis- 
ters spread ; and if he be not with them to drive the fish into the 
net, they may toil all the night and day too, and catch nothing. 

1. my soul, then see that gifts will not do the business. A 
man may preach as an angel, and yet be useless. If Christ with- 
draw his presence, all will be to no purpose. If the Master of the 
house be away, the household will loath their food, though it be 
dropping down about their tent-doors. 

2. Why sbouldst thou then on the one hand, as sometimes thou 
art, be lifted up when thou preachest a good and solid discourse, 
wherein gifts do appear, and thou gettest the applause of men ? 
Why, thou niayst do all this, and yet be no fisher of men. The fish 
may see the bait, and play about it as pleasant, but this is not 
enough to catch them. On tlie other hand, why shouldst thou be so 
much discouraged^ (as many times is the case), because thy gifts are 



SO small, and thou art but as a child in comparison of others? 
Why, if Christ will, he can make thee a fisher of men, as well a& 
the most learned rabbi in the church, Psal. viii. 2. Out of the mouths 
of babes and sucklinrjs hast thou ordained strength. Yea, hast thou 
not observed how God owned a man very weak in gifts, [Mr. J. E.] 
and made him more successful than others that were far beyond him 
in parts ? Has not God put this treasure in earthen vessels, that 
the power might be seen to be of him ? Lift uj? thyself then, my 
soul, Christ cau make thee a fisher of men, however weak thou art. 
Follow thou him. My soul desires to follow hard after thee, 

3. Be concerned then, in the first place, my soul, for the pre- 
sence of God in ordinances, and for his power that will make a 
change among people, Psal. ex. 3. When thy discourse, though 
ever so elaborate, shall be but as a lovely song, set thyself most 
for this. When thou studiest, send up ejaculations to thy Lord for 
it. When thou writest a sermon, or dost ruminate on it, then say to 
God, Lord, this will be altogether weak without thy power accom- 
panying it. 0, power and life from God in ordinances is sweet. 
Seek it for thyself, and seek it for thy hearers. Acknowledge thine 
own weakness and uselessness without it, and so cry incessantly for it, 
that the Lord may drive the fish into the net, when thou art spread- 
ing it out. Have an eye to this power, when thou art prea-ching ; 
and think not thou to convert men by the force of reason : If thou 
do, thou wilt be beguiled. 

4. What an honourable thing is it to be fishers of men ! How 
great an honour shouldst thou esteem it, to be a catcher of souls ! 
We are workers together luith God, says the apostle. If God has 
ever so honoured thee, that thou knewest it, that thou mightst 
bless his holy name, that ever made such a poor fool as thee to be a 
co-worker with him. God has owned thee to do good to those Avho 
were before caught. my soul, bless thou the Lord. Lord, what 
am I, or what is my father's house, that thou hast brought me to 
this ? 

5. Then seest thou not here what is the reason thou toilest so 
long, and catchest nothing ? The power comes not along. Men are 
like Samuel, who, when God was calling him, thought it had been 
Eli. So when thou speakest many times, they do not discern God's 
voice, but thine ; and therefore the word goes out as it comes in. 

6. Then, my soul, despair not of the conversion of any, be they 
ever so profligate. For it is the power of the Spirit that drives any 
person into the net ; and this cannot be resisted. Mockers of reli- 
gion, yea, blasphemers may be brought into the net; and many 


times the wind of God's Spirit in the word lays the tall cedars in 
sin down upon the ground, when they that seem to be as low shrubs 
in respect of them, stand fast upon their root. Publicans and harlots 
shall enter the kingdom of heaven before self-righteous Pharisees. 

7. "What thiukest thou, my soul, of that doctrine that lays 
aside this power of the Spirit, and makes moral suasion all that is 
requisite to the fishing of men ? That doctrine is hateful to thee. 
My soul loaths it, as attributing too much to the preacher, and too 
much to corrupt nature, in taking away its natural impotency to 
good, and as against the work of God's Spirit, contrary to experi- 
ence ; and is to me a sign of the rottenness of the heart that embra- 
ces it. Alas ! that it should be owned by any among us, where so 
much of the Spirit's power has been felt, 

II. But Avhy are unconverted men compared to fish in the water ? 
Among other reasons, they are so, 

1. Because as the water is the natural element of fish, so sin is 
the proper and natural element for an unconverted soul. Take the 
fish out of the water, it cannot live ; and take from a natural man 
his idols, he is ready to say with Micah, Ye have taken away my 
gods, and luhat have I more ? The young man in the gospel could 
not be persuaded to seek after treasure in heaven, and lay by the 
world. It is in sin that the only delight of natural men is ; but in 
holiness they have no more delight than a fish upon the earth, or a 
sow in a palace. Oh the woful case of a natural man ! Bless the 
Lord, my soul, that when that was thy element as well as that of 
others, yet Christ took thee in his net, held thee, and would not let 
thee go, and put another principle in thee, so that now it is heavy 
for thee to wade, far more to swim in these waters. 

2. The fish in a sunny day are seen to play themselves in the wa- 
ter. So the unregenerate, whatever grief they may seem to have 
upon their spirits, when a storm arises either without, by outward 
troubles, or within by conscience gnawing convictions, yet when 
these are over, and they are in a prosperous state, they play them- 
selves in the way of sin, and take their pleasure in it, not consider- 
ing what it may cost them at the last. Oh ! how does prosperity in 
the world ruin many a soul ! The prosperity of fools shall destroy 
them. And how destructive would prosperity have been to thee, 
my soul, if God had given it to thee many times when thou 
wouldst have had it ! Bless the Lord, that ever he was pleased to 
cross thee in a sinful course. 

3. As the fish greedily look after and snatch at the bait, not 
minding the hook ; even so natural men drink in sin greedily, as 
the ox drinketh in the water. They look on sin as a sweet morsel ; 



and it is to tliera sweet in the moutli, tliough bitter in the belly 
Tliey play with it, as the fish with the bait : but, Oh ! alas, when 
they take the serpent in their bosom, they mind not the sting, Prov. 
ix. 17, 18. The devil knows well how to dress his hooks ; but, 
alas! men know not by nature how to discern them. Pity then, 
my soul, the wicked of the world, whom thou seest greedily satisfy- 
ing their lusts. Alas ! they are poor blinded souls ; they see the 
bait, but not the hook ; and therefore it is that they are even seen 
as it were dancing about the mouth of the pit ; therefore rush they 
on to sin as a horse to the battle, not knowing the hazard. pity 
the poor drunkard, the swearer, the unclean person, &c. that is wal- 
lowing in his sin. Bless thou the Lord also, my soul, that when 
thou wast playing with the bait, and as little minding the hook as 
others, God opened thine eyes, and let thee see thy madness and 
danger, that thou mightst flee from it. And be now careful that 
thou snatch at none of the devil's baits, lest he catch thee with his 
hook : for though thou mayst be restored again by grace, yet it 
shall not be without a wound ; as the fish sometimes slip the hook, 
but go away wounded ; which wound may be sad to thee, and long 
a-healing. And this thou hast experienced. 

4. As fish in the water love deep places and avcIIs, and are most 
frequently found there ; so wicked men have a great love to carnal 
security, and have no will to strive against the stream. Fish love 
deep ijlaces best, where there is least noise. how careful are na- 
tural men to keep all quiet, that there may be nothing to disturb 
them in their rest in sin ! they loA^e to be secure, which is their de- 
struction. my soul, beware of carnal security, of being secure, 
though plunged over head and ears in sin. 

5. As fish are altogether unprofitable as long as they are in the 
water, so are wicked men in their natural estate, they can do no- 
thing that is really good : they are unprofitable to themselves, and 
nnprofitable to others : what good they do to others, is more 2^&r ac- 
cidens than per se, Rom. iii. 12. How far must they then be mista- 
ken, who think the wicked of the world the most useful in the place 
where they live ! They may indeed be ixseful for carrying on de- 
signs for Satan's interest, or their own vain glory; but really to lay 
out themselves for God, they cannot. 

III. Ministers are fishers by office; they are catchers of the souls 
of men, sent " to open the eyes of the blind, and to turn them from 
darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God," Acts 
xxvi. 18. Preachers of the gospel are fishers; and their work, and 
that of fishers, agree in several things. 

1, The design and work of fishers is to catch fish. This is the 


work that preachers of the gospel have taken iu hand, even to en- 
deavour to bring souls to Christ. Their design in their work should 
be the same. Tell me, my soul, what is thy design in preaching? 
for what end dost thou lay the net in the water ? is it to shew thy 
gifts, and to gain the applause of men ? Oh ! no. Lord, thou 
knowest my gifts are very small ; and had I not some other thing 
than them to lean to, I had never gone to a pulpit. I confess, that, 
for as small as they are, the devil and my corruptions do sometimes 
present them to me in a magnifying glass, and so would blow me up 
with wind. But, Lord, thou knowest it is ray work to repel these 
motions. An instance of this see in my Diary, Jan. 1. 1G99. But 
of this see afterwards. 

2. Their work is hard work ; they are exposed to much cold iu 
the water. So is the minister's work. 

3. A storm that will affright others, they will venture on, that 
they may not lose their fish. So should preachers of the gospel do. 

4. Fishers catch fish with a net. So preachers have a net to 
catch souls with. This is the everlasting gospel, the word of peace 
and reconciliation, wherewith sinners are caught. It is compared 
to a net wherewith fishers catch fish, 

(1.) Because it is spread out, ready to catch all that will come 
into it. Is. Iv. 1. " Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the wa- 
ters ; and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat ; yea, come, 
buy wine and milk, without money, and without price." God excludes 
none from the benefits of the gospel that will not exclude them- 
selves ; it is free to all. 

(2.) Because as fish are taken unexpectedly by the net, so are 
sinners by the gospel. Zaccheus was little thinking on salvation 
from Christ, when he went to the tree. Paul was not thinking on a 
sweet meeting with Christ, whom he persecuted, when he was going 
post-haste on the devil's errand; but the man is caught unexpec- 
tedly. Little wast thou thinking, my soul, on Christ, heaven, or 
thyself, when thou went to the Newton of "Whitsome*, to hear a 

* Whitsome Is a parish in the presbytery of Chirkside, at a place in which, called 
Newton, the Rev. Mr. Henry Erskine, who, in August \662, had been ejected 
from CoRNHiLL in Northumberland, began to exercise his ministry in a meeting- 
house, upon the coming out of King James's toleration, in 1687, and where he con- 
tinued till the revolution, when he was settled at Chirnside. It was probably in the 
year 1687, that Mr. Boston, then a boy only ten years of age, went from Dunsk, 
where his parents lived, to hear Mr. Erskine, by whose ministry he was converted. 
He spealis of this worthy minister as his spiritual father, afterwards in this soliloquy. 
This Blr. Henry Erskine was father to the late excellent Messrs Ebenezar and 
Ralph Erskine, whose praise is in all the churches. 


preaching, when Christ first dealt with thee ; there thou got an un- 
expected cast. 

(3.) As fish sometimes come near and touch the net, and yet draw 
hack ; so many souls are somewhat aff'ected at the hearing of the 
gospel, and yet remain in the gall of bitterness, and the bond of ini- 
quity. So Ilerod heard John the Bai)tist gladly ; but yet the poor 
man was not caught. Wonder not then, ray soul, that thou seest 
some aifected in the time of preaching ; and yet when they are away 
again, all is worn off. 

(4.) Some fish that have not been taken fast hold enough by the 
net, struggle and get out again. So some souls have their convic- 
tions, and may seem to be caught ; but yet, alas ! they stifle all 
their convictions, stay in the place of the breaking forth ; their 
goodness is like the morning cloud, and as the early dew that soon 
passeth away. "Wherefore, my soul, if ever thou be taken up 
with exercised consciences, have a care that thou do not apply the 
cure before the wound be deep enough. Take all means to under- 
stand whether the soul be content to take Christ on his own terms 
or not. Alas ! many this way, by having the wound scurfed over, 
are rather killed than cured. 

(5.) All that are taken in the net do make some struggling to get 
free. Even so every one whom the Lord deals with by his word 
and Spirit, make some kind of resistance, before they are thoroughly 
caught. Cras, Domine, says Augustine ; et modo, Domine, donee, 
modo non haheret modum. And this thou also knowest, my soul, 
how thou wouldst have been content to have been out of the net. 
Oh ! the wickedness of the heart of man by nature ! opposite is it, 
and an enemy to all that may be for its eternal welfare. There is 
indeed a power in our will to resist, yea, and such a power as can- 
not but be exercised by the will of man, which can do nothing but 
resist, till the overcoming power of God, the gratia victriv, come and 
make the unwilling heart willing, Phil. ii. 13. 

(6.) Yet this struggling will not do with those which the net has 
fast enough. So neither will the resistance do that is made by an 
elect soul, whom God intends to catch, John vi. 37. ^U that the Fa- 
ther hath given me, shall come to me. Indeed God does not convert 
men to himself against their will, he does not force the soul to re- 
ceive Christ ; but he conquers the will, and it becomes obedient. 
He that was unwilling before, is then willing. the power of 
grace ! "When God speaks, then men shall hear ; then is it that 
the dead hear the voice of the Sou of man, and they that hear do 

(7.) In a net arc many meshes in which the fish are caught. Such 


are the invitations made to sinners in the gospel, the sweet i>romises 
made to them that will come to Christ ; these are the meshes where- 
with the soul is catched. This then is gospel-preaching, thus to 
spread out the net of the gospel, wherein are so many meshes of va- 
rious invitations and promises, to which if the fish do come, they 
are caught. — But yet, 

(8.) Lest the net be lifted up with the water, and so not fit for 
taking fish, and the fish slight it, and pass under it ; there are 
some pieces of lead put to it, to hold it right in the water, that it 
may be before them as they come. So lest invitations and promises 
of the gospel be slighted, there must be used some legal terrors and 
law-threatenings to drive the fish into the net. Thou seest then 
that both law and gospel are to be preached, the law as a pendicle 
of the gospel-net, which makes it effectual ; the law being a school- 
master to bring us to Christ. 

(9.) The meshes must not be over-wide, lest the fish run through. 
So neither must thy doctriae be general, without particular applica- 
tion, lest thou be no fisher of men. Indeed men may be the better 
pleased, when thou preachest doctrine so as wicked men may run 
out-through and in-through it, than when thou raakest it so as to 
take hold of them : but be not a servant of men. 

(10.) Neither must they be too neat and fine, and curiously 
wrought, lest they hold out the fish. So have a care, my soul, 
of striving to make by wit any fine and curious discourse, which thy 
hearers cannot understand. Of this more afterwards. 

5. Fishers observe in what places they should cast their nets, and 
where they may expect fish. So do thou, my soul, observe where 
thou mayst catch souls. There are two pools wherein the net 
should be set. 

(1.) In the public assemblies of the Lord's people. There it was 
that Lydia's heart was opened. The pool of ordinances sometimes 
is made healing water to souls pining away in their iniquity. 

(2.) In private conference. Many times the Lord is pleased to 
bless this for the good of souls. Some have found it so. But more 
of these things afterwards, when I come to following Christ. 

6. Lastly, Fishers may toil long, and yet catch nothing ; but they 
do not therefore lay aside their work. So may preachers preach 
long, and yet not catch any soul, Isa. xlix. 4. and liii. 1 ; but they 
are not to give over for all that. my soul, here thou art checked 
for thy behaviour at some times under the absence of Christ from 
ordinances, when thou hast been ready to wish thou hadst never ta- 
ken it in hand. This was my sin : the good Lord pardon it. It be- 
comes mo better to lie low under God's hand, and to inquire into 


the causes of liis withdrawing his presence from me and from ordi- 
nances, and yet to hold on in duty till he be pleased to lay me by. 
Have a care of that, my soul, and let not such thoughts and 
wishes possess thee again. Forget not how God made thee to read 
this thy sin, in thy punishment, Diary, Nov. 13, 1698. Hold on, 
my soul, and give not Avay to these discouragements. Thou know- 
est not but Christ may come and teach thee to let down the net at 
the right side of the ship, and thou raayst yet be a fisher of men. 
Trust God thou shalt yet praise him for the help of his countenance 
as thou hast done, and perhaps for some souls that thou mayst bo 
yet honoured to catch. 

And thus I have briefly considered these things. But the main 
question that I would have resolved is. How may I come by this 
art? what way I shall take to be a fisher of men? how I may order 
and set the net, that it may bring in souls to God ? this the great 
Master of assemblies sets down in the first part of the verse. 

Observe, 2. my soul, that the way for me to be a fisher of men, 
is to follow Christ. What it is to follow thee, Lord, shew me ; 
and, Lord, help me to do it. 

Here two things are to be considered. 

I. What following Christ supposes and implies. 

II. Wherein Christ is tp be followed. 

I. What following Christ supposes and implies. 

First, It presupposes life. A dead man cannot follow any per- 
son; a dead preacher cannot follow Christ; there must be a princi- 
ple of life, spiritual life in him, or else he is nought. Therefore 
have I said and maintained, that a man cannot be a minister inforo 
Dei, though he may in foro ecclesice, without grace in his heart. 
This is a sj)iritual following of Christ ; and therefore presupposes a 
spiritual and heavenly principle. Tell me then, my soul, what 
state art thou in? Thou wast once dead, that is sure, Eph. ii. 1. 
dead in trespasses and sins. Art thou raised out of thy grave ? hast 
thou got a part in the first resurrection ? has Christ breathed on thy 
dead and dry bones ? or art thou yet void of spiritual life ? art thou 
Totting away in thine iniquity? What sayest thou to this? If 
thou be yet dead, thy case is lamentable ; but if thou be alive, what 
signs of life are there to be seen in thee ? I have my own doubts of 
this, because of the prevailing of corruption : therefore I will see 
what I can say to this. 

1. A man that hath the Spirit hath life, Rom. viii. 2, 9; but I 
think I have the Spirit : ergo, 1 have life. That I have the Spirit, 
I conclude from these grounds following. 


(1.) I licavc light that sometimes I had not. See John xiv. 26. 
" The Comforter — shall teach you all things, and bring all things to 
your remembrance Avhatsoever I have said unto you." I see now 
otherwise than sometimes I saw. Once was I blind, but now I see, 
though I see but men as trees. Once was I darkness, but now am I 
light (though weak) in the Lord. This light makes me see, 

[1.] My former darkness, the sad and miserable state that once I 
was in, ignorant of God, Christ, and religion, save going to the 
church, and keeping from banning and swearing, &c. which I was 
restrained fi'om, from a child. This makes me see my present dark- 
ness, 1 Cor. xiii. 12. IIow little a portion do I know of thee, O 
God ? My knowledge is but as the twilight. 

[2.] It lets mo see my heart-sins, my imperfections and shortcom- 
ings in the best of my duties ; so that God might damn me for them. 
The hypocrites say, TVht/ have we fasted, and thou seest not? &c. Isa. 
Iviii. 3. It lets me see the wanderings of my heart in duty and out 
of duty, yea, the sinfulness of the first risings of lust in mine 
heart, Rom. vii. and is still discovering the baseness of my heart 
unto me, so that I am forced to think and say, that at the best I am 
unclean, unclean. 

[3.] It makes me to see Christ precious, (1 Pet. ii. 7,) altogether 
lovely, the chief among ten thousand, preferable to all the Avorld; 
for whom, if my heart deceive me not, (Lord, thou knowest,) I 
would undergo the loss of that which I most esteem in the world. 
" Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and there is none on earth 
that I desire besides thee." For indeed, " my heai't and flesh faints 
and fails ; but thou art the strength of my heart, Lord," Psal. 
Ixxiii. 25, 26. 

[4.] It lets me see my need of hira; so that nothing else but 
Christ, I am persuaded, can help me. When I have done what I 
can, I am but an unprofitable servant. If I should do a thousand 
times more than I do, I count all but loss and dung for the excel- 
lency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord. My soul cries out 
for thee, God, and follows hard after thee. 

[5.] The knowledge that I have of Christ, makes me trust in him 
in some measure, Psal. ix. 10 ; though alas ! my evil heart of unbe- 
lief creates a great deal of diftlculty in that to me. I find him a 
present help in the time of trouble ; therefore I endeavour to cast 
my burden upon him. I knoAV him to be a good Master; and there- 
fore I lean on him for help for his own work. I know his grace is 
sufficient for me ; therefore, in temptation and trials, I endeavour 
to lift up my soul to hira. 

(2.) I feel help in duty from the Spirit. I know not what I 


should pray for; but the Spirit hclpeth my iufirraities, Rora. vlii. 
26, Mauy times I have gone to prayer very dead, and have come 
away with life ; I have gone with a drooping and fainting heart, 
and come away rejoicing; with an heart closed, and have come 
away with an heart enlarged, and have felt enlargement both as to 
words and affections ; and this hath made me both thankful and 
more vile in mine own eyes, that God should have done so with the 
like of me, 1 Chron. xxix. 14. 

2. He that hath sense and feeling hath life ; but I have sense and 
feeling : ergo, I have life, Eph. iv. 19. My sins are a burden to me, 
(Matth. xi. 28.) Lord, thou knowest, my omissions and commissions, 
the sins of my thoughts and of my life, the sins of my youth, &c. 
and above all, that which is my daily trouble, is an evil, backslid- 
ing, and base heart, which I find deceitful above all things, and des- 
perately wicked, Jcr. xvii. 9. This body of sin and death makes me 
to groan, and long to be rid of it, Rom. vii. 24. And what a load it 
was to me this day, God knows. I feel God's jircsence, which 
makes me to rejoice sometimes ; at other times again I feel his ab- 
sence. Thou, Lord, hidest thy face, and I am troubled, Psal. xxx. 
7. His smiles are sweet as honey from the comb, and his frowns are 
bitter as death to my soul. 

3. He iu whom there is heat hath life ; but I have a heat in my 
soul: ergo, I have life. I find a threefold flame, though weak, in 
my heart. 

(1.) A flame of love to Christ, Rom. v. 5. My soul loves him 
above all; and I have felt my love to Christ more vigorous within 
this short while, than for a considerable time before. Lord, put 
fuel to this flame. I have a love to his truths that I know, what 
God reveals to me of his word, Psal. cxix. 19. I find sometimes his 
word sweeter to me than honey from the comb, Psal. xix. 10. It 
comforts and supports me. I cannot but love it; it stirs me up, 
and quickens my soul when dead. I love his commands, though 
striking against my corruptions, Rom. vii. 22. I love the promises, 
as sweet cordials to a fainting soul, as life from the dead to one 
trodden under foot by the apprehensions of wrath, oj* the prevailing 
of corruption. I love his threatenings as most just; my soul hear- 
tily approves them. If any man love not the Lord Jesus, let him be 
anathema, ma^-anatha. The least part of truth, that God makes 
known to me, I love ; and, by grace, would endeavour to adhere to. 
I love those in whom the image of God does appear; though other- 
wise mean and contemptible, my heart warms towards them, 1 John 
iii. 14. I love his work, and am glad when it thrives, (Rom. i 8.) 
though alas ! there is little ground for such gladness now. I love 


his ordiniauccs, (Psal. Ixxxiv. 1.) and what bears his stamp; though 
all this be but weak I love his glory, that he should be glorified, 
come of me what will. 

(2.) I fiud in my heart a flame of desires, Matth. v. 6. [1.] Af- 
ter the righteousness of Christ. My soul earnestly desires to be 
stript naked of my own righteonsness, which is as rags, and to be 
clothed and adorned with the robe of his righteousness. This wed- 
ding garment my soul aflects; so shall I be found without spot, 
when the Master of the feast comes in to see the guests. My soul is 
satisfied, and aquiesces in justification by an imputed righteousness, 
though, alas ! my base heart would fain have a home-spun garment 
of its own sometimes. [2.] After communion with him, Psal. xlii. 1. 
When I Avant it, my soul though sometimes careless, yet, at other 
times, cries out, that I hneiv where I rnhjld find him! I have 
found much sweetness, in communion with God, especially at the sa- 
crament of the Lord's supper, in prayer and meditation, hearing 
the word, faithfully and seriously preached, and in preaching it my- 
self, when the candle of the Lord shines on my tabernacle ; then 
Avas it a sweet exei-cise to my soul. I endeavour to keep it up when 
I have it, by watching over my heart, and sending up ejaculations 
to God. "When I want it, I cry to him for it, though, alas ! I have 
been a long time very careless. Sometimes my soul longs for the 
day, wlien my minority shall be over-past, and I be entered heir to 
tlie inhentance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away ; to 
be quit of this evil world ; to be dissolved, and to be with Christ, 
which is best of all; especially at three times. (1.) When I get 
more than ordinarily near God, when my soul is satisfied as with 
marrow and fat, when my heart is nobilitated, and tramples on the 
world. (2.) When I am wrestling and groaning under the body of 
sin and death, the evil heart : then fain would I be there, where 
Satan cannot tempt, and sin cannot enter ; yea, when I have been 
much forsaken, at least as to comfort, Diary, Aug. 2. 1696, where is 
the most eminent instance of it. (3.) When I preach, and see that 
the gospel hath not success, but people are unconcerned, and go on 
in their abominations. 

(3.) I find in my heart some heat of zeal for God, which vents it- 
self, [1.] By endeavouring to be actiA'c for God in my station. So 
when I was at K. I endeavoured to do something for God, though, 
alas ! it did some of them no good. Before I entered on trials, one 
main motive was to have opportunity to give a testimony against 
sin, and to see if I could be an instrument to reclaim any soul from 
their wicked way. This I have, as the Lord enabled me, done, 
since I was a preacher, testifying against sin freely and plainly. 


and as earnestly as I could, by grace assisting me, though in weak- 
ness. And, Lord, thou knowest that my great desire is to catch 
men, and to get for that end my Avhole furniture from thee, laying 
aside my own wisdom. And if I could do this, how satisfying would 
it be to my soul, that desires to do good to others, though I myself 
should perish ? Therefore do I not spare this weak body, and 
therefore have I desired never to be idle, but to go unsent for some- 
times. Yet my conscience tells me of much slackness in this point, 
when I have been in private with people, and have not reproved 
them as I ought, when they offended, being much plagued with want 
of freedom in private converse. This I have in the Lord's strength 
resolved against, and have somewhat now amended it. [2.] It 
vents itself in indignation against sin in myself and others. Many 
times have I thought on that of the apostle. Yea, ivhat revenge! 
when I have been overcome by a temptation, being content as it 
were to be revenged on myself, and as it were content to subscribe 
a sentence of damnation against myself, and so to justify the Lord 
in his just proceedings against me. AnA, Lord, do not I hate those 
that hate thee ! am I not grieved ivith those that rise up against thee ? 
The reproaches cast on thee, have fallen on me, Psal. Ixix. 9. And my 
heart rises and is grieved, when I see transgressors, that they keep 
not thy law. [8.] It vents itself in grieving for those things that I 
cannot help. Lord, thou knowest how weighty the sins of this land 
have been unto me, how they have lien and do lie somewhat heavy 
on me ; and at this time in particular, the laxness of many in join- 
ing with the people of these abominations, the unfaithfulness of 
some professors, the lack of zeal for God in not making a more nar- 
row search for the accursed thing in our camp, now when God's 
wrath is going out violently against us, and not making an acknow- 
ledgement of sins and renewing our national vows, according as our 
progenitors did, many as it were thinking shame of the covenant, 
of whom the church of Scotland may be ashamed. 

4. Growth and motion is an evidence of life ; (Psal. scii. 12, 13, 
14.) I move forward towards heaven, my affections are going out af- 
ter Christ, and endeavouring to make progress in a Christian walk. 
I think I discern a growth of these graces in me. (1.) Of know- 
ledge and acquaintance with Christ, 2 Pet. iii. 18. I am more ac- 
quainted with Christ and his ways than before. Though I have not 
such uptakings of Christ as I ought to have, yet I have more than 
I have had in this respect sometimes before. (2.) A growth of love. 
If my heart deceive me not, I have found love to Christ within this 
month more lively and vigorous than before, my soul more affected 
with his absence from ordinances than ever. (3.) Of faith. I can, I 


think, trust God more now than before. I have had more experi- 
ence of his goodness and knowledge of his name ; and therefore 
think I can cast my burden on the Lord better than before. But it 
is easy swimming when the head is lield up. Lord, increase ray 
faith. I believe, Lord, help mine unbelief. (4.) Of watchfulness. 
I have felt the sad eftccts of unwatchfulness over my heart in times 
past. I feel the good of watchfulness now ; my soul is habitually 
more watchful than before ; neither dare I give such liberty to ray 
heart as sometimes I gave. Yet for all this the Lord may well 
complain of me, that he is broken with ray whorish heart. But, 
Lord, thou knowest, it is also breaking to myself that it is so. The 
Lord seal these things to me. (5.) Of contempt of the world, which, 
blessed be God, is on the increase with me. 

Secondli/, Following Christ implies a knowledge of the way 
that Christ took. No man can follow the example of another as 
such, unless he know what way he lived. So neither can any man 
follow Christ with respect to the catching of men in particular, un- 
less he know Christ's way of catching souls, that is, so far as it may 
be followed by us. Acquaint then thyself, my soul, with the his- 
tory of the gospel, wherein this appears, and take special notice of 
these things, that thou mayest follow Christ. What a sad case 
must they be in that are not acquainted with this ! 

Thirdly, It supposes sense of weakness, and the need of a guide. 
A man that knows a way, and can do well enough without a guide, 
needs not follow another. And surely the want of this is the rea- 
son why many run before Christ, and go farther than his example 
ever called them ; and others take a way altogether different from 
Christ's way, which is the product of their own conceited hearts and 
airy heads. But thou, my soul, acknowledge tliyself as a child in 
these matters, that cannot go unless it be led ; as a stranger in a 
desert place, that cannot keep the right way without a guide. Ac- 
knowledge and be affected with thine own weakness and emptiness, 
which thou mayst well be persuaded of. And for this end reflect 
seriously, 1. On that word, 2 Cor. ii. 16. Wlio is sufficient for these 
things ? No man is of himself sufficient ; even the greatest of men 
come short of sufficiency. This may make thee then to be affected 
with insufficiency, who are so far below these men, as shi'ubs are 
below the tall cedars ; and yet they cannot teach it of themselves. 
2. Consider the weight of the work, even of preaching, which is all 
that thou hast to do now. It is the concern of souls. By the fool- 
ishness of preaching it pleases the Lord to save them that believe, 
and as thou thoughtest yesterday, [Jan. 22, 1699,] before thou went 
to the pulpit, it may seal the salvation of some, and the damnation 


of others. To preach in the Spirit, in the power and demonstration 
thereof, is no easy matter. Thy pitiful gifts will not fit thee for 
this. 3. Reflect on what thou art when God is pleased to desert 
thee ; how then thou tuggest and rowest, hut it will not do, either 
in studying or delivering sermons. I think thou hast had as much 
of this as may teach thee to beware of taking thy burden on thy 
own sonl, but to cast it on the Lord. [See Diary, June 3, July 3, 
Dec. 31, 1698. Jan. 6, 1699, &c.] 4. Consider what a small por- 
tion thou knowest of God. When thou art at the best, and when 
thou art in thy meridian, yet how low art thou ? and how far short 
thou comest of what thou shouldst be at. Lastly, consider, that 
though thou hadst gifts like an angel, yet thou canst not convert a 
soul, unless Christ be with thee to do the work. Therefore acknow- 
ledge thyself a weak creature, insufficient for the work ; and go not 
out in thy own strength, but in the name of the Lord ; and so al- 
though thou be but as a stripling, thou mayst be helped to cast 
down the great Goliaths that defy the armies of the living God. 

Fourthly, It implies a renouncing of our own wisdom. It must 
not be the guide that we must follow, Matth. xvi. 24. Paul would 
not preach with wisdom of words, 1 Cor. i. 17 ; he did not follow 
the rules of carnal wisdom. Therefore, my soul, renounce thine 
own wisdom. Seek the wisdom that is from above ; seek to preach 
the words of the living God, and not thine own. Since thou wast 
most set to take this way, and prayed most that thou mightst not 
preach that which might be the product of thy own wisdom and na- 
tural reason, but that which might be given thee of the Holy Ghost, 
thou hast found that God hath signally countenanced thee. Take 
not the way of natural wisdom, follow not the rules of carnal wis- 
dom. Its language will always be. Master, spare thyself ; have a 
care of thy credit and reputation among men. If thou speak freely, 
they will call thee a railer, and thy preaching reflections; every 
parish will scare at thee as a monster of men, and one that would 
preach them all to hell ; and so thou shalt not be settled. Such 
and such a man, that has a great influence in a parish, will never 
like thee. That way of preaching is not the way to gain people ; 
that startles them at the very first. You may bring them on by 
little and little, by being somewhat smooth, at least at the first : for 
this generation is not able to abide such doctrine as that thou 
preachest. But hear thou and follow the rules of the wisdom that 
is from above : for the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God ; 
that which is in high esteem among men, is nought in the sight of 
God. The wisdom that is from above will tell thee, that thou must 
be denied to thy credit and reputation, &c. Matth. xvi. 24; Luke 



xiv. 26. It will tell thee, Let tliem call thee what they will, that 
thou must cry aloud, and spare not ; lift up thy voice like a trumpet, ^c. 
Is. Iviii. 1. It will tell thee, that God has appointed the bounds of 
men\9 habitation, Acts xvii. 26. It will tell thee, that not many wise, 
not many mighty, not many noble are called, 8^c. 1 Cor. i. 29. Whe- 
ther they luill hear, or whether they ivill forbear, thou shalt speak God's 
xuords xmta them, Ezek. ii. 7. It will shew thee rules quite contrary 
to those of carnal wisdom. Let me consider then what carnal wis- 
dom says to me, and Avhat the wisdom from above says. 


Thy body is weak, spare it, and 
weary it not ; it cannot abide toil, la- 
bour, and weariness ; spare thyself 

Labour to get neat and fine expres- 
sions ; for these do very much com- 
mend a preaching to the learned ; 
and without these they think nothing 
of it. 

Endeavour to be somewhat smooth 
in preaching, and calm ; and do not 
go out upon the particular sins of the 
land, or of the persons to whom thou 

If thou wilt not do so, they will be 
irritated against thee, and may cre- 
ate thee trouble ; and what a foolish 
thing would it be for thee to speak 
boldly to such a generation as this, 
whose very looks are terrible ? 

It is a dangerous way to speak 
freely, and condescend on particu- 
lars : there may be more hazard in it 
than thou art aware of. 

Thou wilt be looked on as a fo(d, 
as a monster of men ; thou wilt be 
called a railer ; and so lose thy repu- 
tation and credit, and thou hadst need 
to preserve that. Men will hate and 
abhor thee ; and why shouldst thou 
expose thyself to these things ? 

Vol. Y. 


Your body is God's as well as your 
spirit ; spare it not for glorifying 
God, 1 Cor. vi. 20. " In weariness 
and painfulness," 2 Cor. xi. 27. 
" He giveth power to the faint, and 
to them that have no might he in- 
creaseth strength," Is. xl. 29. This 
thou hast experienced. 

Christ sent thee to " preach the 
gospel not with wisdom of words, 
1 Cor. i. 17. Go not to them with 
"excellency of speech, or of wisdom," 

1 Cor. ii. I. Let not thy speech and 
preaching be with "the enticing 
words of man's wisdom," ver. 4. 

" Cry aloud, and spare not, lift 
up thy voice like a trumpet: shew 

my people their sins," Is. Iviii. 1 

" Open rebuke is better than secret 
love," Prov. xxvii. 5. " Study to 
shew thyself approved unto God, 
rightly dividing the word of truth," 

2 Tim. ii. 15. 

" He that rebuketh a man, after- 
wards shall find more favour than he 
that flattereth with the tongue," Prov. 
xxviii. 2,3. I have experience of this. 
" Fear them not, neither be afraid at 
their looks, though they be a rebel- 
lious house, I have made thy face 
strong against their faces," Ezek. iii. 
8, 9. Experience confirms this. 

" He that walketh uprightly, walk- 
eth surely," Prov. x. 9. " Whoso 
walketh uprightly shall be saved," 
chap, xxviii. 18. 

" Thou must become a fool, that 
thou mayest be wise," 1 Cor. iii. 18. 
" We are made a spectacle to the 
world," chap. iv. 9. see ver. 10. 
" The servant is not greater than his 
lord," John v. 20. compared with 
chap. X. 20. " He hath a devil, and 



Great people especially will be of- 
fended at you, if you speak not fair 
to them and court and caress them. 
And if you be looked down upon by 
great people, who are wise and 
mighty, what will you think of your 
preaching ? 

Our people are new come out from 
under Prelacy, and they would not 
desire to have sins told particularly, 
and especially old sores to be ripped 
up. They cannot abide that doc- 
trine. Other doctrine would take 
better with them. Hold off such 
things; for it may well do them ill, 
it will do them no good. 

If you will preach such things, yet 
prudence requires that you speak of 
them very warily. Though consci- 
ence says you must, yet speak them 
somewhat covertly, that you may not 
offend them sore, and especially with 
respect to them that are but coming 
in yet, and do not fill them with pre- 
judices at first ; you may get occasion 

Be but fair especially to them that 
have the stroke in parishes, till you 
be settled in a parish to get stipend. 
If you will not do so, you may look 
for toiling up and down then ; for 
parishes will scare at you, and will 
not call you, and how will you live? 
And so such a way of preaching will 
be to your loss, whereas otherwise it 
might be better with you. 

is mad, why hear ye him?" If ihou 
wilt be Christ's disciple, "thou must 
deny thyself," Matth. xvi. 24, " If 
the world liate you, ye know it hated 
me before it hated you," John xv. 18. 
says our Lord. 

" Accept no man's person, neither 
give flattering titles to man : for, in 
so doing, thy Maker will soon take 
thee away," Job xxxii. 2 1 , 22. " Few 
of the rulers liclieve on Christ," John 
vii. 48. " Not many wise men after 
the flesh, not many mighty, not many 
noble are called," 1 Cor. i. 26. 
" Speak thou God's word to kings, 
and be not ashamed," Psal. cxix. 4G. 

" Thou shalt speak my words unto 
them, whether they will hear, or 
whether they will forbear, for they 
are most rebellious," Ezek. ii. 7. 
" Give them warning from me. If 
thou do it not, they shall die in their 
sins, but their blood will I require at 
thy hand," chap. iii. 17, 18. " What 
the Lord saith to thee, that do thou 
speak," 1 Kings xxii. 14. 

" Cry aloud, and spare not," Is. 
Iviii. 1. " Cursed be he that doth 
the work of the Lord deceitfully," 
Jer. xlviii. 10. " Handle not the 
word of the Lord deceitfully." Pe- 
ter, at the first, told the Jews that 
were but coming in to hear, " Him 
(Christ) ye have taken, and by wicked 
hands have crucified and slain," Acts 
ii. 23. " Work while it is called to- 
day ; the night cometh wherein thou 
canst not work," John ix. 4. 

" To have respect of persons is not 
good ; for, for a piece of bread that 
man will transgress," Prov. xxviii. 
21. " The will of the Lord be done," 
Acts sxi. 14. " God hath determin- 
ed your time, before appointed, and 
the bounds of your habitation," Acts 
xvii. 26. " And his counsel shall stand, 
oppose it who will," Is. xlvi. 10. " It 
is God that sets the solitary in fami- 
lies," Psal. Ixviii. 6. " If thou be 
faithful, thou shalt abound with bles- 
sings ; but if thou makest haste to be 
rich, thou shalt not be innocent," 
Prov. xxviii. 20. 

Thus thou seest, my soul, hovr that carnal wisdom, notwith- 
standing it speaks fair and with a good deal of seeming reason, is 
quite contrary to the wisdom that is from above. It promiseth fair, 


but its promises are not always pei*formcd ; it threatens sore, Lut 
neither do its threateuiugs always come to pass ; it makes molehills 
mountains, and mountains molehills : therefore reject the wisdom of 
the world, for it is foolishness with God. Carnal policy would make 
thee fear him that can but kill the body, yea that cannot do so 
much now, and to cast off the true fear of God. my soul, remem- 
ber that word, and make use of it for strengthening thee, Prov. 
xxix. 25. The fear of man hringcth a snare ; but luJioso putteth his 
trust in the Lord, shall be safe. Never go to seek temporal profit, by 
putting thy soul in hazard ; but wait thou on the Lord, and keep his 
way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land ; Psal. xxxvii. 34. for 
his way is the safest way, however carual wisdom may speak other- 
wise of it, and may account the following of it mere folly; but re- 
member thou, that the foolishness of God is iviser than men, 1 Cor. i. 

Fifthly, It supposes, that we must not make men our rule, to fol- 
low them any farther than they follow Christ. Be ye followers of 
me, says the apostle, as L can of Christ, 1 Cor. xi. 1. Wherein they 
follow Christ I may follow them, but in nothing else. All men are 
fallible ; the greatest of men have had their own spots. Luther's 
opinion of Christ's corporal presence in the sacrament aftbrds a not- 
able instance of this. Therefore, my soul, let not man's authority 
prevail with thee to go off the road at all. If Christ himself tell 
thee not, my soul, where he feedeth, thou mayst be left to turn 
aside to the flocks of his companions. Have a care of putting the 
servants of the Lord in his own room : but follow thou him. 

II. Wherein is Christ to be followed? what are those things in 
him that I must imitate him in? what was the copy that he did cast, 
which I must write after, in order to my being a fisher of men ? 
What he did by divine power Is inimitable ; I am not called to fol- 
low him, in converting sinners by my own power; to work miracles 
for the confirmation of the doctrine that I preach, &c. But there 
are some things wherein he is imitable, and must be followed by 
preachers, if they would expect to be made fishers of men. 

First, Christ took not on him the Avork of preaching the gospel 
without a call. Is. Ixi. 1. " For, (says he) the Spirit of the Lord God 
is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to i>reach good tid- 
ings unto the meek, he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, 
to proclaim liberty to tlie captives, and the opening of the prison to 
them that are bound." In this he must be followed by those that 
would be catchers of men. He was sent by the Father to preach 
the gospel ; he went not to the work without his Father's commis- 
sion. Men must have a call to this work, Heb. v. 4. They that 

c 2 


run unsent, that take on tlic work without a call from God, cannot 
expect to do good to a people, Rom. x. 14. Jer. xxiii. / sent them 
not, therefore they shall not profit this people. Tell me then, my 
soul, whether thou hast thus followed Christ or not ? Iladst thou a 
call from God to this work of the preaching of the gospel ? or hast 
thou run unsent ? 

In answer to this, I must consider that there is a twofold call, an 
extraordinary and an ordinary call. Tlie fust of these I was not 
to seek, nor may I pretend to it. The question then is. Whether I 
had an ordinary call from God or not to preach the gospel ? 

There are these four things in an ordinary call, which do make it 

1. Knowledge of the doctrine of the Christian religion above that 
of ordinary professors, 2 Tim. iii. 16, 17. This I endeavoured to 
get by study, and prayer unto the Lord ; and did attain to it in 
some measure, though far below the j^itch that I would be at. My 
knowledge was lawfully tried by the church, and they were satisfied. 

2. Aptness to teach, some dexterity of communicating unto otliers 
that knowledge, 1 Tim. iii. 2. 2 Tim. ii. 2. This was also tried by 
the church, and they were satisfied. This hath been acknowledged 
by others whom I have taught ; and God has given me some mea- 
sure of it, however small. 

3. A will some way ready to take on the work of preaching the 
gospel, 1 Pet. v. 2. This I had, for any thing I know, since ever 
the Lord dealt with my soul, unless it was in a time of distress. 
And though I did a long time sit the call of the church, in not en- 
tering on trials, when they would have had me, yet this was not for 
want of will, but ability for the work, and want of clearness for en- 
tering on such a great AFork at that time. I had notwithstanding 
some desire to that work, which desire my conscience bears me wit- 
ness, did not arise from the desire of worldly gain ; for I would 
have desired that then, and would go on in the work now, though 
there were no such thing to be had by it, yea through grace, though 
I should meet with trouble for it. Neither was it the love of vain- 
glory. Lord, thou knowest, but that I might be capable to do some- 
thing for God. I remember, that when I was a boy at tlie school, 
I desired to be a preacher of the gospel, because of all men mini- 
sters were most taken up about spiritual things. This my desire to 
the work did then run upon. 

4. The call of the church, which I had without any motion from 
myself, not only to enter on trials, but, being approved, to preach 
the gospel as a probationer for the ministry ; which does say, that 
what I have done in this work, I have not done without a call from 


God ia an ordinary way, and tliat I have not run unsent. For con- 
firmation of this my call, I refer to my Diary, some things to this 
purpose being noted there, all which I cannot here set down. Per- 
haps, if leisnre permit, I shall extract them by themselves in order. 
Blessed be the Lord that made my darkness as noon-day. 

Secondly, Christ designed his Father's glory in the work. It was 
not honour, applause, and credit from men that he sought, but 
purely the Father's glory. Men that design not this, cannot be use- 
ful to the church, if it be not per aecklens. This all actions are to 
level at ; it is that which in all things should be designed as the ul- 
timate end. Whether therefore ye cat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, 
do all to the glory of God. Thou seest then that thou, my soul, 
must follow Christ in this, if thou wouldst be a fisher of men. Lift 
up thy heart to this noble end, and in all, especially in thy preach- 
ing of the gospel, keep this before thine eyes. Beware of seeking 
thy own glory by preaching. Look not after popular applause ; if 
thou do, thou hast thy reward ; (Matth. vi. 2.) look for no more. 
my soul, invert not the order, Cant. viii. 12. " Thou, Solomon, 
must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two 
hundred." Have a care of taking a thousand to thyself, and giving 
God only two hundred. Let his honour be before thine eyes; tram- 
ple on thy own credit and reputation, and sacrifice it, if need be, to 
God's honour. And to help thee to this, consider, 

1. That all thou hast is given thee of God. What hast thou that 
thou hast not received ? What an unreasonable thing is it then not 
to use for his glory what he gives thee ; yea, what ingratitude is it ? 
and dost thou not hate the character of an ungrateful person ? In- 
gratum si dixeris, omnia dixeris. 

2. Consider that what thou hast is a talent given thee by thy 
great Master to improve till he comes again. If thou improve it for 
him, then thou shalt get thy reward. If thou wilt make thy own 
gain thereby, and what thou shouldst improve for him, thou improve 
for thyself, what canst thou look for then, but that God shall take 
thy talent from thee, and command to cast thee as an unprofitable 
and unfaithful servant into utter darkness, where shall be weeping 
and gnashing of teeth ? God has given some great talents ; if they 
improve them for vain-glory to themselves to gain the popular ap- 
plause, or the Hosannas of the learned, and so sacrifice all to their 
own net ; what a sad mcetinp; will such have at the great day with 
Christ ? What master would endure that servant, to whom he has 
given money wherewith to buy a suit of good clothes to his master, 
if he should take that money, and buy therewith a suit to liimseK, 
which his master should have had? How can it be thought that 



God will suffer to go nnpunislietl such a preaclier as lie lias given ft 
talent of gifts to, if he shall use these merely to gain a stipend or 
applause to himself therewith, not respecting the glory of his Mas- 
ter? Wo to thee, my soul, if thou take this path wherein de- 
stroyers of men's souls and of their own, go. 

3. Consider that the applause of the world is nothing worth. It 
is hard to he gotten; for readily the applause of the unlearned is 
given to him whom the learned despise, and the learned applaud 
him whom the common people care not for. And when it is got, 
what have you ? A vain empty puff of wind. They think much of 
thee, thou thinkest much of thyself, and in the mean time God 
thinks nothing of thee. Remember, my soul, what Christ said to 
the Pharisees, Luke xvi. 15. " Ye are they which justify yourselves 
before men, bnt God knoweth your hearts. For that which is 
highly esteemed among men, is an abomination in the sight of God." 
Let this scare thee from seeking thyself. 

4. Consider, that seeking thy own glory is a dreadful and abomi- 
nable thing. (1.) In that thou then puttest thyself in God's room. 
His glory should be that which thou shouldst aim at, but then thy 
base self must be sacrificed too. tremble at this, my soul, and 
split not on this rock, otherwise thou shalt be dashed in pieces. 
(2.) In that it is the most gross dissembling with God that can be. 
Thou pretendest to preach Christ to a people; but seeking thy own 
glory, thou preachest thyself, and not him. Thou pretendest to be 
commending Christ and the ways of God to souls, and yet in the 
mean time thou coramendest thyself. Will Christ sit with such a 
mocking of him ? my soul, beware of it ; look not for it, but for 
his glory. Who would not take it for a base affront, to send a ser- 
Tant or a friend to court a woman for him, if he should court her 
for himself? And will not Christ be avenged on self-preaching mi- 
nisters much more ? (3.) In that it is base treachery and cruelty to 
the souls of hearers, when a man seeks to please their fancy more 
than to gain their souls, to get people to approve him mere than to 
get them to approve themselves to God. This is a soul-murdering 
way, and it is dear-bouglit applause that is won by the blood of 
souls. my soul, beware of this. Let them call thee v/hat they 
will; but seek thou God's glory and their good. 

5. Consider that so to do is a shi-ewd sign of a graceless, Christ- 
less, and faithless heart, John v. 44. How can ye believe, that receive 
honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God 
only ? A grain of faith will cure this lightness of the head and 

6. Consider, my soul, thy own vileuess ? What art thou but a 


poor lump of clay, as to tliy body, that will soon return to the dust, 
and be a sweet morsel for the worms that now thou tramplest upon ! 
Hast thou not seen how loathsome the body is many times in life, by 
filthy boils and other noisome diseases, and after death what an ugly 
aspect it has ? Forget not the sight that thou sawest once in the 
churchyard of Dunse, how a body, perhaps sometime beautiful, was 
like thin mortar, but much more vile and abominable. The time 
will come that thou wilt be such thyself. But what art thou as to 
thy heart, but a vile, base, and ugly thing, so many filthy idols to 
be found there, like a swarm of the worst of vermine ? Art thou 
not as a cage full of unclean birds ! "What thoughtest thou of thy- 
self on Monday night, Jan. 16, 1699? What unbelief sawest thou 
there, what baseness of erery kind ? And what day goes over thee, 
but thou seest still something in thee to humble thee ? And what 
wast thou that God has employed in this work ? Those that were 
sometime thy fellows are mean and despised ; and wilt thou for all 
this seek thy own glory ? Wo unto thee if thou dost so. 

7. Consider, That " Him that honoureth God, God will honour ; 
but he that despiseth him, shall be lightly esteemed." Have respect, 
mj' soul, with Moses, to the recompense of reward, and beware of 
preferring thy own to the interest of Christ, lest thou be classed 
among those that seek their own, and not the things of Christ. 

8. Lastly, Consider Avhat Christ has done for thee. Forget not 
his goodness, his undeserved goodness to such a base wretch as thou 
art. Remember hira from the land of the Hermonites, and from 
Mizar-hill ; and let love to him predominate in thee, and thou shalt 
then be helped to sacrifice all to his glory. 

Third!//, Christ had the good of souls in his eye. He came to 
seek and save that which was lost ; he came to seek the lost sheep 
of the house of Israel. So he sent out the apostle to open the eyes of 
the blind, to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of 
Satan unto God. Follow Christ in this, my soul, that thou mayst 
be a fisher of men. When thou studiest thy sermons, let the good 
of souls be before thee ; when thou preachest, let this be thy design, 
to endeavour to recover lost sheep, to get some brands plucked out 
of the btirning ; to get some converted, and brought in to thy Mas- 
ter. Let that be much in tliy mind, and be concerned for that, 
whatever doctrine thou preachest. Consider, ray soul, for this 

1. What the design of the gospel is. What is it but this ? This 
is the finis operis ; and if it be not the fnis operantis, it is very la- 
mentable. It is the everlasting gospel that Christ has made mani- 
fest, declaring the will of God concerning the salvation of n;aa. 


2. Consider wlierefore God did send tliee out. Was it to win a 
livelihood to thyself? Wo to them that count gain godliness; that 
will make the gospel merely subservient to their temporal wants. 
Rather would I perish for want than win bread that way. Well 
then, was it not to the effect thou mightst labour to gain souls to 
Christ? Yea, it was. Have a care than that thou be not like 
some that go to a place, being sent thither by their master, but for- 
get their errand, when they come there, and trifle away their time 
in vanity and fooleries. 

3. Consider the worth of souls. If thou remember that, thou 
canst not but have an eye to their good. The soul is a precious 
thing: which appears if thou consider, (1.) Its noble endowments, 
adorned with understanding, capable to know the highest object ; 
will to choose the same ; affections to pursue after it, to love God, 
hate sin, in a word, to glorify God here, and to enjoy him here and 
hereafter. (2.) It must live or die for ever. It shall either enjoy 
God through all the ages of eternity, or remain in endless torments 
for evermore. (3.) No worldly gain can counterbalance the loss of 
it. " What shall it profit a man, if he should gain the whole world, 
and lose his own soul ? or what shall a man give in exchange for his 
soul ?" (4.) It cost Christ his precious blood ere it could be re- 
deemed. It behoved him to bear the Father's wrath, that the elect 
should have borne through all eternity ; and no less would redeem it. 
So that the redemption of the soul is indeed precious. (5.) Christ 
courts the soul. He stands at the door, and knocks, to get in. The 
devil courts it with his baits and allurements. And wilt thou, my 
soul, be unconcerned for the good of that which is so much courted 
by Christ and the devil both ? Be ashamed to stand as an uncon- 
cerned spectator, lest thou show thyself none of the Bridegroom's 

4. Consider the hazard that souls are in. Oh ! alas, the most 
part are going on in the high way to destruction, and that blind- 
folded. Endeavour then to draw off the vail. They are as brands 
in the fire : wilt thou then be so cruel as not to be concerned to 
pluck them out? If so, thou shalt burn with them, world without 
end, in the fire of God's vengeance, and the furnace of his wrath, 
that shall be seven times more hot for unconcerned preachers than 

5. Consider what a sad case thou thyself wast in, when Christ 
concerned himself for thy good. Thou wast going on in the way to 
hell as blind as a mole ; at last Christ opened thine eyes, and let 
thee see thy hazard, by a preacher (worthy Mr. H. Erskiue) * that 

• See the foot-note above, page II. Several remailiable auectlotes of tliis eminent 


was none of the uuconcenied Gallios, who si>ared neither his body, 
his credit, nor reputation, to gain thee, and the like of thee. And 
wilt thou preach unconcerned for others ? I should abhor myself as 
the vilest monster, in so doing. Lord, my soul rises at it when I 
think on it. My soul hates, and loathes that way of preaching : 
but without thee, I can do nothing. Lord, rather strike me dumb, 
than suffer me to i>reach unconcerned for the good of souls ; for so 
I should murder neither my own soul, nor those of others. 

6. Consider that unconcernedness for the good of souls in preach- 
ing, argues, (1.) A dead lifeless heart, a loveless soul, with respect 
to Christ. If thou hast any life or love to Christ, darest thou be 
unconcerned in this matter ? Nay, sure, he that has life will move ; 
and he that hath love, will be concerned for the i^ropagating of 
Christ's kingdom. (2.) Unbelief of the threatenings of God espe- 
cially. For if thou believe that the wicked shall be turned into 
hell, and all the nations that forget God, thou canst not j>reach to 
them as if thou wert telling a tale. If thou believe that they must 
depart into everlasting fire, thy heart will not be so frozen as to be 
unconcerned for them. The sight of it by faith will thaw thy frozen 
heart. (3.) A stupid heart, and so a hateful frame. "Who would 
not abhor a watchman that saw the enemy coming on, if he should 
bid them only in the general i>rovide to resist their enemies, or 
should tell them that the enemy were coming on, so unconcernedly 
as they might see he cared not whether they should live or perish ? 
And what a hateful stupidity is it in a preacher of the gospel to be 
unconcerned for souls, when they are in such hazard ? 

7. The devil shames such preachers. He goes about like a roar- 
ing lion, seeking whom he may devour; and they, set to keep souls, 
creep about like a snail. He is in earnest when he tempts ; but 
such are unconcerned whether people hear, or forbear to hear their 
invitations, reproofs, &;c. Yea, how concerned are the devil's minis- 
ters that agent his business for him ? They will compass sea and 
land to gain one proselyte. And shall the preachers of the gospel 
be unconcerned ? 

8. If it be so that thou be unconcerned for the good of souls, it 
seems thou earnest not in by the door, but hast broken over the wall, 
and art but a thief and a robber, Jolin x. 1, comiiared with verse 12. 
" lie that is an hireling, seeth the wolf coming, fleeth, and leaveth 
the sheep, and the wolf catcheth them." Ver. 15, " The hireling 

minister may be seen in Wodrow's History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland, 
vol. ii. page 256, and in Cai.asiy's continuation of the account of the ejected ministers, 
vol. ii. page 678 et SHCi. Mr. Boiton gives a particular account of his conversion in 
his Diary and Memoirs, 


fleetli, because he is an liireling, and carctli not for the sheep." 
my soul, if at any time thou fnidest thy heart unconcerned then, not 
having the good of souls before thee, remember this. 

9. Lastly, thou canst not expect God's help, if thou forgettcst thy 
errand. ITast thou not known and experienced, that these two, 
God's help in preaching, and a concernedness for the good of souls, 
have gone with thee 2:)ari jymsu ? my soul, then endeavour to be 
much in following of Clirist this way, setting the good of souls before 
thine eyes ; and if thou dost so, thou niayst be a fisher of men, 
though thou knowest it not. 

Fourthly, Christ had not only the good of souls before his eyes, 
but he was much affected with their case ; it lay heavy on his spirit. 
There are these four things wherein this appeared, that occur to me, 
■with which he was much affected. 

1. He had compassion on the multitude, because they were as 
sheep without a shepherd, Matth. ix. 36. That the people wanted 
true pastors, was affecting to him ; he had compassion on them. 
Follow Christ in this, my soul ; pity them that wander as sheep 
without a shepherd. And let this consideration move thee, when 
thou goest to preach in planted congregations, where thou wilt even 
see many that are wandering, though they have faithful pastors.* 
Look on them as sheep not better for them than if they wanted a 
shepherd. But especially when thou goest to vacant congregations, 
pity them, commiserate their case, as sheep wanting a shepherd ; 
which no doubt will be a notable means to make thee improve well 
the little time allowed thee for gathering them in. Be affected with 
their case ; and, for this end, consider, 

(1.) That such are in a perishing condition : Wliere fio vision is, the 
people perish. They are ignorant, no wonder, they have none to in- 
struct them ; they have lean souls, no wonder, they have none to 
break the bread of life to them ; they wander from God's way, they 
have none to watch over them, and so the devil takes his opportunity. 

(2.) Consider that for the most j)art here at least, [This was writ- 
ten while I i)reached in the presbytery of Stirling] people are de- 
prived of watchmen, in regard of the malignancy and ticklishness of 
their superiors ; so that though the people would ever so gladly re- 
ceive one to break the bread of life to them, yet they cannot get 

* The author probably speaks here of people in different parishes, who, though pri- 
vileged with faithful niiaisters, yet, through attachment to Prelacy, would not hear 
them ; or of some people called Cameronians or Old Dissenters, who refused fo coun- 
tenance the revolution church, because she had not renewed the covenants. ]Mr. 
Boston met with no little trouble from these last after his settlement at Ettrick. How 
far will misguided zeal lead some otherwise well-meaning people! 


iheir will, by reason of these keeping it from tliem. * It would 
make thy heart to relent, if thou sawest a child that would be con- 
tent to have a pedagogue to guide him, seeing he acknowledges he 
cannot do it himself, if notwithstanding his tutor should not allow 
him one, but stand in the way of it, and so the child be lost for want 
of a pedagogue. So, my soul, commiserate thou the case of those 
who would fain have one to Avatch over their souls, but yet they 
that should employ their authority, power, wit, &c. to find out one 
for them, either lie by or oppose the same. 

(3.) Consider the many souls that go out of time into eternity, 
during the time that they want a shc];)herd. They have none to 
instruct them, none to let them see their hazard, none to comfort 
them, when death comes, but they slip away, many of them at least, 
as the brutes that perish. Thou hast found this to have been a 
cause of thy commiserating such before now, when thou hast spoken 
to such being a dying. If this be well considered, and laid to heart, 
thou canst not but pity them on that very account, which will stir 
thee up to employ the little time thou hast among them, so as they 
may be fitted for death. 

2. Christ wept, because people in their day did not know, i. e. do, 
the things that belonged to their peace, Luke xix. 41, 42. When 
he thought upon this their stupidity, it made the tears trinkle down 
liis precious cheeks. my soul, thou hast this ground of mourning, 
this day, wherever thou goest. Who are they* that are concerned to 
do what is necessary to be done in order to their peace with God ? 
Few or none are brought in to Christ. It is rare to hear now ot a 
soul converted; but most part are sleeping on in their sins in this 
their day, like to sit the day of God's patience with them, till pa- 
tience be turned into fury. Many heart-melting considerations to 
this purpose may be found. I shall only say this in cumulo, that 
such a case is most dej)lorable, in the noon-tide of the day that peo- 
ple should venture on the feud of such a dreadful enemy as God is, 
and should sit as quiet even when the sword of vengeance is hanging 
by a hair over their heads, and notwithstanding that every day may 
be, for ought I know, their last day, every sermon the last that ever 
they shall hear, and that ere the next day these enemies shall be 
made to rencounter with the terrible and dreadful Majesty, who 
shall go through them as thorns and briers, and burn them up to- 
gether, by the fire of his wrath, world without end. my soul, how 

Some of the curates, tliroujh the favour of the great, continueil in their churches 
for many years after the revolution, in several paits of the kingdom, and particularly 
in some parishes belonging to the synod of Perth and Stirling, as well as the north. 


canst tliou think of tliis, and not be more affected with the case of 
people as they are now-a-days ? Sure, if thou couldst Treep, here is 
ground enough for tears of blood. 

3. He was grieved for the hardness of people's hearts, Mark iii. 
5. It was ground of grief to the Lord Jesus, that people were so 
hardened, that no means used for their amendment would do them 
good. Follow Christ in this, ray soul ; be grieved and affected 
with the hardness of the hearts of this generation. what hardness 
of heart niayst thou see in every corner, whither thou goest, and 
Avhere thou preachest, most part being as unconcerned as the very 
stones of the wall ; and say what thou wilt, either by setting before 
them alluring promises, or dreadful threatenings, yet jjeople are 
hardened against both, none relenting for what they have done, or 
concerned about it, though thou wouldst preach till thy eyes leap 
out. happy they whose time God has brought to a period, and 
taken to himself! Happy servants whom God has called out of 
the vineyard, before the ground grow so hard that almost all labour 
was in vain ! This is a time of mourning for the preachers of the 
gospel, for people are strangely hardened. Which is the more la- 
mentable, my soul, if thou consider, (1.) What God has done even 
for this generation. He has taken off from our necks the yoke of 
tyranny and arbitrary power, and has given deliverance from Pre- 
latic bondage ; and yet for all this the generation is hardened. 
(2.) If thou consider fiow the Lord has been dealing with us by rods. 
For some time there was great dearth of fodder for beasts ; yet that 
stirred us not up. Afterwards was death of cattle ; yet we have 
not returned to the Lord. Then followed death of men, women, and 
children. He has sent blasting among our corns. This is now, I 
suppose, the fourth year of our dearth.* And for all these things 
we remain hardened. Lord, thou hast stricken them, hut they have 
not grieved ; thou hast consumed them, but they refuse to receive correc- 
tion ; they make their faces harder than a rock, they refuse to return. 
What shall be the end of such hardness as this ? (3.) It is yet 
more lamentable, in regard the i>lague of hardness seems to be uni- 

* The author here mentions the great dearth and famine that prevailed in Scotland 
for several years before the 1700, chiefly owing to unfavourable harvests. Of this 
melancholy accounts may be seen in several pamphlets published at that time. At 
this day it is too evident the Lord is exercising us in some measure with the same 
judgment, while still greater hardness of heart and inipenitency prevails among all 
ranks, accompanied with monstrous luxury and abuse of mercies, greater than ever 
was known in this poor kingdom. God grant we may not again experience this judg- 
ment, of the breaking of the staff of bread, in the same dreadful nianner as our ances- 
tors felt it. " Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel." 


versal. It is not only the wicked, or openly profane, or those that 
have no religion, bnt the professors of religion that are hardened in 
part. Oh my soul, this is a day wherein Scotland's pillars are like 
to fail, a day wherein the hands of our Moseses are like to fall, and 
Amalek is like to prevail. Many professors desire to hear the 
causes of God's wrath searched into, bnt they are not mourning over 
them ; and truly it is most lamentable, that those among us who as,* 
so many Joshuas should be discovering the Achans in our camp, that 
are the troublers of Israel, by a strange kind of dealing are very 
wary in meddling therewith, or to show them unto people. * And it 
is much to be feared, that there are among us some accursed things 
that are not yet found out. that God would put it in the hearts 
of Zion's watchmen to discover what these Achans are, and that 
preachers were obliged even by the church to speak more freely of 
the sins of the land. But, alas ! Lord, why hast thou hardened 
all of us from thy fear ? (4.) If thou consider, that this hardness 
of heart is a token of sad things yet to come. W/io hath hardened 
himself against God, and prospered ? Job x. 4. Alas ! it is a sad 
prognostic of a further stroke, that seeing we will not be softened 
either by word or rod, therefore the Lord will thus do to ns ; and 
seeing he will do thus, we may prepare to meet the Lord coming in 
a way of more severe judgment against us. Sad it is already; 
many families are in a deplorable condition, and yet nothing bet- 
tered by the stroke ; and what a sad face will this land have, if it 
be continued ? Spare, Lord, thine inheritance, thy covenanted 
people, and make us rather fall on such methods as may procure the 
removal of the stroke. These, and many other things, my soul, 
may indeed make thee grieved for the hardness of this generation: 

Fifthly, Christ was much in prayer; and that, 1. Before he 
preached, as Luke ix. 18. Follow him in this, my soul. Thou 
hast much need to pray before thou preachest. Be busy with God 
in prayer, when thou art thinking on dealing with the souls of men. 
Let thy sermons be sei'uions of many prayers. Well doth prayer 

The author probably means some people who had fult the rigour of the persecution 
in the infamous reigns before the revolution, or were attached to the testimony of these 
sufferers, and were grieved that a more particular and full enumeration of the grounds 
of the Lord's controversy was not made in acts for fasts emitted by the church after 
the revolution; who, however, were not suitably employed in mourning over them. 
And he also insinuates the policy of some leaders in the church, by whose means 
chiefly a thorough scrutiny into the grounds of the Lord's contending with the church 
and land at this time, was in a great measure impeded. But if there was ground of 
complaint for this, at that time, how sad is our present case, when there has not been 
a national fast for several years, and not one appointed by the church for more than 
forty ! 


become every Christian, but much more a preacher of the gospel. 
Three things, said Luther, make a divine, tentatlo, mcditatio, et -pre- 
catio. Be stirred up, my soul, to this necessary work ; and for 
this end consider, 

1. That thou canst not otherwise say of tliy preacliing, Thus saith 
the Lord. How wilt thou get a word from God, if thou do not seek 
it; and bow canst thou seek it but by earnest prayer? If other- 
wise, thou mayst get something that is the product of thy empty 
head to mumble over before the pcoi>le, and spend a little time with 
them in the church. But it is a miserable preaching where the 
preacher can say, Thus say I to i/ou, but no more ; and cannot say, 
Thus saith the Lord. 

2. Consider thy own insufficiency and weakness, together with the 
weight of the work, Who is sii^cicnt for these things? which if thou 
do, thou wilt not dare study without prayer, nor yet pray without 
study, when God allows thee time for both. It is a weighty work to 
bring sinners in to Christ, to pluck the brands out of the fire. Hast 
thou not great need then to be serious with God before thou preach ? 

3. Consider that word, Jer. xxiii. 22. " 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." There is no doubt 
but preachers not standing in God's counsel this day, and not mak- 
ing men to hear God's woi'ds, is one great reason of the unsuccess- 
fulness of the gospel. Now this way, to wit, prayer in faith, is the 
most proper expedient for acquaintance with the counsel of God. 
Neglect it not then. my soul, but be much in the duty. 

Lastly, Remember, that thou hast found much good of such a 
practice, and hast found much of the Lord's help both in studying 
and preaching, by so doing. For which cause thou allottest the 
Sabbath morning entirely to that exercise, and meditation, if thou 
canst get it done. Wherefore let this be thy work. And there are 
these things which thou wouldst specially mind to pray for with re- 
spect to this. 

(1.) That thou mayst have a word from the Lord to deliver unto 
them ; that thou mayst not preach to them the product of thy own 
wisdom, and that which merely flows from thy reason ; for this is 
poor heartless preaching. 

(2.) That thy soul may be alFected with the case of the people to 
whom thou preachest. If that be wanting, it will be tongue preach- 
ing, but not heart-preaching. 

(3.) That thy heart may be inflamed with zeal for the glory of 
thy Master; that out of love to God, and love to souls thy preach- 
ing may flow. 


(4.) Tluat tlic Lord may preach it into tliy owu heart, both when 
thou studiest and deliverest it. For if this be not, thou shalt be 
like one that feeds others, but starves himself for hunger; or like 
a way-mark, that shews the way to men, but never moves a foot 

(5.) Tliat thou niayst be helped to deliver it; and that, (1.) With 
a suitable frame, thy heart being- affected with what thou speakest; 
(2.) Faithfully, keeping up nothing that the Lord gives thee ; and, 
(3.) Without confusion of mind, or fear of man. 

(6.) That thou mayst have bodily strength allowed for the work, 
that thy indisposition disturb thee not. 

Lastly, That God would countenance thee in the work with his 
presence and power in ordinances, to make the word spoken a con- 
vincing and converting word to them that are out of Christ ; a heal- 
ing word to the broken ; confirming to the weak, doubting and stag- 
gering ones, &c. ; that God himself avouM drive the fish into the net, 
when thou spreadest it out. In a word, that thou mayst be helped 
to approve thyself to God, as a workman that ncedeth not to be 
ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 

2. After preaching, Christ was taken up in this work, Mark vi. 
46. Matth. xiv. 23. And ivhen he had sent the mtdtitudes away, he 
ivent up into a mountain apart to pray. Follow Christ in this, my 
soul. It is better to do this, than go away with the great people in 
the afternoon ; which I' shun as much as I can ; and when at any 
time I do it, it is a kind of torment to me ; which I have shunned, 
and do resolve to shun more ; and if at any time I be necessitated 
to go, that I shall spend more time alone through grace. Pray to 
God, my soul, that thy labours be not unsuccessful ; that what 
thou hast delivered, may not be as water spilt on the ground. Pray 
for pardon of thy failings in public duties ; and that God may ac- 
cept of thy mite which thou givcst with a willing mind; that he 
would not withdraw his blessing because of thy failings ; but that 
he Avould be pleased to water with the dew of heaven the ground 
wherein thou didst sow the seed, that it may spring up in due time ; 
that the word preached may be as a nail fastened by the Master of 
assemblies, so as the devil may not be able to draw it out. Think 
not, ray soul, that thy work is over, and thou hast no more to do, 
when the people are dismissed. Xo, no ; it is not so. Think with 
thyself, that the devil was as busy as thou wast, when thou wast 
preaching; and that afterwards he is not idle. And shall he be 
working to undo thy work, and thou unconcerned to hold it toge- 
ther ? no, it must not be so ; God will not be pleased with this. 
And alas! I have been too slack iu this point before this: Lord, 


help me to amend. If a man had a servant tliat would go out and 
sow his seed A'ery diligently and faithfully; but would come in, and 
sit down idle when it is sown, and forget to harrow it, and hide it 
with the earth ; would the master be well pleased with him ? yea, 
would he not be highly displeased, because the fowls would come 
and pick it up ? So, my soul, if thou shouldst be never so much 
concerned to get good seed, and never so faithful and diligent in 
sowing it; yet if after tliou turn careless, and take not the way 
to cover it, by serious seeking to the Lord, that he may keep it in 
the hearts of people, and make it to prosper, the devil may pick it 
all up; and where is thy labour then; and how will the Lord be 
pleased with thee ! Therefore pray more frequently, cry more fer- 
vently to God, when the public work is over, than thou hast done ; 
and endeavour to be as much concerned when it is over, as when 
thou wast going to it. I do not doubt, but many times, when thou 
preachest, some get checks and convictions of guilt ; some j)crhap3 
are strengthened; but both impressions wear off very soon. I fear 
thou must confess, and take with a sinful hand in this, in that thou 
dost not enough labour to get the seed covered when it is sown, and 
the nail driven farther in when it is entered. Though many times 
thy body is wearied after the public work, yet sure thou mayst do 
more than thou dost ; and if thy soul were more deeply affected, the 
weariness of body would not be so much in thy mind ; but thou 
wouldst trample on it, that thou might get good done by thy work^ 
and souls might not always thus be robbed by that greedy vulture 
and roaring lion, the enemy of thy own salvation, and the salvation 
of others. Although he has been as busy to do harm all the day to 
souls as thou hast been to do good, yet he will not complain of wea- 
riness at night. Take courage then, ray soul, and be strong in 
the Lord ; and do not give it over to this enemy ; endeavour to hold 
him at the staff's end. Thou hast a good second ; Christ is con- 
cerned for his own seed as well as thou. Go on then, and be strong 
in the Lord, and in the power of his might, and let that ravenous 
fowl never get a grain away as long as thou canst get it kept from 
him. Thus then, my soul, follow Christ, in being taking up in 
this so necessary an exercise. Tliy Lord and Master had no wants 
to get made up, there was no fear of his failing in this work of the 
gosi)el ; yet he prayed, to give all, and especially preachers of his 
word, an example. Lay not aside the pattern then, but write after 
his copy even in this. 

Swthfy, Christ contemned the world ; he slighted it as not meet 
for any of his followers. He became poor, that we might become 
rich, Matth, viii. 20. He gave himself entirely, at least after his 


inauguration, to matters that concerned the calling he had to the 
work of the gospel, John ix. 4. AII7 especially preachers, are to 
follow Christ in the contempt of the world. Yet we must beware 
of imitating him in those things which we are not commanded to 
follow, as voluntary poverty, this being a part of his satisfaction for 
the sins of the elect. Neither doth this exempt the preachers of the 
gospel from a lawful provision of things necessary for themselves, 
or others they are concerned in ; for the apostle tells us, that he is 
worse than an infidel, who doth not provide for his family, 1 Tim. v. 
8. wliere church-men are not excepted. Yea, it is clear that the 
ministers of the gospel may sometimes work with their hands for 
their maintenance, either when the iniquity of the times wherein 
they live does not allow them what may be for their maintenance, 
or when the taking of it will hinder the propagation of the gospel, 
as is clear by the practice of the apostle Paul. So that that in 
which, with respect to this, thou art to follow Christ, my soul, is, 
that thou do not needlessly involve thyself in worldly matters, to 
the hindrance of the duties of thy calling and station. As thou art 
a preacher of the gospel, other things must cede and give place to 
that. This is that which our Lord teaches us, Matth. viii. 22. Fol- 
low thou Trie; and let the dead hury their dead: and the apostle, 
2 Tim. ii. 4. No man that warreth entangleth himself ivith the affairs of 
this life. Which was a thing not observed by some, especially our 
bishops, who acted as magistrates, as well as ministers; a thing 
which our Lord absolutely refused ; Who made me a judge or a 
ruler ? says he ; yet digested by them, being an infallible sign of 
their ignorance of the weight of that work. And in my opinion it 
is not observed either by some ministers now-a-days, who when they 
have their glebes and stipends sufficient for their maintenance, do 
notwithstanding take more land a-farming. For my part, I see not 
how such can be said not to entangle themselves with the affairs of 
this life, and go beyond what doth become them as ministers of the 
gospel. Neither of these are my temptation now, being a proba- 
tioner. But seeing I am unsettled, a corrupt heart and a subtile 
devil may take advantage of me, if I be not wary, and by their ar- 
guments from my present state may cast me off my feet, if I take 
not heed. Therefore, my soul, 

1. Beware of preaching smoothly upon the account of getting a 
call from any parish. Have a care, that the want of that, viz. a 
call, do not put thee upon men-pleasing. No, no ; that must not be 
thy business. Remember, God provides for thee even now liberally, 
as he sees fit. Thou dost not want even so much of the world as is 
very necessary; and he that has provided for thee hitherto, yea. 
Vol. Y. d 


took thee, and kept thee from tlie womb, will not forsake thee as 
long as thou dost not forsake* him, hut remainest faithful. Remem- 
ber, God hath set the bounds of thy habitation, and determined the 
time. Though men and devils should oppose it, they shall not be 
able to hinder it. It is God himself that sets the solitary in fami- 
lies ; and why shouldst thou go out of God's way to procure such a 
thing to thyself, or to antedate the time Avhich is appointed of God ; 
Go on in faithfulness, fear not ; God can make, yea will make a 
man's enemies to be his friends, when his ways please the Lord. 
And though their corruptions disapprove of thy doctrine, and thy- 
self for it, yet their consciences may be made to approve it, and 
God may bind them up, that they shall not appear against thee. 
Remember what J. B. thy known enemy, said and how he carried. 
See more to this purpose before, in the comparison of spiritual 
and carnal wisdom, p. 21, 22. And what though thou shouldst 
never be settled in any charge at all ? Christ and his apostles 
were itinerants. If the Lord see it fit, why shouldst thou be 
against it? If the Lord have something to do with thee in diverse 
corners of his vineyard, calling thee sometimes to one place, some- 
times to another, thou art not to quarrel that. Perhaps thou may- 
est do more good that way than otherwise. If thou hadst been 
settled at home, then some souls here, which perhaps have got good 
of thy preaching, would have been deprived of it at least as from 
thee ; and God will always give thee meat as long as he gives thee 
work ; and go where thou wilt, thou canst not go out of thy Fa- 
ther's ground. Further, if thou shouldst take that way, and trans- 
gress for a piece of bread, thou mayst come short of thy expectation 
for all that, and lose both the world and a good conscience. But 
suppose thou shouldst by that means gain a call and a good stipend, 
thou losest a good conscience, Avhich is a continual feast. For how 
can such a practice be excused from simony, seeing it is munus a lin- 
gua ; and it is a certain symptom that a preacher seeks not them, 
but theirs ; and so thou gettest it, and the curse of God with it. 
No ; Lord, in thy strength, I resolve never to buy ease and wealth 
at such a dear rate. 

2. Beware that thou close Avith no call upon the account of sti- 
pend. Lay that by when thou considerest the matter. See what 
clearness thou canst get from the Lord, when any call may be given 
thee, and walk according to his mind, and the mind of the church. 
"Wo is me if a stipend should be that which should engage me to a 
place. I would shew myself a wretched creature. Consider mat- 
ters then abstracting from that. For surely, 

(1.) This is direct simony; selling the gift of God for money. 


Let their money perish with themselves, that will adventure to do 
so. Such are buyers and sellers, that God will put out of his tem- 
ple. Such are mere hirelings, working for wages ; and too much of 
Balaam's temper is to be found there. 

(2.) That will provoke God to curse your blessings, and to send a 
moth among that which thou raayst get ; and it surely will provoke 
God to send leanness to thy soul, as he did with the Israelites in 
the wilderness, when he gave them what they wei'c seeking. 

(3.) Thou canst not expect God's blessing on thy labours, but ra- 
ther that thou shouldst be a plague to a people whom you so join 
with. In a word, thou wouldst go in the wrong way, and be dis- 
countenanced of God, when you have xmdertaken the charge. 

There is yet a third case wherein this contempt or slighting of the 
world should appear in one sent to preach the gospel ; that is, when 
a man is settled, and has encouragement or stipend coming in to 
him, and so must needs have worldly business done, especially if he 
be not single, whereby he is involved in more trouble thereabouts, 
than any in my circumstances for the time are. In such a case a 
minister would endeavour to meddle as little as he can with these 
things, but shun them as much as lies in him, especially if he have 
any to whom he can well trust the management of his affairs. For 
surely the making of bargains or pursuing them are not the fit ob- 
ject of a minister's employment. Not that I mean simply a man 
may not do that, and yet be a fisher of men ; but that many times 
the man that takes such trouble in the things of the world to catch 
them, indisposes himself for the art of man-fishing. But this not 
being my case, I pass it, referring any rules in this case how to 
walk till the Lord be pleased so to tryst me, if ever. Only do thou, 
my soul, follow Christ in the contempt of the world. Do not re- 
gard it. Thou mayst use it as a staff in thine hand, but not as a 
burden on thy back, otherwise the care of souls will not be much in 
thy heart. And to help thee to this contempt of the world, consi- 

(1.) The vanity of the world. Solomon knew well what it was to 
have abundance, yet he calls all vanitii of vanities, all is but vanity. 
The world is a very empty thing, it cannot comfort the soul under 
distress. No ; the body it can do no good to when sore diseases do 
afflict it. The world cannot profit a man in the day of wrath. 
"When God arises to plead with a person, his riches avail nothing. 
When he lies down on a death-bed, they can give him no comfort, 
though all bis coffers were full. "When he stands before the tribu- 
nal of God, they profit him nothing. Why then should such an 
useless and vain thing be esteemed ? 



(2.) Consider that the love of the world where it predominates, is 
a sign of want of love to God : If any man love the ivorld, the love of 
the Father is not in him. Yea, even in a gracious soul, in so far as 
the love of the world sways the heart, in so far doth the love of God 
decay. They are as the scales of the balance, as the one goes up, 
the other goes down. 

(3.) Consider the uncertainty of worldly things. They are as a 
bird that takes the wings of the morning, and flees away. Set not 
thy heart then on that which is not. How many and various chan- 
ges as to the outward state are in a man's life ! The beggar may 
well say, Hodie mihi, eras tibi Men sometimes vile are exalted, ho- 
nourable men are depressed ; and the world is indeed volubilis rota ; 
that part which is now up, shall ere long be down. Seest thou not 
that there is no constancy to be observed in the world, save a con- 
stant inconstancy ? All things go on in a constant course of vicissi- 
tude. Nebuchadnezzar in one hour is walking with an uplifted 
heart in his palace, saying. Is not this great Bahglon that I have built, 
8fc. ? and the nest driven from men, and made to eat grass as an ox. 
Herod in great pomp makes an oration, the people cry out. It is the 
voice of a God, and not of a man, and he is immediately eaten up of 
worms. The rich man to-day fares sumptuously on earth, and to- 
morrow cannot get a drop of water to cool his tongue. 

(4.) Consider the danger that people are in by worldly things, 
when they have more than daily bread. The rich man in Luke xii. 
felt this to be a stumbling-block on which he broke his neck. The 
young man in the gospel, for love of what he had of the world, 
parted with Christ, heaven and glory, and so made a sad exchange. 
Prosperity in the world is a dangerous thing ; it is that which de- 
stroys fools, Prov. i. 32. When Jeshuruu waxed fat, he kicked 
against God, and forgat the Lord that fed him, Deut. xxxii. 15. It 
was better for David when he was on the one side of the hill, and 
his enemies on the other, and so in great danger, than when he was 
walking at ease on his house-top, when he espied Bathsheba washing 
herself. And of this, my soul, thou hast had the experience. 
Our Lord tells us, that it is very hard for a rich man to be saved ; 
and teaches us, that it is hard to have riches, and not set the heart 
on them. What care and toil do men take to themselves to get 
them ! what anxiety are they exercised with, and how do they tor- 
ment themselves to keep them ! and when they are got and kept, all 
is not opera} pretium to them. Many by riches and honour, &c. have 
lost their bodies, and more have lost their souls. It exposes men to 
be the object of others, as Naboth was even for his vineyard ; and 
iuho can stand before envy ? Prov. xxvii. 4. See 1 Tim. vi. 9, 10. 


This ruined Nabotli, 1 Kings xxi. Da eholum Bdisano, quern virtus 
eatulit, invldia deprcssit. So that he that handles the world, can very 
hardly come away with clean fingers. It is a snake in the bosom, 
that, if God prevent it not by his grace, may sting thy soul to death. 

5. Remember the shortness and the uncertainty of thy time. 
Thou art a tenant at will, and knowest not how soon thou mayst re- 
move ; and thou canst carry nothing with thee. Therefore having 
food and raiment, (which the Lord does not let thee want), be there- 
with content, 1 Tim. vi. 7, 8. Thou art a stranger in this earth, 
going home to thy Father's house, where there will be no need of 
such things as the world aflfords. Why shouldst thou then, my 
soul, desire any more than will carry thee to thy journey's end? 
Art thou going to set uj) thy tent on this side Jordan to dwell here ? 
Art thou saying. It is good for me to be here ? Art thou so well 
entertained abroad, that thou desirest not to go home ? No, no. 
Well then, my soul, gird up the loins of thy mind. Thou art 
making homeward, and thy Father bids thee run and make haste : 
go then, and take no burden on thy back ; lest it make thee halt 
by the way, and the doors be shut ere thou reachest home, and so 
thou lie without through the long night of eternity. 

And to shut up all, remember that there are other things for thee 
to set thy affections on than the things of this world. There are 
things above tliat merit thy affections. Where is Christ, heaven 
and glory, when thou lookest upon the world, highly esteeming it? 
Seest thou no beauty in it to ravish thy heart ? Surely the more 
thou seest in him, the less thou wilt see in the world. And hath 
not experience confirmo^ this to thee ? Alas, when the beauty of 
the upper house is in my offer, that ever I should have any kindness 
for the world, that vile dwarf and monster, that shall at the last be 
seen by me all in a fire. Sursum cor, my soul ! thou lookest too 
low. Behold the King in his glory ; look to him that died for thee, 
to save thee from this present evil world. See him sitting at the 
right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven. Behold the 
crown in his hand to give thee, when thou hast overcome the world. 
Behold the recompense of reward bought to thee with his precious 
blood, if thou overcome. Ah ! art thou looking after toys, and go- 
ing off thy way to gather the stones of the brook, when thou art 
running for a crown of gold, yea more than the finest gold ? Does 
this become a man in his right wits ? Yea, does it not rather argue 
madness, and a more than brutish stupidity ? The brutes look 
down, but men are to look up. They have a soul capable of higher 
things than what the world aftbrds : therefore, 



Pronaque cum spectent animalia ccetera terram, 
Os homini sublime dedit, cadumque tueri 
Jussit, et ereetos ad sidera toUere vultus. 

Be then of a more noble spirit than the earth-worms. Let the 
swine feed on husks. Be thou of a more sublime spirit : trample ou 
those things that are below. Art thou clothed with the sun ? get 
the moon under thy feet then; despise it, look not on it with love, 
turn from it, and pass away. Let it not move thee if thou be poor, 
Christ had not where to lay his head. Let not the prospect of fu- 
ture troublesome times make thee solicitous how to be carried 
through ; for " thou shalt not be ashamed in the evil days, and in 
the days of famine thou shalt be satisfied." God hath said it, Psal. 
sxxvi. 19. therefore do thou believe it. Be not anxious about thy 
provision for old age, for by all appearance thou wilt never see it. 
It is more than probable thou wilt be sooner at thy journey's end. 
Thy body is weak ; it is even stepping down to salute corruption as 
its mother, ere it has well entered the hall of the world : thy taber- 
nacle pins seem to be drawing out by little and little already. 
Courage then, my soul ; ere long the devil, and the world, and the 
flesh shall be bruised under thy feet ; and thou shalt be received 
into eternal mansions. But though the Lord should lengthen out 
thy days to old age, he that brought thee out of thy mother's belly, 
will not forsake thee then either. If he give thee life, he will give 
thee meat. Keep a loose hold of the world then; contemn it if 
thou wouldst be a fisher of men. 

Sevcuthli/, Christ was useful to souls in his private converse, tak- 
ing occasion to instruct, rebuke, &c. from such things as oflPered, 
Thus he dealt with this woman of Samaria ; he took occasion from 
the water she was drawing, to tell her of the living water, &c. 
Thus being at a feast, he rebuked the Pharisees that chose the up- 
permost seats, and instructed them in the right way of behaviour at 
feasts. my soul, follow Christ in this. Be edifying in thy pri- 
vate converse. When thou ai't at any time in company, let some- 
thing that smells of heaven drop from thy lips. Where any are 
faulty, reprove them as prudently as thou canst ; where they appear 
ignorant, instruct them when need requires, &c. And learn that 
heavenly chymistry of extracting some spiritual thing out of earthly 
things. To this purpose and for this end endeavour after a hea- 
venly frame, which will, as is storied of the philosopher's stone, turn 
every raelal into gold. When the soul is heavenly, it will even 
scrape jewels out of a dunghill ; whatever the discourse be, it will 
afford some one useful thing or another. Alas! my sonl, that thou 


dost follow this example so little. what a shame is it for thee to 
sit down iu company, and rise again, and part with them, and never 
a word of Christ to be heard where thou art? Be ashamed of this, 
and remember what Christ says, Matth. x. 32, 33. " Yv^hosoever 
shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Fa- 
ther, — but whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also 
deny before my Father, which is in heaven." How many times hast 
thou been somewhat exact iu thy conversation when alone ; but 
"when in company, by the neglect of this duty, especially of rebuk- 
ing, thou hast come away with loss and a troubled mind, because of 
thy faint-heartedness this way. Amend in this, and make thy con- 
verse more edifying, and take courage to reprove, exhort, &c. Thou 
knowest not what a seasonable admonition may do ; the Lord may 
be pleased to back it with life and power. 

Eighthly, Christ laid hold upon opportunities of public preaching 
when they offered, as is clear from the whole history of the gospel. 
He gave a pattern to ministers to be instant in season and out of 
season. my soul, follow Christ iu this : refuse not any occasion 
of preaching, when God calls thee to it. It is very unlike Christ's 
practice for preachers of the gospel to be lazy, and slight the oppor- 
tunities of doing good to a people, when the Lord puts opportunities 
in their hand. For this end consider, 

1. Besides Christ's example, that thou art nothing worth in the 
world, in so far as thou art lazy. What for serve wc, if we are not 
serviceable for God ? 

2. It may provoke God to take away thy talent and give it to 
another, if thou be not active. Whatever talent the Lord hath 
given thee, it must bo employed in his service. He gaA^e it not thee 
to hide it in a napkin. Remember what became of the unprofitable 
servant that hid his Lord's money. 

3. Thou knoAvest not when thy Master shall come. And blessed 
is that servant Avhom, when his Lord shall come, he shall find so do- 
ing. If Christ should come and find thee idle, when he is calling 
thee to work, how wilt thou be able to look him in the face ? They 
are well that die at Christ's work. ***** 







Psalm cxlii. 5. 

I cried unto thee, Lord, I said, Thou art my refuge, and my 'portion, 
in the land of the living* 

¥hat is a pertinent question to put to each of you, which was pro- 
posed to Elijah in the cave, TFhat dost thoni here, Elijah ? 1 Kings 
xix. 9. Sure I am, you have weighty business to do here, whether 
you lay it to heart or not. Ye are in this world as in a weary 
land, a wilderness, a place of great danger, and of great wants : and 
if you have felt it so, ye are come with a design to seek a refuge, 
where ye may be in safety ; and a portion for your souls, whence 
your wants may be supplied. Our text discovers where ye may find 
both : I cried unto thee, O Lord, I said, Thou art my refuge, and 
my poHion in the land of the living. 

These words shew us the course David took for relief in most 
straitening circumstances. He was hiding himself in a cave, that of 
Adullam or Engedi, for fear of Saul, by whom he was in hazard 
of his life. His spirit was like to sink under the burden of perplex- 
ing fears and griefs ; he was in the utmost perplexity, ver. 3. My 
spirit was ovenvhelmed ivithin me, says he. He was deserted by all, 
and as an outcast that nobody cared for, ver. 4. I looked on mi/ right 
hand, and beheld, but there was no man that tvonld know me ; refuge 
failed me ; no man cared for my soul. In this case he betakes himself 
to the Lord by prayer. And here, 

1. We may notice his praying in that case, I cried unto thee, 

" The first sermon on this text was preached at Ettrick, August 19, 1722, imme- 
diately before the administration of the Lord's supper. 


Lord. Though his case was extremely heavy, yet it did not render 
him incapable of praying, but quickened him to that delightful exer- 
cise, and caused him to cry to heaven out of the belly of the earth. 
Fears, sorrows, and perplexities on any account whatsoever, are 
gone too far, when they restrain prayer to the Lord : yet it may be 
the case of a saint, as of Asaph when he said, I am so troubled that 
I cannot speak, Psal. Ixxvii. 4. Such would do well to hearken' to 
that word. Cant. ii. 14. my dove, — let me see thy countenance, let me 
hear thy voice : for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely. 
The best ease for a heart full of trouble and grief, is to give it a 
vent into the bosom of a gracious God, as appears from the title of 
Psal. cii. A prayer of the ajlicted, luhen he is oveituhelmed, and 
poureth out his complaint before the Lord. Hannah found it so in her 
comfortable experience, 1 Sam. i. 18. who having poured out her soid 
before the Lord, luent her luay, and her countenance tvas no more sad. 

2. His faith in prayer, I said, Thou art my refuge, and my portion. 
He said it not only with the mouth, but also and chiefly in and with 
his heart (as the word is often used.) His heart and soul said it, 
upon the discovering of the Lord's holding forth himself in his 
word, the ground of faith, for a refuge and portion to the sous of 
men. And here three things are to be observed. 

\st, Faith's discerning the Lord Jehovah's fulness for and suitable- 
ness to the soul's case : and this must be by the perspective of the 
word, illuminated by the Spirit. The psalmist saw the Lord by 
faith, perfectly suited to his case, in the several exigencies thereof. 

(1.) He was compassed about with evils threatening to swallow 
him up, and in all the creation he could find no place to flee to where 
he might be safe : Refuge failed me, says he, or, A place to jlee to is 
perished from me. But by faith he discerns a refuge above him, 
though there was none in all the world. Above me thou art a re- 
fuge ; and if I can get there, I would be safe. 

(2.) He was under many wants, and there was none to supply 
them. Though he could have got a place to flee to in the earth, 
where he might have been safe ; yet how could he live in it ? for no 
man cared for his soul or life, ver. 4. But faith discernes Jehovah 
to be a portion, that one may live on, when the world will afford 
him nothing. Thou art a portion ; and if I can get that, I will 
have enough. 

2dly, Faith's discerning the soul's liberty of access to the Lord as 
a refuge and a portion. This also must be by the perspective of the 
word, illuminated by the Spirit. The gospel-oft'er casts open the 
.door of the refuge, and proclaims the portion to be free to every 
man that will take it, Rev. xxii. 17- which general offer is equiva- 


lent to a particular one; as if the Lord sljould say, The refuge is 
open for you and you, every one of you, so that you may flee to it 
without fear ; and the portion is free for you and you, and every 
one of you, and you may take and use it as yonr own, 'without 
fear of vitious intromission. Hence our Lord says. He that helicveth 
shall be saved, Mark xvi. 16 ; and the apostle, Believe in the Lord 
Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, Acts xvi. 31. And this offer 
the Spirit of the Lord carries home on the soul, that the man be- 
lieves the offer is to him in particular, the refuge is open to him, the 
portion free to him, according to the word, 1 John y. 11. This is the 
record, that God hath given to us eternal life. 

'6dly, Faith's appropriating of the Lord as a refuge and portion, 
to itself. Thou art my refuge, and my portion. The Lord speaks by 
his Spirit in his word, and says to the soul, " I am a safe refuge and 
a full portion, and I am willing and offer myself freely to be thy re- 
fuge and thy portion." The soul believes God, and says, " Then, 
Lord, thou art my refuge and my portion ; even so I take thee." 
And thus the bargain is closed, and the soul takes possession of the 
refuge and i)ortion which was offered. This is that direct acting of 
faith, in the cave, which the i)salmist reflects upon with pleasure 
afterwards. I said it then. 

And it shines bright in sincerity as faith unfeigned. " Away with 
all other refuges, as refuges of lies. Lord, I take thee for my re- 
fuge, and thou art my refuse, where I shall be in safety, as despe- 
rate as my case appears to be. And I take thee not only as my 
refuge, but my portion ; and my portion from this moment, as well 
as my refuge. I design not to take the crown of Israel for my 
portion on earth, and thee for my portion in heaven, when that is 
gone from me ; but thou art my portion now even in the land of 
the living, for my heart to live upon while in this world, as well as 
in the next." 

As this text affords a large field of discourse, I shall only at pre- 
sent take notice of one doctrine from it, viz. 

DocT. The soul that would have safety and satisfaction, must take 
the Lord Jehovah foi; a refuge and portion to itself, saying what- 
ever others say, that he is its refuge and portion. 

In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall a little at present con- 
sider the nature of this refuge and portion. And here I will ofler a 
few things, 

1. Concerning the refuge. 

2. Concerning the portion. 

First, Concerning the refuge, I offer the following particulars, 

THE believer's refuge and portion. 47 

!■ The Lord Christ, or God in Christ, is the refuge itself: Is. iv. 
6. There shall he a tabo'nacle — for a place of refuge. The Branch of 
the Lord, ver. 2. vi.~. the Man whose name is the Branch, Zech. iii. 8. 
and vi. 12. is the tabernacle here spoken of, which is for a place of re- 
fuge, as appears by comparing John i. 14. The Word was made fiesh, 
and dwelt (Gr. tabernacled) among us ; and Is. sxxii. 2. A man shall 
he as an hiding-place from the ivind, and a covert from the tempest, — 
as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. A man, who is also 
Jehovah, The Lord our Righteousness, Jer. xxiii. 6, None less 
than a God, the eternal God, is or could be a sufficient refuge for 
guilty creatures ; no arras less strong than the everlasting arms 
could bear the weight, Deut. xxxiii. 27. Yet sinners could never 
have taken refuge in an absolute God, more than dry stubble could 
be safe in a consuming fire, Heb. xii. ult. For our God 'is a consum- 
ing fire. "Wherefore, that God might be a refuge for sinners, he put 
himself in our nature, he took upon him our flesh. The fulness of 
the Godhead dwelt bodily in Christ, Col. ii. 9. Thus he became our 
refuge, which we might safely flee to. But a God out of Clirist no 
sinful creature can deal with to its salvation, but to its certain de- 
struction. For thus saith Jehovah himself. Is. xxvii. 4, 5. Who 
ivoidd set the briers and thorns against me in battle ? I would go through 
them, I rvould burn them together. Or let him take hold of my strength, 
that he may make peace with me, and he shall make peace with me. 
None that know God will dare to approach him out of Christ. 

2. This refuge is by a legal destination a refuge for lost mankind, 
for sinners of Adam's race : 2 Cor. v. 19. God xuas in Christ, recon- 
ciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them. 
John iii. 14, 15, 16. As Moses lifted up the sei'pcnt in the wildei^ness, 
even so must the Son of man he lifted up : that whosoever believeth in him 
should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, 
that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, shoidd 
not perish, hut have everlasting life. This destination gives men a 
right to flee thither for safety, which sinners of the angelic tribe 
have not ; for as to sinners there is a man-love, though no angel- 
love, called the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man, Tit. 
iii. 4. Hence the call to the refuge is directed to men, Prov. viii. 4. 
Unto you, men, I call, and my voice is to the sons of men ; and to 
the people, Psal. Ixii. 8. Trust in him at all times ; ye people, pour out 
your heart before him. And this call is their warrant, God is a re- 
fuge for us, ibid. Wherefore, be what ye will, if ye be men or wo- 
men, if of the lost family of Adam, stand not disputing whether ye 
may enter this refuge, and take possession of it for yourselves or 
not : your warrant to enter it is clear, and your safety upon your 
entering it infallibly sure. 


God knows who arc his, and for v/hom tlio IJigli Priest died, and 
for whom tlie refuge was designed in the eternal decree of election. 
These are secrets, on the knowledge of which your warrant to enter 
the refuge does not depend. You must first enter, upon the war- 
rant of the legal destination of the refuge registered in the word, 
whereby it is appointed for sinful men ; and then ye will know what 
concerns you in these secrets. Remember, the cities of refuge were 
appointed not for Israel only, but for the stranger and sojourner 
among them. Numb. xxxv. 15. If a stranger and a sojourner would 
not believe that he might have access to the cities of refuge, because 
he was not an Israelite, and therefore would flee for refuge to his 
own country, no wonder he fell by the hand of the avenger of blood. 

More particularly, I will tell you of four sorts of men, whom God 
in Christ is a refuge for; and I am sure each of us may find our 
name among them.. He is a refuge, 

(1.) For the oppressed: Psal. ix. 9. God ivill be a refnge for the 
oppressed. Are ye oppressed by sin ? Do ye find it holding you 
down as a giant doth a weak man, so that your souls are saying, 
wretched man that I am ! ivho shall deliver me from the body of this 
death ? Rom. vii. 24. Are ye oppressed by Satan ? Do ye find the 
strong and subtile adversary an overmatch for you ? Are ye op- 
pressed by the world ? by the men of the world, in your goods, in 
your name and reputation, or on any other account are you crying 
out of violence and wrong ? are ye oppressed by the things of the 
world, the cares, business, or frowns of the world ? Here is a re- 
fuge for you ; come in hither unto a God in Christ, saying, Lord, 
thou art my refuge: and, Lord,, L am oppressed, imdertake for me, 
Is. xxxviii. 14. And there is a promise for your safety, Psal. Ixxii. 
4. He shall break in pieces the oppressor. This promise is branched 
out to your several cases ; — As to the oppression by sin, Micah vii. 
19. He ivill subdue our hiiquities ; and thou ivilt cast all their sins into 
the depths of the sea. — As to Satan, Rom. xvi. 20. The God of peace 
shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.- — And as to the world, John 
xvi. ult. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I 
have overcome the world. 

(2.) For outcasts, Psal. cxlii. 4, 5. the text and context. Are 
there any among us to whom the world's face is quite changed, and 
the brooks of comfort in it are dried up, and they are so tossed, 
chased, and harassed in it, that they have forgotten their resting- 
place ? are any of you become a stranger unto your brethren and an 
alien unto your mother's children ? Psal. Ixix. 8. Is it grown such a 
strange world, that even " your own familiar friend, in whom you 
trusted, which did eat of your bread, hath lifted up his heel against 

THE believer's REFUGE AJfD TORTIOK. 49 

you ?" Psal. xli. 9. and that wherever ye turn yourselves in it, to 
find rest and refuge, the door is cast on your face ? Here is a re- 
fuge for you ; here is one open door ; come in thou blessed of the 
Lord : Psal. cxlvii. 2. The Lord gathercth the outcasts of Israel. It 
seems the Lord minds to have you in : he is doing with you as a fa- 
ther with a stubborn son run away from out of his father's house, 
thinking to shift for himself among his friends, and not come back : 
the father sends peremptory word through them all, saying, " In 
whosesoever house my son is skulking, presently turn him out of 
doors, and let none of you take him in ; and if he come in, give him 
not one night's lodging, nay, let him not heat in your house." 
Wherefore is all this, but just to get him back again to his father's 
house ? 

(3.) For debtors, broken men, unable to pay their debts, Is. xxv. 
4. '* Thou hast been a strength to the i>oor, a strength to the needy 
in his distress, a refuge from the storm." Herein David was a type 
of Christ ; for " every one that was in distress, and every one that 
was in debt, gathered themselves unto him," 1 Sam. xxii. 2. All 
Adam's family is drowned in debt. Our father Adam made a bond, 
wherein he bound himself and his heirs to perfect obedience to the 
law, as the condition of life to him and all his, and that under the 
penalty of death in its utmost extent. This bond is the covenant of 
works. And when he subscribed it, he had enough to pay the round 
sura, and so to secure heaven and glory for him and his. But alas ! 
by his own mismanagement he broke, and could never more pay it : 
so the bond lies upon the head of all his heirs, till getting into the 
refuge, they are discharged of it upon their pleading the Cautioner's 
payment, Rom. vi. 14. Ye are not under the law, hut under grace. 
Whence it is evident, that those who are under grace in this refuge, 
are not any more under the law, or under that bond, and that they 
who are not in the refuge, under grace, are still under the bond, the 
law as the covenant of works. And know, O sinner, that thou art 
liable in payment both of the penalty and principal sum contained 
in the bond : " For it is written, Cursed is every one that continu- 
eth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do 
them," Gal. iii. 10. And either of these are farther out of your 
reach to pay, than the buying of the richest inheritance in the world 
is out of the reach of a beggar in rags. And though perhaps ye 
know it not, there is a caption out against you, and ye know not 
what moment ye may be laid up in prison upon it, from whence ye 
can never come forth, Matth. v. 25, 26. But here is a refuge for 
you, into which as soon as ye enter, your debt is paid, Rom. vii. 4. 
" Ye are become dead to the law by the body of Christ. 


(4.) For criminals liable to death by the law, ITeb. vi. 18. Sin- 
ners, ye liave by your crimes against the King of licaA'cn, forfeited 
your life, and laid yourselves open to the stroke of justice : the 
avenger of blood is at your heels ; and if you be seized by justice, 
and fall into the bauds of an absolute God, you perish for ever. 
But here is a refuge for you, which will afford a rest to your weary 
souls, Matth, xi. 28. a biding place, where ye shall be safe, Isa. 
xxxii. 2. 

3. The gate of this refuge, through which sinners enter, is the 
vail of the flesh of Christ, rent, torn, and opened to let in the guilty 
creature unto Jehovah as a refuge, Ueb. x. 19, 20, It is only by a 
crucified Christ the sinner can come unto God comfortably, John x. 
9. Tlie sinner fleeing for refuge, must fix his eyes in the first place 
on the wounds of our glorious Redeemer, and come by the altar unto 
the sanctuary, Rom. iii. 25. "When Jacob had seen the ladder set 
on the earth, whose top reached heaven, representing Christ not only 
as God, but as man descending into the lower parts of the earth by 
his death and burial, he saith, " This is none other but the house of 
God, and this is the gate of heaven," Gen. xxviii. 17- Without 
such a costly gate sinners had never had access to God as a refuge. 

4. The covert in this refuge is the righteousness of Christ. 
Hence Christ is called, "The Lord our righteousness," Jer. xxiii, 6; 
and the apostle glories in that righteousness " which is through the 
faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith," Phil, 
iii. 9. The sinner getting in under this covert is safe from the reach 
of revenging justice, the curse of the law, and the hurt of any thing, 
Lxike X, 19. Isa. xxvii. 3. This covert, which is ever over the head 
of the sinner from the moment he enters the refuge, is threefold 

(1.) The satisfaction of Christ's death and sufferings, 1 John ii. 2. 
He is the propitiation for our sins. Thus they are under the covert of 
the Mediator's blood, through which no revenging wrath can make 
its way. Cant. iii. 10. with Rom. viii. 1. This is imputed to the be- 
liever, who is reckoned to have suftered in Christ, even as he sinned 
in Adam. Hence the apostle says, I am crucified with Christ, Gal. 
ii. 20. 

(2.) The righteousness of Christ's life and conversation, who 
obeyed the commands of the law as a public person, as well as he 
suffered the penalty of it in that capacity, Rom. v. 19. " As by one 
man's disobedience many were made sinners ; so by the obedience of 
one shall many be made righteous." So that his obedience is theirs 
too, and all the good works that he did, for the space of thirty-three 
years that he lived in the world : the believer has them all in order. 


to found his i^lea for heaven upon, Rom. viii. 4. That the righteous- 
ness of the law 'might he fulfilled in us. 

