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


MAR 2 9 2005 

— "■ i 













MAR 2 9 2005 





















EccLEs. vil. 29. — Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man up- 
right ; but they have sought out many inventions, .. ..... 9 

Part 1. — the sinfulness of man's natural state. 
Gen. vi. 6, — God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and 

that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually, 27 

Part 2. — the misery of man's natural state. 
Eph. ii. 3. — We were by nature the chidren of wrath, even as others, ... 97 

Part 3 man's utter inaeilitv to recover hi.mself. 

Rom. v. 6. — For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died 

for the ungodly. 
John v. 44. — No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me 

draw him, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 124 


Part 1 on regeneration. 

1 Pet. i. 23. — Being born agaiu, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, 

by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever, ... ... 138 

Part 2 mystical union between christ and believers. 

John xv. 5 — I am the vine, ye are the branches, ... ... ... ... 177 


Part 1 death. 

Job XXX. 23. — For 1 know that thou wilt bring me to death, and to the house 

appointed for all living, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 232 

Part 2. — differencb between the righteous and the wicked in 
their death. 
Prov. xiv. 32. — The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: Ijut the righte- 
ous hath hope in his death, ... ... ... ... ... ... 333 



Part 3 of the resurrection. 

JoHK V. 28, 29. — Marvel not at this : for the hour is corning, in the which all 
that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth : they that 
have done good unto the resurrection of life ; and they that have done evil 
to the resurrection of damnation, ... ... ... ... ... 271 

Part 4. — of the general judgment. 
Matt. xxv. 31 — 34, 41, 46. — When the Son of man shall come in his glory, 
and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of 
his glory. And before him shall be gathered all nations ; and he shall sepa- 
rate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats : 
and he shall set the sheep on the right hand, but the goats on the left. Then 
shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed, &c. — 
Unto them on the left hand. Depart from me, ye cursed, &c. — And these 
shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life 
eternal, 289 

Part 5. — the kingdom of heaven. 
Matt. xxv. 34. — Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, 
ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the 
foundation of the world, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 316 

Part 6. — of hell. 
Matt. xxv. 41. — Then shall he say unto them on the left hand. Depart from 

me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels, 347 


Psalm Ixxxix. 3 I have made a covenant with my chosen ; I Cor. xv. 45. 

— The last Adam was made a quickening spirit, ... ... ... 379 

Head. I The parties in the covenant, ... ... ... ... ... 385 

Of the party contractor on Heaven's side, ... ... ... ... ... 386 

Of the party contractor on man's side, ... ... ... ... ... 388 

Of the party contracted and undertaken for, ... ... ... ... ... 399 

Head II. — The making of the covenant of grace, ... ... ' ... ... 406 

Christ the kinsman-redeemer in the covenant, ... ... ... ... ... 412 

Christ the surety of the covenant, ... ... ... ... ... ... 416 

Christ the priest of the covenant, ... ... ... ... ... ... 427 

Inferences from the second head, ... ... ... ... ... ... 430 

Head III The parts of the covenant, ... ... ... ... ... ... 435 

The conditionary part of the covenant, ... ... ... ... ... ib. 

Article 1. Holiness of nature, . . ... ... ... ... ... 441 

2. Righteousness of life, ... ... ... ... ... ... 443 

3. Satisfaction for sin, ... ... ... ... ... ... 445 

Inferences from the conditionary part of the covenant, ... ... ... 452 



The second, or promissory part of the covenant, ... ... ... ... 461 

Of the promises in general, ... ... ... .. ... ... ... 464 

Of the promises peculiar to Christ, ... ... ... ... ... ... 471 

The promise of eternal life to the elect, considered in three periods, ... 474 

Period I. Before union with Christ. — 1. The promise of preservation, 475 

2. The promise of the Spirit, ... ... ... ... ... ... 477 

Period II. From union with Christ until death, 481 1. The promise of 

justification, 481 2. The promise of a new and saving covenant-relation 

to God, 483 3. The promise of sanctification, 486. — 4. The promise of 

perseverance in grace, 503 5. The promise of temporal benefits, ... 607 

Period III. Fronx death, through eternity, 510. — 1. The promise of victory 

over death, 511. — 2. The promise of everlasting life in heaven, 512 In- 
ference from the promise of eternal life, 516. — No proper penalty of the 

covenant of grace, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 518 

Head IV. The administration of the covenant of grace, ... ... ... 519 

Christ the administrator of the covenant, ... ... ... ... ... ib. 

Sinners of mankind the objects of the administration of the covenant, ... 523 

The ends of the administration of the covenant, ... ... ... ... 527 

The nature of the administration of the covenant, ... ... ... ... 630 

Christ the trustee of the covenant, ... ... ... ... .. ... 531 

Christ the testator of the covenant, ... ... ... ... ... ... . 536 

Christ the prophet of the covenant, ... ... ... ... ... ... 548 

Christ the king of the covenant, ... ... ... ... ... ... 553 

Christ the intercessor of the covenant, ... ... ... ... ... ... 561 

Head V. The trial of a saving personal inbeing in the covenant of grace, 665 

Head VI. The way of instating sinners, personally and savingly, in the co- 
venant of grace, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 657 

Sinners instated in the covenant, by faith or believing, ... ... ... 678 

A faith of the law preparatory for the covenant, ... ... ... ... 582 

The faith of the gospel instating in the covenant, ... ... ... ... 584 

The faith of Christ's sufficiency, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 585 

The faith of the gospel-offer, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 587 

The faith of our right to Christ, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 591 

The faith of particular trust for salvation, ... ... ... ... ... 597 





EccLES. vii. 29, 

ho, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright ; but they 

have sought out many inventions. 

There are four things very necessary to be known by all that would 
see heaven : 1. What man luas in the state of innocence, as God made 
him. 2. What he is in the state of corrupt nature, as he hath un- 
made himself. 3. What he must be in the state of grace, as created 
in Christ Jesus unto good works, if ever he be made a partaker of 
the inheritance of the saints in light. 4. What he luill be in his 
eternal state, as made by the Judge of all, either perfectly happy, 
or completely miserable, and that for ever. These are weighty 
points, that touch the vitals of practical godliness, from which most 
men, and even many professors, in these dregs of time, are quite 
estranged. I design, therefore, under the divine conduct, to open 
these things, and apply them. 

I begin with the first of them, namely, the State of Innocence: 
that beholding man polished after the similitude of a palace, the 
ruins may the more affect us ; we may the more prize that match- 
less Person whom the Father has appointed the repairer of the 
breach ; and that we may, with fixed resolves, betake ourselves to 
that way which leadeth to the city that hath immoveable foun- 

In the text we have three things : — 

1. The state of innocence wherein man was created. " God hath 
made man upright." By " man" here we are to understand our 
first parents ; the archetypal pair, the root of mankind, the com- 



pendized world, and the fountain from whence all generations have 
streamed ; as may appear by comparing Gen. v. 1,2, " In the day 
that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him : male 
and female created he them ; and blessed them," as the root of 
mankind, " and called their name Adam." The original word is 
the same in our text. In this sense, man was made right, (agree- 
able to the nature of God, whose work is perfect,) without any im- 
perfection, corruption, or principle of corruption, in his body or 
soul. He was made " upright," that is, straight with the will and 
law of God, without any irregularity in his soul. By the set it got 
in its creation, it directly pointed towards God, as his chief end ; 
which straight inclination was I'epresented, as in an emblem, by the 
erect figure of his body, a figure that no other living creature par- 
takes of. What David was in a gospel sense, that was he in a legal 
sense ; one " according to God's own heart," altogether righteous, 
pure, and holy. God made him thus: he did not first make him, 
and then make him righteous ; but in the very making of him, he 
made him righteous. Original righteousness was created with him ; 
so that in the same moment he was a man, he was a righteous man, 
morally good ; with the same breath that God breathed into him a 
living soul, he breathed into him a righteous soul. 

2. Here is man's fallen state : " But they have sought out many 
inventions." They fell off from their rest in God, and fell upon 
seeking inventions of their own, to mend their case ; and they quite 
marred it. Their ruin was from their own proper motion: they 
would not abide as God had made them; but they sought out inven- 
tions, to deform and undo themselves. 

3. Observe here the certainty and importance of these things ; 
" Lo, this only have I found," &c. Believe them, they are the re- 
sult of a narrow search, and a serious inquiry, performed by tlie 
wisest of men. In the two preceding verses, Solomon represents 
himself as in quest of goodness in the world ; but the issue of it 
was, he could find no satisfying end of his search after it ; though 
it was not for want of pains, for he " counted one by one, to find 
out the account. Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, — 
to wit, " That," as the same word is read in our text, " yet my soul 
seeketh, but I find not." He could make no satisfying discovery of 
it, which might stay his inquiry. He found the good very rare, one 
as it were among a thousand. But could that satisfy the grand query, 
" Where shall wisdom be found ?" No it could not : and if the ex- 
perience of others in this point, run counter to Solomon's, as it is no 
reflection on his discernment, it can as little decide the question, 
which will ren?ain undetermined till the last day. But, amidst all 


tliis uncertainty there is one point found out and fixed — " This have 
I found." You may depend upon it as a most certain truth, and be 
fully satisfied in it ; " Lo this ;" fix your eyes upon it, as a matter 
worthy of most deep and serious regard; namely, that man's na- 
ture is now depraved : but that depravity was not from God, for he 
" made man upright ;" but from themselves, " they have sought out 
many inventions." 

Doctrine — God made man altogether righteous. 

This is that state of innocence in which God placed man in the 
world. It is described in the holy Scripture with a running pen, 
in comparison of the following states ; for it was of no continuance, 
but passed away as a flying shadow, by man's abusing the freedom 
of his will. I shall, 

I. Inquire into the righteousness of this state wherein man was 


II. Lay before you some of the happy concomitants and consequen- 

ces thereof. 

III. Applying the whole. 

I. Of Man's Original Righteousness. 

As to the righteousness of this state, consider, that as uncreated 
righteousness, the righteousness of God is the supreme rule ; so all 
created righteousness, whether of men or angels, has respect to 
a law as its rule, and is a conformity thereto. A creature can no 
more be morally independant of God in its actions and powers, 
than it can be naturally indepeudent of him. A creature, as a 
creature, must acknowledge the Creator's will as its supreme law ; 
for as it cannot exist without him, so it must not be but for him, 
and according to his will ; yet no law obliges, until it is revealed. 
And hence it follows, that there was a law, which man, as a rational 
creature, was subjected to in his creation ; and that this law was 
revealed to him. 

" God made man upright," says the text. This supposes a law 
to which he was conformed in his creation ; as when any thing is 
made regular, or according to rule, of necessity the rule itself is 
presupposed. Whence we may gather, that this law was no other 
than the eternal, indispensable law of righteousness, observed in 
all points by the second Adam, opposed by the carnal mind, and 
some notions of which remain yet among the Pagans, who, " having 
not the law, are a law unto themselves," Rom. ii. 14. In a word, 



this law is the very same which was afterwards summed up in the 
ten commandments, and promulgated, on mount Sinai, to the Israe- 
lites, called by us the moral law, and man's righteousness consisted 
in conformity to this law or rule. More particularly, there is a 
twofold conformity required of a man ; a conformity of the powers 
of his soul to the law, which you may call habitual righteousness ; 
and a conformity of all his actions to it, which is actual righteous- 
ness. Now, God made man habitually righteous ; man was to make 
himself actually righteous ; the former was the stock which God 
put into his hand; the latter was the improvement he should have 
made of it. The sum of what I have said is, that the righteousness 
wherein man was created, was the conformity of all the faculties 
and powers of his soul to the moral law. This is what we call Ori- 
orinal Righteousness, which man was originally endued with. Wo 
may take it up in these three things : — 

1. Man's understanding was a lamp of light. He had perfect 
knowledge of the law, and of his duty accordingly : he was made 
after God's image, and consequently could not want knowledge, 
which is a part thereof. Col, iii. 10. " The new man is renewed in 
knowledge, after the image of Him that created him." And in- 
deed this was necessary to fit him for universal obedience ; seeing 
no obedience can be according to the law, unless it proceed from a 
sense of the commandment of God requiring it. It is true, Adam 
had not the law written upon tables of stone ; but it was written 
upon his mind, the knowledge thereof being created with him. God 
impressed it upon his soul, and made him a law to himself, as the 
remains of it among the heathens do testify, Rom. ii. 14, 15. And 
.seeinc man was made to be the mouth of the creation, to glorify 
God in his works, we have ground to believe he had naturally an ex- 
quisite knowledge of the works of God. "We have a proof of this 
in Adam's giving names to the beasts of the field, and the fowls of 
the air, and those such as express their nature. " Whatsoever 
Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof," 
Gen. ii. 19- The dominion which God gave hira over the creatures, 
soberlv to use and dispose of them according to bis will, (still in 
subordination to the will of God,) seems to require no less than a 
knowledge of their natures. And, besides all this, his perfect 
knowledore of the law proves his knowledge in the management of 
civil affairs, which, in respect of the law of God, " a good man will 
euide with discretion," Psalm cxii. 5. 

2. His will in all things was agreeable with the will of God, 
Eph. iv. 42. There was no corruption in his will, no inclination 
to evil : for that is sin, properly and truly so called : hence the 


apostle says, Kora. vii. 7, " I liad not known sin, but by the law; 
for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not 
covet." An inclination to evil is really a fountain of sin, and there- 
fore inconsistent with that rectitude and uprightness which the text 
expressly says he was endued with at his creation. The will of man 
then was directed and naturally inclined to God and goodness, 
though mutable. It was disposed, by its original make, to follow 
the Creator's will, as the shadow does the body ; and was not left 
in an equal balance to good and evil : for at that rate he had not 
been upright, nor habitually conformed to the law ; which in no mo- 
ment cau allow the creature not to be inclined towards God as his 
chief end, any more than it can allow man to be a god to himself. The 
law was impressed upon Adam's soul : now this, according to the 
new covenant, by which the image of God is repaired, consists in 
two things : — 1. Putting the law in the mind, denoting the know- 
lege of it ; 2. "Writing it in the heart, denoting inclinations in the 
will, answerable to the commands of the law, Heb. viii. 10. So that 
as the will, when we consider it as renewed by grace, is by that 
grace naturally inclined to the same holiness, in all its parts, which 
the law requires ; so was the will of man, when we consider him as 
God made him at first, endued with natural inclinations to every 
thing commanded by the law. For if the regenerate are partakers 
of the divine nature, as undoubtedly, they are, for so says the 
Scripture, 2 Pet. i. 4; and if this divine nature can import no less 
than the inclination of the heart to holiness, then surely Adam's 
will could not want this inclination; for iu him the image of God 
was perfect. It is true it is said, Rom. ii. 1-i, 15, " That the Gen- 
tiles show the work of the law written in their hearts ;" but this de- 
notes only their knowledge of that law, such as it is : but the apostle 
to the Hebrews, in the text cited, takes the word heart iu another 
sense, distinguishing it plainly from the mind. And it must be 
granted, that, when God promises, in the new covenant, " to write 
his law in the hearts of his people," it imports quite another thing 
than what heathens have : for though they have notions of it in 
their minds, yet their hearts go another way : their will has got a 
set and bias quite contrary to that law ; therefore the expression 
suitable to the present purpose must needs import, besides these no- 
tions of the mind, inclinations of the will going along therewith; 
which inclinatious, though mixed with corruption in the regenerate, 
were pure and unmixed in upright Adam. In a word, as Adam 
knew his Master's pleasure in the matter of duty, so his will inclined 
to what he knew. 

3. His affections were orderly, pure, and holy; which is a neces- 

14 OF JIAN's original ItlGHTEOUSNESS. 

sary part of that uprightness wherein man was created. The apos- 
tle has a petition, 2 Thess. iii. 5, " The Lord direct your hearts into 
the love of God ;" that is, " The Lord straighten your hearts," or 
make them lie straight to the love of God: and our text tells us 
that man was made straight. " The new man is created in righte- 
ousness and true holiness," Eph. iv. 24. Now this holiness, as it is 
distinguished from righteousness, may import the purity and good 
order of the aftections. Thus the apostle, 1 Tim. ii. 8, will have 
men to "pray, fifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting:" 
because, as troubled water is unfit to receive the image of the sun 
so the heart filled with impure and disorderly affections is not fit for 
divine communications. Man's sensitive appetite was indeed natur- 
ally carried out towards objects grateful to the senses. For seeing 
man was made up of body and soul, and God made man to glorify 
and enjoy him, and for this end to use his good creatures in subor- 
dination to himself; it is plain that man was naturally inclined both 
to spiritual and sensible good ; yet to spiritual good, the chief good 
as his ultimate end. Therefore his sensitive motions and inclina- 
tions were subordinate to his reason and will, which lay straight 
with the will of God, and were not in the least contrary to the same. 
Otherwise he would have been made up of contradictions; his soul 
being naturally inclined to God, as the chief end, in the superior 
part thereof; and the same soul inclined to the creature, as the chief 
end, in the inferior part thereof, as they call it ; which is impos- 
sible : for man, at the same instant, cannot have two chief ends. 
Man's affections, then, in his primitive state, were pure from all de- 
filement, free from all disorder and distemper, because in all their 
motions they were duly subjected to his clear reason, and his holy 
will. He had also an executive power answerable to his will ; a 
power to do the good which he knew should be done, and which he 
was inclined to do, even to fulfil the whole law of God. If it had 
not been so, God would have required of him perfect obedience; for 
to say that " the Lord gathereth where he hath not strawed," is but 
the blasphemy of a wicked heart against so good and bountiful a 
God, Matt. xsv. 24—26. 

From what has been said, it may be gathered, that the original 
righteousness explained was universal and natural, yet mutable. 

1. It was universal, both with respect to the subject of it, the 
whole man, and the object of it, the whole law. Universal, I say, 
with respect to the subject of it ; for this righteousness was difi"nsed 
through the whole man : it was a blessed leaven, that leavened the 
whole lump. There was not a wrong pin in the taberuacle of human 
nature, when God set it up, however shattered it is now. Man was 


then lioly in soul, body, and spirit ; while the soul remained un- 
tainted, its lodging was kept clean and undetiled ; the members of 
the body were consecrated vessels, and instruments of righteousness. 
A combat between ilesh and spirit, reason and appetite, nay, the 
least inclination to sin, or lust of the flesh in the inferior part of 
the soul, was utterly inconsistent with this uprightness in which man 
was created ; and has been invented to veil the corruption of man's 
nature, and to obscure the grace of God in Jesus Christ ; it looks 
very much like the language of fallen Adam, laying his own sin at 
his Maker's door, Gen. iii. 12, " The woman whom thou gavest to be 
with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." But as this 
righteousness was universal in respect of the subject, because it 
spread through the whole man ; so also it was universal in respect 
of the object, the holy law. There was nothing in the law but what 
was agreeable to his reason and will, as God made hiu), though sin 
hath now set him at odds with it; his soul was shajien out in length 
and breadth to the commandment, though exceeding broad ; so that 
his original righteousness was not only perfect in its parts, but in 

2. As it was universal, so it was natural to him, and not super- 
natural in that state. Not that it was essential to man, as man, 
for then he could not have lost it, without the loss of his very being, 
but it was natural to him ; he was created with it, and it was neces- 
sary to the perfection of man, as he came out of the hand of God, 
necessary to his being placed in a state of integrity. Yet, 

3. It was mutable ; it was a righteousness that might be lost, as 
is manifested by the doleful event. His will was not absolutely in- 
diflFerent to good and evil ; God set it towards good only, yet he did 
not so fix and confirm its inclinations, that it could not alter. No, 
it was moveable to evil, and that only by man himself, God having 
given him a sufficient power to stand in this integrity, if he had 
pleased. Let no man quarrel with God's works in this ; for if 
Adam had been unchangeably righteous, he must have been so either 
by nature or by free gift : by nature he could not be so, for that is 
proper to God, and incommunicable to any creature ; if by free gift, 
then no wrong was done to him in withholding what he could not 
crave. Confirmation in a righteous state is a reward of grace, given 
upon continuing righteous through the state of trial, and would have 
been given to Adam if he had stood out the time appointed for pro- 
bation by the Creator ; and accordingly is given to the saints upon 
account of the merits of Christ, who " was obedient even unto 
death." And herein believers have the advantage of Adam, that 
they can never totally nor finally fall away from grace. 


Thus was man made originally righteous, being created in *' God's 
own image," Gen. 1. 27, which consists in the positive qualities of 
" knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness," Col. iii. 10. Eph. iv. 
24. " All that God made was very good, according to their several 
natures," Gen. i. 31. And so was man morally good, being made 
after the image of him who is " good and upright," Psalm xxv. 8. 
Without this, he could not have answered the great end of his crea- 
tion, which was, to know, love, and serve his God, according to his 
will ; nay, he could not be created otherwise, for he must either be 
conformed to the law in his powers, principles, and inclinations, or 
not : if he was, then he was righteous ; and, if not, he was a sinner; 
which is absurd and horrible to imagine. 

II. I shall lay before you some of those things which accompanied 
or flowed from the righteousness of man's primitive state. Happi- 
ness is the result of holiness ; and as this was a holy, so it was a 
happy state. 

1. Man was then a very glorious creature. We have reason to 
suppose, that as Moses' face shone when he came down from the 
mount, so man had a very lightsome and pleasant countenance, and 
beautiful body, while as yet there was no darkness of sin in him at 
all. But seeing God himself is "glorious in holiness," Exod. xv. 11, 
surely that spiritual comeliness which the Lord put upon man at his 
creation, made hira a very glorious creature. how did light shine 
in his holy conversation, to the glory of the Creator ! while every 
action was but the darting forth of a ray and beam of that glorious 
unmixed light which God had set up in his soul, while that lamp of 
love, lighted from heaven, continued burning in his heart, as in the 
holy place ; and the law of the Lord, put in his inward parts by the 
finger of God, was kept by him there, as in the most holy. There 
was no impurity to be seen without ; no squint look in the eyes, 
after any unclean thing; the tongue spoke ncthing but the language 
of heaven; and, in a word, "the King's son was all glorious within," 
and his " clothing of wrought gold." 

2. He was the favourite of Heaven. He shone brightly in the 
image of God, who cannot but love his own image, wherever it ap- 
pears. While he was alone in the world, he was not alone, for God 
was with hira. His communion and fellowship were with his 
Creator, and that immediately; for as yet there was nothing to turn 
away the face of God from the work of his own hands, seeing sin 
had not as yet entered, which alone could make the breach. 

By the favour of God he was advanced to be confederate with 
heaven in the first covenant, called the covenant of works. God 

OF man's original happiness. 17 

reduced the law, which he gave in his creation, into the form of a 
covenant, whereof perfect obedience was the condition : life was the 
thing promised, and death the penalty. As for the condition, one 
great branch of the natural law was, that man should believe what- 
soever God revealed, and should do whatsoever he commanded ; ac- 
cordingly, God making this covenant with man, extended his duty 
to the " not eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil ;" and 
the law thus extended, was the rule of man's covenant obedience. 
How easy were these terms to him who had the natural law written 
on his heart; and that inclining him to obey this positive law re- 
vealed to him, it seems, by an audible voice, Gen. ii. 16, 17, the 
matter whereof was so very easy ! And indeed it was highly rea- 
sonable that the rule and matter of his covenant obedience should 
be thus extended, that which was added being a thing in itself 
indifferent, where his obedience was to turn upon the precise point 
of the will of God, the plainest evidence of true obedience; and it 
being in an external thing, wherein his obedience or disobedience 
would be most clear and conspicuous. 

Now, upon this condition, God promised him life, the continuance 
of natural life, in the union of soul and body, and of spiritual life, 
in the favour of his Creator : he promised him also eternal life in 
heaven, to have been entered into when he should have passed the 
time of his trial upon earth, and the Lord should see meet to trans- 
port him into the upper paradise. This promise of life was in- 
cluded in the threatening of death, mentioned. Gen. ii. 17- For 
while God says, " In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely 
die;" it is, in effect, " If thou do not eat of it, thou shalt surely 
live." And this was sacramentally confirmed by another tree in 
the garden, called therefore, " The Tree of Life," which he was 
debarred from when he had sinned ; Gen. iii. 22, 23, " Lest he put 
forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live 
for ever; therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of 
Eden." Yet it is not to be thought that man's life and death did 
hang only on this matter of the forbidden fruit, but on the whole 
law ; for so says the apostle, Gal. iii. 10, " It is written, Cursed is 
every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the 
book of the law to do them." That of tlie forbidden fruit was a 
revealed part of Adam's religion, and so was necessary expressly 
to be laid before him ; but as to the natural law, he naturally knew 
death to be the wages of disobedience, for the very lieathens were 
not ignorant of this, *' knowing the judgment of God, that they 
which commit such things are worthy of death," Rom. i. 32. More- 
over, the promise included in the threatening, secured Adam's life, 


according to the covenant, as long as he obeyed the natural law, 
with the addition of that positive command; so that he needed 
nothing to be expressed to him in the covenant but what concerned 
the eating of the forbidden fruit. That eternal life in heaven Avas 
promised in this covenant, is plain from this, that the threatening 
was of eternal death in hell, to which, when man had made himself 
liable, Christ was promised, by his death to purchase eternal life. 
And Christ himself expounds the promise of the covenant of works, 
of eternal life, while he proposes the condition of that covenant to 
a proud young man, who, though he had not Adam's stock, yet 
would needs enter into life in the way of working, as Adam was to 
have done under this covenant. Matt. xix. 17, " If thou wilt enter 
into life," (namely, eternal life, by doing, ver. 16,) " keep the com- 

The penalty was death. Gen. ii. 17, " In the day that thou eatest 
thereof, thou shalt surely die." The death threatened was such as 
the life promised was, and that most justly; namely, temporal, spi- 
ritual, and eternal death. The event is a commentary on this ; for 
that very day he did eat thereof he was a dead man in law, but the 
execution was stopped because of his posterity, then in his loins, 
and another covenant was prepared : however, that day his body 
got its death-wound, and became mortal. Death also seized his 
soul ; he lost his original righteousness, and the favour of God ; 
witness the pangs of conscience which made him hide himself from 
God. And he became liable to eternal death, which would have 
actually followed of course, if the Mediator had not been provided, 
who found him bound with the cords of death, as a malefactor 
ready to be led to execution. Thus you have a short description of 
the covenant into which the Lord brought man' in the state of inno- 

And does it seem a small thing unto you, that earth was thus 
confederate with heaven ? This could have been done to none but 
him whom the King of Heaven delighted to honour. It was an act 
of grace, worthy of the gracious God whose favourite he was ; for 
there was grace and free favour in the first covenant, though the 
exceeding riches of grace, as the apostle calls it, Eph. ii. 7, were re- 
served for the second. It was certainly an act of grace, favour, and 
admirable condescension in God, to enter into a covenant, and such 
a covenant, with his own creature. Man was not at his own, but at 
God's disposal, nor had he any thing to work with but what he had 
received from God. There was no proportion between the work 
and the promised reward. Before that covenant, man was bound 
to perfect obedience, in virtue of his natural dependence on God ; 


and death was naturally the wages of sin, which the justice of 
God could and would have required, though there had never been 
any covenant between God and man : but God was free ; man could 
never have required eternal life as the reward of his work, if there 
had not been such a covenant. God was free to have disposed of 
his creatures as he saw meet : if he had stood in his integrity to the 
end of time, and there had been no covenant promising eternal lifo 
to him upon his obedience, God might have withdrawn his support- 
ing hand at last and so have made him creep back into nothing, 
whence almighty power had drawn hira forth. And, what wrong 
could have been in this, for God would have only taken back what 
he freely gave ? But now, the covenant being made, God becomes 
debtor to his own faithfulness : if man will work, he may crave the 
reward on the ground of the covenant. Well might the angels, 
then, upon his being raised to this dignity, have given him this salu- 
tation — " Hail ! thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with 

3. God made him Lord of the world, prince of the inferior crea- 
tures, universal Lord and emperor of the whole earth. His creator 
gave him dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the 
air, over all the earth, yea, and every living thing that moveth on 
the earth ; he " put all things under his feet," Psalm viii. 6 — 8. He 
gave him a power, soberly to use and dispose of the creatures in the 
earth, sea, and air. Thus man was God's deputy governor in the 
lower world, and this his dominion was an image of God's severeign- 
ty. This was common to the man and to the Avoman : but the man 
had one thing peculiar to him, namely, that he had dominion over 
the woman also, 1 Cor. xi. 7- Behold how the creatures came unto 
him, to own their subjection, and to do him homage as their lord, 
and quietly stood before him till he put names on them as his own. 
Gen. ii. 19. Man's face struck an awe upon them ; the stoutest 
creatures stood astonished, tamely and quietly owning him as their 
lord and ruler. Thus was man " crowned with glory and honour," 
Psalm viii. 5. The Lord dealt most liberally and bountifully with 
him "put all things under his feet;" only he kept one thing, one 
tree in the garden, out of his hands, even the tree of knowledge of 
good and evil. 

But you may say, and did he grudge him this ? I answer. Nay ; 
but when he had made him thus holy and happy, he graciously gave 
hira this restriction, which was in its own nature a prop and stay to 
keep hira from falling. And this I say upon these three grounds : 
— 1. As it was most proper for the honour of God, who had made 
man lord of the lower world, to assert his sovereign dominion over 

20 OF man's original happiness. 

all, by some particular visible sign; so it was most proper for man's 
safety. Man being set down in a beautiful paradise, it was an act 
of infinite wisdom, and of grace too, to keep liim from one single 
tree, as a visible testimony that he must hold all of his Creator, as 
his great landlord ; that so, while he saw himself lord of the crea- 
tures, he might not forget that he was still God's subject. 2. This 
was a memorial of his mutable state given to him from heaven, to 
be laid up by him for his greater caution. For man was created with 
a free will to good, which the tree of life was an evidence of : but his 
will was also free to evil, and the forbidden tree was to him a me- 
morial thereof. It was, in a manner a continual watchword to him 
against evil, a bacon set up before him, to bid him beware of dash- 
ing himself to pieces on the rock of sin. 3. God made man upright, 
directed towards God as his chief end. He set him, like Moses, on 
the top of the hill, holding up his hands to heaven : and as Aaron 
and Har stayed up Moses' hands, Exodus xvii. 10 — 12, so God gave 
man an erect figure of body, and forbade him the eating of this tree 
to keep him in that posture of uprightness wherein he was created. 
God made the beasts looking down towards the earth, to shew that 
their satisfaction might be brought from thence ; and accordingly it 
does afford them what is suited to their appetite : but the erect fig- 
ure of man's body, which looketh upward, shewed him that his hap- 
piness lay above him, in God : and that he was to expect it from 
heaven, and not from earth. Now this fair tree, of which he was 
forbidden to eat, taught him the same lesson ; that his happiness 
lay not in enjoyment of the creatures, for there was a want even in 
paradise : so that the forbidden tree was, in effect the hand of all 
the creatures, pointing man away from themselves to God for happi- 
ness. It was a sign of emptiness hung before the door of the crea- 
tion, with the inscription, " This is not your rest." 

4. As he had a perfect tranquillity within his own breast, so he 
had a perfect calm without. His heart had nothing to reproach 
him with; conscience then had nothing to do, but to direct, approve, 
and feast him : and without, there was nothing to annoy him. The 
happy pair lived in perfect amity ; and though their knowledge was 
vast, true, and clear, they knew no shame. Though they were 
naked, there were no blushes in their faces ; for sin, the seed of 
shame, was not yet sown, Gen. ii. 25. And their beautiful bodies 
were not capable of injuries from the air: so they had no need of 
clothes, which are originally the badges of our shame. They were 
liable to no diseases nor pains : and, though they were not to live 
idle, yet toil, weariness, and sweat of the brows, were not known in 
this state. 


5. Man had a life of pare delight, and unalloyed pleasure, in 
this state. Rivers of pure pleasure ran through it. The earth, 
with the product thereof, was now in its glory ; nothing had yet 
come in to mar the beauty of tho creatures. God placed him, not 
in a common place of the earth ; but in Eden, a place eminent for 
pleasantness, as the name of it imports ; nay, not only in Eden, but 
in the garden of Eden ; the most pleasant spot of that pleasant 
place ; a garden planted by God himself, to be the mansion-house 
of this his favourite. When God made the other living creatures, 
he said, " Let the water bring forth the moving creature," Gen. i. 
29, and, " Let the earth bring forth the living creature," verse 24. 
But when man was to be made, he said ; " Let us make man," verse 
18. So, when the rest of the earth was to be furnished with herbs 
and trees, God said, " Let the earth bring forth grass, and the fruit- 
tree," &c. verse 11. But of paradise it is said, " God planted it." 
Gen. ii. 8, which cannot but denote a singular excellence in that 
garden, beyond all other parts of the then beautiful earth. He was 
provided with every thing necessary and delightful ; for there was 
" every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food," verse 
9. He knew not those delights which luxury has invented for the 
gratification of lust : but his delights were such as came out of the 
hand of God; without passing through sinful hands, which always 
leave marks of impurity on what they touch. So his delights 
were pure, his pleasures refined. Yet may I show you a more ex- 
cellent way : wisdom had entered into his heart ; surely then know- 
ledge was pleasant unto his soul. What delight do some find in 
their discoveries of the works of nature, by those scraps of know- 
ledge they have gathered ! but how much more exquisite pleasure 
had Adam, while his piercing eyes read the book of God's works, 
which God laid before him, to the end he might glorify him in the 
same; and therefore had certainly fitted him for the work ! But, 
above all, his knowledge of God, and that as his God, and the com- 
munion which he had with him, could not but afford him the most 
refined and exquisite pleasure in the innermost recesses of his heart. 
Great is that delight which the saints find in those views of the 
glory of God, which their souls are sometimes let into, while they 
are compassed about with many infirmities : and much may well be 
allowed to sinless Adam; who no doubt had a peculiar relish of 
those pleasures. 

6. He was immortal. He would never have died if he had not 
sinned; it was in case of sin that death was threatened. Gen. ii. 
17, which shews it to be the consequence of sin, and not of the sin- 
less human nature. The perfect constitution of his body, which 


came out of God's hand very good, and the righteousness and holi- 
ness of his soul, removed all inward causes of death ; nothing being 
prepared for the grave's devouring mouth, but the vile body, Phil, 
iii. 21, and those who have sinned, Job xxiv- 19. And God's special 
care of his innocent creature, secured him against outward violence. 
The apostle's testimony is express, Eom. v. 12, " By one man sin 
entered into the world, and death by sin." Behold the door by 
which death came in ! Satan wronght with his lies till he got it 
opened, and so death entered ; therefore is he said to have been " a 
murderer from the beginning," John viii. 44. 

Thus have I shown you the holiness and happiness of men in 
this state. If any should say, What is all this to us, who never 
tasted of that holy and happy state ? — they must know, it nearly 
concerns us, as Adam was the root of all mankind, our common head 
and representative ; who received from God our inheritance and 
stock, to keep it for himself and his children, and to convey it to 
them. The Lord put all mankind's stock, as it were, in one ship; 
and, as we ourselves would have done, he made our common father 
the pilot. He put a blessing in the root, to have been, if rightly 
managed diffused into all the branches. According to our text, 
making Adam upright, he made man upright ; and all mankind had 
that uprightness in him ; for, " if the root be holy, so are the 
branches." But more of this afterwards. Had Adam stood, none 
would have quarrelled with the representation. 

III. The Doctrine of the State of Innocence applied. 

Use I. For information. This shews us, 1. That not God, but 
man himself was the cause of his ruin. God made him upright ; 
his Creator set him up, but he threw himself down. Was the 
Lord's directing and inclining him to good, the reason of his woful 
choice ? or did heaven deal so sparingly n'ith him, that his pressing 
wants sent him to hell to seek supply ? Nay, man was, and is, the 
cause of his own ruin. 2. God may most justly require of men per- 
fect obedience to his law, and condemn them for their not obeying 
it perfectly, though now they have no ability to keep it. In so do- 
ing, he gathers but where he has sown. He gave man ability to 
keep the whole law; man has lost it by his own fault ; but his sin 
could never take away that right which God hath to exact perfect 
obedience of his creature, and to punish in case of disobedience. 3. 
Behold here the infinite obligation we lie under to Jesus Christ the 
second Adam, who, with his own precious blood has bought our 
freedom, and freely makes offer of it again to us, Hos, xiii. 9, and 
that with the advantage of everlasting security, and that it can 


never be altogetlier lost any more, John x. 28, 29. Free grace will 
fix those, whom free will shook down into the gulph of misery. 

Use II. This conveys a reproof to three sorts of persons : 1. To 
those who hate religion in the power of it, wherever it appears ; and 
can take pleasure in nothing but in the world and in their lusts. 
Surely such men are far from righteousness : they are haters of 
God, Rora. i. 30, for they are haters of his image. Upright Adam 
in paradise would have been a great eyesore to all such persons ; 
as he was to the serpent, whose seed they prove themselves to be, 
by their malignity. 2. It reproves those who put religion to shame, 
and those who are ashamed of religion, before a graceless world. 
There is a generation, who make so bold with the God who made 
them, and can in a moment crush them, that they ridicule piety, 
and make a mock of seriousness. " Against whom do you sport 
yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the 
tongue ?" Isaiah Ivii. 4. Is it not against God himself, whose 
image, in some measure restored to some of his creatures, makes 
them fools in your eyes ? But, " be ye not mockers, lest your 
bands be made strong," Isa. xxviii. 22. Holiness was the glory 
which God put on man when he made him ; but now the sons of 
men turn that glory into shame, because they themselves glory in 
their shame. There are others that secretly approve of religion, 
and in religious company will profess it, who, at other times, to be 
neighbour-like, are ashamed to own it ; so weak are they, that they 
are blown over with the wind of the wicked's mouth. A broad 
laughter, an impious jest, a scoffing jeer, out of a profane mouth, is 
to many an unanswerable argument against religion and serious- 
ness ; for, in the cause of religion, they are as silly doves without 
heart. that such would consider that weighty sentence, " Who- 
soever therefore shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this 
adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man 
be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father, with the 
holy angels," Mark viii. 38. 3. It reproves the proud self-con- 
ceited professor, who admires himself in a garment of rags which 
he has patched together. There are many who, when once they 
have gathered some scraps of knowledge of religion, and have 
attained to some reformation of life, swell big with conceit of them- 
selves; a sad sign that the effects of the fall lie so heavy upon 
them that they have "not as yet come to themselves, Luke xv. 17- 
They have eyes behind, to see their attainments; but no eyes 
within, no eyes before, to see their wants, which would surely hum- 
ble them : for true knowledge makes men to see, both what once 
they were, and what they are at present; and so is humbling, and 


will not suffer tliem to be content with any measure of grace 
attained ; but inclines them to press forward, " forgetting the things 
that are behind," Phil. iii. 13. But those men are such a spectacle 
of commiseration, as one would be who had set his palace on fire, 
and was glorying in a cottage which he had built for himself out of 
the rubbish, though so very weak, that it could not stand against a 

Use III. Of lamentation. Here was a stately building ; man 
carved like a fair palace, but now lying in ashes : let us stand and 
look on the ruins, and drop a tear. This is a lamentation, and shall 
be for lamentation. Could we avoid weeping, if we saw our country 
ruined, and turned by the enemy into a wilderness ? if we saw our 
houses on. fire, and our property perishing in the flames? But all 
this comes far short of the dismal sight ; Man fallen as a star from 
heaven ; Ah, may we not now say, "■ that we were as in months 
past !" when there was no stain in our nature, no cloud on our 
minds, no pollution in our hearts ! Had we never been in better 
case, the matter had been less ; but they that were brought up in 
scarlet, do now embrace dunghills. Where is our primitive glory 
now ? once no darkness in the mind, no rebellion in the will no dis- 
order in the affections. But ah ! " How is the faithful city be- 
come an harlot ! — Righteousness lodged in it ; but now murderers. 
Our silver is become dross, our wine mixed with water." That 
heart which was once the temple of God, is now turned into a den 
of thieves. Let onr name be Ichabod, for the glory is departed. 
Happy wast thou, man ! who was like unto thee ? no pain nor 
sickness could affect thee, no death could approach thee, no sigh 
was heard from thee, till these bitter fruits were plucked from the 
forbidden tree. Heaven shone upon thee, and earth smiled : thou 
wast the companion of angels, and the envy of devils. But how 
low is he now laid, who was created for dominion, and made lord of 
the world! "The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us that we 
have sinned." The creatures that waited to do him service, are now, 
since the fall, set in battle-array against him, and the least of them, 
having commission, proves too hard for him. Waters overflow the old 
world ; fire consumes Sodom ; the stars in their courses fight against 
Sisera; frogs, flies, lice, &c. become executioners to Pharaoh and his 
Egyptians; worms eat up Herod : yea, man needs a league with the 
beasts ; yea, with the very stones of the field. Job v. 23, having rea- 
son to fear, that every one who findeth him will slay him. Alas ! 
how are we fallen ! how are we plunged into a gulf of misery ! 
The sun has gone down on us, death has come in at our windows ; 
our enemies have put out our two eyes, and sport themselves with 


our miseries. Let us then lie dowu in the dust, let shame and con- 
fusion cover us. Nevertheless, there is hope in Israel concerning 
this thing. Come then, sinner, look to Jesus Christ, the second 
Adam : quit the first Adam and his covenant ; come over to the 
Mediator and Surety of the new and better covenant ; and let your 
hearts say, " Be thou our ruler, and let this breach be under thy 
hand." Let your " eye trickle down, and cease not, without any 
intermission, till the Lord look down, and behold from heaven," 
Lam. iii. 49, 50. 

Vol. VII r. 

STATE 11. 




And God saw that the ivickedness of man was great in the earth, and 
that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil con- 
tinually. — Gen. vi. 5. 

We have seen what man was, as God made him ; a lovely and happy 
creature: let us view him now as he hath unmade himself; and we 
shall see him a sinful and a miserable creature. This is the sad state 
we are brought into by the fall ; a state as black and doleful, as the 
former was glorious; and this we commonly call " The State of 
Nature ;" or " !Man's Natural State ;" according to that of the apostle, 
Eph. ii. 3, " And were by nature the children of wrath, even as 
others." — And herein two things are to be considered : 1. The sm- 
fidness ; 2. The misery oi this state, in which all the unregenerate 
live. I begin with the sinfulness of man's natural state, whereof the 
text gives us a full, though short account : " And God saw that the 
wickedness of man was great," &c. 

The scope and design of these words are, to clear God's justice in 
bringing the flood on the old world. — There are two particular causes 
taken notice of in the preceding verses : 1. Mixed marriages, verse 
2, " The sons of God," the posterity of Seth and Enos, professors of 
the true religion, married with " the daughters of men," the profane, 
cursed race of Cain. They did not carry the matter before the 
Lord, that he might choose for them, Psalm xlviii. 14, but without 
any respect to the will of God, they chose, not according to the rules 
of their faith, but of their fancy; they " saw that they were fair;" 
and their marriage with them occasioned their divorce from God. 
This was one of the causes of the deluge, which swept away the old 
world. Would to God that all professors in our day could plead 
not guilty : but though that sin brought on the deluge, yet the de- 


Inge hath not swept away that sin ; which as of old, so in our day^ 
may justly be looked upon as one of the causes of the decay of re- 
ligion. It was an ordinary thing among the Pagans, to change their 
gods, as they changed their condition into a married lot : many sad 
instances the Christian world aiFords of the same; as if people were 
of Pharaoh's opinion, That religion is only for those who have no 
other care upon their heads, Exodus v. 17- 2. Great oppression, 
verse 4, " There were giants in the earth in those days ;" men of 
great stature, great strength, and monstrous wickedness, " filling 
the earth with violence," verse 11. But neither their strength, nor 
treasures of wickedness, could profit them in the day of wrath. Yet 
the gain of oppression still causes many to forget the terror of this 
dreadful example. Thus much for the connexion, and what parti- 
cular crimes that generation was guilty of. But every person that 
was swept away by the flood could not be guilty of these things ; 
and " shall not the Judge of all the earth do right ?" Therefore, 
in ray text, there is a general indictment drawn up against them all, 
" The wickedness of man was great in the earth," &c. and clearly 
proved, for God saw it. Two things are here laid to their charge : 

1. Corruption of life, wickedness, great ivickedness. I understand 
this of the wickedness of their lives ; for it is plainly distinguished 
from the wickedness of their hearts. The sins of their outward 
conversation were great in the nature of them, and greatly aggra- 
vated by their attendant circumstances : and this not only among 
those of the race of cursed Cain, but those of holy Seth ; the 
wickedness of man was great. And then it is added, " in the 
earth:" 1. To vindicate God's severity, in that he not only cut oflT 
sinners, but defaced the beauty of the earth, and swept oiT the brute 
creatures from it, by the deluge ; that as men had set the marks of 
their impiety, God might set the marks of his indignation, on the 
earth. 2. To shew the heinousness of their sin, in making the 
earth, which God had so adorned for the use of man, a sink of sin, 
and a stage whereon to act their wickedness, in defiance of Heaven. 
God saw this corruption of life: he not only knew it, and took 
notice of it, but he made them to know that he took notice of it, 
and that he had not forsaken the earth, though they had forsaken 

2. Corruption of nature : Every imagination of the thoughts of his 
heart was only evil continually. All their wicked practices are here 
traced to the fountain and spring-head : a corrupt heart was the 
source of all. The soul, which was made upright in all its faculties, 
is now wholly disordered. The heart, that was made according to 
God's own heart, is now the reverse of it, a forge of evil imagina- 



tions, a sink of inordinate affections, and a storehouse of all im- 
piety, Mark vii. 21, 22. Behold the heart of the natural man, as it 
is opened in our text. The mind is defiled ; the thoughts of the 
heart are evil ; the will and affections are defiled : the imagination 
of the thoughts of the heart, that is, whatsoever the heart frameth 
within itself by thinking, such as judgment, choice, purposes, de- 
vices, desires, every inward motion, or rather the frame of the 
thoughts of the heart, namely the frame, make, or mould of these, 
1 Chron. xxix. 18, is evil. Yea, and every imagination, every 
frame of his thoughts, is so. The heart is ever framing something ; 
but never one right thing : the frame of thoughts, in the heart of 
man, is exceedingly various ; yet are they never cast into a right 
frame. But is there not, at least, a mixture of good in thera ? No, 
they are only evil; there is nothing in them truly good and accept- 
able to God : nor can any thing be so, that comes out of that forga ; 
where, not the Spirit of Grod, but "the prince of the power of the 
air, worketh," Eph. ii. 2. Whatever changes may be found in 
them, are only from evil to evil ; for the imagination of the heart, 
or frame of thoughts in natural men, is evil continually, or every 
day. From the first day to the last day, in' this state, they are in 
midnight darkness ; there is not the glimmering of the light of holi- 
ness in them; not one holy thought can ever be produced by the 
unholy heart. what a vile heart is this ! what a corrupt 
nature is this ! The tree that always brings forth fruit, but never 
good fruit, whatever soil it be set in, whatever pains be taken with 
it, must naturally be an evil tree : and what can that heart be, 
whereof every imagination, every set of thoughts, is only evil, 
and that continually ? Surely that corruption is ingrained in our 
hearts, interwoven with our very natures, has sunk deep into our 
souls, and will never be cured but by a miracle of grace. Now 
such is man's heart, such is his nature, till regenerating grace 
change it. God that searcheth the heart saw man's heart was so, 
he took special notice of it : and the faithful and true Witness can- 
not mistake our case ; though we are most apt to mistake ourselves 
in this point, and generally overlook it. 

Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart saying, 
What is that to us ? Let that generation of whom the text speaks, 
see to that. For the Lord has left the case of that generation on 
record, to be a looking-glass to all after generations, wherein they 
may see their own corruption of heart, and what their lives would 
be too, if he restrained them not : for " as in water face answereth 
to face, so the heart of man to man," Prov. xxvii. 19. Adam's fall 
has framed all men's hearts alike in this matter. Hence the 


apostle, Rom. iii. 10 — 18, proves the corruption of the nature, 
hearts, and lives of all men, from what the psalmist says of the 
wicked in his day, Psalm xiv. 1 — 3; Psalm, v. 9 ; Psalm cxl. 3; 
Psalm X. 7 ; Psalm xxxvi. 1 ; and from what Jeremiah saith of the 
wicked in his day, Jer, ix. 3, and from what Isaiah says of those 
that lived in his time, Isa. Ivii. 7, 8, and concludes, verse 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 Grod." Had the history of the 
the deluge been transmitted unto us, without the reason thereof in 
the text, we might thence have gathered the corruption and total 
depravity of man's nature : for what other quarrel could the holy 
and just God have with the infants that were destroyed by the flood, 
seeing they had no actual sin ? If we saw a wise man, who having 
made a curious piece of work, and heartily approved of it when he 
gave it out of his hand, as fit for the use it was designed for, rise 
up in wrath and break it all in pieces, when he looked on it after- 
wards ; should we not thence conclude that the frame of it had been 
quite marred since it came out of his hand, and that it does not serve 
for the use it was at first designed for ? How much more, when we 
see the holy and wise God destroying the work of his own hands, 
once solemnly pronounced by him very good, may we not conclude 
that the original frame thereof is utterly marred, that it cannot be 
mended, but must needs be new made, or lost altogether ? Gen. vi. 
6, 7, " And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the 
earth, and it grieved him at his heart ; and the Lord said, I will de- 
stroy man," or blot him out; as a man doth a sentence out of a 
book, that cannot be corrected by cutting off some letters, syllables, 
or words, and interlining others here and there, but must needs be 
wholly new framed. But did the deluge carry off" this coruption of 
man's nature ? did it mend the matter ? No, it did not. God, in 
his holy providence, " that every mouth may be stopped, and all the 
new " world may become guilty before God," as well as the old, 
permits that corruption of nature to break out in Noah, the father 
of the new world, after the deluge was over. Behold him, as an- 
other Adam, sinning in the fruit of a tree. Gen. ix. 20, 21, " He 
planted a vineyard, and he drank of the wine, and was drunken, 
and he was uncovered within his tent." More than that, God gives 
the same reason against a new deluge, which he gives in our text 
for bringing that on the old world : " I will not," saith he, " again 
curse the ground any more for man's sake ; for the imagination of 
man's heart is evil from his youth," Gen. viii. 21. Whereby it is 
intimated, that there is no mending of the matter by this means ; 


and tliat if he shoald always take the same course with men that he 
had done, he would be always sending deluges on the earth, seeing 
the corruption of man's nature still remains. But though the flood 
could not carry off the corruption of nature, yet it pointed at the 
■way how it is to be done ; to wit, that men must be " born of water 
and of the Spirit," raised from spiritual death in sin by the grace 
of Jesus Christ, who came by water and blood ; out of which a new 
world of saints arise in regeneration, even as the new world of sin- 
ners out of the waters, where they had long lain buried, as it were, 
in the ark. This we learn from 1 Pet. iii. 20, ?,1, where the 
apostle, speaking of Noah's ark, saith, " Wherein few, that is, eight 
souls, were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even bap- 
tism doth also now save us." Now the waters of the deluge being a 
like figure to baptism, it plainly follows, that they signified as bap- 
tism doth "the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy 
Ghost." To conclude then, those waters, though now dried up, may 
serve us still for a looking-glass, in which we may see the total cor- 
ruption of our nature, and the necessity of regeneration. 

From the text, thus explained, this weighty point of doctrine 
arises, which he that runs may read in it, namely, Man's nature is 
now wholly corrupted. There is a sad alteration, a wonderful over- 
turning in the nature of man : where, at first, there was nothing 
evil, now there is nothing good. — In treating on this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Confirm it. 

II. Represent this corruption of nature in its several parts. 

III. Shew you how man's nature comes to be thus corrupted. 

IV. Apply this doctrine. 

I. I shall confirm the doctrine of the corruption of nature. 

I shall hold the glass to your eyes, wherein you may see your 
sinful nature ; which, though God takes particular notice of it, 
many quite overlook. Here we shall consult the word of God, and 
men's experience and observation. 

For scripture-proof, let us consider, 

1. How the scripture takes particular notice of fallen Adam's 
communicating his image to his posterity. Gen. v. 3, "Adam begat 
a son in his own likeness, after his image, and called his name 
Seth." Compare with this the first verse of that chapter, " In the 
day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him." 
Behold here, how the image after which man was made, and the 
image after which he is begotten, are opposed. Man was created 
in the likeness of God; that is, the holy and righteous God made a 
holy and righteous creature ; but fallen Adam begat a son, not in 


the likeness of God, but in his own likeness; that is, corrupt sin- 
ful Adam begat a corrupt sinful son. For as the image of God bore 
righteousness and immortality in it, as was shewn before ; so this 
image of fallen Adam bore corruption and death in it, 1 Cor. xv. 
49, 50, compare verse 22. Moses, in that fifth chapter of Genesis, 
giving us the first bill of mortality that ever was in the world, 
ushers it in with this, that dying Adam begat mortals. Having 
sinned, he became mortal, according to the threatening; and so he 
begat a son in his own likeness, sinful, and tiierefore mortal. Thus 
sin and death passed on all. Doubtless he begat both Cain and 
Abel in his own likeness, as well as Seth. But it is not recorded of 
Abel ; because he left no issue behind him, and his falling the first 
sacrifice to death in the world, was a sufficient document of it : nor 
of Cain, to whom it might have been thought peculiar, because of his 
monstrous wickedness ; and besides, his posterity was drowned in 
the flood : but it is recorded of Seth, because he was the father of 
the holy seed ; and from him all mankind since the flood have de- 
scended, and fallen Adam's own likeness with them. 

2. It appears from that text of Scripture, Job xiv. 4, " Who can 
bring a clean thing out of an unclean ? Not one." Our first parents 
were unclean, how then can we be clean ? How could our immedi- 
ate parents be clean? how can our children be so? The unclean- 
ness here referred to, is a sinful uncleanness; for it is such as makes 
man's days full of trouble : and it is natural, being derived from un- 
clean parents : " Man is born of a woman," ver. 1, " And how can 
he be clean, that is born of a woman ?" Job xxv. 4. The omnipo- 
tent God, whose power is not here challenged, could bring a clean 
thing out of an unclean, and so did in the case of the man Christ : 
but no other being can. Every person that is born according to the 
course of nature is born unclean. If the root be corrupt, so must 
the branches be. Neither is the matter mended, though the parents 
be sanctified ones ; for they are but holy in part, and that by grace, 
not by nature ! and they beget their children as men, not as holy 
men. Wherefore as the circumcised parent begets an uncircumcised 
child, and after the purest grain is sown, we reap chaflT with the 
corn ; so the holiest parent begets unholy children, and cannot com- 
municate their grace to them, as they do their nature ; which many 
godly parents find true, in their sad experience. 

3. Consider the confession of the psalmist David, Psalm, li. 5, 
" Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother con- 
ceive me." Here he ascends from his actual sin, to the fountain of 
it, namely, corrupt nature. He was a man according to God's own 
heart ; but from the beginning it was not so with him. He was 


begotten iu lawful marriage: but when the lump was shaken in 
the womb, it was a sinful lump. Hence the corruption of nature is 
called the " old man ;" being as old as ourselves, older than grace, 
even in those that are sanctified from the womb. 

4. Hear onr Lord's determination of the point, John iii. 6, " That 
which is born of the flesh is flesh." Behold the universal corrup- 
tion of mankind — all are flesh ! Not that all are frail, though that 
is a sad truth too : yea, and our natural frailty is an evidence of 
our natural corruption ; but that is not the sense of the text : the 
meaning of it is — all are corrupt and sinful, and that naturally. 
Hence our Lord argues, that because they are flesh, .therefore they 
must be born again, or else they cannot enter into the kingdom of 
God, vers. 3 — 5. And as the corruption of our nature shews the 
absolute necessity of regeneration, so the absolute necessity of re- 
generation plainly proves the corruption of our nature ; for why 
should a man need a second birth, if his nature were not quite mar- 
red in his first birih ? 

5. Man certainly is sunk very low now, in comparison of what he 
once was. God made him but a" little lower than the angels :" but 
now we find him likened to the beasts that perish. He hearkened 
to a brute, and is now become like one of them. Like Nebuchad- 
nezzar, his portion in his natural state is with the beasts, " minding 
only earthly things," Phil. iii. 19. Nay, brutes, iu some sort, have 
the advantage of the natural man, who is sunk a degree below them. 
He is more negligent of what concerns him most, than the stork, or 
the turtle, or the crane, or the swallow, in what is for their interest, 
Jer. viii. 7- He is more stupid than the ox or ass, Isa. i. 3. I find 
him sent to school to learn of the ant, which has no guide or leader 
to go before her ; no overseer or oflicer to compel or stir her up to 
work ; no ruler, but may do as she lists, being under the dominion 
of none; yet " provideth her meat in the summer and harvest," 
Prov. vi. 6 — 8 ; while the natural man hath all these, and yet ex- 
poseth himself to eternal starving. Nay, more than all this, the 
Scriptures hold out the natural man, not only as wanting the good 
qualities of these creatures, but as a compound of the evil qualities 
of the worst of the creatures; in whom the fierceness of the lion, the 
craft of the fox, the unteachableness of the wild ass, the filthiuess of 
the dog and swine, the poison of the asp, and such like, meet. 
Truth itself calls them " serpents, a generation of vipers ;" yea, 
more, even " children of the devil," Matt, xxiii. 33 ; John viii. 44. 
Surely, then, man's nature is miserably corrupted. 

6. " We are by nature the children of wrath," Eph. ii. 3. — We 
are worthy of, and liable to, the wrath of God ; and this by nature : 


therefore, doubtless, we are by nature sinful creatures. We arc 
condemned before we have done good or evil ; under the corse, be- 
fore we know what it is. But, " will a lion roar in the forest when 
he bath no prey ?" Amos iii. 4; that is, will the holy and just God 
roar in his wrath against man, if he be not, by his sin, made a prey 
for his wrath ? No, be will not ; he cannot. Let us conclude then, 
that, according to the word of God, man's nature is a corrupt nature. 
If we consult experience, and obserre the ease of the world, in 
those things that are obvious to any person who will not shot his 
eyes against clear light, we shall quickly perceive such fmits as dis- 
corer this root of bitterness. I shall propose a few things that may 
serve to convince us in this point : — 

1. Who sees not a flood of miseries orerflowing the world? 
Whither can a man go where he shall not dip his foot, if he go not 
over head and ears, iu it ? Every one at home and abroad, in city 
and country, in palaces and cottages, is groaning under some one 
thing or other, ungrateful to him. Some are oppressed with po- 
Terty, some chastened with sickness and pain, some are lamenting 
their losses, every one has a cross of one sort or another. No man's 
condition is so soft, but there is some thorn of uneasiness in it- At 
length death, the wages of sin, comes after these its harbingers, and 
sweeps all away. — Now, what but sin has opened the sluice of sor- 
row : There is not a complaint nor sigh heard in the world, nor a 
tear that falls from our eye, but it is an evidence that man is fallen 
as a star from heaven ; for God distributeth sorrows in his anger. 
Job xsi. 17. This is a plain proof of the corruption of nature : for- 
asmuch as those who hare not yet actually sinned, have their share 
of these sorrows ; yea, and draw their first breath in the world 
weeping, as if they knew this world at first sight to be a Bochim, 
the place of weepers. There are graves of the smallest, as well as 
of the largest size, in the churchyard ; and there are never wanting 
some in the world, who are, like Rachel, weeping for their children 
because they are not. Mat. ii. 18. 

2. Observe how early this corruption of natnre begins to appear 
in young ones, Solomon observes, that " eren a child is known br 
his doings," Prov. xx. 11. It may soon be discerned what way the 
bias of the heart lies. Do not the children of fallen Adam, before 
they can go alone, follow their fathers footsteps ? What a vast 
deal of little pride, ambition, sinful curiosity, vanity, wilfulness, and 
averseness to good, appears in them \ And, when they creep out of 
infancy, there is a necessity of using the rod of correction, to drive 
away the foolishness that is boond in their hearts, Pror. xx. 15, 
which shews, that, if grace prevail not, the child will be as Ishmael 
— " a wild ass-man," as the word is, Gen. xvi. 12. 


3. Take a view of the manifold gross outbreakings of sin in the 
world: the wickedness of man is yet great in the earth. Behold thy 
bitter fruits of the corruption of our nature, Hosea iv. 2. " By 
swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing 
adultery, they break out, like the breaking forth of waters, and 
blood touchoth blood." The world is filled with filthiness, and all 
manner of lewdness, wickedness, and profanity. From whence 
comes the deluge of sin on the earth, but from the breaking up of 
the fountains of the great deep, the heart of man ? out of which pro- 
ceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, cove- 
tousness, &c. Mark vii. 21, 22. You will, it may be, thank God 
with a whole heart, that you are not like other men ; and indeed 
you have more reason for it than, I fear, you are aware of; for, as 
in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man, Proy. 
xxvii. 19. As, looking into clear water, you see your own face ; so, 
looking into your heart, you may see other men's there; and, look- 
ing into other men's, in them you may see your own. So that the 
most vile and profane wretches that are in the world, should serve 
you for a looking-glass ; in which you ought to discern the corrup- 
tion of your own nature : and if you were to do so, you would, with 
a heart truly touched, thank God, and not yourselves, indeed, that 
you are not as other men in your lives ; seeing the corruption of 
nature is the same in you as in them. 

4. Cast your eye upon those terrible convulsions which the world 
is thrown into by the lusts of men ! Lions make not a prey of 
lions, nor wolves of wolves : but men are turned lions and Avolves to 
one another, biting and devouring one another. Upon ho^y slight 
occasions will men sheath their swords in one another ! The world 
is a wilderness, where the clearest fire that men can carry about 
with them will not frighten away the wild beasts that inhabit it, and 
that because they are men, and not brutes ; but one way or other 
they will be wounded. Since Cain shed the blood of Abel, the earth 
has been turned into a slaughter-house; and the chase has been con- 
tinued, since Ximrod began his hunting; on the earth, as in the sea, 
the greater still devouring the lesser. When we see the world in 
such a ferment, every one attacking another with words or swords, 
we may conclude there is an evil spirit among them. These violent 
heats among Adam's sons, shew the whole body to be distempered, 
the whole head to be sick, and the whole heart to be faint. They 
surely proceed from an inward cause, James iv. 1, "lusts that war 
in our members." 

5. Consider the necessity of human laws, guarded by terrors and 
severities; to which we may apply what the apostle says, 1 Tim 


i. 9, tliat " the law is not made for a righteous man, but for tlie 
lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners," &c. 
Man was made for society ; and God himself said of the first man, 
when he had created him, that it was " not meet he should be 
alone ;" yet the case is such now, that, in society, he must be 
hedged in with thorns. And that from hence we may the better 
see the corruption of man's nature, let us consider — 1. Every man 
naturally loves to be at full liberty himself; to have his own will 
for his law ; and, if he were to follow his natural inclinations, he 
would vote himself out of the reach of all laws, divine and human. 
Hence some, the power of whose hands has been answerable to their 
natural inclination, have indeed made themselves absolute, and 
above laws ; agreeably to man's monstrous design at first, to be as 
gods. Gen. iii. 5. Yet — 2. There is no man that would willingly 
adventure to live in a lawless society : therefore even pirates and 
robbers have laws among themselves, though the whole society 
casts off all respect to law and right. Thus men discover them- 
selves to be conscious of the corruption of nature ; not daring to 
trust one another, but upon security. 3. How dangerous soever it 
is to break through the hedge, yet the violence of lust makes many 
daily adventure to run the risk. They will not only sacrifice their 
credit and conscience, which last is lightly esteemed in the world ; 
but for the pleasure of a few moments, immediately succeeded with 
terror from within, they will lay themselves open to a violent death 
by the laws of the land wherein they live. 4. The laws are often 
made to yield to men's lusts. Sometimes whole societies run into 
such extravagances, that, like a company of prisoners, they break 
off their fetters, and put their guard to flight ; and the voice of laws 
cannot be heard for the noise of arms. And seldom is there a time, 
wherein there are not some persons so great and daring, that the 
laws dare not look their impetuous lusts in the face; which made 
David say, in the case of Joab, who had murdered Abner, " These 
men, the sons of Zeruiah, be too hard for me," 2 Sam. iii. 39. 
Lusts sometimes grow too strong for laws, so that the law becomes 
slack, as the pulse of a dying man. Hab. i. 3, 4. 5. Consider, what 
necessity often appears of amending old laws, and making new 
ones; which have their rise from new crimes, of which man's nature 
is very fruitful. There would be no need of mending the hedge, if 
men were not, like unruly beasts, still breaking it down. It is 
astonishing to see what a figure the Israelites, who were separated 
unto God from among all the nations of the earth, make in their 
history ; what horrible confusions were among them, when there 
was no king in Israel, as you may see from the eighteenth to tho 


twenty-first cliapter of Judges: how hard it was to reform them, 
when they had the best of magistrates ! and how quickly they 
turned aside again, when they got wicked rulers I I cannot but 
think, that one grand design of that sacred history, was to discover 
the corruption of man's nature, the absolute need of the Messiah, 
and his grace ; and that we ought, in reading it, to improve it to 
that end. How cutting is that word which the Lord has to Samuel, 
concerning Saul, 1 Sam. ix. 17, " The same shall reign over" — or, 
as the word is, shall restrain — " my people." the corruption of 
man's nature ! the awe and dread of the God of heaven restrains 
them not ; but they must have gods on earth to do it, " to put them 
to shame," Judg. xviii. 7. 

6. Consider the remains of that natural corruption in the saints. 
Though grace has entered, yet corruption is not expelled : though 
they have got the new creature, yet much of the old corrupt nature 
remains ; and these struggle together within them, as the twins in 
Rebekah's womb. Gal. v. 17- They find it present with them at 
all times, and in all places, even in the most retired corners. If a 
man has a troublesome neighbour, he may remove ; if he has an ill 
servant, he may put him away at the term ; if a bad yoke-fellow, he 
may sometimes leave the house, and be free from molestation that 
way: but should the saint go into a wilderness, or set up his 
tent on some remote rock in the sea, where never foot of man, 
beast, or fowl had touched, there will it be with him. Should he be 
with Paul, caught up to the third heavens, it will come back with 
him, 2 Cor. xii. 7. It follows him as the shadow doth the body ; it 
makes a blot in the fairest line he can draw. It is like the fig-tree 
on the wall, which however nearly it was cut, yet still grew, till the 
wall was thrown down : for the roots of it are fixed in the heart, 
while the saint is in the world, as with bands of iron and brass. It 
is especially active when he would do good, Rom. vii. 21, then the 
fowls come down upon the carcasses. Hence often, in holy duties, 
the spirit of a saint, as it were, evaporates ; and he is left be- 
fore he is aware, like Michal, with an image in the bed instead 
of a husband. I need not stand to prove to the godly the cor- 
ruption of nature in them, for they groan under it; and to prove 
it to them, were to hold out a candle to let them see the sun : 
as for the wicked, they are ready to account mole-hills in the 
saints as big as mountains, if not reckon them all hypocrites. 
But consider these few things on this head: 1. "If it be thus 
in the green tree how must it be in the dry ?" The saints are 
not born saints, but made so by the power of regenerating grace. 
Have they got a new nature, and yet the old remains with them ? 


How great roust that corruption be in others, in whom there 
is no grace ! 2. The saints groan under it, as a heayy burden. 
Hear the apostle, Horn. vii. 24, "0 wretched man that I am ! who 
shall deliver me from the body of this death ?" — What though the 
carnal man lives at ease and quiet, and the corruption of nature is 
not his burden, is he therefore free from it? No, no; it is because 
he is dead, that he feels not the sinking weight. Many a groan is 
heard from a sick bed, but never any from a grave. In the saint, 
as in the sick man, there is a mighty struggle ; life and death striv- 
ing for the mastery : but in the natural man, as in the dead corpse, 
there is no noise ; because death bears full sway, 3. The godly 
man resists the old corrupt nature ; he strives to mortify it, yet it 
remains ; he endeavours to starve it, and by that means to weaken 
it, yet it is active : how must it spread then, and strengthen itself 
in that soul, where it is not starved, but fed ! — And this is the case 
of all the unregenerate, who make " provision for the flesh, to fulfil 
the lusts thereof." If the garden of the diligent afford him new 
work daily, in cutting off and rooting up, surely that of the slug- 
•gard must needs be " all grown over with thorns." 

7. I shall add but one observation more ; and that is, that in 
every man, naturally, the image of fallen Adam appears. Some 
children, by the features and lineaments of their face, do, as it 
were, father themselves : and thus we resemble our first parents. 
Every one of us bears the image and impression of the fall upon 
him : and to evince the truth of this, I appeal to the consciences of 
all, in these following particulars : 

• 1. Is not sinful curiosity natural to us? and is not this a print of 
Adam's image? Gen. iii. 6. Is not man naturally much more 
desirous to know new things, than to practise old known truths ? 
How much like old Adam do sve look in this eagerness for novelties, 
and disrelish of old solid doctrines ? We seek after knowledge 
rather than holiness, and study most to know those things which are 
least edifying. Our wild and roving fancies need a bridle to curb 
them, while good solid affections must be quickened and spurred on. 

2. If the Lord, by his holy law and wise providence, puts a 
restraint upon us, to keep us back from any thing, does not that 
restraint whet the edge of our natural inclinations, and makes us so 
much the keener in our desires? And in this do we not betray it 
plainly, that we are Adam's children? Gen. iii. 2 — 6. I think this 
cannot be denied; for daily observation evinces, that it is a natural 
principle, that " stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret 
is pleasant," Prov. ix. 17- The very heathens were convinced, that 
man was possessed with this spirit of contradiction, though they 


knew iiot the spring of it. How often do men let themselves loose 
in those things, in which, had God left them at liberty, they would 
have bound up themselves ! but corrupt nature takes a pleasure in 
the very jumping over the hedge. And is it not a repeating of our 
fathers' folly, that men will rather climb for forbidden fruit, than 
gather what is shaken off the tree of good providence to them, when 
they have God's express allowance for it? 

3. Which of all the children of Adam is not naturally disposed 
to hear the instruction that causeth to err ? And was not this the 
rock our ftrst parents split upon ? Gen. iii. 4 — 6. How apt is weak 
man, ever since that time, to parley with temptations ! " God 
speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not," Job xxxiii. 
14, but he readily listens to Satan. Men might often come fair off, 
if they would dismiss temptations with abhorrence, when first they 
appear; if they would nip thera in the bud, they would soon die 
away : but, alas ! though we see the train laid for us, and the fire 
put to it, yet we stand till it runs along, and we are blown up with 
its force. 

4. Do not the eyes in your head often blind the eyes of the 
mind ? And was not this the very case of our first parents ? Gen. 
iii. 6. Man is never more blind than when he is looking on the 
objects that are most pleasiug to sense. Since the eyes of our first 
parents were opened to the forbidden fruit, men's eyes have been 
the gates of destruction to their souls; at which impure imagina- 
tions and sinful desires have entered the heart, to the wounding of 
the soul, wasting of the conscience, and bringing dismal efi'ects 
sometimes on whole societies, as in Achan's case, Joshua vii. 21. 
Holy Job was aware of this danger, from these two little rolling 
bodies, which a very small splinter of wood can make useless ; so 
that, with the king who durst not, with his ten thousand, meet hira 
that came with twenty thousand against him, Luke xiv. 31, 32, he 
sendeth and desireth conditions of peace: Job xxxi. 1, " I made a 
covenant with mine eyes," &c. 

5. Is it not natural to us to care for the body, even at the 
expense of the soul? This was one ingredient in the sin of our first 
parents. Gen. iii. 6. how happy might we be, if we were but at 
half the pains about our souls, that we bestow upon our bodies ! If 
that question, " What must I do to be saved ?" Acts xvi. 30, ran 
but near as often through our minds as these questions do, " What 
shall we eat? what shall we drink? wherewithal shall we be 
clothed ?" Matt. vi. 31, then many a hopeless case would become 
very hopeful. But the truth is, most men live as if they were 
nothing but a lump of flesh : or as if their soul served for no other 


use, but, like salt, to keep their body from corrupting. *' They are 
flesh," John iii. 6 ; *' they mind the things of the flesh," Rom. viii. 
5; "and they live after the flesh," ver. 13. If the consent of the 
flesh be got to an action, the consent of the conscience is rarely- 
waited for : yea, the body is often served, when the conscience has 
entered a protest against it. 

6. Is not every one by nature discontented with his present lot in 
the world, or with some one thing or other in it ? This also was 
Adam's case, Gen. iii. 5, 6. Some one thing is always wanting; so 
that man is a creature given to changes. If any doubt this, let 
them look over all their enjoyment ; and, after a review of them, 
listen to their own hearts, and they will hear a secret murmuring 
for want of something ; though perhaps, if they considered the mat- 
ter aright, they would see that it is better for them to want than to 
have that something. Since the hearts of our first parents flew out 
at their eyes, on the forbidden fruit, and a night of darkness was 
thereby brought on the world, their posterity have a natural disease 
which Solomon calls, " The wandering of the desire," or, as the 
word is, " The walking of thy soul," Eccl. vi. 9. This is a sort of 
diabolical trance, wherein the soul traverses the world ; feeds itself 
with a thousand airy nothings ; snatches at this and the other 
created excellency, in imagination and desire ; goes here, and there, 
and every where, except where it should go. And the soul is never 
cured of this disease, till conquering grace brings it back to take up 
its everlasting rest in God through Christ : but till this be, if man 
were set again in paradise, the garden of the Lord, all the pleasures 
there would not keep him from looking, yea, and leaping over the 
hedge a second time. 

7. Are we not far more easily impressed and influenced by evil 
councils and examples, than by those that are good ! You will see 
this was the ruin of Adam, Gen. iii. 6. Evil example, to this day, 
is one of Satan's master-devices to ruin men. Though we have, by 
nature, more of the fox than of the lamb ; yet that ill property 
which some observe in this creature, namely, that if one lamb skip 
into a water, the rest near will suddenly follow, may be observed 
also in the disposition of the children of men ; to whom it is very 
natural to embrace an evil way, because they see others in it before 
them. Ill example has frequently the force of a violent stream, to 
carry us over plain duty ; but especially if the example be given by 
those we bear a great afl'ection to ; our affection, in that case, blinds 
our judgment ; and what we should abhor in others, is complied 
with, to humour them. Nothing is more plain, than that generally 
men choose rather to do what the most do, than what the best do. 

40 ■ THE coKRvrTio>' of man s nature. 

8. Who of all Adam's sons needs be taught the art of sewing fig- 
leaves together, to cover their nakedness? Genesis iii. 7. When we 
have ruined ourselves, and made ourselves naked to our shame, we 
naturally seek to help ourselves, by ourselves : many poor contriv- 
ances are employed, as silly and insignificant as Adam's fig-leaves- 
What pains are men at, to cover their sin from their own con- 
science, and to draw all the fair colours upon it that they can ! 
And when once convictions are fastened upon them, so that they 
cannot but see themselves naked, it is as natural for them to at- 
tempt to cover it by self-deceit, as for fish to swim in water, or 
birds to fly in the air. Therefore the first question of the convinced 
is, " What shall we do ?" Acts ii. 37. How shall we qualify our- 
selves? What shall we perform? Not considering that the new 
creature is God's own workmanship or deed, Eph. ii. 10, any more 
than Adam considered and thought of being clothed with the skins 
of sacrifices, Gen. iii. 21. 

9. Do not Adam's children naturally follow his footsteps, in hid- 
ing themselves from the presence of the Lord? Gen. iii. 8. We are 
quite as blind in this matter as he was, who thought to hide himself 
from the presence of God amongst the shady trees of the garden. 
We are very apt to promise ourselves more security in a secret sin, 
than in one that is openly committed. " The eye of the adulterer 
waiteth for the twilight, saying, no eye shall see me," Job xxiv. 15. 
Men will freely do that in secret, which they would be ashamed to 
do in the presence of a child; as if darkness could hide from the 
all-seeing God. Are we not naturally careless of communion with 
God; ay, and averse to it? Never was there any communion bet- 
ween God and Adam's children, where the Lord himself had not the 
first word. If he were to let them alone they would never inquire 
after him. Isa. Ivii. 17, " I hid me." Did he seek after a hiding 
God ? Very far from it : " He went on in the way of his heart." 

10. How loth are men to confess sin, to take guilt and shame to 
themselves? Was it not thus in the case before us? Gen. iii. 10. 
Adam confesses his nakedness, which could not be denied ; but says 
not one word of his sin : the reason of it was, he would fain have 
hid it if he could. It is as natural for us to hide sin, as to commit 
it. Many sad instances thereof we have in this world ; but a far 
clearer proof of it we shall get at the day of judgment, the day in 
which " God will judge the secrets of men," Rom. ii. 16. Many a 
foul mouth will then be seen which is now " wiped, and saith, I 
have done no wickedness," Prov. xxx. 20. 

11. Is it not natural for us to extenuate our sin, and transfer the 
guilt upon others ? When God examined our guilty first parents. 


did not Adam lay the blame ou the woman ? and did not the 
woman lay the blame on the serpent ? Gen. iii. 12, 13. Now 
Adam's children need not be taught this hellish policy ; for before 
they can well speak if they cannot get the fact denied, they 
will cunningly lisp out something to lessen their fault, and lay the 
blame upon another. Nay, so natural is this to men, that in the 
greatest sins, they will lay the fault upon God himself; they will 
blaspheme his holy providence under the mistaken name of mis- 
fortune or ill luck, and thereby lay the blame of their sin at hea- 
ven's door. And was not this one of Adam's tricks after his fall ? 
Gen. iii. 12, " And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to 
be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." Observe the 
order of the speech. He makes his apology in the first place ; and 
then comes his confession : his apology is long ; but his confession 
very short: it is all comprehended in one word, "and I did eat." 
How pointed and distinct is his apology, as if he was afraid his 
meaning should have been mistaken ! " The woman," says he, or 
" that woman," as if he would have pointed the judge to his own 
works, of which we read, Gen. ii. 22. There was but one woman 
then in the world; so that one would think he needed not to have 
been so nice and exact in pointing at her: yet she is as carefully 
marked out in his defence, as if there had been ten thousand. 
" The woman whom thou gavest me :" here he speaks, as if he had 
been ruined with God's gift. And, to make the gift look the 
blacker, it is added to all this, " thou gavest to be with me," as my 
constant companion, to stand by me as a helper. This looks as if 
Adam would have fathered an ill design upon the Lord, in giving 
him this gift. And, after all, there is a new demonstrative here, 
before the sentence is complete ; he says not, " The woman gave 
me," but " the woman she gave me," emphatically ; as if ho had 
said, she, even she, gave me of the tree. This much for his apology. 
But his confession is quickly over, in one word, as he spoke it, 
" and I did eat." There is nothing here to point out himself, and 
as little to shew what he had eaten. How natural is this black art 
to Adam's posterity ! he that runs may read it. So universally 
does Solomon's observation hold true, Prov. xix. 3, " The foolish- 
ness of man perverteth his way ; and his heart fretteth against 
the Lord." Let us then call fallen Adam, father; let us not deny 
the relation, seeing we bear his image. 

To shut up this point, sufficiently confirmed by concurring evi- 
dence from the Lord's word, our own experience, and observation ; 
let us be persuaded to believe the doctrine of the corruption of our 
nature; and look to the second Adam, the blessed Jesus, for the 

Vol. Till. c 


application of his precious blood, to remove the guilt of our sin ; 
and for the efl&cacy of his Holy Spirit, to make us new creatures ; 
knowing that " except we be born again, we cannot enter into the 
kingdom of God." 

I. I proceed to inquire into the corruption of nature in the several 
parts thereof. But who can comprehend it ? who can take the ex- 
act dimensions of it, in its breadth, length, height, and depth ? 
" The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked ; 
■who can know it ?" Jer. xvii. 9. However, we may quickly perceive 
as much of it as may be matter of deepest humiliation, and may dis- 
cover to us the absolute necessity of regeneration. Man in his na- 
tural state is altogether corrupt : both soul and body are polluted, 
as the apostle proves at large, Rom. iii. 10 — 18. As for the soul, 
this natural corruption has spread itself through all the faculties 
thereof; and is to be found in the understanding, the will, the aj^ec- 
tions, the conscience, and the metnory. 

I. Of the Corruption of the Understanding. 

The understanding, that leading faculty, is despoiled of its primi- 
tive glory, and covered over with confusion. We have fallen into 
the hands of our grand adversary, as Samson into the liands of the 
Philistines, and are deprived of our two eyes. " There is none that 
understandeth," Rom. iii. 11. " Mind and conscience are defiled," 
Tit. i. 15. The natural man's apprehension of divine things is cor- 
rupt. Psalm 1. 21, Tliou thoughtest that I was altogether such an 
one as thyself." His judgment is corrupt, and cannot, be otherwise, 
seeing his eye is evil : therefore the scriptures, to show that man 
does all wrong, says, " every one did that which was right in his 
own eyes," Judges xvii. 6; and xxi. 25. And his imaginations, or 
reasonings, must be cast down by the power of the word, being of a 
piece with his judgment, 2 Cor. x. 5. But, to point out this corrup- 
tion of the mind or understanding more particularly, let these fol- 
lowing things be considered : 

1. There is a natural weakness in the minds of men with respect 
to spiritual things. The apostle determines concerning every one 
that is not endued with the graces of the Spirit, " That he is blind, 
and cannot see afar oft'," 2 Pet. i. 9. Hence the Spirit of God in 
the scriptures clothes, as it were, divine truths with earthly figures, 
even as parents teach their children, using similitudes, Hosea xii. 
11. This, though it doth not cure, yet it proves this natural weak- 
ness in the minds of men. But there are not wanting plain proofs 
of it from experience. As, 1. How hard a task is it to teach many 


people the common principles of our holy religion, and to make 
truths so plain as they may understand them ? There must be " pre- 
cept upon precept, precept upon precept ; line upon line, line upon 
line." Isa. xxviii. 10. Try the same persons in other things, they 
will be found " wiser in their generation than the children of light." 
They understand their work and business in the world as well as 
their neighbours ; though they are very stupid and unteachable in 
tlie matters of God. Tell them how they may advance their worldly 
wealth, or how they may gratify their lusts, and they will quickly 
understand these things ; though it is very hard to make them know 
how their souls may be saved, or how their hearts may find rest in 
Jesus Christ. 2. Consider those who have many advantages be- 
yond the generality of mankind ; who have had the benefits of good 
education and instruction ; yea, and arc blessed with the light of 
grace in that measure wherein it is asci'ibed to the saints on earth ; 
yet how small a portion have they of the knowledge of divine 
things ! "What ignorance and confusion still remain in their minds ! 
How often are they perplexed even as to practical truths, and speak 
as children in these things ! It is a pitiful weakness that we cannot 
perceive the things which God has revealed to us ; and it must needs 
bo a sinful weakness, since the law of God requires us to know and 
believe them. 3. "What dangerous mistakes are to be found amongst 
ni 'U, in concerns of the greatest weight ! "What woful delusions 
prevail over them ! Do we not often see those, who in other things 
are the wisest of men, the most notorious fools with respect to their 
.soul's interest ? Matt. ix. 25, " Thou hast hid these things from the 
wise and prudent." Many that are eagle-eyed in the trifles of time, 
are like owls and bats in the light of life. Nay, truly, the life of 
every natural man is but one continued dream and delusion, out of 
which he never awakes, till either, by a new light darted from 
heaven into his soul, he come to himself, Luke xv. 17, or, in hell he 
lift up his eyes," chap. xv. 23. Therefore, in scripture account, 
though he be ever so wise, he is a fool, and a simple one. 

2. Man's understanding is naturally overwhelmed with gross 
darkness in spiritual things. Man, at the instigation of the devil, 
attempting to break out a new light in his mind. Gen. iii. 5, instead 
of that, broke up the doors of the bottomless pit, so as, by the 
smoke thereof, to be buried in darkness. When God first made 
man, his mind was a lamp of light; but now, when he comes to 
make him over again, in regeneration, he finds it darkness; Eph. 
V. 8j " Ye were sometimes darkness." Sin has closed the windows 
of the soul, darkness is over all the region : it is the land of dark- 
ness and the shadow of death, where the light is as darkness. The 

c 2 


prince of darkness reigns there, and nothing but the works of dark- 
ness are framed there. We are born spiritually blind, and cannot 
be restored without a miracle of grace. This is thy case, whoever 
thou art, who are not born again. That you may be convinced in 
this matter, take the following proofs of it : 

Proof I. The darkness that was upon the face of the world, be- 
fore, and at the time when Christ came, arising as the Sun of 
Righteousness upon the earth. When Adam by his sin had lost 
that primitive light with which he was endued at his creation, it 
pleased God to make a glorious revelation of his mind and will to 
him, as to the way of salvation. Gen. iii. 15. This was handed 
down by him, and other godly fathers, before the flood : yet the 
natural darkness of the mind of man prevailed so far against that 
revelation, as to carry ofi" all sense of true religion from the old 
world, except what remained in Noah's family, which was preserved 
in the ark. After the flood, as men multiplied on the earth, the 
natural darkness of the mind prevailed again, and the light decayed, 
till it died away among the generality of manldnd, and was pre- 
served only among the posterity of Shem. And even with them it 
had nearly set, when God called Abraham from serving other gods, 
Joshua xxiv. 15. God gives Abraham a more full and clear revela- 
tion, which he communicates to his family, Genesis xviii. 19 ; yet 
the natural darkness wears it out at length, save that it was 
preserved among the posterity of Jacob. They being carried down 
into Egypt, that darkness so prevailed, as to leave them very little 
sense of true religion ; and there was a necessity for a new revela- 
tion to be made to them in the wilderness. And many a cloud of 
darkness got above that, now and then, during the time from Moses 
to Christ. When Christ came, the world was divided into Jews and 
Gentiles. The Jews, and the true light with them, were within an 
enclosure. Psalm cxlvii. 19, 20. Between them and the Gentile 
world, there was a partition wall of God's making, namely, the cere- 
monial law : and upon that was reared up another of man's own 
making, namely, a rooted enmity betwixt the parties, Eph. ii. 14, 
15. If we look abroad without the enclosure, and except those pro- 
selytes of the Gentiles, who by means of some rays of light breaking 
forth upon them from within the enclosure, having renounced idola- 
try, worshipped the true God, but did conform to the Mosaical rites, 
we see nothing but " dark places of the earth, full of the habitations of 
cruelty," Psalm Ixxiv. 20. Gross darkness covered the face of the 
Gentile world, and the way of salvation was utterly unknown 
among them. They were drowned in superstition and idolatry, and 
had multiplied their idols to such a vast number, that above thirty 


thousand are reckoned to liave been worshipped by the men of Eu- 
rope alone. Whatever wisdom was among their philosophers, " the 
world by" that " wisdom knew not God," 1 Cor. i. 21, and all their 
researches in religion were but groping in the dark, Acts xvii. 27. 
If we look within the enclosure, and except a few that were groan- 
ing and " waiting for the consolation of Israel," we shall see 
gross darkness on the face of that generation. Though " to them 
were committed the oracles of God," yet they were most corrupt in 
their doctrine. Their traditions were multiplied ; but the know- 
ledge of those things, wherein the life of religion lies, was lost. 
^Masters of Israel knew not the nature and necessity of regeneration, 
John iii. 10. Their religion was to build on their birth-privileges, 
as children of Abraham, Matth. iii. 9, to glory in their circumcision, 
and other external ordinances, Phil. iii. 2, 3, and to " rest in the 
law," Rom. ii. 17, after they had, by their false glosses, cut it so short, 
as they might outwardly go well nigh to the fulfilling of it, Matth. v. 
Thus was darkness over the face of the world, when Christ, the 
true light, came into it ; and so is darkness over every soul, till he 
as the day-star, arises in the heart. The latter is an evidence of 
the former. What, but the natural darkness of men's minds, could 
still thus wear out the light of external revelation, in a matter upon 
which eternal happiness depends ? Men did not forget the way of 
preserving their lives: but how quickly they lost the knowledge of 
the way of salvation of their souls, which are of infinitely more 
weight and worth ? When the teaching of patriarchs and prophets 
was ineffectual, it became necessary for them to be taught of God 
himself, who alone can open the eyes of the understanding. But 
that it might appear that the corruption of man's mind lay deeper 
than to be cured by mere external revelation, there Avere but very 
few converted by Christ's preaching, who spoke as never man 
spoke," John xii. 37, 38. The great cure remained to be performed, 
by the Spirit accompanying the preaching of the apostles ; who ac- 
cording to the promise John. xiv. 12, were to do greater works. 
And if we look to the miracles wrought by our blessed Lord, we 
shall find, that by applying the remedy to the soul, for the cure of 
bodily distempers as in the case of "the man sick of the palsy," 
Slatth. ix. 2, he plainly discovered, that his main errand into the 
world was to cure the diseases of the soul. I find a miracle wrought 
upon one that was born blind, performed in such a way, as seems to 
have been designed to let the world see it, as in a glass, their cage 
and cure, John ix. 6, " He made clay, and anointed the eyes of the 
blind man with the clay." What could more fitly represent the 
blindness of men's minds, than eyes closed up with earth ? Isa. vi. 


10, " shut your eyes ;" slmt liiem up by anointing, or " casting them 
with mortar," as the word will bear. And chap. xliv. 18, "He hath 
shut their eyes :" the word properly signifies, he hath plastered 
their eyes ; as the house in which the leprosy had been, was to be 
plastered, Lev. xiv. 42. Thus the Lord's word discovers the de- 
sign of that strange work ; and by it, shews us. that the eyes of our 
understanding are naturally shut. Then the blind man must go 
and wash off this clay in the pool of Siloam : no other water will 
serve this purpose. If that pool had not represented him, whom 
the rather sent into the world to open the blind eyes, Isa. xlii. 7, I 
think the evangelist had not given us the interpretation of the name 
which he says, signifies sent, John ix. 7. So we may conclude, that 
the natural darkness of our minds is such as there is no cure for, but 
from the blood and Spirit of Jesus Christ, whose eye-salve only can 
make us see, llev. iii. 18. 

Proof 2. Every natural man's heart and life is a mass of darkness, 
disorder, and confusion, how refined soever he may appear in the 
sight of men. " For we ourselves also," saith the apostle Paul, 
" were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts 
and pleasures," Tit. iii. 3 ; and yet, at the time which this text re- 
fers to, 'he was blameless, "touching the righteousness which is in 
the law," Phil. iii. 6. This is a plain evidence that "the eye is evil , 
the whole body being full of darkness," Matth. vi. 23. The unre- 
newed part of mankind is rambling through the world, like so 
many blind men, who will neither take a guide, nor can guide them- 
selves ; and therefore are falling over this and the other precipice, 
into destruction. Some are running after their covetousness, till they 
are pierced through with many sorrows ; some sticking in the mire 
of sensuality ; others dashing themselves on the rock of pride and 
self-conceit : every one stumbling on some one stone of stumbling 
or other : all of them are running themselves upon the sword-point 
of justice, while they eagerly follow whither unmortified passions 
and affections lead them : and while some are lying along in the 
way, others are coming up, and falling headlong over them. There- 
fore, " woe unto thee" blind " world because of offences," Matth. 
xviii. 7. Errors in judgment swarm in the world because it is 
" night, wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth." All 
the unregenerate are utterly mistaken in the point of true happi- 
ness : for though Christianity hath fixed that matter in point of 
principle, yet nothing less than overcoming grace can fix it in the 
practical judgment. All men agree in the desire of being happy ; 
but, among the unrenewed men, concerning the way to happiness, 
there are almost as many opinions as there are men ; they being 


" turned every one to his own way," Isa. liii. 6. They are like the 
blind men of Sodom, about Lot's house, all were seeking to find the 
door; some grope one part of the wall for it, some another, but none 
of them could certainly say, he had found it ; so the natural man 
may stumble on any good, but the chief good. Look into thine own 
unregenerate heart, and there thou wilt see all turned upside down : 
heaven lying under, and earth at top. Look into thy life, there 
thou mayst see how thou art playing the madman, snatching at sha- 
dows, and neglecting the substance : eagerly flying after that which 
is not, and slighting that which is, and will be for ever. 

Proof 3. The natural man is always as a workman left without 
light ; either trifling or doing mischief. Try to catch thy heart at 
any time thou wilt, and thou wilt find it either weaving the spider's 
web, or hatching cockatrice eggs, Isa. lis. 5, roving through the 
world, or digging into the pit; filled with vauity, or else with vile- 
ness ; busy doing nothing, or what is worse than nothing. A sad 
sign of a dark mind. 

Proof 4. The natural man is void of the saving knowledge of 
spiritual things. He knows not what a God he has to do with : he 
is unacquainted Avith Christ, and knows not what sin is. The great- 
est graceless wits are blind as moles in these things. Ay, but some 
such can speak of them to good purpose ; so might those Israelites 
of the temptations, signs, and miracles, which their eyes had seen, 
Deut. xxix. 3; to whom nevertheless, the Lord had "not given a 
heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto that day," 
ver. 4. Many a man that bears the name of a Christian, may make 
Pharoah's confession of faith, Exod. v. 2, " I know not the Lord," 
neither will he let go what he commands them to i)art with. God 
is with them, as a prince in disguise among his subjects, who meets 
with no better treatment from them than if they were his fellows, 
Psalm I. 21. Do they know Christ, or see his glory, and any beauty 
in him, for which he is to be desired ? If they did, they would not 
slight him as they do : a view of his glory would so darken all cre- 
ated excellence, that they would take him for and instead of all, and 
gladly close with him, as he off'ers himself in the gospel, John iv. 
13; Psalm ix. 10; Matt. xiii. 44 — 46. Do they know what sin is, 
who nurse the serpent in their bosom, hold fast deceit, and refuse 
to let it go ? I own, indeed, that they may have a natural know- 
ledge of these things, as the unbelieving Jews had of Christ, whom 
they saw and conversed with ; but there was a spiritual glory in 
him, perceived by believers only, John i. 14, and in respect of that 
glory, " the" unbelieving " world knew him not," ver. 10. The spi- 
ritual knowledge of tliem they cannot have it is above the reach of 


tlie carnal uiind. 1 Cor. ii. 14. " The natural man receiveth not the 
things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness nnto him; nei- 
ther can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned." He 
may indeed discourse of them, but in no other way than one can 
talk of honey or vinegar, who never tasted the sweetness of the one, 
nor the sourness of the other. He has some notions of spiritual 
truths, but sees not the things themselves that are wrapt up in the 
words of truth, 1 Tim. i. 7. " Understanding neither what they say, 
nor whereof they affirm." In a word, natural men fear, seek, con- 
fess, they know not what. Thus you may see man's understanding 
naturally overwhelmed with gross darkness in spiritual things. 

3. There is in the mind of man a natural bias to evil, whereby it 
comes to pass, that whatever difficulties it finds while occupied 
about things truly good, it acts with a great deal of ease in evil, as 
being in that case in its own element, Jer. iv. 22. The carnal mind 
drives heavily on in the thoughts of good, but furiously in the 
thoughts of evil. "While holiness is before it, fetters are upon it ; 
but when once it has got over the hedge, it is as a bird got out of a 
cage, and becomes a freethinker indeed. Let us reflect a little on 
the apprehension and imagination of the carnal mind, and we shall 
find incontestable evidence of this woful bias to evil. 

Proof!. As when a man by a violent stroke on the head loses his 
sight, there arises to him a kind of false light whereby he seems to 
see a thousand airy nothings ; so man, being struck blind to all that 
is truly good for his eternal interest, has a light of another sort 
brought into his mind ; his eyes are opened, knowing evil ; and so 
are the words of the tempter verified. Gen. iii. 5. The words of the 
prophet are plain — "They are wise to do evil, but to do good they 
have no knowledge," Jer. iv. 22. The mind of man has a natural 
dexterity to devise mischief; there are not any so simple as to want 
skill to contrive ways to gratify their lusts, aud ruin their souls, 
though the power of every one's hand cannot reach to put their 
devices in execution. No one needs to be taught this black art; 
but, as weeds grow up of their own accord in the neglected ground, 
so does this wisdom which is earthly, sensual, devilish. Jam. iii. 15, 
grow up in the minds of men, by virtue of the corruption of their 
nature. Why should we be surprised with the product of corrupt 
wits, their cunning devices to aff'ront Heaven, to oppose and run 
down truth and holiness, and to gratify their own and other men's 
lusts? They row with the stream, no wonder that they make great 
progress ; their stock is within them, and increases by using it, and 
the works of darkness are contrived with the greater advantage, 
because the mind is wholly destitute of spiritual light, which, if it 



were in them in any measure, would so far mar the work : 1 John 
iii. 9, " Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin ;" he does it 
not as by art, wilfully and habitually, for " his seed remaineth in 
him." But, on the other hand, " It is as a sport to a fool to do mis- 
chief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom," Prov. x. 23. 
*' To do witty mischief nicely," as the words import, " is as a sport 
or play to a fool ;" it comes off with him easily ; and why, but be- 
cause he is a fool, and hath not wisdom, which would mar the con- 
trivances of darkness ! The more natural a thing is, the more easily 
it is done. 

Proof 2. Let the corrupt mind have but the advantage of one's 
being employed in, or present at, some piece of service for God, 
that so the device, if not in itself sinful, yet may become sinful by 
its unseasonableness : it will quickly fall upon some device or ex- 
pedient, by its starting aside, which deliberation, in season, could not 
produce. Thus Saul, who wist not what to do before the priest be- 
gan to consult God, is quickly determined when once the priest's 
hand was in : his own heart then gave him an answer, and would 
not allow him to wait an answer from the Lord, 1 Sam. xiv. 18, 19. 
Such a devilish dexterity hath the carnal mind in devising what 
may most effectually divert men from their duty to God, 

Proof 3. Doth not the carnal mind naturally strive to grasp spi- 
ritual things in imagination, as if the soul were quite immersed in 
flesh and blood, and would turn every thing into its own shape ? 
Let men who are used to the forming of the most abstracted notions, 
look into their own souls, and they will find this bias in their 
minds ; whereof the idolotry which did of old, and still doth, so 
much prevail in the world, is an incontestible evidence : for it 
plainly shews, that men naturally would have a visible deity, and 
see what they worship, and therefore they " changed the glory of 
the incorruptible God into an image," &c. Rom. i. 23. The refor- 
mation of these nations, blessed be the Lord for it, has banished 
idolatry, and images too, out of our churches; but heart-reformation 
only can break down mental idolatry, and banish the more subtile 
and refined image worship, and representations of the Deity, out of 
the minds of men. The world, in the time of its darkness, was 
never more prone to the former, than the unsanctified mind is to the 
latter. Hence are horrible, monstrous, and misshapen thoughts of 
God, Christ, the glory above, and all spiritual things. 

Proof 4. What a difficult task is it to detain the carnal mind be- 
fore the Lord ! how averse is it to entertain good thoughts, and 
dwell in the meditation of spiritual things ! If a person be driven, 
at any time, to tliink of the great concerns of his soul, it is not 


harder work to hold in an unruly hungry beast, than to hedge in 
the carnal mind, that it get not away to the vanities of the world 
again. When God is speaking to men by his word, or they are 
speaking to him in prayer, does not the mind often leave them be- 
fore the Lord, like so many " idols that have eyes, but see not, and 
ears, but hear not." The carcass is laid down before God, but the 
world gets away the heart ; though the eyes be closed, the man sees 
a thousand vanities ; the mind, in the mean time, is like a bird got 
loose out of a cage, skipping from bush to bush ; so that, in effect, 
the man never comes to himself till he is gone from the presence of 
the Lord. Say not, it is impossible to get the mind fixed — it is 
hard, indeed, but not impossible : grace from the Lord can do it, 
Psalm cviii. 1 ; agreeable objects will do it. A pleasant specula- 
tion will arrest the minds of the inquisitive ; the worldly man's 
mind is in little hazard of wandering, when he is contriving his 
business, casting up his acounts, or telling his money ; if he answers 
you not at first, he tells you he did not hear you, he was busy ; his 
mind was fixed. Were we admitted into the presence of a king, to 
petition for our lives, we should be in no hazard of gazing through 
the chamber of presence. But this is the case, the carnal mind, em- 
ployed about any spiritual good, is out of its element, and therefore 
cannot fix. 

Proof 5. But however hard it is to keep the mind on good 
thoughts, it sticks like glue to what is evil and corrupt like itself, 
2 Pet. ii. 14, " Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease 
from sin." Their eyes cannot cease from sin, (so the words are 
constructed,) that is, their hearts and minds, venting by the eyes 
what is within, are like a furious beast, which cannot be held in 
when once it has got out its head. Let the corrupt imagination 
once be let loose on its favourite object, it will be found hard work 
to call it back again, though both reason and will are for its retreat. 
For then it is in its own element ; and to draw it ofi" from its im- 
purities, is like drawing a fish out of the water, or rending a limb 
from a man. It runs like fire set to a train of powder, that rests 
not till it can get no farther. 

Paoof 6. Consider how the carnal imagination supplies the want 
of real objects to the corrupt heart, that it may make sinners happy, 
at least in the imaginary enjoyment of their lusts. Thus the cor- 
rupt heart feeds itself with imagination-sins ; the unclean person is 
filled with speculative impurities, " having eyes full of adultery ;" 
the covetous man fills his heart with the world, though he cannot 
get his hands full of it ; the malicious person with delight acts his 
revenge within his own breast : the envious man, within his own 


narrow soul, beholds with satisfaction his neighbour laid low ; and 
every lust finds the corrupt imagination a friend to it in time of 
need. This the heart does, not only when people are awake, 
but sometimes even when they are asleep ; whereby it comes to 
pass, that those sins are acted in dreams, which their hearts pant 
after when they are awake. I am aware that some question the 
sinfulness of these things ; but can it be thought they are consist- 
ent with that holy nature and frame of spirit which was in 
innocent Adam, and in Jesus Christ, and should be in every one ? 
It is the corruption of nature, then, that makes filthy dreamers 
condemned, Jude, ver. 8. Solomon had experience of the exer- 
cise of grace in sleep : in a dream he prayed, in a dream he made 
the best choice ; both were accepted of God, 1 Kings iii. 5 — lo. 
And if a man may, in his sleep, do what is good and acceptable to 
Grod, why may he not also, when asleep, do that which is evil and 
displeasing to God .? The same Solomon would have men aware of 
this, and prescribes the best remedy against it, namely, " the law 
upon the heart," Prov. vi. 20, 21. "When thou sleepest," says he, 
ver. 22, "it shall keep thee," to wit, from sinning in thy sleep; that 
is, from sinful dreams: for a man's being kept from sin, not his 
being kept from affliction, is the immediate proper effect of the law 
of God impressed upon the heart, Psalm cxix. 11. And thus the 
whole verse is to be understood, as appears from ver. 23. " For the 
commandment is a lamp, and the law is light, and reproofs of in- 
struction are the way of life." Now, the law is a lamp and light, 
as it guides in the way of duty ; and instructing reproofs from the 
law are the way of life, as they keep from sin : they guide not into 
the way of peace, but as they lead into the way of duty ; nor do 
they keep a man out of trouble, but as they keei> him from sin. 
Remarkable is the particular which Solomon instances, namely, the 
sin of uncleanness, " to keep thee from the evil woman," &c. ver. 
24, which is to be joined to ver. 22, enclosing the 23d in a parenthe- 
sis, as some versions have it. These things may suffice to convince 
us of the natural bias of the mind to evil. 

4. There is in the carnal mind an opposition to spiritual truths, 
and an aversion to receive them. It is as little a friend to divine 
truths, as it is to holiness. The truths of natural religion, which do, 
as it were, force their entry into the minds of natural men, they hold 
prisoners in unrighteousness, Rom. i. 18. As for the truths of re- 
vealed religion, there is an evil heart of unbelief in them, which op- 
poses their entry; and there is an armed force necessary to capti- 
vate the mind to the belief of them, 2 Cor. x. 4, 5. God has made 
a revelation of his mind and will to sinners, concerning the way of 


salvation ; he has given us the doctrine of his holy word : but do 
natural men believe it indeed ? No, they do not ; " for he that be- 
lieveth not on the Son of God, believeth not God," as is plain from 
1 John v. 10. They believe not the promises of the word : they look 
on them, in effect, only as fair words ; for those who receive them 
are thereby made " partakers of the divine nature," 2 Pet. i. 4. 
The promises are as silver cords let down from heaven, to draw sin- 
ners unto God, and to waft them over into the promised land; but 
they cast them from them. They believe not the threatenings of the 
■word. As men travelling in deserts carry fire about with them, to 
frighten away wild beasts, so God has made his law a fiery law, 
Deut. xxxiii. 2, surrounding it with threats of wrath : but men are 
naturally more brutish than beasts themselves ; and will needs 
touch the fiery smoking mountain, though they should be thrust 
through with a dart. I doubt not but most, if not all of you, who 
are yet in the black state of nature, will here plead, Not Guilty ; 
but remember, the carnal Jews in Christ's time were as confident as 
you are, that they believed Moses, John is. 28, 29. But he confutes 
their confidence, roundly telling them, John v. 46, "Had ye believed 
Moses, ye would have believed me." If you believe the truths of 
God, you dared not to reject, as you do. Him who is truth itself. 
The very difficulty you find in assenting to this truth, discovers that 
unbelief which I am charging you with. Has it not proceeded so far 
■with some at this day, that it has steeled their foreheads with impu- 
dence and impiety, openly to reject all revealed religion? Surely it 
is " out of the abundance of the heart their mouth speaketh." But, 
though ye set not your mouth against the heavens, as they do, the 
same bitter root of unbelief is in all men by nature, and reigns in 
you, and will reign, till overcoming grace brings your minds to the 
belief of the truth. To convince you in this point, consider those 
three things : 

Proof 1. How few are there who have been blessed with an inward 
illumination, by the special operation of the Spirit of Christ, leading 
them into a view of divine truths in their spiritual and heavenly 
lustre ! How have yon learned the truths of religion, which you 
pretend to believe ? Ton have them merely by the benefit of ex- 
ternal revelation, and by education; so that you are Christians, just 
because you were not born and bred in a Pagan, but in a Christian 
country. You are strangers to the inward work of the Holy Spirit, 
bearing witness by and with the word in your hearts ; and so you 
cannot have the assurance of faith, with respect to the outward di- 
vine revelation made in the word, 1 Cor. ii. 10 — 12, therefore you 
are still unbelievers. " It is written in the Prophets, They shall be 


all taught of God. — Every man, therefore, that hath heard, and hath 
learned of the Father cometh unto nie," says our Lord, John vi. 45, 
Now, ye have not come to Christ, therefore ye have not been taught 
of God : ye have not been so taught, and therefore ye have not 
eorae ; ye believe not. Behold the revelation from which the faith, 
even of the fundamental principles in religion, springs, Matt. xvi. 
16, 17, " Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. — Blessed art 
thou, Simon Barjona ; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto 
thee, but my Father which is in heaven." If ever the Spirit of the 
Lord take you in hand, to work in you that faith which is of the 
operation of God, it may be, that as much time will be spent in 
rasing the old foundation, as will make you find the necessity of the 
working of his mighty power, to enable you to believe the very 
foundation-principles, which now you think you make no doubt of, 
Eph. i. 19. 

Proof 2. How many professors have made shipwreck of their 
faith, such as it was, in time of temptation and trial ! See how 
they fall, like stars from heaven, when Antichrist prevails ! 2 Thess. 
11. 12, " God shall send them strong delusions, that they should 
believe a lie ; that they all might be damned, who believed not the 
truth." They fall into damning delusions ; because they never 
really believed the truth, though they themselves, and others too, 
thought they did believe it. That house is built on the sand, and 
that faith is but ill-founded, that cannot stand, but is quite over- 
thrown, when the storm comes. 

Proof 3. Consider the utter inconsistency of most men's lives with 
the principles of religion which they profess : you may as soon 
bring east and west together, as their principles and practice. Men 
believe that fire will burn them ; and therefore they will cot throw 
themselves into it: but the truth is, most men live as if they 
thought the gospel a mere fable, and the wrath of God, revealed in 
his word against their unrighteousness and ungodliness, a mere 
scarecrow. If you believe the doctrines of the word, how is it that 
you are so unconcerned about the state of your souls before the 
Lord? how is it that you are so little concerned about this weighty 
point, whether you be born again or not ? Many live as they were 
born, and are likely to die as they live, and yet live in peace. Do 
such persons believe the sinfulness and misery of a natural state? 
Do they believe that they are children of wrath ? Do they believe 
that there is no salvation without regeneration, and no regeneration 
but what makes a man a new creature ? If you believe the pro- 
mises of the word, why do you not embrace them, and seek to enter 
into the promised rest ? What sluggard would not dig for a hid 


treasure, if he really believed that he might so obtain it? Men 
will work and toil for a maintenance, because they believe that by 
so doing they shall get it; yet they will be at no tolerable pains 
for the eternal weight of glory ! why, but because they do not be- 
lieve the word of promise ? Heb. iv. 1,2. If you believe the threa- 
tenings, how is it that you live in your sins ; live out of Christ, and 
yet hope for mercy? Do such persons believe God to be the holy 
and just One, who will by no means clear the guilty ? No, no ; 
none believe ; none, or next to none, believe what a just God the 
Lord is, and how severely he punisheth. 

