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


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OK f H I L A I) K I, P H I A , FA. 

'bX 8915 .B67 1848 v. 9 
Boston, Thomas, 1677-1732. 
The whole works of the late 
Reverend Thomas Boston, of 























By it, he beiii"- dead, yet speaketh. — Heb. xi. 4. 








Rev. i. 17, 18. — Fear not ; I am be that liveth, and was dead, and behold, I am 

alive for ever more, Amen : and have the keys of hell and death, ... 13 


IsA. lix. 2. — But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and 

your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear, ... ... 27 


Matth. xxi. 29. — He answered and said, I will not; but afterwards he repented 

and went, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 37 



Psalm cxxxi. 2. — My soul is even as a weaned child, ... ... ... 45 


1 CoR. XV. 13. — For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a 

breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order. ... 53 


Psalm xviii. 30 As for God, his way is perfect, ... ... ... ... 61 


Psalm cxlvii. 11. — The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those 

that hope in his mercy. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 66 





IsA. XXV. 8. — He will swallow up death in victory, ... ... ... ... 95 





2 Kings i. 14 And he took the mantle of Elijah, that fell from him, and smote 

the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah?" ... ... Ill 




IsA. Iv. 4. — Behold, I have given him for a Witness to the people, a Leader and 

Commander to the people, ... ... ... ... ... ... 128 



2 Cor. xli. 10. — For when I am weak, then am I strong. . ... ... ... 138 




Matth. XX. 6. — Why stand ye here all the day idle? ... . . ... 152 


Matth. xxviii. 20. — And lo, I am with you always. ... ... ... 169 


Matth. xi. 28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy-laden, and I 

will give you rest, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 169 










IsA. xxxii. 2. — And a man sball be— as the shadow of a great rock in a weary 

land 220 






1 Kings xvi. 21. — And Elijah said, How long halt ye between two opinions ? 245 




Rom. viii. 22. — For we know that the whole creation groaneth, and travaileth in 

paiu together until now, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 263 




Rom. viii. 22. — For we know that the whole creation groaneth, and travaileth 

together until now, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 286 



Num. xiv. 24 But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, 

and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereunto he 
went, and his seed shall possess it. ... ... ... ... ... 299 




Rom. ii. 28, 29. — For he is not a Jew which is one outwardly, &c. ... 334 




Luke xiv. 26. — If any man come to me, and hate not his father and mo- 
ther, &c., 36ft 




Hos. vi. 3. Then shall ye know, if ye follow on to know the Lord, ... 384 





Heb. X. 22. Let us draw near with a true heart, iu the full assurance of 

faith, &c., 399 







Acts xxvii. 23. For there stood by me this night the angel of the Lord, whose 

I am, and whom I serve, ... ... ... ... ... ... 639 






Psalm Ixxxi. ID Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it, ... ... ... 482 


John vi. 57. — He that eateth me> even he shall live by me, 490 



1 Sam. xii. 21 And turn ye not aside ; for then should ye go after vain things, 

which cannot profit nor deliver, for they are vain, ... ... ... 500 



IsA. Ixi. 1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath 

anointed me, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 507 






IsA. xli. I. — The Lord hath anoiDted me to preach good tidings to the meek. 529 




IsA. Ixi. 1. — To bind up the broken-hearted, ... ... ... ... ... 550 




IsA. Ixi. 1. — To proclaim liberty to the captives ... ... ... ... 569 





IsA. Ixi. 1. — And the opening of the prison to them that are bound, ... 589 





We, whoso Dames are subjoined, liaviug had opportunity of look- 
ing over several of these Sermons in manuscript, now proposed for 
publication, have sufficient reason to be satisfied that they are the 
genuine remains of the worthy Author whose name they bear. 
They have been transmitted through the hands of his lineal de- 
scendants. From the handwriting, which is such as was common 
towards the beginning of this century, though now rather anti- 
quated, as well as from the information of those who had access to 
know, it appears that these Sermons were the original autograph, 
written at the time mentioned in the dates affixed to them. But to 
those acquainted with the spirit and manner of Mr. Boston's other 
writings, the perusal of the Discourses themselves will convince 
them that they are genuine. They discover the same serious and 
spiritual strain, — the same perspicuity and simplicity of language, 
— the same happy fertility and copiousness of scriptural proof and 
illustration, — the same pertinent application of his subjects to per- 
sons and times — the same deep concern about the public interests 
of religion, and the dangers to which these kingdoms have been ex- 
posed through heinous sins and backslidings, — as are conspicu- 
ous in his other works. Few have ever attained to his manner 
and style of writing, so much adapted to popular and general 
edification. Such of these Discourses as we have perused, seem to 
have been as carefully and fully written as those formerly pub- 
lished, and on subjects no less interesting. The Sermons in this 
collection which were composed at the time of the Rebellion that 



arose upon the accession of the present family to the throne, will be 
found deserving particular attention in such a period as the present. 
It must be a public benefit to have such a savoury entertainment 
made accessible, through the press, to all who regard the means of 
their own spiritual improvement, or that of others ; and we hope, 
that, through the divine blessing, the long prevailing rage for frivo- 
lous or dangerous reading, may, in some measure, be counteracted 
by such solid and useful publications as the present. 

Thus far we have taken the liberty to express ourselves, in com- 
pliance with the request of those concerned in the present publica- 


Arch. Bruce, Minister of the gospel at Whitburn. 

John Brown, Minister of the gospel at Longridge. 

KoB. Paterson, Minister of the gospel at Biggar. 



The Antlior of the Discourses now offered to the public is so uni- 
versally known, and his character as a practical and evangelical 
writer is so fully established with religious persons of all deno- 
minations, that, in regard to the present publication, it may suf- 
fice to state, that the Discourses in this and the succeeding volumes 
are all of them upon important subjects ; some of them uncommon 
and striking. They were composed by the author in the early part 
of his ministry and in the most vigorous period of his life, as will 
appear by the dates prefixed to them ; on which account, as well as 
to distinguish them from preceding publications by the same au- 
thor, though they are the last ofi'ered to the public, they appear 
under the title " Primitiie ;" and as the whole of the remaining manu- 
scripts of the handwriting of the worthy author, as far as is known, are 
in the possession of the present publishers, for the purpose of accom- 
plishing the present publication, the title " Ultima" is added; inti- 
mating, that it is almost certain that they are the last remains that 
will meet the public eye as a genuine production from the pen of this 
able Divine. 

After the ample recommendation by the author's near relation, 
and two other respectable clergymen, contained in the preceding 
pages, it will be necessary only farther to add, that these Discourses 
have been faithfully transcribed from the originals in the author's 
handwriting, and correctly printed from them. It is not doubted 
but that these volumes will be highly acceptable to the religious of 
all denominations, who, we trust, will unite with the editor and 
publishers in sincere and fervent prayers, that, through the divine 
blessing, they may be extensively useful. 

Edinburgh, "1 

January 13, 1800. J 





Rev. i. 17, 18, 

Fea7- not : I am he that liveth, and was dead ; and behold, I am alive 
for evermore, Amen ; and have the keys of hell and of death. 

To-day is the feast of the Christian passover. A communion table 
is about to be covered. The great end of persons sitting down at 
that table is, that they may suck the breasts of consolation, and 
drink abundantly of that blood which flows from the pierced side of 
a crucified Saviour. Some feed at this table without fear. Others 
fear so much that they cannot feed. To such poor trembling souls 
our text speaks good and comfortable words : " Fear not," &c. 

As the Lord shewed to Daniel, a man greatly beloved, the state 
of his church till his first coming ; so to John, another beloved dis- 
ciple, he discloses the state of his church till his second coming. 
Both of them were dignified with a vision of Christ, the Son of God; 
and on each of them it had almost the same eftect. In Daniel there 
remained no strength, Dan. x. Here we see the vision had a similar 
effect on John. He is represented, ver. 17, as a dead man. He 
was confounded with the glory of the person whom he saw. His 
eyes were dazzled with the brightness, his strength failed, he could 
act no more than if he had been dead. But our Lord revives him. 
He lays his right hand on him, and strengthens him, that he might 
be able to stand, hear, and receive his orders. Jesus comforts him. 
He rebukes his fears : Fear not. There is a fear with which God 
is well pleased, and a fear of which he does not approve. This last 
is excessive fear, which greatly mars us in our duty, makes our 
hearts faint, and our hands hang down, so as that we have neither 
heart nor hand for our work. This is incident to the people of God ; 

* Delivered immediately before the di.-pensation of the Lord's supper, October 6, 


but Christ does not allow them in it, though he is tender of them 
under it. 

"We have next, the grounds of consolation, to dispel this fear, viz. 
(i.) The Godhead of Christ. He is the first and the last. The first 
principle of all things, from whom they had their beginning, and the 
last end of all things : an irrefragable testimony this of the divinity 
of Christ. And it shews us that the comfort of believers depends 
upon this article. (2.) The union of the Godhead and manhood in 
one person: — where Christ is held forth as God, the living God; 
who had life from eternity of himself, and gave life to all the crea- 
tures : — As man ; in that it is said he died. It is spoken of the same 
person. It was the living God that died, though not the divine na- 
ture. Here we see proposed, for John's comfort, the death of 
Christ, God-man. He was made man, and died. (3.) His resurrec- 
tion : I am alive. He overcame death, and arose the third day. 
(4.) The eternity of that life to which he was raised up : he lives for 
evermore. To all this is prefixed a Behold ! to stir up believers to 
notice it as the grand fountain of their comfort ; and it is followed 
with an asservation. Amen, or verily, to put them out of doubt of it. 

Next, we have his Mediatorial sovereignty : He hath the keys of 
hell and death. The keys are an ensign of government. The key 
of the house of David is laid upon his shoulder. He opens and none 
can shut, be shuts and none can open, Isa. xxii. 22. None go to 
death or hell but when he sends them ; and none are kept out of 
hell, and taken to glory but by him. 

From this subject we may observe the following 

DocT. That the death and resurrection of Christ, that eternal life 
to which he was raised, and his Mediatory sovereignty, are the great 
grounds of the saints' consolation, and sufficient to dispel all their 
unbelieving f«ars. 

In discoursing upon this subject, I shall, by divine aid, 

I. Speak a little, and but a little, to each of these things, to un- 
fold them, so as that the ground of comfort in them may appear. 

II. Point out the consolation of the saint to be found in these. 

III. Make some practical improvement. 

I. To speak a little to each of the things in the text, to unfold 
them, so as that the ground of comfort in them may appear. 

1. As to his death. On this I offer these few remarks: (1.) His 
death supposeth — his incarnation, and living as a man in the world, 
John i. 14, " The word was made flesh and dwelt among us." This 
has a respect to the Shechinah, or the divine presence : that was a 
fire, encompassed with a cloud, which was above the ark in the first 


temple. Christ's divinity was clouded with his humanity ; the form 
of God, with the form of a servant, Phil. ii. 6 — 8, " He took upon 
him onr nature." He was a partaker of flesh and blood, Heb. ii. 14. 
Thus he became a substantial Mediator between God and man, that 
so he might be a Mediator of reconciliation ; how he was conceived, 
bo^-n, and lived in the world, the Evangelists fully relate. (2.) His 
death was vicarious ; he died in the room and stead of sinners, not 
indeed of all, but of his own sheep. The Sociuians allow that he died 
for our good, though not in our room ; but this places the death of 
the martyrs and of Christ on the same footing. But the scripture 
is plain, Matth. xx. 28, " He came to give his life a ransom for 
many." Gal. iii. 13, " Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of 
the law, being made a curse for us. He was made sin for us, and 
died, the just for the unjust." There was a real imputation of the 
sins of the elect unto Christ, and a real translation of the punish- 
ment due to us upon him, Isa. liii. 4 — 6, " Surely he hath borne 
our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, 
smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our trans- 
gressions, he was bruised for our iniquities ; the chastisement of 
our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. All 
we like sheep have gone astray : we have turned every one to his 
own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." 
— This was typified by the sacrifices under the law, on the head of 
which the offerer laid his hand, typically transferring the sin upon 
the beast : which was really accomplished in that true sacrifice of 
Christ, who gave himself for us, " an offering and a sacrifice to God 
for a sweet smelling savour," Eph. v. 2. (3.) His sufferings and 
death were most exquisite : " God spared not his own Son." In the 
death of Christ there was a complication of deaths ; they murdered 
his reputation, execrating him as a blasphemer against God, and a 
traitor against the government; placing him between two malefac- 
tors, as if he had been the greatest of the three. They murdered his 
body, and that in a most cruel manner. The wrath of God fell 
upon his soul, the first drops of which made him cry out, " My soul 
is exceeding sorrowful." His enemies shewed no pity, but gave 
hira vinegar to drink: he got judgment without mercy from God; 
even the sun was darkened, that he might not have the light of it, 
because it is pleasant to the eyes. (4.) His sufferings and death 
were satisfactory, and that fully. By his one sacrifice, he hath for 
ever perfected them that are sanctified. He was Lord of his 
own life : he voluntarily laid it down, and that upon a compact be- 
twixt the Father and hira. Being God, the fulness of the Godhead 
dwelling in him, the fulness of merit cannot be doubted ; lor so his 


sufferings were of infiaite value, to which nothing can be added. 
He was God, and purchased the church with his own blood, Acts 
XX. 28. Tliere was a proportion between the sins of the elect, and 
the sufferings of Christ. Sin is an infinite evil, his sufferings were 
of infinite value. His deity stamped an infiaite value on his suffer- 
ings ; and in this respect they do more than equal all the possible 
sufferings of all creatures together ; for what would they all be to 
God dying ? 

2. As to his resurrection, and the life to which he was restored. 
The text says, " Behold I am alive." Had he lain still in the grave 
as dead, all the hopes of believers had died with him ; but behold, 
we have David's comfort : his soul was not left in hell, neither did 
he see corruption. Psalm xvi. 10. Here consider, (1.) That God 
raised up Christ ; Acts ii. 24, " Him God hath raised up, having 
loosed the pains of death ; because it was not possible that he should 
be holden of it." There was the weight of all the elect's sins lying 
on him as a grave-stone. This was rolled away, and he was raised 
up by the exceeding greatness of God's power, Eph. i. 19. By this 
power, also, the Father declared him to be his Son indeed, Rom. i. 
4 ; and that he was fully satisfied for the debt Christ undertook to 
pay. Therefore, though Christ himself could have rolled away the 
stone, yet an angel, God's officer, is sent to do it, to open the prison 
door ; thereby declaring, that the Judge had no more to exact of 
him, that the debt was completely paid. (2.) Where he now lives. 
It is in heaven, the better country, which we had forfeited by sin, 
but where we still would fain be. Forty days after his resurrection, 
he ascended into heaven. As a public person he died, and as such 
he ascended. There the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, 
made an high priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec. He 
is set down on the Father's throne, and is at his right hand. Hav- 
ing offered his bloody sacrifice, he is now gone into the holiest of 
all, and there will continue till the restitution of all things. (3.) 
For what he lives. The apostle tells ns, that it is to make interces- 
sion for us ; and he himself says, it is to prepare a place for us in 
his Father's house, where there are many mansions. He went there 
to take infeftment of heaven for us, and he lives to keep possession. 
He lives there as the advocate of the saints, who have continual busi- 
ness at the court of heaven, yet have no skill to manage it; "but," 
says Paul, " Christ is entered there to appear in the presence of 
God for us." This is said in allusion to a custom among confeder- 
ated states and princes, who have their agents, who, upon all occa- 
sions, appear in the presence of the prince in behalf of those they 
represent, and for whom they negotiate, to take up any emergent 


differences, or manage whatever business may be put into their hands. 
We now go on, 

3. To the eternity of this life. The man Christ lives for ever- 
more. Amen. Says Paul, " He ever liveth" and that as God-man. 
The saints cannot outlive their advocate ? nay, through eternity 
they shall behold his glorious face. He will never lay aside our 
nature. He is now for ever out of the reach of death. He dieth 
no more, death hath no more dominion over him. Joseph's brethren, 
when they saw their father was dead, were in a great fear, lest 
Joseph should avenge the wrong they had done him. No such fear 
needs the believer have. Jesus lives for ever, to be the eternal 
bond of the saints' eternal communion with God. For, seeing we 
can neither come to God by ourselves, nor by ourselves abide in 
communion with him, it is necessary, that as we come to God by 
Christ, so by him also must we abide with God for ever. The mem- 
bers must receive influences and glory from their head, to whom 
they shall remain for ever united. He lives for ever, to be their 
prophet, for the Lamb is the light of the New Jerusalem, Rev. xxi. 
23 ; and he will be their priest for ever ; he continueth for ever, 
having an unchangeable ijriesthood, Heb. vii. 24. He will eternally 
represent his own sacrifice as the foundation of our eternal glory : 
and as for his kingdom, it is an everlasting kingdom, that shall 
not be destroyed, Dan. vii. 14. Let us, 

4. Attend to his mediatorial sovereignty. He hath the keys of 
liell and death. He hath all power over the present and future 
worlds. Hell and death are terrible to the believer ; but Christ 
holds the keys of both. He went down to the grave, opened the 
door, and brought the keys away with him. None go to hell but 
whom he sends there, and consequently the keys of heaven are in 
his hand; which is here also understood. Ho has "all power in 
heaven and earth," Matth. xxviii. 18. Of this, Joseph's exaltation 
in Egypt was a type. Gen. xli. 40. And these keys are the pur- 
chase of his blood, Phil. ii. 8, 9, " Because he humbled himself, and 
became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Where- 
fore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which 
is above every name," &c. 

Now, these things, the death, resurrection, life, and power of 
Jesus, may be considered three ways, in order to improve them for 
consolation to the saints. (1.) As patterns and examples. It is 
the ordinary way of distressed persons, to conclude there is no sor- 
row like their sorrow ; and if ye can satisfyingly answer that or- 
dinary question of theirs. Was there ever any in my case that got 
safely out of it? you will do much to allay their grief, and raise 


their hopes. Thus we find the apostle improving the sufferings and 
glory of Christ, Heb. xii. 3, " For, consider him," says he, " that 
endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be 
wearied, and faint in your minds." Yea, Jesus Christ himself says, 
Rev. iii. 21, " To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me 
on my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my 
Father on his throne." (2.) As pledges, assuring the saints of 
what they wish for. Thus the apostle improves the resurrection of 
Christ, to assure believers they shall not lie ever consuming in a 
grave, but shall be raised up to glory. Christ says he is risen from 
the dead, the first-fruits of those that slept, 1 Cor. xv. 20 ; and 
Jesus tells us, that his life is a pledge of ours : " Because I live, ye 
shall live also," John xiv. 19. (3.) As containing in them sufficient 
salves for all their sores. Thus are these the magazine of the 
saints' consolation, his wounds are the clefts of the rock, wherein 
the poor creature may safely hide itself. Only bruise the spices, 
pour out the ointment, consider them in their nature and effects, 
and assuredly they will send forth a pleasant smell, sufficient to 
revive and comfort a fainting soul. We are now, 

II. To point out the nature of that consolation which saints may 
derive from these. For this purpose, let us take a view of the 
fountains of their fears and distrust. 

1. There is the super-eminent glory and infinite majesty of the 
great God. This, when seen and considered by poor wornf man, 
whose habitation is in the dust, is a great source of fear. This made 
John fall down at his feet as dead. Who can behold the glorious 
majesty upon this earth, and not be ready to dwindle into nothing ? 
How do some tremble at the view of their fellow-creatures exalted 
above thera in power and dignity ! But what a vast dispropor- 
tion betwixt God and the greatest monarch ! This challenges our 
fear indeed, but the saints ought not to let it degenerate into slavish 
fear. God has vailed his throne in the heavens, he spreads his 
cloud upon it. Job xxvi. 9. This is the common benefit of mankind 
upon this earth. But the saints have anotlier ground of consolation 
in the text : and that is the death of Christ, wherein we behold 
God incarnate, God made flesh, God in our nature. Can ye not 
look straight forward to divine majesty, then fetch a compass, and 
look through the vail of the flesh of Christ, and so ye may see God, 
and not die. " Often and willingly," said Luther, " would I thus 
look at God." 

2. Sin is another fountain of fear ; sinfulness considered with the 
nature of God. Here the sinner first sees guilt in himself, and 
justice in God, which two together make a very frightful spectacle. 


It is the nature of guilt to bind over to punishment, and of justice 
to inflict it ; so that guilt is a great source of fears. But fear not, 
Christian ; Christ was dead, and is alive for ever more ; therefore 
the guilt that exposes to hell-fiie is done away. Thou mayest in- 
deed be guilty, so as to bring upon thee fatherly chastisments for 
your amendment, but thou art not liable to eternal plagues. Tou 
may plead not guilty to the charges of the law as a covenant of 
works : " For if God be for us, who can be against us ?" Eoni. viii. 
31. Upon the cross there were two crucified, the Son of God, and 
the law of God. But the Son of God, by his becoming dead, bruised to 
death the law as a covenant of works, in respect of believers. He 
took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross, Coloss. ii. 14. There- 
fore the law, our first husband, being dead, our relation to it is dis- 
solved, and we are legally married to Christ, who was raised from 
the dead, fliat we should bring forth fruit unto God. Justice is 
satisfied. No flaming sword stands any more to guard the tree of 
life. The storm hath exhausted itself upon Christ ; fear not, but 
come forward. He died in our room. Justice exacted, and he 
answered. Fear not old account?, for God spared not his own Son. 
A thousand may fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right 
hand, by the stroke of justice, but it shall not come nigh thee. Do 
ye doubt the completeness of the satisfaction ? Behold Christ in 
heaven, with the complete discharge in his hand. He is out of pri- 
son. He brought the keys with him, and is now on the throne. 
Everlasting righteousness is brought in, and it is put on thee by 
him. He is made of God unto you righteousness. Your own is 
only filthy rags ; but that which is imputed unto you will abide the 
judgment of God, and endure for ever. But, 

3. The sinner sees pollution in himself, and holiness in God. 
When they behold the spotless purity of God, and themselves as an 
unclean thing, they are ready to say, will Gud look on vile me ? 
will these pure eyes cast a favourable glance on such a dunghill- 
worm ? Fear not, Christ was dead, and is alive. He is made of 
God unto you sanctification. Thou hast some grace amidst a heap of 
corruptions. Though thou seest not what a lustre this casts within 
thee, yet God sees it : " The king's daughter is all glorious within," 
Psalm xlv. 13. But look to your outer garments, which are of 
wrought gold, they will hide all your deformities. Though you are, 
in respect of inherent grace, but fair as the moon, yet your imputed 
righteousness is clear as the sun. To this some may object, "I am 
guilty of gross sins, and that even since the Lord began to deal 
with me." Fear not, Christ died ; and if so, God died for your sius. 
If he was God who died, when he was pouring out his blood, he 


knew all the siiis you would be guilty of, even after your conver- 
sion. He did not shed his blood in vain, and therefore in his death 
he had even these in his view ; and will not the blood of God be 
able to expiate the grossest sins ? It cleanseth from all sin. Re- 
member also he is alive evermore to intercede for you : " If any man 
sin, we have an advocate with the Father," 1 John ii. 1. If his blood 
was sufficient for expiation, his intercession cannot but be prevalent. 
— " But I may say, I sin evermore, and that breaks ray soul." Fear 
not, Christ lives evermore ; and, if ye believe the apostle, it is to 
make intercession for you. If Christ lives evermore, ye shall not 
sin evermore : for he will not thus live alone without you ; where 
he is, there you shall be also, John xvii. 24. " But the sin of my 
nature lies nearest my heart : I am just a lump of hell, and a mass 
of sin. Acts of sin are transient, but this is permanent, and I 
cannot be freed of it." Fear not : Christ died, and therefore, 
though it may make your way to heaven difficult, yet ye shall never 
be condemned for it. Nay, good news, believer ! with the death 
of Christ sin got a fatal wound. Your old man was crucified with 
him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, Rom. vi. 6. You 
wonder it is so troublesome ; but why do ye do so ? The old man is 
mortally wounded ; and can you think he will groan out his life in 
silence, and not move a tongue against Christ? But as surely as 
Christ came not down from the cross till he breathed out his last, so 
surely shall the body of death in you be destroyed. 

3. Desertions are a cause of fears. The deserted soul is an af- 
frighted soul. Say some, " Christ is withdrawn from me : my sua 
has gone down : nothing now but darkness and confusion : I can 
see no evidences of the Lord's love to me : I may say as Job, chap, 
xxiii. 8, 9, " I go forward and backward, but I cannot perceive him." 
But fear not, Christian ; it has beeu, and it will be, better with you. 
Good news to you in your low state, Christ died, and in his death he 
was forsaken of God ; and yet he now enjoys the bosom of the Fa- 
ther, and the light of his countenance. Who would not be content 
to follow Christ, even through the valley of the shadow of death ? 
Ye pray, and it seems ye are not heard ; so it was with Christ : 
" my God," said he, " thou hearest not," Psalm xxii. 2. But 
tlioiigh your husband be far off, though you cannot see him, yet he 
is not dead, he is alive ; and if alive, he will come again, for he 
hateth putting away. Though ye seem to be out of sight, yet ye are 
not out of mind ; he liveth evermore. Zion's account of Christ 
under a fit of desertion, is not canonical, it is not orthodox, Isa. xlix. 
14 — 16, " But Zion said, the Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord 
hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she 


should not liave compassion on the son of her womb ? yea, they may 
forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon 
the palras of my hands, thy walls are continually before me." 

To this the objection may be proposed, " But how can I endure to 
want the joys I have sometimes had, and these blessed consolations ?" 
Answer, Trust in God, and have respect to the recompense of the re- 
ward of grace. Will you disquiet yourselves because there is not 
a second summer in one year ? Bless God that helps you to the 
fight in any measure ; wait patiently for his comforts, and be con- 
stantly at your work. Again, say others, " Were there no more in 
my case, I might keep heart ; but I am under dreadful apprehen- 
sions of wrath, and there are positive outgoings of God's anger 
against my soul, as Job vi. 4, " The arrows of the Almighty are 
within me." Here, I confess, it is hard to stand, and not to fall 
down at his feet as dead. Yet we must say, Fear not; for Christ 
was dead, and the wrath of God was poured out into his soul, which 
melted his heart like wax in the midst of his bowels : Yet he swam 
through this ocean. Now, that he is alive, is a pledge that yo 
shall not drown : For, says he, " because I live ye shall live also." 

It was one of the ends of Christ's death, to deliver you and the 
like of you, Heb. ii. 15, " And deliver them who through fear of 
death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. You are mistaken, 
if you think the arrows are dipped in deadly poison ; for Christ was 
dead, and is alivs, and the poison of these arrows entered into his soul 
in full measure, and he drank it up; Gal. iii. 13, " Christ hath re- 
deemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us : for 
it is written. Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." They will 
wound very sore, though there be no poison, no curse in them. Your 
cloud has a white side, if ye could discern it ; only believe, aud ye 
shall be established. This is the heat of the battle with you. Keep 
hold of the death of Christ as your shield that will defend you. 
Look not on God, but through the veil of the flesh of Jesus. Dry 
stubble may be safe, if there be a strong crystal wall between it and 
the fire. Does God appear as a consuming fire ? Christ is the crystal 
wall : set him betwixt you and an angry God. The light of tliat 
fire will shine through him to refresh you, but it will not burn 
through him. It has been often tried ; he is still alive, and ye shall 
live also. 

4. Temptations are a source of fears. Sometimes Satan gets 
leave to dog saints at their heels. With what horrid temptations 
poor souls may be harassed, some know by sad experience : fiery 
darts that they tremble to think of, and that they dare not name ! 
This fills them with fear : but to such I say. Fear not. Christ died. 


and is alive evermore. He that thus lives evermore gave a deadly 
wound to the tempter. When Jesns was in the world, Satan set 
on him with the most severe temptations ; but Jesus overcame him, 
and at his death triumphed over him. He spoiled principalities and 
powers, Col. ii. 15, "And having spoiled principalities and powers, 
he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." You 
see, then, that the enemy with whom you fight is already vanquished, 
and the victory of Jesus over him is a sure pledge of yours. Yea, 
as in the first Adam we were all tempted and fell, so iu the second 
Adam we were tempted and stood; and so have overcome already in 
our Head. We have no more to do but cry to our Lord, who, from 
his own temptations, well knows how to succour his tempted people. 
"We must give the alarm, and handle our weapons. Though the 
fight may last a while, yet it will come to an end, and we shall be 
more than conquerors. Jesus is in heaven, waiting till his enemies 
be made his footstool ; and he will bruise Satan under our feet 

5. Death is the cause of much fear. how hard is it to look on 
it with a stayed countenance ! Death is terrible, in that it is a dis- 
solution of nature, parts soul and body; and therefore we are so 
apt to shudder at the thoughts of it. But fear not ; for Christ died. 
His precious soul and body were parted ; so he orders us to travel 
no path but such as he hath trode before us. By his death he has 
destroyed death ; he has unstinged it to the believer. Then, fear it 
not, it can do you no harm, " But death is terrible, in that it takes 
us out of this world from all our enjoyments, from our dearest re- 
lations and friends, and sends us into another world, where we 
know not a foot of ground, where we never saw a face. Were a 
child born with that judgment that men have, the first sight of this 
world might be terrible to him ; so must the unseeu world be to 
us. But fear not : he that was dead is alive ; and when ye are car- 
ried ofi", you shall be with him who is infinitely better than all 
earthly relations. Here is your comfort. Jesus hath the keys of 
hell and death. He is Lord supreme of that other world to which 
you are travelling. He sends you such word as Joseph sent his 
father. Gen. xlv. 9, saying, " God hath made me lord of all Egypt; 
come down unto me, tarry not." to believe it firmly ! 

6, And Lastly, Hell is a fountain of fears. Sometimes the godly are 
above, sometimes under the fears of hell. It is terrible, the thought 
of being excluded for ever the presence of God ! " Who can abide 
with everlasting burnings ?" When we look down to the pit, it 
seems hard to escape it; when we look up to heaven, our souls faint, 
lest we never get there. But fear not: for Christ died; and if so, 


he suflfered the torments thou shouldst have suffered in hell, as to 
tlie essentials of them. He was under the punishment of loss; God 
forsook him, Psalm xxii. 1. He endured the punishment of sense, 
even to drops of blood, and the wrath of God poured into his soul. 
Then God will not require two payments for one debt. Christ lives, 
he rose, and entered heaven as a public person; and therefore, be- 
liever, thou shalt as surely go to heaven as if thou wert there al- 
ready, yea, the apostle says we are there already. Eph. ii. 6, 
•' We are raised up together, and made to sit together in hea- 
venly places in Christ Jesus," as our Head. Jesus lives for 
evermore ; and therefore thou shalt be for ever with the Lord. 
He has tlie keys of hell and death. Suppose your father or 
best friend on earth had these keys, would you be afraid ? But we 
may have more confidence in Jesus than in ten thousand fathers, or 
even the mothers that bare us. They may forsake us, and a mother 
may be fouiid that will not have compassion on the son of her womb; 
but, believer, Jesus hath said, " I will not forget thee," Isa. 
xlix. 15, 16, " Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should 
not have compassion on the son of her womb ? yea, they may forget, 
yet I will not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the 
palms of my hand, thy walls are continually before me." Though 
Satan be the jailor of hell, yet he keeps not the keys; they hang, 
believer, at the girdle of your best friend. 

III. We shall conclude with some improvement. 

1. From this subject we may infer the comfortless state of them 
that are out of Christ. Are the truths ia the text grounds of con- 
solation to the saints? How, then, can they bear up who have no 
interest in Christ ? Nay, we might turn the black side of this white 
cloud upon unbelievers, and tell them, that if Jesus died how can 
they escape ? If he be alive, he will avenge their contempt of him 
and their neglect of his salvation. If he lives for evermore, then 
they will have an eternal enemy. If he has the keys of hell, then 
they cannot escape that prison ; or le rescued out of it. 

2. That it is the duty of Christians to improve these things for 
their actual comfort. Christian, sit down at his table, and suck the 
breasts of consolation. Build your comforts on these truths. Alas! 
our comforts are often short lived, because we do not found them sure 
enough. I will give you but a few notes concerning this. (1.) The 
grieving of the Spirit cuts the throats of our comforts. (2.) Good 
men sometimes build their comforts on outward blessings; hence, 
when these are gone, their comfort is gone. (3.) On grace within 
them, not on grace without them; the comfort of some streams from 
their obedience principally, therefore it is soon dried up ; whereas 


tlio death and life of Christ are liable to no change, as is our obe- 
dience. (4.) Upon the coming in of words to their minds. Hence, 
when a promise comes in, they are comforted ; when a threatening, 
all is gone. I do believe that the Spirit comforts his people by the 
word, and that he makes words come in with an impression on the 
soul; John xiv. 26, "He shall teach you all things, and bring all 
things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said." But then 
these words lead the soul direct to Christ, and to build our comfort 
on him; but it is not of God to build it on the bare impression of 
a comfortable word. The coming in of a word should guide us to 
Christ ; and though the impression, the guide go, yet we may keep 
our hold of him. — Here we are presented with an objection, " Bat I 
fear I have nothing to do with these consolations." An^sw. Are you 
this day willing to take Christ? Then give your consent, and he is 
yours, and all is yours : " Whosoever will, let him take of the water 
of life freely," Rev. xxii. 17- Object. " But I fear I am not sincere, 
in that I am actuated from fear of hell, and hope of reward." Axsw. 
If ye fear not God's wrath, so as to endeavour to escape it, ye are 
despisers of God ; if ye desire not salvation, so as to labour for 
it, ye are monstrous murderers of your own souls. Let your self- 
love only be regular, and it is commendable ; and then it is regular 
when your desires of happiness are carried towards it through Christ 
and the way of holiness ; so that your soul longs for Christ as well 
as salvation, and ye desire to be holy as well as happy. It is re- 
gular, when it is subordinate to the will of God ; and that is, when 
the man justifies God, though he should cast him off, and yet, come 
what will, is resolved to cleave to the Lord and his way. 

A word to other two sources of the saint's fears. 

1. "Weakness and spiritual inability for the duties of religion. 
The soul taking a view of the great work it has to do, what strong 
lusts are to be mortified, temptations resisted, duties performed ; 
and then, considering how weak and unable it is for any of these 
things, it is even ready to sink. But fear not : Christ died, &c. 
Heb. xii. 12, " Wherefore, lift up the hands which hang down, and 
the feeble knees." Christ died, and therefore strength for duty is 
purchased. In the first Adam, the influences of the Spirit were for- 
feited ; in the second Adam, they are bought back again. The 
well-ordered covenant is sealed and confirmed. There is a fulness 
in the covenant for all your wants. There are promises in it that 
will answer all your needs. Now, the covenant is confirmed, for the 
testator is dead. Christ liveth ; he arose from death, and lives 
evermore ; therefore, he that has the believer's stock of strength is 
alive. Adam got our first stock, but he became insolvent; Christ 


got the next, he liveth in the court of heaven as a public person 
and treasury of strength ; " Of his fulness have all we received, and 
grace for grace," John i. 16. 

The believer's Surety to the Father stands good ; and what need 
they fear as long as their Cautioner holds foot ? Christ is the be- 
liever's cautioner for sanctification and perseverance, John x. 28, 
and chap. xvii. 12, " While I was with thera in the world, I kept 
them in thy name : those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none 
of them is lost, but the son of perdition ; that the scripture might be 
fulfilled." Therefore he is called " the surety of a better testament," 
Heb. vii. 22. Now, he will not see his people in want of what is 
necessary for their through-bearing. He lives for that end, to dis- 
pense the benefits of the covenant. He holds the keys, therefore they 
shall not want. The Spirit is given by virtue of his ascension, 
John xvi. 7, " Nevertheless, I tell you the truth, it is expedient for 
you that I go away ; for if I go not away, the Comforter will 
not come unto you : but if I depart, I will send him unto you." 
For what purpose was Joseph sent to Egypt, and exalted there, but 
to provide for his father's family, being therein a notable type of 
Christ ? "Well, then, fear not ; wiles help weak folk. Though ye 
want strength, yet you have wisdom afi'orded you, even in betaking 
yourselves to Christ. I may allude to that, Prov. xxs. 24 — 29, 
" There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are 
exceeding wise. The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare 
their meat in the summer ; the conies are but a feeble flock, yet 
make they their houses in the rocks ; the locusts have no king, yet 
go they forth all of them by bands ; the spider taketh hold with her 
hands, and is in king's palaces." Ye have the wisdom of the ants, 
to provide your meat in summer ; of the conies, to build in the 
Rock Christ ; of the locusts, not to set out alone; and of the spiders, 
to be in the palace of the great King, holding by the promises. 
2 Cor. xii. 9, " My grace is sufficient for thee ; for my strength is 
made perfect in weakness." 

2. The danger of an evil time is another source of fear. Psalra 
xlix. 5, "Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the ini- 
quity of my heels shall compass me about ? Two things there look 
ghastly upon them. (1.) The hazard of sinning. An evil time is a 
time of many snares. The soul is afraid that he will never stand 
out, but one day will fall. Fear not : — Christ died, and it was an 
evil time, a time of many snares, yet he came safe off. This he did 
as a public person, and so it is a pledge that ye shall also be carried 
through ; see Heb. iv. 14. — 16. Christ lives evermore, therefore ye 
may say, as David, Psalm xviii. 46, 48, " The Lord liveth, and blessed 

Vol. IX. c 


be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted. He delivereth 
me from mine enemies," &c. He lives to intercede, which was Peter's 
security : " I have," says he, " prayed for thee, that thy faith fail 
not." He is busy for his people, when they have most need. (2.) 
There is hazard of suffering, and that is frightful to flesh and blood. 
Fear not : — Christ died, and therefore the bitter dregs of the cup 
are drunken off. He was forsaken in his sufferings, that you might 
be supported in your sufferings. — Your sufferings will but conform 
you to Christ your head. Christ liveth, and therefore ye shall be 
supported in suffering, that the world may know that he who was 
dead is alive. Remarkable is that word, 2 Cor. iv. 10, " Always 
bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life 
of Jesus also might be made manifest in our body." A suffering 
time is a special season in which Christ uses to appear. "We read 
thrice of Christ's hour, John xiii. 1, " Now, before the feast of the 
passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come, that he should 
depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own 
which were in the world, he loved them unto the end." Chap. xvii. 
1, "These words spake Jesus, — Father, the hour is come," &c. That 
was an hour of darkness. John ii. 4, " Jesus saith unto her. Woman, 
what have I to do with thee ? mine hour is not yet come." That 
was an hour wherein the wine was done, and the pots were filled 
with water; you know what followed. 

Here it may be objected, " But what if ordinances be taken away ?" 
Answ. If they be, the God of ordinances endures for ever. Christ 
liveth, " and he shall be for a sanctuary," Isa. viii. 14. And says 
God, by Ezekiel, concerning his scattered people, " Yet will I be to 
them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come," 
chap. xi. 16. When there was no ordinary food to be got in the 
wilderness, it was sent down from heaven. Though our kirk doors 
should be shut, heaven's door shall be open as long as Christ liveth. 
Object. " But I think I am very unfruitful under ordinances." 
Answ. It is the greater shame ! But if this be thy trouble, know 
that Christ liveth ; and therefore, if there be sap in the root, there 
is always hope of the branches. There is enough there, draw it out. 
But as Christ first died, then arose, so the believer grows downward 
as well as upward. If ye have a heart-memory, though ye want a 
head-memory, it is well. — Object. " But what shall those do, when 
they are seized with fear and discouragement, and cannot tell where- 
fore ?" Answ. The Lord may sometimes exercise his people so, to 
shew them their own weakness and nothingness. But possibly it may 
be the majesty of God that so affects thee, and the reason why it is 
not discerned to be so, may be an intimation of the Lord's love just 


going before it. See Dan. x. 10 — 12, " And behold, a hand touched 
me, which set rae upon my knees, and upon the palms of my hands. 
And he said unto me, Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand 
the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am 
I now sent: and when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood tremb- 
ling." But however it be, the only cure is believing. Psalm xxvii. 
13, " I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the 
Lord in the land of the living." The sooner you believe, the better ; 
for in this case a man is like one that is going to ride a great water 
that is increasing ; the longer he delays, the water grows still the 

Now, the way to make use of these things, so as to draw comfort from 
them, is to believe. There is, in the first place, a firm assent to the 
truths revealed, 1 John v. 5, " Who is he that overcometh the world, 
but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God ?" then, an act 
of faith, realizing these things, Heb. xi. 1, " Now, faith is the sub- 
stance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." To 
which may be added, an act of assurance. Gal. ii. 20, " I am cruci- 
fied with Christ ; nevertheless I live ; yet not I but Christ liveth in 
me ; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of 
the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." If ye 
cannot reach to all this extent, yet you may reach an act of ad- 
herence. A trembling hand may draw the water of consolation out 
of the wells of salvation. Amen. 



Isaiah lix. 2, 

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and 

your sijis have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. 

"When we look abroad through the world, many sad sights may be 
seen; but amongst the most lamentable is man, who was by the 
Lord planted a noble vine, wholly a right seed, but now turned into 
the degenerate plant of a strange vine. Some are lying mouldering 
in the grave of a graceless state, noisome to God and to good men ; 
some are in a withered state, their former beauty gone, and death 

• Delivered Nov. 3, 1706. 



lias settled down on their faces, because God, the life and soul of 
their souls, is gone. If they inquire, with Rebekali, Why am I 
thus ? the answer is in the text : " Your iniquities," &c. 

In these words, we have, 1st, A dreadful evil that this people was 
under, separation from God. 2dl(/, The party at whose door the 
blame lies, they who have made the breach. Zdl]/, The procuring 
cause of this evil, " your iniquities." 

As to the 1st, Separation is either good or bad, according to the 
quality of the term from which men are separated. But the separa- 
tion here is held forth as an evil, and that the greatest evil ; for it is 
a separation from God, an evil which is so heavy, that, when felt, it 
is enough to make a Cain groan, and say, " It is greater than I can 
bear," Gen. iv. 13. Sin makes many separations. It separates the 
nearest relations, it separates the soul from the body. But all these 
are inconsiderable in respect of this, the separation of the soul from 
God. It is an evil still greater, for it is a separation from a cove- 
nanted God. Tour God. Free love had separated Israel from all 
other people on the earth, and made them the Lord's by a peculiar 
relation ; but sin separates betwixt them and that God to whom they 
were thus joined. That there should be a separation betwixt God 
and the Gentile world, who had professedly joined themselves to 
other gods, is not to be wondered at ; but how dreadful is this, to be 
separated from our God ! No fall is like a fall to hell from off hea- 
ven's threshold. The higher persons are raised up, the lower do 
they sink when they fall. 

2. "Who are to blame ? Why, men are ready to say, God is an 
austere master, and forgetful of the children of men ; and from our 
first father we have it as hereditary, rather to lay the blame on 
God, than to take it to ourselves. Therefore, he clears himself of it, 
ver. 1, shewing he wants neither power nor will to help them, on 
due application ; and accordingly, he lays the blame where it should 
be, even on themselves. They made the breach ; they may thank 
themselves for what they lie under, for they have drawn it on with 
their own hands. 

3. How have they done it ? Has God, who is exalted above the 
heavens, withdrawn from them, because they are on the earth as 
nothing before him ? Cannot infinite majesty lodge with the soul in 
a cottage of clay ? Has he separated from them, because they are 
mean, hated and despised by their neighbours rouud about them ? 
No, no ; none of these are the causes. Their iniquities are the only 
cause of all. Nothing but sin could part them. Sin is the only 
make-bate betwixt God and you. This subject affords us this 


Doctrine, viz. However light people think of sin, yet it is that 
which is of so dreadful efficacy, as to make a separation betwixt God 
and the sinner. Sin separates between God and a soul. 

In discoursing which, I shall shew, 

I. "What is that separation which sin makes betwixt God and 

II. I shall evince the greatness of the evil of separation from God, 
which many go so lightly under. 

III. Inquire how sin makes this separation betwixt God and the 

lY. Make some practical improvement. — I am to shew, 
I. What is that separation which sin makes betwixt God and a 
soul. It is not a local separation ; for " he is not far from every 
one of us, for in him we live, move, and have our being ;" Acts xvii. 
27, 28. The wicked would fain be at a local separation, and there- 
fore, in their vain imaginations, they shut up God in heaven, that 
he may not see what is done on earth. But the immensity and om- 
nipresence of God make this simply impossible ; for as he is God, he 
is intimately present with us, even in the very centre of our souls ; 
so that, unless our sins could uudeify him, (if the expression may be 
used), they can make no local separation betwixt him and us. Hence 
it is remarkable, that even in hell the wicked shall be punished 
from the presence of the Lord, 2 Thess. i. 9. He will not send his 
strokes upon them from heaven, or from afar, though he could pre- 
serve the force or them by the way, but he will erect his throne of 
justice among them : " Whither shall I go from thy spirit ? or 
whither shall I flee from thy presence ? If I ascend up into hea- 
ven, thou art there : il' I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art 
there : If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the utter- 
most parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy 
right hand shall hold me," Psalm cxxxix. 7 — 10. But it is a re- 
lative separation, inferring a distance of opposition betwixt God and 
the soul, and affecting the man's state, or case, or both. It makes 
snch a separation as is made by whisperers betwixt friends : " A 
whisperer," saith Solomon, " separateth chief friends." This being 
the case, the Lord's countenance is not towards the sinner as 
it was before the breach was made. And as by sin there is an 
alienating of the sinner's affection from God, so in God there is 
something equivalent to the alienation of affections from the sinner, 
for affections are not properly ascribed to God. Thus, concerning 
every one that separateth himself from the Lord, and setteth up his 
idols in his heart, God saith, Ezek. xiv. 8, " I will set my face 


against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I 
will cut him olf from the midst of my people, and ye shall know 
that I am the Lord." 
As to this separation, we observe, 

1. That in it there is something negative ; and that is, the Lord 
denies them the influences of his grace, countenance, and fellowship ; 
they are deprived of benefits, their sins withhold good things from 
them. The scripture expresseth it by the Lord's hiding his face 
from sinners, as it is said in the text, by shewing them the back, 
and not the face, Jer. xviii. 17 ; by forgetting them, Hos. iv. 6. 
Thus the sun of many is gone down, they *' stumble at noon, as in 
the night, and are in desolate places as dead men," Isa. lix. 10. 
They go up and down in the world, as walking statues, carrying 
dead souls in their bodies as living coflGins ; for God is gone, and hia 
glory is departed from them. 

2. There is something positive in it, sin kindles a fire against the 
soul. (1.) There is a standing controversy God has against sinners ; 
Amos iii. 3, " Can two walk together except they be agreed?" God 
is displeased with the creature, his Spirit is grieved at him. Anger 
rests in the bosom of God against the sinner, as long as he keeps the 
sinful morsel under his tongue, which, though pleasant to the poor 
soul in the meantime, is most displeasing to a holy God. (2.) There 
is a pursuing of this controversy against the sinner ; some positive 
outgoings of God's anger against the soul, in angry looks, which, if 
perceived, are enough to put the stoutest sinner out of countenance. 
In this way did the Lord look unto the host of the Egyptians, 
through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled them, Exod. 
xiv. 24. Angry words, even sad threats, ministered by the word 
and the man's conscience ; also sad strokes upon the soul, sometimes 
upon the body, sometimes on both at once, are measured out. 

But to this it may be objected, says one, " Happy am I then, for 
I see no such thing." Answ. Were there no more upon most of 
us than we feel, we would have a very light burden either of sin 
or wrath upon us. But take heed ye be not like Ephraim, Hos. vii. 
9, " Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not ; 
yea, grey hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth it not." 
Or like the Ephesians, chap. iv. 19, " Who being past feeling, gave 
themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with 
greediness." Are you going on in your sins ? then be sure God is 
going on against you, pursuing his quarrel ; and even in small things, 
if it were but the miscarrying of a basket of bread, the curse of 
God is in it to a wicked man, which makes it in itself very heavy. 
There are two kinds of strokes upon the soul: (1.) Deadening 


strokes ; these are secret strokes which God gives, and they are not 
easily perceived. By them the conscience is deadened, the soul 
stupified, and thus the man is fattened for the day of slaughter. 
People think never to get their fill of ease, and sometimes the Lord 
gives them enough of it : Hos. iv. 17, " Ephraim is joined to his idols, 
let him alone," (Heb. give him rest). (2.) Quickening strokes : 
Hos. V. 14, " For I will be to Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion • 
to the house of Judah ; I, even I, will tear and go away, and no 
one shall rescue him." By such strokes the conscience is made like 
Mount Sinai, when there was nothing but thunder, and lightning, 
and the sound of the trumpet waxing louder and louder. Many 
men's consciences are like iron taken out of the fire, and having lain 
a little, no fire appears there ; but when some drops of water fall 
on it, it makes a hissing noise. 

But the objector still says, " On the contrary, I find Providence 
very favourable to me." Answ. Is it in spiritual good things ? 
findest thou that because he lives, thou livest also ? Is Providence 
kind to thee in influences of grace, communion with God ? surely, 
then, Christ has taken away the separation wall. But is it in ex- 
ternal things ? then know that these are no discriminating marks of 
nearness to God; see Job xxi. 7, God is kind to you as ye are to 
him; Lev. xxvi. 27, "And if ye will not for all this hearken unto 
me, but walk contrary unto me, then I will walk contrary unto you 
also in fury." He tells them they walked with him by accident, by 
the bye, when they chanced to light on him ; and he says he will 
walk with them so too. "What good the wicked does, is for another 
end than the glory of God ; and what good he does to them, is often- 
times in wrath. 

Now this separation is twofold ; 1. Total, agreeing to the wicked 
only, to whom, in respect of their state, God is an enemy. This is 
that state of separation from God in which we are born, produced 
by Adam's sin, Rom. v. 12, *' Wherefore, as by one man sin entered 
into the world, and death by sin ; and so death passed upon all men, 
for that all have sinned." This, to some, even to the elect, is only 
temporary, the separation wall being pulled down, and they brought 
near by the blood of Christ, applied by faith at their conversion, Eph. 
ii. 13. To others it is eternal, who, living and dying in a state of 
distance from God, are separated from God, soul and body in hell 
for evermore ; according to that, " Depart from me, ye cursed, into 
everlasting fire." This eternal separation is not meant in the text, 
but it is a certain consequent of the other, if it is continued in, for 
none are brought near to God in glory, who are not, by grace, first 
brought near to him here. 


2. There is a partial separation, which agrees to the godly, who 
have the root of the matter in them. Sometimes the Lord is pro- 
voked to withdraw from his own people : " I opened," says the 
spouse. Song v. 6, " to my beloved, but ray beloved had withdrawn 
himself; my soul failed when he spake; I sought him, but I could 
not find him ; I called him but he gave me no answer." Sometimes 
• Christ's garden is left, so that there is no blowing of the Spirit 
there, Song iv. 16. Hence the saints are so often praying to God to 
return to them. Often may we see the King's children, having 
their white robes sullied with tears, and rolled in the dust, because 
of a departed God. What a mournful voice has the sweet finger of 
Israel often, under desertions and hidings of God's face ! Heman 
looks upon himself as a burgess of the land of darkntss, not only 
forsaken but forgotten. Psalm viii. 8. This makes them, with Job, 
cry out, " ! that it were with me as in months past, when the 
candle of the Lord shone on my head !" 

II. I shall evince the greatness of the evil of separation from God, 
which many go so light under. Alas ! many reign like kings with 
God; they be like king Saul, when God departed from him; but 
how sad a thing this is, will appear, if we consider, 

1. What God is. Every thing in God speaks terror to those that 
are separated from him. I shall only take notice of these following: 
(L) God is the chief good; and therefore to be separated from God 
is the chief evil. Our native country we look on as good; and 
therefore to be banished from it is a heavy trial. Relations are 
good, life and liberty are good; and, therefore, to be deprived of 
them is very afflicting. But God is the chief good ; all these petty 
good things disappear, and dwindle into nothing, when compared 
with God. How dreadful, then, must it be to be separated from 
him ! If the enjoyment of him is the highest pinnacle of happi- 
ness, separation from him is the lowest step of misery. It is often 
observed, as an aggravation of the sufferings of the primitive Chris- 
tians, that they suffered not only from the emperors who were ac- 
counted monsters of men, but also from those who were admired by 
the people for their virtues. Surely, then, to be cast off by good- 
ness itself in infinite perfection, must be very distressing. (2.) God 
is all-sufficient in himself, and to the creatures. The enjoyment of 
him makes truly happy; and therefore to be separated from him is 
a dreadful evil. While David thinks on God as his portion, his 
heart leaps for joy : " The lines," says he, " are fallen unto rae in 
pleasant places ; yea, I have a goodly heritage," Psalm xvi. 6 — 9. 
While Cain sees himself driven from his presence, his punishment 
appears intolerable. The frowns ol those we depend upon, and can- 

GOD A^'D .MA>r. 33 

not live without, are very grievous. To forsake the " fountain of 
living waters," Jer. ii. 13, is held forth as a great evil of sin ; and 
to be partially separated from it, must also be a great punishment. 
(3.) The omnipotence of God. Job takes notice that "the arrows 
shot against him were arrows of the Almighty," Job vi. 4. Let all 
the men on earth, and devils in hell, let the angels come down and 
help to draw the bow, still it is but finite power against the man ; 
but how terrible would it be, to be a mark to these arrows ! how 
much more, when the Omnipotent God pursues the quarrel ! (4.) 
The absoluteness of God. Let men and devils work against the sin- 
ner, let them do their utmost, there is one that can stay their 
hands, and say to each of them, " What doest thou?" but God is a 
King against whom there is no rising np. There is none who can 
stay his hand, or say unto him, " What doest thou ?" Dan. iv. 35. 
Can the pots hinder the potter to dash them all in pieces? Or can 
worm man shake off the yoke of God's absolute dominion, and live 
in a separate state from him ? (5.) God is eternal. If a great man 
be our enemy, we know always death will end the quarrel ; if we 
have such an one to be our friend, yet death will tie up his hands, 
that he can give us no more favours : but God endures for ever. 
Had a man not only the earth, but the heavens for his portion, yet 
" the earth shall be burnt up, and the heavens wax old as a gar- 
ment ;" thieves may steal away the covetous man's treasures out of 
his barns and coffers ; moths may consume what remains, the devil 
in wicked men may take away all he has in the world ; only God is 
an everlasting friend and portion. It must, then, be very sad to be 
separated from such an one. 

2. All created things are empty and unsatisfactory. They are a 
lie, alluring afar off; but when men come near, they answer not 
their expectations. The world, that bulky vanity, that great round 
nothing, can no more fill the heart, than a triangle a circle. All 
created things stand as two lame legs under vanity and insufficiency. 
He was a fool, indeed, that laid up for his soul in his barns, as if 
his swine and his soul could have fed at one trough. Cain had the 
broad world to find himself support, but all was sapless : his pun- 
ishment from God's face was greater than he could bear. Where 
God is wanting, there is a void which a thousand worlds cannot fill 
up; and therefore, if you know the truth, ye would say to your 
sins, to your lusts, " Te have taken away my God, and what have 
I more ?" 

3. To be separated from God is the saddest plague out of hell. 
When God departs, he leaves a burden on the soul behind him, 
which, when felt, will make the soul to roar : " Yea, woe also to 


them when I depart from them," Hos. ix. 12. "Who can tell the 
ills the sinner is exposed unto, when once sin separates between God 
and him. Saul felt a total separation ; and what a desperate pro- 
ject did it set him upon ! Job felt a partial separation, which was 
so heavy, that his soul choosed strangling and death, rather than 
life," Job vii. 15. 

4. Nay, it is a very hell to be separated from God. Therefore 
David complains, " that the sorrows of death compassed him, and 
that the pains of hell got hold upon him," Psalm cxvi. 3. Even 
coals of hell are cast upon the godly in this world, when their sins 
have made this separation; only they are softened with love, whereas 
those cast upon the wicked are dipped in the poison of the curse. 
Men by their sins now greedily sue out a separation from God. 
"What will hell be, but a giving them their will ? For the torments 
of hell are summed up in that, " Depart from me, I know you not." 

5. I shall only add, that those that continue in a state of se- 
paration from God, have no quarter to which they can turn for 
comfort in an evil day. "We know not what sad trials we may live to 
see. "When men that are seeking great things for themselves now, 
may think they are come well to, if they get Baruch's part, their 
life for a prey ; but for a man to be in Samson's case, the Philis- 
tines upon him, and God departed from him, must be heavy indeed. 
"We must all die : this we know. Let a man squeeze his cisterns, 
then, with which he now solaces himself in his separation from 
God, what will they do for him ? they will not be able to stay his 
fleeting and fainting soul. "We must rise again. Will the gods ye 
now serve, help you then ? "Will the sea, the rocks, or mountains, 
fall on him, will the earth cover him, who, to enjoy it, incun-ed a 
separation from God ? No, no ! ungrateful earth, that the man 
consumed time, heart, and strength upon, while his days lasted, that 
will not take part with him, now when he is not able to do for him- 
self. "We must stand before his tribunal, and come near before his 
throne for judgment, whose presence we now forfeit for the satisfy- 
ing of our lusts. "What will comfort us then, when we see we have 
passed this partial state of separation from God, as a short preface 
to an eternal separation from him. 

III. I am now to inquire, how sin makes this separation betwixt 
God and a soul ? 

1. There is the guilt of sin, whereby the sinner is bound over to 
misery for his sin. God, from vindicative justice, acts against the 
wicked ; and this justice of his naturally requires punishment to 
be inflicted ou the sinner, according to the law. Hence, when Adam 
sinned, a flaming sword was set to keep him off from the tree of life. 


The enjoyment of God is the greatest good ; now, justice \?ill not 
permit this, while guilt remains untaken away : and therefore, se- 
paration from God necessarily follows. As to the godly, by their 
guilt they are bound over to fatherly anger and chastisements, 
whereof that partial separation from God is the chief part. 

2. There is the stain and defilement of sin. Now, God is of purer 
eyes than to behold evil. An unholy sinner cannot have commu- 
nion with a holy God ; and in regard that some are altogether pol- 
luted, they are therefore altogether separated from God. Others 
are only in part polluted, by reason of some one or more sins re- 
garded in their hearts ; therefore are under that partial separation, 
Psalm Ixvi. 18, " If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will 
not hear me." The leper, for his uncleanness, was put without the 
camp; so is the sinner. They only are admitted to stand in the 
holy place, who have clean hands and a pure heart, Psalm xxiv. 4. 
Hence says James, chap. iv. 8, ** Draw near to God, and he will 
draw near to you : cleanse your hands, ye sinners ; and purify your 
hearts, ye double-minded." — It remains, 

lY. That I make some practical improvement from this subject. 
"We have, 

1. An use of information. "We may hence see, (1.) That it is sin 
which makes a land weak, mean, and contemptible, and is the cause 
of all national calamity ; for sin separates between them and their 
God. Then their strength is departed from them ; and therefore, 
though the people should unite with one another, there is little good 
to be expected so long as such abominations abound in the land, set- 
ting God against us. that we might see the day, when, uniting 
with heaven, we might bo zealously affected in reformation ; and the 
heaven-daring abominations that abound, in principle and practice, 
be zealously suppressed. But every one minds their own things, few 
the things that are Christ's. (2.) Why so few have communion with 
God in ordinances, public, private, and secret. Are there not many 
at public ordinances dead and lifeless, sitting like idols that have 
eyes and see not, hands but handle not ? Why, sin has separated 
between God and them. Hence they go as they came; no inter- 
course -with God. The Lord goes by them, and comes by them, 
speaks to the hearts of others, but not to them. They cannot walk 
together ; for they are not agreed. (3.) Why so many slight reli- 
gious duties ? Some will not bow a knee to God ; they will not 
commune with their hearts, nor converse with God. Sin hath sepa- 
rated them ; and what pleasure can they take to converse with an 
enemy, or one that has turned his back to them ? Hence some are 
not afraid of any company so much as themselves ; and therefore, if 


their consciences begin to speak, they labour some way or other to 
divert it. (4.) Whence is the root or cause of all the misery pro- 
fessors are lying under at this day ? Security, barrenness, wither- 
ing, desertion, and the like. "What wonder that it be so? They 
may thank themselves for the whole. It is their dallying with some 
bosom idol, their grieving the Spirit, and slighting his motions and 
convictions, their worldliness and unwatchfulness : these are the root, 
the cause of all their misery, 

2. A use of exhortation. (1.) To those who enjoy nearness to 
God. beware of sin ! If ye give way to it, it will soon turn 
your wine into water, and overcloud your enjoyments. Live at a 
distance from it; for it is the very thing from which you are in 
such great hazard. (2.) To those who are by their sins separated 
from God. Break off your course of sin, continue not in it. Is not 
the separation wall high enough, and thick enough already ? what 
needs more be added ? What shall you do to get the separation 
taken away ? — Lay hold on the Lord Jesus by faith, Isa. xxvii. 5, 
" Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me ; 
and he shall make peace with me." Jesus is the ladder that knits 
heaven and earth together. It is by him that God reconciles the 
world to himself. His blood takes away both guilt and pollution. 
It purges the conscience from dead works to serve the living God. 
Though God hears not sinners, yet in Christ he is well pleased; 
and through him they may find access to, and acceptance with him. 
He is our peace: he is the Mediator between God and man. Re- 
pent, and turn from your sins. There is no concord between Christ 
and Belial. To enjoy both God and your lusts is impossible ; ye 
shall as soon bring together the two poles. However some make a 
mock of sin now, yet it has separated, and will separate them from 
God eternally, if they separate not from it. 




Matth. xxi. 29, 

He answered and said, I will not ; but afterwards he repented, and 


The scope of this parable is to shew, that many who have been the 
vilest of sinners repent and go to heaven, when others, who, though 
they have a profession of religion, never go farther than a mere pro- 
fession, and so fall short; partly, also, to shew that many who had 
been publicans and harlots are now in a better case than the chief 
priests and scribes. To convince of this, Christ spoke the parable 
before us. — For understanding of which, I would notice, that the 
man in the parable represents God; the two sons, two different 
sorts of people among the Jews. Both had the gospel call by John 
the Baptist. The first of the sons points out the publicans and har- 
lots, who, though they were formerly most vile and hopeless crea- 
tures, yet, on their hearing of John, repented, and became disciples 
indeed. The second represents the priests and pharisees, who, not- 
withstanding of their high pretences to religion, yet were indeed 
strangers to it, their practices did not correspond with their profes- 

In the text, which concerns the first son, pointing out the penitent 
publicans and harlots, we have two things. 

1. The sinner's first answer to the gospel call ; and it is a short 
one ; " I will not." Like Israel, Psalm Ixxxi. 11, " But my people 
would not hearken to my voice, and Israel would none of me." 
The sinner so loves his sinful ease, that he cannot think of the work 
in God's vineyard. Observe in this answer, (1.) The rudeness of 
it. The son remembered not that he was speaking to a father, so 
has not so much as a fair word to bestow on him. the rude 
treatment Christ meets with at sinners' hands ! They remember 
not his authority over them, nor do they regard it ; but they will 
be their own; who is Lord over them? (2.) The plainness of it. 
He tells the matter plainly ; says not, he cannot, but he will not. 
It is want of will to the work of religion that is the great stop. 
Sinners' hearts cannot relish the work of religion : the bent of 

* Delivered on Saturday, 31st July, 1714. 


their hearts lies another way. (3.) The peremptoriness of it; he is 
at a point. The hearing of the word raises his heart against it. 
Let sinners hear of the work of religion, and that is enough, they de- 
sire no more of it. It is a plain case to them, they must not, they 
will not engage in such a task. 

2. The second answer, in which the former bad answer is happily 
retracted; " But afterwards he repented, and went." He complies 
with the call he had before refused. The spring of this was, his 
heart was touched ; he took second thoughts of the business, and 
changed his mind. He fell under after grief, anxiety, and solici- 
tude, as the woi'd signifies. Conscience, that was silent before, now 
begins to speak, and his blood begins to cool ; he calmly considers 
what he had answered, and he calls himself beast and fool, that 
should have adventured so to treat his Father ; and hence he takes up 
the work of religion, which he had before rejected. From this sub- 
ject there arises this 

DocT. That refusing the work of religion is not be stood to, but 
retracted, and the sinner will see cause for it, if ever he comes to 
himself. They who have refused to comply with the gospel call, to 
engage in the work of the Lord, should take their word again, and 
heartily comply with it; and if ever they be wise, they will do it. 

In illustrating this point, I propose to shew, 

I. "What is that work to which the gospel calls, and with which 
sinners will not comply ? 

IL Why is it that sinners will not comply with this work? 

III. Why this refusal should be retracted. 

lY. Make some practical improvement. 

I. I am to shew. What is that work to which the gospel calls, 
and with which sinners will not comply ? It is the work of prac- 
tical godliness, to which most men are strangers. It is a large 
work, as extensive as the commandment, which is exceeding broad. 
I shall take it up in these two. 

1. The gospel calls you to fall to your salvation work, Phil. ii. 12, 
" Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Sinners, 
you are in a ruined condition ; your souls are pining away in your 
iniquities ; there is a burden of guilt on you that will sink you ; 
there is a swarm of living lusts preying on you, that will devour 
you. guilty creature ! knowest thou not, that thou art God's 
enemy, justice's debtor, the law's criminal, and that the avenger of 
blood is at your heels ? The gospel is calling you to consider your 
ways, and fall to the work of your salvation, before it be too late. This 
work has two parts: (1.) The work of faith, John vi. 29, "Jesus 


answered and said, This is tlie work of God, that ye believe on him 
whom he hath sent." Acts xvi. 31, "And they said, Believe on 
the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." It 
is not that faith wherewith ye have lived in a good belief all your 
bypast days, so that you never had power to believe an ill tale of 
your own state ; that is a faith of the devil's planting, and the gos- 
pel will have it rooted up. It is not that faith which consists in 
your going on in sin without fear. The devils' faith goes beyond 
this, for they believe and tremble, Jam. ii. 19. But the work of faith 
to which the gospel calls you, is that whereby a sinner, sensible of 
his undone state, flees out of himself to the Lord Jesus, to unite 
with him for righteousness and sanctification, 1 Cor. i. 30. It is 
that faith, which, when the house in which the presumptuous hoped, 
wherein the secure sinner rested in his sins, is overturned as by an 
earthquake, makes the sinner, naked and destitute, to flee to Jesus 
Christ, as the only rock and shelter. It is that whereby the sin- 
ner, sensible that he has lost his two eyes, and therefore cannot 
guide himself through the wilderness to Canaan, gives up himself 
wholly to Christ as his leader, prophet and healer ; and seeing 
the flaming sword of justice pursuing him for sin, runs in under 
the covert of Jesus' blood, saying, This is my rest ; and being will- 
ing to part with sin, but unable to master his lusts, puts himself 
under the protection of Christ as his King, that he may make 
havoc of his enemies. This, sinner, is your work, your foundation 
work. Haste, then, out of your natural state, and escape for your 
life to Jesus Christ. 

2. The work of sanctification. Ezek. xviii. 31, " Cast away from 
you all your transgressions whereby ye have transgressed, and make 
you a new heart and a new spirit; for why will ye die, house of 
Israel ?" — Heb. xii. 14, " Follow peace with all men, and holiness, 
without which no man shall see the Lord." Sin is the great de- 
vourer and destroyer, and therefore the great salvation is from sin. 
Jesus saves his people from their sins. To think of being saved in 
sin, is a contradiction ; for to be left in it, is ruining. The sick man 
does not desire the physician to remove death, but yet spare his 
disease ; yea, but the foolish sinner is thus unreasonable in the case 
of his soul ; he lias no will that his clothes be burnt, yet he will 
needs carry fire in his bosom ; he wishes not his feet to be burned, 
yet he will walk on coals of fire. Living lusts will devour the sonl ; 
therefore to work, sinners, for you must either kill or be killed ! Let 
not the vineyard of your souls be any more like that of the sluggard. 
The sinner's soul is overgrown with hurtful lusts, there is no fence 
about it. ! then, work ; seek holiness. 


3, Tlie gospel calls you to your generation work. Acts xiii. 36, 
" For David, after Iio had served his own generation, by the will of 
God, fell on sleep." Wherefore were you sent into the world, and 
made members of society ? Was it not to honour Grod, and to be 
useful to your fellow-servants? Surely God sent none of us into 
the world to play ourselves, like the leviathan in the sea ; nor to be 
like mice and rats, good for nothing but to eat that for which others 
have laboured. Far less did he send yon to be agents for the devil, 
to advance his kingdom, and to oppose the work of the Lord in the 
places where you live ; nor yet like the beasts, only to eat, drink, 
work, and sleep. To your work, then, your proper work, the service 
of God. Perhaps ye will say, ye have not been idle ; but what have 
ye done for God in your day ? What have ye done for the good of 
any soul ? What have ye done to pluck any brand out of the burn- 
ing ? I fear, if we reckon our days according to what we have done 
for God in them, most of us may reckon our days lost days. Look 
up to God, who placed you in the world, and say for what good pur- 
pose you have taken up room in his earth. For what use are you 
in the world ? God has given you a talent, what have you gained ? 
He has placed you in such and such situations and relations, have 
you done the duties of each ? I am to shew, 

II. Why is it that sinners will not comply with this work ? 

1. Because it is the work to which, of all works, their hearts are 
most averse. Rom. viii. 7, " Because the carnal mind is enmity 
against God ; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed 
can be." They would rather do any thing than go and work in 
God's vineyard. It is against the grain with unrenewed minds. 
The prodigal would rather feed swine than go back to his father, 
till he came to himself. Judas would rather go to a halter, than go 
to Christ for pardon. It is like cutting off a right hand, and pluck- 
ing out a right eye. The sinner's neck is flexible enough to the 
devil's yoke ; but it is an iron sinew to Christ's yoke. He that has 
a will to any thing, he has no will to this, till a day of power make 
him willing, Psalm ex. 3. 

2. Because of prevailing love to carnal ease; Prov. xxvi. 15, 
" The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom ; it grieveth him to 
bring it again to his mouth." The man loves to sleep in a sound 
skin, and therefore will die in his nest, if God do not in mercy set a 
fire to it.* Sloth is so sweet a sin, that the carnal heart can never 
get a fill of it, Prov. vi. 10, " yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a 
little folding of the hands to sleep." The man lies in the bed of 
sloth, and would not miss heaven if it would fall down into his 
mouth, or if wishing and woidding would do it. But if these will 


not Ho, he must even \Fant it, for he cannot leave the embrace of 
his dear ease. Fighting, rnnning, praying, striving, wrestling, using 
heavenly violence, and the like, he cannot away with. 

3. Because Satan furnishes them with work more agreeable, and 
it they will do ; therefore God's work they will not meddle with : 
John viii. 44, " Te are of your father the devil, and the lusts of 
your father ye will do." When the call of the gospel conies to 
sinners, Satan does with them as Pharaoh did with the Israelites, 
holds them more to their tasks; so they have always busy hands, 
and hearts full of their work, insomuch that they cannot get the 
work of religion minded to purpose. And what are they doing? 
They are busy weaving the spider's web ; very busy doing nothing, 
or hatching the cockatrice egg, doing worse than nothing. They have 
much to do, having the desires of the flesh and mind to fulfil. 
They have more to do than they ai'e able : they have the devil's 
swine to feed; they have a fry of living, lively, hungry lusts, that 
groan about their hearts, crying. Give, give, to satisfy. These they 
Avill serve all their days. 

4. Because the world gives them another thing to do. Like the 
people invited to the marriage-supper, Luke xiv. 18, " They all 
with one consent begin to make excuse." There are too many of 
Pharaoh's mind, that think religion is only for them who have no 
other thing to do ; as for them, they have no time for these things, 
and they wonder how any person should expect it of them. They 
are so delighted with considering what they shall eat and what they 
shall drink, that they cannot get time to think what they shall do 
to be saved. They have enough to do to get their daily bread, they 
cannot get their starving souls minded. They have so much to do 
to provide for to-day, and to-morrow, that they cannot get time to 
provide for eternity. They never had such joy in the everlasting 
covenant, in the benefits of it, or seals of it, which they have in a 
good bargain where they gain something. Therefore they live like 
moles in the earth, never to open their eyes, till in hell they lift 
them being in torment. I go on to enquire, 

III. Why this refusal should be retracted ? why they should re- 
pent and aim at compliance with the gospel-call. 

1. Because this refusal is against the respect and duty which you 
owe to him who calls you to the work : Mai. i. 6, " A son honouretU 
his father, and a servant his master : If I then be a father,' where is 
mine honour ? and if I be a master, where is my fear ? saith the 
Lord of hosts unto you. Have you no regard to the authority of 
God ? or has not he that made you a power over you, to prescribe 
your work ? Will ye follow the dictates of your own corrupt pas- 



sions, even against the plain dictates of his Si)irit ? Shall we thus 
by our obstinacy affront our heavenly Father, and grieve his Spirit ? 

2. Because this refusal is full of the basest ingratitude. "What is 
the meaning of all the gospel-calls, but — Sinners, do yourselves no 
harm ? Your interest is advanced by working ; Job xxxv. 7, " If 
thou be righteous, what givest thou him, or what receiveth he of 
thine hand ?" If thou ply the work of religion, the advantage is 
thine own ; if not, the loss remains alone with yourself: Prov. ix. 
12, " If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself; but if thou 
scornest, thou alone shalt bear it." It is a great favour that thou 
hast access to the work. Had not the Son of Grod made way for it 
through his own blood, thou hadst never got such a call. 

3. It is the most foolish and unreasonable refusal that can be ; 
and if the sinner were not out of himself, he could not be capable of 
it. What ! will a starving man refuse to have meat when it is 
offered him? or will a convict refuse liberty? But this ye do in 
refusing Christ's call, and so judge yourselves unworthy of eternal 
life. Are sinners so foolish, as to hold fast and drink the cup of 
poison, when they are entreated to thi'ow it away ? This folly and 
madness will be bitterness in the end. 

'Lastly, You are ruined if yon stand to your refusal. That ob- 
stinacy will bar you out of heaven and the favour of God for ever. 
Heaven is a rest prepared, not for loiterers, but for labourers ; and 
you that will have your ease now, must bid farewell to it for ever in 
another world: Prov. i. 24, " Because I have called, and ye refused. 
I have stretched out ray hand, and no man regarded ; but ye have 
set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof; I also 
will laugh at your calamity, I will mock when your fear cometh ; 
when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh 
as a whirlwind ; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then 
shall they call upon me, and I will not answer ; they shall seek me 
early, but they shall not find me ; for that they hated knowledge, 
and did choose the fear of the Lord." Salvation-work will not 
work, unless men bestir themselves ; but damnation-work will go on 
when men sit at ease, and are carried down the stream into the 
ocean of the wrath of God. 

IV. In the last place, I am to make some practical improvement; 
in doing which, I shall confine myself, for the present, to an use of 
exhortation. I would exhort refusers of Christ and of religion to 
take their word again, and to comply with the gospel-call. Ye have 
had many calls to engage in the work of religion with earnestness, 
but the answer of the most part is, I will not ; and thus one refusal 
comes on the back of another. 


You have had many calls from the word of God to fall to youv 
work, and what has been your answer to these messages of God by 
his servants, but that — I will not ? Have you not heard many ex- 
hortations which have never affected you ? Have you not gone back 
to those very sins for which reproofs have met you in public ordi- 
nances, and yet you have held them fast? Has not duty been laid 
plainly before you, and you have found means to put it by ? and 
still the answer is, I will not. 

2. Has not God pursued some of you by afflictions to drive you to 
your work, and yet no awakening to repentance and reformation, 
but still the language of your practice has been, I will not. The 
Lord, in his holy providence, has sent you losses, crosses, and distres- 
ses of divers sorts, to bring you to your duty ; but, ! may it not be 
written en rod after rod, You have not yet returned to the Lord ? 

3. Nay, has not the Lord sometimes so met you in a sinful course, 
that you could not but say, This is the finger of God ? and yet ye 
would be froward, ye would go back to the sin again. "SVhat is the 
language of that, but — I will not ? Have ye not fallen under Jo- 
tham's curse again and again ? Judges ix. 15, whereby fire has 
flashed out of some one or other bramble, under which you have 
rested, on your faces to burn you, instead of that shade ye thought 
to find under it to refresh you. Has not your conscience awakened 
on yon sometimes, and the arrows of conviction fastened on you, and 
yet you have refused ? Ye have murdered convictions, and never 
been at ease till conscience has been silenced. You have run away 
from God, even with his arrows sticking in you, saying in opposition, 
I will not. 

Lastly, Have you not often delayed complying with the call of 
God, and set the time for your going to work ? Yet for all that is 
come and gone, your eyes have never seen that time yet. What is 
delaying but plainly a refusal ? — " I will not." For there is no word 
of God that says. Go, work to-morrow, or the next day ; it is. To-day, 
if ye will hear his voice ; son, go work to-day. So that he that will 
not work to-day, but pretends he will do it afterwards, plainly re- 
fuses the call, and will not. 

To promote your compliance with the call, I would offer a ie-^ 
weighty motives ; as, 

1. Repent now, and fall to that work ye have formerly refused ; 
for it is a work preferable to all other works. The work of religion 
is your main, your chief work. (1.) It is the most pleasant work. 
Many are disgusted at the work of religion, because they think it 
unpleasant. But they have not yet tried it, and therefore are not 
fit judges. You have a more favourable account of it from Prov. 



iii. 17, " Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all lier paths are 
peace." See also Psalm iv. 7, 8, " Thou hast -put gladness in my 
heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. 
I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep ; for thou, Lord, only 
makest me dwell in safety." There is work indeed in the vineyard 
that is very unpleasant to corrupt nature ; but even out of this 
arises the most refined satisfaction to the new nature. And what 
are all the pleasures of the world, to reconciliation with God, and that 
peace of conscience and joy that there is in believing ? (2.) It is the 
most profitable work. The profit thereof is both for time and for 
eternity ; 1 Tim. iv. 8, *' For bodily exercise profiteth little, but god- 
liness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that 
now is, and of that which is to come." The profits of it are durable 
profits ; they last, and will be profitable, when all others will be of no 
avail. Hereby you will gain the life of your souls, an'd, as the loss 
is incomparably great, so also is the gain of it. (3.) It is the most 
necessary work. It is the one thing needful, absolutely needful, 
Luke X. 42. We cannot be happy here or hereafter without it ; we 
are undone for ever. 

2. Ye are always working something. The greatest idler on earth 
is in some sort always busy. God does not require of you more work, 
but other work. The soul of man is like a watch, that goes as fast 
in going wrong as in going right. How sad is it, that, seeing men 
are always doing something, they should refuse only that work 
which would honour God, and save their own souls ! Will you not, 
then, for God's sake, and your own sake, change your work ? 

3. It is sad work you are working while you refuse this. If you 
be not working out your own salvation, you are working out your 
own damnation. We are always going forward ; if not pressing a 
step nearer heaven, you are a step nearer hell. Every refusal, yea, 
every sin, is a new impediment in your way to heaven, a new call 
to Heaven for vengeance on the sinner, builds the separation-wall 
the higher, and lays on the greater weight to sink you for ever un- 
der the wrath of God. 