(3.) The holiness of his birth and nature, Heb. vii. 26. " For such 
an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefilcd, separa- 
ted from sinners." This also is theirs and upon them : John xvii. 
19. " For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be 
sanctified through the truth." Not as it were imputed to them in 
the point of gospel sanctification, as Antinomians say ; but in point 
of justification, as a part of the law-demand of righteousness for 
life ; which law requires for that end, not only satisfaction for sin, 
but also good works, and not only good works, but a good and holy 
nature, haying no bias to evil, Exod. xx. 17- all of them perfect in 
their kind. And as Christ's satisfaction for sin is the only solid 
plea against the first, and the righteousness of his life the only solid 
plea against the second ; so the holiness of his birth and nature, is 
the only solid plea against the last : lloni. iv. 5, 8. " To him that 
worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his 
faith is counted for righteousness. — Blessed is the man to whom the 
Lord will not impute sin." Hence Christ says of the spouse, Thou 
art all fair, my love,' there is no spot in thee. Cant. iv. 7- 

5. The several apartments in this refuge for the various cases of 
the refugees, are all the attributes and perfections of God the Lord 
Jehovah, Prov. xviii. 10. " The name of the Lord is a strong tower: 
the righteous runneth into it, and is safe." And hence the sinner's 
refuge is said to be in God, Psal. Ixii. 7. Every thing in God is a 
refuge to the man who is once under the covert. Is he in perplex- 
ing difficulties that he knows not how to be rid of? let him flee into 
the room or chamber of the divine wisdom. Is he under any thing 
quite above his ability ? let him flee into the chamber of the divine 
power. Is he under guilt ? let him flee into the chamber of divine 
mercy. Does the law bend up a process against him for debt al- 
ready paid by his Cautioner, take him by the throat, saying, Pay 
what thou owest, or I will cast thee into the prison of hell ? let him 
flee into the chamber of divine justice, 1 John i. 9. He is faithful and 
just to forgive us our sins. And so in other cases. 

6. The boundaries of the refuge are the everlasting covenant, 
Psal. xlvi. 7. The God of Jacob is our refuge. It is God's covenant 
title. The borders of the cities of refuge were to be nicely marked : 
for upon the outside of the line was death to the criminal, on the 
inside life, for death could not come over the line, Numb. xxxv. 26, 
27. Sinners without the covenant, there is no refuge for you ; but 
come within, and none can touch you there. 

7. Lastly, The sinner's entering into the refuge is by faith, as in 


the text, I said, Thou art mi/ refuge. Of which more afterwards. 
Secondly, Concerning the portion, I offer only two things. 

1. The same Grod in Christ who is the refuge for poor sinners, is 
also the portion for them to live on : Thou art my portion in the land 
of the living. Tliey are but silly refuges that men can find in the 
world; they may be starved out of them, and forced by want to 
abandon them. But God in Christ is a refuge for us : and he is a 
portion in the refuge ; and those who take refuge in him, need never 
go abroad without the border of their refuge to bring in provision 
for themselves. 

2. God in Christ is what one may live on, Psal. xvi. 5, 6. "The 
Lord is the portion of mine inheritance, and of my cup : thou main- 
tainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places ; 
yea, I have a goodly heritage." The men of the world cannot un- 
derstand this : but the experience of the saints in glory puts it be- 
yond question ; and so does the experience of the saints on earth : 
witness David, Psal. Ixxii. 25. " Whom have I in heaven but thee ? 
and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee :" and fla- 
bakkuk, chap. iii. 17, 18. "Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, 
neither shall fruit be in the vines ; the labour of the olive shall fail, 
and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut oft' from 
the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls ; yet I will rejoice 
in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation." One may live 
upon that happily, which is commensurable to all his desires, for 
the perfecting of his nature, and maintaining it in its perfection. 
And this, no creature can be to a man, but God is and will be to all 
who take hini for their portion. 

In him the man has a dwelling-place, Psal. xc. 1. raiment, Pev. 
iii. 18. meat and drink, John vi. 55. and all in a word, Phil. iv. 18. 
2 Cor. vi. 10. And hereto belongs the sanctification of the soul, 
in the beginning, progress, and consummation of it, as that which is 
for the perfecting of the soul, 1 Cor. i. 30. So that as sure as the 
soul is made safe in Christ, it is sanctified in Christ, Isa. xlv. 24, 
" Surely, shall one say. In the Lord have I righteousness and 

I shall now make some practical improvement of this subject ; 
which I shall discuss briefly in a twofold use. 

Use I. Of trial. Hereby ye may know whether ye be believers 
or not, and will be welcome guests at the Lord's table. 

1. What is your refuge? where take ye shelter, or what is your 
refuge from avenging justice, the curse of the law, and the wrath of 
God for your sins ? If ye flee for refuge to your own Avorking, do- 
ing, and suft'eriug, your repentance and reformation, your case is bad, 


But is the covert of Christ's righteousness your only refuge, and, 
renouncing all other pleas, do you hold by that ? then God is your 
refuge, Psal. Ixii. 6. Do you make him your refuge, and flee to 
him, when pursued by sin, Satan, and an evil ^yorld ? Alas ! most 
men either seek no refuge from sin, or they make themselves, their 
own strength, wisdom, or resolution, their refuge. But the believer 
makes God his refuge for all. 

2. What is your portion ? Many pretend to make God their re- 
fuge, but the world and their lusts are their heart's choice for a por- 
tion. But the believer takes God in Christ for a refuge and portion 
too, not only for a defence from evil, but for a treasure of provision 
to live upon even in the world. The world's good things they may 
take for comforts, but God alone for the portion of their souls. And 
therefore whatever fondness they may sometimes fall into, through 
temptation, for other things, they will shew God is their por- 
tion in the case of competition. Like the child, who may be fond of 
others that caress it, yet prefers its mother to all others. 

Use II. I exhort you to take God in Christ this day for your re- 
fuge and portion. 

First, flee into this refuge. For motives, consider, 

1. Ye need a refuge : for your souls are in the greatest hazard ; 
the avenger of blood is pursuing you : and ye are in an evil world, 
and judgment is fast approaching on the laud wherein ye live. It 
is high time for you to look out a place of safety. 

2. There is no other safe refuge for you. Have ye not already 
fouud other refuges, where ye expected safety, fail you ? and so will 
ye find it unto the end. Death will cast you out of them all. But if 
ye flee by faith into this refuge, it will never fail nor disappoint you. 

This refuge is open to you. God in Christ is ready to embrace 
you with open arms, and afford you all manner of safety, from re- 
venging justice, the fiery law, hell, wrath, an evil world, and sin, the 
worst of all enemies. 

Secondly, Take God in Christ for your portion this day. For 
motives, consider, 

1. The Lord is willing to take you for his portion. When all the 
world is divided into two parts, such as will believe in Clirist, and 
such as will not ; though the latter may be great and wise men in 
comparison of you, and ye never so little worth, he says. They shall 
be my portion, Deut. xxxii. 9. For the Lord's portion is his people: 
and will not you say, Thou art my portion ? 

2. Thei'e is no shadow of just competition betwixt the Lord and 
all other portions. Ye will get the double portion, a first-born, by 
taking him for your portion. He is a full, complete, satisfying por- 

YOL. Y. E 

54 OOD IN CHRIST, &c. 

tion, and a lasting portion that will never decay. Now the all is 
divided into two parts, God himself, and the world and all that is 
in it, chnse you this day Avhich shall be your portion. And remem- 
ber that upon this choice your everlasting happiness or misery de- 

But one may say, How shall I take the Lord for my refuge and 
my portion ? how shall I say, Thou art imj refuge, and my portion ? 

1. Be sensible of thy need of a refuge and a portion to thy soul, 
which it cannot find among the creatures, as the prodigal deeply 
felt, Luke xv. 14. Till the vanity of created refuges and portions 
be discovered, and they appear refuges of lies, the soul will never 
take God in Christ for its refuge and portion, Jer. xvi. 19, " Lord, 
ray strength and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, 
the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and 
shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things 
wherein there is no profit." 

2. Believe God in Christ to be a safe refuge and a full portion. 
The soul will never come to Christ, till it be persuaded that that 
safety and satisfaction is to be found in him, which is to be found 
no where else, Luke xv. 17. 

3. Believe the gospel-offer with particular application to thyself, 
namely. That the Lord is offered for a refuge and portion to thee. 
This is the report of the gospel ; and he who does not believe it, 
makes God a liar, 1 John v. 10. 

4. From a steadfast resolution of spirit to take God in Christ for 
thy refuge and portion, to venture to flee into the refuge and lay 
hold on him as thy portion, upon the warrant of the gospel-offer, as 
the prodigal did, I will arise and go to my father, &c. Luke xv. 18. 

5. Renounce all other refuges and portions, and lay the whole 
stress of thy safety and provision, for time and eternity, upon God 
in Christ, saying, " Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the 
hills, and from the multitude of mountains : truly in the Lord our 
God is the salvation of Israel," Jer. iii. 23. '' God is a refuge for us," 
Psal. Ixii. 8. Bid farewell to the refuges of lies, lift thy confidence 
and dependance from off all others, and fix it upon God in Christ, 
upon the warrant of the word, saying as Psal. Ixii. 5. " My soul, 
wait thou only upon God : for my expectation is from him." 

6. Lastly, Resolutely cleave to the Lord as thy refuge and por- 
tion, saying with Job, chap. xiii. 15, Though he slay me, yet luill I 
trust in him : Thou art my refuge and portion, I will seek no other, 
I can take no other, for time and for eternity. 

faith's recoonitiok, &c. 55 


PsALir cxlii. 5. 

/ cned unto thee, Lord, I said, Thou art my refuge, and mi/ portion, 

in the land of the living. 

Last Lord's day I opened the nature of the refuge for poor sinners, 
pressed you to flee into it, and to say each of you for yourselves. 
Thou art my refuge, and shewed how ye should say it. I now pro- 
pose another doctrine, viz. 

DocT. That those who have said to God in Christ, Thou art my 
refuge and portion, should recognize, reflect upon, and call to mind 
their so saying. Or, Those who have taken God in Christ for their 
refuge and portion, should recognize their so doing. / said, Thou 
art mij refuge and my portion. David said this in the cave, and after- 
wards he comes over it again. 

In handling this doctrine, I shall proceed as follows, 

I. I shall shew what is imported in this recognisance of that deed 
or saying of the soul. 

II. Why they should recognise it. 

III. Apply. 

1. I am to shew what is imported in this recognisance of that 
deed or saying of the soul ; I said it. It imports, 

1. A remembrance of the solemn tranisaction, Psal. ciii. 18. This 
is a deed never to be forgotten, but always to be kept in remem- 
brance. It was God's quarrel with Tyre, that they remembered not 
the brotherly covenant with Edom, Amos i. 9. How much more if 
we remember not the covenant with God himself? But it fiires 
with many in eftect, as with men in other cases, they say the word, 
l)ut afterwards they never mind they said it : for alas ! they remem- 
ber it as waters that pass away, which is in eftect, it slips out of their 
mind. Job vi. 16. But, ye who have said this, remember, 

(1.) What you said. You said that God in Christ should be your 
refuge, that under the shade of his wings you hid yourselves, and 
that, renouncing all other refuges, as refuges of lies, you did betake 
yourselves to the covert of Christ's righteousness, and that there yo 
would abide for your portion ; which was a formal acceptance of 
and laying hold on the covenant. 

(2.) To whom you said it. To God in Christ speaking to you 
in the gospel-ofter, and inviting you into the refuge. What meu 

' This second sernioa was. preached at Ettrick, August 26, 1721. 
E 2 

56 faith's recoonitiois" 

say to their superiors, thoy tliiuk themselves specially concerned 
to mind. And surely what ye have said to God, ye ought in a pe- 
culiar manner to reracmher, and awe your hearts with the considera- 
tion of the majesty of the party to whom ye said it, Psal. xvi. 2. " 
ray soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, TIiou art my Lord." For he 
is not one with Avhom Ave may deal falcely. 

(3.) How ye said it. Did ye not say it in your hearts, while God 
in Christ was held out as a refuge for you ? And the language of 
the heart is i)lain language with a heart-searching God. Did not 
some of yon say it with your mouths .^ and did not all communicants 
say it solemnly before the world, angels, and men, by their receiving 
the elements of bread and wine ? 

(4.) Upon what grounds you said it. Did you not see a necessity 
of a refuge for you, and a necessity of taking God in Christ for your 
refuge ? Ye had rational grounds for it, and lasting grounds that 
can never fail ; so that ye can never have ground to retract, nor 
shift about for another refuge, Jer. ii. 3L 

(5.) Where ye said it. Remember the spot of ground, where ye 
said it in prayer, where ye said it at the communion-table, Psal. xlii. 
6, The stones of the place will be witnesses of your saying it, 
Joshua xxiv. 27. 

2. A standing to it, without regretting that we said it, remember- 
ing what is sai^, John vi. 66 — 69. " From that time many of his 
disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said 
Jesus unto the twelve, will ye also go away ? Then Simon Peter 
answered him. Lord, to whom shall we go ? thou hast the words of 
eternal life. And we believe, and are sure that thou art that Christ, 
the Sou of the living God." Men often repent what they have said 
and therefore will not own they have said it. But gracious souls 
will not repent their saying this, but will abide by it. If they were 
to make their choice a thousand times, having chosen God in Christ 
for their refuge and portion, they would not alter, but their first 
choice would be their last choice, Jer. iii. 19. " I said, thou shalt 
call me, my Father, and shalt not turn away from me." Many 
alterations raay be in men's circumstances in the world, but 
there can never be one that will afford ground for retracting tliis 

3. An owning of the obligation of it, / said, and am obliged there- 
by to stand to it : For I have opened imf mouth unto the Lord, and I 
cannot go back, Jud. xi. 35. God in Christ is yours, and ye are his 
by your own consent ; ye are no more your own ; ye have said the 
word, and must own that it is binding on you ; and ye must beware 
that after vows ye make not inquiry. "Whoever may pretend they 


iiave their choice yet to make of a refuge and portion to themselves 
ye cannot : ye are engaged already, and yet ye are not in safety to 
hearken to any other proposals, more than a woman who has already 
signed her contract with one man. 

4. A professing of it confidently without being ashamed of it : q. d. 
" I own it before all men, and am not ashamed of my choice." Anti- 
christ allows some of his vassals to carry his mark in their right 
hand, Rev. xiii. 10. But all the followers of, the Lamb have their 
mark on their forehead, where it will not hide, Rev. xiv. 1. The 
world would put the people of God to shame on the head of their re- 
fuge and portion, as if they had made a foolish bargain of it, Psal. 
xiv. 6. " You have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the 
Lord is his refuge." But sincerity will make men despise that 
shame, as David said, " And I will yet be more vile than thus, and 
will be base in mine own sight." 

5. A satisfaction of heart in it : q. d. " I said it, and but I am 
well pleased that ever I said it ; it was the best saying I could ever 
say," Psal. xvi. 2, 5, 6, 7- And this is in effect to say it over again. 
And good reason there is for them who have sincerely said it, to be 
well satisfied in their refuge, and to rejoice in their portion. The 
reflecting upon it may afford solid delight and content of heart. Ye 
who have taken the Lord for your refuge, may with much satisfaction 
reflect on it ; for ye have, 

(1.) A safe refuge, Prov. xviii. 10. *' The name of the Lord is a 
strong tower : the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. Chap. xxix. 
25. Whoso putteth his trust in the Lord, shall be safe." Ye may 
sing the 91st psalm as your own charter for safety. Whatever 
storms blow, no plague shall come near thy dwelling while thou 
dwellest there. Revenging justice can do nothing against you there : 
the fiery law cannot throw the flre-balls of its curses within the 
border of your refuge : Rom. viii. 1, " There is now no condemnation 
to them that are in Christ Jesus." Gal. iii. 13, " Christ hath re- 
deemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." 
God, who without the refuge is a consuming fire to sinners, within 
it is refreshing, warming, enlightening fire to them. However heavy 
days of common calamity ye may sec, ye may be very easy in your 
refuge, having such a covert above your head, Job v. 22. " At des- 
truction and famine thou shalt laugh," like the child in the ship- 
wreck, smiling at the motions of the broken board. 

(2.) A well furnished refuge : Thou art my refuge and my portion^ 
says David in the text. There will never be any need to leave it 
for want of provision, and to shift elsewhere. God in Christ is a 
full portion in the refuge, of which we may afterwards speak more 

E 3 

58 faith's uecognition 

particularly. Tlicre is notliiiig tlie man wants and is really in need 
of, but lie shall liave it there, Psal. Ixxxiv. 11. " For the Lord God 
is a sun and shield : The Lord will give grace and glory : no good 
thing will he withhold from them that Avalk uprightly." "What is in 
the refuge? There is a fulness" there, yea, all fulness, Col. i. 19, 
For it pleased the Father that in hhn sJiould all fulnesH dwell. And 
where all fulness is, [1.] There is not any thing wanting to make 
the sinner happy ; there is a variety of provision, yea, all manner 
of provision, Cant. vii. ult. " At our gates are all manner of j)leasant 
fruits, new and old." Rev. xxi. 7- " He that overcometh shall in- 
herit all things." [2.] There is plenty of every thing; no exhaust- 
ing of any part of the provision ; nothing will ever run short there, 
Eev. xxii. 2, " In the midst of the street of it, and of either side of 
the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of 
fruits and yielded her fruit every month ; and the leaves of the tree 
were for the healing of the nations." 

(3.) The only refuge where men can be safe, Psal. xviii. 31, " For 
who is God save the Lord ? or who is a rock save our God ? There are 
other refuges indeed, but then they are all refuges of lies, and they 
Avill be all swc^it away, and those who lodge in them left naked, and 
open to all ruin, Isa. xxviii. 17. " The hail shall sweep away the re- 
fuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding-place." All 
must come to your refuge or perish. Acts iv. 12. " Neither is there 
salvation in any other : for there is none other name under heaven 
given among men whereby we must be saved." So that your duty 
and interest both say to you in this case, Let them return unto you, 
but return not ye unto them. 

(4.) A near-hand refuge, Jer. sxiii. 23. Am I a God at hand, saith 
the Lord, and not a God afar oj/"? God in Christ is every- where 
present ; so be where ye will, ye are always within a step of your 
refuge, to be made by faith, Rom. x. 6, 7, 8. " But the righteousness 
which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart. Who 
shall ascend into heaven ? (that is, to bring Christ down from 
above) ; or Who shall descend into the deep ? (that is, to bring up 
Christ from the dead) ; but what saith it ? The word is nigh thee, 
even in thy mouth, and in thy heart : that is the word of faith which 
we pi'each." Hence the people of God have had the benefit of their 
refuge, when they wei*e cast into prisons, duugeons, banished to re- 
mote parts of the world. The cities of refuge Avere so situated, that 
some of them Avere on this side Jordan, and some on that side, that 
they might be near to flee to. In a moment thou mayst flee into thy 
refuge by faith. Hence faith is called a looking, Isa. xlv. 22. Look 
unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth. 


(5.) A refuge none can stop your way to. However the child 
of God be blocked up, like David in the cave, however he may be 
hampered, none in the world can stop his way thither : I said, Thou 
art mi/ refuge. God himself has prepared the way; and there is no 
stop in it for any that mind it. Hence Christ says to the spouse, 
<' Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter 
is past; the rain is over and gone," &c. Cant. ii. 10, 11. Enemies, 
may stand betwixt you and all created refuges, but nothing can hold 
you out of this refuge, who by faith go thither. " For, says the 
apostle, T am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor 
principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 
nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to sepa- 
rate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, 
Rom. viii. 38, 39. 

(6.) A ready refuge. The gates stand open night and day to re- 
ceive the refugees, Zech. xiii. 1. " In that day there shall be a foun- 
tain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Je- 
rusalem, for sin and for uncleanness." None who flee thither are 
refused, or denied access ; John vi. 37- Hhn that comcth unto me, I 
luill in no wise cast out. The father meets the prodigal son while he 
was yet a great way off ; and no man can be more ready to enter 
the refuge, than the Refuge is to receive him. 

(7.) A lasting refuge ; a refuge for time, for all times, be they 
never so bad, Psal. Ixii. 8. Truest in him at all times : — God is a refuge 
for us. From the beginning to this day, throughout all generations, 
this refuge has lasted, Psal. xc. 1. and will last a refuge for sinners 
to the end. And it is a refuge for eternity too, when all other re- 
fuges shall be razed, Isa. xxv. 4. " Thou hast been a refuge to the 
poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the 
storm, &c. Heb. vii. 25. Wherefore he is able also to save tliera to 
the uttermost, that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to 
make intercession for them." 

G. A pleading the benefit of it ; q. d. " I have said it, and plead 
the benefit of God's refugees, safety and sanctification ; Lam. iii. 24. 
" The Lord is my portion, saith my soul ; therefore will I hope in 
him." God loves to have his people pleading their interest in him, 
Jer. iii. 4, " Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me. My Father, 
thou art the guide of my youth ?" The saints are very pointed and 
peremptory in it, Psal. cxvi. 6, " Oh Lord, truly I arii thy servant, 
I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid : thou hast loosed 
my bonds." And this they do over the belly of discouragements, 
Isa. Ixiii. 16, " Doubtless thou art our Father, though Abraham be 
ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not : tliou, Lord, art 

60 faith's recoonitiox 

our Father, our Redeemer, thy name is from everlasting." We 
should hold by it, and by no means quit it, as the guilty did by the 
horns of the altar. Therefore saith the apostle, Heb. x. 25, " Cast 
not away your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward." 
II. The next head is to shew why they who have taken God in 
Christ for their refuge and portion, should recognise their so doing. 
They should do it, 

1. For the honour of God in Christ. It tends to the Lord's hon- 
our for his people to be often recognising and re-acknowledging 
their subjection to him, and their consent to the covenant, Jer. iii. 4, 
forecited. For it says, they remember it, stand to it, own it, profess 
it consistently, are satisfied in it, and plead the benefit of it. For 
this cause the sacrament of the supper was instituted, and is often 
to be celebrated, that so the covenant may be confirmed and recog- 
nised again and again. 

2. To revive the impressions of it on their own souls, Psal. xvi. 2. 
my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord. We are 
apt to forget what we have most solemnly said unto the Lord in the 
covenant. Hence Moses says unto the children of Israel, Deut. iv. 
23, " Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord 
your God which he made with you. How soon did Peter and the rest 
of the disciples forget, after the first communion, what they had said 
unto the Lord ? The hearts of the best are fickle ; impressions of 
good are easily worn oft' them, and very soon too do they begin to 
grow weak. We have much need therefore to be putting ourselves 
in mind of what passed in that case, lest the heart be like the adul- 
teress, wJiich forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the co- 
venant of her God, Prov. ii. 17- 

3. Because there is a competition in our case betwixt the Lord, 
and the world with the lusts thereof : and after we have said to the 
Lord, Thou art my refuge and my poHion, these will set upon us to 
take them for a refuge and a portion. Wherefore this is necessary 
in that case to make a decision of the case still, and to silence the 
Lord's competitors, and cut off their pretences to us : even as a wo- 
man already espoused would recognise her espousals, to silence one 
continuing to make suit to her. Tit. ii. 12. 

4. To excite ourselves to the duty of the relation constituted by 
that saying. If we have taken refuge under the shadow of the 
Lord's wings, we must be as obedient children, walking according to 
the law of our God, our Husband, elder Brother, and King. If we 
have taken him for our portion, we must live to and for him, as we 
live by him, Psal. ciii. IB. But we will bo ready to neglect our 
duty, if wc call not to mind the engagements to it, taken upon us. 


5. Lastly, To strengthen us in the faith of the privileges of the 
relation. It will serve to confirm our trust in hira for safety and 
satisfaction, when we remember that we have said unto the Lord, 
Tlioit art my rcfiuje and mi/ portion. It will be a means to cause us 
to adhere to him as such. Job xiii. 15. Though he slay me, yet will I 
trust in him. 

I come now to apply this doctrine to them that have said the 
Lord is their refuge and their portion, and to those who cannot be 
brought to say it. 

First, Let me address myself to you who have said unto the 
Lord, Thou art my refuge and my portion, at a communion-table or 

First, Since ye have said it, recognise, reflect upon, and call to 
mind your saying it. 

1. Do it often ; often call to mind your saying it. We find Da- 
vid often upon it, Psal. xvi. 2, forecited. Psal. xxxi. 14, " I said, 
Thou art my God." cxix. 57, " Thou art my portion, Lord : I have 
said that I would keep thy words." cxl. 6, " I have said unto the 
Lord, thou art my God." Ye cannot remember it too often ; for it 
is a thought that is always seasonable. It must be habitually in 
your mind : it must never be out of it, either virtually or expressly. 
For your hearts are apt to forget the Lord : and, forgetting him, 
and your relation and engagement to him, ye go astray. 

2. Do it occasionally at some times in an explicit manner. Re- 
new this your transaction with God, and set it again before your 
eyes expressly, and that on these four occasions especially. 

(1.) When a temptation is before you to sin, in thought, word, or 
deed; as Joseph did. Gen. xxxix. 9. How can I do this great wicked- 
ness, and sin against God ? Many think they are to be excused in 
the woful out-breakings of their corruption, because forsooth they 
are provoked and tempted : as if a soldier should say, he did not 
yield to the enemy until he attacked him. But ye are called to re- 
sist temptation, that ye may resist it, to remember that ye have said 
unto the Lord, Thou art my refuge and portion. Let that thought 
pass through your heart before ye yield, and it will help you to 

(2.) When ye find yourselves unfit or backward to duty, take this 
into your thoughts in a believing manner : so will ye see both what 
may excite you to duty, and what may encourage, strengthen, and 
oil the wheels of your soul : as Paul experienced, Rom. vii. 24, 25, 
" wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body 
of this death ^ I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Here 
is your relation to God, and your privilege. 


(3.) When yc are in danger or dilficulties that ye know not how 
to get through ; then reinerabcr, that ye have said to tlie Lord, Thou 
art my refuge. This is the way to compose your souls in a patient 
waiting for God, and comfortable expectation of relief from him ; 
whether they be dangers of your soul, body, outward estate, reputa- 
tion, &c. 

(4.) When ye are under the world's frowns, things going wrong 
with you there, when the persons or things of the world disappoint 
you in your expectations from them : then remember ye have said. 
Thou art my iMrtion. This will be of use to compose your heart 
under all these, since these are not, but God is your portion. 

3. Do it sometimes in a solemn stated manner, taking some time 
by yourself alone to review what passed betwixt God and your soul 
in the day you said. Thou art my refuge and portion. Self-examina- 
tion is necessary after as well as before a communion : and I must 
say, it is a very bad sign, when people are at no pains that way 
after a communion. If ye have not done it as yet, see that ye do it 
this night ; retire yourselves by yourselves a while, and review what 
you said to the Lord this day eight-days ; to whom, how, upon what 
grounds, and where ye said it. And particularly examine your- 
selves, whether ye said it sincerely or not. Thou art my refuge. If 
you have made God in Christ your refuge then, 

(1.) Ye will have a superlative esteem of him above all persons 
and things, 1 Pet. ii. 7- Tlnto you that believe he is precious. The city 
of refuge was better to the refugee than all the land of Canaan be- 
sides, for there only could he be in safety of his life. And God in 
Christ will be better to the sincere soul than all persons or things 
else, Psal. Ixxiii. 25, " Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and there 
is none upon earth that I desire besides thee." Luke xiv. 26, " If 
any man come after me, and hate not his father and mother, &c. he 
cannot be ray disciple." 

(2.) Ye will have fled to him for safety from sin, as well as from 
wrath, Matth. i. 21, " Thou shalt call his name Jesus : for he shall 
save his people from their sins." Ye will have made his sanctifying 
Spirit, as well as his justifying blood, your refuge. And because 
the sincere refugee flees from sin as sin, your souls will be longing 
to be rid of all sin, counting it as your enemy and the pursuing 
avenger ; and the remains of sin in you, will be your soul's burden, 
Rom. vii. 24, forecited. 

(3.) Ye will look for safety from God in Christ alone, and not 
from the law or your own Avorks : For by the works of the law shall 
no flesh be justified, Gal. ii. 16. From thence will be the support of 
your souls. When a man is without the city of I'efuge, if the aven- 


ger of blood pursue hot, then he quickens his pace ; if he halts, then 
he halts, all his motions and comforts depending on his motions or 
haltings. But when he has got within the city, it is not so with 
him. Thus as to men out of Christ, the great motives to obedience 
are fear of punishment and hope of reward by their works, which 
are the great grounds of their comfort : but the soul which has 
made God in Christ its refuge, looks for its safety only in Christ's 
works and suffering, Phil. iii. 3. rejoicing in Christ Jesus, and having 
no confdence in the flesh ; and so its labour is turned into a labour of- 
love, Heb. vi. 10. 

SeconcUi/. Since ye have said, That God in Christ is your refuge, 
hold by it, and carry yourselves accordingly, 

I. Abide in your refuge, John xv. 4. Cleave to God in Christ as 
your refuge for ever, Acts xi. 23. Your continuance there is ne- 
cessary to evidence your sincerity, John viii. 31. " If ye continue in 
my love, then are ye my disciples indeed." Drawing back is danger- 
ous, Heb. X. 38, " If any man draw back, my soul shall have no 
pleasure in hira." It speaks hypocrisy, 1 John i. 19, " They went 
out from us, but they were not of us : for if they had been of us, 
they would no doubt have continued with us : but they went out, 
that they might be made manifest, that they were not all of us." And, 

(1.) Venture not out without the borders of your refuge, Heb. iii. 
12, Take heed lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, 
in departing from the living God." A man is no longer in safety 
than he is within the refuge, Num. xxxv. 25, 27. For without it 
death reigns, without it is nothing but the laud of darkness and 
shadow of death. 

(2.) Beware of betaking yourselves to any other refuges, for their 
is no safety in them. Acts iv. 12. forecited. Every man is sensible 
he needs a defence, something to trust to for safety in his straits : 
but all things else beside God in Christ will be found lying refuges 
which will not secure you, Isa. xxviii. 17- And, 

[1.] Make not men your refuge. For, " Thus saith the Lord, 
Cursed be the man that trustcth in man, and raaketh flesh his arm, 
and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the 
heath in the desart, and shall not see when good cometh, but shall 
inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not 
inhabited," Jer. xvii. 5, 6. David was not one that had much ex- 
perience of men's falsehood, and disappointing the expectations of 
those that trusted in them, Psal. cxlii. 4, " I looked on my right 
hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me ; re- 
fuge failed me ; no man cared for my soul. Therefore saith he, It 
is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in man. It is 

64 faith's recognition. 

better to trust in tlie Lord tluaii to i>ut trust in princes, Psal. cxviii. 
8, 9. Put not your trust in princes, nor in tlie son of man, in whom 
there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth : 
in that very day his thoughts perish. ITappy is he that hath the 
God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God," Psal. 
cxlvi. 3, 4, 5. Wherefore in all cases where ye may be in hazard 
this way of placing confidence in men, beware of it, and place your 
confidence in God. 

[2.] Nor make world's wealth your refuge, Prov. xviii. 11. "The 
rich man's wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own 
conceit." what safety are men apt to promise to themselves from 
their abundance ! and yet after all it proves but a refuge of lies : 
Psal. lii. 6, 7, " The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall 
laugh at him. Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength ; 
but ti'usted in the abundance of his riches, aud strengthened himself 
in his wickedness." Much need is there then to take heed to the 
advice, Psal. Ixii. 10, If riches increase, set not your heart upon them. 

[3.] Nor make your own works and duties your refuge. Paul 
could not trust himself under that covert, but desired to be " found 
in Christ, not having his own righteousness, which is of the law, but 
that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is 
of God by faith," Phil. iii. 9. It is natural to men, when conscience 
is raised on them, and begins to pursue them, to flee to their own 
works and doings, and to seek refuge about mount Sinai for their 
guilty souls, as the Jews did, who sought after righteousness, not by 
faith, but as it were by the works of the law, Rom. ix. 33. Your 
only safety is under the covert of blood. 

[4.] Nor uncovenanted mercy, mercy for mere mercy's sake, as 
many do, who, not careful to be savingly interested in Christ, be- 
take themselves to mercy, without betaking themselves to Christ by 
faith. These, justice will draw from the horns of the altar ; for 
without shedding of blood is no remission, Heb. ix. 22. It is mercy 
through a propitiation, that is the only safe refuge for a guilty 
creature ; for, said the publican, God he merciful \j[>ro'pitious Gr.] to 
7ne a sinner, Luke xviii. 11. 

2. Improve your refuge for safety, comfort and establishment in 
all cases. This is the life of faith which all believers are called to 
as that wherein their duty and interest jointly lie. Gal. ii. 20, " I 
live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me : and the life which I now 
live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved 
me, and gave himself for me." And, 

(1.) With respect to sin, improve your refuge. When ye are 
assaulted with temptation from the devil, the world, and the flesh. 


betake yourselves to God in Clirist for safety aiid preservation, as 
Paul did, Horn. vii. 24, 25, forecited. Ye are in this world as in a 
wilderness, where your souls' enemies are ready to attack you, and 
cause you to violate your fidelity to your Lord and Husband ; ye 
should then cry out to him, that ye suffer violence, and flee into the 
arms of his grace, where ye may be safe. Thus did Paul, 2 Cor. xii. 
9, who being harassed with a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of 
Satan, besought the Lord, that it might depart from him ; and re- 
ceived this answer, " My grace is sufficient Tor thee ; for my strength 
is made perfect in weakness." Mens' grappling with temptation in 
their own strength, is the cause why so often they come foul olf, 
Prov. xxviii. 26, //*; tliat trustcth in his own heart, is a fool. 

(2.) With respect to the law as a covenant of works. There is 
no standing before it, but under this covert. Sometimes it invades 
the believer, and makes high demands of him for his salvation. 
[1.] Thou art a sinner, and justice must be satisfied for thy sin : 
then flee thou into thy refuge, and hide thyself in the wounds of the 
Redeemer; plead the satisfaction of his death and sufterings, and 
hold them betwixt you and the fiery law : so shall ye stop its mouth, 
Job xxxiii. 23, 24, " If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, 
one among a thousand, to show unto man his uprightness ; then he 
is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the 
pit, I have found a ransom." [2.] Thou canst not have a right to 
heaven without working for it works perfectly good, and exactly 
agreeable to the law. For it is written, " Cursed is every one that 
continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the 
law to do them," Gal.iii. 10. Then improve your refuge, and by 
faith laying hold on Christ's perfect obedience to all the ten com- 
mands, plead that as your security, and so you shall be safe, Rom. 
V. 5, " To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth 
the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." [3.] If the law 
yet insist and say, But thy nature is corrupt and stained ; flee to 
thy refuge, and plead the holiness of Christ's birth and nature, by 
virtue of which imputed to thee, thou art without spot before the 
throne of God, Cant. iv. 7 ; Rom. iv. 8, both formerly cited. Here 
is your only safety in this case. 

(3.) With respect to the evil day, Jer. xvii. 17. We have just 
ground to expect a day of trial, a day of common calamity, and this 
church and laud, as well as each of us may lay our account with 
personal trials and afllictions. And we should improve our refuge 
in that case for our comfort and establishment. 

[1.] Before it come. The prospect of trials is often very heavy, 
and unbelief taking a view of them, is ready to rack and torture the 


heart with that, how one shall be carried through. But the man 
who has taken God for his refuge, sliould improve it, so as to estab- 
lish his heart in the faith of through-bearing, come what will come, 
llab. iii. 17, 18, " Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither 
shall fruit be in the vines ; the labour of the olive shall fail, and 
the fields shall yield no meat ; the flock shall be cut off from the 
fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls ; yet I Avill rejoice in 
the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation." There is good 
reason for it : for however great the trial be, our refuge is suflicieut 
both against sin and danger : therefore says Paul, Phil. iv. 13, " I 
can do all things through Christ which streugtheueth me." Jer. xv. 
11. " Verily it shall be well with thy remnant, verily I will cause 
the enemy to entreat thee well in the time of evil, and in the time 
of affliction." 

[2.] "When it is come. Whatever storms blow, believers have 
such a cover over their heads, as may afford safety, comfort, and 
establishment : for if God he for us, who can he against us T Rom. 
viii. 31. There is a kindly invitation given to all God's people, 
with respect to the evil day, Isa. xxvi. 20. " Come, my people, 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." 
And the voice of faith in answer thereto is, " My soul trusteth in 
thee : yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until 
these calamities be overpast," Psal. Ivii. 1. It is good news, that 
Zion's God reigneth, whatever the time brings forth. 

(4.) With respect to death. Death is of all terribles the most 
terrible, and is therefore called the king of terrors. But those who 
have taken God in Christ for their refuge, have what may comfort 
and establish them, even in that case. Even from the last enemy 
God it a refuge. So that, 

[1.] The fear of death ought not to perplex and terrify them. 
David could say, " 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 thy staff they comfort me," Psal. xxiii. 4. Death can do no 
harm to those whose refuge the Lord is. For, 

[2.] The sting of death cannot reach them. They may sit Avithin 
their refuge and 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, which giveth us the victory 
through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Cor. xv. 55, 56, 57- The refuge 
was provided against sin and death in a peculiar manner, and they 
may expect all safety in it, under the covert of the wings of a cruci- 
fied Redeemer. And it is the weakness of faith that makes them 
so fearful about it. 


Secondly. Ye wlio cannot be brought to say unto God in Christ 
TJwu art my refuge and my j^ortion, to take God in Christ for your 
refuge ; I would have you, 

1. To reflect on the folly of this your course. And you may see 
it, if you consider, that, 

(1.) There is no safety for you without this refuge. Ye are guilty 
and the avenger is the justice of God, by which ye will undoubtedly 
fall, if ye get not within this refuge. Ye must either be in Christ, 
or God will pursue you as an enemy. And, [1.] He is a just God, 
and ye cannot escajje by flattering him, Gen. xviii. 25. Shall not the 
Judge of all the earth do right ? [2.] lie is every where present and 
ye cannot flee from him, Psal. cxxxix. 7- [3.] He is omnipotent ; 
and so ye cannot resist him and make head against him. " Who 
hath hardened himself against him and hath prospered?" Job ix. 4. 
[4.] He is eternal, and ye cannot outlive him. See 2 Thess. i. 6 — 9. 

(2.) That however long ye delay, ye must draw to it at last, or 
perish. And who knows but ye may come too late ? 

2. I would have you instantly to repent, and turn to this refuge, 
Zech. ix. 12. " Turn ye to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope." 
Though ye have sit many calls, and given Christ many refusals, yet 
there is room for your saying unto him. Thou art my rcfugef and 
my portion ; he allows you to take your word again, and rue upon 
him. Jer. xiii. 27. Jerusalem, xvilt thou not he im.ide clean ? tvhen 
shall it once be ? How peremptory were the people in their refusal, 
Jer. ii. 25. " Thou saidst, There is no hope. No, for I have loved 
strangers, and after them will I go." Yet see chap. iii. 1. "But 
thou hast played the harlot with many lovers ; yet return again to 
me, saith the Lord." Christ insists upon your saying to him, Thou 
art my refuge, and my portion; gives you one off"er of himself after 
another : why so, but because he would have you yet to be wise, and 
turn to him. Come, then, sinners, while yet there is room. 



Psalm cxlii. 5. 

/ cried unto thee, Lord, I said, thou art tny refuge, and my portion, 

in the land of the living. 

Having considered the nature of the refuge and portion mentioned 
in the text, especially that of the refuge, and shewn that those who 
have taken God in Christ for their refuge and portion, should recog- 
nise their so doing, I now proceed to another doctrine from the 
words, viz. 

DocT. To those who have sincerely made God in Christ their re- 
fuge, the same God in Christ is their portion to live on in that 

In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Consider God in Christ as a portion to live on. 

II. Shew in what respects he is the believer's portion, or the por- 
tion of those who have taken him for their refuge. 

IH. Confirm the doctrine, 

lY. Make some practical improvement. 

I. I am to consider God in Christ as a portion to live on. For 
understanding this, consider. 

First, Man needed and doth need a portion. Portions are given 
to supply wants, and answer the needs of those who get them. The 
need is twofold. 

1. By necessity of nature, from the moment of his being, he 
needed a portion, something without himself to live upon. Innocent 
Adam did not need a refuge to flee to, guilt brought on that neces- 
sity. While he kept free from sin, none could do him harm. But 
he needed a portion as he was a creature, and therefore was not 
self-sufficient, which is an incommunicable property of God, Gen. 
xvii. 1. I am God all-sujident. God was infinitely happy in himself 
before there was any creature ; but no creature can be hapj^y in it- 
self, having desires to be satisfied, that must be satisfied from ano- 
ther quarter. 

2. By necessity of loss. God himself, without the intervention of 
a mediator, was man's portion at first, and the well-furnished world 
was but an addition to the bargain. Gen. i. 26, 27. It was never 

* This discourse, consisting of more sermons than one, was delivered in Septem- 
ber, 1722. 


given him for his portion ; for it was what his innocent soul could 
never have subsisted on. But when he gave him every herb for the 
support of his earthly part, he gave him himself as his God for the 
support of his heavenly part. But man by sin lost his portion, God 
turning his enemy, and all access to the enjoyment of God being 
stopt. Thus mankind was left in a starving condition. 

Secondli/, The same way that God became a refuge to which guilty 
sinners might have access, he became a portion to which starving 
sinners might have access, namely, in Christ. The former drew with 
it the latter. 

1. None less than a God could ever be a sufficient portion to 
man. Indeed if a man had no nobler part than the body, the earth 
of which it was made, might be a sufficient portion to him, as it is 
to the beasts. But since he is endowed with a rational soul, which 
is capable of desires that all the creation cannot satisfy, and none 
but God himself can, it is evident, that only God himself can be 
a sufficient portion to man. 

2. But an absolute God could never be enjoyed as a portion by a 
sinful creature. Justice stood in the way of it, which requires the 
sinner to die the death, according to the threatening. Gen. ii. 17, 
" In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die ;" and 
therefore forbade the enjoying of their portion, by which the sinner 
might live. What was the life promised in the covenant of works, 
but that complete happiness flowing from the full enjoyment of 
God in heaven, and the happiness flowing from the full enjoyment 
of him here ? The covenant then being broken, the justice of God 
necessarily staved him off from this. 

4. But God having clothed himself with our nature in the person 
of the Son, and so became a refuge to the guilty creature, he be- 
came also a portion for the starving creature, upon which it might 
live. As a refuge we find in him a covert from revenging wrath, 
and what fully answers the demands of the law on our account. 
Hence taking him for our refuge, and so sheltering ourselves under 
the shade of a crucified Redeemer, in whom dwells the fulness of the 
Godhead, there is nothing to hinder our enjoyment of him as our 
portion, Psal. xvi. 5, 10. 

Thirdly, God in Christ then is a portion, legally destined for, 
and offered to sinners in the gospel. He is a portion for them to 
live on, as well as a refuge for them to flee unto, John iii. 16, " God 
so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoso- 
ever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life." 
I take up this in these three things, 

1. The soul of man may live on the enjoyment of God (Lam. iii. 

Vol. V. F 


24.) in Christ. It needs no more to malto it live happily, John vi. 

57. He that eatcth me, even he shall live hy me. The prodigal, when he 
was minded to return to his father, was convinced of this, Luke xv. 
17, " How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough 
and to spare, and I perish with hunger !" And if you ask. What 
is this bread? our Lord Christ answers, John vi. 51, "I am the 
living bread which came down from heaven : if any man eat of this 
bread, he shall live for ever : and the bread that I will give, is my 
flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." And if ye ask, 
Where the strength of this bread lies for nourishing of the soul ? it 
is answered, John vi. G3, " It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh 
profiteth nothing : the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, 
and they are life. Col. ii. 9, 10. For in him dwelleth all the fulness 
of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, who is the head 
of all principality and power." The enjoyment of God in Christ, 

(1.) Removes the maladies of the soul, Psal. ciii. 

3. Bless the Lord, my soul, — who healeth all thy diseases. Sin has 
cast the soul into extreme disorders, has left it in a diseased condi- 
tion, and the sickness is mortal, which the soul cannot miss to die 
of eternally, if it be not cured, John viii. 24, If ye believe not that I 
am he, ye shall die in your sins. It is cast into a fever of raging lusts, 
which cause in it many irregular and preternatural desires. And 
the answering of these desires does but increase the distemper of the 
soul. Men whose portion the world is, endeavour to satisfy them 
from their portion, but all in vain, Eccl. i. 3, " The eye is not satis- 
fied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing." Ilab. ii. 5. " He is 
a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as 
hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied." Neither can they be 
satisfied from a holy God, whose holiness is perfectly opposite to 
their nature. Eut here lies the matter : 

The enjoyment of God in Christ kills these desires, and frees the 
soul from them, according to the measure of it, John iv. 14, " Who- 
soever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never 
thirst : but the water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well 
of water springing up into everlasting life." Like as the feverish 
man's drought is slaked, according to the measure of his recovery 
wrought by some suitable remedy : so God in Christ being enjoyed 
by faith, the irregular desires or lusts of the soul die ; and when 
God in Christ shall be perfectly enjoyed in heaven, they shall be 
perfectly expelled out of the soul, Heb. xii. 23. Thus mortification 
is the elfect of the enjoyment of God in Christ : and as lusts die, the 
soul lives, lives happily and comfortably. 

(2.) It satisfies the regular cravings of the soul, Is. Iv. 2. " Hear- 


ken diligently unto mo, and eat yo that which is good, and let yovir 
soul delight itself in fatness." Take away the lustings, flowing from 
the distemper of the soul by sin, the desires of the heart are brouglit 
into a narrow compass, all centring in one thing, viz. what is really 
needful and useful for the soul's well-being, Luke x. ult. One thing 
is needful. Psal. xxvii. 4, " One thing have I desiicd of the Lord, 
that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the 
Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and 
to enquire in his temple." And that is to be found in the enjoy- 
ment of God in Christ, Psal. xxvii. 4, and Ixxiii. 25, forecited. Now 
the regular craving of the soul may be comprised in these two things. 

[1.] A desire of what may perfect its nature. Every thing has a 
native inclination towards its own perfection : and the sinful crea- 
ture being made a new creature, has a strong inclination to its own 
perfection, and consequently desires what may advance that. Hence 
we read of the lusting of the Spirit, Gal. v. 17, the groanings of the 
gracious soul under the remains of corruption, Rom. vii. 24. Now 
that which is perfecting to the renewed soul is the transformation 
of it into the image of God, 1 John iii. 2. For this is it by which it 
is brought back into the happy state it was created in at first. Gen. 
i. 27. And without question every thing is the more perfect, the 
nearer it comes to the likeness of him who is the fountain of all per- 
fection. And therefore holiness is indeed the happiness and the life 
of the soul. Now the enjoyment of God in Christ answers the de- 
sire of the soul, according to the measure thereof. And in Christ 
there is a fulness for satisfying of it ; for in him there is a fulness 
of the Spirit of sanctification, with light, life, strength, &c. and 
whatsoever is necessary for nourishing up the new creature to per- 
fection, John i. 16. Rev. iii. 1. And through the enjoyment of God 
in him, the perfection of the soul is carried on, according to the 
degrees of the enjoyment, 2 Cor. iv. 18. 

[2.] A desire of what may continue it in its perfection. This also 
is what every thing has a native inclination to, since nothing can 
desire its own destruction. And this the new creature or renewed 
soul is also endowed with, namely, a desire of its being for ever 
continued in the state of perfection once attained nnto. But what 
portion is sufficient for such a boundless desire of the soul ? Not 
this world surely, which will not last, but will be burnt up ; but the 
eternal God, the everlasting Father, of infinite perfections, wlio is 
an inexhaustible fountain of perfection for ever. Therefore says the 
psalmist, " My flesh and my heart faileth : but God is the strength 
of my heart, and my portion for ever," Psal. Ixxiii. 26. 

2. There is a sullicicncy in God in Christ for the wholo man, soul 

F 2 


and body too, Rom. xi. 36, " For of him, and through him, and to 
hira are all things." He is infinite in perfections, therefore there 
can be nothing wanting in him, which is necessary for the good of 
his creature any manner of way, Job xi. 7, " Canst thou by search- 
ing find out God ? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection ?" 
Hence David says, Psal. xxxiv. 10, " They that seek the Lord shall 
not want any good thing." So that he who would have a portion 
that might furnish him with all he needs, both for his soul and his 
body, may have it in a God in Christ. Thus God in Christ is a 
portion the whole man may live on. 
Quest. How can that be ? 

Ans. 1. There is enough in God to give a man full contentment 
of heart in any lot whatsoever, to cause him say from inward feeling 
that he has enough, whatever be his wants, Phil. iv. 11, / have 
learned, says the apostle, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to he 
content. Hab. iii. 17, 18, formerly quoted. And that is equivalent 
to one's having all, and wanting nothing, 2 Cor. vi. 10. Phil. iv. 18. 
A man living thus in a cottage, with coarse fare and a small mea- 
sure of it, lives better than a discontented king in his palace, Luke 
xii. 15, " For a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the 
things which he possesseth." God satisfies such as with marrow and 
fat, of which a small quantity fill so as the man desires no more, but 
rejoiceth in his portion. 

2. All good things whatsoever, that are not formally in God, are 
eminently and virtually in him as in their cause, Matth. xix. 17, 18. 
There is none good but one, that is God. That is to say, As one get- 
ting a great sum of money for his portion, may live upon it ; be- 
cause though it is not formally meat nor clothes, he cannot eat it 
nor clothe himself with the metal ; yet it is virtually and in effect 
both meat and clothes, in so far as it can purchase these things to 
the man, and so is equivalent to all such things, Eccl. x. 19, Money 
answereth all things. Even so one getting God in Christ for his por- 
tion may live upon him ; because he can furnish him with all good 
things whatsoever : so having him to be theirs, they have all in 
efi'ect, since he has all, 1 Cor. iii. 21, not only all for the soul, but 
all for the body too. 

These two grounds being laid, I say there is a sufficiency in a God 
in Christ for all that is necessary for the whole man ; so that they 
who have him for their portion, have in him a sufficiency for the 
body as well as for the soul. And, 

1st, For their maintenance, in meat and drink. That day the 
man takes God for his portion, his bread is baken, his provision is 
secured for time as well as for eternity. That is a clause in the 


disposition made to them of their portion, Psal. xxxvii. 3, Verilt/ 
thou shalt he fed. Isa. xxxiii. 16, Bread shall he given him, his waters 
shall be sure. All living is fed by him, Psal. cxlv. 15. However 
poor and needy they may be, he who feeds his birds, will not neglect 
his babes, Psal. cxlvii. 9. 

Quest. But what can a man make of that suflBciency in God as a 
portion for maintenance, when he has empty pantries to go to ? 

Ans. If he go by faith to his portion as his maintenance, he may 
make these four things of it, 

(1.) He may get providential provision brought to him in the 
channel of the covenant, that is, as an accomplishment of the pro- 
mise on which he relies. And if that were bare bread and water, it 
will be more sweet to the godly man than the most delicious meats 
to one whose portion God is not. So I doubt not Elijah's fare was 
sweeter to him, 1 Kings xvii. 6. than the fare of Baal's priests at 
Jezebel's table. Godly persons in straits helped to live by faith, 
get many sweet experiences, which they want when their lot is more 
plentiful. And sure I am the creature never tastes so sweet, as 
when it comes in answer to prayer and faith in the promise. 

(2.) He may get a little to serve far, as in the case of Daniel and 
his companions, Dan. i. 15, whose countenances, at the end of ten 
days, appeared fairer, and fatter in flesh, by living on pulse and 
water, than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's 
meat. Nature may be content with little, and grace with less ; 
whereas lust can never get enough. There is a curse that insensi- 
bly wastes the provision of some ; while the small provision of 
others, by God's blessing comes to be like the widow's barrel of 
meal, and cruise of oil, 1 Kings xvii. She never had much, but yet 
she never wanted altogether. It is a certain truth, that man doth 
not live by bread alone, Matth. iv. 4 ; and that as men may eat plen- 
tifully, and not have enough, so they may be kept at very slender 
provision, and yet through grace have abundance. 

(3.) When the streams are quite dry, he may get a draught of the 
fountain that will be strengthening and refreshful to his very body. 
Moses being in the mount with God, eat none for forty days, and 
missed neither meat nor drink. It is true, that was miraculous : 
but it tells us, that the godly man's portion is able to feed him 
without meat or drink. And I believe the experience of many of 
the saints proves, that a watering of grace to the soul is even some- 
times refreshing and strengthening to the very body, agreeable to 
these scripture-texts, Isa. Ixvi. 14. Your heart shall rejoice, and your 
bones shall flourish like an lierh. Psal. xxxv. ix. 19. " My soul shall 
be joyful in the Lord : it shall rejoice in his salvation. All my 

F 3 


bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto thee, which delivorest the 
poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the 
needy from him that spoileth him ?" 

(4.) He may quietly and contentedly, in the faith of the promise, 
hang on at the door of his storehouse, not doubting but his Father 
will seasonably interpose for his help and relief, after he has tried 
him, and thus feed on hope, Psal. xxxvii. 3. Trust in the Lord, and 
do good, so shalt thou dwell hi, the land, and verily thou shalt he fed. 
And this is one of those ways how the Lord's people are satisfied in 
days of famine, verse 19. Do not you observe, that sometimes the 
hungry child cries for bread, and the mother gives him a promise of 
it some time after, and thereupon he is easy ? And may we not 
think a promise embraced by faith, will have a satisfying influence 
on a child of God ? 

2dly, For their clothing. That likewise is an appurtenance of 
the saint's portion, Matth. vi. 30. " If God so clothe the grass of 
the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall 
he not much more clothe you, ye of little faith ?" There is a lust 
for clothing and attire, for satisfying of which earth and seas, and 
even the most remote countries, Persia and the Indies, are ransacked : 
and yet that lust is not satisfied ; still some new thing is desired. 
But, the satisfaction of heart, where the man or woman lodges the 
key of their wardrobe in the hand of a God in Christ, believing that 
he will clothe them as is meet in his sight. This made the sheep 
skins and goat skins wherein the worthies, Heb. xi. 37. wandered 
about, more comfortable to them than the most gorgeous apparel 
could be to the persecutors. 

Zdly, For their housing or lodging, Psal. xc. 1. Lord, thou hast 
been our dwelling-place in all generations. They that have God for 
their portion, though they were cast out of house and hold, will not 
want a place where they may lodge securely and comfortably. He 
who made a fiery furnace a comfortable lodging to the three chil- 
dren, can make any place sweet to his own. Jacob never lodged a 
night more comfortably, than when he durst not stay at his father's 
house for Esau, but got the vault of the heavens for the roof of his 
bed-chamber, the bare field for his bed, and a stone for his bolster. 
Gen. xxviii. That he preferred, as the house of God, to all the 
houses that ever his foot was in, verse 17- 

4thly, For their provision with money. They that are lovers of 
it, shall never get enough of it, heap up as they will, Eccl. v. 10. 
Nay, it is ruining to them who seek it, use it, and value themselves 
upon it, as their portion, 1 Tim. vi. 10. " For the love of money is 
the root of all evil ; which while some coveted after, they have 


erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with uiauy 
sorrows," But those whose portion God is, shall have as much of 
it as he sees they really need ; and that is abundance, Job xxii. 25. 
Thou shah have lAcriti/ of silver. If their portion furnish them not 
money, it will furnish them money-worth, what is as good and 
better, Hch. silver of strenr/th, ibid. The jieoplc of God might be very 
easy on this head, if they could believe that all the riches of the 
world belong to him, and are at his disposal, and that infinite wis- 
dom and love carves out their portion of them ; and that therefore 
if their part thereof be small, it is necessary for them that it should 
be so, and that want is made up another way, Hag. ii. 8. 9. " The 
silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The 
glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith 
the Lord of hosts : and in this j>lace will I give peace, saith the 
Lord of hosts." 

Lastly, For a purchase to them. If men are for a heritage, some 
possession they might call their own, there is no such sure way for 
it as to take God in Christ for their portion. God gives bits of the 
earth, lairdships and lordships, &c. to some few of his children, 
though but few of them, 1 Cor. i. 26. The greatest part of those 
who are so well provided now, are those who have no more to ex- 
pect at his hand. But, 

(1.) ^Yhereas worldly men have but bits of this earth, that they 
can call theirs ; they that have God for their portion, have a right 
to the whole earth as their Father's ground, Matth. v. 5. Blessed are 
the meek : for thei/ shall inherit the earth. It is not the carnal world- 
lings that fight and worry one another for it, but the meek and 
quiet ones whose hearts rest in God, that shall inherit the earth. 
There is often a great diff'erence betwixt the saints and others in 
this earth in respect of their possessions ; they whom God has least 
kindness for, oft-times get the largest share of earth : but betAvixt 
a believer and an unbeliever in that case there is just such a diflfer- 
ence, as betwixt the young heir and one of his father's tenants. 
The tenant may be in possession of much of the land, while the 
young heir possesses not a furrow of it : but ho has a right to it all ; 
the tenant has no more than what he must pay a dear rent for, and 
may be turned out of at the term. 

(2.) Whereas worldly men's property is confined to this earth, 
and they have no peculiar interest in the visible heavens, air, sun, 
moon, and stars ; the children of God's property extends to these 
also, and they have a peculiar interest in them, as the outworks of 
their Father's palace, Psal. viii. 3. The visible heavens arc a space 
of the universe, which Providence has kindly put beyond the reach 


of men to impropriate : so that the beggar and tlie king are equally 
free to the air, sun, moon, &c. If it had been otherwise, no doubt 
the men of the world would have divided these among them too, as 
well as they have done the earth, waters, and seas ; so that the 
meaner sort would have had the light of the sun, moon, &c. to have 
paid for to the proprietors, as well as they have their houses and 
farms on the earth, &c. to pay for. But blessed be God, worldly 
men's heritage extends not that far. Yea, but the portioners of a 
God in Christ have a peculiar interest there, 1 Cor. iii. 21, 22. " All 
things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the 
world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come ; all 
are yours." Each of them may look up, and say. That is my sun 
and my moon, my stars, my air, purchased by the blood of my elder 
Brother, and disponed in the everlasting covenant by his Father to 
me, to give light to me, and for me to breathe in, by day and night, 
and discharged to wrong or hurt me, Psal. cxxi. 6. " The sun shall 
not smite thee by day ; nor the moon by night." 

(3.) Whereas worldly men have no claim at all to the highest 
heavens, and so have no place to go to when they shall be shaken 
out of the earth at the resurrection, but the pit of hell ; the heirs, 
the portioners of God in Christ, their great interest lies there. 
Heaven is their own country, their own city, kingdom, and mansion- 
house : it is their own home, which they shall never depart from, if 
once they were there. It is disponed to them with their portion, 
and Christ as their proxy has taken possession of it for them in 
their name, Heb. vi. 10. Whither the forerunner is for us entered. 
Hence they are said to be settled there already, Eph. ii. 6. In one 
word, they enjoy all in their head, Col. ii. 9. 10. 

3. Every man may have this God in Christ secured to him as his 
portion, in virtue of the everlasting covenant oifered in the gospel. 
Tor thus the covenant is proposed to be believed, embraced, and 
appropriated by all to whom the gospel comes, Heb. viii. 10. " For 
this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after 
those days, saith the Lord : I will put my laws into their mind, and 
write them in their hearts : and I will be to them a God, and they 
shall be to me a people." A man's portion speaks a disposal of it 
to him by gift from the donor, and his property in it by claiming it 
as his own, and so accepting the gift. Thus God in Christ is a por- 
tion oifered to all to whom the gospel comes, and a portion accepted 
by believers. I take up this in four things. 

1st, The all which man is capable to enjoy, is divided into two 
great parts, God and the creature. This division was made by sin ; 
for before it entered, man enjoyed God and the creature, the latter 


as the incast to the former : but man falling off from God, chose the 
creature as a portion in opposition to God, Luke xv. 12, 13. '* The 
younger said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods 
that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And 
not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, and 
took his journey, into a far country, and there wasted his substance 
with riotous living." He left his father, with his portion. And 
thus all men by nature, while the two portions are set before them, 
grasp the creature as their portion. 

2t%, Man by this choice brought himself into a wretched condi- 
tion. (1.) He betook himself to a portion that could never be suffi- 
cient for him, Isa. Iv. 22. " Wherefore do ye spend money for that 
which is not bread ? and your labour for that which satisfieth not ?" 
(2.) He lost all right to God as a portion any more. His name be- 
came Lo-ammi, Not my people, Hos. i. 9. Therefore men in their 
natural state are said to be withorit God, Eph. ii. 12 ; and if man 
had been ever so willing to have returned to the possession of God 
as his portion, by the first bargain, he could have had no access, 
more than the fallen angels. Gen. iii. 22, 24. Yea and it was quite 
beyond his power to have procured himself access to God again as 
his portion. 

3dly, God in Christ hath freely made over himself as a portion to 
sinners, in the gospel ; so that they all may, and are welcome to 
take possession of him as their portion again. This is Heaven's 
grant to poor sinners of the race of Adam, from which fallen angels 
are excluded, John iii. 16. " God so loved the world, that he gave 
his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not 
perish, but have everlasting life." Compare Prov. viii. 4. " Unto 
you, men, I call ; and my voice is to the sons of men." And 
thus the mercies of the covenant are called sinners^ own mercies, 
John ii. 8. and the living God the Saviour of all men, 1 Tim. iv. 10. 
and salvation the common salvation, Jude 3. 

Quest. But how hath God made over himself to lost sinners of 
Adam's race, as a portion ? 

Ans. By way of free gift to be received by faith. Hence Christ 
is called the gift of God, John iv. 10. Is. ix. 6. John vi. 32 ; his 
righteousness a gift, Rom. v. 17- yea, and eternal life is given, 
1 John V. 11. This is the free gift made by Heaven to Adam's fa- 
mily, so that they may by faith, every one of them, claim it, and 
take possession thereof, without fear of vitious intromission. And 
this is indeed the foundation of faith ; for no man can war- 
rantably take what he has no manner of right to, nor can any re- 
ceive what is not first given him. There must be a giving on God's 
part, before their can be a receiving on our part, John iii. 27. 


The purport of wliat is said on this head is, That there is a gift of 
this portion made to you and every one of you. And by this gospel 
it is intimated to you, 1 John v. 11. so that notliing remains to 
make it your own in a saving manner, but that you by faith claim it 
and take possession of it. Ye have a clear and solid ground on 
which ye may do so, whatever be your case. Rev. xxii. 17- " Whoso- 
ever will, let him take the water of life freely." And this brings 
me to the 

4dh and last thing, viz. Faith claims the gift of this portion, ap- 
propriates it, and takes possession thereof ; so that it becomes 
actually the believer's own portion in a saving manner, John i. 12. 
The sinner convinced of his utter poverty and want, and the insuffi- 
ciency of the whole creation to satisfy the soul in the starving con- 
dition that it is therefore in, hears and believes that God in Christ 
hath given himself as a portion to sinners, and therefore to himself 
in particular, in the word of the promise of the gospel ; and there- 
fore trusts and confides in him as his portion, for happiness and 
satisfaction, upon the warrant of the word of grace. Thus faith 
takes possession, and saith as in the text, " Thou art my portion. 
Lam. iii. 24. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul, therefore will 
I hope in him. See Psal. ii. ult. Blessed are all they that put 
their trust in him. Isa. xxvi. 3, 4. Thou wilt keep him in perfect 
peace, whose mind is stayed on thee ; because he trusteth in thee. 
Trust in the Lord for ever : for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting 
strength." Thus the man renounceth all other portions, believes a 
sufficiency in God, and that that sufficiency shall be made forthcom- 
ing to him, according to the promise, and so rest in God in Christ as 
his portion. This is saving faith, by which the soul takes God for 
its portion. 

Even as if where a family is ruined and reduced to beggary, a 
friend of theirs should draw up a disposition, wherein he makes over 
to them his estate, unknown to them. And while they are going 
about in a starving condition, he causes intimate it to them, that 
they may come and claim it, and take possession of it, and so live 
on it. In that case, those of that family that claim it, enjoy it as 
their own : but if any of them will not believe the grant of the 
estate to be made to them, and therefore will not put in their claim 
to it, nor lay their weight on it ; they must starve for all it, it never 
becomes theirs actually to any saving purpose. Adam's posterity 
is this family ; God in Christ is the friend ; the gospel promise in 
the Bible, is the disposition ; the preaching of the gospel is the inti- 
mation ; faith is the making of the claim ; and unbelief is the not 
putting in a claim. 


Thus have I sLown you how God in Christ is a portion for sinners 
to live on. I shall, 

Fourthly and lasthj, Speak of the properties of this portion. 

1. God in Christ is a suitable portion, Isa. Iv. 2. "Eat ye that 
which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." Many 
have little satisfaction in the portion given them, because it is not 
suitable to their case : but God in Christ is a portion suited to all 
the necessities of poor sinners, and therefore they may rejoice in 
him, Isa. Ixi. 7. The whole world cannot make a suitable portion 
for man's soul. He spake like a fool who said, " Soul, thou hast 
ranch goods laid up for many years ; take thine ease, eat, drink, and 
be merry," Luke xii. 20. The soul being a spiritual substance, car- 
nal things can never be a suitable portion to it, as being quite 
unsuitable to its nature. But God is a spirit, of infinite perfections, 
and therefore a suitable portion for the soul. 

2. The double portion. Such a portion belonged to the first-born. 
Dent. xxi. 17- by which we may understand that which Elisha 
prayed for : / 'pray thee, said he to Elijah, let a double portion of thy 
spirit he upon me. This seems to have had something typical in it : 
for all believers in Christ, in the language of the Holy Ghost, are 
first-born, Heb. xii. 23. denoting that to them belongs the blessing, 
the dominion, the priesthood, and the double portion. Now God in 
Christ is their portion, therefore he is the double portion. This 
world is but the single portion, a portion for unbelievers ; whatever 
be theirs, God is not theirs : But they that have God for their por- 
tion, they have the good things of this life as the incast to the bar- 
gain, Matth. vi. 33. 1 Tim. iv. 8. God's dealing with saints and 
sinners, is like that of Abraham with his children, Gen. xxv. 5, 6. 
*' Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. But unto the sons of 
the concubines which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent 
them away." All is the believer's, Rom. viii. 17- compare Heb. i. 2. 

3. A full portion, Col. i. 19. " It pleased the Father, that in him 
should all fulness dwell;" compared with chap. ii. 9. "In him 
dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." There is no 
worldly portion that one has or can have, but there is always some- 
thing •wanting in it. There was a want even in paradise. The 
treasures and kingdoms of the greatest monarch on earth cannot 
furnish all things. But there is a fulness in God himself, he is all- 
sufficient. Gen. xvii. 1. Eph. i. 23. The saints in heaven are all 
filled by him, so that they want nothing; and sometimes he has 
filled saints on earth, that they have been made to cry. Hold, lest 
the earthen pitcher, the body, should burst with the incomes of his 


4. A heart-satisfying portion, Psal. Ixiii. 5, 6. " My soul shall be 
satisfied, says David, as ■with marrow and fatness ; and my mouth 
shall praise thee with joyful lips," &c. Man's heart is a devouring 
depth, into which if one should cast the fulness of ten thousand 
worlds, it would all be swallowed up ; and the heart would still 
be crying. Give, give. For the whole creation, yea all possible crea- 
tions, cannot be commensurable to the desires of the soul of man ; 
because the Creator enlarged its capacity to the enjoying of himself 
an infinite good, nothing less can truly satisfy or still its desires 
and cravings. But God himself is a portion satisfying to the soul : 
while he pours in of his goodness to the soul, it desires nothing be- 
yond him, and nothing besides him, Psal. Ixxiii. 25. " "Whom have I 
in heaven but thee ? and there is none upon earth that I desire be- 
sides thee." Here is a portion, in which the restless soul comes to 
rest, like the hungry infant set on the breast, Isa. Ixvi. 11. 

6. A certain and secure portion, Matth. vi. 19, 20. " Lay not up 
for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth cor- 
rupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for 
yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth 
corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal." No 
worldly portion is so ; all of that kind is but moveables, which may 
be lost : but the saint's portion is not so, Heb. xii. 28, " a kingdom 
which cannot be moved." How many have had riches and wealth 
sometime a-day, who have been robbed and spoiled of all, having 
nothing left them ? But none can take away this portion ; for " the 
gifts and calling of God are without repentance," Rom. ix. 29. 
And this is the a<Jvantage of having God for our portion, in the 
tenor of the second covenant, beyond that of the first, John x. 28, 
29. " I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, 
neither shall any pluck them out of my hand. My Father which 
gave them me, is greater than all : and none is able to pluck them 
out of my Father's hand." 

6. A durable portion. As there is no losing of it, so there is no 
wasting of it neither, John iv. 14. Many have had great portions 
in the world, who have got through them, having spent so prodigally 
that they have left themselves nothing. But this portion is infinite, 
so it is a well that can never be drawn dry. This is enough to bear 
the believer's ordinary and extraordinary charges, as the worthies, 
Heb. xii. experienced. 

7. An everlasting portion, Psal. Ixxiii. 26. Though men's por- 
tion in the world neither be taken from them, nor wasted by them ; 
yet it will last no longer with them than the dying hour. When 
the breath is out, it is no more theirs ; it becomes the portion of 


others after them. But death takes not away the believer's portion : 
therefore is the phrase, " Lay up for yourselves," Matth. vi. 20. He 
•will be the believer's portion in time and throughout eternity. And 
hence it follows, that he is, 

8. Lastly, A nonsuch portion, the best of portions, the most de- 
sirable portion : no portion comparable to him, Jer. x. 15, 16. 
" They are vanity, and the work of errors : in the time of their visi- 
tation they shall perish. The portion of Jacob is not like them : 
for he is the former of all things, and Israel is the rod of his inheri- 
tance ; the Lord of hosts is his name," Psal. xvii. 14, 15. And so 
the believer reckons all but loss and dung in comparison of a God 
in Christ, Phil. iii. 8. So the world's portion being put in competi- 
tion with Christ and his heavy cross, the Lord's people have rejoiced 
in their portion in the midst of the most cruel sufferings, and would 
not have exchanged their portion with their persecutors' fulness and 

II. The next general head is to show in what respects God in 
Christ is the portion of his people, or the portion of those who have 
taken him for their refuge. 

1. They have and possess him as their portion in virtue of the 
covenant of grace, which is the disposition they have to it, Heb. viii. 
10. Being brought within the covenant, they are secured in this 
which is the portion of God's covenant-people, his children and heirs. 
Others have the offer and grant of this portion, but they are actually 
possessed of it. 

2. They desire him above all for their portion, Psal. Ixxiii. 25. 
often cited. They have seen the vanity and emptiness of created 
things for a portion, Psal. xxvii. 14. the fulness and sufficiency of 
God in Christ; and therefore their desires terminate in him for a 
portion, John xiv. 8. Psal. xxvii. 4. They desire him only, wholly 
and for ever. And so he is called their desire, Hag, ii. 7. all their 
desires of a portion centring in him. 

3. They chuse him for their portion. "When the two parts into 
which the all is divided, are set before them, and they are bid chuse, 
their souls take hold of a God in Christ, and say. Thou art my por- 
tion ; I will take thee as my portion and inheritance before all the 
world, Josh. xsiv. 15. They halt not, as many, betwixt two opi- 
nions : they are determined, they are brought to a point ; he is their 

4. They claim him as their portion. Lam. iii. 24. Thou art my por- 
tion, saith my soul. Their souls say with Thomas, 3Iy Lord, and my 
God. It is the proper work of faith to claim him as theirs. God 
insists on this, that they should claim him, Jer. iii. 4, " Wilt thou 

82 ooD IN cnRiST THE bkltever's pobtion. 

not from this time cry unto mc, My Patlicr, then art the guide of my 
youth?" He promises that tliey shall claim him, ver. 19. I said, 
thou shah call mc, My Father. And the Spirit of Christ in them 
causes them to claim him, Rom. viii. 15, " Ye have received the 
Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Gal. iv. 6. God 
hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, 
Father." According to the measure of their faith, so is their claim, 
strong or weak, clear or not clear : but Avherevcr faith is, it doth 
claim God in Christ as theirs. Doubts and darkness may indeed so 
overcloud the believer, that he cannot perceive his claiming God in 
Christ as his, it is like a pulse so weak that it can hardly be felt : 
yea, he may be at that, that he says, ho has no claim to him as his, 
that he dare not, cannot claim him as his God or portion : and yet 
bid him in that case quit his claim ; he would not do it for a thou- 
sand worlds : which argues that he hath a real claim, though to him 
as it were imperceptible. 

5. Lastly, They rest in him as their portion, Heb. iv. 3. We 
ivhich have believed, do enter into rest. Their poor hungry souls 
have been seeking a portion to live on. While they sought among 
the creatures for it, they could find nothing to rest in as a portion : 
but a discovery of God in Christ being made to them, and they ap- 
prehending him by faith, their souls say within them now. This is 
my rest. They are like the inerchant-man, seeking goodly pearls : who 
when he had found one -pearl of great price, xvent and sold all that he 
had, and bought it, Matth. xiii, 45, 46. They see that there is a ful- 
ness in him to satisfy their souls, to answer all their needs, and 
supply all their wants : so they rest in him as their portion. 

III. I proceed now to confirm the doctrine. It appears fi'om, 

1. The nature of God, particularly his all-sufficiency and good- 
ness. There is enough in him for all that sinners stand in need of : 
so he needs not send them for their provision to another quarter. 
He is good, infinitely good ; and therefore ready to communicate of 
his sufficiency to his own, Psal. cxix. 68. Thou art good, and dost 
good ; and will not send them to another. And so it is indeed, Psal. 
Ixxxiv. 11. The Lord God is a sun and shield; a shield for pro- 
tection, and a sun for provision. 

2. The nature of the covenant, which is for provision as well as 
protection of those who come into it. The leading promise of the 
covenant, Heb. viii. 10. I will he to them a God, and they shall be to 
me a people, imports the one as well as the other. And so both are 
promised together, Psal. Ixxxiv. 11, just quoted. God's covenant is 
not like the treacherous covenant the Duke of Alva made with some, 
to whom he promised them their life, but afterwards starved them, 


pretending he had not promised them meat too. No; I say unto 
yon, says Christ, Take no thought (i. e. anxious or perplexing thought) 
for you life, what ye shall eat, or what yc shall drink ; nor yet for your 
body, what ye shall put on : Is not the life more than meat, and the body 
than raiment ? Matth. vi. 25. It is a full covenant -wherein all is 
secured to believers, Rev. xxi. 7- lie that overcomcth shall inherit all 
things. It is a covenant of service, and masters give provision as 
well as protection to their servants ; a marriage-covenant, and the 
husband, if he be able, Avill surely maintain his own wife. 

3. The nature of faith, which is the soul's going to God in Christ 
for rest; and that not only for rest to the conscience, under the co- 
vert of blood as a refuge ; but for rest to the heart, in an all-suffi- 
cient God as a portion, Matth. xi. 28. This last as well as the 
former is the errand faith goes to God in Christ upon; and doubt- 
less it cannot come amiss, for it obtains all, that being the constant 
rule of the dispensation of grace, According to thy faith be it unto 

4. The honour of God requires it, Heb. xi. 16. God is not ashamed 
to be called their God. Believers go to him and trust in him for all, 
and it lies upon the honour of God to provide for them, as well as 
to protect them. Hath he said, " If any provide not for his own, 
and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, 
and is worse than an infidel," 1 Tim. v. 8. and will he not see to the 
protection of his own family ? Is it not a dishonour to any man of 
ability, to have his spouse or children hanging on about the hand of 
strangers, for something to live on? So it reflects dishonour on 
God, that his people hang on so about the world's door : and we 
may be sure they need not do it, John iv. 14. 

5. The comfort and happiness of believers require it. It is not 
possible they can be provided otherwise with a portion on which 
they may live, John vi. 68. Lord, said Peter, to luhom shall we go ? 
thou hast the words of eternal life. Though while they lived in their 
natural state, they could like the prodigal feed on husks like the 
swine ; yet their new nature cannot now relish such entertainment. 
Hence proceed those breathings of the new nature in them, " God, 
thou art my God, early will I seek thee : my soul thirsteth for thee, 
my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water 
is," Psal. Ixiii. 1. And these desires are of the Lord's own kindl- 
ing, and therefore he cannot but satisfy them, by being a portion to 
them himself. May not the whole creation say to the soul in these 
breathings, as 2 Kings vi. 27. If the Lord do not help thee, whence 
shall I help thee ? 

6. Lastly, The duty of believers supposes it. It is their duty to 


live on a God in Christ as their portion, Isa. Iv. 2. Eat ye that which 
is good, nnd let your soul delight itself in fatness. This very tiling is 
the life of faith, which is the great thing God requires of his people. 
Hence Paul says, " The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by 
the faith of the Son of God," Gal. ii. 20. Compare John vi. 27, 29. 
" Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which 
endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give 
unto you : for him hath God the Father sealed. This is the work 
of God, that ye believe in him whom he hath sent." It is their 
privilege, ver. 57. He that eateth me, even he shall live hy me : and con- 
sequently their duty to live by him. They ought to live on him, 
and lay all their wants upon him, Psal. Iv. 22. Cast thy burden upon 
the Lord, and he shall sustain thee. Consequently he is their portion 
to live upon. He takes it ill at their hands, that they seek to any 
other for supply ; this says, they are welcome to him. 

I come now to the practical improvement of this comfortable sub- 
ject, which I shall discuss in a threefold use, namely, of informa- 
tion, trial, and exhortation. 

Use I. Of information. Hence we may learn, 

1. The happiness of believers. They have in a God in Christ 
what makes them happy persons indeed. There are but two things 
necessary to make a guilty creature happy, namely, suitable protec- 
tion and provision. The first removes evil from them, the last fur- 
nishes them with necessary good. In God the believer has both ; 
for he is both a refuge to them, and a portion in that refuge. 
Wherefore we may conclude, as Psal. ii. ult. Blessed are they that 
put their trust in him. 

2. The unhappiness of believers. They are poor portionless crea- 
tures, whatever they enjoy in the world ; for any portion they have, 
is not worth the name. It is but a creature-portion, and that will 
be but a time-portion ; it will neither satisfy, nor will it last with 
them. And therefore the Spirit of God speaks very diminutively 
of it, Prov. xxiii. 5. " Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is 
not ? for riches certainly make themselves wings, they fly away as 
an eagle towards heaven." Matth. xiii. 12. Whosoever hath not, from 
him shall be taken away, even that he hath. God is not their portion, 
for he is not their refuge : they have not a God to live upon as their 
God, since they are not by faith seated under his shadow. 

3. Justification and sanctification are inseparable ; for to whom 
God is a refuge he is also a portion. Faith takes God in Christ for 
a refuge, and so the soul is justified, Rom. viii. 1. There is now no 
condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. It takes him for a 
portion, and so the soul is sanctified, Eph. ii. 20, 21. " Ye are built 


Upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ him- 
self being the chief corner-stone ; in whom all the building fitly- 
framed tog-ether, groweth uuto an holy temple in the Lord." Think 
not that ye shall separate what God has so closely joined. Ye that 
are unholy in your lives, may assure yourselves that your sins are 
not pardoned. The reigning power of sin in you may assure you, 
that it has yet its condemning power over you. If the guilt of it 
were taken away, the reigning power of it would be broken. Alas ! 
how do men deceive themselves ? They will be called by Christ's 
name ; but they will eat their own bread. They will pretend to 
make Christ the rest of their consciences, while their hearts cannot 
rest in him, but in their lusts. But water as well as blood came 
out of Christ's pierced side : and if ye be sprinkled with the blood 
to the remission of your sin, ye are sprinkled with the water too, 
for the sanctification of your hearts and lives. 

4. However, justification in the order of nature goes before sanc- 
tification. First, God is the sinner's refuge, and then he becomes 
his portion, Rom. iv. 5. " To him that worketh not, but believeth 
on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righte- 
ousness." Whosoever then would be made holy, and would attain 
to true evangelical repentance, which is the top-branch of true ho- 
liness, and the compend of all good works, must seek to be justified 
by faith in order thereunto. For till once the curse be taken off 
the soul in justification, how is it possible it should bring forth any 
good fruit ? How can God become the portion of the sinner, till 
once he is become his refuge ? A legal repentance may and doth 
go before the remission of sin as to the guilt of eternal wrath ; 
but true gospel repentance follows it, and that inseparably, Luke 
vii. 47. Her sins which are many, are forgiven ; for she loved much. 

5. Believers are so set up with a portion, that they cannot break. 
Since God himself is their poi'tion, they can never be poor ; they 
will have enough in the worst of times, Psal. xxiii. 1, The Lord is 
my shepherd, says David, I shall not want. The believer's portion is 
not like that of the world, consisting of moveables, which may be 
taken from them ; but it is a kingdom which cannot be moved, Heb. 
xii. 28. The Chaldeans and Sabeans took away Job's cattle, but not 
his God and portion ; and therefore he could say after all his sad 
losses. Is not my heli^ in me? Job vi. 13. The believer is like the 
landed man ; though robbers take away his money, tliey cannot take 
away his laud too : though a fiood sweep away the crop, yet it leaves 
his ground still ; so that he has whereon to live. Hence an eminent 
prophet said, " Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall 
fruit be in the vines ; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the 

Vol. v. a 


fields shall yield no meat ; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, 
and there shall be no herd in the stall : yet I will rejoice in the Lord, 
I will joy in the God of my salvation," Ilab. iii. 17, IB. 

6. Lastly, God is all-sufficient. Who but one all-suflicient could 
be a portion to all that flee into the great refuge ? How great must 
that portion be, which all the saints from Adam have lived, and 
shall live upon, to the last that shall be in the world ; and that not 
only for time, but for eternity ? They shall all be heirs-portioners, 
and all shall have enough. This world is but a sorry portion ; one 
generation must go, that another may come, and enjoy it ; for it can- 
not serve all together, as God in Christ can do. 

Use II. Of trial. Hereby ye may try whether ye be within the 
precincts, bounds, and protection of the great Refuge, or not ; that 
is, in eff"ect, whether ye be in Christ, or out of Christ ; whether in a 
state of salvation or of condemnation ? This is a point of great 
weight, and it nearly concerns you to know, where you are, whether 
ye are yet got within the liberties of the refuge, or yet without them. 
And I would oflfer some motives to press you to put this for a trial. 
Mot. 1. Life and death hang upon this point, Mark xvi. 16. He 
that believeth, shall be saved ; but he that believeth not, shall be damned. 
Your eternal salvation or damnation depend upon it. All that are 
within the precincts of this refuge are safe ; death cannot come over 
the line : all that are without them are in the utmost hazard of 
eternal destruction every moment, Psal. vii. 12. If he turn not, he 
will whet his sword ; he hath bent his boiv, and made it ready. There 
is no safety there ; for it is the dominion of death, in which no man 
can be safe. 

Mot. 2. There are several particular difterences betwixt the state 
of them that are within, and of those that are without this refuge ; 
and these difterences are great and weighty. I will lay them before 
you in these five points, 

1. In the matter of sin : there is no safety from it without this re- 
fuge, if you be not within this refuge, sin has all its power over you. 
It has a reigning power in you, so that do what ye Avill, ye can do no- 
thing but sin, and cannot please God, Rom. viii. 8. They that are in the 
jiesh, cannot please God. John xv. 5. Without me ye can do nothing. 
Ye may wrestle against it as ye will, but ye will never get victory 
over it, for that is got only within the refuge, 1 Cor. xv. 57- But 
thanks be to God, ivhich giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus 
Christ. Sin has a condemning power over you, it is armed with its 
sting against you, and keeps you under the guilt of eternal wrath, 
John iii. 18. He that believeth not, is condemned already. So it preys 
on you, as death on the carcase. — But if ye be within the refuge, 


sin's dominion is broken unto you, Rom. vi. 14. Sin shall not have do- 
minion over you : for ye are not under the law, hut under grace. And 
though it yet dwell iu you, it shall never recover the dominion, but, 
like the house of Saul, grow weaker and weaker. And it cannot 
condemn you, more than the fire could burn the three children : for 
there is no condemnation to them ivhich are in Christ Jesus, Rom. viii. 1. 
Our Lord Christ felt the condemning ijower of sin as a public per- 
son, and so can never repeat its sentence on those who are in him. 

2. In the matter of the law as a covenant of works. It extends 
its dominion over all to the very border of the refuge : so all that 
are within the refuge are free from it, but all that are without are 
under it, Rom. vi. 14. So if ye be without, ye are under the co- 
venant of works, which exacts obedience of you every way perfect, 
under the pain of the curse ; and whatever comes short of perfection 
in your obedience is rejected. So that when ye have done all you can, 
and the best you can : yet you and your works are all rejected of 
God because your works are not perfect. In the dominion ye live in, 
less is not accepted. But if ye be within the refuge, ye are under 
the covenant pf grace, where obedience, yea perfect obedience is in- 
deed required, but not under pain of the curse, which Christ already 
has bore away from all who are in him. But sincere obedience is 
accepted, and God takes it kindly off their hands, though it is not 
perfect, for the sake of the Mediator's perfect obedience, which al- 
ways appears within the refuge. 

3. In the matter of the curse. All Avithout the refuge are under 
the curse, by the sentence of the law bound over to the revenging 
wrath of God, Gal. iii. 10. " Cursed is every one that continueth not 
in all things which are Avritten in the book of the law to do them. 
Rom. iii. 19. What things soever the law saith, it saith to them 
who are under the law : that every mouth may be stopped, and all 
the world may become guilty before God." But all within the re- 
fuge are freed from the curse. Gal. iii. 13, Christ hath redeemed us 
from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. 

4. In respect of Satan. All without the refuge are under his 
power. Acts xxvi. 18. They are his captives, prisoners, servants or 
slaves, and members of the kingdom of darkness. But they that are 
within the refuge, are set free from the power of that enemy. Col. 
i. 13, and reign in life through Jesus Christ. 

5. Lastly, In the matter of death. To all without the refuge 
death is armed with its sting ; but to those that are within it, it can 
do them no harm, 1 Cor. xv. 57, already quoted. 

3Iot. 3. All of us are born without the refuge, being children of 
wrath, Eph. ii. 3. None enter within it but those who are born 



again. If ye be living then in the state ye were born in, ye are 
•without the refuge, and so in the miserable case ye have heard of. 

Mot. 4. Sinners when once awakened see that there is no living 
without the refuge. Hence Peter's hearers, when pricked in their 
heart, cried out, What shall we do ? Acts ii. 37- No man could con- 
tentedly live in that case one moment, if he saw his danger. 

Mot. last. Many miss the entry into the refuge who seem to aim 
at it, Luke xiii. 24, and so seem to themselves and others to be in, 
while they really are out. 

Now ye may know if the Lord be your refuge by this : If the 
Lord be your portion to live on, he is your refuge. If ye have 
taken God in Christ for your refuge, ye have also taken him for 
your portion to live on. And whether God in Christ be your por- 
tion or not, ye may know by these marks, 

3Iark 1. Ye will have a transcendent esteem of and value for him, 
and love of him above all. He will have the highest seat in your 
judgment and practical understanding, in your heart, and in your 
affections, Luke xiv. 26. Propriety in a thing raises the value for 
it. A man will have a greater value for, and liking of his own cot- 
tage, than another man's castle. Hence the world is the chief in the 
minds and hearts of worldly men ; they love the world, and the 
things that are in the world, 1 John ii. 15. But God in Christ is 
chief with the saints. The great pleasure of the former lies in ap- 
propriating the things of the world : so the worldly man has his 
great pleasure in earthly 3Ii/s Hos. ii. 5. " She said, I will go after 
my lovers, that give me my bread and ray water, my wool and my flax, 
mine oil and my drink." Dan. iv. 30. " Is not this great Babylon that 
I have built for the house of the kingdom, by the might of my power, 
and for the honour of my majesty ?" The great pleasure of the 
latter lies in appropriating God in Christ : so they have their 
greatest pleasure in spiritual and heavenly Mi/s, as Psal. xviii. 2, 
" The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer : ray God, 
ray strength, in whom I must trust, my buckler, and the horn of my 
salvation, and ray high tower. 

2. Ye will be so disposed as to be satisfied in the enjoyraent of 
God in Christ, even in the want of other things, Hab. iii. 17, 18, 
forecited. This is the rest of the soul in God as a portion, Psal. 
Ixxiii. 25, " Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and there is none 
upon earth that I desire besides thee." Men who have the world 
for their portion, are very easy in the want of the enjoyment of God ; 
they reign as kings without him, and rejoice in their portion. And 
the saints give worldly men the peel of that, being easy in the en- 
joyment of God, under the want of tliose things that worldly men 


set tlieir hearts on, Gal. vi. 14, " God forbid, says the apostle, that 
I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom 
the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." Though alas ! 
worldly men being altogether flesh, and the saints being spiritual 
but in part, the latter cannot get up to the measure of the former, 
to care quite as little for the world as they do for God. 

3. Ye will not be content with any thing without him, Psal. Ixiii. 
1, " God, thou art my God, early will I seek thee : ray soul 
thirsteth for thee, ray flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty 
land, where no water is." No less than a God can afi'ord a rest to 
the gracious soul : nothing can fill up his room to those whose portion 
he is. Carnal men whose portion is the creature, take their crea- 
ture-portion from them, and they cry out. What have I more ? Jud. 
xviii. 24. If their worldly enjoyments go, the pillow is taken quite 
from under their head, and they cannot be content even with a God 
without them, Exod. v. 7 — 9. Esau says. Gen. xxy. 32. " Behold, I 
am at the point to die : and what profit shall this birth-right do to 
me ?" And if God go, the pillow is taken from under the saint's 
head, and all the world cannot make him a bed, where he can lie 
easy : but still he cries, 3It/ God, my God, why hast thou forsaken 
me ? Psal. xxii. 1, 

Object. But may not a gracious soul sometimes be very easy, even 
when the Lord is departed from him ? 

Ans. It is true, it may be so, when they are spiritually asleep : 
but yet they are never so fast asleep, but they have some uneasiness 
on that head, as the spouse had. Cant. t. 2, / sleep, but my heart 
ivakefh. And there is still a secret discontent in the soul with all 
things while he is away. And they will not lie always still in that 
case, but will awake, and clearly show that nothing without a God 
can content them. Cant. iii. 1, &c. 

4. He will be your chief concern, Matth. vi. 21. Where your trea- 
sure is, says our Lord, there will your heart be also. Whatever it be 
that a man takes for his portion, he will be mainly taken up about 
that. Men that have their portion in this life, the things of this 
life are their main business : these get their sleeping and waking 
thoughts : all things else must yield thereto, and what concerns 
their souls is dragged at the heels of those things : and is cut and 
carved as may best consist with the advancing of thera. And men 
whose portion the Lord is, it is their main business to enjoy him ; 
as David witnesscth, " One thing have I desired of the Lord, that 
will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the 
days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in 
his temple," Psal. xxvii. 4. It is their greatest care to obtain his 



favour, for Psal. xxx. 5. In his favour is life. And all other things 
must yield thereto, Phil. iii. 8. " Yea doubtless, and I count all 
things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus 
my Lord : for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do 
count them but duug that I may wiu Christ." 

5. It will be your great desire, and sincere endeavour, to be like 
him, 1 John iii. 3. Men generally look like their portion. It is 
known upon them, whether they have a small and poor portion, or a 
great and fat portion. And they that have God for their portion, 
will be like him in holiness, and it will be their desire and endea- 
vour to be more and more like him, in all his imitable perfections, 
2 Cor. iii. 18. God was in Christ, reconciliug the world to himself, 
and gave us a copy of holiness and righteousness, love and benefi- 
cence to mankind, meekness, patience, &c. and his people will follow 

6. It will be your great design to please him in all things, by 
having respect unto all his commandments, Psal. cxix. 6, She that is 
married takes the husband instead of all others, leaving father and 
mother for hioi ; and so labours how to please her husband. And 
they that take God for their portion instead of all others, will be 
careful to please him, and walk by his direction in all things, Psal. 
xlv. 10. His will, will be not only the rule, but the reason of duty 
to them : and what is his pleasure they will not willingly baulk. 
He is their portion, and so their all. And so their obedience is 

7. Lastly, It will be upon his own that ye will serve him, Gal. 
ii. 20. J live, says the apostle, yet not /, hut Christ liveth in me. Phil, 
iv. 13. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 
Hypocrites never take God for their portion ; they seem to them- 
selves to have of their own ; and upon that they serve him, leaning 
to their own abilities, like hired servants. But the saints, con- 
vinced they have nothing of their own, live on him as their portion, 
depending on him for strength, throughbearing, &c. in duties, Matth. 
V. 3. " Blessed are the poor in spirit : for theirs is the kingdom of 

Use III. Of exhortation ; and that to those who have made God 
in Christ their refuge, and to those who are without a saving 
interest in him. 

First, Ye who profess to have made God in Christ your refuge, 
carry as becomes those who have in him a portion to live on. And, 

1. Hang not on about the door of the world and the lusts thereof, 
for satisfaction, as those who have no other portion but what they 
can squeeze out of these dry and fulsome breasts, John iv. 14. 


Leave the husks which the swine do eat, to those poor prodigals 
that are not come to their Father's house. Te have bread enough 
there. That contentment which others seek in these, ye may have 
in God. 

2. If the world smile on you, let it not have your heart, since it 
is not your portion, Psal. Ixii. 10. " If riches increase, set not your 
heart upon them." Carry your heart lightly over time-enjoyments, 
and let it not dip in them. Though these are carnal men's good 
things, they are not thy good things, Luke xvi. 25. Thy portion is 
in thy refuge. 

If the world frown, bear it with holy courage. Whatever thou 
lose, thou canst not lose thy portion, which is in thy refuge. Alas ! 
it is sad to think that believers should appear in that case as if all 
were gone, since they never want a portion. 

Secondly, Ye who want a saving interest in Christ as your refuge, 
seek to get God in Christ for your portion. For motives, consider, 

1. Nothing less can be a sufficient portion for you. Increase 
your portion in the world, as ye will, ye will still be in want, while 
God is not your portion. But in him your souls shall find complete 

2. Any other portion may be lost. They that have not a God to 
live ou, may soon be at that, they shall have nothing at all to live 
on. But if God be your portion, ye shall never want. 

3. What but a God in Christ can be a portion to you at death, at 
the judgment-day, and through eternity? All things will leave you 
at death, and you can carry nothing with you into the other world. 
What portion then can you have, if God is not your portion now ? 

5. If God be not your portion here, ye will have a dreadful por- 
tion in the other world. God will then cut you asunder, and 
appoint you your portion with the hypocrites : there shall be weep- 
ing and gnashing of teeth, Matth. xxiv. ult. Remember what Abra- 
ham said to the rich man, Luke xvi. 25. " Son, remember that thou 
in thy life-time receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus 
evil things ; but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented." 

5. L((stli/, God in Christ is now offering himself as a portion unto 
you ; and ye may have this enriching portion. Your work now is 
to embrace the offer, and close the bargain. 

(1.) Guilty creatures, take a God in Christ for your refuge ; so 
shall ye be well provided for safety against the law, sin, death, and 

(2.) Poor portionless creatures, take God in Christ for your por- 
tion. Renounce all other portions, and take him for your portion 
for time and eternity. So shall you be provided happily from this 
time and for ever. 








Psalm xv. 1. 

Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle ? who shall dwell in thy holy 

hill ? 

This psalm consists of a question and an answer. The former we 
have, ver. 1. the latter, ver 2. to the end. 
In the question may be considered, 

1. The party propounding it ; David, for it is a psalm of his. 
He was a good man, concerned for his own soul. And therefore he 
proposes it for his own behoof, to impress his own soul with the ne- 
cessity of his answering the character of a citizen of Zion. He was 
a prophet concerned for the souls of others : therefore he proposes 
it for their behoof, to impress men with the necessity of their an- 
swering that character. 

2. The party to whom it is propounded ; it is to the Loi'd him- 
self. He is the infallible Teacher, and the sovereign Lawgiver, 
who has settled the constitutions of his own kingdom : from whom 
therefore we must learn them, that we may conform ourselves thereto. 

3. The question itself, propounded in old Testament terms. The 
tabernacle was that tent which God set up among them, and where 
he met with his people before the building of the temple. It was a 

* This subject, consisting of several sermons, was delivered at Ettrick in February 
and March, 1723. 


moveable place ; therefore one is said to abide or sojourn there. 
The holt/ hill is mount Zion, Psal. ii. 6. comprehending the hill on 
which the temple Afas built afterwards by Solomon. That was a 
fixed habitation, therefore one is said to divell there. 

There are two parts of this question ; and in New-testament lan- 
guage they are these. 

(1.) Who shall be lodgers in God's lower house on earth, whom 
he will own as members of his family, and of the church militant, 
whom he will entertain with and admit to communion with himself 
in ordinances. There are many who call themselves of the holy 
city, and of his family, who flock about his tabernacle, whom he will 
disown as none of his, and so are strangers to the tabarnacle-enter- 

(2.) Who shall be dwellers in his upper house, inhabitants of 
heaven, and pillars in the temple of God. There are many who 
will never come there. 0, who are they who will be taken within 
the gates of the holy city, while others as unclean lepers are shut 
out ? Who are they, as if he had said, that I may strive to be one 
of them ? 

4. The order of the question; (1.) The sojourning in the lower; 
and then, (2.) The dwelling in the upper house : intimating that 
one must first abide in the tabernacle below, before he can be ad- 
mitted to the holy hill above. 

The doctrine natively arising from the words is as follows, viz. 

DocT. It challengeth every one's most serious and solemn con- 
sideration, what sort of persons, sojourning with God here, shall be 
inhabitants of heaven hereafter. 

In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Shew what is implied in this object of our solemn and serious 

II. Give the reasons of the doctrine. 

III. Make some practical improvement. 

1. I am to shew what is implied in this object of our solemn and 
serious consideration. 

First, All shall not be inhabitants of heaven : some will perish, 
and drop out of this earth iuto eternal darkness. 

1. All the sons of men will not be saints in heaven. There will 
be a great company on Christ's left hand at the great day, doomed 
to everlasting fire, Matth. xxv. 41. Many of Adam's family will be 
lost for ever, as well as there are many of the angelic tribe lost. 
There are vessels of iniquity now, who will be vessels of wrath for 
ever fitted for destruction. They may have pleasant spots of earth, 
and large portions of it, who will have no place in heaven. 


2. Many of those who are now about the tabernacle, will bo 
amissing in heaven. Many members of the visible church are dead 
and rotten members, who will be cut off, and cast over the hedge, 
Matth. vii. 21 — 23. " Not every one that saith unto me. Lord, Lord, 
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven : but he that doth the will 
of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day. 
Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name ? and in thy name 
have cast out devils ? and in thy name done many wonderful works ? 
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you : depart from 
me, ye that work iniquity." Luke iii. 26, 27. " Then shall ye begin 
to say. We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast 
taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not 
whence you are ; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity." To 
see those fall short of heaven, who never had the tabernacle of God 
among them, is not strange : but many who in external privileges 
have been exalted to heaven, will be brought down to hell, Psal. 
cxxv. ult. 

Secoi^dly, They are persons of a distinguished character now, 
who shall be inhabitants of heaven hereafter. 

1. They are not of the common gang of the world, " walking ac- 
cording to the course of this world, according to the prince of the 
power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of dis- 
obedience," Eph. ii. 2. The course of this world is the course of 
the multitude, and the multitude is on the road to destruction. 
Hence says our Lord, " Enter ye in at the strait gate ; for wide is 
the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and 
many there be which go in thereat : because strait is the gate, and 
narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that 
find it." Matth. vii. 13, 14. They are nonconformists to the world, 
who are content to be the world's wonder, Zech. iii. 8. not daring 
for their souls to venture on such practices as, being contrary to the 
Jaw of God, others make no bones of, 1 Pet. iv. 4. 

2. Tliey are not of the common gang of professors neither, Matth. 
XXV. 2 — 4. Many professors are foolish virgins, that will get hea- 
ven's door cast in their face. They carry as if they had found out 
the secret of making concord betwixt Christ and Belial, of reconcil- 
ing the law to their lusts, of a broad and easy way to heaven, 
wherein men may carry the cloak of religion, and need not put off 
the old man. Those who shall be inhabitants of heaven are not so, 
Psal. xxiv. 3, 4. " Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord ? and 
who shall stand in his holy place ; He that hath clean hands, and 
a pure heart ; who hath not lift up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn 


3. Much less are they such as are of a distinguished character for 
wickedness, worse than the ordinary gang either of the world or of 
professors, Psal. i. 1. " Blessed is the man that walketh not in the 
counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor 
sitteth in the seat of the scornful." There are many who distin- 
guish themselves from others, by their loose speaking, lying, swear- 
ing, &c. their loose living in revelling, drunkenness, filthiness, 
injustice in their dealings, &c. These may expect a distinguished 
place in hell, but none in heaven if they repent not. 

Now, that they are persons of a distinguished character now, who 
shall be inhabitants of heaven hei'eafter, appears, 

1. None but such have a right or title to heaven, Matth. xxv. 34. 
" Then shall the king say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye 
blessed o^ my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from 
the foundation of the world." And however men may get possessions 
on earth, by force, fraud, and injustice, without a just right thereto ; 
there is no such purchase to be made of heaven, or in it. Hence the 
apostle says, " There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness 
which the Lord the righteous judge shall give me at that day : and 
not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing," 
2 Tim. iv, 8. " And if a man strive for masteries, yet he is not 
crowned, except he strive lawfully," chap. ii. 5. How can ye think 
to be inhabitants of heaven, that walk like the common gang of the 
world ? Where is your title to it ? Ye will say, ye have a title by 
faith, ye believe in Christ. If it be so, your title cannot be denied. 
But it is a demand that ye will not get refuted, Si lew your faith hy 
your works. A man may say he has faith, who has not works, but 
he cannot have faith without works, James ii. 14. By faith a man 
gets a right to heaven, but it is holiness of heart and life that is the 
evidence of that right. Hence says our Lord, " Blessed are they 
that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of 
life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. Rev. xxii. 14. 

2. None but such are meet for it, and none come there, who are 
not made meet for it before they come. Hence the apostle gives 
thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to he partakers of the 
inheritance of the saints in light, Col. i. 12. Every one is in this world 
made meet for their place in the other world. God makes his cho- 
sen ones meet for heaven, and the reprobates themselves for hell, 
Rom. ix. 22. And none but those of a distinguished character are, 

(1.) Meet for the journey to heaven. It is the hill of God, and 
it is not every one that is fit for going up that hill. The way to 
heaven lies upward, the way to hell is downward ; therefore the 
latter is easy, and many chuse it ; the former is dilBcult, and none 


but those of a peculiar character and disposition have a heart for it . 
Hence the Lord says of Caleb, Numb. xiv. 24. " But my servant 
Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath folloAved 
me fully; him will I bring into the land, Avhereinto he went; and 
his seed shall possess it." 

(2.) Meet for heaA^en itself. It is a holy hill ; and all is holy 
there. It is just the reverse of the unholy world, and the unholy 
heart : and if a man with an unrenewed nature and heart could 
possibly be let in there, he would think he were all wrong, and he 
would leave the holy God, angels, and saints, pleasures, and the 
place, and down again to the beloved world, where he would get 
company, profits, pleasures, &c. suitable to his mind. He would 
exchange the rivers of pleasures for the pleasures of the flesh and of 
the world. * 

Thirdly, In this world they sojourn with God in his tabernacle, 
who shall be inhabitants of heaven in the world to come. 

Here I shall show, 

1. "What that sojourning is. 

2. "Why those who sojourn with God in his tabernacle, shall be 
inhabitants of heav€m in the world to come. 

First, I am to shew what that sojourning with God in his taber- 
nacle is. It imports the following things. 

1. The world is no more their home ; they look on themselves as 
pilgrims and strangers on earth, and their head is homeward toward 
heaven. Hence the apostle speaking of some of the Old Testament 
worthies, says, " These all died in faith, not having received the 
promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of 
them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers 
and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things, declare 
plainly that they seek a country. And truly if they had been mind- 
ful of that country, from whence they came out, they might have 
had opportunity to have returned : 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 city," Heb. xi. 
13 — 16. They are brought out of the house of bondage, and are on 
their wilderness journey through the world. Cant. viii. 5; and the 
best conveniency they have by the way is not the tents of sin, but 
the tabernacle of God. There they draw water out of the wells of 
salvation, Avhile going through the valley of Baca. 

2. They are in a peculiar manner consecrated to God and his ser- 
vice, presenting their bodies living sacrifices, holy, acceptable unto 
God, which is their reasonable service, Rom. xii. 1. All Israel had 
access to the outer court of the tabernacle, but the priests only to the 


tabernacle itself, as consecrated to God in a peculiar manner. While 
others are externally consecrated to God in baptism and the Lord's 
supper, they are all made priests to God, Rev. i. 6 ; they are a royal 
pnesthood, 1 Pet. ii. 9. who shall be members of the general assembly 
of the first-born. They are made so in their conversion. 

3. They are admitted to communion with God in ordinances 
public, private, and secret, and by tabernacle-communion with him 
are fitted for temple-communion with him above. Hence the Lord 
says, " thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the Spirit of the 
Lord straitened ? are these his doings ? do not my words do good to 
him that walketh uprightly ?" Micah vii. J. " Therefore with joy 
shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation," Isa. xii. 3. " If 
a man love rae, says Christ, he will keep my words : and my Father 
will love ?iim, and we will come unto him, and make our abode 
with him," John xiv. 23. The worshippers in the outer court 
only will get their eternal abode without among the dogs, sor- 
cerers, &c. : but they that shall be inhabitants of heaven, come 
farther in even into the tabernacle itself: their souls are fed at his 
table, they find the smell of his garments as of myrrh, aloes, and 
cassia ; and if they miss it at any time, it is the grief of their souls, 
and they are never at rest till they recover it again. 

Secondly, I am to shew, why it is that those who in this world so- 
journ with God in his tabernacle, shall be inhabitants of heaven in 
the world to come. 

1. They are born from above there. It is the waters of the sanc- 
tuary that the Spirit moves for the regeneration of those who are 
born of the Spirit. The word is the seed whereof the new creature 
is formed, 1 Pet. i. 23. Where God has a design of love to a 
people, he sets up his tabernacle among them, and gives his presence 
with ordinances for their conviction and conversion. " And so of 
Zion it shall be said, This man and that man was born in her," 
Psal. Ixxxvii. 5. And so it is natural for them to breathe in that 

2. They are made meet for heaven there, Eph. iv. 11, 12. They 
are nourished there unto eternal life ; though those who remain 
dead in their sins receive nothing from ordinances but food to their 
lusts, whereby they grow worse and worse ; those that are born for 
heaven, are nursed up for it in ordinances. There the bride the 
Lamb's wife makes herself ready for the consummation of the mar- 
riage ; there she gets the pledges of the Lord's love, his love-visits 
and love-tokens, till she be brought home ; and there the travellers 
are refreshed for their journey. Cant. iv. 6. 

3. From thence are they transported to heaven, as the Israelites 


from the wilderness to Canaan. The tabernacle is the nursery of 
grace, whence the trees of righteousness are transplanted into the 
garden of glory. It is the lower room of the house of God, from 
whence at death they are brought up to the higher rooms and man- 
sions. And whoso sojourn not with God in the tabernacle below, 
shall never dwell with him in heaven. 