5. There is in the mind of man a natural proneness to lies and 
falsehood, which favours his lusts : " They go astray as soon as they 
be born, speaking lies," Psalm Iviii. 3. We have this, with the 
rest of the corruption of our nature, fi'om our first parents. God 
revealed the truth to them : but through the solicitation of the 
tempter, they first doubted, then disbelieved it, and embraced a lie 
instead of it. For an incontestable evidence hereof, we may see the 
first article of the devil's creed, " ye shall not surely die," Gen. iii. 
4, which was obtruded by him on oixr first parents, and by them 
received, naturally embraced by their posterity, and held fast, till 
light from heaven obliges them to quit it. It spreads itself through 
the lives of natural men : who, till their consciences are awakened, 
walk after their own lusts, still retaining the principle, "That they 
shall not surely die." And this is often improved to such perfec- 
tion, that man says, in the face of the denounced curse, " I shall 
have peace, though I walk in the imagination of my heart, to add 
drunkenness to thirst," Deut. xxix. 19. Whatever advantage the 
truths of God have over error, by means of education or otherwise, 
error has always, with the natural man, this advantage against 
truth, namely, that there is something within him which says, " 
that it were true !" so that the mind lies fair for assenting to it. 
And this is the reason of it : the true doctrine is, " the doctrine that 
is according to godliness," 1 Tim. vi. 3, and " the truth which is 
after godliness," Titus i. 1. Error is the doctrine which is accord- 
ing to ungodliness ; for there is not an error in the mind, nor an 
untruth vented in the world, in matters of religion, but has an affi- 
nity with one corruption of the heart or another; according to that 
saying of the apostle, 2 Thess. ii. 12, "They believed not the 
truth," but had pleasure in unrighteousness. So that truth and 
error, being otherwise attended with equal advantages for their 
reception, error, by this means, has most ready access into the 
minds of men in their natural state. "Wherefore, it is not strange 
that men reject the simplicity of gospel truths and institutions, and 


greedily embrace error and external pomp in religion, seeing they 
are so agreeable to the lusts of the heart, and the vanity of the 
mind of the natural man. Hence also it is, that so many embrace 
atheistical principles ; for none do it but in compliance with their 
Irregular passions ; none but those, whose advantage it would be 
that there were no God. 

6. Man is naturally high-minded ; for when the gospel comes in 
power to him, it is employed in " casting down imaginations, and 
every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God," 
2 Cor. X. 5. Lowliness of n^ind is not a flower that grows in the 
field of nature ; but is planted by the finger of God in a renewed 
heart, and learned of the lowly Jesus. It is natural to man to think 
highly of himself, and what is his own : for the stroke which he has 
got by his fall in Adam, has produced a false light, whereby mole- 
hills about him appear like mountains ; and a thousand airy beauties 
present themselves to his deluded fancy. "Vain man would be wise," 
so he accounts himself, and so he would be accounted by others, 
" though man be born like a wild ass's colt," Job xi. 12. His way 
is right, because it is his own : for " every way of man is right in 
his own eyes," Prov. xxi. 2. His state is good, because he knows 
none better; he is alive without the law, Horn. vii. 9, and therefore 
his hope is strong, and his confidence firm. It is another tower of 
Babel, reared up against heaven ; and it will not fall, while the 
power of darkness can hold it up. The word batters it, yet it 
stands ; one while breaches are made in it, but they are quickly re- 
paired ; at another time, it is all made to shake, but still it is 
kept up ; till either God himself by his Spirit raises a heart-quake 
within the man, which tumbles it down, and leaves not one stone 
upon another, 2 Cor. x. 4, 5, or death batters it down, and razes the 
foundation of it, Luke xvi. 23. And as the natural man thinks 
highly of himself, so he thinks meanly of God, whatever he pre- 
tends. Psalm 1. 21, "Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an 
one as thyself." The doctrine of the gospel, and the mystery of 
Christ, are foolishness to him ; and in his practice he treats them as 
such, 1 Cor. i. 18, and ii. 14. He brings the word and the works of 
God, in the government of the world, before the bar of his carnal 
reason ; and there they are presumptuously censured and condem- 
ned, Hos. xiv. 9. Sometimes the ordinary restraints of Providence 
are taken off, and Satan is permitted to stir up the carnal mind : 
and, in that case, it is like an ant's nest, uncovered and disturbed ; 
doubts, denials, and hellish reasonings, crowd in it, and cannot 
be overcome by all the arguments brought against them, till power 
from on high subdue the mind, and still the mutiny of the corrupt 


Thus much of the corruption of the understanding ; which, 
although the half be "not told, may discover to you the absolute ne- 
cessity of regenerating'grace. Call the understanding now, " Icha- 
bod; for the glory is departed from it," 1 Samuel iv. 21. Consider 
this, yon that are in the state of nature, and groan out your case 
before the Lord, that the Sun of Righteousness may arise upon you, 
lest you be shut up in everlasting darkness. What avails your 
wordly wisdom ? What do your attainments in religion avail, while 
your understanding lies wrapt up in its natural darkness and confu- 
sion, utterly void of the light of life ? Whatever be the natural 
man's gifts or attainments, we must, as in the case of the leper. 
Lev. xiii. 44, " pronounce him utterly unclean, his plague is in his 
head." But that is not all ; it is in his heart too; his will is cor- 
rupted, as I shall soon shew. 

IL Of the Corruption of the Will. 

The Will; that commanding faculty, which at first was faithful 
and ruled with God, is now turned traitor, and rules with and for 
the devil. God planted it in man, " wholly a right seed ;" but now 
it is " turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine." It v»'-as 
originally placed in due subordination to the will of God, as was 
shewn before ; but now it is wholly gone aside. However some 
magnify the power of free-will, a view of the spirituality of the 
law, to which acts of moral discipline in no wise answer, and a deep 
insight into the corruption of nature, given by the inward operation 
of the Spirit, convincing of sin, righteousness, and judgment, would 
make men find an absolute need of the power of free grace, to re- 
move the bands of wickedness from off their free-will. To open 
up this plague of the heart, I offer these following things to be 
considered : 

1. There is, in the unrenewed will, an utter inability for what is 
truly good and acceptable in the sight of God. The natural man's 
will is in Satan's fetters, hemmed in within the circle of evil, and 
cannot move beyond it, any more than a dead man can raise himself 
out of his grave, Eph. ii. 1. We deny him not a power to choose, 
pursue, and act what is good, as to the matter ; but though he can 
will what is good and right, he can will nothing aright and well, 
John XV. 5. Christ says, " Without me," that is, sejjarate from 
me, as a branch from the stock, as both the word and context will 
bear, " ye can do nothing ;" which means, nothing truly and spiri- 
tually good. His very choice and desire of spiritual things, is 
carnal and selfish, John vi. 26. " Te seek me — because ye did eat of 


the loaves aud were filled." He not only does not come to Christ, 
but " he cannot come," ver. 44, And what can he do acceptable to 
God, who believeth not on him whom the Father hath sent ? To 
prove this inability for good in the nnregenerate, consider these two 
things : 

Proof. 1, How often does the light so shine before men's eyes, 
that they cannot but see the good which they should choose, and the 
evil which they should refuse : and yet their hearts have no more 
power to comply with that light, than as if they were arrested by 
some invisible hand ! They see what is right, yet they follow, and 
cannot bat follow what is wrong. Their consciences tell them the 
right way, and api)rove of it too, yet their will cannot be brought up 
to it : their corruption so chains them, that they cannot embrace it; 
so that they sigh and go backward, notwithstanding their light. If 
it be not thus, how is it that the word and way of holiness meet 
with such entertainment in the world ? How is it that clear argu- 
ments and reason on the side of piety and a holy life, which seem 
to have weight even with the carnal mind, do not bring men over to 
that side ? Although the existence of a heaven and a boll were 
only probable, it were sufficient to determine the will to the choice 
of holiness, were it capable of being determined thereto by mere 
reason: but men, "knowing the judgment of God, that they who 
commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but 
have pleasure in them that do them," Rom. i. 31. And how is it 
that those who magnify the power of free-will, do not confirm their 
opinion before the world, by an ocular demonstration in a practice 
as far above others in holiness, as the opinion of their natural 
ability is above that of others ? Or is it maintained only for the 
protection of lusts, which men may hold fast as long as they please ; 
and when they have no more use for them, throw them off in a 
moment, and leap out of Delilah's lap into Abraham's bosom? 
Whatever use some make of that principle, it does of itself, and in 
its own nature, cast a broad shadow for a shelter to wickedness of 
heart and life. It may be observed, that the generality of the 
hearers of the gospel, of all denominations, are plagued with it; for 
it is a root of bitterness, natural to all men ; from whence spring so 
much fearlessness about the soul's eternal state, so many delays and 
excuses in that weighty matter, whereby much work is laid up for a 
deathbed by some, while others are ruined by a legal walk, and 
neglect the life of faith, and the making use of Christ for sanctifica- 
tion; all flowing from the persuasion of sufficient natural abilities. 
So agreeable is it to corrupt nature. 

Proof 2. Let those, who, by the power of the spirit of bondage, 

Vol. VIII. i> 


have had the law opened before them in its spiritnality, for their 
conviction, speak and tell, if they found themselves able to incline 
their hearts toward it, in that case ; nay, whether the more that 
light shone into their souls, they did not find their hearts more and 
more unable to comply with it. There are some who have been 
brought unto " the place of the breaking forth," who are yet in the 
devil's camp, who from their experience can tell, that light let into 
the mind cannot give life to the will, to enable it to comply there- 
with ; and could give their testimony here, if they would. But take 
Paul's testimony concerning it, who, in his unconverted state, was 
far from believing his utter inability for good ; but learned it by 
experience, Rom. vii. 8 — 13. I own, the natural man may have a 
kind of love to the letter of the law : but here lies the stress of the 
matter, he looks on the holy law in a carnal dress; and so, while he 
embraces the creature of his own fancy, he thinks that he has the 
law ; but in very deed he is without the law : for as yet he sees it 
not in its spirituality; if he did, he would find it the very reverse 
of his own nature, and what his will could not fall in with, till 
changed by the power of grace. 

2. There is in the unrenewed will an aversion to good. Sin is the 
natural man's element; he is as unwilling to part with it as fish are 
to come out of the water on to dry land. He not only cannot 
come to Christ, but he will not come, John v. 40. He is polluted, 
and hates to be washed, Jer. xiii. 27, " Wilt thou not be made 
clean? when shall it once be?" He is sick, yet utterly averse to 
the remedy : he loves his disease so, that he loathes the Physician. 
He is a captive, a prisoner, and a slave ; but he loves his con- 
queror, his jailor, and master: he is fond of his fetters, prison, and 
drudgery, and has no liking to his liberty. For proof of the aver- 
sion to good in the will of man, I will instance in some particulars : 

Proof 1. The untowardness of children. Do wo not see them 
naturally lovers of sinful liberty? How unwilling are they to be 
hedged in ! How averse to restraint ! The world can bear witness, 
that they are " as bullocks unaccustomed to the yoke :" and more, 
that it is far easier to bring young bullocks tamely to bear the 
yoke, than to bring young children under discipline, and make 
them tamely submit to be restrained in sinful liberty. Every body 
may see in this, as in a glass, that man is naturally wild and wilful, 
according to Zophar's observation. Job xi. 12, that " man is born 
like a wild ass's colt." What can be said more? He is like a 
colt, the colt of an ass, the colt of a wild ass. Compare Jer. ii. 24, 
" A wild ass used to the wilderness;, that snuifeth up the wind at 
her pleasure ; in her occasion who can turn her away ?" 


Proof 2. What pain and diflBciiUj- do men often find in bringing 
their hearts to religious duties ! and what a task is it to the carnal 
heart to abide at them ! It is a pain to it, to leave the world but a 
little to come before God, It is not easy to bonow time from the 
many things, to spend it upon the one thing needful. Men often 
go to God in duties, with their faces towards the world ; and when 
their bodies are on the mount of ordinances, their hearts will 
be found at the foot of the hill " going after tht;ir covetousness," 
Ezek. xxxiii. 31. They are soon wearied of well-doing; for holy 
duties are not agreeable to their corrupt nature. Take notice of 
them at their worldly business, set thera down with their c'irn:il 
company, or let them be et'joying a lust; time seems to thera to fly, 
and drive furiously, so that it is gone before they are aware. But 
how heavily does it pass, while a prayer, a sermon, or a Sabbath 
lasts! The Lord's day is the longest day of all the week, with 
matiy; therefore they must sleep longer that morning, and go 
sooner to bed that night, than ordinarily they do; that the day may 
be made of a tolerable lengtli : for their hearts say within them, 
" When will tlie Sabbath be gone ?" Amos viii. 5. The hours of 
worship are the longest hours of that day : hence, when duty is 
over, they are like men eased of a burden ; and when sermon is 
ended, many have neither the grace nor the good manners to stay 
till the blessing is pronounced, but, like the beasts, their head is 
away, so soon as a man puts his hand to loose them ; and why ? be- 
cause, while they are at oi'dinances, they are, as Doeg, " detained 
before the Lord," 1 Sam. xxii. 7- 

Proofs. Consider how the will of the natural man rebels against 
the light, Job sxiv. 13. Light sometimes enters in, because he is 
not able to keep it out : but he loves darkness rather than light. 
Sometimes, by the force of truth, the outer door of the understand- 
ing is broken up ; but the inner door of the will remains fast bolted. 
Then lusts rise against light ; con-uption and conscience encounter, 
and tight as in the field of battle, till corruption getting the upper 
hand, conscience is forced to turn its back ; convictions are mur- 
dered, and truth is made and held prisoner, so that it can create no 
more disturbance. While the word is preached or read, or the rod 
of God is upon the natural man, sometimes convictions are darted 
in upon him, and his spirit is wounded in greater or lesser measure : 
but these convictions not being able to make him fall, he runs away 
with the arrows sticking in his conscience ; and at length, one way 
or other, gets them out, and makes himself whole again. Thus, 
while the light shines, men, naturally averse to it, wilfully shut 
their eyes, till God is provoked to blind them judicially, and they 



become proof agaiust his word and providences too : so, go where 
they will, tliey can sit at ease ; there is never a word from heaven 
to them, that goeth deeper than their ears. Hos. iv. 17, " Eph- 
raim is joined to idols : let him alone." 

Proof 4. Let us observe the resistance made by elect souls, when 
the Spirit of the Lord is at work, to bring them from " the power 
of Satan unto God." Zion's King gets no subjects but by stroke of 
sword, " in the day of his power," Psalm ex. 2, 3, None come to 
him, but such as are drawn by a divine hand, John iv. 44. When 
the Lord comes to the soul, he finds the strong man keeping the 
house, and a deep peace and security there, while the soul is fast 
asleep in the devil's arms. But " the prey must be taken from the 
mighty, and the captive delivered." Therefore the Lord awakens 
the sinner, opens his eyes, and strikes him with terror, while the 
clouds are black above his head, and the sword of vengeance is held 
to his breast. Now, he is at no small pains to put a fair face on a 
biack heart, to shake off his fears, to make head against them, and 
to divert himself from thinking on the unpleasant and ungrateful 
subject of his soul's case. If he cannot so rid himself from them, 
carnal reason is called in to help, and urges, that there is no ground 
for such great fear ; all may be well enough yet ; and if it be ill 
with him, it will be ill with many. When the sinner is beat from 
this, and sees no advantage in going to hell with company, he re- 
solves to leave his sins, but cannot think of breaking off so soon ; 
there is time enough, and he will do it afterwards. Conscience 
says, " To-day if ye will hear his voice harden not your hearts :" 
but he cries, "To-morrow, Lord; to-morrow. Lord;" and "just 
now. Lord ;" till that now is never like to come. Thus many times 
he comes from his prayers and confessions, with nothing but a 
breast full of sharper convictions ; for the heart does not always 
cast up the sweet morsel, as soon as confession is made with the 
mouth, Judges x. 10 — 16. And when conscience obliges him to 
part with some lusts, others are kept as right eyes and right hands, 
and there are rueful looks after those that are put away ; as it was 
with the Israelites, who with bitter hearts remembered " the fish 
they did eat in Egypt freely," Numb. xi. 5. Nay, when he is so 
pressed, that he must needs say before the Lord, that he is content 
to part with all his idols; the heart will be giving the tongue the 
lie. In a word, the soul, in this case, will shift from one thing to 
another; like a fish with the hook in its jaws, till it can do no more, 
for power is come to make it yield, as " the wild ass in her month," 
Jor. ii. 24. 

3. There is in the will of man a natural " proneness to evil," a 


woful bent towards sin. Men naturally are " bent to backsliddiug 
from God," Hos. xi. 7- They hang, as the word is, towards back- 
sliding; even as a hanging wall, whose breaking coraeth suddenly 
at an instant. Set holiness and life upon the one side, sin and death 
upon the other; and leave the unrenewed will to itself, it will 
choose sin, and reject holiness. This is no more to be doubted, than 
that water, poured on the side of a hill will run downward, and not 
upward ; or that a flame will ascend, and not descend. 

Proof 1. Is not the way of evil the first way which the children 
of men go ? Do not their inclinations plainly appear on the wrong 
side, while yet they have no cunning to hide them ? In the first open- 
ing of our eyes in the world, we look asquint, hell-ward, not hea- 
ven-ward. As soon as it appears that we are rational creatures, 
it appears that we are sinful creatures. Psalm Iviii. 3, "The 
wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as 
they be born." Prov. xxii. 15, " Foolishness is bound in the 
heart of a child : but the rod of correction shall drive it far from 
him." Folly is bound in the heart, it is woven into our very nature. 
The knot will not unloose ; it must be broken asunder by strokes. 
Words will not do it, the rod must be taken to drive it away ; and 
if it be not driven far away, the heart and it will meet and knit 
again. Not that the rod of itself will do this : the sad experience 
of many parents testifies the contrary ; and Solomon himself tells 
you, Prov. xxvii. 22, " Though thou shouldst bray a fool in a mor- 
tar, among wheat, with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart 
from him ;" it is so bound in his heart. But the rod is an ordi- 
nance of God, appointed for that end; which, like the word, is 
made eff'ectual, by the Spirit's accompanying his own ordinance. 
This, by the way, shews that parents, in administering correction to 
their children, have need, first of all, to correct their own irregular 
passions, and look upon it as a matter of awful solemnity, setting 
about it with much dependance on the Lord, and following it with 
prayer for the blessing, if they would have it effectual. 

Proof. 2. IIow easily are men led aside to sin ! The children who 
are not persuaded to good, are otherwise simple ones, easily wrought 
upon : those whom the word cannot draw to holiness, are " led by 
Satan at his pleasure." Profane Esau, that cunning man, Gen. xxv. 
27, was as easily cheated of the blessing as if he had been a fool 
or an idiot. The more natural a thing is, the more easy it is : so 
Christ's yoke is easy to the saints, in so far as they are partakers 
of the divine nature : and sin is easy to the unrenewed man ; but to 
learn to do good, is as difiicult as for the Ethiopian to change his 
skin ; because the will naturally hangs towards evil, and is averse 


to good. A child can cause a round thing to run, when he cannot 
move a square thing of the same weight ; for the roundness makes 
it fit for motion, so that it goes with a touch. Even so, men find 
the heart easily carried towards sin, while it is as a dead weight in 
the way of holiness ; we must seek for the reason of this from the 
natural set and disposition of the heart, whereby it is prone and 
heut to evil. "Were man's will, naturally, but in equal balance to 
good and evil, the one might be embraced with as little difliculty as 
the other ; but experience testifies it is not so. In the sacred his- 
tory of the Israelites, especially in the Book of Judges, how often 
do we find them forsaking Jehovah, the mighty God, and doting 
upon the idols of the nations about them ! But did ever any one of 
these nations grow fond of Israel's God, and forsake their own 
idols ? No, no ; though man is naturally given to changes, it is but 
from evil to evil, not from evil to good, Jer. ii. 10, 11, " Hath a 
nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods ? But my people 
have changed their glory, for that which doth not profit." Surely 
the will of man stands not in equal balance, but has a cast to the 
wrong side. 

Proof 3. Consider how men go on still in the way of sin, till 
they are stopped, and that by another hand than their own ; Isa. 
Ivii. 17, " I hid me, and he went on forwardly in the way of his 
heart." If God withdraw his restraining hand, and lay the reins 
on the sinner's neck, he is under no doubt what way to choose ; for, 
observe it, the way of sin is the way of his heart ; his heart natu- 
rally lies that way; it hath a natural propensity to sin. As long 
as God suflfers them, they walk in their own way, Acts xiv. 16. 
The natural man is so fixed in his woful choice, that there needs 
no more to shew he is ofl: from God's way, than to say he is upon 
his own. 

Proof. 4. Whatsoever good impressions are made on him, they do 
not last. Though his heart be firm as a stone, yea, harder than the 
nether-millstone, in point of receiving of them ; it is otherwise un- 
stable as water, and cannot keep them. It works against the re- 
ceiving of them ; and, when they are made, it works them oflT, and 
returns to its natural bias; Hos. vi. 4, " Your goodness is as 
a morning cloud, and as the early dew ifc goeth away." The morn- 
ing cloud promises a heavy shower, but, when the sun arises, 
it vanisheth : the suu beats upon the early dew, and it evaporates ; 
so the husbandman's expectation is disappointed. Such is the good- 
ness of the natural man. Some sharp affliction, or piercing convic- 
tion, obliges him, in some sort, to turn from his evil course : but 
his will not being renewed, religion is still against the grain with 


hira, and therefore this goes off again, Psalm Ixxviii. 34 — 37. 
Though a stone thrown up into the air, may abide there a little 
while, yet its natural heaviness will bring it down again : so do un- 
renewed men return to their wallowing in the mire ; because, 
though they washed themselves, yet their swinish nature was not 
changed. It is hard to cause wet wood to take fire, hard to 
make it keep alight ; but it is harder than either of these to 
make the unrenewed will retain attained goodness ; which is a 
plain evidence of the natural bent of the will to evil. 

Proof 5. Do the saints serve the Lord now, as they were wont to 
serve sin, in their unconverted state ? Very far from it, Rom. vi. 
20, " When ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righte- 
ousness." Sin got all, and admitted no partner ; but now, when 
they are the servants of Christ, are they free from sin ? Nay, 
there are still with them some deeds of the old man, shewing that 
he is but dying in them ; and hence their hearts often raigive them, 
and slip aside unto evil, " when they would do good," Rom. vii. 21. 
They need to watch, and keep their hearts with all diligence ; and 
their sad experience teaches them, " That he that trusteth in his 
own heart is a fool," Prov. xxviii. 26. If it be thus in the green 
tree, how must it be in the dry ? 

4. There is a natural contrariety, direct opposition, and enmity, 
in the will of man, to God himself, and his holy will, Rom. viii. 7, 
" The carnal mind is enmity against God ; for it is not subject to 
the law of God, neither indeed can be." The will was once God's 
deputy in the soul, set to command there for him ; but now it is set 
up against him. If you would have the picture of it in its natural 
state, the very reverse of the will of God represents it. If the fruit 
hanging before one's eye be but forbidden, that is sufficient to draw 
the heart after it. Let me instance in the sin of profane swearing 
and cursing, to which some are so abandoned, that they take a 
pride in it, belching out horrid oaths and curses, as if hell opened 
with the opening of their mouths ; or larding their speeches with 
minced oaths ; and all this without any manner of provocation, 
though even that would not excuse them. Pray, tell me — 1. What 
profit is there here? A thief gets something for his pains; a drunk- 
ard gets a belly-full; but what do you get ? Others serve the devil 
for pay ; but you are volunteers, who expect no reward but your 
work itself, in aftronting Heaven ; and if you repent not, you will 
get your reward in full measure ; when you go to hell, your work 
will follow you. The drunkard shall not have a drop of water to 
cool his tongue there; nor will the covetous man's wealth follow 
hira into the other world ! you may drive on your old trade there ; 

64 coRiiupTiojsr or the will. 

eternity will be long enough to give you your heart's fill of it. 2. 
What pleasure is there here, but what flows from your trampling on 
the holy law ? Which of your senses doth swearing and cursing 
gratify ? If it gratify your ears, it can only be by the noise it 
makes against the heavens. Though you had a mind to give up 
yourselves to all manner cf profanity and sensuality, there is so 
little pleasure can be strained out of these sins, that we must needs 
conclude, your love to them, in this case, is a love to them for them- 
selves, a devilish unhired love, without any prospect of profit or 
pleasure from them otherwise. If any shall say, these are monsters 
of men : be it so ; yet, alas ! the world is full of such monsters ; 
they are to be found almost every where. Allow me to say, they 
must be admitted as the mouth of the whole uuregeuerate world 
against heaven, Honi. iii. 14, " Whose mouth is full of cursing and 
bitterness." Ver. 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 stojjped, and all the world may become guilty before God." 

I have a charge against every unregenerate man and woman, 
young and old, to be proved by the testimony of Scripture, and their 
own consciences; namely that whether they bo professors or profane 
seeing they are not born again, they are heart enemies to God ; 
to the Son of God ; to the Spirit of God ; and to the law of God. 
Hear this, ye careless souls, that live at ease in your natural state. 

(1.) Ye are enemies to God in your mind. Col. i. 21. Te are not 
as yet reconciled to hira ; the natural enmity is not as yet slain, 
though perhaps it lies hid, and ye do not perceive it. 1. You are 
enemies to the very being of God, Fsalm xiv. 1, "The fool hath said 
in his heart, there is no God." The proud man wishes that none 
were above himself; the rebel, that there were no king; and the un- 
renewed man, who is a mass of pride and rebellion, that there were 
no God. He saith it in his heart, he wisheth it were so, though he 
is ashamed and afraid to speak it out. That all natural men are 
such fools, appears from the apostle's quoting a part of this psalm, 
" That every mouth may be stopped," Rom. iii. 10 — 19. I own, in- 
deed, that while the natural man looks on God as the Creator and 
Preserver of the world, because he loves his own self, therefore his 
heart rises not against the being of his Benefactor : but his enmity 
will quickly appear when he looks on God as the Governor and 
Judge of the world, binding him, under the pain of the curse, to 
exact holiness, and girding him with the cords of death, because of 
his sin. Listen in this case to the voice of the heart, and thou wilt 
find it to be, " No God." 2. Ye are enemies to the nature of God, 
Job xxi, 14, " They say unto God, Depart from us, for we desire not 


the knowledge of thy ways." Men set up to themselves an idol of 
their own fancy, instead of God, and then fall down and worship it. 
Ttiey love him no other way than Jacob loved Leah, while he took 
her for Rachel. Every natural man is an enemy to God, as he is 
revealed in his word. The infinitely holy, just, powerful, and true 
being, is not the God whom he loves, but the God whom he loathes. 
In fact, men naturally are haters of God, Rom. i. 30 ; if they could, 
they certainly would make him otherwise than what he is. For, 
consider it is a certain truth, that whatsoever is in God, is God ; 
therefore his attributes or perfections are not any thing really dis- 
tinct from himself. If God's attributes be not God himself, he is 
a compound being, and so not the first being, to say which is blas- 
phemous ; for the parts compounding, are before the compound it- 
self ; but he is Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. 

Now, upon this I would, for your conviction, propose to your con- 
science a few queries. 1. How stand your hearts affected towards 
the infinite purity and holiness of God ? Conscience will give an 
answer to this, which the tongue will not speak out. If you be 
not partakers of his holiness you cannot be reconciled to it. The 
Pagans finding that they could not be like God in holiness, made 
their god's like themselves in filthiuess; and thereby they shew what 
sort of a God the natural man would have. God is holy ; can an 
unholy creature love his unspotted holiness ? Nay, it is the righte- 
ous only that can "give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness," 
Psalm xcvii. 12. God is light ; can creatures of darkness rejoice 
therein ? Nay, " every one that doth evil hateth the light," John 
iii. 20. " For what communion hath light with darkness ?" 2 Cor. 
vi. 14. 2. How stand your hearts affected to the justice of God ? 
There is not a man, who is wedded to his lusts, as all the unregene- 
rate are, but would be content, with the blood of his body, to blot 
that letter out of the name of God. Can the malefactor love his 
condemning judge ? or an unjustified sinner, a just God ? No, ho 
cannot, Luke vii. 47, " To vihom little is forgiven, the same loveth 
little." Hence, as men cannot get the doctrine of his justice blotted 
out of the Bible, it is such an eye-sore to them, that they strive to 
blot it out of their minds : they ruin themselves by presuming on 
his mercy, while they are not careful to get a righteousness, wherein 
they may stand before his justice; but "say in their heart. The 
Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil," Zeph. i. 12. 3. 
How stand you affected to the omniscience and omnipresence of 
God ? Men naturally would rather have a blind idol, than the all- 
seeing God ; therefore they do what they can, as Adam did, to hide 
themselves from the presence of the Lord. They no more love the 


all-seeing, every-wliere present God, tlian the thief loves to have the 
judge witness to his evil deeds. If it could he parried by votes, 
God wonld be voted out of the world, and closed up in heaven ; for 
the language of the carnal heart is, " The Lord seeth us not ; the 
Lord hath forsaken the earth," Ezek. viii. 12. 4. How stand ye 
affected to the truth and veracity of God ? There are but few in 
the world who can heartily subscribe to this sentence of the apostle, 
Rom. iii. 4, " Let God be true, but every man a liar." Nay, truly, 
there are many who, in effect, hope that God will not be true to his 
word. There are thousands who hear the gospel, that hope to be 
saved, and think all safe with them for eternity, who never had any 
experience of the new birth, nor do at all concern themselves in the 
question, Whether they are born again, or not ? a question that is 
likely to wear out from among us at this day. Our Lord's words 
are plain and peremptory, " Except a man be born again, he cannot 
see the kingdom of God." What are such hopes, then, but real 
hopes that God — with profound est reverence be it spoken — will 
recall his word, and that Christ will prove a false prophet ? What 
else means the sinner, who, " when he heareth the words of the 
curse, blesseth himself in his heart, saying, T shall have peacp, 
though I walk in the imagination of mine henrt ?" Dent. xxix. 19. 
5. How stand you affected to the power of God ? None but new 
creatures will love him for it, on a fair view thereof; though others 
may slavishly fear him upon account of it. There is not a natural 
man, but would contribute, to the utmost of his power, to the build- 
ing of another tower of Babel, to hem it in. On these grounds I 
declare every unrenewed man an enemy to God. 

(2.) You are enemies to the Son of God. That enmity to Christ 
is in your hearts, which would have made you join the husbandmen 
who killed the heir, and cast him out of the vineyard, if ye had 
been beset with their temptations, and no more restrained than they 
were. " Am I a dog ?" yon will say, that I should so treat my 
sweet Saviour ? So did Hazael ask in another case ; but when he 
had the temptation, he was a dog to do it. Many call Christ their 
dear Saviour, whose consciences can bear witness, that they never 
derived as much sweetness from him as from their sweet Insts, which 
are ten times dearer to them than their Saviour. He is no other 
way dear to them, than as they abuse his death and sufferings, for 
the peaceable enjoyment of their lusts ; that they may live as they 
please in the world; and when they die, be kept out of hell. Alas! 
it is but a mistaken Christ that is sweet to you, whose souls loathe 
that Christ who is the " brightness of the Father's glory, and the 
express image of his person." It is with you as it was with the 


carnal Jews, who delighted in him, while they mistook his errand 
into the world, fancying that he would be a temporal deliverer to 
them, Mai. iii. 1. But when he " sat as a refiner and purifier of 
silver," vers. 2, 3, and rejected them as reprobate silver, who 
thought to have had no small honour in the kingdom of the Messiah, 
his doctrine galled their consciences, and they had no rest till they 
imbrued their hands in his blood. To open your eyes in this point, 
which you are so averse to believe, I will lay before you the enmity 
of your hearts against Christ in all his offices. 

First, Every uiiregenerate man is an enemy to Christ in his pro- 
phetical office. He is appointed of the Father the great Prophet 
and Teacher ; but not upon the call of the world, who, in their na- 
tural state, would have unanimously voted against him : therefore, 
when he came, he was condemned as a seducer and blasphemer. 
For evidence of this enmity, I will instance two things. 

Proof 1. Consider the entertainment which he meets with when he 
comes to teach souls inwardly by his Spirit. Men do what they can 
to stop their ears, like the deaf adder, that they may not hear his 
voice. They "always resist the Holy Ghost :" "They desire not the 
knowledge of his ways;" and therefore bid him "depart from them." 
The old calumny is often raised upon him on that occasion, John x. 20, 
"He is mad, why hear ye him?" Soul-exercise, raised by the spirit of 
bondage, is accounted, by many, nothing else but distraction, and 
melancholy fits ; men thus blaspheming the Lord's work, because 
they themselves are beside themselves, and cannot judge of those 

Proof 2. Consider the entertainment which he meets with when 
he comes to teach men outwardly by his word. 

His written word, the Bible, is slighted, Christ hath left it to 
us, as the book of our instruction, to shew us what way we must 
steer our course, if we would go to Immauuel's land. It is a lamp 
to light us through a dark world, to eternal light. And he hath 
enjoined us, to search it with that diligence wherewith men dig into 
mines for silver and gold, John v. 39. But, ah ! how is this sa- 
cred treasure profaned by many ! They ridicule that holy word, by 
which they must be judged at the last day ; and will rather lose 
their souls than their jest, dressing up the conceits of their wanton 
wits in sciipture phrases ; in which they act as mad a part, as one 
would dig into a mine, to procure metal to melt, and pour down his 
own and his neighbour's throat. — Many exhaust their spirits in read- 
ing romances, and their minds pursue them, as the flame doth the 
dry stubble; while they have no heart for, nor relish to, the holy 
word ; and therefore seldom take a Bible in their hands. What is 

68 conRunioK of the will. 

agreeable to the vanity of tlieir minds, is pleasant and taking ; but 
what recommends holiness to their unholy hearts, makes their spi- 
rits dull and flat. What pleaaure they find in reading a profane 
ballad, or stcry-book, to whom the Bible is entirely tasteless ! Many 
lay by their Bibles with their sabbath-day's clothes ; and whatever 
use they have for their clothes, they have none for their Bibles, till 
the return of the Sfibbath. Alas ! the dust or the finery about your 
Bibles is a witness now, and will, at the last day, be a witness of 
the enmity of your hearts against Christ as a Prophet. Besides all 
this, among those who usually read the scripture, how few are there 
that read it as the word of the Lord to their souls, and keep up 
communion with him in it ! They do not make his sta tues , their ^ 
counsellors, nor does their particular case send them to their Bibles. 
They are strangers to the solid comforts of the scriptures. And 
when they are dejected, it is something else than the word that re- 
vives them : as Ahab was cured of his sullen fit, by the obtaining 
of Naboth's vineyard for him. 

Chrict's word preached is despised. The entertainment which 
most of the world, to whom it has come, have always given it, is 
that which is mentioned, Matt. xxii. 6, " They made light of it ;" 
and for his sake, they are despised whom he employs to preach it ; 
whatever other face men put upon their contempt of the ministry. 
John XV. 20, 21, " The servant is not greater than the 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." That Levi was the son of 
the hated, seems not to have been without a mystery, which the world 
in all ages hath unriddled. But though the earthen vessels, wherein 
God has put the treasure, be turned, with many, into vessels wherein 
there is no pleasure, yet why is the treasure itself slighted? But 
slighted it is, and that with a witness, this day. "Lord, who hath 
believed our report ? To whom shall we speak ?" Men can, with- 
out remorse, make to themselves silent Sabbaths, one after another. 
And, alas ! when they come to ordinances for the most part, it is 
but to appear, or as the word is, to be seen before the Lord ; and to 
tread his courts, namely, as a company of beasts would do, if they 
were driven into them, Isa. i. 12, so little reverence and awe of God 
appgar on their spirits. Many stand like brazen walls before the 
word, in whose corrupt conversation the preaching of the word makes 
no breach. Nay, not a few are growing worse and worse, under 
" precept upon precept ;" and the result of all is, " They go and 
fall backward, and are broken, and snared, and taken," Isa. xxviii. 
13. What tears of blood are sufficient to lament that the gospel of 


" the grace of God," is thus " received in vain !" Ministers are but 
the voice of one crying ; the speaker is in heavan ; and speaks to 
you from heaven by men : why do you " refuse him that speaketh ?" 
Heb. xii. 25, God has made our master Christ, heir of all things, 
and we are sent to seek for a spouse for him. There is none so 
worthy as he ; none more unworthy than they to whom this match 
is proposed ; but the prince of darkness is preferred before the 
Prince of Peace. A dismal darkness overclouded the world by 
Adam's fall, more terrible than as if the sun, moon, and stars had 
been for ever wrapt up in blackness of darkness; and there we 
should have eternally lain, had not this grace of the gospel, as a 
shining sun, appeared to dispel it. Tit. ii. 11. But yet we fly like 
night-owls from it; and, like the wild beasts, lay ourselves down 
in our dens: when the sun ariseth, we are struck blind with the 
light thereof; and, as creatures of darkness, love darkness rather 
than light. Such is the enmity of the hearts of men against Christ, 
in his prophetical office. 

Secondly, The natural man is an enemy to Christ in his priestly 
office. He is ajipointcd of the Father a priest for ever ; that, by 
his alone sacrifice and intercession, sinners may have peace with, 
and access to God , but Christ crucified is a stumbling-block, and 
foolishness to the unrenewed part of mankind, to whom he is 
preached, 1 Cor. i. 23. They are not for him as the " new and liv- 
ing way ;" nor is he, by the voice of the world, " an Uigh-priest over 
the house of God." Corrupt nature goes quite another way to work. 

Proof 1. None of Adam's children are naturally inclined to re- 
ceive the blessing in borrowed robes; but would always, according 
to the spider's motto, "owe all to themselves:" and so climb up to 
heaven on a thread spun for themselves. For they " desire to be 
under the law," Gal. iv. 21, and "go about to establish their own 
righteousness," Rom. x. 3. Man naturally looks on God as a great 
master; and himself as his servant, that must work and win hea- 
ven as his wages. Hence, when conscience is awakened, he thinks 
that, to the end he may be saved, he must answer the demands of 
the law, serve God as well as he can, and pray for mercy wherein 
he comes short. And thus many come to duties, that never come 
out of them to Jesus Christ. 

Proof 2. As men naturally think highly of their duties, that seem 
to them to be well done, so they look for acceptance with God, 
according as their work is done, not according to the share they 
Iiave in the blood of Christ. " Wherefore have we fasted, say they, 
and thou seest not?" They value themselves on their performances 
and attainments ; yea, their very opinions in religion, Phil. lii. 4 — 


7, taking to themselves what they rob from Christ the great High- 

Proofs. The natural man, going to Glod in duties, will always be 
found either to go without a Mediator, or with more than the one 
only Mediator, Jesus Christ. Nature is blind, and therefore ven- 
turesome ; it sets men agoing immediately to God without Christ ; 
to rush into his presence, and put their petitions in his hand, with- 
out being introduced by the Secretary of heaven, or putting their 
requests into his hand. So iixed is this disposition in the unre- 
newed heart, that when many hearers of the gospel are conversed 
with upon the point of their hopes of salvation, the name of Christ 
will scarcely be heard from their mouths. Ask them how they 
think to obtain the pardon of sin ? they will tell you they beg and 
look for mercy, because God is a merciful God ; and that is all they 
have to confide in. Others look for nipvcy for Christ's sake : but 
how do they kr.ow that Christ will take their plea in hand? Why, 
as the papists have their mediators with the Mediator, so have they. 
They know he cannot but do it; for they pray, confess, mourn, and 
have great desires, and the like; and so have something of their 
own to commend them unto him : they were never made poor in spi- 
rit, and brought empty-handed to Christ, to lay the stress of all on 
his atoning blood. 

Thirdly, The natural man is an enemy to Christ in his kingly 
office. The Father hath appointed the Mediator, " King in Zion," 
Psalm ii. 6. All to whom the gospel c^mes are commanded, on 
their highest peril, " to kiss the Son," and submit theraselves unto 
him, verse 12. But the natural voice of mankind is, "Away with 
him ;" as you may see, verse 2, 3, " They will not have him to 
reign over them," Luke xix. 14. 

Proof 1. The workings of corrupt nature would wrest the govern- 
ment out of his hands. No sooner was he born, but, being born a 
King, Herod persecuted him, Matt. ii. And when he was crucified, 
they " set up over his head his accusation written, This is Jesus, 
the King of the Jews," Matt, sxvii. 37- Though his kingdom be a 
spiritual kingdom, and not of this world, yet they cannot allow him 
a kingdom within a kingdom, which acknowledgeth no other head 
or supreme but the Royal Mediator. They make bold with his 
royal prerogatives, changing his laws, institutions, and ordinances ; 
modelling his worship according to the devices of their own hearts, 
introducing new offices and officers into his kingdom, not to be 
found in "the book of the manner of his kingdom;" disposing of 
the external government thereof, as may best suit their carnal 
designs. Such is the enmity of the hearts of men against Zion's 


Proof 2. How unwilling are men, naturally, to submit unto, and 
be hedged in by, the laws and discipline of his kingdom ! As a 
king, he is a lawgiver, Isaiah xxxiii. 22, and has appointed an ex- 
ternal government, discipline, and censures, to control the unruly, 
and to keep his professed subjects in order, to be exercised by offi- 
cers of his own appointment. Matt, xviii. 17, 18 ; 1 Cor. xii. 28 ; 
1 Tim. V. 17 ; Heb. xiii. 17- But these are the great eye-sores of 
the carnal world, who love sinful liberty, and therefore cry out, 
" Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from 
us," Psalm ii. 3. Hence this work is found to be, in a special man- 
ner, a striving against the stream of corrupt nature, which, for the 
most part, puts such a face on the church, as if there were no king 
in Israel, every one doing that which is right in his own eyes. 

Proof 3. However natural men may be brought to feign submis- 
sion to the King of saints, yet lusts always retain the throne and 
dominion in their hearts, and they are serving divers lusts and 
pleasures, Titus iii. 3. None, but those in whom Christ is formed, 
do really put the crown on his head, and receive the kingdom of 
Christ within them. His crown is " the crown wherewith his 
mother crowned him on the day of his espousals." Who are they, 
■whom the power of grace has not subdued, that will not allow him 
to set up, and to put down, in their souls, as he will ? Nay, as for 
others, any lord shall sooner get the rule over them, than the Lord 
of glory: they kindly entertain his enemies, but will never abso- 
lutely resign themselves to his government, till conquered in a day 
of power. Thus you may see, that the natural man is an enemy 
to Jesus Christ in all his offices. 

But how hard it is to convince men in this point ! They are 
very loath to believe. And, in a special manner, the enmity of the 
heart against Christ in his priestly office seems to be hid from the 
view of most of the hearers of the gospel. There appears to be a 
peculiar malignity in corrupt nature against this office of his. It may 
be observed, that the Socinians, those enemies of our blessed Lord, 
allow him to be properly a Prophet and a King, but deny him to 
be properly a Priest. And. this is agreeable euough to the corrup- 
tion of our nature : for, under the covenant of works, the Lord was 
known as a Prophet or Teacher, and also as a King or Ruler ; but 
not at all as a Priest: so man knows nothing of the mystery of 
Christ, as the way to the Father, till it is revealed to him : and 
when it is revealed, the will riseth up against it ; for corrupt na- 
ture is opposed to the mystery of Christ, and the great contrivance 
of salvation, through the crucified Saviour, revealed in the gospel. 
For clearing of which weighty truth, let these four things be con- 
sidered : — 


[1.] The soul's falling in with the grand scheme of salvation by 
Jesus Christ, and setting the matters of salvation on that footing 
before the Lord, is declared by the Scriptures of truth to be an un- 
doubted mark of a real saint, who is happy here, and shall be happy 
hereafter, Matt. xi. 6, " Blessed is he whosoever shall not be of- 
fended in me." 1 Cor. i. 23, 24, " But we preach Christ crucified, 
unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness ; 
but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the 
power of God, and the wisdom of God." Phil. iii. 3, " For we are 
the circumcision which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in 
Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." Now, how could 
this be, if nature could comply with that grand device ? 

[2.1 Corrupt nature is the very reverse of the gospel plan. In 
the gospel, God proposes Jesus Christ as the great means of re-unit- 
ing man to himself; he has named him as the Mediator, one in 
whom he is well pleased, and will have none but him. Matt. xvii. 5 ; 
but nature will have none of him. Psalm Ixxi. 11. God appointed 
the place of meeting for the reconciliation, namely, the flesh of 
Christ ; accordingly, God was in Christ, 2 Cor. v. 19, as the taber- 
nacle of meeting, to make up the peace with sinners: but natural 
men, although they should die for ever, will not come to Christ, John 
V. 50, " Ye will not come to me that ye might have life." In the way 
of the gospel, the sinner must stand before the Lord in an imputed 
righteousness : but corrupt nature is for an inherent righteousness ; 
and, therefore, so far as natural men follow after righteousness they 
follow after "the law of righteousness,*' Rom. ix. 31, 32; and not 
after " the Lord our righteousness." Nature is always for building 
up itself, and to have some ground for boasting ; but the great de- 
sign of the gospel is to exalt grace, to depress nature, and exclude 
boasting, Rom. iii. 27. The sum of our natural religion is, to do 
good from and for ourselves, John v. 44 ; the sum of the gospel re- 
ligion is, to deny ourselves, and to do good from and for Christ, 
Phil. i. 21. 

[3.] Every thing in nature is against believing in Jesus Christ. 
What beauty can the blind man discerij in a crucified Saviour, for 
which he is to be desired? How cau the will, naturally impotent, 
yea, and averse to good, make choice of him ? Well may the soul 
then say to him in the day of the spiritual siege, as the Jebusite 
said to David in another case, " Except thou take away the blind 
and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither," 2 Sam. v. 6. The 
way of nature is to go iuto oneself for all ; according to the funda- 
mental maxim of unsanctified morality, " That a man should trust 
in himself;" which, according to the doctrine'of faith, is mere fool- 


isliness : for so it is determined, Prov. xxviii. 26, " He that trusteth 
in his own heart is a fool." Now faith is the soul's going out of 
itself for all : and this nature, on the other hand, determines to be 
foolishness, 1 Cor. i. 18 — 23. Wherefore there is need of the work- 
ing of mighty power to cause sinners to believe, Eph. i. 19 ; Isa. 
liii. 1. We see the promises of welcome to sinners, in the gospel- 
covenant, are ample, large, and free, clogged with no conditions, 
Isa. Iv. 1 ; Rev. xxii. 17- — If they cannot believe his bare word, he 
has given his oath upon it, Ezek. xxxiii. 11 ; and, for their greater 
assui'ance, he has annexed seals to his sworn covenant, namely, the 
holy sacraments : so that no more could be demanded of the most 
faithless person in the world, to make us believe him, than the 
Lord hath condescended to give us, to make us believe himself. 
This plainly speaks nature to be against believing ; and those who 
flee to Christ for a refuge, to have need of strong consolation, Heb. 
vi. 18, to balance their strong doubts, and propensity to unbelief. 
Farther, also, it may be observed, how in the word sent to a secure, 
graceless generation, their objections are answered beforehand ; and 
words of grace are heaped one upon another, as you may read, Isa. 
Iv. 7 — 9 ; Joel ii. 13. Why ? Because the Lord knows, that when 
these secure sinners are thoroughly awakened, doubts, fears, and 
carnal reasonings against believing, will be getting into their breasts, 
as thick as dust in a house, raised by sweeping a dry floor. 

[4.] Corrupt nature is bent towards the way of the law, or co- 
venant of works ; and every natural man, so far as he sets himself 
to seek after salvation, is engaged in that way ; and will not quit 
it, till beat from it by divine power. Now the way of salvation by 
works, and that of free grace in Jesus Christ, are inconsistent. 
Rom. xi. 6, " And if by grace, then is it no more of works ; other- 
wise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no 
more grace ; otherwise work is no more work." Gal. iii. 12, "And 
the law is not of faith ; but the man that doth them shall live in 
them." Wherefore, if the will of man naturally incline to the way 
of salvation by the law, it lies cross to the gospel plan. And that 
such is the natural bent of j)ur hearts, will appear, if these follow- 
ing things be considered : 

First, The law was Adam's covenant ; and he knew no other, as 
he was the head and representative of all mankind, that were 
brought into it with him, and left under it by him, though without 
strength to perform the condition thereof, llence, this covenant is 
interwoven with our nature ; and though we have lost our father's 
strength, yet we still incline to the way he was set upon, as our 
head and representative in that covenant ; that is, by doing, to live. 

Vol. YIII, e 


This is our natural religion, and tlie principle which men naturally 
take for granted, Matth. xix. 16, "What good thing shall I do, that 
I may have eternal life ?" 

Secondly, Consider the opposition that has always been made in 
the world, against the doctrine of free grace in Jesus Christ, by men 
setting up for the way of works; thereby discovering the natural 
tendency of the heart. It is manifest, that the great design of the 
gospel plan is to exalt the free grace of God in Jesus Chiist, Rom. 
iv, 16, " Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace," — See 
Eph, i. 6, and chap. ii. 7 — 9. All gospel truths centre in Christ: 
so that to learn the truth, is to learn Cljrist, Eph. iv. 20, and to be 
truly taught it, is to be taught as "the truth is in Jesus," verse 21. 
All dispensations of grace and favour from heaven, whether to na- 
tions or particular pei'sons, have still had something about thera 
proclaiming the freedom of grace ; as in the very first separation 
made by the divine favour, Cain, the elder brother is rejected, and 
Abel, the younger, accepted. This shines through the whole history 
of the Bible : but, as true it is, this has been the point principally 
opposed by corrupt nature. One may well say, that, of all errors 
in religion, since Christ the seed of the woman was preached, this of 
works, in opposition to h^e grace in him, was the first that lived, 
and, it is likely, will be the last that dies. There have been vast 
numbers of errors, which have si)rung up, one after another; where- 
of, at length, the world became ashamed and weary, so that they 
died away: but this has continued, from Cain, the first author of 
this heresy, unto this day ; and never wanted some that clave to it, 
even in the times of greatest light. I do not, without ground, call 
Caiu the author of it ; who, when Abel brought a sacrifice of atone- 
ment, a bloody offering of the firstlings of his flock, like the publi- 
can smiting on his breast, and saying, "God be merciful to me a sin- 
ner," advanced with his thank-ofl'ering of the fiuit of the ground, 
Gen. iv. 3, 4, like the proud Pharisee with his " God, I thank thee," 
&c. For Avhat was the cause of Cain's wrath, and of his murdering 
Abel .^ was it not that he was not accepted of God for his work ? 
Gen.iv. 4, 5. "And wherefore slew he Jiim? Because his own works 
were evil and his brother's righteous," 1 John iii. 12; that is, done 
in faith, and accepted, when his were done without faith, and rejec- 
ted, as the apostle teacheth, Heb. xi. 4. So he wrote his indigna- 
tion against justification and acceptance Avith God thiough faith, in 
opposition to works, in the blood of his brother, to convey it down 
to posterity. And, since that time, the unbloody sacrifice has often 
swimmed in the blood of those that rejected it. — The promise made 
to Abraham, of the seed in which all nations should be blessed, was 


SO overclouded among his posterity in Egypt, that the generality of 
them saw no need of that way of obtaining the blessing, till God 
himself confuted their error by a fiery law fiom Mount Sinai, which 
" was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come," 
Gal. iii. 19. I need not insist on telling you, how Moses and the 
prophets had still much to do, to lead the people oif IVora the con- 
ceit of their own righteousness. The ninth chapter of Deuteronomy 
is entirely spent on that purpose. They were very gi-oss in that 
point in our Saviour's time, in the time of the apostles, when the 
doctrine of free grace was most clearly preached, that error lifted 
up its head in the face of the clearest light ; witness the epistles to 
the Eomans and Galatians. And since that time it has not been 
wanting ; Popery being the common sink of former heresies, and 
the heart and life of that delusion. And, finally, it may be ob- 
served, that always as the church declined flora her purity other- 
wise, the doctrine of free grace was obscured proportionably. 

Thirdly, Such is the natural propensity of man's heart to the way 
of the law, in opposition to Christ, that, as the tainted vessel turns 
the taste of the purest liquor put into it, so the natural man turns 
the very gospel into law, and transforms the covenant of grace into 
a covenant of works. The ceremonial law was to the Jews a real 
gospel ; which held blood, death, and translation of guilt, before 
their eyes continually, as the only way of salvation ; yet their very 
table, that is, their altar, with the several ordinances pertaining there- 
to, Mai. i. 12, was a snare unto them, Rom. xi. 9, while they used it to 
make up the defects in their obedience to the moral law ; and clave 
to it so, as to reject him, whom the altar and sacrifices pointed them 
to, as the subject of all ; even as Hagar, whose duty was only to serve 
was, by their father, brought into her mistress's bed ; not without 
a mystery in the purpose of God, " for these are the two covenants," 
Gal. iv. 24. Thus is the docti'ine of the gospel corrupted by pa- 
pists, and other enemies to the doctrine of free grace. And indeed, 
however natui'al men's heads may be set right in this point, as 
surely as they are out of Christ, their faith, repentance, and obe- 
dience, such as they are, are. placed by them in the room of Christ 
and his righteousness ; and so trusted to, as if by these they fulfilled 
a new law. 

Fourthly, Great is the difficulty, in Adam's sons, of their parting 
with the law as a covenant of works. None part with it, in that 
respect, but those whpm the power of the Spirit of grace separates 
from it. The law is our first husband, and gets every one's virgin 
love. When Christ comes to the svnl, he finds it married to the 
law, so as it neither can nor will be married to another, till it 

£ 2 


be obliged to part with the first husband, as the apostle teaches, 
Rom. vii. 1 — 4. Now, that you may see what sort of a parting this 
is, consider, 

First, It is death, Rom. vii. 4; Gal. ii. 19. Entreaties will not 
prevail with the soul here; it saith to the first husband, as Ruth to 
Naomi, " The Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death 
part thee"and me." And here sinners are true to their word ; they 
die to the law, before they are married to Christ. Death is hard to 
every body ; but what difficulty, do you imagine, must a loving 
wife, on her deathbed, find in parting with her husband, the hus- 
band of her youth, and with the dear children she has brought 
forth to him ? The law is that husband ; all the duties performed 
by the natural man are these children. "What a struggle, as for 
life, will be in the heart before they are parted ? I may have occa- 
sion to toucli upon this afterwards ; in the mean time, take the 
apostle's short but pithy description of it, Rom. x. 3, " For they 
being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish 
their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the 
righteousness of God." They go about to establish their own 
righteousness, like an eager disputant in schools, seeking to esta- 
blish the point in question ; or, like a tormentor, extorting a con- 
fession from one upon the rack. They go about to establish it, to 
make it stand : their righteousness is like a house built on the sand; 
it cannot stand, but they would have it to stand : it falls, they set 
it up again ; but still it tumbles down on them ; yet they cease not 
to go about to make it stand. But wherefore all this pains about 
a tottering righteousness ? Because, such as it is, it is their own. 
What sets them against Christ's righteousness ? Why, that would 
make them free grace's debtors for all ; and that is what the proud 
heart can by no means submit to. Here lies the stress of the 
matter, Psalm x. 4, " The wicked, through the pride of his counte- 
nance, will not seek," to read it without the supplement, in other 
terms, it means, " He cannot dig, and to beg he is ashamed." Such 
is the struggle before the soul dies to the law. But what speaks 
yet more of this woful disposition of the heart, nature oft-times gets 
the mastery of the disease : insomuch that the soul, which was like 
to have died to the law while convictions were sharp and piercing, 
fatally recovers of the happy and promising sickness ; and, what is 
natural, cleaves more closely than ever to the law, even as a wife 
brought back from the gates of death, would cleave to her husband. 
This is the issue of the exercises of many about their souls' case; 
they are indeed brought to follow duties more closely ; but they are 
as far from Christ as ever, if not farther. 


Secondly, It is a violent death, Rom. vii. 4, " Ye are become 
dead to the law," being killed, slain, or put to death, as the word 
bears. The law itself has a great hand in this ; the husband gives 
the wound, Gal. ii. 19, " I through the law am dead to the law." 
The soul that dies this death, is like a loving wife matched with a 
rigorous husband ; she does what she can to please him, yet he is 
never pleased, but harrases and beats her till she breaks her heart, 
and death sets her free : this will afterwards more fully appear. 
Thus it is made evident, that men's hearts are naturally bent to the 
way of the law, and lie cross to the gospel method : and the second 
article of the charge against you that are unregenerate is verified, 
namely, that you are enemies to the Son of God. 

(3.) You are enemies to the spirit of God. He is the Spirit of 
holiness : the natural man is unholy, and loves to be so, and there- 
fore resists the Holy Ghost, Acts vii. 51. The work of the Spirit is 
to convince the world of " sin, and of righteousness, and of judg- 
ment," John xvi. 8. But 0, how do men strive to ward off these 
convictions, as much as they ward oif a blow, threatening the loss 
of a right eye, or a right hand ; If the Spirit of the Lord dart thera 
in, so that they cannot avoid them ; the heart says, in effect, as 
Ahab to Elijah, whom he both hated and feared, " Hast thou found 
me, mine enemy ?" And indeed they treat him as an enemy, 
doing their utmost to stifle convictions, and to murder these har- 
bingers that come to prepare the Lord's way into the soul. Some 
fill their hands with business, to put their convictions out of their 
heads, as Cain, who set about building a city ; some put them off 
with delays and fair pi'oinises, as Felix did ; some will sport thera 
away in company, and some sleep them away. The Holy Spirit is 
the Spirit of sanctification ; whose work it is to subdue lusts, and 
and burn up corruption : how then can the natural man, whose 
lusts are to him as his limbs, yea, as his life, fail of being an enemy 
to him ? 

(4.) You are enemies to the law of God. Though the natural 
man desires to be under the law, as a covenant of works, choosing 
that way of salvation, in opposition to the mystery of Christ; yet 
as it is a rule of life to him, requiring universal holiness, and for- 
bidding all manner of impurity, he is an enemy to it; " is not sub- 
ject to the law of God, neither indeed can be," Rom. viii. ?• For, 
1. There is no unrenewed man, wlio is not wedded to some one lust 
or another, which his heart can by no means part with. Now that 
he cannot bring up his inclinations to the holy law, he would fain 
have the law brought down to his inclinations: a plain evidence of 
the enmity of the heart against it. Therefore, " to delight in the 


law of God after the inward man," is proposed in the word as a 
mark of a gracious soul, Ko.ii. vii. 22; Psalm i. 2. It is from this 
natural enmity of the heart against the law, that all the pharisaical 
glosses upon it have arisen; whereby the commandment, which is in 
itself exceeding broad, has been made very narrow, to the intent 
that it might be the moie agreeable to the natural disposition of the 
heart. 2. The law, laid home on the natural conscience in its spi- 
rituality, initates corruption. The nearer it comes, nature rises 
the higher against it. In that case it is as oil to the fire, which 
instead of quenching it, makes it flame the more : " When the com- 
mandment came, sin revived," says the apostle, Rom. vii. 9. What 
reason can be assigned for this, but the natural enmity of the heart 
against the holy law? Uumortified corruption, the more it is 
opposed, the more it rages. Let us conclude then, that the unrege- 
nerate aie heart-enemies to God, his Son, his Spirit, and his law ; 
that there is a natural contrariety, opposition, and enmity in the 
will of man to God himself, and his holy will. 

5. There is in the will of man contumacy against the Lord. 
Man's will is naturally wilful in an evil course ; he will have his 
will, though it should ruin him: it is with him, as with the levia- 
than. Job xli. 29, "Darts are counted as stubble; he laugheth at 
the shaking of a spear." The Lord calls to him by his word; says 
to him, as Paul to the jailor, when he was about to kill himself, 
"Do thyself no harm:" sinner, " why will you die?" Ezek. xviii. 
31. But they will not hearken; everyone turneth to his course, 
"as the horse lusheth into the battle," Jer. viii. 6. AVe have a 
promise of life, in form of a command, Prov. iv. 4, " Keep my com- 
mandments, and live:" it speaks impenitent sinners to be self- 
destroyers, wilful self-murderers. They transgress the command of 
living; as if one's servant should wilfully starve himself to death, 
or greedily drink a cup of poison, which his master commands him 
to forbear: even so do they ; they will not live, they will die, Prov. 
viii. 36, " All they that hate me, love death." — what a heart is 
this! It is a stony heart, Ezek. xxxvi. 26, hard and inflexible as a 
stone : mercies melt it not, judgments break it not ; yet it will 
break ere it bend. It is an insensible heart : though there be upon 
the sinner a weight of sin, which makes the earth to stagger; 
although there is a weight of that wrath on him, which makes the 
devils to tremble; yet he goes lightly under the burden; he feels 
not the weight any more than a stone would, till the Spirit of the 
Lord quickens him so far as to feel it. 

6. The unrenewed will is wholly perverse, in reference to man's 
chief and highest end. The natural man's chief end is not God, but 


liimseir. The being of man is merely relative, dependent, bor- 
rowed: he has neither being nor goodness originally from himself; 
but all he has is from his God, as the first cause and spring of all 
perfection, natural or moral: dependence is woven into his very 
nature: so that if God were totally to withdraw fiom him, he would 
dwindle into a mere nothing. Seeing then whatever man is, he is 
of him, surely in whatever lie is, he should be to him, as the waters 
which came from the sea, do of couise return thit'ier again. Thus 
man was created, directly looking to God, as his chief end : but, 
falling into sin, he fell off from God, and turned into himself; and, 
like a traitor usurping the throne, he gathers in the rents of the 
crown to himself. Tiiis infers a total apostasy and universal cor- 
ruption in man ; for where the chief and last end is changed, there 
can be no goodness thei'e. This is the case of all men in their 
natural state, Psalm xiv. 2, 3, "The Lord looked down — to see if 
there were any that did — seek God. They are all gone aside" from 
God; they seek not God, but themselves. Though many fair 
shreds of morality are to be found amongst them, yet " there is 
none that doth good, no, not one ;" for though some of them in 
appearance run well, yet they are still off the way; they never aim 
at the right mark. They are "lovers of their own selves," 2 Tim. 
iii. 2, "more than God," ver. 4. Wherefore Jesus Christ, having 
come into the world to bring men back to God again, came to biing 
them out of tiiemselves in the first place, Matt. xvi. 24. The godly 
groan under this woful disposition of the heart: they acknowledge 
it, and set themselves against it, in its subtile and dangerous 
insinuations. The uuregenerate, though most insensible of it, are 
under the power thereof; and whithersoever they turn themselves, 
they cannot move beyond the circle of self: they seek them- 
selves, they act for themselves ; their natural, civil, and religious 
actions, from whatever springs they come, all run into, and meet in 
the dead sea of self. 

Most men are so far from making God their chief end, in their 
natural and civil actions, that in these matters, God is not in all 
their thoughts. Their eating and drinking, and such like natural 
actions, are for themselves; Iheir own pleasure or necessity, without 
any higher end, Zech. vii. 6, " Did ye not eat for yourselves ?" 
They have no eye to the glory of God in these things, as they ought 
to have, 1 Cor. x. 31. They do not eat and drink to keep up their 
bodies for the Lord's service ; they do them not because God has 
said, " Thou shalt not kill ;" neither do those drops of sweetness, 
which God has put into the creature, raise up their souls towards 
that ocean of delights that is in the Creator ; though they be a sign 


hung out at lieaveu's door, to tell men of the fulness of goodness 
that is in God himself, Acts xiv. 17. But it is self, and not God, 
that is sought in them, by natural men. And what are the unre- 
newed man's civil actions, sucli as buying, selling, working, &c., but 
fruit to himself ? Hos. x. 1. So marrying, and giving in marriage, 
are reckoned amongst the sins of the old world. Matt. xxiv. 38 : for 
they have no eye to God thereinj to please him ; but all they had in 
view was to please themselves, Gen. vi. 3. Finally, self is natural 
men's highest ei d, in their religious actions. They perform duties 
for a name, Ma,tt. vi. 1, 2, or some other worldly interest, John vi, 
26. Or if they be more refined, it is their peace, and at most their 
salvation from hell and wr.itli, or thtr own eternal happiness, that 
is their chief and highest end, Matt. xix. 16 — 22. Their eyes are 
held, that they see not the g'ory of Ooi. They seek God indeed, 
yet not for himself, but for themselves. They seek him not at all, 
but for their own wdlfc:re : so their wliole life is woven into one web 
of practical blasphemy ; making God the means, and self their end ; 
yea, their chief end. 

Thus I have given you a rude draught of n.an*s will, in his natu- 
ral state, drawn by scripture, and men's own experience. Call it 
no more Naomi, but Marah ; for bitter it is, and a root of bitterness. 
Call it no more free-will, but slavish lust ; free to evil, but free from 
good, till regenerating grace loosens the bands of wickedness. Now, 
since all must be wrong, and nothing can be right, where the under- 
standing and will are so corrupt ; I shall briefly despatch what re- 
mains, as following, of course, on the corruption of these prime fa- 
culties of the soul. 

III. The Corruption of the Affections. 

The afections are corrupted. The unrenewed man's affections are 
wholly disordered and distempered : they are as the unruly horse, 
that either will not receive, or violently runs away with, the rider. 
So man's heart naturally is a mother of abominations, Mark vii. 21, 
22, "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, 
adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness," &c. The 
natural man's affections are wretchedly misplaced ; he is a spiritual 
monster. His heart is, where his feet should be, fixed on the 
earth; his heels are lifted up against heaven, which his heart should 
be set on. Acts ix. 5. His face is towards hell, his back towards 
heaven ; and therefore God calls to him to turn. He loves what he 
should hate, and hates what he should love ; joys in what he ought 
to mourn for, and mourns for what he should rejoice in ; glories in 
his shame, and is ashamed of his glory ; abhors what he should de- 
sire, and desires what he should abhor, Prov. ii. 13 — 15. They hit 


the point indeed, as Caiaphas did in another case, wl o cried out 
against the apostles, as men that turned the world upside down, 
Acts xvii. 6 ; for that is the wo*rk which the gospel has to do in the 
world, where sin has put all things so out of order, that heaven lies 
under, and earth a-top. If the unrenewed man's affections be set on 
lawful objects, then they are either excessive or defective. Lawful 
enjoyments of the world have som'etimes too little, but mostly too 
much of them; either they get not their due, or, if they do, it is 
measure pressed down, and running over. Spiritual things have al- 
ways too little of them. In a word, they are never I'ight; only evil. 
Now, here is a threefold cord against heaven and holiness, not 
easily to be broken ; a blind mind, a perverse will, and disorderly 
distempered affections. The mind, swelled with self-conceit, says, 
the man should not stoop ; the will, opposite to the will of God, 
says, he will not ; and the corrupt affections, rising against the 
Lord, in defence of the corrupt will, say, he shall not. Thus the 
poor creature stands out against God and goodness, till a day of 
power comes, in which he is made a new creature. 

IV. Corruption of the Conscience. 

The conscience is corrupt and defiled, Titus i. 15. It is an evil 
eye, that fills one's conversation with much darkness and confusion ; 
being naturally unable to do its oflice : till the Lord, by letting in 
new light to the soul, awakens the conscience, it remains sleepy and 
inactive. Conscience can never do its work, but according to the 
light it has to work by. "Wherefore, seeing the natural man cannot 
spiritually discern spiritual things, 1 Cor. ii. 14, the conscience na- 
turally is quite useless in that point; being cast into such a deep sleep, 
that nothing but saving illumination from the Lord can set it on 
work in that matter. The light of the natural conscience in good and 
evil, sin and duty, is very defective ; therefore, though it may check 
for grosser sins, yet, to the more subtile workings of sin, it cannot 
check them, because it discerns them not. Thus, conscience will fly 
in the face of many, if at any time they be drunk, swear, neglect 
prayer, or be guilty of any gross sin ; who otherwise have a pro- 
found peace, though they live in the sin of unbelief, and are strang- 
ers to spiritual worship, and the life of faith. Natural light being 
but faint and languishing in many things which it reaches, con- 
science, in that case, shoots like a stitch in one's side, which quickly 
goes off : its incitements to duty, and checks for, and struggles 
against sin, are very remiss, which the natural man easily gets over. 
But because there is a false light in the dark mind, the natural con- 
science following the same, will call evil good, and good evil, Isa. v. 


20. So it is often found like a blind and furious horse, which vio- 
lently runs down himself, his rider, and all that comes in his way. 
John xvi. 2, " Whosoever killelh you, will think that he doeth God 
service." When the natural conscience is awakened by the Spirit 
of conviction, it will indeed rage and roar, and put the whole man 
in a dreadful consternation ; awfully summon all the powers of the 
soul to help in a strait ; make the stiff heart to tremble, and the 
knees to bow ; set the eyes weeping, the tongue confessing ; and ob- 
lige the man to cast out the goods into the sea, which he apprehends 
are likely to sink the ship of the soul, though the heait still goes 
after them. Yet it is an evil conscience which naturally leads to 
despair, and will do it elTectually, as in Judas' case ; unless either 
Insts prevail over it, to lull it asleep, as in the case of Felix, Acts 
sxiv. 25, or the blood of Christ jjrevail over it, sprinkling and purg- 
ing it from dead works, as in the case of all true converts, Heb. ix. 
14, and x. 22. 

Y. Corraption of the Metnoiy. 

Even the memory bears evident marks of this corruption. What 
is good and worthy to be remembered, as it makes but slender im- 
pression, so that impression easily wears off; the memory, as a 
leaking vessel, lets it slip, Heb. ii. 1. As a sieve that is full when 
in the water, lets all go when it is taken out, so is the merao.>-y with 
respect to spiritual things. But how does it retain what ought to 
be forgotten? Siaful things so bear in themselves upon it, that 
though men would fain have them out of mind, yet they stick there 
like glue. However foigetful men are iu other things, it is hard to 
forget an injury. So the memory often furnishes new^ fuel to old 
lusts ; makes men in old age re-act the sins of their youth, while it 
presents them again to the mind with delight, which thereupon re- 
turns to its former lusts. Thus it is like a riddle, that lets through 
the pure grain, and keeps the refuse. Thus far of the corruption 
of the soul. 

YI. Corruption of the Rody. 

The body itself also is partaker of this corruption and defilement, 
so far as it is capable thereof. Wherefore the Scripture calls it 
sinful flesh, Rom. viii. 3. We may take this up iu two things. 1. 
The natural temper, or jather distemper of the bodies of Adam's 
children, as it is an efi^ect of original sin, so it has a natural ten- 
dency to sin, incites to sin, leads the soul into snares, yea, is itself 


a snare to the soul. Tlie body is a furions beast, of sucli a temper, 
tliat if it be not beat down, kept under, and brought into subjection, 
it will cast the soul into luuch sifl and misery, 1 Cor. ix. 27. Tlure 
is a vileness in the body, Phil. iii. 21, which, as to the saints, will 
never be removed, until it be melted down in the grave, and cast 
into a new form at the resurrection, to come forth a spiritual body ; 
and will never be carried off from the bodies of those who are not 
partakers of the resurrection to life. 2. It serves the soul in many 
sins. Its members are instruments cr weapons of uurighteousness, 
whereby men fight against God, Eom. vi. 13. The eyes and ears 
are open doors, by Avhich impure motions and sinful desires enter 
the soul : the tongue is " a world of iniquity," James iii. 6, " an un- 
ruly evil, full of deadly poison," ver. 8 : by it the impure heart 
vents a great deal of its filthiness. " The throat is an open sepul- 
chre," Rom. iii. 13. The feet run the devil's errands, v< r. 15. The 
belly is made a god, Phil. iii. 19, not only by drunkards and riotous 
livers, but by every natural man, Zech. vii. 6. So the body natu- 
rally is an agent for the devil, and a magazine of armour against 
the Lord. 

To conclude — man by nature is wholly corrupted : *' From the 
sole of the foot, even unto the head, there is no soundness in him." 
As in a dunghill every part contributes to the corruption of the 
whole, so the natural man, while in this state, grows still worse and 
worse : the soul is made worse by the body, and the body by the 
soul : and every faculty of the soul serves to corrupt another more 
and more. This much for the second general head. 

III. I shall show how raau's nature comes to be thus corrupted. 
The heathens perceived thai man's nature was corrupted ; but how 
sin -had entered, they could not tell. But the Scripture is very 
plain on that point, Rom. v. 12, 19, " By one man sin entered into 
the world. By one man's disobedience many were made sinners." 
Adam's sin corrupted man's natuie, and leavened the whole lump 
of mankind. We putrefied as in Adam as our root. The root was 
poisoned, and so the branches were envenomed : the vine turned 
into the vine of Sodom, and so the grapes became grapes of gall. 
Adam, by his sin, became not only guilty, but corrupt; and so 
transmits guilt and corruption to his posterity, Gen. v. 3 ; Job xiv. 
4. By his sin he stripped himself of his orig'ual righteousness, and 
corrupted himself; we weie in him representatively, being repre- 
sented by him as our moral head in the covenant of works : we were 
in him seminally, as our natural head; hence we fell in him, and by 
his disobedience were made sinners, as Levi, in the loins of Abra- 
ham, paid tithes, Heb. vii. 9, 10. His first sin is imputed to us ; 


therefore we are justly left under the want of his original righte- 
ousness, which being given to him as a common person, he cast off 
by his sin : and this is necessarily followed, in him and us, by the 
corrnption of the whole nature ; righteousness and corruption being 
two contraries, one of which must needs always be in man, as a sub- 
ject capable thereof. And Adam, our common father, being cor- 
rupt, we are to too ; for " who can bring a clean thing out of an un- 
clean .?" 

Although it is sufficient to prove the righteousness of this dis- 
pensation, that it was from the Lord, who doeth all things well ; 
yet, to silence the raunnurings o." proud nature, let these few things 
farther be considered. 1. In the covenant wherein Adam repre- 
sented us, eternal happiness was promised to him and his posterity, 
upon condition of his, that is, Adam's perfect obedience, as the re- 
presentative of all mankind : whereas, if there had been no cove- 
nant, they could not have pleaded eternal life upon their most per- 
fect obedience, but might have been, after all, reduced to nothing ; 
notwithstanding, by natural justice, they would have been liable to 
God's eternal wrath, in case of sin. Who in that case would not 
have consented to that representation ? 2. Adam had a power to 
stand given him, being made upright. He was as capable of stand- 
ing for himself and all his posterity, as any after him could be for 
themselves. This trial of mankind in their head would soon have 
been over, and the crown for them all, had he stood : whereas, had 
his posterity been independent of him, and every one left to act for 
himself, the trial would have been continually carrying on, as men 
came into the world. 3. He had the strongest natural affection to 
engage him, being our common father. 4. His own stock was in the 
ship, his all lay at stake, as well as ours. He had no separate inter- 
est from ours; but if he forget ours, he must necessarily forget his 
own. 5. If he had stood, we should have had the light of his mind, 
the righteousness of his will, and holiness of his affections, with en- 
tire purity, transmitted unto us; we could not have fallen ; the crown 
of glory, by his obedience, would have been for ever secured to him 
and his. This is evident from the nature of a federal represen- 
tation, and no reason can be given why, seeing we are lost by 
Adam's sin, we should not have been saved by his obedience. On 
the other hand, it is reasonable, that he falling, we should with him 
bear the loss. 6. Those who quarrel with this dispensation, must 
renounce their part in Christ ; for we are no otherwise made sinners 
by Adam, than we are made righteous by Christ, from whom we 
have both imputed and inherent righteousness. "We no more made 
choice of the second Adam for our head and representative in the 


second covenant, than we did of the first Adam in the first cove- 

Let none wonder that such a horrible change conld be brought on 
by one siu of our first parents ; for thereby they turned away from 
Grod, as their chief end, Avhich necessarily infers a universal depra- 
vation. Their sin was a complication of evils, a total apostasy 
from God, a violation of the whole law : by it they broke all the 
ten commands at once. 1. They chose new gods. They made their 
belly their god, by their sensuality : self their god, by their ambi- 
tion ; yea, and the devil their god, by believing him, and disbeliev- 
ing their Maker. 2. Though they received, yet they observed not 
that ordinance of God about the forbidden fruit. They contemned 
that ordinance so plainly enjoined them, and would needs carve out 
to themselves how to serve the Lord. 3. They took the name of 
the Lord their God in vain ; despising his attributes, his justice, 
truth, power, &c. They grossly profaned the sacramental tree ; 
abused his word, by not giving credit to it ; abused that creature 
of his which they should not have touched ; and violently mis- 
construed his providence, as if God, by forbidding them that tree, 
had been standing in the way of their happiness ; therefore he 
suffered them not to escape his righteous judgment. 4. They re- 
membered not the Sabbath to keep it holy, but put themselves out 
of a condition to serve God aright on his own day ; neither kept 
they that state of holy rest wherein God had put them. 5. They 
cast off their relative duties; Eve forgets herself, and acts with- 
out the advice of her husband, to the ruin of both ; Adam, instead 
of admonishing her to repent, yields to the temptation, and con- 
firms her in her wickedness. They forgot all duty to their poste- 
rity. They honoured not their Father in heaven ; and therefore 
their days were not long in the land which the Lord their God gave 
them. 6. They ruined themselves, and all their posterity. 7. Gave 
themselves up to luxury and sensuality. 8. Took away what was 
not their own, against the express will of the great Owner. 9. They 
bore false witness, and lied against the Lord, before angels, devils, 
and one another; in effect giving out, that they were hardly dealt 
by, and that Heaven grudged their happiness. 10. They were dis- 
contented with their lot, and coveted an evil covetousness to their 
house ; which ruined both them and theirs. Thus was the image of 
God on man defaced all at once. 

IV. I shall now apply this Doctrine of the Corruption of Nature. 

Use L For information. Is man's nature wholly corrupted? 

1. No wonder that the grave opens its devouring mouth for us, as 


soon as tlie womb lias cast us forth ; and that the cradle is turned 
into a cofBn, to receive the corrupt lump : for we are all, in a spiri- 
tual sense, dead-born ; yea, and filthy. Psalm xiv. 3, noisome, rank, 
and stinking as a corrupt thing, as the word imports. Then let us 
not complain of the miseries we are exposed to at our entrance into, 
nor of the continuance of them while we are in the world. Here is 
the venom that lias poisoned all the springs of earthly enjoyments 
we have to drink of. It is the corruption of man's nature that 
brings forth all the miseries of human life, in chuiches, states, and 
families, and in men's souls and bodies. 

2. Behold her<-, as in a glass, the spring of all the wickedness, 
profanity, and formality, which is in the world; the souice of all 
the disorders in thy own heart and life. Every thing acts like 
itself, agreeable to its own nature ; and so corrupt man acts cor- 
ruptly. You need not wonder at the sinfulness of your own heart 
and life, nor at the sinfulness and perverseness of others ; if a man 
be crooked, he cannot but halt; and if the clock be set wrong, how 
can it point the hour aright? 

3. See here, why sin is so pleasant, and religion such a burden 
to carnal spirits : sin is natural, holiness not so. Oxen cannot feed 
in the sea, nor fishes in the fiuitful fields. A swine brought into a 
palace would soon get away again, to wallow in the mire; and cor- 
rupt nature tends ever to impurity. 

4. Learn from this the nature and necessity of regeneration. 
First, This discovers the nature of regeneration, in these two 
things: 1. It is not a partial, but a total change, though imperfect 
in this life. Thy whole nature is corrupted ; therefore the cure 
must go through every part. Piegeneration makes not only a new 
head, for knowledge, but a new heart, and new aflTections, for holi- 
ness — "All things become new," 2 Cor. v. 17. If a man, having 
received many wounds, should be cured of them all, save one only, 
he might bleed to death by that one as well as by a thousand : so, if 
the change go not through the whole man, it is naught. 2. It is not 
a change made by human industry, but by the mighty power of the 
Spirit of God. A man must be born of the Spirit, John iii. 5. 
Accidental diseases may be cured by men; but those which are 
natural, not without a miracle, John ix. 32. The change wrought 
upon men by good education, or forced upon them by a natural con- 
science, though it may pass among men for a saving change, yet it 
is not so ; for our nature is corrupt, and none but the God of nature 
can change it. Though a gardener, by ingrafting a pear branch into 
an apple tree, may make the apple tree bear pears, yet the art of 
raan cannot change the nature of the apple tree : so a man may fix 



a new life to liis old heart, but lie can never change the heart. 
Secondly, This also shews the necessity of regeneration. It is abso- 
lutely necessary, in order to salvation, John iii. 4, " Except a man 
be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Ko unclean 
thing can enter the New Jerusalem; but thou ait Avholly unclean, 
while in thy natural state. If every member of thy body were dis- 
jointed, each joint must be loosened before the members can be set 
light again. This is the case of thy soul, as thou hast heard: 
therefore thou must be born again ; otherwise thou shalt never see 
heaven, unless it be afar off, as the rich man in hell did. Deceive 
not thyself: no mercy of God, no blood of Christ, will bring thee 
to heaven in thy unregenerate state : for God will never open a 
fountain of mercy to wash away his own holiness and truth ; nor did 
Christ shed his precious blood, to blot out the truths of God, or to 
overturn God's measures about the salvation of sinners. Heaven ! 
What would you do there, you who are not born again ? you who 
are no ways fitted for Christ the head? That would be a strange 
sight ! a holy head, and members wholly corrupt ! a head full of 
treasui'es of grace, and members wherein are no thing but treasures 
of wickedness ! a head obedient to the death, and heels kicking 
against heaven ! You are no better adapted for the society above, 
than beasts are for converse with men. Thou art a hater of true 
holiness ; and at the first sight of a saint there, wouldst cry out — 
" Hast thou found me, mine enemy !" Nay, the unrenewed man, 
if it were possible he could go to heaven in that state, would go to 
it no otherwise than now he comes to the duties of holiness ; that is, 
leaving his heart behind him. 

Use II. For lamentation. Well may we lament thy case, na- 
tural man ! for it is the saddest case one can be in out of hell. It 
is time to lament for thee; for thou ait dead already, dead while 
thou livest : thou carriest about with thee a dead soul in a living 
body ; and because thou art dead, thou canst not lament thy own 
case. Thou art loathsome in the sight of God ; for thou art altoge- 
ther corrupt; thou hast no good in thee. Thy soul is a mass of 
darkness, rebellion, and vileness, before the Lord. Thou thinkcst, 
perhaps, that thou hast a good heart to God, good inclinations, and 
good desires: but God knows there is nothing good in thee: " Every 
imagination of thine heart is only evil continually." Thou canst do 
no good; thou canst do nothing but sin. For, 

1. Thou art the servant of sin, Rom. vi. 17, and therefore free 
from righteousness, ver. 20. Wliatever righteousness be, poor soul, 
thou art free from it ; thou dost not, thou canst not meddle with it. 
Thou art under the dominion of sin; a dominion where righteousness 


can have no place. Thou art a child and servant of the devil, see- 
ing thou art yet in a state of nature, John viii. 44 — " Ye are of 
your father the devil." And, to prevent any mistake, consider, that 
sin and Satan have two sort of servants : 1. There are some em- 
ployed, as it were, in coarser work ; those bear the devil's mark on 
their foreheads, having no form of godliness ; but are profane, 
grossly ignorant, mere moralists, not so much as performing the ex- 
ternal duties of religion, but living in the view of the world as sons 
of the earth, only attending to earthly things, Phil. iii. 19. 2. 
There are some employed in a more refined sort of service to sin, 
who carry the devil's mark in their right hand ; which they can and 
do hide from the eyes of the world. These are close hypocrites, who 
sacrifice as much to the corrupt mind, as the others to the flesh, Eph. 
ii. 3. These are ruined by a more secret trade of sin : pride, unbe- 
lief, self-seeking, and the like, swarm in, and prey upon their cor- 
rupted, wholly corrupted souls. Both are servants of the same 
house ; the latter as far as the former from righteousness. 

2. How is it possible that thou shouldest be able to do any good, 
thou whose nature is wholly corrupt? — Can fruit grow where there 
is no root? or. Can there be an effect without a cause? " Can the 
fig-tree bear olive berries ? either a vine, figs ?" If thy nature be 
wholly corrupt, as indeed it is, all thou dost is certainly so too ; 
for no effect can exceed the virtue of its cause. " Can a corrupt 
tree bring forth good fruit ?" Matth. vii. 18. 

Ah ! what a miserable spectacle is he that can do nothing but 
sin ! Thou art the man, whoever thou art, that art yet in thy natu- 
ral state. Hear, sinner, what is thy case. 

(1.) Innumerable sins compass thee about: mountains of guilt are 
lying upon thee ; floods of impurities overwhelm thee, living lusts 
of all sorts roll up and down in the dead sea of thy soul, where no 
good can breathe, because of the corruption there. Thy lips are un- 
clean ; the opening of thy mouth is as the opening of an unripe 
grave, full of stench and rottenness, Hom. iii. 13, " Their throat 
is an open sepulchre." Thy natural actions are sin ; for " when ye 
did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves and 
drink for yourselves ?" Zech. vii. 6. Thy civil actions are sin, Prov, 
xxi. 4, " The ploughing of the wicked is sin." Thy religious ac- 
tions are sin, Prov. xv. 8, " The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomi- 
nation to the Lord." The thoughts and imaginations of thy heart 
are only evil continually. A deed may be soon done, a word soon 
spoken, a thought swiftly pass through the heart; but each of these 
is an item in thy accounts. sad reckoning! as many thoughts, 
words, and actions, so many sins. The longer thou livest, thy ac- 



counts swell the more. Should a tear be dropt for every sin, thiue 
head must be waters, and thine eyes a fountain of tears ; for no- 
thing but sin comes from thee. Thy heart frames nothing but evil 
imaginations : there is nothing in thy life but what is framed by 
thine heart ; and, therefore, there is nothing in thy heart or life but 

(2.) All thy religion, if thou hast any, is lost labour, as to accep- 
tance with God, or any saving effect on thyself. Art thou yet in 
thy natural state ? Truly, then, thy duties are sins, as was just 
now hinted. Would not the best wine be loathsome in a vessel 
wherein there is no pleasure ? So is the religion of an unregene- 
rate man. Under the law, the garment which the flesh of the 
sacrifice was carried in, though it touched other things, did net 
make them holy : bat he that was unclean touching any thiug, 
whether common or sacred made it unclean. Even so thy du- 
ties cannot make thy corrupt soul holy, though they in them- 
selves be good ; but thy corrupt heart defiles them, and makes 
them unclean, Hag. ii. 12 — 14. Thou wast wout to divide thy 
works into two sorts; some good, some evil: but thou must count 
again, and put them all under one head : for God writes on 
them all " only evil." This is lamentable : it will be no won- 
der to see those beg in harvest, who fold their hands, and sleep 
in seed-time ; but to be labouring with others in the spring, and 
yet have nothing to reap when the harvest comes, is a very sad 
case, and will be the case of all professors living and dying in their 
tural state. 

(3.) Thou canst not help thyself. What canst thou do, to take 
away thy sin, who art wholly corrupt ? Nothing, truly but sin. If 
a natual man begin to relent, drop a tear for his sin, and reform, 
presently the corrupt nature takes merit itself; he has done much 
himself, he thinks, and God cannot but do more for him on that ac- 
count. In the mean time, he does nothing but sin : so that the fit- 
ness of the merit is, that the leper be put out of the camp, the dead 
soul buried out of sight, and the corrupt lump cast into the pit. 
How canst thou think to recover thyself by any thing which thou 
canst do ? Will mud and filth wash out filthiness ; and wilt 
thou purge out sin by sinning ? " Who can bring a clean thiug 
out of an unclean ? not one," Job xiv. 4. This is the case of 
thy corrupt soul ; not to be recovered but by Jesus Christ. " 
Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thine help," 
Hos. xiii. 9. Thou art poor indeed, extremely " miserable and 
poor," Rev. iii. 17- Thou hast no shelter, but a refuge of lies ; 
no garment for thy soul, but filthy rags ; nothing to nourish it, 

Vol. VIII. p 

90 (4od's noticing natural corruption 

but husks that cannot satisfy. And more than this, thon didst 
get such a bruise in the loins of Adam, as is not yet cured, so that 
thou art without strength, as well as ungodly, Rom. v. 6 ; unable to 
do, or work for thyself; nay, more than all this, thou canst not so 
much as think aright, but art lying helpless, as an infant exposed 
in the open field, Ezek. xvi. 5. 

Use III. I exhort you to believe this sad truth. Alas ! it is evi- 
dent that it is very little believed in the world. Few are concerned 
to get their corrupt conversation changed ; but fewer, by far, to get 
their nature changed. Most men know not what they are, nor what 
spirits they are of; they are as the eye, which, seeing many things, 
never sees itself. But until you know every one the plague of his 
own heart, there is no hope of your recovery. Why will you not 
believe it? You have plain Scripture testimony for it; but you 
are loath to entertain such an ill opinion of yourselves. Alas ! this 
is the nature f)f your disease. Rev. iii. 17, " Thou knowest not that 
thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." 
Lord, open their eyes to see it, before they die of it, and in hell lift 
up their eyes, and see what they will not see now. 

I shall close this weighty point, of the corruption of man's na- 
ture, with a few words as to another doctrine from the text. 

God's specially noticing our Natural Corruption. 

Doctrine — Grod takes special notice of our natural corruption, or 
the sin of our nature. This he testifies two ways: 1. By his word, 
as in the text, — " God saw that every imagination of the thoughts 
of man's heart was only evil continually;" see Psalm xiv. 2, 3. 2. 
By his works. God marks his particular notice of it, and displea- 
sure with it, as in many of his works, so especially in these two. 

1. In the death of the inffint children of men. Many miseries 
they have been exposed to : they were drowned in the deluge, con- 
sumed in Sodom by fire and brimstone ; they have been slain with 
the sword, dashed against the stones, and are still dying ordinary 
deaths. — What is the true cause of this ? On what ground does a 
holy God thus pursue them ? Is it the sin of their parents ? That 
may be the occasion of the Lord's raising the process against them ; 
but it must be their own sin that is the ground of the sentence pass- 
ing on them: for "the soul that sinncth, it shall die," saith God, 
Ezek. xviii. 4. Is it their own actual sin ? They have none. — But 
as men do with serpents, which they kill at first sight, before they 
have done any hurt, because of their venomous nature ; so it is in 
this case. 


2. In the birth of the elect children of God. — When the Lord 
is about to change their nature, he makes the sin of their nature lie 
heavy on their spirits. When he means to let out their corrup- 
tion, the lance goes deep into their souls, reaching to the root of 
sin, Rom. vii. 7 — 9. The flesh, or corruption of nature, is pierced, 
being crucified, as well as the affections and lusts, Gal. v. 24. 

Use. Let us then have a special eye upon the corruption and sin 
of our nature. God sees it : that we saw it too, and that sin 
were ever before us ! What avails it to uotice other sins, while 
this mother-sin is not noticed? Turn your eyes inward to the sin 
of your nature. It is to be feared, that many have this work to 
begin yet ; that they have shut the door, while the grand thief is 
yet in the house undiscovered. This is a weighty point ; and in 
handling of it, I shall notice these four heads : 

Men overlooking their NafMrcd Sin. 

1. I shall, for conviction, point at some evidences of men's over- 
looking the sin of their nature, which yet the Lord takes particular 
notice of. 1. Men's looking on themselves with such confidence, as 
if they were in no hazard of gross sins. Many would take it very 
unkindly to get such a caution as Christ gave his apostles, Luke 
xxi. 34, " Take heed of surfeiting and drunkenness." If any 
should suppose them to break out in gross abominations, each would 
be ready to say, " Am 1 a dog?" It would raise the pride of their 
hearts, but not their fear and trembling, because they know not the 
corruption of their nature. 2. Want of tenderness towards those 
that fall. Many, in that case, cast ofl" all feelings of Christian com- 
passion, for they do not consider themselves, lest they also be 
tempted, Gal. vi. 1. Men's passions are often highest against the 
faults of others, when sin sleeps soundly in their own breasts. 
David, even when he was at his worst, was most violent against the 
faults of others. While his conscience was asleep under bis own 
guilt, in the matter of Uriah, the Spirit of the Lord takes notice, 
that his anger was greatly kindled against the man in the parable, 
2 Sam. xii. 5. Atfd, on good grounds, it is thought it was at the 
same time that he treated the Ammonites so cruelly, as is related, 
ver. 31, " Putting them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and 
under axes of iron, and making them pass through the brick-kiln." 
Grace makes men zealous against sin in others, as well as in them- 
selves : but eyes turned inward to the corruption of nature, clothe 
thera with pity and compassion ; and fill them with thankfulness to 
the Lord, that they themselves were not the persons left to be such 



spectacles of human frailty. 3. There are not a few, who, if they 
he kept from afflictions in worldly things, and from gross outbreak- 
ings in their conversation, know not what it is to have a sad heart. 
If they meet with a cross, which their proud hearts cannot stoop to 
bear, they are ready to say, to be gone ! but the corruption of 
their nature never makes them long for heaven. Lusts, scandal- 
ously breaking out at a time, will mar their peace : but the sin of 
their nature never makes them a heavy heart. 4. Delaying of re- 
pentance, in hopes to set about it afterwards. Many have their own 
appointed time for rei)entance and reformation : as if they were 
such complete masters over their lusts, that they can allow them to 
gather more strength, and yet overcome them. They take up reso- 
lutions to amend, without an eye to Jesus Christ, union with him, 
and strength from him ; a plain evidence that they are strangers to 
themselves ; so they are left to themselves, and their flourishing re- 
solutions wither ; for, as they see not the necessity, so they get not 
the benefit, of the dew from heaven to water them. 5. Men's ven- 
turing freely on temptations, and promising liberally in their own 
strength. They cast themselves fearlessly into temptation, in con- 
fidence of their coming oif fairly : but, were they sensible of the cor- 
ruption of their nature, they would be cautious of entering on the 
devil's ground ; as one girt about with bags of gunpowder, would be 
unwilling to walk where sparks of fire are flying, lest he should be 
blown up. Self-jealousy well becomes Christians. " Lord, is it I ?" 
They that know the deceit of their bow, will not be very confident 
that they shall hit the mark. 6. Ignorance of heart-plagues. The 
knowledge of the plagues of the heart is a rare qualification. 
There are indeed some of them written in such great characters, 
that he who runs may read them : but there are others more 
subtile, which few discern. How few are there, to whom the bias 
of the heart to unbelief is a burden ? Nay, they perceive it not. 
Many have had sharp convictions of other sins, that were never to 
this day convinced of their unbelief; though that is the sin especi- 
ally aimed at in a thorough conviction, John xvi. 8, 9, " He will 
reprove the world of sin, because they believe not on me." A dis- 
position to establish our own righteousness, is a weed that naturally 
grows in every man's heart ; but few labour at the plucking of it 
up : it lurks undiscovered. The bias of the heart to the way of the 
covenant of works, is a hidden plague of the heart to many. All 
the difficulty they find is, in getting up their hearts to duties : they 
find no difiiculty in getting their hearts off them, and over them to 
Jesus Christ. How hard it is to bring men off from their own 
righteousness ! Yea, it is very hard to convince them of their lean- 


ing to it at all. 7- Pi'ide and self-conceit. A view of the corrup- 
tion of nature would be very humbling, and oblige him that has it 
to reckon himself the chief of sinners. Under the greatest attain- 
ments and enlargements, it would be ballast to his heart, and hide 
pride from his eyes. The want of thorough humiliation, piercing to 
the sin of one's nature, is the ruin of many professors : for digging 
deep makes the great difference betwixt wise and foolish builders, 
Luke vi. 48, 49. 

Onginal Sin to be specially noticed. 

II. I will lay before you a few things, in which you should have 
a special eye to original sin. 1. Have a special eye to it, in your 
application to Jesus Christ. Do you find any need of Christ, which 
sends you to him as the Physician of souls ? forget not your dis- 
ease when yon are with the Physician. They never yet knew well 
their errand to Christ, who went not to him ior the sin of their na- 
ture ; for his blood to take away the guilt of it, and his Spirit to 
break the power of it. Though, in the bitterness of your souls, you 
should lay before him a catalogue of your sins of omission and com- 
mission, which might reach from earth to heaven : yet, if original 
sin were wanting in it, assure yourselves that you have forgot the 
best part of the errand which a poor sinner has to the Physician 
of souls. "What would it have availed the people of Jericho, to 
have set before Elisha all the vessels in their city, full of the 
water that was naught, if they had not led him forth to the 
spring, to cast in salt there? 2 Kings ii. 19 — 21. The applica- 
tion is easy. 2. Have a special eye to it in your repentance, whe- 
ther in its beginning or progress ; in your first repentance, and in 
the renewing of your repentance afterwards. Though a man be 
sick, there is no fear of death, if the sickness strike not to his 
heart ; and there is as little fear of the death of sin, as long as the 
sin of our nature is not touched. But if you would repent indeed, 
let the streams lead you up to the fountain ; and mourn over your 
corrupt nature, as the cause of all sin, in heart, lip, and life, Psalm 
li. 4, 5, "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this 
evil in thy sight. — Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did 
my mother conceive me." 3. Have a special eye upon it in your 
mortification. Gal. v. 24, " They that are Christ's, have crucified 
the flesh." It is the root of bitterness that must bo struck at ; 
which the axe of mortification must be laid to, else we labour in 
vain. In vain do men go about to cleanse the stream, while they 
are at no pains about the muddy fountain : it is a vain religion to 


attempt to make the life truly good, while the corruption of nature 
retains its ancient vigour, and the power of it is not broken. 4. 
You are to eye it in your daily walk. He that would walk aright, 
must have one eye upward to Jesus Christ, and another inward to 
to the corruption of his own nature. It is not enough that we look 
about us, we must also look within us. Where the wall is weakest ; 
there our greatest enemy lies ; and there are grounds for daily 
watching and mourning. 

Wh^ original Sin is to be especiall'i/ noticed. 

III. I shall offer some reasons, why we should especially notice 
the sin of our nature. 

1. Because of all sins, it is the most extensive and diffusive. It 
goes through the whole man, and spoils all. Other sins mar par- 
ticular parts of the image of God, but this at once defaces the 
whole. A disease affecting any particular member of the body 
is dangerous ; but that which affects the whole, is worse. The 
corruption of nature is the poison of the old serpent cast into the 
fountain of action, which infects every action, and every breathing 
of the soul. 

2. It is the cause of all particular lusts, and actual sins, in our 
hearts and lives. It is the spawn which the great leviathan has left 
In the souls of men, from whence comes all the fry of actual sins 
and abominations, Mark vii. 21, " Out of the heart of men proceed 
evil thoughts, adulteries," &c. It is the bitter fountain : particular 
lusts are but rivulets running from it, which bring forth into the 
life a part only, and not the whole of what is within. The fountain 
is always above the stream : and where the water is good, it is best 
in the fountain ; where it is bad, it is worst there. The corruption 
of nature being that which defiles all, it must needs be the most 
abominable thing. 

3. It is virtually all sin : for it is the seed of all sins, which want 
but the occasion to set up their heads, being, in the corruption of 
nature as the effect in the virtue of its cause. Uence it is called 
" a body of death," Rom. vii. 24, as consisting of the several mem- 
bers belonging to such " a body of sins," Col. ii. 11, whose life lies 
in spiritual death. It is the cursed ground, fit to bring forth all 
manner of noxious weeds. As the whole nest of venemous creatures 
must needs be more dreadful than any few of them that come 
creeping forth ; so the sin of thy nature, that mother of abomina- 
tions, must be worse than any particular lust that appear stirring 
in thy heart and life. Never did every sin appear, in the conversa- 


tion of the vilest wretch that ever lived ; but look thou into thy 
corrupt nature, and there thou mayest see all and every sin, in the 
seed and root thereof. There is a fulness of all unrighteousness 
there, Rom. i. 29. There is atheism, idolatry, blasphemy, murder, 
adultery, and whatsoever is vile. Possibly none of these appear to 
thee in thy heart; but there is more in that unfathomable depth of 
wickedness than thou knowest. Thy corrupt heart is like an ant's 
nest, on which, while the stone lielh, none of them appear ; but 
take off the stone, and stir them up but with the point of a straw, 
you will see what a swarm is there, and how lively they be. Just 
such a sight would thy heart afford thee, did the Lord but with- 
draw the restraint he has upon it, and suffer Satan to stir it up by 

4. The sin of our nature is, of all sins, the most fixed and abid- 
ing. Sinful actions, though the guilt and stain of them may re- 
main, yet in themselves they pass away. The drunkard is not 
always at his cnps, nor the unclean person always acting lewdness : 
but the corruption of nature is an abiding sin ; it remains with men 
in its full power, by night and by day; at all times fixed, as with 
bands of iron and brass, till their nature is changed by converting 
grace ; and it remains even with the godly, until the death of the 
body, though not in its reigning power. Pride, envy, covetousness, 
and the like, are not always stirring in thee : but the proud, envious, 
carnal nature, is still with thee ; even as the clock that is wrong is 
not always striking wrong, but the wrong set continues with it with- 
out intermission. 

5. It is the reigning sin, Rom. vi. 12, " Let not sin, there- 
fore, reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the 
lusts thereof." There are three things which you may observe in 
the corrupt heart : 1. There is in the corrupt nature the corrupt 
set of the heart, whereby men are unapt for all good, and fitted 
for all evil. This the apostle calls here " sin which reigns." 2. 
There are particular lusts, or dispositions of corrupt nature, which 
the apostle calls " the lusts thereof ;" such as pride, covetousness. 
<S;c. 3. There is one among these, which is, like Saul among the 
people, higher by far than the rest, namely, " the sin which doth 
so easily beset us," Heb. xii. L This we usually call the " predomi- 
nant sin," because it doth, as it were reign over other particular 
lusts ; so that other lusts must yield to it. These three are like a 
river which divides itself into many streams, whereof one is greater 
than the rest : the corruption of nature is the river head, that has 
many particular lusts iu which it runs ; but it chiefly disburdens it- 
self into what is commonly called one's predominant sin. No all 


of these being fed by the sin of oar nature, it is eviduut that it is the 
reigning sin, which never loses its superiority over particular lusts, 
"which live and die with it, and by it. But, as in some rivers, the 
main stream runs not always in one and the same channel, so par- 
ticular ruling sins may be changed, as lust in youth may be suc- 
ceeded by covetousness in old age. Now, what does it avail to re- 
form in other things, while the reigning sin remains in its full 
power? What though some particular lusts be broken ? If sin, 
the sin of our nature, keep the throne, it will set up another in its 
stead; as when a water-course is stopped in one place, if the foun- 
tain is not closed up, it will stream forth another way. Thus some 
cast off their prodigality, but covetousness comes up in its stead ; 
some cast away their profanity, and the corruption of nature sends 
not its main stream that way, as before, but it runs in another chan- 
nel, namely, in that of a legal disposition, self-righteousness, or the 
like. So that people are ruined, by their not contemplating the sin 
of their nature. 

6. It is an hereditary evil, Psalm li. 5, " In sin did my mother 
conceive me." Particular lusts are not so, but in the virtue of their 
cause. A prodigal father may have a frugal son ; but this disease 
is necessarily propagated in nature, and therefore hardest to cure. 
Surely, then, the word should be given out against this sin, as 
against the king of Israel, 1 Kings xxii. 31, " Fight neither with 
small nor great, save only with this ;" for this sin being broken, all 
other sins are broken with it ; and while it stands entire, there is no 

Hoiv to get a View of the Corruption of Nature. 

ly. That you may get a view of the corruption of your nature, I 
would recommend to you three things : — 1. Study to know the 
spirituality and extent of the law of God, for that is the glass 
wherein you may see yourselves. 2. Observe your hearts at all 
times, but especially under temptation. Temptation is a fire that 
brings up the scum of the vile heart : carefully mark the first 
risings of corruption. 3. Go to God, through Jesus Christ, for illu- 
mination by his Spirit. Lay out your soul before the Lord, as will- 
ing to know the vileness of your nature: say unto him, " That which 
I know not, teach thou me." And be willing to take light in from 
the word. Believe, and you shall see. It is by the word the Spirit 
teacheth ; but without the Spirit's teaching, all other teaching will 
be to little purpose. Though the gospel were to shine about you 
like the sun at noon-day, and this great truth were ever so plainly 
preached, you would never see yourselves aright, until the Spirit of 
the Lord light his candle within your breast : the fulness and glory 


of Christ, and the corruption and vileness of our nature, are never 
rightly learned, but where the Spirit of Christ is the teacher. 

To shut up this weighty point, let the consideration of what has 
been said, commend Christ to you all. You that are brought out 
of your natural state of corruption, unto Christ, be humble ; still 
come to Christ, and improve your union with him, to the farther 
weakening of your natural corruption. Is your nature changed? 
It is but in part so. If you are cured, remember the cure is not yet 
perfected, you still go halting. Though it were better with you 
than it is, the remembrance of what you were by nature should keep 
you low. You that are yet in your natural state, take this with 
you : believe the corruption of your nature ; and let Christ and his 
grace be precious in your eyes. that you would at length be se- 
rious about the state of your souls ! What do you intend to do ? 
You must die ; you must appear before the judgment-seat of God. 
Will you lie down and sleep another night at ease in this case? Do 
it not : for, before another day, you may be summoned before God's 
dreadful tribunal, in the grave-clothes of your corrupt state; and 
your vile souls be cast into the pit of destruction, as a corrupt lump, 
to be for ever buried out of God's sight. For I testify unto you all, 
there is no peace with God, no pardon, no heaven, for you, in your 
natural state : there is but a step between you and eternal destruc- 
tion from the presence of the Lord ; if the brittle thread of your 
life, which may break with a touch ere you are aware, be broken 
while you are in this state, you are ruined for ever, without remedy. 
But come speedily to Jesus Christ : he has cleansed souls as vile as 
yours; and he will yet "cleanse the blood that he has not cleansed," 
Joel iii. 21. Thus far of the sinfulness of man's natural state. 

PART 11. 


We were hy nature the children of wrath, even as others. 
Ephesians ii. 3. 

Having shewn you the sinfulness of man's natural state, I come now 
to lay before you the misery of it. A sinful state cannot but be a 
miserable state. If sin go before, wrath follows of course. Corrup- 
tion and destruction are so knit together, that the Holy Ghost calls 
destruction, even eternal destruction, "corruption," Gal. vi. 8. He that 


soweth to his flesli,shall of the flesh reap corruption," that is, ever'.. . 
ing destruction; as is clear from its being opposed to life everlasting, 
in the following clause. The apostle having shewn the Ephesians 
their real state by nature, namely, that they were dead in sins and 
trespasses, altogether corrupt; he tells them, in the words of the 
text, their relative state, namely, that the pit was dug for them, 
while in that state of corruption : being dead in sins, they " were 
by nature children of wrath, even as others." 

In the words we have four things : 

1. The misery of a natural state; it is a state of wrath, as well 
as a state of sin. " We were," says the apostle, " children of 
wrath," bound over and liable to the wrath of God; under wi-ath in 
some measure; and, in wrath, bound over to more, even the full 
measure of it, in hell, where the floods of it go over the prisoners 
for ever. Thus Saul, in his wrath, adjudging David to die, 1 Sam. 
XX. 31 ; and David, in his wrath, passing sentence of death against 
the man in the parable, 2 Sam. xii. 5, says, each of them, of his sup- 
posed criminal, "He shall surely die;" or, as the words in the first 
language are, " He is a son of death." So the natural man is " a 
child of wrath, a son of death." He is a malefactor, dead in law, 
lying in chains of guilt; a criminal, held fast in his fetters, till the 
day of execution; which will not fail to come, unless a pardon be 
obtained from his God, who is his judge and his opponent too. By 
that means, indeed, children of wrath may become children of the 
kingdom. The phrase in the text, however common in the holy lan- 
guage, is very significant. And as it is evident that the apostle, 
calling natural men the " children of disobedience," verse 2, means 
more than that they were disobedient children; for such may the 
Lord's own children be : so, to be children of wrath, is more than 
simply to be liable to, or under wrath. Jesus Christ was liable to, 
and under wrath ; but I doubt whether we have any warrant to say 
he was a child of wrath. — The phrase seems to intimate, that men 
are, whatever they are in their natural state, under the wrath of 
God ; that they are wholly under wrath : wrath is, as it were, woven 
into their very nature, and mixes itself with the whole of the man, 
who is, if I may so speak, a very lump of wrath, a child of hell, as 
the iron in the fire is all fire. For men naturally are children of 
wrath ; come forth, so to speak, out of the womb of wrath ; as 
Jonah's gourd was the " sou of a night," which we render, " came 
up in a night," Jonah iv. 10 ; as if it had come out of the womb of 
the night, as we read of the " womb of the morning," Psalm ex. 3. 
Thus sparks of fire are called " sons of the burning coal," Job v. 7 ; 
Marg. Isa. xxi. 10, " my thrashing, and the corn" or son "of ray 


floor," thrashed iu tliu floor of wrath, aud, as it were, brought forth 
by it. Thus the natural man' is a " child of wrath ;" it " comes into 
his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones. Psalm cix, 18. 
For, though Judas was the ouly son of perdition amongst the apos- 
tles; yet all men, by nature, are of the same family. 