4. Consider, if ye be not in some sort at as much pains to ruin 
your souls, as otherwise might save them. There are difliculties 
in the ways of sin, as well as in the ways of God. Is the work of 
religion a toilsome work ? but do not ye many times weary your- 
selves to commit iniquity ? Is thei-e not as much pain when a sinner 
deimves himself of his night's rest, racking himself about the world, 
as when a saint communes with his heart on his bed about eternal 
things ? The sinner travels to bring forth sin. Psalm vii. 14. What 
more than this at the hard duties of religion ! Since he that eu- 


gages not in the work of religion is cumbered about many things, 
had he not better take up with the oue thing needful ? The saint 
has but oue master to serve ; sinners have many, not only at war 
with God, but at war among themselves, on« lust dragging them one 
way, and another another way. 

5. The time is coming, when working in the vineyard will be 
over ; and if ye continue to refuse, ye know not if ever you will get 
another offer ; " for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, 
nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." This day's delay 
may be an eternal loss, for you may be in eternity before another 
day. A new refusal is dangerous ; God may take you at your word. 

6. Our Lord is content yet to invite you to his work, notwith- 
ing your former refusals; you will still be accepted: "Him that 
coraeth unto me," says Jesus, " I will in nowise cast out." 

7. Whatever hardships may be in the work of religion, it is not 
long ere you shall be freed from them all ; you shall be made more 
than conquerors : " You shall rest from your labours, and your 
works shall follow you." 

Lastly, If you will not, then remember death will make you 
change your mind, and you will get a long eternity to repent that 
ye did not repent in time. But such a change can then be of no 
avail, but to increase your misery. Infinitely better, then, will it be 
for you if this change take place at present ; " for now is the ac- 
cepted time, and now is the day of salvation." 




Psalm cxxxi. 2, 

My soul is even as a weaned child. 

This psalm is David's profession of piety, wherein he discovers 
what was the habitual bent of his heart, and course of his life. The 
occasion of it seems to have been the injury done him by Saul and 
his courtiers, who reproached him as a proud, ambitious, and tur- 
bulent man. His comfort is the testimony of his own conscience, 

Delivered on Sabbath af'teinoon, Auguit 1, 1714. 


wliicli witnessed, 1. The Imraility of his heart. This kei>t him from 
an aspiring temper, and within the bounds of his station. 2. His 
easiness in any condition with which the Lord was pleased to tryst 
him, God had proraiseii hira the kingdom, yet kept him from it 
long, and that in very hard circumstances ; but yet he was easy 
under it ; he was far from that restless itching after a crown, of 
which his enemies accused him. 

In the text, he points out the spring of this easiness : " My soul 
is even as a weaned child :" that is, his heart was loosed from those 
things to which the hearts of men naturally are glued. There is 
here, 1. Something supposed, namely, that the day was, when he 
was sucking the breasts which fallen Adam led all his children to, 
as well as others ; that he was even as fond of them, and could as 
ill want them, as a child the breast. 2. Something expressed ; that 
now there was a change, the child was weaned, set to another way 
of living, and could want the breasts. God had taken off his heart 
from those things on which naturally it was set, and now he fed at 
God's hand, instead of creatures'. Ho does not speak of will- 
ingly forsaking these breasts of his own accord, but he was weaned 
by the power of grace. Now, this is his comfort against the asper- 
sions of his enemies. From this subject I take this 

Doctrine, That grace makes a weaned soul. 

In discoursing which, I shall inquire, 

I. From what does grace wean the soul ? 

II. How is the soul weaned from these things ? 

III. What are the effects of a weaned disposition of soul ? 

IV. Make some practical improvement. 
I am to inquire, 

I. From what does grace wean the soul ? Grace weans the soul, 
1. From the dry breasts of the world. One part of pure religion, and 
undefiled, before God and the Father, is to keep ourselves unspotted 
from the world, James i. 27- For, says John, 1st Ep. ii. 16, "All 
that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and 
the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." The 
soul of man is not self-sufficient, and must fetch in its satisfaction 
from something without itself, seeing it is capable to desire what it 
hath not to furnish itself with. Our first father^ Adam did us two 
ill turns ; ho led us out of the path of life, not knowing how to get 
into it again, and so left us with a conscience full of guilt ; ho led 
us away from the living God, not knowing how to return to him 
again, and so left us with a heart full of unsatisfied desii'es. Hence 
the poor soul is like the horse leoch, having two daughters crying. 


Give, give ; a restless conscience, and a restless heart, to each of 
which it must say, as Naomi to Ruth, chap. iii. 1, " My daughter, 
shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee ?" But 
alas ! the first way it goes for that, is through dry places, as the 
devil, when he goes out of a man. For the restless conscience seeks 
rest in the dry and barren region of the law, Rom. x. 3, " For they 
being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish 
their own righteousness ;" for the restless heart goes to the crea- 
tures, saying, "Who will shew us any good ? The poor soul, like a 
hungry infant, weeps and crys, shifts about as it can, gaping for 
something to fill the mouth. The world is nearest, and there it 
fastens and sucks. The soul has fallen off the breasts of divine con- 
solations, and cannot set itself on again, and therefore takes up 
with the breasts of the world ; but grace takes off the soul again. 

1. Grace weans the soul from the profits of the world : Heb. xi. 
26, " Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than all 
the treasures iu Egypt." The natural man fixes on them, drinks 
greedily at the broken cisterns. His hungry heart flies out after 
them, as a ravenous bird after its prey; he is restless till he get 
them, as the child is for the breasts ; he is fond of them, when he 
has them, as the infant plays with the breasts. They say they are 
become rich, they have found out substance, Hos. xii. 8. But when 
grace comes, it stops the chase. It makes the bulky vanity, that 
can only satisfy the fancy of children, and not souls of men, dwindle 
into nothing. 

2. Grace weans the soul from the pleasures of the world. Plea- 
sure is a necessary ingredient in happiness, and men cannot but 
seek it ; hence God proposes it to the soul in the enjoyment of him- 
self. Psalm xvi. 11, " In his presence there is fulness of joy, and at 
his right hand are pleasures for ever more." But the soul, instead 
of going to God for it, to drink at the pure fountain, naturally goes 
to the muddy streams of it in the world, and there sucks, — is as fond 
of the lusts of Egypt, flesh, &c. as the Israelites ; yea, can as little 
live without them, as the sucking child without the breast : 2 Tim. 
iii. 4, " They are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God." But 
when grace comes, it makes the soul fall off, and looses the heart 
from these things. 

3. In a word, grace weans the soul from all worldly comforts 
whatsoever, making it take up its rest in God : Luke xiv. 6, " If 
any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, 
and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, 
he cannot be my disciple." The heart of man takes a greedy grip, 


naturally, of relations, liberty, life, and such things. These are their 
good things, which they can no more part with than the child with 
the breasts. Take these away, what has the man more ? He has not 
a God. He will rather part with God and Christ than these things. 
But grace puts matters right ; it regulates the affection to these 
things, and makes a soul ready to give up with them at God's call. 

2. Grace weans the soul from the foulsome breasts of sin, so that 
it loaths that which it loved before. The soul in its natural state 
is like Israel, Ezek. xvi. 4, " Not cut, neither washed in water to 
supple them ; not salted at all, nor swaddled at all." They had 
lain long in the foul womb of Egypt, and after they came out, they 
were still sucking in the Egyptian manners, customs, and abomin- 
able courses. Thus men suck the breasts of sin ; they seek satisfac- 
tion in those things which they ought not so much as desire ; they 
greedily drink of what God forbids them to taste ; they are as fond 
of their sins as a child is of the breast, their hearts are averse to 
part with their sinful courses. There is a sweetness in these to 
their corrupt hearts, which they cannot want. For, let a man go 
the round of all created lawful gratifications in the world, and 
squeeze the sap out of them all to satisfy his heart, they are so 
empty, that he will break over the hedge, to try if forbidden fruits 
will make up the want which allowed fruits cannot do. But grace 
weans the heart from these breasts. It makes the person say, 
'* That which I see not, teach thou me : if I have done iniquity, I 
will do so no more," Job xxxiv. 32. 

II. How the soul is weaned from these things ? 

1. Grace lays gall and wormwood upon these breasts, and so em- 
bitters them to the soul that it is made willing to give over sucking 
them. The heart is made loath to part with them ; and though it 
is often about to give up with them, yet it still goes back again, hop- 
ing to suck sweeter than before ; but still the gall and wormwood 
lies there, and more and more is laid on till the heart be actually 
weaned. The way is hedged up with thorns. Hence, " she shall fol- 
low after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them ; and she shall 
seek them, but shall not fiud them : then shall she say, I will go and 
return to my first husband ; for then it was better with me than 
now," Hos. ii. 6, 7- Now, there are two things that serve to em- 
bitter these breasts. (1.) Continual disappointments from them. 
Though the man is always seeking satisfaction from them, he can 
never get it. Like the prodigal, Luke xv. 16, " Ho would fain fill 
his belly with the husks that the swine did eat, and no man gave 
unto him." The man is like one in a mist : he sees something, and it 
appears a house ; he comes to it, and it is but a stone. His hope 


rises again on another view, conies forward to it, and it is but a 
bush. They fall always short of expectation; and his most bloom- 
ing hopes are blasted. "When he is going to take in the most plea- 
sant fruit, providence makes it even fall between the hand and 
the mouth, Hos. ix. 2, " The floor and the winepress shall not feed 
them, and the new wine shall fail in her," Let him make Lis bed 
where he will, there is always a thorn in it. (2.) Severe wounds 
arise from them. The man leans with great delight on the broken 
reed ; and ere he is aware, it pierceth through his hand. He sucks 
eagerly at the breast, and, instead of milk, wrings out blood. 
When striking the rock for water, instead of it, the fire flashes out 
in his face. Perhaps from the very thing from which he expected 
his greatest comfort, arises his greatest cross. Rachel must have 
children, else she dies ; she gets them, and dies bringing them forth. 
But all this will not wean the soul ; therefore, 

2. The Lord fills the soul with better things; "Open thy mouth 
wide," says God, " and I will fill it," Psalm Ixxxi. 10. If the nurse 
take away the breast, she will not put an empty spoon into the 
child's mouth. The soul of man is an empty, wavering thing, must 
always have something to feed on; and will hold what it has as 
good for it, till it get what it counts better. The man will not quit 
hold of the world and his lusts, till he open his hand to take hold 
of Christ and all the benefits of the everlasting covenant in their 
stead. Therefore, the great transaction of the soul with Christ is 
called buying of him, in which if a man gives away his money, he 
gives it not but for as good, or better. Thus grace weans the soul ; 
for, saith Jesus, John iv. 14, " Whosoever drinketh of the water 
that I shall give him, shall never thirst ; but the water I shall give 
him, shall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting 
life." Hence, two things are evident. (1.) That only the enjoy- 
ment of God can wean the soul, and the soul will never be at I'est 
till it rest in God. The heart of man must have a match, and will 
be ranging through the world for a match, till it meet with Christ, 
who is the pearl of great price; and, to gain this, quits with all. 
The soul of man will be a restless night-walker till the day of grace 
dawn, and discover Jesus the plant of renown. If they cannot 
work themselves happy, they will try to dream themselves happy, 
and prepare themselves a feast of a thousand airy nothings ; posses- 
sions of the heart, though not of the hand. (2.) That the soul will 
never be boasted a^yay from these breasts. The very dung, and 
asses' heads, will be precious in Samaria when there is no bread. 
Who is there that has not rational conviction of the world's vanity ? 
yet men throng into the house, craving a fill. Why is it that men 


SO often seem to give up with it, and in very deed liave satisfaction 
in nothing, and yet go jnst back to the same door, where they have 
got a thousand nay-says, and seemed to have got their last answer? 
Why, truly, the devil is gone out of the house, but it is empty, it 
is not filled from heaven, and it must not stand empty; therefore, 
he returns with seven spirits worse than himself. I shall now 

III. What are the effects of a weaned disposition of soul ? 

The soul is weaned at its first conversion to God. Then it is ta- 
ken off" the breasts; but it is hard work, and tedious. The soul is 
never j)erfectly weaned till death. As there is an uneasiness and 
fretfulness in new weaned children, till thoroughly weaned, so is 
there in the case of the children of God while here. Hence it is 
said to them. Psalm xlv. 10, " Hearken, daughter, and consider, 
and incline thine ear : forget also thine own people, and thy father's 
house." So the effects of this disposition are more or less strong, 
as souls are more or less thoroughly weaned. I shall notice some of 
these eff"ects. 

1. The weaned soul is a resigned soul : " If any man," said Jesus, 
Matth. xvi. 24, " will come after me, let him deny himself, and take 
up his cross, and follow me." When the soul is weaned, the long 
war betwixt our own will and the will of God is at an end, and 
our will runs captive after the wheels of the Lord's triumphant 
chariot. The will of the weaned soul is moulded, (1.) To the will 
of God's commandments. The stony heart is broken, yea, melted 
down, to receive the impression of whatever is God's will for our 
duty. Its language is, " Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?" 
No right hand, or right eye, more to be spared. They esteem 
all God's precepts concerning all things to be right, and they hate 
every false way. Psalm cxix. 128. All carnal reasonings, in favour 
of lusts, must yield to the great authority of the Lawgiver. (2.) 
To the will of his providence. It will no more rally its forces, to 
decide the question, whether God's will or their will shall carry it 
as to their lot ; but as the weaned child is at the nurse's disposal, 
so will they be at God's. If that which is crooked cannot be made 
straight, they will comply with it as it is. If their lot cannot be 
brought up to their mind, their mind shall be brought down to their 
lot. Like Paul, " they learn, in whatsoever state they arc, there- 
with to be content," Phil. iv. 11. 

2. The weaned soul is cheerful, and not fretful in its resignation. 
He says, not only just, but " Good is the will of the Lord," Isa. 
xxxix. 8. It makes a man carry Christ's yoke evenly ; for, to go 
drooping under it, is a sign of a heart not right weaned. What 


God does is not only well done, but best done ; so says the weaned 

3. The weaned soul stands on other grounds, when created com- 
forts are with him, and even when created streams are running full : 
he draws his support in both cases from God as the fountain. Such 
say, like Hannah, 1 Sam. ii. 1, " My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, 
mine horn is exalted in the Lord ;" and, with David, Psalm xviii. 
46, " The Lord liveth, and blessed be my rock : and let the God 
of my salvation be exalted." The world's good things shall not be 
their good things. They will love them as a friend, but not be 
wedded to them as a husband. They will use them as a staff, but 
not build upon them as a pillar. 

4. The weaned soul will stand without them when these are gone, 
for they were not the props on which his house rested. Such a 
soul can adopt the prayer of Habakkuk, chap. iii. 17, 18, "Although 
the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be found in the 
vine ; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no 
meat ; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no 
herd in the stalls: Yet I will lejoice in the Lord, I will joy in 
the God of my salvation." Ah ! that soul is in a sad case, whose 
comfort waxeth and weaneth, just according to the waxing and 
weaning of created comforts ; is satisfied or starved, just according 
as these breasts are full or empty. Thus many lose all spirit and 
life in religion, when God takes away their worldly comforts. 

5. The weaned soul uses creative comforts passingly. They fol- 
low the directions of Paul, 1 Cor.Vii. 29, 30, 31, " That both they 
that have wives, be as though they had none ; and they that weep 
as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they 
rejoiced not ; and they that buy, as though they possessed not ; and 
they that use this world, as not abusing it ; for the fashion of this 
world passeth away." The greedy grip the heart takes of these 
things, in the use of them, is a sad sign of an unweaned soul. It was 
the sin of the old world, they were eating and drinking like beasts. 
The weaned soul will do in these like the dogs of Egypt, who run 
when they lap the water of the Nile, for fear of the crocodiles. 

6. The weaned soul casts itself uijon the Lord, without carnal 
anxiety, as the weaned child depends on the mother's care. This 
seems partly aimed at in the text. The soul is easy not on a sen- 
sible prospect, but on the faith of the promise. They are " careful 
for nothing, but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with 
thanksgiving, let their requests be made known to God," Phil, 
iv. 6. 

Lastly, The weaned soul strives to starve, but never to provide 


foi' tlieir lusts. These are the suckers, which, the more they are 
satisfied, just the more they crave. They have much to do who have 
these to feed. 

IV. It remains to make some practical improvement. And, 

1. In an use of information. This shews us, (1.) "Who they are 
that have met with Christ, and been feasted at this communion ; 
even those whose souls are now like a weaned child. Are your 
heai'ts turned to loath your lusts, weaned from sucking the dry 
breasts of the world, and ye must have your food from heaven ? then 
the Lord is not sending you away empty. (2.) Your hearts are not 
right with God, while they are not weaned. If no weaning influ- 
ences have reached your hearts, no gracious influences have. You 
will be nothing the better of this communion ; nay, it is like you will 
be the worse of it ; if you get not your hearts weaned on this occa- 
sion, your lusts will be more rampant after this; like the child that 
is most fond of the breast after it has been long away from it. 

2. Use of exhortation. I exhort you to labour to get a weaned 
soul. To urge you to this, I would propose the following motives. 
(1.) How sad is it that a heaven-born soul should be held at such 
fulsome breasts as those fleshly lusts are, at such empty breasts as 
those of the world are ! Is there not better food, and more plen- 
tiful, set before you, even Christ himself, and all the benefits of 
the everlasting covenant? Leave those to the swine, and let your 
precious souls eat that which is good, (2.) Your souls will never 
get satisfaction there. You shall as soon fill your hands with the 
wind, or grasp your arms full of dreams and shadows, as fill your 
souls at the dry breasts of the world. It is spending your 
money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which 
satisfieth not. (3.) They are altogether unsuitable to your souls. 
The soul is spiritual, they are earthly things ; your souls are im- 
mortal, they are perishing ; and ye can no more feed on them to 
thrive, than fishes on meadows ; nor in the breasts of your lusts, 
no more than salt water will quench thirst. (4.) A weaned soul 
would make you very easy. The man that has it can never be 
miserable, meet with what he will. The heaviest cross would be 
very light, if eased of the overweight an unweaned soul lays ui>on 
it. What is the rise of so much uneasiness, but that we are wedded 
to this and the other thing, and being exceeding glad to have it, 
are exceeding sorry to part with it. It would make you easy to 
others also. (5.) An unweaned soul is the root of apostacy ; it will 
expose you to many temptations, and may carry you oft" from the 
way of the Lord altogether. It will make you a reproach to reli- 
gion ; and it had been better for you not to have known the way 


of righteousness, than, after you have known it, to turn from the 
holy commandment delivered unto you, 2 Pet. ii. 21. If ye go 
back ye shall not feed on the seat at so cheap a rate as before. (6.) 
A Tveaned soul will fit you for suftering ; and you have need of it, 
when the work of God is in such danger. It will keep you safe in 
times of trial, when others, glued to the world and lusts, will 
turn their backs. (7.) It will fit you for communion with God, and 
you shall have it. The manna fell, when the provision brought 
from Egypt was done. Lastly, It will fit you for heaven ; and there 
you shall be filled. 

In conclusion, study the mortification of your lusts. What need 
for these things, if you had not living lusts to feed on them ? Feed 
on Christ and spiritual things. Take him instead of that which the 
world and lusts ofter. Amen. 


1 Chrox. XV. 13, 

For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach 
upon lis, for that we sought him not after the due order. 

The ark of God having been brought from Kirjath-jearim, and left 
at the house of Obed-edom, upon the account of the death of Uzza 
whom God smote, God blessed that man and his house, where the 
ark was. Tlie news of this coming to David's ears, he resolves 
again to attempt the bringing of the ark into his own city, 2 Sam. 
vi. 12. In this transaction, observe. 1. That the fear of misraana«r- 
ing a duty may sometimes prevail so far with the people of God 
as to make them lay by the duty for a time. David had seen how 
dear a rash touch of the ark had cost Uzzah ; so, says he, 2 Sam, 
vi. 9, " How shall the ark of the Lord come unto me ?" The fear 
of God, by reason of corruption, easily degenerates into a slavish 
fear, which cuts the sinews of holy endeavours, and leaves people 
neither heart nor hand for the work. 2. Lay by duty who will 
God will always have some that will take it up. If David have no 
will for the ark to be with him, Obed-edom will entertain it. Many 
in our own day, turn their backs on Christ, and his service • shut 
their hearts against himself, and their houses against his worship • 

• * Delivered August 2, 1707. 


but God will always have some that will put their shoulders to his 
work. 3. They are great fools that lay aside duty. They stand in 
the way of their own mercy, and deprive themselves of that bles- 
sing that attends the service of the Lord. 4. The people of God, 
when they take up duty again, will see themselves the greater fools 
that ever they laid it by. Well, David, being resolved on the work, 
proceeds with great caution and circumspection, as we see in the 
verses preceding that of our reading : the reason of all which we 
have in the text. 

In which words there is, 1. An old story brought fresh to mind: 
" The Lord our God made a breach upon us." The stroke reached 
Uzzah, and cut him off, while all the rest were safe ; yet the holy 
man looks on that as a stroke to the whole congregation. 2. There 
is the cause of the stroke : The stroke was dreadful and astonishing, 
but the holy man lays not the blame on God, but on themselves, 
and so justifies God. The sin of the Levites was the cause of the 
stroke : " For because ye did not at the first," namely, sanctify your- 
selves when ye first began to remove the ark from Kirjath-jearim. 
They did not sanctify and prepare themselves, by solemn prayer and 
services, in consideration of God's will, as to the way of carrying 
the ark; as if he had said. We have smarted already by your care- 
lessness, beware of it therefore at this time. The sin of all the 
congregation, wherein he takes in himself among the rest, also pro- 
duced the stroke ; and that because it was his and the people's duty 
to have been acquainted with the woi'd of the Lord ; and the over- 
sight of the Levites did not excuse them. We sought him, indeed, 
bringing the ark, the symbol of God's presence, from the place 
where it was, to be in the midst of us ; but our way of doing marred 
all. It was God's ordinance that the ark should be carried on the 
Levites' shoulders, Numb. iv. 15, and vii. 9 ; but the Philistines had 
put it on a cart. God did not punish them for this transgression, 
and this emboldened Israel to follow their example : but they 
learned by sad experience, that God would not bear that in the one, 
which he did in the other. — From this subject, I take this 

Doctrine, God is highly displeased with persons who perform 
duties, but are not careful to perform them in a right manner. 

In discoursing which, I shall shew, 

I. How it comes to pass that men perform duties, but are not 
careful to perform them in a right manner. 

II. How the Lord testifies his displeasure against such persons. 

III. Why is the Lord so highly displeased ? 

IV. Make some practical improvement. 
I am to shew, 


I. How it comes to pass that men perform duties, but are not 
careful to perform them in a right manner. 

1. Because to perform duty is the easiest part of religion, but to 
do it in a right manner is yery difficult ; and few people have a heart 
to manage the difficulties of religion. Ease is sweet ; and in other 
things we see it very ordinary for men to take what is most easy 
instead of what is most profitable. It is an easy thing to think, to 
hear, to eat bread, aud drink wine ; but to plough up our corrup- 
tions, to engage in good earnest in the service of God, and to get 
the heart in a case for fellowship with Christ, is not easy, and sloth 

2. Because the bare performance of duties is within the reach of 
all, the performing of them in a right manner is beyond the reach 
of the most part. Natural abilities will serve for the one, gracious 
abilities are necessary for the other. John sv. 5, *' I (said Jesus) 
am the vine, ye are the branches ; he that abideth in me, and I in 
him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can 
do nothing." " By faith (says Paul, Heb. xi. 4), Abel offered 
unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained 
witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts ; and by it 
he, being dead, yet speaketh." Grace, you see, is necessary, and 
grace is very rare. A natural man is conjured within the circle of 
self, beyond it he cannot move ; this is his principle, and this is his 
end. Nature cannot carry a man above itself, more than the mouth 
of a river can be higher than the spring-head. This, then, mars all, 
so that the service can no more be acceptable to God, than a man 
sowing his master's ground with his own seed, to reap it for himself. 

3. By the bjire performance of duties, men attain the base and 
low ends which they propose to themselves in the service of God; 
namely, (1.) Peace of mind, such as it is. The consciences of some 
are but half awakened ; thus a little thing quiets them, even the 
external performance of duties ; but should these neglect duties 
altogether, they could have no peace. (2.) It gains a man credit in 
the world, and that is a strong cord to draw men to the outside of 
duties, namely to be seen of men, and to have glory of men, as our 
Saviour expresses it, Matth. vi. 1, 2. It is to them no small matter 
to have a name to live ; to be called good is affected by such as are 
at no pains to be good. 

What shall we say of these that will set abont duties, and attend 
sacraments, even while they are sure that they will be mocked and 
reproached for it by the wicked ? Answ. It is good in so far as 
they are carried over these things ; for, alas ! there are some so 
pitifully weak, that they will be blown over with the wind of the 


moutli of the wicked. A broad laiigli, or silly taunt, out of tlio 
moutli of the profane, is an unanswerable argument against religion 
and seriousness, to some who are in the cause of Christ like silly- 
doves without heart. Such as are thus chargeable are very incon- 
siderate ; Christ gives a solemn warning to them, Mark viii. 38, 
" Whosoever, 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." We doubt not but a hypocrite may come this 
leno-th. We do not wonder if even a miser, a covetous wretch, part 
with his money to buy land ; neither need we wonder if a hypocrite 
should sacrifice credit among the profane, to gain credit among the 
godly. He does but as a man on a ladder, tread on the lower step 
to win to the higher. 

4. Because men may get duties done, and keep their lusts too. 
For instance, they may go to a communion-table one day, and the 
next to the table of devils. But to perform duties in a right manner, 
is inconsistent with peace with our lusts : Psalm Ixvi. 18, " If I re- 
gard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." Hence, 
over the belly of an express commandment, people will venture to 
the Lord's table without self-examination, or at least without search- 
ing to the quick. They cannot, however, communicate aright with- 
out a due attention to it. No, indeed. Says the apostle, 1 Cor. xi. 
28, " But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that 
bread, and drink of that cup." Many, notwithstanding, can commu- 
nicate without it, and keep their lusts too ; here is the hellish ad- 
vantage. There are secret lusts, which the man is unwilling to dis- 
turb, therefore he will not light the candle and search, lest ho be 
obliged to cast out the old leaven. 

5. Because most men have low and mean thoughts of God, Mai. 
i. 6 — 8, " A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master, if, 
then, I be a father, where is mine honour ? and if I be a master, 
where is my fear? saith the Lord of hosts unto you, priests, that 
despise my name : and ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name ? 
Ye offer polluted bread upon my altar; and ye say. Wherein have 
we polluted thee ? In that ye say. The table of the Lord is contempt- 
ible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if 
ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil ? ofi'er it now unto thy go- 
vernor, will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person ? saith 
the Lord of hosts." It is not every one that knows the Lord. Many 
men worship they know not what, and therefore they ofll'cr him for 
worship they care not what. If men had awful apprehensions of 
that God whom they worship, as a God greatly to be " feared in the 


assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that 
are about him," Psalm Ixxxix. 7, doubtless they would see, that 
there is none in heaven or earth like him, and they would worship 
him in another manner. — Therefore the apostle, to engage men to 
take care how they perform duties, says, " Let us have grace, where- 
by we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear : 
for our God is a consuming fire," Heb. xii. 28, 29. 

I am now to shew, 

II. How the Lord testifies his displeasure against such persons. 
He does so, 

1. By withdrawing from them in religions services : " Son of man," 
says God by Ezekiel, chap. xi. 3, " these men have set up their 
idols in their hearts, and put the stumbling-block of their iniquity 
before their face ; should I be inquired of at all by them ?" And 
by Hosea he says, chap. v. 4, " The spirit of whoredom is in the 
midst of them, and they have not known the Lord." It is granted, 
ordinances are the galleries wherein the King is held ; they are the 
trystiug-places where Christ meets with his people ; but if they be 
not gone about in a right manner, they will be but an empty sepul- 
chre : " Why seek ye the living among the dead ?" The living God 
is not to be found in a dead worship ; when men withdraw their 
hearts from the service of God, then he withdraws himself from 
them ; and it is but sorry entertainment a man can have at this 
feast, when the Master goes away. 

2. By rejecting their services, Mai. i. 13, " Ye said also. Behold 
what a weariness is it ! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of 
hosts ; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the 
sick ; thus ye brought an offering : should I accept this at your 
hands ? saith the Lord." God will not accept of such duties, what- 
ever pains men may take about them, Isa. i. 11, " To what purpose 
is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me ? saith the Lord." It is 
better to go halting on in the right way, than to be going straight 
in the way of error : " The labour of the foolish wearieth every one 
of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city," Eccl. x. 15. 
It may well be applied to the duties of some, what is said, Hab. ii. 
13, " The people shall labour in the fire, and the people shall weary 
themselves for very vanity." To labour in the fire signifies great 
pains, and great disappointments ; they work in the midst of scorch- 
ing flames, and what they do produce consumes between their fin- 
gers, they get no good of it. 

3. By spiritual strokes upon their souls. There is a curse de- 
nounced against them, Jer. xlviii. 10, " Cursed be he that doth the 
work of the Lord deceitfully ;" and i^Ial. i. 14, '•' But cursed be the 

Vol. IX. E 


deceiver whicli bath in his flock a male, and vowoth and sacrificcth 
xinto the Lord a corrupt thing. This will pierce the sonl ; and they 
arc of two sorts : (1.) They aro deadening strokes; these are silent 
blows, arrows that fly without noise from the hand of an angry God 
into the soul ; " Make the heart of this people fat, and make their 
ears heavy, and shut their eyes ; lest they sec with their eyes, and 
hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and convert, 
and be healed," Isa. vi. 10. Sometimes men are like Saul among 
the prophets, but afterwards they are knocked on the head, it may 
be on a communion Sabbath, and from that time God answers 
them not. Many are sprightly professors for a while, but at length 
God is so provoked, that their hearts are deadened, their affections 
withered, their consciences stupified, their souls blasted, and they 
are then prepared to be pruned ofi", and cast over the hedge. (2.) 
Quickening strokes, whereby the man's name is changed ; he is 
Mager-Missabid. The conscience is made like Mount Sinai, where 
nothing but thunder, lightning, and the sound of the trumpet, are 
to be heard. God takes the filthy rags of their lifeless duties, 
wraps them in brimstone, and then sets them on fire about the sin- 
ner's ears ; so that, like the house built upon the sand, to which the 
man betook himself for shelter, the whole falls into ruins. As to 
this, you will observe what the prophet declares, Hos. v. 11 — 14, 
" Ephraim is oppressed, and broken in judgment ; because he will- 
ingly walked after the commandment. Therefore will I be unto 
Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness. When 
Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound ; then went 
Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jereb : yet could he not 
heal you, nor cure you of your wonnd. For I will be unto Ephraim 
as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah ; I, even I, will 
tear and go away : I will take away, and none shall rescue him." 

4- By strokes upon their bodies. Sometimes the Lord has 
mingled his people's blood with their sacrifices. Thus he did with 
Nadab and Abihu, Lev. x. 1, 2. A wrong look into the ark cost 
the men of Bethshemesh dear : " The Lord smote of the people fifty 
thousand and threescore and ten men," 1 Sara. vi. 19. Uzziah, 
taking hold of the ark, was struck dead, 2 Sam. vi. 7- And the 
apostle tells, 1 Cor. xi. 30, that for profaning the Lord's supper, 
" many (among the Coi'inthians) were weak and sickly, and many 
sleep," that is, were dead. One dies before his time, even in his 
strength ; another falls sick, it may be after a communion. At 
communions there is a great throng ; perhaps one has got a thurst, 
another has catched cold, but unworthy communicating has more 
often done the deed. — I shall enquire, 

III. Why is the Lord so highly displeased ? 


1. Because God commands his service to be done in a riglit 
manner. The matter and right manner of performing duties are, in 
the command of God, linked together. lie will have his service 
well done, as well as really done. "SVe must serve God with a per- 
fect heart and a willing wind, for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and 
understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts ; if we seek him, 
he will be found of us ; but if we forsake him, he will cast us off 
for ever, 1 Chrou, xxviii. 9. Masters on earth challenge to them- 
selves a power to oblige their servants, not only to do their work, 
but to do it so and so ; and though they do the thing itself, yet if 
not in the manner required, it cannot be accepted. So they brought 
the ark, but they brought it on a cart, which was opposite to the 
command, for it should have been on the shoulders of the Levites ; 
and therefore their service was rejected with vengeance. 

2. Because the doing of a duty in a wrong manner alters the 
nature of it, and makes it sin. Hence the plowing of the wicked is 
sin. Hence prayer is accounted a howling on their bed, Hos. vii. 14. 
And unworthy communicating is not to eat the Lord's supper, 1 Cor. 
xi. 20. If a house be built of never so strong timber and good 
stones, yet if it be not well-founded and right built, the inhabitant 
may curse the day he came under the roof of it. 

3. Because duties not performed according to the right order, are 
but the half of the service we owe to God, and the worst half too. 
The Jews had it written about the doors of their synagogues, 
" Prayer without intention is as a body without a soul." A skeleton 
of bones without the flesh would have been a very abominable 
sacrifice to have laid upon God's altar ; no less abominable are our 
services, when the heart is not engaged, and when the soul is not 
lifted up to God : " God is a Si^irit, and they that worship him must 
worship him in spirit and in truth," John iv. 24. 

Lastly, Because duties thus performed are very dishonourable to 
God. See again, Mai. i. 6 — 8. Now, God is a holy God, and 
will be sanctified in them that come nigh him, and before all the 
people he will be glorified, Lev. x. 3. He is a jealous God in the 
matter of his worship. Josh. xxiv. 18. 

ly. I am now to make a practical improvement. And this, 

1. In a use of information. We may hence see what a mercy 
it is that we have a pure v.-orship amongst us at this day ; a worship 
neither defiled by idolatry, nor corrupted by sui)erstition, but after 
the divine order, accoi'ding to the pattern shown on the mount. It 
is dangerous to join in a way of worship not warranted by the word 
of God. 

2, Let this fill ns with a holy reverence of God when we approach 

E 2 


his presence in this yenerable ordinance, Psalm Ixxxix. 7. Let us 
know and reraember, that the God with whom we have to do is a 
heart-searching, holy, and jealous God, who will not hold them 
guiltless that profane his ordinances. Was he so displeased with 
Belshezzar, for abusing the vessels of the temple ? how much more 
with us, if we profane the symbols of the body and blood of his 
Son ! The danger is great, both for soul and body. But there are 
two sorts that are ready to abuse this. (1.) The stiff-necked care- 
less sinner will cloak his contempt of communicating, and his sloth 
with this : " If it be so, then we will do best not to meddle with it." 
But, Sirs ! is there not an odds between rushing on the sacrament, 
and forsaking it? Assure yourselves this contempt of the sacra- 
ment is damning. God can reach a blow to you, though ye stand 
far oif from his table ; and so much the more, that you slight the 
love-token of a dying Lord. (2.) The poor broken-hearted sinner 
will be ready to drink up discouragement from this, fearing that he 
may be the person on wh.om the Lord will make the breach. But, 
poor soul ! I would say to thee, Where wilt thou be safe, if thou 
keepcst thyself without the ranges ? the sword of the Lord may 
overtake thee there, for the neglect of your duty. Tlierefore come, 
though trembling, venture thyself at his feet ; acknowledge, that if 
he should make thee a monument of his justice, he is most just, thou 
deservest it. A trembling hand may receive a pardon. Be diligent 
to prepare thyself; and when thou hast done all, lay no stress on 
any thing, but flee to Christ, and get him between an offended God 
and thy soul. Dry stubble may be safe before a consuming fire, if 
there be a crystal wall between it and the fire. 

I conclude with exhorting all that intend to sit down at the 
Lord's table to-morrow, to take heed how ye communicate. I would 
urge you to do it in the right order. Ye have heard the danger of 
an opposite conduct ; this may be sufiicient under this. Another 
motive is, that duty done in a right manner, and that only, has the 
blessing connected with it : mark Matth. xxiv. 26, " Blessed is that 
servant whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing." A 
man may pray a thousand times, and never be heard; go from one 
communion to another, and never be sealed ; one sincere groan from 
the heart will do more than all these. If ye mismanage this sacra- 
ment, your souls may get such a stain that they will never cast 
again ; and if ye manage it rightly, ye may get such a taste 
of the goodness of the Lord as ye never got before. With this 
view, see that ye be right as to your state; that you be the friends 
of the Bridegroom, or you have no right to sit down at the marriage- 
feast. It is not the due order, for persons dead in sin to sit down 


at tlie table of our Lord ; it is an ordinance only for those who are 
quickened, and made spiritually alive ; it is the children's bread, 
and therefore they only, who are the children of God by faith in 
Christ Jesus, have a right to it. Endeavour to be in a right 
frame ; to have grace in exercise ; a holy hunger, faith, repentance, 
and love. It is not enough that you have oil in your lamps, you 
must also have your lamps trimmed, and the oil burning. Tour 
graces must be in exercise. If this be your state, and this be your 
frame, then surely it will be good for you to draw near to God at 
his own table : " They that thus wait upon the Lord shall renew 
their strength, they shall mount up on wings like eagles, run and 
not be weary, walk and not faint." 



Psalm xviii. 30, 
As for God, his work is perfect. 

The Psalmist by this time had followed the Lord through many a 
deep step, and he had endured various troubles. Here, in the text, 
he looks back on these ways in which the Lord had led him, and 
gives his verdict as to them : *' As for God," &c. In the words 
there is, 

1. A magnificent preface : ''As for God." He stands up here in 
his defence against an ungodly world, to justify his proceedings : 
*' As for God," I that have tried his way can speak to his commen- 

2. "What of God he commends : His way. There is a twofold 
way. (1.) That wherein men walk to -and with God. — Personal; 
Christ, who is the way to the Father: — Real; holiness, without 
which no man shall see the Lord. None of these are here meant. 
(2.) The way wherein God walks with men, the way of his provi- 
dences, his dispensations, the way he takes with men in disposing of 

3. The commendation is perfect ; there is no flaw in that way. 
Be his dispensations never so hard, there can bo no fault really ob- 
served in them by the most discerning eye; they are faultless. 
These words afford us this 

' Delivered July iG, 1709. 


DocT. That the dispensations of jnovidence arc altogether per- 
fect and faultless, however they appear to our carnal hearts. 
In illustration I shall, 

I. Take notice of some, among many, seeming faults our corrup- 
tions would spy out in the dispensations of providence. 

II. Inquire in what respects the way of God is perfect. 

III. Confirm the point. 

IV. Make some practical improvement. 

I. I am to take notice of some, among many, seeming faults our 
corruptions would spy out in the dispensations of providence. 

1. The reason of dispensations not seen. The design of Provi- 
dence lies oftentimes hid, and it is no easy matter to discover it : 
" Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy 
footstei)s are not known," Psalm Ixxvii. 19. The Lord leads the 
man and he knows not where ; therefore corruption is ready to storm 
at this, and disdains to follow the Lord, unless he will tell him what 
way he is going; but the fault is in the eye, not in the way. Time 
is big with the discovery, but must go a while before it is brought 
forth : Acts x. 17, " Now, while Peter doubted in himself what this 
vision which he had seen should mean, behold the men which were 
sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon's house, and stood 
before the gate." John siii. G, 7, " Then cometh Jesus to Simon 
Peter ; and Peter said unto him. Lord, dost thou wash my feet ? 
Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not 
now, but tliou shalt know hereafter," "When the spectacles of faitli 
are on, no fault appears. 

2. Providence seeming to forget the promises, and the word seem- 
ing to miscarry. Then we are ready to say, as in Jer. xv. 18, " Why 
is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to 
be healed ? wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters 
that fail ?" Abraham thought he saw this fault, and he would take 
a way of his own to rectify it. But though the promise tarried, yet 
it was accomplished, for Isaac, and not Ishmael, was to be his heir. 
Fools' haste is no speed. 

3. Providence going cross to the promises, his works to his word, 
pulling down with the one hand what he seemed to be building up 
with the other. Thus it appeared, when Abraham was commanded 
to sacrifice Isaac, Gen. xxii. So also it was when God threatened 
to cut short the days of Hezekiah, Isa. xxxviii. 1. But there is no 
fault here yet ; wait the end, as in these instances ; they are but raw 
travellers, who think that the way lies always even forward ; the 
way in the wilderness is often crooked. 

4. Providence running, as it seems, quite contrary to the design 


of it. Mauy times the Lord has a design on foot for the good of his 
church and people ; but a continued tract of disappointments cross 
it more and more, till the very grave-stone seems to be laid upon 
it. Thus it was with Joseph, when he was put into the dungeon. 
But what fault is there here, more than when the sun sets to make 
it darker and darker, till day-break. Stay till the dawning of the 
design. Oftentimes providence reads best backwards : " For the 
Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, 
when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up 
or left," Deut. xxxii. 30. 

5. Providence laying aside the most likely means. But where is 
the fault here ? for if he lay aside these means ; he will accomplish 
his designs by other means, and what though they be unlikely? 
This stumbled the world, 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." Naaman in 
distress stumbled at the unlikeliness of the means prescribed by 
the prophet for the cure of his leprosy, 2 Kings v. 11. The disci- 
ples of Jesus also stumbled, and judged the death of Christ a very 
unlikely mean of leading him and them to glory ; and they had the 
same opinion of his ascension, John xvi. 6, 7- Men have their own 
ways : they will needs think that they know best what is good for 
them. But God knows that his people are not good choosers of their 
own lot, and sovereignty will have a latitude. 

6. Providence falling on means quite contrary to the design of it. 
But what the worse was the blind man that he was cured with clay 
put upon his eyes ? The Lord works healing by wounding, and 
comfort by tears. The earthquake, the troubling of the waters, the 
dungeon of Joseph, the den of Daniel, the whale of Jonah, yea, we 
know, that " all things work together for good to them that love 
God, and are the called according to his purpose," Rom. viii. 28. 

7. Wicked godless men getting the sunny side of the brae, walk- 
ing contrary to God, and yet providence smiles, that never an ill 
turn almost misgives in their hand. This made Asaph stammer. 
Psalm Ixxiii. 12 — 14, " Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper 
in the world, they increase in riches. Verily, I have cleansed my 
heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the day 
long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning." It shook 
Jeremiah, chap. xii. 1. 2. But there is no fault in this, that the sun 
of prosperity rises on the wicked : " For when the wicked spring as 
the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish, it is that 
they may be destroyed for ever," Psalm xcii. 7. The sun rose faic 


on Sodom tliat very day on wliicli it was destroyed ; all Israel fol- 
lowed Absalom ; Jonah fled from the presence of the Lord ; Ilaraan 
finds all things going to his wish. But see the end of all these 

8. Astonishing strokes lighting on those that are most dear to 
God. Eccl. viii. 14, " There is a vanity which is done upon the 
earth, that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to 
the work of the wicked." Eli's sons are slain, his daughter-in-law 
dies, and himself breaks his neck. The two sons of Aaron die at 
the altar. How numerous were the afflictions that came upon Job. 
But w^here is the fault here ? Christ's cross, to a child of God, is bet- 
ter than the world's crown, 2 Cor. xii. 9. 10. 

9. Great afflictions meeting the Lord's people in the way of 
duty. This was Jacob's case in many instances. lie was in the 
way God bade him go, yet he met with many trials and affliction?. 
It hath been so also with many of the Lord's people in all ages. 
But the Lord has his holy ends in these things ; he shews them that 
they are sinful creatures ; though they are in his way, tries their 
faith and patience, and makes way for higher experiences. — I am, 

II. To shew in what respects the way of God is perfect. 

1. All the dispensations of providence are exactly according to 
the pattern shown in the word. If you would know wherein a man 
has exactly built a house, look to the draught given him. Meet 
with what we will, all may be reduced to, and explained by, scrip- 
ture doctrines, prophecies, promises, threateuings, or examples. 

2. They are exactly suited to the necessities of his people, and 
to the designs of them. God weighs every grain of sand which he 
jjuts in our glasses ; he will never put in too little, nor too much ; 
nothing wanLing, nothing superfluous. Dent, xxxii. 4, " He is the 
Ilock, his work is perfect; for all his ways are judgment; a God 
of truth, and without iniquity; just and right is he." 

3. In respect of the times of them. Nothing too soon done, nor 
too late ; all fall out in their pi'oper season, determined in the un- 
changeable council of God. 

4. In respect of its stability. Our ways are unstable, and that is 
a great fault ; but God's ways are uot so. That which is crooked 
cannot be made straight. There will always be a crook in our lot. 
That is sure, and we could not walk even without it. — I shall, 

III. Confirm the point. Consider, 

1. That the saints in their experience see this. They readily and 
fully acknowledge it, Hos. xiv. 9, " Who is wise, and he shall un- 
derstand these things ? prudent, and he shall know them ? for the 
ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them, but the 


transgressors shall fall therein." This is their unanimous vote when 
in a right mood, and will be so in heaven, when the web is out. 
Then will they say, "He hath done all things well." 

2. That they are all the product of infinite holiness, which can do 
nothing wrong. 

3. That they are all directed, as well as contrived, by infinite 
wisdom, which knows best how to frame matters. — It remains that, 

lY. I make some practical improvement, in 

1. A use of information. Are the dispensations of providence 
all right? Then, (1.) If any thing bo wrong with us, we may see 
where the fault lies, not in God, but in ourselves. Job x. The oar 
he rolls his vessel with is in the waters of affliction, and therefore 
we think the oar is crooked ; but that is our misjudging of God. 
(2.) That we should justify God in the harshest dispensations, give 
him the glory, even when we walk on the mountains of darkness. 
Providence will abide a look of the most piercing impartial eye. 
But when the eye is infected, it will take up things in their wrong 

2. Of comfort to the people of God, whatever providences they 
meet. Be they never so dark, be they never so little understood 
by them, yet they are all right and faultless. God does not distri- 
bute favours to them by guess, but by measure and weight. 

3. Of reproof to those who censure, murmur, and quarrel witli the 
dispensations of providence. This is, (1.) to accuse God of folly, as 
if he were not wise enough to govern the world that he has made. 
how often fall we into this, as if we could have ordered better than 
providence has done. Murmuring will step up, and correct the 
escapes of infinite wisdom. (2.) Of injustice, as if he were too hard 
upon his creatures, that deserve better at his hand. For why would 
people murmur at their right and due ? (3.) Of impotency, as if he 
could not take away our crosses as easily as he brings them on, or 
could not make them work for our good. 

Lastly, Of exhortation. Let all of us, especially the Lord's peo- 
ple, be exhorted to submit and stoop to sovereignty, be our lot in 
the world what it will. There is none want their own crosses. 
Every one has some burden or another to bear ; and if we would in 
truth come after Christ, we are enjoined " to take up our cross, and 
follow him." 




Psalm cxlvii. 11, 

The Lord taketh pleasure in than that fear Mm, in those that hope in his 


There are times of clanger in wliicli the event is very doubtful, but 
even then the safety and success will always be on the side the Lord 
casts them. In consequence, it is an important question, How may 
we engage him on our side ? Certain it is, his pleasure lies not in 
created strength. Horse and foot, courage and strength, may be on 
the side which God will disown, and which shall be worsted : " By 
strength," says he, " shall no man prevail," 1 Sam. ii. 9. His plea- 
sure is in the strength of grace : " He will keep the feet of his 
saints ;" or, as it is expressed in the text, " The Lord takes pleasure 
in them that fear him, in them that hope in his mercy." — In which 
words we have, 

1, The character of those whose part the Lord will take in all 
their trials and troubles, and in all their encounters with their ene- 
mies. The first part of their character is, they are fearers of God. 
They have the awe of his majesty upon their spirits. — The second is 
that they hope in, or rather for his mercy. They, in a becoming 
manner, wait and patiently seek for relief from God, and that in 
the way of mercy through Christ, not for any thing in themselves. 
— Observe next the mixture of these parts of their character : They 
do not only fear God but hope in him ; for fear without hope will 
sink into raging despair. They not only hope, but fear, for hope 
without fear will turn into presumption. These two God hath 
joined together, let not us put them asunder. 

2. The privileges of these persons, whoever may be displeased 
with them, and however much they may be displeased with them- 
selves, God takes pleasure in them. He accepts their persons, and 
their services, and he will show himself to be on their side. They 
shall not hope in vain ; however hapless their case bo in itself, they 
shall get a merciful relief in due time. 

From these words, observe this 

DocT. The Lord takes pleasure in those, who, whatever case they 
be in, entertain a holy fear of him, with a kindly hope in his mercy. 

* DelivcrcdJuly 27, 1718, 


In discouring wliich, it is intended, 

I. Sliortly to describe this holy fear, that in all cases ought to be 
entertained, with a hope of the Lord's mercy. 

II. To describe that kindly hope of his mercy, to be entertained 
in all cases, along with this holy fear. 

III. To shew the necessity of keeping up this holy fear and 
kindly hope in all cases together in the soul. 

lY. To shew what is that pleasure the Lord takes in such. 

y. To coniirra the doctrine of the text. 

VI. To make a practical improvement of the different parts of 
the subject. 

I am, then, 

I. Shortly to describe this holy fear, that in all cases ought to be 
entertained, with a hope of the Lord's mercy. This fear of God is, 

1. An awe and dread of his majesty and transcendent greatness : 
Psalm Ixxxix. 6, 7, " For who in the heaven can be compared unto 
the Lord ? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to the 
Lord? God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, 
and to be held in reverence of all them that are about him." With 
this the lightness and vanity of the heart is to be repressed. The 
soul must entertain high and honourable thoughts of God, as a sove- 
reign of independent being, in whom all perfections do concentre, 
must look up to the clouds, and behold him on his throne in heaven, 
and so bring itself thereby to a profound reverence of his greatness. 

2. A reverence of his absolute, his unlimited authority and power : 
" Fear him," said Jesus, " who, after he hath killed, hath power to 
cast into hell ; yea, I say unto you, fear him," Luke xii. 5 ; he can 
command us whatsoever he will, and dispose of us as he pleaseth. 
Let us have a reverential regard to the uncontrolable sceptre he 
sways over all creatures. Since he doth in heaven and in earth 
what seemeth good unto him, and none can stay his hand, or say 
unto him, "What dost thou ? we should silently submit to his dis- 

3. A fear of offending him in any thing : Psalm iv. 4, " Stand in 
awe, and sin not." This is a fear, and caution, and circumspection, 
which we should always carry about and never lay aside. We 
walk amidst many snares ; Satan aud a corrupt heart are ready to 
entangle us ; but God cannot away with sin ; it is the only offence 
we can give him. He is well pleased to see us afraid of offending 
him, to see the poor sinner affrighted at every thing that is pro- 
voking to him, and keeping up a holy tenderness this way. 

4. A fear of imputing iniquity to him, or harbouring hard and 
unbecoming thoughts of his majesty, Job i. 22, « In all this Job 


sinned not, nor charged God foolishly," Tho proud heart casting 
off the fear of God, arraigns and condemns the conduct of holy Pro- 
vidence as rigorous and unrighteous ; and so murmers against the 
Lord. But holy fear silencetli the mutiny of these unruly passions, 
and says, " He does all things well, is holy and righteous in all his 
ways and works." 

5. A dread of going out of his way for help, however hard the 
case be : Isa. viii. 13, 14, " Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, and 
let him be your fear, and let him be your dread ; and he shall be 
for a sanctuary ; but for a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of 
offence, to both the houses of Israel ; for a gin and for a snare, to 
the inhabitants of Jerusalem ; and many among them shall stumble, 
and fall, and be broken, and be taken." Holy fear takes off tho 
wheels of the chariot of impatience and unsanctified haste, which 
drives furiously to get out of that case in which infinite wisdom has 
placed us. The soul dare not adventure to shake off the yoke, till 
the Lord put to his own hand and take it off. 

Lastly, A dread of his holy hand in his judgments : Amos iii, 8, 
" The lion hath roared, who will not fear ? the Lord God hath spo- 
ken, who can but prophecy ?" This fear keeps the heart from slight 
thoughts of them, and furnishes awful thoughts of a smiting God, 
the weight of whose hand no man is able to bear. And there is 
here a dread of the hand of the Lord lying on their person for the 
past : Heb. xii. 5, " My son, despise not thou the chastening of the 
Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him." The man noticeth 
the stroke, and what impressions of anger are engraven on it, and 
BO he putteth his mouth in the dust, if so there may be hope, Lara, 
iii. 29. "Whatever he meets with, he takes it as from the Lord, and 
reverenceth the hand that smiteth. — There is, (2.) A dread of what 
tho Lord may inflict upon him : Psalm cxix. 120, " My flesh trem- 
bleth for fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy judgments." The 
fearer of the Lord sees, that whatever be his stroke, it is less^han 
his deserving. They say as Ezra, chap. ix. 13, " Thou, our God, has 
punished less than our iniquities deserve ;" and therefore submit 
themselves, lest the Lord make the stroke greater, and punish 
us seven times more. — Let us now, 

II. Describe that kindly hope of his mercy, to be entertained in 
all cases along with this holy fear. It is, 

1. A firm persuasion of the good, gracious, and bountiful nature ]of 
God, who delights not in the misery of his creatures ; Psalm xxv. 
8, " Good and upright is the Lord, therefore will he teach sinners in 
the way." Ezek. xviii. 23, " Have I any pleasure at all that the 
wicked should die ? saith tho Lord God ; and not that he should re- 


turn from his ways and live ?" God is the fountain of all goodness 
to be found in man or angel, and so is himself a boundless ocean of 
goodness. He loves to have poor sinners entertaining these kindly 
thoughts of hira. And well may they do so, even under hard pres- 
sures, for God lays not on man more than is meet or right. Job xxxiv. 
23; and even this he does with a kind of holy reluctance, for "he 
doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men," Lam. 
iii. 33. 

2. A hope of mercy to all their unrighteousness, through Christ. 
This is the great hope, called the hope of the gospel. Col. i. 23. For 
it is the main hope purchased by Clirist to lost sons of Adam, and 
held forth to them in the gospel, Heb. viii. 12, " I will be merciful to 
their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I re- 
member no more." To cast away this hope, is at once to throw dis- 
honour on the mercy of the Father, and the blood of the Son, and 
the efficacy of his Spirit ; to cast it away, is to please Satan, and to 
ruin our own souls. 

3. A hope of good by their afflictions, trials, and troubles : Rom. 
viii. 28, " And we know that all things work together for good to 
them that love God, to them who are 'the called according to his 
purpose." It is the Lord's ordinary way to bring his people nearer 
him by afflictions : " Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now 
have I kept thy word," Psalm cxix. 67 ; yea, by this way, also, does 
he bring in those that are strangers to him, Hosea v. 15, " I will go 
and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence and 
seek my face ; in their afflictions they will seek me early." When 
the Lord will not use a rod upon a person, that is a terrible sign ; 
but there is always hope when the Lord is at pains with a rod ; and 
to hope for this good, is the way to advance it. 

4. A hope of support and protection under their afflictions : Heb. 
xiii. 5, 6, "He hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee; 
so that we may boldly say, the Lord is my helper, and I will not 
fear what man shall do unto me." The Lord can carry persons 
through deep waters, and yet keep them from sinking, for he is the 
lifter up of the head. However high the waters swell, they are still 
under the check of him whom the winds and the seas obey. The 
everlasting arms underneath, though not seen in the time, secure 
the sinner from sinking to the ground, and bring hira safe ashore. 
Now, faith and hope is the way to bring in that support. 

5. A hope of seasonable relief, on having such deliverance in due 
time, as shall be best for God's honour and their good : Psalm xlii. 
5, " Why art thou cast down, my soul ! and why art thou dis- 
quieted in me ? Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise him for 


the help of his countenance." The Lord has many ways of giving 
relief from trouble. Sometimes he makes the storm blow off, 
and restores a calm ; sometimes he hides them in the grave, and 
gives them a blessed exchange, for an afflicted life in this world, a 
joyful happy life in another world. It becomes us to hope for his 
mercy, in whatever way he may send it : Heb. x. 35, " Cast not 
away your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward." 

6. A hope of eternal life in a better world : 1 Pet. i. 13, " Where- 
fore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end, 
(for what ?) for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the reve- 
lation of Jesus Christ." These hopes will never please Grod that 
are confined to the things of this world. He has provided and 
offers better things to poor sinners ; there is a hope laid up for us 
in heaven. Col. i. 5. While that hope remains firm and well 
grounded, happy is the soul, whatever be its case ; and since he 
offers it, and makes it over to whosoever will embrace Christ, that 
hope should never be cast away while we are here. 

7. A waiting for the mercy needed and desired : Psalm xxvii. 14, 
" Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen 
thine heart : wait, I say, on the Lord." The hoping soul will wait 
for God, and bear till his time come, however long it may seem to 
be. He hath the times and seasons in his own hand. He knows what 
is the fittest time for giving a mercy, and we must leave it in his 
own hand, and wait on him : " Be patient therefore, brethren, unto 
the coming of the Lord : behold the husbandman waiteth for the 
precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience, till he receive 
the former and the latter rain ; be ye also patient, stablish your 
hearts, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." 

Lastly, All this hope is to be grounded only on the free grace of 
God through Jesus Christ, and the precious promises of the word, 
held forth to us in him, 1 Pet. i. 13, quoted already. Therefore it 
is called hope for his mercy : " Remember thy word unto thy ser- 
vant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope." Psalm cxix. 49. 
If hope be founded on any work or merit in ourselves, or be not 
bounded by the promise, that is to say, if we hope for what God has 
not promised, then it cannot be pleasing to him ; so that his hope 
follows faith's embracing Christ in the gospel, and resigning the 
soul to the Lord ; which being done, hope goes and stands upon the 
watch-tower, to behold and wait for all promised good things com- 
ing with Christ from God in due time to the soul. — We now pro- 

III. To shew the necessity of keeping up this holy fear and kindly 
hope together in all cases. — They are necessary to keep an even bal- 


aiice in tho soul at all times, ready to fall eitliei' to the one hand or 
the other. God's voice to us, is, Isa. xxx. 21, " This is the way, 
walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye 
turn to the left." But, ! how apt are we to go off tho road, es- 
pecially if we are obliged to traverse the mountains of darkness 
and aflliction, of desertion and temptation. But this fear and hope 
will hedge us on every hand, that we turn not to tho right hand or 
to the left ; whereas, if either be wanting, there is a wide gape, at 
which we will readily fall into the mire. — But more particularly, 

1. They keep the soul from splittting on rocks on both hands. 
Wa are in this world as on a sea, therefore had need to take care. 
The way we pass is beset with two dangerous rocks ; one on the 
left, despair, where thousands split ; another on the right, presump- 
tion, where ten thousands have been shipwrecked ; some fall on 
them in a dead calm, they are fearless and careless, and ere 
they are aware they dash on the rock of presumption, and go to 
the bottom; Job xxi. 13, " They spend their days in wealth, and in 
a moment go down to the grave." To others a storm arises, they 
are tossed, grow hopeless, and then split on the rock of despair. 
Whereas holy fear would carry us safe by the one, and kindly hope 
by the other, whatever storms blow : "Which hope," says Paul, "we 
have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which 
entereth into that within the vail," Heb. vi. 19. 

2. They keep the heart in a due mean between carnal security 
and torturing anxiety. Holy fear keeps men awake, while fear- 
less souls are sleeping within the sea-mark of wrath, not knowing 
when a wave may come and sweep them away. They may be say- 
ing, like the rich man. Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many 
years, take thine rest ; eat, drink, and be merry. But God may 
then say, " Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee," 
Luke xii. 19, 20. Kindly hope composes the heart, and calms the 
disturbed spirit, while others destitute of it are tormenting them- 
selves. Fear keeps from soaring too high, hope from sinking too 

3. They keep notably to the duty of praying, which is necessary in 
all cases, and is a messenger often to be sent to heaven, especially 
in times of trouble : Psalm 1. 15, "And call upon me in the day of 
trouble, I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." Fear stirs 
up to the duty, hope draws to it. Fear fills the soul with reverence 
for God, and makes it to be in deep earnest in its addresses ; hope 
guards it against terror and confusion in its applications to the throne. 
Fear caries off presumptuous confidence; but hope makes it hang 
upon mercy and grace. 


4. They help on patience and resignation to the will of God, with- 
out which no man is master of himself : Luke xxi. 19, " In your 
your patience possess your souls." Hope looks for better things, a 
calm after a storm ; fear tells us, such a stroke, ill carried, may 
brinjr on a worse. Thus the soul is in a holy manner both flattered 
and frightened Into contentment with its lot. Thus it is kept from 
despising the chastening of the Lord, which many do, with their na- 
tural courage, and from fainting under his rebukes, as weak-hearted 
ones arc liable to. 

Lastli/, They arm us on every hand against our adversary the 
devil : James iv. 7, " Submit yourselves therefore to God ; resist the 
devil, and he will flee from you." There are two things, one of 
which the devil drives at continually : Either, (1.) To go forward 
with all ease in the way of sin ; for, says the liar, there is no 
hazard ; and thus whole shoals of sinners go on to the pit. But the 
fear of God will repel this temptation. Or, (2.) Not to offer to re- 
turn to God, or go to Christ; for, says the murderer, there is no 
hope. But the kindly hope repels this. By this last he attacks the 
awakened sinner, and by the former the secure one. Whatever be 
your case, then, get your souls possessed of this kindly hope and 
holy fear. Beware of quitting either hope or fear. Are you at ease, 
and your hope great ? balance it with fear, lest having too much 
sail without ballast, ye suddenly be overcast and overwhelmed. 
Are you in trouble, and your fears great ? buoy up your souls 
with hope, lest ye sink altogether. For motives, consider, 

1. The want of any of them makes you a prey to your grand 
enemy, 1 Peter v. 8, " Be sober, be vigilant, for your adversary the 
devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may de- 
vour ; whom resist stedfast in the faith." Whichever of the 
avenues of the soul stand open, the enemy will enter by it ; and 
once he get in, you know not what havoc he may make there. Are 
you fearless ? he will have his snares fitted for that case. Are you 
hopeless ? be sure he will take his advantage of it. 

2. The safety of the soul in this sinful and ensnaring world de- 
pends on your entertaining both. The mariner may easier sail the 
ocean without his compass, the blind man go over his heights and 
depths without his guide, than you go through this world without 
these ; for the worst that can befal them is the death of the tody, 
but your souls will be ruined. 

Lastly, The want of either is highly dishonourable to God. Is 
there a God in heaven, and will you not fear him ? Has his Son 
died to purchase hope to sinners ? and has he declared in his word, 
that he would have you hope in and for his mercy, and will ye not 


doit? Mai. i. 6, "A son lionoureth his father, and a servant his 
master : if then I he a father, where is mine honour ? and if I be a 
master, where is my fear? saith the Lord of hosts." By the want 
of fear, you declare you value greatness ; and by the want of hope, 
that you can put no trust in his word. — I come now, 

lY. To shew what is that pleasure which the Lord takes in such. 

1. He approves them in so doing. The Lord says, Thou didst 
well that it was in thine heart, though Satan may suggest it to be 
presumption. Psalm cxv. 11, " Ye that fear the Lord, trust in the 
Lord; he is their help and their shield." What God requires to bo 
done, he will surely approve of when it is done , this he requires, 
and therefore will approve of it. 

2. He accepts of them ; he is well pleased with the persons that 
do so. The exercise of these graces is a piece of very acceptable 
service to Grod, which he takes oif sinners' hands for Christ's sake, 
though it be attended with many imperfections. That unbelief which 
remains in tl>e hearts of thera that fear God, makes them susj)ect 
they will be very unwelcome to hope for good at the Lord's hand ; 
but it is a mistake, for such exercise is very pleasing to the Lord. 

3. The Lord delights in them that do so. Their name may be 
Hephzibah, for the Lord delighteth in them, as a father does in his 
child, who both fears him, and hopes for good at his hand, 

(1.) The Lord delights in their persons. Jer. xxxi. 20, " Is Eph- 
raira my dear son ? is he a jileasant child ? for since I spake against 
him, I do earnestly remember him still, therefore my bowels aro 
troubled for him : I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the 
Lord." They are accepted in the beloved; their fear carrying them 
to Christ, and their hope fixing them upon him as the storehouse of all 
blessings. Being covered with imputed righteousness, they are all 
fair and lovely in the eyes of the Lord, there is no spot in them. 
Song iv. 7. 

(2.) He delights in their graces. Song iv. 16, "Let my beloved 
come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits." Holy fear and 
hope are the fruits of his own Spirit in the souls of his people, that 
grow up there as in a garden, being watered with the dew of hea- 
ven. They are leading graces, which bring along with them a train 
of others, all tending to promote holiness in heart and life. 

(3.) In their duties. Prov. xv. 8, " The prayer of the upright is 
his delight." Where the fear of the Lord has place, the duties of 
religion will get room ; the soul will be afraid of neglecting to pay 
its due homage unto the Lord ; and hope being joined thereto, will 
bring them to the Lord with expectation of good at his hand ; and 
this is the Lord's delight. 

YoL. IX. F 


(4.) In their company. Song v. 1, " I liare come into my garden, 
my sister, my spouse." He loves to have them near him, hanging 
about his hand, conversing with him, receiving his word from his 
mouth, and making their requests known to him : Song ii. 14, " Let 
me see (says he) thy countenance, let me hear thy voice ; for sweet 
is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely." The mighty God, who 
has his higher house in heaven, has the contrite spirit for his lower 
house. — I shall now proceed, 

Y. To confirm the doctrine of the text, or shew, that " the Lord 
taketh pleasure in those, whatever case they be in, who entertain a 
holy fear of him, with a kindly hope in his mercy," — For this pur- 
pose, consider, 

1. This is answerable and agreeable to the revelation of God's 
mind in his word, what he has made known of himself both in the 
law and in the gospel. The fear of God is the great purpose of the 
law, hope for his mercy through Christ is the great purpose of the 
gospel. The law was given in such an awful manner, as might fill 
sinners with the dread of the great Lawgiver ; the gospel brings in 
the blessed hope to lost sinners, so that this fear and hope, answer- 
ing the design of both, cannot miss of being very pleasing to God. 

2. It glorifies God in his glorious perfections, discovered to us in 
the face of Jesus Christ. The great end of the gospel contrivance is, 
to shew the glory of God in Christ as in a glass : 2 Cor. iv. 6, " For 
God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined 
in our hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of 
God in the face of Jesus Christ." Now, the entertaining of these 
two, fear and hope, doth at once give hira the glory of all these. 
Holy fear gives him the glory of his awful majesty, inflexible justice, 
infinite power and holiness ; kindly hope gives him the glory of his 
free grace, mercy, love, and goodness : and the joining of these two 
together gives him the glory of his infinite wisdom, that hath found 
out the way to give vent to both in the sinners' case. 

3. It is agreeable to the Spirit's work of grace on the soul, where- 
by the sinner is first cast down, and then lifted up. The Spirit of 
God coming to the elect soul, finds it secure, careless, and presump- 
tuous, thinking itself " rich and increased in goods, and standing in 
need of nothing," Rev. iii. 17. The Spirit then discovers what a 
God, and what a law, the sinner has to do with, and so works this 
holy fear in the heart. When the soul is awakened, it is ready to 
despond ; and the Spirit, by the doctrines of the gospel, works this 
hope. Thus the sinner comes and cleaves to Christ. 

Lastly, The Lord is very gracious unto such. They are enter- 
tained with some off-fallings while they hang about his hand in the 


ordinances and duties of religion : Psalm Ixv. 4, '* We shall be sa- 
tisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple." 
Yea, they are filled as with marrow and fatness ; God makes known 
his secrets to them, even the secrets of his covenant : Psalm sxv. 
14, " The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will 
shew them his covenant." He shews them also the secrets of his 
word: Luke xxiv. 32, "And they said one to another. Did not our 
hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and 
while he opened to us the scriptures ?" Also the secrets of his 
works, and the dispensations of his providence. And at length they 
shall be admitted to the full fruition of him in a better world ; they 
shall enter into the joy of their Lord, and be for ever with him. 



Psalm cxlvii. 11, 
The Lord takelh i)leasurc in those that fear him, in those that hope in 

his mercy. 

Havinw, in the preceding discourse, briefly gone through tho doc- 
trinal part, it only remains, that, in the 

VI. And last place, I make a practical improvement of the whole ; 
in doing which, I propose to enlarge at considerable length, by ad- 
verting to the different parts of this subject. — I begin, 

I. "With an use of information. It informs us, 

1. That God in Christ is full of good-will to poor sinners. Since 
he will have them thus to depend upon him as children on a father, 
fearing and hoping in him ; he it is who will have all men to be sa- 
ved, and come to the knowledge of the truth, 1 Tim. ii, 4. Is not 
this a j)lain proof that he hath no pleasure in the death of him that 
dieth ? Eccl. xviii. 13, and that their ruin is of themselves, if they 
should perish ; that he does not cast them ofl" that hang by him, nor 
cast them out that come unl^o him, John vi. 37. 

2. That however prosperous and favourable our case be, W9 have 
ground to keep up a holy fear upon our spirits : " Happy is the 
man that feareth alway,". Prov. xxviii. 14. Whether it be that our 
outward state in the world, or our spiritual state, be peaceful, easy, 
and prosperous, still there is ground to fear, for we are in hazard 
of offending God in it. There is no way so plain and even, but 



WO may stumble in it. Outward prosperity ruins many : " The pros- 
perity of fools shall destroy them," Prov. i. 31. And even in a pros- 
perous state of the soul, there is no safety in being secure and care- 
less, for in the managing of that we are apt to offend : 2 Cor. xii, 
7, " Lest I should be exalted above measure, through the abundance 
of the rerelations, there was given unto me a thorn in the flesh, the 
messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above mea- 
sure." No paradise on the earth but the serpent may be found 
there ; and if one were wrapt up to the third heavens, like Paul, 
they will bring back with them a corrupt heart, ready to give them a 
slip, or lead them astray. We are in danger of a heavy turn and 
sad change in our condition, we are " to serve God with fear, and 
rejoice with trembling," Psalm ii. 11. See how quickly David's pros- 
perity was changed : Psalm xxx. 7, " Thou didst hide thy face and 

1 was troubled." Job's condition, both temporal and spiritual, how 
suddenly was it changed ? Sovereignty lifts up and casts down, and 
the anger of a jealous God may soon be stirred, so as to make a 
mighty overturn in one's condition ; therefore we should not bo 
" high-minded, but fear," Rom. xi. 20. 

3. Tt informs us, that however low one's case be, there is still 
room for hope while here ; therefore we should always entertain a 
kindly hope : Psalm xliii. 5, " Why art thou cast down, my soul ? 
why art thou disquieted in me ? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise 
him who is the health of my countenance, and ray God." One may 
yet be at his wits end with his difficulties, knowing of no outgate, but 
yet he may have ground of faith and hope, because — so great things 
have been done by our merciful God, as to raise us up. He made a 
world out of nothing, he has raised the dead, and particularly 
Christ, while the whole elect's sins lay as a grave-stone on him. 
What, then, hinders him to do a great work for us, when he has 
done a greater? In him we may trust that he will yet deliver us, 

2 Cor. i. 10 — Whatever our case be, we are not the first that have 
been in it, and delivered too in God's own way. Psalm xxii. 4, 
" Our fathers trusted in thee, and thou didst deliver them." People 
are apt to say. Never one was in such case as theirs. But, " is there 
any thing whereof it may be said. See, this is new ? it hath been 
already of old time which was before us," Eccl. i. 10 ; and suppose 
it were new, yet faith and hope in God arc not in vain ; for he has 
a new cure for a new case, Isa. xliii. 18, 19. Whatever our case be, 
can it be worse than a lost case ? Luke xix. 10, " The Son of man 
came to seek and save that which is lost." Can it be worse than a 
self-destroying case ? Hos. xiii. 9, " Israel, thou hast destroyed 
thyself, but in me is thine help." Can it be worse than a case in 


itself quite hopeless, even as dry bones ? Ezek. xxxvii. 11, 12, but 
even by the Spirit of the Lord these bones can be made alive. — It is 
not. beyond the reach of the power of God. Gen. sviii. 14, " Is any 
thing too hard for the Lord ?" who can be so low, as that the ever- 
lasting arms cannot raise up ? with God nothing is impossible. A 
word from heaven can make all things take a happy turn, for say- 
ing and doing are but one thing with God. God says to the sinner, 
Believest thou that I can do these things ? If thou dost, there is a 
ground of kindly hope. — In a word, the covenant of i)romise reaches 
to, and includes mercy of all kinds, necessary to make us happy ; so 
that we have not only God's power, but his will, to give us mercy 
in all cases held out to us in the word, if so be wc will take his way 
of faith and hope. — From this subject there is, 
II. An use of exhortation, in several branches. 
1. Fear the Lord ; get and entertain a holy fear of God in your 
spirits. The profane and licentious lives of some, the carnal and 
loose hearts of others, proclaim a general want of this, Psalm xxxvi. 
1, " The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that 
there is no fear of God before his eyes." But all fear of God is not 
a holy fear pleasing to God. There is a servile fear, and a filial 
fear. Not to the former, but to the latter, I exhort you. 

Herewith some various difficulties and inquiries may arise, which 
we shall endeavour to answer, such as, 

1. When is the fear of God only slavish ? In answer to this 
take the following observations : The fear of God is only slavish, 
(1.) When it ariseth only from the consideration of God's wrath 
as a just judge. This fear of God is to be found in the unconverted; 
they have the spirit of bondage again to fear, Rom. viii. 15 ; yea, 
in the devils', they believe and tremble. Jam. ii. 19 ; and if the con- 
science once be awakened, though the heart be not sanctified, this 
fear cannot miss to take place. It is a natural passion flowing from 
self-love and a sight of danger, which is so much the more vehement, 
in proportion as the danger apprehended is greater or smaller i 
nearer or more distant. One under this fear, fears God as the slave 
fears his master, because of the whip, which he is afraid of being 
lashed ; he abstains from sin, not out of hatred of it, but because of 
the wrath of God annexed to it. An apprehension of God's heavy 
hand on him here, or of hell and damnation hereafter, is the predo- 
minant motive of his fear of God, whom he fears only as an incensed 
Judge, and his powerful enemy. 

(2.) When it checks or kills the love of God. There is a fear 
opposite to the love of God, which by this very character is dis- 
covered to be base and servile: 1 John iv. 18, " There is no fear in 


love, but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear liatli torment." 
There is a necessary connection betwixt true fear and love, the one 
cannot be without the other; they are both links of the same chaiu 
of grace, which the Holy Spirit gives those whom he sanctifies ; but 
slavish fear fills the heart with hard thoughts of God, and the more 
it prevails, the farther is the soul from the love of God. 

(3.) "When it drives the sinner away from God. Under its in- 
fluence, Adam and Eve hid themselves from the preseuce of the 
Lord God, and Cain went out from his presence. All the graces of 
the Spirit, as they come from the Lord, so they carry the sinner 
back to him ; so no doubt it io an ungracious fear of God that 
frights the sinner away from him; for they that seek and return to 
him, will fear him and his righteousness. This fear hath this eflfect 
in difi'erent degrees, and the higher the worse : — It takes heart and 
hand from persons in their approaches to God, 1 John iv. 18, quoted 
already ; it kills them before the Lord, knocks all confidence and 
hope in God on the head, so that their hearts at duty are like Na- 
bal's — dying within them, and become as a stone ; so when they 
should run for their life, it cuts the sinews of their endeavours; 
when they would wrestle for the blessing, it makes their knees feeble, 
and their hands hang down. — It makes them first averse to duty, 
and then give up with it ; they deal with God as one with his 
avowed enemy, into whose presence he will not come, Gen. iii. 8. 
The people of God have sometimes had a touch of this, 2 Sam. vi. 9, 
" And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and said. How shall 
the ark of the Lord come unto me ? Though it never prevails with 
them to extinguish love, yet sometimes a believer is like a faulty 
child, who, instead of humbling himself before his parents, hides 
himself in some corner, and is so frighted, that he dare not come in, 
and look the parent in the face ; but this is a most dangerous case, 
especially if it lasts long. — In a word, it makes them run to physi- 
cians of no value. For what is more natural than that men who are 
frightened from God under apprehended danger, run to some other 
quarter, and that to their own ruin, Rev. vi. 16, " And said to the 
mountains and to the rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the face of 
him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb." 
2. "What is to be thought of this slavish fear of God ? To this I 
answer, there is something good in it, and something evil. 

(1.) There is something good in it, namely, the fear of God's 
wrath for sin, which lies unpardoned on the guilty sinner or which 
the sinner may be inclined to commit: Jam. ii. 19, "Thou be- 
lievest that there is one God, thou dost well." To cast off fear 
of the wrath of God, and the terrible punishments which he has 
annexed to sin, is a pitch of wickedness which but the very worst of 


rneii arrive at. The fear of God's wrath against sin, and that duly- 
influential too, is recommended to us by Christ himself, Luke xii. 5, 
** Fear him," says he, " which, after he hath killed, hath power to 
cast into hell, yea, I say unto you. Fear him." It is also recom- 
mended by the example of the very best of saints, Job xxxi. 23, 
*' For destruction from God was a terror unto me ;" and says David, 
" My flesh trembleth for fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy judg- 
ments," Psalm cxix. 12U. And the law of God is not fenced with 
terrors to be disregarded, but to awe men's spirits. But, 

(2.) There is something evil in it, yea, much evil in it, if we con- 
sider, — The scrimpness and narrowness of its spring. Why should 
the fear of God be confined to spring up from his Avrath against sin 
only or chiefly, since there are so many other perfections of God, 
which may give rise to the fear of him, which are disregarded by 
this means ? It casts a vail of disrespect on his holiness, goodness, 
and hatred of sin, on his relations of Creator, Preserver, Father, 
Supreme Lord, and Governor of the world. — The horrible effects 
and tendency thereof, as it rises only from this spring, and overflows 
all the banks of godly fear. Fear of God, even of his wrath, is 
good, but the excess of it is very bad. Fire and water are both good 
and necessary, but very bad when the one burns man, and the other 
drowns him. Hence, since what is acceptable in the sight of God is 
perfect in parts, though not in degrees, is good in the manner as 
well as matter, this fear is not what he takes j)Ieasure in, nay, it is 
displeasing to him, and is the sin of those who hear the gospel, whose 
fear ought to be extended according to the revelation made to them» 
And thus one may be displeasing to himself, to those about him, and 
to God also ; and if they attain to no other fear of God, what they 
fear will probably come upon them. Nevertheless, this fear, kept 
within bounds, may, by the Spirit, be made the means to bring the 
sinner to the Lord in his covenant. For the fear of God's wrath 
is a good thing in itself, Rom. viii. 15; it serves to rouse the sinner 
out of his security, to make him sensible of his danger, and to seek 
for relief : Psalm ix. 20, " Put them in fear, Lord, that the nations 
may know themselves to be but men." And therefore the law and 
its threatening, as a red flag, are displayed in the sight of secure 
sinners, that they may be roused to flee from the wrath to come. 

To this there may be offered this objection. The fear of the Lord's 
wrath can make but an unsound closing with the Lord in his cove- 
nant. Answ. That is very true, if there be nothing more. But 
fear of God's wrath not only may, but ordinarily, if not always does, 
begin the work which love crowns. Fear brings men to the gates 
of the city of refuge, and when they are there, love is kindled, and 


makes them press forward. Fear brings tlio poor captive woman to 
confer with the conqueror about the match ; but thereby love is 
kindled, and faith makes the match. It works, however, very dif- 
ferently at other times ; for Satan and our corrupt hearts are ready 
to drive forward this fear of God's wrath to exceed all bounds ; and 
no wonder, for when it has got over the boundaries, it makes fearful 
havoc in the soul's case, like a consuming fire, deadening all good 
motions towards God, and quickening evil ones, to the dishonour of 
God, and one's own torment ; and no case out of hell is liker hell 
than this, both in respect of sin and misery. But when the Spirit 
of God has a saving work in view, he can easily make the spirit of 
bondage subservient to the spirit of adoption. 