II. The next general head is to assign the reasons of the doctrine, 
or why every one should seriously and solemnly consider what sort 
of persons, sojourning with God here, shall be inhabitants of heaven 

1. Because there is a heaven and hell, and every one must land 
in the one or the other at length. Sure the very being of a heaven 
and hell, being made known to us in the world, leaves men without 
excuse for the careless unthinking life they lead.^ Our being con- 
cerned in them challenges our consideration, since we are not as the 
beasts which being dead are done : and the weight and importance 
of them to us challenges the most solemn and serious consideration. 

2. Because the laws of heaven admit only such and such persons 
as are so and so qualified into it, and adjudge others to be excluded 
for ever from it, John iii. 3. " Except a man be born again, he can- 
not see the kingdom of God." Heb. xii. 14. " Without holiness no 
man shall see the Lord." Psal. xxiv. 3, 4. forecited. And there- 
fore the apostle tells us, that " if we live after the flesh, we shall 
die ; but if we through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, 
we shall live," Rom. viii. 14. See Rev. xxi. ult. " There shall in no 
wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever work- 
eth abomination, or maketh a lie : but they which are written in 
the Lamb's book of life." This is a good reason for our most serious 
consideration of the matter. 

3. Because none who are capable of consideration, will ever see 
heaven without it. The v/ork of grace begins there. Lam. iii. 40. 
" Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord." 
People may go rambling through the world at all adventures, they 
may go dreaming through it without serious thoughts of eternity, 
and land in the pit : but none will get to heaven either of these 

4. Lastly, Because if we miss of heaven, we are ruined eternally. 
Eternal salvation and damnation lie at stake : and if these cannot 
obtain solemn serious thoughts of us, our case is very desperate. 

I come now to the application of this subject. And I exhort all 
of you solemnly, and seriously to consider, what sort of persons 
shall be inhabitants of heaven. Take this matter to heart, and 
bestow some thoughts upon it. And, 


1. Cousider of it solemnly, fixedly, and deliberately : Thus saith 
the Lord of hosts, Consider your ivai/s, Hag. i. 5. You consider of 
other things deliberately and fixedly ; why will you allow your 
soul-concerns only some passing thoughts by the by ? 

2. Consider of it with application to yourselves, Job v. ult. " Lo 
this, we have searched it, so it is ; hear it, and know thou it for thy 
good. Prov. ix. 12. " If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thy- 
self." Do this, that so you may see whether you yourselves be of 
that sort, that are in the road to heaven, or not. 

3. Consider of it practically, that you may set yourselves to thrust 
in among those that so run as they may obtain, so strive as they 
may enter, and use such violence as they may take it by force. 

4. Lastly, Consider of it divinely, as sifting your souls before the 
Lord to understand it of himself by his word. If you take the ver- 
dict of the world, or of your own hearts in the matter, ye will de- 
ceive yourselves ; for so many are thought to get to heaven, that 
will not be found there. For motives to press this, consider, 

3Iot. 1. Heaven is not plenished but with chosen people, 2 Cor. 
vi. 17, 18. " Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye sepa- 
rate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will 
receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons 
and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." Hell receives all comers, 
but many are sent ofl^ from the gates of heaven, and refused access. 
Hence says our Lord, Luke xiii. 25. " When once the master of the 
house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand 
without, and to knock at the door, saying. Lord, Lord, open unto 
us ; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence 
you are." None can come to heaven, but, 

1. Sealed ones, such as God has marked for himself, 2 Tim. ii. 19. 
" The foundation of God standeth sure, having his seal. The Lord 
knoweth them that are his." They are sealed in the hidden man of 
the heart, with the privy seal of the Spirit, Eph. i. 13. — Ye luere 
sealed with that holy Spirit of promise. God's own image is stamped 
on them, in knowledge, righteousness and holiness. In the day of 
their conversion, the Lord puts his seal on them, and says, " They 
shall be mine in the day that I make up my jewels." They are 
sealed in the forehead. Rev. vii. 3. and xiv. 1. They look like him 
in the outward man, and walk as he walked, labouring to follow 
him, John x. 27. 

2. Separated ones, separated from the world lying in wickedness, 
2 Cor. vi. 17. forecited. They are separated from among the rest in 
this life, by the work of God on their souls, convincing, illuminat- 
ing, and renewing them, and bringing them away to Christ. Grace 


selects them out now from among the rest of mankind, 1 Cor. vi. 11. 
" And such were some of you : but ye are washed, but ye are sancti- 
fied, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the 
Spirit of our God. Eph. ii. 2. In time past ye walked according to 
the course of this world," &c. They will be 'separated after this 
life, Matth. xxv. 32. " lie shall separate them one from another, as 
a shepherd divideth his sheei> from the goats ;" and tliat will be a 
cleanly separation, not only in resj)ect of manner of life, but of 

Mot. 2. The most part will be found refuse, Matth. xxii. 14. 
" For many are called, but few are chosen." Christ's fiock is but a 
yery little flock, in comparison of the devil's drove, Luke xii. 32. 
The former are few, but the latter many, Matth. vii. 13, 14. The 
gospel-net has about it, the bad to be cast away, as well as the good 
to be gathered into vessels, Matth. xiii. 47. And since the most 
part will be cast out, should not each of us be saying, Master, is it I? 

Mot. 3. Consider it is not easy to get to heaven, Matth. vii. 14. 
" Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way Avhich leadeth 
unto life, and few there be that find it. Luke xiii. 24. Strive to 
enter in at the strait gate : for many will seek to enter in, and shall 
not be able." It is a business of the greatest difficulty to get up 
the holy hill. Many have seemed to have been set fair on the way 
to it, who have miserably fallen short. The Israelites in the wil- 
derness wei'e an emblem of this, Heb. iv. 1. Nay, they that do get 
there, have a great pinch in getting forward, 1 Pet. iv, 18. The 
righteous are scarcely saved. There is all reason for the utmost dili- 
gence and circumspection, according to the apostle's exhortation, 
Phil. ii. 12. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 
Our work is great, our strength small, our enemies are many, and 
their opposition is great : these require striving, wrestling, fighting, 
using violence, &c. 

Lastly, It is not a matter to be careless and indiff'erent about, 
whether we shall get there or no. There are two things about it, 
that may move us to the deepest concern. (1.) The greatness of the 
happiness or misery that is before us. No tongue can express, nay 
nor heart conceive, the happiness of heaven, and the misery in hell. 
The one is shadowed out to us by the best things here, the other by 
the worst; but as heaven is better than the best here, hell is worse 
than the worst, (2.) The eternity of that happiness or misery. 
That is it that accents the joys and praises in heaven, and the wo 
and shriekings of the damned. Happiness without end, misery 
without end, are happiness and misery in perfection. 

What may help you in this inquiry, as to your own state, is the 


matter of communion with God here in his tabernacle of ordinances. 
Of which you may observe the three following things. 

1. That is our essay-piece for heaven : they whom God admits to 
communion with him in ordinances, he will never debar from com- 
munion with him in heaven : and they that never get communion 
with him in the lower house, being capable of it, will never get it in 

2. The same kind of qualifications are necessary for the one as 
for the other. The answer to both questions is one. 

3. Lastly, Wherefore just as you were living in this world under 
ordinances, so may you expect your lot in the other world. 

Let these things move you therefore seriously to think on this im- 
portant matter, and the Lord give you understanding in all things. 


Psalm xv. 2. 

He that ivalkcth uprhjldly. — 

Tnis is the first character of one that shall be an inhabitant of hea- 
ven. It is taken from his walk, that is, his habitual and ordinary 
course of life. Men's walk in this world is the sign oT the place 
and state they are making to in another world. His walk is upright ; 
he is upright in heart and life ; or perfect and entire, namely, in the 
way of gospel perfection. 

The text affords this doctrine. 

DocT. It is such as walk uprightly now, that shall dwell in hea- 
ven hereafter. 

In handling this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Unfold this character of walking uprightly. 

II. Confirm the point, that such as walk uprightly now, shall 
dwell in heaven hereafter. 

III. Apply the subject. 

I. I shall unfold this character. He that shall dwell in heaven 
hereafter, walks uprightly now. And he that walks uprightly, 

1. Is sincere in the frame and disposition of his heart. Hence 
prays the Psalmist, " Do good, Lord, unto those that be good, and 
to them that are upright in their Jiearts," Psal. cxxv. 4. There 
cannot be uprightness of life without uprightness of heart. If the 
cripple is made to go straight, his legs must have a new set ; and if 
men be brought to walk uprightly, their hearts must get a new set 

Vol. V. n 


by converting grace. An unsound heart will certainly make an un- 
holy life, agreeable to that, Psal. Isxviii. 37, " Their heart was not 
right with God, neither were they stedfast in his covenant." All 
the religion of an unregcnerate man is but hypocrisy, hateful to 
God, and unprofitable to himself. God made man 'upright; and he 
lost his uprightness. When God new-makes him, he makes him 
upright again ; gives his heart a set and bent towards God and 
holiness. So that the choice and desire of his soul is conformity to 
the will of God in all things. 

2. He walks entirely in the interests of religion. This is the walk 
of the man that is within the covenant. Gen. xvii. 1. Walk before 
me, and be thou perfect. It is the same word in the text. He is 
evangelically perfect in parts, though not in degrees. The apostle 
explains it. Jam. i. 4. " Let patience have her perfect work, that ye 
may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." His religion consists 
of holiness and righteousness, Luke i. 74. He is conscientious and 
tender in his duty to God, and to his neighbour. Try him in the 
matters of piety, he is in the interests of religion there ; try him in 
the matters of morality, he is in the same interests there : for he 
walks entirely and perfectly. Vessels fitted for destruction, some 
of them chuse the one half of religion, making painted hypocrites ; 
others the other half, making mere moralists ; others cast oif all 
show of piety and morality too, making practical Atheists. The 
vessels fitted for glory, chuse, embrace, and walk in the whole of 
religion, piety, and morality. 

3. He walks uniformly, his walk and religion is of a piece. Col. 
iv. 12. — " that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of 
God." It was a piece of the Baptist's character, that he was con- 
sistent with himself, not here and there according to the blowing of 
the wind, Luke vii. 24. Men may hide and discover their art as 
they please : but nature will out. They whose religion is artificial, 
are never uniform in it ; there are always some things wherein they 
have no use for it, but lay it aside as what would mar the course of 
their corrupt nature. . Hence many will be flaming hot in some opi- 
nion of religion, and key-cold in the duties of love to their neigh- 
bour : in their personal walk something like Christians, but in their 
relative duties divested of conscience towards God ; in the matters 
of God seeming to be somewhat, but in their dealings with men stark 
naught. But religion is made natural in some sort to the vessel of 
glory, namely, in respect of their new nature, and being natural will 
be of a piece. 

4. He walks in the way of knoAvn duty universally, like Zacharias 
and Elizabeth, whose character is, that they " walked in all the 


commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless," Luke i. 0. 
Wheresoever he perceives God to call him, he follows, and so fol- 
lows the Lord fully ; not stickinc; at, or willingly failing in any 
commanded duty. Such are they who are fitted for the upper 
Canaan, Numb. xiv. 24". It was David's character in opposition to 
Saul, that he would be universal in his obedience. Acts xiii. 22, " I 
have found David, — a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil 
all mine own will." And Saul lost the kingdom, but it was esta- 
blished for ever. And it is always the characters of the vessels fitted 
for destruction, Avhatever their attainments be. One thing thou lackest, 
Matth. X. 21. Hence, 

(1.) He that walketh uprightly, will not walk on in gross pollu- 
tions of the outward man : that cannot be universal obedience that 
has such a seen gross defect. Psal. xxiv. 3, 4, " Who shall ascend 
into the hill of the Lord? and who shall stand in his holy place? 
He that hath clean hands and a pure heart ; who hath not lift up 
his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully." Psal. cxix. 1. "Bles- 
sed are the uudeflled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord." 
The upright want not their spots, sins of daily infirmity : but a 
course of wallowing in the mire of drunkenness, sensuality, filthi- 
ness, swearing, lying, &c. I doubt if that be found the spot of God's 
people, 1 Cor. vi. 11. And such tuere some of you, says Paul to the 
Corinthians, that is fornicators, &c. verse 9, 10. hut ye are tvashcd, 
Sfc. Gal. V. 19, " Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which 
are these. Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness," «S:c. 

(2.) He that walketh uprightly, will not allow himself in any 
known sin whatsoever, seen or unseen to the world. Hence David 
says, " I was upright before him : and I kept myself from mine ini- 
quity," Psal. xviii. 23. Such a bias of the heart and way as leads 
to the indulgence of any sin, speaks a heart parted between the Lord 
and lusts. The upright man is at odds with sin as sin, and there- 
fore with all that is known to be sin. 

5. He walks as under the eye of God. Hence said the Lord to 
Abraham, Walk before me, Gen. xvii. 1. And says David, I have set 
the Lord always before me, Psal. xvi. 8. Knowing him to be his wit- 
ness in all things, and believing his omniscience with application, he 
studies to approve himself unto God. " Our rejoicing is this, says 
the apostle, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and 
godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, 
we have had our conversation in the world," 2 Cor. i. 12. There is 
a spice of Atheism in hypocrisy. The careless sinner forgets God, 
and minds not that the eye of God is upon him : the presumptuous 
sinner, if he can carry the matter securely as to the world's part, 

n 2 


stands not on the Lord's knowledge of his crime, Psal. xxxvi. 1. 
" The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there 
is no fear of God before his eyes." But the upright man deals with 
God, as if the eyes of all men were on him ; and with men, as 
knowing that the eye of God is upon him. And his main care is to 
approve himself to God, whether the world ai)prove or condemn him. 

6. lie walks singly, 2 Cor. i. 12, above cited. The upright man 
is opposite to the double minded man, who in the language of the 
Holy Ghost hath a heart and a heart, Psal. xii. 2, that is a double 
heart. This singleness was a bright part of the character of the 
primitive Christians, of whom it is said. Acts ii. 46, that, " they did 
eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart;" but it is a 
rare character with us. The ui)right man walks singly, 

(1.) In opposition to deceitfulness. Col. iii. 22. He dare not deal 
deceitfully with God, like those who with the mouth showed much 
love, but their hearts went after their covetousness. Hence the up- 
right man is content that God would search and sift him, as desiring 
to be open before him : Psal. cxxxix. 23, 24. " Search me, God, 
says David, and know my heart : try me, and know my thoughts. 
And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way 
everlasting." He abhors deceitful men, as knowing it is an abo- 
mination to the Lord. He dares not use the by-ways and tricks 
that others stand not upon ; but deals singly towards God and man. 

(2.) In opposition to selfishness, Eph. vi. 5. They will labour to 
be single in their aims and designs, for the honour of God in the 
chief place, and their own and their neighbour's good in the next. 
Selfishness is a devouring deep that swallows up all due concern for 
the honour of God, and the good of others"; and sacrifices all to 
one's own interest : so that self is all that such seek in their re- 
ligious performances, and worldly business. "NYhere it predominates, 
there is no room for uprightness. 

7. Lastly, He walks constantly in the paths of uprightness, John 
viii. 31, " If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples in- 
deed." He walketh, which denotes a continued action ; he perse- 
veres in the Lord's way ; uprightness is his constant course in the 
whole of his life. A good man may do an ill thing, and an ill man 
may do a good thing : but it is the habitual course of a man's life 
that denominates him a good or ill man. For men to take their 
religion by fits and starts, and now and then to make conscience of 
their duty to God and to man : and anon to shake all loose again, 
and walk like men of Belial Avithout yoke : that is not the upright 
walking that is the character of those who shall be inhabitants of 
heaven. Remember that saying of Christ's, "He that shall endure 
unto the end, the same shall be saved," Matth. xxiv. 13. 


II. I proceed to confirm the doctrine, that it is such as walk up- 
rightly now, who shall dAvell in heaven hereafter. lu order to this, 

1. Heaven is the land of uprightness, Psal. cxliii. 10. All are up- 
I'ight there, God, angels, and men. All liars or dissemblex's with 
God and men, ai"e excluded from heaven, and declared to be such as 
shall have their portion in hell, Matth. xxiv. ult. Rev. xxii. 15. It 
is the upright only that will dwell in heaven, Psal. cxl. ult. " The 
upright shall dwell in thy presence." 

2. The new birth, which is from heaven, and makes men meet for 
heaven, frames them to an upright walk. No person gets there, but 
such as are born again : for, says our Lord, " Except a man be born 
again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," John iii. 3. None are 
born again, but thereby they get a new heart, whereby they get a 
new set of heart, whereby they are made upright in heart, Psal. 
xxxvi. 10. And an upright heart will certainly shew itself in one's 
walk ; 2 Cor v. 17. " If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature : 
old things are passed away, behold, all things are new." Therefore 
a pure heart and clean hands are joined together, Psal. xxiv. 4. 

3. An upright walk is the saint's walk, in which they make for- 
ward to the kingdom. Hence Solomon says, " Thou hast showed 
unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he 
walked before thee iu truth, and in righteousness, and in upright- 
ness of heai't with thee," 1 Kings iii. 6. And no man can expect 
on good grounds to walk in white in heaven, but he who walks 
in uprightness here. Hence Christ says to the church of Sardis, 
*' Thou hast a few names even in Sardis, which have not defiled their 
garments ; and they shall walk with me in white," Rev. iii. 4. The 
contrary way is the way of the wicked, and leads to darkness, 
" "Whose ways are crooked, and they froward iu tlieir paths," Prov. 
ii. 15. 

4. Lastly, ^he Lord himself hath plainly determined in his word, 
that upright walkers and they only shall be saved, Prov. xxviii. 18. 
Wlioso walketli uprightly, shall he saved. If the blood of Christ hath 
touched a man's conscience, and the Spirit of Christ sanctifieth his 
soul, that man will walk uprightly. As for others, they have no 
share of these; and however they may carry it a while, they will be 
ruined in a moment. 

I come now to the application of this subject, which I shall dis- 
cuss in an use of conviction and an use of exhortation. 

TJsE I. for conviction. This may serve to convince us, that there 
are fcAV of this generation that will dwell iu heaven, if they turn 
not over a new leaf, and fall on a way thoy are not acquainted with 

u 3 

106 Tiir; ciTizEX of zion an UPnioiiT walkek. 

yet, vh. tlie way of uprightness. Well may \rc take-up Micali's la- 
racutation over the men of these dregs of time we live in, Micah vii. 
1. — 4. " Wo is me, for I am as when they have gathered the sum- 
nicr-frnits, as the grape-gleanings of the vintage : there is no cluster 
to eat : my soul desireth the first ripe fruit. The good man is per- 
ished out of the earth : and there is none upright among men : they 
all lie in wait for blood : they hunt every man his brother with a 
net. That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince 
asketh, and the judge asketh for a revrard : and the great man he 
uttereth his mischievous desire : so they wrapt it up. The best of 
them is as a brier : the most upright is sharper than a thorn-hedge : 
the day of thy watchmen, and thy visitation cometh ; now shall be 
their perplexity." But instead of uprightness, there is much double 
dealing with God and v/ith men. I offer a few of many glaring 
signs and evidences of want of uprightness. 

Sig7i 1. Men keeping still some beloved lust or other, that all the 
checks they get for it, from the word, their consciences, or provi- 
dence, cannot make them part with. They never deal uprightly 
with God, but still like Ananias and Sapphira keep back a part ; 
quite contrary to the practice of the holy Psalmist, who says, " I 
was upright before him : and I kept myself from mine iniquity," 
Psal. xviii. 23. 

Sign 2. Having more regard to the eye of men, than to the eye of 
the all-seeing God. Their credit has more weight with them than 
their conscience ; and if they can please men, they little regard 
whether they please God or not, Gal. i. 10. Hence if they can 
carry their wickedness secretly to the world, they regard no more 
than if God were closed up in heaven. 

Sign 3. Impatience of reproof, a sad sign of a heart not upright 
with God. As a man that desires to keep a clean face, will bear 
with one that tells him of a spot upon it ; so an upright man will 
take with warnings, admonitions, and reproofs, Psal. cxli. 5. " Let 
the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness ; and let him reprove 
me, it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head : for 
yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities." And alas ! there 
are few this day of that sort. Men love their sins, at least their 
credit, better than to bear with having it told them that they have 
done an ill thing. 

Sign 4. Not labouring to approve one's self to God in one's deal- 
ings with men, in matters of the world, Eph. vi. 5, 6 ; 2 Cor. i. 12. 
An upright man, in worldly matters, will look on God as his party, 
as well as his neighbour. He will deal in these things, as knowing 
that God is his witness, and will be his judge. But alas ! most men 


have no eye to God but in their religious duties, which shews that 
they are not upright with God there neither. 

Sign 5. The wearing out of the sense of the binding force of that 
rule from off the spirits of men, Matth. vii. 12. " All things whatso- 
ever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them." 
This is a rule of practice, which the very light of nature teacheth, 
as the bond of society, confirmed to us by divine revelation ; but so 
little regarded in our day, as if men had renounced their reason, as 
well as their religion, in favour of their own selfish ends. Hence, 
when there is occasion of advantage oltering to many, there is no 
more considered by them, but if it be for their own profit; no more 
consideration of their neighbours, than if they alone were in the 
world, or at least that they may very well build up the interest of 
their dear self on the ruins of others. 

Sk/n 6. The abounding of fraud, deceit, and violence among mea. 
Religion in the power of it is much worn out from among the gene- 
ration, and moral honesty is dying out apace. The fear of God is 
cast oft' by the most part, and an upright regard to men is rare to be 
found. It was so with the Jews before the Babylonish captivity, 
Jer. ix. 4, 5, 9. " Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and 
trust ye not in any brother : for every brother will utterly supplant, 
and every neighbour will walk with slanders. And they will de- 
ceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth : they 
have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to 
commit iniquity. Shall I not visit them for these things ? saith the 
Lord : shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this ?" It 
was so with the old world before the deluge came on. Gen. vi. 4, 11. 
" There were giants in the earth in those days ; and also after that, 
when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they 
bare children to them; the same became mighty men, which were of 
old, men of renown. The earth also was coi-rupt before God ; and 
the earth was filled with violence." It is so with us at this day ; 
and there is no ground to doubt but it will bring a heavy stroke on 
the generation. 

Use II. of exhortation. As ever ye would dwell in heaven, walk 
uprightly on this earth. I shall enforce this exhortation with a few 

Mot. 1. They who walk otherwise declare themselves strangers to 
Christ, without Christ, without hope, and without God in the world. 
They have no saving interest in Christ who do not love him, 1 Cor. 
xvi. 22. " If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be ana- 
thema, Maran-atha." It is the upright only that love him, Cant. 
i. 4. They only are accounted to love him that are upright in their 


walk, John xiv. 15. If ye love me, keep my commandments. 1 John 
V. 3. This is the love of God, that ive keep his commandments. Hence 
upright walking is declared to be the evidence of one's right, and 
title to heaven, Rev. xxii. 14. "Blessed are they that do his com- 
mandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may 
enter in through the gates into the city." 

3Iot. 2. Grod hates hypocritical and deceitful men, and excludes 
them from communion with him here and hereafter, Psal. v. 5, 6. 
"The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers 
of iniquity. Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing." God is 
light, which sets every thing in its true colours. As darkness then 
is contrary to light, so are they to the nature and will of God, and 
darkness Avill he their jjortion, Matth. xxiv. ult. " He shall cut him 
asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites : there 
shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." 

3Iot. 3. The cheat falls heaviest on the man himself who does not 
walk uprightly. Men deal deceitfully with God ; but can they de- 
ceive him, can they blind his all-seeing eye ? No : " Be not de- 
ceived ; God is not mocked : for whatsoever a man soweth, that 
shall he also reap," Gal. vi. 7. They deal deceitfully with men, 
and they may deceive them indeed : but where is the gain, when 
perhaps they procure a good opinion of themselves from others, 
Avhich they do not deserve ; but in the mean time they bring double 
guilt on their own souls, both doing evil, and pretending the con- 
trary ; and so expose themselves to God's wrath both as evil-doers 
and as dissemblers. 

Mot. 4. The trade of deceitful dealing and dissembling either with 
God or man, will not last. All the hypocrisy and deceit of the 
world will be exposed to open view ere long, when Christ shall set 
his throne for judgment. " There is nothing covered, (says he,) that 
shall not be revealed ; and hid, that shall not be known, Matth. x. 
26. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every se- 
cret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil," Eccl. xii. ult. 
And there will be no place for deceit any more. None will pretend 
to be what he is not in hell ; and there will be no place for over- 
reaching others there. 

Mot. 5. There is nothing in the world worth going off the way of 
npriglituess for, Isa. xxxiii. 15. For whatever is to be had that 
way, is had with God's displeasure, and instead of a rod it becomes 
a serpent, Eccl. x. 8. " Ji e that diggeth a pit, shall fall into it; and 
whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him." And however 
men fare according to their wish in such a way, it is a dear reckon- 
ing that comes in at the end. It is a way to cut men's days, Psal. 


Iv. ult. "Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their 
days:" and a fair way to ruin them for another world, Jer. xvii. 11. 
" He that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the 
midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool." 

3Iot. last, Consider the excellency of uprightness and walking up- 

1. It is very pleasing and acceptable in the sight of God, Psal. 
xi. 7. " The righteous Lord loveth righteousness, his countenance 
doth behold the upright." It is his own image, and he cannot but 
love it. When he made man like himself, he made him upright. 
Job was a nonsuch man in God's account, and he was an upright 
man. Job i. 8. See how Christ commends Nathanael, Behold an Is- 
raelite indeed, in whom is no guile, John 1. 47. 

2. Though there be many weaknesses hanging about a man, yet, if 
what he does, he do uprightly, that will not mar the acceptance of 
his work with God through Christ, Cant. v. 1. Gold is precious, 
though it be among much dross ; and our gracious God knows how 
to discern betwixt and separate the dross from the gold, 1 Kings xv. 
14, "The high places were not removed : nevertheless, Asa his heart 
was perfect with the Lord all his days." 

3. It is the great distinguishing character betwixt good and bad 
men, Christ's sheep and the devil's goats, whether hypocrites or pro- 
fane, Psal. cxxv. 4, 5, " Do good, Lord, unto those that be good, 
and to them that are upright in their hearts. As for such as turn 
aside unto their crooked ways, the Lord shall lead them forth with 
the workers of iniquity : but peace shall be upon Israel." 

4. It is a great preservative against apostasy, 1 John ii. 19, 
" They went out from us, but they were not of us : for if they had 
been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us : but they 
went out, that they might be made manifest, that they were not all 
of us. Prov. xiii. 6, Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in 
the way." It is the want of it, that makes so many apostates, in an 
ensnaring world, wherein they that will be led off the way, will not 
want suitable temptations. 

5. It is a notable comfort in the worst of times, that will last 
when all other comforts are taken from us, 2 Cor. i. 12, forecited. 
Conscience of uprightness is a feast indeed. 

6. They are entitled to protection from the evil day in a special 
manner, whether God takes Ihem away ere it come, Isa. Ivii. 2, or 
they be sheltered when it comes, as Noah was, Gen. vi. 9. 

7. Lasth/, Their end will be peace, Psal. xxxvii. 37, " Mark the 
perfect man, and behold the upright : for the end of that man is 
peace." A blessing follows theirs after they are dead and gone, 
Psal. cxii. 2, " The generation of the upright shall be blessed." 



Psalm xv. 2. 
— And luorketh Righteousness. — 

IIeee is the second character of an inhabitant of heaven. He is a 
worker, not one that standeth idle in the market-place ; but a doer 
of good works : he worketh righteousness towards God and man, 
making it his business to give both to God and man their due. For 
the words are general, taking in whatsoever is just and righteous, 
whether owing to God or man. 

The doctrine natively arising from the text is as follows, viz. 

DocT. It is he that worketh righteousness now in this world, that 
shall dwell in heaven hereafter. 

In prosecuting this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Unfold this character of one that shall dwell in heaven. He 
worketh righteousness. 

II. Confirm the doctrine. 

III. Apply. 

I. I am to unfold this character of one that shall dwell in heaven. 
He luorketh righteousness. I take it up in three parts. 

First, He is a believer in Christ, and righteous by faith. This is 
a necessary and chief branch of this character, according to our 
Lord's own testimony, John vi. 29, " This is the work of God, that 
ye believe on him whom he hath sent." He that does not work this 
work, works no righteousness at all. The imputed righteousness of 
a Redeemer is the meat abiding unto everlasting life, which our 
Lord calls us to work, that is, to get to ourselves by faith, ver. 27. 
Gr. To be a worker of righteousness supposes one to be in the first 
place a believer, one laying hold on and embracing Christ for 
righteousness, and living by faith in him. This appears, 

1. A man must first be righteous, before he can work righteous- 
ness of life, 1 John iii. 7, " He that doth righteousness is righteous, 
even as he is righteous." The tree makes the fruit, not the fruit 
the tree : and therefore the tree must be good, before the fruit can 
be good, Matth. vii. IB. A righteous man may make a righteous 
work, but no work of an unrighteous man can make him righteous. 
Now we become righteous only by faith through the righteousness of 
Christ imputed to us, Rom. v. 1. 

2. A soul not united to Jesus Christ, cannot work righteousness, 
John XV. 5. Without me ye can do nothing. All life and strength 


spiritual for sinners, is treasured up in Christ, 1 John v. 11, 12. As 
the pipe laid short of the fountain, must be empty of water ; so is 
the soul of life and strength, which is not united to Christ. And it 
is by faith that souls are united to him. So, where there is no faith, 
there is no life ; and where there is no life, there is no working of 

3. While the conscience is not purged of the guilt of eternal 
death, the works wrought by the man are but dead works, not works 
of righteousness, Heb. ix. 14. And it is only the blood of Christ 
applied by faith that can purge the conscience, remove the curse, 
which, while it lies on a man, will leave him eternally barren. 

4. Lastli/, Faith is the spring of all good works. There the man's 
working of righteousness begins, 1 Tim. 1. 5. 1 John iii. 12. How 
was it that Abel wrought righteousness ? The apostle tells us, Heb. 
xi. 4, " By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice 
than Cain, by which he obtained witness, that he was righteous." 
And without it no man can do a work pleasing to God, and there- 
fore no righteous work, ver. 6. Whatever unbelievers do is but a 
shadow of righteousness. They are not married to Christ, therefore 
they cannot bring forth fruit to God ; they are not begotten again, 
and made his children ; therefore their obedience is but slavish : 
they are not partakers of his life, therefore their works are but 

Wherefore let men work as they will, if they be not true believers 
in Christ, they are not workers of righteousness ; and, consequently, 
they will not be dwellers in heaven. Ye must then close with 
Christ in the first place, and by faith receive the gift of imputed 
righteousness, or ye will never truly bear this character of a citizen 
of Zion. A man shall as soon force fruit out of a branch broken ofi" 
from the tree and withered, as work righteousness without believing 
in, and uniting with Christ. These are two things by which those 
that hear the gospel are ruined. 

(1.) One is, works without faith ; and here the legalist settles. 
Witness the Pharisee, Luke xviii. 11, 12, "God, I thank thee, that 
I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even 
as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that 
I possess." And this he does to his own destruction. He aims at 
the duties of the law, but neglects the great duty of the gospel. He 
aims to do good, but never takes the right way, the only way to be 
good. Hence his religion is no more but a parcel of hypocritical 
performances, dead works, the man himself being still a stranger to 
the life of God, because out of Christ. 

In opposition to this, the citizen of Zion is a believer, one that 


has closed with Christ by faith, and that still lives by faith, Gal. ii. 
20, deriving virtue and strength from Jesus, and -leaning on his 
righteousness alone ; who was taken, and doth still take Christ for 
righteousness and sanctification too, Isa. xlv. 24. Agreeable to this 
first part of the character, 

(2.) The other is, faith without works ; which is but a dead faith, 
that will never save the soul. With this carnal gosj^ellers satisfy 
themselves to their own destruction, James ii. 14, 11, " What doth 
it profit, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works ? can 
faith save him ? Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." 
They pi'etend to believe in Christ, but are not conscientious in the 
performance of holy duties. They will take Christ for their Priest 
to save them from hell, but not for their King to save them from 
their sins. And so in effect they would make Christ the minister 
of sin. 

In opposition to this, the citizen of Zion, being a true believer, is 
a worker too, a worker of righteousness. Being married to Christ, 
he brings forth the fruit of holy obedience ; being raised with Christ, 
he lives to God, and serves in newness of the spirit. This brings 
me to the 

Second part, He worketh righteousness towards God. He is one 
that labours sincerely to give God his due, being just and righteous 
in his dealings with his Maker. There is a duty that men owe to 
God, by the rule of justice : it is just that we perform it, and it is a 
wrong done to him, to withhold it, because it is his due from us, 
Matth. xxii. 21. Render unto God the things that are God's. And 
thus men are said to work righteousness, Isa. Ixiv. 5. " Thou meet- 
est him that rejoiceth and worketli righteousness. Acts x. 35, In 
every nation, he that feareth God, and worketh righteousness, is ac- 
cepted with him." The true Christian that shall be a dweller in 
heaven, being furnished from heaven by faith for working righteous- 
ness, worketh accordingly, sincerely endeavouring to give God his 
due. And this part of his character shall be branched out in the 
following particulars. 

1. He gives God his heart. God requires it, Prov. xxiii. 26. J/y 
son, give me thine heart. It is his due, because he made it, and he 
alone is the fit match for it, and only can satisfy it : and the be- 
liever gives it him, saying, as Psal. Ixxiii. 25. " Whom have I in 
heaven but thee ? and there is none upon earth that I desire be- 
sides thee." He gives God his heart, to be his temple, his throne, 
the holy of holies consecrated to him. He lifts his heart and affec- 
tions off the world, his lusts, yea even his lawful comforts, and gives 
it back to the proper owner ; not daring to alienate it, knowing that 
to bo sacrilegious robbing of God. 


2. He gives God himself, as the Macedonians did, of wliora it is 
said, that they^ir.s'^ gave their oiun selves to the Lord, 2 Cor. viii. 5. 
The man does not look on himself as proprietor and master of him- 
self. He is the Lord's by creation, and the Lord's by baptismal 
dedication, by redemption, by daily conservation : and therefore he 
makes himself the Lord's also by volnntary resignation, saying, / 
am the Lord's, Isa. xliv. 5. He owns himself debtor to God for his 
being, and therefore accounts it just that he be for him, Hos. iii. 3. 
and therefore that soul and body be employed for him, 2 Cor. vi. 20. 

3. He gives obedience to God, Luke i. 6. Obedience is his due 
from us. He is the Lord, our Creator and Sovereign Lord ; our 
Redeemer ; and therefore we are bound to obey him, Exod. xs. 2. 
He is our King and Lawgiver, our Father and suiH-erae Master, 
Mai. i. 6. And the conscience of duty owing to him, on all these 
and other accounts, moves them that shall dwell in heaven to bo 
obedient to him, as his creatures, subjects, children, and servants. 
And they gave him illimited obedience, as their absolute Lord, not 
disputing, but doing his commands, as Abraham did. Gen. xxii. ; 
universal obedience, as knowing that all his precepts are right, 
Psal. cxix. 128 ; the obedience of the inner man, resigning their 
souls to the will of his commands and of his providence : and of the 
outward man, studying a blameless life, Luke i. 6. Psal. xxiv. 3, 4 ; 
a cheerful, son-like obedience, with heart and good-will, Isa. 
Ixiv. 5; and constant obedience, Psal. cxix. 112. 

4. He gives God his worship, John ix. 31. He is our God, and 
therefore it is his due, Matth. iv. 10 ; and they who will not wor- 
ship him, would ungod him if they could. But they that shall 
dwell in heaven, walk in the ordinances of his worship, as well as 
in his commands of obedience, Luke i. 6. They are universal in 
his worship, ibid. ; they dare not keep back a part of his known 
worship from him. They give him outward worship, in prayer, 
praise, &c. They worship him in secret, Matth. vi. 6 ; in their fa- 
milies, if they have a family, being awed by that threatening, 
" Pour out thy fury upon — the families that call not on thy name ;" 
and in the congregation of his people. And they join inward wor- 
ship with the outward, which distinguisheth them from the hypo- 
crite, as the other from the profane, John iv. 24. Phil. iii. 3. The 
inward worship is the worship of the heart, in faitli, fear, love, pa- 
tience, humiliation, &c. 

5. He gives God the use of his talents. It is his due, for they 
are all his, given to men to improve them for him. They that shall 
dwell in heaven, know that their time is the Lord's, and they must 
be acconntablo to him for it ; therefore they dare not squander it 


away idly, doing nothing, far less wickedly doing mischief, Psal. 
xc. 12. Their gifts are the Lord's, given them to profit withal, 
1 Cor. xii. 7 ; therefore they dare neither keep them laid np in the 
napkin of civility, satisfying themselves that they do no ill with 
them, as the slothful servant did, Luke xix. 20 ; nor hide them in 
the earth of carnality, laziness, and worldly-mi ndedness, so burying 
them, Matth. xxv. 25 ; knowing that both the one and the other are 
rejected of God, as unpj-ofitable servants ; that their wealth, honour, 
credit, authority, opportunities of doing good, are the Lord's; that 
God has entrusted them therewith for his own service, and they must 
reckon for the use of them, Luke xvi. 2 ; and therefore it is their 
care to honour the Lord with their substance, to improve their ho- 
nour, &c. for God, 1 Sam. ii. 30. to do good as they have opportu- 
nity ; that their youth, health, and strength are the Lord's ; that 
these will not last, and therefore they will use them for God, while 
they have them ; knowing that the best is his due. 

6. He gives God the praise and thankful acknowledgment of all 
his comforts and enjoyments, Psal. c. 3. It is his due, for they are 
all his benefits. Our daily bretid we have at his table : he gives us 
our good things, he gives us the good of them ; and nothing can be 
more comfortable to us than he makes it to be. So while others 
sacrifice to their own net, and say as Deut. viii. 17- " My power and 
the might of my hand hath gotten me this wealth ; they remember 
the Lord, for it is he that giveth them power to get wealth," 
verse 18. This thankfulness runs out into a stream of obedience. 

7. He gives God the disposal of his lot, Psal. xlvii. 4. It is his 
due ; hence is that, Matth. xx. 15. " Is it not lawful for me to do 
what I will with mine own ?" So they that shall dwell in heaven 
are self-denied ones ; all they have in the world is at his disposal, 
their health, wealth, liberty, and life itself, Luke xiv. 26. 

8. Lastly, He gives God the chief part in all his duty to man, out 
of conscience towards God doing his duty to men : his piety is the 
fountain of his justice, Eph. vi. 7. This is God's due, because he is 
the best of beings, therefore to be loved for himself, and all others 
for his sake. Hence he serves God in all his relations, and deal- 
ings with men, doing his duty to them as the Aviil of God : so his 
love to God is the spring of his duty to men. 

These are they that work righteousness ; and without doubt, it 
may be seen, that there are few such in the world. 

Thirdly, He works righteousness towards man. He that shall 
dwell in heaven hereafter, as he believes in Christ, and performs his 
duty to God in sincerity, so he is conscientious in the practice of 
his duty to his neighbour; and this completes his character as a 


■VTorker of righteousness. Moral honesty is an essential part of true 
Christianity, without which no man shall see the Lord, 1 Cor. vi. 9. 
True religion makes a man not only pious towards God but righte- 
ous towards his neighbour. This part of the character of a citizen 
of Zion we may take up in these three generals. 

1. He is one that will wrong no man to his knowledge. This 
is a necessary evidence of sonship to God. Hence believers are re- 
presented to be " blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without 
rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation," Phil. ii. 15. 
Job took the comfort of it as such, chap. xxxi. 7, 8. " If my step 
hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, 
and if any blot hath cleaved to my hands : then let me sow, and let 
another eat ; yea, let my offspring be rooted out." The best of men 
must no doubt say in this case as in others, " Who can understand 
his errors ? cleanse thou me from secret faults." But the habitual 
practice of injustice, and wronging our neighbours, is not, I am sure, 
the spot of God's children, but a mark of the devil's slaves, 1 Cor. 
vi. 9. And he that pursues his course that way through the world, 
will land in hell hereafter. 

2. He is one that sincerely studies to do as he would be done to. 
This a natural conscience dictates, and the revealed will of God 
confirms, Matth. vii. 12. " All things whatsoever ye would that men 
should do to you, do ye even so to them," And regenerating grace 
writes it in brighter characters on the renewed heart, Heb. viii. 10. 
Where the love of God is planted, the love of our neighbour is 
planted too. If we love God with a supreme love, we will love our 
neighbour as ourselves, and, consequently, study to do to him as we 
would have him, agreeable to the rules of the world, do to us, if we 
were in his circumstances. When Christ enters the heart, the great 
idol self is knocked down. Selfishness makes men carry towards 
their neighbour, as if their neighbour were bound in duty to them, 
but they free. But grace makes the man see that there is one Law- 
giver over, and one law to him and his neighbour too. 

3. He is one that makes conscience of giving every one their due. 
This also is the dictate of natural conscience, confirmed by the word, 
Rom. xiii. 7. Render to all their dues ; and is the native exercise of 
that righteousness wherein the new man is created, Eph. iv. 2-4. 
This is right, that every one have their right of us, for we are mem- 
bers one of another ; and if men be not conscientious in this, how do 
they bear the image of the righteous God, or how can they expect 
the crown of righteousness ? Luke xvi. 11. 

I mean not, as if no righteous person could transgress or offend 
against the rules of justice. No, no ; the justice of the saints to- 


wards men is hut imperfect in this life, as well as their holiness to- 
wards Grod. Even David was the man in the parable that took his 
neighbour's lamb, and good Asa oppressed some of the people, 2 Chron. 
xvi. 10. And the fatlier of the faithful was justly reproved by a 
Heathen king for the wrong he did him, Gen. xx. 9. 

But it is one thing to sin of ignorance and weakness, and another 
deliberately and of set purpose. It is one thing to be hurried into 
an act of injustice, by a violent temptation, passion, or fear, as in 
the aforementioned cases; and another to be habitually unjust, and 
ready to fall in with every opportunity of that nature. The former 
is incident to saints, the latter peculiar to sinners : the one repent 
their folly bitterly, when it is discovered to them, and will be ready 
to their power to make reparation, and are afraid to fall back into 
the same iniquitous ways again, watch against them, and the habi- 
tual bent of their heart is to do justly : but the other goes on impe- 
uitently in his sin, and is ready for the next temptation, and oppor- 
tunity of dealing unjustly, because the proud, covetous, selfish spirit 
reigns in him, to his destruction. 

So still it remains true, that the citizen of Zion, though he is not 
legally and perfectly just, is just evangelically, in a gospel-sense. 
lie is a sincere worker of righteousness towards man ; he is sincerely 
righteous in his dealings towards his neighbour. This shall be 
branched out in several particulars. 

1. He is righteous in his particular relations, giving his relatives 
what is due to them by that relation they stand in to him, Luke i. 6. 
He is righteous to them, 

(1.) In the special duties of the relation. There is a duty the 
husband owes to the wife, and the wife to the husband ; children to 
parents, and parents to children ; servants to masters, and masters 
to servants, &c. as such. And these duties they owe to them by a 
natural tie, or a voluntary compact. And the citizen of Zion work- 
cth righteousness, in making conscience of these duties to their re- 
latives, whether they be husbands, wives, &c. 1 Cor. vii. 33, 34. 
Eph. vi. 1, 5, 6. And the neglect of these will prove one to be 
none of those that shall dwell in heaven. 

(2.) In common duties. The common duties of justice which they 
owe to every body, they will not deny to their own relations. So 
husbands wasting their substance to the detriment of their wives 
and children, are none of the citizens of Zion, 1 Tim. v. 8. Nor 
wives embezzling, and putting away their husbands' goods, to their 
loss and without their knowledge. Pro v. xiv. 1. and xxxi. 12. Chil- 
dren that embezzle and take away their parents' substance without 
their consent, Prov. xxviii. 24. Servants wronging their masters. 


in taking of their substance to themselves, or giving it away to 
others without their consent, Tit. ii. 9, 10. It is injustice in all 
these, as being against the right of their relatives : and all such as 
tempt or encourage them to such injustice, wrong their own souls, 
Prov. xxix. 24. 

2. He is righteous in his choice of the manner of life he betakes 
himself to for his through-bearing. This is a piece of justice he 
owes to mankind, and particularly to the society whereof he is a 
member, that he be useful in it, and not hurtful. And therefore the 
citizen of Zion, 

(1.) Dare not be an idle man, without employment, if providence 
has not quite disabled him for any employment. None can with a 
good conscience lay the burden of their maintenance on others, fur- 
ther than what they cannot really prevent by their own utmost ap- 
plication, 2 Thess. ii. 10. Idle persons by that means are unjust both 
to them that have, to whom they are without necessity a burden, 
and they are unjust to those that are poor and really unable to help 
themselves, Eph. iv. 28. 

(2.) He dare not use an unlawful employment. Acts xix. 19. All 
gain gotten by unlawful means is stolen or robbed in the sight of 
God, and is injustice to men. And such is the gain of a lawful em- 
ployment used unlawfully, as selling of drink to men to the abuse 
of themselves and God's good creature. Ye would do yonr neigh- 
bour less hurt, if ye would steal the money out of his pocket ; for 
by that means you would hurt him only in his purse, but at this rate 
you wound his conscience too. And when ye have considered that 
passage seriously, Hab. ii. 15, " Wo unto him that giveth his neigh- 
bour drink : that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken 
also, that thou mayst look on their nakedness :" ye will see your 
gain that way is like the gaining of a burning coal into your own 

3. He is righteous in the management of his employment, 1 Cor. vii. 
24. " Let every man wherein he is called, therein abide with God." 
He that walks with God at all, will walk with him in his employ- 
ment, of whatsoever sort it be : following it conscientiously, as under 
the eye of God. There is a snare in all employments, and a false- 
hood incident to all trades, by reason of the corruptions of men's 
heart : but he that shall dwell in heaven, will be aware of it, while 
he is upon the earth, Hcb. xii. 1. 

4. He is righteous in his commerce and bargains with men, 
1 Thess. iv. 6. " That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in 
any matter." It is God's command that wo do justly in these things, 
that we do as we would be done to. People's undermining one an- 

VoL. Y. I 


other in their bargains, raising themselves on their neighbour's ruins, 
taking their lands over their heads, raising and racking their rents 
to them, taking advantage in their bargains of their neighbour's ne- 
cessities, or ignorance, using false weights and measures, adulterat- 
ing their wares, not keeping condition, but oppressing either in 
buying or selling, requiring more than due, or keeping back part of 
the price, need no more to shew the injustice of them, but for men 
to look in to their own breasts, and ask their own consciences, if 
that be the way they think it reasonable others should do with 
them. Lev. xxv. 14, " If thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or 
buyest ought of thy neighbour's hand ; ye shall not oppress one 
another." Consider Avhat is said, Isa. xxxiii. 15, 16, " He that 
walketh righteously, and speakcth uprightly, he that despiseth the 
gain of oppressions, — he shall dwell on high." 

5. He is righteous in matters of neighbourhood and fellowship. 
That is an awful word in this aftair, Deut. xxvii. 17- " Cursed be he 
that removeth his neighbour's land-mark." A good man will be as 
loath to do wrong in neighbourhood, as to receive wrong ; and will 
find himself in conscience bound, not only to abstain from wilful 
wronging of them, but to beware of culpable negligence, whereby 
they may sustain loss, though undesigned. And as he is in partner- 
ship with others, he will beware of taking more to himself than falls 
to his share, or raising gain to himself in a way that causeth his 
neighbour's loss. For all these are contrary to the love we owe to 
others as to ourselves. 

6. He is righteous in matters of trust, that is, in things committed 
to his care, and put into his hand. Treachery under trust is among 
the worst pieces of injustice : and betrayers of their trust in things 
of this world, cannot expect the things of a better world to be com- 
mitted to them, Luke xvi. 11. Let such as have other people's busi- 
ness and goods committed to them take heed to this ; and act as in the 
sight of God, and in the sight of those who trust them, and beware 
of the snare that is ready for them there, as they would not ruin 
their own souls, Prov. xxviii. 20. 

7. He is righteous in the matter of loans. Borrowing and lending 
is a necessary bond of society among neighbours, and a good man 
will find himself to be obliged to do justly therein ; to see that the 
thing borrowed by him, sustain no notable loss by his means, or if 
it do, to repair the loss, and faithfully to restore the thing borrowed, 
He will pay his just debts if he be able, and will conscientiously see 
that he run himself into no more than he is in a probable condition 
to pay, Psal. xxxvii. 21. He will not stave off his neighbour from 
what is his due unnecessarily, and oblige him to vexatious law-suits 


for bis own, Prov. iii. 28, 30. Nor will he use extortion in com- 
pensation of loans, imposing upon his neighbour beyond law and 
right, Psal. xv. ult. 

8. He is righteous in the matter of lost things found by him, and 
will conscientiously restore, if the owner can be found, and will not 
dare fraudulently to conceal it, and much less dispatch it so as the 
owner cannot have it again. For that fraudulent concealment and 
retaining such a thing, is no other but a continued theft and wronging 
our neighbour, Deut. xxii. 1 — 3. So righteous Jacob determined. Gen. 
XXX. 33. And to this may be added, that the rigliteous man will 
find himself obliged to prevent any loss to his neighbour, which he 
has an opportunity to prevent, whether his neighbour see it or not. 

9. He is righteous in using this world's goods to the honour of 
God, and the relief of the needy, Psal. cxii. 5, 9. Though men have 
the right of propriety in their own substance, yet the poor have a 
right of charity in them, so far as they need, and their neighbours 
can spare. And the truth is, those to whom God has given sub- 
stance, they are his stewards, and have their orders from him to 
steward faithfully as they will be answerable ; and the poor and 
needy are among those who by him are committed to their steward- 
ship. And the weight laid on this piece of righteousness, as an evi- 
dence of imputed righteousness, by our Lord himself, Luke xvi. 9, 
and in Matth. xxv. will always have weight with a good man, to be 
a worker of righteousness, in point of a charitable disposition. 

Lastly, In a word, he is conscientiously righteous in all things 
that concern his neighbour, Micah vi. 8. He that is a Christian in- 
deed will be a strict observer of truth, faithfulness, and justice, in 
the matters of this world ; dealing with men as under the all-seeing 
eye of God. And he will never want a quick-sighted witness to his 
dealings with men, while there is a God in heaven, whether the 
party he deals Avith be absent or present, skilful or simple, able to 
revenge any wrong done to hira, or unable. 

II. I proceed to confirm this doctrine. To this end consider, 

1. God is a righteous God. He is righteous in his nature, and he 
loves righteousness, Psal. xi. ult. He cannot but do what is right, 
Gen. xviii. 25. So the king of heaven is a righteous King: what 
communion can they have with him that are unrighteous ? 

2. It is the great end of redemption by Christ, that his people 
may be righteous, and so fitted for heaven. He gave himself to 
purchase the Spirit of faith and holiness, by which they might work, 
who had lost all power of working righteousness by the fall. Tit. ii. 
14. He delivers them from the bondage of their spiritual enemies, 
that they may serve him in righteousness, Luke i. 74, 75. Accor- 



dingly it is promised to the Redeemer, Isa. Ix. 21. Thy people shall 
he all righteous. 

3. Lastly, Men will be judged and sentence will be passed upon 
tbera before the tribunal of God, according to their works, Rev. xx. 12, 
13. See Matth. xxv. Works of righteousness will be the evidence 
of a title to heaven ; and unrighteous works the cause of damnation. 

I shall shut up this branch of the character of a citizen of Zion, 
with a word of improvement. 

Use I. This may let us see that few in this world are safe for 
another world. Alas ! how many are there, (1.) Who are not 
righteous towards men ? (2.) Who make no conscience of giving 
God his due, and walking righteously with him ? And, (3.) Though 
they may seem to be something in both these respects, yet are not 
righteous by faith, nor solicitous to be so ? 

Use II. Of exhortation. Study then to be workers of righteous- 
ness, in all the respects that have been declared, and so evidence 
yourselves to be citizens of Zion.* 


Psalm xv. 

— And speaketh the truth in his heart. 

Here is the third character of the citizen of Zion, he is a follower 
of truth. It hath two parts clearly distinguished in the original. 
(1.) He speaketh truth ; what he expresses in words, he is careful 
that it be consistent with truth. (2.) He speaketh truth in his 
heart. There is a speaking in the heart without words, Psal. iv. 1. 
Eccl. ii. 15. This is done by thoughts and reasonings, and much 
depends on their being consistent with truth. And both these go 
together to make up the character of one that shall be an inhabitant 
of heaven. The first part is but a negative mark : it is the addition 
of the latter that makes the positive mark. 

Two doctrines are deducible from the text, viz. 

DocT. I. Those that shall be inhabitants of heaven hereafter, are 
such as make conscience of speaking truth while they are in this 

* As the auther has not extended this Use in the IMS. he probably, on this occa- 
sion, recapitulated what he had delivered more fully, on a former occasion, in the 
application of his exposition of the eighth commandment. There the reader will 
find it. 


DocT. II. Tliey who shall be inhabitants of heaven, are svxch as 
not only speak truth to others, but speak truth within their own 

I shall prosecute each doctrine in order. 

DocT. I. They that shall be inhabitants of heaven hereafter, are 
such as make conscience of speaking truth while they are in this 

In discoursing this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Esi)lain this character, or part of the character of a citizen of 

II. Confirm the doctrine. 

III. Make application. 

I. The first head is to explain this part of the character of a citi- 
zen of Zion, That he is one who speaketh the truth. And here I 
will show, 

1. What is truth. 

2. What it is to be a speaker of truth. 

First, I am to shew what is truth. This question Pilate proposed 
to Christ, but staid not for an answer, John xviii. 38. Truth is a 
sacred harmony or agreement of things. Anatomists have observed 
that the tongue in man is tied with a double string to the heart. 

And so in truth spoken there is necessary a double agreement of 
our words. 

1. With our heart. That is, to the speaking of truth, it is neces- 
sary our words agree with our mind and thoughts about the thing. 
We must speak as we think, and our tongues must be faithful inter- 
preters of our mind : otherwise we lie, not speaking as we think. 
So what is truth in itself may be spoken by a man, and yet he be a 
liar, viz. if he does not think as he speaks. 

2. With the thing as it is in itself. Though we think a thing to 
be so, which is not so, we lie, when we affirm it ; because it is not 
as we say, though we really think it is so. For our mistaken no- 
tions of things can never stamp lies to pass current for truths, 
2 Thess. ii. 11. 

Secondly, I shall shew what it is to be a speaker of truth, which 
is the character of a citizen of Zion. It lies in two things. 

1. A citizen of Zion is one who makes conscience of speaking out 
the truth in the proper time and season thereof, John xviii. 37. 
As the head was, so will the members be on the side of truth in the 
world, 3 John, 8. It is for this end God has called his own people 
out of the world lying in wickedness and falsehood, 

Solomon tolls us, Eccl. iii. 7- that, " There is a time to keep 



silence, and a time to speak." People may sin egregiously by an 
unseasonable speaking of tbe trntli, Prov. xxix. 11. "A fool utter- 
eth all bis mind." Tbi.s Avas Pocg's sin, Psal. lii. Natnre lias put 
a double bar on our tongues, and discretion, and much more tlie 
grace of God, will add a tbird. Tbose wbose tongues are like a 
loose-window in wind, ever clattering, discover tbemselves to bave 
very little eitber wit or grace, if any at all. Talkativeness is, (1.) 
A sign of little awe or dread of God upon tbe beart, Eccl. v. 2. 
" Be not rasb witb tby raoutb, and let not tbine beart be basty to 
utter anytbing before God : for God is in beaven, and tbou upon 
eartb : tberefore let tby words be few. God bas given men two 
ears, and but one tongue, wbicb says, tbat, " every man sbould be 
swift to hear, slow to speak," Jam. i. 19. (2.) Tbe fool's badge, 
Eccl. V. 3. " A fool's voice is known by multitude of words. Prov. 
xiv. 33. Wisdom restetb in tbe beart of bira tbat batb understand- 
ing : but tbat wbicb is in tbe midst of fools is made known." It is 
tbe empty barrel tbat makes most noise ; wbicb made an orator ask 
a double fee of a talkative scbolar, one to teacb bim to speak well, 
anotber to teacb bim to bold bis peace. Our words sbould be few, 
true, and seasonable. 

Now tbe citizen of Zion is a speaker out of tbe trutb in tbe sea- 
son tbereof, tbat is, when be is called of God to speak it. And a 
man is called to speak out tbe trutb, wben tbe glory of God, or tbe 
good of otbers make it necessary, or their own good, 1 Cor. x. 31 ; 
Rom. xiii. 9. Our tongue is called our glory, because thereby we 
must glorify God. And it is a bond of human society, whereby we 
ought to contribute to our power to remove tbose ills tbat are the 
plagues and pests of society. This call is twofold. 

(1.) Private and providential, wherein men bave the call of provi- 
dence to declare tbe trutb, though there is no human authority 
obliging them to it. This ordinarily occurs in conversation among 
men, where trutb may be wronged, God dishonoured, ourselves or 
neighbours injured, if there is no body to speak out the trutb. A 
good Christian Avill find himself obliged to speak the truth upon this 
call, though none is desiring bim, 1 Sam. xix. 4. 

(2.) Public and authoritative, when people are called either by 
tbe authority of the magistrate or of the church, judicially to de- 
clare tbe trutb. This is a solemn call from God to tbat duty, which 
he gives by the mouth of tbose whom he has put in authority, eitber 
making them gods by office, or ambassadors for God. And there- 
fore to decline the speaking out of truth in that case, is to decline 
God's solemn call to it, and to mar the course of justice, and tbe ho- 
nour of God, Isa. lix. 14. 


Now, one that sliall be an inhabitant of heaven being tlius called, 
will conscientiously as in the sight of God si^eak out the truth ; and 

[1.] Fully, not daring to conceal the truth, nor any part of it 
known to them, which may contribute to the clearing of the matter 
in question. So did that prudent woman mentioned, 2 Sam. xiv. 18. 
— 20. Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead, for their doing 
otherwise in such a case. Acts v. 

[2.] Freely, not being hampered in speaking out the truth by the 
awe of any person, or the dread of any thing which may befal them 
for doing their duty which God calls them to, 1 Sara. xix. 4, 5. 
The dread of God will be on the spirits of his own children, to carry 
them out in this ; aud will downweigh respect to all others, Job 
xxxii. idt. 

[3.] Clearly, not equivocating, shifting, mincing, obscuring, and 
wrai)ping up the truth ; so as they who hear it know not what to 
make of it. Josh. vii. 19, 20. Awful is that curse, Jer, xlviii. 10. 
" Cursed be he that doth the work of the Lord deceitfully." 

[4.] Sincerely, 2 Chron. xix. 9. without feud or favour to any. 
The grace of God working in the heart will make gracious people 
to speak as in the sight of God, 2 Cor. ii. 17. 

2. A citizen of Zion is one Avho makes conscience of speaking no- 
thing but the truth at any time, Isa. Ixiii. 8. Though we are not at 
every time to be blabbing out the truth we do know, yet we are at 
no time to lie against the truth, 2 Cor. xiii. 8. There can be no 
call to lie, but from the devil, and men's own corrupt hearts, what- 
ever circumstances we be in. Job xiii. 7, 8. There is no time to 
speak falsely. And we are to speak nothing but truth, 

(1.) In speaking to God, in our professions, confessions, and 
prayers. Hypocrites lie to the Lord, Psal. Ixxviii. 36. Sincere 
souls will speak truth. 

(2.) In speaking to men, Eph. iv. 25. whether in private conver- 
sation, or in public appearances. 

II. I come now to confirm the doctrine. It is evident, if ye con- 

1. That in the saints the image of Satan is defaced, and the 
power of the corruption of nature broken, Rev. xxi. ult. Corrupt 
men may call Satan father, for he abode not in the truth, but is the 
father of lies, John viii. 44. And the corruption of nature quickly 
vents itself in lying, being what the unrenewed heart as naturally 
brings forth, as the cursed ground brings forth thorns and thistles, 
Psal. Iviii. 3. " The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go 
astray, as soon as they be born, speaking lies." So that wherever 
the grace of God comes, it must give a new set. 


2. Tlio image of Grod is repaired in them, wliich has truth for a 
shining lineament in it, Eph. iy. 24. It was a notable saying of a 
philosopher, That truth is so great a perfection, that if God would 
render himself visible, he would take light for his body, and truth 
for his soul. And the scripture assures us, that Christ shewing 
himself to the world, was the Ivjht and the truth. God is truth itself, 
and no lie can have xdace with him. Tit. i. 2; Numb, xxiii. 19. 
"Where then the image of God is repaired, as it is in all the saints, 
no doubt the lying disposition will be broken in them. 

3. The Christian life is a. walking in truth, 3 John, 3. There is 
truth of heart in true Christians, and that m.akes truth of conversa- 
tion. Yea, it is called a speaking of truth, Eph. iv. 15. the whole 
life of a Christian being an expressing of truth in j)ractice. So that 
to walk in lies is the very reverse of Christianity. 

4. Lcistly, The Lord has expressly declared, that liars shall be 
the inhabitants of hell, not of heaven ; that in their end they shall 
not be with God, who is the God of truth, but with the devil, the 
father of lies. Rev. xxi. ult. and xxii. 15. 

I shall now make application of this subject. 

Use I. This writes death on the faces of two sorts of people. 

1. Those who are concealers of the truth, which God calls thera 
to speak out. There are many who can set a brazen face against 
the truth, and cause their tongues go on in a course of lying against 
their consciences, and outface and bear down what God and their 
own consciences know to be truth : and though their confessing the 
truth would honour God, and be a mean to bring their souls out of 
the snare of the devil ; yet, because it may be to their own shame 
before men, they will stifle and conceal the truth, Jer. ix. 3, 5. 
And there are not wanting others, who, however ready they may be 
to speak in other cases, have never a mouth to open in a good cause, 
for the suppressing of sin and wickedness. But though they be 
called of God to speak what they know to be truth, yet they will 
set their foot on it, and wickedly conceal it, or mince it, and shift 
the matter, as men who have no fear of God before their eyes. Do 
such believe there is a heaven and a hell ? If they do, how can 
they think that ever they shall be inhabitants of heaven, in whom 
the character of a citizen of *Zion is not to be found ? Let all such 
remember that awful word, Rom i. 18. "The wrath of God is re- 
vealed from heaven against all ungodliness, and unrighteousness of 
men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness." God will charge the 
iniquity on those who conceal it. Lev. v. 1. and that as consenting 
to it, Deut. xiii. 8. Truth is strong, and will prevail, and will set 
np its head at length, to the confusion of those who bear it down. 


2, All liars, who make not conscieuce of speaking truth, but 
speak lies and falsehood. This sin of lying, is a common vice : but 
it is the black brand of one that shall never see heaven. And that 
this is so very common, notwithstanding that the Scripture is so ex- 
press in assigning liars for the inhabitants of hell, not of heaven; 
is not to be thought strange, while that stands in the Bible, Matth. 
vii. 13. " Wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to de- 
struction, and many there be which go in thereat." If they that 
shall be inhabitants of heaven be such as speak the truth, what 
shall become of liars ? Are they not barred out of heaven thereby ? 
And I charge all liars to take this home ; and, 

(1.) The jesting liars, who will lie to make others merry, he to 
make sport, Hos. vii. 3. Those men are liberal of the blood of their 
own souls, who, to make sport to others, will run the risk of ever- 
lasting sorrow to themselves. The Prov. xxvi. 18, 19. 

(2.) The officious liars, who will lie to do themselves or others a 
real good turn. They are apt to think, that since they do good by 
their lies, or intend to do good by them, there is no hazard in such 
lying. But that is the doctrine of the father of lies, not of the 
scriptures of truth, 1 John ii. 21. No lie is of the truth. If it were 
possible to save a soul by a lie, or honour God by one, it is unlawful. 
Hence Job says, chap. xiii. 7- " Will ye speak wickedly for God ? 
and talk deceitfully for him ?" The damnation of such is as just, as 
it is sure, Rom. iii. 8. who do so, if mercy prevent it not. 

(3.) The pernicious liars, who lie to do a mischief thereby, Prov. 
vi. 17. These sorts of liars break at once the bonds of charity and 
truth, and of all liars are the likest to their father the devil, who was 
at once a liar and a murderer. Yet how many such are there, whose 
lying tongues are swords to stab, and arrows to pierce their neigh- 
bours, and a fire from hell to set whole societies in a flame ? 

(4.) The covetous liars, whose covetous hearts use their lying 
tongues to deceive their neighbour, Prov. xx. 14. " It is naught, it 
is naught, saith the buyer : but when he is gone his way, then he 
boasteth." ! what lying is there in buying and selling, and beg- 
ging, by this means ? For a thing of naught men will not stand to 
lie ; if they can gain a very little thing, they will not stand upon 
the expense of truth, not considering the unspeakable loss of the 
soul thereby. 

(5.) The proud boasting liars, who to raise others' esteem of them, 
and to be thought fine people, will tell of themselves what has no 
ground in truth, Prov. xxv. 14. They form to themselves a figure 
of themselves in their own imagination, and breathe out lies to fix 
that opinion of them in others. Some who pride themselves in mis- 


chief, will tell wickedness of themselves which they never did : but 
that is enough to make them guilty of it before God. Pride of heart 
is a nurse of lying. 

(6.) The flattering liars, who speak of others the good they do 
not think, just to curry favour with them, Psal. xii. 2, 3. They 
fawn like dogs, and sooth up men in falsehood and vanity, like the 
devil. Their flattering tongue is soft as oil, but in the mean time it 
is more ruining than a sword, Prov. xxvi. 28. For by it two fall at 
once, the flattered as well as the flatterer, Prov. xxix. 5. 

(7.) The fearful liars, who, for fear of others, make lies their re- 
fuge, as children ofteu do, bewraying thereby the corruption of their 
nature, Psal. Iviii. 3 ; and others too, who though men and women 
in years, are but children in courage, Prov. xxix. 25. The fear of 
man hringeth a snare. But sad is the doom of those who have so 
little regard to truth as to be frightened into lies. Rev. xxi. 8. 

(8.) The talkative liars. Solomon observes, Prov. x. 19. In the 
multitude of words there wanteth not sin. They who are given to much 
talking, will hardly be found regardful of truth. When their fund 
of truth runs out, or occurs not, they will rather foist in lies than 
hold their peace. And I believe a strict regard to truth would be 
a notable means to repress talkativeness. 

(9.) The rash liars, who lie through inadvertency and customary 
looseness of spirit as to their words, 2 Sara. xiii. 30. Much sin is 
contracted this way. There is so much carelessness as to what men 
speak, that their tongues outrun their minds, and ere they are 
aware they are mired in a lie. But if men must give an account of 
their idle words though true, much more of their lying words, 
though rash and inadvertent. 

Use II. I exhort you to si)eak the truth, and dehort you from ly- 
ing. For motives, consider, 

1. God is the God of truth, Deut. xxxii. 4. He is the author of 
truth, and truth is so much of his nature, that he who made the 
world of nothing, can no more lie than he can cease to be God, Tit. 
i. 2. So that as fire is contrary to water, yea hell to heaven ; so is 
the liar to God. 

2. The devil is the author and father of lies, John viii. 44. He^ 
ruined the world at first with a lie. Gen. iii. 4, 5. He lied upon 
God, he lied to our first parents and deceived them, and he lied of 
himself. What wonder is it that he is so concerned to get the trade 
of lying kept uj) in the world, since by it he succeeded so well at 

3. It is the bane of human society. Truth is the bond of society, 
which keeps men together, causing them to trust one another. Ly- 


ing cnts tliis bond asunder, and so subverts the comfort and advan- 
tage of society, Micali vii. 5. And therefore liars deserve to be ex- 
truded out of society with other men, for they are the plagues and 
pests of it. 

4. It is a mean, base, and contemptible thing ; so that no body 
regards a liar. Even they that will not stand to lie, cannot endure 
to be held and reputed liars ; they will be ready to revenge the af- 
front. This says that there is something so base in lying, that it 
leaves a man no credit. And no wonder ; for finding a man to lie 
sometimes, no body can trust him securely, even when he speaks 

5. Lying is the native product of the corruption of nature, the ef- 
fect of the spawn of the old serpent left in the hearts of the children 
of men, Psal. Iviii. 3. It is a part of the old man of sin, that will 
be put off where-ever the grace of God comes, Eph. iv. 25 ; Col. iii. 
9. And there cannot be a more certain sign of one in the black 
state of nature, under the curse, than a habit of lying. 

6. It is an abomination to God, and God abhors liars, Prov. vi. 
17, 19. and xii. 22. Though ye think to please yourselves and 
others by lying, where is the gain when ye thereby make yourselves 
3.bominable to God ? 

7. Lastly, Eying will undoubtedly ruin your souls for evermore. 
God will destroy liars, Psal. v. 7- They shall surely perish, Prov. 
xix. 9 ; Rev. xxi. ult. and xxii. 15. 

Be concerned to curb it in young ones, as ye love their souls. 
Lying and stealing are akin, IIos. iv. 2. And when once they get a 
habit of it, how hard is it to get them off it ? 

Remember that God's omniscient eye is on you always, and mor- 
tify those corruptions whence lying arises. 

DocT. II. They who shall be inhabitants of heaven, are such as 
not only speak truth to others, but speak truth within their own 

In discoursing this point, I shall, 

I. Premise some things for the right understanding of it. 

II. Shew the import of this part of the citizen of Zion's character. 

III. Confirm the doctrine. 

IV. Improve the subject. 

1. I am to premise some things for the right understanding of 
this point. 

1.' When God created man, he set up the light of truth in his 
soul, that thereby he might clearly perceive the way to true happi- 
ness, and might not by false colours be led off his way, if he would 


take heed thereto, Gen. iii. 21. The remains of the natural law in 
the hearts of the Heathens, do evidence the knowledge of the truth 
necessary to true happiness, to have been perfect in innocent Adam, 
Horn. iii. 15; Eccl. vii. 29. 

2. When man fell, the truth set np in his heart fell down too. 
Instead of his primitive light which represents things in their native 
colours, there came in darkness, which presents things in false co- 
lours unto men, Eph. v. 8. and makes them easy to be imposed upon 
and led out of the way. The father of lies prevailing with our first 
parents, left in their hearts a spawn of vanity, falsehood, and lies. 

3. Hence proceed mistaken notions of the most weighty things, 
false apprehensions of them, and false reasonings about them, 
whereby men lie to themselves most dangerously, and deceive and 
cheat themselves thereby, even as by lying words they lie to deceive 
and cheat others, Isa. xliv. 20. And upon this kind of lying the 
scripture often fathers sinners' ruin, Psal. 1. 21. "These things hast 
thou done, and I kept silence : thou thoughtest that I was altoge- 
ther such a one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in 
order before thine eyes :" and therefore it shows the necessity of 
laying them aside, Isa. Iv. 7. " Let the wicked forsake his way, and 
the unrighteous man his thoughts." But this is the reigning dispo- 
sition of the hearts of all men by nature, and the thoughts of most 
men touching the state of their souls are one continued web of lies, 
Jer. xvii. 9. 

4. Where the grace of God comes, renewing and changing the 
heart, truth is restoi'ed again within the heart, Eph. v. 8. Men's 
notions of spiritual things ai"e rectified, their thouglits and reason- 
ings about them are quite altered, 2 Cor. v. 17. We see it exem- 
plified in Paul's case, Phil. iii. 7. " What things were gain to me, 
(says he), those I counted loss for Christ." Hence repentance is, in 
scripture language, a coming to one's self, like a madman restored 
to his right mind ; an after-wit, the man being brought to second 
thoughts about his soul-matters, by which the first thoughts are dis- 
covered to have been falsehood and lies, quite wide of the truth. 

5. Lastly, From all this it necessarily follows, that it must be a 
distinguishing character of a saint, to speak truth within his own 
heart; which no unregenerate man, while he is such, does ever ar- 
rive at. Tit. iii. 3. Others being under the power of Satan, truth 
has not its efficacy within their hearts. 

II. I shall next shew the import of this part of the citizen of 
Zion's character, that he is one that speaketh the truth in his heart. 

1. Citizens of Zion are not deceivers of themselves as to their 
own spiritual state, Gal. vi. 3. It is very natural for men to lie on 


themselves to themselves in that matter, looking to themselves in a 
false glass, which represents them to be in the favour of God, whilq 
they are in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity. Thus 
did Paul lie of himself to himself, in his unconverted state, Rom. 
vii. 9. " I was alive without the law once." Laodicea breathed out 
a heap of lies of this sort, Rev. iii. 17. " I am rich, and increased 
with goods, and have need of nothing." And though men think so of 
themselves, it is not one whit the more true, Isa. xliv. 20. The first 
work of the Spirit in conversion, is to cause men speak truth in 
their hearts in this point, Luke xv. 17; Rom. vii. 9. 

2. They labour to approve themselves to God in their way ; not 
satisfying themselves Avith the approbation of men, but endeavour- 
ing to carry themselves as in the sight of God, Rom. ii. 28, 29. 
Many will be at some pains to maintain truth in their conversation 
with men, who are very little concerned for truth in the inward 
parts, where they have to do with God alone. But a true Christian 
will be mainly concerned for this last, as the spring of the other. 
Hence David says, Psal. li. 6. " Behold, thou desirest truth in the 
inward parts : and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to knoAv 

3. Truth is the prevailing predominant principle in their hearts. 
And therefore the Christian life is called a speaker of truth, Eph. iv. 
15. walking in truth, 3 John 3. Regeneration casts the heart into 
the very mould of truth, Rom. vi. 17. And so the truth taking the 
throne in the heart, frees them from the power of the deceitful lust 
which had a reigning power over them before, John viii. 32. 

(1.) Law truth is a predominant principle in the man's heart. 
And it serves to convince the man of his sinfulness of nature and 
life ; to shew him his natural liableness to the curse for sin ; to dis- 
cover his absolute need of an imputed righteousness, and being in- 
terested in Christ, the absolute need of universal holiness of heart 
and life, John xvi. 8. Thus he is made to speak truth in his heart 
in those points, wherein the hearts of others to whom the law is ne- 
ver yet come in power, are stuffed with lies to their own destruction, 

(2.) Gospel-truth is a predominant principle in them. And it 
serves to point the soul to Jesus Christ, as its alone righteousness, 
and fountain of sanctification, 1 Cor. i. 30 ; to carry the sinner en- 
tirely out of himself for acceptance and favour with God ; to bring 
him forward to all the beauties of holiness, and to carry him off 
them all in point of confidence, Phil. iii. 3. And thus the Christian 
is made to speak truth in his heart in those points, wherein hypo- 
crites, legalists, and formalists go on in a course of soul-ruining lies. 

4. They form their thoughts of soul-matters, sin, duty, safety, 


and danger, not according to their own lusts, nor the conrse of the 
ift'orld : but according to the word of God, which is most firm truth, 
Psal. cxix. 30, 31. Hence those things which others see no ill in, 
they dare not meddle with ; because they form their judgment of 
them by the word, while others have no regard to the testimony of 
the word there-anent. Here the ungodly go quite wrong, speaking 
lies within their hearts. 

They often herein downright contradict the word. They will pro- 
mise themselves safety in a course -wherein God's word declares 
there can be no safety, Deut. xxix. 9. They will form to them- 
selves thoughts of God contrary to his holiness, Psal. 1. 21. They 
will soothe themselves in thoughts unbecoming his omniscience, that 
they may enjoy their secret wickedness, Ezek. viii. 12. They think 
to contemn God, and yet escape, Psal. x. 13. They promise them- 
selves continuance of worldly prosperity, notwithstanding God has 
declared the contrary, Psal. x. 6. and xlix. 11. And many such 
thoughts pass through the hearts of men : and what are they all but 
so many heart lies, which they make to themselves to their own 
ruin ? 

5. Lastly, They form their reasonings in soul-matters according 
to the principles of the word, and not their own corrupt lusts and 
affections, 2 Cor. x. 5. The lusts of ungodly men bear the sway in 
them, and their reasonings are managed by the power of their lusts, 
so as they may be accommodated to their corrupt affections. The 
man desires that there were not a God, and he considers how they 
prosper that despise him, and so says in his heart. There is no God, 
Psal. xiv. 1. and concludes it is vain to be religious, Mai. iii. 14, 
15. He hears God is merciful ; and thence he concludes, he may 
indulge himself in his sinful courses, and yet be safe in the end; 
thus speaking lies in his heart. 

III. To confirm this doctrine, consider, 

1. They are all regenerated, savingly changed in all the faculties 
of their souls, John iii. 3. And in regeneration the law of God is 
■written over again in their hearts, according to the great promise of 
the covenant, Heb. viii. 10. " I will put my laws into their mind, 
and write them in their hearts." Thus the light is set up within 
them, and the former darkness, under which the reigning deceit of 
the heart lodged, is put away. Their minds are renewed. 

2. Sincerity and uprightness of heart, is that without which no 
man shall see the Lord. Matth. v. 8. The foolish virgins were 
shut out notwithstanding their fair outside, because there was no 
truth in their hearts, 1 Sam. xvi. 7. Hypocrites are they who speak 
not the truth in their hearts, and ruin and destruction certainly 
abide them, Matth. xxiv. ult. 


3. If truth is not in the heart, the life will be but a mass of lies, 
falsehood, and vanity, Matth. vi. 23. Darkness and reigning deceit 
in the heart, will ever produce an unholy life : and they that live 
not holy, how shall they die happy ? Heb. xii. 14. 

I conclude with a short word of improvement. 

Use I. This doctrine writes death to several sorts of persons. 

1. Those who have never yet learned, by the Spirit's teaching, 
what a God the Lord is, how greatly he hates sin, and how severely 
he punishes it. Their notions of God are false, and under them 
they find shelter to their lusts. A clear evidence they have not yet 
known the Lord. But sooner or later they will find their mistake, 
and find they have not spoke truth in their hearts of God, Psal. 
I. 21. 

2. Those whose natural notions of sin have not yet been corrected, 
by feeling the bitterness of it, Rom. vii. 9. Many are ruined by not 
discerning the ill of sin : if they had just thoughts of it, they durst 
not venture on it so freely as they do ; more than they would ven- 
ture to take a serpent in their bosom. But their hearts lie to 
them about it, and they love to have it so. 

3. Those who have never yet felt the absolute need of the blood 
and Spirit of Christ Jesus to remove their guilt, and break the 
power of sin in them. There is no other way to get it removed, 
Acts iv. 12 ; and those who look for it another way, will find at 
length to their cost, that they have not spoke truth in their hearts. 

4. Those wlio have not yet learned to make the word of God the 
rule of their life in all points, Gal. iv. 16. Many have very little 
use for their Bibles, for regulating of their conversation. The course 
of this world serves them for a rule, and their own corrupt inclina- 
tions serve them for the same purpose. They will find these to have 
led them to lie in their hearts to themselves to their own ruin. 

Use II. Be exhorted to take heed to your hearts, that ye speak 
truth there, and deceive not yourselves. For motives, consider, 

1. Self-deceiving is frequent in the world, and there is a principle 
of self-love in every one leading them to it. Men of all sorts, pro- 
fessors and profane are apt to fall into it ; therefore be on your 

2. Your eternal state depends ou it. If men be not led into 
truth in their hearts, they can never see nor fall ou the way to hap- 

3. Lastly. It will make a dreadful awakening when the deceitful 
dream is at an end. 

Examine yourselves then, and see that ye get your judgment of 
spiritual things formed by the word. 







James v. 12. 
But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither 
by the earth, neither by any other oath : but let your yea, be yea, and 
your nay, nay ; lest ye fall into condemnation.* 

In these words we have three things. 

I. A serious caveat against profane oaths or swearing : for 
otherwise an oath is an ordinance of God, Heb. vi. 16. and so to be 
used upon a due call thereto, Jer. iv. 2. In this caveat we have, 

(1.) The matter cautioned against. [1.] Swearing by the crea- 
tures, as by heaven or earth, forms of oaths, it would seem, then were in 
use among untender men. [2.] Any other oath as well as these ; 
oaths of the same kind, namely, by creatures; and oaths of other 
kinds, namely, by God their Maker. That the latter as well as the 
former profane swearing is here comprehended, appears from the 
universality of the expression, and the direction as to men's ordinary 
converse given in the following words, where the one as well as the 
other is excluded. 

(2.) The manner of the caveat. It is given, [1.] Very affec- 
tionately, 3Iy brethren. They wei'e so in respect of their nation, and 
in respect of the Christian religion which they professed, being 
believing Jews. Though heathens and infidels think nothing of 
swearing, yet it ill becomes the Christian brother-hood, being so 

The sermous on tbis text were preached at Ettrick in August and Septem- 
ber, 1724. 


very contrary to the laws of Clirist, Mattli. v. 34 — 37*. [2.] With 
a peculiar earnestness, Above all things. This refers to, (1.) His 
guarding them against impatience, ver. 10, 11. When once men let 
their passion loose, and lose their patience, they are apt to break 
out into blasphemies, horrid oaths, and curses. (2.) To a corrxipt 
custom prevailing among the Jews of customary swearing, and there- 
fore hardly to be rooted out : which he would therefore have them 
with the utmost care and diligence to set themselves against. 

2. A plain direction as to men's ordinary converse. In opposition 
to the larding of your conversation with such profane mixtures, let 
your speech be plain and simple, consisting of plain affirmations or 
denials, without these unhallowed additions. If ye intend to assert 
a thing, which is yea, then say Yea, or Yes, or. It is so. If ye mean 
to deny a thing, which is nay, then say, Nat/, or, It is not so, 

3. A motive pressing both the caveat and direction. Lest yc fall 
into condemnation ; Gr. judgment^ under judgment. He looks to the 
third commandment, of God's not holding guiltless him that taketh his 
Name in vain. God will be avenged on those that do otherwise, and 
ye will fall under his judgment on that score, if ye purge not your 
language fx'om these things. 

The text affords three doctrines. 

DocT. I. Profane swearing is a horrid evil, with the utmost watch- 
fulness to be avoided by all Christians. 

DocT. II. God requires men's speech in their ordinary converse 
to be plain and simple, as yea and nay, without unhallowed addi- 
tions, of the nature of oaths. 

DocT. III. Profane swearing, and the like ungodly speeches akin 
thereto, will make the guilty fall under the fearful judgment of God. 

I shall prosecute each doctrine in order. 

DocT. I. Profane swearing is a horrid evil, with the utmost watch- 
fulness to be avoided by all Christians. 

Profane swearing is of two sorts ; swearing by God or Christ, 
and by creatures. 

First, Swearing by God himself, and by Christ who is God. Such 
swearing is duty, when the matter is of weight, and men are called 
thereto of God, Heb. vi. 16. Jer. iv. 2. But it is profane when men 
swear by God or Christ, 

1. Falsely, Mai. iii. 5. This is perjury, which is a falsehood con- 

* The author has a set of Sermons on this text, preached also at Ettrick in 1707, 
but not yet published. 

Vol. V. K 


firmed by an oath, a breach at once of the third and ninth command. 
Sometimes people are called to swear by authority, and swearing 
falsely in that case they are guilty of perjury. Sometimes they are 
not called to swear, but of their own accord, without any just call, 
they swear, and swear wh4,t is false. This is doubtless perjury as 
well as the other, being a swearing falsely. 

Perjury is an open affronting of an omniscient just God, and is 
near akin to Atheism. It is a calling of God to be witness to a lie, 
a playing with revenging justice, a daring of Heaven's vengeance, a 
wilful devoting of one's soul to destruction. For in an oath men 
invoke God to judge them, according to the truth or falsehood of 
what they swear. It looseth the bond of human society, and deser- 
vedly makes men infamous, and binds over the party to the fearful 
judgments of God, Zech. v. 4, " I will bring it forth, saith the Lord 
of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the 
house of him that sweareth falsely by my name : and it shall remain 
in the midst of his house, and shall consume it, with the timber 
thereof, and the stones thereof." Mai. iii. 5, " I will come near 
to you to judgment, and I will be a swift witness against — false 

2. Yainly, rashly, and usually, in common converse, without any 
just call, whether the thing sworn be true or false, good or bad, 
Matth. V. 34, 37. This is that swearing so frequent among those 
called Christians. Some have a God thus to swear by, though not a 
God to pray to ; as if they would own no God, but to dishonour his 
name. Others have found the art of joining Christ and Belial so, 
that one while they will be praying to God, and another while 
swearing by his holy name profanely. Jam. iii. 10, " Out of the 
same mouth proceedetli blessing and cursing." 

This is a horrid evil. It is, 

(1.) A flat contradiction to the letter of the law, even as murder 
and adultery is, Thou shah not take the name of the Lord thy God in 
vain. Many ways the commands are broken, though one do not di- 
rectly transgress the letter of them : so is the third command by a 
hypocritical profession : but profane swearers cross the letter. 

(2.) It is a profanation of a holy thing, which is very dangerous. 
Lev. xix. 8; a using that for a common, which God has set apart 
for a holy use only. And, [1.] It is a profanation of the holy 
name, which is awful, reverend, and holy. Lev. xxii. 32. It is a 
prostituting of that tremendous name to serve men's lusts and pas- 
sions. [2.] It is a profanation of an holy ordinance of worship, 
appointed of God to be used holily and reverently, with hands lifted 
up to heaven, upon just and weighty causes, and a due call, to be an 


end of strife in matters which cannot be otherwise cleared than by 
invoking God as witness, Jer. iv. 2. " Thou shalt swear, The Lord 
liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness." — Would it not 
make one's heart tremble, to see men profane the sacraments by a 
common usage of them? An oath is an holy ordinance instituted 
by God, as well as the sacraments. How then do men fearlessly* 
bring swearing into common use in their common conversation ? 

(3.) It argues a profane contempt of God, Psal. xxxvi. 1, 3. An 
ordinary measure of the fear of God upon the heart, would keep a 
man from profane swearing by his name ; and the consciences of 
common swearers may witness that they would take it heinously, if 
others should deal as freely and ordinarily with their names, as 
they do with the name of the God that made them. 

Secondly, Swearing by creatures. The Papists worship creatures, 
and consequently think it lawful to swear by the creatures they 
worship ; as by the holy bread of the sacrament, the bread of 
God ; and no wonder, for they worship it ; and by St. Mary, for 
they worship her too. But how many Protestants are there, who 
though in their principles they are against giving divine worship to 
any creature, yet do in contradiction thereto swear by creatures, as 
by their faith, troth or truth, soul, conscience, &c. This is in no case 
lawful, but in every case profane swearing. 

1. It is a sacrilege and idolatry. It is a taking away from God the 
worship due to him alone, and giving it to the creature, Matth. iv. 
10. compared with Dent. vi. 13. Swearing is an invoking of the 
object sworn by to be witness of the truth of what we affirm or deny, 
to judge and punish us in case we swear falsely, Jer. v. 7- Is your 
faith, troth, &;c., God ? No: but you make these idols. And an 
idol is nothing in the world. It is likely it is even so with your 
faith, &c. Many hug their faith, troth, &c. so in their mouths by 
swearing, till their consciences are seared, and neither faith nor 
truth is left them. 

2. These things having a relation to God, the dishonour reaches 
to him : they are his works, and being so profaned, his name is pro- 
faned. Heaven is God's throne, and the earth his footstool, Matth. v. 
34, 35. and therefore are not to be sworn by, according to our Sa- 
viour's reasoning. So may we say, Faith is the gift of God, truth 
his image, the soul his creature in a special manner, who is the 
Father of spirits, conscience the candle of the Lord, God's deputy in 
the soul : and therefore are not to be sworn by. 

3. They are not so our own, that we can engage them by an oath, 
for the least change to be made upon them, Matth. v. 36. In these 
oaths men do impawn their faith, truth, soul, conscience, to lose 

K 2 


them, if it be not so as they say. And is this a small matter? 
"Where have we such dominion and power over these things, as thus 
for every trifle to lay thcni in pawn ? Hezckiah broke the brazen 
serpent when abused to idolatry. Take heed God do not so break 
and destroy thy soul, while thus played with ? 

• 4. It is a horrid abuse of these precious things. Is that faith, by 
which thou must be saved, or damned without it, no more precious 
in thine eyes, than thus to make a by- word of it ? Is that truth, 
without which thou art lost with the father of lies, no more to be 
regarded ? Is that soul which could not be redeemed but by the 
blood of Christ, and that conscience which could no other way be 
purged, to be thus used ? 

5. Lastly, Swearing by the creatures was ordinary among Pagans, 
and heretics were the first after the Jews that brought it in among 
Christians ; and Papists, as has been said, maintain it as a princii)le 
agreeable to their idolatry. Oh ! that men professing Christ and 
his truth, would be ashamed of them ! 

Use. I dehort you from swearing, either by God or Christ vainly, 
"without a lawful call, or by the creature in any case. Avoid all 
swearing in common converse. Let such as have got a custom of it, 
leave it off; and those who yet are free, watch against it. I offer 
the following motives to enforce this dehortation. 

Mot. 1. It is highly dishonouring to God, and provoking in his 
sight. He hath said, Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy 
God in vain, &c. Whether we consider him as our Creator to whom 
we owe all reverence, or as our Saviour who has been our Helper, 
and offers us again the forfeited life and salvation, it is horrible. 
To hear men profaning the name of that God, who made them, gave 
them a tongue, life, &c. profaning that name by which they must be 
saved, or else perish, is frightful. They are made to differ from 
brutes, by a soul and conscience ; and faith and truth makes men 
saints, differing for other men : how dishonouring is it to God to 
profane these ? 

Mot. 2. It is scandalous with respect to our neighbour ; and that 
is no small aggravation of the guilt, Matth. xviii. 7, " Wo unto the 
world because of offences : for it must needs be that offences come : 
but wo to that man by whom the offence cometh." Men swear 
speaking to others ordinarily. And if they that hear them be 
godly, it wounds them, and grieves them to the heart ; and that is 
dangerous, Matth. xviii. 6. " Whoso shall offend one of these little 
ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone 
were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth 
of the sea." If they be ungodly and profane, it hardens them, and 


is apt to breed more contempt of God in them. If men be but 
sober, it is nauseous to them. Many a time it is a snare, involving 
others in guilt, always giving a bad example, and so tending to ruin 
the souls of others, Rom. xiv. 13, 15. 

Mot. 3. It is devilish in respect of the smallness of the temptation 
there is to it. Profit draws the thief to steal, the unjust to cheat, 
the oppressor to oppress. Pleasure ensnares men into gluttony, 
drunkenness, uncleanness, and other sensualities. But what profit 
or pleasure is to be found in swearing ? What fruit brings it in, 
but the abhorrence of the sober, and the fearful judgments of God ? 
"Which of your senses does it gratify ? Other sinners serve the 
devil for pay ; but the swearer as a volunteer, for nought. 

Mot. ktst. It is ruining, ruining to the soul. (1.) It makes havoc 
of the soul's case. It wears oif tenderness, makes a profane heart, 
insensible of duty to God. A custom of swearing sears and stupifies 
the conscience. (2.) It will ruin the soul for ever, and bring wrath 
upon the guilty. Sometimes it brings visible judgments upon men 
on the earth, whereof there have been many fearful instances. 
However, if they repent not, it will ruin them in another world, 
Dent, xxviii. 58, 59. " If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of 
this law, that are written in this book, that thou mayst fear this 
glorious and fearful Name, The Lord thy God ; then the Lord will 
make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great 
plagues, and of long continuance." 

DocT. II. God requires men's speech in their ordinary converse to 
be plain and simple, as yea and nay, without unhallowed additions 
of the nature of oaths. 

This plainness and simplicity of speech in ordinary converse, we 
may take a view of in these two particulars. 

First, It consists in men's accustoming themselves to plain and 
simple asserting or denying of things, according to their judgment ; 
and not lightly bringing in sacred things to confirm what they say, 
or vent their passion. This is sufficient to answer the ends of com- 
mon conversation, Jea, Yea indeed, Tndy, &c. and obtains among 
tender persons, who are most regardful of truth. 

Secondly, It excludes out of speech in common conversation, all 
that which is akin to oaths, where there is no sufficient call there- 
unto. And so it condemns not only all express swearing by God or 
the creatures, but, 

1. All minced oaths, where the form of swearing is not used, but 
suppressed. Yet one may plainly perceive the words, if they have 
any sense at all, or be of the nature of swearing ; as. Good faith, 



faith, haith, hai\ fat'', d' ye, Mary, &c. Of these some have such a 
custom, that they can speak few sentences without them. 

(1.) Though one could not be convinced that these things are evil, 
yet he caunot miss the conviction that they are evil-like. And you 
can never think that it is duty to God or your neighbour to speak 
so. On this very ground ye ought to forbear them, 1 Thess. v. 22. 
" Abstain from all appearance of evil." Jude, 23. " — Hating even 
the garments spotted by the flesh." Whoso will not shun appear- 
ances of evil, will easily venture on real evils. 

(2.) I appeal to your consciences, whether these be the language 
of the most tender and serious sort of Christians, or of profane men 
and rough untender professors; and whether or not the more tender 
any one is in their walk, their speech is purged from these. Let 
that then have weight with you, spoken by the apostle, Phil. iv. 9. 
" Those things which ye have both learned and received, and heard 
and seen in me, do." 

(3.) They are offensive to the serious godly ; they grate on their 
ears, as the language of hell. It is grievous to them to hear men 
who are baptized in tlie name of Christ, speaking half the language 
of Canaan, and half that of Ashdod. And on this score they are 
dangerous, Matth. xviii. 6, 7. forecited. 

(4.) At best they are idle words, and therefore sinful. "What 
good purpose do they serve for ? Are they of any use for God's ho- 
nour, your own good, or the good of those with whom ye converse ? 
Consider therefore that declaration, Matth. xii. 36. " I say unto 
you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give 
account thereof in the day of judgment." 

(5.) They are more than yea and nay, and of another kind; and 
so are condemned in our text. And ye must either make minced 
oaths of them, or ye cannot make sense of them. Is not Good faith 
isH, &c. more, and of another kind, than Yea it is ? Take heed of 
them then, lest ye fall into condemnation. Is downright profane 
swearing a thing that it is such a pity to be deprived of the liberty 
of, that ye must needs retain some remains of it with you ? 

But some may be ready to say. They are but little sins. Ans. 
Every sin deserves God's wrath; and there is none so little, but 
they will ruin you for ever, if they be not washed away by the Re- 
deemer's blood, as one little leak will sink the ship. Gal. iii. 10. 
" Cursed is he that continueth not in all things which are written in 
the book of the law to do them." If they are but little, how wilt 
thou do a great thing for God, that wilt not j)lease him in such a 
small matter ? Alas ! if they be little, they are not few. Many 
grains make a mountain, and many drops an ocean. If one be 


drowned, it is all one to him, whether it be in a little water or in 
the ocean. 

2. All light or irreverent using of the name of God. His name 
is dreadful, and requires to be mentioned with profound reverence : 
and it Avill be found, that those who have least of God in their 
hearts, have most of his name interposed in their common talk. If 
the Mahometans find a piece of paper, they take it up, and put it in 
the hole of a wall ; because the name of God may be written on it. 
Alas! if paper were put in the holes of walls, at every time the 
name of God is profaned among Christians, the holes of the walls 
would soon be full. It is profaned, 

(1.) In exclamations, where the holy name is interposed at any 
little thing untender persons wonder at, are vexed about, or seem 
to fear. Hence some cry, God ! Lord ! some, God bless us, 
save us, guide us, forgive us ! Christ or Lord have a care of us ; 
God be wi' you ; which is an ordinary salutation. What ! (may 
some say) may we not pray to God to bless us, and be with our 
neighbours, Sfc. ? Ans. Yes, indeed ; but then ye should use them 
in a praying manner, with holy reverence, answerable aifections, 
faith in the blood of Christ as praying indeed. Of which we have 
an example, Ruth. ii. 4. " And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem 
and said unto the reapers. The Lord be with you : and they an- 
swered him. The Lord bless thee." But to prostitute that name to 
give a vent to your foolish passions, to use these things with a rash- 
ness and irreverence, is profane. God's blessing, 8fc. are matters of 
greatest weight ; and those who are most concerned for them, will 
not seek them that way. 

(2.) In permissions ; as, Let him do it in God's name. I know no 
face can be put on this as it is used in common talk, but a profana- 
tion of that holy name. And I dare say, it is not used by those 
who walk up and down in the name of the Lord, and that remember 
his name is dreadful. 

(3.) In obsecrations or entreaties ; as. For God's sake. For God's 
love, &c. For Christ's sake, &c. No doubt, according to the scrip- 
ture, these things may be used in weighty matters, so it be with due 
reverence ; but in trifles it is profane. Let them be things that con- 
cern one's life and salvation, that ye will entreat for that way ; and 
when ye do it, let it appear you have the awe of God on your spi- 
rits. But interpose not the holy name at every trifle. 

(4.) In appeals to God in light matters ; matters of no serious- 
ness ; as, God knoius. The omniscience of God is a matter of great 
importance, and his people may take the comfort of it under re- 
proaches, which otherwise they cannot fully clear themselves of be- 


fore the world. But lightly to appeal to that Judge, is the way to 
bring wrath on the appellant. The serious thouglits of God's know- 
ledge, may make the best to tremble ; and strike such dread on the 
worst, as they may not make a liglit matter of it. We find indeed 
such an appeal made by the apostle, 2 Cor. xii. 3. but it was in a 
serious weighty affair, which none knew but God. But what is that 
to a profane use of it in trifles, which perhaps many do know? 

3. All asseverations of the nature of oaths ; as. As I am a Chris- 
tian, have a soul to he saved. That these are akin to oaths, is evi- 
dent from that form of an oath used by God himself, As I live, saith 
the Lord: and therefore they are not to be used in common conver- 
sation. And as oaths they imply an imprecation, viz. Let me not 
be reckoned a Christian, Let me not have a soul to be saved. And 
none will therefore, in common conversation use them, who have a 
due value for Christianity, and the salvation of their souls. 

4. Cursing, whereby one imprecates evil on himself or others, 
whether absolutely or conditionally, if they do not so and so. And 
the more solemn and deliberate it is, it is the worse. This is one of 
the characters of a wicked man, Psal. x. 7. " His mouth is full of 
cursing." There are three ways whereby men utter this language 
of hell. 

(1.) Sometimes God is expressly invoked in the curse. Thus 
profane men will invoke God to damn them, confound them, or 
curse themselves or others. This speaks a profane contempt of God, 
a defiance of his curse and eternal wrath : and surely their damna- 
tion, as it will be just, so it will be dreadful, and the more cutting 
to their consciences through eternity, that they have prayed for it. 

(2.) Sometimes the name of God is suppressed, but the curse 
belched out. So some will wish that themselves or others may 
break their neck, that an ill chance, wo, or shame may light on 
them. These are curses indeed, wherein though the name of God is 
suppressed, yet he is called to execute their wicked wishes against 
themselves or others, forasmuch as these must be the effects of di- 
vine providence, if they be all. 

(3.) Sometimes the devil is invoked in the curse. And thus 
many are found oftener praying to the devil to take themselves or 
others, than to God to save them. They cannot deny a thing, but 
the name of the devil must be in it. And the devil has several 
names given him to serve this jiurpose, as Foul, Fiend, &c. 

Thus I have raked in this dunghill for your warning and reforma- 
tion ; and by what is said ye may judge of other things of this na- 
ture, which I have not named. It is a plain rule against all these, 
Let yo%r yea he yea, and your nay, nay. I proceed to 


DocT. ult. Profane swearing, and the like ungodly speeches akin 
thereto, will make the guilty fall under the fearful judgment of God. 
So the third commandment threatens. 

The import of this, we may take up in the following things. 

1. Howeyer lightly men look on these, and overlook them, God 
writes them down guilty upon every such profane speech. There is 
a book of remembrance written with God, whereby none of them all 
shall be lost. Men's Judge is their witness in these, as in other 
things ; and if they must fall under condemnation for them, surely 
they are remembered. For, says our Lord, by thy luords thou shah 
be condemned, Matth. xii. 37. 

2. God will call men to a reckoning for them sooner or later. 
Though they may now pass without a challenge, the time will come 
that they will get deep challenges for them, either in mercy or in 
wrath. Their words that they think light of now, shall sometime 
lie like a talent of lead on their consciences, and pierce them like 
swords, Matth. xii. 36. " Every idle word that men shall speak, 
they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." Jude, 16. 

3. If ever they get the pardon of them, they shall be made to 
condemn themselves for them, and be cut to the heart for the sin 
and scandal of them, and go with a bowed down back on account of 
that profanation of the holy name, and their ungodly speeches of 
the nature of oaths, 1 Tim. i. 13. 

4. Lastly, If men get not the pardon of them by faith, if they re- 
pent not of them, and reform, tliey shall fall under eternal condem- 
nation by the weight of the guilt of them, Matth. xii. 37. forecited. 

I conclude with an use of exhortation. 

I exhort you to purify and keep clean your speech, that your yea 
may be yea, and your nay, nay ; and that you will beware of profane 
swearing by God or the creatures, all cursing, light and irreverent 
use of the holy name, and all speeches whatsoever of the nature of 
profane swearing. For motives, consider, 

1. God is a God of glorious majesty, infinitely above us and all 
creatures in his perfections : therefore he is to be feared by us ; 
Job XXV. 2. " Dominion and fear are with him. Psal. Ixxxix. ?• 
God is greatly to be feared, — and to be had in reverence." His name 
is reverend and holy ; and what he has made secret, it is high pre- 
sumption in us to profane, Mai. i. 14. 3Iy name is dread/id, says he. 
The angels adore it, the devils ti'emble at it; and shall only men 
trample it under foot without fear ? He has fenced about the hou- 
our of his name with an awful hedge, Dent, xxviii. 58, 59, " If thou 
wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in 
this book, that thou mayst fear this glorious and fearful name, the 


Lord thy Grod ; then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful, and 
the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, 
and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance." Let this terror 
make men afraid to break over this hedge. 

2. Ye are God's debtors for the use of your tongue, and it is your 
glory that ye can speak with it. Turn it not against him who gave 
it you, by your ungodly speeches. He gave you a faculty of speak- 
ing for his own glory and your comfort : he might have prevented 
your swearing, cursing, &c. by causing you to have been born dumb. 
And yet it is in his hand when he will, to take the use of your 
tongue from you ; and so to lay the swearing tongue even before 
death lay it. 

3. This is a sin that debaucheth the conscience in a particular 
manner, razing out of it any tolerable reverence of God. It is hard 
to say, that it is the spot of God's children, Psal. cxxxix. 20. Many 
otherwise loose men have had a horror of, the natural conscience 
startling at that sin to which there is so very little temptation. 
But those who are once engaged in a course of it, seldom get it laid 
aside : so that whereas many who are otherwise very extravagant in 
their youth, afterwards take up themselves ; it is often seen that 
this grows grayheaded with those who have addicted themselves 
to it. The custom in it takes away the sense of it, so that it be- 
comes in a manner natural to them : and hence it comes out with 
them, ere ever they are aware, their tongue being so set on swear- 
ing or cursing run, that it outruns the mind. A sad evidence of 
a hardened heart and seared conscience. 

4. I observed before, that it was devilish sin. I shall here add, 
that it is in a peculiar manner hellish. There are many sins which 
this life will put an end to ; there will be no gluttony, drunkenness, 
uncleanness, &c. in hell : but will there be no profaning of the holy 
name nor cursing there ? Yea, there will ; that is a sin that will 
go along with the cursed company to the pit, and will be carried 
to a height, and carried on there. Rev. xvi. 21. And an eternity will 
be long enough to give men their fill of such speech. In the nature of 
some sins there is something pleasant to the corrupt nature, which 
being mixed with the poisonous cup, makes sinners greedily drink it 
off: but cursing and swearing are in their nature malicious, and can 
afford no pleasure even to corrupt nature, unless it arise from the 
opening of the mouth against the heavens, and natively come from 
a heart rankled and fretted, which will be the lot of sinners sig- 
nally in hell, where they will weep, roar, gnash their teeth, and 

5. It is a sin that brings down wrath in a special manner, 


(1.) On a land, Hos, iv. 1, 2, '' The Lord hath a controversy with 
the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, 
nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and 
killing, and stealing, and comniittiug adultery, they break out, and 
blood toucheth blood. Jer. v. 7, 9. How shall I pardon thee for 
this ? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are 
no gods. Shall I not visit for these things ? saith the Lord : and 
shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this .?" It is a 
burden to the Spirit of God, to the spirits of his people, and makes 
a land to mourn, Jer. xxiii. 10, " Because of swearing the land 
mournetli." And none needs doubt but the false swearing, the for- 
swearing, and profane swearing in common converse, in this genera- 
tion, will make Scotland mourn. How can a land miss a flame of 
wrath, in which are so many tongues set on fire of hell ? 

(2.) On families, to consume and root them out from the earth, 
Zech. V. 3, 4, " This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of 
the whole earth : for every one that stealeth, shall be cut oif as on 
this side, according to it : and every one that sweareth, shall be cut 
off as on that side, according to it. I will bring it forth, saith the 
Lord of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into 
the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name : and it shall 
remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it, with the tim- 
ber thereof, and the stones thereof." It brings a curse that a house 
cannot long stand under. And therefore masters of families should 
take heed to themselves, and to children and servants addicted to 
this sin, as to those who would bring down the house about their ears. 
Many times things go wrong not for want of diligence, but there is 
a secret curse upon this and other sins that blasts them. 

(3.) On the particular persons ; on their bodies, Dent, xxviii. 58, 
59, forecited. On their souls too. See the text. Will idle words 
ruin men for ever ? how much more profane swearing and cursing 
words ? Have pity on your own souls, and sacrifice them not to a 
wicked tongue. Remember the rich man in hell, whose tongue was 
tormented in that flame. Heavy judgments have been before the 
world inflicted on such persons, Psal. Ixiv. 7 — 9, " God shall shoot 
at them with a arrow, suddenly shall they be wounded. So they 
shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves : all that see 
them, shall flee away. And all men shall fear, and shall declare 
the work of God ; for they shall wisely consider of his doing." 

6. As it is a scandalous sin, so it is especially a scandal, i. e. a 
stumbling block, to the rising generation. It was heavy to Nehe- 
miah, chap. xiii. 24, 25. but he soon saw where the blame lay. And 
is it not lamentable to hear young ones among us, as they begin to 


speak, to begin to curse and swear; and as tliey grow in years, to 
grow in this hellish art ? How do they learn it but from the elder 
people ? They learn to curse and swear at those who learn them to 
speak, at their fathers and mothers, or profane servants, or young 
ones like themselves, who learn it at home. Thus these sinners 
transmit their sin from generation to generation ; and when ye shall 
be dead and gone, the cursing and swearing set afoot by you shall 
remain and be going on ; and consequently your guilt shall be in- 
creased after ye are away. 

7. Tour tongue shall either be for ever praising God in heaven, 
or blaspheming in hell. I beseech you soberly consider, whether 
going on in a course of cursing and swearing, you look likest to have 
the one or the other for your lot. Is it a preparation for heaven 
or for hell ? 