2. Here is the rise of this misery ; men have it by nature. They 
owe it to their nature, not to their substance or essence; for that 
neither is nor was sin, and therefore cannot make them children of 
wrath ; though, for sin, it may be under wrath : not to their nature, 
as qualified at man's creation by his Maker; but to their nature, as 
A'itiated and corrupted by the fall ; to the vicious quality, or corrup- 
tion of their nature, as before noticed, which is their principle of 
action, and, ceasing from action, the only principle in an unregene- 
rate state. Now, by this nature, men are children of wrath ; as, in 
time of pestilential infection, one draws in death with the disease 
then ragiug. "Wherefore seeing, from our first being as children of 
Adam, we are corrupt children, shapen in iniquity, conceived in sin, 
we are also from that moment children of wrath. 

3. The universality of this misery. All are by nature children 
of wrath, "we," says the apostle, "even as others;" Jews as well 
as Gentiles. Those that are now, by grace, tlie children of Grod 
were, by nature, in no better case than those that are still in their 
natural state. 

4. Here is a glorious and happy change intimated, we ivere chil- 
dren of wrath, but are not so now ; grace has brought us out of that 
state. This the apostle says of himself, and other believers. And 
thus, it well becomes the people of God to be often standing on the 
shore, and looking back to the Red Sea, or the state of wrath, which 
they were once weltering in, even as others. 

DocTBiNE, The state of nature is a state of wrath. — Every one, 
in a natural unregenerate state, is in a state of wrath. We tire 
born children of wrath; and continue so, until we be born again. 
Nay, as soon as we are children of Adam, we are children of wrath. 

I shall introduce what I am to say on this point, with a few 
observations, as to the universality of this state of wrath, which 
may serve to prepare the way for the word into your consciences. 

Wrath has gone as wide as ever sin went. When angels sinned, 
the wrath of God broke in upon them like a flood. " God spared 
not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell," 2 Pet. ii. 4. 
It was thereby demonstrated, that no natural excellence in the crea- 
ture can shield it from the wrath of God, if it once becomes a sin- 
ful creature. The finest and nicest piece of the workmanship 
of heaven, if once the Creator's image upon it be defaced by sin. 


God can and will dash in pieces in liis wrath, unless satisfaction be 
made to justice, and that image be restored ; neither of which the 
sinner himself can do. Adam sinned ; and the whole lump of man- 
kind was leavened, and bound over to the fire of God's wrath. From 
the text you may learn, 1. That ignorance of this state, cannot free 
men from it. The Gentiles, that knew not God, " were by nature 
children of wrath, even as others." A man's house may be on fire, 
his wife and children perishing in the flames, while he knows no- 
thing of it ; and therefore is not concerned about it. Such is your 
case, ye that are ignorant of these things ! "Wrath is silently 
sinking into your souls while you are blessing yourselves, saying, — 
" We shall have peace." You need not a more certain token that 
you are children, of wrath, than that you never saw yourselves such. 
You cannot be the children of God, who never yet saw yourselves 
the children of the devil. You cannot be in the way to heaven, 
who never saw yourselves by nature in the high road to hell. You 
are grossly ignorant of your state by nature ; and so ignorant of 
God and of Christ, and your need of him, and though you look on 
your ignorance as a covert from wrath, yet take it out of the mouth 
of God himself, that it will ruin you if it be not removed : Isa. 
xsvii. 11, " It is a people of no understanding : — therefore he that 
made them will not have mercy on them." See also 2 Thess. i. 8; 
Hos. iv. 6. 2. No outward privileges can exempt men from this 
state of wrath, for the Jews, the children of the kingdom, God's pe- 
culiar people, were " children of wrath, even as others." Though 
you be church meirbers, partakers of all church privileges ; though 
you be descended of godly i)arents, of great and honourable fami- 
lies ; be what you will, you are by nature heirs of hell, children of 
wrath. 3. No profession, no attainments in a pi'ofession of religion, 
do or can exempt men from this state of wrath. Paul was one of 
the strictest set of the Jewish religion, Acts xxvi. 6, yet a child of 
wrath, even as others, till he was converted. The close hypocrite, 
and the profane, are alike as to their state, however different their 
conversation be ; and they will be alike in their fatal end, Psalm 
cxxv. 5, " As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the 
Lord shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity." 4. Young 
ones, who are but setting out in the world, have not that to do to 
make themselves children of wrath, by following the graceless mul- 
titude : they are children of wrath by nature ; so it is done already. 
They were born heirs of hell ; and they will indeed make themselves 
more so, if they do not, while they are young, flee from that wrath 
to which they are born, by fleeing to Jesus Christ. 5. Whatever 
men are now by grace, they were even as others by nature. This 


may be a sad meditation to them tliat have been at ease from their 
youth, and have had no changes. 

Now these things being premised, I shall, in the first place, shew 
what this state of wrath is ; secondly, confirm the doctrine ; and, 
thirdly, apply it. 

I. I am to shew what the state of wrath is. But who can fully 
describe the wrath of an angry God ? None can do it. Yet so 
much of it may be discovered, as may serve to convince men of the 
absolute necessity of fleeing to Jesus Christ, out of that state of 
wrath. Anger, in men, is a passion and commotion of the spirit, 
for an injury received; with a desire to resent the same. When it 
comes to a heiglit, and is fixed in one's spirit, it is called wrath. 
Now there are no passions in God, properly speaking : they are in- 
consistent with his absolute unchangeableness, and independency : 
therefore Paul and Barnabas, to remove the mistake of the Lycao- 
nians, who thought they were gods, tell them, " they were men of 
like passions with themselves," Acts xiv. 15. Wrath, when it is at- 
tributed to God, must not be considered in respect of the aifection 
of wrath, but the eftects thereof. Wrath is a fire in the affections 
of men : tormenting the man himself: but there is no perturbation 
in God. His wrath does not in the least mar that infinite repose 
and happiness which he hath in himself. It is a most pure and un- 
disturbed act of his will, producing dreadful effects against the sin- 
ner. It is little that we know of the infinite God ; but, condescend- 
ing to our weakness, he is pleased to speak of himself to us after 
the manner of men. Let us therefore notice man's wrath, but re- 
move every thing in our consideration of the wrath of God, that im- 
plies imperfection ; and so we may attain to some view of it how- 
ever scanty. By this means we are led to consider the wrath of 
God against the natural man in these three particulars. 

1. There is wrath in the heart of God against him. The Lord ap- 
proves him not, but is displeased with him. Every natural man 
lies under the displeasure of God ; and that is heavier than moun- 
tains of brass. Although he be pleased with himself, and others be 
pleased with him too, yet God looks down on him displeased. 

1. His person is under God's displeasure; " Thou hatest all work- 
ers of iniquity," Psalm v. 5. A godly man's sin is displeasing to 
God, yet his person is still "accepted in the Beloved," Eph. i. 6 
But "God is angry with the wicked every day," Psalm vii. 11. 
There is a fire of wrath burns continually against him in the 
heart of God. They are as dogs and swine, most abominable crea- 
tures in the sight of God. Though their natural state be gilded over 
with a shining profession, yet they are abhorred of God ; and are 


to him as smoke in his nose, Isa. Ixv. 5, and lukewarm water, to be 
spewed out of his mouth, Rev. iii. 16; whited sepulchres, Matt, xxiii. 
27 ; a generation of vipers. Matt. xii. 34 ; and a people of his wrath, 
Isa. X. 6. 2. He is displeased with all they do : it is impossible for 
them to please him, being unbelivers, Heb. xi. 6. He hates their 
persons; and so hath no pleasure in, but is displeased with their best 
works, Isa. Ixvi. 3, " he that sacrificeth a lamb, is as if he cut off a 
dog's neck," &c. Their duty as done by them, is " an abomination 
to the Lord," Prov. xv. 8. And as men turn their back on those 
with whom they are angry, so when the Lord refuses communion 
with the natural man in his duties, it is a plain indication of his 

2. There is wrath in the word of God against him. "When wrath 
is in the heart, it seeks a vent by the lips : so God fights against the 
natural man with the sword of his mouth. Rev. ii. 16. The Lord's 
word never speaks good of him, but always curseth and condemneth 
him. Hence it is, that when he is awakened, the word read or 
preached often increases his horror. 1. It condemns all his actions, 
together with his corrupt nature. There is nothing he does, but 
the law declares it to be sin. It is a rule of perfect obedience, from 
which he always, in all things, declines ; and so it rejects every 
thing he doth, as sinful. It pronounces his doom, and denounces 
God's curse against him. Gal. iii. 10. " For as many as are of the 
works of the law are under tlie curse : 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." However well in the world, it 
pronounces a wo from heaven against him, Isa. iii. 11. The Bible 
is a quiver filled with arrows of wrath against him, ready to be 
poured in on his soul. God's threatenings, in his word, hang over 
his head as a black cloud, ready to shower down on him every mo- 
ment. The word is indeed the saint's security against wrath : but 
it binds the natural man's sin and wrath together, as a certain 
pledge of his ruin, if he continue in that state. So the conscience 
being awakened, and perceiving this tie made by the law, the man 
is filled with terrors in his soul. 

3. There is wrath in the hand of God, against the natural man. 
He is under heavy strokes of wrath already, and is liable to more. 

(1.) There is wrath on his body. It is a piece of cursed clay, 
which wrath is sinking into by virtue of the threatening of the first 
covenant. Gen. ii. 17, " In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou 
shalt surely die." There is not a disease or pain that affects him, 
but it comes on him with the sting of God's indignation in it. They 
are all cords of death, sent before to bind the prisoner. 


(2.) There is wrath upon his soul. 1. He can have no communion 
with God ; he is " foolish, and shall not stand in God's sight," Psalra 
V. 5. When Adam sinned, God turned him out of paradise : and 
natural men are, as Adam left them, banished from the gracious 
presence of the Lord ; and can have no access to him in that state. 
There is war between heaven and them ; and so all commerce is cut 
off, " They are without God in the world," Eph. ii. 12. The sun 
is gone down on them, and there is not the least glimpse of favour 
towards them from heaven. 2. Hence the soul is left to pine away 
in its iniquity : the natural darkness of their minds, the averseuess 
to good in their wills, the disorder of their affections, and distemper 
of their consciences, and all their natural plagues, are left uj)on 
them in a penal way ; and, being so left increase daily. God casts 
a portion of this world's goods to them, more or less, as a bone is 
thrown to a dog : but alas ! his wrath against them appears, in that 
they get no grace. The Physician of souls comes by them, and 
goes by them, and cures others on each side of them, while they 
are consuming away in their iniquity, and ripening daily for utter 
destruction. 3. They lie open to fearful additional plagues on their 
souls, even in this life. Sometimes they meet with deadening 
strokes, silent blows from the hand of an angry God ; arrows of 
wrath, that enter into their souls without noise, Isa. vi. 10, "Make 
the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut 
their eyes, lest they see with their eyes," &c, God strives with 
them for a while, and convictions enter their consciences ; but they 
rebel against the light ; and by a secret jugdment, they receive a 
blow on the head ; so that, from that time, they do as it were live 
and rot above ground. Their hearts are deadened ; their affections 
withered; their consciences stupified ; and their whole souls blasted; 
" cast forth as a branch, and withered," John xv. 6. They are 
plagued with judicial blindness. They shut their eyes against the 
light; and they are given over to the devil, the god of this 
world, to be blinded more, 2 Cor. iv. 4. Yea, " God sends them 
strong delusions, that they should believe a lie," 2 Thess. ii. 
11. Even conscience, like a false light on the shore, leads thera 
upon rocks: by which they are broken in pieces. They harden 
themselves against God, and he leaves them to Satan and their 
own hearts, whereby they are hardened more and more. They 
are often " given up unto vile affections," Horn. i. 26. The reins 
are laid on their necks; and they are left to run into all excess, as 
their furious lusts drive thera. Sometimes they meet with sharp 
fiery strokes, whereby their souls become like mount Sinai, where 
nothing is seen but fire and smoke ; nothing heard but the thunder 


of God's wrath, and the voice of the trumpet of a broken law, 
waxing louder and louder : which makes them, like Pashur, Jer. 
XX. 4, " a terror to themselves." God takes the filthy garments of 
their sins, which they were wont to sleep in securely ; overlays 
them with brimstone, and sets them on fire about their ears : so 
they have a hell within them. 

(3.) There is wrath on the natural man's enjoyments. Whatever 
be wanting in his house, there is one thing that is never wanting 
thsre, Prov. iii. 33, " The curse of the Lord is in the house of the 
Avicked." Wrath is on all that he has, on the bread that he eats, 
the liquor he drinks, the clothes which he wears. " His basket and 
store are cursed," Deut. xxviii. 17. Some things fall wrong with 
him ; and that comes to pass by virtue of this wrath : other things 
go according to his wish, and there is wrath in that too ; for it is a 
snare to his soul, Prov. i. 32. " The prosperity of fools shall de- 
stroy them." This wrath turns his blessings into curses, Mai. ii. 2, 
" I will curse your blessings ; yea, I have cursed them already." 
The holy law is " a killing letter to him," 2 Cor. iii. 6. The ministry 
of the gospel "a savour of death unto death," chap. ii. 16. In the 
sacrament of the Lord's Supper, " he eateth and drinketh damna- 
tion to himself," 1 Cor. xi. 29. Nay, more than all that, Christ 
himself is to him a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence," 1 Pet. 
ii. 8. Thus wrath follows the natural man, as his shadow doth his 

(4.) He is under the power of Satan, Acts xxiv. 18. The devil 
has overcome him, so he is his by conquest, his lawful captive Isa. 
xlix. 24. The natural man is condemned already, John iii. 18, and 
therefore under the heavy hand of " him that hath the power of 
death, that is, the devil." He keeps his prisoners in the prison of 
a natural state, bound hand and foot, Isa. Ixi. 1, laden with divers 
lusts, as chains wherewith he holds them fast. Thou needest not, 
as many do, call on the devil to take thee ; for he has a fast hold 
of thee already, as a child of wrath. 

(5.) The natural man hath no security for a moment's safety, 
from the wrath of God coming on him to the uttermost. The curse 
of the law, denounced against him, has already tied him to the 
stake : so that the arrows of justice may pierce his soul ; and, in 
him, may meet all the miseries and plagues that flow from the 
avenging wrath of God. See how he is set as a mark to the arrows 
of wrath, Psalm vii. 11 — 13, " God is angry with the wicked every 
day. If he turn not, he will whet his sword ; he hath bent his bow, 
and made it ready ; he hath also prepared for him the instruments 
of death." Does he lie down to sleep ? There is not a promise 


tliat lie knows of, or can kuow, to secure hira that he shall not be in 
hell ere he awake. Justice pursues, and cries for vengeance on the 
sinner; the law casts the fire-balls of its curses continually upon 
hira ; wasted and long-tired patience is that which keeps in his life. 
He walks amidst enemies armed against him : his name may be 
Magor-missabib, that is, terror round about, Jer. xx. 3. Angels, 
devils, men, beasts, stones, heaven and earth, are in readiness, on a 
word of command from the Lord, to ruin him. 

Thus the natural man lives, but he must die too ; and death is a 
dreadful messenger to him. It comes upon him armed with wrath, 
and puts three sad charges in his hand. 1. Death charges him to 
bid an eternal farewell to all things in this world ; to leave it, and 
haste away to another world. Ah, what a dreadful charge must 
this be to a child of wrath ! He can have no comfort from heaven, 
for God is his enemy : as for the things of the world, and the enjoy- 
ment of his lusts, which were the only springs of his comfort, these 
are in a moment dried up to him for ever. He is not ready for an- 
other world : he was not thinking of removing so soon : or, if he 
was, yet he has no portion secured to him in the other world, but 
that which he was born to, and was increasing all his days, namely, 
a treasure of wrath. But go he must ; his clay god, the world, 
must be parted with, and what has he more ? There was never a 
glimmering of light, or favour from heaven, to his soul : the wrath 
which hung in the threatening, as a cloud like a man's hand, is 
darkening the whole heaven above him : if he " look unto the 
earth," from whence all his light was wont to come, " behold 
trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish ; and he shall be driven 
to darkness ;" Isa. viii. 22. 2. Death charges soul and body to 
part, till the great day. His soul is required of him, Luke xii. 20. 
what a miserable parting must this be to a child of wrath ! Care 
was indeed taken to provide for the body things necessary for this 
life; but, alas ! there is nothing laid up for another life, nothing to 
be a seed of a glorious resurrection ; as it lived, so it must die, and 
rise again, sinful flesh, fuel fur the fire of God's wrath. As for the 
soul, he was never solicitous to provide for it. It lay in the body, 
dead to God, and all things truly good ; and so must be carried out 
into the pit, in the grave-clothes of its natural state ; for now that 
death comes, the companions in sin must part. 3. Death charges 
the soul to appear before the tribunal of God, while the body lies 
to be carried to tlie grave, Eccl. xii. 7, " The spirit shall return 
unto God who gave it." Heb. ix. 27, " It is appointed unto all men 
once to die, but after this the judgment." Well were it for the sin- 
ful soul, if it might be buried together with the body. But tliat 

Vol. YIIL g 


cannot be ; it must go, and receive its sentence ; and shall be shut 
up in the prison of hell, while the cursed body lies imprisoned in 
the grave, till the day of the general judgment. 

"When the end of the world, as appointed of God, is corao, the 
trumpet shall sound, and the dead arise. Then shall the weary 
earth, at the command of the Judge, cast forth the bodies, the 
cursed bodies, of those that lived and died in their natural state ; 
" The sea, death, and hell, shall deliver up their dead," Rev. xx. 13. 
Their miserable bodies and souls shall be reunited, and they sum- 
moned before the tribunal of Christ. Then shall they receive that 
fearful sentence, " Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting Are, 
]>repared for the devil and his angels," Matt. xxv. 41. Whereupon 
*' they shall go away into everlasting punishment," ver. 46. They 
shall be eternally shut up in hell, never to get the least drop of 
comfort, nor the smallest alleviation of their torment. There they 
will be punished with the punishment of loss, being excommuni- 
cated for ever from the presence of God, his angels, and saints. 
All means of grace, all hopes of a delivery, will be for ever cut off 
from their eyes. They shall not have a drop of water to cool their 
tongues, Luke xvi. 24, 25. They will be punished with a punish- 
ment of sense. They must not only depart from God, but depart 
into fire ; into everlasting fire ! There the worm that shall gnaw 
them will never die ; the fire that will scorch them, shall never be 
quenched. God will, through eternity, hold them up with the one 
hand, and pour the full vials of wrath into them with the other. 

This is that state of wrath natural men live in ; being under much 
of the wrath of God, and liable to more. But, for a further view 
of it, let us consider the qualities of this wrath : 1. It is irresis- 
tible, there is no standing before it; " Who may stand in thy sight, 
when once thou art angry ?" Psalm Jxxvi. 7. Can the worm or 
the moth defend itself against him that designs to crush it? Can 
tlie worm man stand before an angry God ? Foolish man indeed 
practically bids a defiance to Heaven ; but the Lord often, even in 
this world, opens such sluices of wrath upon them, as all their 
might cannot stop : they are carried away thereby, as with a flood ! 
How much more will it be so in hell ! 2. It is insupportable. 
What a man cannot resist, he will try to endure : but. Who shall 
dwell in devouring fire? Who shall dwell with everlasting burn- 
ings ? God's wrath is a weight that will sink men into the lowest 
hell. It is a burdeu which no man can stand under. " A wounded 
spirit who can bear ?" Prov. xviii. 14. 3. It is unavoidable to such 
as go on impenitently, and die in their sinful course. " He that, 
being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be de- 
stroyed, and that without remedy," Prov. xxix. 1. We may now 


flee from it, indeed, by fleeing to Jesus Christ : but such as flee 
from Christ, will never be able to avoid it. Whither can men flee 
from the avenging God ? Where will they find a shelter ? The 
hills will not hear them. The mountains will be deaf to their 
loudest supplications, when they cry to them to " hide them from 
the wrath of the Lamb." 4. It is powerful and fierce wrath, Psalm 
xc. 11, " Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according 
to thy fear, so is thy wrath." We are apt to fear the wrath of man 
more than we ought ; but no man can apprehend the wrath of God 
to be more dreadful than it really is : the power of it can never be 
known to the utmost ; for it is infinite, and, properly speaking, has 
no utmost. How fierce soever it be, either on earth or in hell, God 
can still carry it farther. Every thing in God is most perfect in its 
kind; and therefore no wra'Ji is so fierce as his. sinner! how 
wilt thou be able to endure that wrath, which will tear thee in 
pieces, Psalm 1. 22, and grind thee to powder ! Luke xx. 18. The 
history of the two she-bears, that tare the children of Bethel, is an 
awful one, 2 Kings ii. 23, 24. But the united force of the rage of 
lions, leopards, and she-bears bereaved of their whelps, is not sufii- 
cient to give us even a faint view of the power of the wrath of God: 
Hos. xiii. 7, 8, " Therefore I will be unto them as a lion ; as a leo- 
pard by the way will I observe them. I will meet them as a bear 
that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their 
heart," &c. 5. It is penetrating and piercing wrath. It is burning 
wrath, and fiery indignation. There is no pain more exquisite than 
that which is caused by fire ; and no fire so piercing as the fire of 
God's indignation, that burns unto the lowest hell. Dent, xxxii. 22. 
The arrows of men's wrath can pierce flesh, blood, and bones, but 
cannot reach the soul ; but the wrath of God will sink into the 
soul, and so pierce a man in the most tender pari, like as, when a 
person is thunderstruck, oft-times there is not a wound to be seen 
in the skin ; yet life is gone, and the bones are melted, as it were : 
so God's wrath can penetrate into, and melt a man's soul within 
him, when his earthly comforts stand about him entire and un- 
touched ; as in Belshazzar's case, Dan. v. 6. 6. It is constant wrath, 
running parallel with the man's continuance in an unregenerate 
state; constantly attending him from the womb to the grave. There 
are few days so dark, but the sun sometimes looketh out from under 
the clouds : but the wrath of God is an abiding cloud on the objects 
of it, John iii. 36, " The wrath of God abideth on him" that be- 
lieveth not. 7- It is eternal. 0, miserable soul ! if thou flee not 
from this wrath unto Jesus Christ, though thy misery had a begin- 
ning, yet it will never have an end. Should devouring death wholly 

G 2 


swallow tliee up, and for ever hold thee fast in the grave, it would 
be kind : but thy body must be re-united to thy immortal soul, 
and live again, and never die; that thou raayest be ever dying, in 
the hands of the living God. Cold death will quench the flame of 
man's wrath against us, if nothing else do : but God's wrath, when 
it has come on the sinner for millions of ages, will still be the 
wrath to come. Matt. iii. 7; 1 Thess. i. 10; as the water of a river 
is still coming, how much soever has passed. While God is, he 
will pursue the quarrel. 8. However dreadful it is, and though it 
be eternal, yet it is most just wrath : it is a clear fire, without the 
least smoke of injustice. The sea of wrath, raging with greatest 
fury against the sinner, is clear as crystal. The Judge of all the 
earth can do no wrong : he knows no transports of passion, for they 
are inconsistent with the perfection of his nature. " Is God un- 
righteous, who taketh vengeance ? (I speak as a man) God forbid : 
for then, how shall God judge the world?" Rom. iii. 5, 6. 

II. I shall confirm the doctrine of the State of Wrath. Consider, 
1. How peremptory the threatening of the first covenant is : " In 
tlie day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die," Gen. ii. 17. 
Hereby sin and punishment being connected, the veracity of God 
makes the execution of the threatening certain. Now, all men 
being by nature under this covenant, the breach of it lays them 
under the curse. 2. The justice of God requires that a child of sin 
be a child of wrath ; that the law being broken, the sanction thereof 
should take place. God, as man's ruler and judge, cannot but do 
right. Gen. xviii. 25. Now, it is " a righteous thing with God to 
recompense sin" with wrath, 2 Thess. i. 6. He "is of purer eyes 
than to behold evil," Hab. i. 13. And " he hates all the workers 
of iniquity," Psalm v. 5. 3. The horrors of a natural conscience 
prove this. Conscience, in the breasts of men, tells them that they 
are sinners, and therefore liable to the wrath of God. Let men, at 
any time, soberly commune with themselves, and they will find that 
they have the witness in themselves, " knowing the judgment of 
God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death," 
Rom. i. 32, 4. The pangs of the new birth, the work of the Spi- 
rit on elect souls, in order to their conversion, demonstrate this. 
Hereby their natural sinfulness and misery, as liable to the wrath 
of God, are plainly taught them, filling their hearts with fear of 
that wrath. As it is the Spirit's work to " convince of sin, righte- 
ousness, and judgment," John xvi. 8, this testimony must needs be 
true ; for the Spirit of truth cannot witness an untruth. But true 
believers, being freed from the state of wrath, "receive not the spi- 
rit of bondage again to fear, but receive the Spirit of adoption," 


Rora. viii. 15. Therefore, if fears of that nature do arise, after the 
soul's union with Christ, they come from the saint's own spirit, or 
from a worse. 5. The sufferings of Christ plainly prove this doc- 
trine. Wherefore was the Son of God a son under wrath, but 
because the children of men were children of wrath ? He suffered 
the wrath of God ; not for himself, but for those who were liable to 
it in their own persons. Nay, this not only shews us to have been 
liable to wrath, but also tliat wrath must have a vent, in the 
punishment of sin. If this was done in the green tree, what will 
become of the dry ? What a miserable case must a sinner be in, 
that is out of Christ; that is not vitally united to Christ, and par- 
takes not of his Spirit ! God, who spared not his own Son, surely 
will not spare such a one. 

But the unregenerate man, who has no great value for the honour 
of God, will be apt to rise up against this Judge, and in his own 
heart condemn his procedure. Nevertheless, the Judge being infi- 
nitely just, the sentence must be righteous. Therefore, to stop thy 
mouth, proud sinner ! and to still thy clamour against thy righte- 
ous Judge, consider, 1. Thou art a sinner by nature; and it is highly 
reasonable, that guilt and wrath be as old as sin. Why should not 
God begin to vindicate his honour, as soon as vile worms attempt to 
impair it? Why shall not a serpent bite the thief, as soon as he 
leaps over the hedge ? Why should not the threatening take hold 
of the sinner, as soon as he casts away the command ? The poison- 
ous nature of the serpent affords a man sufficient ground to kill it, as 
soon as ever he can reach it ; and by this time thou raayest be con- 
vinced that thy nature is a very compound of enmity against God. 
2. Thou hast not only enmity against God in thy nature, but hast 
discovered it by actual sins, which are, in his eye, acts of hostility. 
Thou hast brought forth thy lusts into the field of battle against thy 
sovereign Lord. And because thou art such a criminal, thy con- 
demnation is just : for, besides the sin of thy nature, thou hast done 
that against Heaven, which if thou hadst done against men, thy life 
must have gone for it ; and shall not wrath from Heaven overtake 
thee ? 1. Thou art guilty of high treason and rebellion against the 
King of heaven. The thought and wish of thy heart, which he 
knows as well as the language of thy mouth, has been, " No God," 
Psalm xiv. 1. Thou hast rejected his government, blown the trum- 
pet, and set up the standard of rebellion against him, being one of 
those that say, " We will not have this man to reign over us," Luke 
xix. 14. Thou hast striven against, and quenched his Spirit; prac- 
tically disowned his laws proclaimed by his messengers ; stopped 
thine ears at their voice, aud sent them away mourning for thy 


pride. Thou hast conspired with his grand enemy, the devil. Al- 
though thou art a servant of the King of glory, daily receiving of 
his favours, and living on his bounty, thou art holding a correspond- 
ence, and hast contracted a friendship, with his greatest enemy, and 
art acting for him against thy Lord; for " the lusts of the devil you 
will do," John viii. 44. 2. Thou art a murderer before the Loi'd. 
Thou hast laid the stumbling-block of thine iniquity before the 
blind world, and hast ruined the souls of others by thy sinful course. 
Though thou dost not see now, the time may come when thou shalt 
see the blood of thy relations, neighbours, acquaintances, and others 
upon thy head, Matth. xviii. 7- " Woe unto the world because of 
offences — Woe to that man by whom the offence cometh." Yea, 
thou art a self-murderer before God : Prov. viii. 36, " He that sin- 
neth against me, wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me, love 
death." Ezek. xviii. 31, " Why will ye die ?" The laws of men 
mark the self-murderer ; what wonder is it, that the law of Grod is 
so severe against soul-murderers ? Is it strange, that they who will 
needs depart from God now, cost what it will, should be forced to 
depart from him at last, into everlasting fire ? But, what is yet 
more criminal, thou art guilty of the murder of the Son of God; for 
the Lord will reckon thee amongst those that pierced him. Rev. i. 
6. Thou hast rejected him, as the Jews did ; and by rejecting him, 
thou hast justified their deed. They indeed did not acknowledge 
him to be the Son of God, but thou dost. What they did against 
him, was in his state of humiliation ; but thou hast acted against 
him, in his state of exaltation. These things will aggravate thy 
condemnation. What wonder then, if the voice of the lamb change 
to the roaring of the lion, against the traitor and murderer ! 

Objection. But some will say, " Is there not a vast disproportion 
between our sin, and that wrath you talk of?" I answer, "No; 
God punisheth no more than the sinner deserves." To rectify your 
mistake in this matter, consider, 1. The vast rewards which God has 
annexed to obedience. His word is no more full of fiery wrath 
against sin, than it is of gracious rewards to the obedience it re- 
quires. If heaven be in the promises, it is altogether equal that 
hell is in the threatenings. If death were not in the balance with 
life, eternal misery with eternal happiness, where would be the pro- 
portion ? — Moreover, sin deserves the misery, but our best works do 
not deserve the happiness : yet both are set before us ; sin and 
misery, holiness and happiness. What reason is there then to com- 
plain ? 2. How severe soever the threatenings be, yet all have 
enough to do to reach the end of the law. " Fear him," says our 
Lord, " which, after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell ; 



yea, I say unto you, Fear him," Luke xii. 5. This bespeaks our 
dread of divine power and majesty ; yet how few fear him indeed ! 
The Lord knows the hearts of sinners to be exceedingly intent upon 
fulfilling their lusts ; they cleave so fondly to their beloved sins, 
that a small force does not sixffice to draw them away from them. 
They that travel through deserts, wliere they are in hazard from 
wild beasts, have need to carry fire along with them ; and they have 
need of a hard wedge that have knotty timber to cleave : so a holy 
law must be fenced with dreadful wrath in a world lying in wicked- 
ness. But who are they that complain of that wrath as too great, 
but those to whom it is too little to draw them off from their sinful 
courses ? It was the man who pretended to fear his Lord, because 
he was an austere man, that kept his pound laid up in a napkin ; 
and so he was condemned out of his own mouth, Luke xix. 20 — 22. 
Thou art that man, even thou whose objection I am answering. 
How can the wrath which thou art under, and liable to, be too great 
when, as yet it is not suflicient to awaken thee to flee from it ? Is 
it time to relax the penalties of the law, when men are trampling 
the commands of it under foot ? 3. Consider how God dealt with 
bis own Son, whom he spared not, Rom. viii. 32. The wrath of God 
seized on his soul and body both, and brought him into the dust of 
death. That his sufferings were not eternal, flowed from the quality 
of the Suft'erer, who was infinite; and therefore able to bear, at onco 
the whole load of wrath; and, upon that account, his sufferings were 
infinite in value. But as the sufferings of a mere creature cannot be 
infinite in value, they must be protracted to an eternity. — And what 
confidence can a rebel subject have to quarrel with his part of a 
punishment executed on the King's Son ? 4. The sinner doth 
against God what he can : " Behold, thou hast done evil things as 
thou couldst," Jer. iii. 5. That thou hast not done more, and worse, 
thanks to hira who restrained thee ; to the chain by which the wolf 
was kept in, not to thyself. No wonder that God shews his power 
on the sinner, who puts forth his power against God, as far as it will 
reach. The unregenerate man puts no period to his sinful course ; 
and would put no bounds to it neither, if he were not restrained by 
divine power, for wise ends : therefore it is just that he be for ever 
under wrath. 5. It is infinite majesty which sin strikes against ; 
and so it is, in some sort, an infinite evil. Sin rises in its demerit, 
according to the quality of the party offended. If a man wound his 
neighbour, his goods must go for it; but if he wound his prince, his 
life must go for that. The infinity of God makes infinite wrath the 
just demerit of sin. God is infinitely displeased with sin; and when 
lie acts, he must act like himself, and shew his displeasure by pro- 


portionable means. 6. Those who shall lie for ever under this 
wrath will be eternally sinning, and therefore must eternally sniFer; 
not only in respect of divine judicial procedure, but because sin is 
its own punishment, in the same manner as holy obedience is its 
own reward. 

III. I now proceed to apply this doctrine of the misery of man's 
natural state. 

Use I. Of information. Is our state by nature a state of wrath ? 

1. Surely we are not born innocent. Those chains of wrath, 
which by nature are upon us, shew us to be born criminals. The 
swaddling-bands, wherewith infants are bound hand and foot as soon 
as they are born, may put us in mind of the cords of wrath, with 
which they are held prisoners, as children of wrath. 

2. What desperate madness is it, for sinners to go on in their 
sinful course ! What is it but to heap coals of fire on thine own 
head ! to lay more and more fuel to the fire of wrath ! to " treasure 
up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath !" Rom ii. 5. Thuu 
mayest perish, " when his wrath is kindled but a little," Psalm ii. 
12. Why wilt thou increase it yet more ? Thou art already bound 
with such cords of death, as cannot easily be loosened ; what need is 
there of more ? Stand, careless sinner, and consider this. 

3. Thou hast no reason to complain, as long as thou art out 
of hell. '* Wherefore doth a living man complain ?" Lam. iii. 39. 
If one, who has forfeited his life, be banished from his native 
country, and exposed to many hardships ; he may well bear all pa- 
tiently, seeing his life is spared. Do you murmur, because you are 
under pain and sickness ? Nay, bless God, you are not there where 
the worm never dieth. Dost thou grudge, that thou art not in so 
good a condition in the world as some of thy neighbours are ? Be 
thankful, rather, that you are not in the case of the damned. Is thy 
substance gone from thee ? Wonder that the fire of God's wriith hath 
not consumed thee. Kiss the rod, sinner ! and acknowledge 
mercy ; for God " puuisheth us less than our iniquities deserve," 
Ezra ix. 13. 

4. Here is a memorandum, both for poor and rich. 

(1.) The poorest, that go from door to door, and have not one 
penny left them by their parents, were born to an inheritance. 
Their first father Adam left them " children of wrath :" and, con- 
tinuing in their natural state, they cannot escape it ; for " this is 
the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed 
to him by God," Job xx. 29. An heritage that will furnish them 
with a habitation, who have not where to lay their head ; they shall 


be "cast iuto outer darkness," Matt. xxv. 30, for to them "is re- 
served the blackness of darkness for ever," Jude, ver. 13, where 
their bed shall be sorrow ; " they shall lie down in sorrow," Isa. 1. 
11 ; their food shall be judgment, for God will " feed them with 
judgment," Ezek xsxiv. 16; and their drink shall be the red wine 
of God's wrath, "the dregs whereof all the wicked of the earth shall 
wring out, and drink them," Psalm Ixxv. 8. I know that those who 
are destitute of worldly goods, and withal void of the knowledge and 
grace of God, who therefore may be called the devil's poor, will bo 
apt to say here, " We hope God will make us suffer all our misery 
in this world, and that we shall be happy in the next ;" as if their 
miserable outward condition, in time, would secure their happiness 
ill eternity. A gross and fatal mistake! there is another inheritance 
which they have, namely, "Lies, vanity, and things wherein there is 
uo profit," Jer. xvi. 19. But, " the hail shall sweep away the re- 
fuge of lies," Isa. xxviii. 17. Dost thou think, sinner, that God, 
who commands judges on earth " not to respect the person of the 
poor in judgment," Levit. xix. 15, will pervert judgment for thee ? 
Nay, know for certain, that however miserable thou art here, thou 
shalt be eternally miserable hereafter, if thou livest and diest in thy 
natural state. 

(2.) Many that have enough in the world, have far more than they 
know of. Thou hadst, it may be, unregenerate man ! an estate, a 
good portion, a large stock, left thee by thy father; thou hast improved 
it, and the sun of prosperity shines upon thee ; so that thou canst say, 
with Esau, Gen. xxxiii. 9, "I have enough." But know, thou hast more 
than all that, an inheritance which thou dost not think ot : thou art a 
child of wrath, an heir of hell. That is an heritage which will abide 
with thee amidst all the changes in the world, as long as thou contin- 
uest in an unregenerate state. "When thou shalt leave thy substance to 
others, this will go along with thee into another world. It is no 
wonder a slaughter ox is fed to the full, and is not set to work as 
others are. Job xxi. 30, " The wicked is reserved to the day of 
destruction ; they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath." 
Well then, " Rejoice, let thine heart cheer thee, walk in the ways 
of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes." Live above reproofs 
and warning from the word of God; sh>iw thyself a man of a fine 
spirit, by casting off all tVar of God; mock at seriousness; live like 
thyself, " a child of wrath," " an heir of hell :" " But know thou, that 
for all these things God will bring thee into judgment," Eccl. xi. 9. 
Assure yourself, thy " breaking shall come suddenly at an instant," 
Isa. XXX. 13. " For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is 
the laughter of a fool," Eccl. vii. 6. The fair blaze, and the 


great noise which they make, are quickly gone : so shall thy mirth 
be. Then that wrath, that is now silently sinking into thy soul, 
shall make a fearful hissing. 

5. "Wo to him, that, like Moab, " hath been at ease from his 
youth, Jer. xlviii. 11, and never saw the black cloud of wrath hang- 
ing over his head. There are many who " have no changes, there- 
fore they fear not God," Psalm Iv. 19. They have lived in a good 
belief, as they call it, all their days ; that is, they never had power 
to believe an ill report of their soul's state. Many have come by 
their religion too easily : and as it came lightly to them, so it will 
go from them, when the trial comes. Do ye think men flee from 
wrath in a morning dream ? Or will they flee from the wrath they 
never saw pursuing them ? 

6. Think it not strange, if yon see one in great distress about his 
soul's condition, who was wont to be as jovial, and as little con- 
cerned for salvation as any of his neighbours. Can one get a right 
view of himself, as in a state of wrath, and not be pierced with sor- 
rows, terrors, and anxiety ? When a weight quite above a man's 
strength, lies upon him, and he is alone, he can neither stir hand 
nor foot ; but when one comes to lift it off him, he will struggle to 
get from under it. Thunder-claps of wrath from the word of God, 
conveyed to the soul by tha Spirit of the Lord, will surely keep a 
man awake. 

7. It is no wonder that wrath comes upon churches and nations, 
and upon us in this land, and that infants and children smart under 
it. Most of the society are yet children of wrath ; few are fleeing 
from it, or taking the way to prevent it : but people of all ranks 
are helping it on. The Jews rejected Christ ; and their children 
have been smarting under wrath these eighteen hundred years. 
God grant that the bad entertainment given to Christ and his 
gospel, by this generation, be not pursued with wrath on the suc- 
ceeding one. 

Use II. Of Exhortation. Here, 1. I shall drop a word to those 
who are yet in an unregenerate state. 2. To those who are brought 
out of it. 3. To all equally. 

1. To you that are yet in an unregenerate state, I would sound 
the alarm, and warn you to see to yourselves, while there is yet 
hope. you children of wrath take no rest in this dismal state ; 
but flee to Christ, the only refuge ; haste and make your escape 
thither. The state of wrath is too hot a climate for you to live in, 
Micah. ii. 10, " Arise ye, and depart, for this is not your rest." 
sinner, knowest thou where thou art ? Dost thou not see thy dan- 
ger ? The curse has entered into thy soul : wrath is thy covering ; 


the heavens are growing blacker and blacker above thy head; the 
earth is weary of thee, the pit is opening her mouth for thee, and 
should the thread of thy life be cut this moment, thou art thence- 
forth past all hope for ever. Sirs, if we saw you putting a cup of 
poison to yonr mouth, we should flee to you and snatch it out of 
your hands. If we saw the house on fire about you, while you were 
fast asleep in it, we would run to you, and drag you out of it. But 
alas ! you are in ten thousand times greater hazard : yet we can do 
no more than tell you your danger ; invite, exhort, and beseech you 
to look to yourselves : and lament your stupidity and obstinacy, 
when we cannot prevail with you to take warning. If there were 
no hope of your recovery, we should be silent, and would not tor- 
ment you before the time: but though you be lost and undone, there 
is hope in Israel concerning this thing. Wherefore, I cry unto you, 
in the name of the Lord, and in the words of the prophet, Zech. is. 
12. " Turn ye to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope." Flee to 
Jesus Christ out of this your natural state. 

Motive 1. While you are in this state, you must stand or fall ac- 
cording to the law, or covenant of works. If you understood this 
aright, it would strike through your breasts as a thousand darts. 
One had better be a slave to the Turks, condemned to the galleys, 
or under Egyptian bondage, than be under the covenant of works 
now. All mankind were brought under it in Adam, as we heard 
before ; and thou, in thy unregenerate state, art still where Adam 
left thee. It is true, there is another covenant brought in : but 
what is that to thee, who art not brought into it ? Thou must needs 
be under one of the two covenants ; either under the law, or under 
grace. That thon art not under grace, the dominion of sin over 
thee manifestly proves : therefore thou art under the law, Rom. vi. 
14. Do not think God has laid aside the first covenant, Matth. v. 
17, 18; Gal. iii. 10. No, he will "magnify the law, and make it 
honourable." It is broken indeed on thy part; but it is absurd to 
think, that therefore your obligation is dissolved. Nay, thou must 
stand and fall by it, till thou canst produce thy discharge from God 
himself, who is the party in that covenant ; and this thou canst not 
pretend to, seeing thou art not in Christ. 

Now, to give you a view of your misery, in this respect, consider 
these following things : 1. Hereby you are bound over to death, in 
virtue of the threatening of death in the covenant. Gen. ii. 17. 
The condition being broken you fall under the penalty. So it 
concludes you under wrath. 2. There is no salvation for you 
under this covenant, but on a condition impossible to be performed 
by you. The justice of God must be satisfied for the wrong which 


you have done already. God has written this truth in characters 
of the blood of his own Son. Tea, and you must perfectly obey 
the law for the time to come. So says the law, Gal. iii. 12, 
" The man that doth them, shall live in them." Come then, sin- 
ner ! see if thou canst make a ladder, whereby thou mayest reach 
the throne of God: stretch forth thine arms, and try if thou canst 
fly on the wings of the wind, catch hold of the clouds, and pierce 
through these visible heavens : and then either climb over, or break 
through, the jasper walls of the city above. These things thou 
mayest do, as well as be able to reach heaven in thy natural state. 
under this covenant. 3. There is no pardon under this covenant. 
Pardon is the benefit of another covenant, with which thou hast 
nothing to do, Acts xiii. 39, " By him, all that believe are justified 
from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of 
Closes." As for thee, thou art in the hands of a merciless creditor, 
who will take thee by the throat, saying, " Pay what thou owest ;" 
and cast thee into prison, there to remain till thou hast paid the 
utmost farthing : unless thou be so wise as to get a surety in time, 
who is able to answer for all thy debt, and get up thy discharge. 
This Jesus Christ alone can do. Thou abidest under this covenant, 
and pleadest mercy ; but what is thy plea founded on ? There is 
not one promise of mercy or pardon in that covenant. Dost thou 
plead mercy for mercy's sake ? Jnstice will step in between it and 
thee, and plead God's covenant threatening, which he cannot deny. 
4. There is no place for repentance in this covenant, so as the sinner 
can be helped by it. For as soon as ever thou sinnest, the law lays 
its curse on thee, which is a dead weight thou canst by no means 
throw off; no, not though thine "head were waters, and thine eyes 
a fountain of tears, to weep day and night" for thy sin. That is 
what the law cannot do, in that it is " weak through the flesh," 
Rom. vii. 3. You are another profane Esau, that has sold the 
blessing ; and there is no place for repentance, though you seek it 
carefully with tears, while under the covenant. 5. There is no ac- 
ceptance of the will for the deed under this covenant, which was 
not made for good will, but good works. The mistake in this point 
ruins many. They are not in Christ, but stand under the first co- 
venant ; and yet they will plead this privilege. This is just like a 
man having made a feast for those of his own family, and when they 
sit down at table, another man's servant, that has run away from 
his master, presumptuously comes forward and sits down among 
them: would not the master of the feast give such a stranger- that 
check, "Friend, how comest thou in hither?" and since he is none 
of his family, commanded him to he gone quickly. Though a mas- 


ter accept the good-will of his owu child for the deed, can a hired 
servant expect that privilege ? 6. You have nothing to do with 
Christ while under that covenant. By the law of God, a woman 
cannot be married to two husbands at once : either death or divorce 
must dissolve the first marriage, ere she can marry anothei'. So we 
must first be dead to the law, ere we can be married to Christ, Rom. 
vii. 4. The law is the first husband ; Jesus Christ, who raises the 
dead, marries the widow, that was heartbroken, and slain by the first 
husband. But while the soul is in the house with the first husband, 
it cannot plead a marriage relation to Christ ; nor the benefits of a 
marriage covenant, which is not yet entered into, Gal. v. 4, " Christ 
is become of no eff'ect to you; whosoever of you are justified by 
the law, ye are fallen from grace." Peace, pardon, and such 
like benefits, are all benefits of the covenant of grace. You must 
not think to stand oflf from Christ, and the marriage covenant with 
him, and yet plead these benefits, any more than one man's wife 
can plead the benefit of a contract of marriage past between an- 
other man and his wife. 7- See the bill of exclusion, passed in 
the court of Heaven, against all under the covenant of works, 
Gal. iv. 30, " The son of the bond-woman shall not be heir." Com- 
pare ver. 24. Heirs of wrath must not be heirs of glory. Whom 
the first covenant hath power to exclude out of heaven, the second 
covenant cannot bring into it. 

Objection. Then it is impossible for us to be saved. Aiis. It is so 
while you are in that state ; but if you would be out of that dread- 
ful condition hasten out of that state. If a murderer be under sen- 
tence of death, so long as he lives within the kingdom, the laws 
will reach his life ; but if he can make his escape, and get over 
the sea, into the dominions of another prince, our laws cannot reach 
him there. This is what we would have you to do ; flee out of the 
kingdom of darkness, into the kingdom of God's dear Son ; out of 
the dominion of the law, into the dominion of grace : then all the 
curses of the law, or covenant of works, shall never be able to reach 

Motive 2. ye children of wrath, your state is wretched, for you 
have lost God, and that is an unspeakable loss. You are with- 
out God in the world, Eph. ii. 12. Whatever you may call 
yours, you cannot call God yours. If we look to the earth, per- 
haps you can tell us, that land, that house, or that herd of cattle, 
is yours. But let us look upward to heaven ; is that God, that 
grace, that glory, yours ? Truly, you have neither part no lot 
in this matt?r. When Nebuchadnezzar talks of cities and king- 
doms, how big does he speak ! " Great Babylon, that I have 


built — my power — my majesty;" but be tells a poor tale, when be 
comes to speak of God, saying, " Your God," Dan. ii. 47, and 
iv. 30. Alas, sinner I whatever thou hast, God is gone from thee. 
the misery of a godless soul ! Hast thou lost God ? Then, 1. 
The sap and substance of all thou hast in the world is gone. The 
godless man, have what he will, is one that hath not. Matt. xxv. 
29. I defy the unregenerate man to attain to soul satisfaction, 
•whatever he possesseth, since God is not his God. All his days 
be eats in darkness : in every condition there is a secret dissatis- 
faction haunts his heart, like a ghost : the soul wants something 
though perhaps it knows not what; and so it will be always, till the 
soul return to God, the fountain of satisfaction. 2. Thou canst do 
nothing to purpose for thyself; for God is gone, his soul is departed 
from thee, Jer. vi. 8, like a leg out of joint hanging by, whereof a 
man has no use, as the word there used signifies. Losing God, thou 
hast lost the fountain of good ; and so all grace, all goodness, all 
the saving influences of his Spirit. What canst thou do then ? 
^Vhat fruit canst thou bring forth, more than a branch cut off from 
the stock ? John xv. 5. Thou art become unprofitable, ivom. iii. 12, 
as a filthy rotten thing, fit only fcr the dunghill. 3. Death has 
come up into thy windows, yea, and has settled on thy face ; for God, 
in whose favour life is, Psalm xxx. 5, is gone from thee, and so the 
life of thy soul is departed. What a loathsome lump is the body, 
■when the soul is gone ! Far more loathsome is thy soul in this case. 
Thou art dead while thou livest. Do not deny it, seeing thy speech 
is laid, thine eyes closed, and all spiritual motion in thee ceased. 
Thy true friends who see thy case, lament, because thou art gone 
into the land of silence. 4. Thou hast not a steady friend amongst 
all the creatures of God ; for now that thou hast lost the master's 
favour, all the family is set against thee. Conscience is thine 
enemy : the word never speaks good of thee : God's people loathe 
so far as they see what thou art. Psalm xv. 4. The beasts and 
stones of the field are banded together against thee, Job v. 23 ; 
Hos. ii. 18. Thy meat, drink, and clothes, grudge being serviceable 
to the wretch that has lost God, and abnseth them to his dishonour. 
The earth groans under thee; yea, " the whole creation groaneth, 
and travaileth in pain together," because of thee, and such as thou 
art, Rom. viii. 22. Heaven will have nothing to do with thee ; for 
" there shall in no wise enter into it, any thing that defileth," Rev. 
xxi. 27. Only "hell from beneath is moved for thee, to meet thee 
at thy coming," Isa. xiv. 9. 5. Thy hell is begun already. What 
makes hell, but exclusion from the presence of God? "Depart 
from me, ye cursed." You are gone from God already, with the 



curse upon you. That which is now your choice, shall be your 
punishJSent at length, if you turn not. As a gracious state is a 
state of glory in the bud ; so a graceless state is hell in the bud, 
which, if it continue, will come at length to perfection. 

Motive 3. Consider the dreadful instances of the wrath of Grod ; 
and let them serve to awaken thee to flee out of this state. Consider 

1. How it is fallen on men. Even in this world, many have been 
set up as monuments of Divine vengeance, that others might fear. 
Wrath has swept away multitudes, who have fallen together by the 
hand of an angry God. Consider how the Lord "spared not the 
old world — bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly : 
And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned 
them with an overthrow, making them an example unto those that 
after should live ungodly," 2 Pet. ii. 5, 6. But it is yet more dread- 
ful to think of that weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, amongst 
those who in hell lift up their eyes, but cannot get a drop of wa- 
ter to cool their tongues. Believe these things and be warned by 
them, lest destruction come upon thee, for a warning to others. 

2. Consider how wrath fell upon the fallen angels, whose case is 
absolutely hopeless. Tiiey were the first that ventured to break the 
hedge of the Divine law; and God set them up for monuments of 
his wrath against sin. They once " left their own habitation," 
and were never allowed to look in again at the hole of the door; 
but they are " reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto 
the judgment of the great day," Jude ver. 6. 3. Behold how an 
angry God dealt with his own Son, standing in the room of elect sin- 
ners, Rom. viii. 32, " God spared not his Son." Sparing mercy might 
have been expected, if any at all. If any person could have ob- 
tained it, surely his own Son would have got it : but he spared him 
not. The Father's delight is made a man of sorrows : he who is 
the wisdom of God, becomes sore amazed, ready to faint away in a 
fit of horror. The weight of this wrath makes him sweat great 
drops of blood. By the fierceness of this fire, his heart was like 
wax melted in the midst of his bowels. Behold, here, how severe 
God is against sin! The sun was struck blind with this terrible 
sight, rocks were rent, graves opened ; death, as it were, in the 
excess of astonishment, letting its prisoners slip away. "What is a 
deluge, a shower of fire and brimstone, on the people of Sodom, the 
terrible noise of a dissolving world, the whole fabric of heaven and 
earth disuniting at once, and angels cast down from heaven into the 
bottomless pit ! What are all these, I say, in comparison with this, 
God in human nature suffering ! groaning ! dying upon a cross ! 
Infinite holiness did it, to make sin look like itself, that is, infi- 


nitely odious. And will men live at ease, while exposed to tins 
wrath ? " 

Motive 4. Consider what a God he is with whom thou hast to do, 
and whose wrath thou art liable unto. He is the God of infinite 
knowledge and wisdom; so that none of thy sins, however secret, 
can be hid from him. He infallibly finds out all means, whereby 
wrath may be executed, toward the satisfying of justice. He is of 
infinite power, and so can do what he will against the sinner. How 
heavy must the strokes of wrath be, which are laid on by an omni- 
potent hand ! Infinite power can make the sinner prisoner, even 
when he is in his greatest rage against Heaven. It can bring again 
the several parcels of dust out of the grave, put them together again, 
re-unite the soul and body, summon them before the tribunal, hurry 
them away to the pit, and hold them up with the one hand, through 
eternity, while they are lashed with the other. He is infinitely 
just, and therefore must punish : it were acting contrary to his 
nature to suffer the sinner to escape wrath. Hence the executing 
of this wrath is pleasing to him : for though the Lord hath no de- 
light in the death of a sinner, as it is the destruction of his own 
creature, yet he delights in it, as it is the execution of justice. 
" Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an 
horrible tempest." Mark the reason ; " For the righteous Lord 
loveth righteousness," Psalm xi. 6, 7, " I will cause my fury to rest 
upon them, and I will be comforted," Ezek. v. 13. " I also will 
laugh at your calamity," Prov. i. 26. Finally, He lives for ever, to 
pursue the quarrel. Let us therefore conclude, " It is a fearful 
thing to fall into the hands of the living God." 

Be awakened then, young sinner ! be awakened, old sinner ! 
who are yet in the state you were born in ! Your security is none 
of God's allowance ; it is the sleep of death ; rise out of it, ere the 
pit close its mouth upon you. It is true, you may put on a breast- 
plate of iron, make your brow brass, and your heart as an adamant; 
and who can help it? But God will break that brazen brow, and 
make that adamantine heart at last to fly into a thousand pieces. 
You may, if you will labour to put these things out of your heads, 
that you may sleep in fancied safety, though in a state of wrath. 
You may run away, with the arrows sticking in your consciences, to 
your labour, to work them away ; or to your beds, to sleep them 
out ; or to company, to sport and laugh them away : but convictions, 
so stifled, will have a fearful resurrection ; and the day is coming, 
unless thou takest warning in time, when the arrows of wrath shall 
so stick in thy soul, as thou shalt never be able to pluck them out 
through the ages of eternity. 


But if any desire to flee from the wrath to come, and, for that end 
to know what course to take, I offer them these few advices ; and 
implore and beseech them, as they love their own souls, to fall in 
with them. 1. Retire to some secret place and there meditate on 
this your misery. Believe it, and fix your thoughts on it. Let each 
put the question to himself. How can I live in this state ? How can 
I die iu it ? How shall I rise again, and stand before the tribunal 
of God in it ? 2. Consider seriously the sin of your nature, heart, 
and life. A proper sight of wrath flows from a deep sense of sin. 
They who see themselves exceedingly sinful, will find no great 
difficulty to peiceive themselves to be heirs of wrath. 3. La- 
bour to justify God in this matter. To quarrel with God about it, 
and to rage like a wild bull in a net, will but fix you the more in 
it. Humiliation of soul before the Lord is necessary for an escape. 
God will not sell deliverance, but freely gives it to those who see 
themselves altogether unworthy of his favour. 4. Turn your eyes, 
prisoners of hope, towards the Lord Jesus Christ ; and embrace 
him, as he oftereth himself in the gospel. " There is no salvation in 
any other," Acts iv. 12. God is a consuming fire ; you are children 
of wrath : if the Mediator interpose not between him and you, you 
are undone for ever. If you would be safe, come under his shadow: 
one drop of that wrath cannot fall there, for he " delivereth us from 
the wrath to come," 1 Thess. i. 10. Accept of him in this covenant, 
wherein he offereth himself to thee ; so thou shalt, as the captive 
woman, redeem thy life, by marrying the conqueror. His blood 
will quench that fire of wrath which burns against thee : in the 
white raiment of his righteousness thou wilt be safe ; for no storm 
of wrath can pierce it. 

2. I shall drop a few words to the saints. 

(1.) " Remember — that at that time," namely, when you were in 
your natural state, " ye were without Christ — having no hope, and 
without God in the world." Call to mind the state you were in for- 
merly ; and review the misery of it. There are five memorials 
which I may thence give in to the whole assembly of the saints, who 
are no more children of wrath, but " heirs of God, and joint heirs 
with Christ," though as yet in their minority. 1. Remember, that 
in the day our Lord first took you by the hand, you were in no bet- 
ter a condition than others. ! what moved him to take you when 
he passed by your neighbours ? he found you children of wrath, 
even as others : but he did not leave you so. He came into the 
common prison, wlicre you lay in fetters, even as others : from 
among the multitude of condemned malefactors, he picked you out, 
commanded your fetters to be taken off, put a pardon in your hand, 
Vol. VIIL h 


and brought you into the glorious liberty of the children of God, 
•while he left others in the devil's fetters. 2. Remember there was 
uothing in you to engage him to love you, in the day he appeared 
for your deliverance. You were children of wrath, even as others ; 
fit for hell, and altogether unfit for heaven : yet the King brought 
you into the palace ; the King's Son made love to you, a condemned 
criminal, and espoused you to himself, on the day in which you might 
have been led forth to execution. "Even so, Father, for so it seem- 
eth good in thy sight," Matth. xi. 26. 3. Remember, you were fitter 
to be loathed than loved in that day. Wonder, that when he saw you 
in your blood, he looked not at yon with abhorrence, and passed by. 
Wonder, that ever such a time could be a time of love, Ezek. xvi. 8, 
4. Remember, you are decked with borrowed feathers. It is his come- 
liness which is upon you, ver. 14. It was he that took off your pri- 
son garments, and clothed you with robes of righteousness, garments 
of salvation ; garments wherewith you are arrayed as the lilies, 
which toil not, neither do they spin. He took the chains from oft' 
your arms, the rope from about your neck ; put you in such a dress, 
as you might be fit for the court of heaven, even to eat at the King's 
table. 5. Remember your faults this day, as Pharaoh's butler, who 
had forgotten Joseph. Mind how you have forgotten, and how un- 
kindly you have treated, him who remembered you in your low 
estate. Is this your kindness to your friend .^ In the day of your 
deliverance, did you think you could have thus requited him, your 
Lord ? 

(2.) Pity the children of wrath, the world that lies in wickedness. 
Can you be unconcerned for them, you who were once in the same 
condition ? You have got ashore, indeed, but your companions are 
yet in hazard of perishing ; and will not you aff'ord them all possi- 
ble help for their deliverance ? What they are, you formerly were. 
This may draw pity from you, and engage you to use all means for 
their recovery. See Titus iii. 1 — 3. 

(3.) Admire that matchless love which brought you out of the 
state of wrath. Christ's love was active love ; he brought thy soul 
from the pit of corruption ! — It was no easy work to purchase the 
life of the condemned sinner ; but he gave his life for thy life. He 
gave his precious blood to quench the flame of wrath, which other- 
wise would have consumed thee. Men get the best view of the stars 
from the bottom of a deep pit; from this pit of misery, into which 
thou wast cast by the fall of the first Adam, thou mayest get the 
best view of the Sun of Righteousness, in all his dimensions. He is 
the second Adam, who took thee out of the horrible pit, and out of 
the miry clay. How broad was that love, which covered such a 


multitude of sins ! Behold the length of it, reaching from everlast- 
ing to everlasting, Psalm ciii. 17. The depth of it, going so low as 
to deliver thee from the lowest hell, Psalm Ixxxvi. 13. The height 
of it, raising thee up to sit in heavenly places, Eph. ii. 6. 

(4.) Be humble, carry low sails, walk softly all your years. Be 
not proud of your gifts, graces, privileges, or attainments ; but re- 
member you were children of wrath, even as others. The peacock 
walks slowly, hangs down his starry feathers, while he looks to his 
black feet. " Look ye to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged;" 
and walk humbly, as it becomes free grace's debtors. 

(6.) Be wholly for your Lord. Every wife is obliged to be duti- 
ful to her husband ; but double ties lie upon her who was taken 
from a prison, or a dunghill. If your Lord has delivered you from 
wrath, you ought, on that very account, to be wholly his; to act for 
him, to suffer for him, and to do whatever he calls you to. — The 
saints have no reason to complain of their lot in the world, what- 
ever it be. Well may they bear the cross for Him, by whom the 
curse was borne away from them. Well may they bear the wrath 
of men in his cause, who has freed them from the wrath of God ; 
and cheerfully go to a fire for him, by whom hell-fire is quenched 
as to them. Soul and body, and all thou hadst in the w<wld, were 
formerly under wrath : he has removed that wrath, shall not all 
these be at his service ? That thy soul is not overwhelmed with 
the wrath of God, is owing purely to Jesus Christ ; and shall it not 
be a temple for his Spirit ? That thy heart is not filled with horror 
and despair is owing to Him only ; to whom then should it be de- 
voted, but to him alone ? That thine eyes are not blinded with the 
smoke of the pit; thy hands not fettered with chains of darkness; 
thy tongue is not broiling in the fire of hell ; and thy feet are not 
standing in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, — is owing 
purely to Jesus Christ ! and shall not these eyes be employed for 
him, these hands act for him, this tongue speak for him, and these 
feet speedily run his errands ? To him who believes that he was a 
child of wrath, even as others, but is now delivered by the blessed 
Jesus, nothing will appear too much, to do or sufl"er for his De- 
liverer, when he has a fair call to it. 

3. To conclude with a word to all. Let no man think lightly of 
sin, which lays the sinner open to the wrath of God. Let not the 
sin of our nature, which wreathes the yoke of God's wrath so early 
about our necks, seem a small thing in our eyes. Fear the Lord 
because of his dreadful wrath. Tremble at the thought of sin, 
against which God has such fiery indignation. Look on his wrath, 
and stand in awe, and sin not. Do you think this is to press you to 



slavish fear? If it were so, one liad better be a slave to God with 
a trembling heart, than a free man to the devil, with a seared con- 
science and a heart of adamant. But it is not so ; you may love 
him, and thus fear him too ; yea, you ought to do it, though you were 
saints of the first magnitude. See Psalm cxix. 120 ; Matt. x. 28 ; 
Luke xii. 5; Heb. xii. 28, 29. Although you have passed the 
gulph of wrath, being in Jesus Christ, yet it is but reasonable that 
your hearts should shiver when you look back to it. Your sin still 
deserves wrath, even as the sins of others ; and it would be terrible 
to be in a fiery furnace, although by a miracle we were so protected 
against it, as that it could not harm us. 


man's utter inability to RECOVER HIMSELF. 

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the 

ungodly. — Rojians v. 6. 

No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw 

him. — John v. 44. 

We have now had a view of the total corruption of man's nature, 
and that load of wrath which lies on him, that gulf of misery into 
Avhich he is plunged in his natural state. But there is one part of 
his misery that deserves particular consideration ; namely, his utter 
inability to recover himself; the knowledge of which is necessary 
for the due humiliation of a sinner. "What I design here, is only 
to propose a few things, whereby to convince the unregenerate man 
of this his inability; that he may see an absolute need of Christ 
and of the power of his grace. 

As a man that is fallen into a pit cannot be supposed to help him- 
self out of it, but by one of two ways ; either by doing all himself 
alone, or taking hold of, and improving, the help offered him by 
others : so an unconverted man cannot be supposed to help himself 
out of his natural state, but either in the way of the law, or cove- 
nant of works, by doing all himself without Christ; or else in the 
way of the Gospel, or covenant of grace, by exerting his own strength 
to lay hold upon, and to make use of the help offered him by a 
Saviour. But, alas ! the unconverted man is dead in the pit, and 
cannot help himself either of these ways; not the first way ; for the 


first text tells us, that when our Lord came to help us, " we wei-e 
without strength," unable to recover ourselves. We were un- 
godly, therefore under a burden of guilt and wrath ; yet " without 
strength," unable to stand under it; and unable to throw it off, or 
get from under it : so that all mankind would have undoubtedly 
perished, had not "Christ died for the ungodly," and brought help 
to those who could never have recovered themselves. But when 
Christ comes and offers help to sinners, cannot they take it ? Can- 
not they improve help when it comes to their hands? No, the se- 
cond text tells, they cannot ; " No man can come unto me,"&c. — that 
is, believe in me, John vi. 44, " except the Father draw him." This 
is a drawing which enables them to come, who, till then could not 
come ; and therefore could not help themselves by improving the 
help offered. It is a drawing which is always effectual ; for it can 
be no less than " hearing and learning the Father," which, whoever 
partakes of, coraeth to Christ, ver. 45. Therefore it is not drawing 
in the way of mere moral suasion, which may be, yea, and always 
is effectual. But it is drawing by mighty power, Eph. i. 12, abso- 
lutely necessary for those who have no power in themselves to come 
and take hold of the offered help. 

Hearken then, unregenerate man, and be convinced that as 
thou art in a most miserable state by nature, so thou art utterly un- 
able to recover thyself any way. Thou art ruined; and what way 
wilt thou go to work, to recover thyself? Which of the two ways 
wilt thou choose ? Wilt thou try it alone ; or wilt thou make use 
of help? Wilt thou fall on the way of works, or on the way of 
the Gospel ? I know very well that thou wilt not so much as try 
the way of the Gospel, till once thou hast found the recovery im- 
practicable in the way of the law. Therefore, we shall begin where 
corrupt nature teaches men to begin, namely, at the way of the 
law of works. 

I. Sinner, I would have thee to believe that thy working will ne- 
ver effect it. Work, and do thy best ; thou wilt never be able to 
work thyself out of this state of corruption and wrath. Thou must 
have Christ, else thou wilt perish eternally. It is only " Christ in 
you" that can be the hope of glory. But if thou wilt needs try it, 
then I must lay before thee, from the unalterable word of the liv- 
ing God, two things which thou must do for thyself. If thou canst 
do them, it must be yielded, that thou art able to recover thyself; 
but if not, then thou canst do nothing this way for thy recovery. 

1. "If thou wilt enter into life keep the commandments," Matt. 
xix. 17. That is, if thou wilt by doing enter into life, then per- 
fectly keep the ten commandments; for the object of these words 


is to beat^down the pride of the man's heart, and to let hira see 
an absolute need of a Saviour, from the impossibility of keeping 
the law. The answer is given suitably to the address. Our Lord 
checks him for his compliment, " Good Master," ver. 16, telling 
him, " There is none good but one, that is God," ver. 17- As if he 
had said, Tou think yourself a good man, and me another; but 
where goodness is spoken of, men and angels may veil their faces 
before the good God. As to his question, wherein he discovered his 
legal disposition, Christ does not answer him, saying, " Believe and 
thou shalt be saved ;" that would not have been so seasonable in 
the case of one who thought he could do well enough for himself, 
if he but knew " what good he should do;" but, suitable to the hu- 
mour the man was in, he bids him " keep the commandments ;" 
keep them nicely and accurately, as those that watch malefac- 
tors in prison, lest any of thera escape, and their life be taken 
for those which escape. See then, unregenerate man, what thou 
canst do in this matter ; for if thou wilt recover thyself in this way, 
thou must perfectly keep the commandments of God. 

(1.) Thy obedience must be perfect, in respect of the principle of 
it; that is, thy soul, the principle of action, must be perfectly pure, 
and altogether without sin. For the law requires all moral perfec- 
tion ; not only actual, but habitual : and so condemns original sin ; 
impurity of nature, as well as of actions. Now, if thou canst bring 
this to pass, thou wilt be able to answer that question of Solomon, 
so as never one of Adam's posterity could yet answer it, " Who can 
say, I have made my heart clean ?" Prov. xx. 9. But if thou canst 
not, the very want of this perfection is sin, and so lays thee open to 
the curse and cuts thee off from life. Yea, it makes all thine ac- 
tions, even thy best actions, sinful : " For who can bring a clean 
thing out of an unclean ?" Job xiv. 4. And dost thou think by sin 
to help thyself out of sin and misery ? 

(2.) Thy obedience must also be perfect in parts. It must be as 
broad as the whole law of God : if thou lackest one thing, thou art 
undone ; for the law denounces the curse on him that continueth 
not in every thing written therein, Gal. iii. 10. Thou must give 
internal and external obedience to the whole law ; keep all the 
commands in heart and life. If thou break any one of them, that 
will insure thy ruin. A vain thought, or idle word, will still shut 
thee up under the curse. 

(3.) It must be perfect in respect of degrees ; as was the obe- 
dience of Adam, while he stood in his innocence. This the law re- 
quires, and will accept of no less, Matt. xxii. 37, " Thou shalt love 
the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and 


with all thy mind." If one degree of that love, required by the 
law, be wanting ; if each part of thy obedience be not brought up 
to the greatest height commanded ; that want is a breach of the 
law, and so leaves thee still under the curse. A man may bring as 
many buckets of water to a house that is on fire, as he is able to 
carry ; and yet it may be consumed, and will be so, if he bring not 
as many as will quench tlie fire. Jjven so, although thou shouldst 
do what thou art able, in keeping the commandments, if thou 
fail in the least degree of obedience, which the law enjoins, thou 
art certainly ruined for ever ; unless thou take hold of Christ, 
renouncing all thy righteousness, as filthy rags. See Kom. x. 5 ; 
Gal. iii. 10. 

(4.) It must be perpetual, as the man Christ's obedience was, 
who always did the things which pleased the Father ; for the tenor 
of the law is, " Cursed is he that continueth not in all things writ- 
ten in the law to do them." Hence, though Adam's obedience was, 
for a while, absolutely perfect ; yet because at length he failed in 
one point, namely, in eating the forbidden fruit, he fell under the 
curse of the law. If a man were to live a dutiful subject to his 
prince, till the close of his days, and then conspire against him, he 
must die for his treason. Even so, though thou shouldst, all the 
time of thy life, live in perfect obedience to the law of God, and 
yet at the hour of death only entertain a vain thought, or pronounce 
an idle word, that idle word, or vain thought, would blot out all thy 
former righteousness, and ruin thee ; namely, in this way in which 
thou art seeking to recover thyself. 

Now, such is the obedience which thou must perform, if thou 
wouldst recover thyself in the way of the law. — But though thou 
wouldst thus obey, the law stakes thee down in the state of wrath, 
till another demand of it be satisfied. 

2. Thou must pay what thou owest. It is undeniable that thou 
art a sinner ; and whatever thou mayest be in time to come, justice 
must be satisfied for thy sins already committed. The honour of 
the law must be maintained, by thy suft'ering the denounced wrath. 
It may be thou hast changed thy course of life, or art now resolved 
to do it, and to set about keeping the commands of God : but what 
hast thou done, or what wilt thou do, with the old debt ? Your 
obedience to God, though it were perfect, is a debt due to him, for 
the time wherein it is performed ; and can no more satisfy for 
former sins, than a tenant's paying the current year's rent can 
satisfy the landlord for all arrears. Can the paying of new debts 
acquit a man from old accounts ? Nay, deceive not yourselves ; 
you will find these laid up in store with God, and sealed up among 


liis treasures, Deut. xxxii. 34. It remains then, that either tliou 
must bear that wrath, to which for thy sin thou art liable, accord- 
ing to the law ; or else thou must acknowledge that thou canst not 
bear it, and thereupon have recourse to the surety, the Lord Jesus 
Christ. Let me now ask thee, Art thou able to satisfy the justice 
of God? Canst thou pay thy own debt ? Surely not: for, as he 
is the infinite God, whom thou hast offended ; the punishment, 
being suited to the quality of the oflFeuce, must be infinite. — But thy 
punishment, or sufferings for sin, cannot be infinite in value, for 
thou art a finite creature : therefore, they must be infinite in dura- 
tion or continuance ; that is, they must be eternal. And so all thy 
sufferings in this world are but an earnest of what thou must suffer 
in the world to come. 

Now, sinner, if thou canst answer these demands, thou mayest 
recover thyself in the way of the law. But art thou not conscious 
of thy inability to do any of these things ; much more to do 
them all ? yet if thou do not all, thou dost nothing. Turn then, to 
what course of life thou wilt, thou art still in a state of wrath. 
Screw up thine obedience to the greatest height thou canst; suffer 
what God lays upon thee ; yea, add, if thou wilt, to the burden, and 
walk under all without the least impatience : yet all this will not 
satisfy the demands of the law ; therefore thou art still a ruined 
creature. Alas, sinner ! what art thou doing, while thou strivest 
to help thyself, but dost not receive, and uuite with, Jesus Christ ? 
Thou art labouring in the fire, wearying thyself for very vanity ; 
labouring to enter into heaven, by the door which Adam's sin so 
bolted, that neither he, nor any of his lost posterity, can ever enter 
by it. Dost thou not see the flaming sword of justice, keeping thee 
off from the tree of life ? Dost thou not hear the law denouncing a 
curse on thee, for all thou art doing ; even for thy obedience, thy 
prayers, thy tears, thy reformation of life, and so on ; because, being 
under the law's dominion, thy best works are not so good as it 
requires them to be under the pain of the curse ? Believe it, sirs, if 
you live and die out of Christ, without being actually united to him 
as the second Adam, the life-giving Spirit, and without coming 
under the covert of his atoning blood ; though you should do the 
utmost that any man can do, in keeping the commands of God, you 
can never see the face of God in peace. If you should, from this 
moment, bid an eternal farewell to this world's joys, and all the 
affairs thereof, and henceforth busy yourselves with nothing but the 
salvation of your souls ; if you should go into some wilderness, live 
upon the grass of the field, and be companions to dragons and owls ; 
if you should retire to some dark cavern of the earth, and weep 


there for your sins, until yon had wept yourselves blind ; if you 
should confess with your tongue, until it cleave to the roof of your 
mouth ; pray, till your knees grow hard as horns ; fast, till your 
body become like a skeleton ; and, after all this, give it to be 
burnt ; the word is gone out of the Lord's mouth in righteousness, 
and cannot return, that you shall perish for ever, notwithstanding 
all this, as not being in Christ : John xiv. fci, " No man cometh unto 
the Father, but by me." Acts iv. 12, " Neither is there salvation 
in any other." Mark xvi. 16, " He that believeth not, shall be 

Objection. But God is a merciful God, and he knows that we are 
not able to answer these demands ; we hope therefore to be saved, 
if we do as well as we can, and keep the commands as well as we 
are able. Answer 1. Though thou art able to do many things, thou 
art not able to do one thing right : thou canst do nothing acceptable 
to God, being out of Christ, John xv. 5, " Without me ye can do 
nothing." An unrenewed man, as thou art, can do nothing but sin ; 
as we have already proved. Thy best actions are sin, and so they 
increase thy debt to justice : how then can it be expected they 
should lessen it ? 2. Though God should offer to save men, upon 
condition that they did all they could do, in obedience to his com- 
mands, yet we have reason to think, that those who should attempt 
it, would never be saved : for where is the man that does as well as 
he can ? Who sees not many false steps he has made, which he 
might have avoided? There are so many things to be done, so 
many temptations to carry us out of the road of duty, and our 
nature is so very apt to be set on fire of hell, that we surely must 
fail, even in some point that is within the compass of our natural 
abilities. But, 3. Though thou shouldst do all thou art able to do, 
in vain dost thou hope to be saved in that way. What word of 
God is this hope of thine founded on ? It is neither founded on 
law nor gospel ; therefore it is but a delusion. It is not founded on 
the Gospel ; for the Gospel leads the soul out of itself, to Jesus 
Christ for all ; and it establishes the law, Rom. iii. 31. Whereas 
this hope of yours cannot be established, but on the ruins of the 
law, which God will magnify and make honourable. Hence it ap- 
pears, that it is not founded on the law neither. When God set 
Adam a-working for happiness to himself and his posterity, perfect 
obedience was the condition required of him ; and the curse was 
denou; ^ed in case of disobedience. Tlie law being broken by him, 
he and his posterity were subjected to the penalty for sin commit- 
ted ; and withal were still bound to perfect obedience : for it is 
absurd to think, that man's sinning, and suffering for his sin, should 


free him frooi liis duty of obedience to his Creator. When Christ 
came in the room of the elect, to purchase their salvation, the terms 
were the same. Justice had the elect under arrest : if he is de- 
sirous to deliver them, the terms are known. He must satisfy for 
their sin, by suffering the punishment due to it; he must do what 
they cannot do, namely, obey the law perfectly, and so fulfil all 
righteousness. Accordingly, all this he did, and so became " the 
end of the law for righteousness, to every one that believeth," Rom. 
X. 4. And dost thou think that God will abate these terms as to 
thee, when his own Son got no abatement of them ? Expect it not, 
though thou shouldst beg it with tears of blood ; for if they pre- 
vailed, they must prevail against the truth, justice, and honour of 
God : 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." Yer, 
12, " And the law is not of faith : but, the man that doth them, 
shall live in them." It is true, that God is merciful : but cannot he 
be merciful, unless he save you in a way that is neither consistent 
with his law, nor his Gospel ? Have not his goodness and mercy 
sufficiently appeared, in sending the Son of his love, to do " what 
the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh ?" He 
has provided help for those who cannot help themselv^es : but thou, 
insensible of thine own weakness, must needs think to recover thy- 
self by thine own works, while thou art no more able to do it, than 
to remove mountains of brass out of their place. 

Wherefore I conclude, that thou art utterly unable to recover 
thyself, in the way of works, or by the law. that thou wouldst 
conclude the same concerning thyself ! 

II. Let us try next what the sinner can do to recover himself, in 
the way of the gospel. It may be thou thinkest, that thou canst not 
do all by thyself alone, yet Jesus Christ offering thee help, thou 
canst of thyself embrace it, and use it for thy recovery. But, 
sinner, be convinced of thine absolute need of the grace of Christ : 
for truly, there is help offered, but thou canst not accept it: there is 
a rope cast out to draw shipwrecked sinners to land, but, alas! they 
have no hands to lay hold of it. They are like infants exposed in 
the open field, who must starve, though their food be lying by them, 
unless some one put it in their mouths. To convince natural men 
of this, let it be considered, 

1. That although Christ is offered in the gospel, yet they cannot 
believe in him. Saving faith is the faith of God's elect ; the special 
gift of God to them, wrought in them by his Spirit. Salvation is 
offered to them that will believe in Christ, but how can you believe? 
John V. 44. It is offered to those that will come to Christ ; but 


" no man can come unto him, except the Father draw him." It is 
offered to those that will look to him, as lifted on the pole of the 
gospel, Isa. xlv. 22 ; but the natural man is spiritually blind, Rev. 
iii. 17; and as to the things of the Spirit of God, he cannot know 
them, for they are spiritually discerned, 1 Cor. ii. 14. Nay, vvrhoso- 
ever will, he is welcome ; let him come. Rev. xxii. 17; but there 
must be a day of power on the sinner, before he can be willing. 
Psalm ex. 3. 

2. Man naturally has nothing wherewithal to improve, for his re- 
covery, the help brought in by the gospel. He is cast away in a 
state of wrath ; and is bound hand and foot, so that he cannot lay 
hold of the cords of love thrown out to him in the gospel. The most 
cunning artificer cannot work without tools ; neither can the most 
skilful musician play well on an instrument that is out of tune. 
How can any one believe, or repent, whose understanding is dark- 
ness, Eph. V. 8 ; whose heart is a stony heart, inflexible, insensible, 
Ezek. xxxvi. 26 ; whose affections are wholly disordered and dis- 
tempered ; who is averse to good, and bent to evil ? The arms of 
natural abilities are too short to reach supernatural help : hence 
those who most excel in them, are often most estranged from 
spiritual things. Matt. xi. 25, " Thou hast hid these things from the 
wise and prudent." 

3. Man cannot work a saving change on himself : but so changed 
he must be, else he can neither believe nor repent, nor ever see hea- 
ven. No action can be without a suitable principle. Believing, 
repenting, and the like, are the product of the new nature ; and can 
never be produced by the old corrupt nature. Now, what can the 
natural man do in this matter ? He must be regenerate ; begotten 
again unto a lively hope ; but as the child cannot be active in his 
own generation, so a man cannot be active but passive only, in his 
own regeneration. The heart is shut against Christ : man cannot 
open it, only God can do it by his grace, Acts xvi. 14. He is dead 
in sin ; he must be quickened, raised out of his grave ; who can do 
this but God himself? Eph. ii. 1 — 5. Nay, he must be "created in 
Christ Jesus, unto good works," Eph. ii. 10. These are works of 
omnipotence, and can be done by no less a power. 

4. Man, in his depraved state, is under an utter inability to do 
any thing truly good, as was proved before at large : how then can 
he obey the gospel ? His nature is the very reverse of the gospel : 
how can he, of himself, fall in with that plan of salvation, and ac- 
cept the offered remedy? The corruption of man's nature infallibly 
includes his utter inability to recover himself in any way, and 
whoso is convinced of the one, must needs admit the other; for they 


stand and fall together. Were all the purchase of Christ offered to 
the unregenerate man, for one good thought, he cannot command it, 
2 Cor, iii. 5, "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to think any- 
thing as of ourselves." "Were it offered on condition of a good 
word, yet " How can ye, being evil, speak good things ? Matt. xii. 
35. Nay, were it left to yourselves, to choose what is easiest, Christ 
himself tells you, John xv. 5, " Without me, ye can do nothing." 

5. The natural man cannot but resist the Lord's offering to help 
him; yet that resistance is infallibly overcome in the elect, by con- 
verting grace. Can the stony heart but choose to resist the stroke ? 
There is not only an inability, but an enmity and obstinacy in 
man's will by nature. God knows, natural man, whether thou 
knowest it or not, that " thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an 
iron sinew, and thy brow brass," Isa. xlviii. 4, and cannot be over- 
come, but by him, who hath " broken the gates of brass, and cut the 
bars of iron in sunder." Hence, commonly speaking, there is such 
hard work in converting a sinner. Sometimes he seems to be caught 
in the net of the gospel ; yet quickly he slips away again. The 
hook catches hold of him ; but he struggles, till, getting free of it, 
he goes away with a bleeding wound. When good hopes are con- 
ceived of him, by those that travail in birth for the forming of 
Christ in him, there is oft-times nothing brought forth but wind. 
The deceitful heart makes many contrivances to avoid a Saviour, 
and cheat the man of his eternal happiness. Thus the natural man 
lies sunk in a state of sin and wrath, and utterly unable to recover 

Objection 1. If we be under an utter inability to do any good, how 
can God require us to do it ? Answer. God making man upright, 
Eccl. vii. 29, gave him a power to do every thing that he should re- 
quire of him ; this power man lost by his own fault. We were 
bound to serve God, and do whatever he commanded us, as being 
his creatures ; and also, we were under the superadded tie of a cove- 
nant, for that purpose. Now, we having, by our own fault, disabled 
ourselves, shall God lose his right of requiring our task, because we 
have thrown away the strength he gave us whereby to perform it ? 
Has the creditor no right to require payment of his money, because 
the debtor has squandered it away, and is not able to pay him ? 
Truly, if God can require no more of us than we are able to do, we 
need no more to save us from wrath, but to make ourselves unable 
for every duty, and to incapacitate ourselves for serving God any 
manner of way, as profane men frequently do : and so the deeper a 
man is plunged in sin, he will be the more secure from wrath ; for 
where God can require no duty of us, we do not sin in omitting it ; 


and where there is no sin, there can be no wrath. As to what may- 
be urged by the unhnrabled soul, against the putting our stock in 
Adam's hand, the righteousness of that dispensation was explained 
before. But moreover, the unrenewed man is daily throwing away 
the very remains of natural abilities, that rational light and strength 
which are to be found amongst the ruins of mankind. Nay, farther, 
he will not believe his own utter inability to help himself; so that 
out of his own mouth, he must be condemned. Even those who 
make their natural impotency too good a covert to their sloth, do, 
with others, delay the work of turning to God from time to time, 
and, under convictions, make large promises of reformation, which 
afterwards they never regard, and delay their repentance to a death- 
bed, as if they could help themselves in a moment ; which shews 
them to be far from a due sense of their natural inability, whatever 
they pretend. 

Now, if God can require of men the duty they are not able to do, 
he can in justice punish them for their not doing it, notwithstanding 
their inability. If he has poAver to exact the debt of obedience, he 
has also power to cast the insolvent debtor into prison, for his not 
paying it. Further, though unregenerate men have no gracious 
abilities, yet they want not natural abilities which nevertheless 
they will not improve. There are many things they can do, 
which they do not; they will not do them, and therefore their dam- 
nation will be just. Nay, all their inability to do good is volun- 
tary ; they will not come to Christ, John v. 40. They will not 
repent, they will die, Ezek. xviii. 31. So they will be justly con- 
demned ; because they will neither turn to God, nor come to Christ ; 
but love their chains better than their liberty, and darkness rather 
than light, John iii. 19. 

Objection 2. Why do you then preach Christ to U3; call us to 
come to him, to believe, repent, and use the means of salvation ? 
Answer. Because it is our duty so to do. It is your duty to accept 
of Christ, as he is olfered in the Gospel ; to repent of your sins, and 
to be holy in all manner of conversation : these things are com- 
manded you of God ; and his command, not your ability, is the 
measure of your duty. Moreover, these calls and exhortations are 
the means that God is pleased to make use of, for converting his 
elect, and working grace in their hearts : to them, " faith cometh by 
hearing," Rom. x. 17, while they are as unable to help themselves 
as the rest of mankind are. Upon very good grounds may we, 
at the command of God, who raiseth the dead, go to their graves, 
and cry in his name, " Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from 
the dead, and Christ shall give thee light," Eph. v. 14. And seeing 


the elect are not to be known and distinguished from others before 
conversion ; as the sun shines on the blind man's face, and the 
rain falls on the rocks as well as on the fruitful plains ; so we 
preach Christ to all, and shoot the arrow at a venture, which God 
himself directs as he sees fit. ILoreover, these calls and exhorta- 
tions are not altogether in vain, even to those who are not con- 
verted by them. Such persons may be convinced, though they be 
not converted : although they be not sanctified by these means, yet 
they may be restrained by them, from running into that excess of 
■wickedness, which otherwise they would arrive at. The means of 
grace serve, as it were, to enbalm many dead souls, which are never 
quickened by them : though they do not restore them to life, yet 
they keep them from putrefying, as otherwise they would do. Fi- 
nally, Though you cannot recover yourselves, nor take hold of the 
saving help offered to you in the Gospel ; yet even by the power of 
nature, you may use the outward and ordinary means, whereby Christ 
communicates the benefit of redemption to ruined sinners, who are 
utterly unable to recover themselves out of the state of sin and 
wrath. You may and can, if you please, do many things that would 
set you in a fair way for help from the Lord Jesus Christ. You 
may go so far on, as not to be far from the kingdom of God, as the 
discreet Scribe had done, Mark xii. 34, though, it should seem, 
he was destitute of supernatural abilities. Though you cannot cure 
yourselves, yet you may come to the pool, where many such dis- 
eased persons as you are, have been cured ; though you have none 
to put you into it, yet you may lie at the side of it : " Who knows 
but the Lord may return, and leave a blessing behind him ?" as 
in the case of the impotent man, recorded in John v. 5 — 8. I hope 
Satan does not chain you to your houses, nor stake you down in 
your fields on the Lord's day ; but you are at liberty and can wait 
at the posts of wisdom's doors if yon will. When you come thither 
he does not beat drums at your ears, that you cannot hear what is 
said ; there is no force upon you, obliging you to apply all you hear 
to others ; you may apply to yourselves what belongs to your state 
and condition. When you go home, you are not fettered in your 
houses, where perhaps no religious discourse is to be heard ; but 
vou may retire to some separate place, where you can meditate, and 
exercise your consciences with suitable questions upon what you 
have heard. You are not possessed with a dumb devil, that you 
cannot get your mouths opened in prayer to God. You are not so 
driven out of your beds to your worldly business, and from your 
worldly business to your beds again, but you might, if you would, 
make some prayer to God upon the case of your perishing souls. — • 


You may examine yourselves as to tlie state of your souls, in a 
solemn manner, as in the presence of God ; you may discern that 
you have no grace, and that you are lost and undone without it ; 
and you may cry unto God for it. These things are within the 
compass of natural abilities, and may be practised where there is no 
grace. It must aggravate your guilt, that you will not be at so 
much pains about the state and case of your precious souls. If you 
do not what you can, you will be condemned, not only for the want 
of grace, but for your despising it. 

Objection 'S. But all this is needless, seeing we are utterly un- 
able to help ourselves out of the state of sin and wrath. Atiswer. 
Give not place to that delusion, which puts asunder what God hath 
joined, namely, the use of means, and a sense of our own impotency, 
If ever the spirit of God graciously influence your souls, you will 
become thoroughly sensible of your absolute inability, and yet en- 
ter upon a vigorous use of means. You will do for yourselves, as 
if you were to do all ; and yet overlook all you do, as if you had 
done nothing. Will you do nothing for yourselves, because you 
cannot do all ? Lay down no such impious conclusion against your 
own souls. Do what you can ; and, it may be, while you are doing 
what you can for yourselves, God will do for you what you cannot. 
•' TJnderstandest thou what thou readest ?" said Philip to the eunuch ; 
" How can I," said he " except some man should guide me ?" Acts 
viii. 30, 31. He could not understand the scripture he read, yet he 
could read it : he did what he could, he read ; and while he was 
reading, God sent him an interpreter. The Israelites were in a 
great strait at the Red Sea ; and how could they help themselves, 
when on the one hand were mountains, and on the other the enemy 
in pursuit ; when Pharaoh and hi? host were behind them, and the 
Red Sea before them ? What could they do ? — " Speak unto the 
children of Israel," saith the Lord to Moses, " that they go for- 
ward," Exod. xiv. 15. For what end should they go forward ? Can 
they make a passage to themselves through the sea ? No ; but let 
them go forward, saith the Lord : though they cannot turn the 
sea to dry land, yet they can go forward to the shore. So they did ; 
and when they did what they could, God did for them what they 
could not do. 

Question. Has God promised to convert and save those who, in 
the use of means, do what they can towards their own relief? 
Answer. We may not speak wickedly for God : natural men, being 
strangers to the covenant of promise, Eph. ii. 12, have no such 
promise made to them. Nevertheless they do not act rationally 
unless they exert the powers they have, and do what they can 


For, 1. It is possible tliis course may succeed with them. If 
you do what you can, it may be, God will do for you what you 
cannot do for yourselves. This is sufficient to determine a man in 
a matter of the utmost importance, such as this is, Acts viii. 22, 
" Pray God, if perhaps the thought of thy heart may be forgiven 
thee." Joel ii. 14, " Who kuoweth if he will return ?" If success 
may be, the trial should be. If, in a wreck at sea, all the sailors 
and passengers betake themselves each to a broken board for 
safety; and one of them should see all the rest perish, notwith- 
standing their utmost endeavour to save themselves : yet the very 
possibility of escaping by that means, would determine that one still 
to do his best with his board. Why then do not you reason with 
yourselves, as the four lepers did, who sat at the gate of Samaria ? 
2 Kings vii. 3, 4. Why do you not say, " If we sit still," not doing 
what we can, "we die;" let us put it to a trial ; if we be saved, "we 
shall live;" if not " we shall but die?" 2. It is probable this course 
may succeed ; God is good and merciful ; he loves to surprise men 
with his grace, and is often " found of them that sought him not," 
Isa. Ixv. 1. If you do this, you are so far in the road of your duty; 
and you are using the means, which the Lord is wont to bless, 
for men's spiritual recovery : you lay yourselves in the way of 
the great Physician ; and so it is probable you may be healed. 
Lydia went, with others, to the place " where prayer was wont to be 
made ;" and " the Lord opened her heart," Acts xvi. 13, 14. You 
plough and sow, though nobody can tell you for certain that you 
will get so much as your seed again : you use means for the recovery 
of your health, though you are not sure they will succeed. In these 
cases probability determines you; and why not in this also? Im- 
portunity, we see, does very much with men : therefore pray, medi- 
tate, desire help of God ; be much at the throne of grace, supplicat- 
ing for grace; and do not faint. Thongli God regard you not, who 
in your present state are but one mass of sin, universally depraved, 
and vitiated in all the powers of your soul ; yet he may regard 
prayer, meditation, and the like means of his own appointment, and 
he may bless thera to you. — Wherefore, if you will not do what you 
can, you are not only dead, but you declare yourselves unworthy of 
eternal life. 

To conclude. — Let the saints admire the freedom and power of 
grace, which came to them in their helpless condition, made their 
chains fall off, the iron gate to open to them ; raised the fallen crea- 
tures, and brought them out of the state of sin and wrath, wherein 
they would have laiu and perished, had not they been mercifully 
visited. Let the natural man be sensible of his utter inability to 


recover himself. Know, that thou art without strength : and canst 
not come to Christ, till thou be drawn. Thou art lost, and canst 
not help thyself. This may shake the foundation of your hopes, if 
you never saw your absolute need of Christ and his grace, but think 
to contrive for yourself by your civility, morality, drowsy wishes, 
and duties ; and by a faith and repentance, which have sprung out 
of your natural powers, without the power and efficacy of the grace 
of Christ. be convinced of your absolute need of Christ, and his 
overcoming grace ; believe your utter inability to recover yourself; 
that so you may bo humbled, shaken out of your self-confidence, 
and lie down in dust and ashes, groaning out your miserable case 
before the Lord. A proper sense of your natural impotence, the 
impotence of depraved human nature, would be a step towards 
a delivery. 

Thus far of man's natural state, the state of entire depravation. 






1 Peter i. 23, 

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the 
word of God, ivhich liveth and abideth for ever. 

We proceed now to the state of grace, the state of begun recovery 
of human nature, into which all that shall partake of eternal hap- 
piness are translated, sooner or later, while in this world. It is the 
result of a gracious change made upon those who shall inherit eter- 
nal life : which change may be taken up in these two particulars : 
1. In opposition to their natural real state, the state of corruption, 
there is a change made upon them in regeneration ; whereby their 
nature is changed. 2. In opposition to their natural relative state, 
the state of wrath, there is a change made upon them in their union 
with the Lord Jesus Christ ; by which they are placed beyond the 
reach of condemnation. These, therefore, regeneration and union 
with Christ, I desire to treat on as the great and comprehensive 
changes on a sinner, bringing him into the state of grace. 

The first of these we have in the text ; together with the out- 
ward and ordinary means by which it is brought about. The apostle 
here, to excite the saints to the study of holiness, and particularly 
of brotherly love, puts them in mind of their spiritual original. 
He tells them that they were born again ; and that of incorruptible 
seed, the word of God, This shows them to be brethren, partakers 
of the same new nature : which is the root from which holiness, and 
particularly brotherly love, springs. We have been once born sin- 
ners : we must be born again, that we may be saints. The simple 
word signifies " to be begotten ;" and so it may be read, Matth. xi. 
11 ; "to be conceived," Matt. i. 20; and "to be born," Matt. ii. 1. 
Accordingly, the compound word, used in the text, may be taken 
in its full latitude, the last idea presupposing the two former : so 
regeneration is a supernatural real change on the whole man, fitly 
compared to the natural birth, as will afterwards appear. The 


ordinary means of regenaration, called the " seed," whereof the new 
creature is formed, is not corrnptible seed. Of such, indeed our 
bodies are generated : but the spiritual seed of which the new crea- 
ture is generated, is incorruptible; namely, "the word of God, 
which liveth and abideth for ever." The sound of the word of God 
passeth, even as other sounds do; but the word lasteth, liveth, and 
abideth, in respect of its everlasting effects, on all upon whom it 
operates. This " word, which by the gospel is preached unto you," 
ver. 25, impregnated by the Spirit of God, is the means of regenera- 
tion : and by it dead sinners are raised to life. 

Doctrine. All men in the state of grace, are born again. All 
gracious persons, namely, such as are in a state of favour with God, 
and endowed with gracious qualities and dispositions, are regenerate 
persons. In discoursing on this subject, I shall shew. What regene- 
ration is ; next. Why it is so called ; and then apply the doctrine. 

I. Of the Nature of regeneration. 

For the better understanding of the nature of regeneration, take 
this along with you, that as there are false conceptions in nature, so 
there are also in grace : by these many are deluded, mistaking some 
partial changes made upon them, for this great and thorough change. 
To remove snch mistakes, let these few things be considered : (1.) 
Many call the church their mother, whom God will not own to be his 
children. Cant. i. 6. " My mother's children," that is, false breth- 
ren, " were angry with me." All that are baptized, are not born 
again. Simon was baptized, yet still " in the gall of bitterness, and 
in the bond of iniquity," Acts viii. 13, 23. Where Christianity is 
the religion of the country, many are called by the name of Christ, 
who have no more of him than the name : and no wonder, for the 
devil had his goats among Christ's sheep, in those places where but 
few professed the Christian religion, 1 John ii. 19, " They went out 
from us, but they were not of us." (2.) Good education is not rege- 
neration. Education may chain up men's lusts, but cannot change 
their hearts. A wolf is still a ravenous beast, though it be in 
chains. Joash was very devout during the life of his good tutor 
Jehoiada ; but afterwards he quickly shewed what spirit he was of, 
by his sudden apostasy, 2 Chron. xxiv. 2 — 18. Good example is of 
mighty influence to change tlie outward man : but that change often 
goes off, when a man changes his company ; of which the world af- 
fords many sad instances. (3.) A turning from open profanity, to 
civility and sobriety, falls short of this saving change. Some are, 
for a while, very loose, especially in their younger years ; but at 
length they reforo', and leave their profane courses. Here is a 
change, yet only such as may be found in men utterly void of the 



grace of God, and whose rigliteousness is so far from exceeding, that 
it doth not come up to the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. 
(4.) One may engage in all the outward duties of religion, and yet 
not be born again. Though lead be cast into various shapes, it re- 
mains still but a base metal. Men may escape the pollutions of the 
world, and yet be but dogs and swine, 2 Pet. ii. 20 — 22. All the 
external acts of religion are within the compass of natural abilities. 
Yea, hypocrites may have the counterfeit of all the graces of the 
Spirit : for we read of " true holiness," Eph. iv. 24 ; and '• faith un- 
feigned," 1 Tim. i. 5 ; which shews us that there is counterfeit holi- 
ness, and a feigned faith. (5.) Men may advance to a great deal of 
strictness in their own way of religion, and yet be strangers to the 
new birth. Acts xxvi. 5, " After the most straitest sect of our reli- 
gion, I lived a Pharisee." Nature has its own unsanctified strictness 
in religion. The Pharisees had so much of it, that they looked on 
Christ as little better than a mere libertine. A man whose con- 
science has been awakened, and who lives under the felt influence of 
the covenant of works, what will he not do that is within the com- 
pass of natural abilities ? It is a truth, though it came out of a hell- 
ish mouth, that " skin for skin, yea all that a man hath will he give 
for his life," Job ii. 4. (6.) A person may have sharp soul-exercises 
and pangs, and yet die in the birth. Many " have been in pain," 
that have but, "as it were, brought forth wind." There may be sore 
pangs of conscience, which turn to nothing at last. Pharaoh and 
Simon Magus had such convictious, as made them to desire the 
prayers of others for them. Judas repented himself : and, under 
terrors of conscience, gave back his ill-gotten pieces of silver. All 
is not gold that glitters. Trees may blossom fairly in the spring, on 
which no fruit is to be found in the harvest : and some have sharp 
soul-exercises, which are nothing but foretastes of hell. 

The new birth, however in appearance hopefully begun, may be 
marred two ways. Some have sharp convictions for a while : but 
these go off, and they become as careless about their salvation, and 
as profane as ever, and usually worse than ever ; " their last state 
is worse than their first," Matt. xii. 45. They get awakening grace, 
but not converting grace ; and that goes off by degrees, as the light 
of the declining day, till it issues in midnight darkness. Others 
come forth too soon ; they are born, like Ishmael, before the time of 
the promise, Gen. xvi. 2 ; compare Gal. iv. 22, &c. They take up 
with a mere law work, and stay not till the time of the promise of 
the gospel. They snatch at consolation, not wailing till it be given 
them ; and foolishly draw their comfort from the law that wounded 
them. They apply the healing plaster to themselves, before their 


wound, is sufficiently searched. The law, that rigorous husband, 
severely beats them, and throws in curses and vengeance upon their 
souls ; then they fall to reforming, praying, mourning, promising, 
and vowing, till this ghost be laid; which done, they fall asleep 
again in the arms of the law : but they are never shaken out of 
themselves and their own righteousness, nor brought forward to 
Jesus Christ. There may be a wonderful moving of the affections, 
in souls that are not at all touched with regenerating grace. When 
there is no grace, there may, notwithstanding, be a flood of tears, as 
in Esau, who " found no place of repentance, though he sought it 
carefully with tears," Heb. xii. 17. There may be great flashes of 
joy ; as in the hearers of the word, represented in the parable of 
the stony ground, who " anon with joy receive it," Matt. xiii. 20. 
There may be also great desires after good things, and great delight 
in them too; as in those hypocrites described in Isa. Iviii. 2, "Yet 
they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways : — they take 
delight in approaching to God." — See how high they may sometimes 
stand, who yet fall away, Heb. vi. 4 — 6. They may be " enlight- 
ened, taste of the heavenly gift," " be partakers of the Holy Ghost, 
taste the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come." 
Common operations of the divine Spirit, like a land-flood, make a 
strange turning of things upside down : but when they are over, all 
runs again in the ordinary channel. All these things may be, 
where the sanctifying Spirit of Christ never rests upon the soul, but 
the stony heart still remains; and in that case these affections 
cannot but wither, because they have no root. 

But regeneration is a real, thorough change, whereby the man is 
made a new creature, 2 Cor. v. 17- The Lord God makes the crea- 
ture a new creature, as the goldsmith melts down a vessel of dis- 
honour, and makes it a vessel of honour. Man is, in respect of his 
spiritual state, altogether disjointed by the fall ; every faculty of 
the soul is, as it were, dislocated : in regeneration, the Lord loosens 
every joint, and sets it right again. Now this change made in rege- 
neration, is, 

1. A change of qualities or dispositions': it is not a change of the 
substance, but of the qualities of the soul. Vicious qualities are 
removed, and the contrary dispositions are brought in, in their 
room. "The old man is put oflF," Eph. iv. 22; "the new man is 
put on," ver. 24. Man lost none of the rational faculties of his soul 
by sin : he had an understanding still, but it was darkened ; he had 
still a will, but it was contrary to the will of God. So in regenera- 
tion, there is not a new substance created, but new qualities are 
infused ; light instead of darkness, righteousness instead of un- 


2. It is a supernatural change ; lie that is born again, is horn of 
the Spirit, John iii. 5. Great changes may be made by the power 
of nature, especially when assisted by external revelation. Nature 
may be so elevated by the common influences of the Spirit, that a 
person may thereby be turned into another man, as Saul was, 
1 Sam. X. 6, who yet never becomes a new man. But in regenera- 
tion, nature itself is changed, and we become partakers of the 
divine nature ; and this must needs be a supernatural change. How 
can we, who are dead in trespasses and sins, renew ourselves, any 
more than a dead man can raise himself out of his grave ? Who 
but the sanctifying Spirit of Christ can form Christ in a soul, 
changing it into the same image ? Who but the Spirit of sanctifi- 
cation can give the new heart ? Well may we say, when we see a 
man thus changed, " This is the finger of God !" 

3. It is a change into the likeness of God, 2 Cor. iii. 18, " We — 
beholding, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the 
same image." Every thing generates its like : the child bears the 
image of the parent; and they who are born of God, bear God's 
image. Man aspiring to be as God, made himself like the devil. 
In his natural state he resembles the devil, as a child doth his 
father, John viii. 44, " Ye are of your father the devil." But when 
this happy change comes, that image of Satan is defaced, and the 
image of God is restored. Christ himself, who is the brightness of 
his Father's glory, is the pattern after which the new creature is 
made, Rom. viii. 29, " For whom he did foi'eknow, he also did pre- 
destinate to be conformed to the image of his Son." Hence he is 
said to be formed in the regenerate, Gal. iv. 19. 

4. It is a universal change; "all things become new," 2 Cor. v. 
17. It is a blessed leaven, that leavens the whole lump, the whole 
spirit, and soul, and body. Original sin infects the whole man ; and 
regenerating grace, which is the cure, goes as far as the disease. 
This fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness ; goodness of the mind, 
goodness of the will, goodness of the affections, goodness of the 
whole man. He gets not only a new head, to know religion, or a 
new tongue, to talk of it; but a new heart, to love and embrace it, 
in the whole of his conversation. When the Lord opens the sluice 
of grace, on the soul's new-birth day, the waters run through the 
whole man, to purify and make him fruitful. In those natural 
changes spoken of before, there are, as it were, pieces of new cloth 
put into an old garment ; new life to an old heart : but the gracious 
change is a thorough change ; a change both of heart and life. 

Yet, though every part of the man is renewed, there is no part 
of him perfectly renewed. As an infant has all the parts of a man 


but none of them come to a perfect growth ; so regeneration brings 
a perfection of parts, to be brought forward in the gradual advan- 
ces of sanctification, 1 Pet. ii. 2, " As new-born babes, desire the 
sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." Although, 
in regeneration, there is heavenly light let into the mind ; yet there 
is still some darkness there : though the will is renewed, it is not 
perfectly renewed ; there is still some of the old inclination to siu 
remaining : and thus it will be, till that which is in part is done 
away, and the light of glory come. Adam was created at his full 
stature ; but those who are born, must have their time to grow up ; 
so those who are born again, come forth into the new world of 
grace as new-born babes : Adam being created upright, was at the 
same time perfectly righteous, without the least mixture of sinful 

6. Nevertheless, it is a lasting change, which never goes off. The 
seed is incorruptible, saith the text ; and so is the creature that is 
formed of it. The life given in regeneration, whatever decays it 
may fall under, can never be utterly lost. " His seed remaineth 
in him" who " is born of God," 1 John iii. 9. Though the 
branches should be cut down, the root abides in the earth ; and 
being watered with the dew of heaven, shall spout again : for " the 
root of the righteous shall not be moved," Prov. xii. 3. But to 
come to particulars. 

1. In regeneration the mind is savingly enlightened. There is 
a light let into the understanding ; so that they who were " some 
time darkness, are now light in the Lord," Ephes. v. 8. The beams 
of the light of life make their way into the dark dungeon of the 
heart : then the night is over, and the morning light is come, which 
will shine more and more unto the perfect day. Now the man is il- 

(1.) In the knowledge of God. He has far other thoughts of 
God, than ever he had before, Hos. ii. 20, " I will even betrothe 
thee unto me in faithfulness, and thou shalt know the Lord." The 
Spirit of the Lord brings him back to this question, " What is 
God ?" and catechises him anew upon that grand point, so that he 
is made to say, " I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear ; 
but now mine eye seeth thee," Job xlii. 5. The spotless purity of 
God, his exact justice, his all-sufficiency, and other glorious perfec- 
tions revealed in his word, are by this new light discovered to the 
soul, with a plainness and certainty, which as far exceed the know- 
ledge it had of these things before, as ocular demonstration exceeds 
common report. For now he sees what he only heard of before. 

(2.) He is enlightened in the knowledge of sin. He has different 


thoughts of it tluiu lie used to have. Formerly his sight could not 
pierce through the cover Satan laid over it : but now the Spirit of 
God removes it, wipes off the paint and varnish ; and so he sees it in 
its natural colours, as the worst of evils, exceedingly sinful, Kom. 
vii. 13. v/hat deformed monsters do formerly beloved lusts appear ! 
Were they right eyes, he would pluck them out; were they right 
hands, he would consent to their being cut off. He sees how offen- 
sive sin is to God, how destructive it is to the soul ; and calls him- 
self a fool, for fighting so long against the Lord, and harbouring 
that destroyer as a bosom friend. 