3. How should one manage in the case of a slavish fear of God's 
wrath ? Uere I answer. We had need to be well guided, for the 
losing or winning of the soul depends upon it. For your assistance 
I offer the following directions : — 

(1.) Labour to clear the grounds of your fear of God's wrath, by 
a rational inquiry and discovery. There are, even of these fears, 
some that do really proceed from a bodily distemper vitiating the 
imagination, namely, from melancholy, and the like ; and in this 
case, your trouble rises and falls according to the disposition of your 
bodies, but not according to the comfort or terror you receive from 
God's word, as it is in truly spiritual troubles. Thus it often comes 
on, and goes off, they know not how ; shewing the first wound to bo 
in their head, not in their conscience. Of this sort was the evil 
spirit Saul was troubled with, under which he got ease by music, 
not by his Bible. In this case, as v/ell as others, it would be of use 
to consider the real grounds of fear from the Lord's word, and tho 
consideration of one's own state or case, and so to turn it as much 
as may be into solid fears upon plain and evident reasons for it. 
This would be a step to the salvation of the soul. But, alas ! it is 
sad to think of tormenting fear kept up on we know not what 
grounds, and which can produce no good ; while in the meantime 
people will not be at pains to enquire into the real evidences of their 
soul's hazard, the sinfulness of their state, heart, and life. Ask, 
then, yourselves, what real ground there is from the Lord's word for 
this fear of yours. 

(2.) Beware of casting off the fear, dread, and awe of the wrath 
of God against sin : Job xv. 4, " Yea, thou castest off fear, and re- 
strainest prayer before God." This is the issue of some people's 
fears, who, one way or other, get their necks from under the yoke, 
and grow more stupid, fearless, and profane, than even by the just 
judgment of God. It is true, that fear is not enough ; but there is 


something to be added, and yet not this fear cast away. If thou be 
brought into a state of sonship to God, the dread of God's wrath 
against sin will come along with you, though it will be no more 
slavish ; as if a slave were made his master's son by adoption, he 
would still fear his anger, though not slavishly as before. But 
be one's state what it will, better be God's slave, fearing his 
■wrath only, than the devil's freeman, casting off the fear of God 
altogether. There is less ill in the former than in the latter. Yea, 

(3.) Cast not off the fear of that wrath, even its overtaking you, 
till such time as thy soul be brought away freely to Jesus Christ : 
Hos. V. 8, " I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge 
their offence ; in their afSiction they will seek me early." Thou 
hast no warrant to cast it oflf sooner, for certainly wrath is pursuing 
thee, till thou bo within the gates of the city of refuge ; and to be 
without fear of that wrath that is still advancing on a person, is 
ruining. Indeed, as soon as thou hast sincerely come to Christ in 
his covenant, though the fear of wrath against sin is never to be laid 
by, yet then thou mayest and oug'itest to cast off the fear of vindic- 
tive wrath overtaking thee : " There is no condemnation to them 
that are in Christ Jesus," Horn, viii 1. 

(4.) Look not always on an absolute God, for surely that can pro- 
duce no fear of God but a slavish one ; but look on God in Christ as 
the trysting-place himself has set, for receiving the addresses of 
the guilty on a throne of grace : 2 Cor. v. 19, " God was in Christ, 
reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto 
them." This is the way to repress and curb the horrible effects of 
slavish fear, to make love to God, faith, and hope, spring up in the 
soul, and so mould that fear of thine into filial fear and reverence. 
In a God out of Christ thou canst discern nothing but inflexible jus- 
tice, and the utmost terror ; and from his throne of unvailed ma- 
jesty, hear nothing but terrible voices, thunders, and earthquakes. 
But in a God in Christ thou mayest behold bowels of mercy, and 
flowing compassions ; and from the throne of grace hear the still 
small voice of mercy and peace, Isa. xxxv. 3, 4. 

(5.) At what time soever you find the fear of God's wrath begin 
to choke the love of God in your hearts, or to drive you away from 
him in any way, check and curb that fear resolutely, let it not pro- 
ceed, though you were in the time under the most atrocious sin ; 
Psalm Ixv. 3, *' Iniquities prevail against me : as for our trans- 
gressions, thou wilt purge them away." For then you are in the 
march between God's ground and the devil's; and there is a wind 
from hell, blowing up the fire of fear, that will consume you, if it 
be not quenched ; for the separation of the soul from God, and its 


going away from hira, can in no case fail to be of a ruining nature : 
and the more that it increases with a person, his heart will be the 
more hardened, and he will be set the farther off from repentance. 

(6.) Greedily embrace any gleam of hope from the Lord's own 
word, and hang by it. Ye should do like Beuhadad's servants, 
and say, "We have heard that the king of Israel is a merciful king, 
and we hope he will save us, 1 Kings xx. 31. The apostle calls 
hope the Christian's head-piece, 1 Thess. v. 8, not to be thrown 
away in a time of danger. 

Lastly, Come away resolutely to the Lord Jesus, lay hold on him 
in the gospel-offer, and consent to the covenant : Heb. vii. 25, " He 
is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him." 
Lay hold on the horns of this our altar, and you shall not die ; he 
will swallow up death in victory, Isa. xxv. 8. Flee into this city 
of refuge ; the avenger shall not overtake thee. Do as the lepers of 
Samaria did, reasoned with themselves, and went to the camp, where 
meat was to be found. Thou art like to sink in a sea of wrath, 
Jesus holds out his hand to draw thee ashore. Thou art afraid, per- 
haps, it is not to thee, it is vain to try; but know that it is the 
hand that must take thee out, or thou art a gone man ; neglecting 
to take hold, thou art ruined ; otherwise, thcu canst be but ruined. 

4. When is the fear of the Lord holy, filial, and reverential, such 
as the Lord takes pleasure in ? — For your satisfaction in this in- 
quiry, I would answer, 

(1.) When the chief spring of it is not our own harm, but God's 
infinite excellence and perfection striking an awe upon the soul : 
Gen. xxviii. 17, " And Jacob was afraid, and said. How dreadful is 
this place ! this is none other but the house of God, and the gate of 
heaven." On this account, God was called the fear of the holy 
patriarchs, while in the world, Gen. xxxi. 42. Thus ingenuous 
children fear their parents, not because of the ill they may do them, 
but because of that authority aud superiority they have over them. — 
When the soul is awed into a profound leverence for God, by the 
consideration of his transcendent excellence in all things, this is a 
becoming or true filial fear. 

(2.) When the offending of God is feared as the greatest evil. A 
graceless man may fear the punishment of swearing, but a righteous 
man feareth an oath, Eccl. ix. 2 ; the former may fear the threaten- 
ing as the greatest evil, but the righteous feareth the command- 
ment, and shall be rewarded, Prov. xiii. 13. What would the most 
of the world fear about sin, if they were secured against wrath ? 
Nothing. But the fearer of God, his great fear would remain not- 
withstanding, viz. the disi)leasing of his gracious Father. 


(3.) When fear of his wrath is joined with a kindly affection and 
love to him, Psalm xc. 11 — 13 . No man fears God who has not a 
dread of his anger, and the more grace, the more of this dread ; so 
that a godly man will fear a frown of his face more than another a 
stroke of his hand. But withal this does not straiten the heart, but 
enlarge it in love to him ; for these perfections of God that are the 
most proper objects of fear, arc beautiful and lovely in the eyes of a 
saint ; and therefore under the effects of his anger, they condemn 
themselves and justify God. 

Lastly, When the fear of God draws the sinner to God, and makes 
him cling to him, Hos. iii. 5, _" They shall seek the Lord their 
God, and David their king ; and shall fear the Lord and his good- 
ness in the latter days." As if he had said. They shall fear away 
to the Lord, like a good-natured child under fear of his parent 
running away to him, and catching hold of him ; the language of 
which is. Any thing but separation from my holy Father. Holy 
fear also keeps the soul with the Lord, Jer. xxxii. 40, " I will put 
my fear in their hearts, and they shall not depart from me," and 
that upon the same principle. 

5. How doth this fear work in the gracious soul ? To this ques- 
tion I answer. Holy fear is an influential grace, diffusing its influ- 
ence through the whole man, and therefore all religion is often 
comprehended under the name of the fear of God. 

(1.) It makes God's verdict of things in his holy law the man's 
complete standard. In matters of faith, it causes him believe that 
God has said it ; in matters of practice, to do or forbear, because 
God has bid or forbid it, though his own reason and all the world 
should contradict, Prov. iii. 7, ** Be not wise in thine own eyes ; 
fear the Lord and depart from evil." Holy fear awes the soul into 
implicit compliance with all that an incomprehensible God makes 
known in his word. So was Abraham brought to offer his son, and 
the fear of God carried him over all obstructions. Gen. xxii. 12. 

(2.) It awes the soul into abstaining from such sins as there is no 
other awe-band against. There are some cases of temptation, where- 
in there is nothing from any creature to marr compliance with it, 
the way is quite clear on that part. But then the fear of God will 
be a sufficient restraint. Sometimes thou mayest have a fair occa- 
sion to wrong thy neighbour, and there is no fear of his knowing 
thou didst it ; but if thou fearest God, thou darest not for thy soul 
do it, more than if all the world were looking on thee. Lev. 
xix. 14, " Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling-block 
before the blind, but shalt fear thy God, I am the Lord." Some- 
times occasions for sin occur, and men will bear thee out in the sin- 


ful practice ; but if thou fearest God, tliou darest not do it, more 
than if all the world should conspire to hinder thee, Job xxxi. 21 — 
23. Holy Providence lays such occasions before raen for their trial. 

(3.) It awes the soul into compliance with duties, even such as 
one has no other thing to drive hira to, Eccl. xii. 13, " Fear God and 
keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." Iloly 
fear reverenceth the authority of God, not only in abstaining from 
sin, but in complying with duties, Deul. vi. 13, " thou shalt fear the 
Lord thy God, and serve him." Those who have no inward principle 
to set thera on their duty, have no fear of God before their eyes. 
But that principle will carry a man to duty, over the belly of opo- 
sition and contradiction, from Satan, an evil world, and the corrupt 
reasonings of one's own heart. 

(4.) It makes one mainly fear the offence of God in the commission 
of sin, and omission of duties. The great care of a fearer of God 
is, lest he depart from God, Jer. xxxii. 40 ; holy fear and love arc 
always joined, and therefore he that truly fears God, hates sin, and 
loathes it, because God hates it, Prov. viii. 13, " The fear of the 
Lord is to hate evil." He loves his duty because it is pleasing in 
the Lord's sight ; whereas others hate sin for fear of wrath, and 
only love duty for the sake of the reward. It suffers not the soul 
to rest in any degree of holiness already attained, but spurs it on 
towards perfection : 2 Cor. vii. 1, " Having, therefore, these promises, 
dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh 
and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." As Noah's fear 
made him not only begin the ark, but advance the work till it was 
perfected, so this holy fear still works against sin, till the soul be 
out of hazard ; and that is not till death. Truce with sin, or in- 
dulging lusts, say either there is no fear of God in the heart, 
or that it is asleep ; for in whatsoever measure one fears God, he 
will stand at a distance from sin, and seek the destruction of his 

Lastly, It carries the man to his duty, over the belly of the fear 
of man or any other creature, Matth. x. 28, " And fear not them 
which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul." If one be 
in hazard of being frightened from his duty, by the fear either of 
devils or of men, there is no antidote like the fear of God, 1 Pet. 
iii. 14, " But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye ; 
and be not afraid of their terror, neither be ye troubled ;" for as the 
light of the sun removes the light of a glow-worm, that shines only 
in the dark, so the fear of God banisheth other fear in the point 
of duty to the Lord. 

I shall now add a few motives to influence the study of this filial 
fear ; such as, 


1. Infinite greatness and goodness meet together in him, and in 
him only, and therefore it is his due, Jer. x. 7, " Who would not 
fear thee, king of nations, for to thee doth it appertain." His glo- 
rious and unspeakable perfections entitle him to it, and it cannot 
be denied him without the highest sacrilege. Nay, men must needs 
be strangers to him who do not fear him ; for no sooner does the 
creature know him, but it must fear him ; the sight of his greatness 
without his goodness, will produce a terror : but the sight of both, a 
holy reverence. 

2. The relations requiring reverence of us meet together in him ; 
and the truth is, we owe no reverence to any, but as they do in 
some sort, by the eminence they stand in, represent God whom we 
are to fear above all, and to fear in them. A reverential fear is 
due to our superiors, but God is the Supreme Being. We owe it to 
those who are superior to us in office and dignity, Rom. xiii. 7, 
"Eender therefore unto all their due, tribute to whom tribute is 
due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honour to whom 
honour." God is the supreme Governor of the world. Is the ser- 
vant to reverence his master, the child his parents, the wife her 
husband ? surely then God, who is the ancient of days, who stands 
to his people in such endearing relations, is to be feared by them, 
Psalm xlv. 11, "He is thy Lord, and worship thou him." 

3. It is our wisdom to fear God, Psalm cxi. 10, " The fear of the 
Lord is the beginning of wisdom." sinner ! wouldst thou be wise 
indeed ? then fear God ; it is the beginning of wisdom. A man ne- 
ver begins to be wise till the fear of God enters his heart. He goes 
on in folly and madness till he get this ballast to his soul ; he is 
frisking about the pit's mouth, in hazard every moment of falling 
down, till the awe of God strikes his soul. — It is the chief point of 
wisdom ; all the wisdom of the world is but folly iu comparison of 
this. Wisdom teaches men to fear dangers, losses, and the like, but 
what avails it all, if men fear not the offending of God, and the 
loss of the soul. 

4. It is in some sort the whole of religion. Job iv. 6, " Is not this 
thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy 
ways ?" for it is the sum and substance of religious duties, which 
therefore are comprehended under that name in many parts of the 
Bible, and it has an universal influence over the whole of religion, 
drawing it all after it in the special parts thereof: for when it 
once gets place, it will bring in every known duty, and set the soul 
at a distance from all known sin. 

5. It would free you of other fears that are tormenting, in what- 
ever degree it gets place in your hearts. Fear of men and devils 


is SO entertained by many, that it becomes a tormenting passion, 
frighting them out of the way of duty to God. This is the first ex- 
pedient to get rid of these. Allow the great God his own room in 
the heart, and let him be thy fear and thy dread, and so the crea- 
ture will prove contemptible in comparison of him. 

6. Consider the precious promises made to. and the benefits bestowed 
on those that fear the Lord. If thou be a fearer of God, go mat- 
ters as they will, with thee it shall be well ; Eccl. viii. 12, 13, 
"Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days are pro- 
longed, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear 
God, which fear before him ; but it shall not be well with the wicked, 
neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because 
he feareth not before God," It prolongs men's days, in so far as it 
keeps them in the way of holiness, Prov. x. 27 ; see a cluster of 
promises. Psalm XXV. 12 — 14; compare Prov. xix. 23, and Psalm 
xxxiv. 9, which you may read at your leisure. 

Lastly, The want of the fear of God is an infallible sign of a 
wicked, graceless heart; it looses the reins to wickedness of heart 
and life, and so betrays men into ruin, Psalm xxxvi. 1 — 4, " These 
that fear not God now, will be made to fear him hereafter, when 
there shall be no escaping out of the hand of their terrible Judge. 

Some may say, O ! how shall I attain to this holy fear of God ? 
With a view to promote this attainment, I would offer the following 
directions ; — 

1. Labour to know God, who and what he is, 1 Kings viii. 43, 
" That all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as 
do thy people Israel." It is a benefit of the second covenant, to 
know the Lord, Hos. ii. 20, " I will even betroth thee unto me in 
faithfulness, and thou shalt know the Lord." God, to the most of 
the world, is like a prince in disguise amongst his subjects, they treat 
him rudely because they do not know him ; an unknown God will 
not be feared. While ignorance of God reigns in the heart, there 
is no place for holy fear; for that will make men count darts as 
stubble, and laugh at the shaking of the spear. 

2. Stir up in your hearts a desire to fear him ; it is a token for 
good, when one is willing to entertain the fear of God, Neh. i. 11, 
*' Thy servants who desire to fear thee." This desire hath the pro- 
mise, and it will be accompanied with suitable endeavours after it. 
Many fight against the fear of God, that they may live at ease, and 
may be able to give themselves loose reins to their sinful practi- 
ces ; no wonder their hearts be hardened from it. And hence, if at 
any time they be taken with the fear of God, they do what they 
can to be freed of it, as they would pluck out arrows out of their 


3. Take God for your God in Clirist, and devote yourselves to 
hire. Tlie God we choose for our God, we will fear; Mic. iv, 5, 
"For all people will walk every one in the name of his God, and 
we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever." 
And so, when men set up their idols of jealousy in the Lord's room, 
these get the fear that is due to God. So the worldling fears his 
clay god, his life is in its smiles, and its frowns are his death. But 
take the Lord for your God, I say, in Christ ; for no otherwise he 
offers himself to us in the covenant, 2 Cor. v. 19. This is the way 
to holy fear : For, (1.) It is a promised benefit of the covenant, 
Jer. xxxii. 40, " I will put my fear in their hearts." Whoever 
comes into God's covenant of grace, the fear of God is, by the holy 
Spirit, stamped upon their hearts, whereby it may be known that 
they belong to God as children ; and they devote themselves, on the 
other hand, to his fear. Psalm cxix. 38. They are his servants, de- 
voted to his fear. They give themselves to it, and make it their 
great study. (2.) This covenant is a covenant of peace and friend- 
ship betwixt God and the guilty creature, through a Mediator, Heb. 
xii. 22 — 24, so that thy state is changed, the moment that thon comest 
into the covenant, from emnity to peace with God, Eph. ii. 19, they 
become fellow-citizens with the saints, and are of the household of 
God. This happily joins love and dread of God together, produc- 
ing holy fear and reverence of God ; whereas while God is appre- 
hended certainly as an enemy to us, fear him we may with slavish 
fear, but not with holy fear, since we cannot love him. 

4. Be much in the exercise of repentance. Sorrowing after a 
godly sort for sin, as it dishonours God, is offensive to his majesty, 
separates the sinner from God, and exposes the soul to his anger, 
is the ready way to produce holy fear for the time to come, 2 Cor. 
vii. 11. Yea, what fear, says Paul, namely as the effect of sorrow 
after a godly sort ; they that are burnt dread the fire ; and they 
that feel the bitterness of sin, will fear God, and stand at a distance 
from it. The looking into our frightful acts of sin, will awe our 
hearts with a dread of the offended Majesty, and make us fall down, 
saying, " Forgive us our debts." 

5. Pray for it earnestly as a premised benefit of the covenant, 
and join thereto a faith of particular confidence : Matth. xxi. 22, 
" And all things whatsoever ye shall ask, believing ye shall receive 
them." Beg of God that he would manifest himself to you, so as 
ye may be filled with holy fear of him. Ye may read and hear 
much of God, and little impressions be made on your spirits by it 
at all ; but when the Lord discovers himself to the sinner, his own 
glorious light will so represent him as the soul cannot choose but 


both love and fearliim : Job xlii. 5, 6, " I bave heard of thee by the 
hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee : Wherefore I ab- 
hor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." 

Lastly, Draw together the scattered affections and faculties of the 
soul, and set them on the Lord: Psalm Ixxxvi. 11, "Unite my 
heart to fear thy name." As the scattered rays of the sun will not 
burn, till they be collected by a burning glass ; so the heart, walk- 
ing at random, will not be filled with holy fear. Withdraw your 
hearts from pursuing vanities, and gadding after idols, and labour 
to see the Lord in those glasses where we may perceive how he is 
to be feared. 

I would urge you to look to him particularly, (1.) In the glass of 
his word. See how he is there represented as oue worthy to be 
feared : Psalm Ixxxix. 7, " Grod is greatly to be feared in the as- 
sembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are 
about him." with what awful solemnity may we hear him there 
speaking of himself, his saints speaking of him and to him ! and the 
angels also, with their vailed faces, crying, Holy, holy, holy is the 
Lord Grod Almighty. Had we eyes to discern his voice in his word, 
every page would fill our hearts with profoundest reverence. See 
him, (1.) In the shining holiness of his commandments, perfectly 
pure from all earthly dross ; and when thus seen, how can the sin- 
ful creature not fear him ! Exod. xv. 11, " Who is like unto thee, 
Lord, among the gods ? who is like unto thee, glorious in holi- 
ness, fearful in praises, doing wonders ?" He appears there to be 
all light, and that in him there is no darkness at all. The holy, 
spiritual, and extensive law, may fill our hearts with the dread of 
the Lawgiver, of whose nature it is a transcript. See him, (2,) In 
the amazing sovereignty of his threatenings. This filled good Josiah 
with fear,. 2 Kings xxii. 19 ; and Hab. iii. 16, Behold thence flames 
of wrath flashing out on the faces of impenitent sinners. All the 
threats of men own death to be their utmost; and, ! how will a 
threat of death fright mortals ! But the Lord's tlireatenings go be- 
yond death, and carry the matter to an endless eternity. See him, 
(3.) In the unspeakable riches of his gospel-promises displayed in 
the word. His terrors are no more severe on the one hand, than 
his promised encouragements are great on the other. If hell be 
in the one scale, heaven is in the other. Who would not, there- 
fore, fear him ? — Look to him, 

2. In Christ, the brightness of his glory, and the express image 
of his person. See God in Christ, and there see an object of fear 
and love in one. If ye would be stirred up to fear God, look to 
Mount Calvary, and there behold Christ groaning, and dying on a 


cross for tlie sins of an elect world, and you will see three awful 
sights. (1.) The severity of God's justice against sin, not sparing 
his own Son, Rora. viii. 32. Many terrible instances have there 
been of this, in the deluge, and the like. But what is the tumbling 
down of sinful angels into the pit, the deluging of a world, the 
burning of Sodom, — to the Son of God dying on a cross, and bearing 
his Father's wrath ? ! if this was done in the green tree, what 
shall be done in the dry ? (2.) The channel of mercy and grace, in 
which they flow to guilty sinners. It is by the Mediator's stripes 
we must be healed ; the sinner's life comes in the way of Christ's 
death ; no mercy, no grace, but through the wounds of a Redeemer. 
There was love from eternity in the breast of God towards an elect 
world, but Justice stood in the way of Mercy's getting through to 
the criminals ; a way was then made by the blood of the Son of God. 
(3.) The price of pardon, 1 Pet. i. 19, the precious blood of Christ ; 
no pardon, but what is the price of blood, and that blood of infinite 
value ; that is the ransom which had to be given for the captives, or 
they could never have been set free. ! who can see these, and 
not fear this awful and tremendous majesty thus appearing ! — Look 
at him, 

3. In the glass of his adorable perfections. How small a portion 
do we know of him ! but there is nothing which we have manifested 
to us concerning him, but may contribute to this holy fear. On the 
one hand, consider his infinite power, whereby he can do all, and his 
universal dominion, whereby he may do what he will : Job xxxvii. 
23, 24, and xxv. 2 ; his justice, holiness, omniscience, omnipresence, 
infinite varacity and truth, whereby all he has said shall be made 
good to a tittle. Who, then, can but fear him ? — Consider, on the 
other hand, his mercy, his love, grace, and goodness, which are so 
unbounded and unspeakable ! Who, then, can but fear him ? — Look 
at him, 

Lastly, In the glass of his works. Look to his works of creation. 
Psalm xix. 1. Does not the earth and heaven, with all their glori- 
ous furniture, cry aloud to us to fear this God. Look to his works 
of providence : Jer. v. 22, " Fear ye not me ? sailh the Lord ; 
will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for 
the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass ?" 
Bis managing of the world challenges our fearing of him. (1.) His 
mercies with which we are loaded, call us to reverence him as our 
great benefactor, Jer. v. 24. (2.) His judgments ; his judgments, in 
particular, against ourselves, Luke xxiii. 40 ; and against others 
which we may every where discern : Psalm cxix. 118. — 120, " My 
fiesh trembleth for fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy judgments." 

Vol. IX. G 


Every stroke laid on in tliis world is fitted to create a fear of him 
in oar hearts. His general judgment, that is to come, the serious 
view of which must needs strike sinners with fear : 1 Pet. i. 17, 
" And if ye call on the Father, who, without respect of persons, 
judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your so- 
journing here in fear." See also Eccl. xii. 13, 14. 

II. I would now earnestly exhort you to " hope in the Lord for 
his mercy." Entertain a holy hope in God in al! cases. For clear- 
ing of this, we must know, that hope in general is an inclination to, 
and expectation of good possible to be had, but not without some 
difficulty. As hope is conversant about divine things, or the mercy 
of God, it is of two sorts, holy hope, and presumptuous hope ; the 
one well-grounded, the other ill-grounded. Here, therefore, also, 
some inquiries may be proposed, which we shall endeavour to an- 
swer ; such as, 

I. What is the true hope for mercy, which the Lord takes plea- 
sure in ? Answ. It is a certain expectation of attaining the mercy, 
which faith believes, grounded on God's grace and faithfulness. 

(1.) For the kind of it; it is an expectation of mercy to be at- 
tained. Hope looks always on its object as future : Rom. viii. 24, 
" For we are saved by hope. But hope that is seen is not hope, 
for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for ?" This is a main 
difference between faith and hope, faith looking always on its object 
as present in the promise, for " faith is the substance of things 
hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen." And hope is a 
certain expectation of it, not so much in itself, (for true hope may 
be attended with much doubting, Lam. iii. 18), as in the event, for 
it will never fail the party that has it, nor put him to shame by 
disappointment, for it hangs on faith : Rom. t. 5, " And hope maketh 
not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, 
by the Holy Ghost given unto us. 

(2.) For the object of this hope ; it is mercy which is hoped for. 
Now, there is a threefold mercy hope looks for. (1.) The mercy of 
evernal life itself : Jude 21, " Keei) yourselves in the love of God, 
looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." 
This is the chief thing the believer is to hope for, and he may, with 
the utmost certainty and confidence, expect it, 2 Tim. i. 12. This 
hope, even the hope of salvation, the apostle will have the Chris- 
tian to put on as an helmet, 1 Thess. v. 8, and even to stretch forth 
his hope over death and the grave. (2.) Tlie mercy necessary to 
bring us to eternal life ; as perseverance therein to the end, not- 
withstanding all the difliculties that are in the way: Rom. viii. 38, 
" And wo know, that all things work together for good to them that 


love God, and are the called according to his purpose." Though 
the grace of God in him be like a spark of fire in an ocean, he ouo-lit 
firmly to hope, that the same heavenly breath that kindled it will 
keep it in to the end. (3.) The mercy of all other good things, so 
far as God shall see the bestowing them on us for his own glory, 
and our good. There are many particular things good in themselves 
which we know not whether they will be so to us or not ; for ex- 
ample, deliverance from such a trouble ; therefore it is not to be 
absolutely hoped for, but under this qualification, that God sees it 
to be good for us. 

(3.) For the antecedent of this hope : that is faith, which is the 
evidence of things hoped for, Heb. xi. 1. There can be no true 
hope without faith ; where faith does not open the door, hope cannot 
enter. Faith embraces the mercy in the promise of God, and hope 
waits for the accomplishment of the promise; so that one cannot trulv 
hope for that which God has not promised, neither can one hope 
for the accomplishment of that promise which faith does not believe. 

Lastly, The ground of this hope is God's free grace in Christ and 
his faithfulness: 1 Pet. i. 13, " Wherefore, gird up the loins of your 
mind, and hope to the end, for the grace which is to be brought to 
you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." The mercy promised is quite 
above the sinner's deserving ; but he considers the fulness and free- 
dom of God'B grace, and withal how unalterable he is to his word, 
and therefore hopes upon having that word made good to him. 

A second question is. How may the hope of mercy be known to be 
presumptuous ? Answ. Presumption is the soul-ruining plague, 
whereby a person assumes to himself what God has, by no testimony 
of his word, declared to be his, and which alters the beautiful order of 
mercy established by God, joining together what God has separated, 
and separated what he has joined. — Upon this I observe, 

(1.) That hope is presumptuous, which is not founded on the 
Lord's word. Such hope is brisk in the dark, but loses all its lustre 
by the light of God's word brought in upon it: 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 truth 
cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they 
are wrought in God." God's word is a friend unto his grace, but 
an enemy to delusion ; it is the touch-stone that discovers the true 
metal and also the counterfeit. ^Tou hope for salvation, in what 
word of God is your hope founded ? Does the Lord's word, search- 
ingly applied, strengthen or weaken your hope ? Say you. The 
general invitations are the ground of my hope ? These may be 
grounds of hope that ye may got eternal life, if you will take God's 



way : but do j'ou not hope that you shall get it, without a due con- 
sideration of this ? Now, these can never be the grounds of a solid 
hope, for all that hear the gospel are comprehended in these, as well 
as you. 

(2.) That hope is presumptuous, which overlooks and neglects the 
means appointed by God for the attaining of his mercy unto eternal 
life : 1 Pet. i. 3, " We are begotten by God to a lively hope, by the 
resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." The way thou art to 
be happy for ever is, that thou be united to Christ by a true faith, 
that thou be a new creature, that thou lead a holy life. Dost thou 
neglect these, and yet hope all will be well ? Thy hope is presump- 
tion, and will ruin thee, Deut. xxix. 19, 20. 

Lastly, That hope is presumptuous, which is built without erasing 
the old foundation, Luke xxxiv. 48. Many have hopes of heaven 
which grow up with themselves, they were never shaken out of 
themselves, nor had the naughtiness of their hopes discovered, and 
so never were led to Jesus Christ, to build on him by uniting with 

A third enquiry may be, How may the hope of mercy be known 
to be true hope, which God will take pleasure in ? In answer to 
this, it may be noticed, 

1. True hope is founded on the free grace of God in Christ, 1 Pet. 
i. 13, quoted already. The scriptures are written for our learning 
that we, through patience and comfort of them, might have hope, 
Eom. XV. 4. Hope is not built upon our good dispositions, good 
works, external and common benefits which we enjoy, for these are 
but a sandy foundation, unable to bear this weight ; but the anchor 
of hope is cast so as to fix upon the immoveable ground aforesaid, 
Heb. vi. 19. It is true holiness discerned by us in ourselves, as an 
evidence, that doth help us to a firm hope ; but the stress of hope 
lies not upon it as a ground-work. 

2. True hope is a lively principle of sanctification, 1 John iii. 3, 
" And every man that hath this hope purifieth himself, even as ho 
(God) is pure ;" and therefore it is called a lively hope, 1 Pet. i. 3. 
As a spring by degrees does work out the mud that is in a well, so 
hope of mercy does work out corruption ; as the prospect of the 
marriage-day makes the parties to be taken up in preparing for 
the marriage, so the. true hope of eternal life puts one to be prepar- 
ing for it, Rev. xix. 7. That hope which suff"ers sin to lie untouched 
in heart and life, that docs not put on a person to mortify sin, is 
a dead hope ; and true hope carries to universal holiness, even as 
he is pure. 

Lastly, It makes one diligent in the use of means appointed by 


God, Heb. x. 23 — 25 ; but withal not to rest on tlie mecans, but on 
the Lord. To hope, without using tlie means appointed and re- 
quired, is presumption ; to rest on the means is a spice of atheism. 
But that is true hope, which makes the soul delight in all duties 
and ordinances, to leave no appointed, means unessayed, in order to 
attaining the blessed end ; and then, when all is done, to place all 
confidence of success on the Lord. 

With a view to press this holy, lively hope, I would mention the 
following motives. 

1. It is not only our comfortable attainment, but a duty required 
of all that believe, 1 Pet. i. 13, " Gird up the loins of your mind, 
be sober, and hope to the end." And therefore the apostle Paul 
presseth diligence in seeking after it in full measure, Heb. vi. 11, 
" And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence 
to the full assurance of hope unto the end ;" and he prays for it, 
Rom. XV. 13, "Now, the God of hope fill you with all joy and 
peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power 
of the Holy Ghost." It is a duty tha,t is in a special manner com- 

2. It is most necessary; hope is as necessary to a Christian, as a 
head-piece to a soldier in a battle, 1 Thess. v. 8 ; as necessary as an 
anchor to a ship, Heb. vi. 19; yea, so necessary, that we are said 
to be saved by it, Rom. viii. 24. 

Lastly, It is a great fiiend to holiness, and perseverance in the 
ways of God, 1 Cor. xv. 58. — As it honours God's grace and good- 
ness, so it strengthens the soul, and animates it to all duties, to 
fight agaiust corruption and temptation, and to pursue holiness, 

III. Let all be exhorted to entertain a holy fear of God, toge- 
ther with a holy hope for his mercy. Mix these, and balance your 
souls with them, whatever your case be. While you are going 
through the world, keep your course in the middle between the two 
rocks of presumption and despair. — For this purpose, 

1. Beware of desponding or despairing of the mercy of God in 
Christ. There is an allowable despair, which all ought to entertain, 
in order to their getting their hope fixed on God, viz. a quitting of 
all hope in our own sufficiency, or ability to make ourselves happy 
by ourselves, or that ever we shall be well, while we continue in a 
state of black nature. But what we call despair is a giving over all 
hope in God, which is a horrible sin. There is a threefold despair 
you should beware of, as ye would not ruin your own souls. 

(1.) A sensual despair, which ariseth from an excessive love of 
the profits and pleasures of this world, with a secure contempt of 
spiritual and external good in another world, 1 Cor. xv, 32, " Let 


US," say they, "cat and drink, for to-morrow we die." Alas ! how 
many are there plagued with this ? their souls are festered with the 
desire of present good, which is their all, and, having no hope of 
better after this life, they give the saving to their lusts after these. 

(2.) A sluggish despair, Prov. xxii. 13, " The slothful man saith. 
There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets." Their sloth 
musters up difficulties to them, formiug some that are groundless, 
imaginary ones, and aggravating real ones, so that they conclude 
beforehand that ihey will not be better, their endeavours will not 
succeed, and therefore they lie still, and will do nothing for their 
own help; this ruins many. 

(3.) A sorrowful despair, which ariseth from strong fears, which 
raise such a mist in the soul, that grounds of hope in its case, are 
hid out of sight, and they are in their soul's case as in Acts xxvii. 
20, neither sun nor stars for many days appear, no small tempest 
lies on them, and all hope that they shall be saved is then taken 
away. There are different degrees of this ; sometimes it is silent 
and sullen, making little noise, but is smothered in one's breast 
like a burning fire. In such a case, one would do well to give it a 
vent before God, his servants, or godly experienced Christians, lest 
it ruin them. This is the way David took when in such a case. 
Psalm xxxix. 2. — 4, " I was dumb with silence, I held my peace 
even from good, and my sorrow was stirred ; my heart was hot 
■within me ; while I was musing, the fire burned, then spake I with 
my tongue, Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of 
ray days, what it is, that I may know how frail I am." Sometimes 
it is raging as in Judas, who, under horror laid upon his sin, did 
miserably end his life. 

Beware of all these, and resist the beginnings of despair, and if it 
has fastened on any soul, let them strive to quench it, as they 
would do a fire. The former makes way for the latter, and alto- 
gether makes way for remediless despair in hell. I shall only 
say two things of it. — (1.) It is defiling, and makes the soul most 
loathsome before God ; for it conceives most basely aud abominably 
of God and Christ, directly opposing itself to the grand design 
of the gospel ; it blasphemes the power of God, and the efficacy of 
his Son's blood and Spirit. (2.) It is ruining, for it makes the 
sinner flee from God, and cast away the means of recovery, and so 
ensures their destruction ; besides that it often drives the sinner 
to put an end to his torment here, by leaping into endless torments 
before the time, as in the case of Judas. And while we see how 
Satan is ready to take advantage, we had need to take heed. 

2. Beware of presumption. Take heed that ye do not flee from 


the one rock to dash on the other. Indeed, despair is tormentino-, 
while presumption is easy. Nevertheless, though none of them is 
good, yet a person presuming is ordinarily in greater hazard than 
one despairing ; for the presumptuous sees not his case as the other 
does: the one is well pleased with his damnable condition, the other 
is weary of his, and wishes to have it changed; so that many more 
perish by the one than by the other. 

To conclude : Remember, on the one hand, God is a holy jealous 
God, who cannot away with sin, or a state of sin, but the fire of 
his jealousy burns against it. On the other hand, remember that 
the blood of Christ takes away all guilt, his Spirit overcomes the 
most hopeless case, and his mercy reaches wide for every condition. 
Fear him, ye that hope in him ; hope in his mercy, ye that fear him; 
for " the Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that 
hope in his mercy." Amen. 



Isaiah xxv. 8, 
He will swallow up death in victory. 

Such as are desirous duly to manage this solemn communion oc- 
casion, will have in their view the other world. "We are all on a 
journey towards it, and, if suitably exercised, will improve this oc- 
casion to lay down our measures for eternity. Betwixt us and that 
other world, lies the great gulf of death ; through it are two pas- 
sages ; one deep and devouring, where the sinner passes alone ; there 
the waters flow with all that force and strength which they acquired 
by the breach of the covenant of works. By this passage, sinners 
are thrown out into the land of utter darkness and misery. The 
text shews us the other passage, which is shallow and safe, where 
the sinner passes on at the Mediator's back, the waters being dried 
up by the soles of his feet, whoso passeth this way, enters into 
Imraanuel's land, the land of life; for "he will swallow up death 
in victory." 

In these words, we have a prophecy of the happy success of a 
battle fought by the Mediator on account of elect sinners. The suc- 

* Delivered Saturday, October 4, 171P. 


cess is most certain; therefore it is in the Hebrew, "He hath swal- 
lowed up," &c. — Here consider, 

1. The combatants; the two mightiest that ever encountered. 
Upon the one hand is death, with his devouring mouth, a champion 
who never yet could find his match among the children of men, till 
the great HE, in the text, entered the lists against him, even Jesus 
Christ, who being man, was capable of feeling the force of death ; 
but being the Lord of hosts also, ver. 6, could not but be conqueror 
at length. So death and the Mediator are the combatants. — 
There is, 

2. The encounter of the combatants, implied in these words, " He 
will swallow up death in victory." Death attemi)ting to prey upon 
that elect world which was given to Christ by the Father, he, as 
Mediator, to pluck that prey out of death's devouring mouth, en- 
counters the terrible enemy while he is making havock of poor sin- 
ners ; and, having taken upon hira the guilt of his elect, which gave 
death a power over them, death advances against hira, and attacks 
him, and he abides the contest. No sooner was he born, than Death, 
mounted on his pale horse, advanced against him, and striking at him, 
filled Bethlehem with the blood of babes and the shrieks of parents. 
Though it could not then reach him the deadly blow, it pursued hira 
still, shot out its poisonous arrows against him all along, till they 
came to a close engagement on the cross, wliere it wrestled him down 
even into the grave, the proper place of its dominion. So the Me- 
diator got the first fall. 

3. But behold the issue of the battle. Death, who in all other 
battles wins whatever party loses, loses the day here; the victory is 
on the side of the slain Mediator. The slain Saviour again revives, 
gets up upon death, stands conqueror over it, even in its own ter- 
ritories, breaks.the bars of the grave, takes away the sting it fought 
with against him, and puts it and all its forces to the rout; so that 
it can never show its face against him any more, Rom, vi. 9, "Know- 
ing that Christ being raised from the dead, dieth no more, death hath 
no more dominion over him." 

4. The Mediator's pursuit of the victory, till it be complete for 
these that are his, as well as for himself: "He will swallow up 
death in victory." The vanquished enemy has yet many strongholds 
in his hand, and he keeps many of the redeemed ones at under; some 
of them as prisoners, that they cannot stir ; others of them though 
they can stir, yet can go nowhere, but they must drag the bands of 
death after them. But the Jilediator will pursue the victory till he 
swallow up death, totally abolish it out of his kingdom, that there 
shall no more of it be seen there for ever, as a thing that is swal- 


lowed up is seen no more at all ; our Lord is cutting it down daily, 
and the last of it sliall go over at the last day, 1 Cor. xv. 54, " So 
■when this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall 
have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying 
that is written. Death is swallowed up in victory. — These words 
contain in them this 

DocT. That our Lord Jesus, having fought death, and obtained 
the victory, will pursue the victory, till death be utterly abolished 
out of his kingdom. — Three things are here to be attended to. 

I. The battle. 
IL The victory. 

III. The pursuit. — After which, 

IV. I shall subjoin some practical improvement. 

I. We shall consider the battle betwixt death and the Lord of 
life. — And, 

1, Under what character has the Lord of life fought this battle? 
He fought it, 

(1.) As the head and representative of the elect world, as their 
Mediator, who took burden on himself for all that the Father had 
given him ; for otherwise he had nothing to do with death ; nor had 
it any concern with him : John v. 15, " I lay down my life for the 
sheep." Adam, the head of all mankind, had betrayed us all into 
the snare of death, we were not able to break it, or to make our 
escape thence ; but Christ undertook it for the elect, as their Head, 
and so sought death in their room and stead : 1 Tim. ii. 6, " Who 
gave himself a ransom for all," " But he was wounded for our 
transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of 
our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed," Isa. 
liii. 5. He bare what we should have borne, stood the shock which 
would have ruined us ; he was wounded and brused in this battle, 
but all for us. Yer. 8, " For the transgression of my people was he 
stricken." And hence we are reckoned in law to have died in him: 
Rom. vi. 10, 11, " For in that he died, he died unto sin once ; but in 
that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also your- 
selves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus 
Christ our Lord." 

(2.) As their Redeemer and Deliverer : Hos. xiii. 14, *' I will 
ransom them from the power of the grave, I will redeem them from 
death : death ! I will be thy plagues ; grave ! I will be thy de- 
struction." By sin we fell a prey to devouring death, the broken 
law concluded us under the power of it. The prey could not be 
taken from this mighty one, without both price and power ; so Christ 


engaged with death, and by his death ransomed death's prisoners : 
Heb. ii. 15, " That through death he miglit destroy death, and him 
that had the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver them 
who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bon- 
dat^e." He spoiled it of its power, that they might get free. The king- 
dom he had received of his Father could not be recovered, nor the 
captives set free, without stroke of sword, his overcoming death, 
that held them fast ; therefore he fought the battle. 

(3.) As a captain or general at the head of his people : Heb. ii. 
10, " For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are 
all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of 
their salvation perfect through sufferings." God has designed that 
the elect shall fight their way to heaven, and therefore has given 
them Christ as a leader and commander : Isa. Iv. 4, " Behold I have 
given him for a leader and commander to the people." They must 
march through the Red Sea of death to the upper Canaan ; but Christ 
goes before, drying up the waters. There are cords of death on the 
most lively believer, yet he must set himself to break them ; but 
Christ has made them like a thread of flax, wlien it toucheth the fire. 
They must encounter the king of terrors ; but the King of glory, 
marching in the front, has received all the deadly sting — I shall 

2. The attack made upon him by death. Death, finding the Me- 
diator standing in sinners' stead, advances against him with all its 
forces, with which it was furnished by the breach of the first co- 
venant ; and, when managing this contest, 

(1.) Death brings up its strength against him, that is, the law, 
1 Cor. XV. 56, " The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is 
the law," which, finding him a sinner by imputation, cut him down, 
Gal. iv. 4, " God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under 
the law." The law cries for justice against sin, and justice takes the 
Mediator by the throat, saying. Pay what thou owest ; then he " re- 
stored what he took not away," Psalm Ixix. 4. The law brings 
up against him a black band of curses, and pours into his soul : Gal. 
iii. 13, " Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being 
made a curse for us." It soon began to shoot its arrows against 
him. When he was born, he must be born in a stable, laid in a 
manger, for there was no room for him in the inn ; persecution is 
raised against him in his infancy ; he must be all along a man of 
sorrows, poor, not having where to lay his head ; he is hungry, 
thirsty, weary, &c. At length the battle grows hotter, the heavens 
arc black above his head ; and in the garden, and on the cross, 
showers of arrows dipt in the curse fly at him. He sweats bloody 


drops, falling down to the ground, — cries out, " My God, my God, 
wby hast thou forsaken me ?" 

(2.) Meanwhile he that has the power of death (Heb. ii. 14.) ad- 
vances against him, Satan sets upon hira in the wilderness with most 
grievous temptations, Matt. iv. Being beat back, he returns, and re- 
news the assault: Luke iv. 13, "And when the devil had ended all the 
temptations, he departed from him for a season." At length the hour 
and power of darkness comes, and then the bands of hell exert their 
utmost vigour against him, storms from hell blow hard upon him, 
the fountains of the great deep are opened on him : John xiv. 30, 
*' Hereafter I will not talk much with you, for the prince of this world 
Cometh, and hath nothing in me." Col. ii. 15, " And having spoiled 
principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumph- 
ing over them in it. 

(3.) The congregation of men dead in trespasses and sins stir up 
themselves against him : Isa. liii. 3, " He is despised and rejected 
of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, and we hid, as 
it were, our faces from him ; he was despised, and we esteemed 
him not." Judas betrays him, the Jews gape on him like a lion, 
crying. Crucify him ; Pilate condemns him ; he is scourged, crowned 
with thorns, smitten on the crowned head, his body racked till it 
was all out of joint, nailed to the cross, hangs there mocked, and 
pierced with a spear. 

(4.) Death comes with its sting upon him, and pierces him to the 
heart, and casts him down dead : 1 Cor. xv. 56, " The sting of death 
is sin :" this gives it the power of hurting any. The guilt of all 
the sins of the elect lay upon him, which could not but make the 
sting of death inexpressibly sharp and piercing. Thus a thousand 
deaths in one met together on him, for the Lord made the iniquities 
of us all to meet on him ; and all the arrows that should have 
pierced all the elect for ever, have entered into his bowels ; and, 
having fallen under death, he was carried prisoner to the grave. 

II. Let us consider the victory Christ obtained. He tells us he 
has fought and overcome: Rev. iii. 21, "To him that overcoraeth 
■will I grant to sit with me on ray throne, even as I also overcame, 
and am set down with ray Father in his throne. Yea, he has tri- 
umphed over his enemies in his glorious ascension into heaven. Con- 

I. How this victory over death was obtained. It was obtained, 

(1.) By his death. This was the decisive stroke : Heb. ii. 14, 
" That through death he might destroy death, and him that had 
the power of death." It was such a victory as Samson's last 
victory over the Philistines, when he pulled down the house, and 


died liimself with tlie Philistines in the fall of it; and therefore 
he cried upon the cross, " It is finished." Death has done its utmost 
and can do no more ; by his death he satisfied the law in all it had 
to demand of him as the elect's Surety ; he paid the debt, and re- 
moved the guilt. Sin being removed, and the law satisfied, death 
has no more that strength or sting wherewith to set upon him at 
first; and so it fell with him. 

(2.) By his resurrection. Thereby he got up above death, which 
had lost its power, and could hold him no longer. Acts ii. 24, 
" Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death, be- 
cause it was not possible that he should be holden of it." He stood 
a conqueror in the grave, death's own quarters ; he broke asunder 
its iron bars, and brought away its keys ; behold they hang at his 
girdle, Rev. i. 18, " And have the keys of hell and of death." So 
death's dominion over those that are his, got an irrecoverable stroke, 
and he that had the power of death as to the elect, namely, as an 
executioner, viz. the devil, was also destroyed. — I next inqaire, 

2. What sort of a victory it is Jesus hath obtained over death ? — 
It is, 

(1.) A dear-bought victory, it cost the glorious Conqueror his 
precious life ; he suflTered the bruising of his heel, before the ser- 
pent's head could be got bruised. He suffered in his body, and also 
in his soul, to such a degree, that the holy human nature could not 
have borne up under it, had it not been supported by his divine na- 

(2.) A complete victory in respect of himself, though not yet com- 
plete in respect of his members : Rom. vi. 9, " Knowing that Christ 
being raised from the dead, dieth no more, death hath no more do- 
minion over him." Now he is beyond the reach of death and all his 
enemies, sitting at the Lord's right hand until he make his enemies 
his footstool. Psalm ex. 1. 

(3.) A glorious victory, saints and angels singing the triumphant 
song. Hear the acclamations of joy and wonder with which he Avas 
met at his return from the battle, Isa. Ixiii. 1, " Who is this that 
cometh from Edom, with died garments from Bozrah ? This that is 
glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength ? 
I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save." What a glorious 
victory was it which he obtained over the king of terrors, who sub- 
dues the most potent armies, overcomes the conquerors of the earth ; 
but behold the great spoiler spoiled, the conqueror conquered by the 
King of glory. 

(4.) An everlasting victory. Now death's power is irrecoverably 
broke ; the serpent is wounded in the head, which is a deadly 


wound, it sliall never be able to rally its broken forces against him 
any more ; it went out into the world full, but the King of saints 
has met it, and spoiled it, so that it in some sort is now empty. 

As a practical improvement of what has been said, I would on 
this occasion earnestly call upou you, 

1. As mortals, dying men and women, to come over this day to 
the conqueror's side. Our Lord has obtained the victory over death, 
come ye and surrender yourselves to him, break your covenant with 
death and hell, enter into his covenant, and honestly enlist your- 
selves under his victorious banners, abide no longer among his ene- 
mies. — To prevail with you, I would lay before you the following 

(1.) If ye are out of Christ, ye live in death's territories ; yea, ye 
are dead ; while ye live, death hath dominion over you, Eph. v. 14, 
" Wherefore he saith. Awake thou that sleepest, arise from the 
dead, and Christ shall give you light." Ye are spiritually dead, the 
threatenings of the law, as the bands of death, gird you about; the 
divers lusts ye serve are as the chains of death unto you. ! 
awake, ere ye be cast out of this world, and buried out of his sight. 

(2.) The conqueror is ready to receive you, and give you the pri- 
vileges of the subjects of his kingdom, Zech. ix. 11, 12, "As for 
thee also, by the blood of thy covenant, I have sent forth thy pris- 
oners out of the pit, Avherein is no water ; turn ye to the stronghold 
ye prisoners of hope, even to-day do I declare that I will render 
double unto thee." Christ is coming this day in the word to your 
graves, and saying to you, as to Lazarus, Come forth, bestir your- 
selves, prisoners of hope ! and come away, when the Kedeeraer 
and deliverer, who has overcome death, is calling yon ! Abide not 
under the dominion of the foiled enemy, but come away to the vic- 
torious Lord of life. 

(3.) Behold how he loved the children of men, John xiv. 13, 
*' And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the 
Father may be glorified in the Son." Why did he fight this battle 
with death, but to rescue sinners to himself, as a prey out of the 
mouth of the devouring lion ? Shall not his dying love win you, 
his dying groans awake you, out of your sleep in sin ? Does not 
every wound he received call you to cast away your sins which lay 
so heavy on him ? will ye love death, and slight the Redeemer, Prov. 
viii. 2(j, " All they that hate me love death." 

(4.) How will you grapple with death, if ye come not out of your 
sins to Jesus Christ? Man, remember thou must die; the day is 
coming these eyes will be closed, the breath that is now going out 
and in will go, to return no more till the last pulse beat. How 


wilt thou be able to grapple with the king of terrors alone ? Death 
cast down the niau Christ; if it did so to the green tree, what will 
become of thee, a withered, dead branch ? Thou shalt find death 
lively as to thee, armed with its sting against thee, since thou art 
not in Christ, his victory belongs not to thee, but the first death will 
turn thee over into the hands of the second death ; and so thou shalt 
be eternally dying, but never die. 

(5.) Come to Christ and thou shalt have the benefit of his victory 
over death : John viii. 51, " Yerily, verily, I say unto you, If a man 
keep my sayings, he shall never see death," never feel the sting of 
death, its nature shall be quite altered to thee. ! are ye not 
thinking what way ye shall get through that ford on that Red Sea, 
which ye know not how soon ye may come to ? Come to Christ, lay 
hold on the conqueror by faith, in the way of his covenant; the 
sealed covenant will be your pass for safe conduct to the other side ; 
it has carried all through that took their passage with it hitherto, 
and so will it you. — I exhort you, 

2. To prepare yourselves for celebrating the triumph of this vic- 
tory. The saints above are celebrating it at the upper table, yo are 
called to celebrate it at the lower table : " This do ye in remem- 
brance of me." Let not Satan get advantage of such as look for 
the benefit of this victory, to slight the memorial of it, lest they 
vex the Spirit of God, and pour contempt on Christ's institution, 
and give their souls such a throw as they will not easily recover, 
while their fig-leaf covers of excuses will avail them nothing. Let 
none, however, venture rashly on such an ordinance. Take heed 
to your state, see that ye be not the King's enemies, but his friends, 
by your coming honestly into his covenant, and putting a divorce into 
the hands of all your idols. In the midst of the triumphal throng, 
he will notice the man that wants the wedding-garment: Matth. 
xxii. 11, **And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw 
there a man which had not on a wedding-garment," Sinners dead in 
trespasses and sins are not fit to celebrate the memorial of Christ's 
victory over death. Off with the grave clothes of your lusts, then, 
that you may be fit guests for the Lord of life on such an occasion. — 
Take heed to your frame ; a dead frame is not fit for such an occasion. 
Alas ! for the deadness on the spirits of professors at this day. 
! labour to get a lively frame of spirit, wherewith to celebrate 
the memorial of Christ's victory ; get faith, love, repentance, de- 
sires, thankfulness, &c., in exercise; and for this end, I recommend 
to you this night, to meditate on, and take a believing view of this 
battle. — Consider, 

1. It was a set battle; not an accidental rencounter, but deter- 


mined from eternity : Gal. iv. 4, " But when the fulness of the time 
was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under 
the law." Zechariah in his time proclaims the war : Zech. xiii. 7, 
" Awake, sword ! against my shepherd, against the man that is 
my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts." Nay, it was proclaimed in 
paradise: Gen. iii. 15, "And I will put enmity between the woman 
and between thy seed and her seed ; it shall bruise thy head, and 
thou shalt bruise his heel." The ceremonial law, by which so much 
blood was shed, plainly predicted that a bloody day was coming. — 
It was, 

2. A hot battle. Heavy were the strokes given here : Psalm xxii. 
14, " I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint, 
my heart is like wax, it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My 
strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaveth to my 
jaws ; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death." It was a 
bloody battle, Isa. ix. 5, " For every battle of the warriors is with 
confused noise, and garments rolled in blood ; but this shall be with 
burning, and fuel of fire." A dreadful noise was here, the law, men 
and devils, crying against the Son of God, death roaring for its prey, 
and the Mediator himself crying with strong cries and tears. What 
garments rolled in blood were here on every side ! — rolled in 
the most precious blood of the Son of God : Isa. Ixiii. 2, " Where- 
fore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that 
treadeth in the wine-fat ?" A bloody spouse have we been to hira. 
— It was, 

3. A solitary battle on Christ's part. His enemies were many, 
but he was alone : Psalm xxii. 12, " Many bulls have compassed 
me." — Isa. Ixiii. 3, " I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the 
people there was none with me." All were against him, none were 
with him to take a share ; so thick did the arrows of death fly, that 
neither man nor angel durst set out their head, or venture into the 
battle on his side. — It was, 

4. A longsome battle. He fought all along, from the cradle to 
the grave, from his birth to his burial : Isa. liii. 3, " He is de- 
spised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with 
grief;" though it came to a height at the latter end. 

Lastly, There wore no quarters for him in this battle : Rom. viii. 
32, " He spared not his own Son, but delivered him up to the death." 
He was made to drink a cup of pure unmixed wrath. He met with 
no sparing, that so, the arrows of death being all spent on him, his 
people might get free. 




Isaiah xxv. 8, 
He will swallow xip death in victory. 

Ye have been celebrating the triumph of Christ's victory over death, 
and professing yourselves the subjects of the conqueror, yea, the 
members of his body. If you approve yourselves true to your pro- 
fession, here is the best news you can possibly hear in this vrorld, 
news which may animate you to fighting the good fight : " He will 
swallow up death in victory." 

I have yesterday handled two heads in the method. A third 
point now to be spoken to is, Christ's pursuit of the victory. Our 
Lord Jesus will pursue the victory he has obtained over death, till 
it be utterly abolished out of his kingdom. — Here, 

I. I s!iall premise some things for the better understanding of 
this point. 

II. Show how he pursues the victory. 

I. I shall premise some things for the better understanding of 
this point. — And, 

1. I premise that sin entering into the world, death obtained an 
universal dominion over mankind : Rom. v. 12, " Wherefore, as by 
one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin ; and so 
death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned ;" it reigned as 
a king, ver. 19, " Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses ;" 
it became universal monarch, swaying its sceptre over all nations, 
kingdoms, and empires, from the one end of the earth unto the other. 
Every man receiving life in this world, not excej>ting those that 
are born to crowns and kingdoms, are born subjects to death. It is 
the most terrible king, even the king of terrors ; an absolute one, 
against whom there is no rising up. This universal dominion it got 
by law, upon sin's entering : Gen. iii. 19, '* Dust thou art, and unto 
dust thou shalt return." 1 Cor. xv. 56, "The sting of death is sin, 
and the strength of sin is the law." 

2. The kingdom of death consists of two very different territories 
or countries ; one is the upper country, namely, the sinful world ; 
the other the lower country, in the other world, that land of utter 
darkness, where the light is as darkness. In the former, the go- 
vernment of death is comparatively mild, but in the latter inexpres- 

' Delivered Sabbath evening, October 5, 1718. * 


sibly horrible. Here death's subjects have some gleams of light, 
joy, hope, though raised with many sorrows ; but there they will 
never see light more, nor enjoy the least ease from their pangs, 
which is the second death, Matth. xxii. 13, " Cast him into utter 
darkness ; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." 

3. Death's power over sinners by the law, reaches to the transport- 
ing of them out of this world into its dominion in the other world ; 
it has power to carry them to the pit, and shut the bars thereof for 
ever upon them. Hence we find the rich man dying, and buried, 
and then in hell lifting up his eyes, Luke xvi. 23 ; an impassable 
gulf is fixed between that miserable company and the saints above, 
ver. 26 ; so that by death's power, had it not been hemmed in, all 
mankind had lauded there. 

4. That all mankind might not perish, tlie Father gave a kingdom 
to his Son, which he was to conquer out of the kingdom of death 
in this upper world : in which kingdom life might reign for ever- 
more through Jesus Christ : John vi. 37, " And this is the Father's 
will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me, I 
should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." 
This our Lord undertook willingly, resolving to spare no expense, 
even of his own blood, to recover it. 

5. Our Lord Jesus coming on this expedition, findeth all mankind 
fettered with the bands of death ; death has seized them all without 
exception, fastened on their souls and bodies, keeping them as 
prisoners, till they should be transported into the pit from whence 
there is no redemption ; and his own that were given to him of the 
Father, he fiuds wrapt up in the common ruin ; so he, putting on a 
zeal for his Father's glory and the salvation of the elect, encoun- 
tered death iu their room, and, after a bloody battle, gained the 
Tictory. But after all this the chains of death still continue on his 
people, and they lie under them till the conqueror, who by his death 
has purchased their liberty, come and loose them, in pursuit of this 

I am now to consider, 

II. How he pursues the victory, "swallowing up death iu vic- 

1. He looses the bands of that spiritual death under which he 
finds them, morally dead, lifeless, senseless, and motionless to any 
spiritual good. He puts a principle of spiritual life in them, quick- 
ening them by his Spirit, Eph. ii. 1, "And you hath he quickened 
who were dead in trespasses and sins." TVith authority he asks the 
grim vanquished tyrant, as ho did others in the case of Lazarus, 
death ! where have ye laid him ? He comes to the grave, saying, 

Vol. IX. H 


My word and my Spirit roll away the stone ; and with a powerful 
voice he cries, Dead soul, come forth. Then feeble death loses its 
grips, and the dead comes forth to walk before God in the light 
of the living ; and then he is a new creature ; old things are done 

2. He looses the band of legal death off the sinner ; he is by na- 
ture a condemned man, dead in law, and death holds him fast with 
the cords of unpardoned guilt. But now the soul, uniting to Christ 
by faith, and so being clothed with his perfect righteousness, hav- 
ing his satisfaction applied to him, the cords of the guilt of eter- 
nal wrath give way, can hold no longer, and so death is beat 
from its grip ot him, Rom. viii. 1, " There is therefore now no con- 
demnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." Now may the soul 
say. It is God that justifielh, who is he that condemneth ? The 
mighty Lord has burst the bars of iron asunder, death's snare is 
broken, and we are escaped. 

3. He destroys the body of death in the believer. Still the grave- 
clothes hang about the believer, even strong corruptions and divers 
lusts, the remains of that death from which they were raised in 
regeneration. There is a body of death cleaves to them, complete in 
all its members, therefore called the old man, which is the remain- 
ing corrupt nature, with the lusts thereof. This makes them groan, 
and long for delivery, Rom. vii. 24, " wretched man that I am ! 
who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?" This also is 
swallowed uj) in the pursuit of this victory, by degrees. For, 

(1.) It is crucified, gets a deadly wound, and its destruction en- 
sured in the conversion of the soul to God ; Rom. vi. 6, " Knowing 
this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin 
might be destroyed." The nails are driven through it, and every 
member thereof: Gal. v. 24, " And they that are Christ's have cru- 
cified the flesh, with the affections and lusts. It is nailed to the 
cross, and shall never come down till it breathe out its last. Its 
reigning power is broken, and can no more command with that full 
sway it did while the soul was under the dominion of death : Rom. 
vi. 14, " For sin shall not have the dominion over you, for ye are 
not under the law, but under grace." 

(2.) It is weakened and mortified more and more, in the gradual 
advances of sanctification : Rom. viii. 14, "But if ye tlirough the 
Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." Every new 
supply of grace weakens corruption more and more. The grace 
of Christ in the heart is a spring that will never be quite stopt, 
and therefore will work out corruption by degrees, as the spring 
does the mud ; John iv. 14, ** But the water that I shall give 


him, shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting 
life." They will be like the houses of Saul and David, while the 
former waxeth weaker, the latter stronger. 

(3.) At the death of the body, the body of death is utterly de- 
stroyed : Heb. xii. 23, " And to the spirits of just men made per- 
fect." There is not the least remains of it to be seen any more 
then; then there shall not be the least darkness in the mind, corrup- 
tion in the will, nor disorder of the affections. When they are ta- 
ken up into the mount, they are stript of their rags, and clothed 
with change of raiment, for then Christ says, " Loose him, and let 
him go." 

4. He dries up all the sorrows of death, wipes away all tears. 
David was sometimes encompassed with them, but he is now got be- 
yond them all. Death entering the world at the back of sin, has 
made an universal flood of misery, that covers the face of the whole 
earth ; even the redeemed ones walking to Zion, cannot miss to dip 
their foot in it, and that often very deep ; they are liable to afilic- 
tions on their bodies and souls, and all that is theirs ; they are dis- 
tressed with desertions and hidings of God's face ; they often go 
mourning without the sun. And what are all these but the arrows 
of the foiled enemy, wherewith he annoys the Mediator's company 
in this lower world ; but Christ will also spoil this part of death's 
game in his kingdom ; he has taken the poison and strength out of 
these arrows already, that they cannot give a deadly wound ; and 
in a little these Egyptians whom they see to-day, they shall see no 
more for ever : Rev. xxi. 4, " And God shall wipe away all tears 
from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, 
nor crying : neither shall there be any more pain, for the former 
things are passed away." 

5. He brings all his people safe through the valley of the shadow 
of death : 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." 
Death advances at length to the saint as a king of terrors, to loose 
the soul from the body. They are ready to be affrighted at the 
sight, but the waters are dried up where they are to pass. It stands 
before them like a serpent, but the sting of it is gone, they can 
get no harm of it, " death ! where is thy sting ?" may the dying 
saint say ; they tread then upon the serpent, while they pass over to 
the other side ; it casts down the body into the grave, but their 
more precious part it cannot touch. It is like the storm to Paul ; 
the body, the ship of the soul, is dashed to pieces; but the soul, the 
passenger, gets safe to land. This is a noble victory got through 
Jesus Clirist. 



6. Now, death has nothing of Christ's but the bodies of the saints, 
not a foot of ground in his kingdom but the grave ; and these he 
will also wrest out of his hand at the resurrection. So, then, at 
the last day, by the sound of the trumpet, death shall be summoned, 
in the conqueror's name, to give up its dead; and immediately it 
shall fling open its doors, and yield all up to him : Rev. xx. 13, 
" And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and 
hell gave up the dead which were in them." " Then this corruptible 
shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on 
immortality; then shall be brought to pass the saying that is writ- 
ten. Death is swallowed up in victory." Death will held fast by 
them that are his own, even when they are come out of the grave ; 
but then nothing that ever belonged to it shall any more be about 
those that are Christ's, 

7. In consequence of the absolute victory over death, it shall be 
shut up, and confined for the ages of eternity to the lower regions, 
the lake that burns with fire and brimstone : Rev. xx. 14, " And 
death and hell were cast into the lake of fire : this is the second 
death." As the waters of the deluge, that overspread the whole face 
of the earth some time, were, by the voice of God, chased away into, 
and confined in the deeps; so death, in its whole extent, as compre- 
hending all miseries, greater or lesser, that some time ranged through 
the earth at liberty, shall be gathered together, and thrown into tlie 
place of the damned, there to prey for ever upon its proper objects, 
the enemies of Christ, the great conqueror. — I am, 

lY. To make some practical impi'ovement. This doctrine is of 
manifold use. I shall drop a few words from it to the profane, and 
to professors. — I shall address, 

1st, Profane folk, who are quite careless aboui their state and 
conversation, on whose face death is painted, in the eyes of God and 
all serious persons. Consider, 

1. Ye have neither part nor lot in this victory of Christ's over 
death, but are yet lying a prey to the devourer. What else means 
that loathsome conversation of yours ? Psalm yiv. 1 — 3, — " The fool 
hath said in his heart. There is no God ; they are corrupt, they have 
done abominable works," &:c. "What else means it, but that ye are 
yet rotting in the grave of your lusts ? Do not your profane speeches 
declare your throat to be an open sepulchre ; the full liberty your 
lusts get without control, says ye are not sick of sin, but dead in it ; 
your want of the sense of religion, your not discerning the voice of 
God in his word, and having no relish for the sweetness of it, all 
these say ye are dead. 

2. Awake, and come forth to Christ, in a holy life, else your lot 


shall be for ever among the congregation of the dead : Gal. v. 21, 
" They who do such things shall not inherit the Iciugdom of God." 
Christ has set up a kingdom among us, but ye say, Let us break 
his bands, and cast his cords from us. Remember, if ye continue 
in this condition, Christ will cast you out of his kingdom, for if 
death shall be abolished out of his kingdom, be sure such dead souls 
shall never inherit among the saints, but receive their portion where 
death bears eternal sway. 

2dly, Professors, amongst whom I must reckon communicants. 
To such, 

1. By way of caution, I would say to yon, 

(1.) Beware of hypocrisy, having a name to live, and yet dead : 
Rev. iii. 1, " I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou liv- 
est, and art dead." ! how many are there like some dead beasts, 
whereof there is nothing good but the skin ! Except the form of 
godliness, and their religious duties they go the round of, there 
remains nothing but a rotten heart quite estranged from the 
life of God, and a life full of dead works. Beware of this, for, 
witli the abominable, the hypocrite will also be swept away. 

(2.) Beware of apostacy, Christ will pursue his victory, and there- 
fore whoso draweth back, his soul shall have no pleasure in him, 
Heb. X. 38 ; they that draw back leave Christ's camp, and join his 
enemies, and they will be involved in their ruin with a double de- 
struction, as runaways. 

2. By way of application to your case on the back of this com- 
munion, I would ask you, 

(1.) Have you got nothing at this feast from the conqueror to set 
you a step forward to the victory, the spiritual victory ? Blame 
whom or what thou wilt for it, a dead state, or at least a dead 
frame is the true cause ; and therefore repent. If thou be mourn- 
ing and humbled under it, it is a sign of some life ; pursue under 
Christ's banner and thou shalt obtain the victory. 

(2.) Have ye sped, and got some victory over the body of death ? 
be not secure, and sit not down on that ye have attained, for death 
is not yet swallowed up ; therefore pursue. — I shall only add, 

3. By way of exhortation to duty from this point. 

(1.) Be lively Christians, as those that are alive from the dead 
through Jesus Christ ; keep grace in exercise, let not the holy fire 
go out ; watch against deadness creeping in on your souls, yield not 
to it, for that were to yield to death, that must be swallowed up. 

(2.) Join issue with the Conqueror, in pursuing the victory in 
your own souls. There is a noble Captain on your head; under 
his conduct, then, fight the good fight; let mortification be your 


daily work ; Avliile one lust remains, ye must never give over ; make 
no truce ■with them, or any of theirs, but resolve to pursue these 
fruits of death, till death be swallowed up in victory. 

(3.) Join issue with the Conqueror, in pursuing the victory in the 
world, especially in the ])laces where ye live. Do your utmost, by 
word and example, to awaken a dead world ; take care of the young 
generation ; and as ye love their souls, remove the stumbling-block 
of your divisions out of their sight, which threatens the ruin of re- 
ligion in this parish : when the members of the body are all going 
asunder, falling off from one another, it is an evidence ^ea,ih. is 
working in that body; and it has made much sad work in the 
land and country-side already. 

(4.) Believe this truth with application, in all your endeavours 
after holiness. That is the true method of sanctification, using the 
mean appointed of God, and believing the promised success. If ye 
will not believe, ye shall not be established. 

(5.) Be weaned from the world, and long for the day when death 
shall be swallowed up in victory ; Phil. i. 23, " Having a desire to 
depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better. Were we eager 
in the battle, we would readily long for the day of complete victory. 
Let all be stirred up, and exhorted from this, 
1. To get and make sure their interest in this victory purchased 
by Christ in this battle. Come to Christ, and make sure your in- 
terest in him ; alas ! what will it avail you that Christ has pur- 
chased this victory for you ? It would be promising-like in this 
case, if ye be raised up from spiritual death, or if ye be wrestling 
against the remains of it. 

(1.) love the Lord, come see the field of battle, where the Lord 
lay, and love him, John xiv. 13. "Whom will ye love, if not hira 
that died for us ? 

(2.) Hate sin, and seek the destruction and extirpation of it; set 
yourselves against the body of death. Ye have here — what may 
excite you to it, for it was your sin that gave death its power, and 
furnished it with weapons against Christ — You may encourage your- 
selves in the contest, for victory is certain, for death is already van- 
quished in some sort : Rom. vi. 6, " Knowing this, that our old man 
is crucified with Christ." Christ himself is engaged in the pursuit 
of the victory with you, and for you. 

3. Patiently bear your troubles, weaknesses, and distresses, that 
hang about you, for these workings of death will be quickly over. 

4. Join not yourselves with the congregation of the dead. Be- 
ware, (1.) Of dead company, making them your beloved companions, 
for " a companion of fools shall be destroyed." (2,) Renounce dead 


works, as an impiety towards God, and unrighteousness towards 
men. (3.) Beware of a dead case and frame, that is, to be cold, 
stiff, motionless, of the colour of clay, as men that are in a withered, 
lifeless, spiritual condition. 

Lastly, Let heaven and eternal life be the main thing ye have in 
view, and are in quest of, saying. There is my rest, and there must 
I be. 



2 Kings ii. 14, 

And he took the mantle of Elijah, that fell from, him, and smote the 
waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah ? 

Among all the elders who have through faith obtained a good re- 
port, there is none more remarkable than Elijah the Tishbite. He 
was a person altogether extraordinary. In his exercise and expe- 
rience he was singularly distinguished. His translation was a strik- 
ing loss to the church of God ; it was, however, not irreparable ; 
his exercises were, in some measure, patterns to the people of God 
in after ages ; his experiences were powerful encouragements to a 
following of him who through faith and patience inherited the pro- 
raises ; and, what was of still greater importance, Elijah's God still 
lived, and, as being the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, was 
to be the object of hope and confidence to his people in all genera- 
tions. In all their straits he was to be looked to, and inquired after, 
for his presence with them, and his blessing upon them. Thus, we 
see, was Elisha exercised in the verse before us ; for when over- 
whelmed, and in perplexity, " He took the mantle of Elijah, which 
fell from him, and smote the waters, and said. Where is the Lord 
God of Elijah ?" 

This verse shews us, 

1. What Elisha did. (1.) He took Elijah's mantle, that fell 
from him ; God so ordered, that it fell in Elisha's sight for his com- 
fort, that he might have it as a token of the spirit of Elijah resting 
on him. He willingly takes it up : he did not say. What avails the 
mantle now, when it is not above Elijah's shoulders ? No ; that 

* Delivered August 16, 1713. 


God that did wonders by it before, can do the same again, on whose 
shoulders soever, by divine appointment ; even so the ordinances of 
God are to be prized for the Lord's sake, not slighted for the sake 
of the instruments, though they are not like to fill the room'of those 
that went before them. (2.) He smote the waters with it. He was 
to go back to the schools of the prophets in Jericho. Though the 
Lord take away eminent instruments, his work must not be neglected, 
they that are left behind must bestir themselves to carry on the 
Lord's work. Jordan was between him and them, as oftentimes 
depths of difficulties will be found in the way of duty. He might 
have boated it over ; that was the easiest way, and to the carnal 
eye the safest. But it was not the way his godly predecessor took 
before him ; therefore, having the same spirit as he had, he will 
rather believingly venture on the waters, in the faith that God 
would carry him through, as he did Elijah before him. So he 
" smote the waters." 

2. "We have what he said when he smote the waters : " "Where is 
the Lord God of Elijah ?" It is a vehement exclamation for the 
presence of that God that was with Elijah : " Where is," &c. ; or a 
most ardent prayer for it : where art thou ? as some read it ; for 
neither " is" nor " art" is in the original. He inquires no more 
after Elijah, he has no petitions to that saint when once he was de- 
parted ; that had been impious; what he had to ask of him, he 
asked while he was on earth. He does not sit down and weep, and 
pore on the loss of Elijah, as if there had been no more hopes of 
good days since he was gone ; bat he betakes liiraself to Elijah's 
God. Though Elijah was gone, his God still remained. Elijah's 
experience of good from Elijah's God, kindled in Elisha's heart a 
surprising desire after him, and fills him with hope of good enter- 
tainment at the door where Elijah had come so good speed ; for these 
are not words of diffidence, but of mighty earnestness, and strong 
faith ; as appears by considering, 

3. The issue of the whole, which was according to his wish. God 
was present with him the same way he had been with Elijah before, 
Jordan is divided, &c. These words, (he also) some make Elisha's 
answering to himself, and read them, even he, viz. Elijah's God, yet 
endures ; but though there is no doubt Elisha believed this, yet that 
reading does violence to the points and stops, without regarding of 
which there can be no certain sense of any language : therefore our 
translation is preferable; and these words (he also) are emphatical 
to shew the freedom of God's grace, which is tied to none, but open 
and free to all that come to him for it in the way that others re- 
ceived it. — From these words, I take this 

saints' former experiences. 113 

Doctrine, That the consideration of God's presence with his peo- 
ple in former days, should bring the succeeding generation to the 
same God for the same entertainment. 

In speaking to which, I shall, 

I. Instance a few of these experiences of God's people in former 

II. Shew how we should come to God for the same entertainment. 

III. Give the reasons of the doctrine. — And, 

IV. Add the improvement. 

I. I shall instance a few of the sweet and desirable experiences of 
the Lord's people, which should bring us to the gracious Giver for 
the same, and such like ; and I shall instance none but these of 
Elijah, who, you must remember, was a man subject to like passions 
as we are, James v. 17, and to these I think the text leads me. 
Some instances of sweet entertainment this holy man had ; such as, 

1. The God of Elijah gave him the sweet experience of keeping 
warm and lively in a very cold and dead generation ; so that he 
was best when others were worst. His zeal for God burnt most 
vigorously when the generation was turned most coldrife, halting 
betwixt God and Baal, like true fire that burns most keenly in the 
winter frost, when a chill and cold air was the only air about him. 
By the warm blowings of the Spirit from above npon him, he was 
kept warm within. \Yhen nothing but deadness was on every hand, 
the Spirit of life from above kept him lively. So it was with Noah 
in the old world : Gen. vi. 9, " Noah was a just man, and perfect in 
his generation." And Lot, 2 Pet. ii. 8, " For that righteous man 
dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous 
soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds," 

But where is the Lord God of Elijah in these dregs of time, 
wherein professors generally are carried away with the stream of 
impiety from all their liveliness and tenderness that sometimes have 
been among them, when the more wickedness sets up its head, piety 
is made to hide its head the more ? a sad evidence that God is gone 
from us, when the standard of wickedness makes such advances, and 
that of shining holiness is retreating, and can hardly get hands to 
hold it up. I will tell yon two sad experiences, common at this 

(1.) The fulfilling of that scripture, Matth. xxiv. 12, " And be- 
cause iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." It 
is a time when atheism, deism, and immorality, make prodigious ad- 
rances, and practical godliness is under a deep decay. I doubt if 
ever Satan had more hands at work to overthrow revealed religion, 


and to raze the foundations of it, than at this day ; and this effort 
of Satan's against the church, has joined with it a most lamentable 
decay of the vitals of practical religion in those that are called by 
the Lord's name ; so that we are like to be exposed to this furious 
attack, wanting the best piece of our armour against it ; that is, an 
experience and feeling of the power of truth on our own souls : 
ah ! " where is the Lord God of Elijah ?" 

(2.) What heat there is, strikes all outward, while in the mean- 
time folks are key-cold within ; a sad sign of a distempered body. 
It is not hard to discern severals shewing a great deal of concern in 
the lamentable occurrences of our day ; but how hard is it to find a 
man that is truly awakened to the exercise of godliness by all the 
alarming dispensations of our day, that is moved with fear, and 
busy preparing an ark for the evil day, labouring to get the parti- 
cular controversy between God and his soul removed, putting out of 
his way the stumbling-block of his iniquity, and setting matters in 
order for the day of the Lord ? Nay, sirs, though some talk in their 
sleep, it seems we will all sleep together, till God's heavy hand give 
us a fearful awakening : " Where is the Lord God of Elijah ?" 

2. The God of Elijah gave him the sweet experience of the power 
of prayer : James v. 17, " Elias was a man subject to like passions 
as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it 
rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months ; 
and he prayed again, and. the heaven gave rain, and the earth 
brought forth her fruit." He was mighty in prayer; by his prayers 
the bottles of heaven were opened, the key of the clouds turned, 
nay, the bands of death loosed, 1 Kings xvii. He was a great favo- 
rite of Heaven, whose cries pierced the clouds, got in to the throne, 
and returned, like Noah's dove, with an olive-branch of peace in his 
mouth. Such experience of the power of prayer had Jacob ; Hos. 
xii. 4, " Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed ;" Gen. 
xxxii. Many times the Lord's people, when closed, up on every side, 
have found a sweet outgate, their souls flying upward in prayer. 
The prayers of the saints have been the great ordinance of the 
church, have frustrated the jilans of enemies, and turned them back 
on their own heads. 