8. To forbear cursiug, swearing, and profaning the name of God, 
is but a small attainment in religion. Some, by their education, 
who never yet had saving grace, have been kept free from these 
things. And the reforming thereof will but bring you out from 
among the number of the profane. If it is such a matter for you to 
reform in that point, which is but in the outward man ; what way 
will ye come to reform the heart-lusts that belong to the inner man? 
But ye must have pure hearts and clean hands too, else ye will never 
see heaven. 

9. Lastly, Consider the life and death of Jesus, both which were 
for glorifying that name, which ye profane. His speech was venly, 
verily, i. e. truly, truly. All his life-time he was blasphemed, and 
particularly by the thief on the cross, which was a part of his suf- 
ferings. Why will ye go on thus to crucify the Lord of glory afresh ? 

Now I shall endeavour to obviate some shifts, whereby sinners 
endeavour to sooth themselves, and ward off conviction and serious 
thoughts of reformation in this point. 

1. These things are very common ; and there are few that have 
not an use of some of them : therefore we need not think so much of 

Ans. The more common the worse, as the diseases are which turn 
epidemic. God commands you to turn back from following the 
multitude, which are in conspiracy against him, trampling on his 
laws, Exod. xxiii. 2. And men must either cease to sin with the 
multitude, or perish with them, Matth. vii. 13 ; Rev. iii. 4. If it be 
ill with you, ye think it will be ill with many a one ; and so it will. 
But it will be no comfort to go to hell with company, if we may be- 
lieve the rich man there, Luke xvi. If men think that, going to 
hell by troops, they will be conquerors, and not sufferers, they will 
be wretchedly disappointed. 


2. But several good people have an use of these things ; and we 
find Peter cursed and swore. 

Ans. Peter under a violent fit of temptation fell into that snare, 
and with the same breath denied his part in Christ : but he repented 
bitterly for it, and reformed. Do ye so too, and ye shall do well. 
There are many whom the world counts good people, whom God ne- 
ver counted so. You may see how the heart-searching God reckons 
in this case, Psal. cxxxix. 20. " They speak against thee wickedly, 
and thine enemies take thy name in vain." Psal. x. 7- His mouth is 
full of cursing. If there be any such good people, ye have much to 
reckon for that pick out their blemishes, and follow them ; and they 
also have much to account for, who lay a stumbling-block before the 
blind. But it is God's word, and not men's practice, that is the 
rule of our life, and that we will be judged by, 1 Cor. xi. 1. Be ^/e 
followers of me, says the apostle, even as I also am of Christ. 

3. We have no ill in our minds, when we use these words ; they 
just come out rashly. 

Ans, 111 words are certainly the product of an ill heart, Matth. 
xii. 34 ; Mark vii. 21, 22. But alas ! most men are strangers to the 
ill of their hearts, Isa. xliv. 20. They that murdered Christ's dis- 
ciples, John xvi. and Saul, 1 Sam. xv. when he spared Agag, and 
the cattle of the Amalekites, might have pretended they had no ill 
in their minds ; yet the former were murderers, and the latter a re- 
bel to God. It is God's law, and not men's designs, that is the rule 
of their words and actions. The tongue is an unruly member, and 
they that speak rashly with it, cannot speak well. Ye are obliged 
to watch it, and bridle it. This was David's practice, Psal. xxxix. 
1. " I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my 
tongue : I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is 
before me." Your rashness is your sin, and one sin will not excuse 
another. Good Moses was kept out of Canaan for his rash speak- 
ing, Psal. cvi. 31, 32. They spoke rashly who made excuses for not 
coming to the marriage of the King's son, Luke xiv. ; and see the 
effect of it, ver. 24. I say unto you, that none of those men which were 
hidden, shall taste of my supper. Let the awe of God be on your 
hearts, and it will prcA^ent that rashness. 

4. But what matter of the devil's name how it be used ? sure it is 
not holy. 

Ans. He is the enemy of God, and our soul's enemy ; and an in- 
tercommuned spirit, whom wo are not allowed to speak to without a 
special call. How then dare men adventure to call on him to do 
this or that, as to take themselves or others ? and in their words to 
give things to him, as if it were a bit, as Devil a bit. Fiend a bit ? 


It is known this is the very thing he seeks from his drudges, that 
they call him to do this or that for them ; and that they offer him 
something, be it ever so little. But the love and fear of God would 
teach you, that " Their sorrows shall be multiplied, that hasten af- 
ter another god ; and that you should not take up their names into 
your lips," Psal. xvi. 4. 

5. "Well, it is but seldom I fall into these things. 

Ans. Now and then sinning will cost everlasting destruction, if 
repentance prevent it not. You are allowed no time for these 
things, but they are forbidden you always. But a common swearer 
getting grace to repent and reform, is in the way of salvation, while 
the man that sees no need of repentance, because he is but seldom 
guilty, will perish. Stop however in time, lest your seldom turned 
to ordinary, be turned to a confirmed custom. 

6. But all these tilings are but words, and we hope God will not 
be so severe for words. 

Ans. It is a sad hope that is kept up over the belly of God's 
truth. Here is God's word, Matth. xii. 37. By thy words thou shalt 
he condemned. Must not either God's word or your hope fall then ? 
Read the doom of such good hopers, Deut. xxis. 19, 20. "And it 
come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless 
himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in 
the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst : the 
Lord will not spare him, but then the anger of the Lord, and his 
jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are 
written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out 
his name from under heaven." And that ye may assure yourselves, 
God will be as severe for these things, as it is said of him from the 
word, see Zech. v. 2, 3. " And he said unto me, "What seest thou ? 
And I answered, I see a flying roll ; the length thereof is twenty 
cubits, aud the breadth thereof ten cubits. Then said he unto me, 
This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth : 
for every one that stealeth, shall be cut off as on this side, accor- 
ding to it; and every one that sweareth, shall be cut off as on that 
side, according to it." Compare 1 Kings vi. 3. 

7. I neither curse nor swear, but when I am provoked. 

Ans. (1.) Where is your patience, in which ye are called to pos- 
sess your souls? Luke xxi. 19. The proper season of exercising it 
is when ye are provoked. Will it excuse your cursing and swear- 
ing, that in the first place ye cast ofl^ patience? (2.) I hope it is 
not God who provokes you, is it ? "Will a man tear his own flesh, 
or stab his dearest friend to the heart, because an enemy j)rovokes 
him ? Yet you will set your mouths against the heavens, because a 


fellow-worm disobliges yon. However, if men will curse and swear, 
being provoked, they may assure themselves that God will destroy 
them for it, being provoked with their cursing and swearing, Jer. v. 
7, 9. forecitcd. — But flesh and blood is not able to abide the pro- 
vocations I meet with. Ans. Flesh and blood shall not inherit the 
kingdom of God. They are flesh and blood as well as ye, that bear 
great provocations. 

8. I have got a custom of it, and it is out with me ere ever I am 

Ans. The greater is your sin that you have a custom of it. You 
are like those, Jer. ix. 5, " They have taught their tongue to speak 
lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity." Surely ye were not 
born cursing and swearing as breathing : but ye have learned it. 
Ye learned that custom at the instigation of the devil ; unlearn it 
again at God's call. Is not that thief, that murderer, that has got 
a custom of it, esteemed by you the worst of .thieves and juurderers ? 
And are not you who have got a custom of cursing and swearing, 
the worst of cursers and swearers ? How dreadful must your case 
be, and how like the devil, to whom it is become just natural to pro- 
fane the holy name ! Look to it in time, for it is next door to a 
desperate case. Some have died cursing and swearing, the thief on 
the cross blaspheming, others roaring out horrid oaths. Now what 
do ye know but ye may die roving, without the exercise of your 
judgment ? Would it be any thing strange, that ye who have a 
custom of cursing and swearing, should in that case go ofl' the world, 
speaking according to your custom ? 

9. But it is no sooner out but I regret it, I repent of it. 

Ans. But do ye reform it ? Ye regret it ; so did Pharaoh, so did 
Judas ; but they mended not, till they were ended ; and so I doubt 
many in hell this day are regretting what they did and spoke on 
earth. Ye repent of it but still ye go back with the dog to the 
vomit, and with the sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the 
mire. What repentance is that ? Hearken to the call of God, 
Ezek. xviii. 30, 31, " Therefore I will judge you, house of Israel, 
every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God : repent, and 
turn yourselves from all your transgressions ; so iniquity shall not 
be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby 
ye have transgressed, and make you a new heart, and a new spirit ; 
for why will ye die, house of Israel ?" It is a sad sign, that it 
has never been bitter enough to you to this day ; and ye may even 
say with the drunkard, Prov. xiii. tdt. " They have stricken me, 
and I was not sick ; they have beaten me, and I felt it not : when 
shall I awake ? I will seek it yet again." 


10. Lastly, I have often resolved against it, but I find I cannot 
help it. 

Am. It seems you have never struck at the root of it, the sin of 
your nature, Psal. xxxvi. 1. Ye have never gone about it in faith, 
Psal. cxli. 3. But, withal, the abstaining from profaning the holy 
name of God, by cursing and swearing, and reforming a custom of 
that, is but an act of moral discipline, not beyond the power of a 
natural man. I make no question, but a sixpence for every oath 
would at length carry you over that custom. But be it so, that you 
cannot help it : I ask you, whether or no you desire to have it 
helped ? And so I close with some directions. 

1. Go to Christ in the way of believing, that he may help it, 
1 Tim. i. 13, 14. There is help in Christ for it: there is fulness 
of merit in him to remove the guilt of it, and of the Spirit to re- 
move the power of it. He is lifted up on the pole of the gospel to 
be looked to for the justification of our persons, and sanctification of 
our natures. There is virtue in him for curing us of all our heart 
and life plauges, those running sores not excepted, which have 
spurned all other remedies. Mind the woman in the gospel, of whom 
it is said, Luke viii. 43, 44. " And a woman having an issue of blood 
twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither 
could be healed of any, came behind him, and touched the border, 
of his garment : and immediately her issue of blood stanched." He 
is the great Physician, and heals all diseases of the soul, Psal. ciii. 
3. No disease is the reproach of this Physician. He is by office 
Saviour of the world, and your Saviour, 1 John iv. 14. and he saves 
those who employ him from their sins, Matth. i. 21. And it is your 
following other methods of cure, and not going to Christ by faith for 
it, that makes that running sore in you seem incurable. For all 
other means but the blood and Spirit of Christ applied by faith 
serve but to skin over the sore, after which it is ready to break out 

Quest. How should I make use of Christ in the way of believing 
for the remedy of this evil ? 

Alls. (1.) Believe that he is held forth and offered to you in the 
gospel with all his salvation, and particularly his salvation from that 
sin, Isa. xlv. 22. " Look unto me, and be ye saved, ail the ends of the 
earth : for I am God, and there is none else." This is the constant 
voice of the gospel, Rev. xxii. 17. " And the Spirit and the bride 
say, Come. And let him that heareth, say. Come, and let him that 
is athirst, come : And whosoever will, let him take the water of life 
freely." Jesus Christ crucified is by the appointment of God the 
great ordinance of heaven for the sanctification of sinners, and heal- 



ing them of all spiritual plagues ; being made of God unto them 
sanctification, 1 Cor. i. 30. 

(2 ) Trust on hiru for his whole salvation, upon the ground of the 
divine faithfulness plighted in the promise. Believe that he will by 
his grace save you from all your guilt, and all four sin, and that in 
particular. This has the promise of salvation, Acts xvi. 31. "Be- 
lieve on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Not only 
kept out of hell hereafter, but immediately on your believing saved 
rom all your spiritual plagues whatsoever; so that the guilt of 
eternal wrath shall no more lie on you for them, nor the reigning 
power of them be any more unbroken. The ground of this confi- 
dence you have, John iii. 16. " Whosoever believeth in him, shall 
not perish, but have everlasting life." But this trust must be on 
him for all : for faith looks to Christ for his whole salvation. 

(3.) Make use of the means of reformation in the faith of the pro- 
mise, 2 Tim. ii. 1. "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." 
The promise you have, Micah vii. 19. " He will turn again, he will 
have compassion upon us : he will subdue our iniquities : and thou 
wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." To use the 
means without taking along the faith of the promise is atheistical : 
To pfetend to believe the promise without care of using the means 
is presumptuous. Now the proper means may be these. 

2. Labour to impress your hearts deeply with a sense of the ill 
of these things. You have heard much about them. Be so just to 
your own souls as to consider the matter impartially. Weigh your 
profanations of the holy name, iVc. in the balance of the word. They 
will never rightly reform that see not the ugly nature of their sin. 

3. Devote your hearts, lips, and lives to the Jjord, 1 Cor. vi. ult. 
Learn to use your tongues for God, and his honour in the world : 
for they who use them not for him, can hardly miss to use them 
against them. There is no neutrality in that case. 

4 Labour to get your hearts possessed habitually with dread and 
reverence of the majesty of God ; and with a due value for your own 
souls, and love to your neighbour. The former will keep you from pro- 
fane swearing, &c. ; and the latter from cursing yourselves or others. 

5. Watch and pray. Keep a guard over your tongues, and lift 
up your hearts to the Lord, in the language of David, Psal. csli. 3. 
" Set a watch, Lord, before my mouth, keep the door of my lips." 
Be not rash to speak, but consider before hand. 

6. Lafttly, Set about the reformation of your whole life at once. 
Put all the idols to the door at once, as thieves and robbers, else 
those remaining will open the door to those which ye put out. Guard 
against passion, be meek and calm. 

YOL. Y. L 

• THE 





Proverbs xiv. 29. 

He that is slow to lurath is of great understanding : but he that is hasty 

of spirit, exalteth folly. 

There is_a great affinity betwixt sinful anger, and cursing, swear- 
ing, profanation of the name of God. It is the mother, and they are 
the daughters ordinarily ; though in all it does not bring them forth, 
yet they are hardly to be found with a meek and quiet spirit. 

The scope of these words is to beat down sinful anger, a common 
evil, producing much mischief. And in them, 

1. There is the excellency of meekness. Meekness is the bridle 
of anger or wrath; the meek man is slow to [Heb. o/] turath. He 
is one that does not soon take offence, and keeps such a command 
over his passion, that it does not unreasonably and violently break 
out, breaking up as it were the doors of his soul and flying forth 
and raging. The excellency of this is, that such a one is an under- 
standing man, of great understanding. Worldly men, whose pride 
and passion is to them instead of law and reason, count such a one a 
poor mean-spirited, silly man, that does not understand himself; 
for that when he receives an injury, he does not presently take fire 
and resent it : but as the understanding, so the wisdom of the world 
is foolishness with God ; and the woidd's fool is God's wise man. 

2. The mischief of passionateness, and the evil thereof. The pas- 
sionate man is hasty of spirit ; his passion runs before his reason. 
The original calls him short, or cutted of spirit. He is so far from 
being slow to wrath, that his spirit finds a short way to it. His 
fiery spirit is as tinder to every spark of provocation, and at one 

* This subject was handled at Ettrick in October, 1724. 


step is forward in the midst of wrath or sinful anger. The ill of 
this is that he eralts, or lifts up his own folly like a standard, making 
it visible to all about hira. He thinks by that means to proclaim 
his worth, and make others stand in awe of him : but in very deed he 
proclaims his folly, that is, his sinfulness, corruption, naughtiness, 
and wickedness. 

So here anger is held forth as a passion dangerous and difficult to 
manage, which the wise will therefore be loath to venture into, and 
when they are in, will labour to keep a bridle upon ; but fools 
rashly venture on, and let loose the bridle to it, and in it. 

The text gives a foundation for the following doctrines. 

DocT. I. The man that is slow of wrath or anger, shews great wis- 
dom and understanding in his meek and peaceable disposition and 

DocT. II. The passionate man proclaims his folly and naughtiness 
in his unbridled passion and sinful anger. 

I shall handle each doctrine in order. 

DocT. I. The man that is slow of wrath or anger, sheAvs great wis- 
dom and understanding in his meek and peaceable disposition and 

In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Consider the nature of wrath or anger in general, 

II. Shew what it is to be slow of wrath. 

III. In AFhat respects he that is slow of wrath is of great under- 

lY. Make some improvement. 

I. I am to consider the nature of wrath or anger in general. 
Anger or wrath is a passion which is not of itself sinful, but is either 
good or ill as it is regulated : and so it differs from fretting, mur- 
muring, and envy, Avhich can never be good or allowable in any case. 
This is evident from the scripture's attributing anger or wrath to 
God. "We find it in Christ, Mark iii. 5. He looked round about him 
with anger. So that without question there is an allowable and holy 
anger. Such was that of Moses, of whom it is said, that, on his des- 
cent from the mountain, when he saw the calf and the dancing, his 
anger wcued hot, Exod. xxiii. 26. And this is our duty, Eph. iv. 26. 
Be ye angry, and sin not. But such is the corruption of man's nature, 
that wlien this passion riscth in his breast, it is exceedingly hard to 
keep it within bounds, and rarely is it that it overflows not the 
banks. Therefore the apostle exhorts, that all ivrath and anger be 
put away, Eph. iv. 31. 



Anger is like a fire, that is a good servant, but an ill master. It 
is a servant to the meek, but a master to the passionate. Tlie 
passion of anger is like wind to the ship : so is it to the soul called 
to steer its course to Immanuel's land. 

1. If there be a dead calm, and the winds blow not at all, or very 
weakly, the ship does not make way. And if men be so stupid, in- 
dolent, and unconcerned, that their spirits will not stir in them, 
whatever dishonour they see done to God, these are standing still in 
the way to heaven. And many such there be, who are all fire in 
their own matters, but in those of God, their hearts are dead like a 
stone. And if their hearts on such occasions stir in them, but very 
weakly, they are making but little progress. Such was the case of 
Eli : His sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not, 1 Sam. 
iii. 13. It was not so with Paul : for his spirit ivas stirred in him, 
when he saw the city [Athens] wholli/ given to idolatry. Acts xvii. 16. 

2. If the wind is brisk enough but yet is contrary, the ship will 
at best have much ado with it, and may be driven into a shore which 
the crew desired not to see. So if men's anger be in itself sinful, if 
their anger burn against Avhat is good and just, against their own 
mercy, their duty, such things or persons as are for their real good, 
as the Jews' wrath was against Christ, his apostles, and their doct- 
rine ; such anger cannot fail of an unhappy event, driving the soul 
into much sin, and driving at length into destruction, if that wind do 
not turn, and they change their course. This was the case of the 
Jews, of whom the apostle says, 1 Thess. ii. 15, 16, " Who hath 
killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted 
us ; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men : forbid- 
ding us to speak to the Gentiles, that they might be saved, to fill up 
their sins alway ; for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost." 

3. Though the wind be not contrary, yet if it be too impetuous 
and violent, it may dash the ship on rocks, and split it. So though 
men's anger may have a just ground, yet if it prove excessive and 
boisterous, it may run men headlong into great mischiefs, to the dis- 
honour of God, and ruin of themselves and others. And therefore 
Jacob thus censures that of Simeon and Levi, Gen. xlix. 7- " Cursed 
be their anger, for it was fierce ; and their wrath, for it was cruel : 
I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel." Oft-times 
reason lets in anger into one's breast ; but then anger turns out rea- 
son to the door, and carries on all precipitantly without reason or 
discretion : like one that brings in a coal to his hearth, because of 
the cold, but unwarily lets it fall on tow, which sets the house on 

The ingredients of anger are these following. 


1. A commotion or trouble of the spirit, which ariseth from an 
apprehension of an injury. The injury apprehended strikes on 
men's spirit, and disturbs its repose. And many times the sinful- 
ness of it riseth here, that there is an injury apprelieuded where 
there is none, or it is apprehended to be greater than it really is. 
In both cases it is rash anger; hence our Lord says, Matth. v. 22. 
" Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in 
danger of the judgment : and whosoever shall say to his brother, 
Raca, shall be in danger of the council : but whosoever shall say, 
Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." But however it is, as to 
the cause of it, it is according to its name an anger, vexation or 
trouble of spirit, in its nature, which a wise man will be loath to 
admit without a good cause, 2 Pet. ii. 7- 

2. Hatred, which is bent against the injury apprehended, that 
they cannot think on it but with detestation. And in respect of 
this anger is called indignation. And if the injury be real, and 
consequently a sinful thing, and the hatred and indignation be con- 
fined to it, the anger in that case is laudable, so that it keep due 
proportion with the offence, 2 Cor. vi. 11. But here again the sin- 
fulness of anger riseth, while like a flood-water it does not only fill 
the channel, but overflows the banks ; the hatred being not only 
directed against our neighbour's sin and offence, but his person, 
whom we are obliged to love as ourselves, notwithstanding of his 
real or apprehended injuries to us, Matth. v. 4-1. 

3. Grief, for whosoever is angry is grieved too, Mark iii. 5. And 
this ariseth from the conceived injury too which is hated. But the 
grief is on the account of the party, or parties injured ; and in law- 
ful anger it is impartial, and goes as broad as the injury goes : as 
in our Lord's auger, he was " grieved for the hardness of their 
hearts." He was grieved for it as an injury to his Father, to him- 
self, and to their own souls. And here is another joint, at which 
our anger is often distorted, and becomes sinful. The grief the 
angry man has, often looks only to himself as slighted, desj^ised, and 
wronged ; upon that his auger feeds : but he has no regard to the 
dishonour of God, nor to the wrong done to the injurer's own soul, 
by the injury to us. 

4. A desire of the vindication of the right and honour of the in- 
jured. And from this appetite or desire it hath one of its names in 
the New Testament, oege. And this desire is allowable as far as it 
seeks what only in a way of justice and equity is necessary to vin- 
dicate the right and honour of the injured, and withal seeks it in an 
orderly and allowable way. The meek desire that in their anger ; 
but they commit it to God to whom it belongs. But here again our 



nger usually becomes sinful ; partly, while that desire respects 
only their own right and honour, and we have no concern for 
the vindication of the honour of God and our neighbour; partly, 
while men are bent on revenge, which is measured not by the rule 
of moderation, justice, and equity, but by the satisfying of an exor- 
bitant passion ; and partly, while men are by it carried to avenge 
themselves, while yet they have no lawful power, Rom. xii. 19. 
whence come scoldings, quarrelings, beatings, and fightings. 

Thus ye may see that anger is a passion uneasy to one's self, com- 
pounded of bitter ingredients and uneasy passions ; in which one 
walks on slippery ground, where he is apt to fall headlong. 

II. I come now to shew what it is to be slow of wrath. It im- 
ports these three things. 

1. Being slow to take up anger in one's own cause. The wise 
man is not soon angry, Prov. xiv. 17. It is wisdom indeed to be 
very tender of God's honour, but to be more indifferent about our 
own personal interests, as Moses was. But the world's way is the 
reverse of this ; they are lions in their own cause, but lambs in the 
matters of God. However, in all cases the wise are not rash with 
their anger ; they consider matters duly, put a charitable construc- 
tion on actions that will bear one, and put up many offences, cover- 
ing them with a mantle of love. 

2. Managing it warily when it is taken up, being guided by the 
light of reason, and not by the fire of passion. This is to possess 
themselves, and not to be turned out of the possession of themselves 
by their passion, Luke xxi. 19. They find themselves on slippery 
ground, and therefore are slow to their motions : they see their 
danger, and therefore do the rather watch, lest they be precipitated 
into what will afterward bring them nothing but remorse. 

3. Being easy to lay it down, Eph. iv. 26, 27; easy to forgive 
and forget injuries, Matth. xviii. 22. The more slow that anger 
burns, it is the easier to quench, it doth the easier die out. Thus 
he who has the rule over his own spirit, as he manageth his anger 
regularly while there is need for it, ho shuts it out wheu there is no 
more use for it. 

III. I proceed to shew in what I'espects he that is slow of wrath 
is of great understanding. Such a one thereby shews, that he does 
well understand, 

1. His duty to God his sovereign Lord, Eccl. v. 2. If men un- 
derstood that, they would not be so ready to take fire on every 
temptation. If they considered that God is the Judge of all and 
their Judge, to whom belongs vengeance ; that he has by his com- 
mand enjoined them patience, long-suffering, and forbearance ; and 


tliat he is slow of wrath towards themselves, and that they are 
obliged to be followers of God ; they would see it their duty to be 
slow to anger. 

2. nimself. The passionate man thinks he will shew those that 
offend him, that he understands himself very well. But our text 
shews, that he liangs out a sign at his own door to tell that a fool 
dwells within, one wlio does not understand himself. If you saw 
one girt about with bags of powder run in among sparks, you would 
say he did not understand himself. He that is truly wise under- 
stands himself to have a mass of corruption within him, to be of like 
passions with others, that it is very hard for him to be angry and 
not sin, to bridle his passion sufficiently if once it get place ; and 
therefore he is slow to wrath, as one handles glasses tenderly and 
warily, that knoAVs the nature of them. 

3. Satan's diligence and malice against him, who will not lose a 
fair opportunity for tripping up his heels. He knows full well, that 
that evil spirit will blow the coal that he has cast in, if so he may 
bring it to a flame, and then say. Aha, I am ivarm, Eph. iv. 26, 27. 
He understands that Satan seeks first to trouble the waters, and 
then to fish in the muddy flood. The passionate fool sees nothing 
of this, till once he finds himself carried headlong, and afterwards 
comes to himself. 

4. His real interest; that to give up himself to his passion is to 
bring damage to himself, to let in an enemy that makes havock of 
soul and body at once. To see inhabitants breaking down their 
city, and dismantling it of its walls, whereby they should be de- 
fended from their enemies, we would say, they understood not their 
own interest. As little does the man that is hasty to wrath hasty 
in it, and slow at laying it down. He has no rule over his own 
spirit, Prov. xxv. ult. His passion masters his reason, and his grace 
too, if he have any : and so the good that is in may go out, and ill 
may come in. 

5. Human nature, and what metal fallen Adam's sons and daugh- 
ters are of. He is not surprised to meet with oftences among man- 
kind, more than with midges flying about him in the summer, or 
frost and snow pinching him in the winter. For as that is the na- 
ture of the seasons, so the other is the nature of sinful mankind. 
He considers that there is not one among them all to cast a stone at 
another : that as some ofl"end him, he offends others too ; and there- 
fore since he needs forbearance and forgiveness, he will give it too. 

I come now to improve this subject ; and that in a use of exhor- 

Be slow of wrath, slow to take up anger, wary in managing you 


spirits when angry, and ready to lay it down. For motives, 

1. It is a heaven-like disposition, it is a God-like and Christ-like 
temper, Joel ii. 13, "God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger. 
Matt. xi. 29, I am meek and lowly in heart," says Christ. And 
should Ave follow the dictates and way of the wicked world, which 
puts darkness for light? If we bear the name of Christians, let us 
follow the example of Christ. 

2. The comfort of society depends on it. Col. iii. 13. 0! what 
disorder does the want of this breed among neighbours, and in fa- 
milies ! One fires his train, another catches the fire as flax or tow 
would do, and then the flame goes up ; and Satan finds his account 
in it. 

3. It is necessary for a man's own comfort. The hasty man will 
never want wo, while he lives in a sinful world. And what a pity 
is it that our peace and quiet should lie at the mercy of every one 
who has the ill disposition to give us a provocation ? The meek 
man will maintain his quiet over the belly of these, and will be happy 
in bearing calmly the provocation that others are so unhappy as 
to give. 

4. It is necessary to keep both one's self and others from the 
snare of sin. We are to pray. Lead us 'not into temptation. This is 
a necessary mean thereto, Prov. xv. 18, " A wrathful man stirreth 
up strife : but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife." Compare 
Matth. V. 2, Blessed are the peace-makers. He that is slow to anger 
keeps the bridle over his own passion, he lays in no fuel to another's, 
and so appeaseth strife, as the coal goes out when left alone on the 

5. Consider the authority of God binding it on us. Jam. i. 19, Let 
every man he — slow to ivrath. This is backed by the authority and 
example of the Mediator, who cast us a copy for our imitation. 
Matth. xi. 29, / am meek and lowly in heart. Let this double tie 
serve to bind down our spirits when they begin to swell sinfully. 

6. What need we have of the Lord's being slow to anger towards 
us. Lam. iii. 22, 23, " It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not 
consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every 
morning : great is thy faithfulness." There is no body so frequent, 
so unreasonable in their provocations to us as we towards him. 
What should come of us, if Heaven should fire against us at every 
provocation ? We should be made to cry as those unreasonably did. 
Numb. xvii. 12, 13, " Behold, we die, we perish, we all perish. 
Whosoever cometh any thing near unto the tabernacle of the Lord, 
shall die : Shall we be consumed with dying ?" What we need for 
ourselves, let us use to others. 


7. Lastly, The want of it will provoke the Lord to anger against 
us. Remember the servant in the parable, Matth. xviii. 33, 34, 
" Shouldst not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, 
even as I had pity on thee ? And his lord was wroth, and delivered 
hira to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto 
him." God is almighty, able to revenge every disobedience ; yet is 
slow to anger, Nah. i. 3. "We are weak, and often can do no more 
than show ill-will. How then can it miss to provoke the Lord 
against us ? 

But here it is necessary to caution against sinful slackness to 
anger, whereby the necessary duties of justice and charity come to 
be omitted. It has indeed a semblance to meekness and slowness to 
wrath : but it is really the rock on the right hand of them, as passion 
is the rock on the left ; and upon the one as well as the other the 
ship of the soul may be damaged, if it is not dashed in pieces. The 
difference between this slowness and sinful slackness is, that the 
former proceeds from true wisdom, as in the text, viz. spiritual and 
heavenly wisdom, wrought in men by the Spirit, through the word, 
Jam. iii. 17, the latter from a mere natural softness of temper which 
we call good humour, or from carnal wisdom, in both which the 
principle, manner, and end of the action are all confined within the 
circle of self, and so cannot be acceptable to God, as they are not 
the product of his sanctifying Spirit. And hence it is that the effect 
of them is often, as in this case, quite contrary to the rule of the 
word ; .which the effect of grace and spiritual wisdom can never be, 
Gal. V. 22, 23. 

Now, the evil of this slackness lies in its causing a criminal omis- 
sion of that duty Avhich we owe to God, and to our neighbour, either 
by the tie of justice or charity. Such was the sinful slackness of 
Gallio, Acts xviii. 17, of the church of Corinth in not casting out 
the incestuous person, 1 Cor. v. with 2 Cor. vii. 11, and of Eli in not 
restraining is sons. 

We have need to take heed how we steer our course then, keep- 
ing off sinful passion on the one hand, and sinful slackness on the 
other, studying a Christian meekness, a gracious slowness of wrath, 
whereof the new nature is the principle, the word, the rule and rea- 
son, the glory of God the chief end, and faith the mean by which we 
come to exercise it. All other meekness and slowness of wrath, will 
be found but spurious meekness and slowness, or sinful slackness. 

Therefore let us look to Christ for the sanctifying of our nature, 
the extinguishing of the hellish fire of them by his Spirit working 
like water; let us entertain habitual impressions of the majesty of 
God, the spirituality of the law, and our own danger, on our spirits ; 


and labour to exercise this slowness to wrath, depending on Jesus as 
the head of influences for strength. 

DocT. II. The passionate man proclaims his folly and naughtiness 
in his unbridled passion and sinful anger. 

In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Consider the nature of passion or sinful anger. 

II. Shew how the passionate man proclaims his folly. 

III. Make application. 

I. I shall consider the nature of passion or sinful anger. And 
that we may understand it, let us view, 

1. The causes of it. 

2. The kinds of it. 

3. The effects of it. 

First, Let us view the causes constituting anger, sinful anger. 
Anger then is sinful anger and passion. 

1. When it riseth without a just ground, having no cause for it 
assigned by grace or right reason as just. Hence our Lord speaks 
of one's being angry without a cause, Matth. v. 22. That is either, 
(1.) without any cause at all. The rush grows not Avithout mire, 
nor the flag without water. But the heart of man can produce 
anger without any cause given him. There is a certain sourness of 
spirit that sometimes sits down on men, whereby they are angry 
while they know not wherefore. A humbling instance of the cor- 
ruption of nature. (2.) Yainly, upon some light and trifling occa- 
sion, unworthy of such notice. There is no just cause for it; but 
the judgment is weak and yielding, and so gives way to passion. 

But, ! how often do terrible flames arise from such trifling 
sparks, and the waters which at the beginning would hardly wet 
one's foot, or might easily be stept over, come through this rash 
anger to overflow even to the neck? Prov. xvii. 14, " The beginning 
of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off con- 
tention, before it be meddled with." 

2. When it keeps no due proportion with the offence, but in its 
degree quite exceeds the measure of the injury received, as in the 
case of Simeon and Levi respecting the Shecheniites, Gen, xlix. 7. 
forecited, and that of David with regard to his design against Nabal, 
1 Sam. XXV. 34. compare ver. 32, 33. It must needs be sinful anger, 
that turns men so far out of themselves, as to turn about their cart- 
wheel on the cumin, which might be beat out with a rod. Men need 
to take good heed lest they exceed ; for when the smoke of passion 
rises, men see injuries as in a magnifying glass ; and being once set 
on the passionate run, are apt to pursue beyond bounds. 


3. When it is not directed to the honour of God, and the des- 
truction of sin ; but is confined within the cursed circle of self, Prov. 
xxi. 24, " Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in 
proud wrath." God is dislionoured, as well as the man is wronged: 
but the passionate man has no concern for the former, but his con- 
cern is swallowed up in the latter. So it is a fire lighting on others, 
just to make them sacrifices to the pride and arrogance of a lofty- 
heart, which thinks nothing too much for itself, Prov. xxviii. 25. 

4. When it makes no due difference between the offender and the 
offence, but gives both one measure. It was the corrupt divinity 
of the Pharisees in Christ's time, Matth. v. 43. " Thou shalt love thy 
neighbour, and hate thine enemy." But Christ, who never bade us 
love but hate offences, and acts of enmity, will have us nevertheless 
to love the persons even of offenders and our enemies, ver. 44. there- 
by showing that we in our anger make a great difference betwixt 
the offender and the offence. But alas ! how little is this regarded, 
but the passion hand over head treats the offender and the offence 
alike, till they like the one no better than the other. 

5. When the effects of it are sinful. If the fruits be sinful, the 
tree they grow on must be so, for the tree is known by its fruit. The 
effects of holy anger are just and good : but when anger puts a 
man so far out of himself, that it unfits him for his duty, or drives 
him on to revenge, or breaks out in clamour and evil speaking, and 
the like ; it is easy to see that that fire is not from the altar, but, 
from another quarter. Moses himself had a fit of it, Psal. cvi. 33. 
" They provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his 
lips." But passion is never a whit the better of that, but the more 
to be feared, as a potent enemy which mastered so much meekness 
for a time as Moses was possessed of. 

6. Lastly, When it is kept up and continued beyond due time, 
contrary to the apostle's counsel, Eph. iv. 26. Let not the sun go 
down upon your wrath. The keeping up of sinful anger is a double 
sin. It is sinful to admit it, it is more so to keep it up, and refuse 
to let it fall. It is not to be thought, that it is lawful to keep it up 
till the sun go down; for what is sinful in its rise, must be more so 
in its countenance. But the meaning is in these two things, (1.) As 
the sun Avith his scorching heat hastens to go down, like one running 
a race, Psal. xix. 5. so should we lay by our passion, which comes 
ordinarily far sooner to a height with us. (2.) As the sotting sun 
bringing on the night, calls men to cast off their clothes, and so 
compose themselves to rest ; so should we timely put oflf this part of 
the old man, and get our spirits composed. And particularly wo 
ought not to lie down with it ; for whereas the daylight affords a 


variety of objects, that may serve to divert tlie force of passion, the 
darkness of the night hides all these, and leaves the fiery spirit to 
feed on that allenary, which raised it. So it gets leave to range 
through the several methods of revenge, Psal. xxxiv. 4. 

Secondli/, Let us view the kinds of sinful anger. In general, 
anger is twofold. 

1. There is an anger essentially sinful, sinful in itself. And that 
is where there is no just ground of anger. Such was Jonah's anger 
at the withering of the gourd, and Saul's anger against the priests 
"whom he murdered. The worst anger of this kind is, where that in- 
flames anger that should be entertained with love and esteem. 
Such was Saul's anger against David: he was angry Avith him, just 
because he behaved himself well, and God prospered him. See 
Psal. cix. 3 — 5. Men may sin, in their anger at others for their 
sin : but to be angry at one for their duty, there can be no good in 
that. This kind of anger is like a water that has quite left it chan- 
nel, or like fire in the thatch of a house, where it should never be. 

2. There is an anger accidentally sinful : and that is, where there 
is indeed just ground for it, but it is ill managed, either by not 
keeping proportion with the offence, or not directing it to the ho- 
nour of God, &c. Such was Moses' anger against the Israelites, and 
David's against Nabal : and the more of this is in it, and the more 
violent, the worse is the anger, and the more hellish ; as Simeon 
and Levi's anger against the Shechemites. This is like a water 
which is indeed in its channel, but withal it is without it too ; or 
like a fire which is indeed on the hearth, but withal coals of it scat- 
tered up and down the house. More particularly, there is, 

1. A close sullen anger, called, Eph. iv. 31. bitterness, which is a 
fire that burns within the breast, with little noise. It is kept 
within, and makes one go with a bitter heart, and full of gall, a 
burden to himself and others till it be digested. It has more of dis- 
content than revenge ; and often carries not to actual revenge, 
either because they cannot, or for certain reasons will not. So it is 
very lingering, like a fire that has little vent. There is much of 
this in the world, which eats out the comfort of soTjiety, and men's 
own comfort. This is it that makes many go champing their own 
bridle, and gnawing on their own liver, and tinctures all their woids 
and looks, as in the jaundice the overflowing gall colours the skin. 
And the nearer the relation is, it is the more dangerous ; hence is 
that exhortation. Col. iii. 19. " Husbands, love your wives, and be 
not bitter against them." 

2. An open and impetuous anger, called their ivrath, which is too 
violent to hold long. The hot spirit keeps it not in, as in the for- 


mer case ; but it breaks forth like a thunder-shower, overflowing. 
It is a most dangerous thing, apt to precipitate men into such in- 
decencies and wickednesses, that if they were themselves, they 
would be ready to say. Am I a dog that I sftonld do these things ? 
But the smoke of the passion strikes them blind while it lasts; for 
it is iu effect a short madness. Men are apt to think little of this, 
unreasonably taking it for bravery of spirit. Prov. xxv. ult. and be- 
cause it is soon over, and they rue it : but it leavens the whole man, 
it is fire set to the devil's train ; and oft-times that is done in it, 
which it is too late to rue. 

3. There is a pursuing implacable wrath, called there, anger; 
which is set upon revenge so, that they will never lay doAvn their 
anger till they be revenged to their own satisfaction. This is not 
kept so close as the first kind, nor is it carried so ])recipitantly as 
the second ; but is more open than the first, more deliberate than 
the second, and so is the more devilish. This is to be mad with rea- 
son, and may well be called malicious anger, and is at the utmost 
remove from the spirit of Christianity. The apostle calls it a giving 
•place to the devil, Eph. iv. 27. In other kinds of anger the devil 
takes place ; in this they give him place. 

Again, more particularly, there may be observed a fourfold anger. 

1. Anger that is long a-taking up, and is soon laid down. This 
is the best sort of that ill thing ; it speaks either a good natural 
temper, or great grace. It is like fire in wet wood, which is ill to 
kindle, and soon dies out. However, it is matter of humiliation, 
being sinful anger; and needs sprinkling of the blood of Christ, as 
well as the worst. 

2. Anger soon taken up, and soon laid down. This is like fire in 
flint, flying out with a touch, but quickly vanish away. It is good 
it is soon laid down ; as when one falls into a mire, the sooner out 
the better. But it is a great evil to be soon angry. Tit. i. 7- to sting 
like a wasp at a touch. It is very contrary to the nature of God, 
who is slow to anger ; and makes people an easy prey to tempta- 
tion, like a bunch of dry straw to a spark of fire, soon kindled and 
soon burned out. 

3. Anger long a-taking up, and long a-laying down. This is 
like fire in iron, which is long a-heating, and long a-cooling too. It 
is good it is long a taking up, but very sinful that it is long a-lay- 
ing down. Many value themselves, aud are valued by others, upon 
their good temper, that are so long a-taking up anger, and can 
overlook so many oftVnces; Avho are yet of such a disposition, that 
if once they be heartily angered, there is no gaining of them again. 
They are like fire in a moss, that is very ill to take fire, but when 


once fired there is almost no quenching of it. And they, when once 
raised in anger, are implacable. This is most sinful and dangerous. 
Their name is in the black roll, Rom. i. 31. Satan has eminent 
place with such, Eph. iv. 20, 27. and they cannot walk in a course 
of communion with God, Matth. xviii. idt. 

4. Anger soon taken up, and long a-laying down. This is like 
fire in oil or spirituous liquor, kindled with a touch, and burning 
vehemently, and continually while there is any thing to burn. This 
is the worst of all ; it has all the mischief of the third kind, and 
that ill in it OA^er and above, that it is soon taken up. It speaks a 
fearful height and power of sin, a person to be a perfect slave to his 
passion, who is guided neither by grace nor reason : and it is of all 
the most opposite to the spirit of Christianity. 

TJibrUi/, Let us view the effects of sinful anger. I will hint at 
the general heads of them, as the particulars are too many. 

1. It is mischievous to the body, a killing instrument to it. Job v. 
2, Wrath k'dleth the foolish man. Therefore the scripture represents 
it as a sin against the sixth command, Matth. v. 21, 22. The trans- 
port of passion makes a man a tormentor to himself, inflame the 
heart, fire the eyes, I'ender the visage fierce and pale, and loose as 
it were the very joints ; and history affords several instances of per- 
sons who have been thrown into fevers, and died, by their passion. 
And it readily makes a sensible alteration on the body. 

2. It fires the tongue in a particular manner. Jam. iii. 6, and that 
brings along Avith it a train of evils, Eph. iv. 31, quarreling, bitter 
words, railing and scolding, reviling and reproaching, swearing, 
cursing, fearful imprecations, blaspheming, &c. And all these, 
being traced to their original, are landed at the door of passion, 
which opening, sends out these as the smoke of the pit. 

3. It disturbs society, and is destructive of it, Prov. xv. 18, " A 
wrathful man stirreth up strife. And where strife is, there is con- 
fusion, and every evil work," James iii. 16. It is the coal that fires 
families and neighbourhoods, and sets every one against another. 
Yea, hence proceed j>eople's devouring one another, striking, fight- 
ing, wounding, and murdering : so that this passion has been the 
death of many, and brought many to an evil end. 

4. It overclouds reason, as in the text. It carries a man out of 
himself, that he cannot judge of matters clearly, nor act deliberately; 
but it makes him rash and precipitate in his managements, so that 
when the fit is over, nothing remains to him by it but remorse. 

5. Lastly, It unfits a man for his duty. — For the duty of his 
station ; for often the passion makes him, that when he is doing, he 
knows not what he is doing. — For his duty to God, and mars any 


thing of that kind in his hand, Jam. i. 29, " For the wrath of man 
worketh not the righteousness of God." To conclude in a word, the 
effects of sinful anger are in a lively manner, represented by Moses 
in his holy anger breaking the tables of the law, Exod. xxxii. 19. 
"When sinful passion is up, what will it not do ? it will precipitate 
men into all mischief. 

II. Tlie next liead is to shew how the passionate man proclaims 
his folly. lie plainly discovers that he does not truly understand 
his duty to God, himself, Satan's malice, his own interest, or human 
nature ; of which I have spoke before. Further, he proclaims 

1. A proud man, Prov. xxi. 24. The passionate man is always a 
proud man, and the proud man is a fool in God's account, and in 
the account of all who understand themselves. Were there less 
pride, there would be less passion : but he who is conceited of his 
own excellency, cannot miss to fall into the snare, while he receives 
not from others what he thinks is due to hi:^ merit. 

2. A weak man, one incapable to rule himself, Prov. xxv. ult. Is 
he not a weak man, who rules not himself by grace or reason, but is 
a slave to his passion, and must^oll or flee away before it, as chaff 
before the wind. Tou know, that children, by reason of their weak- 
ness of spirit, are easily fretted and angered : and of the same make 
are the passionate, who on every trifling occasion lose the mastery 
of themselves. 

3. An unmortified man, whose desires of the world's smiles are 
too vigorous, his uneasiness at its frowns too great, his expectations 
from the world by far too big. For these are the sources of unruly 
passion, always arising from one's being disappointed in some 
one thing or other. Col. iii. 3, 8. And an unmortified spirit is a 
foolish spirit, James iii. 17, 18. 

4. A rash and precipitant man, dangerous to society, apt to run 
himself and others into snares, Prov. xxii. 24, 25. And this must 
oblige both himself and others to call him a foolish man. It is the 
character of a prudent man to be deliberate in his motions, and 
foreseeing : but the passionate man is the very reverse of this, Prov. 
xxii. 3, " A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but 
the simple pass on, and are punished." 

5. Lastli/, An nnwatchful man, who has his enemies within him, 
without him, round about him, and yet cannot be brought to stand 
on his guard, and repress their motions, Prov. iv. 23, 24. This his 
practice is folly Avith a witness. 

I shall now make some practical improvement of this subject. 
Use I. Of humiliation and conviction. 


1. It must be a dangerous and sinful thing designedly to provoke 
and stir up others to passion. Yet how many are there who make 
no bones of it, but will divert themselves with it ? Thus the young 
and foolish especially, will please themselves in angering the aged 
and hasty. But let such know, that " fools make a mock at sin," 
Prov. xiv. 9. It is dangerous to please one's self with what is dis- 
pleasing to God, and ensnaring to the soul of our neighbour. 

2. Wliat shame and confusion of face may cover every one of us, 
when we examine ourselves in this point ? The picture of passion 
is drawn, and is it not an ugly one? But where is the man or wo- 
man that has not entertained this monster, and in whose breast it 
has not been bred many a time ? how unlike God and Christ has 
it made us, how unlike Christians, yea how unlike rational men and 
■women ? Think not light of it, Eph. v. 6. compared with chap. iv. 31. 
We must be washed from the guilt of it by Christ's blood, and the 
fire of it must be quenched by his Spirit, else we will be undone for 

Use II. Of exhortation ; which I offer in these two particulars. 

First, Beware of provoking and stirring np others to passion. 
Lay in no fuel to that fire in the breasts of others, neither designedly 
nor any other manner of way, without exception of any thing but 
necessary duty. If that will provoke people's passion, there is no 
help for it. Better men be provoked than God, Acts iv. 19. But 
otherwise beware of it, as ye will answer it to the God that made 
you. To j)ress this, consider, 

1. The law of love binds it on you. Love thy neighbour as thyself. 
If you do so, you will be loath to provoke him ; for you would not 
choose to be provoked yourself. If you love his soul as you are 
obliged to do, you will be as loath to stir up his passion, as to fire 
Ms house. If you love his peace and welfare, you will be loath to 
rob him of it. 

2. That is to be a snare to him, to lead him into sin. God 
charged his people. Lev. xix. 14. " Thou shalt not put a stumbling- 
block before the blind ;" and the apostle will have all to take heed, 
" that no man put a stumbling-block, or an occasion to fall in his 
brother's way," Rom. xiv. 13. To lead your neighbour into a mire, 
over a precipice where he might fall, and break a leg or an arm, you 
will own would be akin to murder. This is worse, as being of the 
nature of soul-murder. 

3. You are partaker of the guilt which is brought on another by 
your means : and it will justly be charged on you, as instrumental 
in it, laying the snare for them, 1 Kings xxi. 25. As he who lays 
the stumbling-block before a blind man, over which he breaks his 


neck, is guilty of his Tblood ; so are those that provoke others to 
passion, crnilty of their sin. 

4. Lastly, It is doing Satan's work, and that is a sorry office. 
"When Peter advised our Saviour to heware of exposing- himself to 
suffering, he says, Get thee bcftiiid me, Satan, Matth. xvi. 23. for he 
saw that Peter was serving him in that. Satan spared Job's wife, 
because he had use for her to provoke him to blaspheme. And that 
is the way they are employed who provoke others. 

Therefore I beseech you, beware of this practice. 

1. For God's sake, who is thereby dishonoured. The coal you 
cast into your neighbour's breast, kindles a Harne there : but the 
smoke mounts upward, and darkens the heavens. And therefore, as 
ye have any love to God, or regard to his honour, treat your neigh- 
bour tenderly in that point. 

2. For your neighbour's soul's sake, which is thereby endangered 
and involved in guilt, Rom. xiv. 15. Say not. Am I my brother'' s 
keeper ? You certainly are so far : but certainly you can never 
think you are at liberty to be your brother's destroyer. 

3. For your own sake, whose accounts are thereby increased with 
the additiou of your neighbour's guilt. " Therefore be not ye par- 
takers with them ; and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works 
of darkness, but rather reprove them," Eph. v. 7, H- Each of us 
will have enough ado with our burden ; why should we adopt the 
sins of others, and stir them up to what will be laid to our charge ? 

4. Lastly, As ye would not do Satan a service and a pleasure. 
Dust is the serpent's meat ; even the sin and ruin of mankind, with 
the dishonour of God, afford him all the satisfaction he has. It 
pleases him to see them snares to one another, and to cleave them 
with a wedge of their own timber, 

I shall give you a few directions. 

1. Be habitually concerned that ye stand not in the way of, but 
to advance the spiritual good of others. Gal. vi. 10, He Avho is con- 
cerned for one's recovery, will be careful not to do any thing that 
may occasion a relapse to him. It is Cain's humour, unconcerned- 
ness for the good, especially for the spiritual good of others, that 
makes men so easy on this point. But take that advice, Rom, xiv. 
19, 20, " Let us therefore follow after the things which make for 
peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. For meat de- 
stroy not the work of God, All things indeed are pure ; but it is 
evil for that man who eateth with offence." 

2. Be conscientious in giving every one their due, Rom, siii. 7, B, 
" Render therefore to all their dues : tribute to whom tribute is due, 
custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour. 

Vol. V, u 


Owe no man any thing, but to love one another : for he that loveth 
another, hath fulfilled the law." There is an honour due to men as 
men, which makes them to be no objects of contempt, 1 Pet. ii. 17. 
Be always ready to give every one what is due to them, whether in 
the way of justice or charity. For wrong done, and contempt shown, 
are the great upstirrers of this passion, and kindlers of this coal, in 
the breasts of others. 

3. Particularly make conscience of your relative duties. The 
nearer the relation is, the provocation pierces the more deep, the 
peace is the more precious, and the offence in many cases the harder 
to be removed, Prov. xviii. 19. Let husbands and wives be tender 
of one another in that case, and beware of provoking one another's 
passion, as they would not be snares to one another, Eph. v. ult. Let 
children honour and reverence their parents, as their natural lord; and 
parents treat their children as parts of themselves, Eph. vi. 1, 2, 4. 
Let servants be precisely just, faitlifnl, and respectful to their ma- 
sters, and masters just and equitable to their servants, verse 5, 9. 
It is the neglect of these things that provokes the passion of relatives. 

4. Be not negligent and careless of your carriage and b Jiaviour 
towards any body : for whatever difference there may be betwixt 
them and you, you owe them an honour, 1 Pet. ii. 17 ; you are ca- 
pable of offending them, Matth. xviii. 7 ; and it is dangerous to be a 
snare to their souls, and all souls are alike precious. There was no 
more paid by Christ for the king's soul, than the beggar's, Rom. 
xiv. 15. 

5. If one's passion be up or like to rise, silence is oft times ne- 
cessary, not answering again, Tit. iii. 9. The reason is. Where no 
wood is, there the fire goeth out, Prov. xxvi. 20. Wrath is a fire, an- 
swering often is like coals or fuel laid to it. Therefore learn to give 
place to wrath, Rom. xii. 19. 

6. But sometimes there is a necessity of answering, as when one 
is directly questioned, and an answer is looked for, and passion may 
be irritated by silence. The angry person judging himself despised 
by silence, John xix. 10. in that case a soft answer is a sovereign 
remedy, Prov. xv. 1. as yielding wool will be a better fence against 
a cannon-ball than a stone wall. A soft tongue breaks the bone, 
and yet wounds no body, Prov. xxv. 15. So did Abigail pacify 

7. Lastly, Be still ready to do them all good offices, Rom. xii. 19, 
20, 21. And look to the Lord for the blessing on these things, 
practising them out of respect to his command : and great will be 
your peace and satisfaction therein. 

Let no body say, Such a way of carrying is mean and sneaking. 


It is prescribed by God in his word, cind it is recommended to ns by 
the example of Christ, 1 Pet. ii. 23, " "Who when he was reviled, re- 
yiled not again ; when he sutfered, he threatened not :" and it is true 
greatness of spirit, Prov. xxvi. 32, " He that is slow to anger, is 
better than the mighty : and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that 
taketh a city." 

Secondli/, Beware of sinful anger in yourselves ; bridle your own 
passion, and subdue it. Be not hasty in spirit; take not that fire 
into your bosom, nor cherish it, but extinguish it. To press this, I 
offer the following motives, 

1. Consider it is a work of the flesh as really as adultery and ido- 
latry. Gal. V. 19, 20. It is a notable piece of the corruption of our 
nature, not to be tolerated, far less cherished, but mortified. So the 
sowing to it will bring a reaping of corruption. It is far from bra- 
very of spirit, but is a piece of man's corrupt spirit, the spirit of the 

2. It is not only a siu, but it is a mother-sin, Prov. xxix. 22, " An 
angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in trans- 
gression." It is seldom it comes alone, but has a hellish train along 
with it, as clamour, evil-speaking, &c. And as one fire serves to 
kindle another, so seldom anger rises in one's breast, but the sparks 
fly into another's, and so another flame is kindled there. 

3. It is a murdering sin, as we may learn from our Saviour's 
teaching it to be forbidden in the words, " Thou shalt not kill, 
Matth. V. 21, 22, Ye have heard, that it was said by them of old 
time, thou shalt not kill : and whosoever shall kill, shall be in dan- 
ger of the judgment. But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry 
with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judg- 
ment," &c. It is of a murdering nature to the man himself. Job 
V. 2. and to the man the sinful anger is conceived against. It is in 
its own nature heart-murder, Matth. v. 22. As he who lustcth after 
a woman is guilty of heart-adultery, so a sinfully-angry man is 
guilty of heart-murder. It is ordinarily attended with eye-murder, 
venting itself in a wrathful countenance. A proud look and bloody 
hands are joined, Prov. vi. 17. The Spirit of God takes notice of 
Cain's countenance, Gen. iv. 5. See Obad. 12. And it is attended 
with tongue-murder. Solomon observes that death and life are in the 
power of the tongue, Prov. xviii. 21. If passion have the management 
of it, no wonder that it be found guilty of murder. In its shapes it 
resembles both fire and sword, and with the mouth bow and arrow, 
all of them instruments of death : and in the angry man it is so, 
James iii. 6. Psal. Ivii. 4. and Ixiv. 3. And it has a native tendency 
to hand-murder, as in the case of Cain, Gen. iv. 5, 8. 

M 2 


4. It divests a man of his ornament as a man, whereby he differs 
from beasts, that is, his reason, Prov. xvii. 12^ Let a hear robbed of 
her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly. Wliile passion 
rules, reason is banished : that is he acts the beast, and lays aside 
the man so long. The beasts have their passion, anger, and wrath, 
as well as men : but they have no reason to guide it with, and there- 
fore in them it is not sinful. But for men to indulge in their pas- 
sion, and be ruled by it, is to degrade themselves into the order of 

5. It divests a man of his ornament as a Christian, i. e. a meek 
ayid quiet spirit, 1 Pet. iii. 4. They who put on the new man, are 
supposed to lay aside and put off all these, anger, wrath, malice, &c. 
Col. iii. 8. Where the gospel comes in power, and casts the soul 
into the mould of it, it meekens the rugged spirit, Isa. xi. 6. conforms 
the soul to Jesus the pattern of meekness and lowliness. So that 
professors would know, that victory over their passion is necessary 
to evidence their interest in Christ. 

6. It is a downright opposite to communion with God, in any of 
the duties of religion. What duty is the man fit for when he is in a 
fit of passion ? If God be speaking to him by his word, he does not 
hear, his heart is taken up with the object of his anger ; and there- 
fore the apostle saith, 1 Pet. ii. 1, 2, " Wherefore laying aside all 
malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speak- 
ings, as new born babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye 
may grow thereby." If he is to speak to God in prayer in that case, 
what comes of it ? his praying is a burden to himself, and it is a 
burden to the Spirit of God too. " Therefore, (says Christ,) if thou 
bring thy gift to the altar, and there remeniberest that thy brother 
hath ought against thee ; leave there thy gift before the altar, and 
go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and 
offer thy gift," Matth. v. 23, 24. And says the apostle, " I will 
therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, with- 
out wrath and doubting," 1 Tim. ii. 8. For as troubled water is not 
fit to receive the image of the sun, so the soul in passion is not meet 
for divine communions. Ah ! how many secret prayers and family 
prayers have been lost this way? Mai. ii. 13. 

7. Lastly, It excludes men out of the kingdom of heaven. Gal, v. 
19, 20, 21. And no wonder, for it is a work of the flesh, a mother 
sin, a murdering sin : and no murderer hath eternal life abiding in 
him: When men are brought into the kingdom of grace, their spirits 
are meekened : and there are none taken into the kingdom of glory 
above, but who are taken into the kingdom of grace here. 

I shall conclude with giving a few directions. 


1. Carry your sinful nature to Christ by faith to be healed, that 
ye may partake of the virtue of his blood and Spirit for your reno- 
vation, Gal. V. 24. Without this all other remedies will be but 
scurfing over the sore. 

2. When ye are in hazard of the temptation, catch hold of the 
promise of protection and preservation by faith, and use the means 
of resisting, Eph. vi. 16, " Above all, taking the shield of faith, 
wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the 
wicked." Hence one bears sometimes greater affronts and injuries 
better than lesser ones ; because in the former case tliey betake 
themselves to the shields of gold made by the true Solomon, faith 
and dependence on the Lord ; in the latter, like fools they venture 
with the brazen ones of their resolutions, &c. 

3. Consider the sufferings of Christ, when any thing thou sufferest 
is like to raise thy passion, Heb. xii. 3. Those stung by the ser- 
pents in the wilderness, were to look to the brazen serpent and be 
healed. The injuries thou receivest are stings in this wilderness; 
therefore look to Christ who is exalted on the pole of the gospel, 
and thou shalt be healed by him. 

4. Study humility, and remember well what ill-deserving crea- 
tures ye have been ; how sinful ye are, and whatever is done or said 
to you, you deserve it, and much more at his hand. This would 
make us lay our hand on our mouth, under the provocations we 
meet with. Tit. iii. 3. And whoever be the instruments of our un- 
easiness, we know it is iu God's hand to make use of whom he will 
for our trial, 2 Sam. xvi. 11. It is pride that is at the bottom of 
all our passion, Prov. xxviii. 25. 

5. Consider the injury done you, as a sin and as a trial. — As a 
sin of the party who does it ; and this will turn your eye on the dis- 
honour done to God thereby, and so make the injury to yourself 
light ; it will also turn your anger. into pity upon the party who is 
so unhappy as to provoke God against himself, by wronging you. 
Thus Christ said on the cross, Luke xxiii. 34. " Father, forgive 
them; for they know not Avhat they do." And consider the injury 
as a trial to you, a trial of your patience : God is looking on, ob- 
serving how you will bear it ; and God chuses the instrument of the 

6. Bear down your passion with silence, if you find it beginning 
to rise. I do not bid you harbour it in your heart, but refuse to 
give it vent. Some will think, that perhaps it is better to give it a 
vent presently, and that it will be the sooner over. But wliat is 
that but to satisfy it with clamour, and then it will end ? That is 
not the scripture-method, as you may see, Prov. xii. 16. "A fool's 

u 3 


wrath is presently known : but a prudent man covereth shame. 
Eph. iv. 31. Let all bitterness, and Avrath, and anger, and clamour, 
and evil-speaking be put away from you, with all malice." Give 
fire a vent, and it will burn while it has matter; but if it have uo 
vent at all, it will die out. So it will be in this case. 

7. Study a charitable disposition, and beware of a suspicious, cu- 
rious, and credulous temper. Tliis would be an excellent antidote 
against the attempts of passion, 1 Cor. xiii. 7. Charity will put the 
best construction on the actions of others that rationally they can 
bear, and so eases men of many supposed injuries, and many real 
ones too. Suspicion serves to gather in fuel from all quarters to 
the fire of passion, and would find it in plenty there, where charity 
would see none at all. Curiosity and credulity are passion's hand- 
maids. He that is curious to know what others think and say of 
him, and credulous to believe every report, will not want enough to 
make him uneasy. 

8. Remove the occasions of your passion, as people use to keep 
lint far from the fire, because the fire easily seizes on it. It is said 
of Augustus, that he did for this reason break some curious glasses 
of purpose. And it is said of turpentine, that it will draw fire to 
it. No fire is so easily drawn as that of passion. And therefore it 
is good to remove those things that draw it to them. 

9. Lastly, Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation ; and 
if at any time ye are catched, haste out of the snare. Dallying 
with temptation is the fair way to entangle you further : therefore 
fly from it as from a serpent, lest ye be stung to death thereby. 






Romans xii. 19. 

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, hut rather give jplace unto wrath : 
for it is written, Vengeance is mine ; J will repay, saiih the Lord. 

As in sinful anger there is a desire of revenge, so revenge is the 
hellish sacrifice to sinful anger, wherewith it is satisfied, and where- 
in it is fully accomplished. Therefore it is necessary to add a little 
concerning this. In the words there is, 

1. A dehortation from revenge, which is proposed pathetically, 

\st. With an endearing compellation. Dearly beloved. He knew 
how prone corrupt nature is to revenge, how hard it is to sinful men 
to be denied the satisfaction of it, when once their passion is up : 
therefore he interposes as it were with the angry man, and with 
softest words begs him to forbear. 

Mly, Both negatively and positively, telling what is not to be 
done, and what is to be done. 

(1.) Ye are not to avenge yourselves. All revenge is not sinful, 
nor here forbidden. For it is competent to God, as saith the text; 
and to the magistrate, chap. xiii. 4. " He is the minister of God, a 
revenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil." But it is pri- 
vate and personal revenge, namely, where one as a private man re- 
venges himself on another, over whom he has no authority and 
power given him for that effect. Avenge not yourselves. 

' This subject was discussed in two short discourses, preached at Ettrick, Nov. 7, 
and 8, 1724. 


(2.) Ye are to give plare to wrath ; i. e. to tlie "wrath of your ad- 
versary who does you the injury. Decline it as David did Saul's 
javelin thrown at hiin, rather than give him as good as he brings. 
Rather sutt'er injuries, than revenge yourselves at your own hand. 
It is just what our Saviour teaches, Matth. v. 39. " Kesist not evil : 
but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to hira the 
other also." As if he had said, Take a second blow, rather than 
revenge the first. 

2. A reason of the dehortation, which is taken from Deut. xxxii. 
35. To me helongeth vengeance, and recompense. 

\st, Revenge belongs to God ; he pleads it as his own right, and 
lie has put in his claim to it, as his sole privilege before the world, 
in the word, that none who hear the Bible can pi'etend ignorance. 
Therefore it belongs not to us, and we must not invade his right. 

2dly, He will certainly see to the execution of it. Say not. If we 
are not allowed to revenge injuries, then they will go unpunished, 
and many wrongs we get will never be righted. No ; God will 
right all wrongs ; none of them shall go unseen to. He has given 
Ins word for it. 

The doctrine arising from the text is, 

DocT. One's revenging himself at his own hand on such as have 
wronged him, is deeply sinful and dishonouring to God, whose pro- 
vince alone vengeance is. 

In treating this doctrine, I shall shew, 

I. What this revenge is that is so deeply sinful and dishonouring 
to God. 

II. What is the sinfulness and dishonour to God in it. 

III. Make application. 

I. I am to shew what this revenge is that is so deeply sinful and 
dishonouring to God, whose province alone vengeance is. 

Revenge is twofold, public and authoritative, private and personal. 

1. There is a public and authoritative revenge, which is taken on 
those that wrung others by such as are invested with a lawful power 
and authority for that purpose. This is so far from being sinful, 
that it is a necessary piece of justice and charity, and is done in the 
name and by the authority of God. Thus the magistrate has a 
power to revenge wrongs in the state, Rom. xiii. 4, forecited. So 
also have church-rulers power to revenge or censure scandals in the 
church, 2 Cor. x. 6, where the apostle speaks of a readiness to revenge 
all disobedience. And thus masters of families have a power to re- 
venge wrongs in their families, as Abraham did in the case of Hagar, 


Gen. xvi. 6. And it is of equal latitude with rightful government, 
in whatever lawful society. And persons wronged seeking redress 
from those to whom the public revenge belongs, is a lawful thing, 
and men are invested with authority that they may be so applied to, 
as the importunate widow did to the unjust judge, saying. Avenge 
me of mine adversary, Luke xviii. 3. And applying to them for it, 
they apply to God lor it, since they act in his name. 

2. There is a private and personal revenge, which is the requiting 
of a wrong with the like, or worse, for the satisfying of the passion 
of the injured, not supported by any authority from the God of ven- 
geance. This is sinful revenge. The kinds of it are three. 

1*^, Revenge taken by those in authority, out of hatred and ill- 
will to the person of him who does the wrong. For they are reveng- 
ers to execute lurath, Ro;i). xiii. 4. not their own wrath against the 
person, but God's, in whose name they act. And the executing of 
justice must still be an act of love to their neighbour, which is the 
sum of the second table, but never of hatred. Xo man has any au- 
thority from God to that purpose. So the public revenge in that 
case becomes so far private, deeply sinful and dishonouring to God. 

2d/j/, Revenge sought from those in authority, in cases M^herein it 
is neither necessary for the public good, nor the amendment of the 
offender, nor the safety of the party hurt. This also is private re- 
venge, deeply sinful, and dishonourable to God. For in such cases 
there is nothing obliging the man's conscience to seek it, and there- 
fore he is obliged to forgive it wholly. Col. iii. 13. All then that is 
aimed at in such cases, is the satisfying of the man's own revengeful 
passion, getting his heart's sight on the party that has wronged 
him : which is diametrically opposite to the royal law of love, and 
the spirit of Christianity, James ii. 8. Let such take heed to this, 
who fly to their law-pleaing on every trilling occasion, just to gra- 
tify their own passion. It is a horrid abuse of an ordinance of 
God ; it is to make the law, the magistrate, and the authority of 
God which he is invested with, subservient to your revengeful pas- 
sions, Matth. v. 40. 

'idly, Revenge taken by those not in authority empowering them 
to take it, taken by persons not acting in a public capacity, but at 
the command of their passion fleeing to take revenge at their own 
hand ; which is most directly forbidden in the text. It is a common 
sin in the perverse generation wherein we live. And this revenge is 
taken three ways. 

\st, By words. I speak not here of revenge in the heart, for that 
belongs to anger, of which I have spoke already. But the tongue 
is as real an instrument of revenge, as the hands, swords, or spears. 


Therefore say not, I will recompense evil, Prov. ix. 22. Say not, 
I will do so to him as he hath done to mo : I will render to the man 
according to his work," chap. xxiv. 29. And what are the scold- 
ings and floutings among people, but the acting of revenge on them 
for the wrong alleged to be said or done to them ? One's passion is 
fired against another, and then they pursue tliem with bitter words, 
lying, railing, and reviling speeches ; so that many can no more 
speak good of those by whom they conceive themselves wronged, 
but on all occasions boil out their revenge that way. And the pas- 
sion of revenge is served by these speeches, as really as it would be 
by the blood of their offenders, though not to the same degree. 

2cZZj/, By deeds, Prov. xxvi. 29, above quoted. When men make 
one ill turn meet another, so that they come to be even with those 
that have wronged them, paying them home in their own coin or 
worse, which the Spirit of God directly forbids, Rom. xii. 17. Recom- 
pense to no man evil for evil. Thus many lay up their resentments till 
a convenient season that it falls in their way, to do their neighbour 
an ill turn, because he did one to them ; which will have a fearful 
end, Isa. xxix. 20. Of this is beating, fighting, and murdering; to 
which the revengeful passion natively leads. 

3c/(t/, By omission of duty owing to the offending party, either 
in the way of justice, or charity, contrary to that, Rom, xii. 20. " If 
thine enemy hunger, feed him ; if he thirst, give him to driuk : for 
in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head." Many think 
that is enough if they do no ill to those who olfend them. But as 
the revengeful passion natively leads to withholding the good that is 
due, contrary to Prov. iii. 27. it is evident, that the withholding of 
it is a sacrifice to revenge, as well as the positive doing of ill to 
them. Even as the besiegers may revenge themselves as effectually 
on the besieged, by starving them, as by storming their town. 

II. I proceed to shew what is the sinfulness and dishonour to 
God in this revenge. 

1. It is directly opposite to the love of our neighour, the funda- 
mental law of the second table. Lev. xix. 18. " Tliou shalt not 
avenge nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but 
thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; I am the Lord." This 
law had in Christ's days a great deal of rubbish laid over it ; but 
he cleared it from all that kind, both by this doctrine and example. 
But alas ! how has the practice of Christians so called, laid it under 
much rubbish again ! Will men pretend to love those as them- 
selves, whom they must at their own hand, without law or right be 
revenged on ? Nay, revenge is hatred carried to a height. 

2. It is unjust violence, as assuming and exercising a power and 


authority over men which God never gave us. "Whatever diiference 
there is betwixt private men, some more some less honourable, they 
are by right all equal so far, being together subject to those in 
authority to whom God has given the execution of wrath. And as 
unjust violence ever was so it will ever be highly dishonourable to 
God the Judge and Protector of all. Gen. vi. 11. Men are not left 
like beasts, among whom the stronger command the weaker; but 
God has set laws for one and the other. 

3. It cannot reach the true ends of revenge, Avhich God hath 
settled. It may indeed reach the end proposed by the proud heart, 
viz. the satisfying of passion : but that end, and the means to it, are 
alike abhorred by God. But God has appointed public revenge for 
the amendment of the party offending, Rom. xiii. 14. the public good 
of the society, Deut. xix. 20. and for the safety of the wronged 
thereafter, 1 Tim. ii. 2. But what doth private revenge but irritate 
the party smarting by it, give a scandalous example to others, and 
involve the party revenging and others too in much trouble ? 

4. It is void of all equity : for in it a man is accuser, judge, and 
executioner, all in his own cause. Who would reckon that fair in 
another's case ? lie not only accuses his neighbour of wrong, which 
is often so ill grounded, that if another were to judge, it would not 
be sustained : but he judges of it too, and passes sentence on his 
neighbour, to be sure in favour of himself : and finally he executes 
his own sentence : and all this when he is under the power of pas- 
sion. Men are partial in their own favours at all times, and pas- 
sionate then. Where then can equity have place, in a matter so 
stated ? 

5. It is an invading of the authority of those who are in autho- 
rity, a taking out of their hand what God has put in it. Therefore 
the apostle immediately to this subject subjoins the duty of subjects 
to magistrates, and theirs to their subjects, Rom. xiii. Members of 
families revenging themselves on one another, invade the master's 
authority ; church-members in the case of scandals, the authority of 
the church-rulers ; and the members of the politic body, in the case 
of civil injuries, the oftice of the magistrate. And usurpation in all 
cases is a sin of a deep dye. 

6. Lastli/, It is an invading of the authority of God. God him- 
self claims vengeance as his peculiar prerogative; it is a flower of 
tho crown of heaven, which, he will not part with, as in the text. 
It is owned to bo so by his good subjects, Psal. xciv. 1. " Lord 
God, to whom vengeance belongeth : God, to whom vengeance be- 
longeth. — Nah. i. 2. God is jealo; s, and tho Lord revcngeth, tho 
Lord revengeth." Therefore none are to meddle with it, but those 


who have authority from himself to act in his name therein. He 
only is fit to have it in his hand, not we : for he is omniscient, we 
know little, and are liable to mistakes : he is witliout passions, we 
are ready to be blinded by them : he is the common Father and 
Judge of all, most just and impartial, we are prejudiced in our own 
favours. A father of a family will not allow the children to punish 
one another, but bids them complain to him. So saith God to men, 
but private revenge regards not his orders. 

I shall now make some practical improvement of this subject. 

Use 1. Of lamentation. We may hence take occasion to lament, 

1. The state of human nature in general. How low are we 
brought who once stood in the image of God ! We may see here 
man's nature sullied with two black lineaments of the picture of the 
devil. (1.) Wrong and injustice. Man was a righteous creature, 
but now he wrongs and is wronged, his fair righteousness that he 
was created in, is gone. Men are now thieves, robbers, and op- 
pressors to one another : and every where the cry is heard of vio- 
lence and wrong, and the nearest relation is not a fence against it, 
Micah vii. (2.) Revenge of wrong for satisfying of passion. Hence 
there is a cry of cruel suffering at the hands of men who were cre- 
ated harmless, and are born naked, as designed for the picture of 
peace. His meekness and patience is gone too. 

2. The state of our nature of each of us in particular, that is so 
ready to revenge ; so that no sooner an injury is received by us, but 
as powder is ready to fly up when a spark liglits on it, our nature is 
no less ready to fly to revenge on the first appearance of an injury. 
It is humbling to think how early this piece of our nature appears, 
even in the babe in the motlier's arms, who seeks and shews a satis- 
faction in the revenge of what is displeasing to it ; though its giving 
the mother a stroke to give such a one &c. be ludicrous in itself, it 
is humbling to consider the rise of it. 

3. The sinfulness of our lives. what guilt lies on every soul 
of us in this point ? What black accounts on the score of levenge ? 
Though some perhaps have been kept from fighting, hurting, and 
wounding others ; yet view the thoughts, woi'ds, lesser deeds, and 
omissions of duty, in the way of revenge, wlio can count his errors 
that way ? the need of the blood and Spirit of Christ for heal- 
ing of our nature, for removing the guilt and stain of uur lives that 
way ? 

Use II. Of reproof. It serves to reprove, 

1. Those who allow themselves in scolding, railing on, and 
reviling those who they conceive have wronged them. Such 
tongue-vengeance did Shemei take on David, for which just ven- 


geance fell afterwards upon hira from the Lord, 2 Sam. xvi. 7, 8. 
It is an ill use of the tongue, to make it as a sword to pierce our 
neighbour, and as claws to tear hira. This is that clamour and evil- 
speaking, which is the effect of passion, Matth. iv. 31. See the dan- 
ger of it. iMutth. V. 22. 

2. Those who end their quarrels in blows and fightings. It is 
much to be lamented that this is so frequent amongst us. It is con- 
trary to the letter of the text, and being so contrary to the laws of 
God, it is strange that those who own a God, and the Bible to be 
his word, that they make no bones of it. It is contrary to the laws 
of the land also. So that fighters do thereby shew, that they nei- 
ther fear God nor regard men. In time of w^ar, we were all men of 
peace, not a man among us to lend a hand to the defence of the 
public cause, for our King and country, religion and liberty, though 
called thereto publicly by public authority. Is it not sinful and 
shameful to be men of war then in time of peace ? But from it we 
may see that the lusts of most men ha\e a greater power to set 
their hands to action, tlian their consciences, James iv. 1. Ye have 
reason to decide your quarrels ; if that will not do, ye have supe- 
riours to do it : why should men then, like unreasonable creatures, 
fall a pushing one another ? But let such remember, that if they 
repent not and reform, the day will come wherein they shall read 
their sin in their punishment, Matth. xxvi. 52. For all they that take 
the sword, shall perish by the sword ; and God will fight against them 
for ever. See Gal. v. 19 — 21. 

3. Those who are sure to do an ill turn to those who have wronged 
them, if it lie in their power. Tiiey will confidently promise it, and 
perioral it too, and boast themselves of it when they have done. It 
is a sign religion is at a low pass, and that the laws of Christ are 
little regarded among Christians, Prov. xxiv. 29. Matth. v. 44, 45. 
Alas ! how shall we prove ourselves Christians indeed living at that 
rate? How would we suffer loss of liberty, goods, and life for 
Christ, with a spirit of meekness, when every private wrong can 
provoke our vengeance ? What would they do more who never 
heard of Christ ? It is worthless religion that puts not men to be 
followers of the meek and lowly Jesus. 

4. Lastli/, Those who make no conscience of doing their duty to 
those who have wronged them, but they carry towards them as if 
their offence loosed them from all bonds of duty to them, and so sa- 
tisfy their revenge, Matth. v. 44 — 46. One's being out of their duty 
to us, is not enough for us to neglect our duty to them. Alas ! 
what would become of us if God treated us at this rate, withdrawing 
Lis mercies from us upon every provocation? Be followers of God. 


Use 7dt. Revenge not yourselves but ratlier give place to wrath, 
the wrath of your adversary. To press tliis, I offer the following 

1. This is true excellency and bravery of spirit. Men are much 
mistaken in their measures, who count otherwise. For, 

(1.) In this ye will resemble the spirit Jesus Christ was actuated 
by, 1 Pet. ii. 23. " Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again ; 
when he suffered, he threatened not ; but committed himself to him 
thatjudgeth righteously." Luke xxiii. 34. " Father, forgive them, 
for they know not what they do." Ye shall be as gods, was the 
height of ambition that men aspired to very soon. Behold an 
allowable way how we may be like our Lord ! in meekness and pa- 
tience, suffering wrong rather than avenging at our own hand. This 
was the way how Christ, being true Grod as man, did walk. And 
therefore it is true excellency of spirit. When James and John 
would have revenged an affront offered to Christ by the inhospitable 
Samaritans, by commanding fire to come down from heaven and 
consume them, " He turned, and rebuked them, and said. Ye know 
not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not 
come to destroy men's lives, but to save them," Luke ix. 55, 56. 
He had legions of angels at his command, yet he says. Father, for- 
give them, Luke xxiii. 34. 

(2.) Ye will shew a generous contempt of the impotent malice of 
an evil world, possessing yourselves in the midst of all the sallies of 
it upon you, Luke xxi. 19. In patience possess ye your souls. The 
moon retains her brightness though the cur barks at her : and an 
excellent spirit retains its composure, notwithstanding the little 
rubs one meets with in an evil world. 

(3.) Ye will shew yourselves masters of your own spirit ; and 
many who have won cities by storm, have been trod under foot by 
their own spirits ; which shews victory over the latter to be a more 
glorious thing than over the former, Prov. xvi. 32. " He that is slow 
to anger, is better than the mighty : and he that ruleth his spirit 
than he that taketh a city." 

(4.) Ye will overcome him that wrongs you. Either you will 
gain him to return to his duty, Rom. xii. 20. or ye will at least 
keep your ground while his corruption carries him out of the road, 
and tends to drive you off your road too. So he is the true over- 
comer, not who does the wrong, but who bears it with patience, 
Rom. viii. 37- " In all these things we are more than conquerors, 
through him that loved us." 

2. Consider the wrong done to God by your revenging yourselves. 
Ye take out of his hand what he has reserved for himself on good 


grounds ; ye invade liis sovereign authority, and pull a jewel out of 
the crown of heaven to adorn yourselves, Deut. xxxii. 35. forecited. 

(1.) Ye impeach his justice, as if he like Gallio cared for none of 
these things, so tliat unless ye revenged yourselves, your wrongs 
would never be righted. This is the blasphemous language of that 
practice : for who believetli that a just God will revenge all wrongs, 
would take it out of his hand? 

(2) Ye impeach his wisdom, in committing vengeance into the 
hands of those in authority,, saving, in eflect, that it would be far 
better to leave that to private men, and that God's method of ven- 
geance is not fitted to reach the end. And therefore ye will correct 
the ordinance of heaven. 

(3.) Ye impeach his veracity, and refuse to helieve his word, that 
he will repay. And therefore ye will repay injuries yourselves, as 
if God's word were not to be believed. 

(4.) Ye dare his vengeance. If he is the God of vengeance, and 
■will repay, sure he will take vengeance on those who contemn and 
invade his authority. 

Now what wrong can any man possibly do to you, that will justify 
your doing such wrong to God ? 

3. Revenge is a most ensnaring thing, not to be harboured in the 
least. It is a sacrifice to passion, and involves the soul in guilt that 
way. It often carries men into such heights, as afterwards they 
would wish they had not gone to when it is past remedy. How 
many has revenge brought to an ill end ? Yea, how many have 
been brought into compact with the devil by this means ? 

4. Lastly, It is inconsistent with peace with heaven and pardon. 
They who live in a course of revengeful passions, are living in a 
state of black nature. Tit. iii. 3. Our Saviour is express in that, 
Matth. vi. 15. "If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will 
your Father forgive your trespasses." How can ye go to God, to 
pray for pardon, when ye will not forgive those that sin against 
you ? So revenge puts a bar in the way of your pardon : and the 
guilt of sin unpardoned will bar you out of heaven. 

Object. The scripture saith, Ejc for eye, and tooth for tooth. 

Ans. That was the law, the execution of which was not commit- 
ted but to the magistrate ; and does not belong to private persons. 

Object. 2. If we put up with one injury, we will get more. 

Ans. The text saith not so, Kom. xii. 20. " If thine enemy hunger, 
feed him ; if he thirst, give him drink : for in so doing thou shalt 
heap coals of fire on his head." But better we get never so many 
wrongs, than that we wrong God by revenging ourselves. 

Object. 3. It is not manly not to revenge affronts and wrongs. 


Ans. As blackmoors paint the devil white, so tlo vain men their 
vices and corrupt passions. So proceeding from words to blows is 
manliness with them ; whereas a little consideration would shew 
them, that it is childishness ; for so do nurses still their babies, 
by revenging them on those that displease them. It is brutishness; 
anger a dog, and he will be ready to fly at your face. It is foolish- 
ness, Eccl. vii. 9. "Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for 
anger resteth in the bosom of fools." Was David not manly that 
revenged not himself on Saul ? Saul says otherwise, 1 Sam. xxiv. 
18 — 21. " Thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well 
with me : forasmuch as when the Lord had delivered me into thine 
hand, thou killedst me not. For if a man find his enemy, will he 
let him go well away ? wherefore the Lord reward thee good, for 
that thou hast done unto me this day," &c. 

Quest. How then should we do in the case of afi'ronts and wrongs ? 

Ans. 1. Arm yourselves with meekness and 'patience, while you 
go through an evil world, laying your accounts that ye will have 
use for them, wherever ye are, and that daily. 

2. Learn to bear with and forbear one another, and to be always 
ready to forgive the injuries done to you, so far as they concern 
yourselves. Col. iii. 13. " Forbearing one another, and forgiving one 
another, if any man have a quarrel against any : even as Christ for- 
gave you, so also do ye." And there is no measure to which this 
forgiving is to be stinted, Matth. xviii. 21, 22. "Lord, (says Peter) 
how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him ? till se- 
ven times ? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven 
times : but, until seventy times seven." 

3. In matters of weight, where the good of the party offending, 
the public good, or your future safety, makes redress necessary, ap- 
ply to those for it who are vested with authority for that end, Rom. 
xii. 4, Only do it not from a spirit of revenge. 

4. In that case, and in other cases, wherein redress is not to be 
expected, lay the matter before the Lord, put it in his hand, and 
wait for him, Prov. xx. 22. " Say not thou, I will recompense evil : 
but wait on the Lord, and he shall save thee." 

5. Lastly, Live by faith, keeping your eye on Christ the fountain 
of strength, the pattern of meekness, and on the judgment to come, 
when all wrongs shall be redressed, and justice shall be done to 
every one. 







Matthew t. 44, 45. 
Love your enemies, hless them that curse you, do good to them that hate 
you, and pray for them which despite/idly use you, and persecute you : 
that ye may be the children of your Father luhich is in heaven, for he 
maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeih rain 
on the just and on the unjust. 

Negative Loliness is short of Christianity more than the one half. 
It is not enough that we do others no ill, but we must do them good 
as we have access. Nor is it enough that we fly not out in passion 
and revenge on those who have wronged us, but we must love them. 

Nature teaches us to love them that love us ; and so the worst of 
men may learn tiiat lesson, ver. 46, " For if ye love them which love 
you, what reward have ye ? do not even the publicans the same ?" 
But sanctifying grace goes higher, teaching to love them that hate 
us ; and this is a lesson hard to learn. Hence the corrupt Jewish 
teachers, unable to come up to the intent of the holy law, brought 
down the law to their nature, and expounded the second great com- 
mandment of the law conformably, ver. 43, Thou shah love thy neigh- 
bour, and hate thine enemy. Our Lord, who loved his enemies so as 
to die for them, does justice to that law here ; and that end of the 
law which they had folded in, he folds out agaiu, and stretches it 
out in its full length, so as to teach our foes as well as our friends. 
£ut I say unto you. Love your enemies, 8fc. In which words we have, 

1. A duty enjoined. Love your enemies. It is supposed, that in 

* The discourses on this 8u1)jei;t were preached at Ettrick in November and 
December, 1724. 

YOL. Y. N 


this world every body will have some enemies ; and want who will, 
Christ's friends will not want enemies, who will hate them, and do 
them any mischief they can reach. The greatest innocency of life, 
and harmlessness, the greatest usefulness in the world, will not se- 
cure one from having enemies. Christ's own case demonstrates this. 
Well, what is our duty to them ? ' Love them. That is explained, 
Bless them, do them good, j>ray for them. That is an old command- 
ment, Prov. XXV. 21, " If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to 
eat : and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink." But it is new 
stamped with the authority and example of Jesus. And of all coin 
men are fondest of the very old and the split-new. Here are both 

2. Tlie necessity of this duty, and of obedience to this command. 
It is agreed among all to be the hardest duty of Christianity. The 
Papists will have it to be not a command, but a counsel of per- 
fection. And if most Protestants would speak their hearts in this 
point, they would agree with them ; for in effect they think and say, 
It is not for every one, it is only the attainment of some very rare 
good men ; and though they cannot reach it, they are in no doubt 
for all that, that they belong to Christ. But our Lord teaches here 
the downright contrary, namely, the absolute necessity of it to all, 
to Christians of the smallest as well as of the greatest size : That ye 
may he the children of your Father which is in heaven. Not that we 
must first love our enemies before we can be adopted into the family 
of God ; but that we must necessarily evidence our sonship by this, 
or else forfeit our claim to it. So that ye may be, is, that ye may 
appear to be. Adoption into the family of heaven is a great privi- 
lege. The question is, Who may claim interest in it, and who not ? 
They who love their enemies may claim it ; for "thereby they dis- 
cover they are really God's children, they are so like him : they 
who do not, may not claim that privilege ; for they really are net 
God's children, they are so unlike him. 

The text affords the following instructive note. 

DocT. Loving of our enemies is a necessary evidence, mark, and 
character of those who are of the family of heaven. 

In discoursing this subject, I shall, 

I. Consider the duty of loving our enemies. 

II. Shew that this loving of our enemies is a necessary mark and 
evidence of a child of God. 

III. Make some practical improvement. 

I. We shall consider the duty of loving our enemies. And here 
I shall show, 


1. "Wlio are to be understood by our enemies. 

2. What is that love wliich we owe to tliem. 

First, I am to shew who are to be understood by our enemies. 
In general, it aims at those about whom there is least to engage our 
love to them. For the more our Christian love is of that sort, it is 
the liker to the love of God, who loves freely, and does not find the 
objects of it lovely, but makes them so, And, 

It is not only to be understood of those who are simply our ene- 
mies, but of those who are enemies to God as well as to us. This 
is evident from the context, for the law binds us to love our neigh- 
bour, ver. 43. Every body is our neighbour in the sense of the law. 
Therefore our enemies, even such of them as are enemies to God, are 
our neighbours, and so to be loved. And upon this principle our 
Lord's explication goes. Again, were not such as cursed, hated, and 
persecuted the disciples of Christ, the enemies of God as Avell as 
theirs ? Yet the text will have those loved. Finally, the evil and 
unjust are so far loved of our heavenly Father, that he does them 
good : yet they are his enemies. Therefore we are to love them too, 
if we would be like him, ver. 45. 

They would do well to consider this, who make the extent of their 
religion the boundaries of their love ; who if they love those of their 
own religion and way, think they owe no love to others, but are at 
liberty to hate all the world besides; and could be content to ex- 
terminate and devour them under the notion of God's enemies. This 
is the way of the bloody Papists ; and be who they will that go that 
way, they are actuated by the spirit of Antichrist, which is a spirit 
of hatred, not by the Spirit of Christ, which is a Spirit of love. If 
Christ had loved at that rate, there had never been a church in the 
world : but, as says the apostle, Rom. v. 10. When we were enemies, 
we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son. 

Object. 1. Does not the psalmist say. Psalm, cxxxix. 21, 22, " Do 
not I hate them, Lord, that hate thee ? And am not I grieved 
with those that rise up against thee ? I hate them with perfect 
hatred : I count them mine enemies ?" And does not Jehu the son 
of Uanani the seer say to King Jehoshaphat, Shouldst thou help the 
ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord ? 2 Chron. xix. 2. 

Ans. (1.) There is a hating of one's way and course, and a hating 
of one's person. It is not the latter that is meant in these passages, 
but the former. They bate the Lord, rise up against him, are un- 
godly ; that is their course, which our hatred must fix upon. So the 
sum of it is, I count them mine enemies, whose persons I am obliged 
to love, but their ei^raity I am obliged to hate. So a man loves his 

N 2 


sick child, though he loathes his loathsome disease, and seeks to 
root it out. 

(2.) There is a hatred opposite to a love of comj)lacency, and a 
hatred opposite to a love of good will : the former is what we should 
bear to the enemies of God, and is there meant ; the latter is not. 

Object. 2. Are not the prayers of the church bent against the en- 
emies of Christ ? 

Ans. Yea they are, and for them too, in different respects ; the 
former in respect of their wicked works, the latter in respect of their 
persons. And if there is no separating of their works from their 
persons, that their works are not to be destroyed but with the des- 
truction of their persons, i. e. if they be incorrigible, then since 
God's honour must be dearer to us than all the world, we may law- 
fully pray against their persons too. And this is as consistent with 
the love in the text, as a j)arent's calling a surgeon to cut off his 
child's gangrened leg ; he loves the leg, and would heartily wish its 
preservation ; yet he must call for cutting it off, lest it ruin his child's 
whole body. See all this, Psal. Ixxxiii. 16 — 18, " Fill their faces 
with shame : that they may seek thy name, Lord. Let them be 
confounded and troubled for ever : yea, let them be put to shame, 
and perish : that men may know, that thou whose name alone is 
Jehovah, art the Most High over all the earth." 

2. It is to be understood of those who are adversaries to us, or 
are against us any manner of way, whether they in that matter bo 
against God or not. And so it takes in, 

1st. Those who are not truly and properly our enemies, but in our 
account and reckoning only are enemies to us. And here is an oc- 
casion of the exercise of this grace and duly, as well as in the case 
of the most real enemy to us. For though one be not indeed your 
enemy, yet if you think him to be so, it is all a case to you to love 
him, as to love one that is really so ; and if you reach it, it will be 
certainly acceptable to God, it will not be lost : for though it is your 
weakness to mistake one for your enemy who is not so, yet it is your 
excellency to love one whom you take for your enemy, Luke xxiv. 1. 
So this love is owing, 

(1.) To those whom we take for our enemies, but are really only 
smiting friends. AYounding friends in a childish sickly world oft- 
times go under the name of enemies ; while kissing enemies are 
taken for friends, Prov. xxvii. 6. " Faithful are the wounds of a 
friend ; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." So it fared 
with Paul among the Galatians, chap. iv. 16. Am J therefore become 
your enemt/, says he to them, because I tell yoii, the truth ? Much 
enmity is raised this way in the world. A sound reproof for sin, an 


opposing of persons in sinful courses, is sufficient in the world to 
make enemies, and when the war is denounced against them, Amos 
V. 1, " They hate him that rebuketh in the gate." But if these must 
needs be your enemies, love them according to the text, saying with 
David, Psal. cxli. 5. " Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a kind- 
ness ; and let him reprove me, it shall be an excellent oil, which 
shall not break my head : for yet my prayer also shall be in their 

(2.) To those whom we take for our enemies, but are only com- 
petitors with us in a lawful way. There is so much selfishness in 
the world, and so little regard to the interest of our neighbour, that 
a great many imaginary enemies are made this way. Thus Joseph's 
brethren took him for their enemy, and pursued the quarrel against 
him. So a man's pursuing in a lawful way for his own, what enmity 
does that many times breed among men ? Persons of the same em- 
ployment or occupation, what envy, grudge, and enmity is raised 
among them on that very head ? Where there is an advantageous 
bargain to which all are alike free, how often is the man that gets 
it looked on as an enemy to the rest ? And at bottom it is just be- 
cause he is a friend to himself, which all the world must allow, so it 
be in a lawful way. But if such must needs be enemies, know you 
ought to love your enemies. 

2dl(/, Those who are indeed our enemies, whom we reckon so, and 
who are truly what we reckon them. Here is occasion for the exer- 
cise of this grace and duty : and it is not likely that any body ap- 
pearing in the world Avants such occasion. If they belong to God, 
they will not want it, Luke vi. 29. Let all then take heed that they 
be found in the way of this duty. These enemies are of two sorts, 
but all of them to be loved, according to the text. 

(1.) Stated ememies, in respect of a course of enmity. And these, 

[1.] Stated public enemies, who, in their imnciples and by open 
profession, are opposite to us, and practise accordingly. Such wei'e 
the unbelieving Jews, particularly the Scribes and Pharisees, to the 
followers of Christ, inwardly hating them, openly cursing them, and 
accordingly persecuting them. But, says our text, love your enemies. 
This party-enmity is frequent in the world, and it is the bane of the 
church. It is the native fruit of the corruption of our nature. Men 
arc by a certain propensity of nature led to hate and bear enmity 
and grudge against those they differ from: it grows up like thistles 
and other weeds of its own accord, so that no man shall be kept from 
it, if he set not himself by grace to bear it down, and root it up. 
And the mischief of it is in church-differences especially, that peo- 
ple look on this brood of hell as the offspring of heaven, and so call 

N 3 


it zeal and duty ; and the more of it they have, think they are the 
better men. Hence said our Lord, John xvi. 2. " The time cometh, 
that whosoever killeth you, will think that he doth God service." 
But how far are they deceived in this ! Jam. iii. 13, &c. Our 
Lord crushed the appearance of this in his disciple, Luke ix. 54, 55. 
Nay, he shed his blood to quench this unhallowed fire, Eph. ii. 16, 
" That he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, 
having slain the enmity thereby." This is the design of the parable 
of the man that fell among the thieves, Luke x. 30. 

[2.] Stated private enemies, who set themselves in a course of en- 
mity against such and such persons. Such enemies were Herod and 
Pilate to one another, Luke xxiii. 12. We call this state variance, 
Gal. V. 20. and this kind of enmity /cud, a settled, stated, continued 
enmity. Such had Joseph's brethren against him, Ahab against 
Macaiah, and Absalom against his brother Amnon. This is frequent 
every where, spreading itself like venom among neighbours, yea 
among relations, and among neighbours of all sorts. And they that 
have such enemies, think it not to be enough to be wise as serpents, 
to be on their guard as to them ; but they think they are warranted 
to join therewith the venom of the serpent too : and so they are even 
with them. Hence they will not speak together, but on all occasions 
are sure to be at them, and to bear hard on one another, pursuing 
their war. But this is not the way of God : on the contrary, says 
the scripture, " If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat : 
and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink, Prov. xv. 21. Be not 
overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good," Rom. xii. 21. See 
the law, Exod. xxiii. 4, 5. These things will exclude men out of 
heaven. Gal. v. 21. 

(2.) Occasional enemies, who, upon particular emergent occasions, 
do wrong to us ; but not from a stated enmity against us. K we 
are to love our stated enemies, much more these. Col. ii. 13. There 
are thousands of enmities of this nature : and such is the weakness 
and corruption of our nature, that there is no body but, either 
through inadvertency or the power of temptation, do thus wrong 
others. So that if men must hate those who so treat them, they 
will be Ishraael-like, having their hand against every man they have 
to do with, &c. But it is utterly unlike the gospel to blow up these 
sparks into a fire. But love such enemies notwithstanding : for " if 
ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive 
your trespasses," Matth. vi. 15. 

Both these kinds of enemies are of three sorts. 
[1.] Heart-enemies, who in their hearts are set against us, burn- 
ing with grudge, malice, and rancour at us. The text is plain as to 


our duty in tliat case, Do good to them that hate you. Love begets 
^ove, even among those void of the grace of God ; so if yc love thera 
wlio love you, ye are not one step beyond the profane in that point, 
ver. 46. But if ye would show the power of God's grace in you, ye 
must be heart-friends to your heart-enemies, having your heart to- 
wards them, whose heart is away from you. 

[2.] Tongue-enemies, who employ their tongues against us like 
swords, arrows, fire, and scourges. Bless them that curse you. These 
are very dangerous enemies, and sometimes give very deep and 
galling wounds, Psal. Ivii. 4. " ]\[y soul (says David,) is among lions, 
and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, 
whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword." 
One does not know how to get out of their way. Men may flee from 
the hands of their enemies, but who can flee from their tongues ? 
Only God himself can be a refuge herein. Job v. 21. " Thou shalt be 
hid from the scourge of the tongue." But even to these you owe 
love, Psal. cis. 'i, 4, 5. And tongue-love will not pay that debt, it 
must be heart-love, Prov. x. 18. Wit may furnish the former, but 
true wisdom must furnish the latter in that case. 

[3.] Hand-enemies, who in their actions and deeds are enemies to 
us; not only in their hearts wishing us ill, and with their tongues 
speaking ill of us, but to their power, and as they have occasion 
doing ill to us, " Pray for them that despitefiilly use you, and per- 
secute you." Our Lord binds us even to love these, and that while 
they are doing against us. So he gave us example, Luke xxiii. 34. 
" Father, forgive them ; for they know not what they do." So the 
first martyr followed the blessed example. Acts vii. 60, " Lord, lay 
not this sin to their charge." And so must we shew ourselves to 
be the children of the blessing, 1 Pet. iii. 9. " Not rendering evil 
for evil, or railing for railing : but contrariwise, blessing ; knowing 
that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing." 
The corrupt heart's motion is to do ill for ill, but by grace we must 
do good for ill : that is heaven's exchange. 

Secoxdly, I come to shew what that love is which we owe to our 
enemies : We must love them. It is necessary to explain this, both 
negatively and positively. 

First, Negatively. We are not bound to love them, 

1. So as for their sakes to be reconciled to and at peace with 
their sin. Our Lord obliges us to love the ])ersons of our enemies, 
but not the wrong they do to us, and much less the wrong they do 
to God. We are not, under pretence of this love, to give over op- 
posing them in evil : that were to hate them, not to love them, 
whatever they may think, Lev. xix. 17. Or if it is called love, it is 


to love them more than God, 1 Sam. ii. 29. "We must love and 
strive to please one another, but to edification, not to destruction. 
Not only does the father love his child, though he chastens him ; but 
because he loves him, therefore he chastens him. And the more Ave 
love any truly, the more we will hate their sin. 

2. Neither does this love bar seeking redress of wrongs in an or- 
derly way. If God had meant that men should be in the earth, like 
the fishes in the sea, where the greater swallow up the lesser, with- 
out possibility of redress, nothing being left to the weaker but to 
yield themselves, he had never appointed the magistrate, " a reven- 
ger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil," Rom. xiii. 4. And 
Jesus Christ never extended his precepts to the pulling down of the 
fence of human society, government, governors, and laws. And 
what he said of turning the other cheek to him that smote the one, 
himself explained, John xviii. 23. *' If I have spoken evil, bear wit- 
Bess of the evil : but if well, why smitest thou me ?" being ready to 
receive a second stroke rather than to revenge that he had got ; but 
withal complaining of the wrong before a judge. Men may do this, 
and love the enemy that wrongs them uotwithstanding. 

3. Neither doth it bind us to a love of complacency in them. 
That is, we are not obliged to take delight in them, make them our 
intimate and familiar companions, associate with them as our 
friends, being in a course of enmity against God. Jehoshaphat was 
reproved for that, 2 Chron, xix. 2. David makes it a mark of his 
sincerity, that he abstained from it, Psal. cxxxix. 21. Solomon tells 
us, Prov. xiii. 20. " He that walketh with wise men shall be wise : 
but a companion of fools shall be destroyed." And everywhere the 
scripture calls us off from complacency and intimate communion 
with evil men. It holds too in the case of those who are really our 
enemies simply, otherwise we were to make no difference between 
our friends and our foes ! hence says Christ, Matth. x. 16, 17. " Be- 
hold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves : be ye there- 
fore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men, 
for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge 
you in their synagogues." Wise walking is a Christian duty, 
wherein the wisdom of the serpent is kept, but separate from its ve- 
nom, Prov. xiv. 15. The prudent man looketh well to his going. 

Secondly, Positively. There is a threefold love that uses to be 
distinguished. (1.) A love of complacency; (2.) of good will; and 
(3.) of beneficence. As to the first, I have already shewed, that it 
is not owing to our real enemies. Our Lord bids us hless, but not 
sing and rejoice with those that curse us : do good to, but not delight 
in and take them into our bosom, that hate us : pray for, but not as- 


sociate, as with our best friends, with those who despitefully use us, 
and persecute us. It is the two latter kinds of love that we owe to 
them. And this is evidently clear from the whole of this context, 
to be the full compass of the love to our enemies ; which is ex- 

1. Of the love of good-will to them, ver, 44. " Bless them, — pray 
for them. So, ver. 47. If ye salute your brethren only, what do ye , 
more than others ? do not even the publicans so ?" The publicans 
salute, i. e. bear and show good will to those who bear and show it 
to them. 

2. Of the love of beneficence, ver. 44. Do good to them. So do 
the publicans, verse 46. rewarding one another's good deeds. Of 
these two it is explained from God's own example, verse 45. " That 
ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven, for he 
maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain 
on the just and on the unjust." God doth not entertain a love of com- 
placency in evil and unjust men ; but that is the peculiar portion of 
the good and just from the Lord. But he follows the evil and the 
good, just and unjust, with a love of good-will, making his sun to 
rise on them ; so heaven opens its eye, and looks to them as wishing 
them well. And he follows them with a love of beneficence, making 
his rain to fall, whereby fruitful seasons are made. 

These two together make the perfection of that lo^e that men 
promiscuously are fit objects of, ver. 48. " Be ye therefore perfect, 
even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." If we consider 
men as just and good, they are fit objects of the divine and human 
complacency: as evil and unjust, tliey are not fit objects of the one 
nor of the other. But the worst of them may be fit objects of good 
will and beneficence. And God's love is perfect in aftording them 
both these : and if we aff'ord them the same, our love that we owe to 
them will be perfect too, no due part being lacking. Then, 

First, We owe to our enemies, our real enemies, a love of good- 
will, Rom. xiii. 9. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Our 
hearts ought to be lovingly disposed towards them, and they to have 
a room in them, as we when we were yet enemies had in the heart 
of Christ. If we be not so disposed, we have not the Spirit of 
Christ. Good-will is a debt we owe to mankind, even the worst of 
them : and though it takes nothing out of our pocket, it is not easily 
paid. There is need of a stock of grace, for nature's stock will soon 
be exhausted. Tit. iii. 3. This good-will lies in, 

1. We must not wish them ill as ill to them, Psal. xl. 14. We 
must pluck up the roots from which ill wishes to thom do spring up. 
Envy, which looks with an ill eye on their welfiire, and would eat 


it up, James iii. Id; hatred, which bloclis up all good from us to 
them, Lev. xix. 17; grudge, which is a train lying within the heart, 
ready to be blown up on occasion for mischief to them. Lev. xix. 18 ; 
and malice, which like a burning fire pursues them with ill-will, 
Eph. iv. 31. Our ill wishes can do them no ill, but they do our- 
selves much. Every ill wish is an item in our accounts before God, 
and the reigning root of ill-will to our neighbour proves one to be 
naught, 1 John ii. 11. "He that hateth his brother is in darkness, 
and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither ho goeth, be- 
cause that darkness hath blinded his eyes." 

But this extends not to these two cases. (1.) The wishing one an 
ill for good to him, e. g. the losing of such an one's favour, the hav- 
ing of which is a snare to his soul : the lowering of one's outward 
circumstances, whose prosperity makes him forget God and himself. 
But in this case the thing wished, though in itself an evil, is wished 
as a mean of good, and of good to the person. (2.) The wishing 
evil to a person for the good of many, as that one who is a corrupter 
of others, and incorrigible in it, may be taken out of the way. For 
the honour of God and the public good is always preferable to the 
private good of one. Gal. v. 12. 

2. We must not take pleasure in any ill that befals them, as ill 
to them, Prov. xxiv. 17. "Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, 
and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth." To make 
the miseries of others our delight, is unbecoming the spirit of the 
gospel ; it is a feeding with the serpent on dust ; that is to say, a 
joining issue with the devil in our rejoicing. But how much of 
that spirit is in the world ; yea, how naturally does the heart of 
man take that bias ! Though perhaps men will not do them ill, yet 
it is a pleasure to them to hear of others doing it, or of Providence's 
reaching them some stroke. The former cases must be excepted 
here too. But otherwise it is a very wicked disposition, to take 
pleasure in our enemy's hurt. Job clears himself in that point. Job 
xxxi. 29. " If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me, or 
lift up myself when evil found him." There is no exception, Rom. 
xii. 15. " Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them 
that weep." 

3. We must heartily wish them well, 1 Tim. i. 5. " Pray for 
them," says the text. We must wish them the best things, that 
they may be for ever happy ; may have favour and peace with God, 
Luke xxxiii. 34. ; and that for that cause God may gi-ant them 
faith, repentance, and all other saving graces. For it is a vain 
wish, and worse than vain, to wish people happy, living and going 
on in their sins : therefore our wishes must be so regulated as God's 


stated method of grace may be kept in due regard. And as for 
other things that are temporal, we must wish them these as they 
may best promote those ends. 

4. We must wish them well, as well to them, Psal. cxxii. 8. Men 
may wish well to their enemies, from a mere carnal principle, not as 
being well for them, but for themselves. That is, they may wish 
them repentance, &c. for their own ease, not from any love to their 
souls. But God sees through that, and will account it no more than 
it is, that is, self-love, not love to our onemies. To everlook our 
own interest, and from love to God, and our neighbour, to wish well 
to those that are our enemies, is worthy of a Christian. 

Secondli/, We owe to our enemies, our real enemies, a love of be- 
neficence, whereby we will be ready to do them good as we have ac- 
cess ; and therefore says the apostle, 1 John iii. 18. " My little 
children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and 
truth." And certain it is, that where the heart in good earnest 
wisheth them good, the tongue and the hands will be ready to do 
them the good we wish them, and can do them. Man was born for 
society, and no man was born for himself only, but is obliged to seek 
the good of others too ; and their enmity to us looseth not that 

1. We must not i>ractise revenge upon them, by doing one ill 
turn for another they have done us, Rom. xii. 19. " Dearly be- 
loved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wratli." 
They that are farthest behind \Fith their neighbour here, are in best 
case : for revenge for wrongs done is a debt that will be paid, and 
the longer it is a-paying, it will be the heavier charge at length. 
But God has kept the clearing of that debt in his own hand, and we 
are not to meddle with it. llevenging ourselves on our enemies is 
the utmost remove from the love we owe to them. It is hatred, 
ilaming hatred against them, instead of love. It tends to their de- 
struction, and therefore denominates men murderers before the Lord, 
1 John iii. 15. that men would consider how they will answer it 
to him, who having set us a pattern, commands us to love our ene- 
mies. So forbearing positive revenge is the lowest step of this love. 