(3.) He is instructed in the knowledge of himself. Regenerating 
grace brings the prodigal to himself, Luke xv. 17, and makes men 
full of eyes within, knowing every one the plague of his own heart. 
The mind being savingly enlightened, the man sees how desperately 
corrupt his nature is ; what enmity against God, and his holy law, 
has long lodged there : so that his soul loathes itself. No open se- 
pulchre so vile and loathsome, in his eyes, as himself, Ezek. xxxvi. 
31, " Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings 
that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight." 
He is no worse than he was before : but the sun is shining ; and so 
those pollutions are seen, which he could not discern, when there was 
no dawning in him, as the word is, Isa. viii. 20, while as yet there 
was no breaking of the day of grace with him. 

(4.) He is enlightened in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 
i. 23, 24, " But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stum- 
bling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness : but unto them which 
are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the 
wisdom of God." The truth is, unregenerate men, though capable 
of preaching Christ, have not, properly speaking, the knowledge 
of him, but only an opinion, a good opinion, of him ; as one has of 
many controverted points of doctrine, wherein he is far from cer- 
tainty. As when you meet with a stranger on the road, who 
behaves himself discretely, you conceive a good opinion of him, 
and therefore willingly converse with him : but yet you will not 
commit your money to hira ; because, though you have a good 
opinion of the man, he is a stranger to you, you do not know him : 
so may they think well of Christ ; but they will never commit 
themselves to him, seeing they know him not. But saving illumi- 
nation carries the soul beyond opinion, to the certain knowledge of 
Christ and his excellency, 1 Thess. i. 5, " For our Gospel came not 
unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, 
and in much assurance." The light of grace thus discovers the 
suitableness of the mystery of Christ to the divine perfections, 


and to the sinner's case. Hence the regenerate admire the glo- 
rious plan of salvation, through Christ crucified ; rest their whole 
dependence upon it, heartily acquiesce therein ; for whatever he he 
to others, lie is to them " Christ the power of God, and the wisdom 
of God." But unrenewed men, not seeing this, are offended in him : 
they will not venture their souls in that vessel, but betake them- 
selves to the broken boards of their own righteousness. The same 
light convincingly discovers a superlative worth, a transcendent 
glory and excellence in Christ, which darken all created excellencies 
as the rising sun makes the stars hide their heads : it engages the 
"merchantman to sell all that he hath, to buy the one pearl of great 
price," Matth. xii. 45, 46, makes the soul heartily content to take 
Christ for all, and instead of all. An unskilful merchant, to whom 
one offers a pearl of great price, for all his petty wares, dares not 
venture on the bargain ; for though he thinks that one pearl may be 
worth more than all he has, yet he is not sure of it : but when a 
jeweller comes to him and assures him it is worth double all his 
wares, he then eagerly makes the bargain, and cheerfully parts with 
all he has for that pearl. Finally, this illumination in the know- 
ledge of Christ, convincingly discovers to men a fulness in him, suf- 
ficient for the supply of all their wants, enough to satisfy the bound- 
less desires of an immortal soul. And they are persuaded that such 
fulness is in him, and that in order to be communicated : they de- 
pend upon it as a certain truth ; and therefore their souls take up 
their eternal rest in him. 

(5.) The man is instructed in the knowledge of the vanity of the 
world, Psalm cxix. 96, " I have seen an end of all perfection." Re- 
generating grace elevates the soul, translates it into the spiritual 
world, from whence this earth cannot but appear a little, yea, a very 
little thing ; even as heaven apj)eared before, while the soul was 
grovelling in the earth. Grace brings a man into a new world : 
where this world is reputed but a stage of vanity, a howling wilder- 
ness, a valley of tears. God has hung the sign of vanity at the 
door of all created enjoyments : yet how do men throng into the 
house, calling and looking for somewhat that is satisfying; even 
after it has been a thousand times told them, that there is no such 
thing in it, it is not to be got there, Isa. Ivii. 10, " Thou art wearied 
in the greatness of thy way : yet saidst thou not, There is no hope." 
Why are men so foolish ? The truth of the matter lies here, they 
do not see by the light of grace, they do noi spiritually discern 
that sign of vanity. They have often indeed made a rational dis- 
covery of it : but can that truly wean the heart from the world ? 
Nay, no more than painted fire can burn off the prisoner's bands. 


But tlie light of grace, is the light of life, powerful and efficacious. 

(6.) To sum up all. In regeneration, the mind is enlightened in 
the knowledge of spiritual things, 1 John ii. 20, " Te have an unc- 
tion from the Holy One," that is, from Jesus Christ, Rev. iii. 18. 
It is an allusion to the sanctuary, whence the holy oil was brought 
to anoint the priest, " and ye know all things" necessary to salva- 
tion. Though men be not book-learned, if they ai-e born again, they 
are Spirit-learned; for all such are taught of God, John vi. 45. 
The Spirit of regeneration teaches them what they knew not before 
and what they knew by the ear only, he teaches them over again as 
by the eye. The light of grace is an overcoming light, determining 
men to assent to divine truths on the mere testimony of God. It is 
no easy thing for the mind of man to acquiesce in divine revelation. 
Many pretend great respect to the Scriptures ; whom, nevertheless, 
the clear Scripture testimony will not divorce from their precon- 
ceived opinions. But this illumination will make men's minds run, 
as willing captives, after Christ's chariot wheels, which they are 
ready to allow to drive ov.r, and " cast down" their " imaginations, 
and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of 
God," 2 Cor. x. 5. It will bring them to " receive the kingdom of 
God as a little child," Mark x. 15, who thinks he has sufficient 
ground to believe any thiug, if his father do but say it is so. 

2. The will is renewed. The Lord takes away the stony heart, 
and gives a heart of flesh, Ezek. xxxvi. 26, and so of stones raiseth 
up children to Abraham. Regenerating grace is powerful and effi- 
cacious, and gives the will a new turn. It does not indeed force it ; 
but sweetly, yet powerfully draws it, so that his people are willing 
in the day of his power, Psalm ex. 3. There is heavenly oratory in 
the Mediators lips to persuade sinners. Psalm xlv. 2. " Grace is 
poured into thy lips." There are cords of a man, and bands of love 
in his hands, to draw them after him, Hos. xi. 4. Love makes a 
net for elect souls, which will infallibly catch them, and bring them 
to land. The cords of Christ's love are strong cords : and they 
need to be so, for every sinner is heavier than a mountain of brass ; 
and Satan, together with the heart itself, draws the contrary way. 
But love is strong as death ; and the Lord's love to the soul he died 
for, is the strongest love ; which acts so powerfully, that it must 
come off victorious. 

(1.) The will is cured of its utter inability to will what is good. 
While the opening of the prison to them that are bound, is pro- 
claimed in the gospel, the Spirit of God comes and opens the prison 
door, goes to the prisoner, and, by the power of his grace, makes his 
chains fall off; breaks the bonds of iniquity, wherewith he was held 


in sin, so as he could neither will nor do any thing truly good ; 
brings him forth into a large place, " working in him both to will 
and to do of his good pleasure," Phil. ii. 13. Then it is that the 
soul, that was fixed to the earth, can move heavenward; the wither- 
ed hand is restored, and can be stretched out. 

(2.) There is wrought in the will a fixed aversion to evil. In re- 
generation, a man gets a new spirit put within him, Ezek. xxxvi. 
26 ; and that spirit striveth against the flesh. Gal. v. 17. The sweet 
morsel of sin, so greedily swallowed down, he now loathes, and would 
fain be rid of it, even as willingly as one who had drunk a cup of 
poison would throw it up again. "When the spring is stopped, the 
mud lies in the well unmoved ; but when once the spring is cleared, 
the waters, springing up, will work the mud away by degrees. 
Even so, while a man continues in an unregenerate state, sin lies at 
ease in the heart ; but as soon as the Lord strikes the rocky heart 
with tlie rod of his strength, in the day of conversion, grace is " in 
him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life," John iv. 14, 
working away natural corruption, and gradually purifying the 
heart, Acts xv. 9. The renewed will riseth up against sin, strikes 
at the root thereof, and the branches too. Lusts are now grievous, 
and the soul endeavours to starve them ; the corrupt nature is the 
source of all evil, and therefore the soul will be often laying it be- 
fore the great Physician. what sorrow, shame, and self-loathing 
fill the heart, in the day that grace makes its triumphant entrance 
into it ! For now the madman is come to himself, and the remem- 
brance of his follies cannot but cut him to the heart. 

(3.) The will is endowed with an inclination, bent, and propensity 
to good. In its depraved state, it lay quite another way, being 
prone and bent to evil only : but now, by the operation of the om- 
nipotent, all-conquering arm, it is drawn from evil to good, and gets 
another turn. As the former was natural, so this is natural too, in 
regard to the new nature given in regeneration, which has its holy 
strivings, as well as the corrupt nature has its sinful lustings. Gal. 
V. 17. The will, as renewed, points towards God and godliness. 
When God made man, his will, in respect of its intention, was di- 
rected towards God, as his chief end ; in respect of its choice, it 
pointed towards that which God willed. When man unmade him- 
self, his will was framed to the very reverse hereof: he made him- 
self his chief end, and his own will his law. But when man is new 
made, in regeneration, grace rectifies this disorder in some measure, 
though not perfectly : because we are but renewed in part, while in 
this world. It brings back the sinner out of himself, to God, as his 
chief end. Psalm Ixxiii. 25, " Whom have I in heaven but thee ? 


and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee." Phil. i. 
21, " For me to live is Christ." It makes him to deny himself, and 
whatever way he turns, to point habitually towards God, who is the 
centre of the gracious soul, its home, its " dwelling place in all 
generations," Psalm xc. 1. By regenerating grace, the will is 
brought into a conformity to the will of God. It is conformed to 
his preceptive will, being endowed with holy inclinations, agreeable 
to every one of his commands. The whole law is impressed on the 
gracious soul : every part of it is written on the renewed heart. 
Although remaining corruption makes such blots in the writing, 
that oft-times the man himself cannot read it, yet he that wrote it 
can read it at all times ; it is" never quite blotted out, nor can be. 
What he has written, he has written ; and it shall stand : " For 
this is the covenant — I will put my laws into their mind, and write 
them in their hearts," Heb. viii. 10. It is a covenant of salt, a per- 
petual covenant. It is also conformed to his providential will ; so 
that the man would no more be master of his own process, nor carve 
out his lot for himself. He learns to say, from his heart, " The will 
of the Lord be done." " He shall choose our inheritance for us," 
Psalm xlvii. 4. Thus the will is disposed to fall in with those things 
which, in its depraved state, it could never be reconciled to. 

Particularly, 1. The soul is recouciled to the covenant of peace. 
The Lord God proposes a covenant of peace to sinners, a covenant 
which he himself has framed, and registered in the Bible : but they 
are not pleased with it. Nay, unregenerate hearts cannot be pleased 
with it. Were it put into their hands to frame it according to their 
minds, they would blot many things out of it which God has put in, 
and put in many things which God has kept out. But the renewed 
heart is entirely satisfied with the covenant, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5, "He 
hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things 
and sure ; this is all my salvation, and all my desire." Though the 
covenant could not be brought down to their depraved will, their 
will is, by grace, brought up to the covenant : they are well pleased 
with it ; there is nothing in it which they would have out ; nor is 
any thing left out of it, which they would have in. — 2. The will is 
disposed to receive Christ Jesus the Lord. The soul is content to 
submit to him. Regenerating grace undermines, and brings down 
the towering imaginations of the heart, raised up against its right- 
ful Lord; it breaks the iron sinew, which kept the sinner from 
bowing to him ; and disposes him to be no more stiff-necked, but to 
yield. He is willing to have on the yoke of Christ's commands, to 
take up the cross, and to follow him. He is content to take Christ 
on any terms, Psalm ex. 3, " Thy people shall be willing in the day 
of thy power." 


Tho mind being savingly enlightened, and the will renewed, the 
sinner is thereby determined and enabled to answer the gospel call 
So the chief work in regeneration is done ; the fort of the heart is 
taken ; there is room made for the Lord Jesus Christ in the inmost 
parts of the soul ; the inner door of the will being now opened to 
him, as well as the outer door of the understanding. In one word, 
Christ is passively received into the heart; he is come into the soul, 
by his quickening Spirit, whereby spiritual life is given to the man, 
who in himself was dead in sin. His first vital act we may conceive 
to be an active receiving of Jesus Christ, discerned in his glorious 
excellencies ; that is a believing on him, a closing with him, as dis- 
cerned, offered and exhibited in the word of his grace, the glorious 
Gospel: the immediate effect of which is union with him, John i. 
12, 13, " To as many as received him to them gave he power," or 
privilege, "to become the sons of God, even to them that believe 
on his name : which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the 
flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Eph. iii. 17, "That 
Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith." Christ having taken the 
heart by storm, and triumphantly entered into it, in regeneration, 
the soul by faith yields itself to him, as it is expressed, 2 Chron. 
XXX. 8. Thus, this glorious King who came into the heart, by his 
Spirit, dwells in it by faith. The soul being drawn runs ; and being 
effectually called, comes. 

3. In regeneration there is a happy change made on the affec- 
tions ; they are both rectified and regulated. 

(1.) This change rectifies the affect^mns, placing them on suitable 
objects. 2 Thess. iii. 5, "The Lord direct your hearts into the 
love of God." The regenerate man's desires are rectified; they 
are set on God himself, and the things above. He, who before cried 
with the world, " Who will shew us any good ?" has changed 
his note, and says, " Lord, lift up the light of thy countenance upon 
us,"' Psalm iv. 6. Before, he saw no beauty in Christ, for which 
he was to be desired ; but now he is all he desires, he is altoge- 
ther lovely, Cant. v. 16. The main stream of his desires is turned 
to run towards God; for there is the one thing he desires. Psalm 
xxvii. 4. He desires to be holy as well as happy ; and rather to 
be gracious than great. His hopes, which before were low, and 
fastened down to things on earth, are now raised, and set on the 
glory which is to be revealed. He entertains the hope of eternal 
life, founded on the word of promise, Tit. i. 2. Which hope he has, 
as an anchor of the soul, fixing the heart under trials, Ileb vi. 19. 
It puts him upon purifying himself, even as God is pure 1 John iii. 
3. For he is begotten again unto a lively hope, 1 Pet. i, 3. His 


love is raised, and set on God himself, Psalm xviii. 1 ; on his holy 
law, Psalm cxix. 97. Though it strike against his most beloved lust, 
he says, " The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and jnst, 
and good," Rom. viii. 12. He loves the ordinances of God," Psalm 
Ixxxiv. 1, " How amiable are thy tabernacles, Lord of hosts !" 
Being passed from death unto life, he loves the brethren, 1 John iii. 
14; the people of God, as they are called, 1 Pet. ii. 10. He loves 
God for himself; and what is God's, for his sake. Yea, as being a 
child of God, he loves his own enemies, — His heavenly Father is 
compassionate and benevolent : " He maketh his snn to rise on the 
evil and on the good ; and sendeth rain on the just and on the 
unjust :" therefore he is in like manner disposed. Matt. v. 44, 4.5. 
His hatred is turned against sin, in himself and others, Psalm ci. 3, 
" I hate the work of them that turn aside, it shall not cleave to 
me." He groans under the body of it, and longs for deliverance, 
Rom. vii. 24, " wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver rae 
from the body of this death ?" His joys and delights are in God 
the Lord, in the light of his countenance, in bis law, and in his peo- 
ple, because they are like him. Sin is what he chiefly fears : it is a 
fountain of sorrow to him now, though formerly a spring of pleasure. 
(2.) It regulates the affections placed on suitable objects. Our 
afi'ections, when placed on the creature, are naturally exhorbitant : 
when we joy in it, we are apt to overjoy ; and when we sorrow, we 
are ready to sorrow overmuch : but grace bridles these affections, 
clips their wings, and keeps them witliin bounds, that they overflow 
not all their banks. It mak^a man " hate his father, and mother, 
and wife, and children; yea, and his own life also," comparatively; 
that is, to love them less than he loves God, Luke xiv. 26. It also 
rectifies lawful affections ; bringing them forth from right princi- 
ples, and directing them to right ends. There may be unholy 
desires after Christ and his grace; as when men desire Christ, not 
from any love to him, but merely out of love to themselves. 
" Give us of your oil," said the foolish virgins, " for our lamps are 
gone out," Matt. xxv. 8. There may be an unsanctified sorrow for 
sin ; as when one sorrows for it, not because it is displeasing to God, 
but only because of the wrath annexed to it, as did Pharaoh, Judas, 
and others. So a man may love his father and mother from mere 
natural principles, without any respect to the command of God 
binding him thereto. But grace sanctifies the affections, in such 
cases, making them to run in a new channel of love to God, respect 
to his commands, and regard to his glory. Again, grace raises the 
affections where they are too low. It gives the chief seat in them 
to God, and pulls down all other rivals, whethsr persons or things, 


making them lie at his feet. Psalm Ixxiii. 25, " Whom have I in 
heaven but the •? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides 
thee." He is loved for himself, and other persons or things for his 
sake. What is lovely in them, to the renewed heart, is some ray 
of the divine goodness appearing in them : for unto gracious souls 
they shine only by borrowed light. This accounts for the saints 
loving all men ; and yet hating those that hate God, and contemn- 
ing the wicked as vile persons. They hate and contemn them for 
their wickedness; there is nothing of God in that, and therefore 
nothing lovely nor honourable in it : but they love them for their 
commendable qualities or perfections, whether natural or moral ; 
because, in whomsoever these are, they are from God, and can be 
traced to him as their fountain. 

Finally, regenerating grace sets the affections so firmly on God, 
that the man is disposed, at God's command, to quit his hold of 
every thing else, in order to keep his hold of Christ ; to hate father 
and mother, in comparison with Christ, Luke xiv. 26. It makes 
even lawful enjoyments, like Joseph's mantle to hang loose about a 
man, that he may quit them, when he is in danger of being ensnared 
by holding them. 

If the stream of our affections were never turned, we are, doubt- 
less, going down the stream into the pit. If " the lust of the eye, 
the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life," have the throne in our 
hearts, which should be possessed by the Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost; if we never had so much love to God, as to ourselves; if sin 
has been somewhat bitter to us, but never so bitter as suffering, 
never so bitter as the pain of being weaned from it ; truly we are 
strangers to this saving change. — For grace turns the affections up- 
side down, whenever it comes into the heart. 

4, The conscience is renewed. As a new light is set up in the 
soul, in regeneration, conscience is enlightened, instructed and in- 
formed. That candle of the Lord, Prov. xx. 27, is now snuffed and 
brightened ; so that it shines, and sends forth its light into the most 
retired corners of the heart ; discovering sins which the soul was 
not aware of before : and, in a special manner, discovering the cor- 
ruption or depravity of nature, that seed and spawn whence all 
actual sins proceed. This produces the new complaint, Rom. vii. 
24, " wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the 
body of this death ?" Conscience, which lay sleeping in the man's 
bosom before, is now awakened, and makes its voice to be heard 
through the whole soul ; therefore there is no more rest for him 
in the sluggard's bed ; he must get up and be doing, arise, " haste, 
and escape for his life." It powerfully incites to obedience, even 


in the most spiritual acts, wliicli lie not within the view of the 
natural conscience ; and powerfully restrains from sin, even from 
those sins which do not lie open to the observation of the world. 
It urges the sovereign authority of God, to which the heart is 
now reconciled, and which it willingly acknowledges : and so it 
eno-ages the man to his duty, whatever be the hazard from the 
world ; for it fills the heart so with the fear of God, that the force 
of the fear of man is broken. This has engaged many to put their 
life in their hand, and follow the cause of religion, which they once 
contemned, and resolutely walk in the path they formerly abhorred. 
Gal. i. 23, " He which persecuted us in times past, now preacheth 
the faith which once he destroyed." Guilt now makes the con- 
science smart. It has bitter remorse for sins past, which fills the 
soul with anxiety, sorrow, and self-loathing. And every new reflec- 
tion on these sins is apt to aff'ect, and make its wounds bleed afresh 
with regret. It is made tender, in i>oint of sin and duty, for the 
time to come : being once burnt, it dreads the fire, and fears to 
break the hedge where it was formerly bit by the serpent. Finally, 
the renewed conscience drives the sinner to Jesus Christ, as the only 
Physician who can draw out the sting of guilt ; and whose blood 
alone can purge the conscience from dead works, Heb. ix. 14, refus- 
ino- all ease offered to it from any other hand. This is an evidence 
that the conscience is not only fired, as it may be in an uurcgcne- 
rate state, but oiled also, with regenerating grace. 

5. As the memory wanted not its share of depravity, it is also 
bettered by regenerating grace. The memory is weakened, with re- 
spect to those things that are not worth their room therein; and men 
are taught to forget injuries, and drop their resentments, Matt. v. 44, 
45 " Do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despite- 
fully use you — that ye may be," that is, appear to be, " the children 
of your Father which is in heaven." It is strengthened for spiritual 
things. We have Solomon's receipt for an ill memory, Prov. iii. 1, 
" My sou," saith he, " forget not my law." But how shall it be 
kept in mind? " Let thine heart keep my commandments." Grace 
makes a heart-memory, even where there is no good head-memory, 
Psalm cxix. 11, " Thy word have I hid in mine heart." The heart, 
truly touched with the powerful sweetness of truth, will help the 
memory to retain what is so relished. If divine truths made deeper 
impressions on our hearts, they would impress themselves with more 
force on our memories. Psalm cxix. 93, " I will never forget thy 
precepts, for with them thou hast quickened me." Grace sanctifies 
the memory. Many have large, but unsanctified memories, which 
serve only to gather knowledge, whereby to aggravate their condera- 


nation : but the renewed memory serves to " remember his com- 
mandments to do them," Psalm ciii. 18. It is a sacred store- 
liouse, from whence a Christian is furnished in his way to Zion ; for 
faith and hope are often supplied out of it, in a dark hour. It is 
the storehouse of former experiences ; and these are the believer's 
way-marks, by noticing of which he comes to know where he is, 
even in a dark time. Psalm xlii. 6, " my God, my soul is cast 
down within me : therefore will I remember thee from the land of 
Jordan," &c. It also helps the soul to godly sorrow and self-loath- 
ing, presenting old guilt anew before the conscience, and making it 
bleed afresh, though the sin be already pardoned ; Psalm xxv. 7, 
" Remember not the sins of my youth." Where unpardoned guilt 
is lying on the sleeping conscience, it is often employed to bring in 
a word, which in a moment sets the whole soul on the stir ; as 
when " Peter remembered the words of Jesus — he went out and 
wept bitterly," Matt. xxvi. 75. The word of God laid up in a 
sanctified memory, serves a man to resist temptations, puts the sword 
in his hand against his spiritual enemies, and is a light to direct his 
steps in the way of religion and righteousness, 

6. There is a change made on the body, and the members thereof, 
in respect of their use ; they are consecrated to the Lord. Even 
" the body is — for the Lord," 1 Cor. vi. 13. It is " the temple of 
the Holy Ghost," ver. 19. The members thereof, that were for- 
merly " instruments of unrighteousness unto sin," become " instru- 
ments of righteousness unto God," Rom. vi. 13, " servants to 
righteousness unto holiness," ver. 19. The eye, that conveyed 
sinful imaginations into the heart, is under a covenant. Job xxxi. 1, 
to do so no more ; but to serve the soul, in viewing the works, and 
reading the word, of God. The ear, that had often been death's 
porter, to let in sin, is turned to be the gate of life, by which the 
word of life enters the soul. The tongue, that set on fire the whole 
course of nature, is restored to the office it was designed for by the 
Creator ; namely, to be an instrument of glorifying him, and setting 
forth his praise. In a word, the whole man is for God, in soul and 
body, which by this blessed change are made his. 

7. This gracious change shines forth in the conversation. Even 
the outward man is renewed. A new heart makes newness of 
life. When " the king's daughter is all glorious within, her cloth- 
ing is of wrought gold," Psalm xlv. 13. " The single eye" makes 
" the whole body full of light," Matt. vi. 22. This change will ap- 
pear in every part of a man's conversation ; particularly in the 
following things. 

(1.) In the change of his company. Formerly, he despised tne 
Vol. VIIL k 


company of the saints, but now they are " the excellent, in whom 
is all his delight," Psalm xvi. 3. " I am a companion of all that 
fear thee, saith the royal psalmist, Psalm cxix. 63. A renewed 
man joins himself with the saints ; for he and they are like-minded, 
in that which is their main work and business; they have all one 
new nature : they are travelling to Immanuel's land, and converse 
together in the language of Canaan. In vain do men pretend to 
religion, while ungodly company is their choice ; for " a companion 
of fools shall be destroyed," Prov. xiii. 20. Religion will make a 
man shy of throwing himself into an ungodly family, or any unne- 
cessary familiarity with wicked men ; as one who is healthy will 
beware of going into an infected house. 

(2.) In his relative capacity, he will be a new man. Grace 
makes men gracious in their several relations, and naturally leads 
them to the conscientious performance of relative duties. It does 
not only make good men and good women, but makes good subjects, 
good husbands, good wives, children, servants, and, in a word, good 
relatives in the church, commonwealth, and family. It is a just 
exception made against the religion of many, namely that they are 
bad relatives, they are ill husbands, wives, masters, servants, &c. 
How can we prove ourselves to be new creatures, if we be just such 
as we were before, in our several relations ? 2 Cor. v. 17, " There- 
fore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature : old things 
are past away ; behold, all things are become new." Eeal godli- 
ness will gain a testimony to a man, from the consciences of his 
nearest relations ; though they know more of his sinful infirmities 
than others do, as we see in the case, 2 Kings iv. 1, " Thy servant 
my husband is dead, and thou knowest that thy servant did fear 
the Lord." 

(3.) In the way of his following his wordly business, there is a 
great change. It appears to be no more his all, as it was before. 
Though saints apply themselves to worldly business, as well as 
others, yet their hearts are not swallowed up in it. It is evident 
that they are carrying on a trade with heaven, as well as a trade 
with earth, Phil. iii. 20, " For our conversation is in heaven," 
They go about their employment in the world, as a duty laid upon 
them by the Lord of all, doing their lawful business as the will 
of God, Eph. vi. 7, working, because he has said, " Thou shalt 
not steal." 

(4.) Such have a special concern for the advancement of the king- 
dom of Christ in the world : they espouse the interests of religion, 
and " prefer Jerusalem above their chief joy," Psalm cxxxvii. 6. 
How privately soever they live, grace gives them a public spirit. 


will concern itself in the ark and work of God, in the Gospel of 
God, and in the people of God, even in those of them whom they 
never saw. As children of God, they naturally care for these things. 
They have a new concern for the spiritual good of others : no sooner 
do they taste of the power of grace themselves, but they are in- 
clined to set up to be agents for Christ and holiness in the world; 
as appears in the case of the woman of Samaria, who when Christ 
had manifested himself to her, '* went her way into the city, and 
said unto the men. Come, see a man which told me all things that 
ever I did : is not this the Christ ?" John iv. 28, 29. They have 
seen and felt the evil of sin, and therefore pity the world lying in 
wickedness. They would fain pluck the brands out of the fire, re- 
membering that they themselves were plucked out of it. They la- 
bour to commend religion to others, both by word and example ; and 
I'ather deny themselves the liberty in indifferent things, than, by 
the uncharitable use of it, destroy oihers; 1 Cor viii. 13, " Where- 
fore, if meat make my brother to offend, 1 will eat no tlesh while 
the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend." 

(5.) In their use of lawful comforts, there is a great change. They 
rest not in them, as their end ; but use them as means to help them 
in their way. They draw their satisfaction from the higher springs 
even while lower springs are running. Thus Hannah having ob- 
tained a son, rejoiced not so much in the gift, as in the giver, 1 
Sam. ii. 1, " And Hannah prayed and said, My heart rejoiceth in the 
Lord." Yea, when the comforts of life are gone, they can subsist 
without them, and " rejoice in the Lord although the fig-tree do not 
blossom," Hab. iii. 17, 18. Grace teaches to use the conveniences 
of the present life as pilgrims ; and to shew a holy moderation in 
all things. The heart, which formally revelled in these things with- 
out fear, is now shy of being over much pleased with them. Being 
apprehensive of danger, it uses them warily; as the dogs of Egypt 
run, while they lap their water out of the river Kile, for fear of 
the crocodiles that are in it. 

(6.) This change shines forth in the man's performance of reli- 
gious duties. He who lived in the neglect of them will do so no 
more, if once the grace of God enter into his heart. If a man be 
new-born, he will desire the sincere milk of the word, 1 Pet. ii. 2, 
3. Whenever the prayerless person gets the Spirit of grace, he 
will be in him a Spirit of supplication, Zech. x.ii. 10. It is as na- 
tural for one that is born again to pray, as lor the new-born babe 
to cry. Acts ix. 11, "Behold, he prayeth !" His heart will be a 
temple for God, and his house a church. His devotion, which be- 
fore was superficial and formal, is now spiritual and lively; for as 



much as heart and tongue are touched with a live coal from hea- 
ven : and he rests not in the mere performance of duties, as care- 
ful only to get his task done, but in every duty seeks communion 
with God in Christ ; justly considering thera as means appointed of 
God for that end, and reckoning himself disappointed if he miss of 
it. Thus far of the nature of regeneration. 

II. I come to shew why this change is called regeneration a 
being born again. It is so called, because of the resemblance be- 
tween natural and spiritual generation, which lies in the following 

1. Natural generation is a mysterious thing : and so is spiritual 
generation, John iii. 8, " The wind bloweth inhere it listeth, and 
thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh 
and whither it goeth : so is every one that is born of the Spirit." 
The work of the Spirit is felt; but his way of working is a mys- 
tery we cannot comprehend. A new light is let into the mind, and 
the will is renewed ; but how that light is conveyed thither, how 
the will is fettered with cords of love, and how the rebel is made 
a willing captive, we can no more tell, than we can tell " how the 
bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child," Eccl. xi. 5. 
As a man hears the sound of the wind, and finds it stirring, but 
knows not where it begins, and where it ends; "so is every one 
that is born of the Spirit:" he finds the change that is made upon 
him ; but how it is produced he knoweth not. One thing he may know 
that whereas he was blind, now he seeth : but " the seed of grace" 
'* springs and grows up, he knoweth not how," Mark iv. 26, 27. 

2. In both, the creature comes to a being it had not before. Tlie 
child is not, till it be generate ; and a man has no gracious being, 
no being in grace, till he is regenerate. Regeneration is not so much 
the curing of a sick man, as " the quickening of a dead man," Eph. 
ii. 1 — 5. Man in his depraved state, is a mere nonentity in grace, 
and is brought into a new being by the power of Him " who calleth 
things that be not as though they were ;" being " created in Jesus 
Christ unto good works," Eph. ii. 10. Therefore our Lord Jesus, to 
give ground of hope to the Laodiceans, in their wretched and mis- 
erable state, proposes himself as " the beginning of the creation of 
God," Rev. iii. 14, namely, the active beginning of it ; " for all 
things were made by him" at first, John i. 3. From whence they 
might gather, that as he made them when they were nothing, he 
could make them over again, when worse than nothing ; the same 
hand that made them his creatures, could make thera new crea- 

As the child is passive in generation, so is the child of God in 


regeneration. The one contributes nothing to its own generation ; 
neither does the other contribute any thing, by way of efficiency, to 
its own regeneration : for though a man may lay himself down at 
the pool, yet he hath no hand in moving the water, no power iu 
performing the cure. One is born the child of a king, another the 
child of a beggar: the child has no hand at all in this difference. 
God leaves some iu their depraved state; others he brings into a 
state of grace, or regeneracy. If thou be thus honoured, no thanks 
to thee; for " who maketh thee to differ from another? and what 
hast thou that thou didst not receive ?" 1 Cor. iv. 7- 

4. There is a wonderful contexture of parts in both births. Ad- 
mirable is the structure of man's body, in which there is such a va- 
riety of organs ; nothing wanting, nothing superfluous. The psalm- 
ist, considering his own body, looks on it as a piece of marvellous 
work ; " I am fearfully and wonderfully made," saith he. Psalm 
cxxxix. 14, " and curiously wrought in the lower parts of the 
earth," ver. 15 ; that is, in the womb, whei'e I know not how the 
bones grow, any more than I know what is doing in the lowest 
parts of the earth. In natural generation we are curionsly wrought, 
like a piece of needle-work ; as the word imports : even so it is in 
regeneration : Psalm xlv. 14, " She shall be brought unto the King 
in raiment of needle-work," raiment curiously wrought. It is the 
same word iu both texts. What that raiment is, the apostle tells 
us, Eph. iv. 24. It is '* the new man, which after God is created in 
righteousness and true holiness." This is the raiment which he 
saith, in the same place, we must put on; not excluding the imputed 
righteousness of Christ. Both are curiously wrought, as master- 
pieces of the manifold wisdom of God. the wonderful contexture 
of graces in the new creature ! glorious creature, new-made after 
the image of God ! It is grace for grace in Christ, which makes up 
this new man, John i. 16 ; even as in bodily generation, the child 
has member for member in the parent ; has every member which the 
parent has in a certain proportion. 

5. All tliis, in both cases, has its rise from that which is in itself 
very small and inconsiderable. the power of God, in making 
such a creature of the corruptible seed, and much more in bringing 
forth the new creature from such small beginnings ! It is as " the 
little cloud, like a man's hand," which spread, till " heaven was 
black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain," 1 Kings 
xviii. 44, 45. A man gets a word at a sermon, which hundreds be- 
sides him hear, and let slip: but it remains with him, works in him, 
and never leaves him, till the little world is turned upside down by 
it ; that is, till he becomes a new man. It is like the vapour that 


got up into Aliasuerus's head, and cut off sleep from his eyes, Esth. 
vi. 1, which proved a spring of such motions as never ceased, until 
Mordecai, in royal pomp, was brought on horseback through the 
streets, proud Haman trudging at his foot ; the same Haman after- 
wards hanged, Mordecai advanced, and the church delivered from 
Haman's hellish plot. " The grain of mustard seed becoraeth a 
tree," Mat. xiii. 31, 32. God loves to bring great things out of 
ssmall beginnings. 

6. Natural generation is carried on by degrees. Job x. 10, 
" Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like 
cheese?" So is regeneration. It is with the soul, ordinarily, in re- 
generation, as with the blind man cured by our Lord, who first 
" saw men as trees walking," afterward " saw every man clearly," 
Mark viii. 23 — 25. It is true, regeneration being, strictly speaking, 
a passage from death to life, the soul is quickened in a moment ; 
like as when the embryo is brought to perfection in the womb, the 
soul is infused into the lifeless lump. Nevertheless, we may 
imagine somewhat like conception in spiritual regeneration, whereby 
the soul is prepared for quickening; and the new creature is capable 
of growth, 1 Peter ii. 2, and of having life more abundantly, John 
X. 10. 

7. In both there are new relations. The regenerate may call 
God, Father; for they are his children, John i. 12, 13, " begotten of 
him," 1 Pet. i. 3. The bride, the Lamb's wife, that is, the church, 
is their mother. Gal. iv. 26. They are related, as brethren and 
sisters, to angels and glorified saints ; " the family of heaven." 
They are of the heavenly stock : the meanest of them, " the base 
things of the world," 1 Cor. i. 28, the kinless things, as the word im- 
ports, who cannot boast of the blood that runs in their veins, are 
yet, by their new birth, near of kin with the excellent in the earth. 

8. There is a likeness between the parent and the child. Every 
thing that generates, generates its like ; and the regenerate are 
" partakers of the divine nature," 2 Peter i. 4. The moral perfec- 
tions of the divine nature are, in measure and degree, communicated 
to the renewed soul : thus the divine image is restored ; so that, as 
the child resembles the father, the new creature resembles God 
himself, being holy as he is holy. 

9. As there is no birth without pain, both to the mother and to 
the child, so there is great pain in bringing forth the new creature. 
The children have more or less of these birth-pains, whereby they 
are " pricked in their heart," Acts ii. 37. The soul has sore pains 
when under conviction and humiliation. "A wounded spirit who 
can bear ?" The mother is pained ; " Ziou travails," Isaiah Ixvi. 8. 


She sighs, groans, cries, and has hard labour, in her ministers and 
members, to bring forth children to her Lord, Gal. iv. 19, "My little 
children, of whom I travail in birth again, until Christ be formed in 
you." Never was a mother more feelingly touched with "joy, that 
a man child is born into the world," than she is upon the new birth 
of her children. But, what is more remarkable than all this, we 
read not only of our Lord Jesus Christ's " travail," or toil " of 
soul," Isaiah liii. 11, but, what is more directly to our purpose, of 
his " pains," or pangs, as of one travailing in childbirth; so the 
word used. Acts ii. 24, properly signifies. Well might he call the new 
creature, as Rachel called her dear-bought son, Benoni, that is, the 
son of my sorrow ; and as she called another, Naphtali, that is, my 
wrestling : for the pangs of that travail put him to " strong crying 
and tears," Heb. v. 7 ; yea, into an " agony and bloody sweat," 
Luke xxii. 44. And in the end he died of these pangs ; they be- 
came to him " the pains of death," Acts ii. 24. 

I shall now apply this doctrine. 

Use I. By what is said, you may try whether you are in the state 
of grace or not. If you are brought out of the state of wrath or 
ruin, into the state of grace or salvation, you are new creatures, you 
are born again. But you will say, How shall we know whether we 
are born again, or not? Answer. Were you to ask me, if the sun 
were risen, and how you should know whether it were risen or not ? 
I would bid you look up to the heavens, and see it with your eyes. 
And, would you know if the light be risen in your hes^rt ? Look 
in, and see. Grace is light, and discovers itself. Look into thy 
mind, see if it has been illuminated in the knowledge of God. Hast 
thou been inwardly taught what God is ? Were thine eyes ever 
tnrned inward to see thyself; the sinfulness of thy depraved state, 
the corruption of thy nature ; the sins of thy heart and life ? Wast 
thou ever led into a view of the exceeding sinfulness of sin ? Have 
thine eyes seen King Jesus in his beauty ; the manifold wisdom of 
God in him, his transcendent excellence, and absolute fulness and 
sufficiency, with the vanity and emptiness of all things else ? Next, 
What change is there on thy will? Are the fetters taken off, 
wherewith it was formerly bound up from moving heavenward? 
Has thy will got a new turn ? Dost thou find an aversion to sin, 
and an inclination to good, wrought in thy heart ? Is thy soul 
turned towards God, as thy chief end ? Is thy will new-moulded 
into some measure of conformity to the preceptive and providential 
will of God ? Art thou heartily reconciled to the covenant of peace, 
and fixedly disposed to the receiving of Christ, as he is offered in 


the gospel ? And as to a change on your affections, are they recti- 
fied, and placed on right objects? Are your desires going out after 
God ? Are they to his name, and the remembrance of him ? Isaiah 
xxvi. 8. Are your hopes in him ? Is your love set upon him, and 
your hatred set against sin ? Does your offending a good God affect 
your heart with sorrow, and do you fear sin more than suffering ? 
Are your affections regulated ? Are they, with respect to created 
comforts, brought down, as being too high ; and with respect to God 
in Christ, raised up, as being too low ? Has he the chief seat in 
your heart? And are all your lawful worldly comforts and enjoy- 
ments laid at his feet ? Has thy conscience been enlightened and 
awakened, refusing all ease, but from the application of the blood 
of a Redeemer ? Is thy memory sanctified, thy body consecrated to 
the service of God ? And art thou now walking in newness of life ? 
Thus you may discover whether you are born again or not. 

But, for your farther help in this matter, I will discourse a little 
of another sign of regeneration, namely, the love of the brethren; 
an evidence whereby the weakest and most timorous saints have 
often had comfort, when they could have little or no consolation 
from other marks proposed to them. This the apostle lays down, 
1 John iii. 14, " We know that we have passed from death unto life, 
because we love the brethren." It is not to be thought that the 
apostle, by the brethren in this place means brethren by a common 
relation to the first Adam, but to the second Adam, Christ Jesus ; 
because, however true it is, that universal benevolence, a good will 
to the whole race of mankind, takes place in the renewed soul, as 
being a lively lineament of the divine image, yet the whole context 
speaks of those that are " the sons of God," ver, 1,2; " children of 
of God," ver. 10 ; " born of God," ver. 9 ; distinguishing between 
" the children of God," and " the children of the devil," ver. 10 ; 
between those that are " of the devil," ver. 8, 12, and those that are 
" of God," ver. 10. The text itself comes in as a reason why we 
should not marvel that the world hates the brethren, the children of 
God, ver. 13. How can we marvel at it, seeing the love of the bre- 
thren is an evidence of one's having passed from death to life ? 
Therefore it were absurd to look, for that love amongst the men of 
the world, who are dead in trespasses and sins. They cannot love 
the brethren ; no wonder, then, that they hate them. Wherefore 
it is plain, that by brethren here, are meant brethren by regene- 

Now, in order to set this mark of regeneration in a true light, 
consider these three things. 1. This love to the brethren, is a love 
to them as such. Then do we love them in the sense of the text, 


wheu tlie grace, or image of God in them, is the chief motive of 
our love to them. When we love the godly for their godliness, the 
saints for their sanctity or holiness, then we love God in them, 
and so may conclude were born of God ; for " every one that 
loveth Him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him," 
1 John v. 1. Hypocrites may love saints, on account of civil re- 
lations to them : because of their obliging conversation ; for their 
being of the same opinion as to outward religious matters ; and on 
many other such like accounts, whereby wicked men may be induced 
to love the godly. But happy they who love them merely for grace 
in them ; for their heaven-born temper and disposition ; who can 
pick this pearl even out of infirmities in and about them ; lay hold 
of it, and love them for it. 2. It is a love that will be given to all 
in whom the grace of God appears. They that love one saint, 
because he is a saint, will have " love to all the saints," Eph. i. 15. 
They will love all, who, in their view, bear the image of God. 
Those that cannot love a gracious person in rags, but confine their 
love to those of them who wear gay clothing, have not this love to 
the brethren in them. Those who confine their love to a party, to 
whom God has not confined his grace, are souls too narrow to be 
put among the children. In what points soever men differ from us, 
in their judgment or way; yet if they appear to agree with us, 
in love to God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ, and in bearing his 
image, we shall love them as brethren, if we are of the heavenly 
family. 3. If this love be in us, the more grace any person appears 
to be possessed of, he will be the more beloved by us. The more 
vehemently the holy fire of grace doth flame in any, the hearts of 
true Christians will be the more warmed in love to them. — It is not 

with tl "'"ts as with many other men, who make themselves the 

standards for others ; and love them so far as they think they are 
like themselves. But, if they seem to outshine and darken them, 
their love is turned to hatred and envy, and they endeavour to 
detract from the due praise of their exemplary piety; because 
nothing relisheth with them, in the practice of religion, that goes 
beyond their own measure ; what of the life and power of religion 
appears in others, serves only to raise the serpentine grudge in 
their pharisaical hearts. But as for those who are born again, 
their love and affection to the brethren bears proportion to the de- 
grees of the divine image they discern in them. 

Now, if you would improve these to the knowledge of your state, 
I would advise yon, 1. To set apart some time, when you are at 
home, for a review of your case, to try your state by what has been 
said. Many have comfort and clearness as to their state, at a ser- 


mon, who iu a little time lose it again; because while they hear the 
word preached, they make application of it ; but do not consider 
these things more deliberately and leisurely when alone. The im- 
pression is too sudden and short to give lastiug comfort ; and it is 
often so inconsiderate, that it has bad consequences. Therefore set 
about this work at home, after earnest and serious prayer to God 
for his help in it. Complain not of your want of time while the 
night follows the busy day; nor of place, while fields and out- 
houses are to be got. 2. Renew your repentance before the Lord. 
Guilt lyiilg on the conscience, unrepented of, may darken all your 
evidences and marks of grace. It provokes the Spirit of grace to 
withdraw ; and when he goes, our light ceases. It is not a fit time 
for a saint to read his evidences, when the candle is blown out by 
some conscience-wounding guilt. 3. Exert the powers of the new 
nature ; let the graces of the divine Spirit discover themselves in 
you by action. If you would know whether there is sacred fire in 
your breast, or not, you must blow the coal ; for although it exist, 
and be a live coal, yet if it be under the ashes, it will give you no 
light. Settle in your hearts a firm purpose, through the grace that 
is in Christ Jesus, to comply with every known duty, and watch 
against every known sin, having readiness of mind to be instructed 
in what you know not. If gracious souls would thus manage their 
inquiries into their state, it is likely that they would have a com- 
fortable issue. And if others would take such a solemn review, 
and make trial of their state, impartially examining themselves 
before the tribunal of their consciences, they might have a timely 
discovery of their own sinfulness ; but the neglect of self-examina- 
tion leaves most men under sad delusions as to their state, and 
deprives many saints of the comfortable sight of the grace of God 
in them. 

But that I may aftord some farther help to true Christians in 
their inquiries into their state, I shall propose and briefly answer 
some cases or doubts, which may possibly hinder some persons from 
the comfortable view of their happy state. The children's bread 
must not be withheld ; though, while it is held forth to them, the 
dogs should snatch at it. 

Case 1. " I doubt if I be regenerate, because I know not the pre- 
cise time of my conversion ; nor can I trace the particular steps of 
the way in which it was brought to pass." Answer. Though it is 
very desirable to be able to give an account of the beginning, and 
the gradual advances, of the Lord's work upon our souls, as some 
saints can distinctly do, the manner of the Spirit's working being 
still a mystery, yet this is not necessary to prove the truth of grace. 


Uappy be that can say, in this case, as the blind man in the Gospel, 
" One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see. As, 
when we see flame, we know there is fire, though we know not how 
or when it began ; so the truth of grace may be discerned in us, 
though we know not how or when it was dropped into our hearts. 
It thou canst perceive the happy change which is wrought on thy 
soul ; if thou findest thy mind is enlightened, thy will inclined to 
comply with the will of God in all things; especially to fall in with 
the divine plan of salvation, through a crucified Redeemer; in vain 
dost thou trouble thyself, and refuse comfort, because thou knowest 
not how and what way it was brought about. 

Case 2, " If I were a new creature, sin could not prevail against 
me as it doth." Answer. Though we must not lay pillows for hypo- 
crites to rest their heads upon, who indulge themselves in their sins, 
and make the doctrine of God's grace subservient to their lusts, ly- 
ing down contentedly in the bond of iniquity like men that are fond 
of golden chains ; yet it must be owned, " the just man falleth seven 
times a-day ; and iniquity may prevail against the children of God. 
But if thou art groaning under the weight of the body of death, the 
corruption of thy nature ; loathing thyself for the sins of thy heart 
and life ; striving to mortify thy lusts ; fleeing daily to the blood of 
Christ for pardon; and looking to his spirit for sanctification : 
though thou raayest be obliged to say with the Psalmist, " Iniqui- 
ties prevail against me ;" yet thou mayest add with him, " As for 
our transgressions thou shalt purge them away, Psal. Ixv. 3. The 
new creature does not yet possess the house alone : it dwells by the 
side of an ill neighbour, namely, remaining corruption, the relics of 
depraved nature. They struggle together for the mastery : " The 
flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh," Gal. 
v. 17- And sometimes corruption prevails, bringing the child of 
God into captivity to the law of sin, Rom. vii. 23. Let not there- 
fore the prevailing of corruption make thee, in this case, conclude 
thou art none of God's children : but let it humble thee, to be the 
more watchful, and to thirst the more intensely after Jesus Christ, 
his blood and Spirit ; and that very disposition will evidence a prin- 
ciple of grace in thee, which seeks the destruction of sin that pre- 
vails so often against thee. 

Case 3. " I find the motions of sin in my heart more violent since 
the Lord began his work on my soul, than they were before that 
time. Can this consist with a change of my nature ?" Answer. 
Dreadful is the case of many, who, after God has had a remarkable 
dealing with their souls, tending to their reformation, have thrown 
off all bonds, and have become grossly and openly immoral and 


profane ; as if the devil had returned into their hearts with seven 
spirits worse than himself. All I shall say to such persons is, that 
their state is exceedingly dangerous ; they are in danger of sinning 
against the Holy Ghost, therefore let thera repent, before it be too 
late. But if it be not thus with you ; though corruption is stirring 
itself more violently than formerly, as if all the forces of hell were 
raised, to hold fast, or bring back, a fugitive ; yet these stirrings 
may consist with a change of your nature. "When the restraint of 
grace is newly laid upon corruption, it is no wonder if it acts more 
vigorously than before, "warring against the law of the mind," Rom. 
vii. 23. The motions of sin may really be most violent, when the 
new principle is brought in to cast it out. The sun sending its 
beams through the window, discovers the motes in the house, and 
their motions, which were not seen before ; so the light of grace 
may discover the risings and actings of corruption, in another man- 
ner than ever the man saw them before, though they really do not 
rise nor act more vigorously. Sin is not quite dead in the regene- 
rate soul ; it is but dying, and dying a lingering death, being cruci- 
fied ; no wonder there are great fightings, when it is sick at the 
heart, and death is at the door. Besides, temptations may be more 
in number, and stronger, while Satan is striving to bring you back, 
who are escaped, than while he only endeavoured to retain you : 
" After ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of affliction," 
says the apostle to the Hebrews, chap. x. 32. But " cast not away 
your confidence," ver. 35. Remember his " grace is sufiicient for 
you, and the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet 
shortly." Pharaoh and his Egyptians never made such a formida- 
ble appearance against the Israelites, as at the Red Sea, after they 
were brought out of Egypt : but then were the pursuers nearest to 
a total overthrow, Exod. chap. xiv. Let not this case, therefore, 
make you raze the foundations of your trust ; but be ye emptied of 
self, and strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, and you 
shall come off" victorious. 

Case 4. " But when I compare my love to God with my love to 
some created enjoyments, I find the pulse of my affections beat 
stronger to the creature than to the Creator. How then can I call 
him Father ? Nay, alas ! those turnings of heart within me, and 
glowings of aff'ection to him, which I had, are gone ; so that I fear 
all the love which I ever had to the Lord has been but a fit and 
flash of aff'ection, such as hypocrites often have. Answer. It cannot 
be denied, that the predominant love of the world is a certain mark 
of an unregenerate state, 1 John ii. 15, " If any man love the 
world, the love of the Father is not in him." Nevertheless, those 



are not always the strongest affections which are most violent. A 
man's affections may be more moved, on some occasions, by an 
object that is little regarded, than by another that is exceedingly 
beloved ; even as a little brook sometimes makes more noise than a 
great river. The strength of our affections is to be measured by the 
firmness and fixedness of the root, not by the violence of their act- 
ings. Suppose a person meeting with a friend, who has been long 
abroad, finds his affections more vehemently acting towards his friend 
on that occasion, than towards his own wife and children ; will he 
therefore say, that he loves his friend more than them ? Surely not. 
Even so, although the Christian may find himself mora moved in his 
love to the creature, than in his love to God ; yet it is not therefore 
to be said, that he loves the creature more than God, seeing love to 
God is always more firmly rooted in a gracious heart, than love to 
any created enjoyment whatever; as appears when competition arises 
in such a manner, that the one or other is to be foregone. Would 
yon then know your case? Retire into your own hearts, and there 
lay the two in the balance, and try which of them weighs down the 
other. Ask thyself, as in the sight of God, whether thou wouldst 
part with Christ for the creature, or part with the creature for 
Christ, if thou wert left to thy choice in the matter ? If you find 
your heart disposed to part with what is dearest to you in the world 
for Christ at his call, you have no reason to conclude you love the 
creature more than God ; but, on the contrary, that you love God 
more than the creature, although you do not feel such violent mo- 
tions in the love of God, as in the love of some created thing. Matt. 
X. 37, " He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy 
of me." Luke xiv. 26, '* If any man come to me, and hate not his 
father and mother — he cannot be my disciple." From which texts 
compared we may infer, that he who hates, that is, is ready to part 
with, father and mother for Christ, is, in our Lord's account, one 
that loves them less than him, and not one who loves father and 
mother more than him. Moreover, you are to consider that there 
is a twofold love to Christ. 1. There is a sensible love to him, 
which is felt as a dart in the heart, and makes a holy love-sickness 
in the soul, arising from want of enjoyment, as in that case of the 
spouse, Cant. v. 8, " I charge you, daughters of Jerusalem, if ye 
find my beloved, that ye tell him that I am sick of love :" or else 
from the fulness of it, as in Cant. ii. 5, " Stay me with flagons, com- 
fort me with apples ; for I am sick of love." These glowings of af- 
fection are usually wrought in young converts, who are ordinarily 
made " to sing in the days of their youth," Hos. ii. 15. "While the 
fire-edge is upon the young convert, he looks upon others, reputed 


to be godly, and not finding them in such a temper or disposition 
as himself, he is ready to censure them ; and to think there is far 
less religion in the world than indeed there is. But when his own 
cup comes to settle below the brim, and he finds that in him- 
self which made him question the state of others, he is more hum- 
bled, and feels more and more the necessity of daily recourse to 
the blood of Christ for pardon, and to the Spirit of Christ for 
sanctification ; and thus grows downwards in humiliation, self-loath- 
ing, and self-denial. 2. There is a rational love to Christ, which, 
without these sensible emotions felt in the former case, evidences it- 
self by a dutiful regard to the divine authority and command. 
When one bears such a love to Christ, though the vehement strings 
of affection be wanting, yet he is truly tender of off'ending a gracious 
God ; endeavours to walk before him unto all well pleasing; and is 
grieved at the heart for what is displeasing unto him, 1 John v. 3, 
" For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments." 
Now, although that sensible love does not always continue with 
you, you have no reason to deem it a hypocritical fit, while the ra- 
tional love remains with you ; any more than a loving and faithful 
wife needs question her love to her husband, when her fondness 
is abated. 

Case 5. " The attainments of hypocrites and apostates are a 
terror to me, and come like a shaking storm on me, when I am 
about to conclude, from the marks of grace, which I seem to find in 
myself, that I am in the state of grace." Answer. These things 
should indeed stir us up to a most serious and impartial examination 
of ourselves ; but ought not to keep us in a continued suspense as 
to our state. Sirs, you see the outside of hypocrites, their duties, 
their gifts, their tears, and so on, but you see not their inside ; you 
do not discern their hearts, the bias of their spirits. Upon what 
you see of them, you found a judgment of charity as to their state ; 
and you do well to judge charitably in such a case, because you 
cannot know the secret springs of their actions : but you are seek- 
ing, and ought to have, a judgment of certainty as to your own 
state; and therefore are to look into that part of religion; which 
none in the world but yourselves can discern in you ; and which you 
can as little see in others. A hypocrite's region may appear far 
greater than that of a sincere soul : but that which makes the 
greatest figure in the eyes of men, is often of least worth before 
God. 1 would rather utter one of those groans which the apos- 
tle speaks of, Rom. viii. 26, than shed Esau's tears, have Bala- 
am's prophetic spirit, or the joy of the stony-ground hearer. " The 
fire that shall try every man's work," will try, not of what 


bulk it is, but "of what sort it is," 1 Cor. iii. 13. — Though 
you may know what bulk, of religion another has, and that it 
be more bulky than your own, yet God doth not regard that; 
why theu do you make such a matter of it ? It is impossible 
for you, without divine revelation, certainiy to know of what sort 
another man's religion is : but you may certainly know what sort 
your own is of, without extraordinary revelation ; otherwise the 
apostle would not exhort the saints to " give diligence to make their 
calling and election sure," 2 Peter i. 10. Therefore the attainments 
of hypocrites and apostates should not dsturb you, in your serious 
inquiry into your own state. I will tell you two things, wherein 
the meanest saints go beyond the most refined hypocrites: 1. In 
denying themselves ; renouncing all confidence in themselves, and 
their own works ; acquiescing in, being well pleased with, and ven- 
turing their souls upon, God's plan of salvation through Jesus Christ, 
Matt. V. 3, " Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom 
of heaven." And chap. xi. 6, " Blessed is he, whosoever shall not 
be ofi^ended in me." Phil. iii. 3, " We are the circumcision, which 
worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Jesus Christ, and have no 
confidence in the flesh." 2. In a real hatred of all sin; being will- 
ing to part with every lust, without exception, and to comply with 
"every duty which the Lord makes, or shall make known to them. 
Psalm csix. 6, " Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect 
unto all thy commandments." Try yourselves by these. 

Case 6. " I sec myself fall so far short of the saints mentioned in 
the Scriptures, and of several excellent persons of my own ac- 
quaintance, that, when I look on them, I can hardly look on myself 
as one of the same family with them." Answer. It is indeed matter 
of humiliation, that we do not get forward to that measure of grace 
and holiness which we see is attainable in this life. This should 
make us more vigorously press towards the mark : but surely it is 
from the devil, that weak Christians make a rack for themselves, of 
the attainments of the strong. To yield to the temptation, is as 
unreasonable as for a child to dispute away his relation to his fa- 
ther, because he is not of the same stature with his elder brethren. 
There are saints of several sizes in Christ's family ; some fathers, 
some young men, and some little children, 1 John ii. 13, 14. 

Case 7- " I never read in the word of God, nor did I ever know 
of a child of God, so tempted, and so left of God, as lam; and 
therefore, no saiut's case being like mine, I cannot but conclude 
that I am none of their number. Answer. This objection arises to 
some from their ignorance of the Scriptures, and the experience of 
Christians. It is profitable, in this case, to impart the matter to 


some experienced Christian friend, or to some godly minister. This 
lias been a blessed means of peace to some persons ; while their 
case, which appeared to them to be singular, has been proved to 
have been the case of other saints. The Scriptures give instances 
of very horrid temptations, wherewith the saints have been as- 
saulted. Job was tempted to blaspheme ; this was the great thing 
the devil aimed at in the case of that great saint, Job. i. 11, "He 
will curse thee to thy face." Chap. it. 9, " Curse God and die." 
Asaph was tempted to think it was in vain to be religious, which 
was in effect to throw off all religion. Psalm Ixxiii. 13, " Verily I 
have cleansed my heart in vain." Tea, Christ himself was tempted 
to " cast himself down from a pinnacle of the temple," and to " wor- 
ship the devil," Matt. iv. 6 — 9. And many of the children of God 
have not only been attacked with, but have actually yielded to very 
gross temptation for a time. Peter denied Christ, and cursed and 
swore that he knew him not, Mark xiv. 71. Paul, when a persecutor 
compelled even saints to blaspheme. Acts xxvi. 10, 11. Many of 
the saints can, from their sad experience, bear witness to very gross 
temptations, which have astonished their spirits, made their very 
flesh to tremble, and sickened their bodies. Satan's fiery darts make 
terrible work ; and will cost some pains to quench them, by a vigo- 
rous managing of the shield of faith, Eph. vi. 16. Sometimes he' 
makes such desparate attacks, that never was one more put to it, 
in running to and fro, without intermission, to quench the fire-balls 
incessantly thrown into his house by an enemy, designing to burn 
the house about him, than the poor tempted saint is, to repel Sata- 
nical injections. But these injections, these horrid temptations though 
they are a dreadful affliction, they are not the sins of the tempted, 
unless they make them heirs by consenting to them. They will be 
charged upon the tempter alone, if they be not consented to ; and 
will no more be laid to the charge of the tempted party, than a bas- 
tard's being laid down at a chaste man's door will fix guilt upon him. 
But suppose neither minister nor private Christian, to whom you 
go, can tell you of any who has been in your case; yet you ought 
not thence to infer that your case is singular, far less to give up 
hope : for it is not to be thought, that every godly minister, or pri- 
vate Christian, has had experience of all the cases which a child of 
God may be in. We need not doubt that some have had distresses 
known only to God and their own consciences; and so to others 
these distresses are as if they had never been. Yea, and though 
the Scriptures contain suitable directions for every case which a 
child of God can be in, and these illustrated with a sufficient num- 
ber of examples ; yet it is not to be imagined that there are in the 


Scriptures perfect instances of every particular case incident to the 
saints. Therefore, though you cannot find an instance of your case 
in the Scripture, yet bring your case to it, and you shall find suit- 
able remedies prescribed there for it. Study rather to make use of 
Christ for your case, who has a remedy for all diseases, than to 
know if ever any was in your case. Though one should shew 
you an instance of your case, in an undoubted saint; yet none 
could promise that it would certainly give you ease : for a scrupulous 
conscience would readily find out some diflTerence. And if nothing 
but a perfect conformity of another's case to yours will satisfy it will 
be hard, if not impossible, to satisfy you ; for it is with people's 
cases, as with their natural faces : though the faces of all men 
are of one make, and some are so very like others, that, at first 
view, we are ready to take them for the same ; yet if you view thom 
more accurately, you will see something in every face, distinguish- 
ing it from all others; though possibly you cannot tell what it is. 
Wherefore I conclude, that if you can find in yourselves the marks 
of regeneration, proposed to you from the word, you ought to con- 
clude you are in the state of grace, though your case were singular, 
which is indeed unlikely. 

Case 8. *' The afilictions I meet with are strange and unusual. T 
doubt if ever a child of God was tried with such dispensations of 
providence as I am." Answer. Much of what was said on the pre- 
ceding case, may be helpful in this. Holy Job was assaulted with 
this temptation, Job v. 1, *' To which of the saints wilt thou turn?" 
But he rejected it, and held fast his integrity. The apostle supposes 
that Christians may be tempted to *' think it strange concerning the 
fiery trial," 1 Pet. iv. 12. But they have need of larger experience 
than Solomon's, who will venture to say, " See this is new," Eccl. i. 10. 
What though, in respect of the outward dispensations of providence, 
" it happen to you according to the work of the wicked ?" yet you 
may be just notwithstanding ; according to Solomon's observation, 
Eccl. viii. 14. Sometimes we travel in ways where we can neither 
perceive the prints of the foot of man or beast ; yet we cannot from 
thence conclude that there was never any there before us: so though 
thou canst not perceive the footsteps of the flock, in the way of 
thine aflliction, thou must not therefore conclude that thou art the 
first that ever travelled that road. But what if it were so ? Some 
one saint or other must be first, in drinking of each bitter cup the 
rest have drunk of. What warrant have you or I to limit the Holy 
One of Israel to a trodden path, in his dispensations towards us? 
"Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters ; and thy 
footsteps are not known," Psalm Ixxvii. 19. If the Lord should 

Vol. viii. L 


carry you to heaven by some retired road, so to speak, you would 
have no ground of complaint. Learn to allow sovereignty a lati- 
tude ; be at your duty ; and let no affliction cast a veil over any 
evidences you otherwise have for your being in the state of grace : 
for " no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before 
him," Eccl. ix. 1. 

Use II. You that are strangers to this new birth, be convinced 
of the absolute necessity of it. Are all who are in the state of 
grace born again ? then you have neither part nor lot in it, who are 
not born again. I must tell you in the words of our Lord and Sa- 
viour, and that he would speak them to your hearts ! " Yon 
must be born again," John iii. 7- For your conviction, consider 
these few things. 

1. Regeneration is absolutely necessary to qualify you to do any 
thing really good and acceptable to God. While you are not born 
again, your best works are but glittering sins ; for though the mat- 
ter of them is good, they are quite marred in the performance. 
Consider, L That without regeneration there is no faith, and " with- 
out faith it is impossible to i)lease God," Heb. xi. 6. Faith is a 
vital act of the new-born soul. The evangelist, shewing the differ- 
ent entertainment which our Lord Jesus had from different persons, 
some receiving him, some rejecting him, points at regenerating 
grace as the true cause of that difference, without which never any 
one would have received him. He tells us, that "as many as re- 
ceived him," were those " which were born — of God," John i. 11 — 
13. Unregenerate men may presume ; but true faith they cannot 
have. Faith is a flower that grows not in the field of nature. As 
the tree cannot grow without a root, neither can a man believe with- 
out the new nature, whereof the principle of believing is a part. 2. 
"Without regeneration a man's works are dead works. As is the 
principle, so must the effects be : if the lungs are rotten, the breath 
will be unsavoury ; and he who at best is dead in sin, his works at 
best will he but dead works. " Unto them that are defiled and un- 
believing, is nothing pure — being abominable, and disobedient, and 
unto every good work reprobate," Tit. i. 15, 16. Could we say of a 
man, that he is more blameless in his life than any other in the 
world; that he reduces his body with fasting; and has made his 
knees as horns with continual praying ; but he is not born again : 
that exception would mar all. As if one should say. There is a well 
proportioned body, but the soul is gone ; it is but a dead lump. This 
is a melting consideration. Thou dost many things materially good; 
but God says, All these things avail not, as long as I see the old 
nature reigning in the man. Gal. vi. 15, "For in Jesus Christ 


neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircnracisiou, but a 
new creature." 

If thou art not born again, (1.) All thy reformation is naught in 
the sight of God. Thou hast shut the door, but the thief is still 
in the house. It may be thou art not what once thou wast ; yet 
thou art not what thou must be, if ever thou see heaven ; for " ex- 
cept a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," John 
iii. 3. (2.) Thy prayers are an " abomination to the Lord," Prov. 
XV. 8. It may be, others admire thy seriousness ; thou criest as 
for thy life ; but God accounts of the opening of thy mouth, as one 
would account of the opening of a grave full of rottenness, Rom. 
iii. 13, "Their throat is an open sepulchre." Others are af- 
fected with thy prayers ; which seem to them, as if they would 
rend the heavens; but God accounts them but as the howling of 
a dog : " They have not cried unto me with their hearts, Avhen they 
howled upon their beds," Hos. vii. 14. Others take thee for a wrest- 
ler and prevailer with God ; but he can take no delight in thee nor 
thy prayers, 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 burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol." Why, because thou 
art yet " in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity !" (3.) All 
thou hast done for God, and his cause in the world, though it may 
be followed with temporal rewards, yet it is lost as to divine accept- 
ance. This is clear from the case of Jehu, who was indeed re- 
warded with a kingdom, for his executing due vengeance upon the 
house of Ahab; as being a work good for the matter of it, because 
it was commanded of God, as you may see, 2 Kings ix. 7 ; yet was 
he punished for it in his posterity, because he did it not in a right 
manner, Hos. i. 4, "I will avenge the blood of Jtzreel upon the 
house of Jehu." God looks chieily to the heart: and if so, truly, 
though the outward appearance be fairer than that of many others, 
yet the hidden man of thy heart is loathsome ; you look well be- 
fore men, but are not, as Moses was, fair to God, as the margin has 
it, Acts vii. 20. what a difference is there between the charac- 
ters of Asa and Amaziah ! " The high places were not removed ; 
nevertheless, Asa's heart was perfect with the Lord all his days," 
1 Kings XV. 14. " Amaziah did that which was right in the sight 
of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart," 2 Chron. xxv. 2. It may 
be thou art zealous against sin in others, and dost admonish them 
of their duty, and reprove them for their sin; and they hate thee, 
because thou dost thy duty ; but I must tell thee, God hates thee 
too, because thou dost it not in a right manner; and that thou 
canst never do, whilst thou art not born again. (4.) All thy strug- 



gles against sin in tbine own heart and life, are naught. The proud 
Pharisee afflicted his body \Fith fasting, and God struck his soul, 
in the mean time, with a sentence of condemnation, Luke xviii. 
Balaam struggled with his covetous temper, to that degree, that 
though he loved the wages of unrighteousness, yet he would not win 
them by cursing Israel : but he died the death of the wicked. Numb, 
xxxi. 8. All thou dost, while in an unregenerate state, is for thy- 
self : therefore it will fare with thee as with a subject, who having 
reduced the rebels, jjuts the crown on his own head, and loses all 
his good service and his head too. 

Objection. " If it be thus with us, then we need never perform any 
religious duty at all." Answer. The conclusion is not just. No 
inability of thine can excuse from the duty which God's law lays on 
thee : and there is less evil in doing thy duty, than there is in the 
omission of it. But there is a difference between omitting a duty, 
and doing it as thou dost it. A man orders the masons to build 
him a house. If they quite neglect the work, that will not be ac- 
cepted; if they build on the old rotten foundation, neither will 
that please : but they must raze the foundation, and build on firm 
ground, " Go thou and do likewise." In the mean time, it is not 
in vain even for thee to seek the Lord: for though he regards thee 
not, yet he may have respect to his own ordinances, and do thee 
good thereby, as was said before. 

2. Without regeneration there is no communion with God. There 
is a society on earth, whose " fellowship is with the Father, and 
with his Son Jesus Christ," 1 John i, 3. But out of that society, all 
the unregenerate are excluded; for they are all enemies to God, as 
you heard before at large. Now, " can two walk together, except 
they be agreed?" Amos iii, 3, They are all unholy: and "what 
communion hath light with darkness — Christ with Belial ?" 2 Cor, 
vi, 14, 15, They may have a shew and semblance of holiness ; but 
they are strangers to true holiness, and therefore " without God in 
the world." How sad is it, to be employed in religious duties, yet 
to have no fellowship with God in them ! You would not be con- 
tent with your meat, unless it nourished you; nor with your clothes, 
unless they kept you warm : and how can you satisfy yourselves 
with your duties, while you have no communion with God in them ? 

3. Regeneration is absolutely necessary to qualify you for hea- 
ven. None go to heaven but those who are made meet for it. Col. i, 
12. As it was with Solomon's temple, 1 Kings vi. 7, so is it with 
the temple above. It is " built of stone made ready before it 
is brought thither ;" namely, of " lively stones," 1 Pet. ii. 5, — 
•' wrought for the selfsame thing," 2 Cor. v. 5; for they cannot be 


laid in that glorious building just as they come out of the quarry of 
depraved nature. Jewels of gold are not meet for swine, and far 
less jewels of glory for unrenewed sinners. Beggars, in their rags, 
are not fit for kings' houses ; nor sinners to enter into the King's 
palace, without the raiment of needlework. Psalm xlv. 14, 15. 
What wise man would bring fish out of the water to feed in his 
meadows ? or send his oxen to feed in the sea ? Even as little are 
the unregenerate fit for heaven, or heaven fit for them. It would 
never be relished by them. 

The unregenerate would find fault with heaven on several ac- 
counts. As, (1.) That it is a strange country. Heaven is the re- 
newed man's native country : his Father is in heaven ; his mother 
is Jerusalem, which is above, Gral. iv. 26. He is born from above, 
John iii. 3. Heaven is his home, 2 Cor. v. 1 ; therefore he looks on 
himself as a stranger on this earth, and his heart is homeward, Heb. 
xi. 16, " They desire a better country, that is, a heavenly country." 
But the unregenerate man is the man of the earth. Psalm x. 18; 
written in the earth, Jer. xvii. 13. Now, "Home is home, be it 
ever so homely:" therefore he minds earthly things, Phil. iii. 
19. There is a peculiar sweetness in our native soil ; and with dif- 
ficulty are men drawn to leave it, and dwell in a strange country. 
In no case does that prevail more than in this ; for unrenewed men 
would quit their pretensions to heaven, were it not that they see 
they cannot make a better bargain. (2.) There is nothing in hea- 
ven that they delight in, as agreeable to the carnal heart, Rev. xxi, 
27, " For there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defil- 
eth." When Mahomet gave out a paradise to be a place of sensual 
delights, his religion was greedily embraced; for that is the heaven 
men naturally choose. If the covetous man could get bags full of 
gold there, and the voluptuous man could promise himself his sensual 
delights they might be reconciled to heaven, and meetened for it too; 
but since it is not so, though they may utter fair words about it, 
truly it has little of their hearts. (3.) Every corner there is filled 
with that which of all things they have the least liking for ; and 
that is holiness, true holiness, perfect holiness. Were one that ab- 
hors swine's flesh, bidden to a feast where all the dishes were of that 
sort of meat, but variously prepared, he would find fault with every 
dish at the table, notwithstanding all the art used to make them 
palatable. It is true, there is joy in heaven, but it is holy joy ; 
there are pleasures in heaven, but they are holy pleasures ; there 
are places in heaven, but it is holy ground, — that holiness which in 
every place, and in every thing there, would mar all to the unrege- 
nerate. (4.) Were they carried thither, they would not only change 


their place, which would be a great heart-break, but they would 
change their company too. Truly, they would never like the com- 
pany there, who care not for communion with God here ; nor value 
the fellowship of his people, at least in the vitals of practical godli- 
ness. Many, indeed, mix themselves with the godly on earth, to 
procure a name to themselves, and to cover the sinfulness of their 
hearts ; but that trade cannot be managed there. (5.) They 
would never like the employment of heaven, they care so little for 
it now. The business of the saints there would be an intolerable 
burden to them, seeing it is not agreeable to their nature. To be 
taken up in beholding, admiring, and praising him that sits on 
the throne, and the Lamb, would be work unsuitable, and therefore 
unsavoury to an unrenewed soul. (6.) They would find this fault 
with it, that the whole is of everlasting continuance. This would 
be a killing ingredient in it to them. How would such as now ac- 
count the Sabbath day a burden, brook the celebration of an ever- 
lasting Sabbath in the heavens ! 

4. Regeneration is absolutely necessary to your being admitted 
into heaven, John iii. 3. No heaven without it. Though carnal 
men could digest all those things which make heaven so unsuitable 
for them, yet God will never bring them thither. Therefore born 
again you must be, else you shall never see heaven; you shall perish 
eternally. For, (1.) There is a bill of exclusion against you in the 
court of heaven, and against all of your sort ; " Except a man be 
born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," John iii. 3. Here 
is a bar before you, that men and angels cannot remove. To hope 
for heaven, in the face of this peremptory sentence, is to hope that 
God will recall his word, and sacrifice his truth and faithfulness to 
your safety; which is infinitely more than to hope that "the earth 
shall be forsaken for you, and the rock removed out of its place." 
(2.) There is no holiness without regeneration. It is " the new man 
which is created in true holiness," Eph. iv. "24. And no heaven 
without holiness; for "without holiness no iran shall see the Lord," 
Heb. xii. 14. "Will the gates of pearl be opened, to let in dogs and 
and swine ? No ; their place is without. Rev. xxii, 15. God will 
not admit such into the holy place of communion with him here; 
and will he admit them into the holiest of all hereafter? Will he 
take the children of the devil, and permit them to sit with him in 
his throne ? Or, will he bring the unclean into the city, whose 
street is pure gold ? Be not deceived ; grace and glory are but two 
links of one chain, which God has joined, and no man shall put asun- 
der. None are transplanted into the paradise above, but out of the 
nursery of grace below. If you be unholy while in this world, you 


will be for ever miserable in the world to come. (3.) All the unre- 
generate are without Christ, and therefore have no hope while in 
that case, Eph, ii. 12. "Will Christ prepare mansions of glory for 
those who refuse to receive him into their hearts ? Nay, rather 
will he not *' laugh at their calamity," who now " set at nought all 
his counsel ?" Prov. i. 25, 26. (4.) There is an infallible connex- 
ion between a finally unregenerate state and damnation, arising from 
the nature of the things themselves ; and from the decree of heaven 
which is fixed and immovable, as mountains of brass, John iii. 3 ; 
Rom. viii. 6. " To be carnally minded is death." An unregenerate 
state is hell in the bud. It is eternal destruction in embryo, grow- 
ing daily, though thou dost not discern it. Death is painted on 
many a fair face, in this life. Depraved nature makes men meet to 
be partakers of the inheritance of the damned, in utter darkness. 
1. The heart of stone within thee, is a sinking weight. As a stone 
naturally goes downward, so the hard stony heart tends downward to 
the hgjtoraless pit. You are hardened against reproof ; though you 
are told your danger, yet you will not see it, you will not believe 
it. But remember that the conscience being now seared with a hot 
iron, is a sad presage of everlasting burnings. 2. Your unfruitful- 
ness under the means of grace, fits you for the axe of God's judg- 
ments. Matt. iii. 10, " Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, 
is hewn down, and cast into the fire." The withered branch is fuel 
for the fire, John xv. 6. Tremble at this, you despisers of the Gos- 
pel : if you be not thereby made meet for heaven, you will be like 
the barren ground, bearing briers and thorns, " nigh unto cursing, 
whose end is to be burned," Heb. vi. 8. 3. The hellish dispositions 
of mind, which discover themselves in profanity of life, fit the guilty 
for the regions of horror. A profane life will have a miserable 
end. " They which do such things, shall not inherit the kingdom of 
God," Gal. V. 19 — 21. Think on this, you prayerless persons, ye 
mockers of religion, ye cursers and swearers, ye unclean and unjust 
persons, who have not so much as moral honesty to keep you from 
lying, cheating, and stealing. What sort of a tree do you think it 
is, upon which these fruits grow ? Is it a tree of righteousness, 
which the Lord hath planted ? Or is it not such a one as cumbers 
the ground, which God will pluck up for fuel to the fire of his 
wrath ? 4. Your being dead in sin, makes you meet to be wrapped 
in flames of brimstone, as a winding-sheet ; and to be buried in the 
bottomless pit, as in a grave. Great was the cry in Egypt, when 
the first-born in each family was dead ; but are there not many fa- 
milies, where all are dead together ? Nay, many there are who are 
twice dead, plucked up by the root. Sometimes in th(;ir life they 


have been roused by apprehensions of death, and its conseqnences ; 
but now they are so far on in their way to the land of darkness, 
that they hardly ever have the least glimmering of light from 
heaven. 5. The darkness of your minds presages eternal darkness. 
the horrid ignorance with which some are plagued ; while others, 
who have got some rays of the light of reason in their heads, are 
utterly void of spiritual light in their hearts ! If you knew your 
case, you would cry out, Oh ! darkness ! darkness ! darkness ! mak- 
making way for the blackness of darkness for ever ! The face- 
covering is upon you already, as condemned persons ; so near are 
you to everlasting darkness. It is only Jesus Christ who can stop 
the execution, pull the napkin off the face of the condemned male- 
factor, and put a pardon in his hand, Isa. xxv. 7- " He will 
destroy, in this mountain, the face of covering cast over all people," 
that is, the face-covering cast over the condemned, as in Haman's 
case, Esth. vii. 8. " As the word went out of the king's mouth, 
they covered Ilaman's face," 6. The chains of darkness yj« are 
bound with in the prison of your depraved state, Isa. Ixi. 1, fits you 
to be cast into the burning fiery furnace. Ah, miserable men ! 
Sometimes their consciences stir within them, and they begin to 
think of amending their ways. But alas ! they are in chains, they 
cannot do it. They are chained by the heart : their lusts cleave so 
fast to them, that they cannot, nay, they will not shake them off. 
Thus you see what afiinity there is between an nnregenerate state, 
and the state of the damned, the state of absolute and irretrievable 
misery. Be convinced, then, that you must be born again ; put a 
high value on the new birth, and eagerly desire it. 

The text tells yon, that the word is the seed, whereof the new 
creature is formed : therefore take heed to it, and entertain it, as 
it is yonr life. Apply yourself to the reading of the Scriptures. 
You that cannot read, get others to read it to you. "Wait diligently 
on the preaching of the word, as by divine appointment the special 
mean of conversion ; " for — it pleased God, by the foolishness of 
preaching, to save them that believe," 1 Cor. i. 21. Wherefore 
cast not yourselves out of Christ's way ; reject not the means of 
grace, lest you be found to judge yourselves unworthy of eternal 
life. Attend carefully to the word preached. Hear every sermon, 
as if you were hearing for eternity ; take heed that the fowls of the 
air pick not up this seed from you, as it is sown. " Give thyself 
wholly to it," 1 Tim. iv. 15. " Receive it not as the word of men, 
but, as it is in truth, the word of God," 1 Thess. ii. 13, Hear it 
with application, looking on it as a message sent from heaven, to 
you in particular ; though not to you only. Rev. iii. 22. " He that 


hath au ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." 
Lay it up in your hearts ; meditate upon it ; and be not as the 
unclean beasts, that chew not the cud. But by earnest prayer, beg 
that the dew of Heaven may fall on thy heart, that the seed may 
spring up there. 

More particularly, 1 Receive the testimony of the word of God, 
concerning the misery of an unregenerate state, the sinfulness 
thereof, and the absolute necessity of regeneration. 2. Receive 
its testimony concerning God, what a holy and just One he is. 
3. Examine thy ways by it ; namely, the thoughts of thy heart, 
the expressions of thy lips, and the tenour of thy life. Look back 
through the several periods of thy life ; and see thy sins from the 
precepts of the word, and learn, from its threatening, what thou art 
liable to on account of these sins. 4. By the help of the same 
word of God, view the corruption of thy nature, as in a glass which 
manifests our ugly face in a clear manner. Were these things 
deet)ly rooted in the heart, they might be the seed of that fear 
and sorrow, on account of thy soul's state, which are necessary 
to prepare and stir thee up to look after a Saviour. Fix your 
thoughts upon him offered to thee in the Gospel, as fully suited 
to thy case ; having, by his obedience unto death, perfectly satisfied 
the justice of God, and brought in everlasting righteousness. This 
may prove the seed of humiliation, desire, hope and faith; and move 
thee to stretch out the withered hand unto him, at his own command. 

Let these things sink deeply into your hearts, and improve them 
diligently. Remember, whatever you are, you must be born again ; 
else it had been better for you, that you had never been born. 
Wherefore, if any of you shall live and die in an unregenerate state, 
you will be inexcusable, having been fairly warned of your danger. 



/ am the vine ye are the branches. — John xv. 5. 

Having spoken of the change made by regeneration, on all those who 
will inherit eternal life, in opposition to their natural real state, the 
state of degeneracy; I proceed to speak of the change made on 
them, in their union with the Lord Jesus Christ, in opposition to 
their natural relative state, the state of misery. The doctrine of 


tlie saiuts' union with Christ, is very plainly and fully insisted on, 
from the beginning to the eighth verse of this chapter ; which is a 
part of our Lord's farewell sermon to his disciples. Sorrow had now 
filled their hearts ; they were apt to say, Alas ! what will become 
of us, when our Master is taken from our head ? Who will then in- 
strnct us? Who will solve our doubts? How shall we be supported 
under our difficulties and discouragements ? How shall we be able 
to live without our wonted communication with him? Therefore our. 
Lord Jesus Christ seasonably teaches them the mystery of their 
union with him, comparing himself to the vine, and them to the 

He compares, 1. Himself to a vine. " I am the vine." He had 
been celebrating, with his disciples, the sacrament of his supper, 
that sign and seal of his people's union with him ; and had told 
them, " That he would drink no more of the fruit of the vine, till he 
should drink it new with them in his Father's kingdom :" and now 
he shews himself to be the vine, from whence the wine of their con- 
solation should come. The vine has less beauty than many other 
trees, but it is exceedingly fruitful ; fitly representing the low con- 
dition in which our Lord was in, bringing many sons to glory. 
But that which is chiefly aimed at, in his comparing himself to 
a vine, is to represent himself as the supporter and nourisher of his 
people, in whom they live and bring forth fruit. 2. He compares 
them to branches ; ye are the branches of that vine. Te are the 
branches knit to, and growing on this stock, drawing all your life 
and sap from it. It is a beautiful comparison ; as if he had said, I 
am as a vine, you are as the branches of that vine. Now there are 
two sorts of branches: 1. Natural branches, which at first spring 
out of the stock. These are the branches that are in the tree, and 
were never out of it. 2. There are ingrafted branches, which are 
branches cut off from the tree that first gave them life, and put into 
another, to grow upon it. Thus branches come to be on a tree, 
which originally were not on it. The branches mentioned in the 
text, are of the latter sort; branches broken oft', as the word in the 
original language denotes, namely, from the tree that first gave 
them life. None of the children of men are natural branches of the 
second Adam, that is, Jesus Christ, the true vine ; they are the na- 
tural branches of the first Adam, that degenerate vine : but the elect 
are all of them, sooner or later, broken oft' from their natural stock, 
and ingrafted into Christ, the true vine. 

Doctrine. They who are in the state of grace, are ingrafted in, 
and united to, the Lord Jesus Christ. They are taken out of their 
natural stock, cut off from it; and are now ingrafted into Christ, as 
the new stock. 


In general, for understanding the union between the Lord Jesus 
Christ and his elect, who believe in him, and on him, I observe, 

1. It is a spiritual union. Man and wife, by their marriage- 
union, become one flesh; Christ and true believers, by this union, be- 
come one spirit, 1 Cor. vi. 17. As one soul or spirit actuates both 
the head and the members in the natural body, so the one Spirit of God 
dwells in Christ and the Christian ; for, " if any man have not the 
Spirit of Christ, he is none of his his," Rom, viii. 9. Earthly union 
is made by contact ; so the stones in a building are united ; but this 
is a union of another nature. Were it possible that we could eat 
the flesh and drink the blood of Christ, in a corporeal and carnal 
manner, it would profit nothing, John vi. 63. It was not Mary's 
bearing him in her womb, but her believing on him, that made her a 
saint, L: ke xi. 27, 28, " A certain woman — said unto him, Blessed 
is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. 
But he said. Tea, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of 
God, and keep it." 

2. It is a real union. Such is our weakness in our present state, 
so much are we sunk in sin, that in our fancy, we are prone to form 
an image of every thing proposed to us : and as to whatever is de- 
nied us, we are apt to suspect it to be only a fiction. But nothing 
is more real than what is spiritual : as approaching nearest to the 
nature of him who is the fountain of all reality, namely, God him- 
self. We do not see Vt^ith our eyes the union between our own soul 
and body ; neither can we represent it to ourselves truly, by im- 
agination, as we do sensible things : yet the reality of it is not to 
be doubted. Faith is no fancy, but " the substance of things 
hoped for," Heb. xi. 1. Neither is the union thereby made between 
Christ and believers imaginary, but most real : " For we are mem- 
bers of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones," Eph. v. 30. 

2. It is a most close and intimate union. Believers, regenerate 
persons, who believe in him, and rely on him, have put on Christ, 
Gal. iii. 27. If that be not enough, he is in them, John xvii. 23, 
formed in them as the child in the womb, Gal. iv. 19. He is the 
foundation, 1 Cor. iii. 11 ; they are the lively stones built upon him, 
1 Pet. ii. 5. He is the head and they the[body, Eph. i. 22, 23. Nay, 
he liveth in them, as their very souls live in their bodies. Gal. ii. 
20. And what is more than all this, they are one in the Father 
and the Son, as the Father is in Christ, and Christ in the Father, 
John xvii. 21, " That they all may be one; as thou Father art in 
me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us." 

4. Though it is not a mere legal union, yet it is a union sup- 
ported by law. Christ, as the surety, and Christians as the princi- 


pal debtors, are one in the eye of the law. When the elect had 
run themselves, with the rest of mankind, in debt to the justice of 
God, Christ became surety for them, and paid the debt. When 
they believe on him, they are united to him in a spiritual marriage 
union ; which takes effect so far, that what he did and suffered for 
them is reckoned in law, as if they had done and suffered it them- 
selves. Hence, they are said to be crucified with Christ, Gal. 
ii. 20 ; buried with him, Col. ii. 12 ; yea, raised up together, namely, 
with Christ, " and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ 
Jesus," Eph. ii. 6. In which places, saints on earth, of whom the 
apostle there speaks, cannot be said to be sitting, but in the way 
of law reckoning. 

5. It is an iudissolute union. Once in Christ, ever in him. Hav- 
ing taken up his habitation in the heart, he never removes. None 
can untie this happy knot. — Who will dissolve this union ? Will 
he himself ? No, he will not; we have his word for it; "I will 
not turn away from them," Jer. xxxii. 40. But perhaps the sinner 
will do this mischief to himself? No, he shall not; " they shall not 
depart from me," saith their God. Can devils do it ? No, unless 
they be stronger than Christ and his Father too ; " Neither shall 
any man pluck them out of my hand," saith our Lord, John x. 28. 
" And none is able to pluck them out of ray Father's hand," verse 
30. But what say you of death, which parts husband and wife ; 
yea, separates the soul from the body? Will not death do it? 
No : the apostle, Rom. viii. 38, 39, is " persuaded that neither 
death," terrible as it is, " nor life," desirable as it is ; " nor" devils, 
those evil *' angels, nor" the devil's persecuting agents, though they 
be " principalities, nor powers" on earth ; " nor" evil " things pre- 
sent," already lying on us ; " nor" evil " things to come" on us ; 
"nor" the "height" of worldly felicity; "nor depth" of worldly 
misery ; " nor any other creature," good or evil, " shall be able to 
separate us from the love of God, which is Christ Jesus our Lord." 
As death separated Christ's soul from his body, but could not se- 
parate either his soul or body from his divine nature ; so, though 
the saints should be separated from their nearest relations in the 
world, and from all their earthly enjoyments ; yea, though their 
souls should be separated from their bodies separated in a thousand 
pieces, their " bones scattered, as one cutteth or cleaveth wood ;" 
yet soul and body shall remain united to the Lord Christ ; for even 
in death, "they sleep in Jesus," 1 Thess. iv. 14; and "he keepeth 
all their bones," Psalm xxxiv. 20. Union with Christ, is " the 
grace wherein we stand," firm and stable, "as Mount Zion, which 
cannot be removed." 


6. It is a mysterious union. The gospel is a doctrine of mys- 
teries. It discovers to us the substantial union of the three persons 
in one Godhead, 1 John v. 7, " These three are one ;" the hyposta- 
tioal union, of the divine and human natures, in the person of the 
Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Tim. iii. 16, " God was manifest in the flesh ;" 
and the mystical union, between Christ and believers; "This is a 
great mystery" also, Eph. v. 32. what mysteries are here! The 
head in heaven, the members on earth, yet really united ! " Christ 
in the believer, living in him. walking in him :" and " the believer 
dwelling in God, putting on the Lord Jesus, eating his flesh, and 
drinking his blood !" This makes the saints a mystery to the world ; 
yea, a mystery to themselves. 

I come now more particularly to speak of this union with, and 
ingrafting into, Jesus Christ. 

I. I shall consider the natural stock, which the bi'anches are ta- 
ken out of. 

II. The supernatural stock they are ingrafted into. 

III. "What branches are cut off" the old stock, and put into the 

lY. How it is done. And, 

V. The benefits flowing from this union and ingrafting. 

I. Let us take a view of the stock, which the branches are taken 
out of. The two Adams, that is, Adam and Christ, are the two 
stocks : for the Scripture speaks of these two, as if there had been 
no more men in the world than they, 1 Cor. xv. 45, " The first man 
Adam was made a living soul, the last Adam was made a quicken- 
ing spirit ;" verse 47, " The first man is of the earth earthy : the 
second man is the Lord from heaven." And the reason is, there 
never were any that were not branches of one of these two ; all men 
being either in the one stock or in the other : for in these two sorts 
all mankind stand divided, verse 48, " As is the earthy, such are 
they also which are earthy ; and as is the heavenly, such are they 
also that are heavenly." The first Adam then, is the natural stock: 
on this stock are the branches found growing at first, which are 
afterwards cut ofi", and ingrafted into Christ. As for the fallen an- 
gels, as they had no relation to the first Adam, so they have none 
to the second. 

There are four things to be remembered here. (1.) That all man- 
kind, the man Christ excepted, are naturally branches of the first 
Adam, Rom. v. 12, " By one man sin entered into the world, and 
death by sin : and so death passed upon all men." (2.) The bond 
which knit us unto the natural stock, was the covenant of works, 
Adam, being our natural root, was made the moral root also, bear- 


ing all his posterity, as representing them in the covenant of works. 
For " by one man's disobedience many were made sinners," Hom. v. 
19. It was necessary that there should be a peculiar relation be- 
tween that one man and the many, as a foundation for imputing 
his sin to them. This relation did not arise from the mere natural 
bond between him and us, as a father to his children ; for so we are 
related to our immediate parents, whose sins are not thereupon im- 
puted to us, as Adam's sin is, but it arose from a moral bond be- 
tween Adam and us : the bond of a covenant, which could be no 
other than the covenant of works, wherein we are united to him, as 
branches to a .stock. Hence Jesus Christ, though a son of Adam, 
Luke iii. 23 — 38, was none of these branches ; for as he came not of 
Adam, in virtue of the blessing of marriage, which was given before 
the fall, Gen. i. 28, " Be fruitful, and multiply," &c. but in virtue 
of a special promise made after the fall, Gen, iii. 15, " The seed of 
the woman shall bruise the serpent's head," he could not be repre- 
sented by Adam in a covenant made before his fall. (3.) As it is 
impossible for a branch to be in two stocks at once, so no man can 
be at one and the same time, both in the first and second Adam. 
(4.) Hence it evidently follows, that all who are not ingrafted in 
Jesus Ciirist, are yet branches of the old stock ; and so partake of 
the nature of the same. Now, as to the first Adam, our natural 
stock, consider, 

First, What a stock he was originally. He was a vine of the 
Lord's planting, a choice vine, a noble vine, wholly good. There 
was a consultation of the Trinity at the planting of this vine, Gen. 
i. 26, " Let us make man in our image, after our own likeness." 
There was no rottenness at the heart of it. There was sap and 
juice enough in it to have nourished all the branches, to bring forth 
fruit unto God. My meaning is, Adam was made able perfectly to 
keep the commandments of God, which would have procured eternal 
life to himself, and to all his posterity; for as all die by Adam's 
disobedience, all would have had life by his obedience, if he had 
stood. Consider, 

Secondly/, What that stock now is. Ah ! most unlike to what it 
was when planted by the Author of all good. A blast from hell, 
and a bite with the venomous teeth of the old serpent, have made it 
a degenerate stock ; a dead stock ; nay, a killing stock. 

1. It is a degenerate evil stock. Therefore the Lord God said 
to Adam in that dismal day, " Where art thou ?" Gen. iii. 9. In 
what condition art thou now ? " How art thou turned into the de- 
generate plant of a strange vine unto me !" Or, " Where wast 
thou ?" Why not in the place of meeting with me ? Why so long 


in coming ? What means this fearful change ; this hiding of thy- 
self from me ? Alas ! the stock, is degenerate, quite spoiled, is 
become altogether naught, and brings forth wild grapes. Converse 
with the devil is preferred to communion with God. Satan is 
believed ; and God, who is truth itself, disbelieved. He who was 
the friend of God is now in conspiracy against him. Darkness is 
come in the place of light ; ignorance prevails in the mind, where 
divine knowledge shone ; the will, which was righteous and regular, 
is now turned rebel against its Lord : and the whole man is in 
dreadful disorder. 

Before I go farther, let me stop and observe. Here is a mirror both 
for saints and sinners. Sinners, stand here and consider what you 
are ; and saints, learn what you once were. Ton, sinners, are 
branches of a degenerate stock. Fruit you may bear indeed ; but 
now that your vine is the vine of Sodom, your grapes must of course 
be grapes of gall, Dent, xxxii. 32. The Scripture speaks of two 
sorts of fruit which grow on the branches of the natural stock ; and 
it is plain that they are of the nature of their degenerate stock. 
(1.) The wild grapes of wickedness, Isa. v. 2. These grow in abun- 
dance, by influence from hell. See Gal. v. 19 — 21. At its gates 
are all manner of these fruits, both new and old. Storms come 
from heaven to check them ; but still they grow. They are struck 
at with the sword of the Spirit, the word of God ; conscience 
gives them many a secret blow ; yet they thrive. (2.) Fruit to 
themselves, Hos. x. 1. What else are all the unrenewed man's acts 
of obedience, his reformation, sober deportment, his prayers, and 
good works ? They are all done chiefly for himself, not for the 
glory of God. These fru.ts are like the apples of Sodom, fair to 
look at, but full of ashes when handled and tried. You think you 
have not only the leaves of a profession, but the fruits of a holy 
practice too ; but if you be not broken off from the old stock, 
and ingrafted in Christ Jesus, God accepts not, and regards not 
your fruits. 

Here I must take occasion to tell you, there are five faults will 
be found in heaven with your best fruits. — 1. Their bitterness; your 
'* clusters are bitter," Deut. xxxii. 32. There is a spirit of bitter- 
ness, wherewith some come before the Lord, in religious duties, 
living in malice and envy; and which some professors entertain 
against others, because they outshine them in holiness of life, or be- 
cause they are not of their opinion. This, wherever it reigns, is a 
fearful symptom of an uurcgenerate state. But I do not so much 
mean this, as that which is common to all the branches of the old 
stock, namely, the leaves of hypocrisy, Luke xii. 1, which sours and 


imbitters every duty they perform. Wisdom, that is full of good 
fruits, is without hypocrisy, James iii. 17- 2. Their ill savour. 
Their works are abominable, for they themselves are corrupt, Psalra 
xiv. 1. They all savour of the old stock, not of the new. It is the 
peculiar privilege of the saints, that they are unto God a sweet 
savour of Christ, 2 Cor. ii. 15. The unregenerate man's fruits 
savour not of love to Christ, nor of the blood of Christ, nor of 
the incense of his intercession, and therefore will never be accepted 
in heaven. 3. Their unripeness. Their grape is an unripe grape, 
Job XV. 33. There is no influence on them from the Sun of 
righteousness to bring them to perfection. They have the shape 
of fruit, but no more. The matter of duty is in them, but they 
want right principles and ends : their works are not in God, 
John iii. 21. Their prayers drop from their lips, before their 
hearts are impregnated with the vital sap of the Spirit of suppli- 
cation : their tears fall from their eyes before their hearts are truly 
softened ; their feet turn to new paths, and their way is altered, 
while their nature still is unchanged. 4. Their lightness. Being 
weighed in the balances, they are found wanting, Dan. v. 27. 
For evidence whereof you may observe that they do riot humble 
the soul, but lift it up in pride. The good fruits of holiness 
bear down the branches they grow upon, making them to salute 
the ground, 1 Cor. xv. 19, " I laboured more abundantly than 
they all : yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." 
But the blasted fruits of unrenewed men's performances, hang 
lightly on branches towering up to heaven. Judges xvii. 13, " Now 
know I, that the Lord will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to 
my priest." They look indeed too high for God to behold them : 
" Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not ?" Isa. 
Iviii. 3. The more duties they do, and the better they seem to per- 
form them, the less are they humbled, and the more are they lifted 
up. This disposition of the sinner is the exact reverse of what is to 
be fonnd in the saint. To men, who neither are in Christ, nor are 
solicitous to be found in him, their duties are like floating bladders, 
wherewith they think to swim ashore to Immanuel's land; but these 
must needs break, and they consequently sink ; because they take'not 
Christ for the lifter up of their heads, Psalra iii. 3, 5. They are 
not all manner of pleasant fruits, Cant. vii. 13. Christ, as a king, 
must be served with variety. Where God makes the heart his gar- 
den, he plants it as Solomon did his, with trees of all kinds of fruits 
Eccl. ii. 5. Accordingly it brings forth the fruit of the Spirit in all 
goodness, Eph. v, 9. But the ungodly are not so ; their obedience 
is never universal ; there is always some one thing or other excep- 


ted. In one word, their fruits are fraits of an ill tree, that cannot 
be accepted in heaven. 

2. Our natural stock is a dead stock, according to the threaten- 
ing, Gen. ii. 17, " In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely 
die." Our root is now rottenness, no wonder the blossom goes up 
as dust. The stroke has gone to the heart, the sap is let out, and 
the tree is withered. The curse of the first covenant, like a hot 
thunderbolt from heaven, has lighted on it, and ruined it. It is 
cursed now as that fig-tree, Matth. xxi. 19, " Let no fruit grow on 
thee henceforward for ever." Now it is good for nothing, but to 
cumber the ground, and furnish fuel for Tophet. 

Let me enlarge a little here also. Every unrenewed man is a 
branch of a dead stock. "When thou seest, sinner, a dead stock 
of a tree, exhausted of all its sap, having branches on it in the same 
condition, look on it as a lively representation of thy soul's state. 
1. Where the stock is dead, the branches must needs be barren. 
Alas ! the barrenness of many professors plainly discovers on what 
stock they are growing. It is easy to pretend to faith, but " shew 
me thy faith without thy works !" if thou canst, James ii. 18, 2. A 
dead stock can convey no sap to the branches, to make them bring 
forth fruit. The covenant of works was the bond of our union with 
the natural stock ; but now it is become weak through the flesh ; that 
is, through the degeneracy and depravity of human nature, Rom. 
viii, 3. It is strong enough to command, and to bind heavy burdens 
on the shoulders of those who are not in Christ, but it aff'ords no 
strength to bear them. The sap, that was once in the root, is 
now gone : the law, like a merciless creditor, apprehends Adam's 
heirs, saying to each, " Pay what thou owest ;" when, alas ! his 
effects are riotously spent. 3. All pains and cost are lost on the 
tree, whose life is gone. In vain do men labour to get fruit on the 
branches, when there is no sap in the root. The gardener's pains 
are lost : ministers lose their labour on the branches of the old 
stock, while they continue on it. Many sermons are preached to no 
purpose; because there is no life to give sensation. Sleeping men 
may be awakened; but the dead cannot be raised without a miracle; 
even so the dead sinner must remain, if he be not restored to life 
by a miracle of grace. The influences of heaven are lost on such a 
tree : in vain doth the rain fall upon it ; in vain is it laid open to 
the winter cold and frosts. The Lord of the vineyard digs about 
many a dead sonl, but it is not bettered. " Bruise the fool in a 
mortar, his folly will not depart." Though he meets with many 
crosses, yet he retains his lusts : let him be laid on a sick bed, he 
will lie there like a sick beast, groaning under his pain, but not 
Vol. VIIL m 


mourning for, nor turning from, his sin. Let death itself stare him 
in the face, he will presumptuously maintain his hope, as if he 
would look the grim messenger out of countenance. Sometimes 
there are common operations of the divine Spirit performed on him : 
he is sent home with a trembling heart, and with arrows of convic- 
tion sticking in his soul : but at length he prevails against these 
things, and becomes as secure as ever. Summer and winter are 
alike to the branches on the dead stock. When others about them 
are budding, blossoming, and bringing forth fruit, there is no change 
on them : the dead stock has no growing time at all. Perhaps it 
may be difficult to know, in the winter, what trees are dead, and 
what are alive ; but the spring plainly discovers it. There are 
some seasons wherein there is little life to be perceived, even among 
saints ; yet times of reviving come at length. But even when " the 
vine flourisheth, and the pomegranates bud forth," when saving 
grace is discovering itself by its lively actings wherever it is, the 
branches on the old stock are still withered. When the dry bones 
are coming together, bone to bone amongst saints, the sinner's bones 
are still lying about the grave's mouth. They are trees that cum- 
ber the ground, ready to be cut down ; and will be cut down for the 
fire, if God in mercy prevent it not by cutting them off from that 
stock, and ingrafting them into another. 

3. Our natural stock is a killing stock. If the stock die, how 
can the branches live ? If the sap be gone from the root and heart, 
the branches must needs wither. " In Adam all die," 1 Cor. xv. 
22. The root died in Paradise, and all the branches in it, and with 
it. The root is poisoned, and from thence the branches are infected; 
" death is in the pot ;" and all that taste of the pulse, or pottage, 
are killed. 

Know then, that every natural man is a branch of a killing stock. 
Our natural root not only gives us no life, but it has a killing 
power, reaching to all the branches thereof. There are four things 
which the first Adam conveys to all his branches, and they are 
abiding in, and lying on, such of them as are not ingrafted in 
Christ. 1. A corrupt nature. He sinned, and his nature was 
thereby corrupted and depraved ; and this corruption is conveyed 
to all his posterity. He was infected, and the contagion spread it- 
self over all his seed. 2. Guilt, that is, an obligation to pnuish- 
ment, Rom. v. 12, " By one man siu entered into the world, and 
death by sin ; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have 
sinned." The threatenings of the law, as cords of death, are 
twisted about the branches of the old stock, to draw them over the 
hedge into the fire. And till they be cut off from this stock by 


tlie pruning-knife, the sword of vengeance hangs over their heads, 
to cut them down. 3. This killing stock transmits the curse into 
the branches. The stock, as the stock, (for I speak not of Adam in 
his personal and private capacity,) being cursed, so are the branches. 
Gal. iii. 10, " For as many as arc of the works of the law, are under 
the curse." The curse affects the whole man, and all that belongs 
to him, every thing he possesses ; and worketh three ways. 1. As 
poison, infecting ; thus their blessings are cursed, Mai. ii. ?,. What- 
ever the man enjoys, it can do him no good, but evil, being thus 
poisoned by the curse. His prosperity in the world destroys him, 
Prov. i. 32. The ministry of the gospel is a savour of death unto 
death to him, 2 Cor. ii. 16. His seeming attainments in religion 
are cursed to him ; his knowledge serves but to puff him up, and his 
duties to keep him back from Christ. 2. It worketh as a moth, con- 
suming and wasting by little and little, Hos. v. 12, " Therefore 
will I be onto Ephraira as a moth." There is a worm at the 
root, consuming them by degrees. Thus the curse pursued Saul, 
till it wormed him out of all his enjoyments, and out of the 
very shew he had of religion. Sometimes they decay like the 
fat of lambs, and melt away as the show in the sunshine. 3. 
It acts as a lion rampant, Hos. v. 14, " I will be unto Ephraim 
as a lion." The Lord "rains on them snares, fire and brimstone, 
and an horrible tempest," in such a manner, that they are hur- 
ried away with the stream. He tears their enjoyments from 
them in his wrath, persues them with terrors, rends their souls 
from their bodies, and throws the dead branch into the fire. 
Thus the curse devours like fire, which none can quench. 4. This 
killing stock transmits death to the branches upon it. Adam 
took the poisonous cup, and drank it off: this occasioned death 
to himself and us. We came into the world spiritually dead, there- 
by exposed to eternal death, and absolutely liable to temporal 
death. This root is to us like the Scythian river, which, they say, 
brings forth little bladders every day, out of which come certain 
small flies, that are bred in the morning, winged at noon, and dead 
at night: a very lively emblem of our mortal state. 

Now, sirs, is it not absolutely necessary to be broken off from this 
our natural stock ? What will our fair leaves of a profession, or 
our fruits of duties, avail, if we be still branches of the degenerate, 
dead, and killing stock ? — But, alas ! of the many questions among 
us, few are taken up about these, " Whether am I broken off from . 
the old stock, or not? Am I ingrafted in Christ, or not?" — Ah! 
wherefore all this waste of time ? Why is there so much noise 
about religion among many, who can give no good account of their 

M 2 


having laid a good foundation, being mere strangers to experimental 
religion ? I fear, if God does not in mercy undermine the religion 
of many of us, and let us see that we have none at all, our root will 
be found rottenness, and our blossom go up as dust, in a dying 
hour. Therefore let us look to our state, that we be not found fools 
in our latter end. 

II. Let us now view the supernatural stock, into which the 
branches cut oif from the natural stock are ingrafted. Jesus Christ 
is sometimes called " The Branch," Zech. iii. 8. So he is in respect 
of his human nature, being a branch, and the top branch, of the 
house of David. Sometimes he is called a Root, Isa. xi. 10. We 
have both together. Rev. xxi. 16, " I am the root and the offspring 
of David ;" David's root as God, and his offspring as man. The 
text tells us, that he is the vine, that is, he, as a Mediator, is tho 
vine stock, whereof believers are the branches. As the sap comes 
from the earth into the root and stock, and from thence is diffused 
into the branches ; so, by Christ as Mediator, divine life is con- 
veyed from the fountain, unto those who are united to him by faith, 
John vi. 57, " As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the 
Father ; so, he that eateth me, even he shall live by me." By 
Christ as Mediator, not as God only, as some have asserted; nor 
yet as man only, as the papists generally hold : but as Mediator, 
God and man. Acts xx. 28, " The church of God, which he hath pur- 
chased with his own blood." Heb. ix. 14, " Christ, who, through 
the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God." The di- 
vine and human natures have their distinct actings, yet a joint ope- 
ration, in his discharging the office of Mediator. This is illustrated 
by the similitude of a fiery sword, which at once cuts and burns : 
cutting it burns, and burning it cuts; the steel cuts, and the fire 
burns. Wherefore Christ, God-man, is the stock, whereof believers 
are the branches: and they are united to a whole Christ. They 
are united to him in his human nature, as being " members of his 
body, of his flesh, and of his bones," Eph. v. 30. And they are 
united to him in his divine nature ; for so the apostle speaks of this 
union. Col. i. 27, " Christ in you, the hope of glory." — Those who 
are Christ's, have the Spirit of Christ, Rom. viii. 9 ; and by him 
they are united to the Father, and to the Holy Ghost; 1 John iv. 
15, " Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God 
dwelleth in him, and he in God." Faith, the bond of this union, 
receives a whole Christ, God-man, and so unites us to him as such. 

Behold here, believers, your high privilege. You were once 
branches of a degenerate stock, even as others: but you are, by 
grace, become branches of the true vine, John xv. 1. You are cut 


out of a dead and killing stock, and ingrafted in the last Adam, 
who was made a quickening spirit, 1 Cor. xv. 45. Your" loss by the 
first Adam is made up, with great advantage, by your union with 
the second. Adam, at his best estate, was but a shrub, in compari- 
son with Christ the tree of life. He was but a servant ; Christ is 
the Son, the Heir, and Lord of all things, " the Lord from heaven." 
It cannot be denied, that grace was shown in the first covenant: but 
it is as far exceeded by the grace of the second covenant, as the twi- 
light is by the light of the mid-day. 