But where is the God of Elijah, while the trade with heaven by 
prayers is so very low ? Alas for the dead, cold, and flat prayers, 
that come from the lips of professors at this day ! so weak and lan- 
guishing, that they cannot reach heaven. Sometimes the Lord lets 
loose enemies on his people, tosses them from vessel to vessel, and 
then the way betwixt heaven and them was well occupied. They 
had still some particular suits lying before the throne, and they 

saints' former experiences. 115 

could have given a good account of their receipts. But long ease 
has made them lose their tongue ; so that the experience of many in 
that point now can hardly be named, unless they turn back to for- 
mer days. There is one experience of Elijah's, which, I fear, is not 
uncommon among praying folk at this day, and that is, a restraint 
laid on them, that they cannot wrestle with God for the averting of 
wrath from the generation of God's wrath, 1 Kings xvii. 3 — 9. Such 
a sad experience had Jeremiah also, before the Babylonish captivity, 
Jer. xiv. 11, and xv, 1. And though God doth not so reveal his 
mind now in particular cases, yet I suppose that it will be found, 
that those who live near God, and have the spirit of prayer in such 
cases, may find something equivalent thereto in their liberty and 
confidence with tile Lord, and that according to the subject of their 
requests : Ezek. xxxvi. 37, " Thus saith the Lord God, I will yet for 
this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them." 

3. The experience of the sweet fruits of dependance on the Lord, 
and of a little goiug far, with his blessing : 1 Kings xvii. 16, " And 
the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, ac- 
cording to the word of the Lord." Elijah saw so very few for God 
in his day, that he thought he was alone ; and the Lord strength- 
ened his faith by such experiences. Many times God's people have 
had such experiences of the Lord's bringing great things about by 
small beginnings, as the cloud like a man's hand, according to the 
promise, Prov. iv. 18, " But the path of the just is as the shining 
light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." Hos. vi. 
3, " His going forth is prepared as the morning, and he shall come 
unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth." 
God has many ways of working in the experience of his people ; and 
when he works by means, sometimes he does great things by small 
means, as the feeding of Elijah, the widow and her son, so long on 
an handful of meal, and a little oil in a cruse ; Haman's hellish plot 
is overturned by the king's falling from his rest one night, Esth. vi. 
1. Sometimes by contrary means, as Elijah was fed by the ravens 
•who were more likely to have picked flesh from him, than to have 
brought it to him. 

But where is the God of Elijah at this day, when what we have 
seems to be blown upon, that it goes in eflfect to nothing ? Our table 
is plentifully covered, yet our souls are starved; our goodness some- 
times looks as a morning cloud, it blackens the face of the heavens, 
and promises a hearty shower, but quickly proves as a little cloud, 
like unto a man's hand,' which is ready to go to nothing ; yea, the 
generation is blinded by the means that have a natural tendency to 
give light. Ah ! " Where is the God of Elijah «" 


4. The experience of a gracious boldness to face the most daring 
wickedness of the generation he lived in, though it was one of the 
ATorst. Tliis eminently appeared in his rencounter with Ahab, 
1 Kings xviii. 1 ; his standing alone against four hundred and fifty 
of Baal's prophets ; whatever was his natural temper, he owed this 
to the grace of God, for when he was left to his natural courage, it 
failed him, chap. xix. 2 — 4; but the Lord spirited him then for the 
hard work he had to do, that he feared nothing in his master's 
cause, Acts iv. 13, " When they saw the boldness of Peter and 
John, they marvelled, and they took knowledge of them, that they 
had been with Jesus." 

But -nhere is the God of Elijah now, while the iniquities of our 
day meet with such faint resistance, while a brow for the cause of 
God, a tongue to speak for him, and a heart to act, are so much 
wanting. The wicked of the world, though they have an ill cause 
in hand, yet they pursue it boldly ; but, alas ! the people of God 
shame their honest cause, by their cowardice and faint appearing in 
it. If God give us not another spirit, more fitted for such a day, 
we will betray our trust, and bring the curse of the succeeding gene- 
ration on us. 

5. The experience of a glorious and powerful manifestation of 
himself, in a solemn ordinance, even at the sacrifice on Mount Car- 
mel, which was ushered in with the spirit of prayer in Elijah, 
1 Kings xviii. 37 — 39, " Hear me, God, hear me, that this people 
may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned 
their heart back again. Then the fire of the Lord fell, and con- 
sumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the 
dust, and licked up the Avater that was in the trench. And when all 
the people saw it, they fell on their faces, and they said. The Lord 
he is the God, The Lord he is the God." That was a glorious day's 
work, when Satan fell like lightning from heaven, from which day, 
no doubt, many dated their conversion, some their revival, and the 
people there generally felt somewhat divine on their spirits. Such 
glorious days the church has often had in ordinances, which have 
been as a high stream-tide of the gospel ; so that three thousand 
were converted at one sermon. Acts ii. 4L 

But where is the God of Elijah, when so little of the Spirit's in- 
fluences is found in ordinances, even solemn ordinances ? Here is 
the mantle, but where is the God of Elijah ? Here are the grave- 
clothes in which sometimes the Lord was wrapt up, but where is he 
himself? Communion-days have sometimes been glorious days in 
Scotland, and sometimes the gospel hath done much good ; so that 
ministers have had almost as much to do to heal broken hearts, as 
now to get hard hearts broken ; but " where now is the God of Elijah ?" 

saints' formek expekiences. 117 

6. The experience of being enabled to go far upon a meal, 1 Kings 
xix. 8, but where now is such experiences, while there is so little 
strength in the meals to which we now sit down ? This is a time 
wherein there is much need of such an experience ; the Lord seems 
to be saying to his people, " Rise and eat, for the journey is long ;" 
and what a hard journey some may have, ere they get another meal, 
who knows ? 

Lastly, The experience of the Lord's removing difficulties out of 
his way, when he himself could do nothing at them ; Jordan di- 
vided ; so Peter had the iron gate opened to him of its own accord : 
for when the Lord takes the work in hand, were it never so despe- 
rate as to us, it will succeed well with him. Sure we have need of 
his experience this day. flow is the case of many souls so embar- 
rassed at this day, that they cannot extricate themselves, by reason 
of long and continued departures from God ! so that all they can do 
is, that they are fighting and going backward. Ah ! " where is tho 
God of Elijah," to dry up those devouring deeps ! Enemies have 
surrounded the clinrch, and brought her to the brow of the hill, 
ready to cast her over; " where is the God of Elijah," to make a 
way for her escape ? — I shall next consider, 

IL flow we should come to God for the same entertainment, if 
we would come speed. There were two things Elisha did, for the 
presence of God to be with him, as he had been with Elijah. 

1. fle prayed for it, sent his prayer to heaven for it; and if we 
would have the experience of God's presence as in former days, we 
must ply the throne of grace for it this night. And there are three 
things in his prayer, which must be in ours. 

(1.) A most pressing sense of need, where he saw he could not 
venture into Elijah's post without Elijah's God. Sense of need 
makes earnest prayers. What is the reason we see not the glory 
of the Lord as formerly ? we reign as kings without it ; men have 
found out ways of their own, to get comfort without communion 
with God ; they have the creatures' breasts to suck at, when the 
Lord's consolations are not dropping into them. But if ever the 
Lord return to this generation, there will be a hunger raised in 
them, that all the world will not be able to satisfy. 

(2.) A most vehement desire of his presence ; " Where is the God 
of Elijah ?" There was a flame of desire after the Lord, that could 
not be satisfied without him. Some have observed in nature, that 
the tongue is tied by a double string to the heart in man. If so, it 
seems it has been designed that the tongue should be a stringed 
instrument, to sound out only the language of the heart. Were 
the heart more eager for the divine communications, we would 


wrestle with God in earnest, and not let liim go till he bless us ; 
but, alas ! our coldrife prayers do but beg a denial. 

(3.) There was great faith in his prayers : " V/here is the God of 
Elijah?" Faithless prayers will be inefficacious prayers to the end; 
but the hand of faith will pierce through the cloud wherewith the 
Lord covereth himself. 1st, He believed God could do what he 
sought, therefore he calls hira Jehovah, and the God of Elijah, who 
had discovered his power in dividing the waters before. 2.dli/, He 
believed God would do it, he had God's call to the work ; Elijah 
was taken away from hira, but he had Elijah's mantle in his hand, for 
a token God would be with hira, as with Elijah before ; and he was 
not faithless, but believing. So we must believe also, if we would 
see the glory of God; not only the power, but the good-will of God ; 
Jer. xvii. 6, 7, " Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and 
whose hope the Lord is." 

2. He used the means Elijah before him did, for attaining God's 
appearance and manifestation of himself. He smote the waters ; no 
matter though the means be unlikely to produce the effect, if they 
be of God's appointment ; and in faith we must stretch out the 
withered hand, if we would haA^e it restored, and venture on the work 
upon the credit of the promise. 

As a conclusion to this discourse, let me exhort you to go to the 
Lord Jesus this night, and wrestle for his presence as in former 
times; and let the consideration of God's presence with his people 
in former times, take you to tlie same God for the same entertain- 

To prevail with you, I would offer the following motives. 

1. Consider it is too evident the Lord has forsaken this genera- 
tion in great measure. He is writing bitter things against this 
church and land. Her beauty is marred upon all her assemblies ; 
where the cloud of glory some time rested, we may write Ichabod/ 
Hence it is so few are converted in our day ; and the Lord's own 
children, though they get some food, yet they fare not so well 
as in former times. "Why ? because the Lord is withdrawn in his 
anger. The sun of the gospel in Scotland is as a winter sun, and 
looks as if near the setting, at least getting under a dark cloud : 
Isa. Ixiv. 7, " There is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth 
up himself to take hold on thee, for thou hast hid thy face from us, 
and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities." 

2. This would be the way to get a blessing; importunity prevails 
much in heaven. Were we thus exercised, wo might get a blessing 
to this church, a blessing to this communion : Cant. iii. 4, " I found 
him whom my soul loveth ; I held him, and would not let him go, 

saints' foemer experiences. 119 

until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the 
chambers of her that conceived me :" a blessing Are should seek from 
him to ourselves. Though the Lord is sometimes so angry with a 
generation, that there is no turning away of his wrath, yet the seri- 
ous seekers of his face will always get the blessing : Isa. iii. 10, 
" Say ye to the righteous, it shall be well with him, for they shall 
eat the fruit of their doings." 

3. The door we set you to is a door where many have been liber- 
ally helped before you, and the Lord's arm is not shortened. The 
saints that were richest in experience got them all there, and all the 
fair ones now in glory, he was their God, that was with them in 
life, death, and now after death. Let the good report of his house, 
then, make you flock about his door, for there is no ground for that 
temptation, Job v. 1, " Call now, if there be any that will answer 
thee, and to which of the saints wilt thou turn ?" 

4. It is a door where there is nothing given for personal worth. 
All that ever was given there to any of the children of fallen 
Adam, was given with that protestation, Ezek. xxxvi. 32, " Not for 
your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you : 
be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, house of Israel !" 
That the most unworthy in all succeeding generations might see they 
were welcome, it is for his own sake ; and that cannot change. 

Lastly, What will ordinances avail without his presence ? Nay, 
they will do ill, instead of doing us good ; they will bring on us a 
curse instead of a blessing ; and therefore wrestle with him, and 
protest, Exod. xxxiii. 15, "If thy presence go not with us, carry 
us not up hence." The sermons will be to you as an empty sound, 
the Lord's table as an empty chair of state, when the King is 
away. If his presence be not given you, you will get no spiritual 
feast ; and one had better be at a common table, than at the Lord's 
table, when they do not feed : 1 Cor. xi. 29, " For he that eateth 
unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself." If the king 
be away, then there will be no furniture for trials, none for the 
evil day, that seems to be approaching quickly ; none for a dying 
day that is awaiting all of us. Now, if ye would find him, seek him 
in Christ, look for him in the several means of his appointment, 
streets, courts, &c. Put away every thing that mars his presence 
with you. 




2 Kings ii. 14, 

And he took the mantle of Elijah, that fell from hhn, and smote the 

waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah ? 

I SHALL now, 

III. Give the reasons of the doctrine, or shew, that the considera- 
tion of God's presence with his people in former days, should bring 
the succeeding generation to the same God for the same entertain- 

This consideration may and ought to work upon us in two ways. 

1. By way of simple excitation and lipstirring. When Elisha 
considered what God had done for Elijah, it set his soul on fire, in- 
flamed his desires, set his heart a-longing after the Lord, that he 
might deal the same way with him. Thus the consideration of 
God's gracious appearances to and for his people in former times, 
should be a powerful motive to labour for the same or like experi- 
ences. It should inflame our hearts with a holy emulation, and ear- 
nest desire of the blessed entertainment others have got before us 
at God's door ; for the following reasons : — 

(1.) Because, so far as we come short of it, it is a sign we are 
so far off the way where the footsteps of the flock are to be seen, 
Cant. i. 8 ; and that is so dangerous, that it may well strike a 
nail to our heart to think of it. What is the reason we fare not so 
well about the Lord's hand as others before us ? Have we not the 
same God to go to, the same covenant-promises ? We have the 
same breasts of divine consolations, as full as ever, but it seems we 
have much lost the art of sucking them, that sometimes has been 
our experience. 

(2.) Because, so far as we come short, it is a sign of God's anger 
against us, that he hath some quarrel with us he had not with his 
people in former days of the right hand of the Most High ; and may 
not this prick us to the heart, and set us to our knees ? Isa. lix. 12, 
" For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins 
testify against us." What is it but the sins of the generation, that 
stops the communication of the divine goodness ? Does the Spirit 
of the Lord depart till he be grieved, or the holy fire go out till it 

* Delivered August 16, 1713 ; afternoon. 

saints' former experiences. ' 121 

be quenched ? Does the Lord close his distributing hand till his 
people close their mouths ? or does not the oil ruu while there are 
empty vessels to receive it ? While the furious wind of persecu- 
tion blew on God's people in Scotland, and the sweeping rains fell> 
sweeping away their earth from about them, the fountain of the di- 
vine goodness to them ran freely ; but now, alas ! through long ease, 
we have got the springs stopt with our mud and earth, 

(3.) Because we have as much need as they had : Luke xv. 17, 
"And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants 
of ray father's house have bread enough, and to spare, and I perish 
with hunger ! I will arise, and go," &c. If we be less at God's 
door than other's before us, it is not, I am sure, for any wealth we 
have at home, more than they had ; it is not that we do not stand 
in need, but that we are not so sensible of our need. Many of the 
Lord's peoi)le have taken little rest, when they had more than wo 
can pretend to; they have been very anxious to increase their stock- 
when it was far above ours ; and when we consider how fast they 
ran, when they had reached far above our small measure, should 
not that stir us up to mend our pace ? Phil. iii. 13, 14, " Brethren, I 
count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, for- 
getting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those 
things that are before, I press towards the mark for the prize of the 
high calling of God in Christ Jesus." 

(4.) Because these glorious examples should not be without due 
influence upon us. Example is a most efficacious incitement ; Csesar 
grieved when he saw the statue of Alexander, and considered how 
he, at the age of thirty, had conquered the world, and himself, being 
older, had done nothing; Heb. xii. 1, " Wherefore, seeing we also are 
compassed about with such a cloud of wituesses, let us lay aside 
every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us 
run with patience the race that is set before us." IIow may we 
blush when we consider the stature of those before us, that have 
been as the palm-tree, while we, growing in the same soil, are like 
pitiful shrubs ! Surely if our spirits were not mightily sunk and de- 
generate, the glorious example of the Lord's people in former days 
would set our whole soul a-going after the God of Elijah. 

2. It should work on us by way of encouragement. Elijah's ex- 
ample gave Elisha hopes he might find God the same to him he had 
been to his predecessor. Encouragement is a notable spur to dili- 
gence, and is that which is most likely to take with men. What is 
it which makes us that we wrestle not for God's presence, as in for- 
mer days ? even unbelief, that tells us we need not be at the pains, 
for it will not do. But the report of the godly in former days con- 



tradicts the report of unbelief, and therefore should bring us back to 
God's door ; even as when a beggar, having called at a door for his 
alms, was coming away without it, and should meet with another 
that had been plentifully served there, who would say to him. That 
is a good house, and though one may stand long at the door ere they 
be served, yet they give ay a liberal alms at length ; would not that 
bring the beggar back again ? So should the consideration of God's 
presence with his people in former days bring us to him for the 
same entertainment. For this there are the best reasons ; such as, 
(1.) Because the experiences of the Lord's people in former days 
were given, and put on record, for that very end. All the expe- 
riences of God's presence with his people in former days, arc as 
so many signs of peace on earth, and good-will towards men. They, 
as it were, stand at God's door, to invite and encourage those of suc- 
ceeding generations to come in there for the same or like entertain- 
ment ; and his people do but answer the design of them, when they 
come and inquire, " Where is the Lord God of Elijah?" — Eph. xii. 
7, " That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of 
his grace, in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus." — Rom. 
XV. 4, " For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written 
for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the scrip- 
tures, might have hope." 

(2.) Because these experiences say there is enough to be had in 
God for the seeking, if we seek in his own way : Psalm xxii. 4, 
" Our fathers trusted in thee, they trusted, and thou didst deliver 
them. They cried to thee, and were delivered ; they trusted in thee, 
and were not confounded." The saints that have gone before us 
have spread a good report of God's house, that others after 
them might come to the same door. They have had the expe- 
rience of the Lord's help in all the cases that we can be in ; 
and whatever be the difficult steps we have to go, if we mark nar- 
rowly, we will see the footsteps of the flock before us in these steps 
through which their God has graciously handed them : Psalm xxxiv. 
6, 8, " This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him 
out of all his troubles. — taste, and see that the Lord is good ; 
blessed is the man that trusteth in him." And their experiences 
are their testimony to the truth of his promises : Psalm xii. 6, " The 
words of the Lord are pure as silver tried." 

(3.) Because we have the same advantages that they had, yea, and 
more than some of them, that lived in darker days than we do. How 
many have groped the way to the throne of grace, when they had 
not such light shining around them as we have to shew the way ; 
but, however we make the comparison, we have the same God to go 


to that they had, who has as much to give, and is as gracious as 
ever : Jam. i. 17, " Every good gift, and every precious gift, is from 
above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom there 
is no variableness, neither shadow of turning ;" the same High 
Priest over the house of God, that is as well heard by the Father 
now as ever, Heb. xiii. 8, " Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and 
to-day, and for ever ;" the same covenant, for it is everlasting ; the 
same promises, whose truth and mercy endure for ever. 

(4.) Because all that ever the best of the saints got was in the way 
of free grace. It was not only undeserved, but given over the belly 
of ill-deserving : and if it be free grace that opens the door, what 
needy sinner is there but may come forward for a share ? All the 
love that was ever bestowed on any of them, was free love, without 
the least deserving ; if ye think there is any exception, look through 
them all, from Adam downwards, and name the man if you can. 
Paul challenges the world to do it, Rom. xi. 35, " Or who hath first 
given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again ?" 

lY. I am now to make some practical improvement. And this, 
I. In an use of reproof. This reaches a reproof to several sorts 
of persons ; as, 

(1.) To our modern blasphemers, who reckon the saints' expe- 
riences of the workings of the Lord's Spirit on their spirits nothing 
but the effects of imagination, heat of fancy, or somewhat else. So 
true is it, 1 Cor. ii. 14, " The natural man receiveth not the things 
of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness onto him ; neither can 
he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." But when 
we consider the sanctifying effects of these operations felt on their 
spirits, how by these their hearts are loosed from the lusts to which 
they were formerly glued, inflamed with love to God and his holy 
law, and thus to despise the world, rejoice in tribulation, joyfully to 
suffer for Christ, and deny themselves to all that is dear to them in 
the world for his cause, we must conclude, that these men do but 
new-model the doctrine of those that taught long ago that Christ cast 
out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils ; and that, as their 
working is formal, suited to the spirit of the natural man ; so their 
spirit is profane. 

(2.) Those that slight the experiences of the people of God, and 
appearances to and for them, as not worth their notice, far less of 
their pains, to get the same entertainment ; and yet they did more 
service to the cause of God, by their godly simplicity, than we are 
like to do by our refined prudentials ; and no wonder, for if a man 
will be truly wise, 1 Cor. iii. 18, " Let him become a fool, that he 
may be wise." A little faith and dependence on the Lord for light 



and strength, will go farther than ranch carnal foresight. Bnt they 
had the spirit of preaching, praying, and other things belonging to 
the service of God ; and we have the bare act of it. The good Lord 
send back the Spirit, come of the act what will ! 

(3.) To those who are ready to talk big of the experiences of God's 
people, and of God's appearances for theni in former days. With a 
whole heart, their consciences bearing them witness, they are not 
concerned to wrestle with God for themselves or others now, or to 
put to their hand, in their several capacities, to the revival of prac- 
tical godliness in the generation ; but, on the other hand, do im- 
prove it to the hardening of their own hearts, and to the contempt 
of ordinances and ministers. These are the genuine offspring of 
those who built the tombs of the prophets, and garnished their se- 
pulchres, yet are filling up the measure of their fathers' iniquities, 
Matth. xxiii. 29. — Whence I may observe, (1.) That dead prophets 
are better liked by a formal generation, than living ones, for they 
get less trouble of the dead than of the living. (2.) Such would 
make a brave use of the means of grace that were in former days, 
which they are sure they cannot get, while they have no power to 
improve the means that are among their hands. (3.) These will 
condemn their fathers' misusing of the prophets that arc gone, who 
yet will trample on their successors that are remaining. 

(4.) To those who improve the experience of the Lord's people in 
former days against themselves, to the deadening their own spirits, 
instead of quickening them, when they look upon them. By the 
subtlety of Satan, they are thereby discouraged and broken instead 
of being animated, as they ought, to seek the same entertainment. 
It is the remains of a legal disposition in any of the children of God, 
that is the source of discouragements arising from this airth. They 
look more to the goodness that was in the saints, and the ill that is 
in themselves, than to the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, through 
which alone the divine goodness did flow to them, and through which 
it may flow as freely to themselves. 

Lastly, To those whose hard thoughts of God the experience of 
all the saints from Adam cannot remove. So vile are they, they 
conclude, that God's heart cannot be towards them, though they 
have all the experiences of former saints, as so many depositions to 
confirm the welcome of all that come to him through Christ, what- 
ever they have been. lay by these hard thoughts of God, so de- 
structive to yourselves, and so dishonourable to God. Look among 
all that ever came to God, if ye can find one that died at his door ; 
if that be your lot, you will be the first ; but God's word says you 
shall not: John vi. 37, "Him that cometh unto me, I Avill in nowise 


«ast out." Beware of hard thoughts of God whatever your disap- 
pointmeuts be ; if the devil can get that point wrouglit up in you, 
he has you fair l)efore the wind for hell, where the fearful and un- 
believing land: and there is not a readier way on earth than that, 
to create a hell within a man, a hell, I say, where sin and sorrow 
for sin are both at a height. But here some may propose this 

Object. No other person's case is like mine. Answ. And there 
is none good as the Lord ; he is goodness itself, infinite goodness, 
and infinitely good to sinners in Christ ; and that is sufficient to 
swallow up your matchless evil. What think ye of Paul, Manasseh, 
Adam ? But though ye cannot see a case like yours among all the elect 
of Grod, you cannot thence conclude your case is marrowless, more 
than if ye were in a wilderness where ye could see no marks of a 
person's foot, ye might conclude never one was there before you. 
But suppose the saints' experiences leave you, yet the word will 
reach you : Rev. xxii. 17, " And the Spirit and the Bride say, come ; 
and let iiira that is athirst come ; and whotoever will let him take 
of tlie water of life freely." And if your case be quite new, God will 
do a new thing according to his word. Some person must go foremost 
in every case ; venture you, then, on Christ with that oase of yours, 
that others that may be in it after may follovr, and ye shall find a 
matchless physician for a matchless malady. — I shall only add, 

2. An use of exhortation. Let me exhort all, especially com- 
municants, to seek the Lord's presence and glorious appearances 
as in former days ; and make this your great business, never ceas- 
ing till he make himself known, as in the days of old. 

(1.) Seek his glorious presence to the spirits of his people, as in 
former days. The Lord's work here is at a sad stand ; cry, " Revive 
thy work in the midst of the years," Hab. iii. 2. Their bones are 
in that respect lying dry about the grave's mouth. cry for the 
Spirit of life to enter into them ! Even the trees of God's plantiug are 
become mighty sapless ; God's wheat is mighty withered at the root ; 
cry for a shower of iutluences, that the work within, that is at such 
a stand, may go on yet, and soul-exercises may be set on foot again. 

(2.) Seek his powerful manifestation of himself, to purge the gene- 
ration's wickedness, and to make holiness more common and shin- 
ing in our day. There is a deluge of profanity overflowing the 
land : " Where is the Lord God of Elijah ?" Cry for his appear- 
ance, to turn the stream, to make iniquity hide its head, and holi- 
ness to settle in its room. There is a glorious promise to the gospel- 
church, in Zech. xiv. 20, " In that day shall there be upon the bells 
of the horses, Holiness unto the Lord; and the pots in the Lord's 
house shall be like the bowls before the altar;" cry for the accom- 
plishment of it, to him with whom is the residue of the Spirit. 


(3.) Seek his glorious appearance in ordinances, as in former days, 
that he would beautify the place of his glory by his presence. Do 
your utmost to get him into your mother's house, for it is a heart- 
less house when he is away. We have been in pain, we have, as it 
Avere, brought forth wind, we have not wrought any deliverance in 
the earth : " Where is the Lord God of Elijah ?" 

(4.) Seek his glorious appearance for his churches, now when 
they are so low, and the hand of the Antichristian faction is so high : 
Jer. li. 5U, "Remember the Lord afar off, and let Jerusalem come 
into your mind ;" for your mother-church in particular, against 
which many are gathered, saying. Let Zion be defiled. Behold how 
pin after pin in her tabernacle is loosed, that it must quickly lie 
along upon the ground, if the Lord himself do not appear to hold 
it up. Seek for the revival and preservation of the covenanted work 
of reformation, that sacred pledge transmitted to us at the expense 
of the precious blood of many of the saints, the bearing down and 
destroying of which is like to make these nations yet swim with 
blood. Our rowers have rowed as into deep waters, where they 
have sunk our nation, and solemnly buried our covenants in the ruins 
of it : " Where is the Lord God of Elijah ?" 

Cry for their resurrection ; and if ye can do no more ye may do 
as Martha and Mary, that owned their relation to their brother while 
in the grave ; and say as Mary, and these with her, John xii. 34, 
when Christ asked, " Where have ye laid him ?" " Lord !" say they, 
" come and see." — For motive, 

1. Consider that the Lord's appearances and manifestations of 
himself as to his people in former days, would make a pleasant 
change on the face of affairs this day, it would be as life from the 
dead : Isa. xxxv. 12, " The wilderness and the solitary place shall 
be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the 
rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy 
and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the excel- 
lency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, 
and the excellency of our God." It would renew the earth's with- 
ered and decayed face. If, therefore, you have any respect for 
the thriving of your own souls, any pity on the perishing souls of a 
graceless multitude, any regard to God's honour and ordinances, 
any concern for his ark and work, seek his glorious appearance for 
his church. 

2. Consider that matters are come to such a pass with us now, 
that nothing less than God's gracious appearance for us, and pre- 
sence with us, as in former days, can prevent our ruin ; we have all 
grounds to fear an arousing stroke from the hand of the Lord, by 

saints' rORMER EXPERIENCES. 127 

menus of a French, Popish, and malignant faction, set to raze our 
Jerusalem to the very foundation, whose tender mercies are cruelty ; 
and if we should miss it, which is not likely by all appearance, there 
will be a blacker sight seen on this church, and these nations, by 
reason of that spirit of enmity against the purity of religion, and 
against all practical religion, that has made such dreadful advances 
this day, that, if God do not seasonably strike in, will, through 
time, wear out the saints of the Most High. 

Lastly, Consider the glorious things spoken of the latter times, 
to which the world seems to be advancing apace. The extraordinary 
efforts made this day for advancing the kingdom of the devil in the 
Christian part of the world, the universal decay of piety ia the 
churches look like a critical juncture, when the honour of God is 
called upon to " arise like a giant refreshed with wine," to purify 
a people to himself, and to strike his enemies on the hinder-parts. 
Whatever sad work may be made on the churches before that come, 
cry, '' Awake, put on strength, arm of the Lord ! awake, as iu 
the ancient days," Isa. lix. 9. — 1 shall close with a ^q'^ advices. 

1. Stir up yourselves to repent and reform : " Strengthen the 
things that remain, that are ready to die," Rev. iii. 2. It is high 
time we were bending to our feet, when the fire has begun to catch 
hold of our bed of sloth ; we have slept long enough, labour now to 
get and keep matters clear betwixt God and your souls. 

2. Lament after the Lord : 1 Sam. vii. 2, ** And all the house of 
Israel lamented after the Lord." Upon that they had occasion to 
set up another Ebenezer. The tears of the Lord's people after a de- 
parted God are the ready way to bring back their tender-hearted 
Lord. Mourn over your own sin, and the sins of present and former 

3. Study unity, and beware of division. Psalm cxxxiii. 3 ; be more 
afraid of your own than of other people's sins. This church at best 
is but weak ; let us not by divisions make ourselves au easier prey 
to the common enemy, lest God be provoked to cast us into the fire, 
to make us burn together. 

4. Lay out yourselves for the advancement of piety, to stir up 
one another to holiness, love, and good works. Put to your hand 
this way to hold up a standard for Christ in the world ; the devil's 
agents are busy, not only against the out-works of religion, but to 
sap the foundations of it. What are you doing to strengthen them ? 
To talk and complain about the defections of the time, will not do 
it, but apply your main force to advance and strengthen the vitals 
of religion in yourselves and others. 

5. Labour to put yourselves in a posture for suff'eriug ; cast the 

128 CUEIST THE father's GIFT 

burden of earth oft" your back, and let your shoes be on your 
feet, your eye on the prize ; pursue it over the belly of all hardships 
you may meet with, and you will readily find God will be with you. 
Lastly, Pray, pray, lift up a cry for the remnant that is left ; let 
us meet continually at the throne of grace, ministers and people, to 
tryst with him in his ordinances, and to wrestle for his presence. 



Isaiah Iv. 4, 

Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and conv- 

mander to the people. 

In the first verse of the chapter, there is a large offer of grace, and 
a cordial invitation to all to improve the blessings of salvation. In 
the second and third verses, the Lord expostulates with sinners for 
their slighting this offer, and pursuing after other things. Then the 
invitation itself is renewed, and backed with weighty motives. In 
all this the Lord has a special respect to the Gentiles, who at that 
time were strangers to the covenant of iM'omise. In the text, there 
is a notable ground of encouragement for sinners to come to Christ; 
the very scope of it is to encourage them to come to him ; it is as if 
God had said, Wliy are you afraid to come ? behold I have given 
him for that very end, to be a witness, a leader, and a commander 
to the iJeople. Therefore you may conclude, that he must have a 
people to believe in him as a witness, follow him as a leader, and 
obey him as a commander. Did ever any prince give any captain's 
commission, but when he designed also he should have some under 
him as soldiers ? 

In the text, we have a declaration of what God the Father hath 
done for poor sinners : and because it is an unequalled deed, it is 
ushered in with a note of attention and admiration, " Behold I have 
given." He has made a gift to sinners, a gift such as may supply 
all their wants. 

1. Consider the giver; " I," that is, the Father, the contriver and 
source of the sinner's salvation. None else could give such a great 
gift, none else had power to make this gift. In regard of the giver, 
then, it ought to be received with all due respect and gratitude. 

' The time when this discourse was delivered is not mentioned. 


2. Consider the gift, " hira ;" that is Christ, of whom David was a 
type ; John iii. 16, " God so loved the world, that he gave his only- 
begotten Son." This is a gift suitable to the greatness of the giver. 
He gives like a king, yea, like the King of kings : for his gift is 
unspeakably and infinitely great. 

3. Mark the conveyance of this noble gift : " I have given him ;" 
I have freely bestowed him. This was according to the covenant of 
grace ; he was not given against his v/ill. No ; his Father's will 
and his are one, he gave himself also. The Father freely designed 
him for the work, and he cheerfully accepted, saying, " Lo ! I 

4. Consider the end of this gift. For what purpose did the Fa- 
ther give Christ? Why, it was to supply the needs of the people, 
both the Jews and the Gentiles. But here the Gentiles seem to be 
especially aimed at, ver. 5, " Behold, thou shalt call a nation that 
thou knowest not ; and nations that know not thee shall run unto 
thee." What sort of people these were, may be learned in part 
from the ends for which Christ is given. He is given, 

(1.) For a witness, to testify the truth and to reveal the mind 
and will of God to the people : John xviii. 37, " To this end," said 
Jesus, " was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I 
should bear witness to the truth ; every one that is of the truth he 
heareth my voice." Hence it follows, that they are an ignorant 
people that know not God, nor the mysteries of salvation ; the very 
people, that have lost their eyes in Adam ; an unbelieving people, 
who will not believe God, unless he proves what he says by his wit- 

(2.) For a leader, to go before them as a prince and a captain, as 
the word signifies, and so they are a people that have difiiculties to 
go through, and know not their way, and so stand in need of a 
leader. He is given, 

(3.) For a commander, to give them laws and rules for their 
obedience. This implies that they are an unruly people, who must 
have one to keep them in order. 

There is a "behold" prefixed to the text. This serves to stir up 
attention and admiration. Let us consider and wonder, how graci- 
ously and suitably the Lord has provided for us. — In this verse there 
is this 

Doctrine, That the Father's giving of Christ to be a witness, 
leader, and commander to sinners, is a matter worthy of deepest 
consideration, and greatest admiration. 

In discoursing on this subject, it is intended, by divine aid, 


I. To show you some special steps of God's giving this noble gift, 

II. To inquire for what this gift is so remarkable. 

III. What we may behold in the Father's giving this gift. And, 

IV. To conclude with a practical improvement. 
We are then, 

I To shew you some special steps of God's giving this noble gift, 

1. God made this gift before time, even from all eternity, in re- 
spect of designation ; the Lord designed him to be a witness, leader, 
and commander to the i^eople ; from all eternity did God design to 
bring many sous to glory ; and therefore at that period also did he 
design their captain for them. What is done in time is but the 
execution of eternal decrees; eternal life was promised us in Christ 
Jesus before the world began. Tit. i. 2. 

2. God gave him in the morning of time, in the first promise : 
" The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent." 
When Adam fell, and involved all his posterity in a lost condition, 
when he had carried all of them out of the way of life, so that none 
of them could ever know it again without a witness, nor walk in it 
without a guide, then God promised this noble gift, to make up what 
Adam had lost, and to restore to us what he had taken away. 

3. In the fulness of time, when he actually exhibited this gift ; 
when the word was made flesh, and tabernacled among us, " When 
the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a 
woman, made under the law," Gal. iv. 4. 

Then was seen that great gift foretold by Moses and the prophets, 
shadowed forth by the law, and looked for with earnest expectation 
by the people of God. A time it Avas when he thus came, wherein 
the world lay in deep spiritual darkness ; the knowledge of the true 
God was almost totally abolished among the Gentiles ; they knew not 
God, and the true religion was dreadfully corrupted among the Jews. 
The few that remained were wearied with the burdensome ceremo- 
nies, that could not make the comers thereunto perfect, and there- 
fore looked for the mercy promised unto the fathers. 

4. God gave this gift in the last time, when the gospel was freely 
preached to all nations. Then it was, and ever since, that Christ 
set up his standard in the world, to receive all, without distinction 
that would fight under his banner. Thus God gave him in respect 
of the free ofi^er : " He is the gift of God," John iv. 10. 

5. He gives him, in particular, to every elect soul in the time of 
love, the day of espousals. This is that blessed spot of the believer's 
time, wherein they match with the Son of God, believe his word, and 


give themselves up to his conduct. They thus receive the unspeak- 
able gift of God ; and this is a crowning mercy indeed ! Whosoever 
thus by faith receives this precious gift, shall receive him over again 
in the marriage-day, that is, when time is over and gone. Then it 
shall be said, "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him, 
for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made her- 
self ready." — Let us, 

IL Inquire for what this gift is so remarkable ? 

1. It is remarkable, for the hand from whence it came. It was 
the Father that gave Christ ; even he spared not his own Son, but 
delivered him up for us all, Rom. viii. 32. If a gift be valuable for 
the sake of the giver, then Christ is the most valuable gift, as given 
by the Father; and therefore he that slights Christ, slights the Fa- 
ther also. The town-clerk of Ephesus supposed that none could 
but know, that the Ephesians would be zealous for the image of 
Diana, because it was supposed to have fallen down from Jupiter, 
Acts xix. 35 ; ten thousand times better reason have we most highly 
to esteem our Lord Jesus, because we have the most infallible assur- 
ance, that he came down from God, the Father of mercies, " My Father 
(said Jesus), giveth you the true bread from heaven," John vi. 32. 

2. It is remarkable for the persons to whom it is given. Who 
are they ? they are men, and not angels, sinners and not saints : 
" God commendeth his love towards us, in that while we were sin- 
ners, Christ died for us," Rom. v. 8, " Yea, in due time he died for 
the ungodly." Men that give gifts, usually give them to their 
friends, but God gave even his unspeakable gift to his enemies ; 
men gave to the rich, but God gave to the poor ; he gave this gift 
to them that had mis-spent the gifts bestowed upon them at their 
creation. let us set a mark here, aud say, " Behold what manner 
of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called 
the sons of God !" 1 John iii. 1. 

3. It is remarkable for the seasonableness of it. God not only 
gave his Son, but he gave him in proper season ; as it was with 
Abraham, for whom God provided a ram to be offered in the stead 
of his only son Isaac, who was already bound on the altar; so 
when the sinner's neck was on the block, when divine justice had a 
sure hold of him, and was about to strike the fatal blow, then did 
God provide, and give Jesus to be a sacrifice in our stead. what 
a surprise, as well as a comfort, was the promise of him to poor 
Adam ! and how welcome to us should be this faithful saying, and 
worthy of all acceptation, that God sent even his own Son, " to seek 
and to save that which was lost." 

4. It is remarkable for the suitableness of it. Unsuitable gifts 


are not much esteemed. What though a man would give a purse 
full of gold to one starving for want of bread, or present plenty of 
food to a person just dying of an incurable disease ? Such unsuit- 
able gifts could be of no use to these persons ; but Christ is every 
way suitable to the sinner's case : *' Wherefore he is able to save 
to the uttermost all that come unto God through him ; because he 
ever liveth to make intercession for us." For such an High-priest 
became us, who was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from 
sinners, and made higher than the heavens." The balsam of his 
blood exactly answers our wounds in breadth and length ; it cleanses 
from all sin, and purges the conscience from dead works. It was 
contrived by infinite wisdom for this purpose, and every sinner 
whose eyes are opened at once sees his suitableness ; for Christ is 
" the power of God, and the wisdom of God," 1 Cor. i. 24. 

5. This gift is remarkable, for the necessity of it : Acts iv. 12, 
" Neither is there salvation in any other ; for there is none other 
name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved." 
What would the world have been without Christ but a dungeon of 
darkness, a pit of horror, a prison of misery and despair ? Had we 
only heard God thundering on Mount Sinai, and not God groaning 
on Calvary, then we had made the rocks rent, and the hills resound 
with our desperate outcries. No man, no angel, was able to help; 
nothing but the blood of God could expiate our guilt. 

6. It is remarkable for the greatness of it. It is a gift without a 
parallel in heaven or in earth : " God so loved tlie world, that he 
gave his only-begotten Son," John iii. 16. A greater gift than this 
Heaven could not give, and earth could not receive. The salvation is 
great, but the Saviour, the person who wrought out this salvation, 
must be greater. Many rich and blessed gifts God gives his people, 
but they are all little when compared with this great gift, for along 
with it he freely gives us all things. When God resolved to display 
and communicate his goodness, his wisdom, power and bounty, he 
made a world out of nothing ; but when he resolved to manifest his 
love, and discover all his glory, he gives us to view it in the face 
and person of Jesus. The Sabbath was appointed for celebrating the 
praises of God for the work of creation ; but in addition to this, 
eternity is destined to celebrate the praises of the riches of his grace 
and glory in Christ Jesus. 

7. This gift is remarkable, for the freedom of it. — Christ is a gift 
every way free. There is a cluster of wonders in the freedom of it. 
— These we shall in part take notice. This gift is given, 

(1.) To the undeserving. We deserve no good at the hand of the 
Lord, much less the greatest good ; we cannot challenge a drop of 


water by merit, much less Christ and his grace ; so that God can- 
not wrong us, whatever he deny us. It is given, 

(2.) To the ill-deserving ; to them who deserved death and dam- 
nation ; who were justly lying under the curse of the first covenant, 
and whose demerit would have sunk them to hell. Yea, this gift is 

(3.) To them that were not seeking it : "I am sought (says God) 
of them that asked not for me ; I am found of them that sought me 
not : I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that were not call- 
ed by my name." Christ can say of all his people, " Ye have not 
chosen me, but I have chosen you." The Father presses the gift 
of his Son upon poor sinners, even when they are feeding on husks, 
and not seeking after him, saying, " "Wherefore do ye spend money 
for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth 
not ? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, 
and let your soul delight itself in fatness," Isa. Iv. 2. It is given, 

(4.) To them that were not expecting it, or looking for any such 
gift at his hand. How was Zaccheus surprised when Jesus said 
unto him, " This day is salvation come to thine house," Luke xix. 9. 

(5.) Yea, it is still offered to them who have often refused it, 
who have been frequently bidden to the marriage-supper, anl have 
as often refused to come : *' Ye will not come to me, (says Jesus), 
that ye might have life ;" but yet still does he say, " Why will ye 
die, house of Israel ?" 

8. This gift is remarkable for the nnchangeableness of it. All 
the spiritual gifts and callings of God are without repentance ; but 
above all it is so with Jesus, his great and unspeakable gift. Where 
he once comes, he never afterwards goes away. There is a strict 
bond of union betwixt Christ and the soul, which death itself can- 
not dissolve ; yea, " there is nothing that can separate us from the 
love of God that is in Christ Jesus." If the soul cannot keep fast 
hold of Christ, Christ will keep fast hold of it : "I know my sheep 
(says Jesus), and they follow me ; and I give unto them eternal life, 
and they shall never perish ; neither shall any man pluck them out 
of my hand," John x. 27, 28. If the hand of faith be weak, he can 
strengthen it ; and the Spirit of God does not faint or grow weary. 
The term of the union between Christ and believers is during life 
eternal. — Let ns, 

III. Inquire what we may behold in the Father's giving this gift. 
Much, much indeed, may we here behold, that merits our attention, 
admiration, gratitude and love. But at present, time only permits 
me simply to mention a particular or two. 

1. In this gift we may see our own needs. If our necessity had 


not been very great and urgent indeed, God would not have given 
his own Son, to be a witness, leader, and commander to us ; had not 
our misery been great, and also beyond the power of men and 
angels to deliver from it, God would not have provided and given 
such a ransom for us. This at once shews our misery to have been 
so great, that none but Jesus could deliver us from going down to 
the pit. The divine excellence and infinite value of the remedy, 
clearly demonstrate the absolute necessity on our part of such a 

2, In this gift we may see infinite love. What but love, love 
eternal, and boundless grace, could have induced God the Father to 
have given his own well-beloved Son, even to die in the room of 
such creatures as we are ? Instead of merit, we had the very great- 
est demerit ; and God was under no obligations to give us such a gift ; 
his own love, then, was the source. In the gift itself, we have the 
greatest display of love ever made to any of the creatures of God ; 
the greatness of it the heart cannot conceive, nor the tongue express; 
the greatness of it will through eternity excite the admiration, grati- 
tude, and love of angels and men. 

3. In this gift, we have to contemplate a glorious design of doing 
good to sinners. All the gifts of God are intended for our good ; 
but as this is the greatest of them all, yea, infinitely greater than 
them all taken together, so the good evidently intended by it is 
also exceeding great ; yea, it bears a proportion to the infinite value 
of the gift itself. When we consider the divine dignity of the per- 
son sent, and his near relation to the Father, when we consider the 
greatness of the work his Father gave him to do, and the tremen- 
dously dreadful sufferings which he appointed him to endure, we 
may at once conclude, that the good thereby intended for sinners 
was so great, as to be worthy of the wisdom and goodness of the per- 
son who sent him, and worthy also of the Son of God to accomplish. 
This was nothing else than eternal life : Jesus, *' the Captain 
of our salvation, was made perfect through sufferings, that he 
might bring many sons to glory." 

TV. Let us now conclude with a practical improvement. 

My friends, when God makes offer of this gift to you, slight it 
not, but receive it gratefully ; accept of Christ as he is offered in the 
gospel. When Christ on the cross saw his mother standing by the 
disciple whom he loved, he said unto her, " Woman, behold thy 
Son !" then to the disciple, " Eehold thy mother!" and from that 
hour that disciple took her unto his own home. So does God ad- 
dress you, saying to each of us, Behold my Son Christ, and take him 
home into your hearts. — For motives to this consider, 


1. That Christ is a leading gift. "Wherever he comes, he nerer 
comes alone, he brings a train of blessings along with him, even all 
the blessings of the everlasting covenant ; for in him all the promises 
are yea and amen. Receive him, and ye shall have a complete and 
everlasting righteousness with him, reconciliation and peace with 
God, pardon of sin, sonship to God, an inheritance among them that 
are sanctified, and, finally, a right to all things. If ye receive him 
all things are yours : " Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the 
world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come ; all 
are yours : and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's," 1 Cor. iii. 

2. He is a soul-satisfying gift, in the enjoyment of which your 
souls may rest. Are you not seeking satisfaction, and pursuing 
after happiness ? but " why do you seek the living among the dead ?" 
Why do you suck the dry breasts of the world, and the impure 
fountains of your own lusts, that cannot satisfy ? Isa. Iv. 2. No- 
thing but an infinite good can satisfy the desires of the human soul, 
and here it is. Here in Christ, like Habakknk, you may find a 
source of joy and strength, when all other comforts fail. As no- 
thing but the mother's breast can satisfy the hungry infant, so 
nothing but Christ can satisfy your souls aright : " Whosoever 
drinketh of the water (saith Jesus) that I shall give him, shall never 
thirst ; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of 
living water, springing up into everlasting life," John iv. 14. 

3. He gave himself to the death, that he might be a gift suitable 
to your necessities. He is that bread that the Father gave from 
heaven ; bread that was ground between the mill-stones, and baken 
in the oven of God's wrath, that he might be bread to you. 

4. Do ye not need, positively need him ? Can you be happy with- 
out a pardon, peace with God, a righteousness, and an everlasting 
inheritance ? Now, there is no possible way of obtaining these, but 
by him. ! my fellow-sinners, how can ye live or die without him ? 
Sure your own necessities have a loud cry to you not to slight him ; 
your souls, pining away in sin, cry, slight not a Saviour ! your 
souls, truly sick, cry, slight not the physician ! 

5. Consider, he is in your offer; you may have him if you will. 
*' The Spirit and the bride say. Come ; and let him that heareth, say 
Come ; and let him that is athirst come ; and whosoever will, let 
him take the water of life freely." You see there is nothing to 
hinder your receiving him : for the Father is willing to give his 
Son to you, and the Son is willing to give himself, the Spirit is will- 
ing : " All things are ready, come ye to the marriage." Nay, it is 
not merely a simple off'er, but a, command : " This is the command of 

136 CHRIST THE father's gift 

God, that ye believe on his Son." Therefore under the pain of God's 
eternal displeasure, accept of hira : " He that believeth shall be 
saved, he that believeth not shall be damned. 

6. Consider, he will not always be in your offer. When once the 
Master hath risen up, and shut the doors, ye may knock in vain, 
there will be no more entrance. Thus ye may be taken from the 
offer, or it from you ; now, then, is the accepted time, and now is 
the day of salvation. 

Lastly, Consider if ye receive him not, ye are lost for ever ; and 
then it will be more tolerable for them that never heard of hira, 
than for you : 

" If he that despised Moses' law died without mercy, under two or 
three witnesses, of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he 
be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, 
and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanc- 
tified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of 
God ?" For we know hira that hath said, " Vengeance belongeth 
unto me, and I will repay, saith the Lord," Heb. x. 28 — 30. 

My fellow-sinners, will ye now take this gift from heaven ? I am 
sure there would not need to be so much work to make you receive a 
gift that is not worthy once to be named with this : if ye will not 
take it, what have you to say for yourselves ? Perhaps the reasons 
why some will not receive this gift may be easily found out; as, 

1. Some will not, because they need it not; like Esau, in another 
case, they may be ready to say, '' I have enough, my brother, keep 
that thou hast unto thyself," Gen. xxxiii. 9. Alas ! many are full, 
are rich, and reign as kings without Christ ; but, ! would to God 
they were rich, and did reign. Such persons only reign like Saul, 
when God departed from hira. Sure am I, that if there be a soul 
under heaven needs Christ, it is such a person. They who, like 
the Laodiceans, are rich and increased with goods, and have need of 
nothing, and know not that they are wretched, and miserable, and 
poor, blind, and naked, how much need had they to listen to the 
counsel of Jesus, and buy of hira gold tried in the fire, that they may 
be rich ; for what have ye without Christ, but has God's curse in it ? 
all your gifts are cursed to you, Mai. ii. 2, " I will even," says God, 
•* send a curse upon you, and will curse your blessings, yea, I have 
cursed thera already," because ye do not lay it to heart. 

2. Others will not, because they have not room for it ; many have 
no room for Christ ; their hearts and affections are otherwise taken 
up. But, ! what takes up that room ? what guests do you lodge 
in your hearts, that the Son of God cannot have access ? If ye have 
not room, will ye make room ? Tell^hira ye are content to take him. 


and invite liira to make room for himself, and he will do it. He is 
able to cast out your idols, and to pull down trhe strong-holds of sin 
and Satan that are in your hearts. 

3. Some will not, because they like not the onerous cause of the 
gift. There are many that cannot digest what is required of them 
who belong to Christ : " If any man will be ray disciple, let him deny 
himself, take up his cross, and follow me." They could take the 
crown, but they cannot away with the cross, or the hard service. 
Such are to be pitied, for they are led aside by mistakes ; if Christ 
was in yonr hearts, his service would be your choice, and you would 
glory in his cross. 

4. Many will not, because they have no will to come under the 
obligation of a gift. Thus it was with the Jews ; going about to 
establish their own righteousness, they submitted not themselves to 
the righteousness of God. This pride of heart lies often vailed un- 
der the shew of humility, when all the while the soul refuses to 
come to Christ, because of unwillingness. Well, you must either be 
obliged to Christ for your salvation, or perish ; for do what you 
will, or suffer what you will, if Christ be not yours, you perish. 

Lastly, Not a few will not, because they think, though it may do 
good to others, yet it can do none to them. Who knows but this 
may be the temptation of some ! this is the poisonous breath of 
monstrous unbelief, that at once flies in the face of God's truth, 
making him a liar, 1 John v. 10; and in the face of his wisdom, as 
if he had provided an unsuitable remedy. Siuner, who ever perished 
in the hands of Jesus ? and what desperate cases has he cured ! 
But do you object there was never the like of yours ? Answ. Then 
you will glorify Christ the more, if you will venture yourself in his 
hand. Many wonderful precedents have you as proofs of his abil- 
ity. Venture yourselves then in his hand, " for he is able to save 
to the uttermost all that come to God through him, seeing he ever 
liveth to make intercession for us." Amen. 

YoL. IX. 




2 Cor. xii. 10, 
For when I am weak, then am I strong. 

The text is a gospel-paradox, best understood by experience. The 
Christian is a mystery, a mystery to the world ; the saints are hid- 
den ones, yea, in a great measure they are a mystery to themselves ; 
so is the Christian life. The apostle in the text, tells us one of the 
great mysteries of the Christian life, and that is meat out of the 
eater: "I take pleasure," says he, "in infirmities, in reproaches, 
in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake." 
Christianity teaches not a Stoical apathy, no man is more sensible 
of the weight of his burden than a Christian ; yet he can not only 
bear a heavy burden patiently, (which I believe is a mystery to many 
of us), but he even finds a pleasure in a burden he is not able to 
stand under. After sense has considered a trial, gone out and in 
through it, and found nothing but bitterness, faith can discover a 
great deal of sweetness in it. The Christian well exercised, may get 
some glorious sights in his trials and temptations, that afford a re- 
fined pleasure. 

1. It is a sweet sight for a Christian to see himself standing a 
candidate for glory, and on his trials for heaven, 1 Pet. i. 6, 7, 
" Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, 
ye are in heaviness, through manifold temptations, that the trial 
of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perish- 
eth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise, and 
honour, and glory, at the appearing of Christ." 

2. It is sweet to see Christ dragging the corrupt will to the cross, 
and driving the nails through it, for its mortification : Jam. i. 3, 
" Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience." 

3. It is sweet to see Christ, in order to the starving of lusts 
blocking up the passes by which provisions might be brought to 

4. To see the soul out of weakness made strong, and the devil 
outshot with his own bow. This account of it the text gives, "For 
when I am weak," that is, when I am weak in myself, '* then am I 
strong" in Christ ; ver. 9, " My grace is sufficient for thee, for my 

* Thii and the following discourse delivered July 12, and 13, 1713. 


strength is made perfect in weakness." The Lord allowed the 
temptation to continue with him till he was driven out of himself, 
and was brought to confess he was not man enough for it, and then 
the Lord gives him strength against it. 

1. In the text there is something supposed, namely, that the Chris- 
tian is not always weak in the sense of the text ; he has not always 
the dne sense of his weakness ; sometimes his locks are cut, and yet 
he will go out as at former times. It is no small piece of Christian 
labour to keep a due sense of our weakness and insufficiency. 
When the Christian is strong in himself, then he is dead weak. If 
the devil can but get the man blown up with conceit of his own abil- 
ity to stand his ground against him, then he has him fair before the 
wind, as Peter. Hence it is that some will stand before great 
temptations, and fall before less ones. 

2. In the text, there is something expressed. "When the Christian 
is weak in his own sight, then he is really strong ; he baffles the 
temptation, he stands the trial, when he sees he is not man enough 
for it. Sometimes the devil rages, drives furiously by temptations, 
persecutions, and the like ; but unless he raise the dust, so as to 
blind the Christian's eyes, that he see not his own weakness, nor the 
strength of the grace without him in Christ, instead of driving him 
off his way, he will drive him to Christ, in whom he is enabled to 
stand, so as to come off a conqueror. I take up the sense of the 
verse in this 

DocT. That when the Christian is weak, then he is strong; weak 
in his own eyes, strong in Christ. 

In discoursing upon this subject, I shall consider the following 

I. What is that weakness, which paves the way to spiritual 
strength ? 

II. Offer some remarks for confirming this point. 

III. Give some reasons of the doctrine. And, 

lY. The illustration of these will make way for a large practical 
improvement, in various uses of the subject. 

I am then, 

I. To shew what is that weakness which paves the way for spi- 
ritual strength. 

1. There is in it a holy bent of the heart to that work, to which 
strength is required, with an honest desire and resolution to go 
through with the work. If a man hath no mind for the work, it is all 
one in that respect, whether he be weak or strong : Matth xxvi. 41, 
*' Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temi>tation ; the Spirit in- 



deed is willing, but the flesh is weak. But the Christian, however 


(1.) Aims honestly at the performance of every duty. Like Da- 
vid he has respect unto all God's commandments, Psalm cxix. 6 : 
Le dares not baulk any of the laws of Christ ; the whole law is writ- 
ten in his heart by divine grace, and he labours to write it over 
in his practice ; he has no objection to any duty he knows to be 
enjoined of the Lord, but says, " I esteem all thy precepts concern- 
ing all things to be right," Psalm cxix. 128. 

(2.) He is honestly resolved to resist temptation, and mortify 
lusts. This is what must be done, though he knows not well how ; 
he concludes, that though there be a lion in the way, he must be 
forward : " I have chosen," says he, " the way of truth," Psalm 
cxix. 30 ; his feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of 
peace ; he dares not think to fail with every wind, nor to go back 
and lie down in the embraces of his lusts, for it is to be supposed 
God has set fire to his rest there. 

(3.) He has laid his account with the cross, and resolves to con- 
tinue his weak shoulders under it, at Christ's call : Matth. xvi. 24, 
" If any man," said Jesus, " will come after me, let him deny him- 
self, take up the cross and follow me." 

He is resolved to follow the Lamb, though he should lie at the 
end of it, and never to leave the way of the Lord, for all the storms 
that Satan may raise in it ; he prefers Christ's cross to the world's 
crown ; and what he cannot keep with a good conscience, he will 
reckon himself better without than with it. 

2. A sense of utter inability, and insufficiency, to go through with 
that work, or any part of it : 2 Cor. iii, 5, " Not that we are suffici- 
ent of ourselves, to think anything as of ourselves, but our suffici- 
ency is of God." Though his designs are noble and generous, he 
knows he has nothing in himself to accomplish them ; for ye must 
know, that the Christian's confession of weakness is no compliment, 
they are children that will not lie ; it is no preposterous modesty 
or diffidence, that blinds a man to his own ability. But he sees 
things as they really are, and believes himself no more weak than 
ho is. When he looks over all his inventory, of what he is, and 
what he has in himself, he sees nothing to depend upon, either in 
point of doing or suffering. 

The Christian lies fairest for spiritual strength, when he is so 
low and weak in his own eyes, as that he dare not trust to anything 
for his through-bearing, that is not Christ's or in Christ : " They 
are the circumcision which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in 
Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh," Phil. iii. 3. A 


man is uo more weak in his own eyes than he has reason, — The 
Christian considers himself as weak, 

(1.) When he dare not trust to his own stock of natural or 
acquired abilities for suffering for Christ. These things may some- 
times carry a man through what is duty for the matter, but often- 
times they leave a man in the lurch, and can never help a man to 
do any good thing that God will accept ; and no wonder ; for saith 
Jeremiah, chap. xvii. 5, 6, "Thus saith the Lord God, Cursed be 
the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose 
heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath, and 
shall not see when good coraeth ; but shall inhabit the parched places 
in the wilderness, in a salt land not inhabited." See also Isa. xl. 

(2.) "When he dares not trust to the principles and resolutions of 
his heart. Nature is mighty venturous in religion, when it is flushed 
with vigorous resolutions. The Scribe said unto Jesus, " I will fol- 
low thee whithersoever thou goest," Matth. viii. 19. But when the 
temptation or trial comes, they fall down like the walls of Jericho ; 
the fire-edge soon wears ofl" the spirit that is not stayed on the 

(3.) When he dares not trust to vows and engagements. Every 
gracious soul will give itself away to the Lord, but they will not 
trust to these bands, but to him to whom they are bound : Isa. xlv. 
24, " Surely shall one say. In the Lord have I righteousness and 
strength." If men trust to their own vows, they will find them a 
sorry fence, that will go like Samson's withs when he heard the 
Philistines were upon him. 

(4.) When he dares not trust to his own endeavours: Psalm 
cxxvii. 1, "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain 
that build it." A Christian must be as diligent and vigorous in his. 
way of duty, as if he were to do all alone ; but if he would see the 
success of these endeavours, he must look for it from another quar- 
ter, as if he had done nothing. If the saint will not learn this les- 
son otherwise, God will let him work on, till he work himself out 
of breath, and so lie down at the Lord's feet, as the church did : 
Isa. xxvi. 8, " We have been with child, we have been in pain, we 
have, as it were, brought forth wind, we have not wrought any de- 
liverance in the earth." 

(5,) He dare not trust to the good frame he sometimes finds his spi- 
rit in. A good frame is a precious ointment to refresh the weary tra- 
veller, but is not a staff to lean upon, 1 Chron, xxix. 17, 18 ; it may 
be quickly lost, Psalm cvi. 13, " They soon forgot his works ;" it 
is a tender bud of heaven that is easily nipped, as Peter at the^ 


voice of a maid. It is a heavenly fire that needs continaal supply, 
or else it will go out; if the Spirit of God cease to pour in oil, that 
lamp will soon be extinguished. 

(6.) He dare not trust to habitual grace. Paul had a good stock 
of it, but he durst not venture to live on it : Gal. ii. 20, " I am cru- 
cified with Christ : nevertheless I live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth 
in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faiih 
of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." The 
grace within the saints is a well, the streams of which are often 
dry, but to the grace without them in Christ ; they can never come 
wrong, for it is an overflowing fountain. How quickly would the 
branch wither, if it were left to the sap within itself, but the sap 
in the stock keeps the branch green : " He that eateth me," saith 
Jesus, " even he shall live by me," John vi. 7- 

3. There is the weak soul turning to a strong God for strength, 
in the way of believing, 2 Chron. xx. 12, " our God ! wilt thou 
not judge them? for we have no might against this great company 
that cometh against us, neither know we what to do ; but our eyes 
are towards thee." When the strong man goes into himself, and 
musters up all the forces and powers of his soul, for the duty, or 
against the temptation, the weak man, that lies fair for strength, 
goes out of himself to muster up the forces of heaven by faith. — I 
may take up this in three things. 

(1.) The weak man that becomes strong, truly believes that God 
has treasured up in Christ the strength and furniture of all the 
heirs of glory, for their work, 1 Cor. i. 30, " But of him are ye in 
Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto as wisdom and righteousness, 
and sanctification, and redemption." " And of his fulness have all 
we received, and grace for grace," John i. 16. Since Adam fell, he 
never trusted any of the saints with their own stock, but has made 
the Mediator the great Trustee of divine grace, that if they would 
be supplied, they must go to him for it. 

(2.) Jesus Christ with all his salvation, being off'ered in the way 
of the everlasting covenant, the weak soul by faith lays hold on 
that covenant, and Christ therein, for sanctification, as well as jus- 
tification. Thus the weak creature is joined to a strong God, the 
empty soul is joined to him in whom all fulness dwells ; so that in 
this sense, though he have nothing, yet he possesseth all things, viz. 
in Christ his head ; they are complete in him, Col. ii. 10. 

(3.) He believes the promises of the covenant, and, on the credit of 
them, ventures on duty against sin, and takes up the cross : 2 Chron. 
xiv. 11, " Help us, Lord, our God, for we rest on thee, and in thy 
name we go against this multitude." Though resolutions, engage- 


ments, and vows, be not to be trusted, yet a man may safely trust 
the promise ; it is the blessed contrivance of the second covenant, 
that all our duties are there wrapt up in promises ; and whenever 
Ave are called to do or suffer, the covenant has a promise of strength 
for it, and the Christian, sensible of his weakness, trusts it. — I am, 
II. To confirm this point. — For this purpose, I offer these re- 

1. The Christian, when he closeth his own eyes, sees best ; when 
he trusts least to his own understanding, he is best directed, accord- 
ing to the promise: Prov. iii. 5, 6, "Trust in the Lord with all 
thine heart, and lean not to thine understanding : in all thy ways 
acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Carnal wisdom is 
an ill judge betwixt sin and duty ; and if men renounce it not, and 
singly give themselves up to the divine conduct, they will be ready 
to stumble at noon-day : 1 Cor. iii. 20, " The Lord knoweth the 
thoughts of the wise, that they are vain." Lot lifted up his eyes, 
Abraham closed his, and left his choice to the Lord, Gen. xiii. 9, 10. 
This is the reason why godly simplicity oftentimes carries men well 
through, while carnal policy leads men into the ditch ; and weak 
shrubs stend, while lofty cedars are blown over, that God may stain 
the pride of all glory. 

2. When he ventures on the difficulties in the way of duty, not 
knowing how to remove them, he gets best through. This was the 
case with Abraham, when called to offer up his son, Gen. xxii ; but 
when he went down to Egypt, there was a difficulty in the way, 
which he would not leave to the Lord to remove, but fell on ways 
and means of his own, and came off shamefully, Gen. xxii ; over- 
fast, overloose in this respect, 1 Cor. iii. 16, " For the wisdom of 
this world is foolishness with God, for it is written. He taketh the 
wise in their own craftiness." A little faith is more valuable than 
much carnal foresight. Leave difficulties in the way of duty on the 
Lord, if ever you would get safe through them : Psalm xxxvii. 5, 
" Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in him, and he shall 
bring it to jiass." 

3. The Christian soldier fights best when the violence of the enemy 
sets him to his knees. Paul experienced this, when he besought the 
Lord thrice, and got a gracious answer ; and so he recommends it 
to others, 2 Cor. xii. 8, " Praying always (says he) with all prayer," 
Eph. vi. 18. It was in this last posture that Jacob got the notable 
victory, Gen. xxxii. 24. Hence it is said of him, Hos. xii. 4, " Yea, 
he had power over the angel and prevailed ; he wept and made sup- 
plication unto him : he found him in Bethel, and there he spoke 
with us." Did temptations and troubles set us to our knees, the 


devil would be outsliot. Did the threats of the enemies at this time, 
hut cast professors out of their beds of sloth down to their knees, 
the Lord's work would quickly triumph over the enemies of it. 

4. The lower the soul lies, it is the nearer the throne above : Isa. 
Ivii. 15, " For thus saith the high and lofty One, that inhabiteth 
eternity, whose name is holy, I dwell in the high and holy place, 
with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the 
spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." 
A man will get a better view of the stars from the bottom of a deep 
pit than from the top of a mountain. The soul is never nearer the 
divine communications, than when shame and blushing make him 
stand affar off with the publican, smiting on his breast. The soul 
in that case will get the kindly invitation, "Come up hither;" 
when the self-conceited presumptuous sinner will hear, " Go down 

5, The duty a Christian is called to, and sees himself most 
unable for, he performs best. Peter, when he thought himself well 
buckled for a confession for Christ, denied him at the voice of a 
silly maid; but when he had better learned the duty of self-denial, 
he boldly stood upon defence, Acts iv. 13. A man had better be in 
the dark, than walk in the light of his own sparks. A Christian 
never goes so actively through a duty, as when he leaves his own fur- 
niture for it behind him, throws it down in point of confidence, and 
takes up the promise. 

6. The temptation that to a man is most contemptible, is most 
dangerous : Prov. xxviii. 14, " Hai)py is the man that feareth al- 
ways ; but he that hardeneth his heart, shall fall into mischief." 
Many times the devil's wounded men do more execution than his 
formic' able army set in battle array. Lot kept his ground in So- 
dom, when among a company of incarnate devils, but fell foully 
when he thought himself in no hazard in the cave. If ye would 
stand, ye must never despise the meanest, nor think the greatest 
temptation insuperable. The meanest is too hard for you, the strong- 
est too weak for the strength that you may have in your God. 

7, The Christian that stands before the Lord with trembling legs, 
is the meetest to take up Christ's cross, and will bear it best. He 
that dare say least, is the man that will do most : Isa. xl. 30, 31, 
" Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men 
shall utterly fall ; but they that wait upon the Lord, shall renew 
their strength ; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they 
shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint." 
He that ventures on the hour of trial, merely with a Roman cou- 
rage or natural briskness of spirit, has but a weak reed to lean to. 


There is none more likely to be a disgrace to religion, than the pre- 
suraptnons self-confident professor, that wants nothing to support the 
cause of God, in the time of trial, but only other professors' hearts 
like his heart. The best and surest backing Christ will have, will 
be from those that tremble when he shall roar like a lion, Hos. 
xi. 10, see also Isa. xxxy. 4 — 6. 

8. The Lord's people thrive best, when they have nothing but 
from hand to mouth. The most enriching time they have, is when 
felt needs are always driving them to God's door, and making them 
hang on about his hand : Rom. v. 3, 4, " Knowing that tribulation 
worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope." 
The Christian that has most trials, has most experiences. Many 
battles afford variety of spoil to the Christian soldier ; and a tract 
of smoothness in a man's lot, is ordinarily a dead time with the 
Christian, as to trading with heaven; he has not much outgiving, 
and has as little income. "When David going against Goliath, got 
on Saul's armour and dress, 1 Sam. xvii. 38, he could not go with 
them ; but when he had nothing but the staff, and the bag of stones 
out of the brook, he went freely, and succeeded. 

As the fire burns most vigorously in a keen frost, so faith acts 
most vigorously when it has nothing to animate it but the naked 
word of promise. But when all is laid to a person's hand as they 
would wish, faith is so clogged that it cannot readily go with them. 



2 Con. xii. 10, 
For ivhen I am weak, then am I strong. 

We now proceed, 

III. To give some reasons of the doctrine, or shew, That when the 
Christian is weak, then he is strong ; weak in his own eyes, strong 
in Christ. 

Among other reasons which might be assigned, we shall mention 
the following. 

I. Because he who is thus weak will not enter on difficulty but 
when he is called to it ; and God's call to his people for any piece of 
work implies a promise of strength : Psalm xci. 11, "For he shall 
give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways," 


Self-confidence is venturous, thinks nothing too high for the man. 
Hence, he does not stay till he be led, but runs into temptation ; no 
■wonder than he comes foul oflf, like Peter in the devil's ground, the 
high-priest's hall. But the first thing the weak man does, is to be 
sure of his call, knowing there can be no ground for confidence with- 
out it. And he will not be over soon satisfied with it, but ponders 
the path of his feet, Prov. iv. 2tj. 

2. He is driven out of himself to the Lord Christ, the fountain of 
strength : " Blessed is the man whose strength is in the Lord," says 
the Psalmist, Psalm Ixxxiv. 5, " I will go in the strength of the 
Lord God," Psalm Ixxi. 16. He leaves the rotten ground of self- 
confidence, and trusts in him that raiseth the dead, and calleth things 
that are not as though they were, and out of the mouths of babes 
perfects praise. The power of heaven is engaged in his favour ; he 
believes, therefore is not left to be ashamed. This is a sure way for 
strength : for, 

(1.) It lies on the honour of God, to strengthen the soul that de- 
pends upon him alone, according to his word, and that in point of 
his veracity; God's word of honour is good security; also in point 
of his goodness and gracious nature. Trust reposed in a generous 
man is a strong tie upon him in favour of the party trusting him. 
And I think there is much in that word, Jer. xxxix. 18, " For 
I will surely deliver thee, because thou hast put thy trust in me, 
saith the Lord." Lot would rather that any evil that was to come 
should have fallen on himself and family, than on his guests ; the 
reason is in these words :* " For therefore came they under my roof," 
Gen. xix. 8. Humanity teaches people to preserve the life of a 
litle bird, that flies into their bosom to be preserved from a raven- 
ous bird. And they that take Ruth's way may be sure of the bless- 
ing she got : Ruth ii. 12, " The Lord recompense thy work, and a 
full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose 
wings thou art come to trust." 

(2.) Because it sweetly answers to the grand device of God touch- 
ing the sanctification of sinners. For, (1.) The treasures of sancti- 
fying grace are all laid up in Christ, " who of God is made unto us 
sanctification," 1 Cor. i. 30, and from him all gracious influences are 
to be derived : " Out of his fulness we are to receive, and grace for 
grace," John i. 16. Accordingly the sinner comes to him, as the 
famished Egyptians to Joseph. (2.) They are to be derived from 
him by faith according to our needs ; this is the appointed mean for 
conveyance of grace and strength from Christ, Gal. ii. 20. Accord- 
ingly the soul believes, that is, trusts in him for supply. Now, 
when the soul takes God's own way for strength, how can it miss it* 


(3.) Because the glory of God's grace appears best ia such a case. 
Thus it was with Paul, to whom God said, " My grace is sufficient for 
thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness." When Christ 
cured the blind man, he anointed his eyes with clay. The grace of 
God works best alone ; and therefore the Lord, to stain pride, and 
prevent men from sacrificing to their own net, brings them very 
low before he appears to work for them, that his work may be 
wonderful, Deut. xxxii. 36. 

Lastly, Because in that case the grand stop of divine communica- 
tions is removed ; the vessel is empty, and so the oil runs. Self- 
confidence is diametrically opposite to the grand device of sanctifi- 
cation revealed in the gospel. That a man should trust himself, 
was the fundamental maxim of the Pagan morality, but revealed 
religion plainly overturns it : Prov. xxviii. 26, " He that trusteth in 
his own heart is a fool." It is practically set up in the hearts of 
all men by nature, but grace overturns it : Matth. xvi. 14, " If any 
man, (saith Jesus) will come after me, let him deny himself, and 
take up his cross, and follow me." 

ly. I am now to make some practical improvement of this sub- 

\stf In an use of information. 

1. Learn, that they who were never carried off their own bottom 
for sanctification, have their religion yet to begin. It is a funda- 
mental error in practice, for men to think, that though they need the 
righteousness of Christ for justification, yet they need but activity 
and diligence with their natural powers for holiness. This is as 
absurd, according to the scriptures, as to say the cripple needs but 
to ply his limbs, and so shall be cured. It is an evidence, — (1.) That 
thou hast never got a view of the corruption of nature, the plague of 
thine own heart ; thy plague is in thy head — (2.) That thou hast never 
felt the need of Christ for all his salvation, yea, for the principal part 
of it, that is, sanctification, which is the great design of the whole 
mystery of the gospel of Christ. And, — (3.) That therefore self has 
yet Christ's room in thy heart. Thou actest from thyself, and con- 
sequently to thyself, and so art rejected of God in all that thou dost. 

2. We are taught, that they make foul work, at communions who, 
(1.) Bind themselves to the Lord for work, but lay not hold on 

the everlasting covenant for strength. I will not deny but the sa- 
crament is a seal of our engagement to the Lord ; but, according 
to the scripture, it is mainly a seal of God's full covenant to be- 
lievers, as appears from the words of institution ; and therefore I 
think the main work of a communion-occasion is that Christians re- 
ceive a full Christ, lay hold of a full covenant; suited to all their 


needs, and be no more faithless, but believing. They mistake also, 
(2.) Who come to that ordinance without a deep sense of their 
wants, weakness, and imperfections. They who would have any 
thing at Christ's door, should be very sensible of their rank poverty 
at home : Luke i. 53, " He hath filled the hungry with good things ; 
and the rich he hath sent empty away." They should be capable 
to lay their fingers on their sores, and tell what aileth them — Those 
mistake also, 

(3.) Who are at no pains to prepare for that ordinance, and to 
bring strength from heaven for the management of it : " Without 
me (says Jesus) ye can do nothing," John xv. 5 ; if nothing, how 
will they of themselves manage such a great and solemn work ? 
therefore they have much need of intercourse with heaven by faith 
and prayer, — Those err, 

(4.) Who depend upon their own preparation. It is hard work 
to prepare the heart for a communion ; but it is harder to be denied 
to it, and trust nothing to it when we have prepared. It is hard to 
be wrestling with an ill heart, till it be brought to some tolerable 
frame ; but harder to trust all to free grace. 

3. We may learn that none are so ready to be a prey to the devil 
as the presumptuous, self-confident sinner. This is a train which, 
when laid for a man, will quickly blow him up. The poor trembling 
saint will keep his feet, when such an one's bent bow will quickly 
break, — In a word, we may conclude, 

4. That the best way to stand is to be much in the work of un- 
dermining our self-confidence, and razing the grounds of it, shoveling 
away the mire in which that flag grows ; we would thus be brought 
into firm ground, and would grow up into Christ. — I now proceed to, 

2dli/, An use of comfort. This is comfortable to humble souls, 
(1.) In the case of the church of God. This church is very weak 
at this day ; she is weakened by mischiefs established by laws, by 
divisions, but above all, by the provocations of her members against 
the Lord ; she is cast into a decay of true tenderness, and practical 
godliness ; she is far gone on in it : she has many enemies powerful 
and subtile, and there are few to stand against them, a weak com- 
pany, weak heads, hearts, and hands ; never fewer, perhaps, of the 
nobles and gentry of Scotland to take her by the hand, than at this 
day. But it is very like she will be weaker yet, ere she recover 
strength, and many she trusts to now will leave her, that her army, 
like Gideon's, may be brought to a small remnant, ere the tents of 
Midian fall. But the farther the arm of flesh goes from the church 
of God, the nearer is the arm of God drawing to her. — There is 
comfort, . 


(2.) In your own case. It is no doubt the perplexing question of 
serious souls, How will I go cleanly through ? Religion is no easy 
work at any time, but it is like to be harder than ordinary in our 
time. How will we get the Lord's way kept ? Christ's cross borne ? 
If we faint at little trials, what shall we do under greater ones ? 
But remefhber, when yon are weak, then are you strong. — I shall 
only add, 

Sdli/, An use of exhortation. I exhort you to keep up a due sense 
of your own weakness, and trust for your through-bearing in the 

(1.) Keep up a sense of the weakness of your heads, and lean not 
to your own understanding in the point of sin and duty ; but be 
ranch hanging about the Lord's hand for light to clear your mind as 
to the way in which you are to walk. 

(2.) Keep up a sense of the weakness of your hearts, and depend 
not upon your own strength for carrying you on in the way of duty 
when known, but go to the Lord for strength. In order to prevail 
with you, I mention the following motives : — 

[1.] This is necessary, to evidence your sincerity in what you 
have been doing. Ton have been taking a guide, professing your- 
selves incapable to guide yourselves, and a supporter, because you 
are unable to support yourselves. Honour him, follow him, and de- 
pend upon him. 

[2.] You will have need of strength ; be sure you will be tried ; 
public trials seem to be abiding us, private trials you may lay your 
account with particularly ; Satan is most busy at such a time. 

[3.] You will never get through in your own strength ; you have 
no reason to trust to yourselves, whatever the present frame and 
purposes of your hearts be. For, 1st, Many sad instances have been 
of those who have got the slip of their own hearts, that thought they 
had as good reason to be confident as you, that they would never go 
back ; witness Noah, Lot, David, Solomon, and Peter. 2dli/, Many 
that pretend fair are real nothings. We have need the Lord would 
hold the glass before our eyes, that we may see ourselves, our state 
and frame. Sdlt/, The best have very deceitful hearts : Jer. xvii. 
21, " The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, 
who can know it ?" And it is a general maxim, " He that trnsteth 
in his own heart is a fool," Prov. xxviii. 26. We are very much un- 
acquainted with ourselves, with our own hearts, we know not what 
manner of spirits we are of, Luke ix. 55, The root of wickedness 
lies within us. 

Lastly, Keep up the sense of your weakness, and trust to the 
Lord alone, and you will be strengthened with all might, so that 


you can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth you, Phil, 
iv. 13. 

I shall oifer some considerations to impress this on your spirits. 

I. You will have need of strength, if you intend to reach heaven. 
Indeed, if you have taken your last sight of Immanuel's land, and 
have no mind for the Lord's work, but to turn your back on his way, 
and go with the stream, you may sit at your own ease, Satan will 
see to your swift progress, and will not leave you till he have you 
cast into the oven of God's wrath. But otherwise you must go 
against the stream, and you must have strength. 

(1.) Strength for the duties of religion, and these are as large as 
the law, which is the rule of duty, and it is exceeding broad. Thou 
must now set thyself to internal and external obedience, thy dnty 
to God and man ; give the obedience of heart, lip, and life ; thou 
must be universal in obedience, otherwise thou art hypocritical in it, 
and so rejected; thou must have an holy conversation; thine eye 
must ever be on the Lord, and his holy law ; holiness must go 
through all your actions, your civil and natural actions. " "Whether 
you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God ;" 
and surely for all this you need strength. 

(2.) Strength for temptations. Yon must now resolve to enter 
the lists with a subtile devil, that has now more than five thousand 
years' experience in the art of tempting. How will you stand ? 
"With his agents in the world, he will fight against you with tongue, 
feet, and hands, and that too may be ere long ; and your most dan- 
gerous enemy is within ; you have innumerable tempters within 
vou : Jam. i. 14, " Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of 
iiis own lust, and enticed." There are many snares in the world, 
but none so dangerous as the corruption that is within each of our 
own hearts ; this will ever be ready to break out, and embrace its 
friends whenever they come near. 