2. "We must not with-hold from them the good that is due to 
them from us by any particular tie ; but must be sure to be in our 
duty to them, though they be out of their duty to us, Prov. iii. 27, 
" With-hold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the 
power of thine hand to do it." It is not enough that we do them no 
ill, but we must do them the good we owe them, by whatsoever such 
tie, whether they be special neighbours, or nearer relations. For 
the duty we owe one to another in our relations, is not founded on 


mere compact, that when the one breaks the other is loose ; but 
upon the authority of God, which binds both parties. If men would 
then turn their eyes upward, and look to God as the common Mas- 
ter, they would find reason from his command, to continue in their 
duty to those who cast off their duty to them, as far as they can 
have access. 

3. We must be ready to do them good as Providence puts an op- 
portunity in our hand, Gal. vi. 10. " As we have opportunity, let us 
do good unto all men." This love of beneficence takes in this also 
as the crowning ingredient, the highest step in it. (1.) We must do 
them no ill. (2,) We must do them all the good we owe them, and 
they can challenge of us by any particular tie. But we must go 
higher yet, and, (3.) Do them all the good that we have access to do 
them, though they cannot challenge it by any particular tie. Here 
is a general tie in the test, to make up that want : and in these 
cases though they cannot challenge it of us, our God and Lord can 
and doth. The Jews who crucified Christ, and stoned Stephen, could 
not demand their prayers for them as a debt they owed them by a 
particular bond : but the extensive law of love required them, and 
Christ fulfilled that law in that as in other points ; and Stephen 
wrote after his copy. So that it will not be sufficient to shift a good 
work toward such and such persons, to say we owe them none. Now 
we must be ready to do them good, 

1st, In their temporal interest, Rom. xii. 20. " If thine enemy 
hunger, feed him : if he thirst, give him drink : for in so doing thou 
shalt heap coals of fire on his head." Thus our Lord Jesus went 
about doing good in the midst of his enemies, healing their sick, 
curing their blind, &c. He was a public benefactor, though in the 
mean time he was the object of the public enmity. So if it lie in our 
way to advance their temporal interest, and do them a good turn 
for that end, we must not withhold it, whatever enmity they shew 
or have shewn to us. 

2dli/, In their spiritual interest, contributing our utmost endea- 
vours as we have access for their eternal happiness, Prov. xi. 30. 
He that ivinneth souls is ivise. - Thus Christ and his apostles gave us 
an example in their thirsting for the soul-good of the Jews, their de- 
clared enemies. When the winning or losing of a soul comes in 
competition with any wrong done to us, that wrong is not worth 
noticing ; for the redemption of the soul is precious above all. 
And for both these we must be ready, 

(1.) To speak for their good: for a good word is often of such 
usefulness to men, that it may be reckoned among good deeds. This 
Avas Jeremiah's comfort, that he had so done for his people, who 


%vere very abusive to liiin, chap, xviii. 20. " Shall evil be recom- 
pensed for good ? for they have digged a pit for my soul : remember 
that I stood before thee to speak good for them, and to turn away 
thy wrath from them." And when we may advance the good of 
those who are our enemies by our speaking for them, then is the 
time to speak. 

(2.) To act for their good, Rom, xii. 20. forecited. The spirit of 
the gospel disposeth men not only to use their tongues, but their 
hands for the good of their enemies ; and to abide some stress them- 
selves, for doing good to them, llom. v. 7, 8. " For scarcely for a 
righteous man will one die : yet peradventure for a good man some 
would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love towards us, 
in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." If men please 
themselves with giving one good words for their enemies, while they 
have access to do them good deeds, but will not, we may say. What 
doth that pro/it ? James ii. 16. 

For all this we must be, 

(1.) Habitually disposed to beneficence towards them. The habi- 
tual bent and frame of our souls should be to do good to all, our 
enemies not excepted. For that is the native effect of the writing 
of the law of love on the heart. 

(2.) We must readily fall in with any special opportunity that 
Providence puts in our hand for that effect. Gal. vi. 10. How do ill 
men strike in with an opportunity to do an ill turn to their enemies ? 
So would we show ourselves Christians, by striking in with an oc- 
casion of doing good to our enemies, as knowing that then God is 
putting us to the trial in that point. 

II. The next general head is to shew, that this loving of our 
enemies is a necessary mark and evidence of a child of God. Ye 
have heard what it is not, and what it is : consider now that you 
must either reach it, or forfeit your claim to God as your Father. 
I do not say, that without perfection in it ye cannot make that 
claim. It is our duty indeed, but wo can no more reach a perfection 
of degrees in it, tlian in other graces and duties. But the reaching 
of it in a perfection of parts, the sincere aiming at, and endeavour- 
ing it, as other graces and necessary duties, in the habitual course 
of our lives, is such a necessary mark and evidence of a child of 
God, as appears from the following considerations. 

1. The living in malice and envy against any, is an evidence 
of one in the black state of nature, a child of hell. Hence says the 
apostle, Tit. iii. 3. " We ourselves also were sometimes foolish, dis- 
obedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in ma- 
lice and envy, hateful, and hating one another." The scripture 


calls car natural state the gall of bitterness, Acts viii. 21, 23. and na- 
tural men a generation of vipers, Mattli. iii. 7. Men falling into en- 
mity against God, fell into enmity one against another; and, 
rendering themselves hateful to God, came also to hate one another: 
and there is no effectual cure for it, till they return to God, the 
centre of unity. See it in the case of our first parents. So this 
reigning enmity against any is the native produce of man's apostate 
state, discovering it as surely as smoke does fire. Therefore love 
to our enemies is a necessary mark and evidence of a child of God, 

2. To love our friends and hate our enemies, is nothing above the 
reach of nature, corrupt as it is. The Pharisees, that generation 
of vipers, as short as they cut the law, left so much of it in that 
point, Matth. v. 43. " Ye have heard that it hath been said. Thou 
shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy." The worst of 
men may do that ; self love teaches it, and produces it : tlierefore 
there is no body, but they bear love to some others. But surely 
Christianity must carry men farther than the worst of men ; there- 
fore a true Christian must necessarily love both his friends and ene- 
mies, since there is no medium betwixt these, verse 46, 47. The 
true Christian must love all men, since the worst of men love some : 
else the children of heaven and of hell are alike, 

3. The want of it will evince the person to want the true love of 
God ; and he who wants that, surely is not a child of God, but a 
child of the devil. Men will persuade themselves, that though they 
can have no love to such and such a one whom they look on as their 
enemy ; yet they love God, and that is enough. But hear what the 
Spirit of God says in this case, 1 John iv. 20, " If a man say, I love 
God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar : for he that loveth not his 
brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not 
seen?" Men do not love God truly, who cannot love men for his 
sake : and the love of our friends is loving for our own sake, if we 
do not love our enemies too. For if we loved for God's sake, then 
we would love all whom he bids us : but sticking at the love of our 
enemies so expressly required by him, shews that we do not love 
God, since we will not do that for his sake. If we love ourselves, 
we must love our friends, because they love us : but the great trial 
is in the love of our enemies, where we cannot fetch the arguments 
for loving them from ourselves, but from God. 

4. It is a necessary consequent of regeneration, and without that 
no man shall see heaven, 1 John iii, 9, 10. " Whosoever is born of 
God, doth not commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him : and he 
cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God 
are manifest, and the children of the devil : Whosoever doth not 


righteousness, is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother." 
If Ave be God's children, we have got the new nature, and old things 
are done away. Then we will be no more living in malice, hateful, 
and hating one another. But these things will be laid aside. Hence 
it is prophesied of the gospel-days, Is. xi. 6. " The wolf also shall 
dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid : 
and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatliug together, and a 
little child shall lead them." If we are born again, the law is 
written on our hearts, Heb. viii. 10. whereof love is the sum ; and 
particularly the loving of our neighbour as ourselves, is the second 
great commandment. And it is evident from the Scriptures, that 
our enemy is our neighbour in the sense of the law. So if we are 
not disposed to love our enemies, we are not disposed to love our 
neighbour ; and if we do not that, the law is not written on our 
hearts ; and if it is not written, we are not born again, and so are 
not God's children. 

5. If we love not our enemies, we are not like God ; and if we be 
not like him, we are not his children ; for all his children have his 
Spirit in them, Gal. iv. 6. and they all bear his image, Col. iii. 10. 
Therefore says our Lord, Matth. v. 45, " Love your enemies — that 
ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven, for he 
maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendelh rain 
on the just and on the unjust." God loves even those that are his 
enemies, seeking their good, and doing them good : yea, " lie loved 
the Avorld so, (while yet enemies.) that he gave his only-begotten 
Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have 
everlasting life," John iii. 16. If we look to the work of creation, 
he gave us our being, and the Avhole world ; if to providence, he 
sustains us by his bounty ; if to redemption, " God commended his 
love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for 
ns," Rom. v. 8. How can we then be like him, if we love not our 
enemies ? 

6. If we love not our enemies, we have not the Spirit of Christ, 
and so are none of his, Rom. viii. 9. Our Lord Jesus gave us a 
most complete pattern of love, extending to our enemies as well as 
friends. Ho sought the good of all, the hurt of none ; he did good 
to those that did ill to him ; he prayed for them who used him most 
despitefully ; nay he died for them by whose hands he himself died. 
"We can never then be reckoned his disciples, and of his family, nor 
to have his Spirit, without we love our enemies. 

7. LaMly, Without this we are murderers in the sight of God, 
and so have no share in eternal life, 1 John iii. 15. " Whosoever 
hateth his brother is a murderer : and ye know that no murderer 


hath eternal life abiding in him." We show ourselves the children 
of the grand murderer, and so must have our portion with him. 

T conclude this subject with some practical improvement. 

Use 1. Of information. This shows us, that, 

1. It is not easy to be a Christian indeed, however easy it is to 
take on the naiue and profession of it. Christianity has in it super- 
natural truths to be believed, and supernatural duties to be done ; 
which the arms of natural abilities are too short to reach. Divine 
grace is absolutely necessary for these. 

2. Christianity lies in a Christian or Christ-like disposition of 
heart, and a conduct of life agreeable thereto. Jam. i. 22. There is 
a power of godliness, which casts the heart into a mould of con- 
formity with the example of Christ, and regulates the life in a suit- 
ableness thereto. Where that power is wanting, there is no true 

3. Those who pick and choose in religion, taking the easier, and 
not meddling with the difficult duties thereof laid before them, do 
but deceive themselves. Though ye love professors of religion, and 
the children of God who are friendly to you ; for all that ye are 
none of God's family, if ye love not your enemies too. The false 
mother would have the child divided ; Pharaoh would have let Israel 
go, if they would but have left a part with him. But we must either 
take on Christ's whole yoke, or none at all. 

4. Christianity is the best friend of human society. how happy 
might the world-be if it should obtain ! What peace, safety, and 
ease would there be among nations, in neighbourhoods, and in fami- 
lies ? It would be an effectual quench-coal to all the fightings, 
quarrellings, jarrings, strifes, and wrongs, that take away the com- 
fort of society. There ai-e indeed professors of religion, who are 
fire-brands and pests to society, by their injustice, contention, &c. 
but better a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast 
into the midst of the sea, than that such things should take place : 
James iv. 1. " From whence come wars and fightings among you? 
come they not hence, even of your lusts, that war in your members ?" 

5. Lastly, There are few Christians in the world ; the children of 
God's family are very rare ; even as rare as they are who love their 
enemies. For the one and the other are of equal latitude. The 
children of this world are hateful, and hating one another; the 
badge of the saints is love, which is rare to be seen. 

Use II. Hereby ye may discern, whether ye are the children of 
God or not. This is an evidence proposed by Christ himself, the 
elder brother of the family. All those of the family of heaven ca- 
pable of loving or hating their neighbour, have the Spirit of the 


family, which is a beniga and favourable one, causing them to love 
even their enemies with a love of good will and beneficence. So this 
writes death to, and excludes out of the number of the children of 

1. All those whose hearts are so soured with the real or imaginary- 
wrongs they conceive themselves to have received from such and such 
persons, that they cannot find in their hearts really and truly to 
•wish them Avell : but they desire, seek, long, and, thirst for mischief 
to befal them, that they may have the satisfaction of it. This is the 
badge of the devil's family, Tit. iii. 3, and speaks one's spirit to be 
leavened of hell. It is the venom of the serpent appearing in his 
seed, whatever profession they make, Matth. iii. 7. It was eminent 
in the scribes and Pharisees ; and is ordinarily most virulent in hy- 
pocritical professors, because of their reigning pride and self-love. 
To all such we may say, " Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how 
can ye escape the damnation of hell ?" Matth. xxiii. 33. 

2. All those whose spirits are so bitter against those who are or 
are accounted their enemies, that their hands are quite bound up 
from doing them a good turn lying in their way, but on the contrary 
will do them an ill turn if they can. This is the maligniti/ that is 
the brand of hell, Ilom. i. 29. to which the malignant spirit prompts 
men : and it reigns in those of the devil's family, who like Cain are 
of that wicked one. They must be revenged, and vengeance shall cer- 
tainly be taken on them : they cannot forgive, and therefore they 
cannot be forgiven. Wo must be to them for ever, for the measure 
they mete shall be measured to thera. 

On the other hand, this doctrine speaks comfort to those who are 
so disposed habitually, as heartily to wish well to their enemies, and 
evidence it by doing them the good they have access to do them ; 
and that from an inward principle of love to them, flowing from the 
love of God, and from a sense of the command of Christ. See the 
text. No doubt hypocrites and carnal men may have the counter- 
feit of this. But ye may safely take the comfort of love to your 

(1.) If it be a loving of them indeed and in truth, and not in word 
and tongue only, 1 John iii. 18. Men for their own sake may give 
their enemies their best words and wishes, while these are but a 
white cover of black hatred. But happy they who are real in their 
good wishes to them, and evidence the same by their deeds, as they 
have opportunity. 

(2.) If it be evangelical in its spring and rise. A good humour, 
some particular interest of men's own, may go far in the counterfeit 
of this. But the true love to our enemies rises from gospel-principles. 

Vol. Y. 


The man considers his own natural enmity to God, the acts of enmity 
against God which himself is often falling into, the love of God to 
us while yet enemies in giving Christ for us, &c. ; and his soul is 
softened and melted down into this love. 

(3.) Lastly, If it bo universal, not extending to some only for 
whom we retain a particular regard, but to all whom we take for 
our enemies. For if the spring of it be evangelical, it will be uni- 
versal : since in that case the reason for bearing that love to one, is 
a reason for bearing it to all ; for being in charity with all the 

Use ult. Evidence yourselves children of God, members of the 
family of heaven, by loving your enemies. Set yourselves to the con- 
scientious practice of this duty, laying aside all hatred, malice, and 
revenge against others. To press this, let me suggest the following 

1. It is the command of God and his Son Jesus Christ. God gave 
US that command. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Christ 
opened it, and particularly enforced it as to our enemies. And it is 
not a naked command, but backed with the example of God and 
Christ, which must have weight with all who have any regard to 

2. Te were baptized in the name of God the Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost, all of you, and many of you have communicated in the 
Lord's supper. Since ye have taken on the external badge of the 
family, walk as becomes members of that holy society. Ye were 
baptized into Christ's death, which was for his enemies : the supper 
is the commemoration of his dying for us while yet enemies. How 
natively then do they bind to this duty ? 

3. The more ye have of this, ye are the more like God ; the less 
ye have of it, ye are the more unlike him. Here is a piece of holy 
ambition, to strive to be more like God, in universal good-will and 
beneficence. Here is your true glory. 

4. This is the way to be useful in the world. You will be useful 
for God this way, who will be much honoured by it, John xv, 8, 
" Herein is my Father glorified, (says Christ,) that ye bear him 
much fruit, 1 Pet. ii. 9. Ye are a peculiar people ; that ye should 
shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness 
into his marvellous light." Ye will be useful to others ; particularly 
ye may be useful to your very enemies, Rom. xii. 20, 21. And this 
is a noble thing ; for it is more blessed to give than to receive. 

5. It will be much to your own advantage. While others rack 
and torment themselves with their impotent malice, ye will enjoy a 
calm and serenity in your own minds. You will have the satisfac- 


tion of the testimony of your own conscience, that you are not 
enemies to them, but in charity with them, 2 Cor. i. 12. 

6. Lastly, Your claim to the family of God depends on it. The 
enmity of wicked men will perish in a little, Eccl. ix. 6 ; but they 
will eat the bitter fruits of it for ever in hell. And you will eat the 
fruit of love in heaven. 

I shall conclude with a few directions. 

1. Come to Christ, and unite with him by faith, Heb. xi. 6. With- 
out this ye will never reach this nor any other duty acceptably. 
Until ye believe, ye are in the gall of bitterness ; and the grapes of 
love to our enemies will never be gathered off such thistles. With- 
out it ye cannot have the new nature, 2 Cor. v. 17, for it is in Christ 
only we are made partakers of the divine, and the power of the 
devilish nature is done away. Without faith ye cannot love God 
truly, 1 John iv. 19. How then will ye love your enemies ? Would 
ye quench the hellish fire of malice, hatred, and revenge in your 
breasts ? go inward, and see to your own soul's case in the first 
place, shew a love to your own perishing souls, be convinced of your 
sin and misery, and betake yourselves to Christ in the promise of 
the gospel. Then will ye be capable of this Christ-like disposition 
and duty. 

2. Bear up in your hearts a deep sense of your sinfulness, with 
the faith of pardon thereof. This will natively produce it. Tit. iii. 
2, 3. A sense of our own sinfulness against God, will blunt the 
edge of the enmity of others against us, that it will not pierce 
so deep with us, as with the proud unhurabled sinner. The faith 
of pardon from heaven to ourselves, will make us easy to forgive 
others. To think that God has forgiven us ten thousand talents, 
will make us ready to forgive the hundred pence to our fellow- 

3. Ply your hearts with the believing thoughts of the beneficence 
of God to his enemies, and the love of Christ dying for his enemies 
to redeem them from wrath. As the darkness of the night, mists 
and fogs, go away before the shining sun, and wild beasts of prey 
creep into their dens ; so would all malice and hatred before this. 

4. Consider that even your enemies were made originally after 
God's image. Gen. ix. 6. and they may be for all you know the ob- 
jects of everlasting love ; for whom special favour is secured by the 
eternal transaction. Love all men then, lest if ye hate any, ye be 
found to pitch your hatred where God has pitched his free love, and 
so be found fighters against God. 

5. As there are readily none, but they have something desirable 
about them ; so fix ye upon that, and love them for it, as ye will 



love gold, though ye should find it in a mire. Beware lest the faults 
of others and their blemishes blind your eyes to their beauties and 
excellencies. It is unbecoming among those who have no beauty 
without blemish themselves. 

6. Consider them rather as objects of pity and compassion, than 
of hatred. And this ye will do, if ye consider their enmity to you, 
more as a sin against God, than as a wrong to yourselves, Col. iii. 
25. God is judge, and he will right all wrongs, and recompense 
every one according to his work. 

7. Lastly, Consider the shortness of time, their and your ov^n, 
Eccl. ix. 6. We have no time to spend in these petty quarrels of 
this world. Death will make them all to die out. Our enemies are 
but enemies for a day ; night comes, and they are removed. And 
we ourselves go accordingly. Let us therefore be ready to go, in 
charity with all men, loving our enemies, that we may appear to be 
the children of God. 









Erekiel ix. 4. 
And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through 
the tnidst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men 
that sigh, and that cry for all the abominatio)is that be done in the 
midst thereof. 

[The first sermon on this test.] 

Dats of abounding sin usher in days of overflowing judgments. 
They are merry jovial days to the wicked and ungodly, who swim 
with the stream, and having the reins on their necks, give them- 
selves the loose in the course of apostasy and irreligion : but they 
are heavy days to the serious godly, who dare not go along with the 
stream, but must oppose it, though their opposition cannot mend it, 
and therefore must issue in sighing and crying for it. But when 
the day of reckoning with the generation of God's wrath comes, the 
guise will turn, they shall get sorrow, and the seriously-godly shall 

Ezekiel prophesied in Babylon, to which he had been carried cap- 
tive among those that were carried away several years before the 
completing of the captivity in the reign of Zedekiah. It would 
seem he was among those that were led captive in the time of Je- 
hoiachin, 2 Kings xxiv. Those that are most dear to God may 
smart with the first in time of common calamity. Those that were 

* The two sermons on this subject, were preached on occasion of a congregational 
fast, at Ettrick, March 31, 1725. 


202 zion's mouknees characterized. 

left, went on in their wickedness ; and therefore Ezekiel is raised 
up in Babylon to prophesy of that utter overthrow which fell out in 
Zedekiah's reign, wherein the temple and holy city are sacked, and 
the land was laid desolate. 

In the preceding chapter, the Lord shews Ezekiel in a vision the 
horrible abominations that people were yet going on in, chap. viii. 
3. &c. and in this chapter he shews their terrible destruction by the 
Babylonians. This is represented by the destroying angels sent 
forth to kill ; " They came from the way of the higher gate, which 
lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his 
hand," ver. 2. for their ruin was to be from Babylon. 

In the text we have two things. 

1. A party distinguishing themselves from others in a sinning 
time. And this they do by their exercise, not by any particular 
name of sect or party, but by their practice. Here we may observe, 

(1.) The heavy exercise they have on their spirits at such a time. 
It is expressed by two words, both passive, importing that there is a 
load and a weight of grief and sorrow on them : which makes them 
sigh, when others laugh; oppresses their spirits, while otliers go 
lightly ; and makes them cry. The word rather signifies to groan, 
as a deadly wounded man, who is hardly able to cry, Jer. li. 52. 
The sins of themselves and others pierce and wound their hearts, 
and they groan out their sorrows before the Lord, as under an evil 
which they are not able to remove. This word in the Hebrew, is in 
effect doubled, signifying, that groan, that groan ; importing their 
fetching many a groan. 

(2.) The ground of this their heavy exercise, the abominations done 
in the midst thereof. Jerusalem was the holy city, but the holy city 
was polluted with abominable wickedness of many sorts, whereby 
the name of God was dishonoured by a people called by his name. 
This made them sigh and groan. Not that they knew all the abo- 
minations done in it: but what they knew, all of it was heavy to them, 
and God constructed that to be mourning for what they knew not. 

2. Here is God's distinguishing that party from others in a suf- 
fering time, seeing to their safety when the men with the slaughter- 
weapons were to go through. And here consider, 

(1.) Who gives the orders concerning them. The Lord said. God 
takes notice of the mourning remnant among them ; he books their 
prayers and complaints, he bottles their tears, and so has a particu- 
lar eye upon them for their safety, when others are to be destroyed. 

(2.) Who gets the orders about them. He that was clothed ivith 
linen, having a ivriter^s inkhorn hy his side. This is Jesus Christ, the 
Angel of the covenant, the Father's servant, the great High Priest, 

zion's mourners characterized. 203 

to wliom the people of God o^re their temporal as well as their eter- 
nal salvation. He appears here in all his offices : he is among the 
destroying angels as a king ; he is clothed in linen as a priest ; he 
has a writer's inkhorn by his side as a prophet. Both he and they 
stand by the brazen altar, ver. 2. to shew that it was the profana- 
tion and slighting of the altar, a notable type of Christ, that was the 
great ground of the controversy with those who were to be de- 
stroyed : and that it was from thence, and not from their own sighs 
and cries that the safety of the mourning party was to come. The 
destroyers were six : the Saviour was but one ; to shew that the 
far greater part of that people would fall, as being devoted to de- 

(3.) The charge given concerning them. "Whereof there are three 

[1.] To go through the midst of Jerusalem, the high streets. The 
mourners would be found there, by their carriage among others, 
testifying their dislike of the Grod-provoking abominations abound- 
ing among them. They were not ashamed to bear witness for God, 
and God will not be ashamed to own them. 

[2.] To set a mark upon them. It is vain to inquire particularly 
into the nature of this mark ; for all here was visionary. It is to 
be a direction to the destroyers whom to pass by and not to meddle 
with. And this is to be done before the destroying angels get the 
word to fall on, to shew the special care that God has of his own in 
the time of the greatest confusion. The Babylonians would not no- 
tice this mark, but over-ruling Providence would carry them by the 
persons so marked. 

[3.] To set it in their foreheads. In the Egyptian destruction the 
mark was set on their door-posts, because their whole families were 
to be saved ; but here it was to be set on their foreheads, because 
it was only designed for particular persons. Servants in the east 
had their master's name in their foreheads : and those who are 
sealed in their foreheads, God owns for his servants, while he 
treats the rest as enemies : compare Rev. vii. 3. The forehead is 
open to the view of all, which speaks the greater security of the 
marked ones, and that neither is God ashamed of them, nor ought 
they to be of him, even in the midst of dangers. The words afford 
the two following doctrines, viz. 

Doctrine I. Times of abounding sin are heavy times, times of 
sighing and groaning to the serious godly, Zion's mourners. 

Doctrine II. Those to whom sinning times are heavy times, mak- 
ing them sigh and groan, shall be marked for safety (by Jesus 
Christ) in suffering times. 

204: zion's mourners characterized. 

I shall endeavour to explain and apply each of these doctrines in 

Doctrine I. Times of abounding sin are heavy times, times of 
sighing and groaning to the serious godly, Zion's mourners. 

In handling this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Give the import of this exercise, and therein the character of 
Zion's mourners, to whom times of abounding sin are heavy times, 
times of sighing and groaning. 

II. Show why such times are heavy times, times of sighing and 
groaning to them. 

III. Conclude with some improvement. 

I. I am to give the import of this exercise, and therein the cha- 
racter of Zion's mourners, to whom times of abounding sin are 
heavy times, times of sighing and groaning. 

1. Zion's mourners are godly persons, who in respect of their 
state have come out from the world lying in wickedness, and joined 
themselves to Jesus Christ, 1 John v. 19. It is not to be expected, 
that while men lie still there, they will be mourners for the wicked- 
ness done among them. They that never truly repented for their 
own sin to this day, may indeed talk and inveigh against the sins of 
others, but cannot be kindly mourners with Christ's mark. In a 
time of abounding sin, they may bite and sting the sinners like ser- 
pents, as Satan reproving sin : but they can never mourn like doves 
over their abominations, Ezek. vii. 16. 

2. Waking godly persons, not sleeping with the foolish virgins. 
Lot in Sodom was a mourner, and the ways of liis neighbours were 
like thorns in his side, that kept him waking, 2 Pet. ii. 8. One 
may have the root of the matter in him, and yet being asleep he 
neither sees nor hears as he ought : and therefore cannot sigh and 
groan. And hence it comes to pass, that they may, with others, get 
a terrible wakening in the day of wrath ; as sleeping Jonah did, 
when the storm arose. 

3. Mourners for their own sins, Ezek. vii. 16. mourning every one 
for his iniquity. Mourning for sin begins at home, if of the right 
stamp. The man first mourns for and groans under the weight of 
the body of sin, Rom. vii. 24. and then under the weight of the sins 
of others ; first over the sins of his own heart and life, and then 
over the sins of the land. This makes kindly mourning for the sins 
of the land : otherwise a man may be filled with anger and rage 
against them, as Jonah was against Nineveh, but not with Christian 

4. Public-spirited persons, who are concerned to know how mat- 

zion's mourners characterized. 205 

ters go in the generation wherein they live : how the interest of the 
gospel thrives, what regard is had to the law and honour of God, 
what case religion is in, whether Satan's kingdom is gaining or 
losing ground. For it is seeing and hearing that makes this sighing 
and groaning, as in the case of Lot, of whom it is said, 2 Pet. ii. 8. 
" That righteous man dwelling among the Sodomites, in seeing and 
hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day, with their unlaw- 
ful deeds." Those who are concerned for nothing but their own 
particular aftairs, and those whose concern is only as a matter of 
news, will neither of them be ranked among Zion's mourners but 
those who are concerned to hear or see, that they may be affected. 

5. Tender persons, careful to keep their own garments clean in 
a defiling time, and dare not go along Avith the course of the times. 
Rev. iii. 4. They that row with the stream of a declining genera- 
tion, follow the guise of the time, and will rather follow a multitude 
to do evil than be singular ; they are none of Zion's mourners, nor 
Christ's marked ones. But either they bear the devil's mark ; or 
if they belong to God, they will get a mark of God's anger against 
their way set upon them, as Lot got for his sojourning in Sodom. 

6. Zealous persons, opposing themselves to the current of abo- 
minations, as they have access, Psal. Isix. 9. They will be conscien- 
tious to do what they can in their stations to stem the tide, Psal. 
Ixxv. 4. " Saying unto the fools. Deal not foolishly ; and to the 
wicked, lift not up the horn." They will look on themselves as 
called to be God's witnesses, and to contend for him, Prov. xxviii. 4. 
They that find no concern they have with tlie piety or impiety of 
others, but are ready to say, " Am I my brother's keeper ?" that 
find no obligation on them to support the cause of God and religion 
in the world, can be none of Zion's mourners. The mark they bear 
is neutrality, which ranks them on the side of God's enemies, Matth. 
xii. 30. 

7. Lastly, Persons aft'ected at the heart for the sins of the gene- 
ration, to the making of them sigh and groan on that account before 
the Lord, when no eye sees but the all-seeing One, Jer. xiii. 17. 
And this implies four things. 

(1.) The abominations done, lie cross to the grain and disposition 
of their souls : otherwise they would not make them sigh and groan. 
They have a real hatred of them, wherever they appear, Psal. 
cxxxix. 21. They would fain see the world reformed, and the 
nauseous wickedness prevailing in it curbed ; and they would heart- 
ily desire to have religion and sobriety get place. 

(2.) They are a burden to their spirits, as vile and filthy things 
are to the senses. They make them sigh as oppressed with the 

206 zion's mourneks ciiauactekized. 

weight of them ; Psal. Ixix. 9. As they are a burden to the Spirit 
of God, so they are a burden to the spirits of the godly. Hence 
many times the wings of a dove, Psal. Iv. 6, 7. and a lodge in the 
wilderness, Jer. ix. 2. are desirable : and it turns the world into a 
wilderness to them, making them long to be away from it. 

(3.) They are wounds to their hearts, they groan like wounded 
men, Jer. xv. 18. Men know that, in other things, the seeing of 
matters go quite cross to their inclinations, and the desire and bent 
of their hearts, will be very wounding to them. No wonder then 
that the wicked course of a sinful generation be wounding to a gra- 
cious heart, 

(4.) Lastly, Their grief vents itself in sighs and groans, as native 
indications of the affection of their hearts, as saith the apostle, 2 Cor. 
V. 4. " For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened." 

II. I proceed to shew why such times are heavy times, times of 
sighing and groaning to Zion's mourners. 

1. Because of the dishonour they see done to God by these abomi- 
nations, Psal. Ixix. 9. "Whose heart would not rise to see his father 
that begat him affronted and treated with contempt without cause ? 
And how can the hearts of the serious godly chuse but be moved to 
see their fellow-worms contemn their heavenly Father, casting dis- 
honour upon him, trampling under foot his sacred laws, slighting 
his Son, and grieving and vexing his Holy Spirit? The relation 
betwixt God and the saints makes a sympathy, that what is done to 
the one is resented as done to the other. 

2. Because of the wounds they see given to religion and the 
interest of Christ by these abominations, and the advantage they see 
accuring to the interest of the devil and his kingdom thereby, 
Rom. ii. 24. It is long since Michael and the dragon took the field 
one against another. The war is not yet ended, nor will be till the 
end of the world. Both armies are in the field, and the serious 
godly are concerned for the victory to fall to Christ's side ; and there- 
fore they take notice how the battle proceeds. And as the devil and 
his followers rage, when religion gets ground ; no wonder the saints 
sigh and groan when it is otherwise. So that from the prevailing 
of abominations two arrows fly into a gracious heart. 

(1.) An arrow of grief for the loss on Christ's side. Such abomi- 
nations are done, and behold thereby the glory of the King of saints 
is darkened, the effect of his word of the gospel is marred, and a 
soul, perhaps several souls, are lost by it together, Eccl. ix. ult. 
" One sinner destroyeth much good." 

(2.) An arrow of grief for the gain on the devil's side. So many 
abominations as are done in the midst of a land, so many trophies 

zion's mourners characterized. 207 

are set up, as signs of Satan's victory over the kingdom of Christ. 
And that cannot but be moving to those whose hopes are all bound 
up in the kingdom of Christ, and the destruction of Satan's king- 
dom: though it is natural enough for those on Satan's side to re- 

3. Because of the fearful risk they see the sinners themselves run 
by these their abominations, Ps. cxix. 53. " Horror hath taken hold 
upon me, (says David) because of the wicked that forsake thy law." 
"When Christ saw what a risk Jerusalem was running blindly, he 
wept over it saying, " If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in 
this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace ! but now they 
are hid from thine eyes," Luke xix. 41, 42. They eyes of the seri- 
ous godly are open, and they see the hazai'd of a blinded generation, 
which they do not themselves. They see them running on the 
sword-point of vengeance, making haste to the pit, and will not be 
stayed ; heaping up wrath against the day of wrath, and rushing to 
their eternal ruin. No wonder that knowing the terror of the Lord 
by their experience, and the preciousness of a soul, they sigh and 
groan to see souls so thrown away for a thing of nought. 

4. Because of the contagion to others they see ready to spread 
from these abominations, Matth. xviii. 7- Eccl. ix. ult. Every one of 
them is an opening of the bottomless pit, by the steam of which 
many may be infected, and drop down into the same snare of the de- 
vil. ! the dismal consequences of the abominations done at first, 
may be by one sinner, as a little cloud like a man's hand, and may in 
time as it were darken the whole heavens. Men by one abomination 
may strike up a spring of abominations, that may run long after 
they are dead and rotten in their graves, as Jeroboam did. And the 
prospect of this occasions sighing and groaning to the serious godly. 

5. Because of the judgments of God which they see may be brought 
upon those yet unborn, by reason of these abominations. Hence 
says the prophet, Hos. ix. L3, 14, "Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus, is 
planted in a pleasant place : but Ephraim shall bring forth his chil- 
dren to the murderer. Give them, Lord : what wilt thou give ? 
give them a miscarrying womb, and dry breasts. Many a man en- 
tails a curse on his family by his abominations ; as appears by break- 
ing the second commandment, by reason of which the Lord visits the 
iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth 
generation, Exod. xx. 5. And the controversy may be pursued for 
his cause when he is in his grave. And if a stop be not put by re- 
pentance and reformation to the abominations and apostasies of this 
day, they will undoubtedly smart under them who are not yet born 
into the world, and the generation to come will have cause to pro- 
nounce a wo on this going before them, Matth. xxiii. 35, 36. 

208 zion's mourners characterized. 

6. Because of the Lord's displeasure with the generation for these 
abominations, Jer. xv. 1. It is the joy of the serious godly, to see 
the tokens of God's good pleasure with the generation wherein their 
lot is cast, that the Lord will honour them, and take pleasure to 
dwell among them. But abounding abominations turn matters quite 
another way. If temporal strokes are kept off, they are left to pine 
away under spiritual plagues ; God is provoked to depart, to with- 
draw his presence from his ordinances, and they are left to lament 
after the Lord. The glory departs by degrees, and who knows where 
it may end, if it may not go the length of removing the candlestick, 
as the Lord threatened he would do to the church of Ephesus, Rev. 
ii. 5. 

7. Lastly, Because of the common calamity in which they see 
these abounding abominations may involve themselves and the whole 
land. The serious godly are sensible that with them also are 
sins against the Lord, and that God may justly proceed against 
them because of their iniquities. "When then they see the cup of a 
land's iniquity fast filling by many hands, they have reason to be 
afraid of seeing it filled to the brim, and that it may run over even 
in their time. And however others may make a jest of the threat- 
ening of land-overflowing judgments, they dare not do it, Hab. iii. 
16. And therefore the awful prospect of the day of the Lord's 
anger against the generation of his wrath, makes them sigh and 

I shall conclude at present with a short word of improvement. 

sirs ! shew yourselves serious godly, by mourning over and 
sighing and groaning for the abominations done in the midst of the 
land. Turn from the God-provoking courses of this day, and go not 
in the way of the multitude, as ye would not perish with them ; but 
labour to keep your garments undefiled, by standing at a distance 
from the abominations of the time ; set yourselves in opposition to 
them, and mourn over the dishonours ye see and hear done to the 
holy name of God, as ever ye would have the mark of safety set on 
your foreheads. 

The case of the generation affords much matter of mourning, if ye 

1. From whence we are fallen. The time was when the land was 
solemnly married to the Lord by covenant for reformation, and the 
Lord put a j)articular honour on Scotland by his presence in ordi- 
nances. But now reformation is out of sight, and matters are still 
going from evil to worse ; so that if the Lord's hand do not inter- 
pose, it is hard to say where we will stop. 

2. The unsuccessfulness of the gospel. There is little conviction, 

zion's mourners characterized. 209 

and less conversion, by the preaching of the word. Most part of the 
generation are proof against warnings from providences and ordi- 
nances. "Whatever light there may be, there is little heat. 

3. The abounding of* gross scandalous immoralities in the light of 
the gospel, the sacred name of God rent by horrid imprecations and 
blasphemies, his sabbaths profaned, murder, adultery, theft, perjury, 
and covetousuess prevailing ; while errors subversive of the founda- 
tion of Christianity, such as Arian, Socinian, and Arminian tenets, 
are vented, the purity of the doctrine of the gospel darkened, and 
put into an ill name, as if it were downright Autinomianism."* 

4. Universality of the apostasy, a growing untenderness among 
all sorts, whereby causes of sorrow are multiplied among ministers 
and professors, among the young and aged ; many pulling off their 
mask of religion, and throwing it by ; and from the company of 
professors, communicants going over to the camp of the profane. 

5. The incorrigibleness in it. A brow of brass, refusing to be 
ashamed, is added to all the defection that has taken place. People 
will not be reproved and convinced, but wilfully with a high hand 
go on in their sin. So that sighing and groaning is almost all that 
is left to do, for contending and striving are to little purpose. 

6. Lastly, From all which there is plain evidence of fearful judg- 
ments abiding the generation, so much the more terrible as, after 
many deliverances there is a growing of the apostasy, and new de- 
liverances do but make way to new steps farther forward in it. 
And national fasting and humiliation are grown out of use, but so 
far as they are called for by those who neither know nor can be 
supposed to know the state of this church and land with respect to 
these things, f 

• It was at this time that Arianism and Sociniauism were rampant in England, that 
Professor Simson at Glasgow broached Arianism under modern refinements, and that 
the preaching of pure apostolical doctrine was by some in the church branded with the 
name of Aotinomianism. 

f This relates to the church's not appointing fasts without the state, whose province 
it is to specify the causes of a religious fast. A neglect which there is still too much 
ground to complain of. 



" EzEKiEL ix. 4. 

And the Lord said unto him, Go through the inidst of the city, through 
the inidst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men 
that sigh, and that cry for all the abominations that he done in the 
midst thereof. 

[The second Sermon on this text.] 

After a i)articular explication of these words, I observed, " That 
times of abounding sin are heavy times, times of sighing and groan- 
ing to the serious godly, Zion's mourners." Here I endeavoured to 
give the import of this exercise, and therein the character of Zion's 
mourners ; and to shew why such times are heavy times to the people 
of that character. And I concluded with a short word of improve- 
ment. I shall now i)roceed further in the application. 

Use I. Of information and instruction. Are times of abounding 
sin heavy times, times of sighing and groaning, to the serious godly, 
Zion's mourners ? then, 

1. Our time is a time that may be heavy, and ought to be a sigh- 
ing and groaning time, and would be so if we had a heart for the 
duty of the day, being a day wherein " the Lord of hosts is calling 
us to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding 
with sackcloth," Is. xxii. 12. Whither can one that is serious look, 
but he must see matter of mourning ? We have had long peace, and 
a long tack of the gospel, and have gathered much dross, fitting the 
church or land for a furnace of wrath. Iniquity abounds, but mour- 
ners for it are rare. 

2. This blots out of the number of the serious godly, Zion's mour- 
ners, several sorts of persons, that must be put in another class. 

(1.) Those who are so far from it, that by their profane and un- 
godly courses, of a piece with the rest of the abominations of the 
day, they afford cause of sighing and groaning to all the serious 
godly, that know them and their way. These by the text are of the 
number devoted to destruction ; and assuredly they will find it so, if 
they turn not over a new leaf, and that sooner than they expect. 
Let them consider the case of the evil servant, Matth. xxiv. 48, — 51. 
" If that evil servant shall say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his 
coming, and shall begin to smite his fellow-servants, and to eat and 
drink with the drunken ; the Lord of that servant shall come in a 


day when he looketh not for him, and in an honr that he is not 
aware of; and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion 
with the hypocrites : there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." 
There is a wo denounced against such which will not fall to the 
ground, Luke xvii. 1. " It is impossible but that offences will come ; 
but wo unto him through whom they come." Sighing and groaning 
is the necessary duty of the Lord's followers ; but sad will be their 
reckoning who give them cause for it, ver. 2. " It were better for 
him that a mill-stone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into 
the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. 

(2.) Those who pride themselves in their abominations, Psal. x. 3. 
" The wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covet- 
ous, whom the Lord abhorreth." The consciences of men by nature 
are very untender, but by custom in sinning they come to be seared. 
Hence they arrive at sinning presumptuously, and with a high hand, 
and instead of being ashamed, glory in their wickedness. Under 
the law such were to be cut off. Numb. xv. 30. " But the soul that 
doth ought presumptuously (whether he be born in the land, or a 
stranger) the same reproacheth the Lord ; and that soul shall be cut 
off from among his people." Compare Heb. x. 26, 27. " For if we 
sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, 
there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful 
looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour 
the adversaries." These are to be mourned over. Hence says the 
weeping prophet, Jer. xiii. 17. " But if ye will not hear it, my soul 
shall weep in secret places for your pride, and mine eyes shall weep 
sore, and run down with tears." 

(3.) Those who make a jest of the abominations of the day, having 
a certain pleasure in the hearing of them, and improving them to 
make themselves merry with them. These are fools in God's ac- 
count, Prov. xiv. 9, ioY fools make a mock at sin ; and the practice is 
one of those found among those who are given over to a reprobate 
mind, Rom. i. ult. " Who knowing the judgment of God, (that they 
which commit such things are worthy of death) not only do the 
same, but have pleasure in them that do them." They must needs 
be of a disposition mighty contrary to the nature of God, and of his 
people, who rejoice at the abominable thing which God hates, and 
the serious godly sigh for. 

(4.) Those who shew no concern about them, but give themselves 
up to a detestable neutrality, being Gallio-like, caring for none of 
these things. If they touch thera indeed in their particular inte- 
rest, they are very sensible of them, and ready to cry out under 
them : but if they do thera no harm whatever dishonour they do to 


God, or reproach they bring ou the profession of Christianity, that 
is none of their business. What is that to us ? say they. See how 
they are characterized by Elihu, Job xxxv. 9, 10. " By reason of the 
multitude of oppressions, they make the oppressed to cry : they cry 
out by reason of the arm of the miglity. Eut none saith, Where is 
Grod my maker, who giveth songs in the night ?" These are Christ's 
enemies, as not being his friends : for, says he, " lie that is not with 
me is against me : and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth 
abroad," Matth. xii. 30. And they shall fare as these his enemies 
fared. Rev. iii. 16. " So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither 
cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." 

(5.) Lastly, Those who whatever concern they shew for the abo- 
minations of the time, yet are not really affected with them in the 
sight of God. Though they may spare some words against them be- 
fore men, yet their consciences can witness they have no serious 
sighs and groans to spare for them in secret before the Lord, Jer. 
xiii. 17. forecited. Truly this is a matter that will not do with a 
flourish of words. God knows the heart : and as the heart is, so is 
the man. 

Use II. Of exhortation. Take a lift of the heavy case of this 
day and generation in respect of the abounding sin thereof, and sigh 
and groan on the account of it. Let it be your care to be found 
among the serious godly, Zion's mourners. And for this cause, 

1. Awaken yourselves to a more close walk with God, from the 
observation of the abominations of the time, Rev. iii. 4. They that 
are not more than ordinary watchful in a declining time, can hardly 
miss to be stolen off their feet, Matth. xxiv. 12. "Because iniquity 
shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." As then double 
gaurds are set where the hazard is greatest, so double diligence is 
requisite in such a time. Let the abounding sin of the time be like 
oil to the flame of your love to and zeal for God, to make it burn 
the more keenly, Psal. cxix. 126, 127- " It is time for thee. Lord, 
to work : for they have made void thy law. Therefore I love thy 
commandments above gold, yea, above fine gold." 

2. Be ye more careful that ye partake not with them, but stand 
at a distance from all fellowship with the unfruitful works of dark- 
ness, Eph. V. 11. Many make it an argument for their doing so and 
so, because so many make no bones of it : but argue ye contrariwise, 
that since so many cast God's laws behind their back in such and 
such points, therefore ye must take the better heed ye be not carried 
away with the stream, and that ye must not give religion an out- 
ward cast, when it has so many enemies. But hear Christ saying to 
you, as John vi. 67. Will ye also go away ? There are many ways how 


in such a time people may draw in the contagion of the abominations 
of others : and therefore ye liave the more need to take heed. 

3. Awaken yourselves to a due concern for the public honour of 
the Lord Jesus, saying with David, Ps. Ixix. 9. " The zeal of thine 
house hath eaten me up ; and the reproaches of them that reproached 
thee, are fallen upon me." God is saying at such a time, Tfno is on 
my side ? We have good reason to be on his side, and to account his 
honour dear to us, who counted not his i)recious blood too dear for us. 
"When the war was proclaimed by heaven against the earth, he made 
the peace, becoming Immanuel, God with us. And shall not our 
souls find themselves concerned to be with him, on his side, in earth's 
war against heaven. 

4. Awaken yourselves to a due concern for the case of perishing 
souls, and a sinking land, Hab. iii. 16. If ever we knew any thing 
of the terror of the Lord, we are too easy that way ; we have too 
little bowels of compassion, else we would not shift to take a lift of 
the heavy case. It is inexcusable negligence and indolence, to con- 
fine our care to our own case in such clamant circumstances. This 
was not David's practice, for when deeply affected with his own soul's 
fall, he had the case of the church of God at heart, Ps. li. 18. "Do 
good, (says he) in thy good pleasure, unto Zion : build thou the walls 
of Jerusalem." 

5. Contribute your endeavours, in your stations, to your power, to 
stem the tide of wickedness. " Say (as David did) unto the fools, 
Deal not foolishly ; and to the wicked. Lift not up the horn," Ps. 
Ixxv. 4. Beware of giving countenance in the least to the abomina- 
tions of the day ; but discountenance them as ye have any regard to 
the souls of sinners, and would not contribute to the hardening and 
ruining of them ; and as ye have regard to your own souls, and 
would not involve them in the same. 

6. Take serious thoughts of the heavy case in your private medi- 
tations, Jer. xiii. 17- foreceited. Think Avhat a miserable pass the 
state of religion is brought to, by prevailing iniquity ; how the 
kingdom of the devil thrives, in the midst of Christ's territories, 
and what, according to the scriptures, and the ordinary method of 
providence, must be the end of these things. 

7. Lastly, Carry the case along not only to your family prayers, 
but to your secret prayers, where ye can lay it before the Lord with 
the greatest freedom. Let your eye affect your heart there in a spe- 
cial manner, and drop a tear for your own sins, and the sins of others. 
Yea, it would be very necessary, tliat, for your own case, and the 
case of the day, ye would use some times of extraordinary prayer. 
If you would do so, surely your labour would not be in vain. 



I shall give yon the following motives to press you to take such a 
lift of the heavy case of the day. 

1. A gracions spirit is a holy and public spirit; and a predomin- 
ant selfishness, whereby people are set only to satisfy their own 
lusts, and their care is confined only to their own private interest, 
is a black mark of an irregenerate state, according to what the 
iipostle says, 2 Tim. iii. 2, 4. " Men shall be lovers of their own 
selves, — lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God." Accordingly 
our Lord says, " If any man will come after me, let him deny him- 
self, and take up his cross, and follow me," Matth. xvi. 24. Who- 
ever can call God Father, their heart's desire and concern will be, 
that his kingdom come. Whoever is a child of tlie family of God, 
and has any interest in the privileges of it, must needs be concerned 
for its thriving, and for destroying the kingdom of the devil set up 
against it. Beware of Simon's selfishness, to whom the apostle Pe- 
ter said, "Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy 
heart is not right in the sight of God," Acts viii. 21. 

2. Great is the dishonour done to God by the abominations of this 
day. God has been a kind and gracious God to Scotland, giving us 
the gospel, that has been hid from many greater nations : yet abo- 
minations prevail, as in a land of darkness. He has continued the 
gospel long with us ; but for all the pains he has bestowed upon us, 
we are as a vineyard over-grown with thorns, the face thereof 
covered with nettles, and the stone-wall thereof broken down. 
" For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles, through 
us," Romans ii. 24. He has given peace, and plenty of the good 
things of this life, and they are improved against him. The silver 
and the gold are his, the corn and the cattle, our health and 
strength, and his debtors we are for every breathing : yet all these 
are sacrificed to men's lusts, and are used in contempt of God and 
neglect of him, to the treading his laws under foot, despising of 
his gospel, and slighting his ordinances. If there is any sense of 
God's greatness, or of gratitude for so many signal blessings, we 
would sigh and groan for all the abominations done in the midst of 

3. Great is the hazard that many a precious poor soul is in by 
means of these abominations, Rom. i. 18. " For the wrath of God is 
revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness 
of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness." How is Satan at 
this day driving poor sinners in shoals to destruction ? Half an 
eye may see a black cloud of wrath hanging over many a head of 
those wedded to some one abomination or other. They cannot 
sigh and groan for themselves ; for either they do not see, and they 


will not see, nor believe their hazard, though it be told them ; or 
else their lusts have so got the mastery over them, that they must 
take their swing on all hazards, saying with those, Jer. ii. 25. 
" There is no ho])e. No, for I have loved strangers, and after them 
will I go." This may excite others to sigh and cry. 

4. Great is the hazard of the rising generation from them ; they 
are coming into a sad world, in a fast declining time. And what 
pitch the generation may be arrived at ere they come up, if a strong 
hand do not interpose, who knows? The generation now on the 
stage is become worse than their fathers. The wonders the Lord 
did for his people when they were in the iron furnace, are by this 
time much worn out of knowledge : most of those that were vfiU 
nesses thereto are gone, and a generation is risen up that know not 
Joseph. The covenanted refoi'mation of this church and land is 
dropping out of heart and head, by degrees : a religion that has no 
relation to Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God, is like to take place: 
and the flood of immorality is like to rise higher and higher. 
sirs ! sigh and groan for all the abominations of the day, for the 
sake of the rising generation, that they may not be infected there- 

5. Great is the hazard of the judgments of God that the land is 
in by these abominations. An overflowing of abominations is a 
forerunner of an overflowing of national judgments. Hear what the 
mourning prophet says, Jer. v, 3, 4, 5, 9. " Thou hast stricken them, 
but they have not grieved ; thou hast consumed them, but they have 
refused to receive correction : they have made their faces harder 
than a rock, they have refused to return. Therefore I said, Surely 
these are poor, they are foolish : for they know not the way of the 
Lord, nor the judgment of their God. I will get me unto the great 
men, and will speak unto them ; for they have known the way of 
the Lord, and the judgment of their God : but these have altoge- 
ther broken the yoke, and burst the bonds. Shall I not visit for 
these things? saith the Lord: and shall not ray soul be aven- 
ged on such a nation as this?" And the longer national judgments 
are a-coraing on, the heavier will they be when they do come. And 
whoso considers seriously the state of the laud at this day, in res- 
pect of her abominations former and present, all lying together on 
our head, with the scripture threatenings against such a generation, 
can hardly miss fearing, that if God have thoughts of good towards 
the generations to come, a stroke is abiding this land, that as the 
bodies of some dead have been unjustly and dishonourably used by 
the living, in pulling them out of their graves ; so the carcases of 


216 ADVICE TO zion's mourners. 

many now living may yet come to lie as dung on the face of the 
ground, Jer. viii. 2.* 

6. However many abominations there are that we know done in 
the land, there are many done no doubt that we know not. The 
former gives sufficient ground to sigh and groan ; and the latter 
may add weight to that reason. When many abominations break 
out and are brought to light, as at this day, we may be sure that 
there are many besides that have never seen the sun. But these are 
all open to God, and are sinking weights on the places where they 
are done, and on the land. Compare Ezek. viii. and ix. And 
they will make them to vomit out the impenitent transgressors. 

7. Our sins have had a hand in bringing matters to this pass, Tit. 
iii. 3 ; and therefore we are the more concerned to take a lift of the 
case. We have all mismanaged our mercies, misimproved our day 
of grace, and, by untenderness one way or other, provoked the Lord 
to go far from us, and to leave the generation to their swing to go 
from evil to worse. The conviction of this may press us to sigh and 
cry for all the abominations of the day : and if any refuse the con- 
viction, be sure they will be made to take with it, nill they will 
they, when God riseth up to plead his controversy. 

8. If ye do not sigh and cry for the abominations of this day, ye 
cannot escape being involved in the guilt of them, and consequently 
in the punishment to be inflicted on account thereof. See the text 
and context. In this case silence gives consent ; ye will be held as 
consenting to all the dishonour done to God by them : for inasmuch 
as ye do not sigh and cry for them, ye give them your tacit appro- 
bation, Eph. V. 11. So the abominations of others will be laid on 
your score, and yet never make their burden one whit the lighter. 
And see the doom of the unmarked ones, Ezek. ix. 5, 6. " And to 
the others he said in mine hearing. Go ye after him through the city, 
and smite : let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity. Slay 
utterly old and young, both maids and little children, and women ; 
but come not near any man upon whom is the mark ; and begin at 
my sanctuary." Say not then. What can we do ? Here is what ye 
must do, viz. sigh and groan on account of these abominations. 

9. There will never one sincere sigh and groan of yours upon that 

* That the author's apprehensions relating to such a melancholy event were not 
without some foundation, will appear, if it is considered, that about one and twenty 
years after the date of these sermons, the carcases of many of those who were engaged 
in the unnatural rebellion in 1745, raised against King George II. headed by a Popish 
pretender, met with some such treatment as is here alluded to: and these were the 
heirs and successors of those who had so treated the bodies of some of the saints in 
a former period. 


head be lost ; God will take notice of every one of thera. Hence 
the psalmist says, Psal. Ivi. 8. " Put thou my tears into thy bottle : 
are they not in thy book ?" See what notice was taken of a serious 
few, whose sorrow of heart for the abominations of the generation 
they lived in, made them to speak often one to another, Mai. iii. 16. 
" The Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance 
was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that 
thought upon his name." The all-seeing eye that takes notice of 
the least pleasant look his enemies give to abominations done, as he 
did in the case of the Edomites' envy to Israel, Obad. 12. Avill not 
overlook the sighs and groans of his friends on account of these 

10. Sighing and groaning for abominations in a land, is fairer to 
put a stop to them than ye are aware of, one way or other. Those 
that sigh and groan for the abominations of others before the Lord, 
will in the event prove either their best friends or their most dan- 
gerous enemies. Prayers and tears are the weapons of the church, 
and never miss to have effect sooner or later. In a word, the sighs 
and groans of the people of God lie fair for recovering transgres- 
sors from their abominations. Christ groaned, and Lazarus was 
raised. They lament after the Lord, and the Lord will regard his 
people's lamentations ; and if that Spirit were poured out, we might 
expect good (Is. Ixvi. 8) that way, namely, sinners to be turned from 
their abominations. But if it should not have that happy effect, it 
would issue in providence shovelling presumptuous sinners out of 
the way, as it was in the case of Sodom, and so putting a stop to the 
current, 2 Pet. ii. 5, 6, 7- It is his people's appeal to the tribunal 
in heaven, which one may be sure will not lie undiscussed. 

11. Lastli/, Be sure it will turn to your private advantage, go what 
way it will. They that have a Christian concern for the sinful case 
of others, it will fare the better of it with their own. Hence David 
says, Psal. xxxv. 13, " But as for me, when they were sick, my 
clothing was sackcloth : I humbled my soul with fasting, and my 
prayer returned into mine owr. bosom." Thus ye will be amongst 
God's marked ones in the day of suffering, while now in the day of 
sinning taking your place amongst his sighing ones. This brings 
me to another doctrine, which I shall speedily discuss. 

DocT. II. Those to whom sinning times are heavy times, making 
them sigh and groan, shall be marked for safety (by Jesus Christ) in 
suffering times. 

On this point I shall, 

I. Shew the import of Christ's marking his sighing and groaning 

r 3 


IT, Give the reasons of his so marking them. 
III. Deduce an inference or two. 

1. I am to shew the import of Christ marking his sighing and 
groaning j)eople. It imports, 

1. His taking a particular notice of them, and their carriage in 
the sinning time. Rev. iii. 4. " Thou hast a few names even in Sardis, 
which have not defiled their garments ; and they shall walk with 
me In white : for they are worthy." They are his hidden ones, and 
the great piece of their heavy exercise is secret. But never a sigh 
or groan they utter but he knows it. However they be hid among a 
crowd, none of them are missed or overlooked. 

2. His owning them for his own, Mai. iii. 17- " They shall be mine, 
saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels." 
And he owns them, 

1st, As his own and his Father's servants, Rev. vii. 3, while others 
are observed by him to be serving their lusts, serving the times, and 
serving their own private worldly interest. 

2dlt/, As his friends, those on his side in the war, while others 
are his enemies, having neither the word nor the sign. 

Sdly, As his treasure to be kept and preserved, while others are 
lost. Though they be the world's outcasts, they are his jewels, 
precious in his esteem, Mai. iii. 17. 

And this owning signified by the marking, has respect to, 

(1.) The time present wherein abominations abound, and God ex- 
erciseth patience, and they are left to sigh and groan, and ai;e apt 
to think they are forgotten. 

(2.) The suffering time coming; then he will own them, Mai. 
iii. 18. " Then shall ye return and discern between the righteous 
and the wicked ; between him that serveth God, and him that 
serveth him not." When the Lord's anger is going out in a flame, 
yet then he will look on them with a pleased countenance as his 

(3.) The time betwixt and the sufi'ering time. For the mark 
once set on, is never lost. Though they have a heavy time to go 
through, he will own them as his. 

3. His securing them, come what will. They shall be safe, as 
God's own people marked for safety. 

Concerning this we may observe in general, that safety from 
trouble is sometimes the lot of God's mourners. Noah sighed in a 
sinning time, and God made him safe in a suflfering time. There 
was an ark provided for him and his family, when the deluge came, 
and swept away the whole race of men. God can provide a hiding 
place to his people when the world is involved in the utmost chaos 


of confusion and disorder. If we look to the providence of God, 
there will be found no random shots in tlie world. In a shower of 
bullets, there is none that can hit but where providence has marked 
its destination, Psal. xci. 7. " A thousand shall fall at thy side, and 
ten thousand at thy right hand : but it shall not come nigh thee." 

Frequently there is a mitigation of their trouble, when it befals 
them. Though they drink of the cup it shall be of the brim, not of 
the bottom or dreggy part. The rod shall be to them the rod of a 
man, a weak man, that lays on but a slender stroke. 

And they shall be safe from the sting of trouble. They will have 
ease within, though trouble without, Hab. iii. 16. When others are 
tossed with fears without, and terror within, and the guilty consci- 
ence is sounding an alarm within their sinful breasts, they shall 
have a feast in the sense of the Lord's goodness, at least in depend- 
ence on the promise. More particularly, this secui'ing has a view, 

1st, To public calamities in time. He will either (1.) Take them 
out of harm's way, before it come, as he did good king Josiah. Or, 
(2.) He will preserve them when it comes, as he did Lot from the 
destruction that overwhelmed Sodom and Gomorrah, and Jeremiah 
from being carried away captive to Babylon. Or (3.) Whatever 
their share in the public troubles be, they shall be happy in the 
divine favour, under the covert of the covenant of grace, which is a 
covenant of peace to all who have taken hold of it. Thus it fared 
with Jeremiah, chap. xv. 11. " The Lord said, Yerily it shall be well 
with thy remnant, verily I will cause the enemy to intreat thee well 
in the time of evil, and in the time of affliction." Josiah got a pro- 
mise of dying in peace, 2 Kings xxii. 20. but he died in battle ; yet 
the promise stood firm ; for they die in peace, die as they will, who 
die in a state of reconciliation with God in Christ. They make a 
blessed exchange that get to heaven for their hiding-place, go the 
times as they will. 

2dl>/, To the great day when wrath shall come to be i)oured out 
on the wicked world in full measure, ]\Ial. iii. 17. " 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 that 
serveth him." Not one drop of that wrath shall fall upon them ; 
but they shall enter upon the possession of all that blessedness and 
felicity which their Redeemer purchased for them at the price of his 
blood. Then will the joyful invitation be given them, " Come, ye 
blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for yon from 
the foundation of the world," Matth. xxv. 34. 

II. The reasons of Christ's marking his sighing and groaning 
people, are shortly these. 


1. Because they are his redeemed ones, being redeemed to God by 
his blood ; and his Spirit in them shews the blood sprinkled on 
them ; so that no destruction can befal them. 

2. Because he loves them, having loved them with an everlasting 
love, and drawn them to him with the bands of love and the cords of 
a man ; and he will love them to the end. He sympathizes with 
them in all their troubles, and will see to their comfort and safety. 

3. His own honour is engaged for their preservation and safety, 
that the world may see they serve a good Master, and that it is not 
in vain to row against the stream of a backsliding generation. 

An inference or two shall conclude all. 

1. Hence see that none shall be losers at Christ's hands, how- 
ever heavy hearts they get for his sake. The tables will be turned, 
Is. Ixv. 13, 14. " Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, my servants 
shall eat, but ye shall be hungry : behold, my servants shall drink, 
but ye shall be thirsty : behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye 
shall be ashamed : behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, 
but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall hoAvl for vexation of 

2. Here we may see that upright walking is sure walking in the 
worst of times. It is better to sigh and groan with the remnant, 
than rejoice with the multitude, in the time of the apostasy of a 
generation : " for it shall be well with the righteous, but ill with the 
wicked. They that sow in tears, shall reap in joy." 






JOHN XV. 14. 

Ye are mi/ friends, if ye do ivhatsoever I command you. 

In these words we have two things. 

1. A high and honourable privilege which some enjoy : they are 
Christ'' s fnends. It is a relation, and a kindly and honourable one. 
Some are his enemies, and he will treat them as such, saying, " Those 
mine enemies which would not that I should reign over them, bring 
hither, and slay them before me," Luke xix. 27. Yea all are so by 
nature, Rom. viii. 7, " The carnal mind is enmity against God : for 
it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." But 
there is a party of mankind brought into a state of friendship with 
him, whom he has done and will do the office of the best of friends to. 

2. The character of those who enjoy that privilege. Many are 
pretenders to it ; but few can make it out. Here is the badge they 
bear, the sign they are known by, If ye do luhatsoever I command 
you. Those who bear it, Christ will own. This character Christ 
lays before his discii)les and all the visible church, (1.) That they 
may strive to answer it, as ever they would evidence to the world, 
and their own consciences, this relation. (2.) That they may at 

* These sermons were preached at Ettrick in June and July, 1724; and were begun 
June 21, the Lord's day immediately after the author's finishing his dicourses on the 
covenant of grace. 


times examine themselves by it, and so clear their interest in hira : 
*' Ye are ray friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." 

The character is taken from practice. Friends must show them- 
selves friendly. This Christ's friends do by doing whatsoever he crnn- 
mands them. This doing is not the foundation of the friendship : 
that is faith applying Christ's reconciling blood, Rom. v. 10, 11 : 
"but it is the fruit of the friendship, and therefore follows after it. 
It necessarily springs from it, and so manifests and makes it known, 
as the fruit doth the tree. So John viii. 31. " If ye continue in ray 
word, then are ye my disciples indeed. Heb. iii. 14. We are made 
partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence sted- 
fast unto the end." Thus obedience is not the condition upon which 
the privilege is obtained ; but there is a necessary connection be- 
twixt the privilege and the duty, which is all that the if here signi- 
fies : as if one should say. If there is smoke, there is fire ; if there 
is good fruit, there is a good tree. Now observe here, 

(1.) The character itself, universal obedience to the commands of 
Christ. Christ our Friend is our Lord and our God : he requires 
obedience of us : he must command, and we must obey, and that 
without exception, with unlimited obedience. The friendship be- 
twixt Christ and his people reserves still the distance of Sovereign 
and subjects, Psal. xlv. 11. He is thy Lord, and worship thou Mm. 

(2.) The decision on this character, " Ye are my friends, if ye do 
whatsoever I comraand you." (1.) In that case, ye really are, and 
prove yourselves to be ray friends. Fair words and a profession 
will not do it ; but the practice of a friend will do it ; and sincere 
obedience is the touchstone of friendship to Christ. (2.) Ye shall 
be owned to be real friends. Christ himself will take it as full evi- 
dence of your friendship to him. 

The substance of this text may be summed up in the three follow- 
ing observations. 

DocT. I. It is the privilege of some of raankind-sinners to be the 
friends of Christ. 

DocT. II. It is the distinguishing character of the friends of 
Christ to do whatsoever he coramands them. 

Boot. III. They are the friends of Christ, who are in a gospel- 
sense universal in their obedience to his commands. 

I shall handle each doctrine in order. 

DocT. I. It is the privilege of some of mankind-sinners to be the 
friends of Christ. 

In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall shew, 
I. What this privilege is in general. 


II. How this friendship is made up. 

III. What a privilege this is. 
lY. Make application. 

I. I am to shew what this privilege is in the general. It is a 
state of peace and oneness of interest with Jesus Christ. In these 
two it lies, as is evident from the common nature of friendship. 

1. The friends of Christ, whereas naturally they were in a state 
of enmity with God, they are now in a state of peace with Christ, 
and God through Christ, Eph. ii. 14. " For he is our peace who hath 
made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition 
between us." All the children of Adam in their natural state, the 
elect not excepted, are in a state of enmity with God. God bears a 
legal enmity against them, as the judge against the criminal whom 
he condemns, according to law : and they have a real enmity against 
him appearing in their hearts, Rom. viii. 7- and in their works. Col. 
i. 31. But now those enjoying this privilege are now in a slate of 
peace and reconciliation with God. God's legal enmity against them 
is now removed ; he condemns them no more, there being no condem- 
nation to them which are in Chinst Jesus, Rom. viii. 1. The counte- 
nance of the wrathful Judge is now laid by as to them. And their 
real enmity against him is removed too, out of their hearts and 
lives, that it reigns no more, Col. i. 21, 22. " You that were some- 
time alienated, and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now 
hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present 
you holy and unblaraeable, and unreproveable in his sight." So 
that most dangerous fever in their case, is cooled. 

2. Whereas they had divided interests as to heaven, now there is 
an unity of interests betwixt Christ and them, 1 John i. 3. " Truly 
our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." 
Many are at peace, who yet are not in a state of friendship : so this 
is more than to be at peace with God simply. When Christ makes 
up the peace with sinners, he enters into a friendshij) with them : 
there is an alliance, a covenant betwixt God and them, oftensive and 
defensive : their interests are woven together from that moment : 
they have common friends and common enemies. Christ espouses 
their interests, and they espouse his ; and they mutually pursue the 
interests of one another as a common interest. 

II. The next head is, How this friendship is made up. 

1. The first spring and source of it is everlasting free love. 
Hence says the Lord to the prophet, Jer. xxxi. 3. " Yea, I have 
loved thee with an everlasting love." It is as ancient in the design 
of it as from eternity. Sometimes one friend will say to another, 
When I saw you in such a place, or at such a time, there was some- 


thing in you that I liked extremely, and from that time I was still 
desirous of a friendship with you. So Christ may say to his people, 
Since I saw you from eternity, lying in the corrupt ruined mass of 
mankind, I liked you, my delights were with the sons of men, Prov. 
viii. 31. 

2. The plot for compassing it was laid from eternity between the 
Father and the Son, Tit. i. 2. " In hope of eternal life, which God 
that cannot lie, promised before the world began." The covenant 
of grace was made for bringing about this friendship : the method 
was there laid down, how, with the honour of the divine perfections, 
these enemies to God might be brought into a state of friendship ; 
how they might be won into it. 

3. The foundation of it was laid in the blood of Christ, in the ful- 
ness of time, Gal. iv. 4, 5. " When the fulness of the time was come, 
God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to 
redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the 
adoption of sons." The friendship with them, as little worth as 
they were, could not be purchased, but by blood that might satisfy 
justice ; for they were criminals under a sentence of death ; Heb. 
ix. 22. " Without shedding of blood is no remission." So Christ 
died for them, and gave them the greatest demonstration of friend- 
ship for them; therefore says he, John xv. 13. " Greater love hath 
no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." 
Hence we are often said to be redeemed by his blood. 

4. It was moved to them in the gospel, 2 Cor. v. 20. " We are 
ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us : we 
pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. In the word 
of the gospel Christ courts the acquaintance of sinners, and proposes 
a strict friendship betwixt him and them. He sends his letters to 
them in the written word for that elfect, which many times have re- 
mained unanswered, or got an ill answer. He sends some of their 
own acquaintance, earthen vessels, to prevail with them to enter 
into this friendship, who many times labour in vain. But he con- 
tinues his solicitations till he win them. 

5. They are won to it by his own Spirit, Is. xliv. 3, 5. " I will 
pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry 
ground ; I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon 
thine offspring. One shall say, I am the Lord's : and another shall 
call himself by the name of Jacob : and another shall subscribe with 
his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel." 
They will not be friends with him, till the Spirit take the work in 
hand. Their old friends, the devil, the world, and their lusts, have 
the ascendant so over them, that they cannot value Christ's friend- 


ship, till the Spirit open their eyes, display it to them, and change 
their minds and hearts : and he does it effectually when once he 
takes it in hand. 

6. By faith they go into the friendship with him, Eph. iii. 17. 
" That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith." So they come 
to him, and unite with him. And thus the bonds of the friendship 
are the Spirit on Christ's part, whereby he apprehends them, and 
faith on their part, whereby they lay hold on him. So the friend- 
ship is made up inviolable and most strict, and Christ and they are 
in the bond of the same covenant ; he as the head, and they as the 

7. Lastlif, The friendship is sealed by the sacraments, particularly 
that of his body and blood. It was an ancient custom to confirm a 
covenant of friendship with a feast, Gen. xxxi. 54. And so the 
Lord has been confirming his friendship with his true friends among 
ns of late, saying, as Cant. v. 1. " I am come into ray garden, my 
sister, my spouse ; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice, I have 
eaten my honey-comb with my honey, I have drunk my wine with 
my milk : eat, friends, drink, yea, drink abundantly, beloved." 
And how fit is it to confirm the friendship ! Can there be a greater 
instance of friendship than what is there ! John xv. 13. forecited. 

III. I go on to shew what a privilege this is. Men nor angels 
cannot fully express the value of it, for it is of infinite value, 1 Cor. 
ii. 9. "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." To raise your esteem of it, consider, 

1. It is an honourable friendship. Many value themselves to lit- 
tle purpose on their great friends, while perhaps they and their 
friends both are enemies to God, and though they have greatness, 
want grace. But the believer may justly, yea only, value himself 
on his friends, 1 Cor. i. ult. He that glorieth, let khn glory in the Lord. 
Their Friend is the Prince of the kings of the earth ; and through 
him God is their friend. They are allied to heaven : though they 
were come of the dunghill, the blood-royal of heaven runs in their 

2. It is a beneficial friendship. The friendship of many in the 
world is no more but an empty name : if a good word will serve 
their friend, they will give it him, but for any good deed, it is far 
from them, Jam. ii. 16. Yea, the friendship of many is destructive; 
it serves for nothing but to be a snare, a trap, and a bond of ini- 
quity, Jam. iv. 4. as between Herod and Pilate. But Christ's 
friendship is most beneficial : it is enriching and upmaking. The 
benefits of it who can tell ? they will tell out for time and eternity ; 


they are for the soul and for the body. One needs no more to make 
him happy : they are for prosperity, and for adversity. 

3. It is an intimate friendship. There is no such close and inti- 
mate friendship betwixt any relations on earth, 1 Cor. vi. 17. He 
that is joined unto the Lord, is one spirit. Many whose friendship is 
very valuable and beneficial, are very reserved even to their friends, 
allowing them little intimacy with them. But Christ communicates 
himself most intimately to his friends, lodges his greatest secrets 
with them, Psal. xxv. 14 ; and they on the other hand pour out 
their hearts to him, with greater freedom than they can do to their 
nearest relations, where oft-times they find it necessary to be on the 

4. It is an universal friendship, of universal influence. There is 
no friendship in the world, but it is limited to some particulars. 
There are some things to which men's friendship doth not extend, 
and in which they do not concern themselves with their friend. But 
Christ's friendship is of universal influence : from the greatest to the 
least of the concerns of his friends, he interests himself; he manages 
all about them in a friendly manner; from their eternal salvation, 
to the least hair falling from their head. And there is no case 
wherein one can come wrong to him for help. 

5. It is a sure and lasting friendship. The friendships in the 
world are very uncertain. Sometimes the greatest friendship ends 
in great enmity, and often doth it degenerate into a coolness and in- 
differency : and rarely doth it fall out, but adversity slackeneth the 
bond, if not puts it loose for altogether. Hence proceed the com- 
plaints of the saints. Job xix. 14. " My kinsfolk have failed, and 
my familiar friends have forgotten me." Psal. xxxviii. 11. " My 
lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore : and my kinsmen 
stand afar oft"." But Christ's friendship never dies out, John xiii. 1. 
" Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto 
the end." He may hide his love from his people, but never lifts it 
away from them. Hence is that comfortable passage, Is. xlix. 14, 
15, 16. "Zion said. The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath 
forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she 
should not have compassion on the son of her womb ? yea, they may 
forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon 
the palms of ray hands, thy walls are continually before me." They 
may grieve his Spirit, and he may correct them with the rod : but 
the sharpest rod on their backs is a friendly one ; the heaviest hand 
he lays on them, is still the hand of a friend, not of an enemy, Psal. 
Ixxxix. 31. — 34. And their adversity is so far from making his 
friendship cool toward them, that he bears a part with them in all 


their burdens ; in all their afflictions he is afflicted ; and while he 
smites with the one hand, he supports with the other. He afflicts 
not willingly ; and he turns all their bed in their sickness. 

A short word of improvement shall conclude this doctrine. 

Use I. of information. Hence see, 

1. The wonderful condescension of heaven to mankind-sinners, in 
that God was pleased to take any of them into friendship with him. 
The angels fell, but there was no oft'er of peace for them, no Saviour 
provided : but men may not only be at peace, but in friendship with 
God. We are rebels to God naturally, but may become friends 
through Christ. 

2. They that are Christ's are most happy. They are provided 
with a stock, upon which they may travel through all difficulties, 
and make their way through all storms. Christ is their Friend, and 
he is both able and willing to provide for them. And they may 
travel comfortably through all, if they had faith in exercise to im- 
prove the friendship. 

3. Jesus Christ is the best and most generous of masters. He 
makes all his servants friends ; he treats them generously. He 
needs none of their service ; none of their service can make him 
more happy : but he rewards their service nobly. ! who would 
not choose to have such a friend ? who would not serve such a li- 
beral Master? 

4. How friendless persons, who have none to regard them, may 
best bestow themselves, and get a friend, that will be better to them 
than all the world. Come to Christ, friendless sinners ! for the 
fatherless find mercy in him, even the outcasts of Israel, whom no 
body cares for. Come to him, and he will shew you the most dis- 
dinguishing marks of friendship, more eminent than those that ever 
took place among men. 

Use II. Of exhortation, 

1. Let sinners seek this friendship. Christ, in the days of his 
flesh, was called " a friend of jjublicans and sinners: and it was so far 
true, that he was and is ready to befriend sinners, to save them 
from their sins, but not to befriend them in their sins. Here is a 
privilege, and the worst of sinners may obtain it in the way of be- 
lieving now, as well as many have done heretofore ; witness Manas- 
seh, Mary Magdalen, Paul, yea the whole of those that are now the 
redeemed from among men, sitting at his right hand in glory. But 
if ye continue in your state of enmity against him, ye will find at 
last that he will treat you as enemies : and as he is the best of 
friends, if you remain impenitent, he will be the most dreadful of 
enemies, and consign you to everlasting burnings. Accept of his 
friendship therefore in time. 

228 Christ's friends doers op 

2. Te that profess to be the friends of Christ, walk worthy of 
your privilege. Carry yourselves friendly towards him. Discover 
it by your respect to his commands, submission to his will in all 
things, and employing him in all your needs. And do not pretend 
to be his friends, while ye are regardless of keeping his way. Ye 
must distinguish yourselves from his pretended friends, by a sincere 
and universal obedience to whatsoever he says or enjoins in his word, 

DocT. II. It is the distinguishing character of the friends of 
Christ, to do whatsoever he commands them. 

In handling this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Inquire into tliis character of the friends of Christ, of doing 
whatsoever he commands them. 

II. Shew why this is made their trying and distinguishing charac- 

III. Conclude with some practical improvement. 

1. I shall inquire into this character of the friends of Christ, of 
doing whatsoever he commands them. I take it up in three things. 

First, The friends of Christ are doers of his commands. They 
are all his servants, Luke vi. 46. Christ is their Lord and Law- 
giver, and they do his commandments. Rev. xxii. 14. His enemies 
may feign submission ; they may say fair, and profess obedience to 
him : but his friends are doers of what he commands, in a holy life 
and practice. Jam. i. 22. It imports the following things. 

1. Their lusts are not their domineering lords, to whom they yield 
themselves to obey, Rom. vi. 13, 14, If they have become Christ's 
friends, they are become enemies to their lusts, seeking the pleasing 
of Christ, and the destruction of their corrupt aifections, saying, " 
Lord our God, other lords besides thee have had dominion over us : 
but by thee only will we make mention of thy name. Is. xxvi. 13. 
They that are Christ's, have crucified the flesh, with the afli'ections 
and lusts," Gal, v. 24. To walk after one's own lusts, is the character 
of scoffers, 2 Pet. iii. 3. Christ's friends have changed masters, and 
renounced their own will and corrupt aifections. 

2. The course of the world is not their rule, Eph, ii. 2. It has 
the force of a command on Christ's enemies : hence so frequent is 
the following a multitude to do evil, as if the commonness of a sin 
did licentiate it. But Christ's commands contradict the course of 
the world, and his friends will obey them over the belly of the tor- 
rent of the example of a godless generation, as Noah did, Gen. vi. 9. 

3. But as they look for salvation by him, it is the business of 
their life, to please, serve, and glorify him, to ivalk xvorthy of the 
Lord, unto all jpleasing, Col. i. 10. There are two works seriously 


plied by all Christ's friends. (1.) Salvatiou-Avork, that they may 
be saved from sin and wrath, and set beyond hazard of eternal ruin. 
This is done by faith. (2.) Their generation work, serving their 
generation hi/ the xuill of God, as David did, Acts xiii. 36 ; that they 
may be nsefnl for Christ in their day, to advance his honour and 
glory, " Showing forth the praises of him who hath called them out 
of darkness into his marvellous light, 1 Pet. ii. 9. This is done by 
obedience. In the former they look for their own safety, and in the 
latter for the honour of their Saviour. Christ's enemies either 
slight both, or if they seem to be concerned for the former, that is 
all, they have no due concern for the latter. Why ? because they 
have no regard to the honour of Christ, but to their'own salvation. 
Here lies the mystery of the inconsistent lives of many, who pray 
like angels, and yet live like devils, as if there were no God to 
whom obedience were due. But Christ's friends pursue both, and 
labour to serve and obey him, with the same earnestness as to be 
saved by him ; and so are doers of all his commandments, as well as 
seekers of his salvation. 

This is evident, if ye consider, 

\st, That all Christ's friends are true believers in him, endowed 
with saving faith, being called, and chosen, and faithful. Rev. vii. 14. 
For by faith it is that one enters into the state of friendship with 
him. And all real believers are doers of Christ's commands, making 
it their business to obey him. For faith without works is dead, Jam. 
ii. 20. True faith is a working grace, xuorhing hy love, Gal. v. 6. For 
it knits the soul to Christ, in whom is the fulness of the Spirit of 
holiness, Eph. iii. 17 ; joins to him as to a husband, whose spouse is 
always fruitful, Rom. vii. 4; as the true vine, making branches 
really united to it, bring forth fruit, John xv. 2. And so faith is 
virtually all good works. Hence Christ says, John vi. 29. " This is 
the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." And 
says the beloved disciple, 1 John iii. 23. " This is his commandment, 
that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ." And 
it receives Christ as a King, Lord, and Head, Psal. ex. 3. 

2dly, The very end for which Christ purchased the friendship of 
heaven to any, and actually communicates it to them, is, that they 
might be doers of his commands. He laid down his life to purchase 
it for that cause. Hence says the apostle, Eph. v. 25, 26. " Christ 
loved the church, and gave himself for it : that he might sanctify 
and cleanse it with the washing of water by his word. Tit. ii. 14. 
"Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, 
and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." 
He brings them forth from among his and their enemies, for the 

YoL. Y. Q 

230 Christ's friends doers of 

same end, Luke i. 74, 75. " That lie would grant unto us, (said 
Zacharias) that we being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, 
might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before 
him, all the days of our life." It was their misery while they were 
his enemies, that they neither would nor could do his commands : 
but in the day of their reconciliation he delivers them, knocks off 
their chains, and gives them both heart and hand in some measure 
for obedience. 

3. Regardlessness of Christ's commands, and walking contrary to 
them, is the native product of the enmity of heart against him. This 
is the very way how men evidence themselves enemies to him : for 
it is walking contrary to him. "What is the reason that men cannot 
be subject to the holy law ? Their enmity to God, a transcript of 
•whose nature it is, Rom. viii. 7. They will be their own lords, and 
will not leave Christ to reign over them : they are his enemies, 
Luke xix. 27. Men may pretend esteem of Christ, while they are 
regardless of his commands : but all such pretences are vain, 
Col. i. 21. 

4thly, Where there is friendship there is love without dissimula- 
tion ; and where there is love, there will be care to please the party 
beloved. Christ puts our love on this trial, John xiv. 15. If ye 
love me, says he, keep my commandments. And. it is a most rational 
convincing trial. "What man among us would reckon one to love us 
who were still walking contrary to us, grieving and vexing us with 
doing the things which we cannot endure ? An unholy life is griev- 
ing to the Spirit of Christ : it is a smoke in his nostrils. How then 
can men pretend love or friendship to him, who are regardless of his 
holy laws? Whatever we call love to God, see what he calls so, 1 John 
V. 3. " This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments." 

Secondly, The friends of Christ are doers of his commands, be- 
cause they are his commands ; as his will is the rule of their obe- 
dience, so it is the reason of it too : " Ye are my friends, if ye do 
whatsoever I command you." This is what touches the hearts of 
his friends, and sets the wheels of their souls in motion in obedience : 
That he commands it, that he requires it. Col. iii. 17. " Whatsoever 
ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus." 
Christ's pretended friends sometimes do what he commands ; but it 
is not from any regard to him, but to themselves. But real regard 
to Christ weighs with his friends. This imports, that, 

1 They do his commands out of respect to his authority, Psal. 
cxix. 4. *' Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently." 
They perceive the impress of a divine authority on every command, 
and in compliance with that authority close with the duty enjoined. 


Hence where they cannot see any reason for a command, but that 
such is the will of Christ, they find eveu there sufficient ground for 
obedience : as being those who are not to dispute his comraar.ds, but 
obey them ; those to whom the will of the great Lawgiver is reason 
enough, Heb. xi. 8. " By faith Abraham, when he was called to go 
out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, 
obeyed ; and he went out not knowing whither he went." 

2. They do his commands out of love to him. Hence we read of 
their " work and labour of love, shewed toward his name," Heb. vi. 
10. Being saved by his blood, they give themselves to be ruled by 
his laws, and obey him from love and gratitude, the love of Christ 
constraining them, 2 Cor. v. 14. Love lines the yoke of Christ to be- 
lievers, and makes it sit easy on his friends, while it is very griev- 
ous to his enemies, John v. 3. And the stronger faith is, the stronger 
is lov^ ; and the stronger that love to Christ is, the soul is the more 
ready for duty. His commands are acceptable to them, because 
they are his. 

3. They do his commands as sons redeemed by his blood, not as 
bond-servants working for their own redemption ; to please their 
Benefactor, not to render themselves accepted by their own obe- 
dience, Rom. viii. 16. Col. i. 10. Christ has brought in everlasting 
righteousness by his obedience, and put it on all his friends, whereby 
they stand accepted to God : and he commands them, being righte- 
ous through faith, to be holy; and their souls say, as 2 Cor. vii. 1. 
" Having these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness 
of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." The 
mercy of God, and the love of Christ in dying for sinners, makes 
them to say, " What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits 
towards me ?" 

4. Lastly, They do his commands with heart and good-will, Eph. 
vi. 7. and that is the obedience only that is acceptable, Isa. Ixiv. 5. 
" Thou meetest him that rejoiceth, and worketh righteousness." 
What is done for Christ's sake by his friends, will be done heartily ; 
while the obedience of his pretended friends, his real enemies, is 
done against their will. The cords of love will draw swiftly and 
easily : and what backwardness to duty is found at any time, will 
be grievous to them. 

It is evident there can be no acceptable obedience but what is 
done this way, done because Christ commands it : for if it have not 
a respect to his command, it may indeed contain the matter of obe- 
dience, but is destitue of the form and essence of godly obedience. 
Thus we see selfish ends mar obedience, Matth. vi. 1. God knows the 
springs of our obedience, however close they lie within our breasts ; 


232 Christ's friends doers of 

and ho will never acknowledge that to be obedien ce tohira, that 
is not influenced by his authority, and has not him for its end. 

Thirdly, The friends of Christ are doers of his commands univer- 
sally and without exception, Psal. cxix. 6. " Then shall I not be 
ashamed, when I have respect to all thy commandments." Their 
obedience to Christ is unlimited as to an absolute Lord. His friends 
will prescribe no bounds of their obedience, but what he sets in his 
holy' law. The obedience of hypocrites is ever defective here ; they 
never want some secret reserve, which i^roves their ruin. Here then 
is the trial of Christ's true and pretended friends. It is certain that 
there is no obedience on earth legally universal : but all the friends 
of Christ give him universal obedience in a gospel-sense. That is, 

1. They are universal in their desire to do all his commands, 
saying, as Psal. cxix. 5. " that my ways were directed to keep thy 
statutes !" Perfect holiness is the desire of their souls, the aim and 
design which they have in view, though still they cannot as yet 
reach the mark. Every sin is a burden, and lies on them as an iron 
chain ; and there is no lust they would not fain be quit of, Rom. vii. 
24. Some sins lie nearer them than others, and they have greater 
difficulty to shake them off than others. Christ says that the right 
eye must be plucked out, with thine own consent. Amen, says the 
friend of Christ. Hypocrites have always some lust which they de- 
sire not to part with ; there is some part of Christ's yoke that they 
cannot away with. It is no more a burden to them than a gold 
chain about the neck, which one would be very loath to quit. They 
hate not every false way. 

2. They are universal in respect of their endeavour to do all, to 
comply with every pai't of Christ's will ; " I count not myself to 
have apiJrehended, (says Paul) but this one thing I do, forgetting 
those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things 
which are before, I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high 
calling of God in Christ Jesus," Phil. 13, 14. Many please them- 
selves with faint and lazy wishes to do all : but it is one thing to 
wish to do whatever Christ commands ; and another to aim at it in 
suitable endeavours, to try one's strength at every known duty, and 
to put hand to work, though they cannot go cleverly thi'ough it. It 
is the ruin of many souls, that they put off themselves with lazy 
wishes, but never once try in earnest the mortification of some 
known lust, or setting about some known duty. But Christ's friends 
are universal in their endeavours. 

3. They are universal in respect of their willingness to know all 
that Christ commands, that they may do it, Psal. cxxxix. 23. 
" Search me, God, and know my heart : try me and know my 


thoughts." It is the voice of Christ's friends, " Lord, what wilt 
thou have me to do ?" Acts ix. 6. And hence, where the command 
of Christ appears in any particular, they set themselves to receive 
and obey it. There is a great deal of deceit among men in this 
point. Most men stave off the discovery of those sins which they 
have no mind to jjart with ; they strive to blind their consciences, 
that they may enjoy their sinful courses without disturbance : they 
lodge some lusts under disguise, willing to give them heart-room, 
but unwilling to know what they are. 

The reasons why Christ's friends are universal in their obedience, 

1. Because the grace of God inclines them to do what Christ com- 
mands, because he commands it, Psal. cxix. 4. forecited. And lie 
that does one thing, because of the authority of Christ requiring it, 
will endeavour to do all ; for the authority of God is equal in all. 
Jam. ii. 11. The least coin that has the king's stamp on it, is cur- 
rent among the subjects as well as the greatest. The law of Christ 
is a chain of many links, and he that truly draws one to him, draws 
all ; wherefore the Jewish rabbles say, " He that saith, I receive the 
whole except one word only, despiseth the commandment of God." 

2. Because the whole laAv is written on their hearts in regenera- 
tion, and not scraps of it here and there, Ileb. viii. 10. The new 
nature is suited to whatever Christ commands, because it is his own 
image drawn on the soul : it answers the law as the wax does the 
seal. Hence it is called a new man, the new creature, wherein all 
things are become new : and there is a perfection of parts, though 
not of degrees. 

3. Because Christ hath the chief room in their hearts beyond all 
competitors. His interest with his friends weighs down all other 
interests, Luke xiv. 26. The world and cursed self have the pre- 
dominant interest in the hearts of most men : hence Christ's com- 
mands must give place to theirs, and religion and conscience must 
bow at the foot of their desire to please men, their covetousness 
pride, and passion. But in the hearts of his friends all other 
sheaves must bow to his, and so the commands of others must give 
place to the commands of Christ. 

4. Because he is jealous, and the least command of his that is 
slighted is displeasing to him, Matth. v. 19. And a tender con- 
science will beware of displeasing him. Many a time God's peoi)lo 
find in their experience the danger of tampering with some bosom 
idol. It provokes him to depart, till they return and acknowledge 
their sin, Tsal. Ixvi. 18. Therefore says the spouse, Cant. iii. 5. 
" I charge you, ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by 


234 Christ's friends doers of 

the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up nor awake my love, till 
he please." 

5. Lastly, Because their hearts are reconciled to the whole law, 
and every part of it. Their practical judgment approves it as good 
in itself, and good for them too, Psal. cxix. 128. " I esteem all thy 
precepts concerning all things to be right." And hence there is a 
sincere endeavour to conform to it in all the parts thereof. There 
is a transcript of God's image in it, which the gracious soul longs 
for the drawing of upon it ; so every command as a lineament of 
that image must be precious to them. Thus the character is 

II. The next head is to show, why this is made the trying and 
distinguishing character of the friends of Christ. 

1. Because this hits the point in which the sincere and hypocrites 
differ, whether they be gross or close hypocrites. Look on both in 
their profession of love and friendship to Christ, and the hypocrite 
■will vie with the sincere in it. The foolish virgins have lamps as 
■well as the wise ; the foolish man's building may be as high as the 
wise builder's is ; the one wears the external badge of the Christian 
name, and of the sacraments, as well as the other. But follow them 
to their practice, and there they part. 

The gross hypocrite has the name of a Christian, but nothing of 
the life and practice of one. He will call Christ Lord, Lord, but 
makes no conscience of doing the things that he saith. He will cry, 
The temple of the Lord, and yet will steal, murder, commit adultery^ 
swear falsely, Jer. vii. 8, 9. His profession is sacred, but his practice 
is profane. He will own Christ for his Lord, but in the mean time 
makes no bones of trampling his holy commandments under foot. 
The sincere soul dare not do this : since he abides in Christ, he must 
endeavour to walk as he also walked. He must be obedient to his 
Lord, Head, and King. 

The close hypocrite who does indeed many things which Christ 
commands, so that the world cannot determine him to be insincere ; 
yet he never does all in known duty : his obedience is always want- 
ing in some material part ; and what he does, he doth not because 
of the regard he hath to the will of Christ, but the regard he has to 
himself. Whereas the sincere aims at and endeavours compliance 
with the whole will of God, and that because it is his will, Acts 
xiii. 22. 

2. Because the reality of friendship to Christ does without contro- 
versy appear here. Solomon observes, Prov. xxvi. 23, " Burning lips, 
and a wicked heart, are like a potsherd covered with silver dross." 
Will any man reckon one his friend, because he speaks him fair ; 


while yet he is ever injuring him egregiously, traducing his name, 
and venting mischief against him ? No ; a man will look upon such 
an one as a notorious dissembler, and worse than a professed enemy. 
So says the Lord, " Shew your faith by your works. If ye love me, 
keep ray commandments. Love not in word only but in deed." 

3. Because where Christ's friendship to a person takes effect, it 
certainly has this efl'ect, Eph. v. 25, 26. How does it appear that 
Christ died for such a person, that he has justified him, &c. ? If 
that man be not holy in his life, it cannot appear ; if he be, it ap- 
pears by his sanctification. Tit. ii. 14. For that was the end of the 
friendship, to bring back the sinner to obedience. 

4. Because though the free grace of God tends to holiness, Tit. ii. 
11, 12. yet there is a disposition in the children of men to turn it 
to licentiousness, .Tude, 4. Therefore the apostle cautions the Ga- 
latians, chap. v. 13. "Brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; 
only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve 
one another." "Wherefore our Lord puts the trial of faith on good 
works, and of his friendship on universal obedience to his com- 
mands ; that men may not by their unholy lives joined to a holy 
profession, make Christ the minister of sin, and deceive and destroy 
their own souls. 

I shall now make some application of this doctrine. 

Use 1. Of information. This shews us, 

1. What the life of a Christian is. It is a life of doing whatso- 
ever Christ commands. And so it is, 

(1.) A doing life, an active not an idle life. Hence is that ex- 
hortation, Phil. ii. 12. " "Work out your own salvation with fear and 
trembling ;" and that. Rev. xiv. 13. where we are told the saints at 
death " rest from their labours, and their works do follow them." 
And they have so much to do, the commandment being exceeding 
broad, Psal. cxix. 96. that they have no time to be idle. Christ 
went about doing good, and Christians must imitate him therein. 
God has set every one their work and post, and they must be busy 
in the work of their general and particular vocation. 

(2.) A well doing life. Many are busy enough doing mischief: 
but the Christian's life is a life of doing good, for God's honour, and 
their own and their neighbour's good. Many do what is good on 
the matter, but they do it not well. The Christian's life is a life of 
doing good, from a good principle, to a good end, for a good reason, 
and in a good manner, 1 Tim. i. 5. 

(1.) A watchful life, 1 Cor. xvi. 13. Watch ye, says the apostle. 
One will never do whatsoever Christ commands without watchfulness. 
A loose careless life will never make it. If one do not watch, they 

236 curist's friends doers of 

■will let the season of some duties slip ; tliey will go contrary to his 

(4.) A resolute life. Eph. vi. 15. It is not possible but that, in 
such an evil world, the Christian must have some times the trial of 
advices and commands laid on him, contrary to the commands of 
Christ. But he must be precise in his adherence to the commands of 
Christ, say the contrary or be displeased who will. So there is 
need of resoluteness in this case, and need of a brow for a bargain. 
" For the fearful, and unbelieving, shall have their part in the lake 
"which burneth with fire and brimstone," Rev. xxi. 8. 

2. That there are few friends of Christ in the world, his flock is 
a little flock, Luke xii. 32. It is little wonder that there are so many 

. opposers of the interests of Christ, so many neutralists in his cause, 
and so many enemies to his people and way : for certainly^ his friends 

, are very few in mumber : there are so few disposed to do whatsoever 
he commands them. If we examine the number of them by this 
character, it is but here one and there one will be found. The most 
part declare themselves none of his friends, but his haters, John 
XV. 18. 

3. Sincere Christians may take comfort from this, whose con- 
science witnesseth their conscientious regard to all the commands of 
Christ, and their sincere endeavour to come up to the obedience of 
them all. They are, and are accounted of Christ his friends. Though 
in many things they offend, yet in every known duty they aim at 
obedience ; and our Lord makes a difference betwixt weakness and 
■wickedness. Hence David says, " I have kept the ways of the Lord, 
and have not wickedly departed from my God," Psal. xviii. 21. 
Though they want not their sin that easily besets them, yet their 
consciences witness that they are set against it as well as other sins : 
and the Lord will distinguish between voluntary yielding and in- 
voluntary, the reign and tyranny of sin, ver. 23. " I was also up- 
right before him, (says the same holy man) and I kept myself from 
mine iniquity." 

Let all such as make not conscience of universal obedience know, 
that their j)retences to Christ's friendship are in vain. For, says 
he, " Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I 
say ?" Luke vi. 46. If your life be not in some measure suited to 
that character, ye do but deceive yourselves thinking ye have that 
privilege. If ye do not what Christ commands, but what the devil, 
the world, and your own passions command you, theirs you are to 
whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, not Christ's. Te are 
self-pleasers, meu-pleasers if the Avill of Christ is not the reason of 
your obedience, and does not influence you to universal obedience. 


5. Lastly, The doctrine of free grace gives no encouragement to 
looseness of life : for there is no separating of faith and holiness. 
If ye be Christ's friends by faith, ye will be his faithful and tender 
servants in obedience. Though ye are not to gain heaven by works, 
yet having the right to it made over to you as his friends, you will 
work good works as the native fruit of the friendship. 

Use II. Of exhortation. SheAV yourselves Christ's friends by 
doing whatsoever he commands you. And do ye what Christ com- 
mands you, if you would show yourselves his friends, 

1. In a time of general apostasy and backsliding from the ways 
of God, such as our time is, when the torrent of backsliding is run- 
ning with a mighty force. It was the commendation of Noah, that 
he " was a just man and perfect in his generations, and walked with 
God," Gen. vi. 9. So did Lot in Sodom. It is a small thing to do 
what Christ commands, when credit, and reputation, and multitudes 
are on the side of religion : but to be best when others are worst, to 
be among the few names is the trial of a friend of Christ, Rev. 
iii. 4. John vi. 67- to regard his commands when the generation is 
trampling on them, that is friendship indeed, Psal. xii. 7. 

2. Even when it must be to your temporal loss, Ileb. xi. 35. 
While Christ and the Avorld go together, hypocrites will follow 
him ; while they may do the commands of Christ on free cost, they 
will do them : but if once their worldly interest interfere, there 
they will stop. They have a sort of love to Christ, but their love 
to their worldly interest is stronger, and so the latter swallows up 
the former. Hence persecution drives many away from Christ ; and 
when there is no persecution, covetousness will supply its place. 
But shew your sincerity by following the commands of Christ over 
the belly of all losses that ye can meet with in the world, Luke 
xiv. 26. 

3. When his hand is lying heavy on you by crosses and afflic- 
tions. The devil says that Job is an hypocrite, Job i. 9, 10. ; but 
Job was regardful of God's commands even in affliction. It is easy 
swimming while the head is borne up ; and to be for God while ho 
appears to be for us in favourable dispensations, is not so hard. 
But to be tender of the authority of an afflicting God, to strive to 
please him in all things, doing and suffering, while he is afflicting, 
crossing, and chastising us, there is the trial of a friend of Christ, 
Job xxvii. 10. " Will he delight himself in the Almighty ? will he 
always call upon God?" 

4. When sin comes with a seen advantage in its hand, as in the 
case of Moses, Heb. xi. 24 — 26. When the poison is presented in a 
golden cup, and there is a seen advantage in sinning, it will readily 

238 cheist's friends doers of 

make Christ's pretended friends lay by their mask, and trample on 
Christ's command, that they may reach the bait. So Judas betrays 
Christ when he could have thirty pieces of silver for it ; and Demas 
embraced the present world, letting the world to come slip. But 
know ye that at such a time Clirist is taking a trial of your friend- 
ship ; and therefore see to yourselves. 

5. When the sin that most easily besets you comes in competition 
with your obedience to the commands of Christ, Psal. xviii. 23. 
When it and the command are in the balance, and the command 
weighs it down, it is a hopeful sign. Many who will bear very fair 
in many instances, are quite undermined when this comes to be 
their case. They could raise their regard to the command of Christ 
above many temptations, but there is one thing that ever spurns his 
authority, Mark x. 21. 

6. When there is nothing to keep you back from sin, but pure re- 
gard to the command of Chi'ist. Sometimes holy providence brings 
people into such circumstances for their trial. The temptation is 
attended with all advantages which the evil heart could wish, fair 
occasion, secrecy, and encouragement to it from every hand, but the 
hand of a holy God. So it was in Joseph's case, but he shewed him- 
self a friend of Christ, saying, "How can I do this great wicked- 
ness, and sin against God ?" Gen. xxxix. 9. Many temptations are 
resisted from some extrinsic considerations : but this is the trial of 
a friend of Christ. 

7. When you are tempted to sin that has such a plausible name 
in the world, that ye can lose no credit by it, but rather be in ha- 
zard of risking your reputation by your making any bones of it. 
There are many such sins which the generation has stamped lawful- 
ness upon, and is ready to expose as needless scrupulosity the ab- 
staining therefrom. But conform not ye to the world, Rom. xii. 2. 
Tenderness has often been nicknamed preciseness, and God's people 
been wondered at, " thinking it strange that they run not with them 
to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of them," 1 Pet. iv. 4. But 
if all the world should approve the practice and Christ disapprove 
it, Christ's friends must stand oif from it, " walking circumspectly, 
not as fools, but as wise," Ej)h. v. 15. 

8. When the tempter appears resolute in the temptation, and 
being repulsed renews the attack. Shew your regard to Christ's 
command by a resolute and continued resistance. So Paul did, 
2 Cor. xii. 8. " For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it 
might depart from me." They may have some respect to Christ's 
command at first, who being importuned will yield the cause at 
length, like Pilate, who condemned Christ over the belly of his con- 


9. Lastli/, "When Christ is Ccalling to some more than ordinary 
hard task. Sometimes the Lord takes a trial of men this way, 
calling them to some iinordinary piece of obedience. So he did 
with Abraham, as to the command to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac. 
And so he did with the rich young man, as to the order to sell all 
that he had, and give to the poor, Mark x. 21, 22. 

I shall offer you the following motives to shew yourselves Christ's 
friends by doing whatsoever he commands you, without reserve or 

1. Because all his commands are the commands of an absolute 
Lord, to whom we owe obedience in all things, Exod. xx. 2. I am 
the Lord thy God. We were created by him, are preserved by him ; 
whatever being we have, or means of life and being, all are from 
him, Acts xvii. 28. Therefore he has an unlimited power over us, 
and we ought to live, move, and be for him, in all things. And any 
command of his neglected is a withdrawing of due obedience from 

2. All his commands are just, righteous, and reasonable, Psal. 
cxix. l28. Men sometimes demand unjust and unreasonable things 
of their subjects ; but all his ways are judgment, and his commands 
just, Rom. vii. 12. He has linked together our duty and true in- 
terest : so that he requires nothing of us, but what is for our good : 
and we cannot trample on any of his commands, but we act against 
our real interest : and so sinning against God, we sin also against 
our own souls, Prov. viii. 36. The interests of men's souls, and of 
their lusts, are different indeed. Grod's commands do cross the 
latter, but never the former. 

3. We are all of us under covenant-engagements to do whatso- 
ever he commands us. We have all avouched him for our Lord, 
Luke vi. 46. Many of us have of late taken on these engagements 
at his table ; let us not forget them. Several who have fallen off 
from renewing their engagements in that manner, in some former 
years have taken them solemnly on : let such remember that their 
disusing of that ordinance does not loose their engagements taken 
on formerly, but they lie on them before the Lord. And those who 
never yet sat down at the Lord's table, are yet baptized ? and so 
are firmly engaged to him as their Lord and Master, to do whatso- 
ever he commands them. Gal. iii. 27. So that if we do not, we 
must expect to be treated as rebels, apostates, covenant breakers, as 
men that cast oft' the yoke of Christ, after they have professed to 
take it on. 

4. Christ has been the best friend ever mankind had : he has done 
for sinners what no creature whatsoever ever did or could have done 

240 Christ's friends doers or 

for tliem, John xv. 13. Rom. v. 8. Look ye for any share in the 
benefit of his death ; and will ye refuse to obey him ? Remember 
that word, Heb. v. 9. " Being made perfect, he became the author of 
eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." If ever he was a 
Priest for you, he will surely be your King : if ye be saved by his 
blood, ye will surely be sanctified by his Spirit. 

5. He refused nothing that was laid upon him for the behoof of 
poor sinners ; but whatever Avas the will of his Father for that 
effect, he did readily comply with it, Psal. xl. 7, 8. " 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." The hardest of com- 
mands were laid on him, and the hardest sufferings put upon him : 
but the cuj) given him to drink he would by no means refuse. 
What are we then that we should make any exceptions in our obe- 
dience to him ? 

6. If ye do not whatsoever he commands you, but still make some 
exceptions of some things ye cannot comply with, ye will lose that 
which ye do : the neglected known duty will spoil all the duties ye 
perform ; the indulged known sin will mar all the other pieces of 
your reformation. It will be like jioison to a cup of liquor. (1.) It 
will mar it as to acceptance with God, Jam. ii. 10. " For whosoever 
shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of 
all." No partial obedience Avill ever be accei)table to God. He 
must have the whole man, the whole heart engaged in his service, or 
he will accept none at your hand. Hence says the psalmist, Psal. 
]xvi. 18. " If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear 
me." (2.) It mars it as to the eternal reward, 2 John, 8. Partial 
services may indeed receive a temporal reward, like Jehu's half re- 
formation : but then there is no more got thereby. 

7. It is necessary to evidence your sincerity, Psal. cxix. 6. " Then 
shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy command- 
ments," says David. Universal obedience in a gospel-sense is the 
badge of Christ's real friends. Therefore labour to know your whole 
duty, and readily comply with every duty you know. "While ye 
thus suj)ply what is lackiug in your conversation, filling up all the 
gaps ye can discern therein, ye will discover yourselves the true 
friends of Christ, and you will have much comfort and peace in it, 
2 Cor. i. 12. while ye leave nothing unattempted, Avherewith your 
heart may reproach you. This will be a mean of confidence before 
the Lord to you, 1 John iii. 21, " If our heart condemn us not, (says 
the apostle) then have we confidence towards God." But if ye still 
retain some sweet morsel under the tongue, some secret exception 
against some part of Christ's yoke, ye will declare yourselves none 


of Christ's friends, but his real haters and enemies. And it will 
prove these six sad things against you. 

(1.) That ye are yet in the black state of nature, unregenerate : 
for, " If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature : old things are 
passed away, behold, all things are become new," 2 Cor. v. 17- For 
the new creature from the time of its birth is perfect in parts, though 
not in degrees. It is furnished with all its integral parts, though 
none of them are come to their full growth. There is indeed some- 
thing lacking in every part of the new man, but no part altogether 
lacking. And if ye be not born again, ye have no right to the inhe- 
ritance, John iii. 3. " Except a man be born again, he cannot see the 
kingdom of God." 