III. What branches are taken out of the natural stock, and 
grafted into this vine ? Answer. These are the elect, and none 
other. They, and they only, are grafted into Christ ; and conse- 
quently none but they are cut off from the killing stock. For them 
alone he intercedes, " That they may be one in him and his Father," 
John xvii. 9 — 23. Faith, the bond of this union, is given to none 
else; it is the faith of God's elect, Tit. i. 1. The Lord passes by 
many branches growing on the natural stock, and cuts oft' only here 
one, and there one, and grafts them into the true vine, according 
as free love hath determined. Often does he pitch upon the most 
unlikely branch, leaving the top boughs ; passing by the mighty 
and the noble, and calling the weak, base, and despised, 1 Cor. i. 
26, 27. Tea, he often leaves the fair and smooth, and takes the 
rugged and knotty ; " and such were some of you, but ye are 
washed," &c. 1 Cor. vi. 11. If we inquire why so? We find no 
other reason but because they were chosen in him, Eph. i. 4 ; 
" predestinated to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ," ver. 6. 
Thus are they gathered together in Christ, while the rest are left 
growing on their natural stock, to be afterwards bound up in bun- 
dles for the fire. Therefore, to whomsoever the Gospel may come 
in vain, it will have a blessed effect on God's elect, Acts xiii. 48, " as 
many as were ordained to eternal life, believed." Where the Lord 
has much people, the gospel will have much success, sooner or 
later. Such as are to be saved, will be added to the mystical body 
of Ciirist. 

IV. I am now to shew how the branches are cut off from the na- 
tural stock, the first Adam, and grafted into the true vine, the Lord 
Jesus Christ. Thanks to the Husbandman, not to the branch, that 
is cut off from its natural stock, and grafted into a new one. The 
sinner, in his coming off from the first stock, is passive, and neither 
can nor will come off from it of his own accord, but clings to it, till 
almighty power makes him to fall off, John vi. 44, " No man can 
come unto me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him." 
And chap. v. 40, " Ye will not come to me, that ye might have 


life." The ingrafted branches are " God's husbandry," 1 Cor. iii. 9, 
" The planting of the Lord," Isa. Ixi. 3. — The ordinary means he 
makes use of, in this work, is the ministry of the word, 1 Cor. iii. 9, 
" We are labourers together with God." Eut the efficacy thereof is 
wholly from him, whatever the minister's parts or piety be, ver. 7, 
" Neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth ; 
but God that giveth the increase." The apostles preached to the 
Jews, yet the body of that people remained in infidelity, Rom. x. 16, 
" Who hath believed our report?" Yea, Christ himself, who spoke 
as never man spoke, says concerning the success of his own minis- 
try, "I have laboured in vain, 1 have spent my strength for nought," 
Isa. xlix. 4. The branches may be hacked by the preaching of the 
word ; but the stroke will never go through, till it is carried home 
by the omnipotent arm. However, God's ordinary way is, " by the 
foolishness of preaching to save them that believe," 1 Cor. i. 21. 

The cutting of the branch from the natural stock, is performed by 
the pruning knife of the law, in the hand of the Spirit of God, Gal. 
ii. 19, " For I, through the law, am dead to the law." It is by the 
bond of the covenant of works, as I said before, that we are knit to 
our natural stock : therefore, as a wife, unwilling to be put away, 
pleads and hangs by the marriage tie ; so do men by the covenant 
of works. They hold by it, like the man who held the ship with his 
hands ; and when one hand was cut oif, held it with the other ; and 
when both were cut off, held it with his teeth. This will appear from 
a distinct view of the Lord's works on men, in bringing them off 
from the old stock ; which I offer in the following particulars : — 

1. When the Spirit of the Lord comes to deal with a person, to 
bring him to Christ, he finds him in Laodicea's case, in a sound sleep 
of security, dreaming of heaven and the favour of God, though full 
of sin against the Holy One of Israel, liev. iii. 17, " Thou knowest 
not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and 
naked." Therefore he darts in some beams of light into the dark 
soul ; and lets the man see that he is a lost man, if he turn not ovtr 
a new leaf, and betake himself to a new course of life. Thus, by 
the Spirit of the Lord acting as a spirit of bondage, there is a crimi- 
nal court erected in the man's breast ; where he is an^aigncd, 
accused, and condemned for breaking the law of God, " convicted of 
sin and judgment," John xvi. 8. And now he can no longer sleep 
securely in his former course of life. Tliis is the first stroke which 
the branch gets, in order to cutting off. 

2. Hereupon the man forsakes his former profane courses, his 
lying, swearing. Sabbath-breaking, stealing, and such like practices ; 
though they be dear to him as right eyes, he will rather quit them 


tlian ruin his soul. The ship is likely to sink, and therefore he 
throws his goods overboard, that he himself may not perish. Now 
he begins to bless himself in his heart, and looks joyfully on his evi- 
dences for heaven ; thinking himself a better servant to God than 
many others, Luke xviii. 11, " God, I thank thee, I am not as other 
men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers," &c. But he soon gets 
another stroke with the axe of the law, shewing him that it is only 
he that doeth what is written in the law, that can be saved by it ; 
and that his negative holiness is too scanty a covering from the 
storm of God's wrath. Thus, although his sins of commission only 
were heavy on him before, his sins of omission now crowd into his 
thoughts, attended with a train of law curses and vengeance. And 
each of the ten commandments discharges thunder-claj)s of wrath 
against him for his omission of required duties. 

3. Upon this he turns to a positively holy course of life. He not 
only is not profane, but he performs religious duties: he prays, seeks 
the knowledge of the principles of religion, strictly observes the 
Lord's day, and, like Herod, does many things, and hears sermons 
gladly. In one word, there is a great conformity, in his outward 
conversation, to the letter of both tables of the law. There is a 
mighty change in the man, which his neighbours cannot miss taking 
notice of. Hence he is cheerfully admitted by the godly into their 
society, as a praying person ; and can confer with them about reli- 
gious matters, yea, and about soul. exercise, which some are not ac- 
quainted with ; and their good opinion of him confirms his good 
opinion of himself. This step in religion is fatal to many, who never 
get beyond it. But here the Lord gives the elect branch a farther 
stroke. Conscience flies in the man's face, for some wrong steps in his 
conversation, the neglect of some duty, or commission of some sin, 
which is a blot in his conversation; and then the flaming sword of the 
law appears again over his head, and the curse rings in his ears, 
for that he " continueth not in all things written in the law, to do 
them," Gal. iii. 10. 

4. On this account, he is obliged to seek another remedy for his 
disease. He goes to God, confesses his sin, seeks the pardon of it, 
promising to watch against it for the time to come ; and so finds 
ease, and thiuks he may very well take it, seeing the scripture saith, 
" If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our 
sins," 1 John i. 9 ; not considering that he grasps at a privilege, 
which is theirs only who are grafted into Christ, and under the 
covenant of grace, and which the branches yet growing on the old 
stock cannot plead. — And here sometimes there are formal and ex- 
press vows made against such and such sins, and binding to such and 


such duties. Thus many go on all their days, knowing no other reli- 
gion, than to perform duties, and to confess, and pray for pardon of 
that wherein they fail, promising themselves eternal happiness, though 
they are utter strangers to Christ. Here many elect ones have 
been cast down wounded, and many reprobrates have been slain, 
while the wounds of neither of them have been deep enough to cut 
them off from their natural stock. But the Spirit of the Lord gives 
yet a deeper stroke to the branch which is to be cut oflF, shewing 
him, that, as yet, he is but an outside saint, and discovering to him 
the filthy lusts lodged in his heart, which he took no notice of be- 
fore, Eom. vii. 9, " When the commandment came, sin revived, and 
I died." Then he sees his heart to be full of sinful lusts, covetous- 
ness, pride, malice, filthiness and the like. Now, as soon as the 
door of the chambers of his imagery is thus opened to him, and he 
sees what they do there in the dark, his outside religion is blown 
up as insufficient ; and he learns a new lesson in religion, namely, 
" That he is not a Jew, who is one outwardly," Rom. ii. 28. 

5. Upon this he goes farther, even to inside religion ; sets to work 
more vigorously than ever, mourns over the evils of his heart, and 
strives to bear down the weeds which he finds growing in that ne- 
glected garden. He labours to curb his pride and passion, and to 
banish speculative impurities ; prays more fervently, hears atten- 
tively, and strives to get his heart afi^ected in every religious duty 
he performs; and thus he comes to think himself, not only an out- 
side, but an inside Christian. — "Wonder not at this, for there is no- 
thing in it beyond the power of nature, or what one may attain to 
under a vigorous influence of the covenant of works ; therefore ano- 
ther yet deeper stroke is given. The law charges home on the man's 
conscience, that he was a transgressor from the womb; that he came 
into the world a guilty creature ; and that in the time of his ig- 
norance, and even since his eyes were opened, he has been guilty 
of many actual sins, either altogether overlooked by him or not suf- 
ficiently mourued over, for spiritual sores, not healed by the blood 
of Christ, but skinned over some other way, so as to be easily ir- 
ritated, and soon to break out again ; therefore the law takes him 
by the throat, saying, " Pay what thou owest." 

6. Then the sinner says in his heart, " Have patience with me, and 
I will pay thee all;" and so falls to work to pacify an offended God, 
and to atone for those sins. He renews his repentance, such as it 
is; bears patiently the afflictions laid upon him; yea, he afflicts 
himself, denies himself the use of his lawful comforts, sighs deeply 
mourns bitterly, cries with tears for a pardon, till he has wrought 
up his heart to a conceit of having obtained it : having thus done 


penance for wliat is past, he resolves to be a good servant to God, and 
to hold on in outward and inward obedience, for the time to come, 
— But the stroke must go nearer the heart yet, ere the branch falls oft'. 
The Lord discovers to him, in the glass of the law, how he siuneth 
in all he does, even when he does the best he can ; and therefore 
the dreadful sound returns to his ears, Gal. iii. 10, " Cursed is every 
oue that continueth not in all things," &c. " When ye fasted and 
mourned," saith the Lord, " did ye at all fast unto me, even to me ?" 
Will muddy water make clean clothes ? Will you satisfy for one 
sin with another? Did not your thoughts wander in such a duty? 
Were not your aff'ections flat in another ? Did not your heart give 
a sinful look to such an idol ? And did it not rise in a fit of im- 
patience under such an afiiiction ? " Should I accept this of your 
hands ? Cursed be the deceiver, which sacrificeth to the Lord a cor- 
rupt thing," Mai. i. 13, 14. And thus he becomes so far broken 
oft", that he sees he is not able to satisfy the demands of the law. 

7. Hence, like a broken man, who finds he is not able to pay all 
his debt, he goes about to compound with his creditor. And, being 
in pursuit of ease and comfort, he does what he can to fulfil the law ; 
and wherein he fails, he trusts that God will accept the will for the 
deed. Thus doing his duty, and hr , ing a will to do better, he 
cheats himself into persuasion of ' .le goodness of his state : and 
hereby thousands are ruined. But the elect get another stroke, 
which loosens their hold in this case. The doctrine of the law is 
borne in on their consciences, demonstrating to thera, that exact 
and perfect obedience is required by it, under pain of the curse; 
and that it is doing, and not wishing to do, which will avail. Wish- 
ing to do bett3r will not answer the law's demands ; and therefore 
the curse sounds again, " Cursed is every one that continueth not — 
to do them ;" that is, actually to do them. In vain is wishing then. 

3. Being broken off from all hopes of compounding with the law, 
he falls to borrowing. He sees that all he can do to obey the law, 
and all his desires to be and to do better, will not save his soul : 
therefore he goes to Christ, entreating, that his righteousness may 
make up what is wanting in his own, and cover all the defects of his 
doings and sufferings ; that so God, for Christ's sake, may accept 
them, and thereupon be reconciled. Thus doing what he can to 
fulfil the law, and looking to Christ to make up all his defects, he 
comes at length to sleep securely again. Many persons are ruined 
this way. This was the error of the Galatians, which Paul, in his 
epistle to them, disputes against. But the Spirit of God breaks off 
the sinner from this hold also, by bringing home to his conscience 
that great truth, Gal. iii. 12, " The law is not of faith, but the man 


that doeth them shall live in theiu." There is uo mixing of the la\f 
and faith in this business ; the sinner must hold by one of them, 
and let the other go. The way of the law, and the way of faith, 
are so far different, that it is not possible for a sinner to walk in the 
one, unless he comes off from the other : and if he be for doing, he 
must do all alone ; Christ will not do a part for him, if he do not 
all. A garment pieced up of sundry sorts of righteousness, is not a 
garment meet for the court of heaven. Thus the man is like one in 
a dream, who thought he was eating, but being awakened by a 
stroke, behold his soul is faint ; his heart sinks in him like a stone, 
while he finds that he can neither bear his burden himself alone, nor 
can he get help under it. 

9. What can he do who must needs pay, and yet has not enough 
of his own to bring him out of debt ; nor can borrow so much, and 
is ashamed to beg ? — What can such a one do, I say, but sell him- 
self, as the man under the law, that was, become poor? Lev. xxv. 
47. Therefore the sinner, beat off from so many holds, attempts to 
make a bargain with Christ, and to sell himself to the Son of God, if 
I may so speak, solemnly promising and vowing, that he will be a 
servant to Christ, as long as he lives, if he will save his soul. And 
here, the sinner often makes a personal covenant with Christ, re- 
signing himself to him on these terms ; yea, and takes the sacra- 
ment, to make the bargain sure. Hereupon the man's great care is, 
how to obey Christ, keep his commandments, and so fulfil his bar- 
gain. In this the soul finds a false, unsound peace, for a while ; till 
the Spirit of the Lord gives another stroke, to cut off the man from 
this refuge of lies likewise. And that happens in this manner: 
when he fails of the duties he engaged to perform, and falls again 
into the sin he covenanted against, it is powerfully carried home on 
his conscience, that his covenant is broken ; so all his comfort goes, 
and terrors afresh seize on his soul, as one that has broken cove- 
nant with Christ. Commonly the man to help himself, renews his 
covenant, but breaks it again as before. And how is it possible it 
should be otherwise, seeing he is still upon the old stock ? Thus 
the work of many, all their days, as to their souls, is nothing but a 
making and breaking such covenants, over and over again. 

Objection. Some perhaps will say, " Wlio liveth, and sinneth not ? 
Who is there that faileth not of the duties he has engaged to ? If 
you reject this way as unsound, who then can be saved?" Answer. 
True believers will be saved, namely, all who do by faith take hold 
of God's covenant. But this kind of covenant is men's own cove- 
nant, devised of their own heart ; not God's covenant, revealed in 
the gospel of his grace : and the making of it is nothing else but 


the making of a covenant of works with Christ, confounding the law 
and the Gospel ; a covenant he will never subscribe to, though we 
should sign it with our heart's blood. Rom. iv. 14, 16, " For if 
they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the pro- 
mise made of none effect. — Therefore it is of faith, that it might he 
by grace, to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed." 
Chap. xi. 6, " And if by grace, then is it no more of works, other- 
wise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no 
more grace, otherwise work is no more work." God's covenant is 
everlasting ; once in and never out of it again ; and the mercies of 
it are sure mercies, Isa. Iv. 3. But that covenant of yours is a 
tottering covenant, never sure, but broken every day. It is a mere 
servile covenant, giving Christ service for salvation; but God's 
covenant is a filial covenant, in which the sinner takes Christ, and 
his salvation freely offered, and so becomes a son, John i. 12, " But 
as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons 
of God :" and being become a son, he serves his Father, not that the 
inheritance may become his, but because it is his, through Jesus 
Christ. See Gal. iv. 24, and onward. To enter into that false 
covenant, is to buy from Christ with money ; but to take hold of 
God's covenant, is to buy of him without money and without price, 
Isa. Iv. 1, that is to say, to beg of him. In that covenant men work 
for life ; in God's covenant they come to Christ for life, and work 
from life. When a person under that covenant fails in his duty, all 
is gone ; the covenant must be made over again. But under God's 
covenant, although the man fail in his duty, and for his failure falls 
under the discipline of the covenant, and lies under the weight of 
it, till such time as he has recourse anew to the blood of Christ for 
pardon, and renew his repentance; yet all that he trusted to, for life 
and salvation, namely, the righteousness of Clirist, still stands 
entire, and the covenant remains firm. See Bora. vii. 24, 25; and 
chap. viii. 1. 

Now, though some men spend their lives in making and breaking 
such covenants of their own, the terror on the breaking of them be 
coming weaker and weaker, by degrees, till at last it creates them 
little or no uneasiness ; yet the man, in whom the good work is car- 
ried on, till it be accomplished in cutting him off from the old stock, 
finds these covenants to be as rotten cords, broken at every touch ; 
and the terror of God being thereupon redoubled on his spirit and, 
the waters at every turn getting in unto his very soul, he is obliged 
to cease from catching hold of such covenants and to seek help some 
other way. 

10. Therefore the man comes at length to beg at Christ's door for 


mercy ; but yet be is a proud beggar, standing on bis personal worth. 
For, as tbe papists have Mediators to plead for them, with the one 
only Mediator, so the branches of the old stock have always some- 
thing to produce, which they think may commend them to Christ, 
and engage him to take their cause in hand. They cannot think of 
coming to the spiritual market, without money in their hand. They 
are like persons who have once had an estate of their own, but are 
reduced to extreme poverty, and forced to beg. "When they come 
to beg, they still remember their former character; and though they 
have lost their substance : yet they retain much of their former spi- 
rit : therefore they cannot think that they ought to be treated as 
ordinary beggars, but deserve a particular regard ; and, if that be 
not given them, their spirits rise against him to whom they address 
themselves for a supply. Thus God gives the unhumbled sinner 
many common mercies, and shuts him not up in the pit according to 
his deserving ; but all this is nothing in his eyes. He must be set 
down at the children's table, otherwise he reckons himself hardly 
dealt with, and wronged : for he is not yet brought so low, as to 
think God may be justified when he speaks against him, and clear 
from all iniquity, when he judgeth hira according to bis real de- 
merit. Psalm li. 4. He thinks, perhaps, that, even before he was 
enlightened, he was better than many others; he considers his re- 
formation of life, his repentance, tbe grief and tears which bis sin 
has cost him, his earnest desires after Christ, his prayers and wrest- 
lings for mercy ; and uses all these now as bribes for mercy, laying 
no small weight upon them in his addresses to the throne of grace. 
But here the Spirit of the Lord shoots his arrows quickly into the 
man's heart, whereby bis confidence in these things is sunk and des- 
troyed ; and, instead of thinking himself better than many, he is 
made to see himself worse than any. The faults in bis reformation 
of life are discovered; bis repentance appears to him no better than 
the repentance of Judas ; his tears like Esau's, and his desires after 
Christ to be selfish and loathsome, like those who sought Christ be- 
cause of the loaves, John vi. 26. His answer from God seems now 
to be, Away, prond beggar, " How shall I put thee among tbe chil- 
dren ?" He seems to look sternly on bim, for bis slighting of Jesus 
Christ by unbelief, which is a sin be scarcely discerned before. But 
now at length he beholds it in its crimson colours, and is pierced to 
tbe heart, as with a thousand darts, while he sees how he has been 
going on blindly, sinning against tbe remedy of sin, and, in the 
whole course of his life, trampling on the blood of tbe Son of God. 
And now he is, in bis own eyes, the miserable object of law ven- 
geance, yea, and gospel vengeance too. 


11. The man being thus far humbled, will no more plead, " he is 
worthy for whom Christ should do this thing ;" but, on the contrary, 
looks on himself as unworthy of Christ, and unworthy of the favour 
of God. We may compare him, in this case, to the young man who 
followed Christ, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body ; 
who, when the young men laid hold of him, left the linen cloth, and 
fled from them naked," Mark xiv. 51, 52. Even so the man had 
been following Christ, in the thin and cold garment of his own per- 
sonal worthiness : but by it, even by it, which he so much trusted 
to, the law catches hold of him, to make him prisoner ; and then he 
is fain to leave it, and flees away naked — yet not to Christ, but 
from him. If you now tell him he is welcome to Christ, if he will 
come to him ; he is apt to say, Can such a vile and unworthy wretch 
as I, be welcome to the holy Jesus ? If a plaster be applied to his 
wounded soul, it will not stick. He says, " depart from me, for I 
am a sinful man, Lord," Luke v. 8. No man needs speak to him 
of his repentance, for his comfort ; he can quickly espy such faults 
in it as makes it naught : nor of his tears ; for he is assured they 
have never come into the Lord's bottle. He disputes himself away 
from Christ; aud concludes, now that he has been such a slighter of 
Christ, and is such an unholy and vile creature, that he cannot, he 
will not, he ought not to come to Christ ; and that he must either 
be in better case, or else he will never believe. Hence he now 
makes the strongest efforts to amend what was amiss in his way 
before : he prays more earnestly than ever, mourns more bitter- 
ly, strives against sin in heart and life more vigorously, and 
watches more diligently, if by any meaus he may at length be 
fit to come to Christ. One would think the man is well hum- 
bled now : but, ah ! deep pride lurks under the veil of this 
seeming humility ; like a kindly branch of the old stock, he ad- 
heres still, and will not submit to the righteousness of God, Rom. 
X. 3. He will not come to the market of free grace, without money. 
He is bidden to the marriage of the King's Son, where the bride- 
groom himself furnishes all the guests with wedding garments, 
stripping them of their own : but he will not come, because he wants 
a wedding garment ; although he is very busy in making one ready. 
This is sad work ; and therefore he must have a deeper stroke yet, 
else he is ruined. This stroke is given him with the axe of the law, 
in its irritating power. Thus the law, girding the soul with cords of 
death, and holding it in with the rigorous commands of obedience, 
under the pain of the curse ; aud God, in his holy and wise conduct 
withdrawing his restraining grace, corruption is irritated, lusts be- 
come violent; and the more they are striven against the more they 


rage, like a furious horse checked with the bit. Then corruptions 
set up their heads, which he never saw in himself before. Here oft- 
times, atheism, blashpemy, and, in one word, horrible things concern- 
ing God, terrible thoughts concerning the faith, arise in his breast ; 
so that his heart is a very hell within him. Thus, while he is sweep- 
ing the house of his heart, not yet watered with gospel grace, those 
corruptions which lay quiet before, in neglected corners, fly up and 
down in it like dust. He is as one who is mending the bank of a 
river, and while he is repairing breaches in it, and strengthening 
every part of it, a mighty flood comes down, and overturns his 
works, and drives all away before it, both that which was newly 
laid, and what was laid before. Read Rom. vii. 8 — 13. This is a 
stroke which goes to the heart : and by it, his hope of making him- 
self more fit to come to Christ, is cut off. 

12. Now the time is come, when the man, between hope and 
despair, resolves to go to Christ as he is; and therefore, like a dying 
man, stretching himself just before his breath goes out, he rallies 
the broken forces of his soul, tries to believe, and in some sort lays 
hold on Jesus Christ. And now the branch hangs on the old stock 
by one single tack of a natural faith, produced by the natural 
vigour of one's own spirit, under a most pressing necessity, Psalm 
Ixxviii. 34, 35, " When he slew them, then they sought him, and 
they returned and inquired early after God. And they remembered 
that God was their rock, and the high God their Redeemer." Hos. 
viii. 2, " Israel shall cry unto me. My God, we know thee." But 
the Lord, never failing to perfect his work, fetches yet another 
stroke, whereby the branch falls quite off. The Spirit of God con- 
vincingly discovers to the sinner his utter inability to do any thing 
that is good, and so he dieth, Rom. vii. 9. That voice powerfully 
strikes through his soul, " How can ye believe ?" John v. 44. Thou 
canst no more believe, than thou canst reach up thine hand to hea- 
ven, and bring Christ down from thence. Tlius at length he sees, 
that he can neither help himself by working, nor by believing ; and 
having no more to hang by on the old stock, he therefore falls off. 
While he is distressed thus, seeing himself likely to be swept away 
with the flood of God's wrath, and yet unable so much as to stretch 
forth a hand to lay hold of a twig of the tree of life, growing on 
the bank of the river, he is taken up, and ingrafted in the true 
vine, the Lord Jesus Christ giving him the Spirit of faith. 

By what has been said upon this head, I design not to rack or 
distress tender consciences ; for though there are but few such at 
this day, yet God forbid that I should offend any of Christ's little 
ones. But, alas ! a dead sleep is fallen upon this generation, they 


will not be awakeued, let us go ever so near to the quick : therefore 
I fear that there is^ another sort of awakening abiding this sermon- 
proof generation, which shall make the ears of them that hear it 
tingle. However, I would not have this to be looked upon as the 
sovereign God's stinted method of breaking off sinners from the old 
stock. But this I maintain as a certain truth, that all who are in 
Christ have been broken off from all these several confidences ; and 
that they who were never broken off from them, are yet in their 
natural stock. Nevertheless, if the house be pulled down, and the 
old foundation razed, it is much the same whether it was taken 
down stone by stone, or whether it was undermined, and all fell 
down together. 

Now it is that the branch is ingrafted in Jesus Christ. And as 
the law, in the hand of the Spirit of God, was the instrument to cut 
off the branch from the natural stock ; so the Gospel, in the hand 
of the same Spirit, is the instrument used for ingrafting it into the 
supernatural stock, 1 John i. 3. " That which we have seen and 
heard, declare we unto yon, that ye also may have fellowship with 
us ; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son 
Jesus Christ." See Isaiah Ixi, 1 — 3. The Gospel is the silver cord 
let down from heaven, to draw perishing sinners to land. And 
though the preaching of the law prepares the way of the Lord ; yet 
it is in the word of the Gospel that Christ and a sinner meet. Now, 
as in the natural grafting, the branch being taken up is put into 
the stock, and being put into it, becomes one with it, so that they 
are united ; even so in the spiritual ingrafting, Christ apprehends 
the sinner, and the sinner, being apprehended of Christ, apprehends 
him, and so they become one, Phil. iii. 12. 

First, Christ apprehends the sinner by his Spirit, and draws him 
to himself, 1 Cor. xii, 13, " For by one Spirit we are all baptized 
into one body." The same Spirit which is in the Mediator himself, 
he communicates to his elect in due time, never to depart from 
them, but to abide in them as a principle of life. The soul is 
now in the hands of the Lord of life, and possessed by the Spirit of 
life ; how can it then but live ? The man gets a ravishing sight of 
Christ's excellence in the glass of the gospel : he sees him a full, 
suitable, and willing Saviour; and gets a heart to take him for and 
instead of all. The Spirit of faith furnishes him feet to come to 
Christ, and hands to receive him. "What by nature he could not do, 
by grace he can, the Holy Spirit working in him the work of faitli 
with power. 

Secondly, The sinner, thus apprehended, apprehends Christ by 
faith, and is one with the blessed stock, Eph. iii. 17, " That Christ 


may dwell in your hearts by faith." The soul that before tried 
many ways of escape, but all in vain, now looks with the eye of 
faith, which proves the healing look. As Aaron's rod, laid up 
in the tabernacle, budded, and brought forth buds, Numb. xvii. 8; 
so the dead breach, apprehended by the Lord of life, put into, and 
bound up with the glorious quickening stock, by the Spirit of life 
buds forth in actual believing on Jesus Christ, whereby this union 
is completed. " We, having the same Spirit of faith — believe," 
2 Cor. iv. 13. Thus the stock and the graft are united, Christ and 
the Christian are married, faith being the soul's consent to the 
spiritual marriage covenant, which as it is proposed in the gospel to 
mankind-sinners indefinitely, so it is demonstrated, attested, and 
brought home to the man in particular, by the Holy Spirit : and so 
he, being joined to the Lord, is one Spirit with him. Hereby a be- 
liever lives in and for Christ, and Christ lives in and for the be- 
liever, Gal. ii. 20, " I am crucified with Christ : nevertheless, I live; 
yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." Hos. iii. 3, " Thou shalt not be 
for another man, so will I also be for thee." The bonds, then, of 
this blessed union are, the Spirit on Christ's part, and faith on the 
believer's part. 

Now both the souls and bodies of believers are united to Christ. 
" He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit," 1 Cor. vi. 17- The 
very bodies of believers have this honour put upon them, that they 
are " the temple of the Holy Ghost," ver. 19, and " the members of 
Christ," ver. 15. "When they sleep in the dust, they sleep in Jesus, 
1 Thess. iv. 14 ; and it is in virtue of this union they shall be raised 
up out of the dust again, Rom. viii. 11, " He shall quicken your 
mortal bodies, by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." In token of this 
mystical union, the church of believers is called by the name of her 
Head and Husband, 1 Cor. xii. 12, " For as the body is one, and 
hath many members — so also is Christ." 

Use. From what is said, we may draw the following inferences : 

1. The preaching of the law is most necessary. He that would 
ingraft, must needs use the pruning-knife. — Sinners have many con- 
trivances to keep them from Christ ; many things by which they 
keep their hold of the natural stock ; therefore they have need to 
be closely pursued, and hunted out of their skulking holes, and re- 
fuges of lies. 

2. Yet it is the Gospel that crowns the work : " The law makes 
nothing perfect." The law lays open the wound, but it is the Gos- 
pel that heals it. The law " strips a man, wounds him and leaves 
him half dead :" the Gospel " binds up his wounds, pouring in wine 
and oil," to heal them. By the law we are broken off, but it is by 
the Gospel we are taken up and implanted in Christ. 


3. " If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his," 
Rom. viii. 9. We are told of a monster in nature, having two bo- 
dies differently animated, as appeared from contrary affections at 
one and the same time ; but so united, that they were served with 
the self-same legs. Even so, however men may cleave to Christ, 
" call themselves of the holy city, and stay themselves upon the 
God of Israel," Isa xlviii. 2, and may be bound up as branches in 
him, John xv. 2, by the outward ties of sacraments; yet if the Spi- 
rit that dwells iu Christ, dwell not in them, they are not one with 
him. There is a great difference between adhesion and ingrafting. 
The ivy clasps and twists itself about the oak, but it is not one 
with it, for it slill grows on its own root : so, to allude to Isa. iv. 
1, many professors "take hold" of Christ, "and eat their own 
bread, and wear their own apparel, only they are called by his 
name." They stay themselves upon him, but grow upon their own 
root : they lake them to support their hopes, but their delights are 

4. The union between Christ and his mystical members is firm 
and indissoluble. "Were it so that the believer only apprehended 
Christ, but Christ apprehended not him, we could promise little as 
the stability of such a union ; it might quickly be dissolved : but as 
tlie believer apprehends Christ by faith, so Christ apprehends him 
by his Spirit, and none shall pluck him out of his hand. — Did the 
child only keep hold of the nurse, it might at length grow weary, 
and let go its hold, and so fall away : but if she have her arms 
about the child, it is iu no hazard of falling away, even though it be 
not actually holding by her. So, whatever sinful intermissions may 
happen in the exercise of faith ; yet the union remains sure, by rea- 
son of the constant indwelling of the spirit. Blessed Jesus ! " All 
his saints are in thy hand," Deut. xxxiii. 3. It is observed by some 
that the word Abba, is the same whether you read it forward or 
backward : whatever the believer's case be, the Lord is still to him, 
Abba, Father. 

5. They have an unsafe hold of Christ, whom he has not appre- 
hended by his Spirit. There are many half marriages here, where 
the soul apprehends Christ, but is not apprehended of him. Hence, 
many fall away, and never rise again ; they let go their hold of 
Christ ; and when that is gone, all is gone. These are " the 
branches in Christ that bear not fruit, which the husbandman 
taketh away," John xv. 2. Question. How can tliat be ? Answer. 
These branches are set in the stock by a profession, or an unsound 
hypocritical faith ; tliey are bound up with it, in the external use 
of the sacraments; but the stock and they are never knit; therefore 

Vol. viii. n 


they cannot bear fruit. And they need not be cut off, nor broken 
off; they are4)y the Husbandman only taken away; or, as the word 
primarily signifies, lifted up, and so taken away, because there is 
nothing to hold them ; they are indeed bound up with the stock, 
but were never united to it. 

Question. How shall I know if I am apprehended of Christ ? 
Answer. You may be satisfied in this inquiry, if you consider and 
apply these two things : 

1. When Christ apprehends a man by his Spirit, he is so drawn, 
that he comes away to Christ, with his whole heart : for true be- 
lieving is believing with all the heart, Acts viii. 37. Our Lord's 
followers are like tliose who followed Saul at first, men whose 
hearts God has touched, 1 Sam. x. 26, When the Spirit pours in 
overcoming grace, they pour out their hearts like water before him, 
Psalm Ixii. 8. They flow unto him like a river, Isa. ii. 2, " All 
nations shall flow unto it," namely, to the " mountain of the Lord's 
house." It denotes not only the abundance of converts, but the 
disposition of their souls in coming to Christ ; they come heartily 
and freely, as drawn with loving-kindness, Jer, xxxi. 3, " Thy peo- 
ple shall be willing in the day of thy power," Psalm ex. 3, that is, 
free, ready, open-hearted, giving themselves to thee as free-will of- 
fering. Wiien the bridegroom has the bride's heart, it is a right 
marriage : but some give their hand to Christ, who give him not 
their heart. They that are only driven to Christ by terror, will 
surely leave him again when that terror is gone. Terror may break 
a heart of stone, but the pieces into which it is broken still continue 
to be stone : terrors cannot soften it into a heart of flesh. Yet 
terrors may begin the work which love crowns. The strong wind, 
and the earthquake, and the fire going b afore ; the still small voice, 
in which the Lord is, may come after them. When the blessed 
Jesus is seeking sinners to match with him, they are bold and per- 
verse : they will not speak with him, till he has wounded them, 
made them captives, and bound them with the cords of death. 
When this is done, then it is that he comes to them, and wins their 
hearts. The Lord tells us, Hos. ii. 16 — 20, that is chosen Israel 
shall be married unto himself. But how will the bride's consent be 
won ? Why, in the first place, he will bring her into the wilder- 
ness, as ho did the people when he brought them out of Egypt, ver. 
14. There she will be hardly dealt with, scorched with thirst, and 
bitten of serpents : and then he will speak comfortably to her ; or, 
as the expression is, he will speak unto her heart. The sinner is 
first driven, and then drawn unto Christ. It is with the soul as 
with Noah's dove, she was forced back again to the ark, because she 


could liiid nothing else to rest upon : but wlien she returned, slie 
would have rested on the outside of it, if Noah had not " put fuilh liis 
hand and pulled her in," Gen. viii. 9. The Lord sends his avengur 
of blood in pursuit of the criminal, who with a sad heart leaves his 
own city, and with tears in his eyes parts with his old acquaintan- 
ces, because he dare not stay with them, and he flees for his life to the 
city of refuge. This is not all liis choice, it is forced work ; neces- 
sity has now law. But when he comes to the gates, and sees the 
beauty of the place, the excellency and loveliness of it charm him ; 
and then he enters it with heart and good- will, saying, " This is my 
rest, and here I will stay ;" and, as one said in another case, " I 
had perished, unless I had perished." 

2. "When Christ apprehends a soul, the heart is disengaged from, 
and turned against sin. As in cutting off the branch from the old 
stock, the great idol self is brought down, the man is powerfully 
taught to deny himself ; so, in apprehending the sinner by the 
Spirit, that union is dissolved which was between the man and his 
lusts, while he was in the flesh, as the apostle expresses it, Rom. 
vii. 5. His heart is loosened from them, though formerly as dear 
to him as the members of his body ; as his eyes, legs, or arms ; and, 
instead of taking pleasure in them as before, he longs to be rid of 
them. When the Lord Jesus comes to a soul, in the day of convert- 
ing grace, he finds it like Jerusalem, in the day of her nativity, 
Ezek. xvi. 4, drawing its fulsome nourishment and satisfaction from 
its lusts : but he cuts off this commnnication, that he may impart to 
the soul his own consolations, and give it rest in himself. And 
thus the Lord wounds the head and heart of sin, and the soul comes 
to him, saying, " Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and 
things wherein there is no profit," Jer. xvi. 19. 

V. I proceed to speak of the benefits flowing to true believers 
from their union with Christ. The chief of the particular benefits 
which believers have by it, are justification, peace, adoption, sanc- 
tificatiou, growth in grace, fruitfulness in good works, acceptance 
of these works, establishment in the state of grace, support and 
a special conduct of providence about them. As for commu- 
nion with Christ, it is such a benefit, as being the immediate con- 
sequence of union with him, comprehends all the rest as mediate 
ones. For as the branch, immediately upon its union with the 
stock, has communion with the stock in all that is in it ; so the 
believer, uniting with Christ, has communion with him; in which 
he launches forth into an ocean of happiness, is led into a paradise 
of pleasures, and has a saving interest in the treasure hid in the 
field of the Gospel, the unsearchable riches of Christ. As soon as 



the believer is united to Christ, Christ himself, in whom all fulness 
dwells, is his, Cant. iii. 16, " My beloved is mine, and I am his." 
And "how shall he not with him freely give us all things ?" Rom. 
viii. 32, " Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or 
life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all are yours," 
1 Cor. iii. 22. This communion with Christ is the great comprehen- 
sive blessing necessarily flowing from our union with him. Let us 
now consider the particular benefits flowing from it before men- 

The first particular benefit that a sinner has by his union with 
Christ, is justification; for, being united to Christ, he has commu- 
nion with him in his righteousness, 1 Cor. i. 30, " But of him are ye 
in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteous- 
ness." He stands no more condemned, but justified before God, as 
being in Christ, Rom. viii. 1, " There is therefore now no condem- 
nation to them which are in Christ Jesus." The branches hereof 
are, pardon of sin, and personal acceptance. 

1. His sins are pardoned, the guilt of them is removed. The 
bond obliging him to pay his debt is cancelled. God the Father 
takes the pen, dips it in the blood of his Son, crosses the sinner's 
accounts, and blots them out of his debt-book. The sinner out of 
Christ is bound over to the wrath of God ; he is under an obligation 
in law to go to the prison of hell, and there to lie till he has paid 
the utmost farthing. This arises from the terrible sanction with 
which the law is guarded, which is no less than death. Gen. ii. 17. 
So that the sinner, passing the bounds assigned him, is as Shimei in 
another case, a man of death, 1 Kings ii. 42. But now, being united 
to Christ, God saith, "Deliver him from going down to the pit; I 
have found a ransom," Job xxxiii. 24, The sentence of condemna- 
tion is reversed, the believer is absolved, and set beyond the reach 
of the condemning law. His sins, which were set before the Lord, 
Psalm xc. 8, so that they could not be hid, God now takes and 
casts them all behind his back, Isa. xxxviii. 17- Yea, he casts 
them into the depths of the sea, Micah vii. 19. What falls into a 
brook may be got up again, but what is cast into the sea cannot be 
recovered. But there are some shallow places in the sea : true, but 
their sins are not cast in there, but into the depths of the sea ; and 
the depths of the sea are devouring depths, from whence they shall 
never come forth again. But what if they do not sink? He will 
cast them in with force, so that they shall go to the ground, and 
sink as lead in the mighty waters of the Redeemer's blood. They 
are not only forgiven, but forgotten, Jer. xxxi. 34, "I will forgive 
their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." And 


though their after-sins do in themselves deserve eternal wrath, and 
do actually make them liable to temporal strokes, and fatherly 
chastisements, according to the tenor of the covenant of grace. 
Psalm Ixxxix. 30 — 33, yet they can never be actually liable to eter- 
nal wrath, or the curse of the law ; for they are dead to the law in 
Christ, llom. vii. 4. They can never fall away from their union 
with Christ; neither can they be in Christ, and yet under condem- 
nation at the same time, Rom. viii. 1, "There is therefore now no 
condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." This is an infe- 
rence drawn from that doctrine of the believer's being dead to the 
law, set forth by the apostle, chap. vii. 1 — 6 ; as is clear from the 
second, third, and fourth verses of this eighth chapter. In this 
respect the justified man is the blessed man, unto whom the Lord 
imputeth not iniquity, Psalm xxxii. 2; as one who has no design to 
charge a debt on another, sets it not down in his account-book. 

2. The believer is accepted as righteous in Grod's sight, 2 Cor. v. 
21. For he is " found in Christ, not having his own righteousness, 
but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness 
which is of God by faith," Phil. iii. 9. He could never be accepted 
of God, as righteous, upon the account of his own righteousness ; 
because, at best, it is but imperfect; and all righteousness, properly 
so called, which can abide a trial before the throne of God, is per- 
fect. The very name of it implies perfection : for unless a work is 
perfectly conformable to the law, it is not right, but wrong; and so 
cannot make a man righteous before God, whose judgment is accord- 
ing to truth. Yet if justice demand a righteousness of one that is 
in Christ, upon which he may be accounted righteous before the 
Lord, " Surely shall" such a " one say. In the Lord have I righte- 
ousness," Isa. xlv. 24. The law is fulfilled, its commands are 
obeyed, its sanction is satisfied. The believer's surety has paid the 
debt. It was exacted, and he answered for it. 

Thus the person united to Christ is justified. You may conceive 
of the whole proceeding herein, in this manner. The avenger of 
blood pursuing the criminal, Christ, as the Saviour of lost sinners, 
doth by the Spirit apprehend him, and draw him to himself; and 
he, by faith, lays hold on Christ : so the Lord our righteous- 
ness, and the unrighteous creature, unite. From this union with 
Christ results a communion with him in his unsearchable riches, and 
consequently in his righteousness, that white raiment wliich he has 
for clothing of the naked, Rev. iii. 18. Thus the righteousness of 
Christ becomes his ; and because it is by his unquestionable title, it 
is imputed to him ; it is reckoned his in the judgment of God, whicli 
is always according to truth. And so the believing sinner, having 


a rigliteousness which fully answers the demands of the law, he is 
pardoned and accepted as righteous. See Isa. xlv. 22 — 24; Rom. 
iii. 24; and chap. v. 1. Now he is a free man. Who shall lay any 
thing to the charge of those whom Grod justifieth ? Can justice lay 
any thing to their charge ? No ; for it is satisfied. Can the law ? 
No ; for it has obtained all its demands on them in Jesus Christ, 
Gral. iii. 20, " I am crucified with Christ." What can the law re- 
quire more, after it has wounded their head, poured in wrath ia 
full measure into their soul, and cut oif their life, and brought it 
into the dust of death, by doing all this to Jesus Christ, who is their 
head, Eph. 1. 22 ; their soul. Acts ii. 25 — 27 ; and their life. Col. 
iii. 4 ? What is become of the sinner's own handwriting, which 
would prove the debt upon him ? Christ has blotted it out, Col. ii. 
14. But it may be, justice may get its eye upon it again. No; he 
took it out of the way. But O that it had been torn in pieces ! 
may the sinner say. Yea, so it is; the nails that pierced Christ's 
hands and feet are driven through it ; he nailed it. But what if 
the torn in pieces be set together again ? They cannot be ; for he 
nailed it to his cross, and his cross was buried with him, and will 
never rise again, seeing Christ dieth no more. Where is the face- 
covering that was upon the condemned man ? Christ has destroyed 
it, Isa. XXV. 7. Where is death, that stood before the sinner with 
a grim face, and an open mouth, ready to devour him ? Christ has 
swallowd it up in victory, ver. 8, Glory, glory, glory to him that 
thus " loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood." 

The second benefit flowing from the same spring of union with 
Christ, and coming by the way of justification, is peace; peace with 
God, and peace of conscience, according to the measure of the sense 
the justified have of their peace with God, Rom. v. 1. " Therefore 
being justified by faith, we have peace with God." Chap. xiv. 17, 
" For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness 
and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Whereas God was their 
enemy before, now he is reconciled to them in Christ: they are in 
a covenant of peace with him ; and, as Abraham was, so are 
they the friends of God. He is well pleased with them in his be- 
loved Son. His word, which spoke terror to them formerly, now 
speaks peace, if they rightly understand the language. And there is 
love in all dispensations towards them, which makes all work together 
for their good. Their consciences are purged of that guilt and filthi- 
ness which lay upon them : his conscience-purifying blood streams 
through their souls, by virtue of their union with him, Heb. ix. 14, 
" How much more shall the blood of Christ — purge your conscience 
from dead works to serve the living God !" The bonds laid on their 


consciences by the Spirit 'of God, acting as the Spirit of bondage, 
are taken off, never more to be laid on, Rom. viii. 5, "For ye have 
not received the Spirit of bondage again to fear." Hereby the con- 
science is quieted, as soon as the soul becomes conscious of the ap- 
plication of that blood ; which falls out sooner or later, according 
to the measure of faith, and as the only wise God sees meet to time 
it. Unbelievers may have troubled consciences, which they may get 
quieted again : but, alas ! their consciences become peaceable be- 
fore they become pure ; so their peace is but the seed of greater 
horror and confusion. Carelessness may give ease for a while to a 
sick conscience ; men neglecting its wounds, they close again of 
their accord, before the impure matter is removed. Many bury 
their guilt in the grave of an ill memory : conscience smarts a lit- 
tle ; at length the man forgets his sin, and there is an end of it ; 
but that is only an ease before death. Business, or the affairs of 
life, often give ease in this case. When Cain is banished from the 
presence of the Lord, he falls a-building of cities. When the evil 
spirit came upon Saul, he calls not for his Bible, nor for the priests 
to converse with him ^l?out his case ; but for music, to play it away. 
So many, when their consciences begin to be uneasy, they fill their 
heads and hands with business, to divert themselves, and to regain 
ease at any rate. Yea, some will sin contrary to their convictions, 
and so do get some ease to their consciences, as Hazael gave ease 
to his master by stifling him. Again the performance of duties may 
give some ease to disqutied consciences ; and this is all which legal 
professors have recourse to for quieting their consciences. When 
conscience is wounded they will pray, confess, mourn, and resolve to 
do so no more : and so they become whole again, without an appli- 
cation of the blood of Christ by faith. But they whose consciences 
are rightly quieted, come for peace and purification to the blood of 
sprinkling. Sin leaves a sting behind it, which one time or other 
will create them no little pain. 

Elihu shews us both the case and cure. Job xxxiii. — Behold the 
case which a man may be in, whom God has thoughts of love to. 
lie darts convictions into his conscience ; and makes them stick so 
fast, that he cannot rid himself of them, ver. 16, " lie openeth the 
ears of men, and sealeth their instruction. His very body sick- 
ens, ver. 19, " He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, 
and the multitude of his bones with strong pain " He loseth his 
appetite, ver. 20, " His life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty 
meat." His body pines away, so that there is nothing on him but 
skin and bone," ver. 21, " His flesh is consumed away, that it can- 
not be seen, and his bones that were not seen stick out." Thongh 


he is not prepared for death, he has no hope of life, ver. 22, " His 
soul draweth near unto the grave, and" which is the height of his 
misery, " his life to the destroyers ;" he is looking every moment 
when devils, these destroyers, t>ev.^ix. 11, these murderers, or man- 
slayers, John viii. 44, will come and carry away his soul to hell. O 
dreadful case ? Is there any hope for such ? Yes, there is hope. 
God will " keep back his soul from the pit," Job xxxiii. 18, although 
he bring him forward to the brink of it. Kow, see how the sick 
man is cured. The physician's art cannot prevail here : the disease 
lies more inward than his medicines can reach. It is soul trouble 
that has brought the body into this disorder ; and therefore the re- 
medies must be applied to the sick man's soul and conscience. The 
physician for this case, must be a spiritual Physician ; the remedies 
must be spiritual, a righteousness, a ransom, an atonement. Upon 
the application of these, the soul is cured, the conscience is quieted : 
and the body recovers, ver. 23 — 26, " 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 liim 
from going down into the pit, I have found a ransom. His flesh 
shall be fresher than a child's, he shall return to the days of his 
youth. He shall pray unto God, and he shall be favourable unto 
him, and he shall see his face with joy." The proper physician for 
this patient is a messenger, an interpreter, ver. 23, that is, as some 
expositors, not without ground, understand it, the great physician, 
Jesus Christ, whom Job had called his Redeemer, chap. xix. 25. 
He is a messenger, the " messenger of the covenant of peace," Mai. 
iii. 1, who comes seasonably to the sick man. He is an interpreter, 
the great interpreter of God's counsels of love to sinners, Job xxxiii. 
23, " One among a thousand," even " the chief among ten thou- 
sand," Cant. V. 10. " One chosen out of the people," Psaliri Ixxxix. 
19. One to whom " the Lord hath given the tongue of the learned 
— to speak a word in season to him that is weary," Isa. 1. 4. It is 
he that is with hira, by his Spirit, now, to " convince him of righte- 
ousness," John xvi. 8, as he was with him before, to "convince hira 
of sin and of judgment." His work now is, to shew unto him his 
uprightness, or his righteousness, that is, the interpreter Christ's 
righteousness ; which is the only righteousness, arisiug from the 
paying of a ransom, and upon which a sinner is delivered from go- 
ing down to the pit, ver. 24. Thus Christ is said to declare God's 
name, Psalm xxii. 22, and to preach righteousness. Psalm xl. 9. 
The phrase is remarkable : it is not to shew unto the man, but unto 
man, his righteousness : which not obscurely intimates, that he is 
more than a man, who shews or declareth this righteousness. Com- 


pare Amos iv. 13, " He that fornieth the mountains, and createth 
the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought." There 
seems to be in it a sweet allusion to the first declaration of this 
righteousness unto man, or, as the word is, unto Adam, after the 
fall, while he lay under terror from apprehensions of the wrath of 
God ; which declaration was made by the messenger, the inter- 
preter, namely, the eternal Word, the Son of God, called, the voice 
of the Lord God, Gen. iii. 8, and by him appearing, probably, in 
human shape. Now, while he by his Spirit, is the preacher of 
righteousness to the man, it is supposed that the man lays hold on 
the offered righteousness ; whereupon the ransom is applied to him, 
and he is delivered from going down to the pit; for God hath a ran- 
som for him. This is intimated to him by the words, " Deliver 
him," Job xxxiii. 24. So his conscience being purified by the blood 
of atonement, is pacified, and sweetly quieted. " He shall pray unto 
God — and see his face with joy," which before he beheld with hor- 
ror, ver. 26 ; that is in New Testament language, " Having an high 
priest over the house of God," he shall " draw near with a true 
heart, in full assurance of faith, having his heart sprinkled from an 
evil conscience," Heb. x. 21, 22. But then, what becomes of the 
body, the weak and weary flesh ? Why, " his flesh shall be fresher 
tlian a child's, he shall return to the days of his youth," ver. 25. 
Yea, " All his bones," which were chastened with strong pain, ver. 
19, " shall say, Lord, who is like unto thee?" Psalm xxxv. 10. 

A third benefit flowing from union with Christ, is adoption. Be- 
lievers, being united to Christ, become children of God, and mem- 
bers of the family of heaven. By their union with him, who is the 
Son of God by nature, they become the sons of God by grace, John 
i. 12. As when a branch is cut off from one tree, and grafted in 
the brjlnch of another, the ingrafted branch, by means of its union 
with the adopting branch, as some not unfitly have called it, is made 
a branch of the same stock with that into which it is ingrafted : so 
sinners, being ingrafted into Jesus Christ, whose name is the Branch, 
his Father is their Father, his God their God, John xx. 17. 
And thus they, who are by nature children of the devil, become 
the children of God. They have the Spirit of adoption, Rom, 
viii. 15, namely, the Spirit of his Son, which brings them to 
God, as children to a Father; to pour out their complaints in 
his bosom, and to seek necessary supplies. Gal. iv. 6, " Because ye 
are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, 
crying, Abba, Father." Under all their weaknesses, they have 
fatherly pity and compassion shewn them, Psalm ciii. 13, " Like as 
a father pitieth his children ; so the Lord pitieth them that fear 


him." — Although they were but foundlings, found iu a desert land ; 
yet now " he keeps them as the apple of his eye," Deut. xxxii. 10. 
Whosoever pursues them, they have a refuge, Prov. xiv. 26, *' His 
children shall have a place of refuge." In a time of common cala- 
mity, they have chambers of protection, where they may be hid until 
the indignation is overpast, Isa. xxvi. 20. And he is not only their 
refuge for protection, but their portion for provision, in that refuge; 
Psalm cxlii, 5, " Thou art my refuge, and my portion in the land of 
the living." — They are provided for, for eternity, Heb. xi. 16, " He 
hath prepared for them a city." And what he sees they have need 
of for time, they shall not want. Matt. vi. 31, 32, "Take no thought, 
saying. What shall we eat? or what shall we drink? or wherewithal 
shall we be clothed ? For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye 
have need of all these things." Seasonable correction is likewise 
their privilege as sons : so they are not suffered to pass with their 
faults, as others who are not children, but servants of the family, 
who at length will be turned out of doors for their miscarriages, 
Heb. xii. 7, " If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with 
sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? They 
are heirs of, and shall inherit the promises, Heb. vi. 12. Nay, they 
are heirs of God, who himself is the portion of their inheritance, 
Psalm xvi. 5, "and joint-heirs with Christ," Rom. viii. 17- And be- 
cause they are the children of the great King, and heirs of glory, 
they have angels for their attendants, who are sent forth to minister 
for them who shall be heirs of salvation," Heb. i. 14. 

A fourth benefit is sanctification, 1 Cor. i. 30, " But of him are ye 
in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteous- 
ness, and sanctification." — Being united to Christ, they partake of 
his Spirit, which is the Spirit of holiness. There is a fulness of the 
Spirit in Christ, and it is not like the fulness of a vessel, which only 
retains what is poured into it; but it is the fulness of a fountain for 
difi'usion and communication, which is always sending forth its 
waters, and yet is always full. The Spirit of Christ, that spiritual 
sap, which is in the stock, and from thence is communicated to the 
branches, is the Spirit of grace, Zech. xii. 10. And where the Spirit 
of grace dwells, there will be found a confluence of all graces. Ho- 
liness is not one grace only, but all the graces of the Spirit ; it is a 
constellation of graces ; it is all the graces in their seed and root. 
And as the sap conveyed from the stock into the branch goes througii 
it, and through every part of it; so the Spirit of Christ sanctifies the 
whole man. The poison of sin was diffused through the whole spirit, 
soul, and body of the man ; and sanctifying grace pursues it into 
every corner, 1 Thess. v. 23. Every part of the man is sanctified, 


though no part is perfectly so. Tlie truth we are sanctified by is not 
held in the head, as in a prison ; but runs, with its sanctifying influ- 
ences, through heart and life. There are indeed some graces, in 
every believer, which appear as top-branches above the rest : as 
meekness in Moses, patience in Job ; but seeing there is in every 
child of God, a holy principle going along with the holy law, in all 
the parts thereof, loving and approving of it : as it appears from 
their universal respect to the commands of God : it is evident that 
they are endowed with all the graces of the Spirit ; because there 
cannot be less in the effect, than there was in the cause. 

Now, this sanctifying Spirit, whereof believers partake, is unto 
thera, 1. A spirit of mortification; " through the Spirit they mortify 
the deeds of the body," Rom. viii. 13. Sin is crucified in them, 
Gal. V. 24. They are planted together, namely, with Christ in the 
likeness of his death, which was a lingering death, Rom. vi. 6. Sin 
in the saint, though not quite dead, yet is dying. If it were dead, 
it would be taken down from the cross, and buried out of his 
sight : but it hangs there as yet, working and struggling under its 
mortal wounds. As, when a tree has got such a stroke as reaches 
the heart of it, all the leaves and branches begin to fade and decay : 
so, whtre the sanctifying Spirit comes, and breaks the power of sin, 
there is a gradual ceasing from it, and dying to it, in the whole 
man ; so that he " no longer lives in the flesh to the lusts of men." 
He does not make sin his trade and business ; it is not his great de- 
sign to seek himself, and to satisfy his corrupt inclinations : but he 
is seeking for Imraanuel's land ; and is walking in the highway to it, 
the way which is called the way of holiness: though the wind from 
hell, that was on his back before, blows now full in his face, makes his 
travelling uneasy, and often drives him oil the highway. 2. This Spirit 
is a Spirit of vivification to them; for he is the Spirit of life, and makes 
them live unto righteousness, Ezek. xxxvi. 27, "And 1 will put my 
Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes." Those who 
have been "planted together," with Christ, "in the likeness of his 
death, shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection," Rom. vi. 5. 
\t Christ's resurrection, when his soul was re^united with his body, 
every member of that blessed body was enabled again to perform the 
actions of life: so the soul, being influenced by the sanctifying Spirit 
of Christ, is enabled more and more to perform all the actions of spi- 
ritual life. And as the whole of the law, and not some scraps of it only, 
is written on the holy heart; so believers are enabled to transcribe 
that law, in their conversation. Although they cannot write one 
line of it without blots, yet God, for Clirist's sake, accepts of the 
performance, in point of sanctification ; they being disciples to his 
own Son, and led by his own Spirit. 


This sanctified Spirit, communicated by the L(ird Jesus to his 
members, is the spiritual nourishment the branches have from the 
stock into which they are ingrafted; whereby the life of grace, given 
them in regeneration, is preserved, continued, and actuated. It is 
the nourishment whereby the new creature lives, and is nourished 
up towards perfection. Spiritual life needs to be fed, and must 
have supply of nourishment : and believers derive the same from 
Christ their head, whom the Father has appointed the head of influ- 
ence to all his members, Col. ii. 19, " And not holding the head, 
from which all the body, by joints and bands, having nourishment 
ministered, or supplied," &c. Now this supply is " the supply of 
the Spirit of Jesus Christ," Phil. i. 19. The saints feed richly, 
*' eating Christ's flesh, and drinking his blood," for their spiritual 
nourishment : yet our Lord himself teacheth us, that " it is the Spi- 
rit that quickeneth," John vi. 63, even that Spirit who dwells in his 
blessed body. The human nature is united to the divine nature, in 
the person of the Son, and so like the bowl in Zachariah's candle- 
stick, chap. iv. lies at the fountain head, as the glorious means of 
conveyance of influences from the fountain of Deity. He receives 
not the Spirit by measure, but ever hath a fulness of the Spirit, by 
reason of that personal union. Hence believers, being united to the 
man Christ, as the seven lamps to the bowl, by their seven pipes, 
Zech. iv. 2, his flesh is to them meat indeed, and his blood drink in- 
deed : for, feeding on that blessed body, that is, effectually apply- 
ing Christ to their souls by faith, they partake more and more of 
that Spirit, who dwelleth therein, to their spiritual nourishment. 
The holiness of God can never admit of an immediate union with the 
sinful creature, nor, consequently, an immediate communion with it: 
yet the creature could not live the life of grace without communion 
with the fountain of life. Therefore, that the honour of God's holi- 
ness and the salvation of sinners might jointly be provided for, the 
second person of the glorious trinity took into a personal union with 
himself a sinless human nature ; that so this holy, harmless, and 
undeflled humanity, might immediately receive a fulness of the Spi- 
rit, of which he might communicate to his members, by his divine 
power and efficacy. Suppose there were a tree, with its root in the 
earth, and its branches reaching to heaven, the vast distance bet- 
ween the root and the branches, would not interrupt the communi- 
cation between the root and the top branch : even so, the distance 
between the man Christ, who is in heaven, and his members, who are 
on earth, cannot hinder the communication between them. What 
though the parts of mystical Christ, namely the head and the mem- 
bers, are not contiguous, us joined together in the way of corporal 


union ; the union is not therefore the less real and cflFectual. Yea, 
our Lord himself shews us, that though we eat his flesh in a corpo- 
real and carnal manner, yet it would profit nothing, John vi. 63 ; 
we should not be one whit the holier thereby. But the members of 
Christ on earth, are united to their head in heaven, by the invisible 
bond of the self-same Spirit dwelling in both ; in him as the head, 
and in them as the members. The wheels in Ezekiel's vision were 
not contiguous to the living creatures, yet were united to them by 
an invisible bond of one Spirit in both ; so that, " when the living 
creatures went, the wheels went by them, and when the living crea- 
tures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up," 
Ezek. i. 19; "For," says the prophet, "the Spirit of the living crea- 
ture was in the wheels," ver. 20. 

Hence we may see the diff"erence between true satisfaction, and that 
shadow of it, which is to be found among some strict professors of 
Christianity, who yet are not true Christians, are not regenerated 
by the Spirit of Christ, and is of the same kind with what has ap- 
peared in many sober heathens. True sanctification is the result of 
the soul's union with the holy Jesus, the first and immediate recep- 
tacle of the sanctifying Spirit ; out of whose fulness his members do 
by virtue of their union with him, receive sanctifying influences. 
The other is the mere product of the man's own spirit, which, what- 
ever it has, or seems to have, of the matter of true holiness, yet does 
not arise from the supernatural principles, nor to the high aims and 
ends thereof; for, as it comes from self, so it runs out into the dead 
sea of belf again ; and lies as wide of true holiness, as nature doth of 
grace. They who have this species of holiness, are like common boat- 
men, who serve themselves with their own oars : whereas the ship 
bound for Immanuel's land, sails by the blowings of the divine 
Spirit. How is it possible there should be true satisfaction without 
Christ ? Can there be true sanctification without partaking of the 
Spirit of holiness? Can we partake of that Spirit, but by Jesus 
Christ, " the way, the truth, and the life ?" The falling dew shall as 
soon make its way through the flinty rock, as the influences of grace 
come from God to sinners, any other way than through him whom 
the Father hath appointed the head of influences. Col. i. 19, " For 
it pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell :" 
and chap. ii. 19, "And not holding the head, from which all 
the body, by joints and bands, having nourishment ministered 
and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God." Hence see 
how it comes to pass, that many fall away from their seeming sanc- 
tification, and never recover : it is because they are not branches 
truly knit to the true vine. Meanwhile others, recover from their 


decays, because of their union with the life-giving stock, by the 
quickening Spirit, 1 John li. 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." 

A fifth benefit is growth in grace. " Having nourishment minis- 
tered, they increase with the increase of God." Col. ii. 19, " The 
righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree : he shall grow like a 
cedar in Lebanon," Psalm xcii. 12. Grace is of a growing nature ; 
in the way to Zion they go from strength to strength. Though the 
holy man be at first a little child in grace, yet at length he becomes 
a young mau; a father, 1 John ii. 13. Though he does but creep 
in the way to heaven sometimes, yet afterwards he walks, he runs, 
he mounts up with wings as eagles, Isa. xl. 31. If a branch grafted 
into a stock never grows, it is a plain evidence of its not having knit 
with the stock. 

But some perhaps may say, " If all true Christians be growing 
ones, what shall be said of those who, instead of growing, are going 
back ?" I answer, There is a great difference between the Chris- 
tians growing simply, and his growing at all times. All true 
Christians do grow, but I do not say that they grow at all times. 
A tree, that has life and nourishment, grows to its perfection, yet it 
is not always growing; it grows not in the winter. Christians also 
have their winters, wherein the influences of grace, necessary for 
their growth, cease, Cant. v. 2, " I sleep." It is by faith the be- 
liever derives gracious influences from Jesus Christ ; as each lam]) 
in the candlestick received oil from the bowel, by the pipe going 
between them, Zech. iv. 2. Now, if that pipe be stoped, if the 
saint's faith lie dormant and inactive, then all the rest of the graces 
will become dim, and seem ready to be extinguished. In conse- 
quence whereof, depraved nature will gather strength, and become 
active. "What then will become of the soul ? Why, there is still 
one sure ground of hope. The saint's faith is not as the hypocrite's 
like a pipe laid short of the fountain, whereby there can be no con- 
veyance : it still remains a bond of union between Christ and the 
soul ; and therefore, because Christ lives, the believer shall live 
also, John xiv. 19. The Lord Jesus " puts in his hand by the hole 
of the door," and clears the means of conveyance ; and then in- 
fluences for growth flow, and the believer's graces look fresh and 
green again, Hos. xiv. 7, "They that dwell under his shadow shall 
return : they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine." In 
the worst of times, the saints have a principle of growth in them, 
1 John iii. 9, " His seed remaineth in him." Therefore, after decays, 
they revive again : namely, when the winter is over, and the Sun 


of rigliteousuess retarns to them with his warm iiitliiencos. Mud 
thrown into a pool may lie there at ease ; but if it be cast into a 
fountain, the spring will at length work it out, and run as clear as 
formerly. Secondly, Christians may mistake their growth, and that 
two ways. 1. By judging of their case according to their present 
feeling. They observe themselves, and cannot perceive themselves 
to be growing ; but there is no reason thence to conclude they are 
not growing, Mark iv. 27, " The seed springs and grows up, he 
knoweth not how." Were a person to fix his eye ever so stedfastly 
on a growing tree, he would not see it growing ; but if he compare 
the tree as it now is, with what it was some years ago, he will cer- 
tainly perceive that it has grown. In like manner may the Chris- 
tian know whether he be in a growing or declining state, by com- 
paring his present with his former condition. 2. Christians may 
mistake their case, by measuring their growth by the advances of 
the top only, not of the root. Though a man be not growing taller, 
he may be growing stronger. If a tree be uniting with the ground, 
fixing itself in the earth, and spreading out its roots, it is certainly 
growing, although it be not higher than formerly. So, although a 
Christian may want the sweet consolations and flashes of aff"ection 
which hfe had ; yet, if he be growing in humility, self-denial, and 
sense of needy dependence on Jesus Christ, he is a growing Chris- 
tian, Hos. xiv. 5, " I will be as the dew unto Israel, he shall cast 
forth his roots as Lebanon." 

Question. " But do hypocrites grow at all ? And if so, how shall 
we distinguish between their growth, and true Christian growth ?'* 
Answer. To the first part of the question, hypocrites do grow. The 
tares have their growth, as well as the wheat: the seed that fell 
among thorns did spring up, Luke viii. 7. Only it brought no 
fruit to perfection, ver. 14. Yea, a true Christian may have a false 
growth. James and John seemed to grow in the grace of holy zeal, 
when their spirits grew so hot in the cause ot Christ, that they 
Avould l.ave tired a whole village, for not receiving their Lord and 
Master, Luke ix. 54, " They said. Lord, wilt thou that wo command 
fire to come down from heaven and consume them, even as Elias 
did?" But it was indeed no such thing; and therefore he turned 
and rebuked them, ver. 55, " and said, " Ye know not what manner 
of spirit ye are ot." To the second part of the question it is an- 
swered, that there is a peculiar beauty in the true Christian growth, 
distinguishing it from all false growth : it is universal, regular, pro- 
portionable. It is a " growing up into llim in all things, which 
is the head," Eph. iv. 15. The growiug Christian grows pro- 
portionabiy, in all the parts of the new man. Under the kindly 

216 b?;kefits from union with chrtst. 

influences of the Sun of righteousness, believers " grow up as calves 
of the stall," Mai. iv. 2, You would think it a monstrous growth, 
in these creatures, if you saw their heads grow, and not their 
bodies; or if you saw one leg grow, and another not; if all the 
parts do not grow proportionably. Ay, but such is the growth of 
many in religion. They grow like rickety children, who have a big 
head, but a slender body ; they get more knowledge into their heads, 
but no more holiness into their hearts and lives. They grow very 
hot outwardly, but very cold inwardly ; like men in a fit of the 
ague. They are more taken op about the externals of religion than 
formerly ; yet as great strangers to the power of godliness as ever. 
If a garden is watered with the hand, some of the plants will readily 
get much, some little, and some no water at all; and therefore 
some wither, while others are coming forward ; but after a shower 
from the clouds, all come forward together. In like manner, all the 
graces of the Spirit grow proportionably, by the special influences 
of divine grace. The branches ingrafted in Christ, growing aright, 
do grow in all the several ways of growth at once. They grow in- 
ward, growing into Christ, Eph. iv. 15, uniting more closely with 
him ; and cleaving more firmly to him, as the head of influences, 
■which is the spring of all other true Christian growth. They grow 
outward in good works, in their life and conversation. They not 
only, with Naphtali, give goodly words ; but, like Joseph, they are 
fruitful boughs. They grow upward in heavenly-mindedness, and 
contempt of the world ; for their conversation is in heaven, Phil. iii. 
20. And finally, they grow downward in humility and self-loath- 
ing. The branches of the largest growth in Christ, are, in their own 
eyes, " less than the least of all saints," Eph. iii. 8 ; " the chief of sin- 
ners," 1 Tim. i. 15 ; " more brutish than any man," Prov. xxx. 2. 
They see that they can do nothing, no, not so much as " think any 
thing, as of themselves," 2 Cor. iii. 5 : that they deserve nothing, 
being " not worthy of the least of all the mercies showed unto them," 
Gen. xxxii. 10 ; and that they are nothing, 2 Cor. xii. 11. 

A sixth benefit is fruitfulness. The branch ingrafted into Christ 
is not barren, but brings forth fruit, John xv. 5, " He that abideth 
in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit." For that 
very end are souls united to Christ, that they may bring forth fruit 
unto God, Rom. vii. 4. They that are barren may be branches in 
Christ by profession, but not by real implantation. Whoever are 
united to Christ, bring forth the fruit of gospel-obedience and true 
holiness. Faith is always followed with good works. The believer 
is not only come out of the grave of his natural state ; but he has put 
off his grave-clothes, namely, reigning lusts, in which he walked, 


like a ghost; being dead while he lived in them. Col. iii. 7> 8. 
For Christ has said of him, as of Lazarus, " Loose him, and let him 
go." Now that he has put on Christ, he personates him, so to 
speak, as a beggar in borrowed robes represents a king on the stage, 
walking as he also walked. Now the fruit of the Spirit in him, is 
in all goodness, Eph. v. 9. The fruits of holiness will be found in 
the hearts, lips, and lives of those who are united to Christ. The 
hidden man of the heart is not only a temple built for God, and 
consecrated to him ; but used and employed for him, where love, 
fear, trust, and all the other parts of unseen religion, are exercised, 
Phil. iii. 3, " For we are the circumcision which worship God in the 
Spirit." The heart is no more the devil's common, where thoughts 
go free ; for there even vain thoughts are hated, Psalm cxix. 113. 
But it is God's enclosure, hedged about as a garden for him, Cant. 
iv. 16. It is true, there are weeds of corruption there, because the 
ground is not yet perfectly cleared: but the man, in the day of his 
new creation, is set to dress it, and keep it. A live coal from the 
altar has touched his lips, and they are purified. Psalm xv. 1 — 3, 
" Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle ? who shall dwell in thy 
holy hill ? He that speaketh the truth in his heart ; he that back- 
biteth not with his tongue, nor taketh up a reproach against his 
neighbour." There may be, indeed, a smooth tongue, where there is 
a false heart. The voice may be Jacob's, while the hand's are 
Esau's. But, " if any man among you seem to be religious, and bri- 
dleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion 
is vain," James i. 26. The power of godliness will rule over the 
tongue, though a world of iniquity. If one be a Galilean, his speech 
will bewray him ; he will speak, not the language of Ashdod, but 
the language of Canaan. He will neither be dumb in religion, nor 
will his tongue walk at random, seeing, to the double guard which 
nature hath given the tongue, grace hath added a third. The fruits 
of holiness will be found in his outward conversation ; for he hath 
clean hands, as well as a pure heart, Psalm xxiv. 4. He is a godly 
man, and religiously discharges the duties of the first table of the 
law ; he is a righteous man, and honestly performs the duties of the 
second table. In his conversation he is a good Christian, and a good 
neighbour too. He carries it towards God, as if men's eyes were 
upon him; and towards men, as believing God's eyes to be upon 
him. Those things which (Jod hath joined in his law, he dares not 
put asunder in his practice. 

Thus the branches in Christ are full of good fruits. And those 
fruits are a cluster of vital actions, whereof Jesus Christ is the prin- 
ciple and end. The, principle ; for he lives in them, and "the life 

Vol. Vin. 


they live is by faith in the Son of God," Gral. ii. 20, The end; for 
they live to him, and " to them to live is Christ," Phil. i. 21. 
The duties of religion are in the world, like fatherless children, in 
rags ; some will not take them in, because they never loved them 
nor their Father ; some take them in, because they may be service- 
able to them : but the saints take them in for their Father's sake, 
that is for Christ's sake: and they are lovely in their eyes, because 
they are like him. ! whence is this new life of the saints ? Surely 
it could never have been hammered out of the natural powers 
of their souls, by the united force of all created power. In eter- 
nal barrenness would they have continued; but that being "married 
to Christ, they bring forth fruit unto God," Rom. vii. 4. 

If you ask me, " How can your nourishment, growth, and fruit- 
fulness be forwarded?" I ofler these few advices : 1. Make sure 
work, as to your knitting with the stock by faith unfeigned ; and 
beware of hypocrisy : a branch that is not sound at the heart will 
certainly wither. The trees of the Lord's planting are trees of 
righteousness, Isa. Ixi. 3. So, when others fade, they bring forth 
fruit. Hypocrisy is a disease in the vitals of religion, which will 
consume all at length. It is a leak in the ship, that will certainly 
sink it. Sincerity of grace will make it lasting, be it ever so weak ; 
as the smallest twig, that is sound at the heart, will draw nourish- 
ment from the stock and grow; wbile the greatest bough that is rotten 
can never recover, because it receives no nourishment. 2. Labour 
to be stedfast in the truths and way of God. An unsettled and wa- 
vering judgment is a great enemy to Christian growth and fruit- 
fulness, as the apostle teaches, Eph. iv. 14, 15, " That we henceforth 
be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every 
wind of doctrine. But speaking the truth in love, n^ay grow up into 
him in all things, which is the head, even Christ." A rolling stone 
gathers no moss, and a wavering judgment makes a fruitless life. 
Though a tree be never so sound, yet how can it grow, or be fruit- 
ful, if you be still removing it out of one soil into another ? 3. En- 
deavour to cut off the suckers, as gardeners do, that their trees may 
thrive. These are unmortified lusts ; therefore " mortify your mem- 
bers that are upon the earth," Col. iii. 5. When the Israelites got 
meat to their lusts, they got leanness to their souls. She that has 
many hungry children about her hand, and must be still putting 
into their mouths, will have much ado to get a bit put into her own. 
They must refuse the cravings of inordinate affections, who would 
have their souls to prosper. 4. Improve, for these ends, the ordi- 
nances of God. It is in the courts of our God where the trees of 
righteousness flourish, Psalm xcii. 13. The Avaters of the sanctuary 

B.EisrEi rrs khom union with ciiuist. 219 

are the means appointed of God, to cause liis people to grow as 
willows by the water courses. Therefore drink in with " desire, the 
sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby," 1 Pet. ii. 2. 
Come to these wells of salvation : not to look at them only, but to 
draw water out of them. The sacrament of the Lord's supper is in 
a special manner appointed for these ends. It is not only a solemn 
public profession, and a seal of our union and communion with 
Christ; but it is a means of most intimate communion with him; 
and strengthens our union with him, our faith, love, repentance, 
and other graces, 1 Cor. x. 16, "The cup of blessing, which we 
bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread 
which we break, it is not the communion of the body of Christ?" 
And chap. xii. 13, " We have been all made to drink into one Spi- 
rit." Give yourselves unto prayer; open your mouths wide, and 
he will fill them. — By these means the branches in Christ may be 
farther nourished, grow up, and bring forth much fruit. 

A seventh benefit is, The acceptance of their fruits of holiness 
before the Lord. Though they may be very imperfect, they are ac- 
cepted, because they savour of Christ the blessed stock, which the 
branches grow upon ; while the fruits of others are rejected of God, 
Gen. iv. 4, 5, " And the Lord had respect unto Abel, and his offer- 
ing ; but unto Cain and his off'ering he had no respect." Compare 
Heb. xi. 3, "By faith, Abel olfered unto God a more excellent 
sacrifice than Cain." how defective are the saints' duties in the 
eye of the law ! The believer himself sees many faults in his best 
performances ; yet the Lord graciously receives them. — There is no 
grace planted in the heart, but there is a weed of corruption hard 
by its side, while the saints are in the lower world. Their very sin- 
cerity is not without a mixture of dissimulation or hypocrisy, Gal. ii. 
13. Hence there are defects in the exercise of every grace; in the 
performance of every duty ; depraved nature always drops something 
to stain their best works. There is still a mixture of darkness with 
their clearest light. Yet this does not mar their acceptance, Cant, 
vi. 10, ""Who is she that looketh forth as the morning?" or, as 
the dawning? Behold how Christ's spouse is esteemed and ac- 
cepted of her Lord, even when she looks forth as the morning, 
whose beauty is mixed with the blackness of the night ! " When 
the morning was looking out," as the word is Jud. xix. 26, that is, 
" In the dawning of the day," as we read it. So the very dawning 
of grace, and good will to Christ, grace peeping out from under a 
mass of darkness in believers, is pleasant and acceptable to him, as 
the break of day is to the weary traveller. — Though the remains 
of unbelief make the hand of faith to shake and tremble ; yet the 



Lord is so well pleased with it, tliat he employs it to carry away 
pardons and supplies of grace, from the throne of grace, and the 
fountain of grace. His faith was effectual, " who " cried out and 
said with tears, Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief!" Mark 
ix. 24. Though the remains of sensual affections make the flame of 
their love weak and smoky ; he turns his eyes from the smoke, and 
beholds the flame, how fair it is. Cant. iv. 10, "How fair is thy 
love, my sister, my spouse !" — " The smell of their" under " gar- 
ment" of inherent holiness, as imperfect as it is, "is like the smell 
of Lebanon," ver. 11 ; and that because they are covered with their 
elder brother's clothes, which makes the sons of God to " smell as a 
field which the Lord hath blessed." Their good works are ac- 
cepted : their cups of cold water given to a disciple, in the name of 
a disciple, shall not want a reward. Though they cannot offer for 
the tabernacle, gold, silver, and brass, and onyx stones, let them 
come forward with what they have ; if it were but goats' hair, it 
shall not be rejected ; if it were but ram's skins, they shall be 
kindly accepted; for they are dyed red, dipt by faith in the Media- 
tor's blood, and so presented unto God. A very oidinary work 
done in faith, and from faith, if it were but the building of a wall 
about the holy city, is a great work, Neh. vi. 3. If it were but the 
bestowing of a box of ointment on Christ, it shall never be forgot- 
ten. Matt. xxvi. 13, Even " a cup of cold water only given to one 
of Christ's little ones, in the name of a disciple, shall be rewarded," 
Matt. X. 42. Nay, not a good word for Christ shall drop from their 
mouths, but it shall be registered in God's " book of remembrance," 
Mai. iii. 16. Nor shall a tear drop from their eyes for him, but he 
will "put it in his bottle," Psalm Ivi. 8. Their will is accepted for 
the deed ; their sorrow for the want of will, for the will itself, 
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." Their groanings, when they cannot well express their desires, 
are heard in heaven ; the meaning of those groans is well known 
there, and they will be returned like the dove with an olive branch 
of peace in her mouth. See Rom. viii. 26, 27. Their mites are 
better than other men's talents. Their lisping and broken sentences 
are more pleasant to their Father in heaven, than the most fluent 
or flourishing speeches of those who are not in Christ. Their voice 
is sweet, even when they are ashamed it should be heard ; their 
countenance is comely, even when they blush, and draw a veil over 
it, Cant. ii. 14. The Mediator takes their petitions, blots out some 
parts, rectifies others, and then presents them to the Father, in con- 
sequence whereof they pass in the court of heaven. 


Every true Christian is a temple to God. If you look for sacri- 
fices, they are not wanting there ; they offer the sacrifice of praise, 
and do good : with such sacrifices God is well pleased, Heb. xiii. 15, 
16. Christ himself is the altar that sanctifies the gift, ver. 10. If 
we look for incense, it is there too. The graces of the Spirit are 
found in their hearts : and the Spirit of the crucified Christ fires 
them, and puts them in exercise ; as the fire was brought from the 
altar of burnt-offering, to set the incense in flame : then they mount 
heavenward, like pillars of smoke. Cant. iii. 6. But the best of 
incense will leave ashes behind it : yes, indeed ; but as the priest 
took away the ashes of the incense in a golden dish, and threw 
them out; so our great High Priest takes away the ashes and 
refuse of all the saint's services, by his mediation in their behalf. 

An eighth benefit flowing from union with Christ, is establish- 
ment. The Christian cannot fall away, but must persevere unto 
the end, John x. 28, " they shall never perish, neither shall any 
man pluck them out of ray hand." Indeed, if a branch do not knit 
with the stock, it will fall away when shaking winds arise : but the 
branch knit to the stock stands fast whatever wind blows. Some- 
times a stormy wind of temptation blows from hell, and shakes the 
branches in Christ the true vine : but their union with him is their 
security; moved they may be, but removed they never can be. — 
The Lord " will with the temptation also make a way of escape," 
1 Cor. X. 13. Calms are never of any continuance ; there is almost 
always some wind blowing; and therefore branches are rarely alto- 
gether at rest. But sometimes violent winds arise, which threaten 
to rend them from ofi" their stock. Even so it is with saints ; they 
are daily put to it to keep their ground against temptation : some- 
times the wind from hell rises so high, and blows so furiously, that 
it makes even top branches to sweep the ground ; yet being knit to 
Christ their stock, they get up again, in spite of the most violent 
efforts of the prince of the power of the air, P3a,lm xciv. 18, " When 
I said, my foot slippeth, thy mercy, Lord, held me up." But 
the Christian improves by his trial ; and is so far from being 
damaged, that he is benefited by it, as it discovers what hold the 
soul has of Christ, and what hold Christ has of the soul. And look, 
as the wind in the bellows, which would blow out the candle, blows 
up the fire ; even so it often comes to pass, that such temptations 
enliven the true Christian, awakening the graces of the Spirit in 
him ; and by that means, discover both the reality and the strength 
of grace in him. And hence, as Luther, that great man of God, 
saith, " One Christian, who hath had experience of temptation, is 
worth a thousand others." 


Sometimes a stormy wind of trouble and persecution from tlie 
men of the world, blows upon the vine, that is, mystical Christ ; 
but union with the stock is a sufficient security to the branches. In 
a time of the church's peace and outward prosperity, while the an- 
gels hold the winds that they blow not, there are a great many 
branches taken up and put into the stock, which never knit with it, 
nor live by it, though they be bound up with it by the bonds of ex- 
ternal ordinances. Now, these may stand a while on the stock, and 
stand with great ease while the calm lasts ; but when once the storms 
arise, and the winds blow, they will begin to fall off one after ano- 
ther ; and the higher the wind rises, the greater will the number be 
that falls. Tea, some strong boughs of that sort, when they fall, 
will, by their weight, carry others of their own kind, quite down to 
the earth with them ; and will bruise and press down some true 
branches in such a manner, that they would also fall off, were it not for 
that fast hold which the stock has of them. Then it is that many 
branches which before were high and eminent, are found lying on 
the earth withered, and fit to be gathered up and cast into the fire, 
Matt. xiii. 6, " When the sun was up, they were scorched : and be- 
cause they had no root, they withered away." John xv. 6, " If a 
man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered 
and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and ihey are 
burned." But however violently the winds blow, none of the truly 
ingrafted branches that are knit with the stock are found missing, 
when the storm is changed into a calm, John xvii. 12, " Those that 
thou gavest me, I have kept, and none of them is lost." The least 
twig growing in Christ shall stand it out, and subsist ; when the 
tallest cedars growing on their own root, shall be laid flat on the 
ground, Rom. viii. 35, " Who shall separate us from the love of 
Christ ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or 
nakedness, or peril, or sword ?" See ver. 36 — 39. However severe- 
ly Israel be " sifted, yet shall not the least grain," or, as it is in the 
original language, a little stone, " fall upon the earth," Amos ix. 9. 
It is an allusion to the sifting of fine pebble stones from among 
heaps of dust and sand: though the sand and dust fall to the ground 
be blown away with the wind, and trampled under foot ; yet there 
shall not fall on the earth so much as a little stone, such is the ex- 
actness of the seive, and the care of the sifter. — There is nothing more 
ready to fall on the earth than a stone : yet, if professors of religion 
be lively stones, built on Christ the chief corner-stone, although they 
be little stones, they shall not fall to the earth, whatever storm beats 
upon them. See 1 Pet. ii. 4 — 6. All the good grain in the church 
of Christ is of this kind : they are stones, in respect of solidity ; 


and lively stones in respect of activity. If men be solid substantial 
Christians, they will not be like chaff tossed to and fro with every 
wind ; having so much of the liveliness, that they have nothing of 
the stone : and if they be lively Christians, whose spirits will stir in 
them, as Paul's did, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. 
Acts xvii. 16, they will not lie like stones, to be turned over, hither 
and thither, cut and carved, according to the lusts of men ; having 
so much of the stone, as leaves nothing of liveliness in them. 

Our God's house is a great house, wherein are not only vessels of 
gold, but also of earth, 2 Tim. ii. 20. — Both these are apt to con- 
tract filthiness ; and therefore when God brings trouble upon the 
church, ho hath an eye to both. As for the vessels of gold, they 
are not destroyed ; but purified by a fiery trial in the furnace of 
afiliction, as goldsmiths refine their gold, Isa. i. 25, "And I will turn 
ray hand upon thee, and pui'ely purge away thy dross." But des- 
truction is to the vessels of earth ; they shall be broken in shivers, 
as a potter's vessel, ver. 28, " And the destruction," or breaking " of 
the transgressors, and of the sinners, shall be together." It seems 
to be an allusion to that law, for breaking the vessels of earth, when 
unclean; while vessels of wood, and consequently vessels of gold, 
were only to be rinsed. Lev. xv. 12. 

A ninth benefit is support. If thou be a branch ingrafted in 
Christ, the root beareth thee. The believer leans on Christ, as a 
weak woman in a journey leaning upon her beloved husband, Cant, 
viii. 5. He stays himself upon him, as a feeble old man stays him- 
self on his staff, Isa. 1. 10. He rolls himself on him, as one rolls a 
burden he is not able to walk under, off his own back, upon another 
who is able to bear it, Psal. xxii. 8, marg. There are many weights 
to hang upon and press down the branches in Christ the true vine. 
But you know, whatever weights hang on the branches, the stock 
bears all ; it bears the branch, and the weight that is upon it too. 

1. Christ supports believers in him, under a weight of outward 
troubles. That is a large promise, Isa. xliii. 2, " When thou pas- 
sest through the waters, I will be with thee : and through the rivers 
they shall not overflow theo." See how David was supported under 
a heavy load, 1 Sam. xxx. 6. His city Ziglag was burnt, his wives 
were taken captives, his men spoke of stoning him : nothing was 
left him but his God and his faith ; but by his faith, he encouraged 
himself in his God. The Lord comes, and lays his cross on his peo- 
ple's shoulders ; it presses them down, and they are likely to sink 
under it, and therefore cry, " Master, save us, we perish ;" but 
he supports them under their burden ; he bears them up, and they 
bear their cross. Thus the Christian, with a weight of outward 


troubles upon him, goes lightly uuder his burden, having the 
everlasting arras underneath him. The Christian has a spring of 
comfort, which he cannot lose ; and therefore never wants some- 
thing to support him. If a man have all his riches in money, rob- 
bers may take these away ; and then what has he more ? But 
though the landed proprietor may be robbed of his money, yet his 
lands remain for his support. Those who build their comfort on 
worldly goods, may quickly be comfortless ; but those who are 
united to Christ shall find comfort, when all the streams of worldly 
enjoyments are dried up, Job vi. 13, " Is not my help in me ? and is 
wisdom driven quite from me ?" that is, Though my substance is 
gone ; though my servants, my children, ray health, and soundness 
of body, are all gone ; yet my grace is not gone too. Though the 
Sabeaus have driven away ray oxen and asses, and the Chaldeans 
have driven away my camels ; they have not driven away my faith, 
and my hope too : these are yet in me ; they are not driven from 
me ; so that by them I can fetch comfort from heaven, when I can 
have none from earth. 

2. Christ supports his people under a weight of inward troubles 
and discouragements. Many times " heart and flesh fail them;" but 
then " God is the strength of their heart," Psalm Ixxxiii. 26. They 
may have a weight of guilt pressing them. This is a load that will 
make their backs bend, and their spirits sink : but he takes it oflP, 
and puts a pardon into their hand, while they cast their burden 
upon him. Christ takes the soul, as one marries a widow under a 
burden of debt : and so when the creditors come to Christ's spouse, 
she carries them to her husband, confesses the debt, declares she is 
not able to pay, and lays all upon him. The Christian sometimes, 
through carelessness, losses his discharge ; he cannot find it, how- 
ever he search for it. The law takes that opportunity, and proceeds 
against him for a debt paid already. God hides his face, and the 
soul is distressed. Many arrows go through the heart now ; many 
long accounts are laid before the man, which he reads and acknow- 
ledges. Often does he see the officers coming to apprehend him, 
and the prison door open to receive him. What else keeps him 
from sinking utterly under discouragements in this case, but the 
everlasting arms of a Mediator underneath him, and that he relies 
upon the great Surety. Farther, they may have a weight of strong 
lusts pressing them. They have a body of death upon them. 
Death is a weight that presses the soul out of the body. A leg or 
an arm of death, if I may so speak, would be a terrible load. One 
lively lust will sometimes lie so heavy on a child of God, that 
he can no more remove it than a child could throw a giant from 


off him. How tlieii are tliey supported under a whole body of 
death ? Their support is from that root which bears them, from the 
everlasting arm that is underneath them, " His grace is sufficient 
for them," 2 Cor. xii. 9. The great stay of the believer is not the 
grace of God within him; that is a well whose streams sometimes 
run dry : but it is the grace of God without him, the grace that is 
in Jesus Christ; which is an ever-flowing fountain, to which the be- 
liever can never come amiss. For the apostle tells us in the same 
verse, it is " the power of Christ." " Most gladly therefore," saith 
he, " will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ 
may rest upon me," or " tabernacle above me," as the cloud of glory 
did on the Israelites, which God spread for a covering, or shelter, 
to them in the wilderness. Psalm xv. 39 ; compare Isa. iv. 5, 6. So 
that the believer in this combat, like the eagle, first flies aloft by 
faith, and then comes down on the prey. Psalm xxxiv. 5, " They 
looked to him, and were lightened." Finally, they have a weight 
of weakness and wants upon them, but they " cast over that burden 
on the Lord," their strength, " and he sustains them," Psalm Iv. 22. 
With all their wants and weakness they are cast upon him ; as the 
poor, weak, and naked babe coming out of the womb, is cast into 
the lap of one appointed to take care of it, Psalra xxii. 10. Though 
they be destitute, as a shrub in the wilderness, which the foot of 
every beast may tread down, the Lord will regard them, Psalm cii. 
17. It is not surprising that the weakest plant should be safe in a 
garden : but our Lord Jesus Christ is a hedge for protection to his 
weak and destitute ones, even in a wilderness. 

Objection. "But if the saints be so supported, how is it that they 
fall so often under temptation and discouragements ? Answer. 1. 
How low soever they fall at any time they never fall off"; and that 
is a great matter. They " are kept by the power of God through 
faith unto salvation," 1 Pet. i. 5. Hypocrites may fall, so as to fall 
off', and fall into the pit, as a bucket falls into a well when the chain 
breaks. But, though the child of God may fall, and that so low 
that the waters go over his head, yet there is still a bond of union 
between Christ and him ; the chain is not broken ; he will not go 
to the ground ; he will be drawn up again, Luke xxii. 31, 32, " And 
the Lord said, Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you, that 
he may sift you as wheat : but I have prayed for thee, that thy 
faith fail not." 2. The falls of the saints flow from their not im- 
proving their union with Christ, their not making use of him by 
faith, for staying or bearing them up. Psalm xxvii. 13, " I had 
fainted, unless I had believed." While the nurse holds the child in 
her arms, it cannot fall to the ground ; yet if the unwary child hold 


not by her, it may fall bcackwards in her arms, to its great hurt. 
Thus David's fall broke his bones, Psalm ii. 8 .: but it did not break 
the bond of union between Christ and him ; the Holy Spirit, the 
bond of that union, was not taken from him, ver. 11. 

The last benefit I shall name, is, the special care of the Husband- 
man, John xvi. 1, 2, " I am the true vine, and my Father is the 
husbandman. Every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that 
it may bring forth more fruit." Believers, by virtue of their union 
with Christ, are the objects of God's special care and providence. 
Mystical Christ is God's vine ; other societies in the world are but 
wild olive trees. The men of the world are but God's out-field ; 
the saints are his vineyard, which he has a special propriety in, and 
a special concern for, Cant. viii. 12, " My vineyard, which is mine, 
is before me." He that slumbers not nor sleeps, is the keeper of 
it; he does keep it; lest any hurt it, he will keep it night and day; 
he, in whose hand is the dew of heaven, will water it every moment, 
Isa. xxvii. 3. He dresses and weeds it, in order to further its 
fruitfulness, John xv. 2. He cuts off the luxuriant twigs, that mar 
the fruitfulness of the branch. This is done, especially by the 
■word, and by cross or afflictions; the saints need the ministry of the 
■word, as much as the vineyard needeth one to dress and prune the 
vines, 1 Cor. iii. 9, " We are labourers together with God ; ye are 
God's husbandry, ye are God's building." And they need the cross 
too, 1 Pet. i. 6. 

Therefore, if we were to reckon the cross amongst the benefits 
flowing to believers from their union with Christ, I judge that we 
should not reckon amiss. Sure I am, in their sufferings, they 
" suffer with him," Rom. viii. 17. The assurances which they have 
of the cross, have rather the nature of a promise, than of a threa- 
tening, Psalm Isxxix. 30 — 33, " If his children forsake my law — 
then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity 
■with stripes Nevertheless, my loving-kindness will I not utterly 
take from him, nor sufi'er my faithfulness to fail." This looks like 
a tutor's engaging to a dying father, to take care of the children 
left with him ; and to give them both nurture and admonition for 
their good. The covenant of grace truly beats the spears of afl3ic- 
tion into pruniug-hooks, to them that are in Christ, Isa. xxviii. 9, 
" By this therefore shall tiie iniquity of Jacob be purged, and this 
is all the fruit to take away his sin." V\"hy then shonld ■we be 
angry with our cross ? why should we be frightened at it ? The 
believer must take up his cross, and follow his leader, the Lord 
Jesus Christ. He must take up his every-day's cross, Luke ix. 23, 
" If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up 


liis cross daily :" Yea, lie must take up holy day's cross too, Lara, 
ii. 22, " Thou hast called, as in a solemn day, my terrors round 
about." The church of the Jews had of a long time many a pleasant 
meeting at the temple, on solemn days, for the worship of God ; but 
they got a solemnity of another nature, when God called together, 
about the temple and city, the Chaldean army, that burnt the 
temple, and laid Jerusalem on heaps. And as the church of God is 
yet militant in this lower region, how can it be but the clouds will 
return after the rain ? But the cross of Christ, by which appella- 
tion the saint's troubles are named, is a kindly name to the believer. 
— It is a cross indeed ; not to the believer's graces, but to his cor- 
ruptions. The hypocrite's seeming grace may indeed breathe oat 
their last on a cross, as those of the stony-ground hearers did, Matt, 
xiii. 6, " When the sun" of persecution, ver. 21, " was up, they 
were scorched ; and because they had not root, they withered 
away ;" but never did one of the real graces in a believer die upon 
the cross yet. Nay, as the candle shines brightest in the night, and 
the fire burns fiercest in intense frost; so the believers graces are 
commonly most vigorous in a time of trouble. 

There is a certain pleasure and sweetness in the cross, to those 
who have their senses exercised to discern, and to find it out. There 
is a certain sweetness in a man's seeing himself upon his trial for 
heaven, and standing candidate for glory. There is a pleasure in 
travelling over those mountains, where the Christian can see the 
prints of Christ's own feet, and the footsteps of the flock, who have 
been there before him. How pleasant is it to a saint, in the exer- 
cise of grace, to see how a good God crosses his corrupt inclinations, 
and prevents his folly ! How sweet is it to behold these thieves 
upon the cross ! How refined a pleasure is there in observing how 
God draws away provision from unruly lusts, and so pinches them, 
that the Christian may get them governed ! Of a truth, there is a 
paradise within this thorn-hedge. Many a time the people of God 
are in bonds ; which are never loosed, till they are bound with cords 
of affliction. God takes them, and throws them into a fiery furnace, 
that burns off their bonds ; and then, like the three children, Dan. 
iii. 25, they are "loose, walking in the midst of the fire." God 
gives his children a potion, with one bitter ingredient : if they will 
not work upon them, he will put in a second, a third, and so on, as 
there is need, that they may work together for their good, Rom. 
viii. 28. With cross winds he hastens them to their labour. They 
are often found in such ways, as that the cross is the happiest 
thing that they can meet with : and well may they salute it as 
David did Abigail, saying, " Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, 


which sent thee this day to meet me," 1 Sam. sxv. 32. "Worldly 
things are often such a load to the Christian, that he moves but 
very slowly heavenward. God sends a wind of trouble, that blows 
the burden off the man's back ; he then walks more speedily on 
his way; after God has drawn some gilded earth from him, that was 
drawing his heart away from God, Zeph. iii. 12, " I will also leave 
in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust 
in the name of the Lord." It was an observation of a heathen mo- 
ralist, that " no history makes mention of any man, who hath been 
made better by riches." I doubt whether our modern histories can 
supply the defect of ancient histories in this point. But sure I am, 
many have been the worse for riches : thousands have been hugged 
to death in the embraces of a smiling world ; and many good men 
have got wounds from outward prosperity, that must be cured by the 
cross. I remember to have read of one, who having an imposthume 
in his breast, had in vain used the help of physicians : but being 
wounded with a sword, the imposthume broke ; and his life was 
saved by that accident, which threatened immediate death. Often 
hath spiritual imposthumes gathered in the breasts of God's people, 
in time of outward prosperity, and been thus broken and dispersed 
by the cross. It is kindly for believers to be healed by stripes ; 
although they are usually so weak as to cry out for fear, at the 
sight of the pruning-hook, as if it were the destroying axe ; and to 
think that the Lord is coming to kill them, when he is indeed coming 
to cure them. 

I shall now conclude, addressing myself in a few words, first, to 
saints, and next to sinners. 

To you that are saints, I say. 

First, strive to obtain and keep up actual communion and fellow- 
sliip with Jesus Christ; that is, to be still deriving fresh supplies of 
grace, from the fountain thereof in him, by faith : and making suit- 
able returns of them, in the exercise of grace and holy obedience. 
Beware of estrangement between Christ and your souls. If it has 
got in already, which seems to be the case of many this day, endea- 
vour to get it removed. There are multitudes in the world who 
slight Christ, though you should not slight him : many that looked 
fair for heaven, have turned their backs upon him. The warm sun 
of outward peace and prosperity, has caused some to cast their cloak 
of religion from them, who held it fast when the wind of trouble was 
blowing upon them : and " Will you also go away ?" John vi. 67- 
The basest ingratitude is stamped on your slighting communion with 
Christ, Jer. ii. 31, " Have I been a wilderness unto Israel, a land of 
darkness ? Wherefore say my people. We are lords, we will come 


no more unto thee ?" — Oh ! beloved, " Is this yonr kindness to your 
friend ?" It is unbecoming any wife to slight converse with her 
husband, but her especially who was taken from a prison or a dung- 
hill, as you were, by your Lord. It is not a time for you to be out 
of your chambers, Isa. xxvi. 20. They that now are walking most 
closely with God, may have enough to do to stand when the trial 
comes : how hard will it be for others then, who are like to be sur- 
prised with troubles, when guilt is lying on their consciences unre- 
moved ! To be awakened out of a sound sleep, and cast into a 
raging sea, as Jonah was, will be a fearful trial. To feel trouble 
before we see it coming, to be past hope before we have any fear, is 
a very sad case. Wherefore break down your idols of jealousy, 
mortify those lusts, those irregular appetites and desires, that have 
stolen away your hearts, and left you like Samson without his hair, 
and say, " I will go and return to ray first husband ; for then was it 
better with me than now," Hos. ii. 7- 

Secondli/, Walk as becomes those that are united to Christ. 
Prove your union with him by " walking as he also walked," 1 John 
ii. 6. If you are brought from under the power of darkness, let your 
light shine before men. " Shine as lights in the world, holding 
forth the word of life;" as the lantern holds the candle, which being 
in it, shines through it, Phil. ii. 15, 16. Now that you profess 
Christ to be in you, let his image shine forth in your conversation, 
and remember that the business of your lives is to prove, by practi- 
cal arguments, what you profess. 

1. You know the character of a wife : " She that is married, 
careth how she may please her husband." — Go you, and do like- 
wise ; "walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing," Col. i. 10. 
This is the great business of life ; you must please him, though it 
should displease all the world. What he hates must be hateful to 
you, because he hates it. Whatever lusts come to gain your hearts, 
deny them, seeing the grace of God has appeared, teaching us so to 
do, and you are joined to the Lord. — Let him be a covering to your 
eyes; for you have not your choice to make, it is made already; and 
you must not dishonour your head. A man takes care of his feet, 
because, if ho catch cold there, it flies up to his head. — " Shall I 
then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of a 
harlot ? God forbid," says the apostle, 1 Cor. vi. 14. Wilt thou 
take that heart of thine, which is Christ's dwelling-place, and lodge 
his enemies there ? Wilt thou take that body, which is his temple 
and defile it, by using the members thereof as instruments of sin ? 

2. Be careful to bring forth fruit, and much fruit. The branch 
well laden with fruit, is the glory of the vine, and of the husbandman 


too, John XV. 8, " Herein is ray Father glorified, that ye bear much 
fruit ; so shall ye be my disciples." A barren tree stands safer in 
a wood, than in an orchard ; and branches in Christ, that bring not 
forth fruit will be taken away, and cast into the fire. 

3. Be heavenly-minded, and maintain a holy contempt of the 
world. You are united to Christ ; he is your head and husband, 
and is in heaven ; wherefore your hearts should be there also. 
Col. iii. 1, " If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which 
are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." Let the 
serpent's seed go on their belly, and eat the dust of this earth : but 
let the members of Christ be ashamed to bow down, and feed with 

4. Live and act dependently, depending by faith on Jesus Christ. 
That which grows on its own root, is a tree, not a branch. It is of 
the nature of a branch, to depend on the stock for all, and to de- 
rive all its sap from thence. Depend on him for life, light, strength, 
and all spiritual benefits. Gal. ii. 20, " I live, yet not I, but Christ 
liveth in me ; and the life which I live now in the flesh, I live by 
the faith of the Son of God." For this cause, in the mystical union, 
strength is united to weakness, that death and earth may mount up 
on borrowed wings. Depend on him for temporal benefits also; 
Matt. vi. 11, "Give us this day our daily bread." If we have 
trusted him with our eternal concerns, let us be ashamed to distrust 
him in the matter of our provision in the world. 

5. Be of a meek disposition, and a uniting temper with the fellow 
members of Christ's body, as being united to the meek Jesus, the 
blesse'd centre of union. — There is a prophecy to this purpose con- 
cerning the kingdom of Christ, Isa. xi. 6, "The wolf shall dwell 
with the lamb ; and the leopard shall lie down with the kid." It is 
an allusion to the beast's in Noah's ark. The beasts of prey that 
were wont to kill and devour others, when once they came into the 
ark, lay down in peace with them : the lamb was in no hazard from 
the wolf there, nor the kid from the leopard. There was a beauti- 
ful accomplishment of it in the primitive church, Acts iv. 32, " And 
the multitude of them that believed, were of one heart and of one 
soul." And this prevails in all the members of Christ, according to 
the measure of the grace of God in them. Man is born naked : he 
comes naked into this, world, as if God designed him for the picture 
of peace ; and surely, when he is born again, he comes not into the 
new world of grace with claws to tear, a sword to wound, and a fire 
in his hand to burn up his fellow-members in Christ, because they 
cannot see with his light. Oh ! it is sad to see Christ's lilies as 
thorns in one another's sides, Christ's lambs devouring one another 


like lions, and God's diamonds cutting one another : yet it must be 
remembered, that sin is no proper cement for the members of Christ, 
though Herod and Pontius Pilate may be made friends that way. 
The apostle's rule is plain, Heb. xii. 14, " Follow peace with all 
men, and holiness." To follow peace no farther than our humour, 
credit, and such like things will allow us, is too short : to pursue it 
farther than holiness allows us, that is, conformity to the Divine 
will, is too far. Peace is precious, yet it may be bought too dearly : 
wherefore we must rather want it, than purchase it at any expense 
of truth or holiness. But otherwise it cannot be bought too dearly ; 
and it will always be precious in the eyes of the sons of peace. 

And now, sinners, what shall I say to you ? I have given you 
some view of the privileges of those in the state of grace. You have 
seen them afar off; but alas ! they are not yours, because you are 
not Christ's. The sinfulness of an unregenerate state is yours ; and 
the misery of it is yours also : you have neither part nor lot in this 
matter. The guilt of all your sins lies upon you ; you have no part 
in the righteousness of Christ. There is no peace to you, no peace 
with God, no true peace of conscience ; for you have no saving in- 
terest in the great peace -maker. You are none of God's family ; 
the adoption we spoke of, belongs not to you. You have no part in 
the Spirit of sanctification ; and, in one word, you have no inheri- 
tance among them that are sanctified. All I can say to you in this 
matter, is, that the case is not desperate, they may yet be yours, 
Rev. iii. 20, " Behold, I stand at the door and knock ; if any man 
hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will 
sup with him, and he with me." Heaven is proposing a union with 
earth still ; the potter is making suit to his own clay ; and the gates 
of the city of refuge are not yet closed. that we could compel 
you to come in ! Thus far of the state of grace. 





Job, cliap. xxx. ver. 23. 
For I know that thou wilt bring me to death, and to the house appointed 

for all living. 

I COME now to discourse of man's eternal state, into which he enters 
by death. Of this entrance. Job takes a solemn serious view, in 
the words of the text, which contain a general truth, and a particu- 
lar application of it. The general truth is supposed ; namely, that 
all men must, by death, remove out of this world ; they must die. 
But whither must they go ? They must go to the house appointed 
for all living; to the grave, that darksome, gloomy, solitary house, 
in the land of forgetfulness. Wherever the body is laid up till the 
resurrection, thither, as to a dwelling-house, death brings us home. 
"While we are in the body, we are but in a lodging-house, in an inn, 
on our way homeward. When we come to our grave, we come to 
our home, our long home, Eccl. xii. 5. All living must be inhabit- 
ants of this house, good and bad, old and young. Man's life is a 
stream, running into death's devouring deeps. They who now live 
in palaces, must quit them, and go home to this house ; and they 
who have not where to lay their heads, shall thus have a house at 
length. It is appointed for all, by Him whose counsel shall stand. 
This appointment cannot be shifted ; it is a law which mortals cannot 
transgress. Job's application of this general truth lo himself, is 
expressed in these words; "I know that thou wilt bring me to 
death," &c. He knew, that he must meet with death ; that his soul 
and body must needs part; that God, who had set the time, would 
certainly see it kept. Sometimes Job was inviting death to come to 
him, and carry him home to its house ; yea, he was in the hazard 


of running to it before the time: Job vii. 15, "My soul chooseth 
strangling, and death rather than my life." But here he considers 
God would bring him to it; yea, bring him back to it, as the word 
imports. Whereby he seems to intimate, that we have no life in 
this world, but as runaways from death, which stretches out its cold 
arms, to receive us from the womb : but though we do then nar- 
rowly escape its clutches, we cannot escape long ; we shall be 
brought back again to it. Job knew this, he had laid it down as a 
certainty, and was looking for it. 

Doctrine, All must die. — Although this doctrine be confirmed 
by the experience of all former generations, ever since Abel entered 
into the house appointed for all living, and though the living know 
that they shall die, yet it is needful to discourse of the certainty of 
death, that it may be impressed on the mind, and duly considered. 