(3.) Strength for the cross. Have you engaged with a crucified 
Christ ? You must take up your cross, and bear it ; and this will re- 
quire strength, (1.) To bear your every day's cross. Go times as they 
will, you will find every day will have the evil thereof. (2.) Your holi- 
day's cross, in the church's troubles : " Thou hast (says Jeremiah) 
called, as in a solemn day, my terrors round about," Lam. ii. 22, 
and how heavy that may be, we know not; but if the devil's time 
be short, he will be sure to have great wrath. "We have had a 
cheap religion of it for many years, and therefore it has got many 
customers : but if the after-reckoning were come, which seems to be 
making haste, it is to be feared that many of us will throw it down 
again, and say, "We never intended to have it at that rate. 


2. You have no strength in yourselves answerable to that work ; 
and therefore, without doubt, you will never be able of yourselves 
for the least of it : 2 Cor. iii. 5, " Not that we are sufficient of our- 
selves to think any thing as of ourselves ; but our sufficiency is of 
God." Two things evidence this. 

(1.) Our stock of strength was spent ere ever it came to our 
hands. The first Adam got it, Eccl. vii. 29. God hath made man 
upright, and he by falling left us without strength, Rora. v. 6. And 
thus the unregenerate world lies in wickedness, unable to recover 
themselves, but are held captive by Satan in chains of lusts, not to 
be broken by the power of nature. 

(2.) Though, since Adam fell, God has given strength to his peo- 
ple, yet since that time God never trusted any mere man with his 
own stock of strength ; but he has put a common stock of it into the 
hand of the Mediator, to be distributed by him according as the 
duties of his people require, and as they make application to him 
for it ; and no man can come, saying with the younger brother, 
Luke XV. 12, " Give me the portion of goods that falleth to me," 
intending to set up and stand by himself. But he must come to 
stay at home, and receive his daily provision at his Father's table, 
and out of his hand, according to his necessities. The believer, 
being first by faith united to Christ as the head of influences, where- 
in all fulness dwells, must depend on him as the members on the 
head, the branches on the stock, and by faith derive strength from 
him continually, which cannot be, but under this sense of weakness 
which we press upon yon, John i. 57 ; 1 Cor. i. 30; John vi. 57- 
Therefore, I say confidently, that, be ye saints or sinners, ye have 
nothing in you to trust for the work of religion, if it be not Christ 
in you; and, be your stock always what it will, it is a very weak 
one, and you must not trust to it. 

Lastly, You will get enough of strength in Christ, if you take 
this way to it, living and going out of yourselves, under a sense of 
utter weakness, to the Lord Christ, as the head of strengthening 
influences. If you ask, What is that ? I answer. It is the soul's 
discerning an utter inability in itself for any spiritually good action, 
but withal believing that God has treasured up sufficient strength 
in the Mediator, to be communicated to those that are his, and there- 
fore embracing a full Christ for all, as held forth in the everlasting 
covenant ; and then venturing on duties, watching against tempta- 
tions, and taking up the cross, upon the faith and credit of the pro- 
mises of the covenant, trusting that they shall be made out to him ; 
which trust may be weaker or stronger, but according to the 
strength of it, so is the income of strength to the soul. In this way 


the weak go from strength to strength. Thus shall you be helped 
to go through the most difficult duties acceptably, though not per- 
fectly, to stand against the strongest temptations, to mortify the 
most powerful lusts, and to bear the heaviest crosses. This has 
made Christians attain to an eminent pitch of holiness, joyfully to 
embrace a prison, banishment, a gibbet, a fire, and the most cruel 
torments enemies could invent. The more you are emptied of your- 
selves, placing confidence in the Lord, the more will you be strength- 
ened with might in the inner man ; and when you shall be per- 
fectly unselfed, if we may so express ourselves, so that there shall 
be no more of it to marr the communication betwixt Christ and 
you, then you shall be perfectly holy, and set above the reach of 
all evil ; but because we are not properly divested of self-confidenCe 
in this world, therefore we do not arrive here at perfect strength. 
But all the saints, however, will give their testimony, that " when 
they are weak, then they are strong." — Amen. 



Matt. xx. 6, 
W7ii/ stand ye here all the day idle ? 

In the beginning of this chapter, Christ spake a parable concern- 
ing the kingdom of hearen, the scope of which is to shew, that 
those who, by conceit of themselves and their actings for God, do 
place themselves among the first and chief favourites of heaven, 
shall be rejected of God, and treated as the last ; they shall receive 
the last of Heaven's favours ; while they who, through a feeling 
sense of unworthiness, dare not make such advances, shall be 
brought forward from among the last, where they placed themselves, 
and advanced to the first rank, where they shall be placed of God, 
who gives heaven as a gift to them that do not plead for it as a 
debt. This is plain from the occasion and conclusion of this pa- 
rable : the vineyard is the church ; the householder is Christ, whose 
vineyard it is; his going out at several hours is the call of the gos- 
pel at several times, coming to some sooner, to others later ; the 
market-place is wherever the gospel comes. Our text is a pithy 

* Delivered, Fast-day, August 19, 1713. 


expostulation with those that are standing there idle, even at the 
eleventh hour, within an hour of sun-set ; according to that, " Are 
there not twelve hours in tbe day?" Tliey are idle, in so far as 
they are not taken up about their work for eternity. Our text, you 
see, is a close application ; the nature of this day's work requires 
it ; and I hope you will not think we misapply it, if we apply it 
to you. Every word in it has its particular weight. — The follow- 
ing inquiries are suggested from it. 

I. Why are ye " idle ?" What reason can ye give for your 
being idle ? 

II. Why are " ye" idle, more than some others ? 

III. Why " stand" ye idle ? 

IV. Why " here" idle ? 

V. Why idle in the "day?" 
YI. Why idle " all the day ?" 

We shall attend to these inquiries in their order. 
I. Why are ye " idle?" If ye deny the charge, there are two things 
at least, which must be yielded to by most, if not all of us. 

1. Ye have been very busy doing nothing; but it is better, they 
say, to be idle than doing nothing. What is it that most of us are 
busy about, but nothing? Prov. xxiii. 5, " Wilt thou set thine eyes 
upon that which is not, for riches certainly make themselves wings, 
they fly away as an eagle towards heaven ;" that which is nothing 
for our souls, nothing for a blessed eternity. Indeed man is a la- 
borious creature ; the life of the greatest sluggard is a continued 
succession of actions ; the soul of man is like a watch that goes as 
fast when it goes wrong, as when it goes right. But, alas ! labori- 
ous idleness and solemn trifling in the vanities of this world, is but 
a pitiful way of spending a man's life, which is but a short time of 
trial, in order to an unalterable state. 

2. Ye have been very busy doing worse than nothing ; like these, 
2 Thess. iii. 11, " For we hear that there are some which walk among 
you disorderly, working not at all, but are busy bodies." Alas ! 
most of our lives are ill parted betwixt two ; one is spent in weaA--- 
ing the spider's web, the other in hatching the cockatrice eggs, Isa. 
lix. 5; either spent in nothing, or worse than nothing; either sit- 
ting still or making more progress hell-ward : either letting the se- 
paration wall stand as before, or building it higher and stronger. 
But there is one thing that cannot be yielded, at least to the most. 
part of this generation ; that is, that they are busy in their great 
work. No, no ; idleness in this respect is the epidemical disease 
of the day, under which both professors and profane are pining 
away. For your conviction in this, consider, 

Vol. IX. L 


1. What else means the lean souls among us? Solomon tells us, 
Prov. xix. 15, " An idle soul shall suffer hunger," and Prov. xiii. 4, 
*' The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing ; but the soul 
of the diligent shall be made fat." "We may take up that lamenta- 
tion, Isa. xxiv. 16, "But I said My leanness, my leanness." Alas! 
for the many rickety children of the church this day, with their big 
heads, and lean slender bodies, who are puffed up with their know- 
ledge, but are yet to learn the elements of practical godliness and 
experimental religion. — Consider, 

2. The little desire there is among us after the heavenly rest: 
Job tells us, chap. vii. 2, " A servant earnestly desireth the shadow, 
and an hireling looketh for the reward of his work;" so if we were 
not idle, we would be more desirous of that rest that remains for 
the people of God. But I fear, if I would speak agreeable to their 
consciences, they would say, that the Turks' paradise would fit their 
desires better than the heavenly rest. It was the language of a 
profane Cardinal, I would quit my part of paradise for present en- 
joyment; so no doubt many would quit their part of heaven on lower 
terms, for they only desire heaven, because they love not to go to 
hell. They care not for the heavenly rest, because they trouble not 
themselves with the work meet for heaven. — Consider, 

3. The little appetite after our spiritual food. The labouring 
man's work makes him find his stomach, and the Christian labour 
would make men prize the table covered to them in ordinances. 
The ordinances are greatly slighted this day, it is lamentable to 
think how little they are regarded. It is only in the Lord's hand 
to cure it, by filling folk's hands with heart-work about their soul's 
case. It is this that would readily make them eager of help. 

Lastly, What else means the rank poverty, and rotten rags, 
which is all the portion of many souls ? Rev. iii. 17, " And knowest 
not, that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and 
naked." How many are there, who are the genuine offspring of the 
serpent ! on their belly do they go, and dust is their meat ; they feed 
on nothing but the husks of created comforts, wherewith the devil 
feeds his herds ; as for communion with God, and sense of his love, 
they know no more of them than if they had immortal souls for no 
other end than to keep their bodies from rotting. They go up and 
down in the rage of their profanity, and lusts, like so many ghosts 
in their grave-clothes, busy in nothing but dead works. 

I inquire, then, why are ye idle ? 

1. Is it because ye have nothing to do ? Truly, ye have very much. 

(1.) Ye have your salvation- work upon your hand : Phil. ii. 12, 
" Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Many have 


never begun that work yet ; many that have seemed to have begun, 
are at a stand with it now. Ye were born children of wrath, under 
the curse of the first covenant ; what are ye doing to get free from 
the wrath to come ? There is a burden of guilt lying on you, what 
are ye doing to get it oif ? Divers living lusts hanging about you, 
what are you doing to mortify them ? Is there any time to be idle, 
while that work is not wrought out ? Salvation-work is weighty 
work, for damnation-work is very terrible ; ye have that to undo 
that ye have been doing. Thou hast been weaving thy life into one 
web of sin, and ye have it to open out again into self-examinatiou, 
repentance, and bitter mourning. 

(2.) Ye have your generation-M'ork to attend upon : Acts xii. 36, 
" For David, after he had served his own generation, by the will of 
God fell asleep." God made thee, and sustains thee : some of you 
in higher, others in lower stations ; what have ye done for God, 
what service to your generation ? The sun, moon, and stars are 
useful in their several jjlaces ; plants, yea, and beasts, are all use- 
ful. For what use art thou in the world ? for Him who set thee 
there, and to those he has set thee among ? Assure thyself, God 
will call thee to answer that question. I fear most of us have that 
work to begin yet. 

2. Do ye think ye will get sleeping to heaven, and that your short- 
winded wishes for mercy will secure you from the wrath of God ? 
Prov. xiii. 4, •' The soul of the sluggard desireth, and has nothing." 
No ; ye must " so run that ye may obtain." Take the kingdom by 
force ; strive, wrestle, else ye are ruined ; deceive not yourselves, as 
if ye would just make a slip of it, out of Delilah's lap into Abra- 
ham's bosom. Thou wilt find it a leap out of that bed of sloth into 
a bed of fire and brimstone, where ye will lie down in eternal sor- 
row, if you do not seasonably bound to your feet, and put hand to 
your great work. 

3. Do you think the devil is as idle about your souls as you are ? 
No ; though ye cannot creep out of your bed of sloth, the devil is 
going about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour; though 
ye will be at no tolerable pains to secure your salvation, he will spare 
no pains to secure your damnation. Sleep ye, or wake ye, Satan is at 
your right hand ; and if ye be not rowing against the stream, he will 
carry you down the stream, till he have you in the ocean of God's 
wrath, where you will never see the shore. — The second inquiry is, 

II. Why are " ye" idle, while others are gone to work in the Lord's 
vineyard ? Why do ye sit still, while others are fleeing from the 
wrath to come ? Why are ye sleeping, while others are wrestling 
with God as for their bare .life? Why are ye dressing, eating, and 



drinking, while others, moved with fear, are preparing an ark 
against the day of wrath in these lands, and in the world. 

1. Is it because the work in the vineyard is too coarse for your 
fine fingers ? John vii. 48, " Hare any of the rulers or the Pharisees 
believed on him ? but this people that knoweth not the law is ac- 
cursed." It is lamentable to think how religion is almost grown 
out of fashion among the fashionable people of this degenerate age; 
and shocking to see with what contempt some look on seriousness 
about soul matters, resolving that these silly people as they call 
them, shall for them enjoy their folly alone. Certainly these men 
would never have taken their name from one crucified between two 
thieves, if it had not been the religion of their country. But these 
that are wise in heart think difterently, and glory in the cross of 

2. Is it because you have another thing to do ? Many in our day 
are of Pharaoh's opinion indeed, that religion is only for them that 
have no other thing ado. Ye are idle ; but for them they have 
their families and farms, &c., to look after. But, man, hast thou 
not an immortal soul to look after, as well as others ? They said 
of Herod, It is better to be his swine than his son. I am sure, 
many a man's soul may say to him. Well is your beasts, in compa- 
rison of me ; for one thought that is spent on my case, there is ten 
on theirs. 

3. Are not ye by nature under the wrath and curse of God, as 
well as others ? Yes ; Eph. ii. 3, " And were by nature the children 
of wrath, even as others :" and therefore let me say to you as the 
penitent thief to his fellow, Luke xxiii. 40, " Dost thou not fear 
Ood, seeing thou art in the same condemnation ?" Better go to 
heaven with a few, through all the labours of the Christian life, 
than to slide away to hell, at your own ease, with the multitude ; 
better weep now, than weep eternally, for it will be no comfort to 
go to hell with company. 

4. "Will ye be content to see the labourers set with Abraham, Isaac, 
and Jacob, and yourselves, with the fellow-loiterers, shut out ? you 
must either set to their work now, or you will see your doom at 
length, digest it as you will. — I now inquire, 

III. Why stand ye " idle ?" Have you put on a whore's forehead, 
and refuse to be ashamed ? It would set you better to hide your 
head, as ashamed in that ye take up room in the world to no good 
purpose, living in a shameful neglect of your own souls, and the 
great end of your creation, which was not to sleep away a lifetime 
on the earth, nor to stand like a barren tree in God's vineyard, 
drawing away the sap from others, but to glorify God by acting to 
and for him. 


1. Why then stand ye idle in the sight of men? Have ye a mind 
to tell the \7orld, that go to God's vineyard who will, ye have no 
mind to stir? embrace God and his service who will, ye will have 
nothing to do with him, nor it neither ? Are yoo afraid you want 
witnesses to stand against you before the tribunal of God, to testify 
how little you valued the working the works of God ? The groans 
of those that warned you to your work, that were grieved at your 
licentious lives, will witness against you ; nay, the stones and tim- 
ber will cry out of the walls within which you live against you, 
and witness how little God was in all your thoughts, how little ye 
ever wrestled with God about your soul's case, and how the prayer, 
when ye made it, has died in your mouths, 

2. Why stand ye idle in the sight of the all-seeing God, who set 
you down in this world to work your great work ? There are many 
that seem to be diligent workers, but God knows them to be mere 
idlers ; what they work is before men, but their vineytird in the 
inclosure of their breasts is all overgrown with weeds, and they 
are at no pains to pluck them up. Have ye bid a defiance to the 
great Master, whose eyes are upon you in secret, as well as in pub- 
lic, that sees your heart, as well as your outward conversation? 
Be sure, he will call you to account. — The inquiry, next, is, 

IV. Why stand ye "here" idle, even in the market-place, where 
the great Master has been often calling whom he found here, and 
you among others, to go and work in his vineyard ? and you had 
not been standing here idle, if you had been willing to work. 

1. Why stand ye here idle, in a land of gospel light? Isa. xxvi. 
10, "In the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not 
behold the majesty of the Lord ?" If you will serve the devil and 
your lusts, why do ye not go to the dark places of the earth, and 
work your works of darkuess there? but why must they be brought 
forth in the face of the sun ? why here, in this covenanted land, a 
land under the sacred bond of solemn covenant to the work of ho- 
liness, and the means of holiness ; a bond which neither the break- 
ing nor burning of them could loose ; and they had never met with 
that treatment, had not men been as great enemies to piety as to 
Presbytery. But I dare say, there is no land where men must buy 
their ease at so dear a rate as in Scotland. 

2. Why here, where the Lord is in a special manner calling you 
to work, setting up his standard, and is about to cover a table for 
his labourers ? will you be idle spectators, while Christ is to be sa- 
cramentally crucified before your eyes ? will you be idle here, where 
the Lord is in a special manner calling you to search and try your- 
selves ? If you will stand here idle, it will be a new item, in great 


letters, in the accounts of the despisers of Christ, and slighters of 
the power of godliness in Yarrow*. — I may once more inquire, 

Y. Why stand ye idle in the '* day ?" The day brings with it a call 
to work, though indeed it is the time when the wild beasts enter 
into their dens, and lie at their ease, Psalm cii. 22, 23. But bet- 
ter to be a beast, than to be like a beast ; they that sleep, sleep in 
the night ; but what shall we say of them that cannot be got awak- 
ened, even in the day ? 

1. Then why are ye idle, when ye have a day to work in ? No 
wonder our forefathers were idle, when they were wrapt up in the 
midnight darkness of Paganism and Popery; but though it was 
night with them, it is day with us ; the sun of the gospel is arisen 
above our horizon, it has been long up, and will ye be idle in the day ? 
God has not only set up the candle of conscience within you, but has 
made the sun of the gospel to arise and shine without you, to call 
you to work, and to let you see to work : Tit. ii. 11, 12, " For the 
grace of God, that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men, teach- 
ing us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live 
soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world." Such a day 
idled away will make a dreadful night ! 

2. "Why are you idle, when you have but a day to work in ? John 
ix. 4, *' The night cometh when no man can work." It is to-day, if 
ye will hear his voice. The time of your life, and the season of 
grace, is but a day, and that day will soon be over ; there is no 
•working in the grave, Eccl. ix. 10. The candle burnt to snuff can- 
not be lighted again, and time once gone can never be recalled ; 
God will not turn night to day, to let the sluggard see to work, 
•who turned his day to night. Now, when you have but a day, will 
you idle it away ? Ye will, it may be, count it rather by years yet 
to come ; but sure I am, the Spirit of God never learned you that 
way of counting : James iv. 14, " Whereas ye know not what 
shall be on the morrow ; for what is your life ? it is even a vapour, 
that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." Psalm 
xxxix. 6, " Behold, thou hast made my days as an hand-breadth, 
and mine age is as nothing before thee." — I shall only inquire, 

YI. Why are ye idle " all the;day ?" Will no less than all the day 
serve ? May not the time past suffice ? Is it not high time now 
at length to awake ? Is it not the eleventh hour with many of you ? 
and the youngest here knows not but they may be in the last hour of 
their day. And are ye not afraid your glass run out ere your work 
be done ? Sure it looks very like the very last hour of this church 

The place where this discourse was delivered. 

Christ's presence with, &c. 159 

and nation's day : we have had a long day, but now we may say, 
Jer. vi. 4, " "Woe unto us, for the day goeth away, for the shadows 
of the evening are stretched out." We are threatened with a dread- 
ful eclipse of gospel-light, and a dark night, and we may well con- 
clude as to many of us, that our eyes will never see the breaking 
of the day again. 

As the practical improvement of this subject, I shall only call 
on you to ponder seriously in yonr mind, the important inquiries 
addressed to you ; — to pose your consciences closely with them as in 
the sight of God, — to profit by the instructive lessons afforded 
from them ; — and, in short, that you study a being diligent in busi- 
ness, fervent in spirit, always serving the Lord. 


Mattii. xxviii. 20, 

And lo, I am ivith you alway. 

OuK Lord Jesus Christ having, before his death, as a prophet, re- 
vealed his Father's mind, and taught the doctrine of salvation, con- 
firmed ihe same by many miracles ; and having in his death, as a 
priest, offered up himself a sacrifice to atone for the sins of his 
people, and so brought in an everlasting righteousness ; appears 
here after his resurrection, as a King, ordering the affairs of his 
own kingdom, which is his church. And, 1st, He asserts his power, 
his supremacy, and headship, ver. 18, given unto him as Mediator. 
2dli/, He gives a commission to his apostles, and in them to their 
successors in the work of the ministry, to raise up unto him a king- 
dom out of the kingdoms of the earth, to proclaim his laws among 
them, and to enjoin obedience to these laws in his name, and to 
take men solemnly engaged thereto, vers. 19 and 20. Then, in the 
words of the text, by promise, he secures their encouragement, 
for the due discharge of their duty, in the words under considera- 
tion : " And lo, I am with you alway." — In these woi'ds consider, 

1. The parties to whom this encouragement does belong : You, 
that is, (1.) The apostles, to whom these words were immediately 
directed : (2.) Ordinary ministers, succeeding to them in the ordi- 
nary work of the ministry, teaching and baptising, as is clear from 

* Delivered before tLe Synod of Merse and Teviotdale, April, 1712. 

160 chbist's presence with 

the words, in •which Christ promiseth to be with them to the end of 
the world ; whereas the formal office of the apostleship was extra- 
ordinary, and soon expired. Their mission was immediate ; their 
inspection universal and unconfined ; they had an infallible di- 
rective power ; John xvi. 13, " When he the Spirit of truth is come, 
he will guide you into all truth." They had the gift of miracles 
and tongues, and were eye-witnesses of Christ: 1 Cor. ix. 1, "Am 
I not an apostle ? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord ?" So 
that to allow any to be their successsors in the formal office of the 
apostleship, as some Prelatists would have the bishops, is to con- 
tradict the plain testimony of the scriptures, and of our senses : 
but the authoritative dispensation of the word, and administration 
of the sacraments, with the appendant power of discipline and go- 
vernment, which were the substance of the apostolic office, are con- 
tinued, and will be in the pastoral office to the end of the world ; 
and to these is Christ's presence promised, not excluding such as 
receive and embrace Christ's word preached by them. — Consider, 

2. How, and in what case, they may lay claim to this promised 
presence ; that is in the faithful adherence to, and discharge of their 
work, put by their Master into their hands. This is the import of 
the particle, and which knits the work and the encouragement to- 
gether, ver. 19, " Go ye," &c. If they shall quit their Master's 
work, they forfeit his promised presence. If they turn servants of 
men, they must look to them, and not to Christ, for their protec- 
tion and assistance. If they receive their instructions from any 
other than our royal Master, they must bid farewell to their part in 
the lot of his servants. Men that take upon them to teach what 
Christ never commanded, bringing in error in doctrine, superstition, 
and the inventions of men in the worship of God, such have need of 
temporal power and force with them, seeing they have no ground 
from the word to expect Christ will be with them. — Consider, 

3. The encouragement promised : " I am with you," &c. It is 
Christ's presence that is with them in their work, and who would 
refuse to go a journey where Christ himself will be companion in 
travel ? if the work be hard his presence is sweet. Christ lays in 
here a sufficiency for the support of his servants against all the dis- 
couragements they may meet with in his work. And there are 
four things to be noticed in this. 

(1.) There is but one encouragement proposed, their difficulties 
were many. If they looked to their work, it was very hard ; they 
were sent out to grapple with the powers of darkness, to overturn 
the devil's kingdom, to reform the world sunk in idolatry and mon- 
strous profanity, and to rescue the prey out of the month of the 


roaring lion. If they looked witbin themselves, they might see 
a mass of emptiness, weakness, wants, nothingness, unable of them- 
selves to resist the least temptation. If they looked abroad into the 
world, they might see that the venturing out into it, on such a 
design, was a running themselves into a manifest hazard ; the wits 
of the world would treat them as a company of fools, the powers of 
the world as a company of seditious and pestilent fellows ; the mul- 
titude of the world would cry, " Away with them, it is not meet that 
they should live on the earth." But go they must; and here is one 
answer to all their objections, " I am with you ;" that is sufficient, 
be against you who will, " I am with you," to assist, protect, and 
bear you through in the work, and to make the word in your mouths 
do execution ; I design to raise up, by your means, a kingdom to my- 
self, maugre all the opposition of men and devils. He does not 
promise to send armies with them, but to go with them himself — 
His presence, 

(2.) Is proposed as a present thing, an encouragement in hand : 
" I am with you — to the end ;" not I " will be." The expression 
is emphatical. 

[1.] According to the prophetic style, it denotes the utmost cer- 
tainty his servants shall have his presence in his work to the end 
of the world, as surely as if it were already done. 

[2.] It denotes Christ's presence with his apostles, to be, by his 
own allowance and appointment, a pledge of his presence with these 
that, being called, follow out the work that they began in their 
day : " I am with you ;" and let these that follow take it as a cer- 
tain pledge, " I will be with them too." Let the church be ever so 
low, there was never any glorious appearance Christ made for her, 
but she may call it Joseph, for the Lord shall add another. 

[3.] It denotes, that Christ's servants, though they should be full of 
eyes behind and before, yet their eyes are often dim, that they even 
miss Christ when he is really with them, and so are dejected, because 
they see not their own mercy : " I am with you," &c. — His presence, 

(3.) Is promised to be with them without interruption, — " always," 
all days, every day ; it is an Old Testament phrase, denoting the 
continuance of a thing without interruption ; as Gen. vi. 5, " And 
that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil 
continually." He will not leave his servants at his work at any 
time ; they may sometimes want the sense of his presence, but he is 
with them always, every day, in lightsome days, also in dark and 
gloomy days, whatever be their case, however hard their lot may be, 
their peace may be interrupted, but not their Master's presence 
with them. While they keep at his work, he will be upon their 
head. — His presence, 

162 Christ's pbeseitce with 

(4.) Is promised to be with them without end, till the end of the 
world ; not that he will forsake them then ; no, he will then give 
his faithful servants a place in the upper house, among them that 
are pillars in the temple of their God : they will enter into the 
joy of their Lord. But the work of their ministry, as it will con- 
tinue to the world's end, so then it will be honourably laid by, and 
Christ will deliver np the kingdom to the Father ; so that as long 
as the work lasts, the encouragement will go along with it. 

4. There is in the words the note of attention prefixed, " Lo !" Here- 
by Christ stirs up and directs his servants to eye his promised presence 
as their encouragement : Say not ye are left alone ; see, I am with you ; 
look not to earth, or to an arm of flesh, for your support, but look up- 
wards to heaven ; let not unbelief shut your eyes, but while you have 
one eye on your work, fix another on your Master, and then you will 
go on cheerfully. Now, you see that Jesus Christ, the alone King and 
head of his church, as he has appointed a ministry in his church, and 
carved out their work for them, and peremptorily appointed them to 
set about it, so that he has promised them his presence always to the 
end of the world, in the faithful discharge of the work he has put 
into their hands ; and whatever be the opposition and discourage- 
ment they may meet with in it, he wills them to eye his promised 
presence as sufiicient to bear them through in the work, against all 
discouragements whatsoever. This is the purport of the words of 
the text, which being thus explained, I shall now apply it. 

I. Has Jesus Christ promised his presence to his servants in their 
work ? Let us, then, my fathers and brethren, cleave to our great 
work, to which we are called of the Lord. Let us steadfastly pur- 
sue the ends of our ministry, the advancing of the kingdom of Christ, 
and the pulling down the kingdom of Satan, according to the 
commission we have from our Lord and Master. Let us follow our 
work faithfully, over the belly of all discouragement and opposition 
which we may meet with in it. Our day is a dark day, and like to be 
darker ; the Lord is angry with the generation, the plague is begun, 
and it is to be feared there will be a miserable face on the church 
and land ere it end. A door, we see, is opened, whereby errors 
in doctrine may crowd in, and set up their heads without control, 
and superstitious worship and ceremonies, mere inventions of men's 
own hearts, may be, and are introduced, to mar" the beauty of this 
church in the simplicity of gospel worship, to the dishonour of God, 
to whom alone it belongs to appoint what way he will be wor- 
shipped : and the discipline and government of his house are left to 
be trampled under foot of profane men, for any assistance we can 
expect now, but from Him whose institutions they are ; which surely 


calls US to lift up our eyes unto the heavens, from whence our help 
is promised. Our times are like to be ensnaring and very trying 
times to all sorts. The Lord's hand is very heavy by a great sick- 
ness and mortality; but the face of the generation looks as if the 
time were coming, when men shall think those happy who get to 
their grave in peace. If it should be so, we need not wonder at it. 
— Allow me to say in favour of the holy providence of God, 

1. Providence (if it be so) has not stolen a march upon us ; we 
have had fair warning, both from the word, and particular dispen- 
sations, whereby we have been brought, as it were, to the brow of 
the hill, and the Lord has brought us back, as with that, Hos. xi. 8, 
*' How shall I give thee up, Ephraim ? how shall I deliver thee, 
Israel ?" Yet have we not returned to the Lord ; we have had the 
Lord's talents among our hands in peace now these two and twenty 
years ; can it be but God will put both ministers and people to the 
trial, what they have made of the many preachings, communions, 
and other means of grace they have enjoyed. I think the light has 
shone very bright in our day ; I dare not say our sacred heat has 
been proportionable ; but ordinarily the saddest strokes follow hard 
at the heels of the clearest dispensations. " 

2. Many there are, who have the root of the matter in them, 
who need to have it awakened with a storm ; many sleeping Jonahs 
in our ship, that are yet sighing and going backward, much filthi- 
ness and blood gathered on the daughters of Zion, to be purged 
with the spirit of judgment and burning. 

3. There are many who have taken up the name, but have no- 
thing of the reality of religion, having gathered like summer's ver- 
min in the time of the church's peace ; it is but reasonable to ex- 
pect a storm for the discovery of such, by the loss of whom the 
church may turn to less bulk, but not be less worth. 

4. The case of the generation cries for a stroke, in regard of the 
horrid contempt of Christ and his gospel at this day. The preach- 
ing of the gospel has for several years been a weary work, and very 
fruitless ; and the truth is, we have, as it were, been weary of God. 
Atheism and horrid profanity abound, and are on the growing hand ; 
these cry for vengeance ; enemies have a cup to fill up, they have 
filled it well formerly, it is like, they have more to do to prepare 
them for an overthrow. So we have reason to lay our accounts with 
hardships in our work, and that we may have the walls to build in 
troublous times ; and readily judgment begins at the house of God, 
end where it will. But let us faithfully follow our Master's interests, 
and work, and not faint. 

And that we may be stirred up hereunto, let us consider, 

164 Christ's presence witr 

1. Our Lord Christ will be with us in the faitliful discharge of 
his work, Go ye, " and lo, I am with you." A believing sight of 
this would steel your foreheads in the Lord's work, with courage 
and holy resolution, Ezek. iii, 9, " As an adamant harder than flint, 
have I made thy forehead." Will Christ bo with us in the dis- 
charge of his work ? Then, 

(1.) We shall have furniture for our work : Isa. xli. 10, " Fear 
thou not, for I am with thee ; be not dismayed, for I am thy God ; 
I will strengthen thee ; yea, I will help thee ; yea, I will uphold 
thee with the right hand of my righteousness." 2 Cor. iii, 5, 6, 
*' Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of 
ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God, who also hath made us 
able ministers of the New Testament." No man goeth a warfare 
on his own charges, neither shall our Lord send his soldiers to fight 
his battles without furniture, more especially when he is upon their 
head himself; and if our work be more than ordinary, he will make 
the furniture proportionable : Acts iv. 13, " Now, when they saw 
the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were un- 
learned and ignorant men, they marvelled, and they took knowledge 
of them, that they had been with Jesus." May be, we have much 
ado to get a sermon, when we have all time for study and medita- 
tion ; what shall come of us then, if we be hurried ? Truly, if we 
have the call, we may look for it being given us in that hour : 
Matth. X. 19, " For it shall be given you in that same hour, what 
ye shall speak," with more heavenly oratory in it than at other 
times. Be it doing-work or suffering-work, he allows furniture, Phil. 
i. 29, " For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to 
believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake." Isa. xl. 30, 31," He 
giveth power to the faint, and to them that hath no might, he in- 
creaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and 
the young men shall utterly fall ; but they that wait upon the Lord 
shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, 
they shall run and not weary, they shall walk and not faint." 

(2.) We shall have success in our work, that is, the word in our 
month shall accomplish that which Christ pleaseth, Isa. Iv. 2, " So 
shall my woi'd be that goeth out of my mouth, it shall not return 
unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it 
shall prosper in the thing whereunto I sent it." As to the elect of 
God, " As many as are ordained to eternal life, believe, however 
the stream of a graceless generation may go." As to believers, 
they shall be edified and bettered by it, Mic. ii. 7, " Do not thy 
words do good to him that walketh uprightly ?" and very ordinarily 
the gospel is like a fire, that spreads most in a windy day. Nay, 


the Lord being with us, it will uot be absolutely without effect on 
those that are not one whit bettered by it. It will be at least 
for a testimony to be produced against thera, for our Lord, at the 
last day. If ye go where they are, the dust of your feet shall wit- 
ness against them. Salvation was in their offer ; it will manifest 
their unsoundness. The gospel will hang the sign of folly at every 
wicked man's door, let them entertain it as they will : Mai. iii. 2, 
" But who will abide the day of his coming, and who shall stand 
when he appeareth ? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's 
soap." It will torment them that dwell on the earth. Christ's 
sword is two-edged, if it do not execution on men's lusts, it 
will do execution on their souls : Hos. vi. 5, " Therefore have I 
hewed them by the prophets, I have slain them by the words of my 
mouth." The word will never leave them as it finds them, but will 
either make them better or worse. 

(3.) We shall have protection in our work : Rev. ii. 1, " Saith he 
that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, that walketh in the 
midst of the seven golden candlesticks." If earth and hell should 
conspire against us, as long as our Lord has any service for us in 
the world, we shall be protected. Every one has their day of work- 
ing, let them trust the Lord as long as that lasts, let them go on in 
their work, they shall be protected. But when the night comes, 
appointed by the Lord, wherein he has no more service for us, then, 
and not till then, shall we be called off; and that night will carry 
us off whether we be idle or at work. 

(4.) "We shall have provision : Heb. xiii. 5, 6, " Let your conver- 
sation be without covetousness, and be content with such things as 
ye have, for he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee ; 
so that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not 
fear what man shall do unto me." Let us be at our work, and God 
will see to our provision : Psalm xxxvii. 3, " Trust in the Lord, 
and do good, so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt 
be fed." Bread has been an old temptation to ministers : Amos vii. 
12, 13, " Amaziah said unto Amos, thou seer, go, flee away into 
the land of Judah, and there eat bread. But prophecy not again 
any more at Bethel, for it is the king's chapel, and it is the king's 
court." But such as were faithful to the Lord have always ha- 
zarded the bread, rather than a good conscience : consult ver. 14, to 
the end of the chapter. Nature is content with little, grace with 
less ; if we cannot trust Christ for our bread, I think we will- 
scarcely be able to trust him with our souls. Miserable is that 
bread which cannot be got down Avithout straining our conscience; 
but little bread will go far with a good conscience and God's bless- 

166 Christ's presence with 

ing : let us mind that, Dan. i. 15, '* And their countenance did ap- 
pear fairer and fairer in flesh, than the children which did eat the 
portion of the king's meat." 

(5.) Then, as Elisha said to his servant, 2 Kings ii. 16, "Fear 
not, for they that be with us, are more than they that be with them." 
Psalm xciii. 3, 4, " The floods have lifted up, Lord, the floods have 
lifted up their voice, as the floods lift up their waves. The Lord on 
high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the 
mighty waves of the sea." The faith of the Lord's presence in 
our work would make all opposition of our enemies yery contemp- 
tible ; seeing he is with us that hath the devil in chains, and who 
sets restraining bounds to the sea, and to the wrath of man, and 
can in a moment overthrow all the enemies of his work. 

(6.) Then he will be against them that are against us in our 
work. "I am with you." If the world will make themselves par- 
ties against you in your work, then, " Lo, I am with you," on your 
side against them. A faithful ministry has always been the great eye- 
sore of the world ; and none can at any time engage in that work, but 
must lay his account with opposition. But sooner or later it returns 
on the heads of their enemies, according to that prophetic prayer, 
which is an awful hedge about Christ's ministers : Dent, xxxiii. 11, 
" Smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of 
them that hate him, that they rise not again." 

2. Further to engage us to cleave to the Lord's work, let us con- 
sider, God will be with his ministers and his church always, even 
to the end of the world. — Then, 

(1.) Lose what we will in the faithful discharge of our work, we 
will never lose our God : " Lo I am with you always." There is no- 
thing we have in the world, "but enemies may get their hands upon ; 
but there is one thing which they cannot reach, which is better 
than all goods, liberty, life ; that is, they cannot separate us from 
the love of our Lord Jesus : Rom. viii. 38, 39, " For I am persuaded, 
that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, 
nor things present, uor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor 
any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of 
God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." There can be no lot so 
hard, but Christ's presence can sweeten, and make it desirable. 

(2.) The world will have an end, and all its smiles and frowns 
also will be at length laid by for ever. Why then should its smiles 
flatter, or its frowns fright us from our Lord's work and interest ? 
A little time will carry off both the slothful and faithful servant. 
But happy that servant, whom, when his Lord and Master cometh, 
shall find so doing. The solid faith of that life and immortality 


brought to light by the gospel, which we preach, would, I believe, 
make us very pei-emptory in our resolutions of diligence and faith- 
fulness in our work, over the belly of all opposition in the world. 

(3.) Our Lord's work will never lie for want of hands ; he will 
have a church and a ministry to the end of the world. If we lay it 
by, others will take it up, and write death on our faces, by yoking 
us to it even in the heat of the day. 

(4.) Our Lord and his people shall stand the last upon the earth, 
his enemies will drop off after one another, he will outlive them all, 
and stand a conqueror, when they are all routed, and made to quit 
the field, " Lo, I am with you to the end." His cause will always be 
victorious at length, and bear down all before it. Who knows but 
the wheels of providence may be in motion towards the total over- 
throw of Prelacy, and ceremonies in Britain and Ireland ? Provi- 
dence has often gone to work in as unlikely a way. 

III. Has Christ premised to be with us in his own work? 0! 
then, let us not divide among ourselves, let us endeavour unity in 
the Lord with all our might, and cleave to the work of God in this 
land, as one man, against Popery, Prelacy, superstition, error, and 
profanity, and whatsoever is contrary to sound godliness, seeing it 
is the work laid on us by our Lord in his sacred word, the book of 
our instructions, and seeing the land has been engaged thereto by 
solemn covenants with God. If anything ruin this work of the 
Lord amongst us, it will be our divisions. No doubt there will be 
means used by our enemies to divide us, knowing well, that if we 
once break, we are in danger of being broken more and more. 
Therefore let us pray and act for unity in the Lord ; though, like 
the builders of the wall of Jerusalem, we be separated upon the 
wall, yet being upon the wall, all at our work, the work will go on. 
But that which will be our ruin, will be one party throwing down 
what the other builds up ; which will be the case, if in the auger of 
the Lord we be divided. If the mountain of the ministry fall a 
burning with the fire of division, all will quickly fall into the sea ; 
but our unity will be our strength : and yet as contemptible as the 
ministry of this church is at this day in the eyes of many, their 
unity will make them beautiful as Tizrah, and terrible as an army 
with banners ; yea, even in our evil time, would afford us a glimmer- 
ing prospect that the Lord would yet fill his house with his glory, 
Isa. Hi. 8, " Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice, with the voice 
together shall they sing ; for they shall see eye to eye when the 
Lord shall bring again Zion ;" Matth. xviii. 19, " Again, I say unto 
you that if two of you shall agree upon earth, as touching anything 
that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which 

168 Christ's presence with, &c. 

is in heaven." " Agree," or, or as the word is, sympathize, sound to- 
gether. I take both these to be an allusion to that sweet passage, 
2 Chron. v. 13, " It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and sing- 
ers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and 
thanking the Lord ; and when they lifted up their voice with the 
trumpets and cymbals, and instruments of music, and praised the 
Lord, saying, For he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever; that 
then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord ; 
BO that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the 
cloud, fur the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God." If, 
then, we have any love to the Lord, to his interests, to his people, 
to our own souls, let us be one in the Lord's work. Cursed will 
that carnal interest be, that shall loose a pin in the tabernacle of 

III. Has Christ promised to be with us in his work ? Then let 
us not forget him who is with us, let us love Christ, let us preach 
Christ ; this is our great work at all times, Eph. iii. 8, " Unto me, 
who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I 
should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ." 
Let us beware of legal preaching ; let that be the scope of our preach- 
ing, which is the great design of the gospel, to discover the corrup- 
tion of men's nature, and to exalt the riches, power and freedom of 
grace in Christ Jesus. "We have the more need to take heed to this, 
because the corrupting of the doctrine of the gospel is like to be the 
temptation of our day. 

To conclude : As to you, the people, whether ye be.in the Lord's 
interests or not, ye have heard what ye may apply to yourselves. 
I think, upon the whole, if ye be wise, ye will say with these, Zech. 
viii. " We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with 
you." The profane world will be ready to laugh at this, but both 
ministers and people must lay their account to be fools in the 
world's eyes, if they will be wise in the sight of God. 

Let none think from what I have said, that I have proposed my- 
self as an example, or that I have forgot myself in this matter. 
God knows, I look on myself as the weakest and most unfit, for a 
time of trial, of all the servants of my Lord. But let truth stand 
and take place, come of the speaker what will. I desire, with you, 
to fix mine eyes on the promise of His presence, who hath said, " Lo, 
I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." 

Christ's invitatiox, &c. 169 



Matth. xi. 28, 
Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I tvill give 

you rest. 

The great and main object of the gospel preaching and gospel prac- 
tice, is a coming to Christ. It is the first article in Christianity, ac- 
cording to John V. 40, " Ye will not come to me, that ye might 
have life." It is the connecting chain, 1 Pet. ii. 4, "To whom com- 
ing as unto a living stone, ye also as lively stones are built up," &c. 
And it is the last exercise of the Christian ; for when finishing his 
warfare, the invitation is, Matth. xxv. 34, '' Come, ye blessed of my 
Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you." It is virtually the 
all which God requireth of us : John vi. 29, " This is the work of 
God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." The words of the 
text are a most solemn and ample invitation which Christ gives to 
sinners. In them I shall consider, 

I. The connection. For which look to verses 25 and 26, com- 
pare Luke X. 21, " Jesus rejoiced in spirit." It was a joyful time 
to him when he made this invitation. He rejoiced in the account of 
the good news, the success with which the message of the disciples 
was attended ; and in the wise and sovereign dispensation of grace 
by the Father, which he here celebrates, as also upon the view of his 
own power ; where he shows that all power was lodged in him. The 
keys of the Father's treasures of grace are in his hand, yea, and 
whatsoever is the Father's. He also shews, that none could know 
the Father, but by him, for that is given to him only. He, as it 
were, opens the treasure door to sinners in the text. — From the con- 
nection of this verse, as just now stated, I would observe, that the 
solemnity of this invitation is most observable. There seems some- 
thing to be about it more than ordinary. As, 

1. It was given in the day of Christ's gladness. He was a man 
of sorrows, all made up of sorrows. Sorrow, sighing, weeping, 
groaning, were his ordinary fare. Once indeed we read of his being 
glad, John xi. 15 ; and once of his rejoicing, Luke x. 21. And, 
again, on this occasion, here that thread of sorrow was interrupted, 

This and the following discourses on this suliject, were delivered in January and 
February, 1711. 

Vol. IX. M 


170 Christ's ikvitation to the 

the sun of joy broke out for a little from under the cloud. His heart 
was touched, and, as it were, leaped for joy, as the word signifies; 
compare Matth v. 12, with Luke vi. 23. In the Greek, " he was 
exceeding joyful." At this extraordinary time and frame, he gives 
the invitation in the text. Hence infer, 

1st, That Christ invites sinners with an enlarged heart. Joy en- 
larges it. His heart is open to you, his arras are stretched wide. 
You often see him with sorrow and anger in his face, and this works 
with you that you will not come. Behold him smiling and inviting 
you now to himself, sending love-looks to lost sinners, from a joy- 
ful heart within ! Infer, 

2cUt/, May I say, the Mediator's joy is not complete, till you come 
and take a share ? The scriptures will warrant the expression, Isa. 
liii. 11, " He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satis- 
fied." He rejoiceth, but resteth not ; but invites sinners to a share, 
as if all could not satisfy while he goes childless, as to some he has 
yet an eye upon. Infer, 

S-i/y, That nothing can make Christ forget poor sinners, or be 
unconcerned for them. Sorrow could not do it, joy could not do it ; 
either of these will drive a narrow-spirited man so into himself, 
as to forget all others. But never was his heart so filled either 
with sorrow or joy, but there was always room for poor sinners 
there. "When he was entering the ocean of wrath, he remembered 
them, John xvii ; and as our forerunner, he went into the ocean of 
joy, Heb. vi. 20. Like Aaron, he carried our names on his heart, 
when he went in to appear before the Lord in heaven, Exod. 
xxviii. 29. 

2. The invitation was given at a time when there was a great 
breach made in the devil's kingdom, compare Luke x. 17, 18. Christ 
was now beginning to set up a new kingdom, and he sends out se- 
venty disciples, which was the number of the Sanhedrim at first. 
He was to bring the people out of the spiritual Egypt, compare Gen. 
xlvi. 27. The success of the disciples was a fair pledge of the 
devil's kingdom coming down, and the delivery of sinners. And 
when the news of it comes, his heart rejoices, and his tongue breaks 
out in this invitation to the devil's captives, to come away upon 
this glorious signal. As he had begun to perform this part of the 
covenant, the Father had begun to perform his, which made his 
heart leap for joy, and sets him on to cry, that they would all come 
away, as disciples, vigorously to pursue the advantage which was 
got. Psalm ex. 7, " He shall drink of the brook in the way, there- 
fore^^shall he lift up the head. Hence infer, 

1st, That Christ's heart is set upon the work of sinners' salva- 


tion. Ye see no undue haste, but he would have no delays. He 
holds hands to the work, calling, ** Come unto me." He preferred 
it to the eating of his bread ; and what else is the meaning of all the 
ordinances and providences ye meet with ? Infer, 

^dly, That Christ would have you to come, taking encouragement 
from the example of others that have come before you. There is a 
gap made in the devil's prison ; some have made their escape by it 
already, ! will not ye follow ? The Lord has set examples for 
us, both of judgment and of mercy. In the beginnings of the 
Jewish church, there was an example of God's sovereignty, in the 
destruction of Nadab and Abihu, Lev. x. 1,2; and of the Christian 
church, in the death of Ananias and Sapphira, Acts v ; of mercy, in 
the Jewish church, Rahab the harlot, besides Abraham the father 
of them all, an idolater. Josh. xxix. 15, compare Isa. li. 2. Then in 
the Christian church, Paul the blasphemous persecutor, 1 Tim. i. 16. 

2)dly, That however full Christ's' house be, there is always room 
for more ; he wearies not of welcoming sinners ; the more that come 
the better. Christ's harvest is not all cut down at once, nor his 
house built in a day ; if the last stone were laid in the building, the 
scaffolding of ordinances would be taken down, and the world be at 
an end. But none of these has hitherto taken place ; therefore yet 
there is room : Joel iii. 21, " For I will cleanse their blood that I 
have not yet cleansed, for the Lord dwelleth in Zion." 

3. This invitation is given on a solemn review of that fulness, of 
that all which the Father hath lodged in the hand of the Mediator, 
and that solely. The Father, as it were, no sooner leads him into 
these treasures, but he says, 'This and this is for you, sinners; 
here is a treasure of mercies and blessings for you ; pardon, life, 
peace, &c. is all for you. Come, therefore, unto me, the Father 
has delivered them into my hand, I long to deliver them over to you. 
Come, thei'efore, to me, and hence I shall draw my fulness out to 
you.' Christ had got a kingdom from the Father ; it was as yet 
thinly peopled, and so he calls you to come to him, that ye may be 
happy in him. He has no will to enjoy these things alone, but be- 
cause he has them, he would have you to take a share. — I would 
draw this 

DocT. That as the fulness lodged in the Mediator hath a free vent 
in his heart, so it seeks to diffuse itself into the souls of needy sin- 

Jesus Christ longs to make sinners the better of that all-fulness 
that is lodged in him by the Father. Christ speaks here to us as 

M 2 

172 chkist's invitation to the 

tbe true Joseph, Gen. xlv. 9 — 11. As Joseph invited his brethren 
to come and dwell with him, so Jesus cordially invites us, and pro- 
mises us a share of the fulness which he himself possesses. — In illus- 
trating the above proposition, I shall only, 

I. Assign some reasons. 

II. Make some practical improvement. 

I. I am to give some reasons of this doctrine, or shew, why 
Christ is so kind and liberal to sinners. — He is so, 

1. Because the Father hath given him for that end : Isa. Iv, 4, 
" Behold, I have given him for a Witness unto the people, a Leader 
and Commander unto the people. The Father had thoughts of love 
to man ; his love designed to distribute a treasure of mercy, pardon, 
and grace, to lost sinners ; but justice would not allow his giving 
them immediately out of his own hand ; therefore he gives them to 
the Mediator to distribute. An absolute God being a consuming 
fire, guilty creatures, as stubble, could not endure his heat, but they 
would have been burnt up by it ; therefore he sets his own Son, in 
man's nature, as a crystal-wall betwixt him and them ; he gives him 
the Spirit without measure, not only a fulness of sufficiency, but 
abundance of blessings, is laid up in him ; for it hath pleased the 
Father, that in him should all fulness dwell. — He is so, 

2. Because he received a fulness of treasure for that very end : 
John xvii. 19, " For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also 
might be sanctified through the truth." The first Adam got man- 
kind's stock ; he soon lost all. Christ takes the elect's stock in 
his hand for their security, and so he is given for a covenant of the 
people ; he takes the burden upon him for them, and takes the ad- 
ministration of the second covenant, that it might, with them, be a 
better covenant than the first. — He is so, 

3. Because he bought these treasures at the price of his blood for 
their behoof: Phil. ii. 8, 9, " He humbled himself, and became obe- 
dient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also 
hath highly exalted hira, and given him a name, which is above 
every name." The Son of God, who is Lord of all, needed no 
exaltation in the court of heaven, being equal with his Father; but 
his design was, to exalt man's nature, to make these that were the 
children of the devil — friends to heaven, and prepare for them room 
there : "1 go (said he) to prepare a place for you," John xiv. 2. 
No wonder, then, that he should long to see the purchase of his 
blood, the fruit of the travail of his soul, come to him. — He is kind 
and liberal, 

4. Because of his love to them. Where true love is, there is an 
aptness to communicate ; the lover cannot see the beloved want what 


he has. God's love is giving love : " He so loved the world, that he 
gave his only-begotten Son," John iii. 16. Christ's love is also 
such ; he loves indeed : " He loved us, and gave himself for us," 
Gal. ii. 20. — For the improvement of this doctrine, I only add an 
use of exhortation. 

Come to Christ, then, sinners, upon this his invitation, and sit 
not his blessed call. — To enforce this, I urge these motives : — 

1. There is a fulness in him, all power is given him ; want what 
you will, he has a power to give it to you ; the Son of man had 
power, even on earth, to forgive sins. Grace without yon, or grace 
within you, he is the dispenser of all: Jolm i. 16, "And of his 
fulness have all we received, and grace for grace." He is the great 
Secretary of heaven, the keys hang at his girdle ; he shuts, and none 
can open ; he opens, and none can shut. — Consider, 

2. You are welcome to it. He has it not to keep up, but to give 
out, and to whom but to needy sinners ? Even the worst of you 
are welcome, if you will take it out of his own hand : " If any man 
thirst, (says he), let hira come to me, and drink," John vii. 37- 

3. Would you do Christ a pleasure ? then come to him, Isa. liii. 
11, "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied." 
Would you content and ease his heart ? then come. It is a great 
ease to full breasts to be sucked. The breasts of his consolations 
are full, hear how pressingly he calls you to suck ! " Eat, friends I 
drink, yea, drink abundantly, beloved !" 

Lastly, Would you fall in with the designs of the Father's and 
the Son's love, in the mystery of salvation ? then come to him. 
Why is a fountain opened, but that ye may run to it, and wash ? 
Seal not, shut not that to yourselves, which God and Christ have 

II. The second thing to be considered in the words is, the per- 
sons invited. These are they that labour, and are heavy-laden. 
The word labour signifies not every labouring, but a labouring to 
weariness, and so some read it weary. Heavy laden are they that 
have a heavy burden on their back, which they are not able to 

Who are meant by these ? I cannot agree with those that re- 
strain these expressions to those that are sensible of their sins and 
misery, without Christ, and are longing to be rid of the same ; but 
I think it includes all that are out of Christ, sensible or insensible ; 
that is, these that have not l:ad, and those that have had, a law- 
work upon their consciences. And to fix this interpretation, con- 

1. The words agree to all that are out of Christ, and none hav© 

174 Christ's invitation" to the 

any right to restrain them. None more properly labour, in the 
sense of the text, than those that are out of Christ, seeking their 
satisfaction in the creatures : Eccl, i. 8, " All things are full of la- 
bour, man cannot utter it : the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor 
the ear filled with hearing," And who hare such a burden of sin, 
and wrath upon their back as they have ? The word properly sig- 
nifies a ship's lading, which, though insensible of it, may yet sink 
nnder the weight. — Consider, 

2. *' The whole world lieth in wickedness," 1 John v. 19, as men 
in a deep mire, still sinking. Christ came to deliver men out of 
that case ; having taken upon him our nature, Heb. ii. 16, he caught 
hold (Greek) as one doth of a drowning man, even as he did of 
Peter when sinking, Matth. xiv. 31. And what are the invitations 
of the gospel, but Christ putting out his hands to sinking souls, 
sinking with their own weight. Consider, 

3. That the words, in other scriptures, are without controversy 
applied to the most insensible sinners. See what labour and weari- 
ness ! Fab. ii. 13, " Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts, that the 
people shall labour in the very fire, and the people shall weary 
themselves for very vanity ?" In the most solemn invitation to 
Christ in all the Old Testament, the word " labouring" is so used : 
Isa. Iv. 2, " Wherefore do you spend money for that which is not 
bread, and yonr labour for that which satisfieth not ?" Luke xi. 4t>, 
" Ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne." " Lade" is the 
same Greek word used in the text. Isa. i. 4, " Ah ! sinful nation, 
a people laden with iniquity." Were they sensible? far from it; 
for ver. 3, " Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider." 
And, 2 Tim. iii. 6, it is said, " Silly women, laden with sins, led 
away with divers lusts." 

4. Consider the parallel text : Isa. Iv. 1, " Ho, every one that 
thirsteth ;" where by the thirsty is not so much understood those 
that are thirsting after Christ, as those that are thirsting after 
happiness and satisfaction, seeking to squeeze it out of the creature ; 
for the thirsty invited are the same that are spending their labour 
for that which satisfieth not. But those that are thirsting after 
Christ are not such. 

5. If the words be a restriction of the call to sensible sinners, 
then the most part of sinners are excluded. If they are not in- 
cluded, sure they are excluded; and if the words are restrictive, 
sure they are not included ; and then, so far from being the truth 
of the text, that it is no gospel-truth at all ; for all, without ex- 
ception, that hear the gospel, are called to come to Christ ; Rev. iii. 
20, " Behold, I stand at the door, and knock ; if any man hear 


my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup 
with him, and he with me." And if any " one" be not called, they 
have no warrant to come ; and if so, unbelief is not their sin, as in 
the case of the Pagans, which is absurd. 

Lastly, This is a most solemn invitation to come to Christ; and 
if I say the most solemn, there is some ground for it by what is said 
before. And shall that be judged restrained, that so expressly and 
solemnly comes from that fulness of power lodged in Christ, more 
than that just quoted ? Rev. iii. 20, where there is no shadow of 
restriction. Besides, this restriction may well be a snare lo an 
exercised soul, which ordinarily, by a legal disposition in all, will 
not allow that they may come to Christ, because sin is not heavy 
enough to them. But although sinners will never come to Christ 
till they see their need of him, yet this I will ever preach, that all, 
under pain of damnation, are obliged to come to him, and that 
they shall be welcome on their coming, be their case what it will ; 
that such as are willing to come ought not to stop on a defect of 
their sensibleness, but come to him, that they may get a true sense 
of sin unto repentance ; for he is " exalted a Prince and a Saviour, 
to give repentance unto Israel, and remission of sins," Acts v. 31. 
He is to give, not to stand and wait, till " folly bring repentance 
with it." 

III. Consider in the words, to what the labouring and heavy- 
laden are invited. They are invited to come to Jesus ; that is, to 
believe on him, to take him as he offers himself in the gospel. 

lY. Observe the encouragement afforded to influence a compli- 
ance with this invitation. Rest is promised to them here and here- 
after : " I will give you rest." — We may afterwards open up these 
things more largely, in handling the following doctrinal proposi- 
tions, which we draw from the words thus explained, viz. 

DocT. I. That sinners, while out of Christ, are engaged in a 
wearisome labour. 

DocT. II. That all who are out of Christ are under a heavy load 
or burden, which by all their labours they cannot shake off. 

DocT. III. Whatever sinful and vain labours sinners are eno-ao-ed 
in, whatever be the loads which are lying on them, they are welcome 
to Christ ; nay, he calls, invites, and commands them to come unto 

I shall consider these in order. — I begin with Doct. I. That 
sinners, while out of Christ, are engaged in a wearisome la- 
bour. Were you condemned, till yon forsook your lusts, to row in 
the galleys, chained to the oars, to dig in mines, never to see the 

176 cueist's invitation to the 

liglit of the sun, it were not to be compared to this wearisome la- 
bour, while out of Christ. If sinners feel it not, it is because they 
are not at all themselves. It is a truth, though a sad one, Isa. Iv. 
2, that they "labour for that which satisfieth not ;" (in the Hebrew,) 
they " labour to weariness." Eccl. x. 15, " The labour of the foolish 
wearieth every one of them ; because he knoweth not how to go to 
the city." 

In discoursing this point, we may inquire, 

I. "What it is that sinners out of Christ are labouring for. 

II. How it is, that men out of Christ labour for happiness and 

III. What sort of labour it is that they have in these things. 
ly. "Why sinners labour in these things for satisfaction, and do 

not come to Christ. 

Y. Make some practical improvement. 

Let us inquire, 

I. What it is that sinners out of Christ are labouring for. No 
man engageth in a labour, but for some end he proposeth to himself. 
Though the devil is oversmau of these labourers, yet he does not 
make them go like clocks, without a design. Every one that labours 
proposes some profit to himself by his work, and so do these ; there 
is always something, either really or seemingly good, that men seek 
in all their labours. So, in a word, it is happiness and satisfaction 
that they are labouring for, as well as the godly. For, consider, 

1. The desire of happiness and satisfaction is natural to man ; 
all men wish to see good. It is not the desire of good that may 
satisfy, that makes the diiferenco between the godly and the wicked, 
but the different ways they take : Psalm iv. 6, 7, " There be many 
that say, Who will shew us any good ? Lord, lift thou up the light 
of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in ray heart, 
more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased." 
In whatever case a man is on earth, in heaven or hell this is still 
his desire ; and he must cease to be a man, ere he can cease to de- 
sire to be a happy man. When that desire, mentioned Eccl. xii. 5, 
shall fail, this desire is still fresh and green ; and it is good in itself. 
Our Lord snpposeth this in the text, and therefore he promises to 
them what they are seeking, rest, if they will come to him. 

2. This desire is the chief of all : all other things are desired for it. 
All men's desires, however different, meet here, as all the rivers 
meet in the sea, though their courses may be quite contrary. There- 
fore this is what they labour for. The devil has some labourers at 
his coarse work, others at the more fine, but they all meet in their 


3. Defects and wants are interwoven with tlio very nature of tlie 
creature ; and tlie rational creature finds that it cannot be, nor is 
self-sufficient. Hence it seeks its happiness without itself, and must 
do it, to satisfy these natural desires. 

Lastly, Seeing, then, man's happiness is without himself, it must — 
be brought in, which cannot be done without labour. It is proper i^ .vt^vw- ^ 
to God to be happy in himself; but every creature must needs go 
out of itself to find its happiness ; so that action is the true way 
to it, that is, rest cannot be found but in the way of action and la- 
bour, and because they are not in the right way, it is wearisome 

Let us inquire, 

II. How it is that men out of Christ labour for happiness and sa- 
tisfaction. Here it is impossible for us to reckon up particulars, 
and that in regard, 

1. Of the diflFerent dispositions of men, and thg various, as well 
as contrary opinions, concerning what may make a man happy. 
Yarro says, there were two hundred and eighty opinions touching 
the chief good in his time. It is true, Christianity, in the profession 
of it, hath fixed this point in principle ; but nothing less than over- 
coming grace can fix it in point of practice. The whole body of 
Christless sinners are like the Sodomites at Lot's door; all were for 
the door, but one grasps one part of the wall for it, another another 
part, not one of them found it. The world is, as the air in a sum- 
mer-day, full of insects ; and natural men, like a company of child- 
ren, one running to catch one, another, another, while none of them 
is worth the pains. One runs to the bowels of the earth, another to 
the ale-house, &c. — It is impossible to determine here, 

2. In regard of men's still altering their opinions about it, as they 
meet with new diappointments. Like a man in a mist, seeking a 
house in a wilderness, when every bush, tree, &c. deceives, till, by 
coming near, he is undeceived. " (thinks the man), if I had such 
a thing, I would be well." Then he falls to labour for it; may be 
he never gets it, but he ever pursues it. If he gets it, he finds it 
will not do, for as big as it was afar off, yet it will not fill his hand 
when he grips it ; but it must be filled, or no rest, hence new labour 
to bring forth just a new disappointment : Isa. xxvi. 18, " We have 
been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought 
forth wind." — It is difficult also, 

3. Because they cannot tell themselves what they would be at. 

Their starving souls are like the hungry infant, that gapes, weeps, yi/-t.»*~* hv> 
crys, and sucks every thing that comes near its mouth, but cannot 
tell what it would have, but is still restless till the mother set it to 

178 Christ's invitation to the 

the breast. It is regenerating grace that does that to the soul. 
The Hebrew word for believing, comes from a root that signifies to 
nurse, as if faith were nothing but a laying of the soul on the 
breasts of Christ, in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead. 
The scripture holds him out as the mother that bare them ; hence 
his people are called, Isa. liii. 11, "The fruit of the travail of his 
soul." He also is their nourisher : hence he says, Isa. i. 2, " I hare 
nourished and brought up children." The breasts of the church, 
Isa. Ixvi. 11, at which they are to suck and be satisfied, are no other 
than Christ. But, in the general, to see from whence it is that men 
out of Christ go about to squeeze out their happiness, see Psalm iv. 
6, 7, quoted above. From which observe two things. 

(1.) That it is not God, for these two are set in opposition ; go to 
as many doors as they will, they never go to the right door; hence 
it follows, that it is the creatures out of which they labour to draw 
their satisfaction : " Having forsaken the fountain of living waters, 
they hew out to themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold 
no water." 

(2.) That it is good they are seeking out of them ; and indeed 
men can seek nothing but under that notion, though for the most 
part they call evil good, and good evil. All good is either profitable, 
pleasurable, or honest ; these, then, are all that they are seeking, 
not from God, but from themselves, or other creatures. The two 
former have respect to the cravings of men's desires, the latter to 
the cravings of the law. And seeing it is not in God that they seek 
their haj^piness and satisfaction, I infer hence, that all out of Christ 
are labouring for their happiness and satisfaction in one or both of 
these ways, either from their lusts, or from the law , and this I take 
to be the very labour intended in the text. For which consider 
these three things : — 

1st, That all natural men have two principles in them, (1.) Cor- 
ruption ; (2.) Conscience. Both crave of them : Rom. ii. 15, " Which 
shew the work of the law, written in their heart, their conscience 
also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing, or 
else excusing one another." Hence, because they do not mortify the 
lusts, they must be fed or no rest ; and therefore they labour for 
their lusts to satisfy them. Then, because they fly not to Christ for 
the satisfaction of their conscience, they go to the law. 

2dl)/. The bulk of natural men in the world have still been of two 
sorts: (1.) The profane party ; (2.) The formal party. These have 
still been among Jews, Pagans, and Christians ; the former labour- 
ing most in lusts, the latter in the law. 

My, Adam left us with two yokes on our necks, (1.) Of lusts; 


(2.) Of the law. The last was of God's putting, but he gave strength 
■with it to bear it ; Adam took away the strength, but left the yoke, 
and put on a yoke of lusts beside ; and in opposition to both these, 
Christ bids us come and take on his yoke, which is easy, and his 
burden, which is light," Matth. xi. 29. 

As to the labour they have in their lusts, they call them, and they 
run after them. These infernal devils in the heart drive the swine 
of this world into the sea of perdition; nay, turn the soul itself into 
a very sea, that cannot rest : Isa. Ivii. 20, " The wicked are like the 
troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and 
dirt." They labour like madmen for satisfaction to them, and no 
calm, no rest, till the soul come to Christ. 

1. They labour hard in the lusts of profit: 1 John ii. 16, "For 
all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, 
and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." The 
profits of the world are the cisterns they squeeze for satisfaction; 
they bewitch the hearts of them that have them, and of them that 
want them ; they fly after them with that pains and labour the ra- 
venous bird doth after its prey : Prov. xxiii. 5, " Wilt thou set 
thine eyes upon that which is not ? for riches take to themselves 
■wings, they fly away, as an eagle towards heaven." The strength 
of men's desires, and the cream of their aff'ections, are spent on 
them ; their happiness depends npon its smiles, their misery upon 
its frowns ; if gone, their god is gone. Hence is that verified, Hab. 
ii. 13, " They labour in the very fire, and weary themselves for very- 
vanity," like a poor fool running to catch a shadow. They have 
hard labour in lawful profits, how to get them, and how to keep 
them, but hardest of all, how to squeeze satisfaction out of them ; 
there they labour in the very fire ; they labour also in unlawful 
profits. The soul is an empty thing ; lusts are ill to guide ; con- 
science must make a stretch now and then, for the satisfaction of 
lusts ; and the man will leap over the hedge, though the serpent 
will bite hira : 1 Tim. vi. 9, 10, " But they that will be rich fall into 
temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, 
which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of 
money is the root of all evil." Hence the carnal man, I may say, 
never gets up his back, but on his belly doth he go, and labours, as 
if he were a slave condemned to the mines, to dig in the bowels of 
the earth ; like the blind moles, his constant labour is in the earth, 
and he never opens his eyes till he is dying. He has his lade of 
thick clay upon his back, Hab. ii. 6, as the fruit of his labouring in 
the fire. There is thus a labouring and heavy-laden party. Others 
take the world in their hand as a staff, nay, tread on it as the dirt, 

180 cueist's invitation to the 

and they get it as a burden on their back ; while guilt, many times 
contracted in the getting of it, whether by oppression, cheatery, or 
neglecting of the soul for it, is like a sore back under the load, that 
makes them ready in despair to throw it away, but they know not 
how to subsist without it. 

2, They labour in lusts of pleasure ; they go about as the bee, 
extracting the sweet out of the creatures for their own satisfaction ; 
this and tlie former usually go together. Profits and pleasures are 
the world's two great baits, at which all natural men are con- 
stantly leaping, till they are caught by the hook, and flung out into 
the fire of wrath : Prov. ix. 17, 18, " Stolen waters are sweet, and 
bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knoweth not that the 
dead are there, and that her guests are in the depths of hell." Plea- 
sure is a necessary ingredient in happiness, and man cannot but 
seek it ; hence God proposeth it to men in himself, who is the foun- 
tain of all sweetness : Psalm xvi. 11, " Thou wilt shew me the path of 
life, in thy presence there is fulness of joy, at thy right hand there are 
pleasures for evermore." But blind man makes the creature-sweet- 
ness his idol, and puts it in the room of God ; for " they are lovers 
of pleasures, (in this sense), more than lovers of God," 2 Tim. iii. 4. 
It is no fault to seek our profit ; for, Heb. xi. 26, " We are to have 
respect unto the recompense of the reward." Nor to seek what may 
be sweet to the soul ; for we may wish our souls to be " satisfied 
with marrow and fatness," Psalm Ixiii. 5. But the natural man's 
misery and sin both is, he forsakes God, and fastens on the breasts 
of the creatures for these things. 

Now, there are two breasts of the creatures at which men may 
be sucking. 

(1.) The breast of lawful comforts. Natural men fall on these, 
instead of the breasts of God's consolations, and labour, though in 
vain, to squeeze happiness and satisfaction out of them, and that 
with the greatest eagerness. They are lawful in themselves, but 
they often press so hard, that they draw out blood instead of milk 
from them ; and are like men working at a flinty rock, to bring out 
water, instead of which they get fire flashing in their face, as in that 
case. Judges ix. 15, when " fire came out of the bramble to devour 
the cedars of Lebanon." — There is, 

(2.) The breast of unlawful comforts, Prov. ix. 17, " Stolen waters 
are sweet." Many seek their satisfaction in those things which they 
ought not so much as to desire, and fill themselves with what God for- 
bids them so much as to taste. ! the misery of Christless sinners, to 
whom both lawful and unlawful comforts are efl'ectual snares for 
ruin. Like mad beasts, if they abide within the hedge, they tear 


up all to the red earth, which doth not yet satisfy. But they most 
usually break over all hedges ; and they do so, because the creature 
can never fully answer the craving desires and hungry appetite, 
and yet, after all, they will not come to Christ, that they may have 

These breasts of the creatures have many springs, divers lusts 
and pleasures, Titus iii. 3, and these are served ; men must labour 
in them as a servant at his master's work. I shall reduce them to 
these two heads, mentioned, Eph. ii. 3, the desires of the flesh and 
of the mind. 

1st, They labour for satisfaction and happiness in the pleasures 
of the flesh. And, — 1. In sensuality. This was the door man first 
went to, after he had left God. And since the world was turned 
upside down by that means, the soul has lain downmost, and the 
flesh uppermost, so that they are all sensual, as Jude says, ver. 19, 
that have not the Spirit; and the soul is made drudge of the body. 
The belly is a god, and the pleasures of the flesh are squeezed for 
satisfaction ; all the senses are set a- working for it, and yet can 
never do enough : Eccl. vi. 7, " All the labour of man is for his 
mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled." Many arts and trades 
are found out to bring this to perfection, though all in vain ; and 
there is no end of these things, which are of no use but to please 
the flesh, which, like the grave, never says it has enough. — 2. Ease, 
sloth, and quiet, which is a negative kind of sensuality : Luke xii. 
19, " The rich man said. Thou has goods laid up for many years, 
soul, take thine ease." All to please the flesh. This costs hard 
labour many times to the soul, many a throw conscience gets for the 
sake of this idol, what by neglect of duties, what by going over the 
belly of liglit to shun what is grieving to the flesh, as if men's hap- 
ness consisted in the quiet enjoyment of themselves. — They labour 
for satisfaction, 

2dli/, In the desires of the mind, and pleasures thereof. These, if 
they terminated on right objects, and were sought in a right manner, 
it would be well, for our true happiness consists in the soul's enjoy- 
ment of God; but in the natural man all is confusion. And, — 1. 
There is much labour in seeking happiness in the pleasures of the 
judgment. This is the snare of thinking graceless men; this was 
among the first doors men went to when they turned from God : 
Gen. iii. 5, " Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." And 
there is hard labour without a figure, for the punishment of that : 
Eccl. i. 13, " And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wis- 
dom concerning all things that are done under heaven ; this sore 
travail God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised there- 

182 Christ's invitation to the 

with." And what comes it to at length? to no rest; for, ver. 18, 
"In much wisdom there is much grief; and he that increaseth 
knowledge, increaseth sorrow." Here is fulfilled, Eccl. x. 15, " The 
labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he 
knoweth not how to go to the city." "Whereas, would they go to 
Christ, they would be in a fair way to get what they are seeking ; 
for, John xvii. 3, " This is life eternal, that they might know thee 
the true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." " In whom 
are hid, all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge," Col. ii. 3. 
There is labour, — 2. In pleasures of the fancy. What else are all 
the lusts of the eye ? all the abundance of the riches for which men 
labour so much ? Eccl. v. 11, " "When goods increase, they are in- 
creased that eat them ; and what good is there to the owner thereof, 
saving the beholding of them with his eyes ? all they can think or 
say is. These are mine." What is honour, credit, and the like, but 
a tickling of our fancy, with the fancies of others about us, adding 
nothing to real worth ? And how busy is the soul oftentimes in 
that, Eccl. vi. 9, " Better is the sight of the eyes, than the wander- 
ing of the desire, (Heb.) " walking of the soul." This is also vanity 
and vexation of spirit. What satisfaction is sought in imagination, 
sins, lust, revenge, and the like ? what restlessness there, 2 Pet. ii. 
14, " Having eyes full of adultery, that cannot cease from sin." 
How busy is the soul oftentimes in imagination, of wealth, and the 
like, as if, when it had tried all other means in vain, it would try, 
while awake, to dream itself happy ! " The thoughts of my heart," 
says Job, chap. xvii. 11, (Heb.) "the passions of my heart," "are 
broken off." 

3. The other thing in which natural men labour for rest, is the 
"law:" compare the text, Matth. xi. 28, with vers. 29 and 30. 
Emphatically is that labour described, Rom. x. 3, " For they 
being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish 
their own righteousness." " Go about ;" the word signifies, a seek- 
ing, like a disputer in the schools, or a torraenter of one upon the 
rack ; to establish, to make it stand itself alone. They seek to 
make it stand, as men that will have a stone to stand on end, which 
at the same time is ever coming down on them again. Why all 
this ? because it is their own : " Have not submitted." Christ offers 
a righteousness ; but to take it, is to them a point of submission, 
against which they labour, as the untoward bullock against the yoke. 
They will never let it on till God break the iron sinew of the neck, 
Isa. xlviii. 4. 

To confirm this, consider, 

1. All men desire to be happy, and no man can get his conscience 


quite sileuced, more than he can get the notion of a God quite 
erased from his mind : Rom. ii. 14, 15, " They are a law unto them- 
selves, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts 
the mean while accusing or excusing one another." Peace of 
mind is a natural desire, which none can divest himself of. Hence 
it follows, men cannot but seek inward peace ; and though they may 
set iheraselves to murder conscience for that end, yet seeing it will 
not do for them totally, they do of necessity take some other way. 
There never was but two ways, either Christ or the law. The for- 
mer they reject, therefore it follows, they follow the latter. Let us 
view this in three sorts of natural men. 

(1.) In the profane person, who has not so much as a form of 
godliness ; it is hardest to be found in them. But none so profane, 
but it will readily be found they have some one good thing or another 
about them, and sometimes they will compliment their consciences 
with a denial of satisfaction to their lusts, which is a labour so 
much the harder to them, as they are under the greater power of 
lusts. This sure they do not with an eye to make themselves miser- 
able, but happy that their consciences may excuse them, Rom. ii. 15. 
Excusing, even those that are most at the devil's will, and taken 
captive, as hunters who take their prey alive, 2 Tim. ii. 26. Im- 
porting still a conscience labouring in the law, though lusts, as 
being stronger, do for the most part prevail. — Let us view this, 

(2.) In the formal natural man : some of whom labour in the 
duties of morality ; others in those of religion : who are at no small 
travail in the law, if we consider it all for nought. Like the Pha- 
risee, Luke xviii. 11, they take not the gospel-way, yet they labour 
in the law. Sure lusts remain in them in their life and vigour. It 
surely costs labour so far to restrain them.' — Let us view this, 

(3.) In the awakened sinner. I am not for excluding those out 
of the text, but only that it be not restrained to them: Acts ii. 37, 
" Now, when they heard this, they were pricked to the heart, and 
said unto Peter, and the rest of the apostles, what shall we do ?" 
These mend their hands at this hard labour, and ofttimes labour so to 
keep the law, that they are both by themselves, and others taken 
for saints of the first magnitude, and yet it is but still in the law, 
till converting grace come, and sued them off the old root. 

2. It is natural for men to labour in the law for happiness, and 
therefore, till nature be overcome by grace, men will not be put off 
it. The law was Adam's covenant, who, with his children, were to 
work and win heaven by their works ; though they have lost their 
father's strength, yet they will keep their father's trade ; though 
their stock be small, yet they will keep the merchandising for hea- 

184 chuist's invitation to the 

ven, and give God good works for good wages. See nature speaking 
out of him, Matth. xix. 16, " Good Master, what good thing shall I 
do that I may have eternal life ?" And it often happens, that they 
who have fewest of good works lay the greatest stress upon them. 

3. Consider how this practice has been formed into principles, in 
the face of the sun of the gospel. Never was an error yet vented 
in principle, but in compliance with some corruption of the heart ; 
therefore is that made the characteristic of true doctrine, that it is 
according to godliness, 1 Tim. vi. 3. No sooner was the gospel 
preached, than Cain sets up for works in opposition to faith : Gen. 
iv. 4, 5, " And the Lord had respect to Abel, and to his offering ; 
but unto Cain and his offering he had not respect." Paul gives the 
reason : Heb. xi. 4, " By faith Abel offered unto God a more ex- 
cellent sacrifice than Cain." In Abraham's family, to whom the 
promise of righteousness was more clearly made, Hagar bears her 
son ; compare Gal. iv. 24. "When the people were in Egypt, the 
generality of them knew nothing else. They had curtailed the law 
so very short, as all that labour in it do, that they thought they 
kept all very well : Rom. v. 13, *' For until the law, sin was in the 
world; but sin is not imputed, when there is no law." For that 
cause God gave them the law, as in Exod. xx. Gal. iii. 29, " The 
law was added because of transgressions ;" it pravailed in the days 
of the prophets, in Christ's days, and from the beginning of the 
Christian church to this day ; — hence our swarms of Papists, &c. — 

4. They turn the very gospel into law, as unclean vessels sour 
the sweetest liquor that is put in them. What a real gospel was 
the ceremonial law to the Jews, holding up blood, death, and trans- 
lation of guilt, from them to the substitute, every day before their 
eyes in their sacrifices ; But, Rom. ix. 11, " Their very table (that 
is, their altar, so call, Mai. i. 12,) became a snare ;" and they went 
about these things, as if by them they V70uld have made up what 
was wanting in their observation of the moral law. Just so was it 
turned in Popery ; yea, and alas ! among Protestants it is found 
thus soured, to whom the gospel is the law. and faith, repentance, 
and new obedience, the fulfilling of the law. But would to God it 
stood in principles only ; but as sure as every unrenewed man is 
out of Christ, as sure even these natural men, whose heads are set 
right in this point, in their hearts and practice the very gospel is 
turned into law, and their obedience, their very faith and repentance, 
such as it is, is put in the room of Christ. For practice, when fairly 
traced, will show the principles from which it proceeds. 

Lastly^ Consider, though all would be saved, yet natural men are 


enemies to the gospel-way of salvation : 1 Cor. i. 23, " It is to the 
Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness." They 
must then be in love with the law, for there is no mids ; yea, so 
cleave they to it, that nothing but death can part Adam's sons and 
it, and this even a violent death in a day of God's power : Psalm 
ex. 3 ; Rom. vii. 4, " Ye also are become dead to the law ;" (Greek,) 
" deadened, killed, or put to death." As long as a soul sees how to 
shift without Christ, it will never come to him ; add to this, that 
the godly find the remains of this principle in them to struggle 
against. Self-denial is the first lesson Christ gives, but they are 
a-learning it all their days. If it is thus in the green tree, what 
shall it be in the dry ? 


Matth. xi. 28, 
Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I ivill give 

you rest. 