(2.) That whatever your attainments are, ye are but hypocrites, 
Psal. xviii. 23. " For sincere Christians are universal in their obe- 
dience, Psal. cxix. 6. She was the false mother who would have had 
the child divided ; and she is an adulteress that takes one instead of 
her husband. And they are false to Christ who indulge themselves 
in one known sin, whatever lengths they may otherwise go. And 
hypocrites are in a sad case, as you may see, Rev. iii. 15, 16. Matth. 
xxiv. 51. 

(3.) That yc have not the Spirit of Christ ; for wherever he dwells, 
he brings forth the fruits of holiness, and these are in all goodness, 
Eph. V. 9. Where then there is only some and not all goodness, 
there the Spirit is not : and that cuts off all your pretensions to 
Christ, Rom. viii. 9. " If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he 
is none of his." 

(4.) That ye are not truly mortified to any thing, but under the 
reigning power of sin : for your right-eye sins remain untouched. 
"Whereas, " They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh Avith the 
aflfections and lusts," Gal. v. 24. True mortification is universal ; 
while one member is alive, the body is not dead : death removes life 
from every i)art of the body, and so does mortification with the body 
of sin and death. One lust on the throne is sufficient to keep Christ 
out of it. And this binds over the whole man to hell-fire, Matth. 
V. 29. 

(5.) That you do not one thing I'ight, Isa. i. 11 — 15. For it is 
hereby evident that you do nothing out of love to God, or respect to 
his authority : because if it were so, ye would regard his authority 
in that thing as well as in other things, and true love to God would 
not allow the placing any thing in his room. 

(6.) Lastli/, That ye are despisers of the whole law, and of the 
whole yoke of Christ, James ii. 10, 11. " For whosoever shall keep 
the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For 

242 Christ's friends doers of all his commands. 

he that said, Do not commit adultery ; said also, Do not kill. Now 
if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a 
transgressor of the law." As the breaking of one link is the break- 
ing of the chain ; so he that despises the authority of God in one 
command, despises it in all. What can be expected then, but that 
ye are and will be treated as enemies of God ? Luke xix. 27. 

8. Lastli/, Consider the glorious priA'ilege of those who do what- 
soever Christ commands them. They are his friends and favourites. 
He was their friend from eternity : he is their friend in time, and 
he will be their friend for ever, when time is gone. 

Now, if ye would walk up to this character, 

1. Read the scripture much, and read it as the rule of your duty, 
as the book of your instructions : For, " 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," 2 Tim. iii- 
16, 17. Some read the Bible as it were for mere reading's sake : 
some that they may be masters of and able to talk of scripture-his- 
tory : but few read to the end they may know what is the will of 
Christ as to their walk, that they may frame their life according to it. 

2. Let your heart lie open to the discoveries of the will of Christ 
either in the written or preached word. Beware of staving off con- 
victions of sin and duty, of slighting discoveries of the mind of God 
in matters of your practice : but where the Lord makes light to 
shine, open your hearts to receive it, and be not of those that rebel 
against the light. 

3. Keep the word before your eye, in the whole of your conversa- 
tion, knowing that whatever ye are doing, the word binds you to 
do it after such a manner ; and labour ye to conform to it, Psal. 
cxix. 9. As one walking in the dark, fixes his eye on the candle 
carried before him, thereby to direct every step : so do ye " take 
heed unto the sure word of prophecy, as unto a light that shineth 
in a dark place," 2 Pet. i. 19. Let not the world's good or ill 
opinion of a thing be what shall determine you, but what the 
Lord's word says of it, and let that determine you over the belly 
of all objections, Mark x. 15. 

4. Be watchful to observe the seasons of duty, Psal. i. 3. To 
every thing there is a time, and every thing is beautiful in its sea- 
son : and if one miss the season, he misses the duty itself in many 
cases. Sometimes God puts opportunity of doing such a thing in 
one's hand : if they let it slip, they may never have access to it 
again. Gal. vi. 10. 

5. Whatever ye are called to, set about it in faith, doing all in the 


name of the Lord Jesus, Col. iii. 17- Seeing your call from the word, 
apply yourself to it, in the faith of the promise of assistance, 2 Tim. 
ii. 1. Though it may seem an easy thing, venture not upon it but in 
faith of strength for it from the Lord : for oftimes when men are 
surest in their own conceit, they are really loosest. Though never so 
hard, your call being clear, go forward to it, and on in it in faith ; 
and ye shall be carried through : *' I can do all things through ' 
Christ which strengtheneth me," says the apostle, Phil. iv. 13. And 
again says he, When I am iveak, then am I strong, 2 Cor. xii. 10. 

6. Be frequent in the thoughts of love to Christ, the shortness 
and uncertainty of your time, and in breathings after j)erfection. 
The believing thoughts of Christ's love will oil the wheels of the 
soul for the course of obedience. The consideration of the shortness 
and unciertainty of your time will be a spur to diligence, and falling 
in with occasions of serving the Lord, and will shew that if your 
work be hard, it will not be of long continuance. And the breath- 
ing after perfection will natively lead you to be making progress. 

7. Labour to get on resolution for God, and ward off the fear of 
man, Eph. vi. 15. Prov. xxix. 25. 

8. Learn to live above the world, to keep it under your feet, and 
not to set your heart on it, 1 Tim. vi. 10. 

9. Lastly, Observe the side where you are weakest, and there set 
double guards : and be peremptory for victory over the sin that 
most easily besets you ; and to do what Christ commands in that 
part, Matth. v. 29. 

DocT. III. They are the friends of Christ, who are in a gospel- 
sense universal in their obedience to his commands. 

This is the happy state, this is the honourable relation which they 
stand in, who are thus tender in their practice. I have already 
opened this practice ; it remains only to open up the privilege of 
such, which I offer in the following particulars. 

1. Friendship properly so called is mutual: it stands not upon 
one side only, but is competent to each of the jmrties who are in the 
bond of friendship. And Christ's sincere servants are in the bond 
and state of friendship with Christ, John xv. 15. / have called you 
friends, says he. 

(1.) Christ is their friend. Cant. v. idt. He is not only their 
Lord and Master, but he is their friend, lie professes himself their 
friend whoever be their haters and enemies ; he does the part of a 
friend to them, and they have pitched on him as their friend, and 
may claim his friendship as their privilege, and improve it to all 
intents and purposes. This honour have all the saints. 


(2.) Tliey aro Christ's friends, James ii. 23. Abraham was called 
the friend of God. Most part of tbc world are enemies to Christ, 
and haters of him, for they will not ho ruled by him, Luke xix. 27. 
The greatest length they are brought to is to feign submission to 
him, retaining their hatred, Psal. Ixxxi. 15. Only his sincere ser- 
vants are his hearty friends, as saitli the text. They arc that part 
of mankind, who really are, and arc owned by him to be his real 

2. In friendship there is a pecular affection, regard, love, and es- 
teem, Deut. xiii. 6. — thy friend, which is as thine own soid. And such 
there is between Christ and his sincere servants, 1 Cor. vi. 17- He 
that is joined to the Lord, is one spirit. They are truly one, in the 
strictest bonds of one spirit. 

(1.) Christ has a peculiar affection and regard for them'. They 
are his darlings, his only ones in the world. Cant. vi. 9. Though 
the world count them unworthy of a room among them, he bears 
them in his heart, Exod. xxviii. 29. Though the world hates them, 
he has a singular love to them, Joh xv. 9. He is very mindful of 
them, even when they think he has forgotten them, Isa. xlix. 15, 16. 
He looks on them as his peculiar treasure, Psal. cxxxv. 4. 1 Pet. 
ii. 9 ; his jewels, Mai. iii. 17 ; and therefore he has a special con- 
cern for them in a time of common calamity, Ezek. ix. 4 ; till Lot 
be in Zoar, Sodom could not be destroyed. Gen. xix. 22. Hence is 
that tender address, Isa. xxvi. 20, " Come, my people, 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." 

(2.) They have a peculiar affection and regard for him, Psal. 
Ixxiii. 25. " Whom have I in heaven but thee ? (says the psalm- 
ist) and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee." All 
persons and things in the world are but loss and dung to them 
in comparison of Christ, Phil, iii. 8. They have seen a glory in him 
darkening all created excellency ; so that he is dearer to them than 
all the comforts of life, yea than life itself, Luke xiv. 26. 

3. lu friendship there is a common interest of the j>arties ; for a 
friend is as it were another self. So is there betwixt Christ and his 
sincere servants, 1 John i. 3. " Truly our fellowship is with the Fa- 
ther, and with his Son Jesus Christ." 

(1.) Jesus Christ espouses their interest, and concerns himself in 
all their concerns. Acts ix. 4. He takes part with them against all 
their enemies, and seconds them in all rencounters, whether with 
Satan, Luke xXii. 31, 32, with men, 2 Tim. iv. 17. or their own lusts, 
2 Cor, xii. 9. so that there is always more with them than against 
them. He sympathises with them in all their griefs and afflictions, 
Zech. ii. 8. Isa. Ixiii. 9. 


(2.) They espouse Christ's interests, and concern themselves in 
the matters of his glory : " The zeal of thine house hath eaten mo 
up," says David, Psal. Ixix. 9. What wounds his honour, wounds 
their hearts : " llivers of waters run down mine eyes : because they 
keep not thy law, Psal. cxix. 136. They have a natural concern 
for the j)rosperity of his kingdom, and labour to take part with it 
against whosoever oppose it. So that even when their own private 
case lies heavy on them, the public interest of Christ does so too, as 
in David's case, Psal. li. 18. 

4. In fiiendship there is a peculiar freedom and familiarity which 
the parties use one with another, which they use not towards others. 
And such there is betwixt Christ and his sincere servants. There 
was one in David's court, 2 Sam. xv. 7. another in Solomon's, 
1 Kings iv. 5. who was the king's friend, as admitted to greater 
freedom with the king than the rest of the courtiers. Such are all 
Christ's sincere servants, 

(1.) Christ treats them with great familiarity, the familiarity of 
a fi'ieud, John xv. 15. Ho visits them in their lowest condition, 
and speaks a word in season to them, when their nearest friends on 
earth can do them no service, Psal. cxxxviii. 3. Lam. iii. 57- He 
brings them sometimes very near him, Cant. i. 4. and communicates 
his secrets to them, that are hid from the rest of the world, Psal. 
xx^. 14. ; shews them his glory, Is. xxxiii. 17 ; opens the mystery of 
providence to them, and helps them to see love in the darkest dis- 
pensations, Psal. cvii. ult. ; and sometimes gives them a sight of 
everlasting love, Jer. xxxi. 3. 

(2.) They use great familiarity with him, Cant. vii. IL "What- 
ever they need, and at whatsoever time, they go to him for it freely, 
Luke xi. 5, 6. Their most loathsome sores they can lay out befoi^e 
him, and freely tell him all their mind, even what they cannot com- 
municate to any on earth, Eph. iii. 12. And if at any time it is 
otherwise, the fault lies in not improving the privilege of their 

5. Lrtstly, In friendship there is mutual real friendliness in deeds 
of friendship, according to the circumstances of the parties, Prov. 
xviii. 24. " A man that hath friends, must shew himself friendly." 
Friendship animates one friend to do for another, as they are capa- 
ble. And, 

\st, Christ is very friendly to them. The acts of his friendship 
towards his sincere servants who can sufficiently declare ? Many a 
time has he found them in the straits, wherein none but he could re- 
lieve them, and he has befriended them therein, and he will befriend 

Vol. V, B 


(1.) He befriended them in the everlasting covenant, undertaking 
for them in it. When they lay with the rest of mankind in a lost 
helpless state, there being none in the whole creation able to act for 
them, he befriended them, took on their person, bound himself for 
them, to pay their debt of duty and punishment. So he became 
Surety for his ruined friends, Psal. xl. 7- 

(2.) He befriended them in his life and death in the world. He 
was born holy for them, lived holy for them, and died for them on 
the cross, John xv. 13. Never was there such an act of friendship 
as this among men, one bearing the wrath of God in the room and 
stead of another. how he loved them ! 

(3.) He befriended them in their conversion to God, Jer. xxxi. 3. 
When they lay dead in sin, he quickened them ; when they were 
going away from God, he brought them back again ; while they re- 
mained in the world lying in wickedness, he separated them for 
himself. While the guilt of all their sins lay on them, he clothed 
them with his righteousness, and procured their justification by his 
blood ; while their sins had dominion over them, he broke the yoke 
by his Spirit, &c. 

(4.) He befriends them all their life long. On earth in all tlieir 
necessities, whoever proves their enemy, he takes them by the hand, 
Psal. cxviii. 6. And he befriends them in heaven, pleading and 
managing their cause there, 1 John ii. 1. They have a friend in 
court there. 

(5.) He befriends them at death when no other can do it, Psal. 
xxiii. 4. He takes the sting out of it before it comes to them : he 
has another habitation provided for them, a better mansion, before 
they remove out of the body : and he sends his angels to carry their 
separate souls into Abraham's bosom. nonsuch friendship ! 

(6.) Lastly, He will befriend them at the judgment. He will 
raise up the bodies of his friends out of the dust by his Spirit : he 
will set them on his right hand, and adjudge them to the everlast- 
ing kingdom, as the blessed of his Father. 

2t% Christ's sincere servants are friendly to him. But how? 
Their goodness extends not to him ; they have nothing to give him 
but of his own. But he reckons them friendly to him in being 
friendly to his members, Matth. xxv. and in a sincere obedience to 
all his commandments, as saith the text. 

I shall conclude all with a very brief application. 

Use I. Of lamentation over the case of those who cannot be 

brought to a sincere endeavour to comply with whatsoever Christ 

commands them. How many are there who comply with very little 

that he commands them, but in the whole track of their conversation 


shew a profane contempt of the commands of Christ ? There are 
many who do many things, but spoil all, by the woful exceptions 
they put in to some particular commands, which they can never be 
honestly engaged in the observance of. Some are swayed by their 
carnal interest, and they cannot do such a command of Christ's, for 
it crosses their worldly interest ; others cannot do another com- 
mand, for it lies cross to their honour and credit : and others can- 
not do another command, for it is contrary to their humour, &c. 

Ah ! how do such stand in their own light, and deprive them- 
selves of Christ's friendship by the way that they take ! Their 
loss is inexpressible. Christ's friendship is what one cannot want, 
but he is ruined for time and eternity : and wherefore is it lost, but 
for a thing of nought ? 

Use II. Of comfort and encouragement to the sincere servants of 
Christ, honestly addressing themselves to the obedience of all his 
commands without exception. 

1. This may animate you to go on in universal obedience, to stick 
at nothing that Christ commands, but cordially to fall in with every 
known duty. Our Lord takes it as a sign and proof of friendship 
to him, and allows you to take it as an evidence of his friendship to 
you, Psal. cxix. 6. 

2. It may assure you of tenderness and compassion in that 
wherein ye come short. Christ's friendship makes your pardon sure, 
1 John ii. 1 ; it provides a mantle of love to cast over the infirmities 
of his people. Numb, xxiii. 21. and takes the sincere will for the 
deed, 2 Cor. viii. 12. 

3. This may determine you to pursue your duty, whatever dis- 
pleasure, ill-will, and hatred of men ye may incur for it, Heb. xi. 
27. If men say in effect, If you do such a thing which Christ com- 
mands, we will reckon you enemies ; what may balance that is, what 
Christ says, " Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command 

4. Lastly, It may help you to bear afflictions, that Christ is your 
friend. Nothing comes to you but through his hand, John v. 22. 
So whatever your case is, you are in a friend's hand, who sticketh 
closer than a brother. 







Wliaisoever thy hand findcth to do, do it with thy might ; for there is 
no ivork, nor device, nor knowledge, nor -wisdom in the grave luhither 
thou goest. 

As no man Lad more access to know what miglit be made of this 
present life, than Solomon ; so none gives us more mortifying ac- 
counts of it than he. He shews it to be short, uncertain, and mixed 
with a variety of ungrateful events. And thereupon he calls us to 
make the best use of it we may, and that it will bear. (1.) He will 
have us to take the comforts of this life, in the favour of God, ver. 
7 — 9. " Gro thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine 
with a merry heart ; for Grod now accepteth thy works. Let thy 
garments be always white ; and let thy head lack no ointment. 
Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest, all the days of the 
life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the 
days of thy vanity : for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy 
labour which thou takest under the sun." (2.) To ply the business 
of life while life lasts. So there are comforts to be had in life, and 
there is business to be done in it. Happy are they who taking the 

* The author's manuscript bears, that the sermons on this subject were begun to be 
preached, July 26, and ended Sept. 27, 1724. having during that time also preached 
from other texts. 


one, do the other. " Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with 
thy might," &c. 

In these words we have two things. 

1. An exhortation to ply the business of life, while life lasts. No 
man was born to be idle, nor sent into the world to sleep or dream 
away a lifetime, but to be doing, and doing good. And here is, 

(1.) The business of life, " Whatsoever thy hand shall find to do 
with thy might," Heb. The work we have to do is a work of many 
pieces, as much as to fill up evei'y minute of our short time ; and no 
part of it is to be neglected, Whatsoever thy hand shall find to do. 
It is determined two ways what we have to do. (1.) What God 
gives us opportunity for, what our hand shall at any time find to be 
laid to hand by our Creator. lie is our great Master, and appoints 
every one his particular work, by his word and providence : he lays 
it to our hand by giving us opportunities. And so it is restrained 
to that which is good. (2.) What God gives us ability for. He 
gives might, strength of body and mind, comforts and conveniencies 
of life, as talents that we are to trade with. And we are not to 
abuse these, but use them for the ends he gives them for. 

(2.) The activity to be used in this business of life. Do, do it. 
Neglect not this your work, put it not off with delays, but do you 
timely and seasonably, while the time and season lasts. It is but a 
short time, and therefore we must husband it well. 

2. A motive to i>ress the exhortation. Do, for your doing time 
will be done shortly : and then if your work be not done, ye will be 
for ever undone. And, 

(1.) Our life in the world is but a journeying to the grave, the 
state of the dead. Before we begin to walk alone, we begin to go 
to it, even from the womb : and in that journey there is no stop- 
ping ; sleep we or wake we, we are always going the other step to- 
wards it. And when a man is in his prime, going and living at all 
ease, he is still going thither. (2.) There is no doing there ; if 
your work be not done ere you come there, it will never be done. 
This is the world for working, and that is the world for the reward 
of our work. 

The scope of the text may be gathered up in the two following 
doctrinal observations. 

DocT. T. It nearly concerns all men diligently to improve their 
opi>ortunities and abilities in doing their work accordingly, while 
life, opportunities, and abilities last with them. 

DocT. II. Our life in this world is a journey, a going to the grave, 



to the state of the dead, where there is no doing of our work any 

Each doctrine shall be handled in order. 

DocT. I. It nearly concerns all men diligently to improve their 
opportunities and abilities in doing their work accordingly, while 
life, opportunities, and abilities last with them. 

In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall shew, 

I. "What is the work to be done, while life, opportunities, and 
abilities last with lis. 

II. What are those opportunities and abilities which are to be 
diligently improved in doing our work. 

III. Imi^rove the subject. 

I. Our first business is to shew what is the work to be done, while 
life, opportunities and abilities last with us. In the general, there 
is a threefold work laid to our hand. 

1. Work for ourselves, for our own good and welfare, Psal. xlix. 
18. Men ivill praise thee, when thou dost well to thyself. I put this in 
the first place, not that it is our chief work, more than ourselves 
are to be our chief end : but that fallen man will never work for 
God aright, till once he begin to work for himself, laying his own 
salvation to heart. We have all work to do for ourselves ; work 
for this life, and for eternity. It is duty to see to the former, ac- 
cording to our opportunities and abilities ; but not as most men do, 
to make it our all, the whole business of our life ; for it is but the 
least part of what we have to do, Luke xi. 41, 42. We may say in 
this case, as Matth. xxiii. 23. " Wo unto you scribes and Pharisees, 
hypocrites : for ye pay tithe of mint, and anise, and cummin, and 
have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, 
and faith ; these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other 

2. Work for God, for his honour and glory in the world; 1 Cor. 
vi. 20. Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. 
God is our Maker, and he made us for himself ; therefore we should 
live, move, and be for him, Matth. v. 16. If we are Christians, re- 
deemed by the blood of his Son, this is a new tie to this work, Phil, 
i. 21. To me to live is Christ. This is little minded by most men, 
who never consider for what use they are in God's world, or in 
Christ's church : what they are doing for God, wherein they are 
serviceable to him in promoting his glory in the world. Yet as 
God is our chief end, this is our chief work, and it will be enquired 
into at the day of accounts ; and what we did Avith our opportu- 
nities and abilities for glorifying of him. 

OF THE christian's WORK. 251 

3. "Work for our neighbours, for their good and welfare : accord- 
ing to the apostle's direction, Phil. ii. 4. Look not every inan on his 
own things, but every man also on the things of others. God has made 
men in society, and knit them together by the bond of a common 
human nature : and Christ has knit his people together by the ad- 
ditional tie, one faith, one Spirit, ^-c. ; and has so bound every man 
to see the good of mankind, and every Christian the good especially 
of fellow-Christians, Gal. vi. 10. He gives men opportunities and 
abilities to benefit their fellow-creatures, and it ought to be a ques- 
tion to every one of us, what use we are for in the world, towards 
the good of mankind ? what benefit God's creatures, our fellows, 
have by us ? what advantage Christ's members receive at our hand ? 
This will be taken special notice of in the awful day of accounts, as 
appears from Matth. xxv. 

God commands men to see to the temporal welfare of others. 
1 Cor. X. 24. Let no man seek his own ; hut every man another^s ivealth. 
And as the poor are to look for the welfare of the rich, so the rich 
are under the same obligation to seek the good of the poor, as 
their fellow-creatures, and fellow-Christians. And therefore either 
masters or tenants depopulating grounds, and laying field to field, to 
the prejudice of the poorer sort, their mean of living is no doubt a 
crying oppression in the ears of the Lord of hosts, and will bring a 
curse on the selfish and unmerciful men who do it, Is. v. 8 — 10. 
31ay not I do ivith mine own luhat I luill ? is a saying competent to 
Jehovah, who is absolute Lord of the creatures, as having made 
them of nothing ; but to no man under heaven, no not the highest 
monarch, who in all his dealings is under the law of loving his 
neighbour as himself, and has but a limited power over what is his 

lie commands men also to seek the spiritual good of their neigh- 
bours, Rom. XV. 2. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his 
good to edification. And that so much the more as their souls is pre- 
ferable to their bodies. Hence it is, that as soon as the grace of 
God reaches one's own heart, he is in a mighty concern to get other 
brands plucked out of the fire, and to share of that grace he par- 
takes of, as did the woman of Samaria, John iv. It is Cain-like to 
be unconcerned for the spiritual good of others : sure it is devilish 
to go about to ensnare and entrap others into sin, and wrestle 
against their soul's good. 

And thus we may take up our work we have to do with our op- 
portunities and abitities while they last, in these two particulars. 

First, Salvation-work, Phil. ii. 12. Work out your own salvation 
with fear and trembling. "We came into the world lost sinners; there 


is a possibility of our salvation ; and we may get it, if wo will im- 
prove our opportunities and abilities for that end. These opportu- 
nities are confined to the narrow compass of the time of this life ; 
and in that time God lays that work to our hands. And it concerns 
us all timely to ply it, for we must do it now or never. There is 
no working of that work in the grave, when the candle of life is 
blown out at death ; as the tree falls, it must lie for ever. There 
are many pieces of salvation-work that we must do, while doing- 
time lasts with us. The chief whereof are these, 

1. "We must consider our ways, and come to ourselves by a sound 
conviction of sin, the sin of our nature, hearts, and lives. This is a 
work not to be delayed, lest opportunity and ability slip, Hag. i. 7. 
T/ms saith the Lord of hosts, Consider your vjai/s. Ability may be 
taken from us in this life, and we rendered incapable of a solid 
thought. In the other world the opportunity is gone. There in- 
deed men will consider their ways, but it will be out of time. Now 
is the time for that work of consideration while in life and health. 
Ply it then, and see your ruined natural state, till it cause you to 
cry, What shall I do to be saved ? Some go rambling through the 
world in a profane life, and in a moment slip down to the grave, 
never considering till it be out of time. Some go sleeping and 
dreaming through the world in ignorance or formality, and never 
lift their eyes till in hell. But all that shall be heirs of salvation, 
take thought of their soul's state in time. 

2. We must come to Christ and unite with him by faith; for 
without that there is no salvation. Heb. xi. 6. Here is work, 
most necessary work for us, to embrace Christ for all his salvation, 
as held out to us in the gospel ; to flee for refuge to the Redeemer's 
blood, and take shelter under that covert ; to get from under the 
covenant of works and its curse, to be personally instated in the 
covenant of grace, and savingly interested in the blessings of it, 
John vi. 29. This is the ivork of God that ye believe on him whom he 
hath sent. There is now an opportunity for it ; Christ is offering 
himself and his covenant : delay it, and the oppoi'tunity may slip 
you for ever, Matth. xx. 10. In the other world there is no begin- 
ning to believe unto salvation. 

3. We must get out our pardon of all our sins under the broad 
seal of heaven. A necessary work ; for without it ye will perish in 
your sins, Matth. v. 25. A man whose life being by the law ad- 
judged to be taken from him, depended entirely on the king's par- 
don, would lose no time of suing for his i)ardon, lest it should come 
too late. Now is the time wherein heaven's pardon is to be had, 
and in a little that time will be gone. In death there is no pardon 


to be had, uo removing of the curse. Yet how do men trifle in this 
matter, as if the pardon were to wait till they were ready to receive 

4. We miist be born again, become new creatures, get new hearts 
and a new nature, and be renewed in all the faculties of our souls 
after the image of God. Here is work to do, Ezek. xviii. 31. " Cast 
away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgres- 
sed, and make you a new heart, and a new spirit ; for why will ye 
die, house of Israel ?" This is absolutely necessary work, John 
iii. 3. For except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of 
God. And now is the season of the new birth : but when death 
comes it is gone. There is a mighty change in the grave indeed 
whither we are going, but there is no saving change there. The 
bodies that lie down there full of the sins of their youth, will rise 
with them again : and the sinful souls that parted with them at 
death, will meet them again in no better plight at the resurrection. 
Ye must be born again now or never. 

5. We must repent of our sins. This is a work absolutely neces- 
sary, Luke xiii. 3. Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Hea- 
ven's gates are bolted against impenitent sinners. We must turn 
from our sins unto God, with hatred of, and hearty sorrow for them, 
otherwise we will die, we will perish in them, Ezek. xviii. 31, above 
cited. And now is the season for repentance ; there is no repenting 
in the grave. In the other world impenitent sinners will doubtless 
change their minds, they will regret from the heart their graceless 
careless way ; and they will wish a thousand times that they had 
seen to themselves in time : but their repentance there will be their 
torment ; it will be out of time, not kindly, and Avill not be accepted. 

6. We must mortify our lusts. This is not easy work, but it is 
absolutely necessary, Rom viii. 13, " For, (says the apostle,) 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." We must either be 
the death of our lusts, or they will be the death of our souls. If 
one of them go, our life must go for its life ; even that lust which is 
most dear to ns, and wliich we can most hardly part with, must be 
mortified, Matth. v. 29. and that work must be done now or never. 
When death comes, there is no more possibility of mortification ; 
there is a bar drawn for ever betwixt damned sinners and sancti- 
fying influences. The state of the damned is inconsistent with tho 
fulfilling of some lusts ; but however they may be kept from them, 
to their torment, there can be no kindly mortification of lusts there; 
but, on the contrary, sin in the ruined soul will come to its per- 


7. We must live to righteousness, in works of holy obedience. 
This is work to fill our hands every minute of our time, and ne- 
cessary work, John xv. 14. " Te are my friends, if ye do whatsoever 
I command you." Luke vi. 46, " Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and 
do not the things which I say ?" They who are now idle in life, 
will labour under the weight of wrath for ever, without hope of an 
end of their toil. Now Christ shapes out our work for us, and takes 
a proof of our obedience to him. If we neglect it now, there will 
be no time hereafter for it ; for the other world is that wherein men 
receive the reward of their works, and working time is over there, 
John ix. 4. 

8. We must persevere in grace and good works to the end. This 
is work absolutely necessary, for such only shall get the heavenly 
crown, Matth. xxiv. 13. " He that shall endure unto the end, the 
same shall be saved." Rev. ii. 10. " Be thou faithful unto death, 
and I will give thee a crown of life." There is a danger of never 
entering on the way of the Lord, and a danger of apostasy and 
breaking off from it, when once a pereon is entered, Heb. x. 38, 39. 
If death catch us either of these ways, there is no mending of the 
matter for ever. That is a step off the way that can never be re- 

9. Lastly, We must die well. This is a necessary piece of our work, 
our last work, on which much depends. If it be marred, there is 
no coming back to mend it, Job xiv. 14, " If a man die, shall he live 
again ?" To die well is to die in the Lord, Rev. xiv. 13 ; to die in 
faith, Heb. xi. 13 ; to die in union with Christ, in peace and favour 
with God, within the compass of the well-ordered covenant. It is 
not a business to lay by the thoughts of till the time of it come : 
but the business of our life should be to learn to die : and we should 
often be essaying it. 

Secondly, Our generation-work. Acts xiii. 36, " This is the work 
we have to do for God and the generation in which we live, that we 
may be useful not for ourselves only, but for our God and fellow- 
creatures, Rom. XV. 7. It is remarked of Noah, that he was perfect 
in his generations. There are, by the wise dispensation of God, 
several generations of men in the world, one after another ; one 
goes off the stage, and another succeeds. Each generation has its 
work assigned it by the sovereign Lord ; and each person in the 
generation has his also. And now is our time of plying of ours. We 
could not be useful in the generation that went before us ; for then 
we were not : nor can we personally in that which shall come after 
us ; for then we shall be off the stage. Now is our time ; let us ply 
it, and not neglect usefulness in our generation. This work may be 
reduced to these two general heads. 

OP THE christian's woek. 255 

1. The duties of our station and particular calling and relations 
in the world, 1 Cor. vii. 24. Every relation has a train of duties 
belonging to it, and God lays these duties on us as members of so- 
ciety, for his glory and the good of others. That is the room -vrhich 
we have to fill up in the world, by a conscientious performance of 
the duties incumbent on us, as placed on such and such a station and 
relation. That is to say, if one is a minister, he is faithfully to ply 
his ministerial work ; if a husband, a wife, a parent, &c. they are 
faithfully to ply the work proper to such relations. For there is no 
doing of these duties in the grave, nor making up the defects there. 
Then all relations are dissolved, and the difference of stations is no 
more. So that these things must be done now or never. 

2. Duties of special opportunities and abilities, Gal. vi. 10. Some- 
times the Lord puts in a man's hand a special opportunity of some 
service, good work : which opportunity if he lets it slip, he may 
possibly never have it again all his life, as Saul in the case of the 
Amalekites, and as in Esau's case, Heb. xii. 17. So it is men's wis- 
dom and duty to strike the iron while it is hot, to do the good they 
have opportunity to do, lest if they miss the tide, they never have 
access to repair the defect. Sometimes God gives men abilities, that 
if they will, they can do such a good thing. If they fall not in with 
it seasonably, the time may come, when, if they never so fain would, 
it is beyond their power, Heb. xii. 17- 

He that takes heed to these two particulars, does the work of his 

II. I proceed to shew what are those opportunities and abilities 
which are to be diligently improved in doing our work, the work of 
our salvation and generation. These are all the advantages for 
working, which the Sovereign Lord and Master puts in our hands, 
with a charge to improve them in doing good with them, Luke xix. 
12, 13. All is from him, and he has put them in our hand for his 
own service : and if we misimprove them, either by doing ill with 
them, or doing no good with them, our accounts will be with grief 
and not with joy ; for he that gave us them will call us to an account 
for them, Luke xvi. 2. lie gives us these opportunities aud abili- 
ties, not to lay by us for no use, and far less to put them to an ill 
use ; but to do with them for his glory, and our own and others' good. 

1. The time of life is given men to do their work with, and should 
be improved accordingly, John ix. 4. I must luork the ivorks of Mm 
that sent me, says Christ, luhile it is day. He might have cut us off 
from the womb, and then we would have had no time to do any 
thing : he might ere now have laid us in the dust, and then our 
opportunity of working had been over. But we are still in life, and 


our great business is to make ready for eternity. It is a precious 
time, an uncertain time, the only time for working. What use are 
we making of it ? why should we trifle it away, which when once 
gone can never be recalled ? How sad will it be, if our glass is run, 
while our work is undone ? 

2. The day of the gospel ; precious gospel-seasons are given us 
for that end. These make the day of salvation, which need to be 
well improved while they last, 2 Cor. vi. 2. Behold, now is the ac- 
cepted time ; behold, now is the day of salvation. Every sabbath, ser- 
mon, communion, &c. is a fair opportunity for peace with God, seeing 
to and advancing the soul's interest. In these the market of free 
grace is opened, and heaven's peace and pardon are proclaimed to 
rebels. These j)recious seasons will not last as to us, Christ will 
call in his ambassadors, and how soon his last call to us may come, 
we know not, Luke xiv. 24. 

3. Seasons of the Spirit's blowing are to be thus improved. Cant, 
iv. uU. Sometimes the power of God comes along with ordinances, 
and Christ has sensibly his hand at the hole of the lock of sinners' 
hearts ; convictions fasten on them, by the word or providences, and 
there is an unusual moving in the sinner's soul. the need of 
striking in with these, to work out our salvation ! Then is a fair 
gale for Immanuel's land, in which should the sinner set off for the 
port of heaven, he might surely at length arrive there. But the 
opportunity may soon be over, John iii. 8, and not returning, then 
lies wind-bound, and cannot move. So that many miss of heaven 
for altogether by misiraproving it. 

4. Fair occasions of doing good, and of service to God, Gal. vi. 10. 
Sometimes the Lord gives men a fair opportunity of such a piece of 
service to him ; and by his providence invites men to embrace it, 
and act for him ; then they should bestir themselves in a special 
manner. These opj)ortuuities are many times long kept open, and 
yet not embraced, but delayed from time to time, till in end they go 
out of their hands ; the sheet is taken up to heaven, and the door is 
shut, Matth. xxv. 10. And then there is no doing with them more. 

Next, The abilities to be thus improved, while they last with us, 

1. Soundness of mind. God has made man a reasonable creature, 
given him judgment and reflection, a reasoning faculty and a me- 
mory ; which are improved by education and use. These may be of 
good use, while assisted with the revelation made in the word. And 
they are to be diligently improved for our main concern and in- 
terest. But alas ! how often are they thrown away on men's lusts, 
and confined to worldly interests ! Now no man has a tack of 


these ; they may be taken from him while life lasts ; and yet with- 
out them there is no doing our work. The most solid man or wo- 
man God can smite with madness, or take the exercise of their 
reason from them ; and then the party's state must stand, for any 
visible mean, where it was before that came on ; they are not ca- 
pable of altering it to the better. 

2. Strength and health of body. All the duties of religion are 
best done when one is in health and strength ; for then the body is 
not a clog to the soul. And several of the duties of religion can 
hardly be done without it. A man cannot rise out of a sick-bed, 
and go to a sermon or a communion table, go about the worship of 
Crod in his family, &c. Yet alas ! what a deal of work is laid uj) for 
the sick-bed and death-bed, when men are most unfit for doing any 
thing ? And in the mean time youth, health, and strength are spent 
in pursuit of the world and lusts. But labour to make better use 
of them, some good use of them to eternity ; for ere long ye will 
not have them to make use of at all : and it will be little comfort 
to think, that when ye had them, ye squandered them away in 
vanity, but laid them not out in your salvation and generation 

3. Worldly substance. That is given of Goit to be improved for 
his honour : and whatever your portion of it is, the Lord has so far 
made you his stewards, and but stewards of it, who must give an 
account to your Lord, how ye have used it. God calls us to honour 
him with it, Prov. ii 9 ; and assuredly the more any has of it, the 
more it is required of them to lay out themselves for tlie honour of 
God, as being thereby put in the greater capacity to do for the 
honour of God in the world, Luke xii. 48, For unto whomsoever' much 
is given of him shall he much required: though ordinarily the quite 
contrary course is taken. And men had need to improve it, while 
they have it, for it is mighty uncertain, Eccl. xi. 2. 

4. Lastli/, Power, authority, honour, reputation and respect. 
These come from God, who makes the difference in condition that is 
among men ; some more, some less honourable, some to rule, and 
some to be ruled, &c, Psal. Ixxv. 6, 7. For promotion cometh neither 
from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the 
judge : he putteth down one, and setteth up another. And all these he 
gives to be improved for himself, who is the fountain of power and 
honour. The more a man has of them, the more access he has to 
act for God : hence a word for a good cause from some will be more 
efifectual than a struggle made for it by others. Heavy then must 
be their accounts who make no conscience of doing the great work 
by these. They are uncertain, and soon fly away too ; while people 


have them, they would need to improye them, lest God be provoked 
to take from them, that which they would not use for his honour, 
but their lusts : for, saith he, tlicm that honour me, I will honour ; 
and they that despise me, shall be lightly esteemed., 1 Sam. ii. 30. 

I shall shut up this doctrine with an use of exhortation. 

While life, opportunites, and abilites last with you, ply your 
great work, the work of your salvation and generation ; and do not 
delay it, but timely do your work. For enforcing this exhortation, 
let me suggest the following motives. 

Mot. 1. Your work is great, and attended with much difficulty ; 
therefore work out your salvation with fear and tremhling, Phil. ii. 12. 
If it were a trifling business that might be either done or not done 
as one thought fit ; and when to be done, done easily ; ye might 
perhaps cause it wait your time. But surely your time should wait 
your work, and be carefully applied to it, husbanding it well. For, 

\st. It is necessary work, and must be done, or ye are for ever 
undone, Luke x. 42. One thing is needful. It is work for your own 
salvation, and God's glory : and these are of all the most needful. 
It is not absolutely necessary to your happiness, that ye be healthy, 
wealthy, in respect and honour in the world : but that ye be gracious, 
believing, patient, holy, &c. that ye live for God, and be useful for 
him. If ye sleep in your seed-time, ye will beg in harvest ; if ye 
do not sow, ye will suffer for ever. 

2dly, It is difficult work, and not easily done ; hence says our 
Lord, Luke xiii. 24. Strive to enter in at the strait gate ; for many, I 
say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. Many doing 
people will fall short, because they do not their work in the right 
manner, Eccl. x. 15. Tea, they that do best will find enough ado 
to get through it safely, 1 Pet. iv. 18, and not to mar it. Consider, 

(1.) It is heart-doing, doing with the heart, Prov. xxiii. 26. 
Among men if the work be done with the hands, whether it be with 
the heart or not, it is all a case. But though the tongue speak well, 
and the feet carry the man in good ways ; yet if the heart be not at 
the work, the work is not done to purpose, Ezek. xxxiii. 31. 

(2.) It is undoing work, work wherein ye have to undo much of 
what is done, like the pulling down what has been wrong put up, 
the opening out of a raveled hasp. (1.) Your own life is a raveled 
business, much disorder has been there ; ye have woven your life 
into a web of sin and contrariety to the divine will : ye have that to 
open out again, by faith, repentance, and mortification ; else ye will 
be swept away like the spider in his own web, with the besom of 
destruction, Ezek. xviii. 31. (2.) The way of the generation ye live 
in is a raveled business, a conspiracy against God : ye must do your 

OF THE christian's work. 259 

endeavour to iiudo tliat, and to bring it to rights. Ye must guard 
against being catched in their net, Acts ii. 40. Save yourselves from 
this untoward generation. Yea, ye must set yourselves to break and 
undo it, for God's honour and the good of others : and so ye must 
strive against the stream, or be carried headlong by it. And try it 
when ye will, ye will find it hard work ; and many times ye will 
find ye come little speed, Jer. vi. 29. Yet ye must not give it over, 
2 Pet. ii. 8. but bear up a testimony for God, Prov. xxvii. 4 ; and 
that is your generation-work, Luke xxi. 13. 

(3.) It is counter-doing, doing a work wherein ye will find many 
doing against you, Matth. xi. 12. Apply yourselves to it when ye 
will, ye will find that it is a labouring in the fire, where ye will have 
much ado to carry on the work, over the belly of opposition. 
(1.) Satan will do against you, 1 Pet. v. 8. (2.) The evil world will 
join issue with him, (3.) Your own corrupt heart will join issue 
with both. 

(4.) It is doing above your strength, your natural strength, 2 Cor. 
i. 8. We have work to do which our short arms cannot reach, and 
our natural abilities are not sufficient for. How then can it be 
done ? Why, we must learn to fly on borrowed wings, and we 
must act with strength borrowed from the Mediator, 2 Tim. ii. 1. 
So there is no time to trifle. 

3Iot. 2. Ye have loud calls to your work, and it is dangerous to 
sit them, Psal. xcv. 7, 8. Unless ye stop your ears, ye cannot 
miss to hear them. Ye have, 

1. The call of the word. God has given you the Bible in your 
hands, and every page of it bids you be doing quickly. He sends 
his messengers with his message to the sluggards on their bed, and 
in the name of God it is sounded in your ears, 2 Cor. vi. 2, " Behold, 
now is the accepted time ; behold, now is the day of salvation." 
Sit not the call, lest the opportunity slip. 

2. The call of pinching need and necessity. The case of your 
bodily wants makes you to labour for the meet that pcrisheth ; and 
doth not the need of your perishing souls call you aloud to see to 
them, that they be not lost? The case of the generation, wherein 
so much dishonour is done to God, calls you aloud to lay out your- 
self for God, Psal. cxix. 126. 

3. The call of providence. If ye look to the conduct of provi- 
dence towards yourselves and towards others, ye are warned to see 
to yourself in time. Many are dropping oft' into another world, and 
the living should lay it to heart. 

4. The call of conscience. Heathens want not some checks that 
way, Rom. ii. 15. It is not to be thought, but those who live under 


the gospel, have now and then the alarms from Avithin, to get out of 
their bod of sloth. Is there not something Avithin, that says ye have 
delayed long enough, and that more delay may be dangerous ? 

3Iot. 3. Ye have opportunities and abilities put in your hand for 
to do your work by them, Luke xix. 13. God gives you them to do 
with : Avhy then should yo not improve them ? Consider, I pray 

1. Opportunities and abilities are God's free gifts, given to bo 
improved for him in his work, lie does not light the candle of your 
life, and keep it burning, to put it under a bushel, or for you to use 
it against him. No wonder he is provoked in wrath to take away 
life, opportunities and abilities from them who make no good use of 

2. Ye must give an account to God what ye have made of them. 
Luke xvi. 2 ; what use you have made of your years, your gospel- 
seasons, seasons of the Spirit's blowing, fair occasions of doing 
good presented to you : of your soundness of mind, strength of body, 
worldly substance, power and character. And it will be a heavy 
account, that so many years have been spent in God's world, and 
nothing done by the man for God and for his own soul ; that so 
much health, strength, &c. &c. has been enjoyed, and all expended 
on the things of the world, the pursuit of lusts, &c. 

3. The more you have had of them, and not improved, the greater 
will your condemnation be, Luke xii. 47, 48. We are all in the case 
of servants intrusted by the master, where some have more, some 
less ; but the more one has, as on the one hand his conveniency for 
doing is greater, so on the other, the not improving of the greater 
trust will make the more heavy account. 

3Iot. 4. Ye are always doing something. Why, since it is so, 
will you not do your proper, great, and necessary work ? Man's 
life is a continued train of actions, and the soul of man, like a watch, 
goes as fast when she goes false, as when she goes true. So, pro- 
perly speaking, there is no man who does nothing at all with his 
opportunities and abilites: but every body does something with 
them ; howbeit most men do not do their proper work with them. 
So men are guilty not only of not improving, but of misimproving, 
their opportunities and abilities. They do with them indeed, but 
they do not that with them which God specially gave them for. 

1. Instead of doing their great work with them, they do next to 
nothing with them, like those, 2 Thess. iii. 11. ivorhing not at all. If 
we consider the business of most men's life, with the opportunities 
and abilities put in their hand for doing, ; we will find that their 
whole life is such an insignificient piece of folly, as the action of 

OF THE christian's WORK. 261 

that foolish einperor, who pretended to lead out an army to fight 
the enemy, and all he did was to cause them gather shells by the 
sea-side. In a word, their life is a continued trifling ; always doing, 
but never doing any thing to the purpose. Their precious time 
and abilities are spent in labouring for the wind ; and that they 
will find when they come to step into another world, and cast up the 
account of their gain, Eccl. v. 16. 

How many may say, I have been busy managing my house, but 
neglected my heart ; gained silver and gold, but no saving grace ; 
seen many harvests cut down, but mine own seed for glory is not 
sown yet ; I have been careful for my body, but my soul is yet 
lying in a bleeding, perishing case ? This is but trifling to si>end 
your time in caring for your body, and neglecting your soul. 

(1.) Thy body is mortal, but thy soul immortal. If men were to 
die like beasts, they might live like beasts, eat, drink, sleep, and 
work. But thy soul will remain in life, when thy body dies : when 
thy tongue begins to falter in thy mouth, and thou canst scarcely 
speak an articulate word, it will bo vigorous : when friends are 
closing thine eyes, it will be going off to compear before the tribunal 
of God. 

(2.) Thy soul craves more than the body. While the body is 
living, a little will serve its back and belly : and when dead a few 
feet of earth, which none will grudge it. But nothing less than an 
infinite good, that is, God himself, can satisfy the soul. He was a 
fool who said, " Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years ; 
take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry." Luke xii. 19. 

(3.) Thy sonl is of far more worth than the body. It is a spiri- 
tual, immortal substance, not to be laid in the balance with the 
cottage of clay. The soul is the diamond in the ring, the jewel in 
the cabinet, the dignified honourable inhabitant in the cottage of 
clay, Matth. xvi. 26. 

What do they then but trifle, who are busy about the many 
things, forgetting the one thing needful ? They are, in their man- 
ner of life, like the spider, that spends its own bowels to make up 
its web : and when all is done, at one stroke of a besom the poor 
spider is either killed in its own web, or by it drawn to death. 

2. Instead of doing their great work with them, they do worse 
than nothing with them, they do mischief with them, Hos. xi. 2. and 
xiii. 6. Hence Solomou remarks, that " the prosperity of fools de- 
stroys them ;" and the apostle remarks, that " the gospel is the sa- 
vour of death unto death to many." They who do not improve 
their opportunities and abilities for God's honour and their own sal- 
vation, cannot miss to improve them to God's dishonour and their 

YoL. V. s 


own destruction : for the soul of man is of nature too active to be 
doing nothing at all : so if it be not doing good, it will be doing 
evil, for it must be doing something. If the matter were weighed 
in an even balance, it would be found, that many are at as much 
pains to ruin their own souls, as might possibly serve to save them, 
if they would but turn their pains to run in another channel. 
Many a rack Satan puts men on in his service, which the way of 
duty would set men free from, Job xxiv. 15 — 17- Jeremiah testi- 
fies, they weary themselves to commit iniquity, Jer. ix. 5. See Psal. 
vii. 14. Hab. ii. 13. 

Now, since ye are still doing something with your opportunities 
and abilities, why will ye not do what ye should do with them ? 
Ye are running in a race, why do ye not run in the right way, 
rather than in the wrong? "We may say in some sense, that God 
does not call you to do more work than ye do ; but other work, 
your great work. 

3Iot. 5. Your opportunities and abilities for doing will not last ; 
but they will be short-lived. We have a day, and it is but a day 
we have, Luke xix. 42. an hireling's day, that is soon over. Job vii. 1. 
Time runs with a rapid course, and carries with it all our opportu- 
nities and abilities for doing our work. Our life is but a vapour, 
that soon evanisheth ; a shadow that flees away, a handbreadth 
soon passed over. So, 

1. You must now or never do your work, John ix. 4. "Working- 
time will soon be gone. How can we be at ease, while so much time 
is over, and so little of our work by hand ? Yet are not the sha- 
dows of the evening stretching out on many, while yet they have 
been in no due concern where to take up their eternal lodging ? 

2. If the work we have to do be sore, it will not be longsome. 
He that is tired with his journey may be refreshed, while he sees he 
is near the end. The saints' afflictions are but for a moment, their 
weeping but for a night : the watchmen will be called in from their 

3Iot. 6. It is utterly uncertain to you when they shall come to an 
end. "We are tenants at will, have no tack of our life, and know 
not how soon you may be called off^, Matth. xxiv. 44, 46. So a mo- 
ment's delay here may be an eternal loss. Our abilities may be at 
an end, before our time. However our time is uncertain as to the 
end of it, but, end when it will, there will be no more opportunity 
nor ability for doing. 

3Iot. 7. Our time when once gone can no more be recalled, no 
more than the candle burnt to snuif can be lighted again. It is 
bald in the hindhead, and there is no bringing of it back. As the 
tree falls, so it must lie. 

man's life a journey to the aRAA^E. 263 

Mot. last. If our great work be not done in time, we are undone 
for ever. If time is lost, our eternal salvation is lost. 

DocT. II. Our life in this world is a journey, a going to the grave, 
to the state of the dead, where there is no doing of our work any- 

In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Consider this journey we are on. 

II. Shew that there is no doing of our work any more, when once 
we are come to our journey's end, to the state of the dead. 

III. Make some improvement of each head separately. 

I. I shall consider this journey we are on. And hero we may 
take a view of, 

1. The point where we begin our journey. We begin it from the 
womb, from the first moment of our receiving life there. As soon 
as we become living souls in the womb, we begin our journey to the 
grave. For then we are sinful creatures, Psal. li. 5. and therefore 
dying creatures. So we are going this journey, before we can set a 
foot on the ground, yea before we see the light of this world. 

2. The point where it is ended. The term to which we are going, 
is the grave, the state of the dead. The travellers never halt till 
they be there. That is the place where all men meet from all the 
different places of the world. It is the house appointed for all living, 
Job XXX. 23. Their baiting-houses by the way may be very differ- 
ent, as a palace, and a cottage, but the lodging-house at the end of 
the journey is one. They lie down alike in the dust. 

3. The journeying or travelling itself is the motion between these 
two points : and that is our living in this world. What is our liv- 
ing here ? It is not a rest ; that is not to be expected here. It is a 
motion, a journeying motion. And it is just a journeying, a going 
from the womb to the grave ; a coming from the womb of our mo- 
ther woman, and going in again to the womb of our mother earth, 
Job i. 21. That is the life we have here. 

4. The place we go through in our journey to the grave in this 
present world ; where the sun rising and setting makes days and 
nights, where are so many springs and harvests, summers and win- 
ters in our time ; and, what is of all most remarkable, where God 
.sends his messengers to meet us in our journey, to direct us to the 
road, by which we may get safe to the journey's end. Many look 
on this world as their resting-place, Psal. xlix. 11. and so as their 
resting-place, Luke xii. 19. But it is but our journeying-place, 
which we travel through ; like a town in a traveller's road, who 
comes in at the one end of it, and goes out at the other, Eccl. i. 4. 


264 man's life a journey to the grave. 

Therefore the godly take it so, confessing that they are strangers and 
pilgrims on the earth, Heb. xi. 13. 

5. The way we make in this journey is our time. Some have a 
longer, some a shorter way to their journey's end. But look back, 
and so much time as is over your head, so much way have ye made, 
and the nearer ye are to the end. Time goes, yea flies away, and as 
it goes, you quickly cut the way, so that it grows every moment 
shorter and shorter, and you are nearer the grave. 

6. The several stages in our way, which accordingly are to some 
more, to others fewer, are to all but a very few, whereby we may 
know that it is not a long journey. 

(1.) The first stage is infancy, that wherein the journey is begun. 
While we are in that first stage, we are going indeed to the grave, 
but poor we know not in the mean time whither we are going. 
Then we are under a necessity of dying, but know not that we must 
die, nor know we any thing of the state of the dead ; and therefore 
can do nothing to prepare for it. Our concern in that stage is first 
confined to meat, and then extends to clothing, but no farther. 

(2.) The second stage is childhood, wherein we are more advanced 
in our journey. Then do we begin to be informed, that there is such 
a thing as dying, as a heaven and a hell. But how rude are our 
notions of these things in that stage, and how unwelcome ! They 
are like a dream to us, consisting of misshapen imaginations. How 
hard is it to be able to have any tolerable conception of the way to 
be saved, or so much as to conceive aright of the work we have to 
do ! How little of the work can then be done till that stage be 
over ? Things of the world are more natural ; yet in that stage it 
is hard to ply to them, or to any thing but such trifles as will be the 
scorn of our riper years. So there are two stages over ere we have 
well begun to know where we are, and what we have to do. The 
morning is gone. 

(3.) The next stage is youth, which is the forenoon of our day ; 
the stage of our way, wherein we begin to know ourselves entering 
into this world. But how doth vanity and folly fill up that period 
of man's life, that the going through it is turned into a play or a 
dream, if not into a fit of madness in wickedness, casting off all 
bands, unless it be in some whom grace early reacheth. They think 
they have a great part of their way before them, and reckon it need- 
less to be as yet much concerned about the journey's end, though 
two stages are over before that, and they will soon find themselves 
past that stage too. So true it is, that childhood and yoxith are va- 
nity, Eccl. xi. 10. 

(3.) The fourth stage is middle age, in which the foam of youth is 

man's life a joukney to the grave. 265 

fallen, and the infirmities of old age have not yet overtaken the 
man, and is therefore called the best estate, Psal. xxxix. 5. Now he 
is in best case in point of wisdom and management. His thoughts 
are ripened, and his strength is fit for executing the product of these 
his riper thoughts. But how is he then wrapt up in a thicket of 
cares of this world, that often he cannot find the way out seriously 
to consider his latter end ? But this also is soon over, and he 
quickly arrives at the 

(5.) Last stage, old age. Then his sun is remarkably turned, it 
is fast declining, and he remembers the days of his youth and mid- 
dle age as waters that pass away. They sometimes run full ; but 
now that brook is di-ied up. If his judgment continues firm, yet he 
is ordinarily beset with infirmities of body, whereby he is rendered 
more unfit for action : and sometimes judgment and memory fail too. 
The tabernacle is going down, till at length it lie along on the earth, 
to rise no more till the heavens be no more. So the days come 
wherein men have no pleasure : and then quickly the mourners go 
about the streets ; the man is at his journey's end. 

These are the few stages in our way : but it is but a few that see 
them all. Some find the end of the journey in the first stage, some 
in the second, 8^-c. 

7. Lastly, The steps we make in our way on this journey. Every 
breathing we make, every pulse that beats, is a step in the way. 
■Whether we sleep or wake, our breath and blood are going : and so 
we are going on toward the grave. Infinite wisdom has determined 
how often we shall breathe in and out the air, how often our blood 
shall go the round in our bodies, and what number of pulses it shall 
make. These are continued one on the back of another, as so many 
steps by which this journey is made. And at length the last pulse 
beats, the last breathing is made, whereby one gives up the ghost : 
and that is the last step, and so we are at our journey's end. 

I shall now make some improvement of this first head. 

Use I. Of information. Is our life in this world a journey, a go- 
ing to the grave ? then, 

1. This life is a transitory, passing thing, that will not last, but 
will soon be over, Job viii. 9. Form right notions of life from this ; 
you will find it is but a short preface to a long eternity ; an incon- 
siderable point between two extremes, the womb and the grave ; so 
short, that Solomon passes it by in his assigning a time to every 
thing, Eccl. iii. 2. 

2. The state of the dead, and what lies beyond it, is our state of 
continuance, which we are to be mainly concerned for. This life is 
our journeying ; at the end of our journey we will find the place of 


266 man's life a journey to the grate. 

our abode. The grave is our long home, heaven or hell our eternal 
home. This world is but the passage, as through a strange country 
to our home. Therefore Job was in the right, to render himself fa- 
miliar with it, chap. xvii. 14. I have said to corruption, Thou art my 
father: to the ivorm, Thou art my mother, and my sister. 

3. Man at his best estate is vanity. Consider him in his prime, 
when his health and strength are at their meridian, death is gaining 
ground of him : however stately he goes, he is going towards the 
grave, however little he thinks of it. While he riseth, he doth but 
swell like a bubble of water, which in a moment is broken and gone. 

4. There is great need to see how we improve it, that we misspend 
it not, Matth. v. 25. We came into this world without any thought 
of our own, how to be provided for in it. But wo to us in the other 
world, if we take not thought while we are in the way. 

Use 2. Of exhortation to several things. Is our life a journey to 
the grave, to the state of the dead ? then, 

1. Acquaint yourselves timely with the God and Lord of that 
land, and make up your peace and friendship with him, that when 
ye come there, ye may be treated as his friends, and not as his ene- 
mies. Job xxii. 21. Acquaint noiu thyself luith him, and be at peace: 
thereby good shall come unto thee. For if that be neglected while we 
are in the way, sad will be our lot at the end of the journey, Matth. 
V. 25. Grod is now willing to be at peace with us in his Son, who is 
Lord of that land, has the keys of hell and of death, Rev. i. 18. and is 
now oifering himself and his salvation to us, Rev. xxii. 17. yea of- 
fering himself in a marriage-covenant, Hos. ii. 16; Matth. xxii. 4. 
It will then be our wisdom, to see that our Maker, the Lord of that 
place, be our Husband now : and then be sure he will see well to 
us there. 

2. Be sure to take the safe road in that journey ; and beware of 
the road of destruction. All the world is on the journey ; but they 
are divided into two companies, taking two different roads, the road 
of eternal life, and the road of eternal death. The safe road is the 
way of holiness, Isa. xxxv. 8. An high way shall be there, and it shall 
be called the rvay of holiness, i. e. the holy way, viz. Christ the per- 
sonal way, John xiv. 6. and gospel holiness and obedience, the real 
way. Col. ii. 6. It is a strait way, that will not allow room for 
the sinful latitude which corrupt nature affects, and therefore ye 
will get but little company upon it. The road of destruction is the 
way of sin, the way of unbelief and unholiness. It is a broad way, 
and there the multitude goes : there go the profane, there the gross- 
ly ignorant, there the mere moralist, there the gross and closs hypo- 
crite, Matth. vii. 13, 14. Take your marks of the way by the word, 
Psal. xvii. 4. 

man's life a jouenet to the geave. 267 

3. Associate yourselves Avith those on the safe road, and beware 
of chusing for your companions those on the broad way, Prov. xiii. 
20; Psal. xvi. 3. Travellers desire company in their journey; but 
then they chuse those who are going their road, not those who are 
going a contrary one. If they do, one may conclude that they have 
left their road for love of company. And many sad instances of 
this there are on this journey, 1 Cor. xv. 33. Hence many some- 
times hopeful, by the society they chuse, first turn untender, then 
loose professors, and at last apostates : and so fall from the threshold 
of heaven, down to the pit, Psal. cxxv. ult. 

4. Beware of forgetting that ye are on a journey, travellers, 
strangers, and pilgrims in the Avorld, Heb. xi. 13. This world that 
we go through is very charming to the corrupt heart ; insomuch that 
many come to be so taken with it, that they think themselves at 
home in it. And so they mind nothing but building tabernacles in 
it, resting and solacing themselves therein. They seek no better 
home, they desire no better, Phil. iii. 19. and so they are ruined 
when they awake out of their dream, if they awake not timely. But 
see that ye count heaven your home, the world the place of your 
pilgrimage, and your present life your journey homeward. 

5. Beware of loading yourselves in your journey, Heb. xii. 1. 
Men on a journey will be very loath to carry needless weights about 
them, but endeavour what they can to be as light and expedite as 
may be. But alas ! most men on this journey think never to get 
enough on their back ; and what is it ? just a backful of thick clay, 
Hab. ii. 6. a defiling load of the world. Men lade themselves this 
way, still grasping at more and more of the world, laying field to 
field, till they are just overwhelmed with the business of this life, 
and by anxiety about the things of the world, and undue eagerness, 
whether they have little or much. They go best through the world, 
that lade themselves least with it, 2 Cor. vii. 29 — 31. 

6. Take heed of carrying along with you such things as are apt 
to entangle you in the road, and cause you to fall, Heb. xii. 1. Let 
us lay aside every weighty and the sin xuliich doth so easily beset us. A 
metaphor taken from long garments, that cannot miss to retard one 
on a journey. Unmortifled lusts are these entangling things, especi- 
ally the predominant one. In our way there are many stumbling 
blocks, and these dispose us to fall over them. In it are many 
snares, and these catch men by their unmortifled lusts, as thorns in 
the way catching hold of the traveller's loose garments. And many 
a mire are sinners by this means cast down in, who do not by faith, 
mortification, and watchfulness, gird up the loins of their mind. 

7. Let not afflictions, crosses, and hardships in this world sink 

2U8 man's life a journey to the grave. 

too deep with you:, for you are neither to fstay with it nor thera, 
1 Cor. vii. 30. Ye are on a journey, not in your place of continu- 
ance. You need the less to value the frowns of a present world ; 
for ere long ye will be beyond them, and both the smiles and frowns 
of it will be buried in oblivion. The consideration of our short and 
uncertain time in the world, would be an excellent antidote against 
immoderate sorrow ; for we are here but as actors in a play, where 
it is no great matter whether one be the king or the peasant ; for 
in a little time the fable is ended, and each appears in the station 
he really is. 

8. Learn to fetch your comforts in your journey from the i^lace 
ye are going to, the other world, Heb. xi. 13. And the doctrine of 
the gospel contained in the Bible is the storehouse of these com- 
forts, and faith is the mean whereby to draw them out, Psal. xciv. 
19. and xvii. 13. The believing meditation of the better world, is 
the best stay for the traveller's heart, under the toil and hardships 
of the way. There is such a thing as the traveller's song, to be sung 
by the way. David had learned it, and he tells you where, Psal. 
cxix. 54. Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrim- 

9. Be not solicitious for great things in the world, but be content 
with what Providence lays to your hand, Jer. xlv. 4, 5. Being on 
a journey, it is no great matter though your accommodations be not 
pompous. Men on a road do not expect feasts, nor do they value 
them. A traveller's dinner is soon over ; he takes as he comes to, 
for he may not stay. that we could learn the lesson, and labour 
to secure ease and fulness to ourselves in the place whither we are 
going, and keep up a holy indifference as to our entertainment on 

the road. 

10. Correct your vain imaginations and conclusions, in all con- 
ditions of life, by a lively faith of his truth. In a time of prospe- 
rity, men are apt to be full of towering imaginations, Psal. xlix. 11 ; 
they feed themselves with golden dreams, put adversity far from 
their thoughts, still reckoning on to-morrow, and that to-morrow 
will be as this day. But correct the mistake ; ye are on a journey, 
and may be at the end of it ere ye are aware. In adversity the 
man is apt to say. It Will never be over : but that is a mistake too ; 
for our sorrows as well as our joys here are short lived, and Avill soon 
be at an end. 

11. Lastly, Let preparation for death be the main business of 
your life. For your abiding happiness and misery depends on what 
issue your journey takes : and now is the time, the only time to 
fix that point. He that lives in Christ shall die in him, and dying 

man's life a journey to the grave. 269 

ill hiiu be happy for ever. And he who gets not into Christ while 
he lives, will find the door shut when he is dead, and no more access 
to salvation. Therefore prepare in time. See to yonr state, that 
ye be in that respect fit to die ; that ye be out of your natural 
state, and brought into a state of grace. And watch, and enure 
yourselves to a dying frame, that ye may be always as on the wing 
for your departure. 

II. The next thing to be considered is. That there is no doing of 
our work any more, when once we are come to our journey's end, to 
the state of the dead. 

There are two things that will set this in a clear light. 

1. Then our day is gone, and the night is come, John ix. 4. The 
state of the dead is called a night, because the darkness of the night 
puts an end to working, as the light of the day gives an opportunity 
for it. "When death is come, the sun of the gospel is set on the 
man ; and to those who burnt day-light while they had it, God will 
not set up a ucav light in the grave, which is " the land of dark- 
ness, and the shadow of death ; a land of darkness, as darkness 
itself, and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where 
the light is as darkness," Job ix. 21, 22. 

2. Than the sentence for eternity is passed on men. The next 
step after death is to the tribunal of God, where men are judged and 
sentenced according to their deeds done in the flesh, Heb. ix. 27. So, 

(1.) The time of God's patience with impenitent sinners is at an 
end. The door is shut, Matth. xxv. 10. The mercy and goodness 
of God opens a door of grace for sinners for term of life, long-suft'er- 
ing patience keeps it open during that time ; but the term of life 
being expired, the door is shut, sinners can be waited on no longer, 
justice takes place. 

(2.) Our probationary time is at an end, and our state is fixed un- 
alterably for all the ages of eternity, Luke xv. 26. While men's life 
in this world lasts, they are on their trials for another world : but 
Bentence being passed after death, they are brought to a fixed point 
of happiness or misery. 

I shall conclude this subject with some improvement of this head. 

Use I. Of information. Hence we may learn, 

1. That the time of our life in this world is exceedingly precious ; 
it is a golden spot, more to be valued by a guilty creature than all 
the wealth of the world, as being the opportunity, and the only oppor- 
tunity for settling the business of our eternal salvation. Then the 
Lord is on a throne of grace for us, then is the time of his dispensing 
pardons, then is the time of the ship of the gospel lying in our 
harbour, bound for Immanuel's land, ready to take in passengers ; 

270 man's life a joueney to the grave. 

which if it once hoist sail, and set off to sea, the passengers are for 
ever left hopeless on the shore. how inexcusable are men trifling 
away their precious hours ! 

2. That the moment of death is of vast consequence, inasmuch as 
it is the concluding point of our working time, the time of our trial, 
immediately succeeded by an unalterable state in eternal happiness 
or misery. For as the tree then falls, it must lie for ever. If one 
prays, communicates, &c. wrong at a time, he may have access to 
mend it : but once dying wrong, there is no helping of that. 

3. Happy they who dispatch their work timely, while they are in 
the land of the living : for their work is done, before working time 
is over, Rev. xiv. 13. "When they come to die, they have no more 
ado but to die, and that of itself is suSicient work to fill one's hand. 

4. Sad is the case of those who misspend their time, whose life is at 
an end, before their great work for eternity is done. For their case 
is hopeless, since there is no doing of their great work then any 

Use 2. Of exhortation. "What ye have to do, do quickly, without 
delay. And, 

1. Do your salvation-work without delay, Phil. ii. 12. Te are 
by nature lost sinners, but by grace ye may be saved. But none can 
expect to be brought into a state of salvation in a morning dream. 
The work of faith, repentance, regeneration, and mortification, is 
not easy. Give yourselves no rest, till once ye are brought into a 
state of peace with God, till ye have once shot the gulf as to con- 
demnation, and your eternal haj)piness be secured. Then will ye 
live holily and happily ; and come death when it will, your great 
work is done, ye are habitually prepared for it. If otherwise, death 
may take you unawares, and in a moment make you for ever miser- 

2 Do the work of your generation without delay. Consider what 
is the work of your station and relation, the work for God and the 
good of others that providence puts an opportunity in your hand to 
do : and do it quickly ; for if ye delay it, the opportunity may be 
for ever taken out of your hand. Consider, 

(1.) To put off your great work to another time yet to come, is 
inconsistent with a sincere purpose of setting about it, 1 Pet. 2. 3. 
Who having burning coals in his bosom, would put ofl' throwing them 
out till a more convenient season, another hour, or another minute ? 
He that is not fit to-day, will be less so to-morrow. 

(2.) The longer ye delay, the harder will your work be, when it 
comes to the setting to. Sin is like a water, the farther from the 
head, the deeper, and the harder to get over. The longer ye con- 

man's life a journey to the gkave. 271 

tinue in sin, the heart grows harder, the understanding more blind, 
the will more perverse, and the alfections more carnal. 

(3.) Lastly, It is most foolish and unreasonable to delay. How 
can one delay a work till to-morrow, which must be done, else he 
is ruined for ever, when he is not sure of another hour ? Jam. ir. 
13. 14. " Go to now, ye that say, To-day or to-morrow we will go 
into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy, and sell, and 
get gain : whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow : for 
what is your life ? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little 
time, and then vanisheth away." Remember what was said to the 
rich man, Luke xii. 20. " Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be re- 
quired of thee : then whose shall those things be which thou hast 
provided ?" I hope we are agreed about the necessity of your dis- 
patching your great work : the only question is. When? God says, 
To-day. Reason says so too ; for to-morrow is not yours. The con- 
clusion then is, Do it immediately. Up then and be doing. 






Luke xix. 5. 
Zaccheus, make haste, and come down : for to-day I must abide at thy 


Though oiir sun of the gospel at this clay is a winter sun, having 
light, but little heat, ye and we, ministers and people, must be doing. 
It is good to be in Christ's way : he loves to surprise sinners with a 
cast of free grace : whereof we have a notable instance in the text. 
Christ passing through Jericho, and a great throng being about 
him, Zaccheus is taken with a mighty desire to see hira : but being 
a little man, and our Saviour but of an ordinary stature, not like Saul, 
who, by the height of his stature overtopping all about him, might 
have been seen by a little man even in a crowd ; (God shewed in 
Christ of how little value such things are,) he, to satisfy his curiosity, 
ran before, and gets up into a tree, to see what like a man he was. 
In his Bible, and in Christ's doctrine and miracles, he might have 
seen liim by an eye of faith to be the Son of God and Saviour of the 
world : but he was spiritually blind. He had no particular business 
with him ; he was healthy and wealthy, and felt no need of him ; 
otherwise he would have cried to him, as the blind man did, Jesus, 
thou Son of David, have mercy on me, Luke xviii. 38. He only wanted 
a sight of a man so talked of. 

* This Sermon was preached at Ettrick, June 11, 1727, immediately before the 
administration of the Lord's supper. 


Christ coming to the place makes a halt, for there was the time 
and place for the dawning of everlasting love on Zaccheus. And, 

1. He gives him a look, and fixes his eyes on him ; a sign that he 
had a serious purpose about him. Such a look set Peter's heart a- 
meltiug ; and there is no reason to doubt but this place surprised 
Zaccheus, made his heart move out of its place, and set it a-trembling, 
not knowing but instantly he might make h«i drop down dead off 
the tree before the multitude, considering how severely God threa- 
tened gazing at mount Sinai, and how dear it cost those of Bethshe- 
mesh for looking into the ark. 

2. lie gives him a word, a word of grace, no less surprising than 
the look, which instantly changed and transported his trembling 
heart, " Zaccheus, make haste, and come down ; for to-day I must 
abide at thy house.' " That it was such a word, a savingly-effectual 
call to him, joyfully closed with by faith, ver. 6. appears from (1.) 
The visible effect of it in true repentance, ver. 8. " Behold, Lord, 
(says he,) the half of my goods I give to the poor : and if I have 
taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him 
fourfold." (2.) The testimony of Christ as to his faith, ver. 9. 
" And Jesus said unto him. This day is salvation come to this house, 
forasmuch as he also is the sou of Abraham." Say uot, that there 
is nothing here but about coming down from a tree ; for Christ's 
word is like himself, that has a glory in it not to be perceived but 
by the spiritual eye. So it is with the word of the gospel to this day; 
they whose eyes are opened, and hearts touched with it, see a glory 
and feel a power in it that is hid to all the multitude beside. "Where- 
fore the sense of these words was a compound one, made uj) of an 
external part, lying open to the view of the whole multitude that 
heard them, and an internal part, mystical and secret, and clear to 
Zaccheus, however hid from others. They are like Jonathan's crying 
after the lad, Make speed, haste, stay not. Of whom it is said, And 
Jonathan'' s lad gathered up the arrows, and came to his master. But 
the lad knew not any thing: only Jonathan and David knew the matter, 
1 Sam. XX. 38, 39. In the words then, 

1. There is an open display of the grace and good- will of a Savi- 
our to Zaccheus in particular, proposed to him to be believed and 
credited. And it consists of two parts. 

(1.) Christ's readiness and willingnesss to meet with him, to re- 
ceive and be received by him : so the grace of union with Christ was 
proposed to him. This was couched in these words, Zaccheus come 
down ; as if he had said, " Zaccheus, come away to me, I wait you 
here to receive and be received by you. There is a thronging about 
me, but whatever is of them, I have a particular good-will to you." 


(2.) Christ's inviting himself to Zaccheus' house, and so a desire 
and design of communion with him, though he was a sinner, such a 
sinner as many in that multitude would abhor being his guest. But 
he shows a good-will to him, to come over all that, to entertain and 
be entertained by him. 

2. There is a peremptory call to him to embrace this grace and 
goodwill, proposed t(tJiim to be complied with, Zaccheus, make haste, 
come down, viz. to me. And here there is, 

(1.) How it was to be embraced, viz. by Zaccheus's coming to 
Christ. A bodily motion was in this case necessary, but the spiri- 
tual motion of the soul by faith was the great thing aimed at. Be- 
lieving the grace and good-will of Christ displayed to him in Christ's 
word of grace, he is required to betake himself to it, by trusting on 
it for his salvation, as heaven's security granted him, and claiming 
and using it as his own, in all the effects thereof in communion with 
him whose grace it is. 

2. The manner of the coming required. [1.] It is a coming down. 
Zaccheus was sitting on high, and looking down on Christ, when 
Christ began with him. So is every sinner before the good work is 
begun on them. But the word of power calls them down from their 
heights ; and coming to Christ is coming down from them. Humi- 
liation of soul is twisted with true faith, and runs through the whole 
of it. [2.] A speedy coming down, Make haste, &c. " Haste as if 
the tree were breaking and falling with your weight, and you could 
not sit safe there one moment longer." Whatever off-puts the sin- 
ner makes as to coming to Christ, while the heart is not touched 
with the power of grace, as soon as efficacious grace touches it, the 
sinner can no longer resist, but comes to Christ like a sandy brae 
sliding down in a break. 

The doctrine I observe from the words is, 

DocT. When Christ and the sinner have the happy meeting for 
union and communion, Christ gives the sinner a word of grace, that 
discovers a good-will in him to the sinner in particular, and hales the 
sinner down from his heights away to the Lord Jesus. Thus the 
happy meeting is brought about. 

In handling this doctrine, I shall consider, 

I. The Lord's discovering a good-will to the sinner by a word of 

II. The Lord's haling down the sinner from his heights to him- 
self by his word of grace. 

III. Apply in an use of exhortation. 

I. I am to consider the Lord's discovering a good-will to the sin- 
ner by a word of grace. This ye may take up in these five things. 


1. The word of the law goes before the word of grace to the sin- 
ner. Zaccheus got a piercing look, before he got the word of grace. 
The holy law glances into the dark soul, and awakens it : the Sinai 
lightnings lighten the sinner who was going on in darkness, and 
give him a broad view of the holiness of God, the spirituality of the 
law, the sinfulness of his life, heart, and nature, Psal. 1. 21. " These 
things hast thou done, and I kept silence (says God to the sinner) : 
thou thoughtest that T Avas altogether such a one as thyself: but I 
will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes." The 
word of grace is not valid without this previous eft'ect of the law. 

2. The sinner begins to fear a design of ruin upon him. There- 
fore the law is called the ministration of death, 2 Cor. iii. 7. The 
prodigal presently cries, / pcvish. Guilt lying on the conscience 
stings, and makes secret whispers within the man's breast, that fill 
him with jealousies of a design in heaven for his destruction, as we 
find in the case of the Israelites in the wilderness, Numb. xvii. 10, 
12. " And the Lord said unto Moses, Bring Aaron's rod again, be- 
fore the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels ; and 
thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me, that they die 
not. And the children of Israel spake unto Moses, saying. Behold, 
we die, we perish, we all perish." And this may haunt the man 
like a ghost many a day; and can hardly miss to do so, after an 
awakening, till the soul come to Christ by believing. 

3. The Lord sends the gospel to the fearful jealous sinner. That 
is the word of grace, wherein Christ's love and good-will to self-de- 
stroying sinners is held forth. And it is a i)roper mean to cure the 
sinner of his secret jealousies of him, and to bring him to believe his 
good-will towards him. There he is represented as Saviour of the 
world by office, and consequently as his Saviour, 1 John iv. 14. We 
have seen and do testify, says the apostle, that the Father sent the Son 
to he the Saviour of the ivorld ; an endearing, heart-quieting charac- 
ter : the good design of his coming in that character, John xii. 47- 
I came not to judge the luorld, but to save the luorld : and of his Fa- 
ther's sending him, John iii. 17. For God sent not his Son into the 
world to condemn the world ; but that the world through him, might be 
saved: his good-will to the work of their salvation, 1 Tim. ii. 3, 4. 
" For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour ; 
who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge 
of the truth." Yea, there down-right promises of life and salvation 
to sinners indefinitely are held forth as Christ's legacies left them to 
be enjoyed by believing and applying them; hence says the apostle, 
Heb. iv. 1. "Let us fear, lest a promise being left us of entering 
into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." Nay, the 


benefits contained in these promises are declared to be so far tlieirs, 
that they may come to Christ as their own Savionr, and take posses- 
sion of them by faith, as their own mercies, 1 John y. 11. This is 
the record, that God hath given to us eternal life : and this life is in his 

4. The Lord makes the word of grace touch the sinner's parti- 
cular case. The blessed words of the gospel holding in general to 
the man, are like so many arrows flying over his head : he thinks 
they may be very trne to others, but he finds them not directed to 
him ; and the good-will in them, he thinks, is to others, but not to 
him. At length the word touches his particular case, as surely as 
if such a word had been put in the bible just for him, or as if the 
minister had known his case, and were speaking just to him. Zac- 
cheus, says Christ; he names him as if they had been acquainted. 
Hence the spouse relates in her case, Cant. iii. 3, 4, " The watch- 
men that go about the city found me : to whom I said, Saw ye him 
whom my soul loveth ? It was but a little that I passed from them, 
but I found him whom my soul loveth." Thus the sinner perceives 
that Christ has something to say to him. 

5. Lastly, The Lord opens and applies the word of grace secretly 
to the sinner in particular, though it be spoken to all in general ; 
which is as it were an internal word. This is called the demonstra- 
tion of the Spirit, 1 Cor. ii. 4. Christ breathes grace and good-will 
to sinners in the gospel : but they cannot perceive it, men cannot 
make them see it : but the Spirit demonstrates it to them power- 
fully. He shines on the word of the grace of the gospel, and illus- 
trates it, on the dark mind of the sinner, and illuminates it, so that 
he sees that word of grace and the good-will in it is really to 
him in particular, and firmly believes it, ver. 5. the Spirit with the 
word attesting the good-will of Christ to the sinner in the word of 
his grace. Thus the same Spirit, who before applied the doctrine of 
the law to the sinner in particular, for his conviction, applies the 
gospel to him in particular, to bring him to Christ by faith. And 
the effect of it is, he believes the gospel with a particular applica- 
tion of the grace and good-will in it to himself, howbeit it may be 
attended with doubts and fears still, Mark is. 24. Lord, I believe ; 
help thou mine unbelief. But the faith of Christ's good-will to the 
sinner is so far above the doubts of it, that it hales the sinner down 
from all his heights to Jesus Christ and this is his free grace, to ven- 
ture his all there. 

II. I proceed to consider the Lord's haling down the sinner from 
his heights to himself by his word of grace : which we may take up 
in these four things. 


1. The soul is humbled by it, and tumbled down to the dust of 
Christ's feet. And this appears in these things. 

(1.) The soul finds it has nothing but the grace and good- will of 
Christ, left to it, to trust to now, either for a rest to the conscience 
or to the heart. All its law-righteousness, all its big expectations 
of satisfaction from the creature, tumble down like a shooting brae 
under its feet, Jer, xvi. 19. The Gentiles, says the prophet, shall come 
unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers 
have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. 

(2.) The soul sees its utter unworthiuess of Clirist and liis grace, 
that it has nothing to commend it to him, Matth. viii. 8. Lord, says 
the centurion to Christ, / am not tuorthy that thou shouldst come under 
my roof; and wonders at the matchless freedom of grace to such a 
wretched creature. The glory of Christ and of his grace and good- 
will shines so bright, that it sinks the sinner to nothing in his own 

(3.) The soul is content of Christ on any terms, and with Paul 
says, Lord, u'hat ivilt thou have me to do ? Acts ix. 6. The man used 
to be off and on with Christ before ; he would be his on such terms, 
but not on such terms : but all the exceptions and reserves are 
thrown by now, and now he would have Christ and his grace at any 

2. The soul is drawn by it, John xii. 32. L, if L he lifted up from 
the earth, will draiv cdl men unto me. There is grace in the Media- 
tor's lips, heavenly oratory which the sinner can no more resist. 
His former backwardness is killed with Christ's good-will appearing 
in the word of grace : he is a captive to the love of Christ. 

3. The soul is impressed with divine authority by it, requiring it 
to believe on Christ, 1 John iii. 23. This is his commandment. That 
we shoidd believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ. The sinner sees 
glorious Christ held forth to him in that word, and feels not only 
upon his heart the weight of absolute need pressing him forward, but 
also upon his conscience the weight of the authority of heaven 
pressing him forward ; and as by the former he may not, by the 
latter he dare not but embrace him, over the belly of felt unworthi- 

4. Lastly, The soul is hastened by it to Christ, Psal. Ixviii. 31. 
Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God. The sinner puts 
off not a moment longer, but comes freely away to Christ, like water 
that has got a free vent, Is. ii. 2. All nations shall flow unto it. 
The soul lets go all its other holds, and casts itself on the Mediator's 
grace and good-will in the word of grace for all, and holds by that, 

Vol. V. T 


resolved never to let that hold go. Thus Christ and the sinner 

I come now to apply this in an use of exhortation, in two 

First, If ever ye would have union and communion with Christ, 
discern now and believe the grace and good-will of Christ towards 
you in particular, in the word of his grace which he is sending you 
this day, viz. the gospel. Do not think that he is overlooking you, 
however sinful and miserable your case is ; but open your eyes and 
see, and believe him breathing grace and good-will to you in parti- 

Object. What warrant have I to believe Christ's good-will to me. 
who am a poor unholy creature ? Ans. If ye were holy, sanctified 
by faith, you might believe not only his good-will to, but compla- 
cency in you. But as it is, you have a warrant to believe his good- 
will to you, since he is holding out himself to you to be believed on 
as one \fho justijies the ungodly, Rom. iv. 5. washes the unclean in 
his own blood, seeks and saves the lost. 

1. I ask you. Are ye not warranted to believe the gospel? Mark 
i. 16. Can ye believe the gospel, and not believe Christ's grace and 
good- will to sinners of mankind ? Surely not ; for it is the word of 
his grace. Then I ask, Can ye think ye are not required to believe 
more than devils believe ? they believe the gospel in the general, and 
Christ's good-will to sinners of mankind, but not to them : and this is 
that which fills them with rage against him and them. Therefore 
ye are required to believe it with particular application to your- 
selves, namely, Christ's good-will to you. 

2. The venom of unbelief lies in making God a liar, not believ- 
ing the record that God hath given of his Son, 1 John v. 10. But 
the most desperate unbelievers believe Christ's good-will to sinners 
in general, but not to them in particular : therefore Christ's good- 
will to them in particular is a truth, and it is their crying sin and 
ruin that they will not believe it. 

3. It is impossible to believe on Christ for salvation, unless we be- 
lieve his good-will to us in particular ; therefore since ye are war- 
ranted for the one, John iii. 16. ye are for the other. 

Object. But how is it possible for me to see Christ's good will to 
to me, seeing I can neither look into his heart, nor into the decree 
of election ? Ans. How do you see an honest man's good-will to 
you, since you cannot look into his heart, nor see what thoughts he 
had towards you when you were in the womb ? Do you not see it 
in his words and carriage to you ? So you may see Christ's good 
will to you in his word of grace and dealing with you. He declares 


he came to save the world, John xii. 47. consequently to save you who 
are of that society. Is not that good-will to you ? — to save that which 
luas lost, Luke xix. 10. and you are lost. He is come in the cha- 
racter of Saviour of the world, 1 John iv. 14. and therefore he is 
become your Saviour. He holds out to you his righteousness, his 
promise to be believed on by you for your salvation. Is not that 
good-will ? 

Object. But there is not a word of me in particular in the gospel. 
Ans. There is just as much of you in particular in the promise of 
of the gospel, as there is in the curse of the law. John iii, 16, " God 
so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoso- 
ever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life," 
is a proposition as universal as Gal. iii. 10, " Cursed is every one 
that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of 
the law to do them." But the natural conscience of sin helps to be- 
lieve the latter, but makes it hard to believe the former. 

Object. But there is one thing I can never get over, and when I 
would be most serious, then it is sure to be upon me : so I think the 
Lord has even left it to be a secret sign that he has no good-will 
to me, and that I must perish in the end. Atis. If that thing be 
the burden of your soul, as it seems to be, you will be making 
recourse to Christ's blood and Spirit against it ; and though you 
lose many battles, you will certainly be victorious in the war. See 
the case of the apostle Paul, Rom. vii. 21, 24, 25. " I find a law, 
that when I would do good evil is present with me. wretched man 
that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ? I 
thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord." The evil design of the 
divine dispensation in leaving it, is a malicious insinuation of the 
serpent, Matth. xxv. 24. to discredit the gospel. But the gospel 
gives you an honourable account of it, 2 Cor. xii. 8, 9. " For this 
thing I besought the Lord thrice, (says Paul) that it might depart 
from me. And he said unto me. My grace is sufficient for thee : for 
my strength is made perfect in weakness." To see a poor creature 
maintaining an obstinate battle with the serpent, after many a fall 
rising with the tear in his eye, and falling to it again, declares the 
power of grace more than his going with an even-up back during the 
chaining of the enemy, would do. 

Secondly, If ever ye would have union and communion with 
Christ, come down then from your heights, and receive Christ brea- 
thing good-will to you, trusting on his grace and good-will in the 
word for your salvation. And, 

1. Come down from the height of your expectations from the law, 



your ovm righteousness, whatever ye can do or suffer : and receive 
Christ for righteousness, for a rest to your conscience. 

2. Come down from the height of your expectations from the crea- 
ture, and receive Christ for a rest to your lieart. 

3. Lastly/, Come down from the height of your jealousies of Christ, 
by which ye are climbing up to heaven presumptuously, and breaking 
in to God's secret things, and receive Christ who is down here in his 
word of grace, breathing good-will to you. Hearken to what the 
apostle says, " The righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this 
wise. Say not in thine heart. Who shall ascend into heaven ? (that 
is, to bring Christ down from above) : or, Who shall descend into 
the deep ? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead). But 
what saith it ? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in 
thy heart : that is, the word of faith which we preach," Rom. x. 6, 
7, 8. Make haste down, or ye will fall headlong into the pit ;• for 
the law will not bear your weight, the creature will fail you, and 
the sheet of the gosi)el, wherein Christ's grace and good-will to you 
is spread out, will be drawn up to heaven, and ye will see no more 
of it for ever. 






Hebrews iv. 3. 
For tue tvhich have believed do enter into rest. 

Our Lord Jesus has been inviting you to come to him by believing, 
and many have professed to give him the hand. Here is a touch- 
stone whereby ye may try, whether ye have believed indeed or not : 
For we which have believed do enter into rest. 

In ver. 1. the apostle had exhorted the Hebrews to take heed and 
fear lest they missed or fell short of the blessed rest, of which they 
had the promise left them in the gosjiel. This he enforceth from 
this consideration, that they were in the same state with respect to 
it, as the ancient Israelites to Canaan. On the one hand, as the 
Israelites had the promise of Canaan, but lost it through their not 
believing the promise, ver. 2 ; so we have the gospel, the promise of 
the spiritual rest ; but if we believe not, we will never enter into it, 
but fall as the body of Israel in the wilderness. On the other 
hand, as Caleb and Joshua who believed the promise of Canaan, did 
enter into it ; so we believers do enter into the spiritual rest. Thus 
you see the connection of the text with the two preceding verses. 

In the words we have two things to be considered. 

1. A sweet experience declared. We do enter into rest. It is an 
experience of a si)iritual and heavenly benefit ; whereof Caleb and 
Joshua's experience was the type. Josh. xix. And here consider, 

(1.) The benefit experienced; that is, res*. Rest is a sweet thing, 

* The sermons ou this subject were preached at Ettrick, begun June 18, 1727, tho 
Lord's day immediately following the administration of the Lord's supper there. 

T 3 


as all weary labourers do know. But of all rest, soul-rest is the 
sweetest : and sucli is this. The rest here meant is the rest held 
forth in the promise of the gospel, ver. 1, 2. And if ye ask where 
it is found ? it is not in heaven only, for the believer enters into it 
now : but it is in Christ, whether in earth or heaven. This appears 
from the sinner's entering into it by faith, the nature of the rest, 
ver. 10. the apostle's opposing believers' partaking of Christ, to 
unbelievers' losing their part in Canaan, chap. iii. 14. and is agree- 
able to the promise of the gospel, Matth. xi. 28. " Come unto me, all 
ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." 

(2.) The experience of that benefit. We do enter. He says not, 
We shall enter, viz. at death ; but in the present time, We do enter. 
The believer's rest is not altogether put off to another life. It is 
not complete indeed, till we come to heaven ; but it is begun here, 
we are entering into it, and do enter. And the very entrance of 
the rest is sweet. 

2. The parties in whose name this experience is declared. We 
which have believed, viz. in Christ. Unbelievers still remain in their 
restless condition, but faith in Christ lays the soul to rest. Christ 
is the resting-place of poor sinners : and faith uniting the soul to 
Christ, the soul enters into rest in him. 

The words afford the following doctrine. 

DocT. They who have truly believed in Christ, do enter into rest 
in him. 

Here I shall, 

I. Shew who they are that have truly believed. 

II. Consider the entering of those that have believed into rest in 
Jesus Christ. 

III. Apply the whole. 

I. I am to shew who they are that have truly believed. I am not 
here to enter on the nature of faith at large : only with a view to 
the gospel-message sent you last day, I am to shew who have be- 
lieved in two particulars. 

First, They who have believed, have believed the grace and good 
will of Christ to them in particular, held forth in his word of grace 
to them, viz. a good-will to save them from sin and wrath. Behold 
the echo of the believing soul to the word of grace, 2 Tim. i. 15. 
" This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ 
Jesus came into the world to save sinners ; of whom I am chief." 
Christ has been at much pains to shew his good-will to you and 
every one of you in particular : I ask you, Do ye now believe it ? 
or are ye not as yet convinced of it ? There are three sorts of un- 
believers in this point. 


1. Those wlio do not believe what the gospel holds ont as good-will, 
to be good-will to them. Such unbelievers are all carnally secure 
sinners, unwilling to part with their lusts ; Jer. ii. 25. " Thou saidst, 
There is no hope. No, for I have loved strangers, and after them 
will I go." If Christ in his gospel should shew a good-will to make 
them healthy, and wealthy, and well in the world, they could be- 
lieve that to be good-will to them : or if he could restrict his good- 
will to the keeping them out of hell, when they die. But all that is 
said of good-will to them otherwise, they look on as idle tales, Psal. 
iv. 6. And so they ti'eat as airy notions, what they have no heart 
for, Prov. xvii. 16. Nay, when they look on it in earnest, they 
take it for ill-will, to rob them of what they have most delight in, 
Rom. vii. 7- Because the carnal mind is enmity against God ; for it 
is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. Gal. iv. 
16. " Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the 
truth ?" 

2. Those who do not believe the grace and good-will of Christ to 
them to be pure grace and good-will. Such unbelievers are all un- 
humbled souls : they have never got a true sight of their own ex- 
ceeding sinfulness and utter unworthiness ; so it is easy for them to 
believe Christ's good-will to them, for they never saw any difficulty 
in that. How shall I put thee among the childi^en ? But then it is not 
grace and good-will, but due good-will to them, that they believe : 
and that is not divine faith, Rom. iv. 4, 5, 16. wrought by the Spirit. 

3. Those who do see their own sinfulness, that they cannot see 
nor believe Christ's grace and good-will to them. Such unbelievers 
are awakened sinners, on whom the law has its effect, but not the 
gospel, Isa. liii. 4. They have a jealousy of Christ reigning in them, 
that they cannot believe that ever his heart can be towards them. 
And so however they may believe the truth of the gospel as to 
others, they believe it not with respect to themselves. 

Now all these are unbelievers, who have not entered into rest, 
but continue restless. They do not believe the gospel, receive not 
Christ's testimony, John iii. 32. make God a liar, 1 John v. 10, 11. 
They go no farther in their belief of the gospel than devils, Mark 
i. 24, 25. 

Quest. By what characters may they be known, who have be- 
lieved in this point ? 

Ans. 1. They have believed Christ's grace and good-will to them, 
over the belly of staring guilt, and felt unworthiness, Luke xv. 18. 
Convinced that the Lord would have been just, and done them no 
wrong, to have set himself against them for ever ; they have yet be- 
lieved his unhired good-will to them held forth in his word of grace . 
so their faith stands on the foot of mere grace, pure grace. 


2. They have believed his grace and good-will towards the draw- 
ing thera out of the miry clay of their sinfulness, as well as out 
from the rolling waves of guilt, the curse, and eternal wrath. For 
this is the good-will of Christ testified in the gospel, ]\Iatth. i. 21. 
He shall save his people from their sins ; and faith believes that good- 
will as held forth in the gospel. So they reckon it good-will to 
them, that they may be made holy, that the power of sin be broken 
in them, and believe such a good-will to them in Christ .Tesus. 
They would as fain be sanctified, as one would be freed from his 
running sores, and believe the great Physician's good-will to their 
cure, Micah vii. 19. " Ue will turn again, he will have compassion 
upon us : he will subdue our iniquities : and thou wilt cast all their 
sins into the depths of the sea." 

3. The only foundation of their belief of it, is the faithfulness of 
God in his word of grace, Gal. iii. 2. " This only would I learn of 
you. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hear- 
ing of faith ?" They see so much of their own vileness, that if men 
or angels had said it, they could not have believed it : but because 
they see God himself has said it, they cannot but believe it. The 
Spirit of God has demonstrated to them Christ's good-will in the 
word of the gospel, and that that word is God's own word : so they 
are overcome into a belief of it. So the word of the gospel is the 
anchor of their souls, which they hold by alone, whatever waves 
come on them to beat thera off from that their belief. 

4. Lastly, They have betaken themselves to the grace and good- 
will of Christ in his word of grace, and laid all their weight over 
upon it. "Whatever jealousies of Christ's good-will were hanging 
about them, proceeding from conscience of guilt, and Satan's subtile 
insinuations ; they have broke through them all, and cast themselves 
into the arms of free grace, Mark ix. 34. This brings to 

The Second particular. They who have believed, have believed on 
Christ as their own Saviour for life and salvation to them. Acts 
XV. 11. " We believe that, through the grace of the Lord Jesus 
Christ, we shall be saved." Thus believing the Son, and believing 
on the Son, believing the gospel, and receiving and resting on 
Christ, are inseparably connected, John iii. 36. " He that believeth 
on the Son hath everlasting life : and he that believeth not the Son, 
shall not see life." They who believe the gospel, testifying Christ's 
grace and good-will to them in particular, cannot but receive and 
rest on Christ breathing that good-will towards them ; as you see 
was exemplified in Zaccheus, Luke xix. 6. He made haste, and came 
down, and received him joyfully. Their reigning jealousy being cured 
by their faith of the word of his grace, they cannot but throw them- 
selves into the arms of his grace, and embrace him as their all. 


This believing lies precisely in trusting on him as our Saviour : 
the sinner trusting to the report of his good- will to him, trusts on 
hira accordingly for all, Is. xxvi. 4. Psal. ii. ult. And so he, 

1. Commits himself to hira, as one doth quietly commit himself to 
an able person, whose good-will to him he believes, Psal. x. 14. The 
poor committeth himself unto thee, Heb. leaves upon thee. The sinner 
sees his case in itself to be desperate, but hearing of the Saviour able 
to save to the uttermost, and believing his good-will to him, com- 
mits and rolls himself on him. 

2. He expects salvation from him according to the word of his 
grace. Acts xv. 11. forecited. For the gospel is a promise held 
forth to sinners to be believed, a promise of life and salvation, Heb. 
iv. 1 ; and faith trusting the promise, expects the accomplishment 
of it. 

And the sinner believing on Christ, betakes himself to him only, 
wholly, and for ever. 

(1.) He renounces utterly all expectations of rest to his conscience 
from the law, and betakes himself to a crucified Clirist for it, Phil, 
iii. 3. All his doings and sufferings are quitted in point of confi- 
dence in them before the Lord ; and he lays his weight allenarly on 
the blood and righteousness of Christ. The infinity of the person 
persuades him of the efficacy of these for acceptance, and the word 
of promise satisfies him of Christ's good-will to ai)ply them to him. 

(2.) He renounces utterly all expectations of rest to his heart 
from the world, and his lusts, and betakes himself to a full Christ 
for it, Jer. xvi. 19. The world has aj^peared vain and empty, it 
has given the man many disappointments, and he will trust it no 
more ; he says. There is no hope from that quarter. His sinful 
lusts have appeared deceitful ; looking for a rest in them, he has 
found himself as among lions' dens, and on mountains of lepords. 
"Wherefore he takes Christ for a rest to his restless heart, for all 
and instead of all : Psal. Ixxiii. 25. " Whom have I in heaven 
but thee ? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides 

Thus the sinner believing does enter into rest, rests in Christ 
as his choice, never to make another choice, to take any person or 
thing in his stead ; rests in him as a complete portion, sensible that 
there in enough in him to make him happy. 

II. I shall consider the entering of those that have believed into 
rest in Jesus Christ. And herein I shall shew, 

1. "What is supposed in that those who have believed do enter 
into rest. 

2. "What is that rest in Christ which they do cuter into. 


3. What is the import of their entering into that rest in Christ. 

4. How the soul is entered into rest in the way of believing. 
First, I am to shew what is supposed in that those who have be- 
lieved do enter into rest. 

First, Those who have not believed, are in a state of restlesness. 
Unbelievers are restless creatures, Is. Ivii. 20. Till the soul 
come to Christ, it can never get true rest : one may take rest as well 
on the top of a mast, as get it in an ungodly, unregenerate, uncon- 
verted state. Those out of Christ have, 

1. A restless station, an insecure standing, Deut. xxviii. 65, 66. 
" And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the 
the sole of thy foot have rest : but the Lord shall give thee there a 
trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind. And thy 
life shall hang in doubt before thee, and thou shalt fear day and 
night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life." It is by faith 
only that one's feet come to be set on a rock. Sinners out of Christ 
are like those who are standing on the earth quaking under them, 
like those who are leaning on a broken reed : for how can they have 
sure footing, who are lying open to the wrath of God, and are every 
moment in hazard of dropping into the pit ? John iii. tdt. 

2. A restless labouring, Matt. xi. 28. The reigning lusts keep 
them always busy ; for they have many mouths to feed, many task- 
masters to please, who are under the command of unmortified lusts, 
Jer. ix. 5. They have hard work to squeeze their satisfaction out 
of the husks of the empty creation, Hab. ii. 13. And if conscience 
is awakened, they have hard labour, in the fiery region of the law, 
to keep pace with it, and work a righteousness in which they may 
stand before a just God, Rom. x. 3. It is a restless labouring, for 
they can never reach the end of their work ; for reigning lusts will 
never cease craving, the creature will never satisfy, nor the law 

3. A restless wandering. God is the place, the resting place of 
the soul, Psal. xc. 1. " Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in 
all generations." Adam and all his posterity in him left this place; 
so the soul not returned to God by Christ, is in a wandering state, 
Prov. xxvii. 8. " As a bird that wandereth from her nest ; 

4. A restless burden-bearing, Matth. xi. 28. There is a load of 
guilt on them, which they cannot shake oflf, John vii. 24 — of servi- 
tude to reigning lusts, which they cannot free themselves of, 2 Tim. 
iii. 6. — of law-duties bound on them under tlie pain of the curse, 
while it has no promise of strength wherewith to perform them, 
which they can neither bear nor be freed from, Gal. iv. 24, — 26. — 
of curses, which they are continually increasing. Gal. iii. 10. — and 
of wrath lying on them, John iii. ult. and heaped up, Rom. ii. 5. 


5. Lastly, A restless eternal state abiding them, 2 Thess. i. 7, 8, 
9. They that take not up their rest in Christ now, will have no rest 
hereafter : for their worm will 7iever die, nor their fire he quenched. 
As they have no solid rest in this world, they will have no rest at 
all in the other world. 

Secondly, Restless souls may be laid to rest in Jesus Christ, Matt. 
xi, 28. " Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, 
and I will give you rest," The whole race of mankind being put off 
their rest by Adam's fall, whoso will may return to their rest in 
Christ, by him returning to God. For the rest that men are seek- 
ing, but cannot get in their lusts, in the creature, and in the law, 
may be found in Christ, In him the soul may sweetly repose itself; 
being safe fi'om the fear of evil, and having all in him to answer its 

Lastly, It is by faith the restless soul is laid to rest in Christ, 
Rom. XV, 13. " Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace 
in believing." The word was i)ut off, and is kept off its rest, by the 
disturbance given by the tempter : he goes about, and will let none 
of them rest, that he can get hindered. God has sent us the gospel, 
as a song to sing poor sinners to rest in a Saviour, Psal. xxxvii. 7 ; 
and it is so efficacious for that end, that all that hear it by faith, 
are really led to rest in him, though they had been raging like mad- 
men, as Manasseh and Paul. 

Secondly, I proceed to show what is that rest in Christ, which 
they who do believe enter into. It is twofold, spiritual and hea- 
venly, initial and complete. 

First, They who have believed, do enter into spiritual rest, which 
is their initial or begun rest. Though they should get little more 
rest for their bodies, till they rest in the grave ; they enter into 
soul-rest, Matth. xi. 39. they get rest for their souls in Christ. And 
none that knows what soul-trouble is, but they will value it more 
than any rest out of heaven. And they can enter iato, 

1. A rest of the understanding. The mind of man is a restless 
thing ; and though it is always seeking and searching, it can never 
find where to rest, till the soul come to Christ, and there it comes to 
the utmost jjoint and so rests. Now, the minds of those that have 
believed, do enter into, 

(1.) A rest of persuasion and assurance of the truth of the gospel, 
1 Thess. i. 6, " Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also 
in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance." There 
is a root of Atheism and incredulity in the minds of men by nature : 
the gospel is brought to them, but they cannot believe it, Isa. iii. 1. 
It is enforced upoa them with many clear arguments, ready to cap- 


tivato their assent : but still at best they remain fluctuating about 
it ; sometimes they are almost persuaded, and anon the vain mind 
recoils. Hence they are here and there in their resolutions, course 
of life, &c. Thus they remain restless in their minds about it, till 
the Spirit demonstrating it, works faith in them : and then they 
rest assured of it, as of what they see and feel. 

(2.) A rest suflicient to make men happy. The whole blind world 
is in quest of that, and they are rambling up and down in great con- 
fusion seeking it ; while they know not where it is. One runs to the 
profits, others to the pleasures of the world for it ; but can never find 
it in the whole round of creation to which they go for it. But Christ 
being seen by an eye of faith, the mind is at rest from the weary 
search : the soul has found the one pearl, and cries out, I have 
found, I need seek no farther, John i. 45 ; here is enough for me. 

(3.) A rest of the highest estimation, Psal. Ixxiii. 25. forecited. 
Natural men are in a constant hurry this way, they never rest in 
this i)oint. They will most esteem that to-day, which they will 
loath and think very little oflT to-morrow. What we had the highest 
value for in infancy, we care not for in childhood ; in childhood, we 
despise in youth, &c. In a word, natural men are all their days 
like children, that value the newest toy most. But when men be- 
lieve, the highest estimation is fixed on Christ, 1 Pet. ii. 7. Unto 
you rvhich believe he is precious : and though thousands of objects come 
after him, he preserves his transcendent excellency in the believer's 
eyes. His mind is at rest there, though the greatest hardships come 
with him, their highest value for him is not sunk. 

2. A rest of the will. The will is a restless faculty of the soul ; 
it goes hither and thither, and can never be brought to rest, till the 
soul comes to Christ. Unstable as ivater, may be its motto, for what 
he wills to-day, he will not to-morrow. But the will of those who 
have believed doth enter into, 

(1.) A rest of full liking to and contentedness with Christ, Psal. 
ex. 3. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power. The unbe- 
liever never saw the object in which he could so rest. However 
pleased he was with it, it wanted still some one thing or other to 
him : the creature, in itself ; and Christ himself, with respect to 
their mind. Hence he could never find rest to his will. But they 
who believe do enter into this rest : they have at length fallen on 
an object that fully pleaseth them ; there is nothing in him which 
they would have away, and there is nothing out of him that they 
would have in. Cant, v xdt. He is altogether lovely. 

(2.) A rest of chief design and purpose, namely, so partake of 
Christ, and enjoy God in him, which is man's chief end, Psal. Ixxiii. 


25. Unbelievers are still changing their pai'ticular chief designs, 
they alter their minds in them, and cannot rest : but faith sets the 
soul to rest in one thing, which it will chiefly pursue while breath 
lasts, Psal. xxvii. 4, and what that is, the apostle tells, Phil, iii. 8, 
" Tea doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of 
the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord : for whom I have suffered 
the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win 

(3.) A rest of final choice, Psal. Ixxiii. 25. The soul that is out 
of Christ is light of conceit, and given to changes : but they that 
have made their choice, and closed their eyes never to chuse another, 
acquiescing in the choice of Christ for a portion. Hence they deny 
ungodliness and worldly lusts, as a woman espoused to a husband 
can no more admit the addresses of former suitors. Tit. ii. 12, 13. 

3. A rest of the conscience. A disturbed conscience is a heavy 
companion, Prov. xviii. 14. and there is no sound rest for it, but in 
Christ. The consciences of some are asleep, yea those of some are 
seared ; but that is no kindly rest for them. They will certainly 
be awakened sooner or later, and conscience makes some frightful 
starts in that sleep. The awakened conscience smarts sore as by a 
deep wound, Acts ii. 37- and that wound's becoming incurable, is the 
gnawing worm in hell. The first way men go for rest in this case is 
to the law, making a healing plaister of their duties to apply to 
their sore : but there is no I'est there, the thunder of its curses being 
redoubled. But the consciences of those who have believed, do 
enter into, 

(1.) A rest of ease, Rom. xv. 13. The soul that was in a storm 
before, comes to enjoy a calm by believing, just according to the 
measure of believing. In the awakened fired conscience, guilt fer- 
ments, and casts it into a fever ; by believing the soul gets the con- 
science purged, Heb. ix. 14. and so there is a cool of that fever, 
chap. X. 2. Faith brings the tossed soul to an anchor in Christ. 

(2.) A rest of refreshment, comfort, and establishment: there is 
not only 'peace, but joy in believing, according o the measure thereof^ 
Rom. XV. 13. The same conscience that stung the man before, cheers 
him now; that brought the dread of Grod as an enemy, brings in 
kindly thoughts of God through Christ, finding kindly rest in the 
righteousness of a Redeemer apprehended by faith. 