Wherefore consider, 1. There is an unalterable statute of death," 
under which men are concluded. " It is appointed unto men once 
to die," Hcb. ix. 27- It is laid up for them, as parents lay up for 
their children : they may look for it, and cannot miss it ; seeing 
God has designed and reserved it for them. There is no peradven- 
ture in it ; " we must needs die," 2 Sam. xiv. 14. Though some 
men will not hear of death, yet every man must needs see death, 
Psalm Ixxxix. 48. Death is a champion all must grapple with : we 
must enter the lists with it, and it will have the mastery, Eccl. viii. 
8, " There is no man that hath power over the spirit, to retain the 
spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death." They indeed 
who are found alive at Christ's coming, shall all be changed, 1 Cor. 
XV. 51. But that change will be equivalent to death, will answer 
the purposes of it. All other persons must go the common road, 
the way of all flesh. 2. Let us consult daily observation. Every 
man " seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and brutish person," 
Psalm xlix. 10. There is room enough on this earth for us, not- 
withstanding the multitudes that were upon it before us. They are 
gone, to make room for us; as we must depart, to make room for 
others. It is long since death began to transport men into another 
world, and vast multitudes are gone thither already: yet the work 
is going on still ; death is carrying off ntw inhabitants daily, to the 
house appointed for all living. Who could ever hear the grave 
say, It is enough ! Long has it been getting, but still it asketh. 
This world is like a great fair or market, where some are coming 
in, others going out; while the assembly that is in it is confusion, 
and the most part know not wherefore they are come together; or, 
like a town situated on the road to a great city, through which some 
travellers have passed, some are passing, while others are only com- 


234 man's life is vanity. 

ing in, Eccl. i. 4, " One generation passeth away, and another gene- 
ration coraeth : but the earth abideth for ever." Death is an inexo- 
rable, irresistable messenger, who cannot be diverted from execut- 
ing his orders by the force of the mighty, the bribes of the rich, or 
the entreaties of the poor. It does not reverence the hoary head, 
nor pity the harmless babe. The bold and daring cannot outbrave 
it; nor can the faint-hearted obtain a discharge in this war. 3. The 
human body consists of perishing materials. Gen. iii. 19, "Dust thou 
art, and unto dust thou shalt return." The strongest are but brit- 
tle earthen vessels, easily broken in shivers. The soul is but meanly 
housed, while in this mortal body, which is not a house of stone, 
but a house of clay, the mud walls cannot but moulder away ; espe- 
cially seeing the foundation is not on a rock, but in the dust ; they 
are crushed before the moth, though this insect be so tender that 
the gentle touch of a finger will despatch it. Job iv. 19. These 
principles are like gunpowder ; a very small spark lighting on them 
will set them on fire, and blow up the house : the stone of a raisin, 
or a hair in milk, having choked men, and laid the house of clay in 
the dust. If we consider the frame and structure of our bodies, 
how fearfully and wonderfully we are made; and on how regular 
and exact a motion of the fluids, and balance of humours, our life 
depends ; and that death has as many doors to enter in by, as the 
body has pores ; and if Ave compare the soul and body together, we 
may justly reckon, that there is somewhat more astonishing in our 
life, than in our death ; and that it is more strange to see dust 
walking up and down on the dust, than lying down in it. Though 
the lamp of our life be not violently blown out, yet the flame must 
go out at length for want of oil. What are those distempers and 
diseases which we are liable to, but death's harbingers, that come to 
prepare his way ? They meet us, as soon as we set our foot on 
earth, to tell us at our entry, that we do but come into the world to 
go out again. Nevertheless, some are snatched away in a moment, 
without being warned by sickness or disease. 4. "We have sinful 
souls, and therefore have dying bodies : death follows sin, as the 
shadow follows the body. The wicked must die, by virtue of the 
threatening of the covenant of works. Gen. ii. 17, " In the day that 
thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." And the godly must die 
too, that as death entered by sin, sin may go out by death. Christ 
has taken away the sting of death, as to them ; though he has not 
as yet removed death itself. Wherefore, though it fasten on them, 
as the viper did on Paul's hand, it shall do them no harm : but be- 
cause the leprosy of sin is in the walls of the house, it must be bro- 
ken down, and all the materials thereof canned forth. 5. Man's 

M.V.V'S lAfU IS VANITY. 235 

life ill this world, according to tho Scripture account of it, is but a 
few degrees removed from death. The Scripture represents it as a 
vain and empty thing, short in its continuance, and swift in its pass- 
ing away. 

Fb'st, Man's life is a vain and empty thing : while it is, it 
vanishes away ; and, lo ! it is not. Job vii. 16, "My days are vani- 
ty." If we suspect afflicted Job of partiality in this matter, hear 
the wise and prosperous Solomon's character of the days of liis life, 
Eccl. vii. 15, " All things have I seen in the days of my vanity," 
that is, my vain days. Moses, who was a very active man, compares 
our days to a sleep, Psalm xc. 5, " They are as a sleep," which is not 
noticed till it is ended. The resemblance is just : few men have 
right apprehensions of life, until death awaken them; then we begin 
to know that we were living. " We spend our years as a tale that 
is told," ver. 9. When an idle tale is telling it may affect a little ; 
but when it is ended, it is remembered no more : and so is a man 
forgotten, wlien the fable of his life is ended. It is as a dream, or 
vision of the night, in which there is nothiug solid ; when one 
awakes, all vanishes ; Job xx. 8, " He shall fly away as a dream, 
and shall not be found ; yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of 
the night." It is but a vain shew or image ; Psalm xxxix. 6, 
" Surely every man walketh in a vain shew." Man, in this world, 
is but as it were a walking statue : his life is but an image of life, 
there is so much of death in it. 

If we look on our life, in the several periods of it, we shall find it 
a heap of vanities. " Childhood and youth ai'e vanity," Eccl. xi. 
10. We come into the world the most helpless of all animals : 
young birds and beasts can do something for themselves, but infant 
man is altogether unable to help himself. Our childhood is spent 
in pitiful trifling pleasures, which become the scorn of our after 
thoughts. Youth is a flower that soon withercth, a blossom that 
quickly falls off' ; it is a space of time in which we are rash, foolish, 
and inconsiderate, pleasing ourselves with a variety of vanities, 
and swimming as it were through a flood of them. But ere we 
are aware it is past ; and wo are, in middle age, encompassed 
with a thick cloud of cares, through which we must grope ; and 
finding ourselves beset with pricking thorns of difficulties, through 
them we must force our way, to accomplish the projects and con- 
trivances of our riper thoughts. The more we solace ourselves 
in any earthly enjoyment we attain to, the more bitterness do 
we find in parting with it. Then comes old age, attended with 
its own train of infirmities, labour, and sorrow. Psalm xc. 10, 
and sets us down next door to the grave. In a word, "All 



flesh is like grass," Isa. xl. 6. Every stage or period in life, is 
vanity. " Man at his best state," his middle age, when the heat of 
youth is spent, and the sorrows of old age have not yet overtaken 
him, " is altogether vanity," Psalra xxxis. 5. — Death carries off 
some in the bud of childhood, others in the blossom of youth, 
and others when they are come to their fruit ; few are left stand- 
ing, till, like ripe corn, they forsake the ground : all die one time 
or other. 

Secondly, Man's life is a short thing; it is not only a vanity, but 
a short-lived vanity. Consider, 1 How the life of man is reckoned 
in the Scriptures. It was indeed sometimes reckoned by hundreds 
of years : but no man ever arrived at a thousand, which yet bears no 
proportion to eternity. Now hundreds are brought down to scores ; 
threescore and ten, or fourscore, is its utmost length. Psalm, xc. 10. 
But few men arrive at that length of life. Death does but rarely 
wait, till men be bowing down, by reason of age, to meet the grave. 
Yet, as if years were too big a word for such a small thing as the 
life of man on earth, we find it counted by months. Job xiv. 5, 
" The number of his months are with thee." Our course, like that 
of the moon, is run in a little time : we are always waxing or wan- 
ing, till we disappear. — But frequently it is reckoned by days ; and 
these but few. Job xiv. 1, " Man, that is born of a woman, is of few 
days." Nay, it is but one day, in Scripture account ; and that a 
hireling's day, who will precisely observe when his day ends, and 
give over his work, ver. 6, " Till he shall accomplish as an hireling 
his day." — Tea, the Scripture brings it down to the shortest space 
of time, and calls it a moment, 2 Cor. iv. 17, " Our light afiliction," 
though it last all our life long, " is but for a moment." Elsewhere 
it is brought down yet to a lower pitch, farther than which one can- 
not carry it. Psalm xxxix, 5, " Mine age is as nothing before thee." 
Agreeably to this, Solomon tells, Eccl. iii. 2, " There is a time to 
be born, and a time to die ;" but makes no mention of a time to 
live, as if our life were but a skip from the womb to the grave. 
2. Consider the various similitudes by which the Scripture represents 
the shortness of man's life. Hear Hezekiah, Isa. xxxviii. 12, 
" Mine age is departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd's 
tent ; I have cut off like a weaver my life." The shepherd's tent 
is soon removed ; for the flocks must not feed long in one place ; 
such is a man's life on this earth, quickly gone. It is a web which 
he is incessantly working ; he is not idle so much as for one 
moment : in a short time it is wrought, and then it is cut off. 
Every breathing is a thread in this web ; when the last breath is 
drawn, the web is woven out; he expires, and then it is cut off, he 

man's life is vanity. 237 

breathes no more. Man is like grass, and Jike a flower, Isa. xl. 6. 
" All flesli," even the strongest and most healthy flesh, " is grass, 
and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field." The 
grass is flourishing in the morning ; but, being cut down by the 
mowers, in the evening it is withered : so man sometimes is walking 
up and down at ease in the morning, and in the evening is lying 
a corpse, being struck down by a sudden blow, with one or other of 
death's weapons. The flower, at best, is but a weak and tender 
thing, of short continuance wherever it grows : but observe, man 
is not compared to the flower of the garden ; but to the flower of 
the field, which the foot of every beast may tread down at any time. 
Thus is our life liable to a thousand accidents every day, any of 
which may cut us ofi^. But though we should escape all these, yet 
at length this grass withercth, this flower fadeth of itself. It 
is carried ofif " as the clond is consumed, and vanishetli away," Job 
vii. 9. It looks big as the morning cloud, which promises great 
things, and raises the expectation of the husbandman ; but the sun 
riseth, and the cloud is scattered ; death comes, and man vanisheth. 
— The apostle James proposes the question, " What is your life ?" 
chapter iv. 14. Hear his answer, " It is even a vapour, that ap- 
peareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." It is frail, 
uncertain, and lasteth not. It is as smoke, which goes out of 
the chimney, as if it would darken the face of the heavens; but 
quickly it is scattered, and appears no more : thus goeth man's 
life, and " where is he ?" It is wind, Job vii. 7, " remember 
that my life is wind." It is but a passing blast, a short puff, " a 
wind that passeth away, and cometh not again," Psalm Ixxxviii. 38. 
Our breath is in our nostrils, as if it were always upon the wing to 
depart; ever passing and repassing, like a traveller, until it go 
away, not to return till the heavens be no more. 

Thirdly, Man's life is a swift thing ; not only a passing, but a 
flying vanity. Have you not observed how swiftly a shadow runs 
along the ground, in a cloudy and a windy day, suddenly darkening 
the places beautified before with the beams of the sun, but as sud- 
denly disappearing ? Such is the life of man on the earth, for " he 
floeth as a shadow, and continueth not," Job xiv. 2. A weaver's 
shuttle is very swift in its motion; in a moment it is thrown from 
one side of the web to the other ; yet " our days are swifter than a 
weaver's shuttle," chap. vii. 6. How quickly is man tossed through 
time, into eternity ! See how Job describes the swiftness of the 
time of life, chap. ix. 25, 26. " Now my days are swifter than a 
post ; they flee away, they see no good. They are passed away as 
the swift ships ; as the eagle that hasteth to the pray." He com- 

238 man's life is vanity. 

pares his days with a post, a foot-post ; a runner, who runs speedily 
to carry tidings, and will make no stay. But though the post 
were like Ahimaaz, who overrun Cushi, our days would be swifter 
than he ; for they flee away, like a man fleeing for his life before 
the pursuing enemy; he runs with his utmost vigour, yet our days 
run as fast as he. But this is not all ; even he who is fleeing for 
his life, cannot run always : he must needs sometimes stand still, lie 
down, or turn in somewhere, as Sisera did into Jael's tent, to refresh 
himself: but our time never halts. Therefore it is compared to 
ships, that can sail night and day without intermission, till they 
reach their port ; and to swift ships, ships of desire, in which men 
quickly arrive at their desired haveu ; or ships of pleasure, that sail 
more swiftly than ships of burden. Yet the wind failing, the ship's 
course is checked : but our time always runs with a rapid course. 
Therefore it is compared to the eagle flying ; not with his ordinary 
flight, for that is not sufficient to represent the swiftness of our 
days ; but when he flies upon his prey, which is with an extraordi- 
nary swiftness. And thus, even thus, our days flee away. 

Having thus discoursed of death, let us improve it in discerning 
the vanity of the world ; in bearing up, with Christian contentment 
and patience under all troubles and difficulties in it ; iu mortifying 
our lusts ; in cleaving unto the Lord with full purpose of heart, at 
a41 hazards, and in preparing for death's approach. 

1. Let us hence, as in a looking-glass, behold the vanity of the 
world, and of all those things in it, which men so much value and 
esteem ; and therefore set their hearts upon. The rich and the poor 
are equally intent upon this world; they bow the knee to it; yet it 
is but a clay god : they court the bulky vanity, and run eagerly to 
catch this shadow. The rich man is hugged to death in its em- 
braces ; and the poor man wearies himself in the fruitless pursuit. 
"What wonder if the world's smiles overcome us, when we pursue it 
so eagerly, even while it frowns upon us ! But look into the grave, 
man ! consider and be wise ; listen to the doctrine of death ; and 
learn, that, " hold as fast as thou canst, thou shalt be forced to let 
go thy hold of the world at length." Though thou load thyself with 
the fruits of this earth ; yet all shall fall off" when thou coraest to 
creep into thy hole, the house, under ground, appointed for all liv- 
ing. When death comes, thou must bid an eternal farewell to thy 
enjoyments in this world : thou must leave thy goods to another ; 
Luke xii. 20, " And whose shall those things be which thou hast 
provided?" Thy portion of these things shall be very little ere 
long." If thou lie down on the grass, and stretch thyself at full 
length, and observe the print of thy body, when thou risest, thou 


mayest see how much of this earth will fall to thy share at last. It 
may be thou shalt get a coffin, and a winding-sheet : but thou art 
not sure of that; many who have had abundance of wealth, yet 
have not had so much when they took up their new house in the 
land of silence. But however that be, more you cannot expect. It 
was a mortifying lesson, which Saladin, when dying, gave to his 
soldiers. He called for his staudard-bearer, and ordered him to 
take his winding-sheet upon his pike, and go out to the camp with 
it, and tell them that of all his conquests, victories, and triumphs, 
he had nothing now left him, but that piece of linen to wrap his 
body in for burial. " This world is a false friend," who leaves a 
man in time of greatest need, and flees from him when he has most 
to do. When thou art lying on a deathbed, all thy friends and re- 
lations cannot rescue thee ; ail thy substance cannot ransom thee, 
nor procure thee a reprieve for one day ; nay, not for one hour. 
Yea, the more thou possessest of this world's goods, thy sorrow at 
death is likely to be the greater ; for though one may live more cora- 
modiously in a palace than in a cottage, yet he may die more easily 
in the cottage, Avliere he has very little to make him fond of life. 

2. It may serve as a storehouse for Christian contentment and 
patience under worldly losses and crosses. A close application of 
the doctrine of death is an excellent remedy against fretting, and 
gives some ease to a troubled heart. When Job had sustained very 
great losses, he sat down contented, with this meditation. Job i. 21, 
" Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return 
thither : the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away : blessed be 
the name of the Lord." When Providence brings a mortality or 
murrian among your cattle, how ready are you to fret and com- 
plain ! but the serious consideration of your own death, to which 
you have a notable help from such providential occurrences, may 
be of use to silence your complaints, and quiet your spirits. Look 
to "the house appointed for all living," and learn, 1. "That you 
must abide a more severe thrust than the loss of worldly goods." 
Do not cry out for a thrust in the leg or arm : for ere long there 
will be a long home thrust at the heart. — You may lose your dear- 
est relations : the wife may lose her husband, and the husband his 
wife ; the parents may lose their dear clildren, and the children 
their parents ; but if any of these trials happen to you, remember 
yon must lose your own life at last ; and " Wherefore doth a 
living man complain?" Lara. iii. 39. It is always profitable to 
consider, under affliction, that our case might have been worse 
than it is. Whatever is consumed, or taken from us, " It is of 
the Lord's mercies that wo" ourselves " are not consumed," ver. 22. 


2. " It is but for a short space of time that we are in tliis 
world." It is but a little that our necessities require in so short 
a space of time : when death comes, we shall stand in need of none 
of these things. Why should men rack their heads with cares how 
to provide for to-morrow ; while they know not if they shall then 
need any thing ? Though a man's provision for his journey be 
nearly spent, he is not disquieted, if he think he is near home. Are 
you working by candle light, and is there little of your candle left ? 
It may be there is as little sand in your glass ; and if so, you have 
little use for it. 3. " You have matters of great weight that chal- 
lenge your care." Death is at the door, beware you lose not your 
souls. If blood break out at one part of the body, they often open 
a vein in another part of it, to turn the stream of the blood, and to 
stop it. Thus the Spirit of God sometimes cures men of sorrow for 
earthly things, by opening the heart-vein to bleed for sin. Did we 
pursue heavenly things more vigorously when our affairs in this life 
prosper not, we should thereby gain a double advantage : our 
worldly sorrow would be diverted, and our best treasure increased. 
4. " Crosses of this nature will not last long." The world's smiles 
and frowns will quickly be buried together in everlasting forgetful- 
ness. Its smiles go away like foam on the water ; and its frowns 
are as a passing stitch in a man's side. Time flies away with swift 
wings, and carries our earthly comforts, and crosses too, along with 
it : neither of them will accompany us into "the house appointed for 
all living. " There the wicked cease from troubling ; and there the 
weary be at rest. There the prisoners rest together, they hear not 
the voice of the oppressor. The small and great are there, and the 
servant is free from his master," Job iii. 17 — 19. Cast a look into 
eternity, and you will see affliction here is but for a moment. The 
truth is, our time is so very short, that it will not allow either our 
joys or griefs to come to perfection. Wherefore, let them "that 
weep be as though they wept not ; and they that rejoice as though 
they rejoiced not," &c., 1 Cor. vii. 29 — 31. 5. " Death will put all 
men on a level." The king and the beggar must dwell in one 
house, when they come to their journey's end ; though their enter- 
tainment by the way be very different. " The small and the great 
are there," Job iii. 19. We are all in this world as on a stage ; it 
is no great matter, whether a man act the part of a prince or a pea- 
sant, for when they have acted their parts, they must both get be- 
hind the curtain, and appear no more. 6. If thou be not in Christ, 
whatever thy afflictions now be, " troubles a thousand times worse, 
are abiding thee in another world." Death will turn thy crosses into 
pure unmixed curses : and then, how gladly wouldst thou return to 


thy former afflicted state, and purchase it at any rate, were there any 
possibility of such a return. If thou be in Christ, thou mayest well 
bear thy cross. Death will put an end to all thy troubles. If a 
man on a journey be not well accommodated, where he lodges only 
for a night, he will not trouble himself much about the matter; be- 
cause he is not to stay there, it is not his home. You are on the 
road to eternity ; let it not disquiet you that you meet with some 
hardships in the inn of this world, Fret not, because it is not so well 
with you as with some others. One man travels with a cane in his 
hand; his fellow-traveller, perhaps, has but a common staff or stick: 
either of them will serve the turn. It is no great matter which of 
them be yours ; both will be laid aside when you come to your 
journey's end. 

3. It may serve for a bridle, to curb all manner of lusts, particu- 
larly those conversant about the body. A serious visit made to 
cold death, and that solitary mansion, the grave, might be of good 
use to repress them. 

(1.) It may be of use to cause men to cease from their inordinate 
care for the body ; which is to many the bane of their souls. Often 
do these questions, "What shall we eat? what shall we drink ? and 
wherewithal shall we be clothed?" leave no room for another of more 
importance, namely, " Wherewith shall I come before the Lord ?" 
The soul is put on the rack, to answer these mean questions in 
favour of the body ; while its own eternal interests are neglected. 
But ah ! why are men so busy to repair the ruinous cottage ; leaving 
the inhabitant to bleed to death of his wounds, unheeded, unregarded? 
Why so much care for the body, to the neglect of the concerns of the 
immortal soul ? be not so anxious for what can only serve your 
bodies ; since, ere long, the clods of cold earth will serve for back 
and belly too. 

(2.) It may abate your pride on account of bodily endov^ments, 
which vain man is apt to glory in. Value not yourselves on the 
blossom of youth ; for while you are in your blooming years, you 
are but ripening for a grave ; death gives the fatal stroke, without 
asking any body's age. Glory not in your strength, it will quickly 
he gone : the time will soon be, when you shall not be able to turn 
yourselves on a bed ; and you must be carried by your grieving 
friends to you rlong home. And what signifies your healthful consti- 
tution ? Death doth not always enter in soonest where it begins soon- 
est to knock at the door ; but makes as great dispatch with some in 
a few hours, as with others in many years. Value not yourselves 
on your beauty, which "shall consume in the grave," Psalm xlix. 14. 
Remember the change which death makes on the fairest face, Job 


xiv. 20, "Thou cliangest his countenance, and sendest him away." 
Death makes the greatest beauty so loathsome, that it must be buried 
out of sight. Could a looking-glass be used in "the house appointed for 
all living," it would be a terror to those who now look ofteuer into 
their glasses than into their Bibles. And what though the body be 
gorgeously arrayed ? The finest clothes are but badges of our sin and 
shame; and in a little time will be exchanged for a winding-sheet, 
when the body will become a feast to the worms. 

(3.) It may be a check upon sensuality and fleshly lusts, 1 Pet. 
ii. 11, " I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly 
lusts, which war against the soul." It is hard to cause wet wood 
to take fire ; and when the fire doth take hold of it, it is soon ex- 
tinguished. Sensuality makes men most unfit for divine communi- 
cations, and is an efl'ectual means to quench the Spirit. Intemper- 
ance in eating and drinking carries on the ruin of soul and body at 
once; and hastens death, while it makes the man most unmeet for it. 
Therefore, " Take heed to yourselves lest at any time your hearts 
be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and so that day 
come upon yon unawares," Luke xxi. 34. But how often is the 
soul struck through with a dart, in gratifying the senses ! At these 
doors destruction enters in. Therefore Job " made a covenant with 
his eyes," chap, xxxi. 1. " The mouth of a strange woman is a deep 
pit: he that is abhorred of the Lord, shall fall therein," Prov. xxii. 
14. " Let him that standeth, take heed lest he fall," 1 Cor. x. 12. 
Beware of lasciviousness ; study modesty in your apparrel, words, 
and actions. The ravens of the valley of death, will at length pick 
out the wanton eye : the obscene filthy tongue will at length be quiet, 
in the land of silence ; and grim death, embracing the body in its 
cold arms, will eflTectually allay the heat of all fleshly lusts. 

(4.) In a word it may check our earthly-mindedness ; and at once 
knock down " the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride 
of life." Ah ! if we must die why are we thus .? Why so fond of 
temporal things ; so anxious to get thera, so eager in the embraces 
of them, so mightily touched with the loss of them ? Let me, upon 
a view of " the house appointed for all living," address the world- 
ling in the words of Solomon. Prov. xxiii. 5, " Wilt thou set thine 
eyes upon that which is not ?" For riches certainly make themselves 
wings, " they flee away as an eagle towards heaven," Iliches, and all 
worldly things are but a fair nothing ; they are that which is not. 
They are not what they seera to be : they are but gilded vanitieF, 
that deceive the eye. Comparitively, they are not; there is infini- 
tely more of nothingness and not being, than of being, or reality, 
in the best of them. What is the world and all that is in it, but 


a fashion, or fair shew, such as men make on the stage, a passing 
show? 1 Cor. vii. 31. Royal pomp is but gaudy show, or appear- 
ance, in God's account, Acts xxv. 23. The best name they get, is 
good things : but observe it, they are only the wicked man's good 
thiugs, Luke xvi. 25, " Thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good 
things," says Abraham, in the parable, to the rich man in hell. 
Well may the men of the world call these things their goods ; for 
there is no other good in them, about them, nor attending them. — 
Now, wilt thou set thine eyes upon empty shadows and faucius? 
Wilt thou cause thine eyes to tly on them, as the word is? Shall 
men's hearts fly out at their eyes upon them, as a ravenous bird 
on its prey ? if they do, let them know, that at length these shall 
flee as fast away from them, as their eyes flew upon them : like a 
flock of fair- feathered birds, that settle on a fool's ground ; which, 
when he runs to catch them as his own, do immediately take wing, 
fly away, and sitting down on his neighbour's ground, elude his ex- 
pectation, Luke xii. 10, " Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be re- 
quired of thee ; then whose shall these things be ?" Though you 
do not make wings to them, as many do ; they make themselves 
wings, and fly away ; not as a tame house-bird, which may be caught 
again ; but as an eagle, which quickly flies out of sight, and cannot 
be recalled. Forbear thou then to behold these things. mortal ! 
there is no good reason to be given why thou shouldest set thine 
eyes upon them. This world is a great inn, in the road to eternity, 
to which thou art travelling. Thou art attended by those things, 
as servants belonging to the inn where thou lodgest : they wait upon 
thee while thou art there ; and when thou goest away, they will con- 
voy thee to the door. But they are not thine, they will go away 
with thee; but return to wait on other strangers, as they did on 

4. It may serve as a spring of Christian resolution, to cleave to 
Christ, adhere to his truths, and continue in his ways ; whatever 
we may suff'er for so doing. It would much allay the fear of man, 
that bringeth a saarc. " Who art thou, that thou shouldst be 
afraid of a man that shall die ?" Isa. li, 12. Look on persecutors 
as pieces of brittle clay, that shall be dashed in pieces , for then 
shall you despise them as foes, that are mortal ; whose terror to 
others in the land of the living, shall quickly die with themselves. 
The serious consideration of the shortness of our time, and the 
certainty of death, will teach us, that all the advantage which wo 
can make by our apostacy, in time of trial, is not worth the while ; 
it is not worth going out of our way to get it : and what we refuse 
to forego for Christ's sake, may be quickly taken from us by 


death. But we can never lose it so honourably, as for the cause 
of Christ, and his gospel : for what glory is it, that you give up 
what you have in the world, when God takes it away from you by 
death, whether you will or not? This consideration may teach 
us to undervalue life itself, and choose to forego it, rather than to 
sin. The worst that men can do, is to take away that life, which 
we cannot long keep, though all the world should conspire to help 
ns to retain the spirit. Tf we refuse to offer it up to God when he 
calls for it in defence of his honotir, he can take it from us another 
way ; as it fared with him, who could not burn for Christ, but was 
afterwards burnt by an accidental fire in his house. 

5. It may serve for a spur to incite us to prepare for death. 
Consider, 1. Your eternal state will be according to the state in 
which yon die : death will open the doors of heaven or hell to you. 
As the tree falls, so it shall lie through eternity. If the infant be 
dead born, the whole world cannot raise it to life again : and if one 
die out of Christ, in an unrcgenerate state, there is no more hope of 
him for ever. 2. Seriously consider what it is to go into another 
world; a world of spirits, wherewith we are very little acquainted. 
How frightful is converse with spirits to poor mortals in this life ! 
and how dreadful is the case, when men are hurried away into 
another world, not knowing but devils may be their companions for 
ever! Let us then give all diligence to make and advance our 
acquaintance with the Lord of that world. 3. It is but a short time 
you have to prepare for death : therefore now or never, seeing the 
time assigned for preparation will soon be over. 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." How can we be idle, having so great 
a work to do, and so little time to do it in ? But if the time be 
short, the work of preparation for death, though hard work, will 
not last long. The shadows of the evening makes the labourer 
work cheerfully; knowing the time to be at hand, when he will be 
called in from his labour. 4. Much of our short time is over 
already ; and the youngest of us all cannot assure himself, that 
there is as much of his time to come, as is past. Our life in the 
world is but a short preface to long eternity; and much of the tale 
is told. Oh ! shall we not double our diligence, when so much of 
our time is spent, and so little of our great work is done ? 5. The 
present time is flying away : and we cannot bring back time past, it 
hath taken an eternal farewell of us: there is no kindling the fire 
again that is burnt to ashes. The time to come is not ours : and 
we have no assurance of a share in it when it comes. We have 


nothing we can call oars, but the present moment; and that is 
flying away. How soon our time may be at an end, we know not. 
Die we must : but who can tell us when ? If death kept one set 
time for all, we were in no hazard of a surprise : but daily observa- 
tion shews us, that there is no such thing. Now the flying shadow 
of our life allows no time for loitering. The rivers run speedily 
into the sea, from whence they came; but not so speedily as man to 
dust, from whence he came. The stream of time is the swiftest cur- 
rent, and quickly runs out to eternity. 6. If once death carry us 
off", there is no coming back to mend our matters, .Job xiv. 14, *' If 
a man die, shall he live again ?" Dying is a thing we cannot get a 
trial of; it is what we can only do once, Heb. ix. 27, "It is 
appointed uuto men once to die." And that which can be but once 
done, and yet is of so much importance that our all depends on our 
doing it right, we have need to use the utmost diligence that we may 
do it well. Therefore prepare for death. 

If you who are unregenerate ask me, what you shall do to pre- 
pare for death, that you may die safely ; I answer, I have told you 
already what must be done. Your nature and state must be 
changed: you must be united to Jesus Christ by faith. Till this be 
done, you are not capable of other directions, which belongs to a 
person's dying comfortably : whereof we may discourse afterwards 
in the due place. 




The wicked is dnven away in his wickediiess : hut the righteous hath 
hope in his death. — Prov. xiv. 32. 

Tins text looks like the cloud between the Israelites and Egyp- 
tians ; having a dark side towards the latter, and a bright side 
towards the former. It represents death like Pharaoh's jailor, 
bringing the chief bntler and the chief baker out of prison ; the 
one to be restored to his office, and the other to be led to execution. 
It shews the difference between the godly and ungodly in their 
death ; who, as they act a very difi'erent part in life, so, in death, 
hare a very diff'erent exit. 


As to the death of a wicked man, here is, 1. The manner of his 
passing out of the world. He is " driven away ;" namely, in his 
death, as is clear from the opposite clause. He is forcibly thrust 
out of his place in this world ; driven away as chaff before the wind. 
2. The state he passeth away into. He dies also in a hopeless state ; 
" but the righteous hath hope in his death ;" which plainly imports 
the hopelessness of the wicked in their death. "VThereby is not 
meant, that no wicked man shall have any hope at all when he is 
dying, but shall die in despair. No : sometimes it is so indeed ; but 
frequently it is otherwise ; foolish virgins may, and often do, hope 
to the last breath. But the wicked man has no solid hope : as for 
the delusive hopes he entertains himself with, death will root them 
up, and he shall be for ever irretrievably miserable. 

As to the death of a righteous man, he hath hope in his death. 
This is ushered in with a " but," importing the removal of these 
dreadful circumstances, with which the wicked man is attended, who 
is driven away in his wickedness ; but the godly are not so. Not 
so, in the manner of their passing out of the world. The righteous 
are not driven away as chaff before the wind ; but led away as a 
bride to the marriage chamber, carried away by the angels into Ab- 
raham's bosom, Luke xvi. 22. Not so as to their state, when passing 
out of this life. The righteous man dies, not in a sinful, but in a 
holy state. He goes not away in his sin, but out of it. In his life 
he was putting off the old man, changing his prison garments ; and 
now the remaining rags of them are removed, and he is adorned 
with robes of glory. Not in a hopeless, but a hopeful state. He 
hath hope in his death ; he has the grace of hope, and the well- 
founded expectation of better things than he ever had in this world: 
and though the stream of his hope at death may run shallow, yet he 
has still so much of it as makes him venture his eternal interests 
upon the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Doctrine 1. The wicked dying, are driven away in their wicked- 
ness, and in a hopeless state. 

In speaking to this doctrine, I. I shall show how, and in what 
sense, the wicked are " driven away in their wickedness" at death. 
II. I shall prove the hopelessness of their state at death. And 
then apply the whole. 

I. How, and in what sense, the wicked are " driven away in their 
wickedness." In discoursing of this matter, T shall briefly inquire, 
1. "What is meant by their being " driven away." 2. Whence they 
shall be dri^-en, and whither. 3. In what respects they may be said 
to be driven away " in their wickedness." But before I proceed, 
let me remark, that you are mistaken if you think that no persons 


are to be called wicked, bat they who are avowedly vicious and pro- 
fane ; as if the devil could dwell in none but those whose name is 
Legion, In Scripture account, all who are not righteous, in the 
manner hereafter explained, are reckoned wicked. Therefore the 
the text divides the whole world into two sorts, " the righteous and 
the wicked :" and you will see the same thing in Malachi iii. 18, 
" Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the 
wicked." Wherefore if you be not righteous, you are wicked. If 
you have not an imputed righteousness, and also an implanted 
righteousness, or holiness ; if you be yet in your natural state, unre- 
generated, not united to Christ by faith ; however moral and blame- 
less in the eyes of men your conversation may be, yon are the 
wicked who shall be driven away in their wickedness, if death find 
you in that state. Xow, 

1. As to the meaning of this phrase, " driven away," there are 
three things in it; the wicked shall be taken away suddenly, vio- 
lently, and irresistibly. 

(1.) Unrenewed men shall be taken away suddenly at death. 
Not that all wicked men die suddenly ; nor that they are all wicked 
that die so ; God forbid ! But, 1. Death commonly comes upon 
them unexpectedly, and so surprises them, as the deluge surprised 
the old world, though they were forewarned of it long before it 
came ; and as travail cometh on a woman with child, with surpris- 
ing suddenness, although looked for and expected, 1 Thess. v. 3. 
Death seizes them, as a creditor doth his debtor, to hale him to pri- 
son. Psalm Iv. 15, and that when they are not aware. Death comes 
in, as a thief, at the window, and finds them full of busy thoughts 
about this life which that very day perish. 2. Death always seizes 
them unprepared for it ; the old house falls down about their ears, 
before they have another provided. When death casts them to the 
door, they have not where to lay their heads ; unless it be on a bed 
of fire and brimstone. The soal and body are as it were hugging 
one another in mutual embraces ; when death comes like a whirl- 
wind, and separates them. 3. Death hurries them away in a mo- 
ment to destruction, and makes a most dismal change : the man for 
the most part never knows where he is, till "in hell he lift up his 
eyes," Luke xvi. 23. The floods of wrath suddenly overwhelm his 
soul ; and ere he is aware, he is plunged into the bottomless pit. 

(2.) The unrenewed man is taken away out of the world violently. 
Driving is a violent action; he is "chased out of the world," Job 
xviii. 18. Fain would he stay, if he could ; but death drags him 
away, like a malefactor to the execution. He sought no other por- 
tion than the profits and pleasures of this world : he hath no other 


he really desires no other : how can he then go away out of it, if he 
were not driven ? 

Question. " But may not a wicked man be willing to die?" Answer. 
He may indeed be willing to die ; but observe it is only in one 
of three cases. 1. In a fit of passion, by reason of some trouble 
that he is impatient to be rid of. Thus, many persons, when their 
passion has got the better of their reason, and when, on that ac- 
count they are most unfit to die, will be ready to cry, " to be 
gone !" But should their desire be granted, and death come at their 
call, they would quickly shew they were not in earnest ; and that, 
if they go they must be driven away against their will. 2. When 
they are brim-full of despair may they be willing to die. Thus 
Saul murdered himself; and Spira wished to be in hell, that he 
might know the uttermost of what he believed he was to suff"3r. In 
this manner men may seek after death, while it flees from them. 
But fearful is the violence these undergo, whom the terrors of God 
do thus drive. 3. When they are dreaming of happiness after 
death. Foolish virgins, under the power of delusion, as to their 
state, may be willing to die, having no fear of lying down in sorrow. 
How many are there, who can give no scriptural ground for their 
hope, who yet have no bands in their death ! Many are driven to 
darkness sleeping : they go off like lambs, who would roar like 
lions, did they but know what place they are going to ; though the 
chariot in which they are, drive furiously to the depths of hell, yet 
they fear not, because they are fast asleep. 

(3.) The unregenerate man is taken away irresistably. He must 
go, though sorely against his will. Death will take no refusal, nor 
admit of any delay ; though the man has not lived half his days, 
according to his own computation. If he will not bow, it will break 
him. If he will not come forth, it will pull the house down about 
his ears ; for there he must not stay. Although the physician 
help, friends groan, the wife and children cry, and he himself use 
his utmost efforts to retain the spirit, his soul is required of him ; 
yield he must, and go where he shall never more see light. 

2. Let us consider, whence they are driven, and whither. When 
the wicked die, (1.) They are driven out of this world, where they 
sinned, into the other world, where they must be judged, and receive 
their particular sentences, Heb. ix. 27, " It is appointed unto men 
once to die, but after this the judgment." They shall no more re- 
turn to their beloved earth. Though their hearts are wedded to 
their earthly enjoyments, they must leave them, they can carry no- 
thing hence. How sorrowful must their departure be, when they 
have nothing in view so good as that which they leave behind them! 


(2.) They are driven out of the society of the saiats on earth, into 
the society of the damned in hell, Luke xvi. 22, 23, " The rich man 
also died, and was buried. And in hell he lift up his eyes." What 
a multitude of the devil's goats do now take place among Christ's 
sheep ! but at death they shall be " led forth with the workers of 
iniquity," Psalm cxyv. 5. There is a mixed multitude in this world, 
but no mixture in the other ; each party is there set by themselves. 
Though hypocrites grow here as tares among the wheat, death 
will root them up, and they shall be bound in bundles for the 
fire. (3.) They are driven out of time into eternity. While time 
lasts with them, there is hope ; but when time goes, all hope goes 
with it. Precious time is now lavishly spent : it lies so heavy on 
the hands of many, that they think themselves obliged to take seve- 
ral ways to drive away time. But beware of being at a loss what 
to do in life : improve time for eternity, whilst you have it ; for ere 
long death will drive it from you, and you from it, so as you shall 
never meet again. (4.) They are driven out of their specious pre- 
tences to piety. Death strips them of the splendid robes of a fair 
profession, with which some of them are adorned ; and turns them 
off the stage, in the rags of a wicked heart and life. The word 
" hypocrite" properly signifies a stage-player, who appears to be 
what indeed he is not. This world is the stage on which these chil- 
dren of the devil personate the children of God. Their shew of 
religion is the player's coat, under which one must look, who will 
judge of them aright. Death turns them out of their coat, and they 
appear in their native dress : it unveils them, and takes off their 
mask. There are none in the other world, who pretend to be better 
than they really are. Depraved nature acts in the regions of horror 
undisguised. (5.) They are driven away from all means of grace ; 
and are set beyond the line, quite out of all prospect of mercy. 
There is no more an opportunity to buy oil for the lamp ; it is gone 
out at death, and can never be lighted again. There may be offers 
of mercy and peace made, after they are gone; but they are to 
others, not to them : there are no such offers in the place to which 
they are driven ; these offers are only made in that place from 
which they are driven away. 

3. In what respects may they be said to be driven away in their 
wickedness ? Answer. 1, In respect of their being driven away in 
their sinful unconverted state. Having lived enemies to God, they 
die in a state of enmity to him : for none are brought into the eter- 
nal state of consummate happiness, but by the way of the state of 
grace in this life. The child that is dead in the womb, is born dead, 
and is cast out of the womb into the grave : so he who is dead while 

Vol. VIII. Q 


he liveth, or is spiritually dead, is cast forth of the womb of time, 
in the same state of death, into the pit of utter misery. miserable 
death, to die in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity ! it had 
been incomparably better for such as die thus, that they had never 
been born. 2. In regard that they die sinning, acting wickedly 
against God, in contradiction to the divine law; for they can do 
nothing but sin while they live : so death takes them in the very 
act of sinning; violently draws them from the embraces of their 
lusts, and drives them away to the tribunal, to receive tbeir sen- 
tence. It is a remarkable expression. Job xxxvi. 14, " They die in 
youth :" the marginal reading is, " their soul dieth in youth ;" their 
lusts being lively, their desires vigorous, and expectations big, as is 
common in youth. "And their life is among the unclean;" or, 
" And the company" or herd " of them" dieth " among the Sodom- 
ites," namely, is taken away in the heat of their sin and wicked- 
ness, as the men of Sodom were, Gren. xix ; Luke xvii. 28, 29. 3. 
As they are driven away, loaded with the guilt of all their sins ; 
this is the winding-sheet that shall lie down with them in the dust. 
Job XX. 11. Their works follow them into the other world; they 
go away with the yoke of their transgressions wreathed about their 
necks. Guilt is a bad companion in life, but how terrible will it be 
in death ! It lies now, perhaps, like cold brimstone on their be- 
numbed consciences : but when death opens the way for sparks of 
divine vengeance, like fire, to fall upon it, it will make dreadful 
flames in the conscience, in which the soul will be, as it were, wrapt 
up for ever. 4. The wicked are driven away in their wickedness, 
in so far as they die under the absolute power of their wickedness. 
"While there is hope, there is some restraint on the worst of men ; 
those moral endoM'menls, which God gives to a number of men, for 
the benefit of mankind in this life, are so many restraints upon the 
impetuous wickedness of human nature. But all hope being cut off, 
and these gifts withdrawn, the wickedness of the wicked will then 
arrive at its perfection. As the seeds of grace, sown in the hearts 
of the elect, come to their full maturity at death ; so wicked and 
hellish dispositions in the reprobate, come then to their highest 
pitch. Their prayers to God will then be turned to horrible curses, 
and their praises to hideous blasphemies, Matth. xxii. 13, " There 
shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." This gives a dismal, but 
correct view of the state of the wicked in another world. 

II. I shall discover the hopelessness of the state of unrenenewed 
men at death. It appears to be very hopeless, if we consider these 
four things. 

1. Death cuts oft' their hopes and prospects of peace and pleasure 


in this life, Luke xii. 19, 20, " Soul, thou hast much goods laid up 
for many years ; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But 
God said unto him. Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required 
of thee : then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?" 
They look for great matters in this world, they hope to increase 
their wealth, to see their families prosper, and to live at ease ; but 
death comes like a stormy wind, and shakes olf all their fond hoj^es, 
like green fruit from off a tree, "When he is about to fill his 
belly, God shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him," Job xx. 23. 
He may begin a web of contrivances for advancing his worldly in- 
terest ; but before he gets it wrought out, death comes and cuts it 
off. " His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth ; in that 
very day his thoughts perish," Psalm cxlvi. 4. 

2. When death comes, they have no solid ground to hope for eter- 
nal happiness. " For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he 
hath gained, when God taketh away his soul ?" Job xxvii. 8. 
"Whatever hopes they fondly entertain, they are not founded on 
God's word, which is the only sure ground of hope ; if they knew 
their own case, they would see themselves only happy in a dream. 
And indeed what hope can they have ? The law is plain against 
them, and condemns them. The curses of it, those cords of death, 
are about them already. The Saviour whom they slighted, is now 
their Judge ; and their Judge is tlieir enemy. How then can they 
hope ? They have bolted the door of mercy against themselves, by 
their unbelief. They have despised the remedy, and therefore must 
die without mercy. They have no saving interest in Jesus Christ, 
the only channel of conveyance, through which mercy flows : and 
therefore they can never taste it. The sword of justice guards the 
door of mercy, so as none can enter in, but the members of the mys- 
tical body of Christ, over whose head is a covert of atoning blood, 
tlie Mediator's blood. These indeed may pass without a harm, for 
justice has nothing to require of them. But others cannot pass, 
since they are not in Christ : death comes to them with the sting in 
it, the sting of unpardoned guilt. It is armed against them with all 
the force which the sanction of a holy law can give it, 1 Cor. xv, 
56, " The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law." 
When that law was given on Sinai, " the whole mount quaked 
greatly," Exod. xix. 18. When the Redeemer was making satis- 
faction for the elect's breaking it, " the earth did quake, and the 
rocks rent," Matt, xxvii. 51. What possible ground of hope, then, 
is there to the wicked man, when death comes upon him armed witii 
the force of this law ? How can he escape that lire, which " burnt 
unto the midst of heaven?" Dent. iv. 11. How shall he be able to 



stand in that smoke, that " ascended as the smoke of a furnace ?" 
Exod. xix. 11. How will he endure the terrible "thunders and 
lightnings," ver. 17, and dwell in " the darkness, clouds, and thick 
darkness ?" Deut. iv. 11. All these comparisons heaped together 
do but faintly represent the fearful tempest of wrath and indigna- 
tion, which shall pursue the wicked to the lowest hell ; and for ever 
abide on those who are driven to darkness at death. 

4. Death roots up their delusive hopes of eternal happiness ; then 
it is that their covenant with death and agreement with hell, is bro- 
ken. They are awakened out of their golden dreams, and at length 
lift up their eyes; Job viii. 14, " "Whose hope shall be cut off, and 
whose trust shall be a spider's web." They trust that all shall be 
well with them after death : but their trust is as a web woven out 
of their own bowels, with a great deal of art and industry. They 
wrap themselves up in their hope, as the spider wraps herself in her 
web. But it is a weak and slender defence ; for however it may 
withstand the threatenings of the word of God, death, that besom of 
destruction, will sweep them and it both away, so as there shall not 
be the least shred of it left ; and he, who this moment will not let 
his hope go, shall nest moment be utterly hopeless. Death over- 
turns the house built on the sand; it leaves no man under the 
power of delusion. 

4. Death makes their state absolutely and for ever hopeless. 
Matters cannot be retrieved and amended after death. For, 1. 
Time once gone can never be recalled. If cries or tears, price or 
pains, could bring time back again, the wicked man might have 
hope in his death. But tears of blood will not prevail ; nor will his 
groans for millions of ages cause it to return. The sun will not 
stand still for the sluggard to awake and enter on his journey ; and 
when once it is gone down, he needs not expect the night to be 
turned into day for his sake : he must lodge through the long night 
of eternity, where his time left him. 2. There is no returning to 
this life, to amend what is amiss ; it is a state of probation and trial, 
which terminates at death ; therefore we cannot return to it again ; 
it is but once we thus live, and once we die. Death carries the 
wicked man to "his own place," Acts i. 25. This life is our work- 
ing day. Death closes our day and our work together. "We may 
admit the wicked might have some hope in their death, if, after 
death has opened their eyes, they could return to life, and have but 
the trial of one Sabbath, one offer of Christ, one day, or but one 
hour more, to make up their peace with God : but " man lieth down, 
and riseth not till the heavens be no more ; they shall not awake, 
nor be raised out of their sleep," Job xiv. 12. 3. In the other 


world, men have no access to get their ruined state and condition 
retrieved, though they be ever so desirous of it. " For there is no 
work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither 
thou goest," Eccl. ix. 10. Now a man may flee from the wrath to 
come ; he may get into a refuge. But when once death has done its 
work, " the door is shut ;" there are no more offers of mercy, no 
more pardons : where the tree is fallen, there it must lie. 

Let what has been said be carefully pondered ; and that it may 
be of use, let me exhort you. 

First, To take heed that you entertain no hopes of heaven, but 
what are built on a solid foundation: tremble to think what fair 
hopes of happiness death sweeps away, like cobwebs ; how the hopes 
of many are cut oif, when they seem to themselves to be at the very 
threshold of heaven ; how, in the moment they expected to be car- 
ried by angels into Abraham's bosom, into the regions of bliss and 
peace, they are carried by devils into the society of the damned in 
hell, into the place of torment, and regions of horror. I beseech 
you to beware, 1. Of a hope built upon ground that was never 
cleared. The wise builder digged deep, Luke vi. 48. Were your 
hopes of heaven never shaken ; but have you had good hopes all 
your days ? Alas for it ! you may see the mystery of your case 
explained, Luke xi. 21, "When a strong man armed keepeth his 
palace, his goods are at peace. But if they have been shaken, take 
heed lest some breaches only have been made in the old building, 
which you have got repaired again, by ways and means of your own. 
I assure you, that your hope, however fair a building it is, is not fit 
to trust to, unless your old hopes have been razed, and you have 
built on a foundation quite new. 2. Beware of that hope which 
looks bright in the dark, but loses all its lustre when it is set in the 
light of God's word, when it is examined and tried by the touch- 
stone of divine revelation, John iii. 20, 21, " For every one that 
doth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds 
should be reproved. But he that doth the truth, cometh to the 
light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought 
in God." That hope, which cannot abide scripture trial, but sinks 
when searched into by sacred truth, is a delusion, and not a true 
hope : for God's word is always a friend to the graces of God's Spi- 
rit, and an enemy to delusion. 3. Beware of that hope, which stands 
without being supported by scriptural evidences. Alas ! many are 
big with hopes, who cannot give, because they really have not, any 
scripture grounds for them. Thou hopest that all will be well with 
thee after death : but what word of God is it, on which thou hast 
been caused to hope? Psalm cxix. 49. What scriptural evidence hast 


thou to prove that thy hope is not the hope of the hypocrite ? Wliat 
hast thou, after impartial self-examination, as in the sight of God, 
found in thyself, which the word of God determines to be a sure 
evidence of his right to eternal life, who is possessed of it ? Num- 
bers are ruined with such hopes as stand unsupported by scriptural 
evidence. Men are fond and tenacious of these hopes ; but death 
will throw them down, and leave the self-deceiver hopeless. 4. Be- 
ware of that hope of heaven, which doth not prepare and dispose 
you for heaven, which never makes your soul more holy, 1 John iii. 
3, "Every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even 
as he is pure." The hope of the most part of men, is rather a hope 
to be free from pain and torment in another life, than a hope of 
true happiness, the nature whereof is not understood and discerned : 
therefore it rests in sloth and indolence, and does not excite to mor- 
tification and a heavenly life. So far are they fi'om hoping aright 
for heaven, that they must own, if they speak their genuine senti- 
ments, removing out of this world into any other place whatever, 
is rather their fear than their hope. The glory of the heavenly city 
does not at all draw their hearts upwards to it, nor do they lift up 
their heads with joy, in the prospect of arriving at it. If they had 
the true hope of the marriage day, they would, as the bride, the 
" Lamb's wife," be "making themselves ready for it," Rev. xix. 7. 
Eut their hopes are produced by their sloth, and their sloth is 
nourished by their hopes. Oh, Sirs, as you would not be driven 
away helpless in your death, beware of these hopes ! Raze them 
now, and build on a new foundation, lest death leave not one stone 
of them upon another, and you never be able to hope any more. 

Secondly, Hasten, sinners, out of your wickedness, out of your 
sinful state, and out of your wicked life, if you woxild not at death 
be driven away in your wickedness. Remember the fatal end of 
the wicked as the text represents it. I know there is a great dif- 
ference in the death of the wicked, as to some circumstances : but 
all of them, in their death, agree in this, that they are driven away 
in their wickedness. Some of them die resolutely, as if they 
scorned to be afraid ; some in raging despair, so filled with horror 
that they cry out as if they were already in hell; others in sullen 
despondency, oppressed with fears, so that their hearts sink within 
them, at the remembrance of misspent time, and the view which they 
have of eternity, having neither head nor heart to do anything for 
their own relief. And others die stupidly; they live like beasts, 
and they die like beasts, without any concern on their spirits, about 
their eternal state. They groan under their bodily distress but have 
no sense of the danger of their soul. One may, with almost as much 


prospect of success, speak to a stone, as speak to them ; vain is the 
attempt to teach them ; nothing that can be said moves them. To 
discourse to them, either of the joys of heaven on the torments of 
hell, is to plough on a rock, or beat the air. Some die like the 
foolish virgins, dreaming of heaven ; their foreheads are steeled 
against the fears of hell, with presumptuous hopes of heaven. The 
business of those who would be useful to them, is not to answer 
doubts about the case of their souls, but to discover to them their 
own false hopes. But which way soever the unconverted man dies, 
he is "driven away in his wickedness." dreadful case ! Oh, let 
the consideration of so horrid a departure out of this world, move 
you to flee to Jesus Christ, as the all-sufficient Saviour, an almighty 
Redeemer. Let it prevail to drive you out of your wickedness, to 
holiness of heart and life. Though you reckon it pleasant to live 
in wickedness, yet you cannot but own, it is bitter to die in it. And 
if you leave it not in time, you must go on in your wickedness to 
hell, the proper place of it, that it may be set there on its own base. 
For when you are passing out of this world, all your sins, from the 
first to the last of them, will swarm about you, hang upon you, ac- 
company you to the other world, and, as so many furies, surround 
you there for ever. 

Thirdly, be concerned for others, especially for your relations, 
that they may not continue in their sinful natural state, but be 
brou2:ht into a state of salvation ; kst they be driven away in their 
wickedness at death. What would you not do to prevent any of 
your friends dying an untimely and violent death ? But, alas ! do 
you not see them in hazard of being driven away in their wicked- 
ness ? Is not death approaching them, even the youngest of them? 
And are they not strangers to true Christianity, remaining in that 
•state which they came into the world? Oh ! make haste to pluck 
the brand out of the fire, lest it be burned to ashes. The death of 
relations often leaves a sting in the hearts of those they leave be- 
hind them, because they did not do for their souls as they had op- 
portunity ; and because the opjiortunity is for ever taken out of their 

Doctrine II. The state of the godly in death is a hopeful state. 
We have seen the dark side of the cloud looking towards ungodly 
men, passing out of the world; let us now take a view of the bright 
side of it, shinning on the godly, as they enter on their eternal state. 
In discoursing on this subject, I shall confirm this doctrine, answer 
an objection against it, and then make some practical improvement 
of the whole. 

For confirmation, let it be observed, that although the passage 


out of this world by death has a frightful aspect to poor mortals, 
and to miscarry in it mnst needs be of fatal consequence ; yet the 
following circumstances make the state of the godly in their death, 
happy and hopeful. 

1. They hare a trusty good Friend before them in the other world. 
Jesus Christ, their best Friend, is Lord of the land to which death 
carries them. "When Joseph sent for his father to come down to 
him to Egypt, telling him, " God had made him lord over all 
Egypt," Gen. xlv. 9, "And Jacob "saw the waggons Joseph had 
sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob revived," ver. 27. He resolves 
to undertake the journey. I think, when the Lord calls a godly 
man out of the world, he sends him such glad tidings, and such a 
kind invitation into the other world, that, he has faith to believe 
it, his spirit mnst revive, when he sees the waggon of death which 
comes to carry hira thither. It is true, indeed, he has a weighty 
trial to undergo, — after death the judgment. But the case of the 
godly is altogether hopeful ; for the Lord of the land is their hug- 
band, and their husband is the judge ; " The Father hath committed 
all judgment unto the Son," John v. 22. Surely the case of the wife 
is hopeful, when her own husband is her judge, even such a husband 
as hates putting away. No husband is so loving and so tender of 
his spouse, as the Lord Christ is of his. One would think it would 
be a very bad land, which a wife would not willingly go to, where 
her husband is the ruler and judge. Moreover, their judge is the 
advocate, 1 John ii. 1, " We have an advocate with the Father, 
Jesus Christ the righteous." Therefore they need not fear their 
being put back, and falling into condemnation. What can be more 
favourable ? Can they think, that he who x>^eads their cause, will 
himself pass sentence against them ? Yet farther, their advocate is 
their Redeemer ; they are " redeemed with the precious blood of 
Christ," 1 Pet. i. 18, 19. So when he pleads for them, he is plead- 
ing his own cause. Though an advocate may be careless of the in- 
terest of one who employs hira, yet surely he will do his utmost to 
defend his own right, which he has purchased with his money : and 
shall not their advocate defend the purchase of his own blood? 
But more than all that, their Redeemer is their head, and they are 
his members, Eph. v. 23, 30. Though one were so silly as to let his 
own purchase go, without standing up to defend his right, yet sorely 
he will not part with a limb of his own body. Is not their case 
then hopeful in death, who are so closely linked and allied to the 
Lord of the other world, who has " the keys of hell and of death ?" 
2. They shall have a safe passage to another world. They must 
indeed go through "the valley of the shadow of death ;" but though 


it be in itself a dark and shady vale, it shall be a valley of hope to 
them : they shall not be driven through it, but be as men in perfect 
safety, who fear no evil, Psalm xxiii, 4. Why should they thus 
fear ? They have the Lord of the land's safe conduct, his pass 
sealed with his own blood ; namely, the blessed covenant, which is 
the saint's death-bed comfort, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5, " Although my house 
be not so with God, yet he hath made with me an everlasting cove- 
nant, ordered in all things and sure : for this is all my salvation, 
and all ray desire, although he make it not to grow." "Who then 
can harm them ? It is safe riding in Christ's chariot, Cant. iii. 9, 
both through life and death. They have good and honourable at- 
tendants, a guard, even a guard of angels. These encamp about 
them in the time of their life ; and surely will not leave them in the 
day of their death. These happy ministering spirits are attendants 
on their Lord's bride, and will doubtless convey her safe home to 
his house. "When friends in mournful mood stand by the saint's bed- 
side, waiting to see him draw his last breath, his soul is waited for 
by angels, to be carried into Abraham's bosom, Luke xvi. 22. The 
captain of the saint's salvation is the captain of this holy guard : he 
was their guide even unto death, and he will be their guide through 
it too, Psalm xxiii. 4, " Yea, though I walk through the valley of 
the shadow of death, I will fear no evil ; for thou art with me." 
They may, without fear, pass that river, being confident it shall not 
overflow them ; and they may walk through that fire, being sure 
they shall not be burnt by it. 

Death can do them no harm. It cannot even hurt their bodies : 
for though it separate the soul from the body, it cannot separate the 
body from the Lord Jesus Christ. Even death is to them but sleep 
in Jesus, 1 Thess. iv. 14. They continue members of Christ, though 
in a grave. Their dust is precious dust ; laid up in the grave as in 
their Lord's cabinet. They lie in a grave mellowing, as precious 
fruit laid up to be brought forth to him at the resurrection. The 
husbandman has corn in his barn, and corn lying in the ground: the 
latter is more precious to him than the former, because he looks to 
get it returned with increase. Even so the dead bodies of the saints 
are valued by their Saviour : they are " sown in corruption," to be 
" raised in incorruption" ; " sown in dishonour," to be " raised in 
glory," 1 Cor. xv. 42, 43. It cannot hurt their souls. It is with 
the souls of the saints at death, as with Paul and his company in 
their voyage, whereof we have the history. Acts, chap, xxvii. The 
ship was broken to pieces, but the passengers got all safe to land. 
"When the dying saint's speech is stopped, his eyes set, and his last 
breath drawn, the soul gets safe away into the heavenly paradise, 


leaving the body to return to its earth, but in the joyful hope of a 
re-union at its glorious resurrection. — But how can death hurt the 
godly ? it is a foiled enemy : if it cast them down, it is only that 
they may rise more glorious. " Our Saviour Jesus Christ hath abo- 
lished death," 2 Tim. i. 10. The soul and life of it is gone: it is but 
a walking shade that may fright, but cannot hurt saints : it is only 
the shadow of death to them : it is not the thing itself; their dying is 
but as dying, or somewhat like dying. The apostle tells us, " It is 
Christ that died," Rom. viii. 34. Stephen, the first Christian 
martyr, though stoned to death, yet only fell asleep. Acts vii. 60. 
Certainly the nature of death is quite changed, with respect to the 
saints. It is not to them, what it was to Jesus Christ their head: it 
is not the venomed ruining thing, wrapt up in the sanction of 
the first covenant. Gen. ii. 17, " In the day thou eatest thereof, thou 
shalt surely die." It comes to the godly without a sting: they 
may meet it with that salutation, " death, where is thy sting ? Is 
this Mara ? Is this bitter death ? It went out full into the world, 
when the first Adam opened the door to it, but the second Adam 
hath brought it again empty to his own people. I feel a sting, may 
the dying saint say : yet it is but a bee sting, stinging only through 
the skin : but, death, where is thy sting, thine old sting, the ser- 
pent's sting, that stings to the heart and soul ? The sting of death 
is sin : but that is taken away. If death arrest the saint, and carry 
him before the Judge, to answer for the debt he contracted, the debt 
will be found paid by the glorious Surety ; and he has the discharge 
to shew. The thorn of guilt is pulled out of the man's conscience ; 
and his name is blotted out of the black roll, and written among the 
living in Jerusalem. It is true, it is a great journey through the 
valley of the shadow of death : but the saint's burden is taken away 
from his back, his iniquity is pardoned, he may walk at ease : " No 
lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast :" the redeemed may 
walk at leisure there, free from all apprehensions of danger. 

3. They shall have a joyful entrance into the other world. Their 
arrival in the regions of bliss, will be celebrated with rapturous 
hymns of praise to their glorious Redeemer. A dying day is a good 
day to a godly man. Yea, it is his best day ; it is better to him 
than his birth-day, or than the most joyous day which he ever had 
on earth. " A good name," says the wise man, is "better than pre- 
cious ointment : and the day of death, than the day of one's birth," 
Eccl. vii. 1. The notion of the immortality of the soul, and of fu- 
ture happiness, which obtained among some pagan nations, had won- 
derful eifects on them. Some of them, when they mourned for the 
dead, did it in women's apparel ; that, being moved with the inde- 


cency of the garb, they might the sooner lay aside their monrning. 
Others buried them without any lamentation or mourning; but had 
a sacrifice, and a feast for friends, upon that occasion. Some were 
wont to mourn at births, and rejoice at burials. — But the practice of 
some Indian nations is yet more strange, where, upon the husband's 
decease, his wife, or wives, with a cheerful countenance, enter the 
flames prepared for the husband's corpse. But however false notions 
of a future state, assisted by pride, affectation of applause, appre- 
hensions of difficulties in this life, and such like principles proper to 
depraved human nature, may influence rude uncultivated minds, 
when strengthened by tlie arts of hell ; what solid joy and conso- 
lation may they have, who are true Christians, being in Christ, who 
" hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel !" 2 
Tim. i. 10. Death is one of those "all things," that " work together 
for good to them that love God," Rom. viii. 28. When the body 
dies, the soul is perfected : the body of death goes off, at the death 
of the body. — What harm did the jailer to Pharaoh's butler, when he 
opened the prison door to him, and let him out? Is the bird in worse 
case, when at liberty, than when confined in a cage ? Thus, and no 
worse, are the souls of the saints treated by death. It comes to the 
godly man, as Haman came to Mordecai, with the royal apparel and 
the horse, Esther vi. 11. with commission to do them honour, how- 
ever awkardly it be performed. I question not but Haman per- 
formed the ceremony with a very ill mien, a pale face, a downcast 
look, and a cloudy countenance, and like one who came to hang 
him, rather than to honour him. But he whom the king delighted 
to honour, must be honoured; and Haman, Mordecai's grand enemy, 
must be the man employed to put this honour upon him. Glory, 
glory, glory, blessing and praise to our Redeemer, our Saviour, our 
Mediator, by whose death, grim devouring death is made to do such 
a good oflice to those whom it might otherwise have hurried away in 
their wickedness, to utter and eternal destruction! A dying day is, 
in itself, a joyful day to the godly; it is their redemption day, when 
the captives are delivered, when the prisoners are set free. It is the 
day of the pilgrims coming home from their pilgrimage; the day in 
which the heirs of glory return from their travels, to their own 
country, and their Father's house ; and enter into actual possession 
of the glorious inheritance. It is their marriage day : now is the 
time of espousals ; but then the marriage is consummated, and a 
marriage feast begun, which has no end. If so, is not the state of 
the godly in death, a hopeful state ? 

Objection. "But if the state of the godly in their death be so hope- 
ful, how comes it to pass that many of them, when dying, are full of 


fears, and have little hope ?" Answer. It must be owned, that saints 
do not all die in one and the same manner ; there is a diversity 
among them, as well as among the wicked ; yet the worst case of a 
dying saint is indeed a hopeful one. Some die triumphantly, in a 
full assurance of faith. 2 Timothy iv. 6 — 8, " The time of my de- 
parture is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my 
course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a 
crown of righteousness." They get a taste of the joys of heaven, 
while here on earth ; and begin the songs of Zion, while yet in a 
strange land. Others die in a solid dependence of faith on their 
Lord and Saviour : though they cannot sing triumphantly, yet 
they can, and will say confidently, "The Lord is their God." Though 
they cannot triumph over death, with old Simeon, having Christ 
in his arms, and saying, " Lord now lettest thou thy servant 
depart in peace, according to thy word : for mine eyes have seen 
thy salvation," Luke ii. 29, 30 ; yet they can say with dying Jacob, 
" I have waited for thy salvation, Lord," Gen. xlix. 18. His left 
hand is under their head, to support them, though his right hand 
doth not embrace them : they firmly believe, though they are not 
filled with joy in believing. They can plead the covenant, and hang 
by the promise, although their house is not so with God as they 
could wish. But the dying day of some saints may be like that 
day mentioned in Zechariah xiv. 7, " Not day, nor night." They 
may die under great doubts and fears ; setting as it were in a cloud, 
and going to heaven in a mist. They may go mourning without the 
sun, and never put oflt their spirit of heaven, till death stripes them 
of it. They may be carried to heaven through the confines of hell ; 
and may be pursued by the devouring lion, even to the very gates 
of the new Jerusalem ; and may be compared to a ship almost 
■wrecked in sight of the harbour, which yet gets safe into her port, 
1 Cor. iii. 15, " If any man's work shall be burnt, he shall suffer 
loss : but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire." There is 
safety amidst their fears, but danger in the strong confidence of the 
wicked ; and there is a blessed seed of gladness in their greatest 
sorrows : " Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the 
upright in heart," Psalm xcvii. 11. 

Now, saints are liable to such perplexity in their death, because, 
though they are Christians indeed, yet they are men of like passions 
with others ; and death is a frightful object in itself, whatever dress 
it appears in : the stern countenance with which it looks at mortals, 
can hardly fail of causing them to shrink. Moreover, the saints are 
of all men the most jealous of themselves. They think of eternity, 
and of a tribunal, more deeply than others do ; with them it is a 


more serious thing to die, than the rest of mankind are aware of. 
They know the deceits of the heart, the subtleties of depraved hu- 
man nature, better than others do. Therefore they may have much 
to do to keep up hope ou a death-bed ; while others pass off quietly, 
like sheep to the slaughter; and the rather, that Satan, who uses 
all his art to support the hopes of the hypocrite, will do his utmost 
to mar the peace, and increase the fears, of the saints. And finally, 
the bad frame of spirit, and ill condition, in which death sometimes 
seizes a true Christian, may cause this perplexity. By his being iu 
the state of grace, he is indeed always habitually prepared for 
death, and his dying safely is ensured : but yet there is more ne- 
cessary to his actual preparation and dying comfortably, his spirit 
must be iu good condition too. 

Wherefore there are three cases, in which death cannot but be 
very uncomfortable to a child of God. 1. If it seize him at a time 
when the guilt of son^e particular sin, unrepented of, is lying on his 
conscience : and death comes on that very account, to take him out 
of the land of the living ; as was the case of many of the Corinthian 
professors, 1 Cor. xi. 30, " For this cause," namely, of unworthy 
communicating, " many are weak and sickly among you, and many 
sleep." If a person is surprised with the approach of death, while 
lying under the guilt of some unpardoned sin, it cannot but cause a 
mighty consternation. 2. When death catches him sleeping. The 
midnight cry must be frightful to sleeping virgins. The man who 
lies in a ruinous house, and awakes not till the timbers begin to 
crack, and the stones to drop down about his ears, may indeed get 
out of it safely, but not without fears of being crushed by its fall. 
When a Christian has been goiug on in a course of security and 
backsliding, and awakens not till death comes to his bedside, it is 
no wonder that he gets a fearful awakening. 3. When he has lost 
sight of his saving interest in Christ, and cannot produce evidences 
of his title to heaven. It is hard to meet death without some evi- 
dence of a title to eternal life at hand; hard to go through the 
dark valley without the candle of the Lord shinning upon the 
head. It is a terrible adventure to launch out into eternity, when 
a man can make no better of it than a leap in the dark, not know- 
ing where he shall light, whether in heaven or hell. 

Nevertheless the state of the saints, in their death, is always in 
itself hopeful. The presumptuous hopes of the ungodly, in their 
death, cannot make their state hopeful ; neither can the fears of a 
saint make his state hopeless: for God judgeth according to the 
truth of the thing, not according to men's opinions about it. There- 
fore the saints can be no more altogether without hope, than they 


can be altogether without faith. Their faith may be very weak, 
but it fails not ; and their hope very low, yet they will, and do 
hope to the end. Even while the godly seem to be carried away 
with the stream of doubts and fears, there remains still as much 
hope as determines them to lay hold on the tree of life that grows 
on the banks of the river, Jonah ii. 4, " Then I said, I am cast out 
of thy sight: yet I will look again toward thy temple." 

Use. This speaks comfort to the godly against the fear of death. 
A godly man may be called a happy man before his death, because, 
whatever befalls him in life, he shall certainly be happy at death. 
Ton who are in Christ, who are true Christians, have hope in your 
end ; and such a hope as may comfort you against all those fears 
which arise from the consideration of a dying hour. This I shall 
branch out, in answering some cases briefly : 

Case 1. " The prospect of death," will some of tlie saints say, 
" is uneasy to me, not knowing what shall become of my family 
when I am gone." Answer. The righteous hath hope in his death, 
as to his family, as well as himself. Although you have little, for 
the present, to live upon ; which has been the condition of many of 
Grod's chosen ones, 1 Cor. iv. 11, " We," namely, the apostles, 
" both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have 
no certain dwelling-place ;" and though you have nothing to leave 
them, as was the case of that son of the prophets, who feared the 
Lord, and yet died in debt which he was unable to pay, as his poor 
widow represents, 2 Kings iv. 2 ; yet you have a good Friend to 
leave them to : a covenant God, to whom you may coufldently com- 
mit them, Jer. xlix. 11, " Leave thy fatherless children, I will pre- 
serve them alive ; and let thy widows trust in me." The world can 
bear witness of signal settlements made upon the children of pro- 
vidence ; such as by their pious parents have been cast upon Grod's 
providential care. It has been often remarked, that they wanted 
neither provision nor education. Moses is an eminent instance of 
this. He, though he was an outcast infant, Exod. ii. 3, yet became 
learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, Acts vii. 22, and became 
king in Jeshurun, Dout. xxxiii. 5. ! may we not be ashamed, 
that we do not confidently trust him with the concerns of our families, 
to whom, as our Saviour and Redeemer, we have committed our 
eternal interests ? 

Case IL " Death will take us away from our dear friends ; yea, 
we shall not see the Lord in the land of the living, in the blessed 
ordinances." Answer. It will take you to your best Friend, the 
Lord Christ. The friends you leave behind you, if they be indeed 
persons of worth, you will meet again, when they come to heaven ; 


and you will never be separated any more. If death take you 
away from the temple below, it will carry yon to the temple above. 
It will indeed take you from the streams, but it will set you down 
by the fountain. Tf it put out your candle, it will carry you where 
there is no night, where there is an eternal day. 

Case III. " I have so much to do, in time of health, to satisfy 
myself as to my interest in Christ, about my being a real Christian, 
SI regenerate man, that I judge it is almost impossible I should die 
comfortably." Answer. If it is thus with you, then double your 
diligence to make your calling and election sure. Endeavour to 
grow in knowledge, and walk closely with God : be diligent in self- 
examination ; and pray earnestly for the Holy Spirit, whereby you 
may know the things freely given you of God. If you are enabled, 
by the power and Spirit of Christ, thus diligently to prosecute your 
spiritual concerns, though the time of your life be neither day nor 
night, yet at evening time it may be light. Many weak Christians 
indulge doubts and fears about their spiritual state, as if they 
placed at least some part of religion in this imprudent practice ; 
but towards the end of life, they think and act in another manner. 
The traveller, who reckons that he has time to spare, may stand still 
debating with himself, whether this or the other be the right way : 
but when the sun begins to set, he is forced to lay aside his scruples, 
and resolutely to go forward in the road which he judges to be the 
right one, lest he lie all night in the open fields. Thus some Chris- 
tians, who perplex themselves much, throughout the course of their 
lives, with jealous doubts and fears, content themselves when they 
come to die, with such evidences of the safety of their state, as they 
could not be satisfied with before ; and by disputing less against 
themselves, and believing more, court the peace they formerly 
rejected, and gain it too. 

Case IV. " I am under a sad decay, in respect of my spiritual 
condition." Answer. Bodily consumptions may make death easy : 
but it is not so in spiritual decays. I will not say, that a godly 
man cannot be easy in such a case, when he dies, but I believe it is 
rarely so. Ordinarily, I suppose a cry comes to awaken sleeping 
virgins, before death comes. Samson is set to grind in the prison, 
till his locks grow again. David and Solomon fell under great spi- 
ritual decays; but before they died, they recovered their spiritual 
strength and vigour. However, bestir yourselves without delay, 
to strengthen the things that remain : your fright will be the less, 
for being awakened from spiritual sleep before death comes to your 
bedside : and you ought to lose no time, seeing you know not how 
soon death may seize you. 


Case V. " It is terrible to think of the other world, that world 
of spirits, which I have so little acquaintance with. — Answer. Thy 
best friend is Lord of that other world. Abraham's bosom is kindly- 
even to those who never saw his face. After death, thy soul be- 
comes capable of converse with the blessed inhabitants of that other 
world. The spirits of just men made perfect, wei-e once such as thy 
spirit now is. And as for the angels, however superior their nature 
in the rank of beings, yet our nature is dignified above theirs, 
in the man Christ, and they are all of them thy Lord's servants, 
and so thy fellow-servants. 

Case VL " The pangs of death are terrible." Answer. Yet not 
so terrible as pangs of conscience, caused by a piercing sense of 
guilt, and apprehensions of divine wrath, with which I suppose thee 
to be not altogether unacquainted. But who would not endure 
bodily sickness, that the soul may become sound, and every whit 
whole ? Each pang of death will set sin a step nearer the door; and 
with the last breath, the body of sin will breathe out its last. The 
pains of death will not last long ; and the Lord thy God will not 
leave, but support thee under them. 

Case YII. " But I am like to be cut off in the midst of my days." 
Answer. Do not complain, you will be the sooner at home : you 
thereby have the advantage of your fellow-labourers, who were at 
work before you in the vineyard. God, in the course of his provi- 
dence, hides some of his saints early in the grave, that they may be 
taken away from the evil to come. An early removal out of this 
world, prevents sin and misery. They have no ground of complaint, 
who get the residue of their years in Iramanuel's land. Surely thou 
shalt live as long as thou hasf work cut out for thee by the great 
Master, to be done for hira in this world : and when tbat is at an 
end, it is high time to be gone. 

Case YIII. " I am afraid of sudden death." Answer. Thou mayst 
indeed die so. Good Eli died suddenly, 1 Sam. iv. 18. Yet death 
found hira watching, ver. 14 : " Watch, therefore, for ye know not 
what hour the Lord doth come," Matt. xxiv. 42. Be not afraid, it 
is an inexpressible comfort, that death, come when it will, can never 
catch thee out of Christ; and therefore can never seize thee, as a jailor, 
to hurry thee into the prison of hell. Sudden death may hasten 
and facilitate thy passage to heaven, but can do thee no prejudice. 
Case IX. " I am afraid it will be my lot to die wanting the exer- 
cise of reason." Answer. I make no question but a child of God, a 
true Christian, may die in this case. But what harm ? There is no 
hazard in it, as to his eternal state : a disease at death may divest 
him of his reason, but not of his religion. When a man, going a 



long voyage, has put bis aflfairs iu order, and put all his goods 
aboard, he himself may be carried on board the ship sleeping : all 
is safe with him, although he knows not where he is, till he awake 
in the ship. Even so the godly man, who dies in this case, may die 
uncomfortably, but not unsafely. 

Case X. " I am naturally timorous, and the very thoughts of 
death are terrible to me." Answer. The less you think on death, 
the thoughts of it will be the more frightful : make it familiar to you 
by frequent meditations upon it, and you may thereby quiet your 
fears. Look at the white and bright side of the cloud : take faith's 
view of the city that hath foundations : so shall you see hope iu 
your death. Be duly aftected with the body of sin and death, the 
frequent interruptions of your communion with God, and with the 
glory which dwells on the other side of death : this will contribute 
much to remove slavish fear. 

It is a pity that saints should be so fond of life as they often are : 
they ought to be always on good terms with death. When matters 
are duly considered, it might be well expected that every child of 
God, every regenerate man, should generously profess concerning 
this life, what Job did, chap. vii. 16, " I loath it, I would not live 
always." In order to gain their hearts to this desirable temper, I 
offer the following additional considerations. 

1. Consider the sinfulness that attends life in this world. While 
you live here, you sin, and see others sinning. You breathe infec- 
tious air. You live iu a pest-house. Is it at all strange to loathe 
such a life ? 1. Your own plague sores are running on you. Doth 
not the sin of your nature make you groan daily ? Are you not sen- 
sible, that though the cure is begun, it is far from being perfected ? 
Has not the leprosy got into the wall of the house, which cannot bo 
removed without pulling it down ? Is not your nature so vitiated, 
that no less than the separation of the soul irom the body cau root 
out the disease ? Have you not your sores without, as well as your 
sickness within? Do you not leave marks of your pollution on 
whatever passes through your hands? Are not all your actions 
tainted and blemished with defects and imperfections? Who, then, 
should be so much in love with life, but such whose sickness is their 
health, and who glory iu their shame? 2. The loathsome sores 
of others are always before your eyes, go where you will. The fol- 
lies and wickedness of men are every where conspicuous, and make 
but an unpleasant scene. This sinful world is but an unsightly 
company, a disagreeable crowd, in which the most loathsome are the 
most numerous. 3. Are not your own sores often breaking out 
again after healing ? Frequent relapses may well cause us remit of 

Vol. YIII. e 


our fondness for this life. To be ever struggling, and anon fall- 
ing into the mire again, makes weary work. Do you never wish for 
cold death, thereby effectually to cool the heat of these lusts, which 
so often take fire again, even after a flood of godly sorrow has gone 
over them? Do not you sometimes infect others, and others infect 
you? There is no society in the world, in which every member of 
it doth not sometimes lay a stumbling-block before the rest. The 
best carry about with them the tinder of a corrupt nature, which 
they cannot be rid of while they live, and which is liable to be kin- 
dled at all times, and in all places : yea, they are apt to inflame 
others, and become the occasions of sinning. Certainly these things 
are apt to imbitter this life to the saints. 

2. Consider the misery and troubles that attend it. Rest is desirable, 
but it is not to be found on this side of the grave. Worldly ti'oubles 
attend all men in this life. This world is a sea of trouble, where one 
wave rolls upon another. They, who fancy themselves beyond the 
reach of trouble, are mistaken : no state, no change of life, is 
exempted from it. The crowned head is surrounded by thorny cares. 
Honour many times paves the way to deep disgrace : riches, for the 
most part, are kept to the hurt of the owners. The fairest rose 
wants not prickles ; and the heaviest cross is sometimes wrapt up in 
the greatest earthly comfort. Spiritual troubles attend the saints in 
this life. They are like travellers journeying in a cloudy night, in 
which the moon sometimes breaks out from under one cloud, but 
quickly hides her head again under another: no wonder they long to 
be at their journey's end. The sudden alterations which the best 
frame of spirit is liable to, the perplexing doubts, confounding fears, 
short-lived joys, and long-running sori'ows, which have a certain af- 
finity with the present life, must needs create in the saints a desire 
to be with Christ, which is best of all. 

3. Consider the great imperfections attending this life. While 
the soul is lodged in this cottage of clay, the necessities of the body 
are many : it is always craving. The mud walls must be repaired 
and patched up daily, till the clay cottage fall down for good and 
all. Eating, drinking, sleeping, and the like, are, in themselves, but 
mean employments for a rational creature ; and will be reputed such 
by the heaven-born soul. They are badges of imperfection, and, as 
such, unpleasant to the mind aspiring unto that life and immortality 
which is brought to light through the gospel ; and would be very 
grievous, if this state of things were of long continuance. Does not 
the gracious soul often find itself yoked with the body, as with 
a companion in travel, unable to keep pace with it ? When the 
spirit is willing, the flesh is weak. When the soul would mount up- 


ward, tlie body is a clog upon it, and a stone tied to the foot of a 
bird attempting to fly. The truth is, believer, thy soul in this 
body is, at best, but like a diamond in a ring, where much of it is 
obscured; it is far sunk in the vile clay, till relieved by death. 

I conclude this subject with a few directions, how to prepare for 
death, so that we may die comfortably. I speak not here of habitual 
preparation for death, which a true Christian, in virtue of his gra- 
cious state, never wants, from the time he is born again, and united 
to Christ; but of actual preparation, or readiness in respect of his 
particular case, frame, and disposition of mind and spirit ; the want 
of which makes even a saint very unfit to die. 

First, Let it be your constant care to keep a clean conscience, " a 
conscience void of offence toward God, and toward man," Acts xxiv. 
16. Beware of a standing controversy between God and you, on the 
account of some iniquity regarded in the heart. When an honest 
man is about to leave his country, and not to return, he settles ac- 
counts with those he has had dealings with, and lays down methods 
for paying his debts in due time, lest he be reckoned a bankrupt, 
and attacked by an officer when he is going off. Guilt lying on the 
conscience, is a fountain of fears, and will readily sting severely, 
when death stares the criminal in the face. Hence it is, that many, 
even of God's children, when dying, wish passionately, and desire 
eagerly, that they may live to do what they ought to have done be- 
fore that time. Wherefore, walk closely with God ; be diligent, 
strict, and exact in your course : beware of loose, careless, and ir- 
regular conversation ; as you would not lay up for yourselves 
anguish and bitterness of spirit, in a dying hour. And because, 
through the infirmity cleaving to us, in our present state of imper- 
fection, in many things we offend all, renew your repentance daily, 
and be ever washing in the Redeemer's blood. As long as you are 
in the world, you will need to wash your feet, John xiii. 10, that is, 
to make application of the blood of Christ anew, for purging your 
consciences from the guilt of daily miscarriages. Let death find you 
at the fountain ; and, if so, it will find you ready to answer at its 

Secondly, Be always watchful, waiting for your change, "like unto 
men that wait for their Lord — that when he cometh and knocketh, 
they may open unto him immediately," Luke xii. 36. Beware of 
" slumbering and sleeping, while the bridegroom tarries." To be 
awakened out of spiritual slumber, by a surprising call to pass into 
another world, is a very frightful thing: but he who is daily wail- 
ing for the coming of his Lord, will comfortably receive the grim 
messenger, while he beholds him ushering in Ilim, of whom he may 



confidently say, "This is my God, and I have waited for him." 
The way to die comfortably, is, to die daily. Be often essaying, as 
it were, to die. Bring yourselves familiarly acquainted with death, 
by making many visits to the grave, in serious meditations upon it. 
This was Job's practice, chap. xvii. 13, 14, " T have made my bed in 
the darkness." Go thou and do likewise ; and when death comes, 
thou shalt have nothing to do but to lie down. "I have said to cor- 
ruption, Thou art my father : to the worm, Thou art my mother and 
my sister." Do you say so too; and you will be the fitter to go home 
to their house. Be frequently reflecting upon your conduct, and 
considering what course of life you wish to be found in, when 
death arrests you ; and act accordingly. When you do the duties 
of your station in life, or are employed in acts of worship, think with 
yourselves, that, it may be, this is the last opportunity; and therefore 
do it as if you were never to do more of that kind. When you lie down 
at night, compose your spirits, as if you were not to awake till the 
heavens be no more. And when you awake in the morning, consi- 
der that new day as your last ; and live accordingly. Surely that 
night Cometh, of which you will never see the morning; or that 
morning, of which you will never see the night. But which of your 
mornings or nights will be such, you know not. 

Thirdly, Employ yourselves much in weaning your hearts from 
the world. The man who is making ready to go abroad, busies him- 
self in taking leave of his friends. Let the mantle of earthly enjoy- 
ments hang loose about you ; that it may be easily dropped, when 
death comes to carry you away into another world. Moderate your 
affections towards your lawful comforts of life : let not your hearts 
be too much taken with them. The traveller acts unwisely, who 
suffers himself to be so allured with the conveniences of the inn 
where he lodges, as to make his necessary departure from it griev- 
ous. Feed with fear, and walk through the world as pilgrims and 
strangers. The same as, when the corn is forsaking the ground, 
it is ready for the sickle ; when the fruit is ripe, it falls off the tree 
easily; so, when a Christian's heart is truly weaned from the world, 
he is prepared for death, and it will be the more easy to him. A 
heart disengaged from the world is a heavenly one : we are ready 
for heaven when our heart is there before us. Matt. vi. 21. 

Fourtlily, Be diligent in gathering and laying up evidences of 
your title to heaven, for your support and comfort at the hour of 
death. The neglect hereof mars the joy and consolation which 
some Christians might otherwise have at their death. Wherefore, 
examine yourselves frequently as to your spiritual state ; that evi- 
dences which lie hid and unobserved, may be brought to light and 


taken notice of. And if you would manage this work successfully, 
make solemn, serious work of it. Set apart some time for it. And, 
after earnest prayer to God, through Jesus Ciirist, for the enlight- 
ening influences of his Holy Spirit, whereby you are enabled to 
understand his own word, and to discern his own work in your 
souls ; examine yourselves before the tribunal of your own con- 
sciences, that you may judge youi'selves, in this weighty matter. 

And, in the firat place, let the marks of a regenerate state be 
fixed from the Lord's word : have recourse to some particular text 
for that purpose ; such as Prov. viii. 17, " I love them that love 
me." Compare Luke xiv. 26, " If any man come to me, and hate 
not his father, and mothei', and wife, and children, and brethren, 
and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." 
Psalm cxis. 6, " Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect 
unto all thy commandments." Psalm xviii. 23, " I was also upright 
before him ; and I kept myself from mine iniquity." Compare 
Rom. vii. 22, 23, " For I delight in the law of God, after the inward 
man : but I see another law in my members, warring against the 
law of my mind." 1 John iii. 3, " Every man that hath this hope in 
him, purifieth himself, even as he is pure." Matt. v. 3, " Blessed 
are the pure in spirit : for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Phil, 
iii. 3, " For we are the circumcision, which worship," or serve " God 
in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in 
the fiesh." The sum of the evidence arising from these texts, lies 
here : a real Christian ^is one who loves God for himself, as well as 
for his benefits ; and that with a supreme love, above all persons, 
and all things ; he has an awful and impartial regard to God's com- 
mands ; he opposes and wrestles against that sin, which of all others 
most easily besets him : he approves and loves the holy law, even in 
that very point wherein it strikes against his own beloved lust; his 
hope of heaven engages him to the study of universal holiness ; in 
which he aims at perfection, though he cannot reach it in this life ; 
he serves the Lord, not only in acts of worship, but in the whole of 
his conversation, and as to both, is spiritual in the principle, mo- 
tives, aims, and ends of his service ; yet he sees nothing in himself 
to trust to, before the Lord ; Christ and his fulness are the stay of 
his soul; his confidence is cut off from all that is not Christ, or in 
Christ, in point of justification or acceptance with God, and in point 
of sanctification too. Every one, in whom these characters are 
found, has a title to heaven, according to the word. It is con- 
venient and profitable to mark such texts, for this special use, as 
they occur, while you read the Scriptures, or hear sermons. The 
marks of a regenerate state thus fixed, in the next place impartially 


search and try yoar own hearts thereby, as in the sight of God, with 
deiiendence on him for spiritual discernment, that you may know 
whether they be in you or not. When you find them, form the con- 
clusion deliberately and distinctly; namely, that therefore you are 
regenerated, and have a title to heaven." Thus you may gather 
evidences. But be sure to have recourse to God in Christ, by 
earnest prayer, for the testimony of the Spirit, whose office it is to 
" bear witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God," 
Rom. viii. 16. Moreover, carefully observe the course and method 
of providence towards you ; and likewise, how your soul is affected 
under the same, in the various steps thereof: compare both with 
Scripture doctrines, promises, threatenings, and examples: so shall 
you perceive if the Lord deals with you as he uses to do unto those 
that love his name, and if you are going forth by the footsteps of 
the flock. This may afford you comfortable evidence. Walk ten- 
derly and circumspectly, and the Lord will manifest himself to you, 
according to his promise, John xiv. 21, " He that hath my com- 
mandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me ; and he that 
loveth me, shall be loved of my Father ; and I will love him, and 
will manifest myself to him." But it is in vain to think of success- 
ful self-examination, if you be loose and irregular in your con- 

Lastly, Despatch the work of your day and generation with speed 
and diligence. " David, after he had served his own generation by 
the will of God, fell on sleep " Acts xiii. 36. God has allotted us 
certain pieces of work of this kind, which ought to be despatched 
before the time of working be over, Eccl. ix. 10, " Whatsoever thy 
hand findeth to do, do it with thy might : for there is no work, nor 
knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." Gal. vi. 
10, " As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, 
especially unto them who are of the household of faith." If a pas- 
senger, after he is got on shipboard, and the ship is getting under 
sail, remember that he has omitted to despatch a piece of necessary 
business when he was ashore, it must needs be uneasy to him : even 
so, reflection in a dying hour upon neglected seasons, and lost op- 
portunities, cannot fail to disquiet a Christian. Wherefore, what- 
ever is incumbent upon thee to do for God's honour, and the good of 
others, either as the duty of thy station, or by special opportunity 
put into thy hand, perform it seasonably, if thou wouldst die com- 




Marvel not at this : for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in 
the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth : they that have 
done good unto the resurrection of life ; and they that have done evil 
unto the resurrection of damnation. — John y. 28, 29. 

These words are part of the defence which our Lord Jesus Christ 
makes for himself, when persecuted by the Jews, for curing the im- 
potent man and ordering him to carry away his bed on the Sabbath ; 
and for vindicating his conduct, when accused by them of having 
thereby profaned that day. Ou this occasion he professes himself 
not only the Lord of the Sabbath, but also Lord of life and death ; 
declaring, in the words of the text, the resurrection of the dead to 
be brought to pass by his power. This he introduces with these 
words, as with a solemn preface, " Marvel not at this," namely, at 
this strange discourse of mine : do not wonder to hear me, whose 
appearance is so very mean in your eyes, talk at this rate; for the 
day is coming, in which the dead shall be raised by my power. 

Observe in this text, 1. The doctrine of the resurrection asserted, 
" All that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come 
forth." The dead bodies, which are reduced to dust, shall revive, 
and evidence life by hearing and moving. 2. The author of it, 
Jesus Christ, " the Son of man," ver. 27. The dead shall hear his 
voice, and be raised thereby. 3. The number that shall be raised, 
" All that are in the graves," that is, all the dead bodies of men, 
howsoever differently disposed of, in different kinds of graves ; or 
all the dead, good and bad. They are not all buried in graves, pro- 
perly so called : some are burnt to ashes i some drowned, and 
buried in the bellies of fishes ; but, wherever the matter or sub- 
stance of which the body was composed is to be found, thence they 
shall come forth. 4. The great distinction that shall be made be- 
tween the godly and the wicked : they shall both rise again in the 
resurrection. None of the godly shall be missing; though, perhaps, 
they either had no burial, or a very obscure one ; and all the wicked 
shall come forth ; their vaulted tombs shall hold them no longer 
than the voice is uttered. But the former have a joyful resurrec- 
tion to life, whilst the latter have a dreadful resurrection to damna- 
tion. 5. The set time of this great event : there is au hour, or cer- 
tain fixed period of time, appointed of God for it. We are not told 


•when that hour will be, but that it is coming ; for this, among other 
reasons, that we may always be ready. 

Doctrine. There shall be a resurrection of the dead. In dis- 
coursing of this subject, I shall — 1. Shew the certainty of the resur- 
rection. II. I shall inquire into the nature of it. And, Lastly, 
make some practical improvement of the whole. 

I. In shewing the certainty of the resurrection, I shall evince, 1. 
That God can raise the dead. 2. That he will do it; which are the 
two grounds or topics laid down by Christ himself, when disputing 
with the Sudduces, Matt. xxii. 29, " Jesus answered and said unto 
them, Te do err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God." 

I. Seeing God is almighty, surely he can raise the dead. We 
have instances of this powerful work of God, both in the Old and 
New Testament. The son of the widow in Sarepta was raised 
from the dead, 1 Kings xvii. 22 ; the Shunammite's son, 2 Kings iv. 
35 ; and the man " cast into the sepulchre of Elisha," chap. xiii. 21. 
In which we may observe a gradation, the second of these miracu- 
lous events being more illustrious than the first, and the third than 
the second. The first of these persons was raised when he was but 
newly dead; the prophet Elijah, who raised him being present at 
his decease. The second, when he had lain dead a considerable 
time ; namely, while hit; mother travelled from Shunem, to mount 
Carmel, I'eckoned about the distance of sixteen miles, and returned 
from thence to her house, with Elisha, who raised him. The last, 
not till they were burying him, and the corpse was cast into the 
prophet's grave. In like manner, in the New Testament, Jairus's 
daughter, Mark v. 41, and Dorcas, Acts ix. 40, were both raised to 
life, when lately dead ; the widow's son in Nain, when they were 
carrying him out to bury him^ Luke vii. 11 — 15 ; and Lazarus, when 
putrid in the grave, John xi. 39 — 44. 

Can men make curious glasses out of ashes, and cannot the great 
Creator, who made all things of nothing, raise man's body, after it 
is reduced into the dust ? If it be objected, " How can men's bodies 
be raised up again, after they are reduced to dust, and the ashes of 
many generations are mingled together ?" Scripture and reason 
furnish the answer, " With men it is impossible, but not with God." 
It is absurd for men to deny that God can do a thing, because they 
see not how it may be done. How small a portion do we know of 
his ways ! How absolutely incapable are we of conceiving dis- 
tinctly of the extent of almighty power, and much more of compre- 
hending its actings, and method of procedui'e ! I question not, but 
many illiterate meif are as great unbelievers as to many chemical 
experiments, as some learned men are to the doctrine of the resur- 


rection : and as these last are ready to deride the former, so, " the 
Lord will have them in derision." What a mystery was it to the 
Indians, that the Europeans could, by a piece of paper, converse 
together at the distance of some hundreds of miles ! How much 
were they astonished to see thera, with their guns, produce as it were 
thunder and lightning in a moment, and at pleasure kill men afar 
off! Shall some men do such things as are wonders in the eyes of 
others because they cannot comprehend them, and shall men confine 
the infinite power of God within the narrow boundaries of their own 
shallow capacities, in a matter no ways contrary to reason ! An 
inferior nature has but a very imperfect conception of the power of 
a superior. Brutes do not conceive of the actings of reason in men; 
and men have but imperfect notions of the power of angels : how 
low and inadequate a conception, then, must a finite nature have of 
the power of that which is infinite ! Though we cannot conceive how 
God acts, yet we ought to believe he can do above what we can 
think or conceive. 

Wherefore, let the bodies of men be laid in the grave ; let thera 
rot there, and be reduced into the most minute particles : or let 
them be burnt, and the ashes cast into rivers, or thrown up into the 
air, to be scattered by the wind : let the dust of a thousand gene- 
rations be mingled, and the steams of the dead bodies wander to 
and fro in the air : let birds or wild beasts eat the bodies, or the 
fishes of the sea devour them, so that the parts of human bodies, 
thus destroyed, pass into substantial parts of birds, beasts or fishes; 
and then let our modern Sadducees propose the questions in these 
cases, as the ancient Sadducees did in the case of the woman who 
had been married to seven husbands successively, Matt. xxii. 28. 
We answer, as our blessed Lord and Saviour did, ver. 29, " Ye do 
err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God." We 
believe God to be omniscient and omnipotent ; infinite in knowledge 
and in power : and hence, agreeably to the dictates of reason, we 
conclude the possibility of the resurrection, even in the cases 

Material things may change their forms and shapes, may be reduced 
to the principles of which they are formed : but they are not 
annihilated, or reduced to nothing ; nor can they be so, by any 
created power. God is omniscient, his understanding is infinite ; 
therefore he knows all things ; what they were at any time, what 
they are, and where they are to be found. Though the countryman, 
who comes into the apothecary's shop, cannot find out the drug he 
wants; yet the apothecary himself knows what he has in his shop, 
whence it came, and where it is to be found. And, in a mixture of 


mauy different seeds, the expert gardener can distinguish between 
each of them. Why then may not Omniscience distinguish between 
dust and dust ? Can he, who knows all things to perfection, be 
liable to any mistake about his own creatures ? Whoso believes 
an infinite understanding, must needs own, that no mass of dust is so 
jumbled together, but God perfectly comprehends, and infallibly 
knows, how the most minute particle, and every one of them is to be 
matched. Therefore he knows where the particles of each dead body 
are; whether in the earth, sea, or air, however they are now scat- 
tered. — It is certain the bodies of men, as of all other animals or 
living creatures, are in a continual change : they grow and are sus- 
tained by daily food ; so small a part whereof becomes nourishment, 
that the most part evaporates. It is reckoned that much of the food 
evaporates insensibly by perspiration. Yea, the nourishing part of 
the food, when assimilated, and thereby become a part of the body, 
evaporates by perspiration, though the pores o^ the skin, and is again 
supplied by the use of other food : yet the body is still reckoned one 
and the same body. Whence we may conclude, that it is not essen- 
tial to the resurrection of the body, tliat every particle of the mat- 
ter, which at any time was part of a human body, should be restored 
to it, when it is raised up from death to life. Were it so, the bodies 
of men would become of so huge a size, that they would bear no 
resemblance to the persons. It is sufficient to denominate it the 
same body that died, when it is risen again, if the body that is 
raised be formed in its former proportions, of the same particles of 
matter, which at any time were its constituent parts, however it bo 
refined : just as we reckon it is the same body that has pined away 
by long sickness, which becomes fat and fair again after recovery. 

Now, to this infinite understanding join infinite power, whereby 
he is able to subdue all things unto himself; and this gloriously 
great work appears most reasonable. If Omniscience discover every 
little particle of dust, where it is, and how it is to be matched, can- 
not Omnipotence bring them, and join them together, in their order ? 
Can the watchmaker take up the several pieces of a watch, lying in 
a confused heap before him, and set each in its proper place ; and 
cannot God put the human body into order, after its dissolution ? 
Did he speak his world into being, out of nothing : and can he not 
form man's body out of its pre-existent matter ? If he calleth those 
things which be not, as though they were, surely he can call things 
that are dissolved, to be as they were before the compound was 
resolved into its parts and principles. Wherefore, God can raise 
the dead. And " Why should it be thought a thing incredible 
with you, that God should raise the dead?" Acts xxvi. 8. 



2. God will do it. He not only can do it, but he certainly will 
do it, because he has said it. Our text is very full to this purpose, 
*' All that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come 
forth ; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and 
tliey that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." 
These words relate to, and are an explanation of, that part of 
Daniel's prophecy, Dan. xii. 2, "And many of them that sleep in 
the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some 
to shame and everlasting contempt." Which appears to be calcu- 
lated to confront the doctrine of the Sadducees ; which the Holy 
Ghost knew was to be at a great height in the Jewish church, under 
the persecution of Antiochus. — There are many other texts in the 
Old and New Testament, that might here be adduced; such as Acts 
sxiv. 15, " And have hope towards God, which they themselves 
also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of 
the just and unjust." And Job xix. 26, 27, " 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." But I need not multiply 
testimonies, in a matter so clearly and frequently taught in' sacred 
Scripture. Our Lord and Saviour himself proves it, against the 
Sadducees, in that remarkable text, Luke xx. 37, 38, " Now that 
the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth 
the Lord, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of 
Jacob ; for he is not a God of the dead, but of the living ; for all 
live unto him." — These holy patriarchs were dead; nevertheless, 
the Lord Jehovah is called their God, namely, in virtue of the 
covenant of grace, and in the sense thereof; in which sense the 
phrase comprehends all blessedness, as that which, by the covenant, 
is secured to those who are in it; Heb. xi. 16, " God is not ashamed 
to be called their God ; for he has prepared for them a city." He 
is not called the God of their souls only; but their God, the God of 
their persons, souls, and bodies ; which, by virtue of his truth and 
faithfulness, must have its full effect : now, it cannot have its full 
effect on the dead, who, inasmuch as they are dead, are far from all 
blessedness ; but on the living, who alone are capable of it. There- 
fore, since God is still called their God, they are living in respect 
of God, " although their bodies are yet in the grave ; for, in respect 
of him, who by his power can restore them to life, and in his cove- 
nant has declared his will and purpose so to do, and whose promise 

* Their souls are actually so, and enjoy communion with him, and with saints and 


cannot fail, tliey are all to be reckoned to live ; and, consistent 
with the covenant, their death is but a sleep, out of which, in virtue 
of the said covenant, securing all blessedness to their persons, their 
whole man, they must and shall certainly be awakened. The apostle 
Paul proves the resurrection at large, 1 Cor. chap, xv., and shows it 
to be a fundamental article, the denial whereof is subversive of 
Christianity, ver. 13, 14, " If there be no resurrection of the dead 
then is Christ not risen. And if Christ be not risen, then is our 
preaching vain, and your faith is also vain." 

To assist us in conceiving of it, the Scripture gives us types of the 
resurrection of the dead ; as the dry bones living, Ezek. chap, 
xxxvii ; Jonah's coming out of the whale's belly, Matt. xii. 40. And 
nature affords us emblems and resemblances of it ; as the sun's 
setting and rising again, night and day, winter and summer, sleeping 
and waking ; swallows in winter lying without any appearance of 
life, in ruinous buildings and subterraneous caverns, and reviving 
again in the spring season ; the seed dying under the clod, and 
springing up again : all which, and the like, may justly be admitted 
as designed by the God of nature, thtugh not for proofs, yet for me- 
morials of the resurrection ; whereof we have assurance from the 
Scripture, 1 Cor. xv. 36, " Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not 
quickened, except it die." 

II. I shall inquire into the nature of the resurrection, shewing, 1. 
Who shall be raised ? 2. What shall be raised. 3. How the dead 
shall be raised. 

1. Who shall be raised? Our text tells us who they are ; namely 
" all that are in the graves," that is, all mankind who are dead. 
As for those persons who are found alive at the second coming of 
Christ, they shall not die, and soon after be raised again ; but such 
a change shall suddenly pass upon them as shall be to them instead 
of dying and rising again ; so that their bodies shall become like to 
those bodies which are raised out of their graves, 1 Cor. xv. 61, 52, 
" We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed: in a moment, 
in the twinkling of an eye." Hence those that are to be judged at 
the great day, are distinguished into quick and dead, Acts x. 42. 
All the dead shall arise, whether godly or wicked, just or unjust, 
Acts xxiv. 15, old or young ; the whole race of mankind, even those 
who never saw the sun, Rev. xx. 12, " And I saw the dead, small 
and great, stand before God." The sea and earth shall give up their 
dead without reserve, none shall be kept back. 

2: What shall be raised ? The bodies of mankind. A man is 
said to die, when the soul is separated from the body, " and returns 
unto God who gave it," Eccl. xii. 7. But it is the body only which 


is laid in the grave, and can be properly said to be raised : where- 
fore the resurrection, strictly speaking, applies to the body only. 
Moreover, it is tlie same body that dies, which shall rise again. At 
the resurrection, men shall not appear with other bodies, as to sub- 
stance, than those which they now have, and which are laid down in 
the grave ; but with the self-same bodies, endowed with other qua- 
lities. The very notion of a resurrection implies this, since nothing 
can be said to rise again, but that which falls. But to illustrate it 
a little, 1. It is plaiu from Scripture testimony. The apostle as- 
serts, that it is " this mortal" which " must put on immortality," 
1 Cor. XV. 53 ; and that Christ ■" shall change our vile body, that it 
may be fashioned like unto his glorious body," Phil. iii. 21. Death, 
in Scripture language, is a sleep, and the resurrection an awaking 
out of that sleep, Job xiv. 12 ; which shews the body rising up, to 
be the self-same that died. 2. The equity of the divine procedure, 
both with respect to the godly and the wicked, proves this. It is 
not reckoned equal among men, that one do the work, and another 
get the reward. Though the glorifying of the bodies of the saints 
is. not, properly speaking, and in a strict sense, the reward of their 
services or sufferings on earth ; yet this is evident, that it is not at 
all agreeable to the manner of the divine dispensation, that one 
body should serve him, and another be glorified ; that one should 
fight, and another receive the crown. How can it be imagined, that 
" the temples of the Holy Ghost," as the bodies of believers are 
termed, 1 Cor. vi. 19, should always lie in rubbish, and others be 
reared up in their stead? that the members of Christ, ver. 15, 
should perish utterly, and other bodies come in their room ? Nay, 
surely, as the bodies of the saints now bear a part in glorifying 
God, and some of them suffer in his cause, so they shall partake of 
the glory that is to be revealed. And these bodies of the wicked, 
which are laid in the dust, shall be raised again, that the same body 
which sinned may suffer. Shall one body sin here, and another 
suffer in hell for that sin ? Shall that body which was the soul's 
companion in sin, lie for ever hid in the dust ; and another body 
which did not act any part in sinning, be its companion in torment ? 
No, no; it is that body which now takes up all their thoughts to 
provide for its back and belly, that shall be raised up, to suffer 
in hell. It is that tongue, which is now the swearing, lying 
tongue, that will need water to cool it, in eternal flames. The same 
feet that now stand in the way of sinners, and carry men in their 
ungodly courses, shall stand in the burning lake. And the same 
covetous and lascivious eyes shall receive the fire and smoke of the 


3. How shall the dead be raised ? The same Jesus, who was 
crucified within the gates of Jerusalem, shall, at the last day, to the 
conviction of all, be declared both Lord and Christ : appearing as 
Judge of the world, attended with his mighty angels, 2 Thess. i. 7, 
" He shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of 
the archangel, and with the trump of God," 1 Thess. iv. 16, " The 
trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised, and those who 
are alive, changed," 1 Cor, xv. 52. Whether this shout, voice, 
and trumpet, denote some audible voice, or only the workings of 
Divine power, for the raising of the dead, and other awful pur- 
poses of that day, though the former seems probable, I will not 
positively determine. There is no question but this coming of 
the Judge of the world will be in greater majesty and terror than 
we can conceive : yet that awful grandeur, majesty, and state, 
which was displayed at the giving of the law, namely, thunders 
heard, lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount seen, the 
Lord descending in fire, the whole mount quaking greatly, and 
the voice of the trumpet waxing louder and louder, Exod. xix. 
16 — 19, may help us to form a becoming thought of it. However, 
the sound of this trumpet shall be heard all the world over ; it shall 
reach to the depths of the sea, and of the earth. At this loud alarm, 
bones shall come together, bone to his bone : the scattered dust of 
all the dead shall be gathered together, dust to his dust; "neither 
shall one thrust another, they shall walk every one in his path ;" 
and, meeting together again, shall make up that very same body 
which crumbled into dust in the grave. At the same alarming voice 
shall every soul come into its own body, never more to be separated. 
The dead can stay no longer in their graves, but must bid an eter- 
nal farewell to their long homes : they hear His voice, and must 
come forth, and receive their final sentence. 

Now as there is a great difference between the godly and the 
wicked, in their life, and in their death; so will there be also in 
their resurrection. 

The godly shall be raised out of their graves, by virtue of the 
Spirit of Christ, the blessed bond of their union with him, Rom. viii. 
11, " He that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your 
mortal bodies, by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." Jesus Christ 
arose from the dead, as the " first-fruits of them that slept," 1 Cor. 
XV. 20, So they that are Christ's shall follow at his coming, ver. 
23. The mystical head having got above the waters of death, he 
cannot but bring forth the members after him, in due time. 

They shall come forth with inexpressible joy ; for then shall that 
passage of Scripture, which, in its immediate scope, respected the 


Babylonish captivity, be fully accomplished in its most extensive 
meaning, Isa. xxvi. 19, " Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust." 
As a bi'ide adorned for her husband, goes forth of her bedchamber 
unto the marriage : so shall the saints go forth of their graves, unto 
the marriage of the Lamb. Joseph had a joyful coming out from 
the prison, Daniel from the lion's den, and Jonah from the whale's 
belly : yet these are but faint representations of the saint's coming 
forth from the grave, at the resurrection. Then shall they sing the 
song of Moses and of the Lamb, in highest strains ; death being quite 
swallowed up in victory. They had, while in this life, sometimes 
sung, by faith the triumphant song over death and the grave, " 
death, where is thy sting ? grave where is thy victory ?" 1 Cor. 
XV. 55. But then they sing the same, from sight and sense ; the 
black baud of doubts and fears, which frequently disturbed them, 
and disquieted their minds, is for ever dispersed and driven away. 