We are now, 

III. To inquire, What sort of a labour sinners have in these things? 
For the sake of plainness, it will be necessary to consider this la- 
bour, \st, As it respects their lusts ; 2dly, As it respects the law. 

We are, 

\st, To consider this labour of sinners, as it respects their lusts, 
their going up and down among the creatures, extracting from them 
a comfort and pleasures, which they take for happiness. — I shall 
here show the properties of this labour, and thus confirm the point 
that they are engaged in a wearisome labour. 

1. It is hard labour, and sore toil : Jer. ix. 5, " They weary them- 
selves to commit iniquity." None win the devil's wages for nought, 
they eat no idle bread where he is taskmaster, and they must needs 
run, whom he drives. The devil's yoke is of all yokes the heaviest. 
— To clear this point, consider, 

(1.) What the Scriptures compare this labour in lusts unto; 
whereby it will appear hard labour. — It compares it, ' 

[l.j To the labour of a man going to a city and not knowing the 

way : Eccl. x. 15, " The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of 

them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city." That is hard 

labour, as many know by experience. Many a weary foot such must 


186 curist's invitation to the 

go, many a hardship they must endure, and so must these in pursuit 
of happiness. — It compares it, 

[2.] To a labouring in the fire : Hab. ii. 13, " Behold, is it not of 
the Loi'd of hosts, that the people shall labour in the very fire, and the 
people shall weary themselves for very vanity ?" How hard is their 
labour that lieth about a fire ! what sweat ! what toil ! Jer. vi. 29, 
" The billows are burnt, the lead is consumed of the fire, the founder 
melteth in vain, for the wicked are not plucked away." But how 
much more hard in the fire ! As when a house is ou fire, and men 
in it, labouring to preserve that which the fire consumes, even among 
their hands. These labour, 1st, In the fire of lusts, that inflames the 
heart, and scorches the very soul, Prov. vi. 27, 28, " For by means 
of a whorish woman, a man is brought to a piece of bread, and the 
adulteress will hunt for the precious life. Can a man take fire in 
his bosom, and his clothes not be burned ?" 2dly In the fire of di- 
vine wrath that is kindled by the former : Isa. ix. 18, " For wicked- 
ness burneth as the fire, it shall devour the briers and thorns, and 
shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up 
like the lifting up of smoke." This consumeth what they are work- 
ing for in the other ; so that when, like the spider, they have spun 
out their own bowels for a covering, yet it is by far too narrow, and 
they have but wearied themselves for very vanity. — It is compared, 

[3.] To labouring under a burden, as in the text itself, which will 
not let the man get up his back. They are the devil's drudges, la- 
bouring under that load that will crush them at last, if they do not, 
as in Psalm Iv. 22, cast their burden on the Lord, that he may sus- 
tain them. They are laden with divers lusts, which lie on them as 
a burden on the weary beast, which weary them indeed, but they 
are bound on as with bands of iron and brass. — It is compared, 

[4.] To the labour of a soldier in war; they watch for iniquity as 
a sentry at his post : Isa. xxix. 20. The natural man himself is the 
very field of battle: Jam. iv. 1, "From whence come wars and 
fightings among you, come they not hence, even of your lusts which 
war in your members ?" The war itself you may see described in 
the three following verses. Who cannot but be well laboured with 
the feet of men and horse in that confusion ? Though there be not 
grace and corruption to war in them, there are lusts, and lusts op- 
posed to one another, lusts and light also. — It is compared, 

[5.] To the labour of the husbandman in plowing : Hos. x. 13, 
" Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity." They de- 
vise wickedness, which the Hebrew calls plowing it : " Devise not 
evil against thy neighbour," Prov. iii. 29. " An ungodly man dig- 
geth up evil, and in his lips there is a burning. fire," Prov. xvi. 27. 

It is compared, 


[6.] Not to insist on more, to the labour of a woman in child- 
birth : Psalm vii. 4, " Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath 
conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood." What pangs do 
raging lusts create to the soul ? What cords of death does it 
straiten with ? No small toil at conceiving of sin, and bearing it in 
the heart, and bringing it forth; but nothing in the abominable brat 
to satisfy the soul after all. 

(2.) It is hard labour, if you consider that eminent emblem of our 
natural state, the Egyptian bondage. Their deliverance out of 
Egypt, was typical of their si)iritual deliverance by Christ, and so 
that must needs signify man's natural state ; concerning which it 
may be remarked, (1.) That as the children of Israel went down to 
Egypt in the loins of their parents, so we in Adam. — (2.) As 
the deliverance was wrought by the angel of the covenant, by the 
hands of Moses the lawgiver, and Aaron the priest, so this by the 
law and the gospel. — (3.) As Pharaoh opposed the children of Israel 
to the utmost, so the devil opposeth here. Pharaoh was " the great 
dragon which lieth in the midst of his rivers, which said, my river 
is mine own, and I have made it for myself," Ezek. xxix. 3 ; and 
was a type of that great red dragon, mentioned Rev. xii. 3, &c. But 
for that which concerns this point, see Exod. v. There you will find 
persons labouring, and heavy laden, vers. 4, 5. It is hard labour to 
satisfy lusts, the devil's taskmasters : Eph. ii. 2, 3, " He worketh in 
the children of disobedience : Among whom also we had our conver- 
sation in times past, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of 
the flesh, and of the mind." The Israelites had their tasks doubled, 
to put religion out of their heads and hearts, Exod. v. 10. Lusts 
also must be satisfied, but wherewith to do it is withheld, as straw 
was from the Israelites, ver. 11. They are scattered up and down 
among the creatures for it, but can never squeeze out a sufficiency for 
them, even as the Israelites could not find stubble enough to prepare 
their bricks, ver'^. 12, 13, 14. If any appearance of deliverance, the 
labour is made the harder. Says Paul, Rom. vii. 9, " I was alive 
without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, 
and I died." — It is hard labour, 

(3.) If ye consider the effects this labour hath, 1st, On the souls 
of men. The minds of men have a toilsome task, where sin is on 
the throne : Isa. v. 20, " Woe unto them that call evil good, and 
good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that 
put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter." That soul must needs 
be in a continual fever, while inordinate aff"ections are in their 
strength, as in all out of Christ. A fermentation of lusts cannot 
but make a tossed mind. Anxiety and cares of the world stretch 


188 Christ's invitation to the 

the mind, as on tenter hooks. A conceived flight, like that of Ahab, 
1 Kings xxi. 4, sets the proud man's heart in a fire of wrath and re- 
venge, and squeezes the sap out of all their enjoyments, as in the 
instance of Haman, Esth. v. 9, 13. Envy slays the silly one, lust 
strikes as a dart through the liver ; anger, malice, discontent, and 
the like, make a man his own executioner ; they are tossed between 
hopes, fears, and vanity, tumbled hither and thither with ev6ry wind 
of temptation, as a ship without either pilot or ballast. 2dly, Even 
the body is ofttimes hard put to it in this labour. The covetous rises 
early, eats the bread of sorrow for what is not; the drunkard uses 
his body worse than his beast. More bodies have fallen sacrifices 
to lust, one way or another, than ever fell by the hardships either 
in or about religion. 

2. It is base, mean, and abject labour : See Jer. ii. 21, compared 
with vers. 23, and 24. Were we to die like beasts, we might live 
like beasts, with our souls grovelling still downward on the earth. 
If the soul had been so narrow, as to be satisfied with less than an 
infinite good, ho had not spoke like a fool, who said to his soul, 
Luke xii. 19, " Soul, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry," 
when his barns were full ; in that case, the swine and his soul might 
have fed together. But Ave have immortal souls, capable of enjoy- 
ing an infinite good, and such working in the earth must needs be a 
base labour for a heaven-born soul, which God breathed into the 
formed dust, but gave not to be drowned in a mass of flesh and 
blood, nor to be only as salt, to keep the body a while from rotting. 
3. It is a constant labour. The sea rests sometimes, the carnal 
heart never : Isa. Ivii. 20, " But the wicked are like the troubled 
sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt." 
Lusts are ever craving, never say they have enough ; they are roll- 
ing the stone to the top of the hill, which still comes down on them 
again and again, and creates new labour ; see Psalm Ixxviii. 18. — 
20, 29, 30. Two things make it a continual labour. 1st, Continual 
disappointments. These they cannot miss, seeing there is no satis- 
faction to be had in the creatures ; yet their soul still craves, hence 
no rest, but are urged on to work again : Isa. Ivii. 10, " Thou art 
weary in the greatness of thy way, yet saidst thou not. There is no 
hope." Men are like the silly doves without heart, who still go to 
the same nest where they have been herried never so often before, 
and will even beg there, where they have got a thousand nay-says. 
2dly, "What is got in thera enlarges the desire, instead of satisfying 
it ; the more that lusts are fed, the more they require to maintain 
them. Sin is an insatiable tyrant ; to labour in its service, is but 
to cast oil into the flame. The dropsy-thirst can never be quenched. 


4. It is vain labour, tliey can never reach the end of it: Isa. Iv. 
2, " Wherefore do you spend money for that which is not bread, and 
your labour for that which satisfieth not ?" They shall as soon fill 
a triangle with a circle, as the heart with such things ; the grave 
shall sooner give back its dead, than the lusts of the heart say, It is 
enough. It is impossible to find satisfaction in these things, for 
they are not suitable to the soul, more than stones for the nourish- 
ment of the body. The body gets its nourishment from the earth, 
because it is of the earth ; the soul is from heaven, and so its satis- 
faction must come from thence. The things of the world cannot sa- 
tisfy the soul, because they have no word of divine appointment, to 
be the staff of that bread which nourishes it ; without this, grass 
could no more satisfy the beasts, nor bread the hunger of man, than 
sand : Matth. iv. 4, " Man liveth not by bread alone, but by every 
word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." God has kept this 
as his own prerogative, to satisfy the soul, incommunicable to the 
creatures conjunctly or separately. 

Lastly, It is notwithstanding costly labour; for time that is pre- 
cious is spent on it, which men should husband well, Eph. v. 16, 
" Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." By time well 
improved, we might attain true happiness; time once gone can never 
be recalled. But, ah ! what precious hours are cast away on these 
things, which might be improved in trading for heaven. — It is costly, 
because the gifts of the mind are thrown away on it. Reason makes 
us differ from the beai?ts, but by the abuse of it men make them- 
selves worse than the beasts : Jer. viii. 7, " Yea, the stork in the 
heaven, knoweth her appointed times : and the turtle, and the crane, 
and the swallow, observe the time of their coming : but my people 
know not the judgment of the Lord." Men's minds are employed 
not to know God, but other things ; their choice also is not fixed 
upon him, their affections are bestowed on other things. — Fi- 
nally, it is costly, because the outward good things of the body, and 
estate in the world, are bestowed upon it. Health and strength go 
in the pursuit of vanity, and in the service of their lusts, yea, are 
sacrificed many times on the altar of intemperance and sensuality. 
Riches, power, honours, as the feeding of the horse does, make peo- 
ple kick against him who lays these things to their hands. Yea, to 
crown all, the soul itself is thrown away upon it : Matth. xvi. 26, 
'* For what is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose 
his own soul ? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?" 
Men seeking vanity, lose what is most excellent ; and it is dear 
bought that is purchased at that rate. — I shall now consider what 
is meant by, 

190 Christ's invitation to the 

II. A labouring in the law. And to this most of what has been 
said may be applied ; and besides it may occur afterwards. I shall 
only say these two things anent it at present. 

1. It is most hard labour, for it requires most exact obedience, 
under pain of the curse : Gal. iii. 10, " Cursed is every one that con- 
tinueth not in all things written in the book of the law, to do them." 
Nothing but perfect obedience is accepted, according to the law ; 
and for the least failure, it dooms the sinner to death. Now, no 
man can perform this, and yet so foolish are men, that they think 
to please God with their works. Again, — it is hard, because the 
law neither promiseth nor giveth strength. God gave Adam 
strength to perform, he lost it, the law does not restore it ; so that 
in this case they must make the brick, and no straw is laid to their 
hands. This makes hard work, and so, by the Spirit, it at length 
breaks the heart of the elect, and makes them die to the law, as a 
wife to a rigorous husband. Gal. ii. 19. 

2. It is a vain and useless labour. There are much pains, and 
yet no gain, in this labour. It is vain, in respect of the soul thriv- 
ing ; they that labour in the law do but sow their seed in the sand ; 
all they reap is wind, which may puff them up, but cannot nourish. 
Why so many barren dry professors ? but because they are not trad- 
ing with Christ, but with the law. Men go to duties, and rest in 
them ; the pipe is laid short of the fountain. — It is vain, in respect 
of acceptance with God. It is thankless work, for it supersedes the 
commandment to believe : John vi. 29, " This is the work of God, 
that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." It is a sad word, Rom. 
ix. 31, 32, " Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, 
hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore ? because 
they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law." 
Turtles were accepted on the altar at Jerusalem, when bullocks were 
rejected on those at Dan and Bethel. — Farther, it is vain, in respect 
of answering the demands of the law. Gal. iii. 10. Our curtailed 
obedience will not answer the measuring reed of the law ; it de- 
mands satisfaction for what is past, and perfect obedience for what 
is to come. — Finally, it is vain, in respect of salvation. The way to 
heaven by the first covenant is blocked up ; the angel with the flam- 
ing sword guards it, Gal. iii. 10. sirs ! duties are a sandy foun- 
dation, and great will be the fall of legal professors. — Let us in- 

IV. Why sinners labour in these things for satisfaction, and do 
not come to Christ ? — They do so because, 

1. They have lost God, the fountain of happiness, and therefore 
they seek to squeeze it out of the creatures : Eph. ii. 12, " Having 


no hope, and without God in the world." For, says God, Jer. ii. 13, 
*■* They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters." The sun 
is gone down upon thera, and therefore they light their candles, and 
compass themselves with their own sparks ; for the empty soul must 
have something to feed on. The prodigal wanted bread, and there- 
' fore fed on husks. Doves' dung is precious, when there is no bread 
in Samaria. — Sinners labour in these things, 

2. Because, by the power of a strong delusion, they still expect 
satisfaction from thera ; they are represented in a magnifying glasa, 
as the forbidden fruit was to our first parents, Gen. iii. 5, 6. That 
delusion took with them, is conveyed to their posterity, and will 
never be cured till grace do it. Hence men, though they meet with 
a thousand disappointments in these things, yet still from new hopes 
they renew the attempt. — Sinners labour thus, 

3. Because these things are most suitable to the corrupt nature : 
Rom. viii. 5, *' For they that are after the flesh do mind the things 
of the flesh." Fishes swim in the river, and care not for the most 
pleasant meadow ; swine prefer the dunghill to a palace ; because 
everything seeks its like. Lusts must be nourished with these ; 
even the way of the law, though just and good in itself, is the way 
that agrees best with self: Rom. iii. 27, " Where is boasting then ? 
It is excluded. By what law ? Of works ? Nay, but by the law of 
faith ? Sinners are engaged in this labour, 

4. Because they know no better. Christ is a hidden Christ to 
men in their natural estate ; they see not his glory, fulness, and ex- 
cellency ; they say, as in Song v. 9, " What is thy beloved more 
than another beloved ?" The fowl scrapes by the jewels, and takes 
up a corn beside them, because it knows not their worth : 1 Pet. ii. 
7, Unto you, therefore, which believe, he is precious, but unto them 
which be disobedient, the stone the builders disallowed, the same is 
made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock 
of ofi'ence, even to thera that stumble at the word, being disobedient." 
— Sinners continue this labour, 

Lastly, Because men naturally are enemies to the way of salva- 
tion by Jesus Christ. — I now come, 

y. To make some practical improvement of the whole. 

Allow me, then, to expostulate with you in the most earnest man- 
ner upon this subject. Why spend you your labour for that which 
satisfieth not ? Isa. Iv. 2. Seeing you would labour, will you not 
change your work, and labour in God's way, that ye may enter into 
his rest ? It is a wearisome labour that all out of Christ are en- 
gaged in. I would have you, then, to give it over, and engage in 
the service of Christ. I come in his name, to bid you, to beseech 

19.2 Christ's invitation to the 

you, to cease from this labour. I have these things to say, iu regard 
to it. 

1. It is a labour God never i>ut in your hands, but it proceeds 
from the devil, and a corrupt heart, who yoked you to that work of 
seeking your happiness in the creatures ; in lusts, or in the law, and 
not in God. To this some may plead. Not guilty ! " We know 
(say such) the world is but a vain thing, and we place our chief hap- 
piness in God. God forbid we should be labouring in any such 
way !" For your conviction, however, I must speak a few things. 
You may be deceived ; many are as busy as their hands can be at 
that work, and yet say that they are not : Prov. xxx, " There is a 
generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed 
from their filthiness." — I would inquire at you, 

(1.) Who loosed you from this labour? Were you never at it? 
If you think so, you miserably deceive yourselves, Eph. ii, 3, already 
quoted. Since Adam went from God, to pluck his happiness off the 
forbidden tree, all mankind have followed his steps, and abide at 
the work, till converting grace loose them. What is conversion, 
but a turning to God, from whom we are naturally turned away ? 
Alas ! there are few converts ! — I inquire, 

(2.) Was you ever heartily wearied of this labour, seeing your 
folly in abiding so long with it ? Was it ever a heavy task, that 
you was made to groan out under ? Ail are welcome to Christ that 
will come, but none will ever give over their labour till they 
be brought to this. God must bring the soul to a holy despair in 
this way, ere it be given over, Hos. ii. 6, 7- And then the soul, 
having run itself out of breath, can neither get satisfaction in the 
creatures, nor go to God ; thus it leaves the pursuit, and sits down 
with that, Jer. xxxi. 18, " Thou hast chastised me, and I was 
chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke ; turn thou me, 
and I shall be turned, for thou art the Lord my God." John vi. 44, 
" No man can come unto me, except the Father who sent me draw 
him." — I inquire, 

(3.) How are you kept from returning to this labour ? If you 
have left it, it will not be without a struggle. There is a natural 
bias in the hearts of all men this way. Alas ! the strong man keeps 
the house with the greater part ; they have no struggle with the 
world, neither how to get it, nor how to keep it out of the heart. — I 

(4.) Whence is it your greatest dissatisfaction proceeds, from 
the world's misgiving with you, or God's hiding his face from 
you ? from your disappointments in the world, or at the throne of 
grace ? Where the disappointment goes deepest, the expectations 


Iiave been greatest : " Hope deferred makes the heart sick ;" an 
infallible evidence that most men are at this work. Men will not 
be dissatisfied for missing a thing, where they were not to find it. — 
I inquire, 

(5.) Where do you find your greatest satisfaction and pleasure, if 
we may call it so ? In the enjoyment of God, or of the world, or in 
getting the cravings of your lusts answered ? Ah ! there are not a 
few, from whom, if the world's joy was turned away, that would not 
have a blythe hour. They never found as much sweetness in the 
benefits of the covenant, as in those of the world. 

(6.) If yon be not labouring thus, what are you doing then ? 
There is not, and there cannot be, an idle soul among us. If the 
devil has us not, God has us at work ; one of the two must. These 
things must bring convictions to our breasts. 

Allow me still farther to expostulate with you. Why spend you 
your labour for that which satibfieth not ? The labour you are en- 
gaged in is a thankless labour; God will not thank you for it; he 
cays, " Who hath required this at your hands ?" The devil pays 
you the wages which are due to it, which are death, Rom. vi. 23. 
He hath no better to give. Besides this, the labour in which you 
are engaged, is a labouring against God : Jer. ii. 13, *• Having for- 
saken the fountain of living waters, ye have hewed out for your- 
selves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water." Ye are 
thus setting the creature in the room of God, and accordingly God 
is against you in this labour, so that you can never get what you 
are seeking from it. Oh ! then be exhorted to cease from, to give 
up with this labour. To prevail with you in doing this, I would 
lay before you the following motives. 

1. Why will ye toil so to bring out of the creatures what ig not 
in them ? Nothing but God himself is commensurable to the desires 
of the soul ; no man ever saw or will see an end of his desires, till 
they are swallowed up in God himself. When the creatures were 
at their best, there was the forbidden tree in paradise to teach man 
his happiness was not in them. How much more now, when they 
are so much worse ! Isa. xxviii. 20, " For the bed is shorter than 
that a man can stretch himself on it, and the covering narrower than 
that he can wrap himself in it." 

2. How can ye think to find rest in that which is restless in it- 
self? are not all things here unstable as water, aud so cannot excel? 
Unchangeableness is a necessary property of that which makes truly 
happy, for otherwise the very fear of losing it mars the conceived 
happiness. Will we seek our rest in vanity, fill our hands with the 
wind, sit easy on the rolling waves, or on the top of a wheel that is 
in continual motion ? 


3. Did you ever meet with that among creature enjoyments, that 
was every way as ye would have had it ? Dissatisfaction will pro- 
ceed from any defect, however small, as it was with Haman, Esth. 
V. 13 ; but satisfaction requires an universal concurrence of all de- 
sirables in the thing that must satisfy ; So it is, Song v. 16, " He is 

.. IjJX*^ altogether lovely." Let a man turn over the whole creation for sa- 
tisfaction, let all be cast into his lap, yet he will find, as in Job xx. 
22, " In the fulness of his sufficiency he shall be in straits," Who 
ever got the rose that wanted the prickles ? the sweetness in any of 
them, that wanted a mixture of bitterness ? 

4. Do not the disappointment of hopes necessarily cleave to them 
all ? They promise more when afar oflp, than they afford when 
they are come near. Mountains afar off become mole-hills when 
near ; like a ball of snow, the more closely it is held, it will grow 
the less. 

' 5. Has not the sap been squeezed out of enjoyments to thee be- 
tween the hand and the mouth ? Hos. ix. 2, " The floor and the 
wine-press shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail in her." 
Have you not had fair prospects that have been blasted in a mo- 
ment, ere you ever tasted of them ? As if they had appeared for no 
other end, but to raise the appetite that was not to be laid with 

6. Has not the loss of them often brought greater sorrow than 
ever the haviug of them. gave joy : while God has taken away the 
desire of thine eyes, thy choice comforts. "Wert thou not more 
grieved then, than thou wert happy before ? 

7. Has not that wherein thou hast expected the greatest comfort 
turned out to be the greatest cross ? This was the case with Rachel, 
who said to Jacob, " Give me children, else I die," Gen. xxxi. com- 
pare Gen. XXXV. 16 — 20. She got children, and death instantly 

8. Have not signal mercies, as well as judgments, brought a sting 
along with them, while conscience has been whisi)ering unto thee, 
that God was thine enemy. 

9. Was ever thy heart truly at rest in these things, so that thou 
couldst say thou desirest no more ? Nay, but the more of these, the 
more are they desired. 

-. 10. There is another way to come at your purpose. Come to 
Christ, and he will give you rest. This is a short way, for all is in 
him ; whatever perfections are scattered up and down amongst the 
creatures, all is in him, and infinitely more. It is a sure way, for 
you will not miss happiness if you come to him. 

I would once more expostulate with you. Why do you spend 


your labour for that which satisfieth not ? I would beseech you, in 
the most earnest manner, not only to cease from, to give up with, 
your present unpleasant and unprofitable labour, but also to change 
your labour; I would have you, not only to depart from evil, but 
even to do good ; I would call upon you to engage in the service of 
a new master, and run in the way of his commandments. You are 
labouring, you must be labouring, one way or other ; will you not 
then engage in the labour of true religion, real godliness ? If we 
must serve, surely it is better to serve Christ than the devil. The 
labour that there is in religion afi'rights the world at it ; but why 
should it, seeing their labour is so great while out of Christ ? Con- 

1. We are not calling yon from idleness to working, but from la- 
bour to labour. And even if we were still to be slaves, better be so 
to God than to the devil. What will men say to Christ at the last 
day, who will be at pains in their lusts, but at none in holiness, that 
will bear a yoke, but not Christ's yoke ? 

2. We call you, not from one base labour to another, but from a 
base to an honourable work. Should one be called from the stone- 
barrow to be a king's cup-bearer, it were not comparable to what 
is proposed. — 1. They will have a more honourable master. — 2. 
More honourable fellow-labourers, for the angels serve him. — 3. 
More honourable work, God himself is glorious in holiness. — ±. A 
more honourable office ; from being slaves to the devil, they are 
made kings and priests unto God. 

3. We call upon you from vain labour, to that which shall be 
prosperous and successful ; you are labouring for happiness there, 
where you will never get it, but here are full breasts ; you are in 
vain striking at the flinty rock for water, here is an open fountain, 
where none ever went away disappointed. 

4. We call you from a barren labour, where you will get nothing 
but sorrow to take away with you, to a labour which, when you 
have finished your works, will follow you, Rev. xiv. 13. Ah ! mi- 
serable is your present labour, Isa. lix. 5, 6. The spider wastes its 
bowels to spin its web, and when all is done, one stroke of the be- 
som sweeps all away ; it is either killed in its web, or drawn by it 
as a rope unto death ; so that it doth but spin its winding-sheet, or 
plait the rope for itself. Consider, 

5. That the worst which can be made of it is, that religion is hard 
labour. But this should be no prejudice against it with you, seeing, 
as has been said, the labour out of Christ is also hard labour. But 
to cast the balance, observe, 

(1.) If it is hard labour, it is worth the pains, the other is not so, 

196 Christ's invitation to tue 

for, Prov. ii. 4, 5, " If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for 
her as hid treasures, then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, 
and find the knowledge of God." There is hard labour in digging 
stones, as well as in digging for gold ; nay, it is hard labour digging 
disappointments, that which is not ; whereas the gain of the other is 
precious and certain. — 1. The promise, Prov. viii. 21, " That I may- 
cause those that love me to inherit substance, and I will fill their 
treasures." — 2. The experience of all the labourers confirms the cer- 
tainty of it : "I (God) said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye my 
face in vain." 

(2.) If it is hard labour, it is short ; if the work be sore, yet it is 
not longsome. You shall soon rest from your labours : Rev. xiv. 
13. He that is tired with his journey, his spirits will revive when 
near the end. The shadow of the evening makes the labourer work 
heartily, for loosing-time is at hand. The trials, afflictions, weeping, 
&c. of the saints, endure but for a moment. On the other hand, the 
labour of other persons knows no end ; no rest abides them, but an 
everlasting toil under wrath that never ends. 

6. We call you from a hard to an easy labour: "My yoke is 
easy ;" Christ has said it, we must believe it. But to clear it, consi- 
der for this time, only these two things. 

(1.) All the difficulties in religion arise from that active corrup- 
tion which is in men, putting them to labour in their lusts and in the 
law : Matth. xi. 12, " The kingdom of heaven suftereth violence, and 
the violent take it by force." Violence and force, not with God, he 
opposeth us not, but with our own corruptions. And in this sense 
only the scripture holds out the labour of religion to be hard. But 
men do not state the matter fairly. Lay a ton-weight upon a rolling 
stone, certainly it is harder to roll both together than the stone 
alone ; but is the stone therefore lighter than the ton-weight ? Take 
them separately, and absolutely, the labour in religion is easy, the 
other hard. Men cannot bear Christ's burden. Why? because they 
Btill keep on the devil's burden, and they cannot bear the one above 
the other ; that is not fair. Lay off the one, take up the other ; see 
■which is lightest. A meek and a passionate man, which of them has 
the hardest task in bearing an affront? the sober man, or the drunk- 
ard ? the worldly man, or he that lives above the world ? The more 
power grace has, the more easy ; the more power lusts have, the 
more hard is the labour. 

(2.) There is true help in the one, not in the other. — The labour 
in religion has outward helps ; the labourers are not helpless, they 
have a cloud of witnesses gone before them, whom they may see 
with their crowns upon their heads, Heb. xii. 1. Ye are not the 


forlorn in hope. Armies of saints have stormed heaven before you 
and have left it behind them that the work is possible and the re- 
ward certain. The other have not this ; if they get satisfaction in 
their lusts, they are the first. They see thousands before them, who 
have laboured as hard as they, disappointed, and are lain down in 
sorrow. — This labour has inward helps. Christ bears the heaviest 
part of his own yoke; he gives strength, he works the will for the 
work ; and the work for us, when we have the will : Phil. ii. 13, 
" For it is God that worketh in us, both to will and to do of his good 
pleasure." Isa. xxvi. 12, " Thou also hast wrought all our works 
in us." The others have not. True, they have that within them 
which puts them on to this labour, but the more of the one, the hard- 
er is the other, as the wearied beast is goaded by the spur, and worn 
out by their being beaten when no straw is allowed them. But 
where is the help to work satisfaction and happiness out of the 
creatures, or from the law ? 

7. We call you from a wearisome to a lightsome pleasant labour. 
I have proved the first ; for the last, see Prov. iii. 17, " Her ways 
are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace." But let us 
hear what can be said for both. 

(1.) Is there much pleasure in sin ? Ans. In some there is none. 
"What pleasure has the passionate man, that kindles a fire in his 
own bosom ? What pleasure has the envious, that gnaws himself 
like a serpent for the good that others enjoy ? What pleasure has 
the discontented, that is his own executioner. Consider the calm of 
spirit that the contrary graces bring, and judge who has the better 
part. — As for those sins in which pleasure is found, 

[1.] It is common to them with these creatures with whom they 
will not desire to be ranked. For these things that gratify men's 
sensual appetite are common to them with beasts, as gluttony, drunk- 
enness, filthiness, &c. A sow can drink, and be as drunk as the 
greatest drunkard, and so on. And they have the better of them, 
as being under no law, and therefore they can go the full length of 
their appetite. — 2. They do it without remorse. — 3. They find satis- 
faction in these things, seeing they are not capable of desiring 
greater things. Now, put these together, whei-e is the pleasure ? Is 
it not surpassed by the pain ? As to the desires of the mind, these 
are common to them with devils. The greatest swearer, liar, and 
proud opposer of religion, have the trade but from the second hand. 
The devil can satisfy his curiosity better than the most curious, 
reason more closely against religion than any atheist. Only obsti- 
nate despisers of reproof and mockers surpass the devil, for the de- 
vils believe and tremble : whereas for a time they do not. 

198 Christ's invitation to the 

(2.) The pleasure is but raoraentary, the pain follows hard at the 
heels, and is eternal. What pleasure can be devised, for which a 
man would hold his finger over a burning candle for a quarter of an 
hour ? how much more dreadful to endure eternal burnings ! 

(3.) The struggle that conscience makes against corruption, brings 
more torment than that which corruption makes against grace. 
Conscience is more dreadfully armed than corruption ; there is here 
as much difference as there is betwixt the hand of God and the hand 
of the devil. See now what becomes of the pleasure ! 

(2.) The labour in religion is truly pleasant. It is truly holy la- 
bour ; for of that we speak, and scripture-testimony proves its plea- 
santness ; see Prov. iii. 17, "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, 
and all her paths are peace." Ask David, and he will tell you, in 
Psalm Ixxxiv. ; Paul, in 2 Cor. xii. 10. 

(1.) It is a labour suited to the nature of the soul, the better part, 
their divine supernatural nature, 2 Pet. i. 4. Believers are par- 
takers of a divine nature. This must needs create ease and delight; 
the stream easily flows from the fountain ; birds with pleasure fly in 
the air. The reason of the difiiculty in religion to many is, they are 
out of their element when engaged in it. 

(2.) Therein the soul carries on a trade with heaven ; entertains 
communion with God, through the Spirit of Christ, by a mutual in- 
tercourse of grace and duty, the soul receiving influences, and re- 
turning them again in duties : as the rain falls on the earth freely, 
so the waters run freely toward the sea again. 

(3.) Great peace of conscience usually attends this ; and the more 
labour, the more peace : Psal. cxix. 165, " Great peace have they 
who love thy law." Here is a feast which nothing but sin mars : 
2 Cor. i. 12, " For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our 
conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly 
wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in 
the world," Men cannot take it from us, John xiv. 27. 

(4.) Sometimes they have great manifestations of Christ, evidences 
of the Lord's love raising a high spring-tide of joy in their souls, 
greater than that which the whole congregation of the world enjoys, 
Psalm iv. 6, 7- It is joy unspeakable, and full of glory, 1 Pet. i. 8. 
(5.) It is a lightsome way they walk in, whereas the other is 
darksome ; the light of the Lord's word shines in it. The Mahom- 
medans have a tradition, that Moses' law and Christ's gospel were 
written first with ink made of pure light. Sure the scripture points 
out duty, as if it were written with a sunbeam. 

8. We call you from a labour against yourselves, to a labour for 
your advantage. We must efther do the work of God or the devil. 


Every sin is a new impediment in yonr way to heaven, a new stone 
laid on the wall of separation. What a mad thing is it to be work- 
ing out our damnation, instead of our own salvation ! 

9. We call you not to more, but to other labour. We are all la- 
borious creatures ; the greatest idler is in some sort busy. Paul 
calls even them that work not at all, busy bodies, 2 Thes. iii. 11. 
Our life is nothing but a continual succession of actions, even as the 
fire is ever burning, and the rivers running. It is in some respect 
impossible to do more than we do ; the watch runs as fast when 
wrong as when right. Why may we not then keep the highway 
while we are travelling. — Consider, 

10. That the same pains that men are at to ruin themselves, 
might possibly serve to save them. There are difficulties in the way 
of sin as well as of religion. Does not sin oftentimes bereave men 
of their night's rest ? Are they more disturbed when communing 
with their own souls, and with God ? Do not men draw sin as with 
cart-ropes ? Isa. v. 18. Why might not labour be employed in 
drawing the heart to God ? If men would but change, and suck as 
greedily and incessantly at the breasts of God's consolations, as they 
do of the creatures, how happy would they be ! 

Lastly, Consider that the labour in religion is not greater, nay, it 
is less than in sin, for religion contracts our work to one thing : 
Luke X. 41, 42, " Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled 
about many things, but one thing is needful." Sinners have many 
lusts to please, the saints have but one God to please ; the work of 
religion is all of a piece, sin not so. There is a sweet harmony be- 
twixt all the graces and all the duties of religion. But lusts are 
quite contrary, and as they war against grace, so against one an- 
other, James iv. 1, " From whence come wars and fightings among 
you ? come they not from hence, even of your lusts that war in your 
members ?" So that the sinner is dragged by one lust one way, by 
another, another. And how hard is it to serve contrary masters I 

200 Christ's invitation to the 



Mattii. xi. 28, 
Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, aud I will give 

you rest. 

I now proceed to the consideration of 

Doctrine II. That all who are out of Christ, are under an heavy- 
burden, which, by all their labour, they cannot shake off. 

In illustrating of which, I shall only, 

I. Offer a few observations. 

II. Make some practical improvement. 

I. I am to offer a few observations ; such as, 

1. That Satan has a load on all out of Christ ; it is a load of sin ; 
Isa. i. 4, " Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity." This 
load is twofold : 

\st, A load of guilt, Gen. iv. 13, " And Cain said unto the Lord, 
My punishment is greater than I can bear," (Heb. " sin.") Guilt is 
the heaviest load ever was on the shoulders of men or angels. The 
scriptures hold it forth, 

(1.) As debt. He that is in debt is under a burden. It is the 
worst of debts, we cannot pay it, nor escape the hands of our credi- 
tor ; yea, we deny the debt, care not for count and reckoning, we 
wave our creditor as much as we can ; so it stands uncancelled. But 
it is a debt that must be paid : 2 Thess. i. 9, " Who shall be 
punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the 
Lord, and from the glory of his power." They shall pay what 
justice demands. — It is represented, 

(2.) As a yoke tied fast on the sinner's neck ; hence pardon is 
called a loosing of it, guilt being, as it were, cords of wrath, where- 
by the sinner is bound over to God's wrath. Pardon is also called 
remission or relaxation : Rom. iii. 25, " To declare his righteous- 
ness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance 
of God." — It is pointed out, ' 

(3.) As a burden : Hos. xiv. 2, " Take away all iniquity." Take 
away, namely, as a burden off a man's back. Hence Christ is said 
to have borne our sins, the burden of the elect's guilt being laid on 
his back. What a heavy load is it ! (1.) It makes the whole crea- 
tion groan, Rom. viii. 22. It caused them take their pains five 
thousand years since, and they are not yet delivered of their burden. 


All the groans that ever men gave on earth and in hell were under 
this burden ; it sunk the whole world into ruin : " Christ took our 
nature," to prevent us going down to the pit, Heb. ii. 16 ; (Greek, 
" caught hold"), as of a drowning man, not of the whole seed of 
Adam, for gi-eat part of it fell to the ground, but of the seed of 
Abraham, the elect. (2.) This load sunk the fallen angels, made 
them fall as stars from heaven to the bottomless pit. And what a 
load was it to Christ, that made him sweat as it were great drops of 
blood, that made him groan and die ! — It is, 

2dly, A load of servitude to lusts, which of themselves are heavy 
burdens; the very remainder of which made the apostle groan : 
Rom. vii. 24, " wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me 
from the body of this death ?" "What greater burden can be, than 
for a man to have a swarm of unmortified corruptions hanging about 
him, whose cravings he is still obliged to answer. This is that which 
creates that weary labour, of which we have already spoken ; better 
a man were burdened with serpents sticking in his flesh, than with 
these. — I observe, 

2. The law has a load on the Christless sinner; and that, 
(1.) A load of duties, as great and numerous as the command- 
ment, which is exceeding broad, can lay on. Though they perform 
them not, yet they are bound upon them by the commandment : and 
they shall sooner dissolve the whole fabric of the world, than make 
void this commandment. This is a heavy load. True, they that 
are in Christ have a yoke of duties laid on them, but not by the 
law, but by Christ. The difl'erence is great ; the law exacts perfect 
obedience, but gives no strength ; Christ, when claiming obedience 
to his law, gives strength for the performance, which makes it an 
easy obedience. — There is, 

(2.) A load of curses : Gal. iii. 10, " Cursed is every one that 
contiuueth not in all things written in the book of the law, to do 
them." Every commandment of the law is fenced with a curse, de- 
nounced against the breakei's of it. How great must be the load, 
then, where every action is a sin, and eveiy sin brings a curse ! 
This is a heavy load, that makes the earth reel to and fro, like a 
drunkard, under the weight of it. — I observe, 

3. That God has a load on the Christless sinner, that is, of wrath : 
Eph. ii. 3, " And were by nature children of wrath." This is an 
abiding load : John iii. 36, " He that believeth not the Son, shall not 
see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." This load is far hea- 
vier than mountains of brass ; it is weightier than can be expressed, 
II. I am now to make some practical improvement. From what 
has been said, I infer. 

Vol. IX. o 

202 Christ's invitation to the 

I. That every one must bear his own burden. There is no getting 
through tbe world with an even-up back. If people will not take 
up Christ's burden, they will bear a heavier one ; if they will not be 
Christ's servants, they must be slaves to their lusts ; if they will 
not take on the yoke of holiness, they shall bear a load of wrath ; 
if people will still slip the yoke of Christ, God will wreathe the 
yoke of their transgressions about their neck, that they shall not 
get shaken off. We have given sorry entertainment to Christ's 
burden : it is too likely we may come to get one of another sort. 
The entertainment we have given to Christ's burden is like to 
wreathe a threefold yoke about our necks. For, 

(1.) We have bad little taste for the preaching of Christ, the 
great mysteries of the gospel. The preaching of sin and duty, as 
they call it, has been more desired than the preaching of the vitals 
of religion. I fear it be the plague of the generation, to get such 
preaching of sin and duty, as that the doctrine of Christ and free 
grace fall through between the two, and the gospel be turned into a 
system of morality with us. 

(2.) We have little valued pure worship, it has been a burden to 
us, and we have ground to fear a burden of another sort, the trash 
of men's inventions in God's worship. There is an attempt already 
made to set up Dagon by the ark of God; and God knows where it 
may stop. If the ceremonies appointed by God himself were such, 
Acts XV. 10, " as neither our fathers nor wo were able to bear, what 
must they be that are laid on by men ? 

(3.) God took the yoke of the enemy's oppression oS our necks, 
for which we have been very unthankful. It is very like that God 
intends to lay it on again, that we may know the worth of our de- 
spised mercy : Hos. xi. 4, 5, " I dr?w them with cords of a man, 
with bands of love, and I was to them as they that take oif the yoke 
on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them. He shall not return into 
the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they 
refused to return." — We may hence lament, 

2. The case of the generation living without Christ, heavy laden, 
but not sensible of their burden, Isa. i. 4 ; compare ver. 3, both 
already quoted. Sin sits light upon people, they reign as kings 
without Christ ; the law's authority does not draw them away to 
Christ ; and though wrath lies heavy, they feel it not. Oh ! what 
is the matter? They never feel the weight of it, nor once seriously 
put the question to themselves. What shall we do to be saved ? 
They are taken up with so many things, that their soul's case can- 
not come into their minds. Again, they have a dead soul, and a 
stupid conscience, they complain not. Men's spiritual senses are 


bound up, and a seared couscience, got by sinning oyer the belly of 
daily warnings, is the plague of the generation. Well, but when 
conscience is awakened, people will find their sores ; when drops of 
wrath fall on the conscience, it will make a fearful hissing : Isa. 
xxxiii. 14, " The sinners in Zion are afraid, fearfulness hath sur- 
prised the hypocrites ; who among us shall dwell with the devour- 
ing fire ? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings ?" — 
I only exhort you, 

3. To labour to be sensible of your burden, and to be concerned 
to get rid of it. Is there not a burden of sin upon your backs ? 
mind that you have to do with it. — Consider, That heaven's gate is 
strait, and will not let in a man with a burden of unpardoned, un- 
mortified sin on his back. The wide gate is that which only will 
afford room for such. Off it must be, or they will never see hea- 
ven. — Consider again, all that they can do will not shake it off, the 
bonds of iniquity are stronger than to be broken with their weak 
arms ; all the moisture of their bodies, dissolved into tears, will not 
wash it off. — Consider, finally, it will never fall off of its own accord. 
Age coming on may wear off the violence of some lusts, but the 
guilt remains, and the root of sin. Death itself will not put it oft', 
for it will lie down, and also rise with you, and cleave to you 
through eternity. 

What shall we do then ? What more proper than come to Christ ? 
He, and he only, can ease you of your burden. This brings us for- 
ward to the invitation itself : "Come unto me, all ye that labour, 
and are heavy laden ;" which we have expressed in 

DocT. III. That whatever sinful and vain labours sinners are en- 
gaged in, whatever be the loads which are lying on them, they are 
welcome to Christ ; he calls them to come to him, and in coming 
they shall obtain rest. — Or more shortly thus : — 

The devil's drudges and burden-bearers, even the worst of them, 

are welcome to come to Christ, and shall find rest in him. — In 
opening which, I shall in general shew, 

I. What is meant by coming to Christ. 

II. I shall more particularly attempt to unfold the import of the 
invitation, in the several points deducible from the text. 

III. I shall consider what is the rest which Christ promises, and 
will give to such as come to him, 

lY. I shall make some practical improvement. 

I. I shall show what in general is meant by coming to Christ. To 
come to Christ is to believe on him : John vi. 35, " And Jesus said 
unto them, I am the bread of life ; he that cometh to me shall never 


204 Christ's invitation to the 

hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." Unbelief 
is the soul's departing, not from a living law, but from the living 
God, Heb. iii. 12. Christ is the Lord, God is in him, he calls sin- 
ners to come to him ; faith answers the call, and so brings back the 
soul to God in Christ. Now, the scripture holds forth Christ many 
ways answering to this notion of coming to him by faith. And that 
you may see your privilege and call, I shall hold forth some of these 
to you. 

1. The devil's drudges and burden-bearers are welcome to Christ, 
as the great gift of the Father to sinners, to come and take it : John 
iii. 16, " God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, 
that whosoever believeth on him might not perish, but have ever- 
lasting life." Tlie world was broken by Adam ; God sends Christ 
as an up-making gift, and the worst of you are welcome to him, yea, 
he bodes (urges) himself upon you. Come to him, then, ye broken 
impoverished souls, that have nothing left you but poverty, wants, 
and debt. — Such are to come to him, 

2. As the great Physician of souls : Matth. ix. 12, " They that be 
whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." Christ in the 
gospel comes into the world as to an hospital of sin-sick souls, ready 
to administer a cure to those that will come to him for it. Our 
diseases are many, all of them deadly, but he is willing and able to 
cure them all. He is lifted up on the pole of the gospel, and says, 
" Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth ; for I 
am God, and there is none else," Isa. xlv. 22. — Such should come to 

3. As the satisfying food of the soul : Isa. Iv. 1 — 3, " Ho, every 
one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no 
money, come ye, buy and eat, yea, come, buy wine and milk, with- 
out money, and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for 
that which is not bread ? and your labour for that which satisfieth 
not ? hearken diligently unto me, and eat that which is good, and 
let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come 
unto me ; hear and your soul shall live ; and I will make an ever- 
lasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David." The 
soul is an empty thing, and has hungry and thirsty desires to be 
satisfied ; the creatures cannot satisfy, Christ can : John vi. 35, 
*' My flesh, (says he,) is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed." 
God has made a feast of fat things in Christ, in him all the cravings 
of the soul may be satisfied ; there are no angels to guard the tree 
of life ; no seal on this fountain: Zech. siii. 1, " In that day, there 
shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inha- 
bitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness." There is no inclo- 


sure about this flower of glory, Caut. ii. 1. Here is the carcase, — 
where are the eagles that should gather together ? — Such come to 

4. As one on whom they may rest : Song viii. 5, " Who is this 
that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloyed ?" We 
are not able to do our own turn, but on him we should rely ; 
2 Chron. xvi. 8. " Because thou didst rely on the Lord, he delivered 
thine enemies into thine hand." Guilt makes the mind in a fluctat- 
ing condition. By coming to Jesus we are stayed, as is a ship at 
anchor. In, or from ourselves, we have nothing for justification and 
sanctification. God has laid help upon one that is mighty ; the 
weary soul is welcome to rest in him. — Such come to him, 

5. As one on whom they may cast their burdens : Psalm Iv. 22, 
" Cast thy burden on the Lord, and he shall sustain thee." The 
soul is heavy laden, while out of Christ : Jesus holds out the ever- 
lasting arms, Deut. sxxiii. 27, faith settles down on the.n, casting 
the soul's burden upou them ; " Come (says he) with all your 
miser)', debts, beggary, and wants, I have shoulders to bear them all ; 
I will take on the burden, ye shall get rest." He is content to 
marry the poor widow. — Such come to him, 

6. As one in whom they may find refuge : Heb. vi. 18, " Who 
Lave fled for refuge, to lay hold on the hope set before us." The 
law, as the avenger of blood, pursues the soul. Christ is that city 
of refuge, where none can have power against them. The gates are 
never shut; here is a refuge from the law, from justice, and from 
the revenging wrath of God. Here is shelter uuder the wings of 
Christ : how willing is he to gather his people, as a hen gathereth 
her chickens under her wings ! — Such come to him, 

7. As one in whom the soul may at length find rest : Psalm xxxvii. 
7, " Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him." The soul out of 
Christ is in a restless state, still shifting from one creature to an- 
other, not finding content in any. But by coming to Christ, the 
soul takes up its eternal rest in him, and he becomes a covering of 
the eyes to it. We are like men in a fever, still changing beds ; 
like the dove out of the ark, we have no rest, till we come to Christ. 
Such come to Christ, 

8. As a husband : Matth. xxii. 4, " All things are ready, come 
unto the marriage. Tour Maker is content to be your husband, 
Psalm xlv. 10. Ministers are sent, as Abraham's servant, to seek 
a spouse for Christ. He is willing to match with the worst, the 
meanest of you ; he seeks no dowry ; he is the richest, the most ho- 
nourable, the most tender and loving husband. — Such come to Christ. 

Lastly, A>s a powerful deliverer. Christ stands at onr prison 

206 Christ's invitatiox to the 

doors, as in Isa. Ixi. 1, " proclaiming liberty to the captive, and the 
opening of the prison to them that are bound." All who come to 
him, as in 2 Cor. viii. 5, first give their ownselves unto the Lord. 
Whosoever will come to Jesus, must give np themselves to him. It 
is the work of faith, to give up the soul to Christ, that he may save 
it, that he may open the prison doors, take the prey from the mighty, 
and deliver the lawful captive. 



Matth. xi. 28, 

Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give 

you rest. 

Having very briefly considered what it is to come to Christ, by 
pointing out under what characters we are to come to him, and the 
consequent improvement which this coming denotes, in order to ex- 
plain the invitation here given more particularly, I go on, as was 

II. To unfold its import, viewed in the several parts of which the 
text consists. 

You will accordingly observe, that there is in the text, the cha- 
racters invited, — the " labouring and heavy laden ;" there is the 
invitation itself, " Come unto me ;" by whom the invitation is given, 
by Christ ; and the encouragement proposed to their complying with 
it, ** I will give you rest." — All these considered complexly, in our 
view, import the following things. 

1. That all men naturally are at a distance from God; if it were 
not so, they needed not be bid come. This is not a distance of place, 
but a relative distance, a distance of opposition, which lies in these 
three things. 

(1.) The original union between God and man is blown up; they 
were united in a covenant of works, whereby they had common 
friends and enemies. This was the first marriage-covenant, but 
Adam broke it, and so broke oflT from God. Hence God drove him 
out of paradise, as a divorced woman out of the house of her hus- 
band, spoiled of all her ornaments. 

(2.) The hearts of men are naturally turned from God, and are a 
mass of enmity against him : Rom. viii. 7, "Because the carnal raind 


is enmity agaiust God, for it is not subject to the law of God, nei- 
ther indeed can be." There is a perfect contrariety betwixt the 
nature of God and ours. That first sin of Adam has been a little 
leaven, that hath quite soured the whole lump of mankind : so that 
we are not only away, but far off from the Lord : Eph. ii. 13, 
" Without God in the world." 

(3.) The soul is still going farther and farther from God in the 
whole of our life, while in that state : Heb. iii. 12, " Take heed, 
brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in de- 
parting from the living God," Every sin is a step farther from God ; 
therefore the gospel-call is after them that are running away, that 
they may return to the Lord. We are on the road leading to 
destruction, and moving very swiftly, as the water, the more it runs, 
the farther it is removed from the fountain-head whence it came. 

From what has been now observed, we may learn the sinfulness 
and misery of our natural state. It is our duty and privilege to be 
near God ; to be far from him must then be our sin and misery. No 
wonder, then, we be dead, that we can do no good while in this 
state of separation from God. God also is departed from us, Jer. 
vi. 7. Will not this end in eternal separation, if we return not ? — 
The invitation imports, 

2. That if you have a mind to meet and unite with God again, 
you must meet with him in Christ, and unite with God in him. " All 
things (says Jesus) are delivered unto me of my Father. Come 
therefore unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I 
will give you rest." Would you have peace, pardon, and every 
blessing ? you must come to him fbr it. God has condescended so 
far to forward the meeting, that he has come down, and dwelt in the 
flesh of Christ, there to wfiit sinners, to promote their meeting with 
him: 2 Cor. v. 19, " God is in Christ, reconciling the world unto 
himself." He needed not to have come so far, but of his own free 
grace he has done it ; but he will never come farther. There, then, 
and only there, sinners may meet him; God is in him, and is there 
to make up the peace through him ; and if you will not come to him, 
and meet God there, you shall never see his face in peace. — Here it 
may be proper to shew, that this is God's contrivance for re-uniting 
with sinners that are by sin far from him ; and that there is no 
other way. This appears, 

(1.) From plain scripture-testimony: John xiv. 6, "I (said Jesus) 
am the way, the truth, and the life ; no man cometh to the Father, 
but by me." He is the great Secretary of heaven, by whom alone 
you can be brought into the King's presence : Eph. ii. 18, " For 
through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father." 
The keys of the house of David hang at his girdle. 

208 Christ's invitatiox'to the • 

(2.) If there were any other way of'coming to God again, it be- 
hoved to be one of these two : either, 1st, By satisfying the law ac- 
cording to the first covenant ; but that is impossible for us, seeing 
we cannot give perfect obedience, nor satisfy justice for the sins we 
are guilty of, Gal. iii. 10, often quoted : Or, 2dl>/, in a way of mere 
mercy, for mercy's sake. But this cannot be : for, — The justice of 
God necessarily requires satisfaction, and God will not dispense his 
mercy in prejudice of his justice : Psalm v. 5, " The foolish shall not 
stand in thy sight, and thou hatest all the workers of iniquity." 
One part of the character of God is, that "he will by no means clear 
the guilty," namely, without satisfaction. The law is already made, 
fenced with threatenings of eternal wrath, and it is broken ; God's 
justice and truth are both, in consequence, engaged to see the threat- 
ening accomplished. — Again, God's last will and testament is already 
made, and sealed by the death of his Son, but there is no such way 
proposed in it ; no mercy but in Christ; yea, God has declared they 
shall have no mercy that come not to Christ : Matth. xvi. 16, " He 
that believeth, and is baptised, shall be saved; but he that believeth 
not shall be damned." — Moreover, the very providing of this way 
makes it evident that there is no other. Were there another way 
of bringing sinners to God, would not an infinitely wise God, and a 
loving Father, have fetched a compass, and dispensed with the blood 
of his own Son ? If any could have been spared, it might have been 
expected that He would ; but, Rom. viii. 32, " God spared not his 
own Son, but delivered him up to the death for us all." — Finally, 
ever' since~ Adam was driven out of paradise, this has been held 
forth as the only way, as in the first promise. Abel's acceptance 
was by it, Heb. si. 4. Jesus is the only propitiatory, where God 
speaks in mercy to sinners. 

HereH might also shew, what a suitable contrivance this is, for 
the purpose of uniting God and sinners. — It is most suitable : For, 

1. It is suited to God's honour, the glory of his divine perfec- 
tions : Heb. ii. 10, " For it became him, for whom are all things, 
and by whom are all things, in bringing many souls unto glory, to 
make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." 
God, with the safety of his honour, may be reconciled to the worst 
of sinners in Christ ; yea, the glory of all his perfections shines forth 
most illustriously in the mystery of Christ; there would be no safe- 
ty in this plan, if it were not so. 

2. It is suited to the comfort of the sinner, the contrivance being 
such, that it answers all the necessities of the sinner: Rev. iii. 18, 
" I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest 
be rich, and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that 


the shame of thy nakedness do not appear, and anoint thine eyes 
with eye-salve, that thou mayest see." So that the soul may confi- 
dently come to God by Christ, who can do such things for it. 

Let us more particularly consider this contrivance of the sinner's 
coming to, and uniting with God, by coming to Christ. — With this 
view, we observe, 

1. That Christ is a substantial Mediator, partaking of both na- 
tures. He is the Father's fellow, yet bone of our bone. The worst 
of men are sibber* to heaven than the fallen angels ; for " Jesus 
took not upon him the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham." 
Here is the true ladder, the foot of which, his humanity, is set on 
earth, the top of which, his divinity, reaching to heaven. Gen. xxviii. 
above which the Lord stands making the covenant. If it consisted 
with the honour of God, for the divine nature to take into personal 
union with itself the human nature, it is equally consistent to take 
men into mystical union with the divine i>ersou of our Immanuel, 
upon this foundation. And when sinners see the first, they are en- 
couraged to look for the second in Christ. 

1. In Christ justice is satisfied: He said, "It is finished." In 
him God has presented to him a sacrifice to offended justice, a satis- 
faction to his law. God exacted, and he answered, till the utmost 
farthing was paid : Gal. iii. 13, "Christ hath redeemed us from the 
curse of the law, having been made a curse for us ;" and he got up 
the discharge. The sinner has in him a defence against justice, an 
everlasting righteousness, in which God may behold the sinner, and 
be well pleased with him, and the sinner may see God, and yet live. 
Mercy has a free vent in him, and pardons run freely through his 
blood. We observe, 

3. That the covenant is made with him in his blood ; and all the 
promises of the covenant, all the benefits of it, sinners have at the 
second hand, Gal. iii. 16. God has laid up all in him : 2 Cor. i. 20, 
" For all the promises of God in him, are yea, and in him amen, to 
the glory of God by us." Sinners are to come to him for saving 
blessings, and to take them from him as the purchase of his blood : 
John V. 22. Our righteousness, pardon, peace, are all in him, " who 
of God is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and re- 
demption," 1 Cor. i. 30. Grace is in him, "for of his fulness have 
all we received, and grace for grace," John i. 16. Glory is from 
him : " The Lord will give grace and glory." 

4. By this means, the grace of God is exalted. It is to the praise 
of the glory of his grace. This is necessary for the glory of God in 
the second covenant, and for the sinner's comfort, which conld not 
be promoted nor secured except in this way. 

* Move nearly related. 

210 chuist's invitation to the 

5. Here the matter is made sure ; God is sure of the sinner, and 
the sinner sure of his union with God : such as are built upon this 
foundation, made raerabers of him, Jesus will lose none of them. 
From what has been stated, I would infer, 

(1.) That all who come to Christ shall come back to the state of 
union and communion with God, through him who knits heaven and 
earth, rent asunder by Adam's sin. Let your sins be never so great, 
these shall not stop it, for the cry of his blood is louder in God's 
ears, than that of our sins. — Infer, 

(2.) That they that never come to Christ, shall never see God in 
mercy. Meet they may, but it will be a sad meeting, a meeting as 
of a malefactor with an inexorable judge, dry stubble with consum- 
ing fire, where our leaf will be as rottenness, and the blossoms of 
Christless duties go up as dust. 

Thus you see there is but one door to God; but what if it be shut? 
No ; it is open. For the invitation imports, 

3. That sinners are welcome to come to Christ, that they may 
unite with God by him ; Christ is ready to receive you on your com- 
ing. — As to this, consider, 
-«~ (1.) Christ has made a long journey to meet with sinners. What 
brought him out of the Father's bosom into the world, but to bring 
sinners to himself, and so back to God again? "What was the errand 
of the great Shepherd, but to seek them, even them that were stray- 
ing on the mountains of vanity ? Luke xix, " For the Son of man is 
come to seek and to save that which was lost." — Consider, 

(2.) How dear it cost him to purchase your union with God by 

him, 2 Cor. v. 21, "For he hath made him, who knew no sin, to be 
sin for us, that we miglit be made the righteousness of God in him." 
Though ye should little value his blood, he will not undervalue it 
himself; for sinners it was shed, and will he not welcome the re- 
ward of it, the fruit of the travail of his soul ? Why were his arms 
stretched on a cross, and his side pierced through, but that he might 
open up our way to God ? — Consider, 
•- (3.) How near lost sinners lay to Christ's heart, that he would re- 
fuse no hardship, in order that he might see the travail of his soul. 
His love was ancient love ; from eternity, " his delights were with 
the sons of men," Prov. viii. 31; see his choice, Heb. xii. 2; and 
therefore, when he was to sufi^er, his heart was upon the work : Luke 
xii. 60, "I have a baptism to be baptised with, and how am I strait- 
ened till it be accomplished ?" Jacob's love to Rachel shewed itself 
by his long service for her, which seemed to him but a few days. — 

(4.) Why has lie set up a ministry in the world, but to bring sin- 


ners to himself? Matth. xxii. 3, "And he sent forth his servants 
to call them that were bidden to the wedding." He would not have 
left ambassadors to treat with sinners in his name, if he were not 
willing to receive them, nay, were he not anxious that they should 
come to him. — Consider, 

_ (5.) He heartily invites you to come to him ; as in the text ; 
in Isa. Iv. 1, "Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the 
waters, and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat, yea, 
come, buy wine and milk, without money and without price ;" and in 
Rev. ill. 2, " Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if any man hear 
my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with 
him, and he with me." These invitations look not like one who 
cares not whether sinners come or not, far less like one who is not 
willing to receive them. Consider, 

- (6.) The earnestness of the invitations ; he deals with sinners as 
one that will not take a nay-say : Luke xiv. 23, " Compel them to 
come in, that my house may be filled," He not only knocks, bat 
stands and knocks : strives with sinners by his word, his providences, 
and the motions of his Spirit; answers their objections, Isa. Iv. 1, 
and downwards ; while none can refuse, but those that rush wilfully 
on in their ruin ; as in Ezek. xxxiii. 11, " As I live, saith the Lord 
Grod, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the 
wicked turn from his way and live : turn ye, turn ye, from your 
wicked ways, for why will ye die, house of Israel ?" Consider, 

(7.) How he complains of these that will not come : John v. 40, 
" And ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life." " He 
speaks as one that has been working in vain : Isa. xlix. 4, " I have 
laboured in vain, I have spent ray strength for nought and in vain." 
He complains of Jerusalem, Matth. xxiii. 37 ; yea, he weeps over 
obstinate incorrigible sinners ; Luke xix. 41, 42, " And when he 
came near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, if thou hadst 
known, even thou at least in this thy day, the things which belong 
unto thy peace ; but now they are hid from thine eyes." Sure he 
has lost no bowels of compassion by going to heaven; they flow out 
as freely and tenderly as ever. — Consider, 

(8.) He commands sinners to come to him. The invitations are 
all commands ; they are most peremptory : 1 John iii. 23, " This is 
his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son, 
Jesus Christ." If you do it not, you can do nothing that will please 
him : John vi. 29, " Jesus answered and said unto them, this is the 
work of God, that ye believe on hira whom he hath sent." And he 
leaves it on us with the most dreadful certification : Mark xvi. 16, 
" He that believeth not shall be damned." And hence it follows, 

212 Christ's invitation to the 

that the hearers of the gospel who perish, are inexcusable ; the 
door was open, but they would not enter in. — The invitation imports, 

4. That the worst of sinners are welcome to Christ : however great 
their burden of sin and misery be, it is no hinderance in their way 
to come to Christ. Where all are invited, none are excluded. But 
upon this I do not enlarge here, having insisted upon it at some 
length, when discoursing upon Joel iii. 10. All that I shall just 
now observe is, that this consideration shall shame you out of your 
slighting of Christ, and strike at the root of that bitter despair which 
lodges in the breasts of many, who are yet far enough from absolute 
despair of their case. — The invitation imports, 

5. That Christ allows sinners to come to him, rather on account 
of the desperateness of their case, than otherwise : " Come unto me, 
all ye that labour, and are heavy laden." As if he had said, " Ye 
have been labouring, and yet can get no rest ; let that engage you 
to come to me. Sit down and consider your case, if nothing else 
will prevail with you, let the desperateness of your disease bring 
you to the great Physician." You are cordially welcome to do so. 
For, consider, 

(1.) That it is for this very end God discovers the worst of a 
man's case to himself, drives them to their wit's end, in order that 
he may begin to be wise : Hos. ii. 6, " Therefoi'e, behold I will 
hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not 
find her paths." Yer. 7, " Then shall she say, I will go and return 
to my first husband, for then was it better with me than now." — 

(2.) That Christ has made ofi'ers of himself to those in the worst 
of cases : Isa. i. 18, " Come now, and let us reason together, saith 
the Lord ; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as 
snow : though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." 
And he holds out himself as a Saviour in particular for these, Rev. 
iii. 17, 18 ; Isa. Iv. 7. — Consider, 

(3.) Such have been made welcome, who have employed such argu- 
ments with him : Psalm xxv. 11, " For thy name's sake, pardon 
mine iniquity, for it is very great ;" and so also in the case of the 
Canaanitish woman with Jesus, Matth. xv. 26, — 28. Consider, 

(4.) He has the more glory, the more desperate that the case is j 
none see the stars so well as from the bottom of a deep pit. Ilis 
power is the greater to pardon, his grace to overcome, when thei'e is 
most occasion for these being displayed ; it is the worst of diseases, 
that do best proclaim the Physician's skill, when a cure is eftected. 

From what has been just now observed, we may see and admire 
the divine condescension, that Christ is so willing to take the sinner 


in, when he sees himself cast out at all doors, can get rest nowhere 
else ; that he will give him rest, and embrace the sinner, when he 
sees he can do no better, when he can make no other shift. — Hence 
also learn, how to make an excellent use of the badness of your case, 
even to take up these stumbling-blocks, and break up heaven's 
door with them ; to make a virtue of necessity, and the more that 
the burden presseth, the more readily to go to Christ with it. True, 
it is never right coming to Christ, which sense of misery alone i)ro- 
duceth ; but love may thus crown a work which terror begins, and 
which when from the Holy Spirit it leads to. In a word, you are 
absolutely inexcusable, that come not to Christ, be your case what 
it will. 

I now go on to what was proposed, 

IV. Which was, to explain the nature of that rest which Christ 
graciously promises, and which he actually gives to such labouring 
and heavy-laden sinners, as truly come to him. And here it must 
be observed, that there is a rest which they may have in Christ ; a 
rest here, and a rest hereafter. In this life there is a fourfold rest 
to be had in Christ. — A rest, 

1. In respect of sin. The rest Christ gives from sin is twofold. 
(1.) A rest from the guilt of sin. Guilt is a poison, infecting the 
conscience, which makes it so to smart that it can get no rest, as in 
the case of Cain and Judas, and also with those, Acts ii. 37, " They 
were pricked in their hearts." This, when it festers and becomes 
immoveable, is the gnawing worm in hell. Christ gives rest from it, 
Heb. ix. 4 ; his blood purges the conscience from dead works. The 
conscience, when like the raging sea, is stilled by him : Isa. Ivii. 18, 
19, " I have seen his ways, and will heal hira ; I will lead him also, 
and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. I create the 
fruit of the lips : Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that 
is near, saith the Lord ; and I will heal him." The soul finds this 
rest in the wounds of Christ, for, " by his stripes we are healed," 
Isa. liii. 5. The blood of Jesus Christ, God's own Son, cleanses from 
all sin. The soul diped in this fountain is washed from this poison, 
and is delivered from this sting of guilt. — There is rest, 

(2.) From the reigning power of sin : Rom. vi. 14, " For sin shall 
not have dominion over you." Sin on the throne makes a confused 
restless soul, like the raging sea, continually casting out mire and 
dirt. Christ, by his Spirit's efficacy, turns sin off the throne, and re- 
stores rest to the soul. He casts down these Egyptian taskmasters, 
and thus the soul enters into his rest : Heb. iv. 10, " For he that is 
entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as 
God did from his." In the day of the soul's coming to Christ, he 

214 chbist's invitatiox to the 

acts like a King, setting all in order in the kingdom, that was a 
mere heap of confusion before his accession to the throne. — There is 
in Christ, 

2. Rest from the law ; not that he makes them lawless, but that 
he takes off them the insupportable yoke of the law, and gives them 
ease. — He does so, 

(1.) From the burden of law-duties, which are exacted in all per- 
fection, under the pain of the curse, while no strength is furnished 
wherewith to fulfil them : Rom vii. 4, " Wherefore, my brethren 
ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ." This is 
the yoke on all men's necks naturally ; Christ put his neck in this 
yoke, and bare it, satisfying the law's demands completely, and so 
frees all that come to him from this service. Christ carries his 
people without the dominions of the law. — He does so, 

(2.) From the curse of the law : Gral. iii. 13. " Christ hath re- 
deemed us from the curse of the law, having been made a curse for 
us." Rom. viii. 1. " There is, therefore, now no condemnation to 
them that are in Christ Jesus." These that are come to him, he 
takes from off them that curse which they are under, and gives them 
his blessing, which he hath merited ; carries them from Mount Sinai 
to Mount Zion, where they hear the blood of Jesus speaking peace, 
silencing the demand of vengeance, and affording a refuge for the 
oppressed. — There is in Christ, 

3. Rest from that weary labour in which persons are engaged 
when in quest of happiness, leading the souls to the enjoyment of 
God : Psalm cxvi. 7, " Return unto thy rest, my soul ! for the 
Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee." The soul, restless in seek- 
ing happiness among the creatures, he leads to God, the fountain 
of all perfection, opening their eyes, as he did Hagar's, to see the 
well, and bringing them into the enjoyment of all good in him, 
uniting the soul with himself; where, 

(1.) The soul finds a rest of satisfaction from Christ, which it can 
find in no other quarter whatever, for the soul finds a rest of satis- 
faction from him, when by faith it is set on the breasts of his conso- 
lations. In these there is an object adequate to all the desires of 
the soul answering all its needs; thus, Prov. xiv. 14, "A good 
man shall be satisfied from himself." There is the triumph of faith 
in the enjoyment of God: Phil. iv. 18. "But I have all and 
abound." — The soul finds, 

(2.) A rest in him of settled abode, insomuch, that the soul goes 
not abroad as it was wont, among the creatures for satisfaction ; 
John iv. 14, " But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give 
him, shall never thirst ; but the water that I shall give him, shall 


be in him a well of water springing up to everlasting life." Christ 
becomes precious to the soul. Like the released lady, that did not 
so much as look on or take notice of Cyrus, notwithstanding of the 
noble part he acted, but on him (her husband) who said, he would 
redeem her with his own life. " The kingdom of heaven is like unto 
a treasure hid in a field, the which when a man hath found, he hid- 
eth, and for joy thereof, goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buy- 
eth that field."— There is in Christ, 

4. Rest in respect of troubles. Christ gives rest, 

(1.) From troubles in the world, now and then, when he sees 
meet : Psalm xxxiv. 19, " Many are the afilictions of the righteous, 
but the Lord delivereth them out of them all." Zion's God reigneth, 
be on the throne who will ; and when he speaks peace, neither devils 
nor men can create his people trouble ; for. Lam. iii. 37, " Who is 
he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord comraandeth it 
not ? There is no such security from trouble as the godly have, but 
that is from heaven, and not from earth. Therefore, 

(2.) Christ gives rest in trouble : John xvi. 33, *' These things I 
have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the 
world ye shall have tribulation ; but be of good cheer, I have over- 
come the world." You may, nay, you shall, meet with troubles, but 
be can make you get sweet rest in your souls ; even when you are 
on a bed of thorns as to the outward man, he can give his people 
a sweet rest even in troubles. How can these things be ? may 
some say. — In answer, 

[1.] Christ gives his people in trouble an inward rest, that is an 
inward tranquillity of miud in midst of trouble : Psalm iii. 1 — 5, 
" Lord ! how are they increased that trouble me ? many are they 
that rise against me. Many there be which say of my soul. There 
is no help for him in God. Selah. But thou, Lord, art a shield 
for me ; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the 
Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. 
I laid me down and slept ; I awaked, for the Lord sustained me." 
Christ can make the believer as a vessel of water tossed here and 
there, yet not jumbled. There was a greater calm with the three 
children in the furnace, than with the king iu the palace, Dan. iii. 
24. Fear may be on every side when there is none in the centre, 
because Christ makes a blessed calm in their hearts. — Christ gives 
in trouble, 

[2.] A rest of contentment : " I have learned, (says Paul, Phil. iv. 
11,) in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." This is 
not only the duty, but the privilege of believers. If the lot of the 
godly be not brought up to their spirit, Christ will bring their spirit 

216 Christ's invitation to the 

down to their lot ; and there must needs be rest there, where the 
spirit of the man and his lot meet in one : Psalm xxxvii. 19, " They 
shall not be ashamed in the evil time, and in the days of famine 
they shall be satisfied." — Then follows, 

[3.] A rest of satisfaction in the enjoyment of better things. 
"What though the world hath a bitter taste in their mouths ? Christ 
can hold a cup of consolation to them in that very instant, the sweet- 
ness of which will master the bitterness of the other : " Your sorrow 
(says he, John xvi. 20,)_shall be turned into joy." •' Our rejoicing (says 
Paul, 2 Cor. i. 12,) is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in 
simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the 
grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world." They 
are not indeed stocks, to be unmoved with troubles, but their sor- 
row is so drowned in spiritual joy, that it is " but as sorrow," 2 Cor. 
vi. 10, " As sorrowful yet always rejoicing ;" even as the joy of the 
wicked is " but as joy." Troubles may raise a mutiny of lusts with- 
in, but the peace of God quells them : "It keeps their hearts and 
minds through Jesus Christ," — Christ gives, 

(4.) A rest in confidence of a blessed issue : 2 Tim. i. 12, " For 
the which cause I also suff'er these things ; nevertheless, I am not 
ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded, that 
he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against 
that day." The soul in Christ has the promise to rest on ; and how- 
ever dark a side the cloud may have, faith will see through it ; 
though they may sink deep, they will never drown, who have a pro- 
mise to bear them up. — Thus, you see, they rest in Christ in trouble ; 
and this rest is a most secure rest, where people may rest confident- 
ly : Isa. xxvi. 3, " Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind 
is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee." The wicked may 
have rest, but not with God's good will ; therefore the more rest, 
the more dangerous is their case : 1 Thess. v. 3, " For when they 
shall say, peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon 
them, as a woman in travail, and they shall not escape." But there 
is perfect security in Christ, and that iu the worst of times, Song iii. 
7, 8. Again, it is a rest that is so rooted, that the soul can never 
be deprived of it : Isa. xxxii. 17, " And the work of righteousness 
shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness, and assur- 
ance for ever." How soon is the rest of the wicked broken, their can- 
dle put out ! But this, although it may meet with some disturbance 
by temptations, as the clouds may go over the sun, yet it shall be as 
sore as the sun fixed in the firmament; it will be proof against the* 
disturbances of the world, against the temptations and accusations of 
the devil ; yea, against the demands of justice, and the threatenings 


of the law. Then in the life to come, he will give them all complete 
rest who come to him : Heb. iv. 9, " There remaineth, therefore, a 
rest for the people of God." He will give their bodies rest in the 
grave, Isa. Ivii. 2, and both soul and body rest in heaven hereafter ; 
and that is a rest beyond expression. 

If it should be inquired, Who is it that gives this rest ? this is 
answered in our text ; Christ says to such labouring and heavy-la- 
den sinners, and he is able to make good his word, " I will give you 
rest." The gift of this rest is his prerogative ; they that obtain it 
must get it out of his hands. — For illustrating and confirming this, 

1. That all creatures cannot give rest to a restless soul. Not any 
thing in them, or the whole of what can be afforded from them, can 
give it : Eccl. i. 2, " Yauity of vanities, saith the preacher, vanity 
of vanities ; all is vanity." Men, the best of men, cannot do it. 
Ministers may be directed to speak a word in season, but the Lord 
himself can only make that word effectual, 2 Sam. xii. 13, compared 
with Psalm li. Nay, angels cannot do it, Exod. xxxiii. 2, compare 
ver. 15. It requires a creating power : Isa. Ivii. 18, " I have seen 
his ways, and I will heal him." — Consider, 

2. There can be no rest to the soul without returning to a recon- 
ciled God, for it is impossible the soul can find true rest elsewhere ; 
and there is no returning to God but by Christ : John xiv. 6, " I am 
the way, the truth, and the life ; no man cometh unto the Father, 
but by me." He is the only ladder by which the soul can ascend to 

3. Christ is the great Lord Treasurer of heaven. The fulness of 
power is lodged in him : Matth. xxviii. 18, " All power is given unto 
me in heaven and in earth." There is nothing that any can get 
from heaven in the way of spiritual favour, but what comes through 
his hands : John v. 22, '* The Father judgeth no man, but hath com- 
mitted all judgment unto the Son." Jesus also hath the keys of 
hell and death. Rev. i. 18. 

4. He is the store-house, where the treasure is laid up, and out of 
which all needful supplies come : John i. 16, " And of his fulness 
have all we received, and grace for grace." — Consider, 

6. The glorious types illustrating this: Joseph, Gen. xli. 40 — 44; 
Joshua, that brought the people to the rest in Canaan. — Consider, 

6. That high character which he sustains : Heb. xii. 2. He is the 
" author and finisher of our faith." — Consider, 

Lastly, It is reasonable it should be so, he hath purchased this 
rest with his blood : and therefore there is an high propriety that he 
should be the giver, the dispenser of this glorious blessing. — In the 

Vol. IX. P 

218 Christ's invitation to the 

IV. And last place, it was i)roposed to make some practical ini- 
provemeut of the whole. To enlarge here, however, would be impro- 
per, as a practical improvement has been made of the several parts 
of the subject all along, as they have been considered. At the same 
time, your attention may be called to the following brief hints. 
From what has been observed, you have had set before you, 

1. A melancholy picture of the miserable state of all mankind by 
nature ; — they are "labouring and heavy laden," they have various 
burdens lying on them, the burden of sin, the burden of the law, a 
burden often of fears, of terrors, arising from the former; and while 
thus heavy laden, they are labouring, striving to ease themselves of 
their burdens, struggling hard to get rid of them, while after all 
they are only labouring in vain in the fire, wearying themselves 
in the greatness of their way ; are spending their " money for that 
which is not bread, and their labour for that which satisfieth not," 
instead of obtaining the least ease or quiet. Their situation is in 
this way rendered more and more grievous and distressing, their 
burdens become heavier than they can bear, and their labour is ren- 
dered quite intolerable. 

2. We may learn a special ingredient in the misery of those that 
thus labour, and are heavy laden. They are under the law as a 
covenant of works, which requires the full tale of brick, without af- 
fording the least straw with which to make them. They are under 
most grievous taskmasters, who are constantly saying. Give, give, 
while they are unable to work ; and, what is still worse, they are 
without Christ, without God, and so without hope in the world. It 
is Jesus only that can help them ; while afar from him, and enemies 
to him, they have no other prospect than that of perishing eternally. 

3. There is hence opened up a door of hope, even for such as are 
labouring and heavy laden, whatever their characters or conditions 
have been, or at present may be, though they may have long labour- 
ed in vain, and spent their strength for nought. However heavy, 
numerous, and continued these burdens may be, though in their view 
their condition may not only be distressing and deplorable, but even 
almost desperate, there is here a door of hope opened up to such. 
On Jesus is their help laid ; in and from him it is to bo found. He is 
saying, " Look unto me, and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth ; for 
I am God, and besides me there is no Saviour." " Hearken ye stout- 
hearted, and ye that are far from righteousness." Nay, he speaks 
to sucli expressly by name ; without excluding a single individual, 
whatever his present character or condition be, his gracious words 
are, " Come unto me, all ye" the whole of you, and each of you 


" that labour, and are heavy laden, and," in coming to me without 
peradventure, " you shall have rest." 

In the last place, there is pointed out to us what is the indispen- 
sable duty of all the hearers of the gospel. It is to come to Jesus ; 
to comply with the gracious call and invitation here given. It is 
true, this in the text is addressed only to the labouring and heavy 
laden ; but is not this a character common to all the hearers of the 
gospel ? Are not all more or less in this situation ? A situation so 
far from being desirable, that it is exceedingly uncomfortable. If 
such, then, would consult their present or eternal welfare ; if they 
would hearken to the gracious call, the kind invitation which Christ 
gives them; if they would obey heaven's great command, it must be 
admitted, that it is their bounden duty to come to Jesus, that is, to 
believe on him ; for it is only in the exercise of faith as coming to 
him, and according as faith is in exercise, that any can be freed from 
their heavy burdens, or be released from that vain and irksome la- 
bour iu which they are engaged. 

Let all such, then, be exhorted to cease from the labour which sa- 
tisfieth not ; from these fruitless attempts which they are engaged 
in to rid themselves from these heavy burdens that they are weighed 
down under. Be exhorted to come to Jesus, cast all your burdens 
and your cares over upon him. He is able and willing to sustain 
both you and your burdens, whatever they are. Come to him, then, 
as you are, as labouring and heavy laden. There is the most cordial 
welcome afforded to all such ; the greater your burdens, and the 
more pressing your necessities are, in the way of putting your case 
unreservedly in his hand, and under his management, you may in 
due time assuredly expect a comfortable issue. He hates putting 
away. Whosoever will may come, and him that cometh unto him, 
he will in no wise cast out. " Come unto me" says he, " all ye that 
labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." 





IsA. xxxii. 2, 

And a man shall he — as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. 