Indeed so far as faith is mixed without doubting, the rest will be 
mixed with unquietness. And if faith were perfect, the rest would 
be perfect too. But if the hand of faith tremble, taking and holding 
the grip, so much will be wanting of the ease and comfort of consci- 


4. A rest of heart and affections, Psal. cxvi. 7- This is a rest the 
soul can never find till it come to Christ : for still the heart of man 
is craving, at the rate the whole creation cannot answer it, and there- 
fore is kept restless. But the hearts of those who have believed, do 
enter into, 

(1.) A rest of satisfaction, Phil. iv. 18. The soul being by faith 
set on the breasts of the divine consolations, has enough. Gen. xxxiii. 
11. It finds Christ an object commensurable to its boundless desires, 
nothing to be desired without him, nothing beyond him, Psal, Ixxiii. 
25. The whole compass of wordly comforts could never match the 
heart ; there was still something wanting which the heart desired. 
But now it is matched in a satisfying object. 

(2.) A rest of settled abode, Psal. xc. 1. so that it goes no more 
abroad, as it was wont, among the creatures for satisfaction, 
John iv. 14. Having Christ, it has enough within itself, Prov. xiv. 
14. and therefore can rest satisfied even when the streams abroad 
are dried up, Hab. iii. 17, 18. why ? because the fountain is with it. 
Christ, as the husband of the soul, becomes a covering of its eyes. 

(3.) A rest of holy calmness, Matth. xi. 29. While the soul is out 
of Christ, the heart and aflfections are like a troubled sea : unmorti- 
fied lusts and passions fight therein like contrary winds blowing ; 
one passion drives the heart this way, anon another comes and 
drives it that way, Jam. iv. 1. 'But the soul believing in Christ, 
the turbulent rout of unruly lusts is cashiered, and the soul gets a 
cool of that fever, Rom. vi. 14. Sm shall not have dominion over you. 
Then is fulfiled that promise, Isa. xi. 6. The luolf also shall dwell 
luith the latnb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid: and the calf, 
and the young lion, and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead 

(4.) A rest of holy security as to the issue of all that concerns 
them, 2 Tim. 1. 12. *' I know, (says Paul) whom I have believed, 
and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have com- 
mitted unto him against that day." Faith brings the news from 
heaven, on all events, that we will be well in the end. Luther, 
when any cloud of troubles appeared to be gathering, used to say, 
*' Come let us sing the 46th psalm." For faith can make a rest in 
the midst of trouble, building its nest in the promise, John xvi. ult. 
" These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have 
peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation : be of good cheer, I 
have overcome the world." 

And thus the soul ceaseth from its own works, Heb. iv. 10 ; and 
hath a spiritual sabbath begun. 

Secondly, Those who have believed, do enter into heavenly rest at 


length. Tins is the rest completed. The grave is made a resting 
place for their bodies for a while ; but the soul rests in Abraham's 
bosom at death till the resurrection. And then the soul and body- 
together will have an everlasting complete rest there together. All 
I say of it is in these two things. 

1. All the mixture of disquiet and uneasiness that remains in the 
rest of believers here, shall then be taken away. The soul rest in 
Christ here is not without some mixture of disquiet, because of the 
imperfection of faith. There is a remaining darkness in their 
minds, and rebellion in their will : the rest of their conscience in 
Christ may be assaulted with doubts and fears ; and the rest of their 
hearts in him interrupted by the sallies of corruption. But accord- 
ing to the gosj)el, God judgeth of them according to the bent of their 

2. The rest begun here shall be screwed up to a height there. 
Their minds being enlightened with the light of glory, their wills 
perfected in holiness, their consciences quieted by the decisive sen- 
tence from the tribunal, and their hearts satisfied with full enjoy- 
ment, will give them a more profound rest in Christ than we can 

Thirdly, I i>roceed to shew what is the import of their entering 
into that rest in Christ. It imports, 

1. Sinners before they believe have a toiled, restless, uneasy life 
of it, Matth. xi. 28. No wonder, for they are God's enemies, the 
law's criminals, sin's slaves, and Satan's drudges. In vain do men 
reject religion, because it will not suffer them to be idle : for the 
servants of sin are as busy as the servants of God can be for their 
hearts. The watch goes as fast when wrong, as when right : and 
the Lord does not put more, but other work in people's hands. The 
soul of man is always doing and active, right and wrong. 

2. All that believe are wearied, outwearied people, that find they 
need rest, and would fain have it, Isa. xxviii. 12. This is the rest 
wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest, and this is the refreshing. 
Never a soul will come to Christ, till it be so wearied, that its legs 
are able to carry it no further, Jer. ii. 24. So being quite tired out, 
it lies down at his door. They are outwearied of the vain world; it 
Las disappointed them so often, that they say. There is no hope. 
They are outwearied of their deceitful lusts, for they find there is 
no satisfying of them. They see there is no rest for them there. If 
ye were never thus wearied, ye have never yet entered into this rest. 

3. They see and believe there is a rest in Christ for them. The 
gospel is a word in season to the ivcary, Isa. 1. 4. there it is they Jind 
r-est to their souls, Matth. xi. 28. They see Christ as the shadow of a 


great rock in the tveary land, and conclude, that if tlicy can get there, 
they will get rest. It is the Spirit of God that discovers Christ as 
a resting-place for the sinner ; for the soul remaining in its natural 
blindness, is so far from it, that it represents Christ in quite con- 
trary colours. 

4. They corae to him as a resting-place, by believing on him, 
Matth. xi. 28 ; Isa. xi. 10. They throw themselves into the arms of 
his grace, take hold of his covenant, and receive him for their eter- 
nal resting-place, to abide in him for ever, desiring nothing without 
or beyond him, Psal. Ixxiii. 25. as having all in him for their safety 
and provision, Psal. cxlii. 5. So the weary soul takes up its lodg- 
ing in Christ, saying, All ray wants be on thee. 

5. They compose themselves for, and set themselves to rest in 
him, Psal. cxvi. 7- They seek their rest in him, as a wearied man 
gone to bed seeks rest there. They give over seeking rest, either to 
their consciences in the law, or to their hearts in the world, or their 
wills in their lusts : but what they were seeking before in all these, 
they seek now in Christ alone, Psal. xlv. 10. 

6. They are active to get rest in Christ. Entering speaks acti- 
vity, and that lies in the exercise of faith. They who have believed, 
do by believing enter into rest : by the first act of faith the soul is 
brought into the resting place, by the continued actings of faith the 
soul enters into rest in him. So faith is called a resting on the 
Lord, 2 Chron. xiv. 11. in the Lord, Psal. xxxvii. 7. And as far as 
the exercise of faith is intermitted, so far the entering into rest in 
Christ is interrupted. 

7. They find a begun rest, but not complete ; they are entered 
into it ; though they are not yet come to the perfection of it, yet 
they are in the way to it. Such is the difference betwixt the rest of 
faith, and the rest of sight and sense. Hence they are easily dis- 
turbed, too easily put off their rest by temptations and trials ; 
whereas in heaven they can be no more disturbed in the least. 

8. Lastly, The believer all his life long here, is but entering into 
that rest : We do enter. The Israelites were forty years a-entering 
into Canaan, after they came out of Egypt. And from the moment 
of the first believing, till the soul comes to glory, it is but entering 
into rest ; entering being but an initial and imperfect action. Hence 
they that have come to Christ, are still said to be coming, 1 Pet. ii. 
4. But at length they shall have it full and complete. 

Fourthly, I come now to shew how the soul is entered into rest 
in the way of believing, or the influence of faith to bring and lay 
the soul to rest. This is a mystery to the blind world : no body can 
truly know the rest of the soul in Christ, but those that have expe- 


rienced it ; nor the influence of faith that way, but those that have 
felt it ; though they may talk rationally about it, and preach it. 

1. Faith discovers Christ as the only object commensurable to the 
desires of the soul, Psal. Ixxiii. 25. Men employ the eyes in their 
head to discover among the creatures something they may rest in ; 
the eyes of their mind, and these go to what they never saw, and 
dress up a thousand airy nothings to themselves : but all these leave 
the mau disappointed, so that he must go on to a new search, and so 
can never rest. But the eye of faith beholds through the glass of 
the gospel Christ as such an object, a full and complete match for 
the heart ; so that the man sees he needs seek no farther, and so he 

2. Faith takes possession of Christ, as such an object oifered to 
the soul ; knits with him in a marriage-covenant, by trusting on him 
for all to itself, John i. 12 ; Psal. ii. idt. So it enters the soul to 
rest, as a wife in the house of her husband, who has now made her 
final choice. The man that was seeking goodly pearls, having dis- 
covered the one pearl, purchases that, and seeks no more, Matth. 
xii. 45, 46. A beggar may see an estate, which, if he had it, would 
be enough for him ; but that sight cannot cause him to give over his 
begging : but if one should make it over to him, and he thereupon 
takes possession, he will rest, and beg no more. 

3. Faith draws the sting of guilt out of the conscience, and so en- 
ters the soul to rest, Rom. iii, 24, 25. Lay a man down in the soft- 
est bed, the quietest room, a thorn sticking in his finger, he cannot 
rest till the thorn be pulled out. Guilt is a thorn in the conscience ; 
but faith applying the blood of Christ to the wound, the thorn is 
drawn cut, Heb. ix. 14. It cast him in a spiritual fever, but he is 
healed, Isa. xxxiii. ult. 

4. Faith sets the soul in safety, Prov. i. tdt. If a man have never 
so many conveniencies for resting, but sees himself still in danger of 
his life, how can he rest? Job xi. 18. In such danger are all unbe- 
lievers, and they can have no rest, but when the dead sleep is in 
their eye. But as soon as the soul believes, all is safe, Rom. viii. 1. 
Faith brings the soul under the covert of blood, where not a drop of 
wrath can pass; and within the bond of the covenant of peace, 
where the noise of war is heard no more. Pardon and peace give 
safety for quiet rest. 

5. Faith mortifies and breaks the power of reigning lusts. Acts 
XV. 9. "While they abide in their force, there can be no rest, more 
than in the troubled sea : but faith brings a calm, mortifying those 
lusts, that fight in and against the soul. Faith knitting the soul to 
Christ as the head, in whom is lodged the fulness of the Spirit of 

YoL. V. u 


holiness, cannot miss of sanctifying influence, Acts xxvi. 18. And 
the more vigorous and strong faitli is, the virtue of the death of 
Christ for the death of lusts is the more partaken of. Hence it 
brings the soul to rest, freeing it from the hellish noise that unmor- 
tified lusts were wont to make ; and from the violent tosses that 
they gave the soul among them, so that it could not rest. 

6. Faith cures the soul of the dog-like appetite, that painful hun- 
ger and thirst which the eating of the forbidden fruit left in all 
mankind. Lay one never so soft, if hunger be gnawing him, and 
thirst scorching him, he cannot rest. Such is the case of all unbe- 
lievers, they are hungering and thirsting for satisfaction from the 
creature : they eat of the husks, but they are never satisfied ; they 
drink of the puddled waters, but their thirst is not quenched. Hence 
Christ calls them to him, " Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to 
the waters, and he that hath no money ; come ye, buy and eat, yea, 
come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price. Where- 
fore 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," Isa. Iv. 1, 2. And faith taking of the hidden manna, the 
waters of life, that hunger and thirst is cured, John iv. 14. and the 
soul rests. 

7- Faith contracts the desires of the soul into one point, Psal. 
xxvii. 4. " One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek 
after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my 
life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire into his tem- 
ple." The unbeliever's heart is divided, nay it is split in a thou- 
sand pieces as it were ; for many are the cravings of the heart 
naturally : but the thing necessary for the soul is but one, Luke 
X. ult. One thing is needful. He that lies down wanting many 
things to make him easy, how can he rest when his mind is going 
out on one want after another ? Faith makes the desires to be con- 
tracted into this one, that the soul may rest in Christ. 

8. Faith sees it hath a fulness in Christ enough to answer all its 
needs : and hence the language thereof is, / have all, and abound, 
Phil. iv. 18. Pressing wants which one knows not of supply for, 
breed anxiety, and anxiety disturbs and keeps from rest : but faith 
discerning a full supply for the man in Christ, lays him to rest. 
There is the fulness of a Godhead in him, and so they are complete in 
him, Col. ii. 9, 10. Though a man have nothing in hand to answer 
the demands of his creditors, if he has bills and bonds of a friend of 
his, to whom he can never come wrong, he is easy : so the soul, 
whatever its wants be, knowing it has enough in Christ, rests satis- 
fied that they shall be all supplied out of his exuberant fulness. 


9. Lastly, Faith leaves all on Christ, Psal. x. 14. The poor leaveth 
Jihnself on thee, Heb. Hannah was very restless a while, but praying 
in faith, and leaving her case to the Lord, she was easy, 1 Sam. i. 18. 
Believers are travelling through the wilderness, but they have a 
guide whom they can trust, and that makes them easy, Phil. iv. 6, 7- 
The beliver sometimes racks and distresses himself, upon this and the 
other strait and difficulty ; and many unbelieving hows and whys go 
through his heart ; and he is like a man that in a dark and pathless 
wilderness has lost sight of his guide : but when the eye of faith 
clears, all these are silenced ; and fixing on a promise, he gets a cool 
of that fever : he trusts on the power, wisdom, and truth of Christ. 

I shall now, in the last place, apply this subject in some practical 

Use I. Of information. Hence learn, 

1. That Jesus Christ is a resting-i)lace for the weary, Matt. xi. 28. 
By faith the soul comes to him, and there finds a rest. What rest 
Noah found in the ark, when the deluge was on the earth ; the man- 
slayer in the city of refuge, otherwise in hazard of his life ; the Is- 
raelites in Canaan after their bondage in Egypt; that Jesus Christ 
will give to believers in him, Isa. xi, 10. To it shall the Gentiles seek, 
and his rest shall he glorious. 

2. True faith is an active and efficacious thing. It lays the rest- 
less soul to rest. It is efficacious on the conscience, and heart, and 
all the faculties of the soul ; and therefore cannot but be so on the 
life too. Gal. v. 6. Faith ivorJceth hy love. That faith which is idle 
and inefficacious, making no change on the heart and life, is but dead, 
and Avill leave the soul in death, Jam. ii. 17- True faith uniting 
the soul to Christ the fountain of life, partakes of the Spirit of life 
in him, and so is a working faith. 

3. The way of believing is the way to solid rest. All weary souls 
should take this way, so should they attain the rest they would fain 
have. This is the way to the wilderness rest, where the soul rests in 
Christ amidst all the present tosses of a present life, John xvi. ult. 
and to the heavenly rest, where they shall have a profound peace not 
to be disturbed any more, Rev. xxi. 25. 

4. Those who have believed, may see what course to take at any 
time when their rest is disturbed. They must renew the actings of 
faith on Christ. This is a sovereign remedy, (1.) When their inward 
peace of conscience is marred, through a sense of unpardoned guilt 
lying on them. The same faith that applying the blood of Christ to 
the soul, drew the sting out of the conscience before, will do the same 
again. (2.) When corruption stirring and prevailing in the soul, 
distui'bs its rest. Nothing is more effectual to quench the hellish 



fire blown up in the heart, than the exercise of faith, Acts xv. 9. 
And at no time is the exercise of faith out of season, Psal. Ixii. 8. 
Trust in Mm at all times, j)articularly at such a time, saying with 
David, Psal. Ixv. 3. Iniquities prevail against me: as for our trans- 
gressions, thou shalt purge them away. (3.) When one is under a pres- 
sure of outward trouble, faith will carry the soul to a hiding-place, 
Isa. xxxii. 2. and relieving the soul by the comfort of the promise, 
will make it go easily under the burden. 

Use II. Of trial. Hereby ye may try whether ye have truly be- 
lieved in Christ or not ; for they who have believed do enter into rest 
in him. And by this touch-stone we may sort the hearers of the gos- 

1. Those who have never yet found the object, in which their heart 
could take up its eternal rest, but are still seeking it among the crea- 
tures, are unbelievers. That is an evidence they are in their natural 
state, still wandering on the mountains of vanity, and Christ has ne- 
ver been discovered savingly to them, John iv. 10. 

On the other hand, those who have seen such a ti'anscendent glory 
and excellency in Christ, as has put an end to their searching out 
for a satisfying object, and brought them to make a final choice of 
Christ as fully satisfying, they are true believers. For they are 
come to a point in the main thing, Psal. Ixxiii. 25. ; they have found 
the one pearl, else they had not given over their former vain search. 

2. Those whose pretended closing with Christ has never made 
them cease from their own works, but they are still living the loose, 
licentious, carnal life they led before, are unbelievers, Heb. iv. 10. 
They who continue in the devil's drudgery, yielding still their mem- 
bers instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, are not entering into 
this holy rest, but abiding at their restless labour. 

But such as having closed with Christ have given over their for- 
mer work, dying unto sin, and living to God as those that are alive 
from the dead, are true believers. Their faith is proved true, as 
being a fountain of sanctification. Their lives are actually purged 
from the gross pollutions of the world, whereby they difter from the 
profane ; and they are wrestling against the pollutions of the heart 
whereby they differ from hypocrites, 1 John iii. 3. Psal. xxiv. 3, 4. 

3. Those who fall away from Christ in heart or life, have not tru- 
ly believed, 1 John ii. 19. There are branches in Christ that rest 
not in him, but are taken away, because they never truly knit with 
him, John xv. 2. (1.) There is a falling away from Christ in heart : 
that is, when those who haA^e pretended to yield themselves to the 
Lord, keep up their profession, and a form of duties, to satisfy their 
consciences : but in the mean time it is the vain world and their de- 


ceitful lusts whence they fetch all their satisfaction to their hearts, 
like those, Isa. iv. 1. who said, We will eat our bread, and wear our 
own apparel: only let us he called hy thy name, to take away our re- 
proach. (2.) In life and conversation, which readily follows the 
other, so that they return by degrees to their former sinful courses ; 
turning as loose and licentious as ever, if not more so. Of these it 
is said, that it had been better for them not to have hiown the way of 
righteousness, than after they have known it, to turn from the holy com- 
mandment delivered xmto them, &c. 2 Pet. ii. 21, 22. 

But those who continue with Christ in heart and life, are true be- 
lievers, John viii. 31. " If ye continue in my word, then are ye my 
disciples indeed." Such a contiuuance argues them to have knit 
with the flock; the storms blow, but they ai-e founded on the rock, 
therefore they stand. Their continuance with him shews, they have 
entered into rest with him. 

Case. But alas ! my heart continues very restless, and ill to 
guide ; it is unstable as water, I cannot get it to rest in Christ as I 
would have it. Ans. What of that rest is obtained here is an enter- 
ing into it, a beginning of it, and endeavour after it, rather than a 
full rest. The Christian is in that case rather like one that is going 
to sleep, that has his startiugs now and then, than like one who is 
sound asleep. Though he cannot rest as he would desire in Christ, 
yet still he abides within the resting-place, does not turn his back 
on Christ, and take up his rest in the world and his lusts again ; 
like a sick man who may change many seats, yet still abides within 
his own house, and goes not abroad leaving it. So the Christian is 
habitually, and in respect of endeavour, resting in Christ : and the 
Lord will reckon that a true rest in him, 2 Cor. viii. 12. " For if 
there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man 
hath, and not according to that he hath not." Psal. xxvii. 4. 
" One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that 
I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life," No 
body while here wants their wandering fits : but happy they who 
are like the dove sent out of the ark, ever restless till she came 
back ; not like the raven, who finding no carrion to feed on, re- 
turned no more. 

Use III. Of exhortation. Ye who profess to have believed in 
Christ, rest in him, and so evidence your faith. For motives, con- 

1. There is no need ye should go to any other quarter for what ye 
need : For it pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell, 
Col. 1. 19. There is nothing ye can want, but ye have it in him; 
Thou art my refuge, says David, and my portion in the land of the liv- 



ing, Psal. cxlii. 5. There is no case ye can be in, but there is a 
suitable remedy for it in hira. lie that rests in Christ, having 
Christ in him, has all within himself. 

2. There is no true rest to be found out of Christ, John vi. 67, 68. 
He is the life, and without him there is nothing but death ; he is all 
in all, and without hira there is nothing but emptiness ; he is the 
rest, and without him there is nothing but wandering. 

3. It dishonours him highly not to rest in him. It gives out an 
ill report of him to the world, whereby his name may be blasphemed, 
as if there were not enough in him to satisfy in all cases. It is 
such an indignity as it would be to a husband, that his spouse were 
hanging about the doors of her former suitors. 

4. Your not resting in him will evidence your hypocrisy : Will he 
delight himself in the Almighty ? says Job of the hypocrite ; Will he 
always call iipon God ? Job xxvii. 10. Ye will be apostates and 
backsliders, whose latter end will be worse than the beginning ; for 
the unclean spirit returning comes with seven devils worse than 

5. Lastly, Rest in him now, and ye shall rest with him for ever : 
but if ye forsake him, he will cast you off, and ye will fall there 
where there is no rest for the ages of eternity. And it will aggra- 
vate your condemnation, that ye might have been well, if ye could 
but have rested in Christ. 















Several sermons preached at Ettrick, in the end of the year 1728, 
and beginning of 1729. 

1 John v. 19. 
And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in mcked- 

As it was said to Rebekah, Gren. xxv. 23. Two nations are in thy 
womb, and two manner of people shall he separated from thy bowels — 
and the elder shall serve the younger ; so it may be said in the text. 
Two manner of people are here, to one of which all of us do belong, 
viz. those that are of God, and those that are of the world. The 
latter is the elder, and shall serve the younger, Psal. xlix. 14. The 
upright shall have dominion over them in the morning. 

1. There is a people, that though they are in the world, are not of 
it, but separated from it : And tve knoiu that lue are of God. Here 
consider, (1.) The original of that people : They are of God ; that 
is, begotten and born of God, regenerate persons, born again. They 
are a heavenly people in respect of their extract, born from above, 
2 Pet. i. 4. (2.) Who they are in particular. We are they, ive be- 
lievers in Christ. Those that having received the call of the gospel 
to come out of the world lying in wickedness, have by faith em- 
braced the call and come away, John i. 12, 13. 2 Cor. v. 17. (3.) 
The knowledge they have of their original : We knoiv that we are of 
God. "We are not only regenerate, but we know that we are so. 
Not that all of them know so much, but some of them do : there 
may be children so young, that they know not their father's and 
mother's names ; but the elder children know them very well. This 
comes in here for the comfort of believers against the sin unto 
death, ver. 16. which the regenerate cannot fall into, ver. 18. 

2. There is another people, who are not of God, but are quite 


distinct from those that are so. Here consider, (1.) "Who they are, 
the world, that is, the unregenerate ; these are the people distinct 
from, yea, in an opposite interest to, the people of God. It is plain, 
the world is taken here, not for the place, but for the men of the 
place, and these not the strangers and pilgrims in it, but the na- 
tives who have no other but a worldly birth, and who are in it as at 
home in their own country. The phi'ase is taken from the Old 
Testament, where the church is called the sons of God, Gen. vi. 4. 
those without the church, the earth, Gen. xi. 1. in opposition to hea- 
ven ; being the earthly men in opposition to the heavenly men ; 
men whose birth, temper, and manner of life are all worldly. (2.) 
The character of this people : they are lijhig in wickedness, or in the 
wicked one, viz. the devil. They are lying in sin, in the guilt and 
filth, and under the reigning power of it, and so under the power of 
the devil. They are not rising and wrestling out of it, but they are 
lying in it, sleeping, dead, and bui'ied in it. (3.) The extent of this 
character ; it belongs to them all, the whole luorld. There are many 
differences among those of the unregenerate world ; some of them 
are professors, some profane, but the former as well as the latter 
are lying in wickedness. 

That I may give you some view of this text, in its different 
branches, I shall essay to open up the three following points of doc- 
trine therefrom, viz. 

DocT. I. All true believers are of God, and so separated from the 
world lying in wickedness. 

DocT. II. People's being of God, and separated from the world 
lying in wickedness, is what may be known by themselves. 

DocT. III. The whole unregenerate world lieth in wickedness. 

DocT. I. All true believers are of God, and so separated from the 
world lying in wickedness. 

In handling this point, I shall shew, 

I. How true believers are of God. 

II. How, as they are of God, regenerate persons, they are sepa- 
rated from the world lying in wickedness. 

III. Make improvement. 

I. I am to shew how true believers are of God. One is said to be 
of God two ways : 

1. By creation; and so all things are of God, Rom. xi. 36. Thus 
the devils themselves are of God as their Creator, and so is the 
world. But this is not the being of God here meant. They may be 
God's creatures, who nevertheless are the children of the devil . 


2. By generation, as a son is of a father. And this is twofold. 

Ixt, Eternal generation : so Christ alone is of God, John vi. 46. 
Psal. ii. 7- He is the Son of God by generation of the person of the 
Father, having the same numerical divine essence eternally and ne- 
cessarily communicated to him from the Father. Hence he is self- 
existent, independent, and equal with the Father, John v. 26. Phil, 
ii. 6. Neither is this meant here. 

2c?/[j/, Temporal generation, called regeneration, which is a work of 
God's grace on the souls of men, resembling natural generation. 
And thus believers, and none else, are of God, John i. 12, 13. and 
viii. 47. W"e are all born from below naturally ; but we must be 
born from above spiritually, if we see heaven, John iii. 3. Except a 
man he born again [marg. /ro)n above] he cannot see the kingdom of God. 
All the elect are born so, sooner or later. They naturally lie in the 
foul womb of the world with others, but the power of divine grace 
separates them therefrom. 

The work of regeneration is held forth under a double notion, 
shewing the regenerate to be of God. 

(1.) It is a being begotten of God, 1 John v. 18. He that is begotten 
of God, keepcth himself, and that ivicked one toucheth him not. God 
himself is the Father of the new creature : it is of no lower original. 
The incorruptible word of the gospel is the seed of it. Jam. i. 18. 
1 Pet. i. 23, 25. A word is cast into the heart, which by the efficacy 
of the Spirit changes one into a new nature. It is done by means 
of the resurrection of Christ, ver. 3. Christ lay in this womb of the 
earth in the grave, as a public person having satisfied justice, he was 
raised, came forth of the grave, as the first-born from the dead ; and 
in virtue thereof the dead elect are raised out of their grave of sin, 
as the next born from the dead. 

And this notion of regeneration speaks the parties themselves to 
have no hand in it, more than a child hath in its own generation. 
So that as regenerate, they are wholly of God ; and owe their being 
in grace to him purely, not to their own free will. 

(2.) It is a being born of God, 1 John v. 18. Whosoever is born of 
God sinneth not. By his Spirit alone the new creature is formed in 
all its parts, and brought forth into the new world of grace, John 
iii. 5. And this notion of it speaks the parties to receive life by the 
Spirit, and to be brought forth to act that life ; and none other but 
the Spirit to be the cause thereof, John i. 13. 

Now by this means, viz. regeneration, believers are of God. 

1. As partaking of the divine nature, as the child doth of the na- 
ture of the parent, 2 Pet. i. 4. There is a fulness of grace lodged 
in the man Christ, out of which they receive grace for grace, and so 


with him partake of the divine nature, being made one spirit, or of 
one spiritual and divine nature with him. Even as they received a 
corrupt nature derived to them from Adam, by which they were ori- 
ginally of the wicked one. 

2. As bearing the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and 
holiness. By regeneration they are like him ; and if it were perfect, 
they would be perfectly like him. For in regeneration Christ is 
formed in them, Gal. iv. 19. that is, they are the image of the man 
Christ, who is the image of the invisible God. 

3. As being of his family, Eph. iii. 14, 15. and that not as ser- 
vants only, but as children, 2 Cor. vi. 17, 18. The new birth is a 
high birth ; by it the sinner is a member of the family of heaven ; 
God is his Father, Christ is his elder brother, and the angels and 
saints are his brethren. 

4. As owing their new being to him only in the efficacy of his 
grace, Eph. ii. 10, For lue are his workmanship, created in Christ 
Jesus unto good works. Our natural being we owe in part to our pa- 
rents, Heb. xii. 9. but our gracious being to God only. That we 
are men, we owe it to him, in the efficacy of his creating power ; and 
that we are saints, we owe it to him, in the efficacy of his quicken- 
ing and renewing grace. Gal. iv. 28. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, 
are the children of promise. 

II. I shall shew how belieyers, as they are of God, regenerate 
persons, are separated from the world lying in wickedness. Nega- 

1. Not in respect of place, 1 Cor. v. 9, 10. They are still in the 
world, and must be till the Lord call them home ; though they are 
not of the world. God could, in the moment of conversion, have 
transported converts into heaven, taken them out of the world for 
good and all ; but he has seen meet for their trial, and the glory of 
the power of his grace, to keep them in the world a while ; and yet 
to keep them separate from it. 

2. Not in respect of gathering them into pure unmixed societies 
for worship. There are no such visible church-societies in the world, 
Matth. xiii. 28 — 30. Separating from the world lying in wicked- 
ness is not such an easy things as visible church separating ; they 
may be forward enough to that, who are yet with the world lying in 
wickedness, Jude, 19. and may go from party to party in the visible 
church, who are still of the world's party, not of God. But posi- 
tively, the regenerate as such are separated from the world. 

1. In respect of their being broken off from that corrupt mass, and 
become a part of a new lump. Adam falling left all mankind 
earthly men, bearing his corrupt image ; Christ is become a second 


Adam, the head of heavenly men, bearing his image, 1 Cor. xv. 47, 
48. Now the regenerate are separated from the former society, and 
become members of the latter, through regenerating grace. They 
are become members of Christ's mystical body, of the invisible 
church, a distinct though invisible society. 

2. Their being delivered from under the power of the god of this 
world, viz. Satan, Acts xxvi. 18. Satan is the god of this world ; 
the wicked are led by him at his will ; he works effectually in them, 
and blinds their minds, 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. But the regenerate are got 
out from under his subjection, delivered from his kingdom. Col. i. 13. 
He is indeed an enemy to molest them, but not their king that 
reigns over them ; his involuntary prisoners they may be for a time, 
but they are no more his willing subjects. 

3. Their having a Spirit, even the Spirit of God dwelling in them, 
which the world have not, Rom. viii. 9 ; Jude, 19. When Lazarus's 
spirit entered again into his body, he was separated from the con- 
gregation of the dead ; and when a dead sinner gets the Si)irit of 
Christ breathed into him, he is separated from the world, as much 
as the living from the dead. 

4. Lastly, Their having a disposition, frame, bent, and cast of 
heart and soul, opposite to that of the world ; so that they are as 
much separated from the world, as enemies are one from another, 
Gen. iii. 15. Hence they are in their great designs, aftections, 
course and manner of life, non-conformists, and opposites to the 
world : as opposite as Caleb and Joshua were to their unbelieving 
countrymen. Numb. xiv. 24. 

From this doctrine, we may learn the following things. 

1. This speaks the dignity of believers. They ai-e the truly hon- 
ourable ones, as being of God ; they are the excellent of the earth. 
What avails it that men can boast of their honourable extract in the 
world, while it still remains true, that they are of their father the 
devil ? The beggar on the dunghill being of God, is more honoura- 
ble than the wicked king sitting on his throne, attended with all the 
majesty of a kingdom. 

2. It speaks the privilege of believers. Every one will care and 
provide for his own : be sure God will then take special concern 
about believers, Matth, vi. 31, 32. Therefore take no thought, sai/ing, 
What shall lue eat ? or what shall ive drink ? or wherewithal shall we be 
clothed ? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your hea- 
venly Father knoiveth that ye have need of all these things. But many 
such, ye may say, are sorrily provided for. Ans. Ye are too hasty 
in such a judgment, Heb. xi. 16. God is not ashamed to he called their 
God ; for he hath prepared for them a city. Every one will protect 


his own too; God will then protect believers, and lie will avenge all 
their quarrels. There is never an nnkindness done to them, but he 
will resent it, as ye will see from Christ's procedure with the wicked 
at the last day, Matth. xxv. There is not a hard word spoken to 
them, nor a wrong look given them, but he will cause their enemies 
to pay for it. 

3. It speaks the duty of believers. Carry yourselves as becomes 
your dignity and j)rivilege, as those that are of God. Trust him 
with all your concerns, in all your straits; walk tenderly before 
him, remembering that your follies reflect dishonour on him ye be- 
long to ; and that ye are to evidence your being of God, by your 
steering another course than the world lying in wickedness. 

4. Lastly, It shews the self deceit of unbelievers, pretenders to 
a saving interest in God, while in the mean time they are lying 
together with the world in wickedness. How can they be of God, 
who are not separated from the world, but walking according to the 
course thereof, in the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the 
pride of life. 

But I proceed to the second doctrine from the text. 

DocT. II. People's being of God, and separated from the world lying 
in wickedness, is what may he knoivn by themselves. We know that tve 
are of God, says the apostle. There is a people in the world, yet 
not of the world, but separated from it ; and they may see that they 
are such. 

In ti'eating this subject, I shall shew, 

I. What knoAvledge may be had of this. 

II. Make some practical improvement. 

I. I am to shew what knowledge may be had of this. That one is 
of God, and separated from the world lying in wickedness. 
There are three ways of coming to the knowledge of a thing. 

1. By our senses, as we know fire to be hot, and ice to be cold. 
But this matter cannot be known that way. The grace of God, and 
the spiritual privileges of believers, are not the objects of sense. 
Indeed, if separation from the world were just a separating from one 
party and joining with another in church-society ; we might know it 
by sense ; but it is not so. 

2. By extraordinary revelation, visions, voices, or impressions. 
Such things have been, as in Abraham's case. Gen. xvii. 1, 2. But 
that dispensation is ceased, the canon of the scripture being com- 
pleted, jind we referred to it, as unto a more sure word of prophecy, 
2 Pet. i. 19. It was never known to all, though all are required to 

OF people's BEIlftt OF GOD. 307 

know this, ver. 10. Assurance then of one's being in a state of 
grace, may he attained without extraordinary revelation. 

3. By rational evidence, as seeing a house, we know it has been 
built by some one; seeing the world, we know that it has been cre- 
ated of God ; because they could not make themselves. So men 
may know themselves to be of God, by giving diligence to make their 
calling and election sure, 2 Pet. i. 10. Two things concur here. 

1st, Spiritual discerning, a spiritual sight, taste, or feeling of the 
things of God, in ourselves or others, 1 Cor. ii. 14. It is the total 
want of this in some, that makes them deceive themselves; they 
have no spiritual discerning, to distinguish between God's people 
and the world; so they are like men in the dark, that know not 
where they are, nor whither they are going. And the weakness of 
this discerning in many of God's people, robs them of the comfort 
they might have. 

tldlt/, Spiritual reasoning on scripture grounds, 1 John v. 13. 
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of 
the Son of God ; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and 
that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. The word is 
the rule, which pronounces of men's state in the general ; by spiri- 
tual discerning believers see in themselves or others, those things 
concerning which the scripture pronounces ; and by spiritual reason- 
ing they come to know by these means that they are of God, and 
separated from the world lying in wickedness. Now, by way of ra- 
tional evidence, one may know this of a two-fold object. 

1. Of others. One may know that others are of God, and sepa- 
rated from the world, discerning the image of God shining forth in 
them, and hence gathering that they are of God, and not of the 
world. So the apostle in the text speaks of others as well as him- 
self. There is a spiritual discerning in that case, as Barnabas saw 
the grace of God in the converts at Antioch, Acts xi. 23, And this 
knowledge is supposed in the command of loving one another, given 
to God's people ; for how can men love others as of God, if they 
cannot know them to be so ? 

2. Of themselves. A true believer may know himself to belong 
to God, and not to the world. So the apostle says in the text, "We 
know that we are of God. There are such marks of distinction be- 
twixt the two societies fixed in the word, that, by spiritual discern- 
ing and reasoning, one that is of God may be satisfied, that he is 
really of God, and needs not be always in the dark in that point. 

But betwixt that knowledge concerning one's self and others, 
there is this remarkable difierence. 

Is^, In the case of others, we can have, by rational evidence, only 


a judgment of charity, not of certainty, without extraordinary reve- 
lation, such as Ananias had with respect to Paul, Acts ix. 15. This 
is founded upon probable appearance of the grace of God in them, 
which yet may be but an appearance. Ilence the best of men may 
be deceived in their opinion of others, as Philip was with Simon 
Magus. The devil's goats may be taken for Christ's sheep, by very 
discerning Christians. Of this I would say, 

(1.) We should not be rash in giving or refusing that judgment, 
but hold pace with the appearance or non-appearance of the grace 
of God in them. We are bid to beware of men ; for we are told all 
men are liars : and many a fair outside there is, where there is a 
foul inside, that a little trial discovers ; therefore we ought not to 
have the persons of any in admiration. On the other side, the grace 
of God may dwell with much dross; therefore we are to beware lest 
we trample the jewel under foot, because it lies in a dunghill. 

(2.) The love bestowed on hypocrites is not all lost, and therefore 
it is safest erring on the charitable side. A man may love Christ 
in a hypocrite ; not that Christ dwells in any such, but that what 
we bestow on any for Christ's sake, whether they really deserve it 
or not, will not lose its reward, Mark ix. 41. And by the rule of 
charity, we are obliged to put the best construction on our neigh- 
bour's state and way that they can reasonably bear, 1 Cor. xiii. 7. 
One had better judge ten hypocrites sincere, for that may be duty, 
than one sincere person a hypocrite. 

(3.) Let us carry our judgment of others no farther than that of 
charity, and not pretend to a certainty, which is not competent to 
us in that case, but to God only. He alone is the searcher of hearts, 
without the knowledge of which an absolute certainty cannot be 
attained. Keeping within our own bounds, the deceit discovered in 
the world would brangle us the less, as being not inconsistent with 
the judgment that we formed. 

2dly, In our own case, we may have by rational evidence a judg- 
ment of certainty, without extraordinary revelation. We may in 
an ordinary way, if we really belong to God, be infallibly assured 
of it. The reason of the difference is plain ; we see the open actions 
and carriages of others, but we cannot know the secret springs of 
them, the principles, ends, and manner of them, upon which the main 
stress lies ; but we may know these things in ourselves. What 
moves ourselves so to walk, we can assuredly know ; but what moves 
others, we cannot know that. 

This is clear from the following grounds. 

(1.) A true child of God may assuredly know his relative state in 
the favour of God. Though he cannot open the sealed books of the 


decrees, and read his name at first hand in the decree of election ; 
yet by comparing the word of Grod in the Bible, and the work of 
God in his own soul ; he may know himself to be one of the elect, 
2 Pet. i. 10. Heb. vi. 11. to be one of those for whom Christ died, 
and of the family of God, Rom. viii. 16, 17- 

(2.) He may discern in himself real grace, and know that he be- 
lieves in Christ, as sure as he breathes, 2 Tim. i. 12. and loves him, 
so that he can appeal to Omniscience for the truth thereof, as Peter 
did, John xxi. 15. And knowing that all who believe in Christ, and 
love the Lord, arc of God, separated from the world, and shall never 
be suffered to mix with them again, he may conclude so of himself 
with the greatest certainty. 

(3.) All the saints have the Spirit of Christ, Rom. viii. 9. And 
it is the office of the Spirit to lead them into all truth, and particu- 
larly to shine upon his own work in the soul, 1 Cor. ii. 12; and so 
to be a joint witness with their own spirits to their adoption into the 
family of God, Rom. viii. 16 ; to be a seal, which is designed to en- 
sure, Eph. iv. 30; and an earnest too, which is both a part of the 
price, and a pledge of the whole, 2 Cor. v. 5. 

(4.) The effects of faith sometimes produced by it in the saints 
confirm this. Such is the boldness and confidence they sometimes 
have with God, Eph. iii. 12. rejoicing in hope of the glory of God, 
Rom. V. 2. which is sometimes unspeakable, 1 Pet. i. 8. So that 
they can cheerfully undergo sufterings, Ileb. x. 34. All which ne- 
cessarily presupposeth their knowing themselves to be of God. 

(5.) Lastly, The examples of the saints make it plain, as Job xix, 
25 — 27. " For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall 
stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though after my skin, 
worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God; whom I 
shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; 
though my reins be consumed within me." Psal. xxiii. ult. " Surely 
goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life ; and I 
will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." 2 Tim. iv. 8. " Hence- 
forth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the 
Lord the righteous judge shall give mo at that day ; and not to me 
only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." This know- 
ledge is what has been reached, and therefore yet may be so. 

IL For practical improvement of this point, I exhort you to be 
concerned to know, whether ye are of God, separated from the 
world, or not. Take that matter under serious consideration. To 
press you thereto, consider, 

1. We are all of us naturally, and by our first birth, of the world 
lying in wickedness, Eph. ii. 2, 3. No question but we were once 

Vol. Y. X 


joined to the wicked world, as kindly members thereof; all the 
question is, Whether we be separated from them, or not ? It is by 
a second birth that we are of God, if at all. What experience 
have we of that ? 

2. The world lying in wickedness is the society appointed to des- 
truction, as in a state and course of enmity against God, Eph. ii. 3. 
Therefore all that are to be saved, arc delivered and gathered out 
of it. Gal. i. 4. Wo to them that are left in it, for they will perish 
in the ruins of it. David prays, " Gather not my soul with the 
wicked." But they that are not gathered out of them in life, cannot 
miss to be gathered with them in death ; being eternally left in the 
guilt and filth of their wickedness, where the worm dieth not, and 
the fire is not quenched. 

3. Many deceive themselves in this matter, as the foolish virgins, 
Matth. XXV. Christ's flock is certainly a little flock, Luke xii. 32. 
Matth. V. 13, 14. Yet there are but very feAV who do not hope to 
share with them ; for a ruining imnciple obtains, That if we be not 
notoriously profane, it will be well with us in the end ; as if the 
devil could dwell in none, whose name is not Legion. They that 
have a form of religion, bitild on that ; and others build on the 
mercy of God. They consider not, how very unlikely it is, that 
they shall leap out of Delilah's lap into Abraham's bosom ; and 
therefore they trouble not themselves with separating from the world 
lying in wickedness. 

4. Death is approaching ; and if it were come, there will be no 
separating more from the world. There are two parts of that world, 
the one within, the other without the line of mercy. The latter lies 
on the other side of death. And death separates the unregenerate 
from the former part indeed, but it fixes them for ever among the 
other part that is quite hopeless. 

5. It is uncertain when death comes to us, and how, Matth. xxiv. 
42. People of all ages and sizes die, and death fixes all in an un- 
alterable state. A death-bed is not to be trusted to ; for death may 
surprise you without getting one ; and though ye get it, it may be 
very useless for soul business, whether through raving or extreme 
tossing. At best it is hardly the fit time of being new born, when 

6. Lastly, It is an excellent and useful thing to know our state in 
this point. For if we find that we are not of God, but of the world, 
we are awakened to see to it in time. If we find that we are, it is 
what makes both a comfortable life, in the midst of troubles from 
the world ; and a fruitful life, inflaming the heart with love, hum- 
bling the soul, and strengthening it, and fitting both to live and to 


For your help in this inquiry, consider the following signs, marks, 
and characters of those that are of God, separated from the world. 

Characters of those that are of God. 

First, They are such as have fled from the world to Jesus Christ 
as a refuge, Heb. vi. 18. They have seen danger in it, in a work of 
conviction ; and safety from it in Christ, in a work of saving illumi- 
uation. Such are of God, and none other, as is manifested from that 
gospel-call, 2 Cor. vi. 17, 1 8, " Wherefore come out from among 
them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean 
thing ; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye 
shall be my sons and daiighters, saith the Lord Almighty." The se- 
cure, and strangers to Christ, are yet in the world lying in wickedness. 

1, Seen danger in the world has made them flee from it. They 
have come out of it, as Lot out of Sodom, under conviction that 
destruction from the Lord was waiting it. They have heard and 
believed the report of the word about it, saying, as Rev. xviii. 4. 
" Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, 
and that ye receive not of her plagues." They have got an awaken- 
ing that has frightened them from staying longer with them, not- 
withstanding of the multitude abiding at ease therein, the discerning 
of which makes many easy in their stay in it. 

2. Seen safety in Christ has brought them to him, in a way of 
believing, Acts xv. 11, " But we believe that through the grace of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved." They have seen him to 
be the Christ, in whom the fulness of hai)piness is lodged in opposi- 
tion to the world, 1 John v. 1. They have discovered in him a 
glory darkening all the world's glory, and so have made the ex- 
change as of husks for bread, Matth. xiii. 45, 46. 

Secondly, They are coming away with Christ from the world in 
their daily walk, answering his call. Can, iv. 8. " Come with me 
from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon." After Israel 
came out of Egypt, they went not back to it, to the brick kilns, and 
the flesh-pots ; but they marched through the wilderness. Those 
that are separated from the world in regeneration, are still separating 
from it, in progressive sanctification, labouring to keep themselves 
unspotted from the world. They are not of God then, who having 
once had something like conversion, make that stand for all, and 
never endeavour to be separating more and more from the world. 

There are three things that make them still to be coming away 
from the world. 

1. It grows no better in their eyes, in any of its shapes, whatever 
it grows worse ; so they continue their separation and march, coming 



up from the wiklerness, Cant. viii. 5. Some people get a fright of 
the world some time ; and the ways of the world appear to them 
dangerous ways. But that fright goes off, and tlie ways of the world 
look more gay to them ; and they being hardened by the deceitful- 
ness of sin, even go back again, and settle down in the world lying 
in wickedness in one shape or another, that be like them. 

2. There are two contrary principles in them, an earthly one and 
a heavenly one, grace and corruption. Gal. v. 17. If they had only 
the earthly principle, they would settle still with the world, they 
could not come away at all. If they had only the heavenly ijrinciple, 
they would be quite separated from the world, and their march from 
it would be at an end. But having both, the one puts them in con- 
tinual hazard of the unclean thing, and the other prompts them to 
be making away from it. 

3. They have peremptorily left their old rest, and are not yet 
come to their new rest, therefore they must be moving. They have 
left the city of destruction, but they are not come yet to the city 
of God, the New Jerusalem, Heb. iv. 9, 11. They are come out of 
Egypt, but they are not yet come to Canaan ; but they are on their 
wilderness march, minded to hold on, while apostates are for re- 
turning to Egypt again. 

Thirdly, They are non-conformists to the world, Rom. xii. 2. They 
do not conform themselves to the course of the world, Eph. ii. 2. 
Hence they are indeed the world's wonder, and at length the object 
of their reproach and spite, 1 Pet. iv. 4. Wherein they think it 
strange that you run not with them to the same excess of riot, 
speaking evil of you. They dare not do what the world makes no 
bones of; they hate the courses that the world is fond of; and take 
pleasure in those things that are tasteless and sapless to the world. 
Being of God, it must be so ; for, 

1. They are of another country than the world, being heavenly 
men, born from above. They are pilgrims and strangers here ; how 
then can they miss not to be conformed to the natives ? Indeed if 
they were to settle among them, and to be naturalized, forgetting 
the heavenly country, they would fall in with their ways and 
courses, as apostates do. But they are only travelling through the 
world, and therefore it is not strange they quite differ in their lan- 
guage, habit, and manners, fi*om the natives of the world. 

2. They are of another nature than the men of the world, being 
partakers of the divine nature, 2 Pet. i. 4. Some men differ in their 
natural constitutions so, that what is one man's meat is another's 
poison. But the new nature in the regenerate differs farther from 
the old corrupt nature in the world. Grace gives the hearts of men 


a new set, hangs a new bias on them, so that they dearly love what 
themselves before hated, and hate what before they loved. The 
new nature and the old course are inconsistent. One must quit the 
latter, or all pretence to the former. 

This non-conformity lies not only in not doing what the world 
does, but in doing another way than the world does in that which 
they both do. So in those things which they both do, there is still 
a non-conformity to the world, which is seen in these three things. 

1. In natural actions, as eating and drinking, 8fc. They that are 
of God must do these as well as they that are of the world ; yet the 
former do not conform to the latter in the way of doing them. The 
way of the world in these things is merely selfish and carnal, to gra- 
tify a lust or appetite, without any eye to God in them, to his com- 
mand, his glory, or to the fitting of them to serve God in their sta- 
tion, Zech. vii. 6. " When ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did 
ye not eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves ?" (Matth. xxiv. 
38.) Hence conscience has with them nothing to do in the getting, 
or in the using of these things. 

But they that are of God will take their religion to their bed and 
to their board, and regulate themselves therein according to the dic- 
tates, not of carnality, but conscience, 1 Cor. x. 31. The satisfying 
the necessities of the body, will not be to them the ends of their liv- 
ing, but the means of living, their end being to live to God; and 
therefore these things will be cut and carved as they may best con- 
tribute to that end, 1 Thess. iv. 4, 5. 

2. In civil actions, as working, bargaining, guiding a family, ser- 
ving, 8)C. The way of the world in these things, is to haA^e no res- 
pect to the command or honour of God in them, to shuffle out the 
directions in their Bible from them, as a thing having no concern in 
these matters, Luke xvii. 28 ; to have no single eye to seek the 
good of those they have to do with, but to please themselves ; or at 
best to be men-pleasers, not God pleasers in these things : to count 
exact truth and uprightness needless nicety. 

But those that are of God dare not, will not, nay abhor to con- 
form themselves to that way of the world. They will carry their 
religion into their callings, worldly business, and relations, 1 Cor. 
vii. 23, 24. They will look on God as the principle, whoever is the 
less principle party they have to do with, Prov. iii. 6. Tlie end of 
regeneration is the restoring of sinners to conformity unto the rnle 
of righteousness, whereof the sum is love to God and our neighbour, 
shewing itself in sincere endeavours to honour God, and to be bene- 
ficial to mankind, 1 John iii. 10. In this the children of God are 
manifest, and the children of the devil ; whosoever doth not righte- 

X 3 


ousness, is not of God, neither he that lovcth not his brother." 

3. In religious actions. It is not hare praying, hearing, ^'c. that 
mil distinguish one from the world lying in wickedness ; for all 
that religion is found among them too. But they hare a way of 
their own in it, holding with the form, but denying the power, 
2 Tim. iii. 5. contenting themseh^es with bodily exercise, while 
strangers to the spirituality of duties, Matth. xv. 8. seeking them- 
selves in them, not God, Matth. vi. 2. making a shelter of them 
wherein to sin more at ease, Prov. vii. 14, 15; and putting them in 
Christ's room, by confidence in them, Rom. x. 3. 

But those that are of God conform not to that way of religion. 
For to the regenerate it is not a piece of art, but of new nature ; re- 
ligion is a thing that their new nature leads them to. And what is 
natural people will still aim at the perfection of, and so they will 
study the j)0wer of godliness. And being of God, they will natively 
seek the enjoyment of God, as the infant seeks to suck the breasts 
of the mother that bare it; and they will seek the destruction of sin 
by their religion, as being a contrary principle thereto ; and it will 
natively carry them out of themselves to Christ for all, since he is 
the life of the new creature. See their character, Phil, iii. 3. " We 
are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in 
Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." 

Fourthly, They are in a state of opposition to the world lying in 
wickedness. This is i^lain from Gen. iii. 15. " And I will put en- 
mity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her 
seed." Jam. iv. 4. The two parties are like the company of two 
armies engaged against one another. "When by regenerating grace 
one comes out from among them, he is not only separated from 
them, but set up in opposition to them. This says negatively, 

1. Those that are of God are not the friends of the world, taking 
part with them against those that are of God. There are some not 
without pretences to religion, but as to matters of practice they are 
still upon the loose side ; they will plead for Baal, and give squint 
strokes at tender holy walking. They will declaim against hypo- 
crisy, being tongue tacked against profaneness ; they have a vail to 
throw over the gross abominations of the licentious, but they will 
rip up the infirmities of the weak ; they have a tongue soft as wool 
for the credit of the scandalous and profane, but piercing like a 
sword into the serious. Let these read the sentence of the Spirit of 
God, excommunicating them out of the communion of saints, James 
iv. 4. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friend- 
ship of the world is enmity with God ; whosoever therefore will be 
a friend of the world, is the enemy of God. 


2. They are not neuters in the quarrel with the world lying in 
"wickedness. There are some who think that they do very well, if 
they do nothing against the cause of religion ; but to act against the 
cause of wickedness in the world, is none of their business, it belongs 
not to theni, not considering what Solomon says, Prov. xxviii. 4, 
" They that forsake the law, praise the wicked ; but such as keep 
the law, contend with them." They think to keep peace with God, 
and with the world lying in wickedness too ; but they are mistaken, 
it will not do. "Whoever they be that are not content to list them- 
selves under Christ's banner, to oppose and act against the world 
lying in wickedness, Christ denounces them enemies to him, Matth. 
xii. 30, " He that is not with me, is against me ; and he that gather- 
etli not with me, scattereth abroad." 

How can it be but that those who are of God are in a state of op- 
position to the world lying in wickedness ? 

(1.) The object of their love is the object of the world's hatred, 
which cannot miss to produce this. God in Christ is the principal 
object of the love of the regenerate, and him the world hates, John 
XV. 18. and they shew it in their hatred of his image, in his ordin- 
ances, his people, and especially in his law, because there it is most 
lively expressed. And can any thing be more natural, than for a 
son to be in a state of opposition to his Father's haters and enemies ? 
Psal. cxxxis. 21. namely, to oppose them in their opposition, that is, 
their sin, not their persons. 

(2.) They are under opposite heads, betwixt whom there is an ir- 
reconcilable war, Christ and the devil, Michael and the dragon. 
This war was proclaimed in paradise, Gen. iii. 15. and will never 
end, but in tlie destruction of the one party. Nobody can be neuter 
in such a case, but do make opposition. The arms of the parties are 
indeed very different. The world acts against those that are of God, 
by persecutions, reproaches, mockings, contempt and hatred of their 
persons, looseness of life, trampling on the laws and honour of God ; 
the regenerate act against the world lying in wickedness : by hatred 
of their ways, loving their persons, testifying against them, endea- 
vouring to reclaim them, rowing against the stream in a tender walk, 
mourning and praying for them. They that are not so engaged 
against the world, are not of God. 

(3.) The interest of the two societies is downright opposite ; so 
opposite that the one cannot be advanced but on the ruin of the 
other. The spreading of holiness is the interest that the one is pur- 
suing, the promoting of sin is the interest pursued by the other ; 
these are as opposite as light and darkness. And it is as sure that 
every man and woman is acting in this life to the promoting of one 


of these two in the world, as that every person and thing will act 
agreeable to its own nature, Micah iv. 5. For all people will walk 
every one in the name of his God, and we will walk in the name of 
the Lord our God for ever. And therefore those that are of God 
are in a state of opposition to the world lying in wickedness. 

Fiftlili), There is a bond of brotherly love, whereby they are knit 
together among themselves, as children of one family. By this one 
may know himself to belong to the family of God, 1 John iii. 14. 
" We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we 
love the brethren ;" and by it as a badge on-lookers may know they 
belong to it, John xiii. 35. " By this shall all men know that ye are 
my disciples, if ye love one another." So that it is a sign that casts 
its light both inward and outward. The certainty hereof appears 
from several considerations. 

1. They all love God their common Father, love his image, pres- 
sing to be like him as their main aim. Hence, since all the rege- 
nerate do bear God's image as begotten of him, they must love them 
also, 1 John v. 1. " Every one that loveth him that begat, loveth 
him also that is begotten of him." The love of God natively draws 
after it the Christian love of those that are of God. 

They have forsaken the world for the society of the saints ; and as 
the married woman forsakes her father's house, and joins herself 
into the house of her husband, thenceforth to look upon the interest 
thereof as her interest ; so in the spiritual marriage with Christ and 
regeneration, the soul comes home to the society of the saints for 
good and all, in opposition to the world, cordially falling in with 
the call given, Psal. xlv. 10. " Hearken, daughter, and consider, 
and incline thine ear ; forget also thine own people, and thy father's 

3. The natural enmity against the seed of the woman that is in- 
separable from the seed of the serpent, evinceth this. Gen. iii. 15. 
In every unregenerate man there is a natural enmity against a holy 
God, his holy Christ, and his holy seed ; their natures being as con- 
trary as fire and water, that it is impossible ever they should be, as 
such, lovely in one another's eyes. And in regeneration, the ser- 
pentine nature is changed, the enmity removed, and consequently 
this love to the saints is fixed in its room, as a necessary consequent 
of the new nature. 

4. As God is love, the devil is a mass of hatred and malice 
against God and man, so the two parties partake of their natures 
respectively. God bears a common love to his creatures, so as to 
do them good, and a special love to the saints ; and those that are 
of God, accordingly have implanted in them a principle of love, of 


good will and beneficence to mankind, Luke vi. 35. but a special 
love of delight in the saints, Psal. xvi. 3. Gal. vi. 10. Satan bears 
a hatred against men, especially holv men ; but most of all he hates 
God ; so his seed hate one another, Tit. iii. 3. and more keenly hate 
the heavenly seed, and that because of their hatred wherewith most 
of all they are irreconcileable to God, John xv. 18. 

Object. Where are there greater heats and oppositions, than 
among the different parties in the church ? where then is the 
brotherly love by which all are pretended to be knit? Answ. There 
is a difference betwixt the visible church, and those that are of God. 
In the visible church are many who are still of the world lying in , 
wickedness, and they bring with them into the church, their natural 
enmity, hatred, and unchristian spirit, and exercise it in the things 
of God, to the marring of the purity, beauty, and peace of it. But 
this hellish fire belongs to the spirit of the world, and the blame of 
kindling it lies at the door of the world. And if the church, though 
imperfect were freely separated from the world lying in wickedness, 
it would be a lovely and loving society far beyond what it is. I 
own that these things are incident to those that are of God, as in 
the contention between Paul and Barnabas, Acts xv. 39. and the 
reason is, the remains of the spirit of the world in them are not yet 
purged away ; but the cause of the quarrel is not what they con- 
ceive to be likeness, but unlikeness to God ; and notwithstanding 
all their jarrings, they will still love them as they appear to have 
the image of God on them ; for whatever they differ in, they agree 
in that. Wherefore we may lay down these conclusions, 

1. They that are of God love the society of the regenerate, con- 
sidered as a holy society, separated from the world lying in wicked- 
ness, Heb. xii. 22. The picture of that society drawn in the Bible, 
is beautiful in their eyes, more alluring to them than the richest, 
most powerful, and most gay and splended society in the world ; 
and therefore they desire more to be of it, than of any other what- 
soever. The grace in it glisters more in their eyes than gold in the 
world ; and so it is not with others, 1 John ii. 15. Cant. i. 7. 

2. They love particular saints of their acquaintance for what like- 
ness to God appears in them, 2 John ii. 2. There are many tlungs 
about the children of God, that may move love to them in a child of 
the devil, their relation, usefulness, and agreeableness in several 
things to them ! but their spiritual beauty in conformity to the holy 
Jesus, is a motive and ground of love to them, not in the unregenerate, 
but in the regenerate partakers of the same divine nature. Upon that 
score the serpentine enmity rises in the one, and love in the other. 

3. They love all the saints without exception, so far as they can 


take them up to be so, Eph. i. 15. They will never confine their 
love to a party, to whom God has not confined his grace, nor to such 
as are attended with worldly advantages, despising the rest on whom 
the world particularly frowns, Psal. cxix. 63. If they should do so, 
they would evidence that it is not God they love in them, but them- 
selves ; that it is not the advantages they have as the darlings of 
heaven, but of the world. But whatever defects are about them, 
the appearance of God's grace in them will supply them all, to the 
rendering them lovely in the eyes of those that are of God, though 
not to others, whereby they are tried and cast. 

4. The more gracious and holy any are, the more will they be 
loved of them. For the more of the cause there is in any, the more 
there must be of the eftect. And hence it is, that the most tender and 
holy Christians are at once the objects of the greatest love of the 
regenerate, and the world's greatest hatred. Many can endure 
holiness while it remains dim and obscure in men. that sj)it venom 
against it, where it shines clear ; so formal hypocrites are like the 
owl that can come abroad in the twilight, but cannot endure the 
light of the sun : an eminent instance were the Pharisees to Christ. 

5. Lastly, The more any have of the world's hatred for their op- 
position to it, they will love them the more. As fire burns keenest 
in the sharpest frost, so it has always been observed, that the love 
of the godly to one another was strongest, when the world's hatred 
of them was most keen. So dangerous it is to be found joining the 
torrent of the world against serious godly ones. 

Slxthhj, Their hearts are kindly disposed towards the holy law. 
As the old corrupt nature reigning in the uuregenerate fills them with 
enmity against it, Rom. viii. 7- so the new nature in them kindly 
plies and bends towards it, Psal. cxix. 97. The reason is, the image 
of God expressed in the law is begun to be drawn on their souls, so 
that their new nature and the holy law point both one way, Ileb. 
viii. 10. It is true, there is a resistance and aversion of the unre- 
newed part ; but that is not total, and there is a gracious principle 
that condemns it, Rom. vii. 22, 23. Hence, 

1. They willingly take on the yoke of obedience, and go under 
it, because it is agreeable to their new nature, 1 John v. 3. " For 
this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments ; and his 
commandments are not grievous." Christ's yoke is a galling yoke 
to the necks of the men of the world, because their is no suitablencs 
of their nature to it : they spurn it, their hearts rise against it ; 
fain would they be quit of it, that they might take their swing ac- 
cording to their lust. But it is not so to those who are of God, 
Matth. xi. 29, 30. Fain would they be rid of their lusts, but not of 
the law, Rom. vii. 24. 


2. tliey are universal in their obedience to their knowledge, Psal. 
cxix. 6. " Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all 
thy commandments." "When there is an artificial bending towards 
the law, upon a particular design, there is a picking and choosing of 
the parts thereof most agreeable to one's circumstances ; hence some 
fall in with duty to God, but make no conscience of their duty to 
men ; others fall in with personal duty, but make no conscience of 
relative duties ; they comply with duties of commanding, but make 
no conscience of duties of subjection : for the one they can digest, 
but not the other. But where the bent is new and natural, there will 
be a falling in with the whole, since the whole is agreeable to the new 
nature, and is of a piece, and laid on by the same authority, James 
ii. 10, 11. 

'Lastly, They overcome the world, 1 John v. 4. " "Whatsoever is 
born of God, overcometh the world ; and this is the victory that 
overcometh the world, even our faith." Having separated from the 
world, it will pursue them, as the Egyptians did Israel, and it will 
have a war with them, encountering them with its smiles and frowns; 
but whatever way it attacks them they overcome ; though they may 
lose in particular battles, yet they are the overcomers in the main. 

1. They overcome its smiles, holding fast by their God, religion, and 
duty, in the face of a smiling world. Job i. 1 — 5. Many a man that 
sometimes seemed to be separated from the world, is brought by the 
warm sun of worldly prosperity to drop off his garments of religion 
and a tender walk, and plunge himself into the way of the world 
lying in wickedness. And there is no question but worldly pros- 
perity is given to men for their trial, as well as adversity ; and 
many come foul off in it, Prov. i. 32. But those who are once truly 
separate will overcome. 

2. They overcome its frowns, holding fast by their God, religion, 
and duty, as sweet, though the world turn never so sour, Uab. iii. 
17, 18. "Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit 
be in the vines, the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall 
yield no meat, the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there 
shall be no herd in the stalls ; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, T will 
joy in the God of my salvation." The sour world gets the day of 
many, by sucking the sap out of religion to them, rendering the 
word of promise and spiritual comforts tasteless to them ; so that 
though when the world gave them comfort, they had some comfort 
in religion too ; yet when the world's comforts are dried up, the 
comforts of religion are gone too, Exod. vi. 9. That says the Avorld 
was the main pillar on which their comfort stood. But though the 


world may prevail to brangle thus with them that are of God, yet 
they will not be quite overcome, but will be overcoraers in the case ; 
shewing that they are in hope of something bettor than what they 
have lost, that there is something for which they can part with all 
to obtain it, and that there is a fountain running while the world's 
cisterns are dry. 

I proceed now to consider the last doctrine, namely, 

DocT. III. The whole unregenerate world lieth in wickedness. 

In handling this subject, we shall, 

I. Shew why the society of the unregenerate is called the world. 

II. Offer some description of the unregenerate world. 

III. Make improvement. 

I. I am to shew why the society of the unregenerate is called the 
world. It is plain here, that though the regenerate really are in 
this world, as well as the unregenerate ; yet the unregenerate are 
by the Spirit of God called the world, in contradistinction to the 
regenerate, as if they possessed the earth alone, and no other were 
mixed with them in it. The reasons are, 

1. They are the main body of the world ; and so few of the other 
sort are mixed with them, that they alter not the denomination, 
John i. 10. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, 
and the world knew him not. The regenerate are but here one and 
there one, but the unregenerate aj^pear in multitudes ; the former 
are but as gleanings, the latter as the harvest. What safety can 
men propose then in the way of the multitude, the course of the 
world ? 

The scripture is plain in this, Matth. vii. 13, 14. " Enter ye 
in at the strait gate ; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that 
leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat ; be- 
cause strait is the gate, and narrow is the way Avhich leadeth unto 
life, and few there be that find it." Luke xiii. 24. " Strive to enter 
in at the strait gate ; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, 
and shall not be able." Christ's flock is a very little flock, in com- 
parison of the devil's herd, Luke xii. 32. And it is, alas ! demon- 
strable beyond contradiction. Dividing the world into thirty parts, 
nineteen of them are possessed by Pagan idolaters, who know not 
the true God; six by Jews, Turks, and Saracens; so five only re- 
main which profess Christianity. Thus Christians by profession are 
but five to twenty-five. Of these five two are reckoned to be of the 
Greek church, much sunk in ignorance, and the other three idola- 
trous Pai)ists and Protestants. And among Protestants, how many 
are openly profane or grossly ignorant, having no tolerable shew of 


piety ? how many are mere formalists, strangers to the work of 
grace, and exercises of godliness ? 

2. They are the natives, others are but strangers among them, and 
such are not counted in a general denomination of a society. They 
are in the scripture-style, the inhabitants of the world, Isa. xxvi. 18. 
of the earth and sea. Rev. xii. 12. as being the natives of it, having 
their birth and breeding only of the world. The regenerate are 
sojourners among them, pilgrims and strangers among them, Heb. 
xi. 13. 

3. Their spirit, temper, and disposition, chief aims and designs, 
are all worldly, there is nothing heavenly in them, Psal. xvii. 14. 
Their souls are indeed of heavenly original ; but they are sunk, like 
a pearl in a mire, in the profits, pleasures, vanities, and cares of the 
world. Hence they are called flesh, as if they had no spirit in them, 
John iii. 6. and are said to be in the flesh, Rom. viii. 8. For they 
can relish nothing but what is fleshly or worldly; their views are 
confined within the compass of the present world ; on these things 
they value themselves ; and in eff'ect their souls have resigned them- 
selves slaves to their bodies, and their consciences to their senses ; 
being an effect in their bodies as salt only to keep them from rotting. 

4. They are the lower part of the rational kind, the dreggy part 
of the creation. Therefore, whereas the church is called heaven, 
and the regenerate sons of God, heavenly men ; they are called the 
earth, children of men, earthly men. Gen. xi. 1. and vi. 2. 1 Cor. xv. 
48. For as when the Spirit moved, and the divine word passed upon 
the shapeless mass at the beginning, the finer parts went upward, or 
off from the dreggy gross part, which remaining lowest was called 
earth ; so the word and Spirit passing on the mass of mankind, that 
part thereof which is thereby regenerate gets a new nature, ascends 
in their designs and aims, and at length become equal with the 
angels, Luke xx. 36 ; and the unregenerate part that is left below, 
being earthly, sensual, devilish ; for the time are like the beasts, 
following their fleshly appetite, as dogs and swine the grossest of 
them ; and in the end are thrust down into the place of devils. 

5. Lastly, Because all in the world without exception are origin- 
ally of their kind, unregenerate, John iii. 6. Even the elect them- 
selves are once unregenerate ; they who are now of God, were some- 
time of the unregenerate world, Tit. iii. 3. So that irregeneracy is 
the state of all the world originally, in which state all lie in wicked- 
ness, Psal. xiv. 3. Only those that are of God have heard Heaven's 
voice, as saying, Come up hither, and so have been separated from 
the world. But the society they come from is still the world lyiug 
in wickedness. 


A Description of tub TJnregenerate "World. 

II. The second head proposed was, to offer some description of the 
unregenerate world. We have seen some of the characters of tlioso 
that are of God, I shall now lay before you a view of the world ly- 
ing in wickedness. That world is (as it were two hemispheres) 

1. The lower world lying in wickedness. That is the region of 
death, eternal death ; the lake of fire ; the i)it, the abyss of hell. 
The inhabitants thereof are the devils, and the souls of the damned, 
who have lived and died in their unregenerate state, and will con- 
tinue for ever in it. 

2. The upper world lying in wickedness. That is the land of the 
living, this present evil world, made up of all those who are living 
in their unregenerate state, the black state of nature, strangers to 
Christ and the power of godliness. It is the upper unregenerate 
world we are to sj)eak of, not the lower, when we have observed that 
they are but one world in different circumstances. 

1st, The lower and upper unregenerate world are indeed one 
world, one kingdom of Satan, one family of his. As it is but one 
family of saints that is in heaven and earth, Eph. iii. 15 ; so it is but 
one family of sinners that is in hell and on earth. Therefore those 
here are declared children of hell, as well as those that are there, 
Matth. xxiii. 15. of the devil, John viii. 44. So men dying unre- 
generate, go to their own place. Acts i. 25 ; and though they change 
their place, they change not their society, being gathered with those 
in death, in society with whom they lived. 

2dli/, But only they are in different cii'cumstances. 

(1.) The state of the one is alterable, as of those who are upon a 
trial ; of the other unalterable, as those on whom a definitive sentence 
is passed ; this is held forth in the case of the rich man and his five 
brethren, Luke xvi. 25 — 28. Those of them here are upon their way 
in their travel, and may change their route, and go heaven-ward ; 
the other are at their journey's end, and can move no more from 
their place. 

(2.) So the case of the one is not without hope, but that of the 
other absolutely hopeless. They are both prisoners ; but the one 
are prisoners of hope, Zech. ix. 12 ; but the earth with her bars is 
about the other for ever. There is a gulf fixed between heaven and 
them, impassable. Here they are in darkness indeed, but it is not 
outer darkness, as in the case of the damned. Here the voice of the 
turtle is heard, but there nothing but yelling. 

(3.) And lastly, Here they lie in wickedness with some ease and 


pleasure : there tliey lie in it with none at all. Their pleasurable 
sins are there at an end, Rev. xviii. 14. Nothing of them remains 
with tlieni, but the guilt of them, and cutting remorse for tliem ; the 
sweet of their cup is drunk out, and nothing remains but the bitter 
dregs. One encourages another here, and men please themselves 
with the multitudes going their way ; but there the throng is far 
greater ; for whereas there are some constantly dropping oft' here, 
the wicked of all generations are there, and none return ; yet the 
more the worse, Luke xvi. 28. 

But now as to the upper unregenerate world, we shall first con- 
sider the j)arts, and then the state thereof. 

I. The Parts of the JInregenerate World. 
First, The religious part of it, that is as the heavens in that 
world. Wonder not that we speak of the religious part of the 
world lying in wickedness; for there is some religion, but of the 
wrong stamp, in that world, and one part of it is exalted above ano- 
ther, as the heaven above the earth, Matth. xi. 23. This makes 
them appear like the regenerate, in the outward man, having a form 
of godliness, and imitating the saints in their outward actions and 
behaviour, 2 Tim. iii. 5. ; being formalists, hypocrites, tares among 
the wheat, but still strangers to a Avork of grace ; and so much the 
farther that they have a shew of it, Matth. xxi. 31. Two things 
bring religion into the world lying in wickedness, where there is no 

1. A natural conscience, which dictates that there is a God, a dif- 
ference betwixt good and evil, rewards and punishments after this 
life, Eom. ii. 15. Though this is wrestled down in some of that 
world, that it has very little power with them ; yet with others that 
are no more regenerate than they, it is improved, by the light of the 
gospel in the word, by good education, consideration, and thought; 
so that they prove morally serious, regular in their lives, embracing 
the external parts of religion, though unregenerate. 

2. Interest, which sways the men of the world to it several ways. 
In some times and places religion is fashionable, gains men credit 
and reputation ; so they embrace it for their credit, as the Pharisees 
did, Matth. vi. 2. In some cases worldly advantages and profits at- 
tend it, and that bait draws many Avorldly men to it, as it did the 
multitude to Christ for the loaves, John vi. 26, 27. And then its 
declared eternal advantages follow it, salvation from the wrath of 
God, and heaven's happiness; and a carnal sight of these things 
draws many, who are merely selfish in their pursuit, as was the case 
of that multitude, who said, ver. 34. " Lord, evermore give us this 


Secondly, The moral part of it, who are like the air in that world, 
not rising so high as the former, nor sunk so low as the other in im- 
morality and profaneness. These are they who keep oif from reli- 
gion and the profession of it and from gross profanity too. They 
are civil and neighbourly men ; just, honest, and upright in their 
dealings between man and man ; and despise religion from the fraud 
and deceit of some whom they see profess it, Matth. xviii. 7- Some 
such there have been among Heathens, and some among Christians. 
Two things, besides natural conscience and interest, bring in mora- 
lity into the world lying in wickedness. 

1. Civil society, by which means men may live at peace in the 
world, and be protected from injuries; for this cause men combine 
together in societies, appoint government, governors, and laws over 
themselves, which must establish morality, without which society 
cannot consist. And for this cause government is a great mercy, 
external order being kept among men by that means. Without it 
there would be no living in the world, but the weak would be swal- 
lowed up, and all filled with violence, rapine, and outrage. 

2. Natural modesty and temper, in respect of which there is a 
great difference among even worldly men. "Whatever internal or 
external cast it be owing to, it is evident, there is a certain simpli- 
city, candour, integrity, and benevolence in some, whereby they dif- 
fer, from others that have a cast of a spirit to fraud, disingenuous- 
ness, pride, imperiousness, and violence, and yet the former are of 
the world, as well as the latter ; and so in the gall of bitterness, and 
in the bond of iniquity. 

Thirdly and lastly. The immoral part of it. These are the earth 
and sea in that world, the grossest part of it all, whose conversation 
is neither bounded with religion or morality, but is just vile, irreli- 
gious, and immoral as occasion serves. This is the far greatest part 
of that world, and in it abound gross abominations, which bring 
God's wrath on lands and churches. The abominations, therein ap- 
pearing are innumerable. See 1 Cor. vi. 9 ; Gal. v. 19 — 21 ; Tit. 
iii. 3. Two things concur to fill the world with immorality. 

1. The corruption of human nature, the natural bent of which lies 
to all enormities. This was the spring of the flood of wickedness, 
and of water, that overflowed the old world. Gen. vi. 5. The heart 
of man is a depth of wickedness, that casts it forth as a fountain 
doth its waters ; and then it gets leave to run freely without re- 
straint, it sends forth plentifully, Mark vii. 21, 22. For from within, 
out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornica- 
tions, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lascivious- 
ness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 


2. Occasions of sin and temptations thereto, wliicli offer them- 
selves thick in this evil world ; because the multitude is of that 
sort, Matth. xviii. 7- Snares are strewed every where, and e very- 
temptation going in the world has a lust in the heart akin to it, that 
tends so natively to unite, that it is hard to keep them at meeting 
from closest embraces. 

And there are two sorts that are most exposed to temptations, the 
rich and the poor, which make them generally speaking to be of 
the immoral part of the world, though there want not some of both 
sorts that are not so. This Agur observed long ago, Prov. xxx. 8, 
9. " Remove far from me (says he) vanity and lies ; give me nei- 
ther poverty nor riches, feed me with food convenient for me ; lest I 
be full, and deny thee, and say. Who is the Lord ? or lest I be poor, 
and steal, and take the name of my God in vain." 

1st, The wealth of the rich makes immorality abound among them. 
It swells the heart in pride, and fills them with admiration of them- 
selves; it ministers much fuel to their lusts, and affords them occa- 
sions of fulfilling them. The natural vanity of the heart and mind, 
has a broad field to rove about in, so that they are apt to forget 
themselves and think their circumstances give them an allowance to 
make themselves vile, and that the laws of God and man are not 
made but for to hold the poorer sort, Prov. xxx. 9. Ilence our 
Lord says, Matth. xix. 23, 24. " Yerily I say unto you, that a rich 
man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven," " And again 
I say unto you. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a 
needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." And 
Says the apostle, 1 Cor. i. 26. " Ye see your calling, brethren, how 
that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many 
noble are called." They are to be pitied for their snares and temp- 

2dli/, The poor, those who are in extreme poverty. Among them 
also immorality remarkably abounds. Their condition deprives 
them of many advantages others have. They are generally neglec- 
ted in their education, all their care being to get to put in their 
mouths. They have rarely the advantage of good company. Their 
pinching circumstances embitter their spirits, that they relish not 
the things of God, and afford many snares and temptations to disho- 
nesty, lying, falsehood, and all manner of wickedness, whereby they 
may think to better their outward circumstances. And when they 
turn idle, and vague up and down, their case readily turns most 
hopeless, Prov. xxx. 9. forecited, Jer. v. 4. "Therefore have I said, 
Surely these are poor, they are foolish ; for they know not the way 
of the Lord, nor the judgment of their God." 

Vol. V. Y 


Hence may "be seen the reason why the greatest regularity of life 
is found among those of the middle sort, though some of them are 
immoral too. They want the snares and teraptatious of the rich on 
the one hand, and of the poor on the other. They have neither the 
full idleness of the one, nor the poverty and idleness of the other. 

If wo compare the immoral part of the world lying in wickedness 
with the other two, though it is true they are all of the same world, 
and will perish if they be not separated from it ; yet the religious 
and moral have the advantage of the immoral. 

1. In this life, in many respects. They walk more agreeable to 
the dignity of human nature, than the immoral, who are more akin 
to the brutes, being led by their brutal passions and affections even 
as they. They are more useful and beneficial to mankind ; whereas 
the immoral are the pests of human society, working mischief to one 
or other. They have more inward quiet, and are not put on the 
rack, that immorality brings on men, to compass their mischievous 
designs, to cover their deeds, and defend them. And so they have 
more outward safety, their regular lives being a fence to them, both 
from danger without and within. 

2. In the life to come. Though the world, the unregenerate 
world's religion and morality will not bring thera to heaven, yet it 
will make them a softer hell than the immoral shall have, Rev. xx. 
12, 13. And no man can doubt but works of morality are not so ill 
as works of immorality ; unsanctified soberness is not so bad as re- 
velling and open profaneness. It is true, hypocrites shall have a 
hot part in hell ; but can one imagine that their throwing off the 
mask, and giving themselves the swing, will make an easier part ? 
No ; Rev. xxi. 8. " The fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, 
and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, -and 
all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire 
and brimstone ; which is the second death." No doubt the more 
light men sin against, their condemnation will be the more aggra- 
vated ; but certainly it will be sorer for immoral Pagans than moral 
ones, for immoral Christians than moral ones, where the worm never 
dieth, and the fire is not quenched. Conscience will have less guilt, 
and not so deep, to charge on the one as on the other. 

II. The State of the Unregenerate World. 

Having seen the parts of that world, we are next to view the 
state of these parts ; and that is, the whole world lieth in wicked- 
ness, the moral as well as immoral part, and the religious as well as 
the other. It is the common state of the whole unregenerate world ; 
whatever differences are among them, they all agree in this, they 
are lying in wickedness. In speaking to this, I shall, 


1. Confirm and evince the truth of it in the general. 

2. Explain this state of the unregenerate Avorld, their lying in 

First, I am to confirm and evince the truth of the doctrine in the 

First, Satan is the god of the whole unregenerate world ; how can 
it miss then to be wholly lying in wickedness? 2 Cor. iv. 4. It is 
the honour aud advantage of the regenerate, that God is their God, 
Heb. viii. 10; but the unregenerate world is apostate from God, and 
have taken Satan in his room, giving him the homage they owe to 
God. Now Satan is the god of the unregenerate world lying in 

1. In respect of his god-like power over them ; which we may 
take up in these particulars. 

(1.) The sovereignty of it. The unregenerate world is Satan's 
dominion, whereof he is jmnce, John xii. 31. and xiv. 30. Though 
he is under check and control of heaven, and the most fearful ven- 
geance is abiding him from the Lord, yet he is a sovereign prince 
among them, ruling more absolutely than any prince in this world 
doth his subjects, 2 Tim. ii. 26. None of them all have their sub- 
jects so much at their beck, as he has the men of the world. 

(2.) The rivalship of it, being set up and managed just to confront 
the kingdom of God among men. Though Satan is the most miser- 
able thing of the whole creation ; yet, by a peculiar pride and spite 
against God, he sets up directly, and immediately against God and 
his Son Jesus Christ, whose kingdom the regenerate are. And his 
rival kingdom is the unregenerate world. Between these is the 
lasting enmity, Gen. iii. 15. and these are the opposite kingdoms 
that can never mis, Psal. xii. 7; and the design of the gospel is to 
pull down Satan's kingdom, Acts xxvi. 18; Col. i. 13. 

(3.) The extent of it, reaching over the whole world, from one 
end of the earth to the other. All the power that ever the Chal- 
dean, Persian, Grecian, and Roman monarchs had, never reached 
but over a part of the world ; but the power of the devil reaches 
over all countries, wherever unregenerate men are. 

(4.) The nature of it. He receives external worship from many 
in the world, having many whole nations at his devotion. But from 
the whole unregenerate Avorld he receives the subjection, homage, 
and obedience of the inner man ; and that is peculiarly due to God; 
Eph. ii. 2. " Wherein in time past ye walked according to the 
course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, 
the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience." Men 
of greatest eminency over others can only pretend to rule their out- 



ward man ; the soul, the inner man, must be left to God ; and that 
Satan usurps in the unrcgencrate world. He entered into Judas 
moving him to betray Christ, filled the hearts of Ananias and 
Sapphira to lie to the Holy Ghost, ^c. 

2. In respect of his prime origination of their corruption. As from 
God men have their nature, whereby they are men, and their new 
nature whereby they are regenerate men ; so from the devil men 
have all the corruption and sin of their nature, whereby they are un- 
regenerate men ; wherefore as men owe themselves to God, as men 
and Christians ; so they are owing to the devil, as they are unrege- 
nerate men lying in wickedness, See John xiv. 30. He hath of his 
own in them. Hence, 

(1.) The devil is the common father of the unregenerate world as 
such. It is owing to him as the procreating cause thereof. It was 
the spawn of the old serpent conveyed by the first sin into human na- 
ture, that corrupted all mankind. Hence men are said to be of him, 
1 John iii. 12. and of him as a child is of a father, John viii. 44. 
So the world lying in wickedness is called our father's house or fa- 
mily, Psal. xlv. 10. And not only are notoriously wicked persons, 
but all the unregenerate called children of the devil, 1 John iii. 10; 
as bearing his image, John viii. 44. " Ye are of your father the de- 
vil, and the lusts of your father ye will do." 

(2.) Their continuation in that their state, they have from him 
also. God preserves by his providence all that his own hands made, 
and the divine preservation is in eftect a continued creation. But 
since the corruption of the world is originally from the devil, not 
from God ; the maintenance of it comes the same way. So Satan 
upholds that world by his power, and he is incessant in his working 
for that end. 

This gives a very dismal view of the unregenerate world ; it is not 
God's world, but the devil's world, deriving its original from him, 
and over which he has the power of a god. Whence we must see, 
that it is surely, 

(1.) The mire of sin, in which the miserable inhabitants must be 
continually wallowing ; for nothing doth so much please the god of 
that world. He is an enemy to all good, and as far as his power 
reaches, no good can have ijlace. The dust is his meat, and so a life 
of sin is a wallowing in the mire. 

(2.) The region of death and destruction, which God will certainly 
destroy, if once he had his own out of it. For Christ came to de- 
stroy the works of the devil. 

Secondly, Spiritual darkness, thick darkness, is over the whole of 
that world, Eph. v. 8. how can any thing but works of darkness be 


found in it ? The Egyptian darkness was an emblem of this, they 
had a thick darkness, only in Goshen there was light ; so the Egyp- 
tians rose not from their place to do business, Exod. xx. 22, 23. 

1. The sun went down on all mankind in Adam's transgressing 
the covenant; the light of God's countenance was then withdrawn, 
and so there was a terrible eclipse, witness Adam's hiding himself 
from the presence of God, and all men naturally following his foot" 
steps in that. 

2. The unregenerate world remains as Adam left them, the Sun of 
righteousness Jesus Christ is not yet arisen to them, Mai. iv. 2, 3. 
Though he has spread abroad his light in the world, it is not yet 
come into their hearts. They know him not, they have not yet re- 
ceived the saving illumination of his Spirit. 

Their state in point of darkness concludes them under sin, far 
from all good. 

(1.) They are in darkness. Acts xxvi. 18. Every unregenerate 
man sits in darkness, Matth. iv. Iti. lie is like a captive or prisoner 
in a dark dungeon, where no light comes. The smoke of the opened 
pit that was let into the world by sin, makes thick darkness there, 
and that is I'ound about every man till converting grace scatter it. 

(2.) They are under the power of darkness. Col. i. 13. They are 
not like those that are in the dark, but can come out when they 
please into the light ; but they are under the power of it, as in 
chains of darkness. No human art can remove the darkness of a 
natural state, nay it retains its power over them in the midst of 
gospel light. God alone can dispel it, 2 Cor. iv. 6. 

(3.) The powers of hell rule in that darkness, Eph. vi. 12. "When 
the night comes on, the wild beasts come out of their dens, and range 
abroad ; and so the dark world is Satan's walk, where he goes about 
like a roaring lion. Hence it comes to pass, that if any light begin 
to peep in, Satan presently stops it, 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. Thus convictions 
are stifled, and resolves of reformation fly up as dust. 

(4.) It is a darkness of blindness ; they really have not eyes to see 
with, Deut. xxix. 4. A child of God may be in the dark at a time, 
but then he will come forth at length into the light, and will see ; 
but every unregenerate man is spiritually blind. Rev. iii. 17- the 
darkness has blinded him, 1 John ii. 11. He wants a faculty of 
discerning spiritual things in their true natures, 1 Cor. ii. 14. Their 
understanding is darkened. 

(5.) The light in the unregenerate world is darkness, Matth. vi. 
23. That is, it is a false light which quite misrepresents things, so 
they call good evil, and evil good. Hence to them the vanities of 



a present world are substantial, and the treasure hid in the field of 
the gospel is but a trifle. And because they tliink they sec, their 
case is more hopeless, as Christ said to the Pharisees, John ix. 41, 
** If ye were blind ye should have no sin ; but now ye say. We see ; 
therefore your sin remaincth." 

(6.) Lastly^ There is a continual night in the unregenerate world, 

1 Thcss. V. 5. There is an eternal day in heaven, no night there ; 
with the regenerate the day is broken ; but with the unregenerate 
the black and dark night still remains, Isa. viii. 20. From all which 
it appears, that they lie in sin, as prisoners in a dungeon ; and that 
an unconverted state is the suburbs of hell, where there is outer 

Thirdly, They are all lying under the curse. Gal. iii. 10. For not 
being in Christ, they are under the law as a Covenant of works, 
Rom. iii. 19. It is the regenerate only that are delivered from it, 
Rom. viii. 1. " There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ 
Jesus." Hence all the unregenerate are declared out of Christ, 

2 Cor. V. 17. and debarred out of heaven, John iii. 3. And what- 
ever differences may be among them as to their way and walk, the 
curse goes over their whole world. Now this proves that they are 
lying in wickedness two ways. 

1. In that the curse always implies wickedness. A holy God 
will lay none under the curse of the law, but such as are lying under 
sin. It is wickedness that draws the curse after it ; and the latter 
could have had no place in the world, till once the former made way 
for it. So being children of wrath by nature, proves us to be in a 
state of corruption by nature. 

2. While it lies on, sin and wickedness retain their strength, 
1 Cor. XV. 56. " The strength of sin is the law." The reason is, 
the curse on a sinner effectually bars all sanctifying influences from 
heaven ; so that it is not possible that the sinner can rise up from 
his state of sin, while in that case. When the fig-tree was cursed, 
it withered away; and so does the world in wickedness under the 
curse. Therefore faith is the only Avay to holiness ; for by it alone 
the sinner is united to Christ, and justified, whereby the curse is 
removed ; and then he is sanctified, or brought out of his state of 

Fourthly, They are all dead in sin, Eph. ii. 1. There was a great 
cry in Egypt, when there was one dead in every family ; but the un- 
regenerate world is all dead together. God, the life of the soul, is 
departed from them ; they are alienated from the life of God, their 
speech is laid, and their spiritual senses are bound up. So that 
world is the region of the shadow of death. There is this difference 


1. Some are dead and rotten ; these are the immoral part of the 
world, who by their profane lives are as intolerable to sober men, 
as a stinking carcase ; whose conversation, by reason of their pro- 
fanity, is like the opening of an unripe grave, Rom. iii. 13. there- 
fore compared to dogs and swine. 

2. Some are embalmed dead ; these are the moral and religions 
part of the world. A form of godliness, the study and practice of 
moral virtue, is to them as the embalming of the dead corpse, though 
they cannot put spiritual life in a soul. So that these also are dead 
still, and lying dead in sin, though they smell not so rank as the 
profane and immoral. 

Lastly, They are all destitute of every principle of holiness, and 
there cannot be an effect without a cause of it ; there can be no acts 
of holiness without a principle to proceed from. They are destitute, 

1. Of the Spirit of God ; he dwells not in them, Jude, 19. compare 
1 Cor. ii. 14. All true sanctification according to the scripture is 
by the Spirit; it is his taking possession of the soul that looses the 
bands of sin and death, Rom. viii. 2. and he dwells in all that are 
Christ's, ver. 9. But they are possessed by the spirit of the world, 
which is opposite to the Spirit of Grod, and has contrary effects, 
1 John iv. 5. They are of the world ; therefore speak they of the 
world, and the world heareth them. 

2. They are destitute of the new nature ; it is by regeneration 
the new man is framed ; in the unregenerate is the old man alone, 
which is corrupt with his deeds, Eph. iv. 22. Since then the tree is 
not good, how can the fruit be good ? If the new nature is totally 
wanting, how can there be the actions, life, and conversation of the 
new frame ? 

3. They are destitute of faith. And without that there can be 
nothing acceptable to God, Heb. xi. 6. Feigned faith they may 
have ; but true faith they have not ; for that unites with Christ, and 
makes a new creature. 

4. Lastly, Love, the immediate principle of all acceptable obedi- 
ence, is wanting in them ; for that proceeds from faith, and faith 
works by it. They cannot love God, they have not believed in him, 
for these go together. And where no love is, there can be no holy 

Secondly, I come now to explain this state of the unregenerate 
world, there lying in wickedness. And we shall consider, 

1. What of wickedness they lie in. 

2. How they lie in it. 

1. I am to consider what of wickedness they lie in. All the un- 
regenerate world lies. 


First, In a state of sin and wickedness, Acts viii. 23. I perceive 
that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. 
Their state before the Lord is a sinful and wicked state ; they have 
never been washed, nor purged from their sin. They are all over 
sinful and wicked, as over head and ears in the mire. Rev. iii. 17- 
This we take up in two things. 

First, Their nature is wholly corrupted with sin and wickedness, 
Matth. vii. 18. Some of them may have a fair shew outwardly, but 
inwardly they are all overspread with the leprosy of sin, wholly 
corrupt, John iii. 6. The infection by the first sin has gone over the 
whole man, from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot. 
And the cure has never yet been begun in them, as having never 
been touched with regenerating grace. Even the saints' nature is 
corrupt, but they are renewed in part ; but the unregenerate are 
wholly corrupted in the whole man, Isa. viii. 10 ; there is not the 
least stroke of purity in them, Tit. i. 15. 

I. Their souls in all their faculties are overspread with sin, and 
wholly corrupted. 

(1.) Their mind and understanding is wretchedly vitiated. It is 
overwhelmed with gross darkness as to spiritual things, Eph. iv. 
17, 18. Darkness is over all that region ; it is the land of darkness 
and shadow of death, where the very light is darkness ; so that they 
cannot receive the things of God, more than a blind man the light 
of the sun, 1 Cor. ii. 14. So unbelief reigns there, they cannot be- 
lieve, for they cannot see, Eph. ii. 2. 

(2.) Their will is wholly perverse and rebellious against God, 
neither plying nor able to ply to the will of God, Rom. viii. 7- The 
wrong set it got by the fall, it keeps ; and nothing less than creat- 
ing power can give it a new set. What God wills not, that they 
will, and what he wills, they will not ; so that the holy law has an 
irritating effect on them. It is called a stony heart ; break, it may, 
but bow it cannot, till melted down by regenerating grace. 

(3.) Their affections are all in disorder, Jer. xvii. 9. There is no 
moderating of them, by religion and reason, but they are turbulent 
and unmanageable, Jer. ii. 23, 24. They are wretchedly misplaced ; 
they love what they should loath, and loath what they should love. 
They can keep no measure, they run to evil, and what is good is 
against the grain with them. They are monsters in spiritual 
things ; their hearts are where their feet should be, on the world, 
and their heels lifted up against heaven. 

(4.) Their conscience is in miserable plight. Tit. i. 15. It is un- 
fit to do its office truly for want of saving illumination. Hence it is 
a lax conscience, that lets many evils pass without any check at all, 


being silent and senseless ; but as to gross sins, in checking wbicli 
it becomes through custom in them very remiss and easy. And if 
at any time it be awakened, it is easily bribed or boasted to silence. 

2. The body partakes of that corruption, by communication with 
the sinful soul. It incites to sin; is a house wherein the soul finds 
many a snare spread for it; so that many, to gratify their senses 
and bodily appetites, make shipwreck of their souls. Therefore 
the apostle says, " I keep under my body, and bring it into subjec- 
tion ; lest that by any means when I have preached to others, I my- 
self should be a castaway," 1 Cor. ix. 27. It serves the soul in 
much sin, with the members thereof instruments of unrighteousness, 
Rom. vi. 13. The eyes and ears are windows whereat death comes 
into the soul ; the tongue an unruly evil ; the lips unclean, the 
throat an open sepulchre ; the feet swift to mischief ; and the belly 
made a god, not only by them that feed delicately, but those that 
live on coarse fair, Zech. vii. 6. 

Secondly, Their lives and conversations are wholly corrupted. 
Psal. xiv. 3. For the fountain being poisoned, no pure streams 
can come forth from thence, Matth. xii. 34. The conversation of 
unregeuerate men is one continued course of error, and wandering 
out of the way of God's commandments. Some of them are nearer 
the way than others of them, but all of them are quite otf it, Psal. 
xiv. 3. "Whether they move slow or fast, they are out of course, 
Eccl. X. 15. For many of their actions are ill in themselves, in the 
very matter of them condemned by the law of God, and which they 
never truly repent of. All of them are wrong in the manner, the 
best of them are marred in the making, through the want of right 
principles, motives, and ends. 

Secondly, The whole unregeuerate world lies under the dominion 
and reigning power of sin and wickedness, Rom. vi. 17. Even in 
the regenerate sin dwells, as a troublesome guest ; but it has lost 
the throne in the heart. But in the unregeuerate, it has full sway, 
and is the sovereign commanding principle in them. There are two 
things that evidence this. 

1. Sin is in them in its full strength and vigour, and therefore 
rules and commands all. The strength of sin is the law, 1 Cor. xy. 
56. and they are under the law, under it as a covenant of works, 
and therefore under the curse. And wherever the curse lies, there 
sin remains in its strength and power ; and there is no cutting off 
the locks of siu, and breaking the power of it, but by removing the 
curse, and delivering from the law as a covenant, Rom. vi. 14. 

2. It possesses them alone without an opposite principle. The 
old man of sin has not only the possession of every part, but of the 


■whole of every part, there being no principle of grace brought in 
upon it to counteract it. In the regenerate there is a corrupt prin- 
ciple indeed, called the flesh ; but it reigns not, because there is an 
opposite principle brought in upon it to resist it. Gal. v. 17. But 
the unregenerate are -wholly flesh, John iii. 6. So they are like the 
dead man, where death bears full sway ; in the other death and dis- 
ease are struggling for the mastery. 

Thirdly, They lie in the habitual practice of sin and wickedness, 
Psal. xir. 1. " The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God; they 
are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that 
doeth good." Where sin reigns in the heart, one's course of life 
cannot be otherwise ; if the eye be evil, the whole body must be full 
of darkness. Where the old corrupt nature remains in its vigour, 
it is impossible but the life and conversation must be corrupt too. 
It is true, there is a great difference of life and practice among the 
men of the world ; but that all the unregenerate lie in the practice 
of sin and wickedness, however they diff'er in the kinds of it, is clear 
from the following considerations. 

First, The bent, strain, and course of their life is quite wrong, 
Eph, ii. 1, 2. They are ofi^ from the mark; Adam led us all off" the 
road, and they are not brought to it again. However quickly they 
move at any time, they are always like an arrow shot beside the 
mark, a traveller that is off his road, Eccl. x. 15. They are a com- 
pany of Avanderers, straying sheep, wandering on the mountains of 
vanity, 1 Pet. ii. ult. though they go their sundry ways, Isa. liii. 6 ; 
some wandering in the wilderness of formality, others in the mires 
and bogs of profanity. But all have sinned and come short of the 
glory of God, Rom. iii. 23. 

Secondly, Any good they do is accidental, even as a wanderer in 
his course of wandering may stumble sometimes on the road ; but it 
is not the product of their main scope and aim. So the Danites 
consulted God as to their way, not that they were seeking an occa- 
sion of it, but an occasion met them, Judges xviii. 5. So some ex- 
pound that passage, Lev. xxvi. 23. If ye will not be reformed by 
me by these things, but will walk contrary to me, &c. Unregener- 
ate men may do good ; but it is by the by only, as it happens to 
suit with their particular humours and interests ; for self is the 
dead sea with them, wherein all is swallowed up ; and they are un- 

Tkirdly, The best things they do are sin, unapproved, unaccepted 
of God, Prov. XV. 8. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination 
to the Lord, Isa. Ixvi. 3. " He that killeth an ox, is as if he slew a 
man ; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck ; he 


that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood ; he that 
burueth incense, as if he blessed an idol." They reckon wrong, 
dividing their actions into good works and ill works ; they are en- 
tirely divided into glistering sins, and black and dark sins ; and 
what they call their good works, are but glistering sins. For they 
are not done in faith ; and whatsoever is not of faith, is sin, Rora. 
xiv. ult. Their sinful unregenerate state corrupts all, as a tainted 
vessel doth the liquor poured into it, Hag. ii. 11 — 14. Their actions 
materially good, are really evil, as wrong in the in-iuciples, manner, 
and end. 

Lastly, "Whatever good an unregenerate man does, he still lives 
in the allowed practice of some sin without repenting or forsaking it. 
Let him have never so many good things about him, there is still 
one thing lacking, that mars all, Mark x. 21. This will be evident, 
if ye consider, 

1. That an universal and impartial respect to the commands of 
God, is a mark of the regenerate, Psal. cxix. 9. "Then shall I not 
be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments." 
This bears that in the case of others there is always some exception, 
they never go along with the holy law without reserve. There is 
always something in Christ that offends them, that they stick at, 
and cannot go down with them, Matth. xi. 6. 

2. Sin's reign being still entire in them, it must have some lust or 
other for its sceptre to command by, Rom. vi. 12. The current or 
channel of a water may be altered ; but as long as the fountain is 
not dried up, it will have some channel to run in. A man's parti- 
cular predominant may alter ; but while unregenerate, he will always 
have some predominant, that shall command all. 

3. The heart of man must needs hang on at one door or other for 
rest to itself. Faith carries the soul to take up its rest in God, 
Heb. iv. 3. But the unregenerate being unbelievers, do not make 
God their rest : therefore without controversy they will be found 
about the creature's door, seeking their rest there. So the heart has 
still some secret haunt of lust or other, that it can never be driven 
away from. 

That haunt of the heart will be found in one of two. 

\st, In the desires of the flesh, Eph. ii. 3. There the grosser part 
of the world do nestle, who live as if they were nothing but flesh, 
and had nothing but the body, and a present life, to care for. And 
here one of two things will readily be found the reigning sin of the 

1. Covetousness and worldly mindedness. There is in the world 
the lust of the eye, the gains and profits of a present world ; and 


there many an nnsauctified heart lias its secret liannt, ever minding 
earthly things, Phil. iii. 19. Here is the bait for the rich and the 
poor, the main stream of their cares runs there, the one for increas- 
ing, the other for getting : some by lawful means, but immoderately 
used, others right or wrong. But that is instead of God to them, 
1 John ii. 15; and therefore it is called idolatry, Col. iii. 5. 

2. Sensuality. There is in the world the lust of the flesh, the 
pleasures of sense, and carnal appetite ; and there many an unre- 
newed heart has its secret haunt, that it can by no means be kept 
out of. There may be many good things about them ; but their 
running issue there can never be stopt. The pleasures of sense are 
better to them, than all the pleasures of communion with God ; and 
they are instead of it to them, 2 Tim. iii. 4, 5. Hence some are 
voluptuous epicures, whose belly is their god ; some fleshly slaves, 
abandoned to, and wholly in the power of their fleshly lusts. 

2dli/, Or in the desires of the mind, Eph. ii. 3. There is in the 
•world the pride of life too ; and there the more refined part of the 
iinregenerate world do nestle. And here are several things that 
■will be found reigning sins of the unregenerate, the haunts of their 
unrenewed hearts. 

1. Reigning prifle and self-conceit, 2 Tim. iii. 2. Having never 
had a kindly work of humiliation wrought on them, the natural 
height of their spirit is unbroken. If they have any natural or ac- 
quired excellencies about them, they admire themselves in these, and 
take it very ill if others do not do so too. If they happen to obtain 
any religious or moral excellences, their case then becomes most 
hopeless, that publicans and harlots enter into the kingdom of hea- 
ven before them : for their unrenewed hearts have no ballast for 
that sail. 

2. Bitterness of spirit, showing itself in malice and revenge 
against those they think have injured them. The unregenerate 
"world is the region of malice and bitterness, as peo^jled by the seed 
of the serpent. Tit. iii. 3, " For we ourselves also, (saith the apostle 
Paul,) were sometimes foolish, — living in malice and envy, hateful, 
and hating one another." This temper of spirit is more the nature 
of the unregenerate than generally we are aware of. The contrary 
disposition is the badge of the family of God, Matt. v. 44, 45. " But 
I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do 
good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use 
you, and persecute you ; that ye may be the children of your Father 
which is in heaven, for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on 
the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." An un- 
forgiving disposition is a sign of an unforgiven state, Matth. vi. 14, 


15. Therefore there were none more spiteful and malicious than 
the Pharisees, because there were none farther from a state of par- 
don with God. When grace comes, it turns lions into lambs, Isa. 
xi. 6 ; and has a benign influence to the good of mankind, Rom, 
xiii. 10. 

3. Reigning vanity of mind, Eph. iv. 17- All the unrcgenerate 
world having left God, follow after vanity; for there is no niids, 
1 Sam. xii. 21. They are all in the dark, groping here and there 
for rest to their hearts among the creatures ; they find it not, but a 
thousand disappointments cause them not to give over. They are 
like a sick man on his bed, turning every where for ease, and 
tossing; only never turning to God in Christ. The sick heart has 
this and the other fair i)romise made to it, to give it ease ; for that 
end the world makes a mighty stir about meat, clothes, building, 
planting, doing and undoing again, turning upside down, changing 
and tacking about ; and all in vain, without finding rest. 

4. Natural enmity against God, Rom. viii. 7- The unregenerate 
world is, in the language of the Holy Ghost, a generation of vipers, 
Matth. iii. 7- And the seed of the serpent have all their venomous 
nature unchanged in them, whatever shapes or form of religion, or 
morality has cast them into. And this their natural enmity against 
God appears in two things. 

(1.) A reigning enmity against the power of godliness, wherever 
it appears. Acts xiii. 10. Unrenewed professors of religion may 
very well like religion of the stamp of their own, and may have as 
much zeal as could burn up others that are not of their way ; but to 
heaven shall hell be as soon reconciled, as they to real godliness in 
the power thereof, as it expresseth the image of Christ. And there- 
fore there are none more virulent against the most serious godly 
than they, against those whose life is likest Christ's on earth. 

(2.) An irreconcilable enmity to the law, and the holiness it re- 
quires, Rom. viii. 7- The image of God was most lively expressed 
on the man Christ, and in his holy life when on earth the world saw 
it ; and it no sooner appeared, than the natural enmity of the un- 
regenerate world appeared against God, in the treatment they gave 
to him, until they had him persecuted to the death. Now the most 
lively expression of the image of God, to be seen on earth, is in the 
holy law ; but darkness and light may as soon be reconciled, as the 
unregenerate heart to the law. This appears, if ye consider, 

(1.) There is never an unrenewed heart for the whole law, but at 
most to pick and chuse in it. Their shoulders can never away with 
the whole yoke of Christ. Seek all the unrcgenerate world, ye shall 
ao sooner find one that is for fulfilling all God's will, than one after 


God's own heart, Acts xiii. 22. Some or other of his commands aro 
always grievous to them, and that they can by no means bear. 

(2.) The law brought close home to the unregenerate has an irri- 
tating power on them, Rom. viii. 9. The more they are girded with 
the holy commandment, the more they sting against it ; the closer 
it is applied to them, the farther they flee from it. It is like the 
stirring of the ant's nest, and the fretting of the serpent, that causes 
it spit its venom. Hence the more means of grace many have, they 
arc the more vile ; as the more the sun beats on the dunghill, its 
stench is the greater. 

(3.) Akin to this is the enmity of the world against the ministers 
of Christ, which all ages and places have given pregnant instances 
of. The true reason of it is their office, an office ungrateful to the 
world, to declare the laws of Heaven, John xv. 20, 21. " Remember 
that word that I said unto you. The servant is not greater than his 
lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you ; if 
they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these 
things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know 
not him that sent me." Hence the current of spite against them, as 
against stewards who are to execute in a family the orders of the 
head thereof which are very unacceptable. Thus men being touched 
in their sore places, are irritated ; yea, if providence frown upon 
men, their ill nature is ready to appear against them ; because the 
unhumbled heart frets against the Lord, and so it rebounds on his 
servants standing in that relation to him. 

5. Selfishness, 2 Tim. iii. 2. Men shall be lovers of their own 
selves. It is among the first lessons Christ puts in the hands 
of his scholars, to deny themselves ; importing that all unregene- 
rate men are overgrown with selfishness. Man falling off from 
Grod, set up himself as his chief end ; and hence comes no due 
concern for the honour of God, nor for the good of others ; but all 
swallowed up in concern for themselves ; driving forward to that 
end over both the one and the other. Now grace corrects this dis- 
position, bringing men out of the circle of self in which they were 
confined. This selfishness appears. 

(1.) In their worldly management, where it swallows up neigh- 
bour-love, as in a devouring gulf, Phil. ii. 20, 21. Hence no due 
sympathy with the afflicted, their sorrows no allay to their joys ; 
yea a secret satisfaction in the crosses, losses, and afflictions of 
others, that the sorrows of others are matter of joy and triumph to 
them, Prov. xxiv. 17, 18. Envying and grudging at the prosperity 
of others, undermining them in their afi'airs, not standing to drive on 
their own interest on the ruin of their neighbours ; a scandalous 
cruel practice, which God is this day visibly contending for. 