May we not suppose the soul and body of every saint, as in mutual 
embraces, to rejoice in each other, and triumph in their happy meet- 
ing again ; and the body to address the soul thus ? " my soul, 
have we got together again, after so long a sej)aration ! art thou 
come back to thine old habitation, never more to remove ! joy- 
ful meeting ! how unlike is our present state to what our case 
was, when a separation was made between us at death ! Now is 
our mourning turned into joy ; the light and gladness sown before, 
are now sprung up ; and there is a perpetual spring in Immanuel's 
land- Blessed be the day in which T was united to thee; whose 
chief care was to get Christ in us the hope of glory, and to make me 
a temple for his Holy Spirit. blessed soul, which in the time of 
our pilgrimage, kept thine eye to the land then afar off, but now 
near at hand ! thou tookest me into secret places, and there madest 
me to bow these knees before the Lord, that I might bear a part in 
our humiliation before him : and now is the time that I am lifted 
up. Thou didst employ this tongue in confessions, petitions, and 
thanksgivings, which henceforth shall be employed in praising for 
evermore. Thou madest these sometimes weeping eyes, sow that 
seed of tears, which is now sprung up in joy that shall never end. 
I was happily beat down by thee, and kept in subjection, while 
others pampered their flesh, and made their bellies their gods, to 
their own destruction : but now I gloriously arise, to take my place 
in the mansions of glory, whilst they are dragged out of their graves 
to be cast into fiery flames. Now, my soul, thou shalt complain no 
more of a sick and pained body; thou shalt be no more clogged with 
weak and weary flesh ; I shall now keep pace with thee in the 
praises of our God for evermore." And may not the soul say, " 


happy day in which I return to dwell in that blessed body, which 
was, and is, and will be for ever, a member of Christ, a temple of 
the Holy Spirit ! Now I shall be eternally knit to thee : the silver 
cord shall never be loosed more : death shall never make another 
separation between us. Arise then, my body, and come away ! and 
let these eyes, which were wont to weep over my sins, behold with 
joy the face of our glorious Redeemer ; lo ! this is our God, and we 
have waited for him. Let these ears, which were wont to hear the 
word of life in the temi)Ie below, come and hear the hallelujahs in 
the temple above. Let these feet, that carried me to the congrega- 
tion of saints on earth, take their place among those in heaven. 
And let this tongue, which confessed Christ before men, and used to 
be still dropping something to his commendation, join the choir of 
the upper house, in his praises for evermore. Thou shalt fast no 
more, but keep an everlasting feast ; thou shalt weep no more, nei- 
ther shall thy countenance be overclouded; but thou shalt shine for 
ever, as a star in the firmament. "We took part together in the 
fight, come, let us go together to receive and wear the crown." 

But on the other hand, the wicked shall be raised by the power 
of Christ, as a just Judge, who is to render vengeance to his enemies. 
The same divine power which shut up their souls in hell, and 
kept their bodies in the grave, as in a prison, shall bring them 
forth, that soul and body together may receive the dreadful sen- 
tence of eternal damnation, and be shut up together in the prison of 

They shall come forth from their graves with unspeakable horror 
and consternation. They shall be dragged forth, as so many male- 
factors out of a dungeon, to be led to execution ; crying to the 
mountains and to the rocks to fall on them, and hide them from the 
face of the Lamb. Fearful was the cry in Egypt, the night on 
which the destroying angel went through, and slew their first-born. 
Dreadful were the shouts, at the earth opening her mouth, and 
swallowing up Dathan and Abiram, and all that appertained to 
them. What hideous crying then must there be, when at the sound 
of the last trumpet, the earth and sea shall open their mouths, and 
cast forth all the wicked world, delivering them up to the dreadful 
Judge ! How will they cry, roar, and tear themselves ! How will 
the jovial companions weep and howl, and curse one another ! 
How will the earth be filled with their doleful shrieks and lamenta- 
tions, while they are pulled out like sheep for the slaughter ! They 
who, while they lived in this world, were profane, debauchees, 
covetous worldlings, or formal hypocrites, shall then, in anguish of 
mind, wring their hands, beat their breasts, and bitterly lament 


their case, roaring forth their complaints, and calling themselves 
beasts, fools, and madmen, for having acted so mad a part in this 
life, in not believing what they then heard. They were driven 
away in their wickedness, at death : and now all their sins rise with 
them; and, like so many serpents, twist themselves about their 
wretched souls, and bodies too, which have a frightful meeting, 
after a long separation. 

Then we may suppose the miserable body thus to accost the soul, 
" Hast thou again found rae, mine enemy, my worst enemy, savage 
soul, more cruel than a thousand tigers. Cursed be the day that 
ever we met. that I had never received sense, life, and motion ! 
O that I had rather been the body of a toad, or serpent, than thy 
body ; for then had I lain still, and had not seen this terrible day ; 
If I was to be necessarily thine, that I had been thy ass, or one 
of thy dogs, rather than thy body; for then wouldst thou have 
taken more true care of me than thou didst ! cruel kindness ! 
hast thon thus hugged me to death, thus nourished me to the 
slaughter ? Is this the effect of thy tenderness for me ? Is this 
what I am to reap of thy pains and concern about me ? What do 
riches and pleasures avail now, when this fearful reckoning is come ! 
of which thou hadst fair warning ? cruel grave ! why didst thou 
not close thy mouth upon me for ever ? Why didst thou not hold 
fast thy prisoner ? "Why hast thou shaken me out, while I lay still 
and was at rest ? Cursed soul, wherefore didst thou not abide in 
thy place, wrapped up in flames of fire ? Wherefore art thou come 
back, to take me also down to the bars of the pit? Thou madest 
me an instrument of unrighteousness ; and now I must be thrown 
into the fire. This tongue was by thee employed in mocking at re- 
ligion, cursing, swearing, lying, backbiting, and boasting ; and with- 
held from glorifying God : and now it must not have so much as a 
drop of water to cool it in the flames. Thou didst withdraw mine 
ears from hearing the sermons which gave warning of this day 
Thou foundest ways and means to stop them from attending to sea- 
sonable exhortations, admonitions, and reproofs. But why didst 
thou not stop them from hearing the sound of this dreadful trumpet? 
Why dost thou not rove and fly away on the wings of imagination, 
thereby, as it were, transporting me during these frightful transac- 
tions ; as thou wast wont to do, when I was set down at sermons, 
communions, prayers, and godly conferences; that I might now have 
as little sense of the one, as I formerly had of the other ? But ah ! 
I must burn for ever, for thy love to thy lusts, thy profanity, thy 
sensuality, thy unbelief, and hypocrisy." But may not the soul 
answer — " Wretched and vile carcase ! I am now driven back into 
Vol. VIII. s 


thee. that thou hadst lain for ever in thy grave ! Had I not tor- 
ment enough before ? Must I be knit to thee again, that, being 
joined together as two dry sticks for the fire, the wrath of God may 
burn us up ? It was by caring for you, that I lost myself. It was 
your back and your belly, and the gratifying of your senses, which 
ruined me. How often was I ensnared by your ears ! how often be- 
trayed by your eyes ! It was to spare you, that I neglected oppor- 
tunities of making peace with God, loitered away Sabbaths, lived in 
the neglect of prayer; went to the house of mirth, rather than to 
the house of mourning; and that I chose to deny Christ, and forsake 
his cause and interest in the world ; and so am fallen a sacrifice to 
your cursed ease. "When at any time my conscience began to 
awake, and I was setting myself to think of my sins, and the misery 
which I have felt since we parted, and now feel, it was you that di- 
verted me from these thoughts, and drew me off to make provision 
for you. wretched flesh ! by your silken cords of fleshly lusts, I 
was drawn to destruction, in defiance of my light and conscience : 
but now they are turned into iron chains, with which I am to be held 
under wrath for evermore. Ah wretched profits ! ah cursed plea- 
sures ! for which I must lie for ever in utter darkness !" — But no 
complaints will then avail. that men were wise, that they under- 
stood this, that they would consider their latter end ! 

As to the qualities with which the bodies of the saints shall be 
endowed at the resurrection, the apostle tells us, they shall be 
raised incorruptible, glorious, powerful, and spiritual, 1 Cor. xv. 
42 — 44, " It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption : it is 
sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness, it is 
raised in power : it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual 

1. The bodies of the saints shall be raised incorruptible. They 
are now, as the bodies of others, a mass of corruption, full of the 
seeds of diseases and death ; and, when dead, become so offensive, 
even to their dearest friends, that they must be buried out of their 
sight, and cast into the grave : yea, loathsome sores and diseases 
make some of them very unsightly, even while alive. But, at the 
resurrection, they leave all the seeds of corruption behind them in 
the grave ; and rise incorruptible, incapable of the least indisposi- 
tion, sickness, or sore, and much more, of dying. External vio- 
lences and inward causes of pain, shall for ever cease : they shall 
feel it no more : yea, they shall have an everlasting youth and 
vigour, being no more subject to the decays which age produced in 
this life. 

2. They shall be glorioas bodies; not only beautiful, comely, and 


well-proportioned, but full of splendour and brightness. The most 
beautiful face, and best proportioned body, that now appears in the 
world, is not to be named in comparison with the body of the mean- 
est saint at the resurrection ; for " then shall the righteous shine 
torth as the sun," Matt, xiii, 43. If there was a dazzling glory on 
Moses' face, when he came down from the mount ; and if Stephen's 
face was " as it had been the face of an angel," when he stood be- 
fore the council ; how much more shall the faces of the saints be 
beautiful and glorious, full of sweet agreeable majesty, when they 
have put off all corruption, and shine as the sun ! But observe, this 
beauty of the saints is not restricted to their faces, but diffuses itself 
through their whole bodies : for the whole body is raised in glory, and 
shall be fashioned like unto their Lord aud Saviour's glorious body, 
in whose transfiguration, not only did his face shine as the sun, but 
his raiment also was white as the light, Matt. xvii. 2. Whatever 
defects or deformities the bodies of the saints had when laid in the 
grave, occasioned by accidents in life, or arising from secret causes 
in their formation, they shall rise out of the grave free of all these. 
But suppose the marks of the Lord Jesus, the scars or prints of the 
wounds and bruises which some of the saints received while on earth, 
for his sake, should remain in their bodies after the resurrection ; 
the same as the print of the nails remained in the Lord Jesus' 
body after his resurrection : these marks will rather be badges of 
distinction, and add to their glory, than detract from their beauty. 
But however that be, surely Isaac's eyes shall not then be dim, nor 
will Jacob halt : Leah shall not be tender-eyed, nor Mephibosheth 
lame of his legs. For as the goldsmith melts down the old crazy 
vessel, and casts it over again in a new mould, bringing it forth with 
a new lustre ; so shall the vile body, which lay dissolved in the 
grave, come forth at the resurrection, in perfect beauty and comely 

3. They shall be powerful and strong bodies. The strongest men 
on earth, being frail and mortal, may justly be reckoned weak and 
feeble ; for their strength, however great, is quickly worn out and 
consumed. Many of the saints now have weaker bodies than others; 
but " the feeble among them," to allude to Zechariah xii. 8, at that 
day shall be *' as David, and the house of David shall be as God." 
A grave divine says. That one shall be stronger at the resurrection 
than a hundred, yea, than thousands are now. Certainly great, and 
vastly great, must the strength of glorified bodies be ; for they shall 
bear up under an exceeding and eternal weight of glory. The 
mortal body i» not at all adapted to such a state. Do transports of 
joy occasion death, as well as excessive grief, and can it bear up 



under a weight of glory ? Can it subsist in union with a soul filled 
with heaven's rapture ? Surely not. The mortal body would sink 
under that load, and such fulness of joy would make the earthen pit- 
cher to fly all in pieces. 

The Scripture has plainly told us, "That flesh and blood," namely, 
in their present frail state, though it were the flesh and blood of a 
giant, " cannot inherit the kingdom of God," 1 Cor. xv. 50. How 
strong must the bodily eyes be, which, to the soul's eternal comfort, 
shall behold the dazzling glory and splendour of the New Jerusalem; 
and steadfastly look at the transcendent glory and brightness of the 
man Christ, the Lamb, who is the light of that city, the inhabitants 
whereof shall shine as the sun ! The Lord of heaven doth now in 
mercy " hold back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud 
upon it ;" that mortals may not be confounded with the rays of 
glory which shine forth from it. Job xxvi. 9. But then the veil shall 
be removed, and they made able to behold it, to their unspeakable 
joy. How strong must their bodies be, who shall not rest night nor 
day, but be, without intermission, for ever employed in the hea- 
venly temple, to sing and proclaim the praises of God without wea- 
riness, which is a weakness incident to the frail mortal, but not to 
the glorified body ! 

4. They shall be spiritual bodies. Not that they shall be changed 
into spirits, but they shall be spiritual as to their spirit-like 
qualities and endowments. The body shall be absolutely subservient 
to the soul, subject to it, and influenced by it, and therefore no more 
a clog to its activity, nor the animal appetites a snare to it. There 
will be no need to beat it down, nor to drag it to the service of God. 
The soul, in this life is so much influeuced by the body, that, in 
Scripture style, it is said to be carnal ; but then the body shall be 
spiritual, readily serving the soul in the business of heaven, and in 
that only, as if it had no more relation to earth than a spirit. It 
will have no further need of the now necessary supports of life, 
namely, food, and raiment, and the like. " They shall hunger no 
more, neither thirst any more," Rev. vii. 16. " For in the resurrec- 
tion, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the 
angels of God in heaven." Then shall the saints be strong without 
meat or drink, warm without clothes, ever in perfect health without 
medicine, and ever fresh and vigorous, though they shall never 
sleep, but serve him night and day in his temple, Rev. vii. 15. 
They will need none of these things, any more than spirits do. 
They will be nimble and active as spirits, and of a most refined 
constitution. The body, that is now lumpish and heavy, shall then 
be most sprightly. No such thing as melancholy shall be found to 


make the heart heavy, and the spirits flag and sink. I shall not 
further dip into this matter : the day will declare it. 

As to the qualities of the bodies of the wicked at the resurrec- 
tion, I find the Scripture speaks but little of tliera. Whatever they 
may need, they shall not get a drop of water to cool their tongues, 
Luke xvi. 24, 25, Whatever may be said of their weakness, it is 
certain they will be continued for ever in life, that they may be 
ever dying; they shall bear up, however unwillingly under the 
load of God's wrath, and shall not faint away under it. " The 
smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever. And they 
have no rest day nor night." Surely they shall not partake of the 
glory and beauty of the saints. All their glory dies with them, and 
shall never rise again. Daniel tells us, they shall awake to shame 
and everlasting contempt, chap. xii. 2. Shame follows sin, as the 
shadow follows the body : but the wicked in this world walk in the 
dark, and often under a disguise : nevertheless, when the Judge 
comes in flaming fire at the last day, they will be brought to the 
light; their mask will be taken oiF, and the shame of their naked- 
ness will clearly appear to themselves and others, and fill their 
faces with confusion. Their shame will be too deep for blushes : 
all faces shall gather blackness at that day, when they shall go 
forth from their graves, as malefactors out of their prisons to exe- 
cution : for their resurrection is the resurrection of damnation. 
The greatest beauties, who now pride themselves in their comeliness 
of body, not regarding their deformed souls, will then appear with a 
ghastly countenance, a grim and death-like visage. Their looks 
will be frightful, and they will be horrible spectacles, coming forth 
from their graves, like infernal furies out of the pit. They shall 
rise also to everlasting contempt. They shall then be the most con- 
temptible creatures, filled with contempt from God, as vessels of 
dishonour, whatever honourable employments they had in this 
world ; and filled also with contempt from men. They will be most 
despicable in the eyes of the saints ; eveu of those saints who gave 
them honour here, either for their high station, the gifts of God in 
them, or because they were of tiie same human nature with them- 
selves. But then their bodies shall be as so many loathsome car- 
casses, which they shall go forth and look upon with abhorrence ; 
yea, " They shall be an abhorring unto all flesh," Isa. Ixvi. 24. 
The word here rendered " an abhorring," is the same which in the 
other text is rendered " contempt," and Isaiah and Daniel point at 
one and the same thing, namely, the loathsomeness of the wicked at 
the resurrection. They will be loathsome in the eyes of one au- 
otlier. The unclean wretches were never so lovely to each oilier, as 


then they will be loathsome ; dear companions in sin will then ab- 
hor each other ; and the great and honourable men who were wicked, 
shall be no more regarded by their wicked subjects, their servants, 
their slaves, than the mire in the streets. 

Use I. Of comfort to the people of God. The doctrine of the re- 
surrection is a spring of consolation and joy unto yon. Think on it , 
believers, when ye are. in the house of mourning, for the loss of 
your godly relations or friends, " that ye sorrow not, even as others 
which have no hope ;" for you will meet again, 1 Thess. iv. 13, 14. 
They are but laid down to rest in their beds for a little while, 
Isa. Ivii. 2 ; but in the morning of the resurrection they will awake 
again, and come forth out of their graves. The vessel of honour 
was but coarse, it had much alloy of base metal in it ; it was too 
weak, too dim and inglorious, for the upper house, whatever lustre 
it had in the lower one. It was cracked, it was polluted ; and 
therefore it must be melted down, to be refined and fashioned 
more gloriously. Do but wait a while, and you shall see it come 
forth out of the furnace of earth, vying with the stars in bright- 
ness ; nay, as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. Have you 
laid your infant children in the grave ? You will see them again. 
Your God calls himself " the God of your seed ;" which, according 
to our Saviour's exposition, secures the glorious resurrection of the 
body. Wherefore, let the covenant you embraced comfort your 
heart, in the joyful expectation, that, by virtue thereof, you shall 
be raised up in glory. Be not discouraged by reason of a weak 
and sickly body : there is a day coming, when you shall be 
entirely whole. At the resurrection, Timothy shall be no more 
liable to his often infirmities ; his body, that was weak and sickly, 
even in youth, shall be raised in power : Lazarus was healthy 
and sound, his body being raised incorruptible. Although per- 
haps, thy weakness will not allow thee now to go one furlong to 
meet the Lord in public ordinances, yet the day cometh, when thy 
body shall be no more a clog to thee, but thou shalt " meet the Lord 
in the air," 1 Thess. iv. 17. It will be with the saints coming up 
from the grave, as with the Israelites when they came out of Egypt. 
Psalm cv. 37, " There was not one feeble person among their tribes." 
Hast thou an uncomely or deformed body ? There is a glory within, 
which will then set all right without, according to all the desire of 
thine heart. It shall rise a glorious, beautiful, handsome, and well- 
proportioned body. Its uncomeliness or deformities may go with it 
to the grave, but they shall not come back with it. that those, 
who are now so desirous to be beautiful and handsome, would not be 
too hasty to eff'ect it with their foolish and sinful arts, but wait and 


study tlie heavenly art of beautifying the body, by endeavouring now 
to become all glorious within, with the graces of God's Spirit ! This 
would at length make them admirable and everlasting beauties. 
Thou must indeed, believer, grapple with death, and shalt get the 
first fall : but thou shalt rise again, and come off victorious at last. 
Thou must go down to the grave ; but, though it be thy long home, 
it will not be thine everlasting home. Thou wilt not hear the voice 
of thy friends there ; but thou shalt hear the voice of CJirist there. 
Thou mayest be carried thither with mourning, but thou shalt come 
up from it rejoicing. Thy friends, indeed, will leave thee there, 
but thy God will not. What God said to Jacob, concerning his going 
down to Egypt, Gen. xlvi. 3, 4, he says to thee, on thy going down 
to the grave, " Fear not to go down — 1 will go down with thee — and 
I will also surely bring thee up again." O solid comfort ! glo- 
rious hopes ! " "Wherefore comfort" yourselves, and " one another 
with these words," 1 Thess. iv. 18. 

Use II. Of terror to all unregenerate men. You who are yet in 
your natural state, look at this view of the eternal state ; and con- 
sider what will be your part in it, if you be not in time brought 
into a state of grace. Think, sinner, on that day when the 
trumpet shall sound, at which the bars of the pit .shall be broken 
asunder, the doors of the grave shall fly open, the devouring depths 
of the sea shall throw up their dead, the earth cast forth hers ; and 
death every where, in the excess of astonishment, shall let go its 
prisoners ; and thy wretched soul and body shall be re-united, to be 
summoned before the tribunal of God. Then, if thou hadst a thou- 
sand worlds at thy disposal, thou wouldst gladly give them all away, 
on condition that thou mightest lie still in thy grave, with the 
hundredth part of that ease, wherewith thou hast sometimes lain at 
home on the Lord's day ; or, if that cannot be obtained, that thou 
mightest be but a spectator of the transactions of that day ; as thou 
hast been at some solemn occasions, aud rich gospel feasts ; or, if 
even that is not to be purchased, that a mountain or a rock might 
fall on thee, and cover thee from the face of the Lamb. Ah ! how 
are men infatuated, thus to trifle away their precious time of life, 
in almost as little concern about death, as if they were like the 
beasts that perish ; Some will be telling where their corpse must 
be laid ; while yet they have not seriously considered, whether 
their graves shall be their beds, where they shall awake witli 
joy, in the morning of the resurrection ; or their prisons, out of 
which they shall be brought to receive the fearful sentence. Re- 
member, now is your seed-time ; and as you sow, so shall you reap. 
God's seed-time begins at death ; and at the resurrection, the bodies. 


of the wicked, that were sown " full of sins, that lie down with 
them in the dust," Job xx. 11, shall spring up again, sinful, 
wretched, and vile. Your bodies, which are now instruments of sin, 
the Lord will lay aside for fire, at death, and bring them forth for 
the fire, at the resurrection. That body, which is now employed in 
God's service, but is abused by uncleanness and lasciviousness, 
will then be brought forth in all its vileness, thenceforth to lodge 
with unclean spirits. The body of the drunkard shall then stagger, 
by reason of the wine of the wrath of God poured out to him, and 
poured into him, without mixture. Those M'ho now please them- 
selves in their revellings, will reel to and fro at another rate, when, 
instead of their songs and music, they shall hear the sound of the 
last trumpet. Many weary their bodies for worldly gain, who will 
be loath to distress them for the benefit of their souls ; by labour, 
unreasonably hard, they will quite unfit them for the service of 
God ; and, when they have done, will reckon it a very good reason 
for shifting duty, that they are already tired out with other business ; 
but that day cometh, when they will be made to abide a yet greater 
distress. Many will go several miles for back and belly, who will 
not go half the way for the good of their immortal souls ; many will 
be sickly and unable on the Lord's day, who will be tolerably well 
all the rest of the week. But when that trumpet sounds, the dead 
shall find their feet, and none shall be missing in that congregation. 
When the bodies of the saints shine as the sun, frightful will the 
looks of their persecutors be. Fearful will their condition be, who 
shut up the saints in prison, stigmatized, burnt them to ashes, hanged 
them, and stuck up their heads and hands in public places, to frighten 
others from the way of righteousness, which they sutfered for. Many 
faces, now fair, will then gather blackness. They shall be no more 
admired and caressed for that beauty, which has a worm at the root, 
that will cause it to issue in loathsomeness and deformity. Ah ! what 
is that beauty, under which there lurks a monstrous, deformed, and 
graceless heart ? "What, but a sorry paint, a slight varnish ; which 
will leave the body so much the more ugly, before that flaming fire, 
in which the Judge shall be " revealed from heaven, taking venge- 
ance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel ?" 
2 Thess. i. 7, 8. They shall be stripped of all their ornaments, and 
not have a rag to cover their nakedness : their carcases shall be 
an abhorrence to all flesh, and serve as a foil to set oft' the beauty 
and glory of the righteous, and make it appear the brighter. 

Now is the time to secure, for yourselves, a part in the resurrec- 
tion of the just : which if you would do, unite with Jesus Christ by 
faith, rising spiritually from sin, and glorifying God with your 


bodies. He is the " resurrection and the life," John xi. 25. If 
your bodies be members of Christ, temples of the Holy Ghost, they 
shall certainly arise in glory. Get into this ark now, and yon shall 
come forth with joy into the new world. Rise from your sins ; cast 
away these grave-clothes, putting off these former lusts. How can 
any one imagine, that those who continue dead while they live, shall 
come forth, at the last day, unto the resurrection of life ? But that 
will be the privilege of all those who, having first consecrated their 
souls and bodies to the Lord by faith, do glorify him with their 
bodies, as well as their souls; living and acting to him, and for him, 
yea, and suffering for him too, when he calls them to it. 



When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angeh 
with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. And before 
him shall be gathered all nations ; and he shall separate them one from 
another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall 
set the sheep on the right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall 
the King say unto them on his right hand. Come, ye blessed, 8fG. — 
Unto them on the left hand. Depart from me, ye cursed, 8fc. — And 
these shall go away into everlasting punishment : but the righteous into 
life eternal — Matt. xxv. 31 — 34, 41, 46. 

The dead being raised, and those found alive at the coming of the 
Judge changed, then follows the general judgment, plainly and 
awfully described in this portion of Scripture; in which we shall 
take notice of the following particulars : 1. The coming of the 
Judge, " When the Son of man shall come in his glory," «&c. The 
Judge is Jesus Christ, " the Son of man ;" the same by whose 
almighty power, as he is God, the dead will be raised. He is also 
called the King, ver. 34, the judging of the world being an act of 
the royal Mediator's kingly office. He will come in glory; glorious 
in his own person, and having a glorious retinue, even all the holy 
angels with him, to minister unto him at this great solemnity. 2. 
The mounting the tribunal. He is a King, and therefore it is a 
throne, a glorious throne, " He shall sit upon the throne of his 
glory," ver. 31. 3. The appearance of the parties. These are, all 


nations; all and every one, small and great, of whatever nation, 
who ever were, are, or shall be on the face of the earth ; all shall 
be gathered before hiui, summoned before his tribunal. 4. The 
sorting of them. He shall separate the elect sheep and reprobate 
goats, setting each party by themselves ; as a shepherd, who feeds 
his sheep and goats together all the day, separates them at night, 
ver. 32. The godly he will set on his right hand, as the most 
honourable place ; the wicked on the left, ver. 33. Yet so as they 
shall be both before him, ver. 32. It seems to be an allusion to a 
custom in the Jewish courts, in which one sat at the right hand of 
the judge, who wrote the sentence'of absolution ; another at the left, 
who wrote the sentence of condemnation. 5. The sentencing of the 
parties, and that according to their works; the righteous being 
absolved, and the wicked condemned, ver. 34 — 41. 6. The execu- 
tion of both sentences, in the driving away of the wicked into hell, 
and carrying the godly to heaven, ver. 46. 

Doctrine. There shall be a general judgment. — This doctrine I 
shall, I. Confirm; II. Explain; and then apply. 

I. For confirmation of this great truth, that there shall be a gene- 
ral judgment. 

1. It is evident from plain Scripture testimonies. — The world has 
in all ages been told of it. Enoch, before the flood, taught it in his 
prophecy, related in Jude, ver. 14, 15, "Behold the Lord cometh 
with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all," &c. 
Daniel describes it, chap. vii. 9, 10, " I beheld till the thrones were 
cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was 
white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool : his 
throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A 
fiery stream issued and came forth from before him : thousand thou- 
sands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand 
stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened." 
The apostle is very express, 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." See Matt. xvi. 27 ; 2 Cor. v. 
10; 2 Thess. i. 7 — 10; Rev. xx. 11—15. God not only said it, but 
he has sworn it, Rom. xiv. 10, 11, " We must all stand before the 
judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, as I live, saith the Lord, 
every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue confess to God." So 
that the truth of God is most solemnly pledged for it. 

2. The perfect justice and goodness of God, the sovereign ruler 
of the world, necessarily require it, inasmuch as they require its 
being well with the righteous, and ill with the wicked. Yet we 
often see wickedness exalted, while truth and righteousness fall in 


the streets ; piety oppressed, while profanity and irreligion triumph. 
This is so very common, that every one who sincerely embraces 
the way of holiness, must and doth lay his account with the loss of 
all he has, which the world can take away from him, Luke xiv. 26, 
" If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and wife, 
and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, 
he cannot be my disciple," But it is inconsistent with the justice 
and goodness of God, that the affairs of men should always con- 
tinue in the state which they appear in, from one generation to an- 
other ; and that every man should not be rewarded according to his 
works : and since that is not done in this life, there must be a 
judgment to come ; " Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to re- 
compense tribulation to them that trouble you ; and to you who are 
troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from 
heaven," 2 Thess. i. 6, 7. There will be a day in which the tables 
will be turned ; and the wicked shall be called to an account for 
all their sins, and suffer the due punishment of them; and the pious 
shall be prosperous : for, as the apostle argues for the happy re- 
surrection of the saints, " If in this life only we have hope in Christ 
we are of all men most miserable," 1 Cor. xv. 19. It is true, God 
sometimes punishes the wicked in this life : that men may know, 
" He is a God that judgeth in the earth :" but yet much wickedness 
remains unpunished and undiscovered, to be a pledge of the judg- 
ment to come. If none of the wicked were punished here, they 
would conclude that God had utterly forsaken the earth ; if all of 
them were punished in this life, men would be apt to think there 
were no after reckoning. Therefore, in the wisdom of God some 
are punished now, and some not. Sometimes the Lord smites sin- 
ners, in the very act of sin ; to shew unto the world, that he is wit- 
ness to all their wickedness, and will call them to an account for 
it. Sometimes he delays long ere he strikes, that he may discover 
to the world that he forgets not men's ill deeds, though he does not 
immediately punish them. Besides all this, the sins of many out- 
live them ; and the impure fountain opened by them, runs long after 
they are dead and gone. As in the case of Jeroboam, the first king 
of the ten tribes, whose sin ran all along unto the end of that un- 
happy kingdom, 2 Kings xvii. 22, 23, " The children of Israel walked 
in all the sins of Jeroboam, which he did ; they departed not from 
them ; until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight." 

3. The resurrection of Christ is a certain proof, that there shall 
be a day of judgment. This argument Paul uses to convince the 
Athenians, that Jesus Christ will be the Judge of the world;" 
•' Whereof," says he, '* he hath given assurance to all men, in that 


he hath raised him from the dead," Acts xvii, 38. The Judge is 
already named, his patent written and sealed, yea, and read before 
all men, in his rising again from the dead. Hereby God has given 
assurance of it : by raising Christ from the dead, he has exhibited 
his credentials as Judge of the world. When, in the days of his 
humiliation, he was cited before a tribunal, arraigned, accused, and 
condemned of men ; he plainly told them of this judgment, and that 
he himself would be the Judge, Matt. xxvi. 64, " Hereafter shall ye 
see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming 
in the clouds of heaven." And now that he is raised from the dead, 
though condemned as a blasphemer on this very head, is it not an 
undeniable proof, from Heaven, of the truth of what he asserted ? 
Moreover, this was one of the great ends of Christ's death and re- 
surrection ; " For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and re- 
vived, that he might be the Lord," that is, " the Lord Judge," as is 
evident from the context, " both of the dead and of the living," Rom. 
xiv. 9. 

4. Every man bears about with him a witness to this within his 
own breast, Rom. ii. 15, " Which shew the work of the law written 
in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their 
thoughts the meanwhile accusing, or else excusing one another." 
There is a tribunal erected within every man, where conscience is 
accuser, witness, and judge, binding over the sinner to the judgment 
of God. This fills the most profligate wretches with horror, and 
inwardly stings them, upon the commission of some atrocious crime ; 
in effect summoning them to answer for it, before the Judge of the 
quick and dead. And thus it does, even when the crime is secret, 
and hid from the eyes of the world. It reaches those, whom the 
laws of men cannot reach, because of their power or craft. Men 
have fled from the judgment of their fellow-creatures ; yet go 
where they will, conscience as the supreme Judge's oflicer, still keeps 
hold of them, reserving them in its chains, to the judgment of the 
great day. And whether they escape punishment from men, or 
fall by the hand of public justice, when they perceive death's ap- 
proach, they hear from within, of this after reckoning; being con- 
strained to hearken thereto, in these the most serious minutes of 
their lives. If there be some, in whom nothing of this doth appear, 
we have no more ground thence to conclude against it, than we have 
to conclude, that because some men do not groan, therefore they 
have no paiu ; or that dying is a mere jest, because there have been 
some who seemed to make little else of it. A good face may be put 
upon an ill conscience; the more hopeless men's case is, they reckon 
it more their interest to make no reflections on their state and case. 


But every one, who will consult liiniself seriously, will find in him- 
self the witness to the judgmeut to come. Even the heathens 
wanted not a notion of it, though mixed with fictions of their own. 
Ilence, though some of the Athenians, " when they heard of the re- 
surrection of the dead, mocked," yet there is no account of their 
mocking, when they heard of the general judgment, Acts xvii. 
31, 32. 

II. For explanation, the following particulars may serve to give 
some view of the transactions of that great day. 

1. God shall judge the world by Jesus Christ. " He will judge 
the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained," 
Acts xvii. 31. The psalmist tells us, that God is judge himself, 
Psalm 1. 6. The holy blessed Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost is Judge, in respect to judicial authority, dominion, and 
power : but the Son incarnate is the Judge, in respect of dispensa- 
tion, and special exercise of that power. The judgment shall be 
exercised or performed by him as the royal Mediator ; for he has 
delegated power of judgment from the Father, as his servant, " his 
King," whom he hath " set upon his holy hill of Zion," Psalm ii. 6, 
and to whom he " hath committed all judgment," John v. 22. This 
is a part of the Mediator's exaltation, given him in consequence of 
his voluntary humiliation, Phil. ii. 8 — 10, " He humbled himself, 
and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a 
name which is above every name," that is, power and authority over 
all, to-wit, " That at," or in, " the name of Jesus," not the name 
Jesus ; that is not the name above every name ; being common to 
others, as to Justus, Col. iv. 11; and Joshua, Heb. iv. 8, " every 
knee shall bow." This is explained by the apostle himself, of 
"standing before the judgment-seat of Christ," Rom. xiv. 10, 11. 
So he who was judged and condemned of men, shall be the Judge of 
men and angels. 

2. Jesus Christ the Judge, descending from heaven into the air, 
1 Thess. iv. 16, 17- " He shall come in the clouds of heaven, with 
power and great glory," Matt. xxiv. 30. This his coming will 
be a mighty surprise lo the world, which will be found in deep se- 
curity ; foolish virgins sleeping, and the wise slumbering. There 
will then be much luxury and debauchery in the world, little so- 
briety and watchfulness ; a great throng business, but. a great 
scarcity of faith and holiness. " As it was iu the days of Noah, 
so also shall it be in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, 
they drank, they married wives, they were given iu marriage, until 
the day that Noah entered into the ark : and the flood came, and 


destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot : 
they did eat, they drak, they bought, they sold, they planted, 
they builded. — Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son 
of man is revealed," Luke xvii. 26 — -30. The coming of the Judge 
will surprise some at markets, buying and selling ; others at table, 
eating and drinking, and making merry ; others busy with their 
new plantings ; some building new houses ; nay, the wedding-day 
of some will be their own and the world's judgment-day. But the 
Judge Cometh ! the markets are marred ; the buyer throws away 
what he has bought ; the sellar casts down his money ; they are 
raised from the table, and their mirth is extinguished in a moment ; 
though the tree be set in the earth, the gardener cannot stay to cast 
the earth about it ; the workmen throw away their tools, when the 
house is half built, and the owner regards it no more ; the bride- 
groom, bride, and guests, must leave the wedding day, and ap- 
pear before the tribunal ; for, " Behold, he cometh with clouds, 
and every eye shall see him," Rev. i. 7. He shall come most 
gloriously ; for he will " come in the glory of his Father, with the 
holy angels," Mark viii. 38. "When he came in the flesh, to die for 
sinners, he laid aside the robes of his glory, and was despised and 
rejected of men : but when he comes again, to judge the world, such 
shall be his visible glory and majesty, that it shall cast an eternal 
veil over all earthy glory, and fill his greatest enemies with fear 
and dread. Never had prince and potentate in the world such 
a glorious train, as will accompany this Judge : all the holy angels 
shall come with him, for his honour and service. Then He, who 
was led to the cross with a band of soldiers, will be gloriously 
attended to the place of judgment, by " not a multitude of the 
heavenly host," but the whole host of angels : "all his holy angels," 
says the text. 

3. At the coming of the Judge, the summons is given to the par- 
ties by the sound of the last trumpet ; at which the dead are raised, 
and those found alive are changed ; see 1 Thes. iv. 16, 17- loud 
trumpet, that shall be heard at once, in all corners of the earth, and 
of the sea ! wonderful voice, that will not only disturb those who 
sleep in the dust, but effectually awaken, rouse them out of their 
sleep, and raise them from death ! Were trumpets sounding now, 
drums beating, furious soldiers crying and killing men ; women and 
children running and shrieking, the wounded groaning and dying ; 
those who are in the graves would have no more disturbance than if 
the world were in most profound peace. Yea, were stormy winds 
casting down the lofty oaks, the seas roaring and swallowing up the 
ships, the most dreadful thunders going along the heavens, lightnings 


every wbere flashing, the earth quaking, trembling, opening, and 
swallowing up whole cities, and burying multitudes at once ; the 
dead would still enjoy a perfect repose, and sleep soundly in the 
dust, though their own dust should be thrown out of its place. But 
at the sound of this trumpet, they shall all awake. The morning is 
come, they can sleep no longer; the time for the dead to be judged: 
they must get out of their graves, and appear before the Judge. 

4. The Judge shall sit down on the tribunal ; he shall sit on the 
throne of his glory. He stood before a tribunal on earth, and was 
condemned as a malefactor : now he shall sit on his own tribunal, 
and judge the world. He once hung upon the cross, covered with 
shame ; now he shall sit on a throne of glory. What this throne 
shall be whether a bright cloud, or what else, I shall not inquire. 
Our eyes shall answer to that question at length. John " saw a 
great white throne," Rev. xx. 11. " His throne," says Daniel, "was 
like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire," chap vii. 9. 
Whatever it be, doubtless it will be a throne glorious beyond ex- 
pression ; and in comparison with which the most glorious throne 
on the earth is but a seat on a dunghill ; and the sight of it will 
equally surprise kings who sat on thrones in this life, and beggars 
who sat on dunghills. It will be a throne, for stateliness and glory, 
suited to the quality of him who shall sit on it. Never had a judge 
such a throne, and never had a throne such a judge on it. 

Leaving the discovery of the nature of the throne until that day, 
it concerns us more nearly to consider what a Judge will sit on it; 
a point on which we are not left to uncertain conjectures. The 
Judge on the throne will be, (1.) A Judge visible to our bodily eyes, 
Rev. i. 7, " Every eye shall see him." When God gave the law on 
mount Sinai, the people " saw no similitude, only heard a voice :" 
but when he calls the world to an account how they observed his 
law, the man Christ being Judge, we shall see our Judge with our 
eyes, either to our eternal comfort, or to our eternal confusion, ac- 
cording to the entertainment which we give him now. That very 
body which was crucified without the gates of Jerusalem, between 
two thieves, shall then be seen on the throne, shining in glory. 
We now see him symbolically, in the sacrament of his supper ; the 
saints see him by the eye of faith ; then all shall see him with those 
eyes now in their heads. (2.) A Judge having full authority 
and power to render unto every one according to his works, Christ, 
as God, hath authority of himself; and as Mediator he hath a judi- 
cial power and authority, which his Father has invested him with, 
according to the covenant between the Father and the Son for the 
redemption of sinners. His divine glory will be light, by which 


all men shall see clearly to read his commission for this great and 
honourable employment. " All power is given to him in heaven 
and in earth," Matt, xxviii. 18. He hath " the keys of hell and 
of death," Rev. i. 18. There can be no appeal from his tribunal : 
sentence once passed there, must stand for ever ; there is no re- 
versing it. All appeals are from an inferior to a superior court : 
but when God gives sentence against a man, whore can he find 
a higher court to bring his process to? This judgment is the 
Mediator's judgment, and therefore the last judgment. If the 
Intercessor be against us, who can be for us ? If Christ condemn 
us, who will absolve us '? (3.) A Judge of infinite wisdom. His 
eyes will pierce into, and clearly discern the most intricate cases. 
His omniscience qualifies him for judging the most retired thoughts, 
as well as the words and works. The most subtile sinner shall 
not be able to deceive him, nor, by any artful management, to 
palliate the crime. He is the searcher of hearts, to whom no- 
thing can be hid or perplexed; but all things are naked and 
open unto his eyes, Heb. iv. 13. (4.) A most just Judge; a Judge 
of perfect integrity. He is the righteous Judge, 2 Tim. iv. 8, and 
his throne a great white throne. Rev. xx. 11, from whence no 
judgment shall proceed, but what is pure and spotless. The 
Thebans painted justice blind, and without hands ; because judges 
ought not to respect persons, nor take bribes. The Areopagites 
judged in the dark ; that they might not regard who spoke, but 
what was spoken. With the Judge on his throne, there will be no 
respect of persons; he will neither regard the person of the rich, 
nor of the poor : but just judgment shall go forth, in every 
one's cause. (5.) An omnipotent Judge, able to put his sentence in 
■execution. The united force of devils and wicked men will be alto- 
gether unable to withstand him. They cannot retard the execution 
of the sentence against them one moment ; far loss can they stop it 
altogether. " Thousand thousands of angels minister unto him," Dan. 
vii. 10. And, by the breath of his mouth, he can drive the cursed 
herd whither he pleases. 

5. The parties shall appear. These are men and devils. Al- 
though the fallen angels were, from the first moment of their sin- 
ning, subjected to the wrath of Gad, and were cast down to hell, 
and wherever they go they carry their hell about with them ; yet it 
is evident that they are reserved unto judgment, 2 Pet. ii. 4, 
namely, unto the judgment of the great day, Jude verse 6. Then 
they shall be solemnly and publicly judged, 1 Cor. vi. 3, " Know 
ye not that we shall judge angels?" At that day they shall answer 
for their trade of sinning, and tempting to sin, which they have 


been carryin<j on from the beginning. And they shall receive the 
dne reward of all the dishonour which they have done to God, and 
of all the mischief which they have done to men. Those wicked 
spirits now in chains, though not in such strait custody, but that 
they go about, like roaring lions, seeking whom they may devour, 
shall then receive their final sentence, and be shut up in their den, 
in the prison ; where they shall be held in extreme and unspeakable 
torment, through all eternity, Ilev. xx. 10. " And the devil, that 
deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where 
the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and 
night for ever and eA'^er." In prospect of which, the devils said to 
Christ, "Art thou come hither to torment us before the time ?" Matt, 
viii. 29. 

But what we are chiefly concerned to take notice of, is the case of 
men at that day. All men must appear before this tribunal. All 
of each sex, of every age, quality, and condition ; the great and 
small, noble and ignoble ; none are excepted. Adam and Eve, with 
all their sons and daughters, every one who has had or, to the end of 
the world, shall have a living soul united to a body, will make up 
this great congregation. Even those who refused to come to the throne 
of grace, shall be forced to the bar of justice : for there can be no 
hiding from the all-seeing Judge, no flying from him who is present 
every where, no resisting of him who is armed with almighty power, 
** We must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ," 2 Cor. v. 
10. " Before him shall be gathered all nations," says the text. 
This is to be done by the ministry of angels. By them shall the 
elect be gathered, Mark xiii. 27, " Then shall he send his angels, 
and shall gather together his elect from the four winds." And they 
also shall gather the reprobate, Matth. xiii. 40, 41, " So shall it be 
in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his 
angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that of- 
fend, and them which do iniquity. From all corners of the world 
shall the inhabitants thereof be gathered unto the place where he 
shall set his throne for judgment. 

6. There shall be a separation made between the righteous and 
the wicked; the fair company of the elect sheep being set on Christ's 
right hand, and the reprobate goats on his left. There is no 
necessity to wait for this separation, till the trial is over; since the 
parties will rise out of their graves with plain outward marks of 
distinction, as was mentioned before. The separation seems to be 
eff"ected by that double gathering, before mentioned ; the one of the 
elect, Mark xiii. 2 : the other of them that do iniquity, Matt. xiii. 
41. The elect being " caught up together in the clouds, meet the 

Vol. VIII. T 


Lord in tlie air," 1 Thess. iv. 17, and so are set on liis right hand ; 
and the reprobate left on the earth, are placed upon the Judge's 
left hand Here is now a total separation of two parties, who were 
always opposite to each other in their principles, aims, and manner 
of life ; who, when together, were a bnrden the one to the other, 
under which the one groaned, and the other raged ; but now they 
are finally parted, never to come together any more. The righteous 
and wicked, like the iron and clay, which could never mix, See 
Dan. ii. 41 — 43, are quite separated ; the one being drawn up into 
the air, by the attractive virtue of " the stone cut out of the moun- 
tain," namely, Jesus Christ ; and the other left upon its earth, to be 
trod under foot. 

Now let us look to the right hand, and there we shall see a glo- 
rious company of saints shining, as so many stars in their orbs ; 
and with a cheerful countenance beholding Him who sitteth upon 
the throne. Here will be two wonderful sights, which the world 
ncA^er saw. 1. A great congregation of saints, in which there will 
not be so much as one hypocrite. There was a bloody Cain 
in Adam's family ; a cursed Ham in Noah's family, in the ark ; a 
treacherous Judas in Christ's own family ; but in that company 
there will be none but sealed ones, members of Christ, having all 
one Father. This is a sight reserved for that day. 2. All the 
godly upon one side. Seldom or never do the saints on earth make 
such harmony, but there are some jarring strings among them. It 
is not to be expected, that men who see but in part, though they 
are all going to one city, should agree as to every step in the way : 
no, we must not look for it, in this state of imperfection. But at 
that day, Paul and Barnabas shall meet in peace and unity, though 
once " the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed 
asunder, the one from the other," Acts xv. 39. There shall be no 
more divisions, no more separate standing amongst those who be- 
longed to Christ. All the godly, of the different parties, shall then 
be upon one side ; seeing, whatever were their differences in lesser 
things, while in the world, yet even then they met and concerted 
all in one Lord Jesus Christ, by a true and lively faith, and 
in the one way of holiness, or practical godliness. And vile 
hypocrites, of whatever party, shall be led forth with the workers 
of iniquity. 

Look to the left hand, and there you will see the cursed goats, 
all the wicked ones, from Cain to the last ungodly person who 
shall be in the world, gathered together into one most miserable con- 
gregation. There are many assemblies of the wicked now ; then 
there shall be but one. But all of them shall be present there. 


brought together, as one herd for the slaughter, bellowing and 
roaring, weeping and howling, for the miseries come, and that are 
coming on them. And remember, thou shalt not be a mere specta- 
tor, to look at these two such different companies; but must thyself 
take thy place in one of the two, and shalt share with tlie company, 
whatever hand it be on. Those who now abhor no society so much 
as that of the saints, would then be glad to be allowed to get in 
among them, though it were but to lie at their feet. But then not 
one tare shall be found with the wheat ; He will thoroughly purge 
his floor. Many of the right-hand men of this world, will be left- 
hand men in that day. Many, who must have the door on the right 
hand of those who are better than they, if the righteous be more 
excellent than his neighbour, shall then be turned to the left hand, 
as most despicable wretches ! how terrible will this separation 
be to the ungodly ! How dreadful will this gathering them together 
into one company be ! What they will not believe, they will then 
see, namely, that but few are saved. They think it enough now to 
be neighbour-like, and can securely follow the multitude : but the 
multitude on the left hand will yield them no comfort. How will it 
sting the ungodly Christian, to see himself set on the same hand 
with Turks and Pagans ! How will it gall profane Protestants, to 
stand with idolatrous Papists ; praying people, with their profane 
neighbours, who mocked at religious exercises; formal professors, 
strangers to the new birth and the power of godliness, with persecu- 
tors ! Now there are many opposite societies in the world ; but 
then all the ungodly shall be in one society. And how dreadful 
will the faces of companions in sin be to one another there ! What 
doleful shrieks, when the drunkards, who have had many a jovial 
day together, shall see one another in the face ; when the husband 
and wife, the parents and children, masters and servants, and neigh- 
bours, who have been snares and stumbling-blocks to one another, to 
the ruin of their own souls and those of their relatives, shall meet 
again in that miserable society ! Then there will be curses instead 
of salutations ; and tearing of themselves, and raging against one 
another, instead of the wonted embraces. 

7. The parties shall be tried. Tlie trial cannot be difficult, seeing 
the Judge is omniscient, and nothing can be hid from him. But, 
that his righteous judgment may be made evident to all, he will set 
the hidden things of darkness in the clearest light at that trial, 
1 Cor. iv. 5. 

Men shall be tried, 1. Upon their works ; for " God shall bring 
every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it bo 
good, or whether it be evil," Eccl. xii. 14. The Judge will try 



every man's conversation, and set his deeds done in the body, with 
all the circumstances thereof, in a true light. Then will many 
actions, commended and applauded of men, as good and jnst, be dis- 
covered to have been evil and abominable in the sight of God ; and 
many works, now condemned by the world, will be approved and 
commended by the great Judge, as good and just. Secret things 
will be brought to light; and what was hid from the view of the 
world, shall be laid open. Wickedness, which hath kept its lurking 
place in spite of all human search, will then be brought forth to the 
glory of God, and the confusion of impenitent sinners, who hid it. — 
The world appears now very vile in the eyes of those who are exer- 
cised togodiiaess; and it will then appear a thousand times more 
vile, when that which is done of men in secret comes to be disco- 
vered. Every good action shall then be remembered ; and the hid- 
den religion and good works, most industriously concealed by the 
saints from the eyes of men, shall no more lie hid : for though the 
Lord will not allow men to proclaim every one his own goodness, 
yet he himself will do it in due time. 2. Their words shall be 
judged. Matt. xii. 37, " For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and 
by thy words thou shalt be condemned." Not a word spoken for 
God and his cause in the world, from love to himself, shall be for- 
gotten. They are all kept in remembrance, and shall be brought 
forth as evidences of faith, and of an interest in Christ. Mai. iii. 
16, 17, " Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to an- 
other, and the Lord hearkened and heard it ; and a book of 
remembrance was written before I>im. And they shall be mine, 
saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels." 
The tongue, which did run at random, shall then confess to God ; 
and the speaker shall find it to have been followed, and every 
word nottd tl.at dropped from the unsauctifled lips. " Every 
idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof 
in the day of judgment, Mattli. xii. 36. And if they shall give 
account of idle words, that is, words spoken to no good purpose, 
neither for God's glory, nor their own nor their neighbour's good ; 
how much more shall men's wicked words, their sinful oaths, curses, 
lies, filthy communications, and bitter words, be called over again 
in that day I The tongues of many shall then fall upon them- 
selves, and ruin them. 3. Men's thoughts shall be brought into 
judgment: the Judge will make manifest the counsels of the hearts, 
1 Cor. iv. 5. Thoughts go free from man's judgment, but not 
from the judgment of the heart-searching God, who knows men's 
thoughts, without the help of signs to discern them by. The secret 
springs of men's actions will then be brought to light; and the sins, 



that never came further than the heart, will then be laid open. 
what a figure will man's corrupt nature present, when his inside is 
turned out, and all his speculative impurities are exposed ! The 
rottenness that is within many a whited sepulchre, the speculative 
filthiness and wantonness, murder and malignity, now lurking in the 
hearts of men, as in the chambers of imagery, will then be dis- 
covered, and what good was in the hearts of any shall no more lie 
concealed. If it was in their hearts to build a house to the Lord, 
they shall hear, that they did well that it was in their heart. 

This trial will be righteous and impartial, accurate and searching, 
clear and evident. The Judge is the righteous Judge, and he will do 
right to every one. He has a just balance for good and evil actions^ 
and for honest and false hearts. The fig-leaf cover of hypocrisy will 
then be blown aside, and the hypocrite's nakedness will appear ; as 
when the Lord came to judge Adam and Eve " in the cool," or, as 
the word is, " in the wind of the day," Gen. iii. 8. " The fire," 
which tries things most exquisitely, " shall try every man's work, of 
what sort it is," 1 Cor. iii. 13. Man's judgment is often perplexed 
and confused: but here the whole pi'ocess shall be clear and evident, 
as written with a sunbeam. It shall be clear to the Judge, to whom 
no case can be intricate ; to the parties, who shall be convinced, 
Jude ver. 15. And the multitudes on both sides shall see that the 
Judge is clear when he judgeth; for then "the heavens shall declare 
his righteousness," in the audience of all the world; and so it shall 
be universally known, Psalm 1. 6. 

On these accounts it is, that this trial is held out in the Scripture, 
under the notion of " opening of books ;" and men are said to be 
" judged out of those things written in the books," Rev. xx. 12. 
The judge of the world, who infallibly knows all things, has no need 
of books to be laid before him, to prevent mistakes in any point of 
law or fact; but the expression points at his proceedings as most 
nice, accurate, just and well grounded, in every step of thorn. Now, 
there are four books that shall be opened in that day. 

(1.) The book of God's remembrance, or omniscience, Mai. iii. 16. 
This is an exact record of every man's state, thoughts, words, and 
deeds, good or evil : it is, as it were, a day-book, in which the Lord 
puts down all that passes in men's hearts, lips, and lives; and it is 
a reckoning up every day that one lives. In it are recorded men's 
sins and good works, secret and open, with all their circumstances. 
Here are registered all their privileges, temporal and spiritual mer- 
cies, often made ready to their hand ; the checks, admonitions, and 
rebukes, given by teachers, neighbours, afflictious, and men's own 
consciences; every thing in its due order. — This book will serve 


only as a bill of indictment, in respect of the ungodly ; but it will 
be for another use in respect of the godly, namely, for a memorial 
of their good. The opening of it is the Judge's bringing to light 
what is written in it ; the reading, as it were of the bill and memo- 
rial, respectively, in their hearing. 

(2.) The book of conscience will be opened, which shall be as a 
thousand witnesses to prove the fact, Rom. ii. 15, " Which shew the 
work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bear- 
ing witness." Conscience is a censor going with every man wher- 
ever he goes, taking an account of his deeds done in the body, and, 
as it were, noting them in a book. — Much is written in it, which can- 
«*»ot be read now ; the writing of conscience being, in many cases, 
like to that which is made with the juice of lemons, not to be read 
till it is held before the fire ; but then men shall read it clearly and 
distinctly ; the fire which is to try every man's work, will make the 
book of conscience legible in every point. 

Though the book be sealed now, the conscience blind, dumb, and 
deaf, the seals will than be broken, and the book opened. There 
shall be no more a silent conscience, and far less a seared conscience, 
amongst all the ungodly crew : but their conscience shall be most 
quick-sighted, and most lively, in that day. None shall then call 
good evil, or evil good. Ignorance of what sin is, and what things 
are sins, will have no place among them : and the subtle reasonings 
of men, in favour of their lusts, will then be for ever baffled by 
their own conscience. None shall have the favour, if I may so 
speak, of lying under the soft cover of delusion ; but they shall all 
be convicted by their conscience. Whether they will or not, they 
must look on this book, read, be confounded, and stand speechless, 
knowing that nothing is charged upon them by mistake ; since this 
is a book which was always in their own custody. Thus shall the 
Judge make every man see himself in the glass of his own con- 
science, which will make quick work. 

(3.) The book of the law shall be opened. This book is the stan- 
dard and rule, by which is known what is right, and what is wrong; 
as also, what sentence is to be passed accordingly, on those who are 
under it. — As to the opening of this book, in a statute, which 
shews what is sin, and what is duty; it agrees with the opening of 
the book of conscience : lor conscience is set, by the sovereign law- 
giver, in every man's breast, to be his private teacher, to shew him 
the law ; and his private pastor, to make application of the same ; 
and at that day, it will be perfectly fit for its office, so that the 
conscience, which is most stupid now, shall then read to the man 
most accurate, but dreadful lectures on the law. But what seems 


principally pointed at by the opening of this book, is the opening 
of that part of it which determines the reward of men's works. 
Now the law promises life, upon perfect obedience : but none can 
be found on the right hand, or on the left, who will pretend to 
that, when once the book of conscience is opened. It threatens 
death upon disobedience, and will effectually bring it upon all under 
its dominion. — And this part of the book of the law, determining 
the reward of men's works, is opened, only to shew what must be 
the portion of the ungodly, and that there they may read their sen- 
tence, before it is pronounced. But it is not opened for the sentence 
of the saints ; for no sentence absolving a sinner could ever be 
drawn out of it. The law promises life, not as it is a rule of actions, 
but as a covenant of works ; therefore innocent man could not have 
demanded life upon his obedience, till the law was reduced into the 
form of a covenant ; as was shewn before. But the saints, having 
been, in this life, brought under a new covenant, namely, the cove- 
nant of grace, were dead to the law as a covenant of works, and it 
was dead to them. Wherefore, as they shall not now have any fear 
of death from it ; so they can have no hope of life from it, since 
" they are not under the law, but under grace," Rom. vi. 14. But, 
for their sentence, " another book is opened." 

Thus the book of the law is opened, for the sentence against all 
those on the left hand : and by it they will clearly see the justice 
of the judgment against them, and how the Judge proceeds therein 
according to law. Nevertheless, there vrill be this difference, namely 
that those who had only the natural law, and lived not under any 
special revelation, shall be judged by that law of nature they had 
in their hearts ; which law declares " that they which commit such 
things," as they will stand convicted of " are worthy of death," 
Rom. i. 32. But those Avho had the written law, to whom the word 
of God came, sounding in the visible church, shall be judged by that 
written law. So says the apostle, Rom. ii. 12, " For as many as 
have sinned without" the written " law, shall also perish without" 
the written " law : and as many as have sinned in the law," that is, 
under the written law, " shall also be jndged by the" written 
" law." 

(4.) " Another book" shall be '* opened, which is the book of life," 
Rev. XX. 12. In this the names of all the elect are written, as 
Christ said to his disciples, Luke x. 20, " Tour names are written 
in heaven." This book contains God's gracious and unchangeable 
purpose, to bring all the elect to eternal life ; and that, in order 
thereto, they be redeemed by the blood of his Son, effectually called, 
justified, adopted, sanctified, and raised up by him at the last day 


without sin. It is now lodged in the Mediator's hand, as the book 
of " the manner of the kingdom :" and having perfected tlie work 
the Father gave him to do, he shall, on the great day, produce and 
open the book, and present the persons therein named, " faultless 
before the presence of his glory, Jude, verse 24 ; not having spot, or 
wrinkle, or any such thing," Eph. v. 27. Not one of those who are 
named in the book will be missing. They shall be found qualified, 
according to the order of the book, redeemed, called, justified, sanc- 
tified, raised up, without spot : what remains then, but, according 
to the same book, they obtain the great end, namely, everlasting 
life ? This may be gathered from that i)recious promise, Rev. iii. 5, 
" He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment," 
being raised ia glory ; " and I will not blot out his name out of the 
book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father :" it 
shall be, as it were, read out, among the rest of Grod's elect, " and 
before his angels." Here is now the ground of the saints' absolu- 
tion, the ground of the blessed sentence they shall receive. The 
book of life being opened, it will be known to all, who are elected, 
and who are not. — Thus far of the trial of the parties. 

8. Then shall the Judge pronounce this blessed sentence on the 
saints, " Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom pre- 
pared for you from the foundation of the world," Matt. sxv. 34. It 
is most probable, the man Christ will pronounce it with an audible 
voice : which not only all the saints, but all the wicked likewise, 
shall hear and understand. Who can conceive the inexpressible 
joy, with which these happy ones will hear these words ? Who can 
imagine that fulness of joy, which will be poured into their hearts, 
with these words reaching their ears ? And who can conceive how 
much of hell shall break forth into the hearts of all the ungodly 
crew, by these words of heaven ? It is certain that this sentence 
shall be pronounced, before the sentence of damnation. " Then 
shall the King say unto them on his right hand. Come, ye blessed," 
&c. Matt. XXV. 34. " Then shall he say also to them on the left 
hand, Depart from me, ye cursed," &c. verse 41. There is no need 
of this order, that the saints may, without fear, hear the other sen- 
tence on the reprobate : they who are raised in glory, caught up to 
meet the Lord in the air, presented without spot, and whose souls, 
for the far greater part of them, have been so long in heaven before, 
shall not be capable of any such fear. But hereby they will be 
brought in orderly, to sit in judgment, as Christ's assessors, against 
the ungodly ; whose torment will be aggravated by it. It will be a 
hell to them to be kept out of hell, till they see the doors of heaven 
opened to receive the saints, who once dwelt in the same world with 


tlieni ; and perhaps in the same parish, countrj', or town, and sat 
under the same ministry with themselves. Thus will they see hea- 
ven afar off, to make their hell the hotter : like that unbelieving 
lord, 2 Kings vii. 19, 20. They " shall see" the plenty " with their 
eyes, but shall not eat thereof." Every word of the blessed sen- 
tence shall be like an envenomed arrow shot into their hearts while 
they see what they have lost, and from thence gather what they 
are to expect. 

This sentence passes on the saints, " according to their works, 
Rev. XX. 12; but not for their works, nor for their faith, as if eter- 
nal life were merited by them. The sentence itself overthrows this 
absurd conceit. The kingdom which they are called to, was " pre- 
pared for them, from the foundation of the world ;" not left to be 
merited by themselves, who were but of yesterday. They inherit it 
as sons, but procure it not to themselves as servants do the reward of 
their work. They were redeemed by the blood of Christ, and clothed 
with his spotless righteousness, which is the proper cause of the 
sentence. They were also qualified for heaven, by the sanctifica- 
tion of his Spirit; and hence it is "according to their works;" so 
that the ungodly world shall see now, that the Judge of the quick 
and dead does good to those who were good. Thei'efore it is added 
to the sentence, "For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat," 
&c., ver. 35, 36 ; which does not denote the ground, but the evidence 
of their right to heaven ; as if a judge should say, he absolves a 
man pursued for debt, for the witnesses depose that it is paid already. 
So the apostle says, 1 Cor. x. 5. " But with many of them God was 
not well pleased ; for they were overthrown in the wilderness." 
Their overthrow in the wilderness was not the ground of God's dis- 
pleasure with them, but it was an evidence of it. And thus our 
Lord teaches us the necessary connexion between glory and good 
works, namely works evaugellically good; works having a respect 
to Jesus Christ, and done out of faith in him, and love to him, with- 
out which they will not be regarded in that day. And the saints 
will so far be judged according to such works, that the degrees of 
glory amongst them shall be according to these works. For it is an 
eternal truth, "He that soweth sparingly, shall reap sparingly," 2 
Cor. ix. 6. 

Thus shall the good works of the godly have a glorious, but a gra- 
tuitous reward ; a reward of grace, not of d^bt; which will fill them 
with wonoer at the riches of free grace, and at the Lord's conde- 
scending to take any notice, especially such public notice, of their 
poor worthless works ; which seems to be the import of what they 
are said to answer, "saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered?" 


ver. 37 — 39, And may they not justly wonder to see themselves set 
down at the marriage supper of the Lamb, and to hear him acknow- 
ledge a dinner or supper, a little meat or drink, such as they had, 
which they gave to a hungry member of Christ, for his sake ? 
plentiful harvest, following upon the seed of good works ! Rivers 
of pleasures, in exchange for a cup of cold water, given to a dis- 
ciple, in the name of a disciple ! Eternal mansions of glory, in 
exchange for a night's lodging given to a saint, who was a stranger ! 
Everlasting robes of glory, in exchange for a new coat, or, it may 
be, an old one, bestowed on some saint, who had not necessary clo- 
thing ! A visit to the sick saint, repaid by Christ himself, coming 
in the glory of his Father, with all his holy angels ! A visit made 
to a poor prisoner for the cause of Christ, repaid with a visit from the 
Judge of all, taking away the visitant with him to the palace of heaven, 
there to be for ever with himself ! These things will be matter of 
everlasting wonder ; and should stir up all, to sow liberally in time, 
while seed-time of good works lasts. But it is Christ's stamp on 
good works, that puts a value on them, in the eye of our gracious 
God ; which seems to be the import of our Lord's reply, ver. 40, 
" Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these ray 
brethren, ye have done it unto me." 

9. Now the saints having received their own sentence, " they shall 
judge the world," 1 Cor. vi. 2. This was not fulfilled, when the 
empire became Christian, and Christians were made magistrates. No, 
the psalmist tells us, " This honour have all the saints," Psalm cxlix. 
9. And the apostle in the forecited place, adds, "And if the world 
shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest mat- 
ters?" ver. 3, "Know ye not that we shall judge angels?" Being 
called, they come to receive their kindgdom, in the view of augels and 
men : they go as it were, from the bar to the throne, " To him 
that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne," Rev. 
iii. 21. They shall not judge the world, in Christ their head, by 
way of communion with him, by their works compared with those 
of the ungodly, or by vvay of testimony against them ; but they shall 
be assesors to Jesus Christ the Judge, giving their voice against 
them, consenting to his judgment as just, and saying Amen to the 
doom pronounced against all the ungodly: as is said of the saints, 
upon the judgment of the great whore, Rev. xix. 1, 2, "Hallelujah 
— for true and righteous are his judgments." Thus, the upright 
shall have dominion over them, in the morning," of the resurrection. 
Psalm xlix. 14. Then, and not till then, shall that be fully accom- 
plished, in Psalm cxlix. 6 — 9, " Let the high praises of God be in 
their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand: to execute ven- 



geance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people — this hon- 
our have all the saints." ! what a strange turn of aftairs will ap- 
pear here ! What an astonishing sight will it be, to see wicked men, 
formerly their unjust judges, standing as criminals before the saints 
whom formerly they condemned as heretics, rebels, and traitors ! 
To see men of riches and power stand pale-faced, before those 
whom they oppressed ! To see the mocker stand trembling before 
those whom he mocked ! the worldly wise man, before those whom 
he accounted fools ! Then shall the despised faces of the saints be 
dreadful faces to the wicked ; and those, who sometimes were the 
song of the drunkards, shall then be a terror to them. All wrongs 
must be righted at length, and every one set in his proper place. 

10. The Judge will pronounce the sentence of damnation on all 
the ungodly multitude. " Then shall he say also unto them on the 
left hand, depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared 
for the devil and his angels," ver. 41. Fearful doom! and that from 
the same mouth, from whence proceeded the sentence of absolution 
before. It was an aggravation of the misery of the Jews, when their 
city was destroyed, that they were ruined by one who was accounted 
the darling of the world. what an aggravation of the misery of 
the wicked will it be also, that Christ will pronounce this sentence ! 
To hear the curse from mount Zion, must needs be most terrible. 
To be condemned by him, who came to save sinners, must be double 
damnation. But thus it will be. The Lamb of God shall roar, as a 
lion, against them : he shall excommunicate, and cast them out of 
his presence for ever, by a sentence from the throne, saying, " De- 
part from me, ye cursed." He shall adjudge them to everlasting 
fire, and the society of devils for evermore. And this sentence also 
we suppose, will be pronounced with an audible voice, by the man 
Christ. And all the saints shall say, " Ilallelujah, true and righte- 
ous are his judgments." None were so compassionate as the saints 
when on earth, during the time of God's patience. But now that 
time is at an end : their compassion for the ungodly is swallowed in 
joy in the Mediator's glory, and his executing just judgment, by 
which his enemies are made his footstool. Though, when on earth, 
the righteous man wept in secret places for their pride, and because 
they would not hear ; yet he " shall rejoice when he seeth the ven- 
geance : he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked," Psalm 
Iviii. 10. No pity shall then be shewn them from their nearest re- 
lations. The godly wife shall applaud the justice of the Judge, in 
the condemnation of her ungodly husband : the godly husband shall 
say Amen to the condemnation of her who lay in his bosom : the 
godly parents shall say Hallelujah, at the passing of the sentence 


against their ungodly child: and the godly child shall, from the bot- 
tom of his heart, approve the condemnation of his wicked parents, 
the father who begat him, and the mother who bore him. The sen- 
tence is just ; they are judged " according to their works," Rev. xx. 

There is no wrong done them, " For I was an hungered," saith 
our Lord, " and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me 
no drink : I was a stranger, and ye took me not in ; naked, and ye 
clothed me not ; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not," ver. 
42, 43. These are not only evidences of their ungodly and cursed 
state, but most proper grounds of their condemnation ; for though 
good works do not merit salvation, yet evil works merit damnation. 
Sins of one kind only, namely, of omission, are here mentioned ; not 
that these alone shall be then discovered, for the books lay all open 
but because these, though there were no more, are sufficient to con- 
demn unpardoned sinners. And if men are condemned for sins of 
omission, much more for sins of commission. The omission of works 
of charity and mercy, is mentioned in particular, to stop the mouths 
of the wicked ; for it is most just that he " have judgment without 
mercy, that hath shewed no mercy," James ii. 13. Taking notice of 
the omission of acts of charity and mercy towards the distressed 
members of Christ, intimates, that it is the judgment of those who 
have heard of Christ in the gospel, that is principally intended in 
this portion of Scripture ; and that the slighting of Christ will be 
the great cause of the ruin of those who hear the gospel : but the 
enmity of the hearts of the wicked against Christ himself, is disco- 
vered by the entertainment they now give to his members. 

In vain will they say, " When saw we thee an hungered, or athirst?" 
&c. ver. 44. For the Lord reckons, and will reckon, the world's 
unkindness to his people, unkindness to himself; " Inasmuch as ye 
did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me," ver. 45. 
meat and drink unhappily spared, when a member of Christ was 
in need of it ! wretched neglect, that the stranger saint was not 
taken in ! It had been better for them if they had quitted their 
own room, and their own bed, than that he wanted lodging. cur- 
sed clothing, may the wicked say, that was in my house, locked up 
in my chest, or hanging in ray wardrobe, and was not brought out 
to clothe such a one ! that I had strii)ped myself, rather than he 
had gone away without clothing ! Cursed business that diverted me 
from visiting such a saint ! that I had rather watched whole 
nights with him ! Wretch that I was ! Why did I sit at ease in 
my house, when he was in prison, and did not visit him ? But now 
the tables are turned : Christ's servants shall eat, but I shall bo 


hungry; his servants shall driuk, but I shall be thirsty; they re- 
joice, but I am ashamed, Isa. Ixv. 13. They are taken in, but I am 
cast out, and bid to depart ; they are clothed with robes of glory, 
but I " walk naked, and they see my shame," Rev. xvi. 15. They 
are now raised up on high, beyond the reach of sickness or pain ; 
but I must now " lie down in sorrow," Isa. 1. 11. Now they will go 
to the palace of heaven, but I must go to the prison of hell. 

But if our Lord thus resents men's neglecting to help his people 
under these, aud the like distresses ; what may they expect who are 
the authors and instruments of them ? If they shall be fed with 
wrath, who fed them not when they were huugry ; what shall 
become of those, who robbed and spoiled them ? What a full cup 
of wrath shall be the portion of those, who were so far from giving 
them meat or drink when huugry or thirsty, that they made it a 
crime for others to entertain them, and made themselves drunken 
with their blood ! They must lodge with devils for evermore, who 
took not in the Lord's people, when strangers : then, what a lodg- 
ing shall those have, who drove them out of their own houses, out of 
their native land, and made them strangers ! Men will be con- 
demned for not clothing them, when naked : then, how heavy must 
the sentence of those be, who have stripped them, and made them 
go without clothing! Surely, if not visiting them in sickness, or in 
prison, shall be so severely punished ; those shall not escape a most 
heavy doom, who have cast them into prisons, and have put them 
under such hardships, as have impaired their health, brought sick- 
ness on them, and cut short their days in prison, or out of prison. 

To put a face upon such wicked practices, men will pretend to 
retain an honour for Christ and religion, while they thus treat his 
members, walking in his way, and keeping the truth. They are 
here represented to say, " When saw we thee an hungered, or 
athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not 
minister unto thee ?" ver. 44. As if they should say, Our bread, 
drink, lodging, clothing, and visits, were indeed refused, but not to 
Christ ; but to a set of men of a bad character, men who " turned 
the world upside down," Acts xvii. 6; who troubled Israel, 1 Kings 
xviii. 7 ; a humorous and fantastic sort of people, having laws di- 
verse from all people, factious and rebellious ; they did not keep 
the king's laws, and were therefore a dangerous set of men; it was 
not for the king's profit to suffer them, Esther iii. 8. But although 
men cast iniquity upon the godly, and give them ill names, that 
they may treat them as criminals, all these pretences will avail 
them nothing, in the great day, before the righteous Judge, nor 
before their own consciences, but the real ground of their enmity 


against the saints will be found, to their own conviction, to be their 
enmity against Christ himself. This seems to be the import of the 
objection of the damned, ver. 44, and of the answer to it, ver. 45, 
" Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not 
to me." 

11. Sentence being passed on both parties, the full execution of 
the same follows, ver. 46, " And these shall go away into ever- 
lasting punishment ; but the righteous into life eternal." The con- 
demned shall get no reprieve, but go to their place without delay ; 
they shall be driven away from the judgment-seat into hell : and 
the saints " shall enter into the King's palace," Psalm xlv. 15, 
namely, into heaven, the seat of the blessed. But our Lord Christ, 
and his glorious company, shall keep the field that day and see tlie 
backs of all their enemies ; for the condemned go off first. 

In this day of the Lord, the great day, shall be the general con- 
flagration ; by which these visible heavens, the earth, and sea, shall 
pass away. Not that they shall be annihilated, or reduced to 
nothing, that is not the operation of fire ; but they shall be dis- 
solved, and purified by that fire, from all the effects of sin, and of 
the curse, upon them ; and then renewed, and made more glorious 
and stable. Of this conflagration, the apostle Peter speaks, 2 Pet. 
iii. 10, " But the day of the Lord will come, as a thief in the night; 
in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and 
the elements shall melt with fervent heat ; the earth also, and the 
works that are therein, shall be burnt up." See also ver. 7, 12. 
And of the renewing of the world, he adds, ver. 13, " Nevertheless 
we, according to his promise, look for new heavens, and a new earth, 
wherein dwelleth righteousness." 

It seems most agreeable to the Scriptures, and to the nature of 
the thing, to conceive this conflagration to follow after the general 
judgment ; sentence being passed on both parties before it. And I 
judge it probable, that it will fall in with the putting of the sen- 
tence in execution against the damned ; so as they shall, according 
to their sentence, depart, and the heavens and the earth pass away, 
together and at once, at that furious rebuke from the throne, driv- 
ing them away, out of the world (in this fire) to the everlasting fire 
prepared for the devil and his angels. Even as, in the deluge, 
with which the apostle Peter compares the conflagration, or burning 
of the world 2 Pet. iii. 6, 7, the world itself, and the wicked upon 
it, perished together ; the same water which destroyed the earth, 
sweeping away the inhabitants. For it is not likely that the wicked 
shall at all stand on the new earth, " wherein dwelleth righteous- 
ness," 2 Pet. iii. 13. And as for this earth, it shall " flee away," 


which seems to denote a very quick despatch, and it shall " flee 
from His face, who sits on the throne," Rev. xx. 11, "And I 
saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face 
the earth and the heaven fled away." The execution of the sentence 
on the wicked is also thus expressed ; they " shall be punished with 
everlasting destruction from the presence," or " from the face of the 
Lord," 2 Thess. i. 9. The original word is the same in both texts, 
which, being compared, seem to say, that these creatures, abused 
by the wicked, being left to stand, as witnesses against them, in 
the judgment, are, after sentence passed on their abusers, made 
to pass away with them from the face of the Judge. It is true, the 
fleeing away of the earth and the heavens is narrated. Rev. xx. 11, 
before the judgment ; but that does not prove its going before the 
judgment, any more than the nai'rating of the judgment, ver. 12, 
before the resurrection, ver. 13, will prove the judgment to be be- 
fore it. Further, it is remarkable, in the execution of the sentence, 
Rev. XX. 14, 15, that not only the reprobate are " cast into the 
lake," but " death and hell" are cast into it likewise : all effects of 
sin and of the curse are removed out of the world, for which very 
cause shall the conflagration be, and they are confined to the place 
of the damned. Besides all this, it is evident that the end of the 
world is by the conflagration : and the apostle tells us, 1 Cor. xv. 
24, 25, " Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the 
kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all 
rule, and all authority and power. For he must reign till he hath 
put all his enemies under his feet." Which last, as it must be done 
before the end, so it seems not to be done, but by putting the sen- 
tence in execution, passed in the day of judgment, against the 

Now, if the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah, that are set forth 
for an example, Jude, ver. 7, was so dreadful, how terrible will that 
day be, when the whole world shall be at once in flames ! How will 
wretched worldlings look, when their darling world shall be all on 
fire ! Then shall strong castles and towering palaces, with all their 
rich furniture, go up together in one flame with the lowest cottages. 
What heart can fully conceive the terror of that day to the wicked, 
when the whole fabric of heaven and earth shall at once be dissolved 
by that fire ? when that miserable company shall be driven from the 
tribunal to the pit with fire within them, and without on every hand 
of them ; and fire awaiting them in the lake ; whither this fire, for 
ought that appears, may also follow them. 

As for the particular place of this judgment, though some point 
us to the valley of Jehoshaphat for it : yet our Lord, who infallibly 


knew it, being asked tiie question by his disciples, " Where, Lord ?" 
only said, " Wheresoever the body is, thither shall the eagles be 
gathered together," Luke xvii. 37- After which answer, it is too 
much for men to renew the question. As for the time, when it 
shall be, in vain do men search for what the Lord has purposely 
kept secret, Acts i. 7, " It is not for you to know the times or the 
seasons, which the Father has put in his own power." The apostle 
Paul, after having very plainly described the second coming of 
Christ, 1 Thess, iv. 16, 17, adds, chap. v. 1, 2, " But of the times 
and seasons, brethren, yon have no need that I write unto you : for 
yourselves know perfectly, that the day of the Lord so cometh as a 
thief in the night." Nevertheless, some, in several ages, have made 
very bold with the time ; and several particular years, which are 
now past, have been given out to the world, for the time of the end, 
by men who have pried into the secrets of God. Time has pro- 
claimed to the world, their rashness and folly; and it is probable 
they will be no more happy in their conjectures, whose determinate 
time is yet to come. Let us rest in that " He cometh." God has 
k%pt the day hid from us, that we may be every day ready for it, 
Matt. XXV. 13, " Watch, therefore ; for ye know neither the day nor 
the hour, wherein the Son of man cometh." And let us remember, 
that the lust day of our life, will determine our state in the last day 
of the world : and as we die, so shall we be judged. 

I shall now conclude this subject, with some application of what 
has been said. 

Use I. Of comfort to all the saints. Here is abundance of con- 
solation to all who are in the *tate of grace. Whatever be your 
afflictions in the world, this day will make up all your losses 
" Though you have lain among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings 
of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold," 
Psalm Ixviii. 13. Though the world reproach, judge, and condemn 
you, the Judge will at that day absolve you, and bring forth your 
righteousness as the light. — The world's fools will then appear to 
have been the only wise men who Avere in it. Though the cross be 
heavy, you may well bear it, in expectation of the crown of righter- 
ousness, which the righteous Judge will then give you. If the world 
despise you, and treat you with the utmost contempt, regard it not : 
the day cometh wherein you shall sit with Christ in his throne. 
Be not discouraged by reason of manifold temptations. But resist 
the devil in confidence of a full and complete victory ; for you shall 
judge the tempter at last. Though you have hard wrestling now 
with the body of sin and death : yet you shall get all your enemies 
under your feet at length, and be presented faultless before the pre- 


sence of liis glory. Let not tlie terror of that day dispirit you, 
when you think upon it ; let those who have slighted the Judge, 
and continue enemies to him, and to the way of holiness, droop and 
hang down their heads, when they think of his coming : but lift you 
up your heads with joy, for the last day will be your best day. The 
Judge is your Head and Husband, your Redeemer, and your Advo- 
cate. You must appear before the judgment-seat, but you " shall 
not come into condemnation," John v. 24. His coming will not be 
against you but for you. He came in the flesh, to remove the law- 
ful impediments of the spiritual marriage, by his death : he came in 
the gospel to you, to espouse you to himself; he will come, at last, 
to solemnize the marriage, and take the bride home to his Father's 
house. " Even so, come. Lord Jesus." 

Use II. Of terror to all unbelievers. This may serve to awaken 
a secure generation, a world lying in wickedness, as if they were 
never to be called to an account for it ; and slighting the Mediator, 
as if he were not to judge them. Ah ! how few have lively impres- 
sions of the judgment to come ! Most men live as if what is said of 
it from the word were but idle tales. The profane lives of many 
speak the thoughts of it to be far from their hearts, and in very 
deed make a mock of it before the world, saying, in eftect, " "Where 
is the promise of his coming ?" The hypocrisy of others, who blind 
the eyes of the world with being a splendid profession, being in ap- 
pearance Christ's sheep, while they are indeed the devil's goats, 
proves that the great separation of the sheep from the goats is very 
little laid to heart. How do many indulge themselves in secret 
wickedness, of which they would betashamed before witnesses ; not 
considering, that their most secret thoughts and actions will, at that 
day, be discovered before the great congregation ! How eagerly are 
men's hearts set on the world, as if it were to be their everlasting 
habitation ! The solemn assemblies, and public ordinances, wherein 
the Judge is upon a transaction of peace with the criminals, are un- 
dervalued : many hearts swim like feathers in the waters of the 
sanctuary, that sink like stones to the bottom in caies of this life ; 
they will be very serious in trifles of this world, and trifle in the 
most serious and weighty tl ings of another world : but, consider 
the day that is approaching, in which Christ will come to judgment ! 
the world shall be summoned, by the sound of the last trumpet, to 
appear before his tribunal. The Judge will sit on his throne, and 
all nations will be summoned before him ; the separation will be 
made between the godly and the wicked ; the books opened, and the 
dead judged out of them ; one party will be adjudged to everlasting 
life, and the other to everlasting fire, according to their works. 

Vol. YIII. u 


It would be a siglii., of admirable curiosity, if thon couldst wrap up 
thyself in some dark cloud, or hide thyself in the cleft of some high 
rock, from whence thou mightst espy wicked kings, princes, judges, 
and great ones of the earth, rising out of their marble tombs, and 
brought to the bar, to answer for all their cruelty, injustice, op- 
pression, profanity, without any marks of distinction, but what their 
wickedness puts upon them : profane, unholy, and unfaithful minis- 
tert, pursued with the curses of their ruined people, from their graves 
to the judgment seat, and charged with the blood of souls, to whom 
they gave not faithful warning : mighty men standing trembling be- 
fore the Judge unable to recover their wonted boldness, to outwit him 
with their subtleties, or defend themselves by their strength : delicate 
women cast forth of their graves, as abominable branches, dragged 
to the tribunal, to answer for their ungodly lives ; the ignorant, 
suddenly taught in the law to their cost ; and the learned declared 
before the world, fools and laborious triflers : the athiest convinced, 
the hypocrite unmasked ; and the profane at length turned serious 
about his eternal state : secret murders, adulteries, thefts, cheats, 
and other works of darkness, which defied all human search, dis- 
covered and laid open before the world, with their most minute 
circumstances: no regard had to the rich, no pity shown to tho 
poor : the scales of the world turned ; oppressed and despised piety 
set on high, and prosperous wickedness- at last brought low : all not 
found in Christ, arraigned, convicted, and condemned, without re- 
spect of persons, and driven from the tribunal to the pit; while 
those found in him, at that day, being absolved before the world, go 
with him into heaven. Nay, hut thou canst not so escape. Who- 
ever thou art, not being in Christ, thou must bear a part in this 
tragical and alarming scene. 

Sinner, that same Lord Christ, whom thou now despisest, whom 
thou woundest through the sides of his messengers, and before whom 
thou dost prefer thy lusts, will be thy Judge. The neglected Sa- 
viour will be a severe Judge. ! what mountain, what rock, wilt 
thou get to fall on thee; and hide thee from the face of 11 im who 
sits on the throne ? Thou hast now a rock within thee, a heart of 
adamant, so that thou canst count the darts of the word as stubble, 
and laugh at the shaking of the spear : but that rock will rend at 
the sight of the Judge : that hard heart will then break, and thou 
wilt weep and wail, when weeping and wailing will be to no 
purpose. Death's bands will fall off, the grave will cast thee out; 
and the mountains shall skip from thee, and the rocks refuse to 
grind thee to powder. Hoav will those cursed eyes abide the sight 
of the Judge ? Behold, he comcthj Where is the profane swearer. 


who tore bis wounds ? The wretched worldling, now abandoned 
of his God ? The formal hypocrite, who kissed him and betrayed 
him? Tlie despiser of the gospel, who sent hira away in his mes- 
sengers groaning, profaned his ordinances, and trampled under foot 
his precious blood? murderer, the slain man is thy Judge: there 
is he whom thou didst so maltreat. Behold the neglected Lamb of 
God appearing as a lion against thee. How will thine heart en- 
dure the darts of his fiery looks ? That rocky heart, which now holds 
out against him, shall then be blown up ; that face, which refuses 
to blush now, shall then gather blackness : arrows of wrath shall 
pierce where arrows of conviction cannot enter now. What wilt thou 
answer him, when he rises up, and charges thee with thy unbelief 
and impenitence ? "Wilt thou say, thou wast uifir warned ? Con- 
science Avithin thee will give thee the lie ; the secret groans and 
weariness of those who warned thee, will witness the contrary. If 
a child or a fool did tell you that your house was on fire, you would 
immediately run to quench it : but, in matters of eternal concern, 
men will first fill their hearts with prejudices against the messen- 
gers, and then cast their message behind their backs. But these 
silly excuses and pretences will not avail in the day of the Lord. 
How will these cursed ears, now deaf to the call of the gospel, 
inviting sinners to come to Christ, hear the fearful sentence, " De- 
part from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the 
devil and his angels !" No sleepy hearer shall be there ; no man's 
heart will then wander; their hearts and eyes will then be fixed on 
their misery, which they will not now believe. that we knew, in 
this our day, the things that belong to our peace ! 

Lastly, Be exhorted to believe this great truth ; and believe it so 
that you may prepare for the judgment betimes. Set up a secret 
tribunal in your own breasts, and often call yourselves to an ac- 
count there. Make the Judge your friend in time, by closing with 
him in the offer of the gospel ; and give all diligence, that you may 
be found in Christ at that day. Cast oflT the works of darkness ; 
and live, as believing you are, at all times, and in all places, under 
the eye of your Judge, who will bring every work into judgment, 
with every secret thing !" Be fruitful in good works, knowing that 
as you sow, you shall reap. Study piety towards God, righteous- 
ness and charity towards men. Lay up in store plenty of works of 
charity and mercy towards those who are in distress, especially such 
as are of the household of faith ; that they may be produced, at that 
day, as evidences that you belong to Christ. Shut not up your 
bowels of mercy, now, towards the needy; lest you then find no 
mercy. Take heed, that in all your works you be single and sin- 



cere ; aiming, in them all. at the glory of the Lord, a testimony of 
your love to him, and in obedience to his command. Leave it to 
hypocrites, who have their reward, to proclaim every man his own 
goodness ; and to sound a trumpet when they do their alms. It is 
a base and unchristian spirit, which cannot have satisfaction in a 
good work unless it be exposed to the view of others : it is utterly 
unworthy of one who believes that the last trumpet shall call toge- 
ther the whole world, before whom the Judge himself shall publish 
works truly good, how secretly soever they were done. Live in a 
believing expectation of the coming of the Lord. Let your loins be 
always girt, and your lamps burning; so when he comes, whether in 
the last day of your life, or in the last day of the world, ye shall be 
able to say with joy, " Lo, this is our God, and we have waited for 



Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, yc blessed 
of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the founda- 
tion of the luorld. — Matt. xxv. 34. 

Having, from this portion of Scripture, which the text is a part of, 
discoursed of the general judgment ; and being to speak of the 
everlasting happiness of the saints, and the everlasting misery of 
the wicked, from the respective sentences to be pronounced upon 
them in the great day, I shall take them in the order wherein they 
lie before us ; and the rather that, as sentence is first passed upon 
the righteous, so the execution thereof is first begun, though pro- 
bably the other may be fully executed before it is completed. 

The words of the text contain the joyful sentence itself, together 
with an historical introduction thereto, which gives us an account of 
the Judge pronouncing the sentence, " the King," Jesus Christ ; 
the parties on whom it is given, " them on his right hand;" and the 
time when, " then," as soon as the trial is over. Of these I have 
spoken already. It is the sentence itself we are now to consider, 
" Come, ye blessed of my Father," &c. Stand back, ye profane 
goats ! away all unregenerate souls, not united to Jesus Christ ! this 
is not for you. Come, ye saints, brought out of your natural state 
into the state of grace ! behold here the state of glory awaiting you. 

THE saints' kingly po"\vei:. 317 

Here is glory let down to us in words and syllables ; a looking- 
glass, in which you may see your everlasting happiness ; a scheme 
or draught of Christ's Father's house, wherein there are many 

This glorious sentence bears two things. 1. The complete happi- 
ness to which the saints are adjudged, " the kingdom." 2. Their 
solemn admission to it, " Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit," 
&c. — 1. Their complete happiness is a kingdom. A kingdom is 
the top of worldly felicity ; there is nothing on earth greater than a 
kingdom : therefore the hidden weight of the glory in heaven is 
held forth to us under that notion. But it is not an ordinary king- 
dom, it is " the kingdom;" the kingdom of heaven, surpassing all 
the kingdoms of the earth in glory, honour, profit, and pleasure, in- 
finitely more than they do in these excel the low and inglorious con- 
dition of a beggar in rags, and on a dunghill. 2. There is a solemn 
admission of the saints into this their kingdom, " Come ye, inherit 
the kingdom." In view of angels, men, and devils, they are in- 
vested with royalty, and solemnly inaugurated before the whole 
world, by Jesus Christ, the heir of all things, who hath " all power 
in heaven and in earth." Their right to the kingdom is solemnly 
recognised and owned. They are admitted to it as undoubted heirs 
of the kingdom, to possess it by inheritance, or lot, as the word pro- 
perly signifies, because, of old, inheritances were designed by lot, as 
Canaan to Israel, God's " first-born," as they are called, Exod. iv. 
22. And because this kingdom is l!ie Father's kingdom, therefore 
they are openly acknowledged, in their admission to it, to be the 
blessed of Christ's Father : which blessing was given them long be- 
fore this sentence, but it is now solemnly recognised and confirmed 
to them by the Mediator, in his Father's name. It is observable, he 
says not. Ye blessed of the Father, but. Ye blessed of my Father ; 
to shew us, that all blessings are derived by us from the Father, the 
fountain of blessing, as he is "the God and Father of our Lord 
Jesus Christ," through whom we are blessed, Eph. i, 3. And, 
finally, they are admitted to this kingdom, as that which was " pre- 
pared for them from the foundation of the world," in God's eternal 
purpose, before they, or any of them, were ; that all the world may 
see eternal life to be the free gift of God. 

DocTniNE. The saints shall be made completely happy in the pos- 
session of the kingdom of heaven. 

Two thing>5 I shall hero inquire into : I. The nature of this king- 
dom. II. The admission of the saints thereto. And then I shall 
make some practical improvement of the whole. 


1. As to the nature of the kingdom of heaven, out- knowledge of 
it is very imperfect ; for " eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither 
have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath pre- 
pared for them that love him," 1 Cor. ii. 9. As, by familiar resem- 
blances, parents instruct their little children concerning things of 
which otherwise they can have no tolerable notion ; so our gracious 
God, in consideration of our weakness, is pleased to represent to us 
heaven's happiness under similitudes taken from earthly things, 
glorious in the eyes of men ; since discoveries of the heavenly glory, 
divested ot earthly resemblances, would be too bright for our weak 
eyes, and we should but lose ourselves in them. "Wherefore now 
we can but speak as children of these things, which the day will 
fully discover. 

The state of glory is represented under the idea of a kingdom ; a 
kingdom, among men, being that in which the greatest number of 
earthly good things centre. Now, every saint shall, as a king, in- 
herit a kingdom. All Christ's subjects shall be kings, each one 
with his crown upon his head : not that the great King shall divest 
himself of his royalty, but he will make all his children partakers 
of his kingdom. 

1. The saints shall have kingly power and authority given them. 
Our Lord gives not empty titles to his favourites ; he makes them 
kino-s indeed. The dominion of the saints will be a dominion far 
exceeding that of the greatest monarch who ever was on earth. 
They will be absolute masters over sin, which had the dominion over 
them. They will have a complete rule over their own spirits ; an 
entire management of all their affections and inclinations, which 
now create them so much molestation : the tni'bulent root of corrupt 
affections shall be for ever expelled out of that kingdom, and never 
be able any more to give them the least disturbance. They shall 
have power over the nations, the ungodly of all nations, " and shall 
rule them with a rod of iron," Rev. ii. 26, 27. The whole world of 
the wicked shall be broken before them : " Satan shall be bruised 
under their feet," Rom. xvi. 20. He shall never be able to fasten a 
temptation on them any more : but he will be judged by them ; and, 
in their sight, cast with the reprobate crew into the lake of fire and 
brimstone. So shall they rule over their oppressors. Having 
fought the good fight, and got the victory, Christ will entertain 
them as Joshua did his captains, causing them to " come near, and 
put their feet on the necks of kings," John. x. 24. 

2. They shall have the ensigns of royalty. For a throne, Christ 
will grant them " to sit with him in his throne," Rev. iii. 21. They 
will be advanced to the highest honour and dignity that they are 


capable of; ami in the enjoyment of it, they will have an eter- 
nal undisturbed repose, after all the tossings which they met with 
in the world, in their way to the throne. For a crown, they shall 
" receive a crown of glory, that fadeth not away," 1 Pet. v. 4. Not 
a crown of flowers, as subjects, being conquerors or victors, some- 
times have got: such a crown quickly fades, but their crown never 
fadeth. Not a crown of gold, such as earthly kings wear : even a 
crown of gold is often stained, and at best can never make those 
who wear it happy. But it shall be " a crown of glory." A crown 
of glory is " a crown of life," Rev. iii. 10, that life which knows 
no end : a crown which death can never make to fall off one's head. 
It must be an abiding crown; for it is a " crown of righteousness," 
2 Tim. iv. 8. It was purchased for them by " Christ's righteous- 
ness," which is imputed to them ; they are qualified for it by inhe- 
rent righteousness ; God's righteousness, or faithfulness, secures it 
to them. They shall have " a sceptre, a rod of iron," Rev. ii. 27, 
terrible to all the wicked world. And a sword too, " a two-edged 
sword in their hand, to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and 
punishments upon the people," Psalm cxlix. 6, 7- They shall have 
royal apparel. The royal robes in this kingdom are white robes, 
Rev. iii. 4, " They shall walk with me in white." Which, in a very 
particular manner, points at the inconceivable glory of the state of 
the saints in heaven. 

The Lord is pleased often to represent unto us the glorious state 
of the saints, by speaking of them as clothed in " white garments." 
It is promised to the conqueror, that Le shall be " clothed in white 
raiment," Rev. iii. v. The elders about the throne are " clothed in 
white raiment," chap. iv. 4. The multitude before the throne are 
" clothed with white robes," chap. vii. 9 ; " arrayed in white 
robes," ver. 13; " made white in the blood of the Lamb," ver. 14. 
I own, the last two testimonies respect the state of the saints 
on earth ; yet the terms are borrowed from the state of the church 
in heaven. All garments, properly so called, being badges of 
sin and shame, shall be laid aside by the saints when they come to 
their state of glory. But if we consider on what occasions white 
garments were wont to be put on, we shall find much of heaven 
under them. 

(1.) The Romans, when they made their bond-servants free, gave 
them a white garment as a badge of their freedom. So shall the 
saints that day receive their white robes ; for it is the day of " the 
glorious liberty of the children of God," Rom. viii. 21, the day of 
" the redemption of their body," ver. 23. They shall no more see 
the house of bondage, nor lie any more among the pots. If we com- 


pare the state of the saints on earth with that of the wicked, it is 
indeed a state of freedom, whereas the other is a state of slavery : 
but, in comparison with their state in heaven, it is but a servitude. 
A saint on earth is indeed a young prince, and heir to the crown ; 
but his motto may be, " I serve ;" " for he differeth nothing from a 
servant, though he be lord of all," Gal. iv. 1. What are ihe groans 
of a saint, the sordid and base work wliich he is sometimes found 
employed in, the black and tattered garments which he walks in, 
but badgos of this comparative servitude ? But from the day the 
saints come to the crown, they receive their complete freedom, and 
serve no more. They shall be fully freed from sin, which of all 
evils is the worst, both in itself, and in their apprehension too ; 
how great then must that freedom be, when these " Egyptians, whom 
they see to-day," they "shall see them again no more for ever!" 
They shall be free from all temptation to sin : Satan can have no 
access to tempt them any more, by himself, or by his agents. A 
full answer will then be given to that petition they have so often 
repeated, " Lead us not into temptation." No hissing serpent can 
come into the paradise above : no snare or trap can be laid there, to 
catch the feet of the saints : they may walk there without fear, for 
they can be in no hazard : there are no lions' dens, no mountains of 
leopards, in the promised land. Nay, they shall be set beyond the 
possibility of sinning, for they shall be confirmed in goodness. It 
will be the consummate freedom of their will, to be for ever unal- 
terably determined to good. And they shall be freed from all the 
effects of sin : " There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor 
crying, neither shall there be any more pain," Rev. xxi. 4. What 
kingdom is like unto this ? Death makes its way now into a 
palace, as easily as into a cottage : sorrow fills the heart of one who 
wears a crown on his head : royal robes are no defence against 
pain, and crying by reason of pain. But in this kingdom no misery 
can have place. All reproaches shall be wiped off; and never shall 
a tear drop any more from their eyes. They shall not complain of 
desertions again ; the Lord will never hide his face from them : 
but the Sun of Righteousness shining upon them in his meridian 
brightness, will dispel all clouds, and give them an everlasting day, 
without the least mixture of darkness. A deluge of wrath, after a 
fearful thunder-clap from the throne, will sweep away the wicked 
from before the judgment-seat, into the lake of fire : but they 
are, in the first place, like Noah, brought into the ark, and out of 
harm's way. 

(2.) White raiment hath been a token of purity. Therefore^ 
" the Lamb's wife is arrayed in fine linen, clean and white," Rev. 




xix, B. And those wlio stood before the throne " washed their 
robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb," chap. vii. 14. 
The saints shall then put on the robes of perfect purity, and shine 
in spotless holiness, like the sun in his strength, without the least 
cloud to intercept his light. Absolute innocence shall then be re- 
stored, and every appearance of sin banished far from this kingdom. 
The guilt of sin, and the reigning power of it are now taken away 
in the saints ; nevertheless, sin dwelleth in them, Rom. vii. 20. But 
then it shall be no more in them : the corrupt nature will be quite 
removed ; that root of bitterness will be plucked up, and no vestiges 
of it left in their souls : their nature shall be altogether pure and 
sinless. There shall be no darkness in their minds ; but the un- 
derstanding of every saint, when he is come to his kingdom, will 
be as a globe of pure and unmixed light. There shall not be the 
least aversion to good, nor the least inclination to evil, in their 
wills ; but they will be brought to a perfect conformity to the will of 
God ; blessed with angelic purity, and fixed therein. Their af- 
fections shall not be liable to the least disorder or irregularity ; it 
will cost no. trouble to keep them right : they will get such a fixed 
habit of purity, as they oan never lose. They will be so refined 
from all earthly dross, as never to savour more of any thing but of 
heaven. AYere it possible for them to be set again amidst the en- 
snaring objects of an evil world, they woi;ld walk among them with- 
out the least defilement; as the sun shines on the dunghill, yet is 
untainted ; and as the angels preserved their purity in the midst of 
Sodom. Their graces shall then be perfected; and all the imperfec- 
tion now cleaving to them done away. There will be no more 
ground for complaints of weakness of grace : none in that kingdom 
shall complain of an ill heart, or a corrupt nature. " It doth not yet 
appear what we shall be, but when he shall appear, we shall be like 
him," 1 John iii. 2. 

(3.) Among the Jews, those who desired to be admitted into the 
priestly oflice, being tried, and found to be of the priest's line, and 
without blemish, were clothed in white, and enrolled among the 
priests. This seems to be alluded to. Rev. iii. 5, " He that over- 
cometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not 
blot out his name out of the book of life." So the saints shall not 
be kings only, but priests also ; for they are a " royal priesthood," 
1 Pet. ii. 9. They will be priests upon their thrones. They are ju- 
dicially found descended from the Great High Priest of their pro- 
fession, begotten of him by his Spirit, of the incorruptible seed of 
the word, and without blemish: so the trial being over, they are ad- 
mitted to be priests in the temple above, that they may dwell in the 


house of the Lord for ever. There is nothing upon earth more glo- 
rious than a kingdom ; nothing more venerable than the priesthood ; 
and both meet together in the glorified state of the saints. " The 
general assembly of the first-born," Heb. sii. 23, whose is the 
priesthood and the double portion, appearing in their white robes of 
glory, will be a reverend and glorious company. That day will shew 
them to be the persons whom the Lord has chosen out of all the 
tribes of the earth, to be near unto him, and to enter into his tem- 
ple, even into his holy place. Their priesthood, begun on earth, 
shall be brought to its perfection, when they shall be employed in 
offering the sacrifice of praise to God and the Lamb for ever and 
ever. They got not their portion in the earth with the rest of the 
tribes; but the Lord himself was their portion, and will be their 
double portion, through the ages of eternity. 

(4.) They were wont to wear while raiment in a time of triumph ; 
to which also there seems to be an allusion. Rev. iii. 5, " He 
that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment." 
And what is heaven but an everlasting triumph ? None get thither 
but such as fight, and overcome too. Though Canaan was given to 
the Israelites as an inheritance, they were required to conquer it, 
ere they could be possessors of it. The saints, in this world, are in 
the field of battle ; often in red garments, garments rolled in blood : 
but the day approaches, in which they shall " stand before the 
throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms 
in their hands," Rev. vii. 9, having obtained a complete victory 
over all their enemies. The palm was used as a sign of victory ; 
because that tree, though oppressed with weights, yet yields not, but 
rather shooteth upwards. And palm trees were carved on the doors 
of the most holy place, 1 Kings vi. 32, which was a special type of 
heaven; for heaven is the place which the saints are received into 
as conquerors. 

Behold the joy and peace of the saints in their white robes ! The 
joys arising from the view of past dangers, and of riches and hon- 
ours gained at the very door of death, doth most sensibily touch 
one's heart : and this will be an ingredient in the everlasting hap- 
piness of the saints, which could have had no place in the heaven of 
innocent Adam, and his sinless offspring, supposing him to have 
stood. Surely the glorified saints will not forget the entertainment 
which they met with in the world; it will be to the glory of God to 
remember it, and will also heighten their joy. The Sicilian king, by 
birth the son of a potter, acted a wise part, in that he would be 
served at his table with earthen vessels ; which could not but put 
an additional sweetness in his meals, not to be I'elished by one born 


lieir to the crown. Can ever meat be so sweet to any as to the 
huflgry man? Or can any have such a relish of plenty as he who 
has been under pinching straits ? The more difficulties the saints 
have passed through in their way to heaven, the place will be the 
sweeter to them when they come to it. Every happy stroke, struck 
in the spiritual warfare, will be a jewel in their crown of glory. 
Each victory obtained against sin, Satan, and the world, will raise 
their triumphant joy the higher. The remembrance of the cross will 
sweeten the crown ; and the remembrance of their travel through 
the wilderness, will put an additional verdure on the fields of glory; 
while they Avalk through them, looking back on the day when they 
went mourning without the sun. 

And now that they appear triumphing in white robes, it is a sign 
they have obtained an honourable i^eace ; such a peace as their ene- 
mies can disturb no more. So every thing peculiarly adapted to their 
militant condition is laid aside. The sword is laid down; and they 
betake themselves to the pen of a ready writer, to commemorate 
the praises of Him by whom they overcame. Public ordinances, 
preaching, sacraments, shall be honourably laid aside; there is no 
temple tliere. Rev. xxi. 22. On earth these were sweet to them : 
but the travellers being all got home, the inns, appointed for their 
entertainment by the way, are shut up ; the candles are put out 
when the sun is risen ; and the tabernacle used in the wilderness is 
folded up, when the temple of glory is come in its room. Many of 
the saints' duties will then be laid aside, as one gives his staff out 
of his hand, when he is come to the end of his journey. Praying 
shall then be turned to praising : and there being no sin to confess, 
no wants to seek the supply of, confession and petition shall be 
swallowed up in everlasting thanksgiving. There will be no mourn- 
ing in heaven. They have sown in tears : the reaping time of joy 
is come, and, " God shall wipe all tears from their eyes," Rev. 
xxi. 4. No need of mortification there; and self-examination is 
then at an end. They will not need to watch any more ; the danger 
is over. Patience has had its perfect work, and there is no use for 
it there. Faith is turned into sight, and hope is swallowed up in the 
ocean of sensible and full enjoyment. All the rebels are subdued, and 
the saints quietly sit on their throne ; and so the forces, needful in 
the time of the spiritual Avarfare, are disbanded ; and they carry on 
their triumph in the profoundest peace, 

(5.) "White garments were worn on festival days, in token of joy. 
And so shall the saints be clothed in white raiment; for they shall 
keep an everlasting Sabbath to the Lord, Ileb. iv. 9, " There re- 
maineth therefore a rest," or keeping of a Sabbath, " to the people 


of God." The Sabbatli, in the esteem of saints, is the queen of 
days : and they shall have an endless Sabbatism in the kingdom of 
heaven ; so shall their garments be always white. They will have 
an eternal rest, with an uninterrupted joy : for heaven is not a rest- 
ing place, where men may sleep out an eternity; there they rest not 
day nor night, but their work is their rest, and continual recrea- 
tion ; and toil and weariness have no place there. They rest there 
in God, who is the centre of their souls. Here they find the com- 
pletion, or satisfaction, of all their desires ; having the full enjoy- 
ment of God, and uninterrupted communion with him. This is the 
point, unto which, till the soul come, it will always be restless: but 
that point reached, it rests ; for he is at the last end, and the soul 
can go no farther. It cannot understand, will, nor desire more ; but 
in him it has what is commensurable to its boundless desires. This 
is the happy end of all the labours of the saints ; their toil and sor- 
rows issue in a joyful rest. The Chaldeans, measuring the natural 
day, put the day first, and the night last : but the Jews counted the 
night first, and the day last. Even so the wicked begin with a day 
of rest and pleasure, but end with a night of everlasting toil and 
sorrow : but God's people have their gloomy night first, and then 
comes their day of eternal rest. Which Abraham, in the parable, 
observed to the rich man in hell, Luke xvi. 25, " Son, remember 
that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise 
Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tor- 

3. If any inquire where the kingdom of the saints lies ? it is not 
in this world; it lies in a better country, "that is, an heavenly," 
Ileb. si. 16, a country better than the best of this world ; namely, 
the heavenly Canaan, Imniauuel's land, where nothing is wanting to 
complete the happiness of the inhabitants. This is the happy coun- 
try ; blessed with a perpetual spring, and which yieldeth all things 
for necessity, convenience, and delight. There men shall eat angels' 
food ; they shall be entertained with the hidden manna. Rev. ii. 17, 
without being set to the painful task of gathering it : they will be 
fed to the full, with the product of the land falling into their 
mouths, without the least toil to them. That land enjoys everlast- 
ing day, for there is "no night there," Rev. xxi. 25. Eternal sun- 
shine beautifies this better country, but there is no scorching heat 
there. No clouds shall be seen there for ever : yet it is not a land 
of drought ; the trees of the Lord's planting are set by the rivers of 
water, and shall never want moisture, for they will have an eternal 
supply of the Spirit, by Jesus Christ, from his Father. This is the 
only country, from whence our Lord came, and whither he is gone 


again; the country which all the holy patriarchs and prophets had 
their eye upon while on earth ; and which all the saints, who have 
gone before us, have fought their way to ; and unto which the mar- 
tyrs have joyfully swam through a sea of blood. This earth is the 
place of the saint's pilgrimage ; that is their country, where they 
find their everlasting rest. 

4. The royal city, is that great city, the holy Jerusalem, described 
at large, Rev. xxi. 10, to the end of the chapter. It is true, some 
learned divines place this city in the earth : but the particulars of 
this description seem to me to favour those most, who point us to the 
other world for it. The saints shall reign in that city, whose wall is 
of "jasper," ver. 18 ; and the foundations of the wall garnished with 
all manner of precious stones," ver. 19; and "the street of pure 
gold," ver. 21. So that their feet shall be set on that which the 
men of this world set their hearts upon. This is the city which 
God "has prepared for them," Heb. xi. 16; "a city that hath 
foundations," ver. 10; "a continuing city," chap. xiii. 14, which 
shall stand and flourish, when all the cities of the world are laid in 
ashes ; and which shall not be moved, when the foundations of the 
world are overturned. It is a city that never changes its inhabi- 
tants : none of them shall ever be removed out of it ; for life and 
immortality reign there, and no death can enter into it. It is bles- 
sed with a perfect and perpetual peace, and can never be in the least 
disturbed. Nothing from without can annoy it ; the gates therefore 
are not shut at all by day, and there is no night there. Rev. xxi. 25. 
There can nothing from within trouble it. No want of provision 
there, no scarcity ; no discord among the inhabitants. Whatever 
contentions are among the saints now, no vestige of their former 
jarrings shall remain there. Love to God, and to one another, shall 
be perfected ; and those of them who stood at the greatest distance 
here, will joyfully embrace and delight in one another there. 