This prophecy relates to Hezekiah, to his happy and pious govern- 
ment; but doubtless a greater than Hezekiah is here, and that is 
Jesus Christ, the king of saints. This world, before sin entered into 
it, had always a clear sky; there was not an air of pestilential wind 
to blow upon them that were travelling through it to Immanuel's 
land. But since sin entered, the case is quite altered ; strong winds 
of trouble blow, tempests of heavy rain fall ; there are inundations 
in the world, as the word is ; it is a dry place ; in respect of com- 
fort, it is a weary land ; but though a weary land, it is not altoge- 
ther without some comforting prospect. A shadow and shelter is pre- 
pared for the weary traveller; for it is promised in the text, "And 
a man shall be — as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land." In 
which words, there is observable, 

1. What the world is spiritually to Christ's subjects, the people 
of God, a " weary land ;" that is, a thirsty land, a scorching coun- 
try, a stormy place, with many inconveniences, which make travel- 
lers weary and faint. It is a wilderness, wherein there is no water, 
but a vehement heat, which makes people weary, and long for shel- 
ter and refreshment. — Observe, 

2. What Christ is to them there, "as the shadow of a great rock." 
How pleasant is a shelter in such a place to the weary traveller ! 
Such is Christ to his people in the world. There are many shelters, 
there is even the shadow of created comforts ; but, alas ! they are 
unsubstantial shades ; they are as the shade of a tree, through 
which the sun, wind, or rain beats. But Christ is as the shadow of 
a rock, which none of these can pierce ; and as a great rock, which 
gives a large shelter ; so that there they have a perfect repose, blow 
what weather will. — The text affords us this 

Doctrine, That Christ is a suitable shade, and a refreshing shel- 
ter, for those to whom the world is a weary land. 

For illustrating this doctrine, it is proposed, 

I. To show what is implied in the text. 

II. To inquire in what respects the world is a weary land to the 

• This and tbe following discourse, delivered August, 1715. 


III. To point out in what respects Jesus Christ is a suitable and 
refreshful shade and shelter to them in a weary land. 

IV. Conclude with a practical improvement. 
We are, then, 

I. To shew what is implied in the text, — It imports, 

1. That the world is not our dwelling-j)lace, but the place through 
which we are travelling. This world is but a thoroughfare to an- 
other, where we come in at our birth, walk through in our life, and 
go out again at death. Many imagine but two fixed points in the 
universe, the higher and the lower, and that bodies are revolving in 
continual motion towards one or other of these, heaven and hell. 
The godly are going out of the world in affection. Song iv. 8 ; the 
wicked, in action, though not in affection ; none are abiding. — It 

2. That there is no correcting of the ill air of the world ; a shade 
and shelter may be had in it, but to reduce it to its first tempera- 
ture, that it may indeed be a pleasant land, is not promised, and 
therefore cannot be expected. The winds of trouble must blow in it 
while there are such treasures of sin in it to bring them forth. 
While our provocations against heaven gather into clouds, there 
will be tempestuous rains of calamities in it. The godly may lay 
their account with this : John xvi. 33, " In the world ye shall have 
tribulation." And the carnal world need not lay their account by 
it : Job. V. 7, " Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly up- 
wai'ds." — It imports, 

3. That, foul or fair weather, we must set out our heads, and 
through the weary land we must go ; there is no other way but to 
take our share of what may be going on in it. He that would stop 
till the sky clear, may with as good reason sit down and wait till 
the water run out, that he may get through the river dry shod ; the 
last may be sooner expected than the first. — It imports, 

4. That the travelling through it will try our strength ; take 
what way we will, we cannot miss sometimes to be entangled in the 
wilderness, and to be wearied in it, though the heart were so glued 
to it, as never to be wearied of it. The winds, the rains, and the 
storms, that blow there, will bear heavy on us, so as that we will 
need a resting, a refreshing place. — It imports, 

5. That nothing less than the great rock will be a sufficient shel- 
ter in this weary land ; no solid peace or repose out of Christ, more 
than there was out of the ark when the deluge came on. The winds 
and storms will blow down, or blow through, all other shades which 
men make to themselves in the weary land : Isa. xxviii. 17, " And 
the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall 


overflow the hiding-place." Flying from one mischief, while they 
flee not to the great rock, they shall fall into another : Amos v. 19, 
" As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him ; or went in- 
to the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit 
him." — It imports, 

6, That Christ is a sufficient shelter, howeyer weary a land the 
world be : John xvi. 33, " These things I have spoken unto you, 
that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribu- 
lation ; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." Be the 
storms or heats as great as they will, he is as a great rock ; and from 
him, though the troubles may be great, yet they may expect a great 
salvation. They will always be safe who are under the shade of the 
great rock, through which neither heats nor storms can pierce : Psalm 
xciii. 4, " The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters; 
yea, than the mighty waves of the sea." It is impossible they can be 
greater than they have been ; nay, they can never be so great as 
once they were, when from heaven, earth, and hell, at once they 
blew upon Christ. Yet he bore them, bore up under them, bore 
them off his people ; even as the heats and rains fall on the rock, 
while those under its shade are kept safe. — It imports. 

Lastly, That the weary world makes Christ more precious to sin- 
ners than otherwise he would be. If the traveller were not scorched 
with heat, or tossed with tempests, he would never look near the 
rock. Ease in the world, is the neck-break of many. But it is well 
for the church and people of God, that the world is a step-dame to 
them ; were they better entertained in the world's house, they would 
more seldom knock at God's door. — We now proceed, 

II. To shew in what respects the world to the people of God is a 
weary land. — It is so, because, 

1. The wind blowing in the traveller's face makes any land a 
weary land to him ; and in this world, there is a wind of ordinary 
trouble, that is seldom if ever down, but blowing especially in the 
face of the travellers to Zion ; Matth. vi. 34, " Sufficient unto the 
day is the evil thereof." Sometimes it blows away the man's ease, 
blasts his reputation, blows away his worldly goods, his health, his 
relations, &c. It blows so that he is sure of nothing he has, unless 
it be Christ in him, the hope of glory. And the travellers must lay 
their account with this. This cannot fail but make the world a 
weary land. But the soul may find a calm under Christ's shadow, 
as Hannah did, when she poured out her soul before the Lord, 1 Sam. 
i. 16. Praying in faith is a great ease to a heart uneasy under 
trouble: Matth. vii. 7, ''Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and 
ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." Christ is 


an anchor that can keep the soul sure and steadfast amidst all the 
tempests of a weary world. He has an open ear to their just com- 
plaints, and a soft hand, under which the uneasy heart and head 
may repose themselves. — It is a weary land, 

2. Because sometimes there ai'e terrible tempests of common cala- 
mity, threatening to sweep all away before them, blowing in this world, 
which makes it a weary land. There are no tempests in the upper 
region, but in the lower region, where we are, they are very fre- 
quent, whereby nations, churches, and families, are thrown into the 
utmost confusion. David speaks of such, Psalm Iv. 8, " I would," 
says he, " hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest." 
These often make a most miserable face on the places where they 
blow, and make the land a weary land indeed. But even in this 
case, there is found peace under Christ's shadow : John xvi. 33, 
" These things I have spoken unto you, that ye might have peace ; in 
the world ye shall have tribulation ; but be of good cheer, I have over- 
come the world." In him believers have a peace the world cannot 
rob them of. He has hiding-places for his people, where he will 
hide them, if not from trouble, yet from the evil, the sting, and hurt 
of it: 1 Pet. iii. 13, " And who is he that will harm you, if ye be 
followers of that which is good ?" He will hide them, if not under 
heaven, yet in heaven; and they have no reason to complain who 
get there, though in a fiery chariot. Our Lord holds the winds in his 
hand, and they can blow no more terribly than he permits them ; 
so that in the worst of times it is good news ; Isa. Hi. 7, " How 
beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good 
tidings, that publishetli peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, 
that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth !" And these that make 
Christ their friend, may bid defiance to all their enemies. — The 
world is a weary land, 

3. Because the wild beasts in it make it a weary land. The 
scripture calls wicked men so, especially in their opposition to, and 
treatment of the people of God, and the world is the place of their 
abode : Song iv. 8, " Come with me, my spouse, from the lions' dens, 
from the mountains of the leopards." And therefore, while they 
are travelling through the wilderness, they are often j)ut to that 
prayer. Psalm Ixxiv. 19, 20, " deliver not the soul of thy turtle- 
dove unto the multitude of the wicked, forget not the congregation 
of thy poor for ever, have respect unto the covenant, for the dark 
places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty." No won- 
der the world be a weary land to the people of God ; for the wild 
beasts are often heard roaring there; Psalm Ixxiv. 4, " Thiue ene- 
mies roar in the midst of thy congregation, they set up their ensigns 


for signs ;" threatening to devour, and to swallow up, and to make 
the name of Israel no more to be remembered ; as the Egyptian 
beast did, Exod. xv. 9. But while these roarings make the hearts 
of God's people to tremble, the voice of the Lion of the tribe of 
Judah, terrible to his enemies, is comfortable to his friends : Psalm 
xciii. 4, " The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many 
waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea." This moderated 
the roarings of the Assyrian in Hezekiah's days, Isa. xxxvii. 22. 
These beasts are often heard yelling in the world : Jer. ii. 15, *' The 
young lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land 
waste." Dreadful is that yelling they make when they are got 
together, uttering their blasphemies, curses, and reproaches, against 
God, his people, and his cause in the world, as if hell was opened, 
which is the den of the great lion. This makes the world a weary 
land, and it is most heavy and distressing to the people of God : 
Psalm Ixxiv. 10, " God, how long shall the adversary reproach? 
shall the enemy blaspheme thy name for ever ?" Bnt there is re- 
freshment and shelter under Christ's shadow in this case, while the 
soul sees that he will close up at length the blasphemous mouths, and 
bring them to the city above, where they shall hear no more of any 
such thing. But again, these beasts are often seen tearing and de- 
vouring in the world the men that are more righteous than they : 
Hab. i. 13, " Wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacher- 
ously, and boldest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man 
that is more righteous than he ?" God has his times wherein he 
lets them loose, to make havoc of the church, and shed the blood of his 
saints. But under Christ's shadow there is refreshing in this case. 
He can break out the teeth of the great lions with a touch ; and 
while they are at the worst, he says to his people, " Fear not them 
which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul," Matth. x. 28. 
It was the way they treated Christ himself when in the world, but he 
rose upon them to their confusion ; and so shall the church in like 
manner, and according to their measure. Psalm xxii. 12, 13. 

4. Darkness causeth weariness, and a dark land will always be a 
weary land to the children of light. The world at best is but a dark 
land, in comparison with heaven : 1 Cor. xiii. 12, " For now we see 
through a glass darkly, but then face to face." But sometimes the 
darkness increaseth mightily. We have had a long sunshine of 
gospel-light, but men have loved darkness rather than light. And 
now God is rising up to plead with the generation ; and we may 
say, with Jeremiah, " Woe unto us, for the day goeth away, for the 
shadows of the evening are stretched out." Do ye not see the dark- 
ness come, and coming on the land more and more ? There is a 


dark cloud already cast over the ministers and professors of Scot- 
land ; so that they have now been like a company of travellers in a 
mist ; some crying this, and others that is the way ; while many are 
at a stand, not knowing what hand to turn to. Hence there are an 
alienation of affection, divisions, and separations, amongst those 
who all profess that they are travelling to the same place, but can- 
not agree about the way. Terrible this at all times, but now espe- 
cially, when the common enemy is at our gates, which should make 
us cease from these feuds, as it is said the beasts did, hare, dog, 
sheep, cat and rat, in the inundation of the Severn, Some pride 
themselves in these, but they will make the world a weary land to 
those that are led by the Spirit of truth and peace: Judges v. 16, 
" Why abidest thou among the sheep-folds, to hear the bleating of 
the flocks ? For the divisions of Reuben there were great search- 
ings of heart." 

What shall we do in such a case ? Get in under Christ's shadow, 
by faith, renouncing our own understanding, passions, and pre- 
judices, and giving up ourselves singly to his guiding, and his sha- 
dow will be as the shadow on the dial, pointing to the hour of the 
day : Psalm xxv. 9, " The meek will he guide in judgment, and the 
meek will he teach his way." In the greatest darkness of the world, 
there is a light, even " a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto 
we do well that we take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark 
place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in our hearts," 
2 Pet. i. 19. This oracle of heaven is never struck dumb; but at 
any time men's corruptions may make them both blind and deaf to 
its warnings. But again, the bushel is preparing to put the candle 
under, which God has lighted to give light to his church, if mercy 
prevent it not ; and then people that have made themselves so many 
silent Sabbaths, will get them made to their hands ; and they that 
have been wearying for the day, may come to get a weary fill of it. 
Preachers driven into corners, closed kirk-doors, and the songs of 
the temple turned into bowlings, will make a dark day. And now, 
if God do not mercifully interpose, we cannot miss it. But Christ's 
shadow will be refreshing in this case to those that get under it. 
Though the enemy should get leave to tread down the outer court, 
and these that worship in it, they that are farther in shall be well seen 
to : Rev. xi. 1, 2. Though they should burn up all the synagogues 
of God within the land, yet there is a little sanctuary they cannot 
hinder you to carry about with you : Ezek. xi. 16, " Therefore say, 
Thus saith the Lord God, Although I have cast them afar off among 
the Heathen, and although I have scattered them among the coun- 
tries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries 


where they shall come." And though the stars should be stamped 
down to the earth, and no star-light shine in the church, ye shall 
not want light ^vhile the Sun of righteousness continues to shine. 

Finally, The bottomless pit is already opened, the smoke is aris- 
ing in our land, and the locusts are coming out of the smoke upon 
it: Rev. ix. 1 — 3. The Popish party are now begun to make head, 
with their brethren the malignants who carry on the -war with Anti- 
christ, and to set a limb of Antichrist upon the throne : and if they 
succeed, what can be expected, but that the smoke of Antichris- 
tian errors, superstition, and idolatry, will overspread these na- 
tions again ? So that we must resolve either to take on the Beast's 
mark or Christ's fire-mark, either burn or turn. It will be weary 
work to get through the smoke, which it is to be feared will stifle 
most of us, and blacken many. Eut get under Christ's shadow now ; 
seek now to believe, and feel the power of truth. An empty pro- 
fession will not do here ; lamps without oil will go out in the smoke. 
But be it ever so gross, it will hurt none but the profane and hypo- 
critical professor : Rev. ix. 4, " And it was commanded them, that 
they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, 
neither any tree, but only those men which have not the seal of 
God in their foreheads." They that have Christ's mark of true 
piety, shall be kept from receiving the mark of the beast. Under 
Christ's shadow they will be as the Israelites in Goshen ; when 
darkness is over all the land, they shall have light in their dwell- 
ings. — The world is a weary laud, 

5, For blood aud death going through it, make it a weary land. 
In heaven there are none of these things, it is the pleasant land, 
Rev. xxi. 4. But in the world they are very frequent ; which often 
makes the weary sons of Zion to cry, " Woe is me now, for my soul 
is wearied because of murderers," Jer. iv. 31. The people that de- 
light in war is a black character in the scriptures, Psalm Ixviii. 30. 
The confused noise of the warriors is no pleasant sound, nor are 
o-arments rolled in blood a pleasant sight. The constant disquiet 
and terror that attends the sword's raging in a land, is a wearisome 
case, as it is described. Dent, xxviii. 67, " In the morning thou shalt 
say. Would to God it were even ! and at even thou shalt say. Would 
God it were morning ; for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou 
shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see." 

The white horse of the gospel has for many years made a pleasant 
parade through the land. But alas ! neither it, nor the crowned 
head, the Son of God, that sits upon it, has been much regarded ; 
nay ; both he, and his bow, which is the word, have been despised ; 
few, very few, have given him a crown, Song iii. 11, by closing with 


him in the gospel-offers. And now the red, black, and pale horses, 
mentioned Rev. vi. 4, 5, 8, seem to be re.idy to begin their march, 
to avenge the affronts offered to the white horse ; though the Popish 
and malignant riders mean not so, but to banish the white horse out 
of the land. What shall we do in this case ? get in under Christ's 
shadow, that is the only safe retreat in such a case : Mic. v. 5, " And 
this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our 
land." This should be our work this day ; we should sit down 
under his shadow, believing in him, and depending upon him. Cant, 
ii. 3. When public calamity comes upon a land, every person will 
run to that place where they expect the greatest safety ; but run 
where they will for shelter, if they run not to Christ, their shelters will 
fall down about their ears at length : Isa. xxviii. 17, "And the hail 
shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the water shall overflow 
the hiding-place." But the way of safety is to run to Jesus Christ : 
Prov. xviii. 10, " The name of the Lord is a strong tower ; the 
righteous runneth into it, and is safe." You must sit down under 
his shadow, by closing with him in the offers of the gospel, taking 
him for all, and instead of all, for time and eternity : giving your- 
selves away to him, renouncing the devil, the world, and the flesh, 
embarking in his interests and cause at this day, whoever be against 
it. This is a loud knock Christ is giving to gospel-despisers to open 
to him, after the slighting of many a still small voice, whereby he 
lets them know, that if they will not open to him as a Lord and Sa- 
viour, he will arise on them as a Judge with a vengeance, whether 
they will or not. Come, then, ye despisers of Christ, and sit down 
under his shadow, before the scorching heat of the weary land burn 
you up. 

We must sit still under his shadow, by cleaving to him, and de- 
pending upon him : Isa. xxx. 7, " For the Egyptian shall help in 
vain, and to no purpose ; therefore have I cried concerning this, 
Their strength is to sit still." Though the scourge reach all, the 
greatest safety will be there. Cleave to him and his cause, come 
what will come ; for if you go off his way to seek safety, you cast 
yourselves out of his promised protection. Piety will be the best 
policy in the worst of times : Prov. x. 9, " He that walketh up- 
rightly, walketh surely ; but he that perverteth his way, shall be 
known." And depend on him by believing his promises, both for 
your personal case, and the church's case ; for whoever be in the 
field, victory is in his hand alone, and he gives it to whom he will ; 
he does what he will in the armies of heaven and earth ; whom 
he will he strengthens, whom he will he weakens, for he is the 
Lord of hosts ; and he hath engaged that at length it shall be ill 


with his enemies, and well with his friends : Isa. liv. 17, ** No wea- 
pon that is formed against thee shall prosper ; and every tongue 
that shall rise against thee in judgment, thou shalt condemn ; this 
is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness 
is of me, saith the Lord." — But again, 

We must lie down under his shadow, in holy resignation, to suffer 
whatsoever he may call us to, Isa. li. 23. The dispensations of the 
day call aloud to us to prepare for suffering ; if the malignant party 
prevail, doubt not but their little finger will be heavier than their 
father's loins. Our Lord has given many love-tokens to the gene- 
ration, which have been lightly esteemed ; howbeit, there are many 
that profess love to him and his ti'uths ; and it would seem, he will 
try what tokens we have to bestow on him and his cause. It is 
likely he will have a portion of some one's goods, relations, liberty, 
yea, and of their blood too, ere all be done ; and it is to be feared, 
the tokens of his displeasure draw so deep, that many will give up 
with him on this account. But if you be wise, lie down under his 
shadow ; for a thorny bed under Christ's shadow will at the last 
prove more easy than the beds of ivory on which his enemies may 
stretch themselves for a little; Job xx. 5, " The triumphing of the 
wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment." 
The hour and power of darkness will not last ; and though God 
should suffer that party to carry all before them a while, there is 
no ground to doubt but God will be even with them, for all their 
enmity, and opposition to his work ; yes, and render home their 
father's opposition to it into their bosom, and give them blood to 
drink, for the blood their fathers shed in fields, and on scaffolds, 
when they have filled up the measure of their iniquity by what they 
may now do : Rev. xvi. 5, 6, " And I heard the angel of the waters 
say. Thou art righteous, Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, 
because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of 
saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink, for 
they are worthy." 

But we must also stand up under Christ's shadow, and act for 
him. Certainly, as the quarrel is now stated betwixt Christ and his 
enemies in Britain and Ireland, he calls his people now to act for 
him and his cause. If they have a standard to be displayed for 
Popery and slavery, God has given us a standard to be displayed 
for religion and liberty : Psalm Ix. 4, " Thou has given a banner to 
them that feared thee, that it might be displayed because of the 
truth." And people are called, by this dispensation, to put them- 
selves in a posture to defend their religion and liberties, their Pro- 
testant King, country and families, and not to leave themselves a 

IN A WfiARY LAND. 229 

naked prey for murderers. And in such a time, people consulting 
their own ease, more than the honour of God, the welfare of his 
cause, and their neighbour's safety, may easily slip themselves in 
under Meroz's curse, which, when incurred, will not be got so easily 
off persons : Judges v. 23, " Curse ye Meroz, (said the angel of the 
Lord), corse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came 
not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the 

Never was the cause more clear in Britain. The word, to spirit 
the soldiery under the enemies' standard, should be, The great red 
dragon. Rev. xii. 3, and the motto corresponding with this, as in 
Psalm ii. 3, " Let us break their bands, and cast their cords from 
us." This is the design of the attempt, and, I am persuaded, is 
looked upon so by Him that sitteth in the heavens. What else is 
the design of the Papists and malignants this day ? Our holy re- 
ligion must go, and idolatry and superstition come in its room ; we 
and our families must be murdered, or renounce our religion, though 
denying of Christ will never altogether please them, for they will 
especially never trust Scotch Presbyterians, so that that would be 
the way to die a double death. Our Protestant King must go, and 
a Papist ascend the throne, and the covenanted work of Reforma- 
tion be rooted out, unless that people act for their defence against 
the Antichristian party. I know no mids this day, but that every 
one must be on Christ's side, or on Antichrist's. This cause will 
bear no neutrality : Matth. xii. 30, " He that is not with me, is 
against me ; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad." 

Never was the cause more favourable ; for while our intruders and 
enemies cannot appear in the field but as rebels and traitors, laying 
themselves open to all the pains of treason and rebellion, we have, 
by the mercy of God, the law on our side. No doubt, masses will 
be said at Rome for them, and in other parts of the Pope's terri- 
tory; but the prayers of all the Protestant churches abroad will be for 
ns and our righteous cause ; and the prayers of all the godly in the 
land will also be in our favour. It is true, indeed, our God is angry 
with us ; but sure I am, he is not well-pleased with them, he never 
was nor will be pleased with the cause they have in hand ; and 
therefore, seeing the cause is the Lord's, we may be sure that 
" though he cause grief, yet he will have compassion ;" and when he 
has done his work with his furnace on Mount Zion, he will bring off 
his cause and people victorious at length, Isa. liv. 17- And we 
have ground to hope, that if the noise of enemies go on, it will raise 
up at length a ghost upon the Popish and malignant interest in 


these nations, that shall affright them, and ruin it more than ever ; 
I mean, the ghost of the buried covenants.* 



Is A. xxxii. 2, 
And a man shall be — as the shadoiv of a great rock in a weary land. 

Having, in the preceding discourse, offered several reasons why 
this world is to the saints a weary land, I go on now farther to ob- 
serve, that the world is to them a weary land : For, 

6. An ill way makes a weary land to travellers. There is much 
ill way in the world, that wearies sore them that are travelling 
Zion-ward. It is true, the way of holiness is a good way, in so far 
as it leads to the heavenly Jerusalem ; and though it be strewed 
with thorns and briars, it is better to walk in it, than in the way to 
destruction sti'ewed with roses. But an uneasy way we call an ill 
way ; and such is the way through the weary land of the world. 
It is all up-hill, which scars the most part of the world. The way 
to hell is down the hill, but the way to heaven is up the hill : Psalm 
xxiv. 3, " Who shall ascend into the hill of God ?" They that 
would sit at ease, and sleep through the world, are not meet for 
heaven ; the way will try people's strength, and an easy way to 
heaven no man shall find. There are strong lusts, and temptations, 
and troubles, which people have to climb over. But under Christ's 
shadow, the traveller will recover his breath again, and be invigo- 
rated for new difficulties, till he come to the top of the hill : Isa. xl. 
29, " He giveth power to the faint ; and to them that have no might, 
he increaseth strength." Yer. 31, *' They that wait upon the Lord 

* The intelligent reader, who is acquainted with the history of Britain, has only to 
be reminded, that the period when this discourse was delivered was very eventful. 
An unnatural rebellion was then breaking out, cherished by a Popish faction both at 
home and abroad, which in its progress threatened to overturn our religion and liber- 
ties. On this occasion, the worthy author, as a sound patriot for his country's welfare, 
as a genuine son of Zion, and a faithful watchman upon her walls, could not fail to 
sound a suitable alarm. From the deep sense he had of the impending danger, 
from a clear conviction of indispensable duty, and possessing a natural warmth of tem- 
per, the strong expressions made use of by him in this and other parts of his discourses, 
are easily to bo accounted for. 


shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as 
eagles ; they shall run and not be weary ; they shall walk and not 

It is a narrow way : " Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, 
that leadeth unto life," Matth. vii. 14. Multitudes walk in the 
broad way, and there they get room enough ; but in the narrow way 
there are few travellers, and they that are on it must take good 
heed to their feet, or they are apt to catch a fall. And considering 
how rash we naturally are, and how weak-headed and false-hearted 
we are, and how narrow the road is, and how loose the ground about 
it is, it is no wonder, that with the Psalmist wo complain of broken 
bones. Psalm li. 8. These make a weary way. But under Christ's 
shadow there is light for the blind, strength for them that go even 
on, and medicine to cure them that are bruised by their falls, if they 
intend not to lie still, but to get up and walk on. 

It is a hard and rugged way, and therefore they must have leg- 
harness, as soldiers have, to preserve their feet from stones and 
roughness in the way of their march : Eph. vi. 15, " And their feet 
shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace." There are many 
difficulties to go through that will need resolution and undaunted 
courage. The spies saw such difficulties in the way to Canaan, that 
they brought up an ill report of the land. But Caleb and Joshua 
had another spirit, that fitted them to face all these difficulties, 
Numb. xiv. 24. The fearful are not for heaven. Rev. xxi. 8. But 
under Christ's shadow there is sweet refreshment in the hardest 
piece of the way, and nothing is too hard for them whom he bears 
up : Phil. iv. 13, " I can do all things through Christ that strength- 
eneth me." 

It is a way wherein many snares are laid. The snares of the 
world make it a weary land. The way is beset witli thorns, and 
lies through thickets, where on every side there is something to 
catch a man. There are snares in every lot, in every condition, in 
the most innocent things in the world ; and there is need of great 
caution to get through them. How often are men in the snare ere 
ever they are aware ! Like the poor bird they find the snare laid 
where they were not looking for it. But under Christ's shadow, 
there is a shelter where they may be safe. It is he that leads them 
through the wilderness to that place where they will be in no more 
hazard. Tea, casting themselves by faith on him, they are in no 
danger from any quarter whatever. — It may be further observed, 

7. That the country-disease often makes it a weary land ; and 
that, in the world, is sin. No sooner do any set their foot in that 
land, than are they infected with it : Psalm li. 5, " Behold I was 


shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." Though 
the power of this disease be broken in the saints at their conversion, 
yet it hangs about them as long as they are in the land. What 
wonder, then, that it be to them a weary land ? — And there are five 
things that make it so. 

(1.) The heaviness of the disease. It is called a body of death, 
Rom. vii. 24, " wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me 
from the body of this death ?" Death is heavy in any part of it, 
how much more burdensome must a body of it be ? It bears down 
the man continually ; it is a burden to the back, that makes him 
stoop, and so makes a weary land. 

(2.) The universality of the disease. It affects and indisposes the 
whole man, so that we may say, Isa. i. 5, 6, that " the whole head is 
sick, and the whole heart faint ; from the sole of the foot to the 
crown of the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds, and 
bruises, and putrifying sores." It spreads itself like a leprosy, 
through all the faculties of the soul, and leaves no part of the man 
unaffected. It has smitten the understanding with blindness, and 
the heart with hardness, and filled the mind with enmity against 
God. Job's life was a heavy life when he was full of boils all over; 
and so is the life of those who are universally affected with the di- 
sease of sin. — There is, 

(3.) The frequent relapses that take place in this disease. How 
often do they fall back again when they seem to be in a fair way of 
recovery ! This makes a weary world to a heaven-born soul, that 
would fain be like God in holiness ; ever wrestling, and ever falling 
into the mire again, makes weary work. This makes that longing 
to be away for which the saint is distinguished. — There is, 

(4.) The malignant influence these things have on the saints' jour- 
ney through the weary land. By these means they are very much 
unfitted for it, they walk very slowly. It is a weary journey to 
them ; and oftentimes they are so laid by, that they are not able to 
move forward at all, and they are driven back, instead of going for- 

(5.) It is not their case alone, but of all that are there, the being 
affected by this disease. The world is an hospital of souls sick with 
sin. Some of them are sensible of their disease, others are not. 
The godly have not only their own plague-sores running on, but 
they also see those of others running on : and that makes a weary 
land : Jer. ix. 2, " that I had in the wilderness a lodging-place of 
a wayfaring man, that I might leave my people, and go from them ! 
for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men." But 
under Christ's shadow, there is medicine for the sore. There is 

Ilf A WEARY LAND. 233 

balm in Grilead, and a physician there. His blood takes away the 
guilt, his Spirit takes away the power of sin ; and in his holy pro- 
mises tliey see their freedom and complete cure. — I observe, 

8. That the scorching heats in the world make it a weary land. 
And there are these four kinds of scorching heat. 

(1.) There is the fiery heat of desertion, from heaven. This the 
captain of our salvation met with in the weary land, Psalm xxii. 1 
— 14 ; and this has often been the lot of the people of God in the 
weary land ; they have lost sight of their guide, and have been left 
in darkness, and gone mourning many days, without the sun, with 
many a weary groan. Psalm vi. 6. Nay, there have been many po- 
sitive outgoings of wrath against their souls, sparks of hell flying 
in on heaven-born souls, while they have been pressed under a sense 
of the Lord's anger, living, as it were, in the smoke of a furnace : 
Psalm cii. 3, " For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones 
are burned as an hearth." — There is, 

(2.) The fiery heat of temptation from hell : Eph. vi. 12, " For 
we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, 
against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, 
against spiritual wickednesses in high places." When the Israelites 
were in the wilderness they met with fiery serpents that bit them, 
Num. xxi. 6 ; and while we are in the wilderness of this world, we 
cannot miss the inflaming bites of the old serpent the devil. Satan 
is within bow-shot of us while here ; and the tosses of temptation 
from him make it a weary land. Ordinary temptations are never 
wanting, but are coming through the weary land like midges in a hot 
summer-day. Sometimes there are extraordinary temptations, fiery 
darts, where the poor soul will be as much put to it, to defend itself, 
as one to defend a thatch-house against one casting fire-balls, as it 
were, without intermission. — There is, 

(3.) The fiery trial from the men of the world, persecution. This 
is such an ordinary inheritance of the people of God in the weary 
land, that an apostle says, 1 Pet. iv. 12, " Beloved, think it not 
strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some 
strange thing happened unto you." There is much dross, together 
with the good metal, which gathers together in Zion, and therefore 
God will have a furnace there, and the wicked of the world to set it 
on, and blow it up, and professors must be cast into it to try them, 
some to be consumed, some to be refined in it : Zech. xiii. 9, " And 
I will bring the third part through the fire, and refine them as silver 
is refined, and will try them as gold is tried ; they shall call on my 
name, and I will hear them ; I will say, it is my people, and they 
shall say, the Lord is my God." — There is, 

Vol. IX. Q 


(4.) The fiery heat of contention and division from the altar, 
mentioned Rev. viii. 5. These have a sort of malignant influence on 
the church ; they scorch and blacken her exceedingly : Song i. 6, 
" Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath look- 
ed upon me : my mother's children were angry with me." Hence you 
may see the dreadful mischief which it does. Rev. viii. 7, 8, " There 
followed hail and fire, mingled with blood, and they were cast upon 
the earth, and the third i)art of trees was burnt up, and all green 
grass was burnt up." Though the way be long and sore, the travel- 
lers may be hearty, and they may go pleasantly on, while they are 
comfortable to one another ; but When they grow a burden to one 
another, when their unity and love among themselves are gone, that 
makes a weary way to travellers. But never was the shadow of a 
great rock more suitable to the scorched traveller, than Christ is to 
his people in all these cases. — For, 

(1.) He is their great plight-anchor in desertion, their hope, and 
the support of their souls. His blood is the great fence, under which 
they shelter themselves from the fire of the law, and brings them 
into hope, when they are next door to desponding. An absolute 
God is a terrible, but God in Christ is a refreshing, sight. 

(2.) He is their protector in temptation. Faith in Christ is a 
shield which quenches all the fiery darts of the wicked, Eph. vi. 16. 
He is stronger than the strong man, and a present help in time of 
temptation, either to repel the tempter, or else to bear up the tempt- 
ed. He says to them, " My grace is sufficient for you, and my 
strength is made perfect in your weakness," 2 Cor. xii. 9. 

(3.) He is their strong tower in persecution, where they abide, 
and stand out against all the storms of an enraged world. He gives 
them peace, when their enemies are carrying on the war. " Peace" 
says he, " I leave with you ; my peace I give unto you." He makes 
their bow to abide in its strength when the archers shoot at them, 
Gen. xlix. 24 ; and makes them more than conquerors, Rom. viii. 
37 ; and so lines the thorny crown with his love, that it sits very 
soft on their heads. 

(4.) He is their peace in time of contention and division. With 
whomsoever they have war and strife, through him they have peace, 
peace with God, peace with conscience, and a hopeful prospect of 
getting thither, — where light shall be perfect, and where therefore 
there can be no diff'erence of judgment ; — where love is perfect, and 
therefore no alienation of affections among the inhabitants shall 

9. Scarcity of provisions makes this world a weary land. What 
else can be expected in the waste howling wilderness of this world, 


where, though there is enough to raise the appetite of lusts, and a 
sufficiency of husks for swine to feed on ; yet provision suitable for 
the soul is very scarce ; and this is what makes the world to the 
saints a weary land. For oftentimes their table is overturned ; the 
table of public ordinances is removed, which brings a famine of the 
word by which their souls should live, Amos viii. 11, 12. Then they 
may be sent to seek bread for their souls with the peril of their 
lives ; and this makes a weary land to these that know the spiritual 
sweetness of gospel ordinances. — Again, many times when they come 
to the table of ordinances, they get nothing at all, not a mess from 
the King's hand, less or more. How often are prayers, sermons, 
communions, like the empty chair of state, the king not filling it ; 
like the empty grave, where the grave clothes lie, but the Lord him- 
self is gone ; so that there is nothing substantial with which to sa- 
tisfy the hungry soul. — Finally, at their best entertainment in the 
weary land, they ordinarily rise hungry, and with an appetite. 
They are held short by the head, and it is but drops and sips that 
are got in this world ; the full feast, where they shall hunger no 
more, is reserved to the pleasant land, where there is fulness of joy, 
and pleasures evermore. But in this respect Christ is a suitable 
shadow, he keeps the soul from fainting ; rather than they should 
want, bread shall be sent from heaven, and water shall flow out of 
the flinty rock : " Open thy mouth wide," says he, " and I will fill 
it," Psalm Ixxxi. 10. He has the keys of heaven, and is the great 
steward of the Father's treasures, who, in the greatest scarcity, has 
enough amply to furnish those who by faith come to him. 

10. Little company in the road to Zion makes it a weary land to 
the traveller thitherward. The multitude go all the other way ; few 
take the narrow road. CJirist's flock is but a little flock; in Eli- 
jah's days there were so very few upon the road, that he thought he 
had been all alone ; he had so little help of the seven thousand, that 
he knew not of them. See how Micah longed for company on the 
road, but they were hid out of his view, Micah vii. l,and downwards. 
Now, this circumstance makes it a weary land ; for at this rate the 
traveller has few to take a lift of his burden, and bear it with him. 
The apostle says, " Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the 
law of Christ." But alas ! we are in a strange land, and there are 
many to lay a load above a burden, but few to take a lift of it. 
But people must even creep under their own burdens as they can, 
and keep to it themselves. This is what makes a weary world. 
But they are not to be moaned in this case, who get in under Christ's 
shadow ; he can bear them, and their burden also. The Lord even 
reduces his people to this case, that they may depend the more upon 



himself. "When we have created props standing about us, we are 
ready to lay over much weight on them, and therefore the Lord suf- 
fers people to find their own weight, that they may be constrained 
to employ himself, to put the work in his own hand. — Again, the 
traveller has few to consult with, when he comes to a difficult and 
dark step. There are such steps which Christians meet with in 
their way to Zion, and it is no small mercy to have those who will 
help by their sympathy, advice, and prayers. But, alas ! the unfeel- 
ing world affords few such ; and this is what makes it a weary land. 
But Christ lives, and he lives to be a counsellor, an interpreter, one 
among a thousand. Therefore, let us not complain in this case: Mic. 
iv. 9, " Now, why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee ? 
is thy counsellor perished ?" They are Avell-guided whom Jesus 
guides ; and if he do not guide us, we may blame ourselves, for, 
" the meek he will guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach 
his way," Psalm xxv. 9. Let us go to the oracle, and improve his 
prophetical office. — Finally, they have few to keep them out of lan- 
guor by the way. It would be a great comfort to the weary travel- 
ler, to have the benefit of conference about the holy city, the New 
Jerusalem, to which the travellers are going, and of the glory, ease, 
and rest, that are to be enjoyed there ; it would tend to comfort and 
stir them up to vigorous walking. But they are not alone, who 
have Christ with them ; he can bear the soul company hy his word 
and Spirit, he can keep them from languishing in the weary land. — 
"We now proceed, 

III. To shew in what respects Christ is a suitable and refreshful 
shade or shelter. The truth is, there is nothing in Christ but what af- 
fords a refreshful shade to the believer in the weary land : Song v. 16, 
" Tea, he is altogether lovely." But the breaking of the spices 
will make them the more fragrant to those that have their senses 
spiritually exercised. Therefore observe, 

1. That his very name aflfbrds a broad shade for the refreshment 
of the traveller in the weary land, sufiicient to recover the soul that 
is swooning away : Song i. 3, " Because of the savour of thy good 
ointments, thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the 
virgins love thee." "When Moses would see the glory of God, the 
Lord proclaimed his name before him : Exod. xxxiv. 6, " The Lord, 
the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant 
in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving ini- 
quity, transgression, and sin, and that will by no means clear the 
guilty." His name is more glorious than if it were written in letters 
of gold ; it is written to us in letters of his precious blood. The 
truth is, all things in the world are rather names than things, the 


most desirable thiugs in it are the name of nothing : Prov. xxiii. 5, 
" Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not ? for riches cer- 
tainly make themselves wings, they fly away as an eagle toward 
heaven." The terrible things of it are but frightful names, 2 Cor. 
vi. 9, 10 ; but here is a name " that is above every name," Phil. ii. 
9. I shall mention only three instances. — His name is, 

(1.) Jesus, a Saviour: Matth. i. 21, "His name shall be called 
Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins." How sweet 
must this name be to a sensible lost sinner ! in the world we hear of 
Adara the destroyer, who ruined himself and all his posterity ; of 
sinners, his children, self-destroyers, Hos. xiii. 9 ; of Abaddon, the 
great destroyer, who goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom 
he may devour. But to all these we may comfortably oppose Jesus 
the Saviour; stronger than Adam, saving those that he destroyed ; 
stronger than sinners, helping those that have destroyed themselves; 
stronger than Satan, whom he spoils of his prey : Isa. xlix. 25, 
" Thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be 
taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered ; for I 
will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save 
thy children." — His name is, 

(2.) Messiah, or Christ, the anointed of the Father, pointing at 
his three offices. For under the Old Testament, prophets, priests, 
and kings were anointed ; it signified their call to the office : so that 
in this name we see him in all his offices, called to the Mediatory 
office* by the Father, and fully furnished for it ; and so there is 
enough in him for all our needs, to be drawn forth by faith in his 
name. And we have it in Greek, as well as in Hebrew, shewing 
that the Gentiles, as well as the Jews have access to him : John i. 
41, " We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the 
Christ." — His name is, 

(3.) Immanuel, God with us, Matth. i. 23. If we press this name 
by faith, the sap of it will come forth to the believer in three things. 
— There is, 

1st, God in our nature : John i. 14, " And the word was made 
flesh." God made man; Satan having withdrawn man from his al- 
legiance, the whole human nature was corrupted, and set at enmity 
with God. But, behold in Christ the divine and human natures 
united, heaven and earth joined together in him, under the shade of 
which sinners may, with comfort and confidence, approach to God. — 
There is, 

2dly, God reconciled to us iu Christ : John i. 14, " And dwelt 
among us ;" (Gr. tabernacled.) Christ is the tabernacle of meeting, 
wherein God and sinners meet in peace : Rev. xxi. 3, " Behold, the 


tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and 
they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and 
be their GoL" There the weapons fall out of the hand of justice, 
and there the arras of mercy embrace the sinner. When the 
sinner comes there, he is out of the dark and black region, 
where death, wrath, and the curse reign ; he comes into a place of 
light, the light of the Lord's countenance, that shines on sinners in 
the face of Jesus, our Imnianuel. what a blessed shade is here ! 
— There is, 

^dly, God on our side : Psalm xlvi. 7, " The Lord of hosts is with 
us, the God of Jacob is our refuge." Under this shade, believers 
may bid defiance to all their enemies, the united powers of earth 
and hell : Rom. viii. 31, " If God be for us, who can be against us." 
This is the best shade the Lord's people can betake themselves to in 
a time of confusion and danger. Before the wars of Canaan began, 
the Lord brought Joshua under it. Josh. v. 13, 14. And if people 
could be got awakened out of their sleep upon these pillows which 
their enemies have laid under their heads, the directing them to this 
shadow by the word would be both reckoned sweet and seasonable, 
as Exod. ix. 20. This was the shadow Isaiah directed the people 
to, when the news came that the malignant Ephraimites, and the 
idolatrous Syrians, were confederated to war against Judah, and to 
set up a king of their own stamp over Judah : Isa, vii. 2 — 6, " And 
it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with 
Ephraim ; and his heart was moved, and the hearts of his people, as 
the trees of the wood are moved with the wind. Then said the Lord 
unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shear-jashub thy 
son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of 
the fuller's field, and say unto him, take heed, and be quiet, fear 
not, neither be faint-hearted, for the two tails of these smoking fire- 
brands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the Son of 
Remaliah. Because Syria, Ephraim, and the Sou of Remaliah, have 
taken evil counsel against thee, saying let us go up against Judah, 
and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king 
in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal." The prophet labours to 
draw them to this shadow, as a complete defence against the scorch- 
ing heat of these two smoking firebrands; for he says, Isa. viii. 
10, " Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought, speak the 
word, and it shall not stand, for God is with us," (Heb. Immanuel is 
with us.) 

2. Hia natures afford a broad shade to the traveller in the weary 
land ; he is both God and man. Jesus, he is man, and as such he 
has a sympathy, as one that has had experience of the troubles 


his people meet with in the weary land : Heb. iv. 15, '' For we have 
not an high priest, which cannot be touched with the feeling of our 
infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without 
sin." As he is Grod, he is able to give them all protection in all 
cases and all conditions. However low they be, his power, being in- 
finite, is able to raise them up. So that, however unequally they 
be matched with devils and men, they may say, as 2 Kings vi. 16, 
" Fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be with 
them." "When Christ sent out his apostles into the world, and 
knew that they would be opposed by the authority of the great 
ones, by the pow^er, the learning, the prejudice, and superstitions of 
the world, over against all these he sets these emphatic words, " Lo, 
I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world," Matth. 
xxviii. 20. 

3. His offices are a shade to the traveller in a weary land. These 
are suited to all the cases his people can possibly be in, in the weary 

He is a Prophet, to teach them, to lead and guide them : Isa. Iv. 
4, "Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a Leader 
and Commander to the people." If darkness arise, he is light to 
them that sit in darkness. There is no case so perplexed, but he 
can resolve it ; and faith can begin where sight ends; and his di- 
rection will ever be ready to his own in the time of need : " It shall 
be given them in that hour, what they shall speak," Matth. x. 19. 

He is a Priest to purge away sin, and manage his people's cause 
in the court of heaven. If guilt sting the conscience, and make a 
sick soul, his blood removes the sting : it purges the conscience from 
dead works, Ueb. ix. 14 : it heals all their wounds : Isa. xxxiii. 24, 
" And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick : the people that 
dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity." If they have a pe- 
tition to present before the Lord, while Jesus lives, they know of a 
-proper hand in the court of heaven, into which they can put it. For 
he makes intercession for us ; he is our Advocate with the Father. 
This is no small comfort in the weary land. 

He is a King, to protect and defend them, to conquer and restrain 
all his and their enemies. If Satan be too strong and subtle for 
them, yet Jesus is stronger than he, and can outwit him, and even 
outshoot him in his own bow. His grace is sufficient against the 
greatest temptations. If the world, the men or things of the world 
be too hard for them, Jesus has overcome both. And though they 
may bo ready to cry out for fear of these, that one day they will 
perish by their hands, yet their great Captain being on their head 
they shall surely come off victorious at last, saying, " Thanks be to 


God, who gireth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ." 

4. His purchase affords shelter in the weary land. The price he 
paid was his own precious blood ; the purchase then must needs be 
great, seeing the price was of infinite value. He has purchased for his 
people all that is necessary to make them hai)py. What Adam lost, 
Christ has purchased again, and that with advantage ; so that all their 
losses are made up in him. Would you have the inventory of 
Christ's purchase ? you have it, 1 Cor. iii. 22, " Whether Paul or 
Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, 
or things to come, all are yours." The best things for their enjoy- 
ment in time or through eternity. The worst things, through him, 
work for your good. What a refreshing shade, then, is this in the 
worst of times ! 

5. His relations afford shelter in a weary land. He stands in 
many near relations to his people : he is the foundation on which they 
are built, and therefore, as the house built on the rock stands un- 
shaken, so he will support them under all pressures. He is their 
Father, and will allow them their provision, he will afford them 
protection, an inheritance, and every thing that children may ex- 
pect from a father. He is their Husband, and therefore will be 
their defence : yea, their Head, and therefore he will guide them, 
and every way tenderly care for them, as the head does for the 
several members of the body. 

6. His covenant and promises afford shelter in a weary land. The 
covenant is offensive and defensive, therefore the believer has com- 
mon friends and enemies with the Lord himself : Zech. ii. 8. He 
that toucheth his people toucheth the apple of his eye. Hence, said 
Jesus, " Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me ?" Who would not 
venture to sea in that ship in which Christ himself, his interest, and 
his glory, are embarked ; for though the ship in that case be beset 
with waves, it will not sink. Csesar, when embarking on board a 
ship to pursue his enemy, to encourage the pilot, who was afraid of 
the storm, cried out, You have Ciesar and his fortune embarked 
with you. How much more may the Christian not be afraid in the 
greatest storm, when Christ, his interest, and his honour, are with 
him. There are promises in the covenant suited to every case. 
The Lord has secured to his people protection and provision in the 
worst of times : " He shall dwell on high, his place of defence shall 
be the munition of rocks ; bread shall be given him, his water shall 
be sure." 

He has secured them against apostacy : John x. 29, " No man 
(says he) shall pluck them out of my Father's hand." He has 
promised strength to the weak and fearful, Isa. xl. 29 — 31 ; 


he hath promised his presence to be with them for ever, Heb. xiii. 
5; Isa. xliii. 2, he hath promised that all things shall work to- 
gether for their good, Rom. viii. 28 ; and finally, there is nothing 
whatever which can befall them in the weary land, but there is 
something in the covenant and the promise suited to it, peculiarly 
calculated to comfort and support them under every pressure. 

It remains that, as was proposed, 

ly. I make some practical improvement, which I shall do, 

1.9^, In an use of information, and, 

2dlii, In an use of exhortation. 

For an use of information we may see, 

1. That it is a black mark of a soul, that has no more to look for 
as a portion but the world; when they take so well with the world's 
entertainment, that they never seek after Christ. The world is not 
the weary land to them, and so they care not for Christ. Are there 
not many who would desire no better portion than the Avorld, if 
they could get it kept ? They could well renounce their pretensions 
to Canaan, if they could get their tents to stand always on this side 
Jordan : they would never desire a better heaven than their lord- 
ships, their farms, or what else they can work for with their own 
hands. While these things prosjjer tvith them, they have nothing 
to make the world a weary land to them ; the country's disease 
never wearies them ; and if they be crossed in one worldly thing, 
they do not go to Christ to get comfort under it, but to some other 
worldly thing. This speaks, that they are at home in the world, 
and are not travelling towards Zion. Others may be pilgrims in 
it, but they are not ; they are just where they would be, and have 
no other choice. Psalm iv. 6. It shews also that they would never 
look near Christ, if death did not make sure of their being turned 
out of the earth. They have no love to Christ for himself, they 
could fend well enough without him, if he would but let them alone 
in the world. 

2. See here the mystery of the Christian life. Why do true 
Christians so condemn the world ? It is a weary land to all such. 
What keeps them all under the tribulation of the world, while 
others faint, so that they have had a joy in tribulation, took joyfully 
the spoiling of their goods, yea, and even death itself ? Why, 
under the shadow of the great Rock, they got meat to eat the 
world knew not of. 

3. See the transcendent excellence of Christ. What a precious 
one must he be in whom there is enough to balance all the miseries 
of the weary land ! There are some of these that nothing under 
the sun can balance ; Avhat avails all the riches aud honours under 


the sun, to a person under extreme bodily distress, or exposed to 
the arrest of death. But in the most wearisome step of the weary 
land, Christ is a refreshing shade. 

4. This lets us see, where there is a shelter to be found in the 
worst of times, against the stormy tempest of public or private ca- 
lamity : John xvi. 33, " These things (says Jesus) I have spoken 
unto you, that in me ye might have peace ; in the world ye shall 
have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." 
In Jesus Christ our safety lies, and without him there is no safety. 
Here is the rock that is higher than we, and higher too than the 
highest of our enemies, whether devils or men. 

I have only now to add an use of exhortation. I would exhort 
you to come to Christ, and put yourselves under his shadow this 
day. And that you may understand what you are called to, take it 
in the following advices. 

1. Lay aside your security, and see that you stand in need of a 
shade for refreshment and for protection in the weary land. However 
lightly people look on the confusions of our day, I think we have 
no reason to be secure ; security is dangerous, seeing the sins of the 
generation are crying sins, crying for a stroke. Whatever has 
brought a stroke on a church or people, that is not wanting in Scot- 
land this day. Did universal corruption amongst all ranks bring 
the deluge on the old world ? that is visibly the plague of this ge- 
neration. Did the despising of the gospel bring the Roman armies 
on the Jews ? Matth. xxii. 7, the monstrous profanity amongst some, 
and loathsome formality among others, says we cannot escape, 
though God bear long with us. — The many deliverances we have met 
with when at the brink of ruin, and yet the generation not bettered 
by them, says that the axe, which has been lying so long at the 
root of the tree, will be wielded against us at the last : Amos iv. 
11, 12, " I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom 
and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the 
burning; yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord. 
Therefore thus will I do unto you, Israel ! and because I will 
do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, Israel !" We are 
manifestly pining away under spiritual plagues at this day, many 
given up to vile affections, the generation generally plagued with 
hardness of heart and deadness, men are turned hateful, and left 
to hate one another, biting and devouring one another, all which 
is an evidence, that there is an evil spirit amongst us. — Finally, our 
security in the face of alarming dispensations, is a terrible token, 
according to that in 1 Thess. v. 3, " For when they shall say. Peace 
and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail 


upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape." — I would 
exhort you, 

2. To embrace Jesus Christ, and lay hold on the everlasting co- 
venant. Ye that are strangers to Christ, come in at length. Let 
the state of your perishing souls come into your minds in earnest, 
and lay a sure foundation for eternity. Ye who have already come, 
come nearer and nearer, renew your acceptance of Christ, and stir 
up the grace of faith, that for the present is lying in such a weak 

3. Repent of your sins, and turn from them. Amend your ways 
and your doings, and let not iniquity be your eternal ruin. Answer 
the call of God at length, that there may be no standing controversy 
betwixt God and you. Many delays have been in this matter, bring 
it now to a point, and halt no more betwixt two opinions, whether to 
be for God or for your lusts. — In a word, I exhort you, 

4. To lay the weight of your through-bearing through the weary 
land over on Jesus Christ. — Look before you to the difficult steps 
that may be yet betwixt you and the grave, and solemnly take him 
for all you need or may need. Be concerned to depend upon him, 
and to trust in him, that he will not cease caring for you, and work- 
ing in you, till he completely accomplish all that good word upon 
which he has caused yon to hope. — To prompt you to this good 
work, I would propose the following motives : — 

1. This is the shade God the Father has provided for you. "I 
have (says he) laid help upon one that is mighty," Psalm Ixxxix. 
19 ; and you hear what he says to you in the text. Therefore, 
honour the Father by coming to his Son, and putting yourselves 
under his shadow. He knew sinners would need a shelter in the 
weary land. neglect not the offered salvation ! — Consider, 

2. That all other shadows are and will be but vain and vanishing 
ones ; they will not be able to defend you from the ills to which you 
are exposed in the weary land ; they will be like a hut built within 
the sea-mark, which will be carried away, together with the inha- 
bitant, when the waters begin to flow: Isa. xxviii. 17, "The hail 
shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow 
the hiding-place." Then your own wisdom will be but folly, your 
strength weakness, your carnal schemes shall not profit you. — Con- 

3. That the wrath of God will pursue all who are not under this 
shadow. Christless sinners ! what will you do when God riseth up ? 
and when he visiteth, what will you answer him ? He is a consum- 
ing fire, all else you can put betwixt him and you vyill be but as 
stubble, or at best but a partition-wall of dry boards, that will 
quickly be consumed in that devouring fire. — Consider, 


4. That whatever weary steps ye meet with in the weary land, 
these will be doubly heavy by your not coming in under Christ's 
shadow ; for the curse will be in them ; and though they were very 
light in themselves, that will make them heavy. You will get all 
your burden to bear alone, as Saul did. And, what a sad case it 
is to have heaven and earth dark both at once ! Isa. viii. 21, 22. 
— Consider, 

5. That all the travellers to Zion have made this shade their shel- 
ter. It is a tried shade in all ages of the church. Psalm xc. 1 ; 
whoever pursues them, this is the refuge of all the people of God in 
all times : Prov. xviii. 10, " The name of the Lord is a strong tower, 
the righteous runneth into it, and is safe." The spouse of Christ 
looks for this shade. Song i. 7, 8, and ii, 3 : and many a good word 
they have spoken of it to recommend it to others. — Consider, 

Lastly, That under Christ's shadow there will be safety in the 
most wearisome parts of the weary land. He is the Saviour, and 
there is none besides him. Under his shadow there is safety from 
troubles, when they are flying very thick in the weary land. He 
can hide his people in the hollow of his hand in the midst of danger, 
Psalm xci. 7. For he has all things at his command ; men and 
devils are under the check of his providence. There is oftentimes a 
moderation of troubles. — Under this shadow people find, that though 
they be not quite freed from them, yet they are made very moderate 
to them : Jer. xv. 11, " The Lord said, Verily, it shall be well with 
thy remnant, verily I will cause the enemy to entreat thee well in 
the time of evil, and in the time of affliction." And sometimes it is 
much better for his people to meet with this moderation, Jer. xlv. 5. 
The life for a prey is no small mercy. While his people rest under 
this shadow, there is always a spiritual salvation from the sting of 
evil ; thus the nature of afflictions is altered, and the sharpest and 
heaviest stones thrown at them become precious stones, which do 
them no hurt, but rather good ; for " who is he that will harm you, 
if ye be followers of that which is good ?" 1 Pet. iii. 13. — To sum 
up all in a word. 

There is never missed here an eternal salvation. However they 
be treated in the weary land, none go to hell from under Christ's 
shadow ; but though they should go through fire and water, they 
will land at last in Abraham's bosom, and be brought unto the 
wealthy place. Amen. 




1 Kings xvi. 21, 
And Elijah said, How long halt ye betiuixt two opinions ? 

Among the crowds of irreligious men in the visible church, there are 
few, if any, so positively determined against God and religion, as 
never to have a thought of repentance and reformation. Reason 
and interest appear so much on the side of religion, that where con- 
science possesses any power at all, one can hardly fail in having 
sometimes favourable thoughts on that side. But indecision and un- 
settledness in that weighty matter ruins men. It is so long ere they 
come to a point, that death often overtakes them before they have 
got the matter fixed ; and they are set beyond the possibility of do- 
ing any thing for their souls, before ever they have resolved firmly 
what to do for them. The text is Elijah's expostulation with a 
great assembly in that dangerous case. The worship of Baal was 
set up, and authorised in Israel by Ahab, and patronised by his 
courtiers. Thence the body of the people, though they did not ut- 
terly renounce the worship of Jehovah, yet they were greatly cor- 
rupted with that idolatry. God had on this account sent a famine 
on them, and, though it had continued three years and a half, it had 
not-reformed them. But Ahab lays the blame of this calamity on 
Elijah ; Elijah retorts it boldly on him. They agree that all Israel 
be gathered with Baal's priests, who were dispersed over all the 
country, and the priests of the groves, who were Jezebel's chaplains, 
that the whole matter betwixt God and Baal, Elijah and Ahab, 
might be decided. The assembly being convened, Elijah comes 
to them, and, without observing any ceremony, or beginning to in- 
tercede with God for rain to them, he falls a-pleading God's 
cause with them, expostulating with them on God's behalf, as in the 
text : " HoAv long (said he) halt ye betwixt two opinions ?" 

In which expostulation, we have, 

I. The matter of it ; their halting betwixt two opinions. Here he 
attacks them on two points, and charges them with a grievous fault, 
an unaccountable weakness in the most weighty concerns of their 
souls. — He charges them, 

(1.) With weak and wavering heads. They had two opinions ; 
by the one they had a value for Baal, by the other for Jehovah. Not 
only did some of that people in their judgment declare for Baal, 

* Maxton, Saturday, August, 2, 1718. 


others for Jehovah, bat the same persons at one time thought it best 
to follow Baal, at another time Jehovah ; they were undetermined 
in this matter of the greatest importance. Their thoughts in this 
case were wavering, going hither and thither, like top-branches of 
trees going with the wind, which is the Holy Ghost's own metaphor in 
the original word of the text. — They were chargeable, 

(2.) With unsteady feet. They halted betwixt these two, and they 
went from Baal to the Lord, and from the Lord to Baal again. 
Thus, passing from side to side, they were poor lame souls, (this is 
the Holy Ghost's own metaphor), they did not only limp, like men 
lame of one leg, (the best Christians carry such a halt with them, till 
they come to the grave), but they were like men lame of both legs, 
for this is the import of the original word, 2 Sam. iv. 4. They 
crooked to both sides, they went wavering from side to side, never 
straight, one time they were for Baal, another time for Jehovah, 
they were never steadily fixed. — In the expostulation, there is, 

2. The manner of it : " How long will ye halt ?" &c. They had been 
several years in that case, and yet were not come to a point. One 
might think the case was not so very difficult, whether Jehovah or 
Baal should^ be their choice; but wonder not at it, for the case is 
even as plain betwixt the Lord and your lusts and idols, yet year 
after year you cannot come to a point. The phrase is urgent ; it 
imports, — the shamefulness, the baseness of their conduct, that they 
should be so long in deciding in a matter so very clear, stumbling 
at that rate in broad day-light ; — its grievousness to the Spirit of 
God ; he was so weary with bearing with them, that he would fain 
have them come to a point, aud therefore rouses them up to it. 

From the expostulation thus explained, I would observe the fol- 
lowing doctrines, viz. 

DocT. I. That to be still wavering and undecided in the absolute 
and final choice betwixt the Lord and idols, is most abominable. 

DocT. II. That an unequal and unsteady walk, here-away, there- 
away, betwixt the Lord and idols, is an unaccountable and abomin- 
able way of walking through the world. — These I shall shortly con- 
sider in their order. 

DocT. I. That to be still wavering and undecided in the absolute 
and final choice betwixt the Lord and idols, is most abominable. — 
In speaking to this I shall only drop a few things, 

I. For explication of the point. 

II. For confirmation of it. And then, 

III. Make some application. — I am, 

I. To explain the point. — In order to this, consider. 


1. That the Lord and idols are suitors for the heart of every man 
and woman that hears the gospel ; and because that idols have the 
first love, they strive to retain it, and the Lord comes to recover it. 
Lusts court it, and therefore the gospel teaches to deny them, Tit. ii. 
12, " denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and while it thus teach- 
es, it brings a better oifer. The devil, the world, and the corrupt 
nature, are proxies to agent for our lusts : the Lord's Spirit, his 
ministers, and conscience, act for the Lord. — Consider, 

2. That the sinner's heart is urged with offers and arguments on 
both hands. God makes his offers, and urges them with the strong- 
est arguments, taken from the certainty of eternal happiness, or 
misery, of enjoying his unspeakable love, or incurring his dread dis- 
pleasure : Isa. Iv. 2, " "Wherefore do ye spend your money for that 
which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not ? 
Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let 
your souls delight themselves in fatness." Satan is not behind hand 
in pains to urge his offers, he plies them with allurements of present 
profit and pleasure, most suited to the corrupt heart, which natur- 
ally gapes for them. — Consider, 

3. That there can be no enjoying of both together : Matth. vi. 24, 
"No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, 
and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the 
other. Te cannot serve God and mammon." The Lord will not 
deal shares with lusts and idols, the offer is peremptory on other 
terms, "If ye take me, let these go." If the matter could be agreed 
betwixt the Lord and his rival idols, the wavering soul would soon 
be at a point, and would embrace both. But that cannot be : if the 
Lord be received, he must have the crown, and the most beloved 
lusts must be nailed to the cross : Gal. v. 24, " And they that are 
Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts." — 

4. That the matter must be determined by the sinner's free choice: 
Josh. xxiv. 15, " Choose ye this day whom yo will serve." The 
Lord will not take possession without the sinner's consent, for it is 
the heart he seeks, and if that be wanting, there is no bargain. 
And the choice must be an absolute and a final one ; there must be 
a final deciding of this cause, so that thereafter the soul may cleave 
to the one, with full purpose of heart, and altogether abandon the 
other. — Consider, 

Lastly, That the Lord requiroth the sinner's decided answer. 
But here the sinner wavereth ; he is neither determined to give up 
altogether with the Lord, nor to give up wholly with his lusts; some- 
times he is almost persuaded, but never altogether. So there comes 


still one off-put on the back of another ; and when the sinner has 
been at the advising and deciding this business days and years, he 
is as far from a point the last day as the first. — I am now to pro- 
pose some considerations, 

II. For confirmation of this point. — Consider, 

1. That there is no competition here in point of real value. What 
is the dead idol Baal, in comparison with Jehovah, the living God? 
"What are our filthy lusts, in comparison with Christ ? Jer. xxiii. 
28, " The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he 
that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully : what is the 
chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord." It is a disgrace on our reason, 
to put them in the balance together, and argues a fearful blindness 
with which mankind are seized, once to entertain a doubt which to 
choose. — Consider, 

2. That it is ingratitude of the deepest dye, not readily to fall in 
with the oflTer. When the potter is making suit to his own clay, 

*the mighty God to his own creature worm ra.an, to put off" his offer, 
because of the craving of the heart after filthy lusts, these brats of 
hell, and spawn of the old serpent, is certainly ungrateful. The 
Lord might have left us with them, to have made the best of them 
we could, which would have been no better than death ; for what 
else could have resulted from our drinking that cup of poison ? But 
now, when he comes to offer us life, how horrible is it to be wavering 
and undetermined, whether we will accept of the Lord and life, or 
not ! — Consider, 

Lastli/, That this warning is on a matter of the utmost weight, 
and what we have not one to-morrow allowed us to advise upon. 
Our souls lie at stake, eternal salvation or damnation depend on 
our choice ; if we make the Lord our choice, we are happy for ever; 
if ye do not, we are ruined for ever ; it is, " To-day, if ye will hear 
his voice," Psalm xcv. 7 ; so that, if death carry you off undeter- 
mined, your eternal destruction is unalterably fixed ; and what an 
abominable thing is it, then, to be still wavering? — I now proceed, 

III. To make some application of the subject. And with this de- 
sign, I would expostulate with you halters and undetermined sin- 
ners, who are not yet come to a point in the matter of your choice 
betwixt Christ and your lusts, in the words of the text, " How long 
halt ye betwixt two opinions ?" How long will it be ere you come 
to a point how to dispose of that heart of yours ? You have had 
many rich gospel-calls from the Lord, and many communion-calls, 
and yet you have not freely abandoned your idols, and made choice 
of the Lord, to this day. Still you are halting, undetermined, and 
wavering. How long shall it be thus ? — In managing this expostu- 
lation, I would ask, 


I. Who are the wavering, undetermined halters betwixt the Lord 
and their lusts ? — I answer, 

(1.) Ye who to this day never found the time to brealc your co- 
venant with your lusts, and to enter into covenant with God, either 
in pretence or reality. Are there not some Iiere, who never gave 
their personal consent to the baptismal covenant, who are utter 
strangers to personal covenanting with God in Christ ? they have 
not even expressly in words renewed the covenant made for them in 
baptism, much less have they ratified it with their own solemn con- 
sent before the Lord : they are woeful halters, but without making 
this choice they can never see heaven : £ph. ii. 12, " Strangers from 
the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the 
world." — Te are the wavering, 

(2.) Who time after time slight the sacrament of the Lord's sup- 
per, not preparing yourselves to partake of it. What makes you 
always and constantly mere spectators and onlookers of the seal of 
the covenant, and that solemn engagement to be the Lord's, but that 
you are halters betwixt the Lord and your lusts ? Were there a 
bargain in your ofl'er, of which all the partners were obliged to 
strike hands with the party that makes it with them, and you stood 
by, and would not give your hand ; would not that prove you not to 
be determined as yet for the bargain ? You would be glad to have 
the bargain ratified betwixt God and you, if you were really for it ; 
Psalm Ixviii. 31, " Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands to 
God." — To this some may object, 

We would fain take the sacrament, but they will not give us 
tokens of admission. — To this I answer, 

What hinders your receiving them, but your gross ignorance, or 
your xmgodly and scandalous life, which certainly ought to do it: 
Matth. vii. 6, " Give not that which is holy unto the dogs." But 
why do not ye get the knowledge of God and religion, and reform 
your lives, that ye may sit down at the Lord's table ? And here lies 
the matter, you are not so far determined yet as to quit your lusts, 
for all the communion with God that is to be had in the sacrament. 
— Such of you are halting, 

(3.) Who have had your convictions of sin, and are in so far sa- 
tisfied, that you should have given up with it, but your hearts were 
never brought to part with it to this day. Are there not many 
who are standing undetermined this day on the carcases of their 
murdered convictions? Acts xxiv. 25, " Felix trembled, and an- 
swered. Go thy way for this time, when I have a more convenient 
season, I will call for thee." They have been lashed by their con- 
sciences, to drive them to the Lord from their lusts ; nay, they had 

Yoh. IX. R 


much ado to resist these lashings ; but, after all, these impressions 
are worn off, and they are not yet determined. — Such are wavering, 
(4.) Who have (often perhaps) been aiming at the covenant, but 
always stuck at one thing. Yon have been brought to a point in 
many things, but one thing you could never yet get over. miserable 
halter betwixt God and the idol of jealousy ! shall that one thing 
mar the winning of thy soul ? If you be not content with all the 
articles of the covenant, without exception, you have your choice to 
make, yet you are not determined ; Mark x. 21, " Jesus said unto 
him. One thing thou lackest," &c. — Such are halting, 

(5.) "Who are still at fast-and-loose with God, and whom nothing 
can bind, who do with their vows, as the dog with his collar, that 
slips it off and on as he pleases : Psalm Ixxviii. 36, 37, '* Neverthe- 
less, they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him 
with their tongues. For their heart was not right with him, neither 
were they stedfast in his covenant." There are many of our com- 
municants of this sort, who come under the vows of God very lightly, 
and as lightly soon after slip out from under the tie ; the truth is, 
they never consider the matter with due seriousness. They make 
choice of the Lord, but, in very deed, their hearts were never in 
earnest determined. — Such of you are wavering, 

Lastly, And in a word, who have not expressly embraced God and 
Christ, but cleave to your lusts. Our Lord has often come to you 
in the gospel, requiring your last answer, but you have neither yet 
given it, nor will you either plainly say ye will betake yourselves 
to your lusts and idols for altogether, nor are you come the length 
of an honest resolve to give over with them for altogether. Ye are 
undoubtedly woful undetermined halters. 

2. I must ask at you. How long will ye halt, and be undeter- 
mined ? 

(1.) Have ye not halted long enough already betwixt God and 
your lusts ? 1 Pet. iv. 3, " For the time past of our life may suffice 
us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles." Have ye not often 
enough sent away the Lord in his messengers groaning from you, 
because ye could- not be won yet? (1.) Young halters, may not ye, 
after ten, fifteen, and twenty years, or more, be at a point whether 
ye will be the Lord's or not ? I assure you, God has been at a 
point with many one in that time, who never got your length, but 
their states are determined in another world already, without pos- 
sibility of alteration. Every seven years ye have been in the world, 
ye have had an year of Sabbaths, in these Sabbaths many, many a 
call. And will ye yet be undetermined ? (2.) Old halters, may not 
ye be at a point, after thirty, forty, fifty, or sixty years ye have 


taken to advise in ? will ye bait on, till ye slip into a grave, into 
hell, undetermined. All the sermons ye have heard, the commu- 
nions ye have waited on, even all the rods and the mercies ye have 
met with, have left you where they found you, as undetermined as 
ever, and will ye still go away this day as undetermined as ye came ? 

2c%, How can you he at ease as long as such a weighty matter 
is undetermined ? Poor soul ! while thou art halting, thou art 
standing on the brink of the pit, and whether death or life shall be 
thy lot, whether heaven or hell, is still as to thee undetermined. 
Till thou determine the point to be the Lord's, and to renounce all 
thy idols, Satan has the hold of thee, and there is nothing between 
death and thee but one step, thou hangest over the pit by the long- 
worn thread of divine patience ; and whenever that gives way, thou 
art lost for ever : John iii. 36, " He that believeth not the Son shall 
not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." 

(3.) Do you not wonder, that God has waited so long upon you, 
that he has not taken your slights and scorns for your final answer ? 
Is it not surprising, that he has not recalled his ambassadors, and 
denounced war against you, to be carried on for ever ? Ye must 
needs wonder that it is not so, when ye consider the infinite greatness 
of him who makes suit to you, the meanness and vileness of those 
whom he courts, and the abominable competitors which ye prefer to him. 

(4.) Are ye not afraid lest the Lord halt, and proceed no farther 
in seeking after you ? that this may be the last call that ever you 
may get ? Luke xiv. 24, " For I say unto you, that none of these 
men which were bidden, shall taste of my supper." Sit this 
call, and who knows but the Lord may from this time leave you 
to your lusts? Psalm Ixxxi. 11, 12, "But my people would not 
hearken to my voice, and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up 
unto their own hearts' lusts and they walked in their own counsels." 
Hos. iv. 17, " Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone." Saying, 
Cease my Spirit, cease conscience, ministers, ordinances, judgments, 
mercies ; give that man no more disturbance in the embraces of his 
lusts, let them hang by him, and he by them, till they sink him into 
hell, and lie there as a mountain of lead on him for ever. 

(5.) Do you not know, the longer you halt, it will be the harder' 
to come to a point for God ? the longer ye hold off from the Lord, 
you will be the more loth to come away ; Prov. vi. 10, " Yet a 
little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep." 
He that is not fit this day, will be unfitter to-morrow ; for lusts, 
through continuance, grow more and more strong, and the devil, that 
comes at first alone, afterwards his name is Legion, for they are 
many. I aver, that it had been telling many of us, that they had 



strnck tlie iron many years ago, when it was hotter than it is now. 
Lastly, Halt as long as you will, you must not only be determined 
for the Lord, and against all your lusts, but also you must be joined 
to the Lord, and separated from them actually, else you are ruined 
for ever. The case is plain, Mark xvi. 16, " He that believeth not 
shall be damned." — Ezek. xviii. 30, " Repent, and turn from all_ 
your transgressions, so iniquity shall not be your ruin," — Matth. 
xviii. 3, " Except ye be converted, and become as little children, 
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." So, if you have 
any miud to be free from the wrath to come, unless you have a mind 
to take your hazard with your lusts through all eternity, while God 
is God, to pursue the quarrel for the slight ye put on him, you 
must come to a point, and be determined for God, and give up with 
all your lusts. 

Now, Sirs, there are two things lying before you this day, of one 
of which you are to tate your choice. 

1. Ton must either give up with God, Christ, heaven, and glory, 
quit all your part in the covenant of grace, the purchase of Christ, 
and his death, freely, and betake yourselves to your lusts, idols, and 
sinful courses, and make the best of them you can to live and die 
with them. Satan is fond of your making this choice. Or, 

2. Ton must give up with your lusts, idols, and sinful courses, 
freely quit your part in them, not excepting your darling lust, and 
betake yourselves to the Lord in his covenant, taking this day God 
the Father for your Father, God the Son for your Saviour, God the 
Holy Ghost for your Sanctifier, Christ for your Prophet, to be led 
by his word and Spirit; Christ for your Priest, to be saved by hk 
obedience and death only; Christ for your King, to be ruled and 
governed by him according to his will absolutely. The Lord is 
willing that you make this your choice, and kindly invites the worst 
of you to it ; Rev. iii. 20, '' Behold, I stand at the door and knock ; 
if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, 
and I will sup with him, and he with me." j^nd ch. xxii. 17, " And 
the Spirit and the Bride say, Come ; and let him that heareth say. 
Come : and let him that is athirst come ; and whosoever will, let 
him take the water of life freely." Nay, he commands you to make 
this choice : 1 John iii. 23, " And this is his commandment, that we 
should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ." And so 
earnest is he in this invitation, that he will pass all your former 
slights, if yon will but now fall in with this offer : Ezek, xviii. 22, " All 
his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be men- 
tioned; in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live." Now, 
there is the choice in both parts, what say ye to it ? Josh. xxiv. 15, 


"Choose ye this day whom yo will serve." — I demand your answer. 
What answer shall I return? — your final answer, for I cannot say 
that ever our Master will send, me again to you on this errand. — Are 
there any here, 

(1.) Who will give that answer, Jer. ii. 25, " There is no hope ; 
no ; for I have loved strangers, and after them I will go." Sirs ! 
take your word again, we are loth to carry back that word ; why 
will you die ? why will you destroy yourselves ? If we saw a cup of 
poison in your hand, which yOu would not part with, but would 
drink, we would flee to you, mix our blood with yours, before you 
should get it druak ; but what can we do in this case, but cry, do 
yourselves no harm I and protest before God, angels, men, and 
yonr own selves, that your blood is on your own head. — Are there 
any here, 

(2.) Who will give that answer, Jer. iii. 22, " Behold, we come 
unto thee, for thou art the Lord our God." — Job xxxiv. 32, *' If I 
have done iniquity, I will do so no more." Then, I call heaven and 
earth to record, you are at a point for our Lord never to go back ; 
that it is an everlasting bargain between God in Christ and you; 
that he is yours, and you are his ; that although this bargain be- 
twixt our Lord and you has been many times back and fore, it is now 
fully and finally concluded, you are married now, and there is no 
room for any other suitors. Ocome, then, to your Lord's table with 
a holy boldness, and get the covenant scaled ! 

Lastly, Is that your answer, Acts xxiv. 25, " Go thy way for this 
time, when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee ?"' Yon 
say you will advise upon it. I declare we cannot take that answer : 
our commission does not bear us to indulge you even till to-morrow, 
in advising upon a matter of such importance : Heb. iv. 7? " To-day, 
if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." Nay, we cannot 
allow you even another hour or half-hour in hesitation : 2 Cor. vi. 
2, " Eehold, now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation." 
Give your answer, therefore, instantly, I peremptorily claim it; if 
you delay longer, you may be in hell ere to-morrow, nay, nest hour, 
it may be, next moment. What do yon hesitate upon ? — whether 
you will obey God or the devil ? — whether you will cast the kindled 
coals of hell out of your bosom, or not ? — whether you will travel 
in that narrow road which leads to life, or in that broad road which 
will land you in destruction ? — in short, whether you will live for 
ever, or perish eternally ? Oh ! Sirs, be wise before it be too late, 
halt no longer, I beseech you, betwixt these two opinions : " To-day 
if ye will hear his voice ; harden not your hearts, as in the provo- 
cation, the day of tentation in the wilderness." When a gracious 


God is now calling you, " Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die, house 
of Israel ?" let the echo of your souls, and the answer of your 
tongues be, " Behold, we come unto thee, for thou art the Lord our 


1 Kings xvi. 21, 
Elijah said, How long halt ye betwixt tivo opinions ? 

In the ordinance of the Lord's supper, there is to be seen Jacob's 
ladder, with its foot set on the earth, and the top thereof reaching 
nnto heaven, Gcd. xxviii. 12. We trust ye have been essaying to 
mount it, though perhaps ye are yet not far from the ground. 
that ye may have freely entered upon the first step ! I must, how- 
ever, warn you, whoever ye be, that are looking upwards towards 
the place to which the top reaches, namely, heaven, that there is such 
a voice to you from heaven in our text, as came to David from the 
castle of Zion, when he set himself to win it, 2 Sam. v. 6, " Except 
thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in 
hither." 1st, Unless the blind mind and heart that is still waver- 
ing in the choice betwixt the Lord and idols be taken away, and thou 
canst be determined absolutely and finally for the Lord, ye can- 
not come in hither. Of this we have discoursed already.f — There is 
a second voice. Except the lame feet whereby one is still going 
from side to side in practice, betwixt the Lord and idols, be taken 
away, yon cannot come in hither. To this we are now to attend, in 

DocT. II. That an unequal and an unsteady walk, here-away there- 
away, betwixt the Lord and idols, is an unaccountable and abomin- 
able way of walking through the world. 

In discoursing from this, it is proposed to shew, 

I. "What is to be accounted such a walking. 

II. The evil of this way of walking. 

III. The causes of this unsteady walking ; when we shall also 
point out some remedies against it. 

IV. Make some improvement. — I am, 

I. To shew what is to be accounted such a walking. 

* This discourse was delivered immediately after the celebration of the Lord's 
supper, in MaxtOD, August 3, 1718. 

t See page 245. 