(2.) In their religious management, -where it swallows up the love 
of God in Christ, like a devouring gulf, Phil. ii. 21. Hence no due 
concern for the honour of God in the world, no mourning for the 
sins of others, but a careless Gallio-like temper whether the in- 
terests of religion sink or swim. No rejoicing in the glorifying of 
God, where they themselves cannot pretend to a share ; an ill eye 
on the good of others, and hardly a good word to spare for it, but a 
readiness to detract from it and sully it, unless they be of their 
party and way ; in that case they find room for it, because there is 
room for self there, Phil. i. 15 — 18. 

6. Lastly, Unbelief. This is the common sin of all the unre- 
generate world (John iii. 18, 19.) that hear the gospel. They may 
escape a mire of pollution, that others fall into, who are yet sunk 
over head and ears here. It is a sin that is the need-nail to all 
others, John vii. 24. and yet such a spiritual sin, that it is hardly 
discerned ; it not being of the nature of those sins that a natural 
conscience boggles at. But all the unregenerate live in it. 

(1.) They do not truly believe the gospel, Isa. liii. 1. There is a 
report sent from another woi-ld, of life and salvation for sinners 
through Christ ; they do not contradict, they say they believe it, 
nay they think they believe it ; but in reality they believe it not. 
For to quit the enjoyment of their lusts, and the pursuit of the vain 
world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, 
is in their eyes to quit certainty for uncertain hope. Any faith 
they have of it is but superficial ; for it is risen without the root of 
saving illumination, and the demonstration of the Spirit, 1 Cor. ii. 
4, 5. Matth. xvi. 17- 

(2.) They have never been brought freely away to Christ, in the 
way of believing, for all, John i. 12, 13. All the proposals of the 
gospel made to them, have never prevailed farther than to make 
them almost Christians, they have not felt the day of power to make 
them willing, Psal. ex. 3. Men have drawn them, conscience has 
pressed them ; but they have not felt the Father's drawing yet. 
Two things evince this. 

(1.) They are not yet come freely away out of themselves, to 
Christ, for a rest to their consciences, Phil. iii. 3. They have never 
yet died to the law, and therefore cannot be married to Christ, 
Rom. vii. 4. They are not poor in spirit, Matth. v. 3. There is 
something left them still of their own, which though they cannot 
trust to before God for altogether, yet they can in part. They are 
never brought freely out of their own righteousness, Rom. x. 3. 

(2.) They are not come freely away from the creature into Christ, 
for a rest to their hearts, Heb. iv. 3. They have never seen the 


fulness in Christ, that he should be the one thing desired by them ; 
but in their way Christ may bear the weight somewhat for a rest to 
their consciences, but the heart can have no rest but in the crea- 
ture ; for they say, as Isa. iv. 1, " We will eat our own bread, and 
wear our own apparel ; only let us bo called by thy name, to take 
away our reproach." He is not the one pearl to them, for which 
all is to be sold. 

(3.) They do not live by faith, which is the only true Christian 
life, Gal. ii. 20. So far from it, that, 

(1.) Sense, and not faith, is their guide in their way, quite con- 
trary to the Christian course, 2 Cor. v. 7- " We walk by faith, not 
by sight." The constant cry of the unregenerate world is, " Who 
will shew us any good?" Psal. iv. 6. and nothing is good in their 
eyes but sensible good. So the things that are seen, and present, 
are valued and pursued ; things that are not seen, and future, are 
slighted as uncertain. 

(2.) Self, and not Christ, is what they lean to for carrying them 
on their way. The life of faith is a leaning on Christ, Cant. viii. 5. 
But instead of that, the unregenerate lean on their own stock, their 
self-wisdom for management, their self-strength for performance, 
and their self-worth for acceptance. 

Thus it appears, that they still live in the allowed practice of 
some sin or other. Now, 

1. The effect thereof is, that that one thing mars all to them, in 
point of acceptance ; and keeps them in a state of death, Mark x. 
21. While one sin is allowedly kept, no good they do can be ac- 
cepted of God, Psal. Ixvi. 18. It is as poison poured into a cup, 
which goes through all. And it effectually concludes them in a 
state of death ; for an offending right eye or right hand puts the 
whole body in hazard of perishing, Matth. v. 29, 30. One leak may 
sink the ship. Abimelech the son of Gideon's concubine, slew his 
seventy brethren the sons of the wives. 

2. The reason hereof is, that one sin is kept in the allowed prac- 
tice thereof, evidencetli that any good done by such a one, is not 
done out of love to God, and regard to his holy law, but from some 
self end. For if the authority of God upon any command were 
sufficient to recommend the obedience of it to a man, it would re- 
commend all the commands '.to him, because all bear the same im- 
press of divine authority, James ii. 10, 11. 

Fourthly, The whole unregenerate world lies under the guilt of 
sin, the guilt of revenging wrath, Rom. iii. 19. Now we know that 
what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under 
the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may 


become guilty before God. By the sanction of the law, guilt follows 
sin ; the creature sinning becomes liable to wrath ; there is a bond 
wreathed about their neck, by which they may be drawn to suffer. 
Hence sin is called a debt, because as it is the taking away of obe- 
dience due, it binds to suffer punishment accordingly. That we may 
have a view of their state under the guilt of sin, consider, 

1. It is the guilt of eternal wrath they lie under, being bound 
over thereto by the curse, Gal. iii. 10. The regenerate may be un- 
der guilt too ; but it is only the guilt of fatherly anger ; there is no 
curse, no revenging Avrath in their case, Rom. viii. 1. But the un- 
regenerate are under a bond of guilt binding them to suffer in hell 
to the complete satisfaction of justice. 

2. The guilt of their original sin they were born with, is still ly- 
ing on them, Eph. ii. 3. — And were by nature the children of wrath, 
even as others. They came into the world condemned men ; and not 
being in Christ, the sentence is never reversed, though the execution 
is delayed. They have not the king's pardon, though they are yet 
spared, and easy as if there were no quarrel. 

3. Every actual transgression, in heart, lip, or life, by omission, 
or commission, brings on new guilt of that kind on them. Gal. iii. 
10. " Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which 
are written in the book of the law to do them." So the guilt of 
their sins is added to the guilt of their original sin ; and as many 
actual sins as they are chargeable with, so many pilars there are of 
that cord of death on them. As they repeat their sins, the law re- 
peats its curse. 

4. An unregenerate man can do nothing but what is sin, Matth. 
vii. 18. Accordingly God testifies of them that there is none that 
doeth good, no not one, Rom. iii. 12. His nature being wholly cor- 
rupt, all his actions are corrupt too ; his natural actions, Zech. vii. 
6. his civil actions, Prov. xxi. 4. and his religions actions, Prov. xv. 
8. So that in all tliey do, they contract new guilt. Hag. ii. 14. 

5. Man is a busy creature, still doing. And none are more bus^ 
than the unregenerate that can do no good, Isa. Ivii. 20. " The wick- 
ed are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters 
cast up mire and dirt." The heart of man is like the watch, that 
may go as fast going wrong, as when going right : it is still em- 
ployed about vanity or vileness; and every imagination is evil. 
Gen. vi. 5. 

6. Lastly, All their guilt sticks with them, nothing of it goes off, 
being out of Christ, Eph. ii. 1. Believers are daily contracting 
guilt, it is true ; but then they are daily getting it removed too, 
through daily application of the blood of Christ by faith, as the liv- 

VoL. V. z 


ing man is putting off nastiness from him ; whereas all abides with 
the nnregenerato world, as the vermin on the dead corpse that can 
put off none. 

Now put all these together, and what a dreadful lair has the un- 
regenerate world in the guilt of sin ! Floods of guilt are still rol- 
ling in on them, as the waters are running continually into the sea; 
hut whereas the sea lets out of its waters that it receives in, they 
keep all the floods of guilt that roll in on them. So the longer they 
lire, they are the more miserable, because the more guilty. 

Lastly, The whole unregenerate world lies in the filth and pollu- 
tion of sin, Tit. i. 15. Unto them that are defiled and unbelieving, 
is nothing pure ; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. Sin 
is a defiling evil, it pollutes the sinner in the sight of God, defacing 
his image in the soul, and rendering him unlike God. God is glori- 
ous in holiness, this holiness he has expressed in his law, and sin is 
the quite contrary of that holiness. So that God can no more cease 
to abominate it, than to delight in his own image, Hab. i. 13 ; Jer. 
xliv. 4. 

1. Their natural defilement and pollution which they were born 
in, still remains, Psal. li. 5. for they are not born again of the water 
and the Spirit. An emblem of their case ye have in Ezek. xvi. 
The whole soul of their frame is unclean, polluted, and unlike God, 
Tit. i. 15. 

2. Every actual transgression, or omission, or commission, leaves 
a new stroke of pollution on them, rendering them more unlike God, 
Rom. iii. 13. So that their spiritual uncleanness is ever increasing, 
and the longer they live, they do but contract the more defilement. 

3. Lastly, All sticks on them, nothing of their old or new defile- 
ment is removed ; because they were never washed in the laver of 
regeneration, Ezek. xxii. 24. And what a wretched case must that 
be, where new filth is still coming on the soul, but none going off ? 

II. I shall now shew how the unregenerate world lies in wicked- 
ness. They lie in it in the most hopeless case ; which we may take 
up in three things. They lie, 

1. Bound in it, Acts viii. bound in it like prisoners, Isa. Ixi. 
1. They are in chains of guilt, which they cannot break oft'; there 
are fetters of strong lusts upon them, which hold them fast. Satan 
has overcome them, and brought them into bondage; and though 
they see their case is wrong, though a natural conscience witnesseth 
their hazard ; yet they cannot leave it, but go on like an ox to the 
slaughter, and a fool to the correction of the stocks. 

2. Asleep in it, Eph. v. 14. They have drunk of the intoxicating 
cup, and are fast asleep, though within the sea mark of vengeance. 


Though some times they are made to start in their sleep, by passing 
convictions like a stitch in the side ; yet there is no awakening of 
them, by all the alarms they get from the word, froni providence, 
and their own conscience. If tliey are at any time moved by these, 
yet they quickly fall over asleep again. 

3. Lastlt/, Dead in it, Eph. ii. 1. A natural life, through the 
union of a soul with their body, they have ; but their spiritual life 
is gone, the union of their souls with God being quite broken, Eph. 
iv. 18. The image of God on the soul, the principal of vital holy 
actions, is away from them ; so they lie in wickedness, breathless and 
motionless, ready to be buried out of God's sight. 

The Doctrine of the Ilnregenerato tvorld lying in Wickedness, applied. 

Use I. Of information. See here. 

First, The spring and fountain of the abounding sin in our day : 
The whole world lies in wickeducss ; and wickedness proceedeth from 
the wicked, 1 Sam. xxiv. 13. What but wickedness can be expected 
in a wicked world ? The unregenerate bear the far greater bulk in 
the land, as in the world ; and they are lying in wickedness. Here 
then is the opened fountain of the great deep, that has brought on 
a deluge of wickedness. Hence, 

1. The apostacy in principles, men departing from the faith, and 
bringing in damnable heresies. The infidelity of this generation has 
gone to a monstrous height ; contempt of revealed religion has fear- 
fully spread. The doctrine of the grace of Christ is despised; and 
the doctrine of the person of Christ is rudely attacked ; the founda- 
tions that were left in safety in the time of Prelacy, yea under Pop- 
ery, are now overturned." So has the wickedness of the world ly- 
ing in wickedness broke out in our day. 

2. Apostacy in practice. There is a deluge of profanity gone over 
the land ; men have loosed the bridle to their lusts, opened the sluice 
to their wickedness, and there is no stopping of it by men's endea- 
vours, Psal. cxix. 126. " It is time for thee. Lord, to work; for 
they have made void thy law." All ranks have corrupted their 
ways in church and state ; that they are like to wear out serious 
godliness, and the saints of the Most High. And the generation is 
remarkably worse than their father's, more loose, and regardless of 
all that is good. 

Secondly, The spring of all the miseries that are lying on us, and 
we are threatened with. The world is lying in wickedness, and there- 

* The author refers to the revival of Arianism in England by Doctor Clarke, and in 
Scotland by Professor Simpson. 



fore lies in misery ; for God is a sin-hating and sin-revenging God. 
It is the sin and wickedness of the generation, that has brouglit on 
the decay of trade, and is impoverishing the country, for a witness 
against the inisimprovcment of a thriving condition. To that is 
owing the j^resent straitness, and diminishing of our ordinary food ; 
for the abuse of fulness in luxury, sensuality, and lasciviousness; 
the desolating of the ilocks, for men's oppressing one another ; the 
great sickness and death in families wherewith the Lord is afflicting 
us. And these look but like the beginning of sorrows, for there is 
EO turning to the hand that smiteth. 

Let not men harden themselves in the case, because it seems to 
fare as ill with saints as sinners. For, 

1. It is God's ordinary way in his proceedings against a land, to 
begin with his own house and family, Ezek. ix. 6. For though they 
are not of, yet they are in the world, and contract infection, so that 
with them also there are sins against the Lord. And because the 
Lord has a kindness for them, they get the brim of the cup, Zech. i. 
11, 12. 

2. But it is a sign for ill to the world lying in wickedness. And 
of a long time we have had that sign, of particular strokes directed 
against those that are the most serious, 1 Pet. iv. 17, 18, For the 
time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God ; and if 
it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the 
gospel of God ? and if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall 
the ungodly and the sinner appear ? If God's own people drink of 
the cup of judgment, the world lying in wickedness shall pledge them, 
and drink after, Jer. xxv. 27, 29. And the former getting the brim, 
the dregs will fall to the latter, Psal. Ixxv. 8. And thus God's 
own prophets have been signs to a people with whom God had a con- 
troversy, Ezek. xxiv. Thus Ezekiel is i:nto you a sign ; according 
to all that he hath done, shall ye do ; and when this cometh, ye shall 
know that I am the Lord. 

3. Lastly, Though in the outward course of providence all falls 
alike to all, yet the cross of the saint is better than the crown of 
the sinner, Isa. liii. 10, 11. "Say ye to the righteous that it shall 
be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. "Wo 
unto the wicked, it shall be ill with him ; for the reward of his hands 
shall be given him," Rom. viii. 28. "And we know that all things 
work together for good, to them that love God, to them who are the 
called according to his purpose," Prov. i. 32. " The prosperity of 
fools shall destroy them." 

Thirdly, It is not strange to find men of the world lying in the 
habitual practice of some abomination ; for the whole world lieth in 


wickedness. Men will carry themselves agreeable to their state of 
regeneracy or irregeneracy ; and to find unregenerate men lying in 
this and the other wickedness, is no more strange than to find fish 
swimming in the water, and birds flying in the air; it is their element. 

1. Accordingly some lie in open wickedness, declaring their sin 
as Sodom, Isa. liii. 9. For where men cannot restrain them, they 
are at liberty, becanse they have no fear of God before their eyes. 
Their Inst is their law in these things, and they go so far in the 
road as their feet will carry them, doing evil as they may or can. 

2. Some lie in some secret wickedness, which they get kept secret 
from the open view of the world, and for the eye of a jealous God 
that mars them not, Ezek. viii. 12, " Son of man, hast thou seen 
what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man 
in tl'.e chambers of his imagery ? for they say, The Lord seeth ns 
not, the Lord hath forsaken the earth." This evil world has a loath- 
some aspect as it is, for all the covering of abominations in it ; but 
were the secret abominations in it brought out to men's knowledge, 
the secret frauds and cheats, whoredoms, adultei-ies, and lascivious- 
ness, murders, thefts, &c. set in the light, how much more loathsome 
would the world appear ? Eph. v. 12. For it is a shame even to 
speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But two 
things are certain, 

(1.) Where the fountain of sin is not stopt by regenerating grace, 
it must needs have its main stream running in the practice of some 
one wickedness or other, Rom. vi. 12. An unregenerate man's pre- 
dominant sin may indeed be changed ; but he shall sooner cease to 
breathe, than to have some one running issue or other. And that 
will always be his neckbreak here, that will part betwixt Christ and 
him, Mark X. 21,22; and that will be the most terrible gnawing 
worm in the conscience hereafter. 

(2.) "Whether it be an open or secret wickedness, it will be called 
at length before a tribunal, where there will be no shifting of com- 
pearance, defeating of probation, nor stopping execution. Acts xvii. 
31. " He hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world 
in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained." Rom. xiv. 
10. " We shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ." 
There the most secret pieces of wickedness shall be discovered be- 
fore all the world, Eccl. xii. ult. " For God shall bring every work 
into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or 
whether it be evil. Prov. xxvi. 26, " Whose hatred is covered with 
deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congrega- 
tion." And the most daring transgressor shall be made to stand 
trembling, Eccl. si. 9. " Rejoice, young man, in thy youth, and 

z 3 


let tliy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the 
ways of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes ; but know thou, 
that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment." 

Foxu-tJihj, The world must be an infectious society ; it must be a 
pestilential air that is breathed in it, and wickedness in it must be 
of a growing and spreading nature. For the whole world lieth in 
wickedness. Ilenco, 

1. Unregenerate men, if they get not a cast of saving grace to 
change their nature, will undoubtedly grow worse and worse, 2 Tim. 
iii. 13. As that which lies in the dunghill, rots the more the longer 
it lies ; so men lying in irrcgeneracy, in wickedness, the longer 
they live their case is the more hopeless. How evidently is this 
seen, in there being some hope of some while they are yet young, 
yet not being converted then, they grow at length to a j)itch that 
there is no dealing with them ? 

2. Unregenerate men are snares and neckbrcaks one to another, 
serving to advance the growth of wickedness in one another, !Mattli. 
■xviii. 7- As in a dunghill one part serves to rot another, so is it in 
the world lying in Avickedness. The ill example of some en- 
courages others, and so the elder corrupt the younger, especially 
when they go about to train them up in the ways of wickedness. 

3. They are snares even to the godly. It is hard to come near a 
mire or dunghill and not be defiled. There was a suffocating vapour 
arose from the high priest's hall, that made Peter fall a denying his 
Master. This made the Psalmist say, " \Yo is me, that I sojourn 
in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar," Psal. cxx. 5. 

Hence we may learn, 

(1.) They have a hard task in hand, whose business it is to deal 
with the world lying in wickedness, in order to their reformation ; 
for the longer they lie in their wickedness they are the more 
strengthened in it, their hearts are the more hardened, their consci- 
ences more seared, and the bands of wickedness grow stronger. 
And then one helps another in an ill course, they unite and combine 
to strengthen one another in wickedness. So that it is a heavy 

(2.) The danger of ill company, 1 Cor. xv. 32. " Evil communica- 
tions corrupt good manners." The wicked world is a dangerous so- 
ciety, and has been ruining to many. How many have been ruined, 
by their being educated and living amongst those of the world lying 
in wickedness, never having an opportunity of good company, where 
they might see or get good ? How many have been ruined by their 
falling into ill company, after hopeful beginnings ? The stream of 
our nature runs the wrong way, so the world lying in wickedness 



rows with the stream, and so is successful in working sinners' ruin, 
Prov. xiii. 20, " He that walketh with wise men, shall be wise; but 
a companion of fools shall be destroyed." 

Fifthly, This accounts for the uneasy life that the serious-godly 
have in the world. The whole world lieth in wickedness. Our 
Lord Jesus had an uneasy life in it, and so will all his followers 
have to the end. The church in the world is like a lily among 
thorns ; however the world may caress its own, the serious-godly 
will not get leave to forget that they are from home while in it; 
strangers and pilgrims ; that they arc in a wilderness. How can 
their life in it miss to bo uneasy ? For unto them, 

1. It is a loathsome world, where their eyes must behold abomi- 
nations that they cannot help, Hab. i. 3. " Why dost thou shew me 
iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance ? for spoiling and vio- 
lence are before me ; and there are that raise up strife and conten- 
tion." However the swine of this world may delight to wallow in 
their own mire, and to lie in their own dunghill ; yet to heaven-born 
souls, the stench arising from that dunghill must needs be noise- 
some. Hence says the prophet, Jer. ix. 2. " Oh, that I had in the 
wilderness a lodging-place of way-faring men, that I might leave 
ray people, and go from them ; for they be all adulterers, an as- 
sembly of treacherous men." 

2. It is a vexatious world ; the temper of the parties is so differ- 
ent, so opposite, that they can never hit it, but must needs be heavy 
one to another. As the way of the godly is uneasy to the world, so 
the way of the world is uneasy to them, makes them many a sorrow- 
ful day and heavy heart, and draws many a sigh and groan from 
them, as in Lot's case, 2 Pet. ii. 7, 8. And the uneasiness arising 
from that quarter makes heaven more desirable, as to burdened men 

3. It is an ensnaring world, wherein snares of all sorts are going, 
and they are many times catched in the trap ere they are aware, 
2 Tim. iii. 1, 2. This know also, that in the last days perilous 
times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, co- 
vetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, un- 
thankful, unholy, &c. The v/orld lying in wickedness lays snares 
for them, that by drawing them into their courses, they may make 
them like themselves. And at all times they are in hazard by 
them, either by omission of necessary duty, or commission of sin. 

4. It is a world wherein wickedness thrives apace as in its native 
soil, but any good has much ado to get up its head, Jer. iv. 22. 
" For my people is foolish, they have not known me, they are sot- 
tish children, and they have none understanding ; they are wise to 


do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge." The ground 
being cursed, thistles and thorns grow up of their own accord ; but 
after much labour for the seed-corn, the husbandman has but a sorry 
increase. So the work of wickedness goes on with speed ; but 
how hard is it to make a good work take ! The most prudent man- 
agement can hardly carry a good work, but one sinner destroyeth 
much good, Eccl. ix. ult. 

SicMj/, This accounts for the frightful end this visible world will 
make, by the general conflagration, 2 Pet. iii. 10. There is a curse 
on it, for the wickedness in it, that once deluged it, it will in the 
end burn it up. It has been a stage of wickedness, and will be 
pulled down; a sink of abominations, and will be overthrown. The 
creatures groan in it, under the abuse of them to the serving of the 
lusts of men ; they must be delivered. 

Lastly, This shews the dangerous state of the unregenerate world ; 
they lie in wickedness. Therefore, 

1. They now lie under wrath, hanging in the threatening and 
curse which is over their heads, Eph. ii. 8. Being in the region of 
wickedness, it is the region of wrath, John iii. nit. They are in a 
state of wrath, it is on them and theirs. 

2. They will perish under that wrath, whoever continue and come 
not out from among them. For the world now lying in wickedness, 
will sink down into the pit, and lie eternally under their guilt and 
filth, ]\Iatth. XXV. ult. Rev. xx. 14, 15. 

Use II. Of exhortation. 

1. To all I would say, Search and try what society ye belong to, 
whether ye are still of, or separated from, the world lying in wick- 
edness. It is certain, we are all naturally of the world ; there is 
no coming out of it, but by regenerating grace ; and being come, 
ye will have taken another route. What has been already said, 
particularly on the first clause of the verse, touching the mai'ks and 
characters of those that are of God, and so separated from the world, 
may serve to discover your state in this point. 

2. To saints separated from the world, I would say, 

(1.) Do not much wonder at the harsh entertainment ye meet 
with in it. Yalue not the frowns of the world lying in wickedness ; 
and think not strange of frowns of providence on you while ye are 
in it. For it will never be quite well with the family of God, while 
they are here in the same place with the world. 

(2.) Watch against it while ye are in it, as being in hazard of 
sins and snares in a world lying in wickedness. Be not secure ; 
knowing that your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh 
about seeking whom he may devour, 1 Pet. v. 8. 


(3.) Look homeward, and long to be with Christ ; where you 
shall be for ever out of the reach of all evil, and enjoy such peace 
and freedom as your enemies can disturb no more. 

3. Lastit/, To sinners of the world lying in wickedness, I would 
say, Come out from among them, and bo separated, as ye would not 
be ruined with them, and perish eternally in their destruction. 
But of this in the next discourse. 


Several Sermons preached at Ettrick, in 1729. 

1 John v. 19. 

The whole world lieth in wickedness. 

2 Cor. Ti. 17. 

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the 
Lord, and touch not the unclean thing ; and I will receive you. 

Ye have had a frightful description of the world lying in wicked- 
ness. "We come now to press the exhortation to come out of it, in 
the words of this compared text. In which we have, 

1. The gospel-call to sinners, Come out from among them. For 
whereas the words are taken out of Isa. lii. 11. it is plain the pro- 
phet there speaks of the days and preaching of the gospel, though 
with an eye to the deliverance from Babylon, ver. 7 — 10. In it we 

(1.) The substance of the duty that sinners are called to, Come out 
from among them, viz. the world lying in wickedness, whereof Baby- 
lon was an emblem, as the Jews were of the elect. Babylon was the 
mother of abominations, and devoted to destruction ; so the world 
lying in wickedness is. To come out from among them, is to come 
out of your natural state, unto Christ by faith ; that is the only way 
to come out from among them. And that the text aims at no less, 
is evident, — that adoption into God's family is thereupon promised. 

(2.) The touchstone of sincerity in it. Be ye separate. Right 
coming out from among the world lying in wickedness, is a coming 
out from among them freely and for altogether. A withdrawing for 
a time, the relation standing will not do; nor a halting between two ; 


there must be a total separation, by going quite to the other side, 
and setting up against them. Thus the apostle explains the double 
call to depart, Isa. liii. 11. Depart ye, depart ye, going still farther 
and farther from them, till the great gulf be fixed betwixt you and 

(3.) A necessary direction for the right managing of your coming 
away, — Touch not the unclean thing. They are an unclean society, 
like a leprous person : consult not with them, but be resolute with- 
out tampering with them. Every thing among them is unclean ; 
take up none of it to carry with you, as Rachel did her father's 
images. Be afraid of every person and thing in the world lying in 
wickedness, as of fire. 

2. The gospel off"er and promise, to be accomplished on complying 
■with the call, I will receive you. I the Lord Christ will take you 
in. Be not afraid that ye shall be at any loss in the case ; such re- 
fugees shall have the borders of the Lord's land, the gates of his 
house opened to them. 

Now the doctrine of these texts thus compared, is, 

DocT. There is a call from the Lord to sinners, to come out from 
among the world lying in wickedness, and leave them. 

In handling this point, I shall, 

I. Shew some things implied in it. 

II. Shew what is the sinner's coming out from among the world 
lying in wickedness. 

III. Consider the call from the Lord to come out from among 

IV. Lastli/, Apply the whole. 

I. I shall shew some things implied in the doctrine. It implies, 

1. The world lying in wickedness is a society hateful to the Lord, 
else he would not call to come out from among them. They may 
please themselves, as if they only were the people. The region of a 
natural state has the cloud of wrath abiding upon it, John iii. ult. 
They are a society whom God abhors as unclean : a people of God's 
indignation, as being his enemies ; and against whom he will have 
war for ever that shall end in their destruction, or rather never end. 

2. Sinners, ye are all by nature in among them, and of them ; else, 
why is the call. Come out from among them ? Whoever has not 
heard this call, and come out from among them in conversion, is 
among them yet, John viii. 44. I told you there are iu the world 
lying in wickedness, the lower and the upper world ; but both these 
make but one world, the devil is the head of both ; and if a few years 
were gone, they will be both turned into one, and all the inhabitants 
housed under one roof, Matth. xxv. 41. Therefore unconverted sin- 


ners are as sure among them as the damned. — Sinners, ye are child- 
ren of hell, a prison-house, a dark house, a miserable house, Matth. 
xxiii. 15. As long as ye are among them, ye are like the house, 
and like the father of it : he is a fallen creature, lying in wicked- 
ness, his nature is enmity against God; so art thou and thine : and 
though thou put a fair face on, by a form of godliness : no marvel, 
for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light, 2 Cor. xi. 

3. Great is the danger of abiding among them, Isa. lii. 11. De- 
part ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing, 
go ye out of the midst of her. There are three special emblems of 
the wretched world lying in wickedness, and the danger of abiding 
among them, to which this call may have reference. One is Baby- 
lon doomed to destruction, Psal. cxxxvii. 8. See the call to leave 
her, Jer. li. 6. Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every 
man his soul ; be not cut off in her iniquity ; for this is the time of 
the Lord's vengeance ; he will render unto her a recompence. Rev. 
xviii. 4. Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of 
her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. Another is Sodom, 
which fire from heaven was abiding the call Lot got to get out of 
it, ye have Gen. xis. 15. Arise, — lest thou be consumed in the ini- 
quity of the city. It was set forth for an example Jude, 7. suffer- 
ing the vengeance of eternal fire. A third is the tents of Dathan 
and Abiram, which were to be swallowed up of the earth. The call 
to the congregation to get up from about them, ye have Numb. xvi. 
26. " Depart I pray yon, from the tents of these wicked men, and 
touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins." 
Which is applied to gospel-hearers, 2 Tim. ii. 19. " Let every one 
that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." Ye can have 
no more safe staying there than ye could have had in these, believe 
it or not. 

4. It is possible ye may get away from among them. If ye were 
once down in the lower world lying in wickedness, it will be impos- 
sible ever to get out from among them more ; this call has nothing 
ado with that part of them. But ye are yet in the upper world 
lying in wickedness, where Christ has his lower house, with a com- 
mission to fill it out of those of them that are lying there. And for 
this cause the call sounds iu your ears this day. Psal. xlv. 10, 
" Forget thine own people, and thy father's house." Luke xiv. 23, 
" Compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." Come 
away before your feet slip, — ye may get away though never so 
far on. 

5. God has some amongst them that shall not get leave to stay, 


for he would never send out such a call altogether in vain. No ; 
there is an elect number among them, on whom the call shall be ef- 
fectual, sit it Avho will, 2 Tim. ii. 19. " The foundation of God 
standeth sure, having this seal, Tlie Lord knoweth them that are 
his." Satan may get leave to keep a reprobate world, but the sheep 
of Christ, purchased with his blood, cannot be lost, John x. 16. 
"Other sheep I have, which arc not of this fold; them also I must 
bring, and they shall hear my voice." There is a secret mark on 
some of the strayed, and they shall be made to come out from among 
the rest. Let this encourage you to come away, standing as fair as 
others to get help from heaven to make your escape. 

6. Ye will be very welcome to Christ from among them, Psal. 
xlv. 10, 11. "Hearken, daughter, and consider, and incline thine 
ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house. So shall 
the King greatly desire thy beauty." They tliat come uncalled sit 
unserved ; but ye need not fear, the Master calleth you. It is what 
you have his word on, " I will receive you." Do not say, " Alas, I 
need never think that Christ will receive me ; for I have been a 
poor, worldly, carnal creature, savouring nothing but the world;" 
no, the call supposes that, that ye are among them. " But I am 
deep in wickedness ;" yet welcome, if ye have even been among the 
very worst of them, come from among them, and welcome, 1 Cor. vi. 
9, 10, 11. 

7. Ye will not be carried away from amongst them against your 
will. No ; if ye come not voluntarily upon your own feet, ye will 
get lea.ve to stay and perish among them ; Psal. ex. 3. " Thy peoj)le 
shall be willing in the day of thy power." Christ will have none 
but willing subjects, such as submit by choice, not by force. Com- 
pel them ; but how ? as men are compelled to a feast, by most ear- 
nest entreaties, importunity, ^c. but not otherwise. They that will 
needs lie still in their wickedness with the world, they will get their 
will with a vengeance ; they will not be forced from the society they 

8. Ye will not be carried away sleeping from among them nei- 
ther; ye must awake, hear the call, and set down your feet to make 
your escape. Some say, they can do nothing, they cannot convert 
themselves, and they hope for grace afterward. So they make soft 
their pillow, sleep securely, and will do nothing. But if ye were 
willing to come away from among the world lying in wickedness, ye 
would stretch out the withered hand, ye would try the lame leg, take 
the help of offered grace, and take no rest till ye were got away. 

9. Ye need not expect their good will to the parting. The call is 
directed to you, without noticing them ; for it is certain they will 


never let you out from among them, as long as tliey are able to keep 
you. Therefore ye must be resolute and peremptory, Matth. xi. 12. 
" The kingdom of heaven suflereth violence, and the violent take it 
by force." Hell's flatteries and threatcnings will all be plied to 
keep you among them ; but stop your ears, and look not behind you, 
as the angels enjoined Lot, when they had brought him out of 
Sodom, Gen. xiv. 17- 

10. Lastly, Ye will be received of the Lord into the society of 
the clean and holy, Heb. xii. 22 — 24. One part of them is perfectly 
clean, as to the other their cleansing is begun, John xiii. 8 ; but all 
are but one family; the former the elder children, in the upper 
rooms ; the latter the younger, in the lower rooms ; the whole 
headed by Christ. 

11. I come now to shew what is the sinner's coming out from 
among the world lying in wickedness. 

Negatively, 1. It is not a sinner's going out of this world. That 
is brought about by death, whether we will or not ; and they that 
die in the Lord, they are indeed absolutely separated from the world 
lying in wickedness. But they that die out of Christ, they are for 
ever thereby fixed in the world lying in wickedness. Since they are 
not come out from among them here, they are put in among them 
there, their souls gathered with the wicked in death, with whom 
they gathered themselves in life. 

2. It is not a coming out from among the immoral part of the 
world lying in wickedness, and joining in with the professors of re- 
ligion, in a visible church-state. For there is a moral and religious 
part too of the world lying in wickedness; and those that are of 
these parts are as sure among them, as the immoral are. In a word, 
nothing short of true conversion and a saving change, is a coming 
out from among them. 

Positively, It is a spiritual, gracious motion of the soul unto 
Jesus Christ, and is the very same with eff'ectual calling, which is 
the work of the Spirit of Christ on these ordained to eternal life. 
"We may take it up in these four steps, 

First, The sinner's coming to a true sense of his own state and 
case among them ; and this he is brought to in a work of conviction, 
John xvi. 18. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of 
sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. Those of the world ly- 
ing in wickedness are under spiritual blindness, they know neither 
what they are, nor where they are in very deed ; and one must be 
brought to himself, before he come out from among them; otherwise 
he will not stir. Now the coming sinner, 

1. He comes to be fully persuaded, that he is among them, and 


out of the family of God, LuTce xv, 17- Ho gets a dismal view of a 
natural state, of the case of the unregcnerate world, of tlie world 
lying in wickedness ; and he sees himself in the midst of them ; so 
he is like one awaking out of a dream, aud seeing himself beset 
about. So there are two things here, 

1st, He gets a frightful view of the world lying in wickedness, as 
a society in most miserable case. The world lying in wickedness, 
that was in his eyes before like a paradise, a garden of pleasure, a 
sort of safety, appears in quite other colours, as a Babel of confu- 
sion, a wilderness of emptiness, a Sodom of wickedness, and tents of 
Dathan to be swallowed up. He sees it to be a society, 

(1.) Lying in wickedness, under the guilt, pollution, and dominion 
of sin, contrary to God, and hateful unto him, Eph. ii. 12; a society 
abominable in the eyes of a holy God, however pleasant in the eyes 
of one another ; wherein there neither is nor can be any thing good 
or acceptable in the sight of the great King. 

(2.) Laid open to destruction from the presence of the Lord, Eph. 
ii. 12. He sees the curse lying on it, and binding it over to reveng- 
ing wrath, and in virtue thereof certainly to be destroyed. The 
flaming sword appears, wherever he turns his eyes, ready to cut off 
the miserable inhabitants. 

2dli/, He gets a frightful view of his own case, as being among 
them, lying in wickedness, and lying open to destruction, Luke xv. 
17. He sees his own sinfulness, is convinced of the sinfulness of his 
own life, heart, and nature ; and sees his lost and undone case under 
the wrath of God, and curse of the law, Rom. vii. 9. 

2. He comes to be fully persuaded, that there is no abiding for 
him among them, as Peter's hearers were, Acts ii. 37. and the 
Philippian jailor. Acts xvi. 30. He sees he is ruined for ever, if he 
get not away from among them. Time was when he could not think 
of parting from among them ; but could get no rest among them ; 
seeing every moment the city of destruction ready to be overthown, 
and himself to be swallowed up in the ruins. 

This is a new sight, that one gets, not by the sight of the eyes, 
but from the word, by the Spirit acting as a Spirit of bondage on 
the soul and conscience ; awakening, convincing, and persuading 
into a firm belief of the report of the law, with application to one's 
own particular case. 

Secondly, The sinner's coming to see a better state and case for 
him, with Christ and his company, Luke xv. 17. If the convinced 
sinner did not see a refuge, where he might be in safety, he would 
sink in despair ; but the Lord timely opens his eyes, as he did 
Hagar's to see the well, when the child was laid by for dead. And 
he sees, 


1. Full safety for him there, if he could get in among them, Luke 
XV. 17. The soul gets a view of Christ in the transcendent glory of 
his person and office ; sees him an able and sufficient Saviour, Heb. 
vii. 25. having a fulness of merit, for procuring him the pardon of 
his greatest and most numerous sins ; and of Spirit, for sanctifying 
him, and subduing the strongest lusts. 

2. Free access for him to get in among them, Jer, iii. 22. He be- 
holds the gates of the city of refuge cast open to receive him, and 
hears the voice of the Lord crying to him to turn in thither, Zech. 
ix. 12. He believes Christ to be not only an able, but a willing Sa- 
viour, willing to receive him ; otherwise he would never come away. 

This sight is given by the Spirit, demonstrating the word of the 
gospel to the soul, 1 Cor. ii. 4, 5. He shews it convincingly to 
be the infallible word of the eternal Grod, and his word to the 
sinner in particular. He brightens the glass of the gospel, so 
that in it they clearly see the glory of the Lord Christ, which they 
never saw before. And here they discover in him, 

(1.) A rest to their consciences, not to be got in the fiery region 
of the law, Heb. ix. 14. " How much more shall the blood of Christ, 
who through the eternal Spirit, oifered himself without spot to God, 
purge your consciences from dead works to serve the living God ?" 
The conscience stung with guilt cannot be quieted with an imperfect 
righteousness, that comes not up to the law demands of perfect 
obedience and satisfaction ; but the gospel reveals Christ's righte- 
ousness, Rom. i. 17. a broad cover, that salve which applied makes 
a sick conscience hale, Isa. xxxiii. ult. 

(2.) A rest to their hearts, not to be got in the barren region of 
the creation, Psal. Ixxiii. 25. " Whom have I in heaven but thee ? 
and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee." The soul 
being a spiritual substance immortal, can never rest fully in the en- 
joyment of temporal things ; they are neither sufficient for it, nor 
certain. But iu Christ there is a fulness, and that is inexhaustible ; 
and so the man sees him as commensurable to the desires of the 

Thirdly, The sinner's coming to be willing to come out from 
among the world, and to come in to Christ and his company, Psal. 
ex. 3. " Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power." Sin- 
ners naturally are unwilling to come away out of the world lying in 
wickedness, and to come to Christ ; it is as much against the grain 
with them, as for the fishes to come out of the water to dry land. 
They like their master, their work, and their company there ; they 
would never leave them, if they could but see how to put up Avith 
them. They have a heart aversion and enmity to Christ, and his 

356 WHAT IS THE sinner's coming out from the world. 

company, liis way, and his law. But the Spirit makes them willing, 
renewing their will, Ezek. xxxvi. 26, And they become, 

1. Rationally and deliberately willing to come out from among 
them, the soul being moved thereto with the greatest reason. A 
drawing there is in the case, but no force, only strong persuasion, 
Gen. ix. 27. It is no blind impulse brings men to Christ ; it is no 
rash and inconsiderate adventure, but the cost is counted ere this 
building is begun. Where it is otherwise, men soon shew that they 
are still among them, for all the bustle they seemed to make to be 

2. They are absolutely willing, content on any terms, as Paul 
was, Acts ix. 6. " Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?" Many 
could be willing on such and such terms, if they could get leave to 
pick and chuse, if it were that such a j)articular lust only might be 
spared, if as to such a duty they might be excused ; but they that 
are willing indeed are absolutely willing, willing at any rate. 

3. They are willing for the present, nothing else answers the gos- 
pel-call, Heb. iv. 7. "To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not 
your hearts." Felix was willing, but for an after time, not for the 
present ; so many young sinners are willing to come out from among 
the world lying in wickedness, if once they were past their youth, 
and come of age ; and the aged, if they were come to a death-bed. 
But the coming sinner is willing to come out from among them this 

4. Lastly, They are peremptorily willing : it is not a thing only 
they are willing to do, but they are peremptory they will do it. 
They are not only content to leave them, but they may not, dare 
not, will not stay longer with them, cost what it will. They are 
willing, as the slayer, to be in the city of refuge ; for, by their con- 
viction and saving illumination, they see there is safety there, and 
nowhere else. 

Fourthly, The last step is the sinner's joining himself to the 
Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the society opposite to the world ly- 
ing in wickedness, Jer. 1. 5. which implies two things. 

1. An actual renouncing of the world lying in wickedness, and 
all that is therein. Job xxxiv. 32. " That which I see not, teach thou 
me ; if I have done iniquity, I will do no more." He renounces his 
relation to that society, their work, their way and course, resolute 
to bid an eternal farewell thereto, and to stay no longer among 
them, come what will. Though a Red sea be before him, he knows 
not how to get through, he is peremptory not to return to Egypt. 

2. A receiving and resting on Christ for all, John i. 12. " As 
many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of 


God, even to tliera that believe on his uarae." They sell all to buy 
the field ; part with all for the oue pearl. Christ is held forth in 
the gospel as a full and satisfying portion, as a rest to the conscience, 
and a rest to the heart ; and faith closes the eyes to all others, and 
takes him as such in the word of the gospel-offer, Psal. Ixxii. 24. 

Hereby the soul is knit to Christ, becomes a member of his mysti- 
cal body, Eph. iii. 17. By this means there is a spiritual marriage 
betwixt Christ and the soul entered into ; Christ becomes the be- 
liever's; and the believer his, only, wholly, and for ever. Cant. ii. 
16. " My beloved is mine, and I am his." So they are one spirit 
with Christ, 1 Cor. vi. 17. 

And thus the sinner is effectually out from among them, no more 
of their number, no more in their state and case ; he is brought into 
another opposite society, whose communion is with the Father 
and his Son Jesus Christ. Though thereafter he is indeed in the 
world, yet he is no more of it; and though he is yet out of heaven, 
he is really of the family there. 

III. I proceed to consider the call from the Lord to come out from 
among them. And, 

1. The ground in law that it is founded on, is the eternal agree- 
ment of the glorious Trinity for man's salvation. The Lord Jesus 
Christ having undertaken to do and die for and instead of an elect 
world, and his merit being sufficient for the redemption of the whole 
world ; the Father was so well pleased with his undertaking and 
performance, that he made him the ordinance of heaven for salvation 
to all that would believe ; he gave him a kingdom to be raised out 
of the world lying in wickedness. And thereon the call is founded, 
Matt. xxii. 4. All things are ready, come unto the marriage. 

2. This call was drawn up and recorded in the Bible, by the Holy 
Spirit, that it might not be only a call by word of mouth that pass- 
eth, but in writing that is permanent, which the called may have 
occasion to consult when they please, Isa. Iv. 1. " Ho, every one that 
thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hat i no money ; come 
ye, buy, and eat ; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money, and 
without price." The whole Bible is a declaration of this call, with 
promises to those that answer it, and threatenings against them that 
refuse it. So the truth and reality tliereof is sealed by the blood of 
Christ, the blood of the testament. 

3. It is given in the gospel by Jesus Christ, with the consent of 
his Father and Spirit. The Father has sent him to call sinners to 
come out from among the world lying in wickedness. The Spirit 
says, Come. A whole Trinity invites them to come away, not will- 
ing that the captive exiles should die in the pit, Ezek. xviiii. 23. 

Vol. V. 2 a 


4. It is directed to meu, sons of men, Prov. viii. 4, " Unto you, 
men, 1 call and my voice is to the sons of men." It is not to 
fallen angels ; they are left to lie still in their wickedness, without 
remedy, and to reckon for it at last. But it is addressed to the des- 
cendents of fallen Adam iu this world, without exception of great, 
yea the greatest of sinners. Rev. xsii. 17. Whosoever will, let him 
take the water of life freely." Isa. i. 18. " Come now, and let us 
reason together, saith the Lord ; though your sins be as scarlet, they 
shall be white as snow ; though they be red like crimson, they shall 
be as wool." Though they have continued never so long among them, 
and be never so signalized among them, they are welcome to come 
away from among them. 

5. It was the Son of God in person, that first proclaimed this call, 
in paradise. Gen. iii. 15. Afterwards taking on our nature, and ap- 
pearing in the world in our flesh, he spent the time of his public 
ministry in calling sinners to come out from among the world lying 
in wickedness, Heb. ii. 3. though they were but few that came away 
upon that his call, Isa. liii. 1. 

6. He continues to call sinners thereto, by his messengers, the 
ministers of the gospel, that call them in his name, 2 Cor. v. 20. 
And this is our work to call you to come away out from among the 
world lying in wickedness. We are the voice, he is the caller, Luke 
X. 16. For even now when he is in heaven, he speaketh to you by 
us, Heb. xii. 25. 

7. Lastly, It is in this world only the call takes place, Matth. 
xxviii. 18, 19. As for those who are gone into the other world, the 
call can reach them no more ; they are prisoners without hope. But 
while ye are here, the call is to yon, particularly in the public as- 
semblies, Prov. i. 20, 21. " Wisdom crieth without, she uttereth 
her voice in the streets ; she crieth in the chief places of concourse, 
in the oi>enings of the gates ; in the city she uttereth her words," (^-c. 

I come now to the improvement of this subject. 
Use I. Of information. This lets us see, 

1. Where we are all by nature, even in the world lying in wicked- 
ness, being real members of that sinful and miserable society. This 
is our native country, we are all natives of the world lying in wick- 
edness, by our first birth. It is only by conversion and the new 
birth, that we come out from among them, and are naturalized in 
the heavenly country. Think on this, ye young, or aged, strangers 
to a work of conversion; and know where ye are. 

2. Ye cannot abide among them, but in rebellion against the call 
of God. By this gospel ye are summoned in the Lord's name to 
come out from among them ; and if after that, ye take it on you to 


stay, ye do it upon yonr peril, incurring the displeasure of Heaven, 
not only for your being among them, but your refusing to come out 
from among them. 

3. The sin of gospel-hearers abiding among them, is fearfully ag- 
gravated, and therefore will be fearfully punished. Every new gos- 
pel-call is a new call from the Lord to you to come out from among 
them. How inexcusable will they then be, that give a deaf ear to 
them all ? Matth. xi. 21, 22. " Wo unto thee, Chorazin, wo unto 
thee, Bethsaida; for if the mighty works which were done in you, 
had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long 
ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more 
tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment than for you." 

4. Lastly, Ye will surely be welcome to Christ, coming out from 
among them ; for he will never put away them whom he calls to 
him, John vi. 37. " Him that cometh to me, I will in no Avise cast 
out." His call is not only your warrant to come, but as such it is 
an ensurance of your welcome, Mark x. 49. "And Jesus stood still, 
and commanded him to be called ; and they call the blind man, 
saying unto him. Be of good comfort, rise ; he calleth thee." 

Use II. Of exhortation. sinners, seeing it is so, that the whole 
world lieth in wickedness, and there is a call from the Lord to sin- 
ners to come out from among them, hearken ye this day to the call, 
and come out from among them, all and every one of you. 

This is a point of the greatest weight, and therefore I shall, 

1. Branch out the exhortation more particularly, that ye may not 
be in the dark as to what ye are called to. 

2. Address it to several sorts of sinners, that it may be the more 
closely brought home to the conscience. 

3. Urge it with some motives, that so it may be pressed upon you. 

4. Consider the hinderances or impediments that keep men from 
coming out from among the world lying in wickedness, that so they 
may be removed out of the way. 

First, To branch out the exhortation more particularly, I lay it 
before you in these four branches, 

First, sinner, believe it firmly, and consider it seriously, that 
the unregenerate, unconverted world is a sink of sin and wickedness, 
and doomed to destruction. This is infallible truth, 1 John v. 19. 
** The whole world lieth in wickedness." John iii. ult. " He that 
believeth not the Son, shall not see life ; but the wrath of God abid- 
eth on him." Matth. xviii. 3. " Except ye be converted, and become 
as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." 
John iii. 3. " Except a man be born again, he cannot see the king- 
dom of God." If ye be not let into a view of this, to see that society 

2 a2 


a most sinful and dangerous one, we will but beat the air in calling 
you to come out from among them. Open then the eyes of your 
minds, and see by the light of God's word, the state of the uncon- 
verted world. See, 

1. The sinfulness of it, how they lie in their sin, original and ac- 
tual, in the guilt of all their sins, in the pollution of them, under the 
dominion of sin, and in the practice of sin, doing nothing but what 
is sin, incapable to do any thing good or acceptable in God's sight. 
They are a Sodom for filthiness ; they are a company of spiritual 
lepers, set out without the camp of the saints where the Lord dwell- 
eth and walketh ; of dead men, whose beauty, sense, and motion is 
gone, and on whose souls living lusts are preying, like so many 
worms on the carcase in the grave. 

2. The misery of it ; how they lie under the curse, Gal. iii. 10. 
with Rom. iii. 19. under the displeasure and wrath of God. A black 
cloud of wrath hangs over them continually, John iii. ult. It never 
clears; smiles of common providence they may have, whereby tem- 
poral mercies are laid on their hands, as victuals to the condemned 
man are carried into the prison till his execution : but one smile of 
special favour and love they never have, Psal. vii. 11, " God is 
angry with the wicked every day." Some drops of wrath still fall- 
ing on them, sinking though silently into their souls ; and the full 
shower and pouring out of the cloud is abiding them. 

Secondly, Be convinced, sinner, that thou art among them ; that 
their case is thy case, and thy part and lot is among them ; that 
thou art sinful and miserable with them. It is the ruin of many, 
that they do not see, and will not see, that they are among them ; 
and therefore they cannot come out from among them. Rev. iii. 17, 
" Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have 
need of nothing : and knowest not that thou art wretched, and mi- 
serable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Matth. ix. 12, " They 
that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." Are 
there not many of you, who have never seen this to this day ? But 
if ye have not seen it, either ye are sanctified from the womb, or 
that is a certain sign ye are among them still. And, how many 
have seen themselves among them, that yet were never freely 
brought out from among them, but after some awakening have just 
lain down where they were among them before ? But oh ! oi)en 
your eyes, young sinners, and old sinners, and see yourselves among 
them, before you see yourselves among them in the lower world, 
where there is no coming out. 

Thirdly, Be convinced that you cannot safely abide one moment 
longer among them ; see the rock hanging over your head, ready to 


fall every moment, and to crush you to pieces; see the snares, fire, 
and brimstone, ready to be rained down on you in that state, Psal. 
xi. 6. Many think that it is not safe indeed to die among them, but 
that yet they may safely live a while longer among them. This 
ruins many, Avhile delaying from time to time they are surprised 
into destruction. 

Lastly, Make away speedily from among them by conversion into 
God in Christ, Ezek. xxxiii. 11, "Turn ye, turn ye, from your evil 
ways," That is, believe and repent, so coming unto God by Christ. 
By faith we unite with Christ, the head of the opposite society, and 
so return unto God ; and by repentance we return unto our duty. 
This is the coming out from among them we call you to. 

Secondly, I would address this exhortation and call to several 
sorts of sinners among you. Come out from among them, 

1. Ye that have all your days been at ease in the world lying in 
wickedness, never considering that ye were there, nor concerned how 
to get out from among them. Open your eyes at length, know your 
natural state ; see yourselves children of hell, heirs of wrath ; sleep 
no longer, but look about you, see your danger, and come away, 
Prov. vi. 9, " How long wilt thou sleep, sluggard? when wilt thou 
arise out of thy sleep V 

2. Ye that having once been awakened, have fallen asleep again, 
and look on that former fright as a dream. Know that the danger 
you sometime saw, was most real, and represented your true case ; 
and it was through the slight of Satan, ye were brought to take the 
armies of heaven advancing against you, for the shadows of the moun- 
tains. Wherefore bestir yourselves again, take second thoughts, 
and come away. 

3. Apostates and backsliders, who sometime were on the way 
coming out from among them, but have now turned back, and fallen 
afresh to the way of the world lying in wickedness. Your case is 
very dangerous, Heb. x. 38, " If any man draw back, my soul shall 
have no pleasure in him." Remember Lot's wife, who was turned 
into a pillar of salt, for looking back to Sodom, after she had got 
out of it. But our Lord is giving you a new call, Jer. iii. 22, " He- 
turn, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings." 
Hearken to it, or ye are doubly ruined. 

4. Ye that are halting betwixt two opinions, in a doubt whether 
to come out from among the world lying in wickedness, or not yet. 
Conscience is pressing you forward, corruption is pulling you back ; 
you hear one voice or whisper, saying. To-day if ye will hear his 
voice, harden not your hearts ; another saying, Not yet, there will 
be time enough after. Know this last is the language from hell 

2 A 3 


among tliem ; heed it not, but come away as from fire that will 
burn you up. 

5. Ye that have been often aiming at coming, but yet have never 
come away freely. make a thorougli separation from them at 
last ; out with the right eye, off with the offending right hand. Let 
no beloved lust be spared ; leave not a hoof behind you. It is sad 
to miss of the kingdom of heaven, when one is not far from it ; to 
fall into the pit, from the threshold of heaven. 

6. Lastly, All ye that have any mind for heaven, or the favour of 
God in time or eternity, come out from among the world lying in 
wickedness. All that have any concern for your own souls, and 
■would not perish for ever. set away from among them, nearer to 

Thirdly, Let me now urge the following motives to press the ex- 
hortation and call. 

General motives. It is a most miserable case to be among the 
world lying in wickedness ; the sight whereof is enough to frighten 
one. However secure sinners please themselves in being among 
them, yet never could one that was in a den of lions, inclosed among 
serpents or other venomous creatures, be more desirous to be from 
among them; than God's elect to be out of the world lying in 
wickedness, when once the Spirit has opened their eyes, Luke xv. 
17, IB. Acts ii. 37. I would point out the misery of the case of 
being among them. 

1. There is nothing pure or clean among them. Touch not the 
unclean thing ; i. e. meddle with nothing that belongs to them ; for 
they and all theirs are unclean, Tit. i. 15. There are souls and ra- 
tional faculties among them, but they are all defiled and loathsome 
before God ; there is no spiritual beauty or likeness to God among 
them. There are works they call good among them ; but they are 
all vile and loathsome in the sight of God, Psal. xiv. 1. There are 
prayers and praises among them, but they are but like the opening 
an unripe grave, Rom. iii. 13. There are among them fair promises 
and engagements to duty, but they are but abominable deceit, ib. 
There is meddling with holy things among them, but see Isa. Ixvi. 3. 
" He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man ; he that sacrificeth a 
lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck," &c. For they cannot please 
God till they come out from the world lying in wickedness, Heb. 
xi. 6. 

2. There is no spiritual health or soundness among them. We 
may say of them, as Isa. i. 6. " From the sole of the foot even unto 
the head, there is no soundness in it ; but wounds, and bruises, and 
putrifying sores; they have not been closed, neither bound up, 


neither raollified with ointment." However little need they find of 
the Physician of souls, they are all sick, deadly sick, as unpardoned 
sinners ; though most of them are delirious, and know not their 
sickness, Matth. iv. 12, 13. Isa. xsxiii. ult. Their x>lague-sores of 
sin are running on them continually ; none of them want a running 
issue of some predominant lust, that can never be got stopt. 

3. There is a deadly infection among them ; so that to be among 
them is to be in a pest-house, where one draws in death with the 
disease prevailing among them, 1 Cor. xv. 33. Every one of them 
is a root of bitterness, which springing up is ready to defile many, 
Heb. xii. 15. Therefore Solomon observes,* that one sinner de- 
stroyeth much good, Eccl. ix. ult. The stream of their ungodly ex- 
ample, and corrupt conversation, sickens some, and kills others 
outright; wounds the godly, and ruins those of their own sort. 

4. There is nothing but darkness, gross darkness among them, 
for the Day-star is not yet arisen into their hearts, Isa. Ix. 2. They 
sit in darkness and the shadow of death ; they are darkness itself, 
Eph. V. 1. for they are blind souls, Rev. iii. 17. Though the light 
of the gospel shines about them, it hath not shined into their hearts ; 
they think they see ; for though they are void of the light of grace, 
they have the light of reason ; but that is darkness in them, Matth. 
vi. 23. So they see not where they are, nor whither they go, 1 John 
ii. 11. 

5. There is no part with Christ among them, Eph. ii. 12. There 
is a rich purchase made by the Mediator, and he has taken all be- 
lievers into fellowship with him, 1 John i. 3 ; but the world has no 
share with them ; no share in the righteousness, peace, pardon, and 
title to heaven. They share with the society of the first Adam, in 
their sin and misery ; but not with the society of the second Adam. 
Hence they are unwashen, unjustified, and ixnsauctified. 

6. There is nothing but rank poverty among them. Whatever 
wealth they may have for their bodies, in respect to their souls they 
are poor to an extremity. Rev. iii. 17- whereof there are three glar- 
ing evidences. 

(1.) They are poor naked souls, ib. The best raiment among 
them to cover their spiritual nakedness, is rags, filthy rags, the rags 
of their own righteousness ; they have nothing else to cover their 
shame before the Lord ; and that will never do it, but leave them 
naked to their shame. 

(2.) They are poor starving souls ; there is nothing among them 
to feed on but empty husks, that which is not bread, and satisfieth 
not. Only Christ is bread for the soul, only a God in Christ can 
satisfy the cravings thereof. Dust is their meat with the serpent ; 


they feed on the empty hnsks of the creature, and so do but fill the 
belly with the east-wind. 

(3.) They are drowned in debt to justice, and have nothing where- 
with to pay. Sin is that debt, and there is no forgiving the debt, 
while one is among them. Acts iii. 19, " Repent ye therefore, and 
be converted, that your sins may be blotted out." It is a debt that, 
however long it lie over, will be exacted ; it will be jiursued for, 
and that on the debtor's expence. And they have no saving in- 
terest in the great Cautioner. 

7. There is no peace with God among them, 2 Cor. vi. 14 — 17. 
" What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness ? and 
what communion hath light with darkness ? and what concord hath 
Christ with Belial ?" &c. Sooner shall light and darkness agree, 
than a holy God, and the world lying in wickedness. Nay, they 
are a society with whom God has declared that he will have war for 
ever. Is. Ivii. ult. " There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." 
Those in the lower world lying in wickedness, are roaring under the 
felt enmity of God against them ; while those in the upper world 
lying in wickedness may be enjoying a profound peace. But the 
latter as well as the former stands as marks to the arrows of God's 
wrath, Deut. xxix. 19, 20. As long as thou art among them, thoa 
art in a state of enmity with God, Rom. viii. 7- Luke xix. 27. 

8. They have no sound bond of peace among themselves. Tit. 
iii. 3. God alone is the centre of true unity, and where men are 
broke oif from God, they will be found at the bottom broke off from 
one another, as altogether selfish, and having their unruly passions 
nnmortified, which make them uneasy both to themselves and others. 
And hence faith in Christ is the early restorer of true peace and 
love among men. Tliat peace and love that is between companions 
in sin, will without peradventure break out in rage and hatred. 

9. There is a curse among them, the curse of God and of his bro- 
ken law, Gal. iii. 10. They are under the law, and it makes its 
way among them, Rom. iii. 19. This makes them a society of 
cursed children, cursed in their persons, and in all theirs. By this 
means they are a society separated to evil ; and that curse will pull 
down the roof upon their heads at length, as it brought on the de- 
luge, bringing in the general conflagration, and will lie a sinking 
weight on them for ever. 

10. There is a cloud of wrath hanging over their head, and the 
head of every one among them, John iii. ult. While ye are among 
them, your state is a state of wrath; ye are ever under Heaven's 
displeasure, Psal. vii. 11. Ye dwell under mount Sinai, where the 
fire of wrath is flashing ; and though sleeping there, ye are secure ; 


yet ye will no sooner be awakened, than ye will see the lightnings, 
hear the thunders, and the voice of the trumpet waxing louder and 
louder. Therefore I would say as Dent. i. 6. " Ye have dwelt long 
enough in this mount." 

11. Death reigns among them, Matth. iv. 16. They are a com- 
pany of condemned criminals, John iii. 18. that know not how soon 
their sentence may be executed. They are all in a dying condition, 
they have got their deaths wounds, and are pining away in their 
iniquity. Nay they are dead already, God is departed from them. 
why will ye continue in the congregation of the dead ? Come out 
from among them. 

12. There is no good to be found among them, Psal. xiv. 1. They 
are corrupt trees, and cannot bring forth good fruit. There is no- 
thing among them but sin : for there is no faith among them. 
"What has the name of good hearts, good works is but so in appear- 
ance, not in reality ; for what good can be there, where the nature 
is totally corrupt ? 

13. All evil is to be found among them. The unrenewed heart is 
a depth of wickedness ; and in the world lying in wickedness all 
manner of wickedness is to be found. Much of it appears now, yet 
much is hid; but at length all will be seen. 

14. Lastly, They are not to stay here, but will all be down in the 
lower world at length, Rev. xx. 14, 15. There are some dropping 
down to it daily, yet the rest remain secure ; but all will be hurried 
down together to it at the last judgment. What a fearful cry was 
there at Dathan and Abiram's down going ? Numb. xvi. 34. What 
then will the cry be, when the whole world lying in wickedness shall 
go down together ? Therefore I say to you, as Numb. xvi. 26. " De- 
part, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch no- 
thing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins." 

Fourthly, I shall now consider the impediments hindering men 
to come out from among the world lying in wickedness, and keeping 
them among them. 

First, Want of consideration, Luke xv. 17. They ramble through 
the world, walking at adventures, and are not so just to their own 
souls as seriously to take under consideration their spiritual state 
and case. They seek not these thoughts ; and if at any time they 
bear in themselves upon them, they shift them. Hence, 

1. They have no just view of the corruption and danger of the 
world lying in wickedness. Though it is abominable in the eyes of 
God, it is a beauty in theirs ; though it is a Sodom to be destroyed, 
they see nothing but safety, Mai. iii. 15. Why, they view it in a 
false light, they consider it not, as represented in the word, which 
alone can eive a true notion of it. 


2. They discern not themselves as true members of the world ly- 
ing in wickedness. They form to themselves a notion of the wicked, 
whereby those only that are monsters of wickedness are reckoned of 
that sort ; not considering, that all the unrcgenerate are of them in 
God's account, even though moral, or having a form of godliness. 
And though they be immoral, vicious, and profane, they think them- 
selves not of the number, because there are some worse than they. 

3. They see not the need of coming out from among the world ly- 
ing in wickedness, Matth. ix. 12, 13. Their eyes being withheld 
from a sight of their own danger among them, how can they be 
moved to make an escape ? Will a man flee that apprehends no 
pursuit? No; they will be secure, if not mockers. 

Now, to remove this impediment, hearken to the divine call. Hag. 
i. 7. " Thus saith the Lord of hosts. Consider your ways." Stand, 
sinner, young or old, and consider where you are, what you are do- 
ing, where your present course is like to land you in eternity. You 
can consider of the trifles of a present world, why not consider your 
soul's case, and the concerns of another world ? Want of consider- 
ation allows present ease, but it lays a foundation for eternal pain. 
Careless souls now, will sink themselves into deep consideration 
through eternity, which makes the worm that never dies. Where- 
fore I give you three advices. 

1. Take some time x>urposely for consideration of these matters; 
pray and think in earnest about them, Psal. cxix. 59. They are too 
weighty to be successfully managed by fleeting and occasional con- 

2. Consider them according to the word of God, Psal. cxix. 9. 
Lay aside all other rules of judging, as the course of this world, the 
opinions of the men of this world, Sfc. and consider purely what the 
Bible says in the case ; for it is not by the former, but the latter, 
you are to be judged, and sentenced. 

3. Pursue this consideration, till you have discovered clearly 
your state as it is, according to the word. And be not loath to ad- 
mit'conviction ; for to see the disease is the first step to the cure. 
And then you have gained that sight, when you see an absolute ne- 
cessity of getting out from among them without delay. 

Secondly, The pleasures of the world, Luke viii. 14. These are 
the Syren songs that arrest many, that they cannot come away from 
the world lying in wickedness. They are the silken cords by which 
they are tied down among them, as fast as by iron chains. These 
gripe them by the heart, so that remembering them, their very 
hearts fail to think of coming away from among them. 

The pleasures of sense, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and 


feeling, are ruining snares to the souls of most men. The lust of 
the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, keep many away 
from God, for men naturally are lovers of pleasures more than 
lovers of God, 2 Tim. iii. 4. Now the world lying in wickedness, 
giving up themselves to these, bless themselves in their enjoyment, 
and men cannot think of coming out from among them. 

1. Unlawful pleasures bewitch them, as of drunkenness, gluttony, 
nncleanness, Prov. xxiii. ult. ; Luke xvi. 19, 23 ; Prov. vii. 22, 23. 
There is a particular pleasure corrupt nature has in breaking over 
the hedge of the divine law, which makes forbidden fruit more 
pleasing than what is allowed, Prov. ix. 17, 18. They will there- 
fore rather venture the eternal ruin of their souls, than come out 
from among them and forego these. 

2. Even lawful pleasures fetter them, and lull them asleep among 
them, Luke xvii. 27. One may abide within the boundaries of law- 
ful things, and yet have the heart so bewitched with them, that they 
may prove effectual snares. There is much of that which is counted 
innocent mirth and pleasure, and is so in itself, that yet becomes 
criminal, as taking the place of, and diverting from the main thing. 

To break this snare, and remove this impediment, consider, 

1. The pleasures of this world are deceitful; and as they are 
snares to the soul, they end in bitterness, Prov. xiv. 13. They are 
Satan's busked hooks, wherewith he first allures, and then ruins 
many a poor soul. They are his green and soft paths leading to 
destruction ; and the pleasures of sin will be bitterness in the end, 
come what will. 

2. This life is to us, not the time of pleasure, but the time of 
trial and probation for another world. Brute creatures enjoy the 
pleasures of sense they are capable of, more than the most voluptu- 
ous man doth ; for these are the utmost of what they can obtain ; 
and when they are dead, they are done. But God made man for a 
more refined sort of pleasure, in the enjoyment of himself. Man 
sinned and forfeited that, and God has proposed a new way for his 
recovering it, the way of faith. And now we are on our trials for 
it to be had iu another world ; and in denying ourselves to the plea- 
sures of sin and sense, lies a great part of that trial, 2 Tim. ii. 3. 
Can ye expect two summers in one year; an easy, soft life of plea- 
sure here, and hereafter too ? Such expectation is in vain. 

3. Consider the life of Christ and his saints, and the life of the 
wicked going to destruction. Which of them was it that had the 
life of worldly pleasure, immersed in the pleasures of sense, living 
at ease for the flesh? Was it the saints? No; Luke ix. 23, "If 
any man will come after me, says Christ, let him deny himself, and 


take up his cross daily, and follow me." Was it Christ ? No ; Isa. 
liii. 3. " He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and 
acquainted with grief." Was it the wicked that had the life of 
pleasure ? Yes ; see Job xxi. 7 — 14, " Wherefore do the wicked 
live, become old, yea, are mighty in power ? Their seed is esta- 
blished in their sight with thera, and their ofl'spring before their 
eyes. Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God 
upon them. Their bull gendereth and faileth not, their cow calveth, 
and casteth not her calf. They send forth their little ones like a 
flock, and their children dance. They take the timbrel and harp, 
and rejoice at the sound of the organ. They spend their days in 
■wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave. Therefore they say 
unto God, Depart from us ; for we desire not the knowledge of thy 
"ways." Psal. Ixxiii. 4 — 12. " For there are no bands in their death ; 
but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men; 
neither are they plagued like other men. Therefore pride compass- 
eth them about as a chain ; violence covereth them as doth a gar- 
ment. Their eyes stand out with fatness ; they have more than 
heart could wish. They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning 
oppression ; they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the 
heavens ; and their tongue walketh through the earth. Therefore 
his people return hither ; and waters of a full cup are wrung out to 
thera. And they say, How doth God know ? and is there knowledge 
in the Most High ? Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in 
the world, they increase in riches." The decision is plainly made, 
Luke xvi. 25. in the case of the rich man and Lazarus ; the former 
received his good things in his life time, and the latter evil things. 
The way of providence in that matter has been, that the slaughter- 
oxen have had the greatest ease, and been best fed. 

4. The pleasures of sin and the world, put the mouth out of taste 
to the pleasures of communion with God, 1 Pet. ii. 11. By them the 
Spirit is quenched, and good motions heaven-wards are stifled. 
Therefore it is the Lord inures his people to hardness, because that 
makes them value the consolations of God, which the soft and de- 
licious life would make them neglect. 

5. Lastly, Were it not better to break these chains of worldly 
pleasures now and escape, than to remain in them, and lie down in 
sorrow for ever? Isa. 1. ult. It was by the pleasures of sense that 
mankind was ruined at first, Gen. iii. 6 ; and for that the second 
Adam paid for the elect, in his bitter suff'erings, when he was de- 
prived of all that could be grateful to his senses aud contrariwise 
was exposed to the wrath of God, and the rage of men and devils. 
That life will have a bitter reckoning in the other world, when men 


are divested of their bodies till the last day, aiid theu raised up for 
eternal punishment against that day. 

Therefore I would advise you to leave these things in time, and 
to be resolute to break through that bond, Matth. v. 29. If thy 
right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee, for it is 
profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, aud not 
that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 

Thirdli/, A prejudice against religion is a very unpleasant thing, 
Matth. XXV. 24. " Then he which had received one talent, came and 
said. Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where 
thou hast not sown, aud gathering where thou hast not stawcd." 
Mai. iii. 13. " Ye said also. Behold what a weariness is it, and ye 
have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts." This is an impediment 
that stands in the way of many ; they think that if they should 
come out from among the world lying in wickedness, they may for 
ever after bid farewell to all pleasure, to taste it no more ; they 
must spend their days in sorrow, aud never see a joyful hour more. 
This is what they can by no means do ; and thei'efore come after 
what will, they must abide among them. But, 

1. Suppose that were true of religion, whether is it easier to spend 
a life-time in a constant cloud of sorrow till death, or to spend an 
eternity so after death ? If men had no view at all beyond death, 
it would be more tolerable for them to make the inost pleasurable 
they could of a present life ; but since there is a life of pleasure or 
torment in another world, it is most absurd for eviting of momen- 
tary sorrows aud hardships, to throw themselves into endless misery. 

2. But it is absolutely false, a rash, ill grounded prejudice, where- 
with men are possessed against religion ; and it is fostered by Satan, 
and the deluded world. It is contrary to the plain testimony of 
God in Chribt, Prov. iii. 17. " Her ways are ways of pleasantness, 
and all her paths are peace." Matth. xi. 28 — 30. " Come unto me, 
all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly 
in heart ; aud ye shall find rest unto your souls. For ray yoke is 
easy, and my burden is light." It is contrary to the experience of 
the saints in all ages, John viii. 56. " Your father Abraham rejoiced 
to see my day ; and he saw it and was glad." Psal. iv. 7. " Thou 
hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn 
and their wine increased." 1 John v. 3. " For this is the love of 
God, that we keep his commandments ; and his commandments are 
not grievous." And it is contrary to the nature of things, which of 
themselves lead quite otherwise, Isa. Ivii. 20, 21. "But the wicked 
are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up 


inire and dirt. There is no peace saith my God to the wicked." Com- 
pared with 2 Cor. i. 12, " Our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our 
conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly 
wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in 
the world, and more abundantly to you wards." But here lies your 

(1.) You know and can conceive of no otlicr pleasures, but those 
of the world, sense, and sin ; but there is another kind of pleasure, 
that is spiritual, which religion affords, that none know but those 
who have tasted it, Prov. xiv. 10. There are rivers of pleasure in 
heaven, but your worldly pleasures are not there ; and there are in 
religion pleasures of that kind, in the Lord's lifting up the light of 
his countenance upon his people, and putting gladness in their 
hearts, Psal. iv. 6, 7 ; in seeing one's name written in heaven, Luke 
X. 20 ; and in the approbation of conscience, 2 Cor. i. 12. It is your 
want of a new nature, that ye cannot relish these new, refined, un- 
dreggy pleasures. 

(2.) You think all pleasures are noisy, like those of the revellers 
and jovial ones of the earth; but it is not so. Rev. ii. 17. " To him 
that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will 
give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which 
no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it." The deepest waters 
run most still, and so do the deepest joys ; hence even in worldly 
concerns, deep joy is not expressed by laughter, which is used only 
on trifling occasions. And of all joys and pleasures, those of religion 
lie most inward. 

(3.) You form your notion of religion, by the outward appear- 
ance of some that profess it, who are of a heavy disposition. But 
you ought to form it by the scripture, and not by the appearance of 
some of its professors, from whence you may draw the most fright- 
ful notion of it ; but the art of hell is in this, leading you from the 
view of cheerful Christians, to settle on those that are not so. But 
after all, ye may be deceived in them, for the countenance is not 
always an exact representor of what is within ; witness the mirth 
and jollity of many, whose heart feels stings, and lashes in the time. 
But what notion have you formed of religion, from the appearance 
of the man Christ, who was a man of sorrows, of whose weeping you 
read sometimes, of his rejoicing once, but of his laughing never ? 

3. Consider, whether the way of religion, or the way of the world, 
affords the most ground for joy and pleasure ? This will be no hard 
question to an impartial inquirer. The one is the way to a state of 
favour with God, peace, &c. here ; the other keeps one under his 
wrath ; the one is the way to be eternally happy, the other to be 


eternally miserable. "Wherefore bring ye no sorrow with you into 
religion, nor spring of it ; and ye will find none in religion. But 
it teaches men to be sorrowful in time for what is just ground of 
sorrow, and will produce it sooner or later in all. 

4. Lastly, The very sorrows that religion puts men to, are better 
than the world's joys and pleasures. These last are a spring of sor- 
row, and will end in it, Luke vi. 25, " Wo unto you that laugh 
now ; for ye shall mourn and weep." They may end in it here, 
either in the way of bitter repentance, or in the way of bitter afflic- 
tion, which will render all the former pleasures of sin tasteless, 
leaving nothing of them but the sting ; or surely in the life to come. 
Whereas the sorrows of religion, be they never so deep, make way 
for joy here, and hereafter too, ver. 21. " Blessed are ye that weep 
now for ye shall laugh." 

Fourthli/, The cares of the world, Luke viii. 14. These are a 
thicket whereby men are entangled in the world lying in wicked- 
ness, till they cannot get away. The clay idol bewitches them, that 
they have neither heart nor hand for coming out from among them. 
These cares are a net, wherein the feet of poor and rich are held 
fast ; for the frowning and smiling world are each of them apt to 
crave inordinate care. They hinder in so far as they enhance the 
whole man : and so, 

1. They fix the heart to the world as the main thing, and so keep 
it back from Grod, Matth. vi. 24. " No man can serve two masters ; 
for either he will hate the one, and love the other ; or else he will 
hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and 
mammon." Hence covetousness is called idolatry, inasmuch as 
thereby the world and its good things are put in Christ's room, 
loved, desired, and followed after more than he. 

2. They leave no room for a due concern about spiritual things, 
Luke X. 41, 42. " Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and troubled 
about many things ; but one thing is needful," This and the other 
worldly thing, one on the back of another, challenges their care and 
concern, keeps their hearts and hands ever full, that due care for 
their souls cannot get entered. Hence the lives of many are spent 
in a continual hurry, never getting leave to think seriously ; and it 
fares with them as with the man in the parable, 1 Kings xx. 39, 
40. " As the king passed by, he cried unto the king ; and he said. 
Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle, and behold, a 
man turned aside, and brought a man unto me, and said. Keep this 
man ; if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life be for his 
life, or else thou shalt pay a talent of silver. And as thy servant 
was busy here and there, ho was gone." 


3. Tliey leave tliera no gust nor relish for spiritual tilings ; they 
make thera tasteless to them, so that nothing relishes with them, but 
carnal worldly things. The smiling world has this effect, Job xxi. 
13, 14. " They spend their days in wealth — Therefore they say unto 
God, Depart from ns ; for wo desire not the knowledge of thy 
ways." And the frowning world has it too, as in the case of the 
Israelites under their oppression in Egypt, Exod. vi. 9. " They 
hearkened not unto Moses, for anguish of spirit, and for cruel 

To remove this hinderance, consider, 

1. The shortness of your time, and how in a little ye will be be- 
yond all the things of the present evil world, to have no more use 
for them for ever, 1 Cor. vii. 29, 30, 31. " But tliis I say, brethren, 
the time is short. It remaineth, that both they that have wives, be 
as though they had none ; and they that weep, as though they wept 
not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they 
that buy, as though they possessed not ; and they that use this world ; 
as not abusing it ; for the fashion of this world passeth away." 
Death approaches, and the frowns of the world can annoy you no 
more, and its smiles be in no more stead to you. Why do ye take 
so great care about what is to last so short while ? Why is not 
your short time better filled up ? 

2. Consider what will be the issne of the cares of the world hin- 
dering you to come out from among the world lying in wickedness. 
Ye will lose your souls in that throng of care for the present life, 
and no advantage in the world will quit the cost of that, Matth. 
xvi. 26. " For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole 
world, and lose his own soul ? or what shall a man give in exchange 
for his soul ? Ye have eternity challenging your care, of which if 
ye continue careless, death will bring you into a surprising plunge. 

3. You quite mistake your measures for your own interest, taking 
a burden on yourself, that might be borne without you, Psal. Iv. 22. 
Your true way would be to come out from among the world lying in 
wickedness, to Jesus Christ, and leave it to him to care for you, 
which would not be in vain, 1 Pet. v. 7. " Casting all your care 
upon him, for he careth for you." 

Fifthly, 111 company and their influence hinders many. It was 
Paul's advantage, that when God called him, he conferred not with 
flesh and blood. Gal. i. 16. For the world lying in wickedness, will 
never be content that any of their own sliould leave them ; there- 
fore the call is, Psal. xlv. 10. " Forget thine own people, and thy 
father's house." Satan has his agents in the world, that will be at 
all pains to entangle them among them that would be away. And 
they do it, 


1. By their example casting off the fear of God, indulging them- 
selves in sinful liberty, and so cast a stumbling block before others, 
Matth. xviii. 7- And, 

2. By their influence otherwise, advising, enticing, and encourag- 
ing them to sin, Prov. i. 10. Acting Satan's part. 

To remove this hinderancc, consider, 

1. You have God's call to come away ; and it will be a sorry ex- 
cuse for your disobedience, that others by their example and influ- 
ence hindered you. Acts iv. 19. " Whether it be right in the sight 
of God, to hearken unto them more than unto God, judge ye." You 
ought, at the call of your Maker, to come away iu spite of all the 
bad company that beset you. 

2. Open your eyes and see their danger as well as your own. 
Believe, that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven agaiust all 
ungodliness, and unrighteousness of men, Rom. i. 18. and you will 
be obliged to make away, as the Israelites from the tents of Dathan 
and Abiram. 

3. It will be no comfort to you in the end, to be ruined together 
with ill company, and by their influence. Their sin is great, but 
they will leave you to answer for yourselves, and bear your own pu- 
nishment, Prov. ix. 12. And the society of companions in sin, in 
hell, will be bitter, as appears from Luke xvi. 27, 28. " I pray thee, 
father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house ; for I 
have five brethren ; that he may testify unto them, lest they also 
come into this place of torment." 

Lastly, Delays are a great hinderance : Prov. vi. 9, 10, 11. "How 
long wilt thou sleep, sluggard ? when wilt thou arise out of thy 
sleep ? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the 
hands to sleep. So shall thy poverty come as one that travaileth, 
and thy want as an armed man." Men deceive themselves with off 
puts, and the prospect of much time before them. To remove this 
obstruction, consider, 

1. The longer you delay, it will be the harder to get away from 
among them. Sin gathers strength by delay of repentance ; as the 
waters, the farther they are from the head, the greater do they 
grow. The heart becomes harder, the mind blinder, the will more 
perverse, the aft'ections more carnal. 

2. Your time is uncertain ; you know not if ever you will see the 
term-day to which you put oft'. How many are there that drop into 
eternity ere ever they are aware ? The present time only is yours. 

3. Suppose you should see the time you put off to, Ood may -with- 
hold grace from you, Luke xiv. 24. " For I say unto you, that none 
of these men which were bidden, shall taste of my supper." Take 

Vol. Y. 2 b 


the alarm therefore in time, and strike in with the opportunity ye 
now have, Isa. Iv. 6. " Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, 
call ye upon him while he is near." 

Lastly, It is a base spirit that puts you on to delay ; it bewrays 
the predominant love of sin, and shews ye have no regard to God 
for himself; otherwise ye would not hesitate one moment to obey 
his call. Wherefore we beseech you to consider the matter, and de- 
lay no longer ; let a regard to the authority of God, and a view of 
his matchless excellencies in Christ; let a sense of gratitude for the 
divine patience, and the love ye bear to your own souls ; let every 
consideration, whether from the terrors of God's everlasting wrath, 
or the comforts of his everlasting love, unite to move you speedily 
to come out from among the world lying in wickedness, to the Lord 
Jesus Christ, the glorious Head of the society separated from the 
world. So coming, ye shall find welcome — " I will receive you, and 
will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, 
saith the Lord Almighty." 

And now to conclude. Ye have had the picture of the world lying 
in wickedness drawn before you, and the call to come away out from 
among them. It is like these may appear as idle tales to some, 
and they may be as one that mocked. Gen. xix. 14. But if ye come 
not away out from among them, ye will perish among them, and the 
more fearfully that ye have been so solemnly warned. 


Several Sermons preached at Ettrick, in 1729. 

Mark x. 30. 
He shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, 
and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions ; 
and in the ivorld to come, eternal life. 

Ye have heard much of this present evil world, and have been called 
to come away out from among them. I come now to tell you, that 
there is another world beyond it, into which we must all go ; a view 
of wliich may be of use to stir us up to come out from among the 
world lying in wickedness, and to make us more indifferent about 
the smiles and frowns of this world. 


The text is a part of an encouragement to saints under worldy los- 
ses. The remote occasion of it was, a view of a man ruined with 
worldly prosperity, whose wealth in the world was the neck-break 
of his soul ; and such examples are never rare, ver. 17 — 22. (1.) He 
was a young man, Matth. xix. 20. and a ruler, Luke xviii. 18. 
"Worldly wealth and honour are great snares to people, especially to 
the young, who are raw and of little experience in the vanity 
of the world. (2.) He was nevertheless in some concern for another 
world, ver. 17- " Good master, what shall I do that I may inherit 
eternal life T' For all the temptations hanging about him, he consi- 
sidered that there was a life after this, and that he could not carry 
his wealth and honour with him thither. Hence though he took 
Christ but for a good man, he was very respectful to him, he cast 
himself into his company, he kneeled to him as one desirous to have 
his blessing; he proposes a weighty question to him about another 
world. It is a pity that any thing in this world should put that out 
of one's head and heart. 

(3.) But he was a conceited man, uuhumbled, unacquainted with 
his own weakness, and thought he could do well enough, if he knew 
what. Self conceit mars many good motions, and spoils them all. 

Our Lord for his humiliation, sets before him, (1.) The holiness of 
God, ver. 18. " And Jesus said unto him. Why callest thou me 
good ; there is none good but one, that is God." A view of the 
goodness and holiness of God is fit to humble sinners, and let them 
into a view of their own badness and unholiness, Isa. vi. 5. (2.) The 
holy law, ver. 19. Thou knowest the commandments,' Do not commit 
adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. De- 
fraud not, Honour thy father and mother. The law in its holy com- 
mandments is a looking glass wherein to see our defilement and 
sinfulness. He pitches on those of the second table, for in these 
lies the trial of the sincerity of professors of religion. He begins 
with the command forbidding the lusts of the flesh, then pride, pas- 
sion, and revenge, covetousness, 8fc. For the law in these things 
speaks to all alike, young and old, great and small. 

The youth hereupon gives an account of himself, ver. 20. Master, 
all these have I observed from my youth ; in which, though he dis- 
covers his ignorance of the spirituality of the law, and his self-jus- 
tifying temper ; yet withal he shews, that, notwithstanding of his 
circumstances in the world, he had been kept from the gross pollu- 
tions of it. He had been no rambling youth, but kept within the 
bounds of decency. It seems, though he had not grace, he had edu- 

Christ brings the trial close to him, in his predominant, the love 

2b 2 


of the world, ver. 21. " Then Jesus beholding him, loved him, and 
said unto him, One thing thou lackcst ; go thy way, sell whatsoever 
thou hast and give to the poor ; and thou shalt have treasure in hea- 
ven ; and come take up thy cross, and follow me." He had many 
good things that were lovely in him, but he wanted a heart weaned 
from the world, and knit to God in Christ ; and that want, he is 
told, behoved to be made up, if ever he would see heaven. Obs. 1. 
They may have many things good about them, where one thing lack- 
ing mars all. 2. "Whoever would have a happy portion in another, 
must be ready to part with the good things of this world at Christ's 
call, and submit to its evil things. Though this is hard to flesh and 
blood, it is a constitution of heaven not to be altered. 

The issue of this trial was sad, he parted with Christ and heaven ; 
since he could not have them on easier terms, he behoved to quit 
them ; for these terms he could not digest, ver. 22. " And he was 
sad at that saying, and went away grieved ; for he had great posses- 
sions." His great possessions were his great snare. The good 
things of this world part betwixt Christ and many. 

The use Christ makes of this sad event, for the disciples' instruc- 
tion, ver. 23. " And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his 
disciples. How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the king- 
dom of God !" Obs. 1. Though riches make an easy life in this 
world, they make hard work for the party that has them to get into 
a better world. 2. The ruining effects saints may see that world's 
wealth has on men generally, should make them sit down contented 
with the small share of it which providence lets come into their 
hands, q. d. Now see what world's wealth does. 

The disciples being surprised herewith, (1.) Christ explains what 
he had said, ver. 24. " But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto 
them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches, to enter 
into the kingdom of God !" Obs. It is hard for men to have world's 
wealth, and not to trust in it as their portion and happiness, to bring 
out of it their satisfaction, which they should seek in God. (2.) He 
confirms it by a proverbial saying of a thing of a difficulty next to 
impossibility, ver. 25. " It is easier for a camel to go through the 
eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of 
God." The gate of life is narrow, the world's wealth is like the 
burden on the camel's back. 

The disciples are astonished at this ; they might observe what a 
great snare poverty was to many, and if it was so with riches too, 
they say, "Who then can be saved ? ver. 26. The consideration of 
the mischief the world does, on the one hand with its frowns, and on 
the other with its smiles, makes salvation appear very difficult. 


Our Lord tells them, that what is impossible to nature is possible 
to God. The power of his grace can so loose the heart from the 
world, that it shall not be able to bewitch a man with all its snares, 
nor hinder him from the kingdom of heaven. "Witness Abraham, 
Job, Joseph, &c. who, though rich men, were yet truly religious, and 
attained to heavenly happiness. 

Follows the immediate occasion of the words of the text. Peter 
shews how he and the rest had behaved in such a trial, as proved 
fatal to that man ; they had left all they had in the world at 
Christ's call, and followed him, ver. 28. See Matth. iv. 18 — 20. 
It was not much they had to leave for him ; but it was by the power 
of grace they were brought to part with it, little as it was. That is 
it that makes the difference. Now he is desirous to know the issue 
of that, and what they were to expect at his hand ; and Christ al- 
lows his people to persuade themselves, that they shall not be losers 
at his hand. And therefore whatever weakness might be in Peter's 
question, our Lord directly answers it, in a liberal promise to all his 
followers of a saflicient upmaking of all that they lose for him. In 
which we have, 

1. The losers to whom Christ gives security, for upmaking of 
their loss. And here consider, 

1st, What kind of losers they are. It is not every kind of losers ; 
some lose their worldly good things for their lusts' sake, squander- 
ing away the same on their lusts, and by their criminal negligence ; 
or they are justly taken from them in an ill cause for their crimes ; 
these are not they. But they that quit with any thing for Christ's 
sake, and the gospel's ; the Lord by his call bids them give up with 
it, and they at his call quit their grip ; they cannot keep it, and keep 
the road of the gospel too ; and therefore that they may not go off 
the road of the gospel, they quit what they have. These are the 

2dly, "What kind of loss it is that Christ puts his people to. It 
is not the loss of spiritual benefits and privileges, and their portion 
in another world; but only worldly good things. (1.) He may call 
them to leave house and hold, and they must leave it for his sake, 
with all the conveniencies they had in their own house before. If 
they have not left them where to lay their head, he bids them not 
ride a ford he rode not before them, Matth. viii. 20. " The foxes 
have holes, and the birds of the air have nests ; but the Son of man 
hath not where to lay his head." If they be forced to hide in dens 
and caves of the earth, they fare not worse than the worthies men- 
tioned, Ileb. xi. 38. (2.) Their relations, and the comfort they had 
in them, brethren, sisters, father, mother, wife, and children. lie 

2b 3 


may carry away their relations from them by death, or otherwise 
Ijrovidentially separate them from them, or deprive them of the 
comfort of them though they be with them, and make them a cross 
to them. Or he may carry them away from their relations, that 
they have not access to the comfort they might otherwise have in 
them. In all these cases they are losers for Christ that give up 
with them at his call to follow him. (3.) Their lands, and all the 
profits and advantages flowing from them. Even the king is served 
by the field ; but Christ must be served with the field itself given up 
to him, when he calls for it; whether it be theirs in property, or 
only in the use. They must give up their claim to him at his call. 

2. "What is secured to these losers for Christ ? Double. 

1st, Something in hand, a hundredfold now in this time. The 
term of this upmaking is in this world, now in this time. Our Lord 
does indeed reserve the greatest upmaking to another world ; but he 
does not put off" his people with nothing in the time : No, there is a 
settlement for the present made upon them, to bear the expence of 
their journey, and to bear up their hearts till they get their portion. 
And that is a hundredfold, namely, of what they lost for him, viz. 
houses, 8fc. It is plain, it cannot be meant of a hundredfold in 
kind ; that is not possible in the case of father and mother ; but in 
value; i. e. they shall get what will be a hundred times the value of 
all they lost for him. For instance, do they lose a house for him ? 
they shall get what will be worth a hundred houses, Sfc. But there 
is an appurtenance of this hundredfold, that may keep from dream- 
ing of world's ease for all that, with persecutions. All times of the 
church are not times of public persecution ; but this secures them, 
that go the times as they will, they shall never get the good-will of 
the world lying in wickedness. Satan and his agents will always be 
at them, one way or other. 

2dli/, Something in hope. Here is, (1.) The term and place of it, 
in the world to come. (2.) What they will get there, eternal life. 
This plainly bears, [1.] That there is a world to come, another world 
than this. The world properly signifies an age, or duration. And 
being in opposition to the age of this world, or times of its duration, 
it signifies the age of eternity. It is used also for the world itself, 
Heb. i. 2. And being to come, it diff"ers from the present world. 
[2.] That the world to come is the place and time where and when 
men are to get the full reward of their works ; and therefore men go 
into that world, when they have done with this ; and are not done 
when dead. Lastly/, That such losers for Christ shall in that world 
get eternal life, when others shall get eternal death there ; for if in 
that world were only eternal life, it had been needless to say more 
than that they should go into that world. 


3. The security itself, Christ's own word, *' Verily I say unto 
you," ver. 29. A security that carnal men cannot trust, but all be- 
lievers take it for good security. 

Before I come to the main thing intended, I will speak somewhat 
to the hundredfold in this life, from the following doctrine, viz. 

DocT. Our Lord Jesus has given security, for a hundredfold with, 
a burden in this life, to them who for his sake and the gospel's, 
leave and give up with their worldly good things and enjoyments, 
at his call. 

In discoursing from this doctrine, we shall consider, 

I. The parties to whom the security is made. 

II. The hundredfold secured to such losers. 

III. The burden going along with the hundredfold, with persecu- 

lY. The security given for the hundredfold to the losers for 
Christ's sake and the gospel's. 

V. Make application. 

I. We shall consider the parties to whom the security is made. 
Two things will set this in due light ; viz. An inquiry, 

1. How Christ calls people to leave and give up with any worldly 
comforts and enjoyments they have had. 

2. "What it is at Christ's call to leave and give up with them for 
his sake and the gospel's. 

First, I am to inquire how Christ calls people to leave and give 
up with any worldly comforts and enjoyments they have had. 

First, When we cannot keep them without sin. When we are 
brought to that, that we must either lose them, or sin against God ; 
must either part with them, or part with a good conscience ; be sure 
then Christ is saying, Give up with them, leave them for me. And 
so it is in four cases. 

1. In the case of persecution, or the violence of evil men reducing 
us to that strait. Thus confessors' goods were called for by Christ, 
Heb. X. 34. and the lives of the martyrs, chap. xi. 35. And they 
parted with them, as Joseph dropt his mantle, when he could not 
keep it and his chastity too. If there had been a fair way to have 
preserved the substance and the life, and a good conscience too, they 
would not have been required ; but as they could not preserve a 
good conscience with the possession of them, therefore they were 
called to part with both substance and life. 

The same holds in the case of illegal violence, when men are re- 
duced to such a strait by the violence of evil men in common life ; 
that loss is on the one hand, sin on the other ; that is a providential 


eall to give up with worldly good things and enjoyments, 1 Cor. vi. 

2. In the case of justice. It is a divine command, " Owe no man 
any thing, but to love one another," llom. xiii. 8. What justice 
requires us to part with, God requires us to part with ; for the 
righteous Lord loveth righteousness, Psal. xi. 7- And to keep it is 
robbery, because in justice it is not ours, but another's. And there- 
fore no man can reckon any more his own, than what remains to 
him after payment of his just debts, 2 Kings iv. 1, 7. To this 

3. The case of restitution of goods unjustly got. What we have 
unjustly got, is not ours in the sight of God, and therefore God calls 
to restore it, Luke xix. 8. And the sin of the taking it away, is not 
forgiven while it is kept. And where it is so, God often forces it 
out of the hand of them or theirs, taking away more with it, Job xx. 
10, 15. For a little of that sort is a moth among, and worms one 
out of much. 

4. In the case of charity. It is the divine command to improve 
our worldly substance for the honour of God, Prov. iii. 9. and to 
relieve the wants of the poor and needy, according to our ability, 
and their need. God has made us stewards, and the truly poor his 
receivers, Prov. xix. 17. The sturdy beggars are indeed the re- 
proach of our land, and eat the meat out of the mouths of those that 
are poor indeed ; their idleness is their sin, and the sin of the go- 
vernment that suffers them to be idle, 2 Thess. iii. 10. and their 
vagabond life is their sin and punishment, Psal. cix. 10. But the 
truly poor, that fain would, but are not able, or cannot have access 
to do for themselves, God obliges others to help them, even though 
they be straitened themselves, 2 Cor. viii. 2, " In a great trial of 
affliction, the abundance of their joy, and their deep poverty, 
abounded unto the riches of their liberality." Eph. iv. 28, " Let 
him that stole, steal no more ; but rather let him labour, working 
with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to 
him that needeth." See Prov. xxi. 13. 

Secondly, When he himself is providentially taking them away 
from us. Sometimes he lays worldly good things to one's hand ; at 
other times he returns and takes them away, and then doubtless he 
says. Give them up to me. Job saw this in his own experience, 
chap. i. 21, " Naked came I out of my mother's womb, (says be,) and 
naked shall I return thither ; the Lord gave, and the Lord hath 
taken away ; blessed be the name of the Lord." And this the Lord 
does in two cases. 

1. In the case of providential losses, when the things themselves 


are by holy providence taken away. Thus the Lord swept away 
Job's substance, his children, and his health too. At whatever time 
Grod thus is pulling from us, we are called to open our hearts to quit 
them, and let go our grip of them. In that case God is sending to 
us as he did to the owner of the ass, Matth. xxi. 1 — 3, " The Lord 
hath need of them ;" and we shall entertain his send as that man, 
who straightway sent the ass and the colt. 

2. In the case of providential restraints, when the comfort of the 
things is taken away, though themselves remain. Thus the Lord 
took away Job's comfort in his acquaintance, friends, and domestics, 
there was an embargo laid upon them, that they had not power to 
be comfortable to him, but on the contrary were a cross to him, Job 
xix. 13 — 16. Yea, in his own wife, who j)roved unkind to him, ver. 
17. and a snare and a cross to him, chap. ii. 9. No person, no 
thing, can be to us other than what God makes it to be ; and some- 
times God, for one's trial, squeezes the sap out of their creature- 
comforts, and so calls them to quit their comfort in them. 

Secondly, I come to shew what it is at Christ's call to leave and 
give up with them for his sake and the gospel's. And thus we will 
see, who they are to whom this security is made. It lies in three 

First, Discerning of heaven's call to give up with them, 2 Sam. 
xvi. 10. None can leave any thing at God's call, when he discerns 
no call from him for that effect. There is a generation who like the 
dog snarl at the stone, but look not to the hand above that cast it. 
In their losses they blame this or that person, this and that unlucky 
accident : but they consider not God's hand over-ruling them, and 
by these things taking trial of them, Psal. xxviii. 5. We should 
see him first mover in all the losses that befal us. 

Secondly, Loving of Christ and the gospel more than the world, 
and all that is in it : for that i^erson or thing for whose sake we 
leave any thing, must needs be more beloved than that thing. This 
is the habitual temper of soul, from whence that action doth proceed, 
to be found in all believers, Luke xvi. 26. and them only, 1 John ii. 
15. And unless the heart be once moulded into this frame through 
faith, it is not to be expected that one will truly quit any worldly 
good for Christ's sake and the gospel's, whatever they may do for 
their own sake. 

Thirdly, Heart and hands quitting grips of them, out of love to 
Christ and the gospel, Ueb. x. 34, " Ye — took joyfully the si)oiling 
of your goods." The call clears to them, that they must part either 
with Christ or the world in that instance : and laying the two in the 
balance, Christ and the gospel downweigh the worldly thing, and 


they quit it to hold them fast ; not only giving it up with the hand, 
which may bo done against one's will, but with the heart. So that 
this is a religious, holy parting therewith, an act of Christian resig- 
nation and self-denial. Hence we may state the character of the 
losers to whom the hundredfold is secured, in the following parti- 

1. They are true believers, who have taken Christ and the pro- 
mises of the gospel for their portion, their all, Psal. cxix. 57, " Thou 
art my portion, Lord." In vain is it exi)ected, that the heart 
will ever quit its grip of the world, till it takes grip of Christ and 
the promise of the gospel. Therefore faith is called buying, wherein 
the party gets as good as he gives. Rev. iii. 18. Matth. xiii. 45, 46. 
And indeed in the day of the soul's closing with Christ, it gives up 
with all things in the world, and takes Christ for them all, Luke 
xiv. 26. And to such the hundredfold is secured. 

2. In all their losses they take God for their party, and yield the 
things to him, as Job did, chaj). i. 21. forecited. They say as Eli 
did, 1 Sam. iii. 18. " It is the Lord ; let him do what seemeth him 

They have a faith of the divine providence with application to 
themselves, knowing that nothing can befal them, but as he orders 
it ; they know that he is just in all his ways, and does them no 
wrong, whatever wrong may be done them by men : yea, that he is 
good, and punishes them as they well deserve. Therefore they sub- 
mit to him, saying as the church. Lam. iii. 22. " It is of the Lord's 
mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not;" 
and as Hezekiah, Isa. xxxix. ult. " Good is the word of the Lord 
which thou hast spoken." And thus delivering up their comforts 
to him, he will restore them an hundredfold, as in Job's case. 

3. They yield up the things into the hand he directs, be that 
what it will. Whether he take away immediately by his own hand, 
or by the hands of men, right or wrong ; the intimation of his will 
is sufficient to them, as it was to Job, chap. i. 21. though the devil 
and his agents were instrumental in these losses. They look above 
second causes, and take their loss out of the hand of the first cause, 
which employs what second causes he sees meet. If men look not 
to God in these cases, they cannot expect that he will make up what 
is not given him. 

4. They leave and give up with them, to keep the road of duty in 
obedience to his command, Heb. xi. 25. It is their care to keep 
their worldly enjoyments as valuable gifts of God, and not to waste 
them by riot or negligence ; but it is their greater care to keep 
themselves in the love of God, and in the way of holy obedience. 


And therefore when they cannot do both together, they quit the for- 
mer, and cleave to the latter. Such losers God will make up, (Ileb. 
xi. 26, 26,) that will rather lose their substance, than a inire con- 
science ; that will rather suffer than sin against him. 

5. They seek their rest and comfort in him under all their losses, 
and in the promise of the gospel, Psal. xxvii. 10. By an eye of faith 
they see a fulness in Christ and the promise ; that is sufficient to bear 
up under all they can lose in the world : they discern a treasure in 
heaven, which is not liable to be lost. And in the faith thereof 
they quit their worldly comforts, Heb. x. 34. taking God's promises 
in the gospel for their heritage, in which they may rejoice in the 
want of worldly things, Zeph. iii. 12. What makes men hold such 
a greedy grip o f the world, is, that they see not, how if they lose it, 
the want can be made up : but faith looses that difficulty. 

6. They are submissive under their losses, maintaining their love 
to an afflicting God, and their esteem of the gospel under all their 
losses, 2 Sam. xv. 25, 26. They will not cast out with God and the 
gospel for world's enjoyments, nor think the worse of him, because 
he takes back his own, or denies them what he is not obliged to give 
thera. If such thoughts rise in their hearts, they will wrestle 
against them, mourn over them, condemn themselves for them, and 
return to their temper. The contrary disposition prevailing in 
proud hearts, Satan blows the coal, and oft-times it has a desperate 
and fearful issue ; as in Ahithophel and others. 

7. They will take no sinful method to prevent their losses, nor 
yet to recover thera, or shift under them. "When life lay at stake 
with those worthies mentioned, Heb. xi. 35. they would not accept 
deliverance on any sinful terms ; when Joseph was sold for a slave, 
lie would not buy his freedom with defiling his conscience. That is 
losing for Christ's sake and the gospel's, and them that so lose, Christ 
will make up ; when they that go out of God's ways into sinful 
ways, which honour not God, but the devil, either for preventing or 
recovering, will find their loss doubled by these means. 

8. Lastly, The more that created streams are dried up, the more 
closely they will seek after the fountain, 1 Tim. v. 5. It is for this 
very cause the Lord trysts his own people Avith crosses and losses ; 
as Absalom set Joab's corn-field on fire, the Lord caused a burden 
to be blown off the back of his people, that they may run their race 
more speedily ; dries up a stream of comfort in a created person or 
thing, that they may come with greater appetite to the fountain of 

II. The next head is to consider the hundredfold secured to such 
losers. This is not an hundredfold in kind, but an hundredfold in 
value. Such as, 


First, The peace and pleasurable reflection on the way of losing 
it, 2 Cor. i. 12. When the losses of untender unholy men leave a 
sting behind them, in that they find they have lost for their lusts' 
sake ; theirs shall afford them a pleasure, that their losses come not 
that way, but in a cleanly providential way, by the hand of God 
taking a trial of them, what they can lose and part with for him. 
This is an hundredfold more ; for, 

1. This peace is a Christian, spiritual benefit, flowing from the 
Spirit's leading, of a man in the way of God ; therefore more valu- 
able than the having of temporal good things, which is a common 
benefit. He may thus reflect, " Had I been left to the swing of 
ray lusts, I might have sustained all this loss by my sinful hand 
bringing it on ; but how am I obliged to preventing grace !" 

2. Such losing is a piece of honour that God puts on his people, 
1 Pet. iv. 14. "Whatever impossibility there is to reconcile this with 
the world's false notions of honour ; according to the scripture and 
reason, it is certainly an honour, to have some considerable thing in 
the world, and a heart to part with for Christ, Heb. xi. And there- 
fore we expect that the greatest sufferings for Christ, will have the 
richest incomes in the other world. 

Secondly, The cordial satisfaction in the way of j)arting Avith it. 
There are two things meeting here, which make an hundredfold 
more to spring up in the way of satisfaction. 

1. The consideration that Christ will condescend to take such a 
token of our love off our hand, Acts v. 41. It is obligement to the 
lover, that the beloved party will accept a token of his love ; though 
by that means he has less in his hand than his rival, from whom 
such a thing is not taken, he has more in hope. All is the Lord's, 
and that he will take any thing off our hand as a token, will be in 
the eyes of humble souls a great condescension. 

2. The consideration of the Lord's giving a heart to part with it 
to him. Every serious soul will value this a hundred times more 
than the having of the thing parted with, 1 Chron. xxix. 14. For 
the latter is but a common gift, but the former a gift of special 
grace, Phil. i. 29. And there is far more of the love of God in the 
one than in the other ; for it argues special love. 

Thirdly, Contentment with the low and afflicted lot. All the 
abundance of the world cannot give contentment; but losers for 
Christ's sake and the gospel's have their worldly loss made up with 
a gain in the frame of their spirit. A spirit suited to one's lot, 
brought down to the afllicted condition, is a hundredfold more than 
what is lost. That is a valuable lesson, Phil. iv. 12, " In all things 
I am instructed, both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound 


and to suffer need ;" to have one's thirst abated, as their drink is 
dried up ; to have their desires narrowed as their enjoyments are, 
Psal. xxsvii. 19. This is an hundredfold ; for, 

1. Contentment with a little is more valuable by far, than even 
contentment with much. For it is more difficult to reach, and 
speaks more of the reality and strength of grace, Psal. xxxvii. 16. 
It is a good exchange, when what is taken off our comforts, is made 
up in adding to the contented frame of spirit. 

2. The narrowing of the desires of worldly comforts, is better 
than the enlarging of one's possessions and enjoyments. For the 
former is cutting short of our lusts, the other food to them. 

Fourthly, A particular care of heaven about them for their sup- 
ply, 1 Pet. V. 7. Losers for Christ have in all ages been the pecu- 
liar objects of heaven's care and concern, to their upbearing and 
throughbearing, John xiv. 18. "I will not leave you comfortless." 
And none have been better seen to than the children of providence, 
■who have been as the lilies clothed better than Solomon in all his 
glory. Hence an afflicted lot of saints has been the time of greatest 
experience ; and they have had richest incomes, when living from 
hand to mouth, Rom. v. 3, 4. This is an hundredfold, for, 

1. The suitableness of it to their real needs, Matth. vi. 32. They 
have a promise, Phil. iv. 19, " My God shall supply all our need, 
according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus ;" and God, who is 
their Father, is a good judge of what these needs are, and will see 
to suit providential supplies unto them. He has all in hand, and is 
able ; he loves them tenderly, and will give them what is good. 

2. The seasonableness of it. Providential favourable casts in this 
case are double gifts from the timing of them, as being laid in in a 
nick of time, when they may be most useful, as in Mordecai's case. 

3. From both these they bear an impression and character of the 
divine care and love, so that though for the matter of them they 
have very small things, yet the image and superscription they bear 
will make them of much bulk. Thus Esau's countenance was a vast 
mercy in Jacob's esteem, Gen. xxxiii. 10. And many a thing, which 
some would account a mere trifle, has filled a saint with joy. 

Quest. How can that be ? Ans. On these reasonable grounds. 
(1.) The things coming as an answer of prayer. A straitened lot in 
the world, makes God's children carry even their smaller matters to