5. The royal palace is Christ's Father's house, in which " are many 
mansions," John xiv. 2. There shall the saints dwell for ever. 
This is the house prepared for all the heirs of glory, even those of 
tiiem who dwell in the meanest cottage now, or have not where to 
lay their heads. As the Lord calls his saints to a kingdom, he will 
provide them a house suitable to the dignity he puts upon them. 
Heaven will be a convenient, spacious, and glorious house, for those 
whom the King delights to honour. Never was a house purchased 
at so great a rate as this, being the purchase of the Mediator's blood ; 
and for no less could it be afforded to them : never was there so 
much to do, to fit the inhabitants for a house. The saints were, by 
nature utterly unfit for this house, and human art and industry 


could not make them meet for it. But the Father gives the designed 
inhabitants to the Son, to be by him redeemed : the Son pays the 
price of their redemption, even his own precious blood; justice gives 
them access to the house ; and the Holy Spirit sanctifies them by his 
grace ; that they may be meet to come in thither, where no unclean 
thing can enter. And no wonder, for it is the King's palace they 
enter into. Psalm xlv. 15; the house of the kingdom, where the 
great King keeps his court, where he has set his throne, and shews 
forth his glory, in a singular manner, beyond what mortals can 

6. Paradise is their palace garden. " This day shalt thou be 
with me in paradise," said our Saviour to the penitent thief on the 
cross, Luke xsiii, 43. Heaven is a paradise for pleasure and de- 
light, where there is both wood and water: " A pure river of water 
of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God, and of 
the Lamb ; and on either side of the river, the tree of life, which 
bears twelve manner of fruits, and yields her fruits every month, 
Rev. xxii. 1, 2. How happy might innocent Adam have been in 
the earthly paradise, where there was nothing wanting for use or 
delight ! — Eden was the most pleasant spot of the nncorrupted earth 
and paradise the most pleasant spot of Eden : but what is earth in 
comparison of heaven? The glorified saints are advanced to the 
heavenly paradise. There they shall not only see, but " cat of the 
tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God," Rev. ii. 
7. They shall behold the Mediator's glory, and be satisfied with his 
goodness. No flaming sword shall be there, to keep the way of that 
tree of life ; but they shall freely eat of it, and live for ever. They 
shall " drink of the river of pleasures," Psalm sxxvi. 8, the sweet- 
est and purest pleasures which Immanuel's land afl'ords, and shall 
swim in an ocean of unmixed delight for evermore. 

7. They shall have royal treasures, sufficient to support the dig- 
nity to which they are advanced. Since the street of the royal city 
is pure gold, and the twelve gates thereof are twelve pearls : their 
treasure mnst be of that which is better than gold or pearl. It is 
an " eternal weight of glory," 2 Cor. iv. 17. precious treasure ! 
a treasure not liable to insensible corruption, by moths or rust; a 
treasure which none can steal from them. Matt. vi. 20. Never did 
any kingdom aft'ord such a precious treasure, nor a treasure of snch 
variety; for "he that overcoraeth, shall inherit all things," Rev. 
xxi. 7. No treasures on earth are stored with all things : if they 
were all put together in one, there would be far more valuable 
things wanting in that one, than found in it. — This then is the pecu- 
liar treasure of the kings who inherit the kingdom of heaven. They 


sliall want nothing tliat may contribute to their full satisfaction. 
Now they are rich in hope ; but then they will have their riches in 
liand. Now all things are theirs in respect of right; then all shall 
be theirs in possession. They may go for ever through Immanuel's 
land, and behold the glory and riches thereof, with the satisfying 
thought, that all they see is their own. It is a pity those should 
ever be uneasy under the want of earthly good things, who may be 
sure they shall inherit all things at length. 

8. Though there is no material temple therein, no serving of God 
in the use af ordinances, as here on earth ; yet, as for this kingdom, 
" The Lord God Almighty, and the Lamb, are the temple of it," 
Rev. xxi. 22. As the temple was the glory of Canaan, so will the 
celestial temple be the glory of heaven. The saints shall be 
brought in thither as a royal priesthood, to dwell in the house 
of the Lord for ever ; lor Jesus Christ will then make every saint 
" a pillar in the temjde of God, and he shall go no more out," Rev. 
iii. 12, as the priests and Levites did, in their courses, go out 
of the material temple. Tliere the saints shall have the cloud of 
glory, the divine presence, with most intimate, uninterrupted com- 
munion with God : there they shall have Jesus Christ, as the true ark, 
wherein the fiery law shall be for ever hid from their eyes : and the 
mercy-seat, from which nothing shall be breathed but everlasting 
peace and good will towards them : the cherubim, the society of holy 
angels, who shall join with them in eternal admiration of the mys- 
tery of Christ : the golden candlestick, with its seven lamps, for 
"the glory of God" doth "lighten it, and the Lamb is the light there- 
of," Rev. xxi. 23 : the incense altar, in the intercession of Christ, 
who " ever liveth to make intercession for them," Jleb. vii. 25, eter- 
nally exhibiting the manner of his death and suffering, and effica- 
ciously willing for ever, that those whom the Father hath given him, 
be with him : and the shewbread table, in the perpetual feast they 
shall have together in the enjoyment of God. This leads me more 
particularly to consider, 

9. The society in this kingdom. What would royal power and 
authority, ensigns of royalty, richest treasures, and all otiier advan- 
tages of a kingdom, avail, without comfortable society ? Some 
crowned heads have had but a wretched life, through the want of it: 
their palaces have been unto them as prisons, and their badges of 
lionour, as chains on a prisoner : while, hated of all, they had none 
they could trust in, or whom they could have comfortable fellowship 
with. But the chief part of heaven's happiness lies in the blessed 
society which the saints shall have there. 

(1.) The society of the saints, among themselves, will be no small 


part of heaven's happiness. The communion of saints on earth is 
highly prized by all those who are travelling through the world to 
Zion ; and companions in sin can never have such true pleasure and 
delight in one another, as sometimes the Lord's people have in pray- 
ing together, and in conversing about those things which the world 
is a stranger to. Here the saints are but few in a company at best: 
and some of them are so situated, as that they seem to themselves to 
dwell alone having no access to such as they would freely embosom 
themselves to, in spiritual matters, they sigh and say, " Wo is me ! 
for I am as when they have gathered tlie summer-fruits — there is no 
cluster to eat — the good man is perished out of the earth," Micah 
vii. 1, 2. But in the general assembly of the first born in heaven, 
none of all the saints, who ever were or will be on the earth, shall 
be missing. They will be all of them together in one place, all pos- 
sess one kingdom, and all sit down together to the marriage supper 
of the Lamb. Here the best of the saints want not their sinful im- 
perfections, making their society less comfortable : but there they 
shall be perfect, without " spot or wrinkle, or any such thing," Eph. 
v. 27. All natural, as well as sinful imperfections, will be done 
away ; they " shall shine as the brightness of the firmament," Dan. 
xii. 3. 

There we shall see Adam and Eve in the heavenly paradise freely 
eating of the tree of life ; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the 
holy patriarchs, no more wandering from land to land, but come to 
their everlasting rest ; all the prophets feasting their eyes on the 
glory of Him, of whose coming they prophesied ; the twelve apos- 
tles of the Lamb, sitting on their twelve thrones ; all the holy mar- 
tyrs in their long white robes, with their crowns on their heads; the 
godly kings advanced to a kingdom which cannot be moved ; and 
those that turn many to righteousness, shining as the stars for ever 
and ever. There we shall see our godly friends, relations, and ac- 
quaintances, pillars in the temple of God, to go no more out from us. 
And it is more than probable, that the saints will know one another 
in heaven; at least they will know their friends, relatives, and those 
they were acquainted with on earth, and such as have been most 
eminent in the Church ; yet that knowledge will be purified from 
all earthly thoughts and afi'ections. This seems to be included in 
that perfection of happiness to which the saints shall be advanced. 
If Adam knew who and what Eve was, at first sight, when the Lord 
God brought her to him, Gen. ii. 23, 54, why should one question but 
husbands and wives, parents and children, will know each other in 
glory? If the Thessalonians, converted by Paul's ministry, shall be 
his " crown of rejoicing in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at 


his coming," 1 Thess. ii. 19, why may we not conclude, that minis- 
ters shall know thoir people, and people their ministers, in heaven ? 
And if the disciples, on the mount of transfiguration, knew Moses 
and Elias, whom they had never seen before, Matth. xvii. 4, we 
have reason to think that we shall know them too, and such as them, 
when we come to heaven. The communion of saints shall be most 
intimate there ; " they shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and 
Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven," Matt. viii. 11. Lazarus was 
carried by the augels into Abraham's bosom, Luke xvi. 23 ; which 
denotes most intimate and familiar society. And though diversity 
of tongues shall cease. 1 Cor. xiii. 8, I make no question, but there 
will be the use of speech in heaven ; and that the saints will glorify 
God in their bodies there, as well as in their spirits, speaking forth 
his praises with an audible voice. As for the language, we shall 
understand what it is, when we come thither. When Paul was 
caught up to the third heaven, the seat of the blessed, he heard there 
unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter, 2 Cor. 
xii. 4. Moses and Elias, on the mount with Christ, " talked with 
him," Matt. xvii. 3, and " spake of his decease which he should ac- 
complish at Jerusalem," Luke ix. 31. 

(2.) The saints will have the society of all the holy angels there. 
An innumerable company of angels shall be companions to them 
in their glorified state. Happy were the shepherds who heard 
the song of the heavenly host when Christ was born ! but thrice 
happy they, who shall join their voices with them in the choir of 
saints and angels in heaven, when he shall be glorified in all who 
shall be about him there ! Then shall we be brought acquainted 
with those blessed spirits, who never siuned. How bright will these 
morning stars shine in the holy place ! they were ministering spirits 
to the heirs of salvation : loved them for their Lord and Master's 
sake; encamped round about tliem, to preserve them from danger: 
how joyfully will they welcome them to their everlasting habitations ; 
and rejoice to see them come at length to their kingdom, as the 
tutor doth in the prosperity of his pupils ! The saints shall be no 
more afraid of them, as at times they were wont to be : they shall 
then have put off mortality, and the infirmities of the flesh, and be 
themselves as the angels of God, fit to enjoy communion and fellow- 
ship with them. And both being brought under one head, the Lord 
Jesus Christ, they shall join in the praises of God and of the Lamb, 
" saying, with a loud voice. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain," 
&c. Rev. V. 11, 12. Whether the angels shall, as some think, assume 
ethereal bodies, that they may be seen by the bodily eyes of the 
saints, and be in a nearer capacity to converse with them, I know 

Vol. Yin. x 


not : but, as they want not ways of converse among themselves,* we 
have reason to think, that conversation between them and the saints 
shall not be for ever blocked up. 

(3.) They shall have society with the Lord himself in heaven, 
glorious communion with God in Christ, which is the perfection of 
happiness. I choose to speak of communion with God and the man 
Christ, together ; because, as we derive our grace from the Lamb 
so we shall derive our glory from him too, the man Christ being, if 
I may be allowed the expression, the centre of the divine glory in hea- 
ven, from whence it is diffused unto all the saints. This seems to be 
taught us by the Scriptures which express heaven's happiness by 
" being with Christ," Luke xxiii. 43, " This day ihou shalt be with 
me in paradise." John xvii. 24, " Father, I will that these also, 
whom thou hast given me, be with mc," and remarkably to this 
purpose is what follows, " that they may behold my glory." 1 Thess. 
iv. 17, " So shall we be ever with the Lord," that is, the Lord Christ, 
whom we shall meet in the air. This also seems to be the import 
of the Scriptures, wherein God and the Lamb, the slain Saviour, are 
jointly spoken of, in point of the happiness of the saints in heaven, 
Rev. vii. 17, " For the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, 
shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters : 
and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." Chap. xxi. 3, 
" Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with 
them," as in a tabernacle, so the word signifies, that is, in the flesh 
of Christ : compare John i. 14 ; and ver. 22, " The Lord God Al- 
mighty, and the Lamb are the temple of it." Here lies the chief 
happiness of the saints in heaven, without which they never could- 
be happy, though lodged in that glorious place, and blessed with the 
society of angels there. What I will venture to say of it, shall be 
comprised iu three things : 

First, The saints in heaven shall have the glorious presence of 
God, and of the Lamb : God himself shall be with them. Rev. xxi. 3, 
and they shall ever be with the Lord. God is every where present 
in respect of his essence : the saints militant have his special gra- 
cious presence ; but in heaven they have his glorious presence. 
There they are brought near to the throne of the great King, and 
stand before him, where he shews his inconceivable glory. There 
they have the tabernacle of God, on which the cloud of glory rests, 
the all-glorious human nature of Christ, wherein the fulness of the 
Godhead dwells ; not vailed, as in the days of his humiliation, but 
shining through that blessed flesh, that all his saints may behold 
his glory, and making that body more glorious than a thousand 
suns: so that the city has no need of the sun, nor of the moon, hut 


" the glory of God doth lighten it, and the lamb is the light there- 
of," properly " the candle thereof," Rev. xxi. 23, that is, the Lamb 
is the luminary or luminous body, which gives light to the city ; as 
the sun and moon now give light to the world, or as a candle lightens 
a dark room : and the light proceeding from that glorious luminary 
of the city, is the glory of Grod. Sometimes on earth that candle burns 
very dimly, it was hid under a bushel, in the time of his humiliation ; 
only now and then it darted out some rays of this light, which daz- 
zled the eyes of the spectators : but now it is set on high, in the 
city of God, where it shines, and shall shine for ever, in perfection 
of glory. It was sometimes laid aside, as a stone disallowed of the 
builders : but now it is and for ever will be, " the light," or 
luminary of that city; and that, "like unto a stone most precious, 
even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal," ver. 11. 

Who can conceive the happiness of the saints in the presence 
chamber of the great King, where he sits in his chair of state, mak- 
ing his glory eminently to appear in the man Christ ? His gracious 
presence makes a mighty change upon the saints in this world : his 
glorious presence in heaven, then, must needs raise their graces to 
perfection, and elevate their capacities. The saints experience that 
the presence of God, now with them in his grace, can make a little 
heaven of a sort of hell. How great then must the glory of heaven 
be, by his presence there in his glory ! If a candle, in some sort, 
beautifies a cottage or prison, how will the shining sun beautify a 
palace or paradise ! The gracious presence of God made a wilder- 
ness lightsome to Moses ; the valley of the shadow of death, to 
David ; a fiery furnace, to the three children : what a ravishing 
beauty then shall arise from the Sun of righteousness, shining in his 
meridian brightness on the street of the city paved with pure gold ! 
This glorious presence of God in heaven, will put a glory on the 
saints themselves. The most pleasing garden is devoid of beauty, 
when the darkness of the night sits down on it ; but the shining sun 
puts a glory on the blackest mountains : so those who are now as 
bottles in the smoke, when set in the glorious presence of God, will 
be glorious both in soul and body. 

Secondly, The saints in heaven shall have the full enjoyment of 
God and of the Lamb. This is it that perfectly satisfies the I'a- 
tional creature ; and here is the saints' everlasting rest. This will 
make up all their wants, and fill tlie desires of their souls, which, 
after all here obtained, still cry, " Give, give," not without some 
anxiety; because, though they do enjoy God, yet they do not enjoy him 
fully. As to the way and manner of this enjoyment, our Lord tells 
us, John xvii. 3, " This is life eternal, that they might know thee, 



the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." Now 
there are two ways, in which a desirahle object is known most per- 
fectly and satisfyingly ; the one is by sight, the other by experi- 
ence : sight satisfies the understanding, and experience satisfies the 
will. Accordingly, one may say, that the saints enjoy God and the 
Lamb in heaven, 1. By an intuitive knowledge ; 2. By an experi- 
mental knowledge ; both of them perfect, I mean, in respect of the 
capacity of the creature ; for otherwise a creature's perfect know- 
ledge of an infinite Being is impossible. The saints below enjoy 
God, in that knowledge they have of him by report, from his holy 
word, which they believe ; they see him likewise darkly in the glass 
of ordinances, which do, as it were, represent the Bridegroom's pic- 
ture, or shadow, while he is absent : they have also some experi- 
mental knowledge of hira ; they taste that God is good, and that 
the Lord is gracious. But the saints above shall not need a good 
report of the King, they shall see him ; therefore faith ceaseth : 
they will behold his own face ; therefore ordinances are no more : 
there is no need of a glass. They shall drink, and drink abun- 
dantly, of that whereof tliey have tasted ; and so hope ceaseth, for 
they are at the utmost bounds of their desires. 

(1.) The saints in heaven shall enjoy God and the Lamb, by sight, 
and that in a most perfect manner, 1 Cor. xiii. 12, " For now we see 
through a glass, darkly; but then face to face." Here our sight is 
but mediate, as by a glass, in which we see not things themselves, 
but the images of things ! but there we shall have an immedate view 
of God and the Lamb. Here our knowledge is but obscure : there 
it shall be clear, without the least mixture of darkness. The Lord 
now converses with his saints through the lattices of ordinances ; 
but then shall they be in the presence chamber with him. There is 
a veil now on the glorious face, as to us : but when we come to the 
upper house, that veil, through which some rays of beauty are now 
darted, will be found entirely taken off ; and then shall glorious ex- 
cellencies and perfections, not seen in him by mortals, be clearly 
discovered, for we shall see his face, Rev. xxii. 4. The phrase 
seems to be borrowed from the honour put on some in the courts of 
monarchs, to be attendants on the king's person. We read, Jer. 
Hi. 25, of " seven men that were" (Heb. " seers of the king's face," 
that is as we read it,) " near the king's person." unspeakable 
glory ! the great king keeps his court in heaven : and the saints 
shall all be his courtiers ever near the king's person, seeing his face. 
" The throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants 
shall serve him ; and they shall see his face," Rev. xxii. 3, 4. 

They shall see Jesus Christ, God and man with their bodily eyes, 


as he will never lay aside the human nature. They will behold that 
glorious blessed body, which is personally united to the divine na- 
ture, and exalted above principalities and powers, and every name 
that is named. There we shall see, with our eyes, that very body 
which was born of Mary at Bethlehem, and crucified at Jerusalem 
between two thieves : the blessed head, that was crowned with 
thorns ; the face, that was spit upon ; the hands and feet, that were 
nailed to the cross ; all shining with inconceivable glory. The 
glory of the man Christ will attract the eyes of all the saints, and 
he will be for ever admitted in all them that believe, 2 Thess. i. 10. 
Were each star in the heavens shining as the sun in its meridian 
brightness, and the light of the sun so increased, as the stars, in 
that case, should bear the same proportion to the sun, in point of 
light, that they do now; it might possibly be some faint resem- 
blance of the glory of the man Christ, in comparison with that of the 
saints ; for though the saints " shine forth as the sun," yet not they, 
but the Lamb shall be " the light of the city." The wise men fell 
down, and worshipped him, when they saw him " a young child, 
with Mary his mother in the house." But what a ravishing 
sight will it be to see him in his kingdom, on his throne, at the 
Father's right hand ! " The Word was made flesh," John i. 14, and 
the glory of God shall shine through that flesh, and the joys of 
heaven spring out from it, unto the saints, who shall see and enjoy 
God in Christ. For since the union between Christ and the saints is 
never dissolved, but they continue his members for ever ; and the 
members cannot draw their life, but from their head ; seeing that 
which is independent on the head, as to vital influence, is no mem- 
ber ; therefore Jesus Christ will remain the everlasting bond of 
union betwixt God and the saints ; from whence their eternal life 
shall spring, John xvii. 2, 3, " Thou hast given him power over all 
flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given 
him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only 
true God," &c. Yer. 22, 23, " And the glory which thou gavest me, 
I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one : I in 
them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one." 
Wherefore the immediate enjoyment of God in heaven, is to be un- 
derstood in respect of the laying aside of word and sacraments, and 
such external means, as we enjoy God by in this world ; but not as 
if the saints should then cast off their dependence on their Head for 
vital influences: nay, "the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne 
shall feed them, and lead them unto living fountains of waters," 
Rev. vii. 17- 

Now when we shall behold him, who died for us, that we might 


live for evermore, whose matchless love made him swim through the 
Red Sea of God's wrath, to make a path in the midst of it for us, by 
which we might pass safely to Canaan's land ; then we shall see 
Avhat a glorious one he was, who suffered all this for us ; what en- 
tertainment he had in the upper house; what hallelujahs of angels 
could not hinder hira to hear the groans of a perishing multitude on 
earth, and to come down for their help; and what glory he laid aside 
for us. Then shall we be more " able to comprehend with all saints, 
what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height ; and to know 
the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge," Eph. iii. 18, 19. 
When the saints shall remember, that the waters of wrath which he 
was plunged into, are the wells of salvation from whence they draw 
all their joy ; that they have got the cup of salvation in exchange 
for the cup of wrath his Father gave hira to drink, which his sinless 
human nature shivered at; how will their hearts leap within them, 
burn with seraphic love, like coals of juniper, and the arch of heaven 
ring with their songs of salvation ! The Jews, celebrating the feast 
of tabernacles, which was the most joyful of all their feasts, and 
lasted seven days, went once every day about the altar, singing ho- 
sanna, with their myrtle, palm, and willow branches in their hands, 
the two former signs of victory, the last, of chastity, in the mean- 
time bending their boughs towards the altar. When the saints are 
presented as a chaste virgin to Christ, and as conquerors have got 
their palms in their hands, how joyfully will they compass the altar 
evermore, and sing their hosannas, or rather their hallelujahs about 
it, bending their palms towards it, acknowledging themselves to owe 
all unto the Lamb that was slain, and who redeemed them with his 
blood ! To this agrees what John saw. Rev. vii. 9, 10, " A great 
multitude — stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed 
with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud 
voice, saying. Salvation to our God, which sitteth upon the throne, 
and unto the Lamb." 

They shall see God, Matt. v. 8. They will be happy in seeing the 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, not with their bodily eyes, in respect 
of which God is invisible, 1 Tim. i. 17, but with the eyes of their 
understanding ; being blessed with the most perfect, full, and clear 
knowledge of God, and divine things, which the creature is capable 
of. This is called the beatific vision, and is the perfection of under- 
standing, the utmost terra thereof. It is but an obscure delineation 
of the glory of God, that mortals can have on earth ; a sight, as it 
were, of "his back parts," Exod. xxxiii. 23. But there they will 
see his face, Rev. xxii. 4. They shall see him in the fulness of his 
glory, and behold him fixedly; whereas it is but a passing view they 

KULii enjoyjMent of god. 335 

can have of him here, Exod. xxxiv. 6. There is a vast difference 
between the sight of a king in his undress, quickly passing by us ; 
and a fixed leisurely view of him, sitting on his throne in his royal 
robes, his crown on his head, and his sceptre in his hand : such a 
difference will there be, between the greatest manifestation of God 
that ever a saint had on earth, and the display of his glory in 
heaven. There the saints shall eternally, without interruption, 
feast their eyes upon him, and be ever viewing his glorious perfec- 
tions. And as their bodily eyes shall be strengthened, and fitted to 
behold the glorious majesty of the man Christ ; as eagles gaze on 
the sun, without being blinded thereby ; so their minds shall have 
such an elevation, as will fit them to see God in his glory : their ca- 
pacities shall be enlarged, according to the measure in which he shall 
be pleased to communicate himself unto them, for their complete 

This blissful sight of God being quite above our present capacities, 
Ave must needs be much in the dark about it. But it seeips to be 
something else than the sight of that glory, which we shall see with 
our bodily eyes, in the saints, and in the man Christ, or any other 
splendour or refulgence from the Godhead whatever ; for no created 
thing can be our chief good and happiness, nor fully satisfy our 
souls ; and it is plain that these things are somewhat different from 
God himself. Therefore I conceive, that the souls of the saints shall 
see God himself: so the Scriptures teach us, that we shall "see face 
to face, and know even as we are known," 1 Cor. xiii. 12; and that 
" we shall see him as he is," 1 John iii. 2. Yet the saints can never 
have an adequate conception of God : they cannot comprehend 
that which is infinite. They may touch the mountain, but cannot 
grasp it in their arms. They cannot, with one glance of their eye, 
behold what grows on every side : but the divine perfections will be 
an unbounded field, in which the glorified shall walk eternally, 
seeing more and more of God ; since they can never come to the end 
of that which is infinite. They may bring their vessels to this ocean 
every moment, and fill them with new waters. — What a ravishing 
sight would it be, to see all the perfections, and lovely qualities, 
that are scattered here and there among the creatures, gathered to- 
gether into one ! But even such a sight would be infinitely below 
this blissful sight the saints shall have in heaven. For they shall 
see God, in whom all these perfections shall eminently appear infi- 
nitely more, whereof there is no vestige to be found in the creatures. 
In him shall they see every thing desirable, and nothing but what is 

Then shall they be perfectly satisfied as to the love of God to- 


wards them, which they are now ready to question on every tnrn. 
They will no more find any ditRculty to persuade themselves of it, 
by marks, signs, aad testimonies : they will have an intuitive know- 
ledge of it. They shall, with the profoundest reverence be it spoken, 
look into the heart of God, and there see the love he bore to them 
from all eternity, and the love and goodness he will bear to them 
for evermore. The glorified shall have a most clear and distinct 
understanding of divine truths, for in his light we shall see light, 
Psalm xxxvi. 9. The light of glory will be a complete commentary 
on the Bible, and untie all the hard and knotty questions in divinity. 
There is no joy on earth, comparable to that which arises from the 
discovery of truth, no discovery of truth comparable to the discovery 
of Scripture truth, made by the Spirit of the Lord unto the soul. 
" I rejoice at thy word," says the psalmist, " as one that findeth 
great spoil," Psalm cxix. 162. Yet, while here, it is but an imper- 
fect discovery. How ravishing then will it be, to see the opening of 
all the treasure hid in that field ! They shall also be led into the 
understanding of the works of God. The beauty of the works of 
creation and providence will thea be set in due light. Natural 
knowledge will be brought to perfection by the light of glory. Tlie 
web of providence, concerning the church, and all men whatever, 
will then be cut out, and laid before the eyes of the saints : and it 
will appear a most beautiful mixture; so as they shall all say toge- 
thee, on the view of it, " He hath done all things well." But, in a 
special manner, the work of redemption shall be the eternal wonder 
of the saints, and they will admire and praise the glorious contriv- 
ance for ever. Then shall they get a full view of its suitableness to 
the divine perfections, and to the case of sinners ; and clearly read 
the covenant that passed between the Father and the Son, from all 
eternity, concerning their salvation. Tliey shall for ever wonder 
and praise, and praise and wonder, at the mystery of wisdom and 
love, goodness and holiness, mercy and justice, appearing in the glo- 
rious scheme. Their souls shall be eternally satisfied with the sight 
of God himself, of their election by the Father, their redemption by 
the Son, and application thereof to them by the Holy Spirit. 

(2.) The saints in heaven shall enjoy God in Christ by experi- 
mental knowledge, which is, when the object itself is given and pos- 
sessed. This is the participation of the divine goodness in full mea- 
sure ; which is the perfection of the will, and utmost term thereof. 
'■ The Lamb shall lead them unto living fountains of waters," Rev. 
vii. 17. These are no other but God himself, " the fountain of living 
waters," who will fully and freely communicate himself unto them. 
He will pour out of his goodness eternally into their souls : then 


shall they have a most lively sensation, in the innermost part of 
their souls, of all that goodness they heard of, and believe to be in 
him, and of what they shall see in him by the light of glory. This 
will be an everlasting practical exposition of that word, which men 
and angels cannot sufficiently unfold, to wit, God himself shall — 
"be their God," Rev. xxi. 3. God will communicate himself unto 
them fully : they will no more be set to taste of the streams of di- 
vine goodness in ordinances, as they were wont, but shall drink at 
the fountain head. They will be no more entertained with sips and 
drops, but filled with all the fulness of God. And this will be the 
entertainment of every saint : for, though in created things, what is 
given to one is withheld from another ; yet this infinite good can 
fully communicate itself to all, and fill all. Those who are heirs of 
God, the great heritage, shall then enter into a full possession of 
their inheritance : and the Lord will open his treasures of goodness 
unto them, that their enjoyment may be full. They shall not be 
stinted to any measure : but the enjoyment shall go as far as their 
enlarged capacities can reach. As a narrow vessel cannot contain 
the ocean, so neither can the finite creature comprehend the infinite 
•good : but no measure shall be set to the enjoyment, but what 
ariseth from the capacity of the creature. So that, although there 
be degrees of glory, yet all shall be filled, and have what they can 
hold ; though some will be able to hold more than others. There 
will be no want to any of them ; all shall be fully satisfied, and per- 
fectly blessed in the full enjoyment of divine goodness, according to 
their enlarged capacities: as when bottles of different sizes are filled, 
some contain more, others less; yet all of them have what they 
can contain. The glorified shall have all in God, for the satisfac- 
tion of all their desires. No created thing can aff"ord satisfaction to 
all our desires ; clothes may warm us, but they cannot feed us ; the 
light is comfortable, but cannot nourish us : but in God we shall 
have all our desires, and we shall desire nothing without him. 
They shall be the happy ones, that desire nothing but what is truly 
desirable ; they shall have all they desire. God will be all in all 
to the saints : he will be their life, health, riches, honour, peace, and 
all good things. He will communicate himself freely to them : the 
door of access to him shall never be shut again for one moment. 
They may, when they will, take of the fruits of the tree of life, for 
they will find it on each side of the river. Rev. xxii. 2. There will 
be no veil between God and them, to be drawn aside ; but his ful- 
ness shall never stand open to them. No door to nock at in heaven; 
no asking to go before receiving ; the Lord will allow bis people an 
unrestrained familiarity with himself there. 


Now they are ia part made " partakers of the divine nature !" 
but then they shall perfectly partake of it ; that is to say, God will 
communicate to them his own image, make all his goodness not only 
pass before them, but pass into them, and stamp the image of all 
his own perfections upon them, so far as the creature is capable of 
receiving the same ; from whence shall result a perfect likeness to 
him in all things in or about them; which completes the happiness 
of the creature. This is what the psalmist seems to have had in 
view. Psalm, xvii. 15, " I shall be satisfied, when I awake with thy 
likeness ;" the perfection of God's image following upon the beatific 
vision. And so says John, 1 John iii. 2, " We shall be like him; 
for we shall see him as he is." Hence there shall be a most close 
and intimate union between God and the saints : God shall be in 
them, and they in God, in a glorious and most perfect union : for 
then shall their dwelling in love be made perfect. " God is love ; 
and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him," 
1 John iv. 16. How will the saints be united to God and he 
to them, when he shall see nothing in them but his own image ; 
when their love shall arrive at its perfection, no nature but the 
divine nature being left in them ; and all imperfection being swal- 
lowed up in their glorious transformation into the likeness of God|! 
Their love to the Lord, being purified from the dross of self-love, 
shall be most pure ; so as they shall love nothing but God, and in 
God. It shall no more be faint and languishing, but burn like coals 
of juniper. It will be a light without darkness, a flaming fire 
without smoke. As the live coal, when all the moisture is gone 
out of it, is all fire, so will the saints be all love, when they come 
to the full enjoyment of God in heaven, by intuitive and experi- 
mental knowledge of him, by sight and full participation of the di- 
vine goodness. 

Thirdly, From this glorious presence and enjoyment shall arise 
au unspeakable joy, which the saints shall be filled with. *' In thy 
I)resence is fulness of joy," Psalm xvi. 11. The saints sometimes 
enjoy God in the world ; but when their eyes are held, so as not to 
perceive it, they have not the comfort of the enjoyment : but then, 
all mistakes being removed, they shall not only enjoy God, but rest 
in the enjoyment with inexpressible delight and satisfaction. The 
desire of earthly things causes torment, and the enjoyment of them 
often ends in loathing. But though the glorified saints shall ever 
desire more and more of God, their desires shall not be mixed with 
the least anxiety, since the fulness of the Godhead stands always 
open to them ; therefore they shall hunger no more, they shall not 
have the least uneasiness in their eternal appetite after the hidden 

saints' admission into the kingdoji. 339 

maiina ; neither shall continued enjoyment cause loathing ; they 
shall never think they have too much ; therefore it is added, 
"neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat," Rev. vii. 16. 
The enjoyment of God and the Lamb will be ever fresh and new to 
them, through the ages of eternity : for they shall drink of living 
fountains of waters, where new waters are continually springing up 
in abundance, ver. 17. They shall eat of the tree of life, which, 
for variety, affords twelve manner of fruits, and these always new 
and fresh, for it yields every month. Rev. xxii. 2. Their joy shall 
be pure and unmixed, without any dregs of sorrow ; not slight and 
momentary, but solid and everlasting, without interruption. They 
Avill enter into joy, Matt. xxv. 21, "Enter thou into the joy of thy 
Lord." The expression is somewhat unusual, and brings to my 
recollection this word of our suffering Redeemer, Mark xiv. 34, 
" My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death." His soul was beset 
with sorrows, as the word there used will bear ; the floods of sor- 
row went round about him, encompassing him on every hand : 
wherever he turned his eyes, sorrow was before him; it flowed in 
upon him from heaven, earth, and hell, all at once: thus was he 
cutered into sorrow, and therefore saith, Psalm Ixix. 2, " I am come 
into deep waters, where the floods overflow me." Now, wherefore 
all this, but that his own might enter into joy? Joy sometimes 
enters into us now, but has much to do to get access, while we are 
encompassed with sorrows : but then joy shall not only enter into 
us, but we shall enter into it, and swim for ever in an ocean of 
joy, where we shall see nothing but joy wherever we turn our 
eyes. The presence and enjoyment of God and the Lamb will 
satisfy ns with pleasures for evermore : and the glory of our souls 
and bodies, arising from thence, will afford us everlasting delight. 
The spirit of heaviness, how closely soever it cleaves to any 
of the saints now, shall drop off then : their weeping shall be 
turned into songs of joy, and bottles of tears shall issue in rivers of 
pleasure. Happy they who now sow in tears, which shall spring up 
in joy in heaven, and will encircle their heads with a weight of 

Thus far of the society in this kingdom of the saints. 

10, In the last place, the kingdom shall endure for ever. As every 
thing in it is eternal, so the saints shall have undoubted certainty, 
and full assurance, of the eternal duration of the same. This is a 
necessary ingredient in perfect happiness ; for the least uncertainty 
as to the continuance of any good with one, is not without some 
fear, anxiety, and torment; and therefore is utterly inconsistent 
with perfect happiness. But the glorified shall never have fear, nor 


cause of fear, of any loss : they shall be " ever with the Lord," 1 
Thess. iv. 17. They shall all attain the full persuasion, that noth- 
ing shall be able to separate them from the love of God, nor from 
the full enjoyment of him for ever. The inheritance " reserved in 
heaven is incorruptible ;" it hath no principle of corruption in it- 
self, to make it liable to decay, but endures for evermore : it is un- 
defiled; nothing from without can mar its beauty, nor is there any 
thing in itself to offend those who enjoy it. Therefore it fadeth not 
away ; but ever remains in its native lustre, and primitive beauty, 
1 Pet. i. 4. Hitherto of the nature of the kingdom of heaven. 

II. "We now proceed to speak of the admission of the saints into 
this their new kingdom. I shall briefly touch upon two things: 1. 
The formal admission, in the call upon them from the Judge to 
come into their kingdom. 2. The equality in which they are ad- 
mitted and introduced to it, 

1. Their admission, the text shews to be, by a voice from the 
throne : the King calling to them, from the throne, before angels 
and men, to come to their kingdom. Come and Go are but short 
words : but they will be such as will aflPord matter of thought to all 
mankind, through the ages of eternity ; since everlasting happiness 
turns upon one, and everlasting misery on the other. 

Now, our Lord bids the worst of sinners, who hear the gospel, 
Come ; but the most part will not come unto him. Some few, whose 
hearts are touched by his Spirit, embrace the call, and their souls 
within them say, " Behold, we come unto thee :" they give them- 
selves to the Lord, forsake the world and their lusts for him : they 
bear his yoke, and cast it not off", no, not in the heat of the day 
when the weight of it, perhaps, makes them sweat the blood out of 
their bodies. Behold the fools ! says the carnal world, whither are 
they going ? But stay a little, foolish world ! From the same 
mouth, whence they had the call they are now following, another 
call shall come, that will make amends for all : " Come ye blessed 
of my Father, inherit the kingdom." 

The saints shall find an inexpressible sweetness in this call. Come. 
1. Hereby Jesus Christ shews his desire of their society in the up- 
per house, that they may be ever with him there. Thus he will 
open his heart unto them, as sometimes he did to his Father con- 
cerning them, saying, " Father, I will they be with me, where I am," 
John xvii. 24. Now, the travail of his soul stands before the throne 
not only the souls, but the bodies, he has redeemed; and they must 
come, for he must be completely satisfied. 2. Hereby they are so- 
lemnly invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. They were in- 
vited to the lower table by the voice of the servants, and the sacred 


workings of the Spirit within them ; and they came, and did partake 
of the feast of divine communications in the lower house : but Jesus 
Christ in person shall invite them, before all the world, to the 
highest table. 3. By this he admits them into the mansions of 
glory. The keys of heaven hang at the girdle of our royal Media- 
tor. " All power in heaven" is given to him, Matt, xxvii. 18 : and 
none get in thither but whom he admits. When they were living 
on earth with the rest of the world, he opened the doors of their 
hearts, entered into them, and shut them again ; so as sin could ne- 
ver re-enter, to reign there as formerly : now he opens heaven's 
doors to them, draws his doves into the ark, and shuts them in ; so 
as the law, death, and hell, can never get them out again. The 
saints in this life were still labouring to enter into that rest ; but 
Satan was always pulling them back, their corruptions always draw- 
ing them down ; insomuch that they have sometimes been left to 
hang by a hair of promise, if I may be allowed the expression, not 
without fear of falling into the lake of fire : but now Christ gives 
the word for their admission, they are brought in, and put beyond 
all hazard. 4. He speaks to them as the person introducing them 
into the kingdom, into the presence-chamber of the great King, 
and unto the throne. Jesus Christ is the great Secretary of heaven, 
whose office it is to bring the saints into the gracious presence of 
God now, and to whom alone it belongs to bring them into the glo- 
rious presence of God in heaven. Truly heaven would be a strange 
place to them, if Jesus were not there ; but the Son will introduce his 
brethren into his Father's kingdom ; they shall go in " with him to 
the marriage. Matt. xxv. 10. 

2. Let us consider in what quality they are introduced by him, 
(1.) He brings them in as the blessed of his Father; so runs the 
call from the throne, " Come, ye blessed of my Father," &c. It 
is Christ's Father's house they are to come into : therefere he puts 
them in mind that they are blessed of the Father ; dear to the Fa- 
ther, as well as to himself. This it is that makes heaven home to 
them, namely, that it is Christ's Father's house, where they may be 
assured of welcome, being married to the Son, and being his Father's 
choice for that very end. He bi-ings them in for his Father's sake, 
as well as for his own : they are the blessed of his Father ; who, as 
he is the fountain of the Deity, is also the fountain of all blessings 
conferred on the children of men. They are those whom God loved 
from eternity. They were blessed in the eternal purpose of God, 
being elected to everlasting life. At the opening of the book of life, 
their names were found written therein : so that by bringing them to 
the kingdom, he doth but bring them to what the Father, from all 


eternity, designed for them : being saved by the Son, they are saved 
according to his, that is, the Father's purpose, 2 Tim. i. 2. They are 
those to whom the Father has spoken well. He spoke well to thera 
in his word, which must now receive its full accomplishment. 
They had his promise of the kingdom, lived and died in the faith of 
it; and now they come to receive the thing promised. Unto them he 
has done well. A gift is often in Scripture called a blessing ; and 
God's blessing is ever real, like Isaac's blessing, by which Jacob 
became his heir: they were all by grace justified, sanctified, and 
enabled to persevere to the end ; now they are raised up in glory, 
and being tried, stand in the judgment : what remains, then, but 
that God should crown his own work of grace in them, in giving 
them their kingdom, in the full enjoyment of himself for ever ? Fi- 
nally they are those whom God has consecrated; the which also is 
a Scripture term of blessing, 1 Cor. x. 16. God set them apart for 
himself, to be kings and priests unto hira ; and the Mediator intro- 
duces them, as such, to their kingdom and priesthood. 

(2.) Christ introduces them, as heirs of the kingdom, to the actual 
possession of it. " Come, ye blessed, inherit the kingdom." They 
are the children of God by regeneration and adoption ;" And if 
children, then heirs, heiTs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ," 
Rom. viii. 17. Now is the general assembly of the first-born before 
the throne : their minority is overpast ; and the time appointed of 
the Father for their receiving their inheritance, is come. The Me- 
diator purchased the inheritance for them with his own blood ; 
their rights and evidences were drawn long ago, and registered in 
the Bible ; nay, they have investment of their inheritance in the 
person of Christ, as their proxy, when he ascended into heaven, 
" Whither the forerunner is for us entered," Heb. vi. 20. Nothing 
remains, but that they enter into personal possession thereof, which 
begun at death, is perfected at the last day ; when the saints in 
their bodies, as well as their souls, go into their kingdom. 

(3.) They are introduced to it as those it was prepared for, from 
the foundation of tlie world. The kingdom was prepared for thera 
in the eternal purpose of God, before they, or any of them, had a 
being ; which shews it to be a gift of free grace to them. It was 
from eternity the divine purpose that there should be such a king- 
dom for the elect; and that all impediments which might oppose 
their access to it, should be removed out of the way : and also, by 
the same eternal decree, every one's place in it was determined and 
set apart, to be reserved for him, that each of the children coming 
home at length into their Father's house, might find his own place 
awaiting him, and ready for him ; as at Saul's table, David's place 


was empty, when he was not there to occupy it himself, 1 Sam. xx. 
26. And now the appointed time is come, they are brought iu, to 
take their several places in glory. 

Use. I shall conclude ray discourse on this subject with a word of 
application. 1. To all who claim a right to this kingdom. 2. To 
those who have indeed a right to it. 3. To those who have no right 

1. Since it is evident there is no promiscuous admission into the 
kingdom of heaven, and none do obtain it but those whose claim to it 
is solemnly tried by the great Judge, and, after trial, supported as 
good and valid ; it is necessary that all of us partially try and exa- 
mine, whether, according to the laws of the kingdom, contained 
in the Holy Scriptures, we can verify and make good our claim 
to this kingdom. The hopes of heaven, which most men have, 
are built on such sandy foundations, as can never abide the trial ; 
having no ground whatever but in their own deluded fancy : such 
hopes will leave those who entertain them miserably disappointed 
at last. Wherefore, it is not only our duty, but our interest, to put 
the matter to a fair trial in time. If we find we have no right to 
heaven, we are yet in the way ; and what we have not, we may ob- 
tain : but if we find we have a right to it, we shall then hav^e the 
comfort of a happy prospect into eternity ; which is the greatest 
comfort one is capable of in the world. If you inquire, how you 
may know whether you have a right to heaven or not, I answer. 
You may know that by the state you are now in. If you are yet 
in your natural state, you are children of wrath, and not children of 
this kingdom ; for that state, to those who live and die in it, issues 
in eternal misery. If yon be brought into the state of grace, you 
have a just claim to the state of glory; for grace will certainly 
issue in glory at length. This kingdom is an inheritance, which 
none but the children of God can justly claim. Now, we become 
the children of God by regeneration, and union with Christ his Son ; 
" And if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with 
Christ," Rom. viii. 17. These, then, are the great points upon 
which our evidences for the state of glory depend. Therefore, I 
refer you to what is said on the state of grace, for satisfying you as 
to your right to glory. 

If you be heirs of glory, " the kingdom of God is within you," by 
virtue of your regeneration and union with Christ. 1. The kingdom 
of heaven has the throne in thy heart, if thou hast a right to that 
kingdom : Christ is in thee, and God is in thee ; and having chosen 
him for thy portion, thy soul has taken up its everlasting rest in 
him, and gets no true rest but in him ; as the dove, until she came 


into the ark. To him the soul habitually inclines, by virtue of the 
new nature, the divine nature, which the heirs of glory are par- 
takers of, Psalra Ixxiii. 25, " Whom have I in heaven but thee ? 
and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee." 2. The 
laws of heaven are in thy heart, if thou art an heir of heaven, Heb. 
viii. 10, " I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in 
their hearts." Thy mind is enlightened in the knowledge of the 
laws of the kingdom, by the Spirit of the Lord, the instructor of all 
the heirs of glory ; for whoever may want instruction, surely an heir 
to a crown shall not want it. " It is written in the prophets, And 
they shall be all taught of God," John vi. 45. Therefore, though 
father and mother leave them early, or be in no concern about their 
Christian education, and they be soon put to work for their daily 
bread, yet they shall not lack teaching. "Withal, thy heart is 
changed, and thou bearest God's image, which consists in " righte- 
ousness and true holiness," Eph. iv. 24. Thy soul is reconciled to 
the whole law of Grod, and at war with all known sin. In vain do 
they pretend to the holy kingdom, who are not holy in heart and 
life; for "without holiness no man shall see the Lord," Heb. xii. 14. 
If heaven is a rest, it is for spiritual labourers, not for loiterers. If 
it is an eternal triumph, they are not in the way to it who avoid the 
spiritual warfare, and are in no care to subdue corruption, resist 
temptation, and to cut their way to it through the opposition made 
by the devil, the world, and the flesh. 3. The treasure in heaven 
is the chief in thy esteem and desire ; for it is your treasure, aud 
"where yonr treasure is, there will your heart be also," Matt. vi. 21. 
If it is not the things that are seen, but the things that are not seen, 
which thy heart is in the greatest care and concern to obtain; if 
thou art driving a trade with heaven, and thy chief business lies 
there; it is a sign that thy treasure is there, for thy heart is there. 
But if thou art of those who wonder why so much ado is made about 
heaven and eternal life, as if less might serve the turn, thou art 
like to have nothing to do with it at all. Carnal men value them- 
selves most on their treasures upon earth ; with them, the things 
that are not seen are weighed down by the things that are seen, 
and no losses so mnch affect them as earthly losses : but the heirs 
of the crown of glory value themselves most on their treasures ia 
heaven, aud will not put their private estate in the balance with 
their kingdom ; nor will the loss of the former go so near their 
hearts, as the thoughts of the loss of the latter. Where these first- 
fruits of heaven are to be found, the eternal weight of glory will 
surely follow after ; while the want of them must be admitted ac- 
cording to the word, to be an incontestible evidence of an heir of 


2. Let the heirs of the kingdom behave themselves suitably to 
their character and dignity. Live as having the faith and hope of 
this glorious kingdom : let your conversation be in heaven, Phil. iii. 
20. Let your souls delight in communion with God while yon are 
on earth, since you look for your happiness in communion with him 
in heaven. Let your speech and actions savour of heaven ; and in 
your manner of life, look like the country to which you are going : 
that it may be said of you, as of Gideon's brethren. Judges viii. 18, 
" Each one resembled the children of a king." Maintain a holy 
contempt of the world, aud of the things of the world. Although 
others, whose earthly things are their best things, set their hearts 
upon them, yet it becomes you to set your feet on them, since your 
best things are above. This world is but the country through which 
lies your road to Immanuel's land. Therefore pass through it as pil- 
grims and strangers ; and dip not in the encumbrances of it, so as to 
retard you in your journey. It is unworthy of one born to a palace, 
to set his heart on a cottage, to dwell there ; and of one running for 
a prize of gold, to go oiF his way to gather the stones of the brook ; 
but much more is it unworthy of an heir of the kingdom of heaven, 
to be hid among the stuff of this world, when he should be going on to 
receive his crown. The prize set before you challenges your utmost 
zeal, activity, and diligence ; and holy courage, resolution, and mag- 
nanimity, become those who are to inherit the crown. You cannot 
come at it without fighting your way to it, through difficulties from 
without and from within : but the kingdom before you is sufficient to 
balance them all, though you should be called to resist even unto 
blood. Prefer Christ's cross before the world's crown, and want in 
the way of duty, before ease and wealth in the way of sin : " Choose 
rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the 
pleasures of sin for a season," Heb. xi. 25. In a common inn, stran- 
gers perhaps fare better than the children ; but here lies the differ- 
ence, the children are to pay nothing for what they have got ; but 
the strangers get their bill, and must pay completely for all they 
have had. Did we consider the after-reckoning of the wicked for 
all the smiles of common providence they meet with in the world, 
we should not grudge them their good things here, nor take it amiss 
that God keeps our best things last. Heaven will make up all 
the saints' losses, and there all tears will be wiped away from their 

It is worth observing, that there is such a variety of Scripture 

notions of heaven's happiness, as may suit every afflicted case of the 

saints. Are they oppressed ? The day cometh in which they shall 

have the dominion. Is their honour laid in the dust ? A throne to 

Vol. YIII. y 


sit upon, a crown on their head, and a sceptre in tlieir hand, will 
raise it up again. Are they reduced to poverty ? Heaven is a 
treasure. If they be forced to quit their own habitations, yet 
Christ's Father's house is ready for them. Are they driven to the 
wilderness? There is a city prepared for them. Are they banished 
from their native country? They shall inherit a better country. 
If they are deprived of public ordinances, the Lord God Almighty, 
and the Lamb, are the temple there, whither they are going ; a 
temple, the doors of which none can shut. If their life be full of bit- 
terness, heaven is a paradise for pleasure. If they groan under 
the remains of spiritual bondage, there is a glorious liberty abiding 
them. Do their defiled garments make them ashamed? The day 
cometh, in which their robes shall be white, pure, and spotless. 
The battle against flesh and blood, principalities and powers, is in- 
deed sore: but a glorious triumph awaits them. If the toil and 
labours of the Christian life be great, there is an everlasting rest 
for them in heaven. Are they judged unworthy of the society of 
angels in heaven ? Do they complain of frequent interruptions of 
their communion with God ? There they shall go no more ont, but 
shall see his face for evermore. If they are in darkness here, 
eternal light is there. If they grapple with death, there they shall 
have everlasting life. And, to sum up all in one word, " He that 
overcometh, shall inherit all things," Rev. xxi. 7- He shall have 
peace and plenty, profit and pleasure, every thing desirable ; full 
satisfaction to his most enlarged desires. Let the expectants of 
heaven, then, lift up their heads with joy ; let them gird up their 
loins, and so run that they may obtain ; trampling on every thing 
that may hinder them in their way to the kingdom. Let them 
never account any duty too hard, nor any cross too heavy, nor any 
pains too great, so that they may attain the crown of glory. 

li. Let those who have no right to the kingdom of heaven, be 
stirred up to seek it with all diligence. Now is the time, wherein 
the children of wrath may become heirs of glory : when the way to 
everlasting happiness is opened, it is no time to sit still and loiter. 
Raise up your hearts towards the glory that is to be revealed; and 
be not always in search of rest in this perishing earth. What can 
all your worldly enjoyments avail you, while you have no solid 
ground to expect heaven after this life is gone ? The riches and 
honours, profits and pleasures, that must be buried with us, and 
cannot accompany us into another world, are but a wretched por- 
tion, and will leave men comfortless at length. Ah ! why are men 
so eager in their lifetime to receive their good things? Why are 
they not rather careful to secure an interest in the kingdom of 

OF HELL. 347 

heaven, which would never be taken from them, but afford them a 
portion to make them happy through the ages of eternity ? If 
you desire honour, there you may have the highest honour, which 
will last wlien the world's honours are laid in the dust ; if riches, 
heaven will yield you a treasure ; and there are pleasures for 
evermore. ! be not despisers of the pleasant land, neither judge 
yourselves unworthy of eternal life ; close with Christ, as he is 
offered to you in the gospel, and yon shall inherit all things. 
Walk in the way of holiness, and it will lead you to the kingdom. 
Fight against sin and Satan, and you shall receive the crown. 
Forsake the world, and the doors of heaven will be opened to 
receive you. 


Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, de-part from me, ye 
cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and. his angels. — 
Matt. xxv. 41. 

Were there no other place of eternal lodging but heaven, I should 
here have closed my discourse of man's eternal state ; but as in the 
olher world there is a prison for the wicked, as well as a palace for 
the saints, we must also inquire into that state of everlasting 
misery ; which the worst of men may well bear with, without crying, 
" Art thou come to torment us before the time ?" since there is yet 
access to flee from the wrath to come ; and all that can be said of it 
comes short of what the damned will feel ; for " who knoweth the 
power of God's anger ?" 

The last thing which our Lord did, before he left the earth, was, 
** He lifted up his hands, and blessed his disciples," Luke xxiv. 50, 
51. But the last thing he will do, before he leaves the throne, is to 
curse and condemn his enemies ; as we learn from the text, which 
contains the dreadful sentence, wherein the everlasting misery of 
the wicked is declared. In which three things may be taken notice 
of: 1. The quality of the condemned: "ye cursed." The Judge 
finds the curse of the law upon them as transgressors, and sends 
them away with it, from his presence, into hell, there to be fully 
executed upon them. 2. The punishment which they are adjudged 



to ; and to wliicli they were always bound over by virtue of the 
curse. And it is twofold, the punishment of loss, in separation from 
God and Christ, " Depart from me ;" and the punishment of sense, 
in most exquisite and extreme torments, "Depart from me into fire." 
3. The aggravations of their torments. 1. They are ready for them, 
they are not to expect a moment's respite. The fire is prepared and 
ready to catch hold of those who are thrown into it, 2. They will 
have the society of devils in their torments being shut up with them 
in hell. They must depart into the same fire, prepared for Beelze- 
bub the j)rince of devils, and his angels ; namely, other reprobate 
angels who fell with him, and became devils. It is said to be pre- 
pared for them ; because they sinned, and were condemned to hell, 
before man sinned. This speaks further terror to the damned, that 
they must go into the same torments, and place of torment, with the 
devil and his angels. They hearkened to his temptations, and they 
must partake in his torments : his works they would do, and they 
must receive the wages, which is death. In this life they joined 
■with devils, in enmity against God and Christ, and the way of holi- 
ness ; and in the other, they must lodge with them. Thus all the 
goats shall be shut up together ; for that name is common to devils 
and wicked men, in Scripture, Lev. xvii. ?> where the word rendered 
devils, properly signifies hairy ones, or goats, in the shape of which 
creatures, devils delighted much to appear to their worshippers. 3. 
The last aggravation of their torment is the eternal duration there- 
of ; they must depart into everlasting fire. This is what puts the 
top-stone upon their misery, namely, that it shall never have an end. 

DocTEiNE, The wicked shall be shut up under the curse of God, in 
everlasting misery, with the devils in hell. 

After having proved, that there shall be a resurrection of the 
body, and a general judgment, I think it not needful to insist on 
proving the truth of future punishment. The same conscience 
there is in men of a future judgment, bears witness also of the truth 
of future punishment. (And that the punishment of the damned 
shall not be annihilation, or a reducing them to nothing, will be clear 
in the progress of our discourse.) In treating of this awful subject 
I shall inquire into these four things : 1. The curse under which the 
damned shall be shut up. II. Their misery under that curse. III. 
Their society with devils in this miserable state. lY. The eternity 
of the whole. 

I. As to the curse under which the damned shall be shut up in 
hell ; it is the terrible sentence of the law, by which they are bound 
over to the wrath of God, as transgressors. This curse does not 
first seize them when r^tauding before the tribunal to receive their 


sentence ; but they were born under it, they led their lives under it 
in this world, they died under it, rose with it out of their graves ; 
and the Judge finding it upon them, sends them away with it into 
the pit, where it shall lie on thera through all the ages of eternity. 
By nature all men are under the curse ; but it is removed from the 
elect, by virtue of their union with Christ. It abides on the rest of 
sinful mankind, and by it they are devoted to destruction, separated 
to evil, as one describes the curse, from Dent. xxix. 21, " And the 
Lord shall separate him unto evil." Thus shall the damned for 
ever be persons devoted to destruction ; separate and set apart from 
tiie rest of mankind, unto evil, a^ vessels of wrath ; set up as marks 
for the arrows of divine wrath ; and made the common receptacle 
and shore of vengeance. 

This curse hath its first-fruits on earth, which are a pledge of the 
whole lump that is to follow. Hence it is, that as temporal and 
eternal benefits are bound up together, under the same expressions, 
in the promise to the Lord's people, as Isa. xxxv. 10, " And the 
ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion," &c. relating 
both to return from Babylon, and to the saints' going to their eter- 
nal rest in heaven ; even so, temporal and eternal miseries, on the 
enemies of God, are sometimes included under one and the same ex- 
pression in the threatening, as Isa. xxx. 33, " For Tophet is or- 
dained of old ; yea, for the king it is prepared ; he hath made it 
deep and large : the pile hereof is fire and much wood ; the breath 
of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it." Which 
relates both to the temporal and eternal destruction of the Assy- 
rians, who fell by the hand of tlie angel before Jerusalem. See 
also Isa. Ixvi. 24. What is that judicial blindness to which 
many are given up, " whom the god of this world hath blinded," 
2 Cor. iv. 4, but the first fruits of hell and of the curse? their 
sun is going down at noon-day ; their darkness increasing, as if 
it would not stop till it issue in utter darkness. Many a lash 
in the dark doth conscience give the wicked, which the world 
doth not hear of: and what is that but the never-dying worm 
already begun to gnaw them ? And there is not one of these but 
they may call it Joseph, for " the Lord shall add another ;" or ra- 
ther Gad, for " a troop cometh." These drops of wrath are terrible 
forebodings of the full shower which is to follow. Sometimes they 
are given up to their vile affections, that they have no more command 
over thera, Rom. i. 26. So their lusts grow up more and more to- 
wards perfection, if I may so speak. 

As in heaven grace comes to its perfection, so in hell sin arrives 
at its highest pitch ; and as sin is thus advancing upon the man, ho 


is the nearer aud liker to hell. — There are three things that have a 
fearful aspect here. 1. When every thing that might do good to 
men's souls, is blasted to them ; so that their blessings are cursed, 
Mai. ii. 2 ; sermons, prayers, admonitions, and reproofs, which are 
powerful towards others, are quite inefficacious to them. 2. When men 
go on in sinning still, in the face of plain rebukes from the Lord, in 
ordinances and providences. God meets them with rods in the way 
of their sin, as it were striking them back ; yet they rush forward. 
What can be more like hell, where the Lord is always smiting 
and the damned always sinning against him ? 3. When every thing 
in one's lot is turned into fuel to one's lusts. Thus, adversity and 
prosperity, poverty and wealth, the want of ordinances and the en- 
joyment of them, do all but nourish the corruptions of many. Their 
vicious stomachs corrupt whatever they receive, and all does but in- 
crease noxious humours. 

But the full harvest follows, in that misery which they shall for 
ever lie under in hell ; that wrath which, by virtue of the curse, 
shall come upon them to the uttermost ; which is the curse fully exe- 
cuted. This black cloud opens upon them, and the terrible thunder- 
bolt strikes them, by that dreadful voice from the throne, " Depart 
from me, ye cursed," &c. Which will give the whole wicked world 
a dismal view of what is in the bosom of the curse. It is, L A 
voice of extreme indignation and wrath, a furious rebuke from the 
Lion of the tribe of Judah. His looks will be most terrible to them; 
his eyes will cast flames of fire on them ; and his words will pierce 
their hearts, like envenomed arrows. When he will thus speak 
them out of his presence for ever, and by his word chase them away 
from before the throne, they will see how keenly wrath burns in his 
heart against them for their sins. 2. It is a voice of extreme dis- 
dain and contempt from the Lord. Time was when they were pitied, 
admonished to pity themselves, and to be the Lord's ; yet they des- 
pised him, they would none of him : but now they shall be buried 
out of his sight, under everlasting contempt. 3. It is a voice of ex- 
treme hatred. Hereby the Lord shuts them out of his bowels of 
love and mercy. " Depart, ye cursed." I cannot endure to look at 
you ; there is not one purpose of good to you in mine heart ; nor 
shall you ever hear one word more of hope from me. 4. It is a 
voice of eternal rejection from the Lord. He commands them to be 
gone, and so casts them off for ever. Thus the doors of heaven arc 
shut against them ; the gulf is fixed between them aud it, and they 
are driven to the pit. — Now, were they to cry with all possible ear- 
nestness, " Lord, Lord, open to us ;" they will hear nothing but, 
" Depart, depart ye cursed." Thus shall the damned be shut np un- 
der the curse. 


Use 1. Let all those who, being yet in their natural state, are 
under the curse, consider this, and flee to Jesns Christ in time, that 
they may be delivered from it. How can you sleep in that state, 
being under the curse ! Jesus Christ is now saying unto you, " Come 
ye cursed, I will take the curse from off you, and give you the bles- 
sing." The waters of the sanctuary are now running, to heal the 
cursed gi'ound ; take heed to improve them for that end to your own 
souls, and fear it as hell, to get no spiritual advantage thereby. 
Remember that " the miry places," which are neither sea nor dry 
land, a fit emblem of hypocrites, " and the marshes," that neither 
breed fishes, nor bear trees, but the waters of the sanctuary leave 
them, as they find them, in their barrenness, " shall not be healed ;" 
seeing they spurn the only remedy; "they shall be given to salt," 
left under eternal barrenness, set up for the monuments of the wrath 
of God, and concluded for ever under the curse, Ezek. xlvii. 11. 2. 
Let all cursers consider this, whose mouths are filled with cursing 
themselves and others. He who " clothes himself with cursing," 
shall find the curse " come into his bowels like water, and oil into 
his bones," Psalm cix. 18, if repentance prevent it not. He shall 
get all his imprecations against himself fully answered, in the day 
wherein he stands before the tribunal of God : and shall find the 
killing weight of the curse of God, which he now makes light of. 

II. I proceed to speak of the misery of the damned, under that 
curse ; a misery which the tongues of men and angels cannot suffici- 
ently express. God always acts like himself: no favours can be 
compared to his, and his wrath and terrors are without a parallel. 
As the saints in heaven are advanced to the highest pitch of happi- 
ness, so the damned in hell arrive at the height of misery. Two 
things here I shall soberly inquire into, — the punishment of loss, and 
the punishment of sense, in hell. But since these also are such things 
as eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, we must, as geographers do, 
leave a large void for the unknown land, which the day will disco- 

1. The punishment of loss which the damned shall undergo, is se- 
paration from the Lord, as we learn from the text, " Depart from me, 
ye cursed." This will be a stone upon their grave's mouth, as " the 
talent of lead," Zech. v. 7, 8, that will hold them down for ever. 
They shall be eternally separated from God and Christ. Christ is 
the way to the Father: but the way, as to them, shall be ever- 
lastingly blocked up, the bridge shall be drawn, and the great gulf 
fixed ; so shall they be shut up in a state of eternal separation from 
God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. They will be locally sepa- 
rated from the man Christ, and shall never come into the seat of the 


blessed, where lie appears in his glory, but be cast out into utter 
darkness. Matt. sxii. 13. They cannot indeed be locally separated 
from God, they cannot be in a place where he is not ; since he is, 
and will be present every where : " If I make my bed in hell," says 
the psalmist, " behold thou art there," Psalm cxxxix. 8. But they 
shall be miserable beyond expression, in a relative separation from 
God. Though he will be present in the very centre of their souls, 
if I may so express it, while they are wrapped up in fiery flames, iu 
utter darkness ; it shall only be to feed them with the vinegar of 
his wrath, and to punish them with the emanations of his revenging 
justice : they shall never more taste of his goodness and bounty, nor 
have the least glimpse of hope from him. They will see his heart 
to be absolutely alienated from them, and that it cannot be towards 
them; that they are the party againsl whom the Lord will have 
indignation for ever. They shall be deprived of the glorious pre- 
sence aud enjoyment of God : they shall have no part in the beatific 
vision ; nor see any thing iu God towards them, but one wave of 
wrath rolling after another. This will bring upon them over- 
whelming floods of sorrow for evermore. They shall never taste of 
the rivers of pleasures which the saints in heaven enjoy ; but shall 
have an everlasting winter, aud a perpetual night, because the Sun 
of righteousness has departed from them, and so they are left in 
utter darkness. So great ai heaven's happiness is, so great will 
their loss be : for they cau have none of it for ever. 

This separation of the wicked from God will be, 1. An involun- 
tary separation. Now they depart from him, they will not come to 
him, though they are called and entreated to come : but then they 
shall be driven away from him, when they would gladly abide 
with him. Although the question " What is thy beloved more than 
another beloved ?" is frequent now amongst the despisers of the 
gospel, there will be no such question among all the damned ; for 
then they will see that man's happiness is only to be found in the 
enjoyment of God, and that the loss of him is a loss that can never 
be balanced. 2. It will be a total and utter separation. Though 
the wicked are, in this life, separated from God, yet there is a kind 
of intercourse betwixt them : he gives them many good gifts, and 
they give him, at least, some good words ; so that the peace is not 
altogether hopeless. But then there shall be a total separation, the 
damned being cast into utter darkness, where there will not be the 
least gleam of light and favour from the Lord ; which will put an 
end unto all their fair words to him. 3. It shall be a final separa- 
tion ; they will part with him, never more to meet, being shut up 
under everlasting horror and despair. The match between Jesus 


Christ and uubelievers, which has so often been carried forward, 
and put back again, shall then be broken up for ever ; and never 
shall one message of favour or good-will go betwixt the parties any 

This punishment of loss, in a total and final separation from Grod, 
is a misery beyond what mortals can conceive, and which the dread- 
ful experience of the damned can only sufficiently unfold. But that 
we may have some conception of the horror of it, let these following 
things be considered. 

(1.) God is the chief good; therefore, to be separated from him, 
must be the chief evil. Our native country, our relations, and our 
life, are good ; and therefore to be deprived of them we reckon a 
great evil ; and the better any thing is, so much the greater evil is 
the loss of it. "Wherefore, God being the chief good, and no good 
comparable to him, there can be no loss so great as the loss of God. 
The full enjoyment of him is the highest pinnacle of happiness the 
creature is capable of arriving at : to be fully and finally separated 
^frorn him, must then be the lowest step of misery which the rational 
creature can be reduced to. To be cast oft' by men, by good men, is 
distressing ; what must it then be, to be rejected of God, of goodness 

(2.) God is the fountain of all goodness, from which all goodness 
flows unto the creatures, and by whick it is continued in them, and 
to them. Whatever goodness or perfection, natural as well as 
moral, is in any creature, it is from God, and depends upon him, as 
the light is from, and depends on, the sun ; for every created being, 
as such, is a dependent one. Wherefore, a total separation from 
God, wherein all comfortable communication between God and a 
rational creature is absolutely blocked up, must of necessity bring 
along with it a total eclipse of all light of comfort and ease what- 
ever. If there is but one window, or open place, in a house, and 
that be quite shut up, it is evident there can be nothing but dark- 
ness in that house. Our Lord tells us. Matt. xix. 17, " There is 
none good but one, that is, God." Nothing good or comfortable is 
originally from the creature : whatever good or comfortable thing 
one finds in one's self, as health of body, peace of mind; whatever 
sweetness, rest, pleasure, or delight, one finds in other creatures, as 
in meat, drink, arts and sciences ; all these are but some faint rays 
of Divine perfections, communicated from God unto the creature, 
and depending on a constant influence from him, for their conserva- 
tion, which failing, they would immediately be gone ; for it is impos- 
sible that any created thing can bo to us more or better, than what 
God makes it to be. All the rivulets of comfort we drink of, within 


or without ourselves, come from God as their spring-head ; the 
course of which toward us being stopped, of necessity they must all 
dry up. So that when God goes, all that is good and cerafortable 
goes with him, all ease and quiet of body and mind, Hos. ix. 12, 
" Wo also to them, when I depart from them." When the wicked 
are totally and finally separated from him, all that is comfortable 
in them, or about them, returns to its fountain ; as the light goes 
away with the sun, and darkness succeeds in the room thereof. 
Thus, in their separation from God, all peace is removed far away 
from them, and pain in body and anguish of soul, succeed to it : all 
joy goes, and unmixed sorrow settles in them : all quiet and rest 
separate from them, and they are filled with horror and rage : hope 
flies away, and despair seizes them ; common operations of the 
Spirit, which now restrain them, are withdrawn for ever, and sin 
comes to its utmost height. Thus we have a dismal view of the 
horrible spectacle of sin and misery, which a creature proves, when 
totally separated from God, and left to itself; and we may see this 
separation to be the very hell of hell. 

Being seprated from God, they are deprived of all good. The 
good things which they set their hearts upon in this world, are be- 
yond their reach there. The covetous man cannot enjoy his wealth 
there, nor the ambitious man his honours, nor the sensual man his 
pleasures, no, not a drop of water to cool his tongue, Luke xvi. 24, 
25. No meat or drink there to strengthen the faint ; no sleep to 
refresh the weary : and no music, or pleasant company, to comfort 
and cheer up the sorrowful. And as for those good things they de- 
spised in the world, they shall never more hear of them, nor see 
them. No ofi'er of Christ there, no pardon, no peace; no wells of 
salvation in the pit of destruction. In one word, they shall be de- 
prived of whatever might comfort them, being totally and finally 
separated from God, the fountain of all goodness and comfort. 

(3.) Man naturally desires to be happy, being conscious to himself 
that he is not self-sufficient : he has ever a desire of something with- 
out himself, to make him happy ; and the soul being, by its natural 
make and constitution, capable of enjoying God, and nothing else 
being commensurable to its desires, it can never have true and solid 
rest, till it rests in the enjoyment of God. This desire of happiness 
the rational creature can never lay aside, no, not in hell. Now, 
while the wicked are on earth, they seek their satisfaction in the 
creature : and when one fails, they go to another : thus they spend 
their time in the world, deceiving their own souls with vain hopes. 
But, in the other world, all comfort in the creatures failing, and the 
shadows which they are now pursuing vanished in a moment, they 


sball be totally and finally separated from God, and see they have 
thus lost him. So the doors of earth and heaven both are shut 
against them at once. This will create them unspeakable anguish, 
while they shall live under an eternal gnawing hunger after happi- 
ness, which they certainly know shall never be in the least measure 
satisfied, all doors being closed on them. Who then can imagine 
how this separation from God shall cut the damned to the heart ? 
how they will roar and rage under it ? and how it will sting and 
gnaw them through the ages of eternity ? 

(4.) The damned shall know that some are perfectly happy, in the 
enjoyment of that God from whom they themselves are separated; 
and this will aggravate the sense of their loss, that they can never 
have any share with those happy ones. Being separated from God, 
they are separated from the socieiy of the glorified saints and an- 
gels. They may see Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom, 
Luke xvi. 23, but can never come into their company ; being, as un- 
clean lepers, thrust out without the camp, and excommunicated from 
the presence of the Lord, and of all his holy ones. It is the opinion 
of some, that every person in heaven or hell shall hear and see all 
that passes in either state. Whatever is to be said of this, we have 
ground from the word to conclude, that the damned shall have a 
very exquisite knowledge of the happiness of the saints in heaven ; 
for what else can be meant of the rich man in hell seeing Lazarus 
in Abraham's bosom ? One thing is plain, in this case, that their 
own torments will give them such notions of the happiness of the 
saints, as a sick man has of health, or a prisoner has of liberty. 
And as they cannot fail of reilecting on the happiness of those in 
heaven, without any hope of attaining to contentment with their 
own lot, so every thought of that happiness will aggravate their 
loss. It would be a mighty torment to a hungry man to see others 
liberally feasting, while he is so chained up, as not to have one 
crumb to stay his gnawing appetite. To bring music and dancing 
before a man labouring under extreme pains, would but increase his 
anguish : how then will the songs of the blessed, in their enjoyment 
of God, make the damned mourn under their separation from him ! 

(5.) They will remember that time was when they might have 
been made partakers of the blessed company of saints, in their 
enjoyment of God : and this will aggravate their sense of the loss. 
All may remember, that there was once a possibility of it ; that 
they were once in the world, in some corners of which the way of 
salvation was laid open to men's view ; and may wish they had gone 
round the world, till they had found it out. Despisers of the gospel 
will remember, with bitterness, that Jesus* Christ, with all his bene- 


fits, was ofi^ered to them : that tliey were exliorted, entreated, and 
pressed to accept, but would not ; and that they were warned of the 
misery they feel, and exhorted to flee from the wrath to come, but 
they would not hearken. The gospel ofi"er slighted will make a hot 
hell, and the loss of an offered heaven will be a sinking weight on 
the spirits of unbelievers in the pit. Some will remember that there 
was a probability of their being eternally happy ; that once they 
seemed to stand fair for it, and were not far from the kingdom of 
God ; that they had once almost consented to the blessed bargain ; 
the pen was in their hand, as it were, to sign the marriage contract 
between Christ and their souls ; but unhappily they dropped it, and 
turned back from the Lord to their lusts again. Others will remem- 
ber, that they thought themselves sure of heaven, but, being blinded 
with pride and self-conceit, they were above ordinances, and beyond 
instruction, and would not examine their state, which was their 
ruin : but then they will in vain wish that they had reputed them- 
selves the worst of the congregation, and curse the fond conceit they 
had of themselves, and that others had of them too. Thus it will 
sting the damned, that they might have escaped this loss. 

(6.) They will see the loss to be irrecoverable ; that they must 
eternally lie under it, never, never to be repaired. Might the 
damned, after millions of ages in hell, regain what they have lost, it 
would be some ground of hope; but the prize is gone, and never can 
be recovered. There are two things which will pierce them to the 
heart : 1. That they never knew the worth of it, till it was irre- 
coverably lost. Should a man give away an earthen pot full of gold 
for a trifle, not knowing what was in it till it were quite gone from 
him, and past recovery, how would this foolish action gall him, upon 
the discovery of the riches in it ! Such a one's case may be a faint 
resemblance of the case of despisers of the gospel, when in hell they 
lift up their eyes, and behold that to their torment, which they will 
not see now to their salvation. 2. That they have lost it for dross 
and dung ; sold their part of heaven, and not enriched themselves 
with the price. They have lost heaven for earthly profits and plea- 
sures, and now both are gone together from them. The drunkard's 
cups are gone, the covetous man's gain, the voluptuous man's carnal 
delights, and the sluggard's ease : nothing is left to comfort them 
now. The happiness they lost remains indeed, but they can have no 
part in it for ever. 

Use. Sinners, be persuaded to come to God through Jesus Christ, 
uniting with him through the Mediator ; that you may be preserved 
from this fearful separation from him. be afraid to live in a state 
of separation from God, lest that which you now make your choice, 


become your eternal pimislinieut hereafter. Do not reject com- 
munion with God, cast not oif the communion of saints ; for it will 
bo the misery of the damned to be driven out from that communion. 
Cease to build up the wall of separation between God and you, by 
continuing in your sinful courses; repent rather in time, and so pull 
it down ; lest the topstone be laid upon it, and it stand for ever be- 
tween you and happiness. Tremble at the thought of rejection and 
separation from God. By whomsoever men are rejected upon earth, 
they ordinarily find some pity; but, if you be thus separated from God, 
you will find all doors shut against you. You will find no pity from any 
in heaven ; neither saints nor angels will pity them whom God has ut- 
terly cast oft'; none will pity you in hell, where there is no love, but 
loathing; all being loathed of God, loathing him, and loathing one an- 
other. This is a day of losses and fears. I shew you a loss you would 
do well to fear in time; be afraid lest you lose God ; if you do, eternity 
will be spent in roaring out lamentations for this loss. horrid 
stupidity! Men are in a mighty care and concern to prevent world- 
ly losses; but they are in danger of losing the enjoyment of God 
for ever and ever ; in danger of losing heaven, the communion of 
the blessed, and all good things for soul and body in another world ; 
yet as careless in that matter as if they were incapable of thought, 
compare this day with the day our text aims at. To-day heaven 
is opened for those who hitherto have rejected Christ ; and yet 
there is room, if they will come : but that day the doors shall be 
shut. Now Christ is saying unto you, " Come :" then he will say : 
" Depart ;" seeing you would not come when you were invited. 
Now pity is shewn ; the Lord pities you, his servants pity you, and 
tell you that the pit is before you, and cry to you, that you do your- 
selves no harm : but then shall you have no pity from God or man. 

2. The damned shall be punished in hell with the punishment of 
sense ; they must depart from God into everlasting fire. I am not 
disposed to dispute what kind of fire it is into which they shall de- 
part, to be tormented for ever, whether a material fire or not : ex- 
perience will more than satisfy the curiosity of those who are dis- 
posed rather to dispute about it, than to seek how to escape it. 
Neither will I meddle with the question. Where is it? It is enough 
that the worm that never dieth, and the fire that is never quenched, 
will be found somewhere by impenitent sinners. But, first, I shall 
prove that, whatever kind of fire it is, it is more vehement and ter- 
rible than any fire we on earth are acquainted with. Secondly, I 
shall state some of tho properties of these fiery torments. 

As to the first of these ; burning is the most terrible punishment, 
and brings the most exqusite pain and torment with it. By what 


reward could a man be induced to hold only liis hand in the flame 
of a candle but for one hour ? All imaginable pleasures on earth 
•will never prevail with the most voluptuous man, to venture to lodge 
but one half hour in a burning fiery furnace ; nor would all the 
wealth in the world prevail with the most covetous to do it : yet, on 
much lower terms do most men, in effect, expose themselves to ever- 
lasting fire in hell, which is more vehement and terrible than any 
fire we on earth are acquainted with ; as will appear by the follow- 
ing considerations. 

(1.) As in heaven, grace being brought to its perfection, profit 
and pleasure also arrive at their height there ; so sin, being come to 
its height in hell, the evil of punishment also arrives at its perfection 
there. Wherefore, as the joys of heaven are far greater than any 
joys which the saints obtain on earth, so the punishments of hell 
mnst be greater than any earthly torments whatever; not only in 
respect of the continuance of them, but also in respect of vehemency 
and exquisiteness. 

(2.) Why are the things of another world represented to us in an 
earthly dress, in the word, but because the weakness of our capaci- 
ties in such matters, which the Lord is pleased to condescend unto, 
requires it; it being always supposed, that the things of the other 
world are in their kind more perfect than those by which they are 
represented : when heaven is represented to us under the notion of 
a city, with gates of pearl, and the street of gold, we expect not to 
find gold and pearls there, which are so mightily prized on earth, 
but something more excellent than the finest and most precious 
things in the world : when, therefore, we hear of hell-fire, it is 
necessary we understand by it something more vehement, piercing, 
and tormenting, than any fire ever seen by our eyes. And here it 
is worth considering, that the torments of hell are held forth under 
several other notions than that of fire simply : and the reason of it 
is plain ; namely, that hereby what of horror is wanting in one 
notion of hell, is supplied by another. Why is heaven's happiness 
represented under the various notions of " a treasure, a paradise, a 
feast, a rest," &c. but that there is not one of these things sufficient 
to express it ? Even so, hell-torments are represented under the 
notion of fire, which the damned are cast into. A dreadful repre- 
sentation indeed ! yet not sufficient to express the misery of the 
state of sinners in them. Wherefore, we hear also of "the second 
death," Rev. xx. 6 ; for the damned in hell shall be ever dying : of 
the " wine-press of the wrath of God," chap. xiv. 19, wherein they 
will be trodden in anger, trampled in the Lord's fury, Isaiah Ixiii. 
3 ; pressed, broken, and bruised, without end : " the worm that dieth 


uot," Mark ix. 44, which shall eternally gnaw them : " a bottomless 
pit," where they will be ever sinking, Rev. xx. 3. It is not simply 
called " a fire," but " the lake of fire and brimstone," ver. 10, " a 
lake of fire burning with brimstone," chap. xix. 20 ; than which one 
can imagine nothing more dreadful. Yet, because fix*e gives light, 
and light, as Solomon observes, Eccles. xi. 7, is sweet, there is no 
light there, but darkness, utter darkness, Matt. xxv. 30. For they 
must have an everlasting night, since nothing can be there which is 
in any measure comfortable or refreshing. 

(3.) Our fire cannot aftect a spirit, but by way of sympathy with 
the body to which it is united : but hell-fire will not only pierce 
into the bodies, but directly into the souls of the damned : for it is 
" prepared for the devil and his angels," those wicked spirits, whom 
no fire on earth can hurt. Job complains heavily, under the chas- 
tisements of God's fatherly hand, saying, " The arrows of the 
Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spi- 
rit," Job vi. 4. But how will the spirits of the damned be pierced 
with the arrows of revenging justice ! how will they be drunk up 
with the poison of the curse of these arrows ! how vehement must 
that fire be which pierces directly into the soul, and makes an ever- 
lasting burning in the spirit, the most lively and tender part of a 
man, wherein wounds or pains are most intolerable ! 

(4.) The preparation of this fire proves the inexpressible vehemency 
and dreadfulness of it. The text calls it, " prepared fire, yea, the 
prepared fire, by way of eminence. As the three children were uot 
cast into ordinary fire, but a fire prepared for a particular purpose 
which therefore was exceeding hot, the furnace being heated seven 
times more than ordinary, Dan. iii. 19 — 22; so the damned shall 
find in hell a prepared fire, the like to which was never prepared by 
human art ; it is a fire of God's own preparing, the product of in- 
finite wisdom, v/ith a particular purpose, to demonstrate the most 
strict and severe divine justice against sin ; which may sufficiently 
evidence to us the incouceiveably exquisiteness thereof. God always 
acts in a peculiar way, becoming his infinite greatness, whether 
for or against the creature : therefore, as the things he has prepared 
for them that love him, are great and good beyond expression or 
conception, so one may conclude, that the things he has prepared 
against those who hate him, are great and terrible beyond what 
men can either say or think of them. The pile of Tophct is " fire, 
and much wood ;" the coals of that fire are " coals of juniper," a 
kind of wood which, set on fire, burns most fiercely. Psalm cxx. 4 ; 
" and the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstome, doth 
kindle it," Isa. xxx. 33. Fire is more or less violent, according to 


the matter of it, and the breath by which it is blown. AtThat heart, 
then, can fullj- conceive the horror of coals of juniper, blown up 
with the breath of the Lord ? Nay, God himself will be a con- 
suming fire, Deut. iv. 24, to the damned ; intimately present, as a 
devouring fire, in the souls and bodies. It is a fearful thing to fall 
into a fire, or to be shut up in a fiery furnace, on earth ; but the ter- 
ror of these vanishes, when we consider, how fearful it is to fall 
into the hands of the living God, which is the lot of the damned ; 
for " "VTho shall dwell with devouring fire? Who shall dwell 
with everlasting burnings ?" Isa. xxxiii. 14. 

As to the second i>oint proposed, namely, the properties of the 
fiery torments in bell ; 

(I.) They will be universal torments, every part of the creature 
being tormented in that flame. When one is cast into a fiery fur- 
nace, the fire makes its way into the very heart, and leaves no 
member untouched : what part, then, can have ease, when the 
damned swim in a lake of fire, burning with brimstone ? There 
will their bodies be tormented, and scorched for ever. And as 
they sinned, so shall they be tormented, in all the parts thereof, 
that they shall have no sound side to turn them to ; for what 
soundness or ease can be to any part of that body, which being 
separated from God, and all refreshment from him, is still in the 
pangs of the second death, ever dying, but never dead ? But as the 
soul was chief in sinning, it will be chief in sufi'ering too, being filled 
quite full of the wrath of a sin-avenging God. The damned shall 
be ever under the deepest impressions of God's vindictive justice 
against them : and this fire will melt their souls within them, like 
was. Who knows the power of that wrath which had such an 
eflfect on the Mediator standing in the room of sinners, Psalm 
xxii, 14. " My heart is like wax, it is melted in the midst of 
my bowels ?" Their minds shall be filled with the terrible appre- 
hensions of God's implacable wrath : and whatever they can think 
upon, past, present, or to come, will aggravate their torment 
and anguish. Their will shall be crossed in all things for ever- 
more : as their will was ever contrary to the will of God's pre- 
cepts ; so God, in his dealing with them, in the other world, 
shall have war with their will for ever. What they would have, 
they shall not in the least obtain : but what they would not, 
shall be bouud upon them without remedy. Hence, no pleasant 
affection shall ever spring up in their hearts any more : their 
love of complacency, joy, and delight, in any object whatever, 
shall be plucked up by the root ; and they will be filled with 
hatred, fnry, and rage against God, themselves, and their fellow- 


creatures, whether happy iri heaven, or miserable iu hell, as they 
themselves are. They will be sunk in sorrow, racked with anxiety, 
tilled with horror, galled to the heart with fretting, and continually 
darted with despair : which will make them weep, gnash their teeth, 
and blaspheme for ever. " Bind him hand and foot, and take him 
away, and cast him into utter darkness ; there shall be weeping and 
gnashing of teeth," Matt. xxii. 13. " And there fell upon men a 
great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent : 
and men blasphemed God because of the hail; for the plague thereof 
was exceeding great," Rev. xvi. 21. Conscience will be a worm to 
gnaw and prey upon them ; remorse for their sins shall seize them 
and torment them for ever, and they shall not be able to shake it 
off. as once they did ; for " in hell their worm dieth not," Mark ix. 
44, 46. Their memory will serve but to aggravate their torment, 
and every new reflection will bring another pang of anguish, Luke 
xvi. 25, " But Abraham said," to the rich man in hell, " Son, re- 
member that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things." 

(2.) The torments in hell are manifold. Put the case that a man 
were, at one and the same time, under the violence of the gout, gra- 
vel, and whatever diseases and pains have ever met together in 
one body ; the torment of such a one would be but light in compa- 
rison of the torments of the damned. For, as in hell there is an ab- 
sence of all that is good and desirable, so there is the confluence of 
all evils there ; since all the effects of sin and of the curse take 
their place in it, after the last judgment, Rev. xx. 14, " And death 
and hell were cast into the lake of fire." There they will find a 
prison they can never escape out of; a lake of fire, where they will 
be ever swimming and burning ; a pit, whereof they will never find 
a bottom. The worm that dieth not, shall feed on them, as oa 
bodies which are interred : the fire that is not quenched, shall de- 
vour them, as dead bodies which are burned. Their eyes shall be 
kept in blackness of darkness, without the least comfortable gleam 
of light ; their ears filled with frightful yellings of the infernal 
crew. They shall taste nothing but the sharpness of God's wrath, 
the dregs of the cup of his fury. The stench of the burning lake of 
brimstone will be the smell there ; and they shall feel extreme 
pains for evermore. 

(3.) They will be most exquisite and vehement torments, caus- 
ing " weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth," Matt. xiii. 42, and 
xxii. 13. They are represented to us under the notion of pangs in 
travail, which are very sharp and exquisite. So says the rich man 
in hell, Luke xvi. 24, "I am tormented," to wit, as one in the-pangs 
of child-bearing, " in this flame." Ah ! dreadful pangs ! horrible 

Vol. YIII. z 


travail, ia which both soul aud body are in pangs together ! help- 
less travail, hopeless and endless! The word used for hell, Matt, 
V. 22, and in divers other places of the New Testament, properly 
denotes the valley of Hinnom ; the name being taken from the val- 
ley of the children of Hinnom, in which was Tophet, 2 Kings xxiii. 
10, where idolaters offered their children to Moloch. This is said 
to have been a great brazen idol, with arms like a man's : which 
being heated by fire within it, the child was set in the burning arms 
of the idol, and, that the parent might not hear the shrieks of the 
child burning to death, they beat drums in the time of the horrible 
sacrifice ; whence the place had the name of Tophet. Thus the ex- 
quisiteness of the torments in hell are pointed out to us. Some 
have endured grievous tortures on earth with surprising obstinacy 
and undaunted courage : but men's courage will fail them there, 
when they find themselves fallen into the hands of the living God ; 
and no escape to be expected for ever. It is true, there will be de- 
grees of torments in hell ; " It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and 
Sid on, than for Chorazin and Bethsaida," Matt, xi. 21, 22. But the 
least load of wrath there, will be unsupportable ; for how can the 
heart of the creature endure, or his hands be strong, when God him- 
self is a consuming fire to him ? "When the tares are bound in 
bundles for the fire, there will be bundles of covetous persons, of 
drunkards, profane swearers, unclean persons, formal hypocrites, 
unbelievers, and despisers of the gospel, and the like : the several 
bundles being cast into hell-fire, some will burn more vehemently 
than others, according as their sins have been more heinous than 
those of others : a fiercer flame shall seize the bundle of the profane, 
than the bundle of unsauctified moralists ; the furnace will be hot- 
ter to those who have sinned against light, than to those who lived 
in darkness; Luke xii. 47, -IS, "That servant which knew his 
Lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his 
will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and 
did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few 
stripes." But the sentence common to them all. Matt. xiii. 30, 
" Bind them in bundles to burn them," spt-aks the great vehemency 
and exquisiteness of the lowest degree of torment in hell. 

(4.) They will be uninterrupted ; there is no intermission there ; 
no ease, no, not for a moment. They " shall be tormented day and 
night for ever and ever," Rev. xx. 10, Few are so tossed in this 
world, but sometimes they get rest ; but the damned shall get none ; 
they took their rest in the time appointed of God for their labour. 
Storms are rarely seen, without some space between showers; but 
there is no intermission in the storm that falls on the wicked in 


liell. There, deep will be calling unto deep, and the waves of wrath 
continually rolling over them. There, the heavens will be always 
black to them, and they shall have a perpetual night, but no rest, 
Rev. xiv. 11, " They have no rest day nor night." 

(5.) They will be unpitied. The punishments inflicted on the 
greatest malefactors on earth, draw forth some compassion from the 
spectators ; but the damned shall have none to pity them. God 
will not pity them, but laugh at their calamity, Prov. i. 26. The 
blessed company in heaven shall rejoice in the execution of God's 
righteous judgment, and sing while the smoke riseth up for ever and 
ever. Rev. xix. 3, " And again they said, Hallelujah ; and her smoke 
rose up for ever and ever." No cotnpassion can be expected from 
the devil and his angels, who delight in the ruin of the children of 
men, and are and will be for ever void of pity. Neither will one 
pity another there, where every one is weeping and gnashing his 
teeth, under his own insupportable anguish and pain. There, natu- 
ral affection will be extinguished; parents will not love their chil- 
dren, nor children their parents ; the mother will not pity the 
daughter in these flames, nor will the daughter pity the mother : the 
son will shew no regard to his father there, nor the servant to his 
master, where every one will be groaning under his own torment. 

(6.) To complete their misery, their torments shall be eternal, Rev. 
xiv. 11, " And the smoke of their torments ascendeth up for ever 
and ever." Ah ! what a frightful case is this, to be tormented in 
the whole body and soul, and that not with one kind of torment, 
but many ; all of these most exquisite, and all this without any in- 
termission, and without pity from any ! What heart can conceive 
those things without horror ? Nevertheless, if this most miserable 
case were at length to have an end, that would afford some comfort ; 
but the torments of the damned will have no end ; of which more 

Use. Learn from this, 1. The evil of sin. It is a stream that will 
carry down the sinner, till he be swallowed up in the ocean of wrath. 
The pleasures of sin are bought too dear, at the rate of everlasting 
burnings. "What availed the rich man's purple clothing and sumptu- 
ous fare, when in hell he was encircled by purple flames, and could 
not have a drop of water to cool his tongue ? Alas ! that men should 
indulge themselves in sin which will be such bitterness in the end ! 
that they should drink so greedily of the poisonous cup, and hug 
that serpent in their bosom, that will sting them to the heart. 2. 
What a God he is with whom we have to do ? What hatred he 
bears to sin, and how severely he punishes it ! Know the Lord to 
be most just, as well as most merciful, and think not tliat he is 

z 2 


such a one as you are ; away with the fatal mistake ere it be too 
late, Psalm. 1. 21, 22, " Thou thooghtest that I was altogether such 
an one as thyself; hut I will reprove thee, and set them in order be- 
fore thine eyes. Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear 
you in pieces, and there be none to deliver." The fire prepared for the 
devil and his angels, as dark as it is, will discover God to be a severe 
revenger of sin. 3. The absolute necessity of fleeing to the Lord 
Jesus Christ by faith ; the same necessity of repentance, and holi- 
ness of heart and life. The avenger of blood is pursuing thee, 
sinner ; haste and escape to the city of refuge. Wash now in the 
fountain of the Mediator's blood, that you may not perish in the 
lake of fire. Open thy heart to him, lest the pit close its mouth 
on thee. Leave thy sins, else they will ruin thee ; kill them, else 
they will be thy death for ever. 

Let not the terror of hell -fire put thee upon hardening thy heart 
more, as it may do, if thou entertain that wicked thought, " There 
is no hope," Jer. ii. 25, which, perhaps, is more common among the 
liearers of the gospel, than many are aware of. But there is hope 
for the worst of sinners, who will come unto Jesus Christ. If there 
are no good qualifications in thee, as certainly there can be none in 
a natural man, none in any man, but what are received from Christ, 
know, that he has not suspended thy welcome on any good qualifica- 
tions : do thou take him and his salvation freely ofi'ered unto all to 
whom the gospel comes. " Whosoever will, let him take of the 
water of life freely," Rev. xxii. 17- " Him that cometh to me, I 
will in nowise cast out," John vi. 37. It is true, thou art a sinful 
creature, and canst not repent ; thou art unholy, and canst not 
make thyself holy : nay, thou hast attempted to repent, to forsake 
sin, and to be holy, but still failed of repentance, reformation, and 
holiness ; and therefore, " Thou saidst, There is no hope. No, for I 
have loved strangers, and after them will I go." Truly no wonder 
that the success has not answered thy expectation, since thou hast 
always begun thy work amiss. But do thou first of all honour God, 
by believing the testimony he has given of his Son, namely, that 
eternal life is in him : and honour the Son of God, by believing in 
him, that is, embracing and falling in with the free offer of Christ, 
and of his salvation from sin and from wrath, made to thee in the 
gospel; trusting in him confidently for righteousness to thy justifi- 
cation, and also for sanctification ; seeing " of God he is made unto 
us" both " righteousness and sanctification," 1 Cor. i. 30. Then, if 
thou hast as much credit to give to the word of God, as thou wouldst 
allow to the word of an honest man, offering thee a gift, and saying, 
Take it, and it is thine ; thou mayst believe, that God is thy God, 


Christ is thine, his salvation is thine, thy sins are pardoned, thou 
hast strength in him for repentance and for holiness ; for all these 
are made over to thee in the free offer of the gospel. Believing on 
the Son of God, thou art justified, the curse is removed. And while 
it lies upon thee, how is it possible thou shouldst bring forth the 
fruits of holiness ? But, the curse removed, that death which seized 
on thee with the first Adam, according to the threatening, Gen. ii. 17, 
is taken away. In consequence of which, thou shalt find the bands of 
wickedness, now holding thee fast in impenitence, broken asunder, as 
the bands of that death ; so as thou wilt be able to repent indeed, from 
the heart : thou shalt find the spirit of life returned to thy soul, on 
whose departure that death ensued, so as thenceforth thou shalt be 
enabled to live unto righteousness. No man's case is so bad, but it 
may be mended this way, in time, to be perfectly right in eternity : 
and no man's case is so good, but, another way being taken, it will 
be ruined for time and eternity too. 

III. The damned shall have the society of devils in their misera- 
ble state in hell : for they must depart into " fire prepared for the 
devil and his angels." horrible company ! frightful associa- 
tion ! who would choose to dwell in a palace, haunted with devils ? 
To be confined to the most pleasant spot of earth, with the devil and 
his infernal furies, would be a most terrible confinement. How 
would men's hearts fail them, and their hair stand up, finding them- 
selves environed with the hellish crew ! But, ah ! how much more 
terrible must it be, to be cast with the devils into one fire, locked 
up with them in one dungeon, shut up with them in one pit ! To be 
closed up in a den of roaring lions, girded about with serpents, sur- 
rounded with venomous asps, and to have the heart eaten out' by 
vipers, altogether and at once, is a comparison too low, to shew the 
misery of the damned, shut up in hell with the devil and his angels. 
They go about now as roaring lions, seeking whom they may devour : 
but then they shall be confined in their den with their prey. They 
shall be filled with the wrath of God, and receive the full torment, 
Matt. viii. 29, which they tremble in expectation of, James ii. 19, 
being cast into the fire prepared for them. How will these lions 
roar and tear ! how will these serpents hiss ! these dragons cast out 
fire ! what horrible anguish will seize the damned, finding them- 
selves in the lake of fire, with the devil, who deceived them; drawn 
thither with the silken cords of temptation, by these wicked spirits ; 
and bound with them in everlasting chains under darkness ! Rev. 
XX. 10, " And the devil that deceived them, was cast into the lake 
of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, 
and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 


! that men would consider this in time, renounce the devil and 
his lusts, and join themselves to the Lord in faith and holiness. 
Why should men choose such company in this world, and delight in 
such society, as they would not desire to associate with in the other 
world ? Those who like not the company of the saiuts on earth, 
will get none of it in eternity ; but, as godless company is their 
delight now, they will afterwards get enough of it ; when they have 
eternity to pass in the roaring and blaspheming society of devils 
and reprobates in hell. — Let those who use to invocate the devil to 
take them, soberly consider, that the company so often invited, will 
be terrible at last, when come. 

lY. And, Lastly, Let us consider the eternity of the whole, the 
everlasting continuance of the miserable state of the damned in hell. 
1. If I could, I would shew what eternity is; I mean, the crea- 
ture's eternity. But who can measure the waters of the ocean ; or 
who can tell you the days, years, and ages of eternity, which are in- 
finitely more than the drops of the ocean ? None can comprehend 
eternity, but the eternal God. Eternity is an ocean, whereof we 
shall never see the shore ; it is a deep, where we can find no bot- 
tom ; a labyrinth, from whence wa cannot extricate ourselves, and 
where we shall ever lose the door. There are two things we may 
say of it. 1. It has a beginning. God's eternity has no beginning, 
but the creature's has. Once there was no lake of fire ; and those 
who have been there for some hundreds of years, were once in time, 
as we now are. But, 2. It shall never have an end. The first who 
entered into the eternity of wo, is as far from the end of it, as 
tlie last who shall go thither will be at his entry. They who have 
launched out furthest into that ocean, are as far from land, as they 
were the first moment they went into it : and, thousands of ages 
after this, they will be as far from it as ever. Wherefore eternity, 
which is before us, is a duration that has a beginning, but no end. 
It is a beginning without a middle, a beginning without an end. 
After millions of years passed in it, still it is a beginning. God's 
wrath, in hell, will ever be the wrath 1o come. — But there is no 
middle in eternity. When millions of ages are past in eternity, 
what is past bears no proportion to what is to come : no, not so 
much as one drop of water, falling from the tip of one's finger, 
bears to all the waters of the ocean. There is no end of it : while 
God is, it shall be. It is an entry without an end to it ; a continual 
succession of ages ; a glass always running, which shall never run 

Observe the continual succession of hours, days, months, and 
years, how one still follows upon another ; and think of eternity, 


wherein there is a continual succession without end. When you go 
out at night, and behold the stars of heaven, how they cannot be 
numbered for multitude, think of the ages of eternity ; consider 
also, there is a certain definite number of stars, but no number of 
the ages of eternity. When you see water running, think how vain 
a thing it would be to sit down by it, and wait till it should run out, 
that you may pass over ; observe how new water still succeeds to 
that which passes by you : aud therein you have an image of eter- 
nity, which is a river that never dries up. They who wear rings 
have an image of eternity on their fingers ; and they who handle the 
wheel have an emblem of eternity before them : for to which part 
soever of the ring or wheel we look, one will still see another part 
beyond it; and on whatever moment of eternity you meditate, there 
is still another beyond it. When you are abroad in the fields, and 
behold the blades of grass on the earth, which no man can reckon ; 
think with yourselves, that, were as many thousands of years to 
come, as there are blades of grass on the ground, even those would 
have an end at length ; but eternity will have none. When you 
look to a mountain, imagine in your hearts, how long would it be, 
ere that mountain should be removed, by a little bird coming but 
once every thousand years, and carrying away but one grain of the 
dust thereof at once : the mountain would at length be removed that 
way, and brought to an end ; but eternity will never end. Suppose 
this with respect to all the mountains of the earth ; nay, with 
respect to the whole globe itself: the grains of dust of which the 
whole of it is made up, are not infinite ; and therefore the last grain 
would, at length, come to be carried away, as above : yet eternity 
would be, in effect, but beginning. 

These are some rude draughts of eternity : and now add misery 
and wo to this eternity, what tongue can express it? "what heart 
can conceive it ? in what balance can that misery aud that wo be 
weighed ? 

2. Let us take a view of what is eternal, in the state of the 
damned in hell. Whatever is included in the fearful torments 
of their state, is everlasting : therefore, all the doleful ingredients 
of their miserable state will be everlasting ; they will never end. 
The text expressly declares the fire, into which they must depart, to 
be everlasting fire. And our Lord elsewhere tells us, that in hell, 
the fire never shall be quenched, Mark ix. 43 ; with an eye to the 
valley of Hinnora, in which, besides the before-mentioned fire, for 
burning the children to ]\[olech, there was also another fire burn- 
ing continually, to consume the dead carcases and filth of Jerusa- 
lem : so the Scripture, representing hell-fire by the fire of that val- 


ley, speaks it not only to be most exquisite, but also everlasting. 
Seeing, then, the damned must depart, as cursed ones, into everlast- 
ing fire, it is evident that — 

(1.) The damned themselves shall be eternal ; they will have a 
being for ever, and will never be substantially destroyed or annihi- 
lated. To what end is the fire eternal, if those who are cast into it 
be not eternally in it ? It is plain, the everlasting continuance of 
the fire is an aggravation of the misery of the damned. But, surely, 
if they be annihilated, or substantially destroyed, it would be all one 
to them, whether the fire be everlasting or not. Nay, but they de- 
part into everlasting fire, to be everlastingly punished in it. Matt. 
XXV. 46, " These shall go away into everlasting punishment." 
Thus the execution of the sentence is a certain discovery of the 
meaning of it. The worm, that dieth not, must have a subject to live 
in: they, who shall have no rest, day nor night, Rev. xiv. 11, but shall 
be " tormented day and night for ever and ever," chap. xx. 10, will 
certainly have a being for ever and ever, and not be brought into a 
state of eternal rest in annihilation. Destroyed indeed they shall 
be : but their destruction will be an everlasting destruction, 2 Thess. 
i. 9 ; a destruction of their well-being, but not of their being. 
"What is destroyed, is not therefore annihilated : " Art thou come to 
destroy us ?" said the devil unto Jesus Christ, Luke iv. 34. The 
devils are afraid of torment, not of annihilation," Matth. viii. 29, 
" Art thou come hither to torment us before the time ?" The state 
of the damned is indeed a state of death ; but such a death it is, as 
is opposite only to a happy life; as is clear from other notions of 
their state, which necessarily include eternal existence, — of which 
before. As they who are dead in sin, are dead to Gfod and holiness, 
yet live to sin ; so dying in hell they live, but separated from Grod, 
and his favour, in which is life, Psalm xxx. 5. They shall ever be 
under the pangs of death ; ever dying, but never dead, or abso- 
lutely void of life. How desirable would such a death be to them ! 
but it will flee from them for ever. Could each one kill another 
there, or could they, with their own hands, tear themselves into life- 
less pieces, their misery would quickly be at an end : but there they 
must live, who chose death, and refused life ; for there death lives, 
and the end ever begins. 

(2.) The curse shall lie upon them eternally, as the everlasting 
chain, to hold them in the everlasting fire; a chain that shall never 
be loosed, being fixed for ever about them, by the dreadful sentence 
of the eternal judgment. This chain, which spurns the united force 
of devils held fast by it, is too strong to be broken by men, who 


being solemnly anathematized, and devoted to destruction, can never 
be recovered to any other use. 

(3.) Their punishment shall be eternal ; Matt. xxv. 46, " These 
shall go away into everlasting punishment." They will be for 
ever separated from God and Christ, and from the society of the 
)ly angels and saints ; between whom and them an impassable gulf 
will be fixed, Luke xvi. 26, " Between us and you," says Abraham, 
in the parable, to the rich man in hell, " there is a great gulf fixed : 
so that they which would pass from hence to you, cannot; neither 
can they pass to us, that would come from thence." They shall for 
ever have the horrible society of the devil and his angels. There 
will be no change of company for ever in that region of darkness. 
Their torment in the fire will be everlasting : they must live for ever 
in it. Several authors, both ancient and modern, tell us of earth- 
flax, or salamander's hairs, that cloth made of it, being cast into the 
fire, is so far from being burnt or consumed, that it is only made 
clean thereby, as other things are by washing. But however that 
is, it is certain the damned shall he tormented for ever and ever in 
hell-fire, and not substantially destroyed, Rev. xx. 10. And indeed 
nothing is annihilated by fire, but only dissolved. Of what nature 
soever hell-fire is, no question, the same God, who kept the bodies 
of the three children from burning in Nebuchadnezzar's fiery fur- 
nace, can also keep the bodies of the damned from any such dissolu- 
tion by hell-fire, as may infer privation of life. 

(4.) Their knowleclge and sense of their misery shall be eternal, 
and they shall assuredly know that it will be eternal. How de- 
sirable would it be to them, to have their senses for ever locked up, 
and to lose the consciousness of their own misery ! as one may ra- 
tionally suppose it to fare at length with some, in the punishment 
of death infiicted on them on earth, and as it is with some mad 
people ; but that agrees not with the notion of torment for ever and 
ever, nor the worm that dieth not. Nay, they will ever have a 
lively feeling of their misery, and strongest impressions of the 
wrath of God against them. And that dreadful intimation of the 
eternity of their punishment, made to them by their Judge, in 
their sentence, will fix such impressions of the eternity of their 
miserable state upon their minds, as they will never be able to lay 
aside ; but will continue with them evermore, to complete their 
misery. This will fill them with everlasting despair ; a most tor- 
menting passion, which will continually rend their hearts, as it were, 
iu a thousand pieces. To see floods of wrath ever coming, and never 
to cease ; to be ever in torment, and to know that there shall never, 
never be a release, will be the topstone put on the misery of the 


damned. If " hope deferred maketh the heart sick," Prov. xiii. 12, 
how killing will be hope rooted up, slain outright, and buried for 
ever out of the creature's sight ! This will fill them with hatred and 
rage against God, their known irreconcileable enemy ; and under 
it, they will roar for ever, like wild bulls in a net, and fill the pit 
with blasphemies evermore. 

I might here shew the reasonableness of the eternity of the 
punishment of the damned: but, having already spoken of it, in vin- 
dicating the justice of God, in his subjecting men, in their natural 
state, to eternal wrath, I only remind you of three things : 1. The 
infinite dignity of the party offended by sin, requires an infinite 
punishment to be inflicted for the vindication of his honour ; since 
the demerit of sin rises according to the dignity and excellence of 
the person against whom it is committed. The party ofi'ended is the 
great God, the chief good ; the ofi'ender a vile worm ; in respect of 
perfection, infinitely distant from God, to whom he is indebted for 
all that he ever had, implying any good or perfection whatever. 
This then requires an infinite punishment to be inflicted on the sin- 
ner ; which since it cannot in him be infinite in value, must needs 
be infinite in duration, that is to say, eternal. Sin is a kind of infi- 
nite evil, as it wrongs an infinite God ; and the guilt and defilement 
thereof is never taken away, but endures for ever, unless the Lord 
himself in mercy remove it. God, who is oflended, is eternal ; his 
being never comes to an end : the sinful soul is immortal, and the 
man shall live for ever : the sinner being without strength, Rom. v. 
6, to expiate his guilt, can never put away the off'ence ; therefore it 
ever remains, unless the Lord put it away himself, as in the elect, 
by his Sou's blood. Wherefore the party offended, the offender, and 
tlie offence, ever remaining, the punishment cannot but be eternal. 
2. The sinner would have continued the course of his provocations 
against God for ever without end, if God had not put a check to it 
by death. As long as they were capable of acting against him in 
this world, they did it : and therefore justly will he act against 
them, while he is ; that is, for ever. God, who judges of the will, 
intents, and inclinations of the heart, may justly do against sinners, 
in punishing, as they would have done against him in sinning. 3. 
Though I put not the stress of the matter here, yet it is just and 
reasonable that the damned sufl'er eternally, since they will sin eter- 
nally in hell, gnashing their teeth. Matt. viii. 12, under their pain 
in rage, envy, and grudge; compare Acts vii. 54; Psal. cxii. 10; 
Luke xiii. 28 ; and blaspheming God there, Rev. xvi. 21, while they 
are " driven away in their wickedness," Prov. xiv. 32. That the 
wicked be punished for their wickedness, is just, and it is no ways 


iuconsisteiii with justice, that the being of the creature be continued 
for ever : wherefore, it is just, that the damned, continuing wicked 
eternally, do suffer eternally for their wickedness. The misery, 
under which they sin, can neither free them from the debt of obe- 
dience, nor excuse their sinning, and make it blameless. The crea- 
ture, as a creature, is bound unto obedience to his Creator ; and no 
punishment inflicted on him can free him from it, any more than 
tlie malefactor's prison, irons, whipping, and the like, set him 
at liberty again, to commit the crimes for which he is imprisoned or 
whipped. Neither can the torments of the damned excuse, or make 
blameless, their horrible sinning under them, any more than exqui- 
site pains, inflicted upon men on earth, can excuse their murmuring, 
fretting, and blaspheming against God under them. It is not the 
wrath of God, but their own wicked nature, that is the true cause of 
their sinning under it; for the holy Jesus bore the wrat