1. Random-walking is such a walking : Lev. xxvi. 21, " And if 
ye walk contrary to me, and will not hearken unto me, I will bring 
seven times more plagues upon you, according to your sins." The 
original word, "contrary," may be rendered, as by accident, at random, 
at all adventures. There is a generation that are at best but random- 
customers to religion, who take no more of it than they readily meet 
with. Their religion sits so light on them, that in their way 
through the world they take it as it comes to them. As the fashion 
of the time turns, they face as the stream runs about. They con- 
form themselves to the taste and humour of whatever company they 
fall in with : they become a prey to every temptation, and are 
picked up like straying beasts by the first finder. Beware of this : 
that day ye get to heaven in this way, God and Baal shall be recon- 
ciled. Set up your mark in religion, and press unto it. Lay down 
a principle for God, and hold by it, however times, companies, or 
temptations may seduce you : Phil. iii. 15, " I press towards the 
mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." 
Acts xi. 23, " And exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart 
they should cleave unto the Lord ;" that is, abide by his side with 
full purpose, laid down and determined beforehand. — I observe, 

2. Wavering-walking is such a walking : Heb. x. 23, " Let us 
hold fast the profession of our faith, without wavering." When 
men are still unsettled in their way, hither and thither, are waver- 
ing in their purposes and practice, one day for God, another for the 
devil, and their lusts like men in an ague, with their hot and cold 
fits by turns, at one time destroying what at another time they were 
building up, they are never fixed. Hence they will be one day at 
the table of the Lord, another at the table of drunkards. Like 
water-fowls, sometimes they will be soaring aloft towards heaven in 
the exercises of religion, and quickly again swimming in their lusts, 
and over head and ears in the cares, profits, pleasures, and 
vanities of the world. Sometimes they will ai)pear so serious in re- 
ligion, that one would think they would never go back again to 
their sinful courses : anon, they give themselves the swing in their 
sinful courses, as they would never look back again to religion. 
Take heed of this ; waverers will never get up the hill to Zion : 
Jam. i. 6, 7, 8, " But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering : for he 
that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and 
tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing 
of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." Go 
straight forward iu the Lord's way, as one that is resolute for God 
and his way : Prov. iv. 25, 26, 27, " Let thine eyes look right on, 
and let thy eye-lids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of 


thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right 
hand nor to the left, remove thy foot from evil." — I observe, 

3. Unequal walking is such a walking : Prov. xxvi. 7, " The legs 
of the lame are not equal." The parts of the conversation of many 
answer no better than a long leg and a short one do. In the 
church they are saints, at home they are devils ; in their profession 
they are fair, in their practice they are foul and false ; in their 
words the world is nothing, but in their afi'ection it is their all. 
Their practice is made up of contradictions. They agree not with 
themselves, ho^ can they with God ? They pretend piety towards 
God, yet make no conscience of duty, mercy, and justice towards 
man : Matth. xxiii. 23, " Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypo- 
crites, for ye pay tithe of mint, anise, and cummin, and have omitted 
the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith : these 
ought ye to have done, and not left the others undone." A wide 
conscience in substantial, and narrow in circumstantials of religion, 
is a conscience of a profane make. Beware of this; see the emblem 
of these folk, Prov. xxvi. 23, " Burning lips, and a wicked heart, are 
like a potsherd covered with silver dross." The potsherd will be 
broken in pieces at length. Labour to have your whole conversation 
of a piece, if ever you would see heaven : Jam. iii. 10, " Out of the 
same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these 
things ought not to be so." — I observe, 

4. Partial and divided walking is such a walking: Hos. x. 2, 
" Their heart is divided." They keep not with one master, but in 
some things serve the Lord, in other things their own lusts. They 
would make void the commands of God ; some they will comply 
with, others they will not regard. They will strain at a gnat in 
some things, and in others swallow a camel. At a communion, or 
under a conviction, they say, as in Dent. v. 27, " Speak thou unto 
us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee, and we will 
hear it, and do it." But when it comes to a labouring in their 
work, they will resolve to do, but they cannot : Prov. xx. 4, "The 
sluggard will not plough, by reason of the cold." They have their 
particular idols of jealousy, which they can by no means part with. 
* Beware of this; be universal in your respect to God's command- 
ments, otherwise you will be clothed with shame at length : Psalm 
cxix. 6, " Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all 
thy commandments." The straight soul says, as in ver. 128, " I 
esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to bo right, and I 
hate every false way." — I shall now go on to shew, 

IL The evil of this way of walking. I shall sum up this in these 
four things : — 


1. It is a walking higlily dishonourable and offensive to God : Rev. 
iii. 15, 16, " I know tliy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot ; 
I would thou wert cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm* 
and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." How 
could an affectionate husband take it, to have his wife gadding 
after other lovers? And, how dishonourable is it to God, that 
those who have given themselves away to him should be found hang- 
ing about the doors of the world, and their lusts ? Friends' wounds 
pierce deepest ; and therefore many do more dishonour God, and 
disgrace religion, by their uneven walk, their halting betwixt two 
opinions, than if they should go over entirely to the devil's side in 
the world : Ezek. xx, 39, " As for you, house of Israel ! thus 
saith the Lord God, Go ye, serve ye every one his idols, but pollute 
ye my holy name no more with your gifts and with your idols." 

2i It a walking which is most grievous and offensive to the se- 
rious and godly. With what concern does Elijah complain of it 
here ! They are a heavy burden in the ship of the church of God; 
and the lighter they are in their fleeting and flowing, the heavier 
their case lies on serious souls: Psalm Iv. 12, 13, 14, " For it was 
not an enemy that reproached me, then I could have borne it ; 
neither was it he that hated me, that did magnify himself against 
me, then I would have hid myself from him. But it was thou, a 
man, mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took 
sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in company." 
And no wonder, considering that the name of God is blasphemed by 
reason of such walkers ; and they are the worst enemies religion 
has : Phil. iii. 18, " For many walk, of whom I have told yoa often, 
and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the 
cross of Christ ; whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, 
•and who mind earthly things." When two armies are in the field, 
as is the case betwixt Christ and the devil, absolute deserters are 
dangerous ; but such as remain in the camp, yet keep up a corres- 
pondence with the enemy, are still more so. 

3. It is a walking which is hardening to the wicked: Prov. xxviii. 
4, " They that forsake the law, praise the wicked." They betray 
the cause of religion to them, and open their mouths to blaspheme 
and reproach the way of God : Rom. ii. 23, 24, " Thou that makest 
thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou 
God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles 
through you, as it is written." Do you think that your coming to a 
communion table, your waiting on ordinances, public, private, or se- 
cret, will ever commend the way of the Lord to onlookers, while yon 
make not conscience of tender walking in the whole of your conver- 


salion, eveu in your natural and civil actions ? Nay, truly, the sin- 
ful liberty you take to yourselves, eveu as others, will make your 
religion loathsome to tl)em. I have found some have been restrain- 
ed from the table of the Lord by observing the unsuitable walk of 
others after a communion ; but woe to that man by whom the Son 
of man is betrayed. 

Lastly, It is a walking which is ruining to one's own soul. The 
generation that wandered in the wilderness died there ; and waver- 
ers betwixt the Lord and their idols fall into the mire at length : 
Hos. vi. 4, 5, " "What shall I do unto thee, Judah? for your good- 
ness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew, it goeth away. 
Therefore have I hewed them by the projjhets, I have slain them by 
the words of my mouth ; and my judgments are as the light that 
goeth forth." It is to those that are faithful unto the death only 
that the crown of life is promised, Rev. ii. 10. Instability in the 
good ways of the Lord vexeth the Holy Spirit ; whereupon he de- 
parts, then the soul withers, and is cast over the hedge at length. 
Many walk in a round betwixt their lusts and their duties while 
they live; and when they go out of the world they are just where 
they were when they came into it. As they were born in sin, so they 
die in it, and so tumble down into the pit. — I shall now point out, 

III. The causes of this unsteady walking, going from side to side 
betwixt the Lord and idols ; together Avith the remedies. 

1. The want of a right set of the heart at first, is one cause: Psalm 
Ixxviii. 37, " For their heart was not right with him, neither were 
they stedfast in his covenant." While these in the text had two 
opinions, and were not determined to one of them, they could not but 
halt betwixt the two. The heart that is never once freely separate 
from sin, so as to see it to be an evil, and the greatest evil, and to 
hate it for itself, that is, for its contrariety to God's holy nature* 
and law, will make at best but a halting professor. If the duties 
of religion be desirable to them for one reason, the enjoyment of 
their lusts is so for another ; and thus the heart being divided, the 
life is so too. 

In this case the remedy is, to come once freely away to the Lord 
Christ, from all your lusts and idols : 2 Cor. vi. 17, " Wherefore 
come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and 
touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you." They who 
once thus part freely, will never halt again betwixt the two. 
Though they may have a weak side by reason of indwelling corrup- 
tion, yet they have a sound side too, that is combating with that 
weakness : Gal. v. 17, " For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and 
the Spirit against the flesh ; and these are contrary the one to the 
other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." And they 


are in consequence longing for the victory : Rom. vii. 24, " ! 
wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this 
death ?" Unite with Jesus Christ, and you will walk in him ; for 
where he is once freely chosen for a pilot to the ship, the sinner's 
course through the sea of this world will be completely managed ; 
that soul will never be shipwrecked. 

And now, if ye be in earnest not to halt any more, I give you an 
advice : — As soon as ye get home after this work is over, retire by 
yourselves, and consider where your weak side lies, what is that lust 
or lusts that is most likely to draw you over to its side again ; and 
having seen it, consider how your soul stands affected to it, and la- 
bour by all means to make sure a final parting with it in your heart; 
that is, honestly and resolutely before the Lord to give up with it 
again for ever. And as for the void space which the renouncing 
that sweet morsel will make in your heart, fill it up with Christ him- 
self, by taking him expressly in the room of that idol : Matth. xiii. 
45, 46, " Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchantman 
seeking goodly pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great 
price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it." 

To this some may object, is there any saint in the world that is 
free of halting? Ans. There is a great difference betwixt the Chris- 
tian's halting through weakness, and the halting through wickedness 
spoken of in the text, which is really more than halting, properly so 
called. The one is a halting like him that is lame of one leg, the 
other like him that is lame of both. — The Christian, whatever weak- 
ness he is attended with in his walk, is absolutely determined for 
God and holiness, in opposition to all his idols : the hypocrite wants 
this resolution of heart. The former longs, sighs, groans, and strives 
to get the victory over corruption ; is never for truce and reconcilia- 
tion betwixt the Lord and lusts, but for the extirpation of these 
lusts. But the latter is at bottom for both together, a reconciliation 
betwixt them, and cannot think to hold with the Lord without his 
lusts. — The Christian sinneth not with that full swing of heart the 
hypocrite doth. The former hath a sound side, a renewed part, 
which lusteth against the flesh, and so far resists the sway to the 
weak side ; whereas the latter has nothing sound, and so sinneth 
with full consent of the will, however the conscience may reclaim 
and reprove. 

2. Another cause is, unmortified lusts and light meeting together 
in the soul. An enlightened conscience puts it forward to God ; 
unmortified, lively, reigning lusts, draw it back again. Thus one is 
tossed from side to side, as in the case of Pilate and Balaam : Job 
xxiv. 13, " They are of those that rebel against the light; they 


know not tlie ways thereof, nor abide in tlie i)aths thereof." Lusts 
rise against light, and thrust a man out of the paths thereof. It is 
with them as with David, in the battle against Absalom. Upon the 
one hand, it was hard to lose a kingdom : on the other hand, to lose 
a son: " Therefore deal gently," says he, " with Absalom." Even 
so here, they are loth to lose their sonls, yet loth also to lose their 
idols. Hence they must do something for each of them. — In this 
case thei'e is this 

Remedy : — Mortify your lusts, that you may trample on them, 
and follow the light: Col. iii. 5, ^' Mortify, therefore, your members 
which are upon the earth," &c. Prune off these suckers, that ye 
may have a thriving soul. Deny their cravings, that ye may weaken 
and starve them. And that ye may be enabled to do this, let your 
conscience and your heart boLh together take up their rest in Christ 
by faith. Know, sinner! there is enough in Christ for the bound- 
less desires of thy heart, as well as for the cravings of thy con- 
science : Cant. V. 16, "Bis mouth is most sweet; yea, he is alto- 
gether lovely." Col.ii. 9, 10, " For inhimdwelleth all the fulness of 
the Godhead bodily.^ And ye are complete in him, which is the head 
of all principality and power." — Here some may reason, 

(1.) How can that be? for, alas! there are many desires in my 
wretched heart, that are of such a carnal sort, that there can be no- 
thing in Christ for them. Ans. Our Lord satisfies the desires of poor 
sinners, by enlarging such of them as are holy, fulfilling these, and ex- 
tinguishing others of them that are unholy : Psalm Ixxsi. 10, "I am 
the Lord thy God, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt :" 
" Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it." Though thou canst not 
have in Christ the unworihy thing thy false heart desireth, thou 
shalt have in him what is a thousand times more desirable; and then 
the desire of that thing will die away. None complains of the want of 
candles while the sun shines into the room, for that more than sup- 
plies the waut of them all ; and none will cry, " Who will shew us 
any good ?" when the Lord " lifts up upon them the light of his coun- 
tenance." A child may be fond of his rattle, and will not part with 
it; but put a more pleasing thing in his hand, and he will imme- 
diately let it go: Matth. xiii. 44, " The kingdom of heaven is like 
treasure bid in a field, the which when a man hath found, he hideth, 
and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth 
that field." — Another may iuquii'e, 

(2.) What way shall I take to get Christ to fill my heart ? The 
answer, in a word, is, Believe. — What shall we believe ? 

(1.) Believe that there is a complete fulness in Christ, sufficient 
to satisfy the boundless desires of your hearts : Col. ii. 19, ** Hold- 


ing the head, from which all the body by joints and bands, having 
nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the in- 
crease of God." He is infinite in perfections ; and whatever is 
desirable in all the creation, is eminently in hini as the fountain of 

(2.) Believe that he, with all his fulness, is offered to you, in the 
way of exchange with all your lusts and idols. Siucerely consent 
to the exchange. There is a full Christ before you; and the lust of 
the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, are with you. 
Give up with these, as expressly and solemnly as ye can, and take 
Christ in their room; believing there shall be no missing of them, 
and looking for the heart-satisfaction in him ye used to seek in them. 
And believe it is a bargain unalterable for eternity : Malth. xiii. 
45, 46; Psalm Ixxiii. 25, " Whom have I in heaven but thee? and 
there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee. — God is the 
strength of my heart and my portion for ever." 

(3.) When your lusts come back, oflering to entertain you as for- 
merly, believe ye have in Christ what is a thousand times better: 
Psalm Ixxxiv. 10, " For a day in thy courts is better than a thou- 
sand." Say in your souls, as the olive, Jud. ix. 9, Shall I come 
down from bread, and lie down to eat husks? Shall I leave the milk 
and honey, and fill my mouth with gravel-stones ? If the lust of 
vanity say, there is gaiety and finery, the eyes of beholders are fixed 
on thee ; let the soul say, but I have in Christ a never-fading beauty, 
glorious robes of unspotted lighteousness, Christ's love and his 
Father's, &c. that is solid and substantial, not to be exchanged for 
the airy nothings of the world's vanity. If the lust of covetousness 
say, there is a good prize to be had by a very little stretch, let the 
soul say, but I have riches in Christ, and that without any sting, 
durable riches and righteousness. 

(3.) Another course of this walking is, men's touching but very 
lightly on religion in its turn, but digging deep in their lusts in 
their turn : Psalm Ixxviii. 18, " And they tempted God in their 
heart, by asking meat for their lusts." Yer. 36, " Nevertheless, 
they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with 
their tongues." They are as it were in jest in the former, but in 
deep earnest in the latter; they swim like feathers in the waters of 
the sanctuary, but sink as lead in the mighty waters of their cor- 
rupt afl^ections. 

In this case, I propose this remedy : — Labour to be experimental 
Christians: Psalm xxxiv. 8, "0 taste and see that the Lord is 
good." A taste of the transcendent goodness of God, the hidden 
excellency of religion, would hold, you fast to the right side : John 


iv. 10, " Jesus answered, and said unto her, If thon knewest the 
gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee. Give me to drink, thou 
wouldesthave asked of hira, and he would have given thee living wa- 
ter." then press eagerly into the inner court of religion ; there 
are beauties there that will arrest your heart. Labour that you 
may have your hearts in every duty ; break through the shell, till 
ye come to the kernel. Once make religion your business, it will 
soon fill your hands, as well as your hearts. — I shall only mention, 

4. Another cause of this walking. They would fain be at heaven, 
but have no heart for the ragged way to it : Mark x. 21, " Then 
Jesus beholding him, loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou 
lackest ; go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the 
poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven ; and come, take up 
the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went 
away grieved ; for he had great possessions." The sluggard loves 
the gold, but will not dig for it. 

In this case the remedy is, to put on a resolution, a peremptory 
resolution for God, to cleave to him at any rate, and to pass through 
the wilderness to the heavenly Canaan, cost what it will : Numb, 
xiv. 24, " But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with 
him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land 
whereinto he went ; and his seed shall possess it." There ye may 
be, there ye must be, else you are ruined. And there are two things, 
as to which I would caution you. 

(1.) Have you not got that victory over your idols you were ex- 
pecting ? Do not give over, but resolutely continue the struggle, 
looking to the Lord for strength to accomplish that in which you 
have engaged : Rom. xvi. 20, " And the God of peace shall bruise 
Satan under your feet shortly." Have you come to Christ's door, 
though you apprehend you have got nothing yet ? Be peremptorily re- 
solved you will not go back to the door of your lusts, but hang on 
at his, though you should die at it, and you shall find, as in Cant, 
iii. 4, " It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him 
whom my soul loveth." 

(2.) Have you got your feet on the necks of your idols ? Pray, 
do not think the war is over, or that the Egyptian pursuers, who 
have been sometimes heavy on you, will be seen no more. No, 
no ; the broken forces of corruption will rally again, and the 
newly-bafiled idols will lift up their heads ; therefore be on your 
watch, and prepare to renew the battle. 

TV. 1 am now to make some improvement, which for the present 
shall only be in an use of exhortation. 

Beware of wavering, and study to be stable Christians. — To en- 
force this, consider, 

creation's groans, &c. 263 

1. That stability is the ground of fruitfulness : Psalm i. 3, " And 
he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth 
forth his fruit in his season ; his leaf also shall not wither ; and 
•whatsoever he doth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so, but are 
like the chaff which the wind driveth away." A tree, after being 
lifted, and planted sometimes here, sometimes there, cannot be fruit- 
ful : " The rolling stone gathers no fog." Unstable as water, can 
never prevail. Doubts, fears, and dryness in the soul's case, is a 
necessary consequence of unsettledness. — Consider, 

2. That stability is the beginning of comfortable experiences in 
religion. We cannot think to thrive in a trade, till we settle to it. 
A fool is always beginning, leaves off, begins again, and so on ; he 
never brings any thing to perfection. — Consider, 

3. That stability is a fence against temptations. The wavering 
professor is a hopeful prey to temptation. The town that begins to 
parley, is next door to surrendering. The Jews saw Pilate begin to 
waver, and then they plied him to condemn Christ, till they carried 
him off his feet. — Consider, 

Lastly, That stability is the foundation of serviceableness for 
Grod. The vessels of the temple were of gold, silver, brass, &c. but 
none of glass, no crystal ones ; these were too brittle for temple-ser- 
vice. So wavering professors will never be honoured of God to be 
serviceable for him, but they will do much harm to the way of the 



Rom. viii. 22, 

For xue know that the xulwle creation groaneth, and travelleth in pain to- 
gether until noiu. 

If we look abroad into the world, we cannot miss to perceive it in a 
feverish condition; the whole head sick, the whole heart faint; 
good men and God's good creatures also groaning under a weight of 
misery. If we look above us into heaven, we cannot but see that 
it is an holy God who has cast them into, and keeps them in this 
miserable condition. But withal we may conclude, that it shall not 

* Delivered January, 1716. 


be always so ; this fever of tlie creation will have a cool. A gra- 
cious God will not suffer it always to be ill with good men and his good 
creatures. Therefore the apostle, ver. 18 of the chapter before us, 
taking a view of the suffering lot of the saints, of which himself bad 
a large share, by faith looks through the cloud of miseries into which 
the saints are now wrapt up, and beholds a glory that is to be re- 
vealed in them, a lightsome day that shall succeed this dark night, 
when all the clouds shall be scattered, never more to gather. He 
confirms the revelation of that glory from two considerations. 1. 
The creatures, ver. 19, with earnest expectation wait for it. 2. The 
saints, ver. 23, anxiously look and long for it. And neither of these 
can be in vain, for they are of God's implanting ; and justice stands 
not against the satisfying of these appetites raised by the sanctify- 
ing Spirit in the saints, and by the creating hand in the creatures. 

As to the first of these, the apostle, 1. Asserts that longing of the 
creatures for the revelation of that glory in the saints, ver. 19. 2. 
He shews the misery they are under, from which they are so anxious 
to be delivered, vanity, ver. 20 ; corruption, ver. 21. 3. That their 
deliverance is connected with, and must be suspended till the reve- 
lation of that glory in the saints, ver. 21. 4. He shews how uneasy 
they are in the meantime, ver. 22. — Thus much for the connection. 

In the words of the text, we have, 

1. The party whose uneasiness is here taken notice of: " The 
whole creation," or every creature in heaven and on earth, is un- 
easy. Yet this phrase is not so universal, but that it admits of some 
exceptions, as Mark xvi. 15, " And he said unto them. Go ye into 
all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;" yet not to 
the angels, glorified saints, devils, &c. The limitation is every crea- 
ture made for the use of man, in heaven or on earth, which, becance 
of their relation to him, were made subject to vanity on occasion of 
his sin. This shews a good reason for that phrase, Mark xvi. 15, 
"Preach the gospel to every creature;" that is, the gospel, which 
is gospel or good tidings to every creature ; for not only man, but 
the creatures that were sunk in misery with him, shall have the ad-. 
vantage of it. As they smarted by the first Adam's sinning, they 
shall be restored by virtue of the second Adam's suffering. Acts 
iii. 21, " "Whom the heavens must receive, until the times of restitu- 
tion of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his 
holy prophets since the world began." So here are to be excepted, 

(1.) The angels, for as they were not made for man, so they are 
already perfectly happy, as the courtiers of the great King, who 
stand before the throne continually, as is signified by that phrase, 
Matth. xviii. 10, " That in heaA'en their angels do always behold the 
face of my Father who is in heaven." 


(2.) The devils. For though they be most uneasy, and carry 
their hell about with them, 2 Pet. ii. 4, " For God spared not the 
angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them 
into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment ;" yet as they 
"were not made for man, so man did not make them miserable, but 
they made man so. Besides, the creature here was subjected in 
hope, ver. 20 ; but the case of devils is absolutely hopeless ; for 
them there is no Saviour, and to them there is no promise. 

(3.) Men themselves. For as, 1 Cor. xv. 27, " But when he saith 
all things are put under him, it is manifest, that He is excepted who 
did put all things uuder him ;" so wheu it is said, " the whole crea- 
tion groaneth," «S:c. it is manifest he is excepted, who was the cause 
of the groaning of them all. The reprobate, some of them are in 
hell already, others are posting on, both groaning, but in vastly dif- 
ferent degrees. Yet they are not meant here, for their groans shall 
never have an end. But all the effects of the curse that are to be 
found in the universe this day, shall with them be swept out of the 
world into the lake at the great day, there to be settled on them as 
their proper base : Rev. xx. 14, " And death and hell were cast 
into the lake of fire. This is the second death." 

(4.) The elect. Some of them are in heaven, and groan no more. 
The unconverted elect groan under outward miseries ; but they are 
not meant here, for, being immersed in wickedness with the rest of 
the world, they are far from the earnest expectation which the crea- 
tures here have, ver. 19. Believers groan most sensibly, but they 
must also be excepted here, as being opposed to this creation or crea- 
ture. Yer. 23, " And not only they, but ourselves also, which have 
the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within our- 
selves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our 

Now, these being excepted, it remains, that by the whole creation 
we understand all the rest of the creatures made at first for the use 
of man. They are all uneasy. The visible heavens were made the 
roof of his house, the earth his floor ; the sun, moon, and stars, were 
made to be his lights, the air to breathe in, the wind to refresh him; 
the various produce of the earth to afford him necessaries, conve- 
niences, and delights. He was lord of sea and land. Fishes, fowls, 
and beasts of the earth, were all at his command. While he stood, 
they were all of them most easy in his service. But now that mat- 
ters are reversed with him, their situation is also reversed ; none of 
them failed to share in his misery. For though vanity, corruption, 
and misery, first sprang up in the man, they did not halt there, but 
spread over the face of the whole earth, diffused themselves over the 

YoL. IX. s 

266 creation's groans 

brinish waters of the sea, and ascended through the air to the very- 
glorious lights in heaven. — In the words of the text we have, 

2. The agony that the whole creation or creatures are in, — a great 
agony. It is expressed two ways, both metaphorical. 

(1.) They groan. This is a metaphor, taken from a man, with a 
heavy burden on his back, which so straitens him, that he cannot 
freely draw his breath ; and when he gets it, it is a groan. So there 
is a heavy weight lying on the whole creation, that makes it groan ; 
or, in other words, creatures got their death -wounds that day Adam 
got his, and so they are groaning still with the groans of a deadly 
wounded man. His sin stung them to the heart, and so they groan. 
The weight they are lying under is the weight of the curse, which 
binds vanity and corruption on them by virtue of the sin of man : 
Gen. iii. 17, " Cursed is the ground for thy sake." A weight under 
which, though stupid impenitent man groans not to God, yet his 
very beasts, and the very earth on which he walks, do. 

(2.) They " travail in pain." A metaphor taken from a woman 
bringing forth a child.. The pains of child-birth are exquisite pains, 
and put the patient both to groans and strong cries. And into this 
condition is the whole creation brought by man's sin. They are in 
pangs, and they cry out of their pangs. But though birth-pains 
are sore pains, yet they are hopeful. There is thus some hope that 
the creature will be delivered. They are travailing in pain with 
the hinds, to cast out their sorrows, Job xxxix. 3. They have con- 
ceived vanity and misery, and they have gone long with it, and they 
are travailing in pain to be delivered of the unhappy birth. They 
groan and also they travail. One that has too heavy a burden on 
his back, groans continually while it is on. But blessed be the 
holy and wise God, that has made the pains of travail intermitting ; 
now and then a shower. So the creatures have their ordinary pains 
that are never off them. But sometimes, as at this day, they have 
extraordinary, and as it were travailing-pains, which will off again? 
though they will return : Joel i. 18, " How do the beasts groan ! the 
herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture : yea, 
the flocks of sheep are made desolate." — In our text we have, 

3. The mournful concert they make : they groan together and 
travail together. Not together with us, ver. 23, but together among 
themselves. Before sin entered into the world, they all looked 
blythe, and as it were sung together : but now they have changed 
their tune, and groan together. The beasts and the fowls groan 
from the earth, and the very heavens echo back to them the same 
strain. So many creatures as there are, so many groaners, each of 
them with their mournful note, — "We have, 


4. How long they have sung to the melancholy tune : " Until 
now." They began at Adam's fall, and they have groaned ever 
since, and travailed on till the apostles' days, but they had not 
done with it then. Nay, they have groaned and travailed till now 
in onr days, long five thousand seven hundred years, and yet their 
burden is not off their backs, nor have they yet got their sor- 
rows cast out. And how long it may be to their delivery, we know 
not. But one thing we know, it will never be till the world end by 
the general conflagration, when the new heavens and the new earth 
may rise, like the phoenix, out of their own ashes. — We have, 

Lastly, The auditory that listens to the mournful concert : We, 
" We know," &c. " We believers, we serious Christians, hear and 
certainly know the mournful ditty." Can the shepherd who is sent to 
notice the sheep, not observe when they make their moan for lack 
of their food, especially when the whole flock is crying together ? 
Were all the men of a city groaning of their wounds, and all the 
women travailing in pains together, that person must be deaf that 
would not hear the sound, and he must have an heart of adamant 
that would not be aifected. Bnt the whole creation, above us 
and about us, are groaning and travailing together, and that for our 
sakes ; yet a sinful generation has no ears to hear, no heart to be 
affected with it, and with sin which is the cause. But serious Chris- 
tians, awake to it, cannot miss to hear, and their ears aftect their 
hearts. Ton will observe, that they hear it distinctly, not confu- 
sedly, as we apprehend sometimes we hear a thing, which we are 
not sure whether it be a real voice, or only an illusion of the fancy. 
We know, says the apostle, we are sure, it is no fancy. Some crea- 
tures have a voice that every body can hear. But there is no 
creature so mute, but a serious Christian, whose senses are exer- 
cised, can discern its voice. David could hear the silent heavens, 
day and night, and also know their meaning. Psalm xix. 1, 2; and 
verse 3, " There is no speech nor language where their voice is not 
heard." that we could hear their voice this day ! and that their 
groans and cries might pierce our hearts for sin. 

This subject is highly important. — There is contained in it the 
three following doctrines, which in their order we propose to con- 

DocT. I. That the whole creation, made for the use of man, groans 
under the sin of man. 

DocT, II. That the creatures' pains, under the sin of man, are 
travailing pains, sore indeed, but hopeful, they will in due season 
be delivered from them. 


268 creation's groans 

DocT. III. Tliat the whole creation makes a mournful concert in 
the ears of serious Christians, by their groans under man's sin. 

"We begin with 

DocT, I. That the whole creation made for the use of man, 
groaneth under the sin of man. 

What is to be offered on this doctrine shall be comprehended 
under the three following heads of discourse. 

I. In what respects the creation, or creatures are said to groan ; for 
many of them, as the earth, &c. are properly incapable of groaning. 

II. What distresses the creatures so much, that they groan ? 
What has man's sin done to them, to make them groan under it ? 

III. How, and by what right, can the harmless creatures be made 
to groan for our sake ? They have not sinned. True, these poor 
sheep what have they done ? 

IV. I shall add a practical improvement of the subject. 

I am, then, to shew in what respects the creation, or the creatures 
are said to groan, for many of them, as the earth, &c. are properly 
incapable of groaning. — Here I observe, 

1. That the sensible part of the creation really groans, each after 
its kind : Joel i. 18, " How do the beasts groan ? the herds of cattle 
are perplexed, because they have no pasture ; yea, the flocks of 
sheep are made desolate." The beasts, the birds, all that can 
groan, do groan. And these may be admitted as the mouth of the 
rest; they groan out their own misery, and the misery of their 
mate-fellows, that are in the same condemnation with them, while 
they stand about, as it were, looking on, like a company of foreigners, 
one of whom only being capable of speaking our language, speaks for 
the rest. 

2. The whole creation appears in a mournful mood and groaning 
posture. The sun, the eye of the world, has often a veil drawn over 
it for many days ; and he with the rest of the lights of heaven are 
covered with blackness, like mourners. The earth, trees and plants 
upon it, lay aside their ornaments, and every head among them is 
bald ; because man, whom they were appointed to serve, is slain by 
the great murderer, the devil ; therefore all his servants are gone 
into mourning. 

3. The whole creation, if they could, would groan, for they have 
good reason, as we will see afterwards. As our Lord says, Luke 
X. 40, " If these should hold their peace, the stones would immedi- 
ately cry out." The pressure they are under Avould make them 
groan, if they had sense or reason to understand it. It is God's 
goodness to man that his sense of hearing is not more quick than it 
is, otherwise he could never have rest, there being always some noise 


in the world. And it is well for man that the creatures cannot re- 
present their misery as it deserves, otherwise they would deafen him 
with their complaints, and make him continually uneasy with their 

4. The Spirit of God is grieved, and groaneth (so to speak) in the 
creatures. God is every where present, quickening, influencing, 
preserving, and governing all the creatures, according to their se- 
veral natures : Acts xvii. 25, " Seeing he giveth to all, life, and 
breath, and all things :" Heb. i. 3, " Upholding all things by the 
word of his power." The sun cannot shine without him ; nor the 
earth produce its fruits, nor its fruits be serviceable to man, without 
him. Whatever is profitable or pleasant in the creatures, is but 
some drops of the divine goodness distilled into them, for his glory 
and man's good, Hence it is evident, that the abuse done to the 
creatures riseth to God himself. As if a mother having suitably 
sweetened the meat to a child, he should, after all, throw it away, 
his doing so is a wrong to her as well as the abused creature. There- 
fore, the abusing of God's works is forbidden in the third command- 
ment, under the notion of taking God's name in vain. For the 
creature's goodness is in effect God's goodness : " For there is none 
good but one, that is, God," Matth. xix. 17. And therefore (with 
reverence be it spoken) God groans from the creatures against sin- 
ners: Amos ii. 13, "Behold, (says God), I am pressed under you, 
as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves." And as the Lord from 
heaven cried to Saul, Acts ix. 4, " Saul, Saul, why persecntest thou 
me ?" so, if men had ears, to hear, the drunkard, for instance, might 
hear God, from the creature, saying, " Man, why abusest thou 
me ?" &c. 

Lastly, Serious Christians groan in behalf of the creatures. Man 
was made to be the mouth of the creatures, to speak out what they 
could not : for which cause God gave him a tongue and speech, 
therefore called his glory. "When sin entered, man's mouth was 
closed in that respect. "When grace comes into the soul, the Lord 
says, " Ephphatha," that is, " be opened," Mark vii. 34. So man 
becomes the mouth of the creation again. Psalm xix. 1. Thus be- 
lievers, seeing the reason the creatures have to groan, groan out 
their case for them, acknowledging, before God and the world, the 
misery and hard case they are brought into by man's sin. 

II, We come now to inquire, what distresses the creatures so 
much, that they groan ? What has man's sin done to them, to make 
them groan under it ? 

Why, truly, they got a large share of the curse to bear for man's 
sake : Gen. iii. 17, " Cursed," said God to Adam, " is the ground 

270 creation's groans 

for tby sake." The curse coming upon man is also felt upon the 
earth. "Wherefore, bat because of its relation to man ? It bears 
hira, aud feeds him. And if so, that curse would spread to the 
visible heavens that cover him, and afford him light, and that nourish 
the earth which nourishes hira. If this be not enough, remember 
they are all to go to the fire together at length ; and surely that 
makes it. So thus man's sin, as brimstone, is scattered on his ha- 
bitation: 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." 
Verse 11, "Seeing then, all these things shall be dissolved, what 
manner of persons ought we to be, in all holy conversation and 
godliness ?" 

This curse has subjected the creature to vanity. It has squeezed 
much of the fat out of it that was put into it at the creation ; and 
from a full ear has brought it to an empty husk. And it is there- 
by also in bondage to corruption. It is made a stage ol: sin, a scene 
of misery, and liable to destruction as such. But to come to parti- 

1. The whole creation, by man's sin, has fallen far short of its 
beneficial and nutritive quality, in comparison of what it originally 
was at its creation. Man has not that benefit of the creatures for 
which they were appointed at first. While he stood, such sap and 
nourishment was in them, that could have afforded him all things 
for necessity, convenience, and delight, without toil. But sin gave 
them such a shock, that much of that sap is shaken out of them, and 
so man must now wring hard to get but a very little nourishment 
from them. This makes so much barrenness in the earth, which so 
meanly rewards all the toil of the husbandman. It brings forth 
thorns and thistles plentifully, under the influence of that curse, 
while it makes a very sober increase otherwise. And what is the 
procuring cause of all this but sin ? Psalm cvii. 34, " He turneth a 
fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell 
therein." "We see how it is bound up, that the beasts of the 
field cannot get their food. And if the influences of the heavens 
were not restrained, it would not be so ; the earth would not be 
iron, if the heavens were not brass. Under this vanity the whole 
creation groaneth. 

2. The whole creation, by man's sin, has come far short of its 
ultimate end, the honour and glory of God. God's revenue of glory 
from the creature is mightily diminished by the sin of man. The 
whole creation was made to be a booTc, wherein men might read the 


name of God ; a stringed instruments by which men were to praise 
him ; a lookiug-glass, in which to behold his glory. Eut, alas ! sin 
has drawn a veil over our eyes. Men may say they are unlearned* 
and cannot read more than what may make theai inexcusable : " For 
the invisible things of God, from the creation of the world, are 
clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his 
eternal power and Godhead ; so that they are without excuse," 
Rora. i. 20. The book is as it were sealed. They have lost the art 
of praising; hence the instrument is hung by, being to little purpose 
in the possession of such persons. They care not for beholding his 
glory, therefore the looking-glass is overlooked, and very little use 
is made of it. Under this vanity they groan also. 

3. The nature of the whole creation is in some sort altered. 
When God looked on his creatures, he saw that they were very 
good, Gen. i. 31. And that is a sad alteration that makes them 
groan. Sin has cast the whole creation into a feverish disorder. 
There is an evil which accompanies them now, that they long to be 
rid of. Man complains and groans under the evil of the creatures, 
and they complain and groan under him. The transgression of man 
is heavy on the earth, and the case of the earth bound up from his 
service is heavy upon him. Where is the creature that has no evil 
about it now ? The sun sometimes scorches man, and burns up the 
fruits of the ground ; at other times his absence makes the earth as 
iron, that he cannot stand before the cold. The air often sickens 
and kills him. The distempered winds often sink him in the sea, out 
of the earth, where he is to get his meat, sometimes he meets with 
poisonous herbs. What is the cause of all this ? Impute it not 
to the creatures as they came from the creating hand of God, but to 
the fall of man, whom nothing could have hurt, had he stood in 
his integrity. 

4. The creature has fallen into the hands of God's enemies, and 
is forced to serve them. When man stood, all the creatures were at 
his beck, and were ready to come to him at his call. But when he 
left God, all the creatures would have left him, the sun would have 
shined no more on him, the air would have refused his breathing 
in it, the earth would not have fed nor carried him more, if God had 
not subjected them anew to him ; Rom. viii. 20, " For the creature 
was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who 
hath subjected the same in hope." We see how far some of them 
have gone in renouncing their service to him, Job xxxix. 7, 8. And 
ver. 9, " Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy 
crib?" And they would all have left their service, as a faithful 
servant will leave his master, when he goes out in rebellion against 

272 cbeation's groans 

his sovereign, but that they were forced to go along ; and therefore 
they groan. 

5. They are used by sinners to ends for which Grod never made 
them. They suffer violence, they are abused, and therefore they 
groan. God made them for his honour, men abuse them to his dis- 
honour. Never did a beast speak but once, Balaam's ass. Num. xxii. 
28, 30, and that was a complaint on man for abusing it to an end 
for which God never made it. The dumb ass rebuked the madness 
of the prophet, that would have it to carry him in a way God for- 
bade him to go, and where the angel stood to oppose him. And, 
could the creature speak to us, we would hear many complaints that 
way. God gave the creatures to be servants to man, but man has 
sold them for slaves to his lusts; and who would not groan to be so 
maltreated ? There are two things which make hard service : — 

(1.) Labour in vain, continual toil, and yet no profit by it. The 
creatures have no intermission in their service : Eccl. i. 5, 8, " All 
things are full of labour." But 0, where is the profit of it all ? 
The sun riseth, and runs his race every day, and never resteth. 
But what is the issue ? If it were to let men see to read God's 
word, to behold and admire his works, to perform acts of piety, to 
accomplish substantial good, all the toil would never be grudged by 
the creatures. But, alas ! here is the case, for the most part men 
see to sin more by it, the worldling, the drunkard, &c. to pursue 
their lusts by it. The night waits on in its turn, and the thief, the 
adulterer, and the like, get their lusts fulfilled with it. The air 
waits about us continually, and the swearer gets sworn by it, the 
liar lied by it, and the like. The earth and sea wait on us with 
their produce ; and people get their sensuality, their vanity, pride, 
and the like, nourished by it. "What wonder they groan, to be 
brought to this pass ? Sun, moon, air, earth, and sea, are groaning 
for this as they can. If our very meat and drink could groan, they 
would groan in the dish, cup, throat, and belly of the drunkard, 
glutton, sensualist, yea, of every one with whom they are not em- 
ployed to nourish the body for the Lord and his service, but for the 
world, &c. — There is, 

(2.) Hard labour, and much loss by it. We have both these : 
Hab. ii. 13, " Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts, that the people 
shall labour in the very fire, and the people shall weary themselves 
for very vanity ?" The creatures not only toil for vanity, but as it 
were in the fire, where they smart for their pains. The covetous 
oppressor's money kept from the labourer, groans in the corner of 
your chest, and cries, " Behold the hire of the labourers which have 
reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth. 


and the cries of them that have reaped are entered into the ears of 
the Lord of Sabaoth," James v. 4. " Why do ye lock me up here, 
where a heavy curse lies upon me ? why wilt thou not let me away 
to the labourer ?" The oppressor builds his house by blood and op- 
pression, and the very stones and timber cry out, " Why have ye 
laid me here, where the curse of God will not let me rest?" Hab. ii. 
11. If a master should force his servant into the king's throne, and 
force the crown on his head, and the sceptre into his hand, how 
would he groan to think that he is abused, and that his life must go 
for it too. Ah ! is it any wonder that the beasts, the pastures of 
the wilderness, groan this day, who have so often been set in God's 
throne, the heart ; have had room with him, yea, more room than 
him, nay, many times the only room there ? ! would they not 
cry, if they could speak, " Why get we the first thoughts in the 
morning, and the last at night ? Why set you that love, joy, delight, 
and trust in us, that you ought to place in God ? let us out of 
this dangerous place, let us out of your hearts, that is a dangerous 
place to us," Ezek. xxiv. 25, 26. — I only add as a 

6. And last reason of their groaning, that the creatures partake 
with man in his miseries. — Though they do not sin with him, yet 
they suffer with him. They that have life, live groaning with him. 
They are liable to sickness, pains, and sores, as well as he ; for not 
a few of the troops of diseases billeted on man, were quartered also 
on them. Sinful man's neighbourhood infected them ; they die 
groaning with him. In the deluge they perished with him, except a 
few preserved in the ai^k, as living in the same element with him. 
The beasts in Sodom were destroyed with fire and brimstone, with 
the men. In the plagues of Egypt, the cattle smarted together with 
the owners, also their fields, vines, sycamores, &c. The inanimate 
creatures suffer with him also. He sins, and the very earth is laid 
in bonds for him ; but groan as it will in that case, he cannot loose 
them: Job xxxviii. 31, "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of 
Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion ?" Their iron bands he cannot 
break : Dent, xxviii. 23, " And the heaven that is over thy head 
shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron." The 
very waters are straitly bound up on his account : Job xxxvii. 10 
" By the breath of God frost is given ; and the breadth of the waters 
is straitened." Nay, they are muffled up with a weight ab5ve them, 
like a stone under ground ; for as swift as they rise to go, and as 
nimble as they run, they are catched and held fast, like a wild 
beast, in God's trap. This is the true sense of Job, in the Hebrew, 
chap, xxxviii. 30, " The waters are hid as with a stone, and the 
face of the deep is frozen." Nay, the very heavens are in bonds too, 

27-4 creation's gboans 

Dent, xxviii. 23. And tliey cry out in their bands, Hos. ii. 21, " I 
will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall 
hear the earth." 



Eoii. viii. 22, 

For we know that the whole creoiion groaneth, and travaUeth in pain 

together until now. 

Hatixg considered in what respects the creation, or creatures, are 
said to groan, and what distresses the creatures so much that they 
groan, we now proceed to inquire, 

III. How, and by what right, can the harmless creatures be made 
to groan for our sakes ? They hare not sinned. True, these poor 
sheep, what have they done ? — Here I observe, 

1. That there is sovereignty in this groaning. The creatures are 
all his own, and it is lawful for him to do with his own what he 
will, Matth. XX. 15. Solomon tells us, Eccl. viii. 4, " Where the 
word of a king is, there is power, (Heb. dominion), and who may 
say unto him, "What doest thou ?" God is the great store-master, 
to whom all the flocks and herds in the world belong : " The cattle 
upon a thousand hills are his," Psalm 1. 10. He lias given you the 
use of them, but has reserved the absolute property to himself. You 
have them in kain, and that is ill paid ; therefore no wonder he 
take them out of your hand, and dispose of them in another way 
whereby he may get the use of them, that is, glory to himself. — I 

2. That the creatures are liable to this groaning, because of their 
relation to sinful man, who has a subordinate, limited, providential 
interest in them ; and that by the same justice that the whole which 
a malefactor has, smarts with him ; as it was in the case of Achan, 
and all that he had. Josh. vii. 2-1. The sun is a light to him, there- 
fore it is overclouded ; it nourishes his ground, therefore its in- 

* This sermon was delivered on a fast-day, appointed by the presbytery of which 
the author was a member, on occasion of a severe threatening storm which then pre- 
vailed. ~ In this discourse, and through the whole of this subject, the author has evi- 
dently a reference to the unnatural rebelliou which was then raging, and appears 
deeply afiFected with the state of the church and nation at that period. 


fluences are restrained. The ground feeds his flocks and herds, 
therefore it is inhabited. They furnish him with necessaries, con- 
veniencies, and profits, therefore they suffer. They stand in a 
nearer relation to him than other creatures ; they were made the 
same day, and of the same earth, and lire in the same element with 
him, and therefore they smart sorest, because ihej are nearest to 
him. They are nearer, and therefore it is harder with them than 
with fishes and fowls, which were of the water, and live, the one 
in the water, the other in the air. — I observe, 

3. That the creatures groan because of their usefulness to him, by 
the same right that, in war, one takes from his enemy whatever 
may be of use to that enemy in the war. None scruple to take 
every thing from an enemy, that so he may be disabled, and yield. 
Now, God is angry, and carrying on a war with us, which wo began ; 
and to oblige us to yield, he falls on the creatures that are useful to 
us. Pharaoh will not let Israel go, and the cattle, and the very 
trees and water of Egypt, smart. They kill, swear, lie, steal, com- 
mit adultery : Hos. iv. 3, " Therefore shall the land mourn, and 
every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of 
the field, and with the fowls of heaven ; yea, the fishes of the sea 
also shall be taken away." Men are very indiS"erent about the 
interest of God, and if they get their own interest seen to, are little 
concerned as to any thing else ; and therefore God blasts their 
prospects; as you may see, by consulting Haggai i. 4 — 11. — I ob- 

4. That the creatures groan, by the same right one takes a sword 
from a man wherewith he is running at him. The creatures are 
idols of jealousy often to provoke God, and therefore he strikes 
them down. Often, and most justly, does God punish sinners in 
that wherein they have sinned, so as they may read their sin in 
their punishment, as in Eli's case, and in Isaac's, Gen. xxv. 28, and 
xxvi. 35. The farm, and the care about it, often keeps people from 
the marriage-supper of the King's Son, Matth. xxii. 5. The Gada- 
renes, for their liking of swine better than a Saviour, had their 
wretched idols drowned in the sea. — I observe, 

5. That the creatures groan by the same right one takes back his 
loan, when he gets no thanks for it, but, on the contrary, it is im- 
proved against himself: Hos. ii. 8, 9, " For she did not know that I 
gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, 
which they prepared for Baal. Therefore will I return, and take 
away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season there- 
of, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her naked- 
ness." Alas ! though we are always in God's common, for every 

276 creation's groans 

thing we have, we are not thankful, we do not remember our hold- 
ing, but sacrifice to our own net. And God's favours with respect 
to the creatures, though they make i)eoi)le more wealthy, they make 
them not more holy. 

Lastly, I observe, that the creatures groan by the same right a 
prince levies a fine on a man, when he might take his life. It is a 
mercy God deals not with ourselves, as with the creatures for our sake : 
Lara. iii. 22, " It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, 
because his compassions fail not." True, men feel the stroke ; and 
good reason, for God makes the creatures groan for that very end, 
that we may feel it. But Ave feel only at the second hand, though 
it is we ouly that are guilty. The bauds lying on the earth might 
have lain on us, and we pinched as sore for our food as the beasts of 
the field for theirs ; that as our flocks are forced to go to another 
part of the country, leaving our own hills desolate, so our houses 
might have been desolate, families scattered, and sent through the 
country begging bread. They have had more than any of us, who 
yet have been brought to such trying circumstances. — It only re- 

lY. That we make some improvement of this doctrine. 

1. In an use of information. Let us notice this scripture fulfilled 
in our days, in this day, and that in a remarkable manner. There 
is a mournful concert which the creatures have been making in our 
ears now for many weeks together, for which we are this day called 
to fast and humble ourselves. — Hear the groans of the creatures : 

(1.) The earth is groaning under us. Dent, xxviii. 23, "And thy 
heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is 
under thee shall be iron." God has laid a weight on it, and bound 
it so strait, that it can get no breathing, there is no perspiration ; 
it can get up nothing. It is run together as lead does after it is 
melted; Job xxxviii. 38, " When the dust groweth into hardness, 
and the clods cleave fast together." Hebrew, " God has pitched it 
up, or pitched it all over with frost, as one would do a vessel to keep 
in the liquor, when they have in view to prevent others drawing from 

(2.) The waters groan, for there is a weight on them : Job xxxviii. 
30, " The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is 
frozen." Men's sins have taken hold of them, and turned them into 
dry land : Psalm cvii. 33, " He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and 
the water-springs into dry ground." Yer. 34, " A fruitful field into 
barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein." We 
have bridges of God's making, but these are no more signs of God's 
favour, than the turning of sea into dry land was to Pharaoh, for it 
proved his destruction. 


(3.) The wild beasts of the field groan for lack of food. They 
that take the range of the mountains for pasture, are forced into the 
valleys, and this strait brings them near the dwellings of men, which 
otherwise they would shun, Hos. iv. 3. 

(4.) The fowls of the air groan, and are hard put to it, to make 
shift for their lives, and they mourn after their kind, for the hand 
of God is heavy upon them : Hos. iv. 3, " Therefore shall the land 
mourn, and everyone that dwelleth therein shall languish ; with the 
beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven ; yea, the fishes of 
the sea shall be taken away." 

(5.) The flocks groan, for God has locked up their pasture : Joel 
i. 18, " How do the beasts groan ? the herds of cattle are perplexed, 
because they have no pasture ; yea, the flocks of sheep are made de- 
solate." They are — fruitful creatures, but God threatens to pluck 
up the tree with its fruit ; — harmless, yet they sadly sufi'er for the 
sins of men, their owners ; — useful creatures, and because of their 
singular usefulness, a singular weight of the stroke lies on them. 
They cannot help themselves, and men cannot help them ; so they 
groan and cry unto the Lord : Joel i. 20, " The beasts of the field 
cry also unto thee : for the rivers of water are dried up, and the fire 
hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness." 

(6.) The heavens groan, Deut. xxviii. 23, quoted already, for God 
has laid them under arrest. They have been long crying that their 
influences are bound up, but God has not yet heard them : Hos. ii. 
21, " And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear the heavens, 
and they shall hear the earth." The machine of the world, in some 
sort, has long stood ; because God has holden still the heavens, the 
main spring ; but the heavens cannot help the earth, nor the earth 
the grass, nor the grass the beasts of the field, till God see meet. 

2. We may learn, that when the whole creation groans for man's 
sake, it is no wonder God make man himself to groan heavily. It 
has been a groaning time through Scotland now for a long time, and 
these groans are not over yet. God grant they be not but begin- 

(1.) The nation is groaning under the weight of two armies, which, 
whether friends or foes, must needs be heavy to a poor land, that has 
enough ado to maintain itself. Besides, that as the world is now 
distempered by the corruptions of men, it is morally impossible but 
that violence, rapines, and other disorders, will fall out in such a 
case, which some heavily feel, hoA^ever easy others may live, and 
that whether the armies be for or against us. It is groaning under 
a most causeless rebellion, raised by men of a perverse, malignant, 
Antichristian spirit, who, to get a limb of Antichrist on the throne. 

278 creation's groans 

and to ruin religion, have made all this disagreeable work. Hence 
the nation groans under a drawn sword, deeply bathed in blood, and 
thirsting for more. The blood of many has been shed in the field 
like water, many precious souls sent to eternity in a moment, in the 
hurry of war, and the carcases of men laid like dung in the open 
field ; parents left childless, children fatherless, and their mothers 
widows, while the lives of many others are made to them more bitter 
than death. Into what a wretched case have many of the nobility 
and gentry of Scotland brought themselves ! which, though it be the 
just judgment of God upon them, for which we are to praise him, 
yet it makes the nation groan, as the cutting off a gangrened mem- 
ber is painful to the whole body. Thus David lamented over Saul, 
2 Sam. i. 17. The northern parts of the nation have been long- 
groaning, who have had many months of that oppression, of which the 
southern parts have had but a few days, and yet made so great an 
outcry. Some groaning there, because their houses are made un- 
pleasant to them ; some, because they and their families are scat- 
tered ; some groaning because they are harassed : others because 
they are solitary, &c. 

(2.) The church is groaning for the weight of the Lord's anger 
gone out against her. Our mother is in mourning, and the gates of 
Zion lament. She groans under the weight of these mischievous de- 
crees laid on in the latter end of the last reign, not yet removed, by 
which she is greatly oppressed, — under our own unchristian divisions, 
by which she is rent into many pieces ; — under the just withdrawing 
of her Lord, by which she is become heartless. Many congregations 
of the land are groaning under the want of gospel-ordinances, the 
weight of silent Sabbaths. Her serious ministers and members are 
groaning, while they behold, on every hand, matter of lamentation 
and woe. Nay, she is groaning this day, to see the great red dra- 
gon standing before her to swallow her up. A limb of Antichrist 
set up for a king, to be a captain, to lead back the nation to Egypt, 
and to give the kingdom, if he had it at his will, to the Romish beast 
that supports the whore. Her members are in no good case to give 
a draught of their blood to the scarlet-coloured whore, and therefore 
in hazard to drink the cup of the wine of her fornication, if she had 
once access to put it to them. 

Thus the church and nation are groaning together. No sort of 
persons, from the throne to the dunghill, are exempted. Oar only 
rightful and lawful Sovereign, our Protestant King, whom God, by 
an admirable step of favourable providence, brought seasonably to 
the throne, groans for the unnatural rebellion raised against him. 
The nobles and gentry, who used to escape other strokes, smart un- 


der the confusions in the land by that means. Ministers have a load 
of many weights to groan under this day ; and to all the rest, not a 
few of them are threatened with suffering for a cause which their 
souls abhor as much as any in the nation. People of all sorts groan; 
the husbandman, because the earth, being as iron, will not allow his 
labouring ; and the store masters, because of the particular distress 
of the beasts of the field. 

3. This lets us see what is the cause of all this groaning. Is there 
not a cause ? Yes ; men's sins are the cause of all the distress on 
the creatures, and on themselves. We have procured all our 
miseries with our own liands. All ranks in the land have gone out of 
course, and therefore the very creation is put out of its course : Isa. 
xxiv. 20, " The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and 
shall be removed like a cottage, and the transgression thereof shall 
be heavy upon it, and it shall fall, and not rise again." — The Lord 
is contending with us, 

(1.) Because that the sins of our fathers have not been sufficiently 
mourned over by the generation. National perjury and bloodshed 
are crying sins that are making the land to mourn this day. With- 
out controversy, God is fulfilling that scripture in our eyes this day, 
Lev. xxvi. 25, " And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall 
avenge the quarrel of my covenant ; and when you are gathered to- 
gether within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you, and 
ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy." God is making 
inquisition for the blood of the slain witnesses of Jesus ; and it will 
be a wonder if, before the quarrel be ended, God make not the lives 
of hundreds of others go for one of theirs. I have sometimes 
thought, " ! why has God made choice of poor Scotland to be the 
field of blood ? Are there not sins against God in the neighbouring 
land, as well as amongst us ?" But I have been silenced by this 
consideration, Scotland was the place where the witnesses were slain, 
in a special manner, in the late times : " True and righteous are thy 
judgments, Lord !" — The Lord is contending with us, 

(2.) Because of the atheism and contempt of God in the land. 
Matters were come to that pass under the light of the gospel, that 
all religion was laughed at by many ; so that there was a necessity 
that God, by some new argument, should prove the truth of his be- 
ing, which he has already done, to the cost of many that were deep- 
ly engaged in these atheistical ways. May God bear it home on 
their consciences, that at least they may get their precious souls for 
a prey ! — The Lord is contending, 

(3.) Because of the horrid profanity of the generation : Hos. iv. i. 
— 3, " Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel ; for the 

280 creation's groans 

Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because 
there is no trnth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of Grod, in the land. By 
swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adul- 
tery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood. Therefore shall the 
land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with 
the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven ; yea, the fishes 
of the sea also shall be taken away." How many are there up and 
down the land, that glory in their shame, and take a pleasure to af- 
front the God that made them by their profane courses. Can these 
things escape a mark of God's displeasure ? It has broken in like a 
flood, and gone through the land ; so that they are indeed but rare 
persons who have not entertained one branch or another of it ; either 
they are swearers, or liars, or such like, and there is no reforming 
of them. The word cannot do it. — The Lord is contending, 

(4.) Because of our abuse of mercies, and God's good creatures. 
We have had long peace, and God has wrought wonders for our de- 
liverance. But we were surfeited with peace ere the war came. 
The good creatures of God prospering and thriving were but fuel to 
our lusts, and so snares to lead us away from God, that it is no won- 
der they get a stroke, like idols of jealousy, wherewith God has been 
provoked. — The Lord is contending, 

(5.) Because of that woeful security and unconcernedness for the 
public cause of God and of religion which prevails. God is a jealous 
God, and when he is going out against a land, he calls all the inha- 
bitants thereof to fear and to tremble ; and he cannot endure indif- 
ference when his cause is at stake. This provokes him to blast peo- 
ple's private concerns : Haggai ii. 14 — 17, " Then answered Haggai, 
and said. So is this people, and so is this nation, before me, saith the 
Lord ; and so is every work of their hands, and that which they 
offer there is unclean. And now, I pray you, consider from this 
day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the 
temple of the Lord. Since those days were, when one came to an heap 
of twenty measures, ^here were but ten : Ayheu one came to the press- 
fat, for to draw out fifty vessels out of the press, there were but 
twenty. I smote you with blasting, and with mildew and hail, in 
all the labours of your hands, yet ye turned not to me, saith the 
Lord." This woeful selfishness has prevailed in an amazing manner 
among us. Little were we concerned with the distresses which 
many others of the nation were under ; very indifferent were we as 
to what way public matters should go, as if we had been set here to 
be idle spectators of the reelings of the nation. But we see God 
has many arrows in his quiver, and will even have us to groan with 
the rest. And if people go lightly under the burden of the public, 


lie will give them a burden of tlieir own to bear. God kno\vs, your 
distress by this storm has laia near ray heart, as I bear a part in all 
your afflictions ; but seeing, with grief of heart, your prevailing tem- 
per to be such, that I could not call you together to wrestle for the 
public cause, I could not have confidence before the Lord to do it 
upon an inferior cause, though in itself a very weighty one. — The 
Lord is contending with us, 

(6.) Because of the contempt of the gospel, and uufruitfulness un- 
der the means of grace. This makes a land to groan, and the crea- 
tures in it to bear a share. 

4. Let the groans of the creatures stir us up to repenting groans 
before the Lord. Shall we be groaning under trouble, and the crea- 
tures groaning for our sakes, and yet not groan for sin, which is the 
cause of all ? For the Lord's sake, sirs, be pliable to the word, and 
do not think yourselves above warnings, but receive convictions 
from the word, and be humbled under the hand of God, and take a 
look of your ways, and repent, and reform yourselves and your fa- 
milies. Wrath is gone out from the Lord against the land and us. 
Let us try to quench it ere it go farther, lest it break out like fire, 
that none can quench it. Let us be concerned for the public cause, 
and take a lift of Zion's burden this day. Be not indifferent in the 
cause of a Protestant king, and a Popish pretender. Ye have had 
fair warning to prepare to meet the Lord, and God followed the 
closing of our sermons on that subject hard at the heels with the 
stroke. And if this do us no good, take heed it come not next from 
the stall to the hall, and men and women be as sore straitened as 
the poor dumb creatures are this day. 

5. Let us come here, and learn various other lessons. VTe know 
the book of the creation is an instructive book; every day we may 
have a lesson from them, from the highest. Psalm viii. 3, 4, to the 
lowest, Prov. vi. 6, 7, 8, namely, from the heavens to the ant. But 
in such a day as this we may learn more from them than ordinary; 
now they speak much and loud to us. God makes them groan thus 
for our instruction, as he cursed the fig-tree, for a lesson of faith to 
his disciples ; and slew the cattle of Egypt, to make the owners see 
what they might expect. The creatures groan out these lessons to 
us : 

(1.) That God is angry with us. He is angry with the land, has 
a controversy with our mother, and he is angry with the creatures, 
for they smart under it. We may say, as in Hab. iii. 8, " Was the 
Lord displeased against the rivers ? was thine anger against the 
rivers? was thy wrath against the sea? that thou didst ride upon 
thine horses, and thy chariots of salvation." Sure if it is so, it is for 

Yoh. IX. T 

282 creation's groans 

our sakes, and therefore he is angry much more with us. Look now- 
through the whole creation, above, under, and about us, and we will 
see the characters of the Lord's anger. It is true, these things have 
natural causes, but God guides these. And this lesson we may take 
for a certain evidence of our sin ; see sermon on Joel i. 18. — An- 
other lesson is, 

(2.) That it is not easy to get the flame of wrath quenched when 
once it is kindled. "We may say this day, as in Psalm Ixv. 5, "By 
terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, God of our 
salvation." Men's sins may bring that on the creatures which they 
will not soon get removed. Learn here to beware of kindling the 
fire by provoking God ! It is easier to keep the sword of vengeance 
in the sheath, than to got it sheathed again when once drawn. It is 
dangerous to depend on the praying for mercy on a death-bed, 
delaying all till then, for then wrath may be gone out, not to be 

(3.) It is dangerous to be concerned with those with whom God 
hath a controversy : thus, all that belonged to Achan perished with 
him : Josh. vii. 24, 25, " And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took 
Achan, the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the 
wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and 
his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had ; and they 
brought them unto the valley of Achor. And Joshua said, Why 
hast thou troubled us ? the Lord shall trouble thee this day. And 
all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after 
they had stoned them with stones." Had these oxen and asses 
been another's than Achan's. they had not perished in the manner 
they did. Thus the poor creatures lament their relation to sinful 
men ; and many smart sore upon the occasion of the controversy God 
has with them with whom they are nearly connected. A companion 
of fools shall be destroyed. Even those God has a kindness for 
may smart full sorely for the sake of others ; see 1 Kings xiv. 10 — 
13. Another lesson is, 

(4.) That sin is a heavy burden, which none are able to bear up 
under. sirs ! What think ye of sin, that makes the very earth 
to groan under it this day ? Isa. xxiv. 20, " The earth shall reel 
to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage, 
and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it, and it shall 
fall, and not rise again." Ye walk for the present full lightly 
under it, but the weight of it ere long, will be felt by the most stu- 
pid sinner ; a dreadful weight ! that makes the whole creation 
groan. Are not the bands of guilt strong and strait, that thus gird 
up the heaven and earth, and bind down the creatures, that they 


cannot get up their head ? It is an offence to an infinite God, no 
wonder it doth lay an infinite weight on the ofi'ender. — We are 

(5.) That God is a jealons and just God, who will not suffer sin 
to go unpunished. Deceive not yourselves with misapprehensions of 
God, like the wicked, who, as in Psalm 1. 21, think him altogether 
such an one as themselves ; for as sweet as sin may be in the mouth, 
it will be bitter in the belly : Job xx. 12 — 14, " Though wickedness 
be sweet in his mouth, though he hide it under his tongue ; though 
he spare it, and forsake it not, but keep it still within his mouth : — 
Yet his meat in his bowels is turned, it is the gall of asps within 
him." Therefore, Exod. xxiii. 21, " Beware of him, and obey his 
voice, provoke him not ; for he will not pardon your transgressions." 
He is true to his word, and it cannot fail. He will reverse the 
order of nature, turn the heavens to brass, and the earth to iron, 
rather than one word of his fall to the ground. — We may also 

(6.) That creatures are ever weak pillars to lean to. You have 
need of something else to bear your weight, the weight of your 
comfort, much more of your happiness, for they are not able. There 
is a vanity that they are under, by reason of which they cannot 
reach tliat end: Eccl. i. 2, " All is vanity." They that have not 
something else to lean to, may soon have nothing to look to at all. 
what a pitiful idol is the clay god of this world! — We may far- 
ther learn, 

(7-) That God is a sovereign King, against whom there is no 
rising up. How can sinners think to escape with their sins, when 
the whole creation smart for their sakes ? Can we think that 
the innocent creatures should suffer, and we go free ? Can there 
be an out-braving him, who makes the earth and heavens groan 
under his hand ? or a fleeing from him, from whom the whole 
creation cannot make their escape ? — We are instructed farther, 

(8.) That the service of the creatures to sinful man is an imposi- 
tion on them : Rom. viii. 20, " For the creature was made subject to 
vanity, not willingly." Man falling from God, lost the right he had 
to them. But yet they are kept in his service, which they grudge, 
and therefore they groan. — Hence it comes to pass, that these ser- 
vants sometimes becoming masters, hurt him, and dispatch him. 
The least creature, having a commission for such a service, proves 
too hard for him, such as a stone in fruit, or a hair in milk. — I only 

(9.) That the creatures ai'e wearied of the world lying in wicked- 
ness, and would fain have it brought to an end : Rom. viii. 19, " For 

T 2 

284 cheation's gkoans 

the earnest expectation of tlio creature waiteth for the manifesta- 
tion of the sons of God." There is a happy day for the restitution 
of all things; they are longing for that day, when this world, that 
sink of sin, that stage of vanity, and scene of misery, shall be taken 
down ; and the wicked shall have poured out upon them the de- 
served curse, with all its eifects, centreing in themselves, without 
burdening others with it in any measure. — I come now, 

2. To an use of exhortation. The groans of the creatures are ex- 
citing, stirring up groans. So many of them as are about us this 
day, so many preachers have we to provoke us to the duty we pro- 
fess to be engaged in. — They cry to us, 

(1.) Humble yourselves under the hand of God. He has laid 
them low, and shall not we lie low before him, since for onr sake 
they are cast down. The noisy waters are now silent as a stone 
under his hand, the lofty mountains have laid aside their ornaments, 
and every thing mourns after its kind. Come down, then, from 
your pride and obstinacy ; yield yourselves to the God that made 
you, lie low in the dust, and join issue with the rest of the creation. 
— They cry, 

(2.) Eepent, repent ; for he is a God that will not be mocked, 
and though he long forbear, lie will be avenged on impenitent sin- 
ners at last. He has been long pleading with us to let our sins go, 
and he is saying now, as to Pharaoh, Exod. ix. 2, 3, " For if you 
refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still ; behold the hand of 
the Lord is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, 
upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep ; 
there shall be a very grievous murrain." Harden not your hearts 
to keep fast the bane of strife betwixt God and yon, lest it fare 
with you as it did with Pharaoh, on whose person God's hand fell 
heavy at last. — They cry, 

(3.) Pray, pray. "When the heathen mariners were at their 
prayers in a storm at sea, it was a shame for Jonah to be sleeping ; 
Jon, i. 4. The creatures, as they can, are crying to the Lord ; shall 
we be more brutish than they, and be silent at such a time ? TVe 
have been praying in the congregation; it would be a promising thing, 
and no more but duty, if families and particular persons were fast- 
ing and praying : Zech. xii. 12, " And the land shall mourn, every 
family apart." There is much work in families otherwise, to take 
care of them. ! then, will yon not do that which is so needful 
for yourselves and them ? — I exhort you, 

(4.) To reform, for the sake of these you would not involve in 
ruin with yourselves. For, Eccl. ix. 18, " Wisdom is better than 
weapons of war; but one sinner destroyeth much good." We see 


how the poor creatures are ruined in this way. But it is not tlieni 
only : Achan troubled the camp of Israel, God has threatened to 
pursue his quarrel to the third and fourth generations. If one in 
the family be seized with the plague, it is enough to carry away the 
whole. — Be exhorted, 

(5.) To endeavour to reform others, for your own sakes. The fire 
in your neighbour's house may come to burn down yours, if you do 
not help to quench it. It is thought that Achan's sons perished 
with him, because they concealed and laboured not to put away 
their father's sin. 

(6.) Seek to find your comfort and happiness only in the enjoy- 
ment of God and Christ. Then in the time of famine you may re- 
joice in the God of salvation, like the prophet Habakkuk, chap, iii, 
17. It is a sad matter we should again be so ready to trust the de- 
ceiving world, and to lean again to that broken reed that hath so 
often failed us, and pierced through our hand. Seek it in God, 
where it can never fail, in the everlasting covenant, that will be a 
portion of which ye may always be sure. 

(7.) Fear God, and stand in awe of him. As the sight of the 
drawn sword makes him in some measure afraid that wields it, so 
the sight of God's judgments should fill us with the dread of his 
majesty : Psalm cxix, 120, " My flesh trembleth for fear of thee ; 
and I am afraid of thy judgment," When the sea was raging, and 
Jonah awakened, he was impressed with fear and reverence of him 
that made it, Jonah i, 9, God would have the hearts of people awed 
■with his works ; and it is contempt of God not to be so, 

(8.) Labour to get a renewed right to the creatures. Our first 
charter was lost by Adam at his fall : and as the estates of rebels 
fall of course to the crown, so our right to the creatures was for- 
feited, and they fell back into the hands of him that gave them. We 
must get a ne(v right through Jesus Christ, by faith in him, if ever 
we would have true comfort in the creatures. I own a wicked man 
has a sort of right to the creatures : Psalm cxv. 16, " The earth 
hath the Lord given to the sons of men," By the same law that 
God hath said. Thou shalt not kill, he has made them over to us. 
This is a providential right, but it is not a covenant-right. It is but 
like the right the forfeited condemned man has to his meat till the 
hour of his execution. 

Lastly, Te that are godly, I would beseech you to long for that 
blessed day for which the creatures are groaning. You have good 
reason, as well as they. Long for the day this stage shall be taken 
down, whereon so much sin and misery are acted, when all that 
Adam put wrong shall be completely righted by Jesus Christ. 

286 creation's travail 



Rom. viii. 22, 

For we know that the tuhole creation groaneth, and travaileth in fain 

together until now. 

Having, in the preceding discourses, considered the groans of the 
creatures under the sin of men, I now proceed to the illustration of 

DocT. 11. That the creatures' pains under the sin of man are 
travailing-pains, sore indeed, but hopeful, they will not last always, 
they will be delivered from them. 

That this is the sense of this metaphor, appears by comparing 
ver. 23, " And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the 
first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, 
waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." 

The creatures have now had a sharp shower for several weeks ; 
blessed be the Lord it has in part intermitted, and that he has 
heard prayers in their behalf. Many such showers they have had 
since Adam's fall ; and though they have an intermission of the ex- 
quisite pains, they are not well yet ; the clouds will return after 
the rain. But the day will come when they will be quite well, and 
fairly delivered, and never groan more. What is clear from the 
scriptures in this point, I shall briefly lay before you, and a more 
curious inquiry is not fit for the pulpit. — "With this view, I shall 

I. When this delivery of the creatures is to come to pass. 

II. What delivery shall they then get ? 

III. Confirm the doctrine of the creatures' delivery. — And then, 
lY. Lead you to the practical improvement of the subject. — We 

are, then, 

I. To inquire when this delivery of the creatures is to come to pass. 

God, that has appointed a set time for every thing, has also ap- 
pointed the precise time for the delivery of the groaning creation ; 
and this is plainly revealed to be at the end of the world. For then 
is that time, Rom. viii. 19, 21 : so 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 ; and there was found no place for them." The 
apostle Peter is very express, that then they shall have their bear- 
ing shower, as it were, the sharpest ever they had, but it is the last. 


2 Pet. iii. 10, " But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the 
night, ia 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," Yer. 13, " Never- 
theless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a 
new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." They have been in 
their pangs ever since Adam fell, and will not be delivered till then. 
"When that period shall be, I know not; but it is plain the world is 
come to its old age. The heaven and earth, that beautiful garment, 
is grown old, as the psalmist foretold long ago. Psalm cii. 6 ; there- 
fore it cannot be very long ere it will bo changed. She that hath 
had many children is waxed feeble ; I mean our mother earth. It 
is evident she is not so fruitful as she was ; neither do her fruits 
yield such nourishment as sometimes they did, they are both fewer 
and weaker ; hence still less and weaker bodies. And why so with 
the earth, but because the heavens are in the same condition, and 
aftbrd not such influences as formerly, in the vigour of their youth ^ 
It is observed by astronomers, that the sun shineth more dimly, 
and appeareth more seldom than before, being much nearer to the 
earth than in ancient times. So much the nearer, so much the less 
influence, as appears by comparing summer and winter, the mid- 
day and evening ; so that the mighty giant, having so long run his 
race, begins also to wax feeble. It is long since our Lord said he 
would come quickly, Rev. xxii. 20, And most of the prophecies of the 
holy scripture are already fulfilled. All the seals are opened. Six 
of the trumpets are already blown. In the time of the seventh, the 
mystery of God is to be finished, and the world to end. Rev. x. 7. 
And there is no doubt but it is long since it began to sound. Un- 
der this trumpet are contained seven vials ; and if these were poured 
out, then time is no more. There seems to be two of these vials 
past, and that we are now under the third, expecting the fourth. So 
that there will be but four of them to come. And it is very agree- 
able to the dispensations of providence, that the nearer the end, the 
motion will be the quicker ; as in the reigns of the kings of Israel 
and Judah, before their respective captivites, 2 Kings xv. 16, and 
23, and downwards. Thus, without dipping further, it is evident 
we are far advanced in the last times, and that the world is in its 
old, if not decrepit age ; and at the end is the delivery.* — We now 

II. To inquire what delivery the creation shall then get. The 

* The author has, in this part of his manuscript, several notes in short band, which 
the transcriber could not decipher, from the want of which this part of the subject i» 
not so comolete. 

288 creation's travail 

creature conceived vanity and misery from the time of Adara'a sin, 
then they shall be delivered of that burden, with which they have 
been so long big, Rom. viii. 20, 21. Now, according to what I be- 
fore said on the first general head, we may soberly explain here, 

1. They shall fully answer their end, I mean not the very end for 
■which they were created at first, for some of these are inconsistent 
with the state of glorified saints : 1 Cor vi. 13, '* Meats for the belly, 
and the belly for meats, but God shall destroy both it and them." 
But whatever is their end, they shall fully answer that, God shall 
have his glory by them ; and if he design any benefit to man by 
them, they shall not be plagued by vanity therein, Rom. viii. 20 ; 
2 Pet iii. 13. 

2. They shall be freed from all that evil that cleaves to their 
nature now by reason of man's sin. For now they have undergone 
a sad alteration, but then they shall undergo another. They shall 
be changed : Psalm cii. 26, " They shall perish, but thou shalt en- 
dure ; yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment ; as a vesture 
shalt tliou change them, and they shall be changed." And that it 
shall be to the better, is evident from Rev. xxi. 1, " And I saw a 
new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth 
were passed away, and there was no more sea." 

3. They shall no more be abased by sinners ; they shall never 
more serve the lust of any man whatsoever, Rom. viii. 21. They 
shall then be recovered, the groaning creature rescued, never to 
suffer a relapse any more. However the lusts of the wicked may 
then be, they must prey upon their own bowels, but they shall get 
no more of the creation to feed them. 

4. They shall serve God's enemies no longer. Their long capti- 
vity shall then be at an end ; Rom. viii. 21. The sun shall no more 
bestow one beam of its light on an ungodly wretch, nor shall the 
face of the earth bear him any longer. One drop of water to cool 
the tongue, shall no more be at his service. Then they shall bid an 
eternal farewell to the masters they served so long against their will. 

5. All their misery, which was brought on them by man's sin, 
shall then be at an end. Tliey have shared long with man in his 
plagues, but then they will get the burden off their back, Rom. viii. 
21. The eating of the forbidden fruit cast them into a fever, they 
have groaned under it ever since ; but then they shall get a cool, 
and never relapse more. Now as to the way this shall be brought 
to pass, the scriptures are clear in two things: — 

(1.) That the world shall go all up in flames at the last day, which 
we call the general conflagration : 2 Pet. iii. 7, " But the heavens 
and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, 


reserved until fire against the day of judgment, and perdition of 
ungodly men." The apostle is very particular on this, in the 10th 
verse : " But the day of the Lord will come as a thief iu 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." The visible heavens by these 
means shall pass away with a great noise. What a fearful noise 
would there be in a burning palace ! what a noise, then, must there 
be arising from a dissolving world ! the elements of air, water, and 
earth, shall be melted down like metal by the fire ; the habitable 
earth shall be burnt up, with the works therein ; men's works, cot- 
tages, palaces, castles, towns, and cities ; God's works, all the crea- 
tures therein, birds, beasts, plants, trees, silver, gold, coin, &c. 

(2.) That upon the back of this conflagration, there shall be new 
lieavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, as in 
2 Pet. iii. 13. This John sees. Rev. xxi. 1. To this purpose the 
psalmist speaks, telling us that the heavens and the earth shall be 
changed, which is quite another thing than to be annihilated. So 
the apostle Peter calls it only dissolution, 2 Pet. iii. 11. And to this 
agrees what lie says of melting by fire, which, we know, does not 
annihilate, but only purges the metal from dress. 

So far the scripture clearly goes. But what particular creatures 
shall be renewed iu the new earth, their actions, properties, and 
uses, I will not inquire into these things. It is certain that some 
creatures came in after sin. Auah found mules in the wilderness, 
as he fed the asses of Zibeon his father. Gen. xxxvi. 24. The day 
will discover these things. But when one considers the world was 
made to be a looking-glass, wherein to behold God's glorious per- 
fections : and that ever since it was made, it has been before sinful 
man, blinded with sin, except the short time Adam stood, it may 
occasion some thoughts as to what the state of matters shall be in a 
new heaven, and in a new earth. — We come now, 

III. To confirm the doctrine of the creatures' delivery. — As to 

1. Consider, that the great day is the day of the restitution of all 
things: Acts iii. 21, "Whom the heaven must retain, until the 
times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the 
mouth of all his holy prophets, since the world began." When God 
made the world, there was nothing but harmony and orderliness in 
it. But as ever a rude heedless person, by a rash touch of his hand, 
defaced a fine picture, or disjointed and unframed a curious piece of 
work ; so did Adam's sin the world. But there is a restoration 
coming. — Consider, . 

290 creation's travail 

2. That our Lord Jesus is the heir of all things, Heb. i. 2. God 
gave Adam a charter, to hold of him the great estate of the world. 
But, rebelling against his God, his estate was forfeited, and that 
charter-right void, because it depended on his good behaviour. The 
second Adam coming in his room, the forfeited estate is made over 
to him. Psalm viii. 5,6, 7, compared with Heb. ii. 6, 7, 8, " But 
now we see not yet all things put under him." Ver. 9, " But we 
see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the 
suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour, that he by the 
grace of God should taste death for every man." But still in some 
sense he has not yet the actual possession of all, there are many of 
them still in the hands of his enemies, Heb. ii. 8. As Jesus Christ 
has a right to all the elect, thongli some of them are yet under the 
power of sin and Satan, and all of them, except a few singular per- 
sons, under the power of death, but Christ at that day will fully re- 
cover them all ; so the creatures yet in the hand of his enemies, he 
will then restore, seeing they are all his by his Father's gift ; hence 
we are taught that he will come again out of heaven for that restora- 
tion : Acts iii. 21. — Consider, 

3. That all the effects of the curse are to be gathered together, 
and confined for ever with the wicked in the lake : Rev. xx. 14, 15, 
*' And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the 
second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book 
of life, was cast into the lake of fire." 'Now, they lie scattered up 
and down through the whole creation, but they shall all meet to- 
gether there ; and therefore it evidently follows, that as to the crea- 
tures, their share of them, which makes them groan now, shall then 
be taken off them, and they for ever made free. As the mud and 
filthiness that lies in every part of the street being swept together, 
and cast into the common sink, it is all there then, and in no place 
else. — It remains, 

lY. That we make some improvement. 

1. In an use of information. 

(1.) This teaches us that every wicked man shall at length get all 
his own burden to bear himself alone. Many one takes a light lift 
of the burden of sin, because there are so many to bear a share of it. 
Men provoke God, and God smites the earth that bears them with a 
curse, makes their poor beasts groan, &c. But these strokes are far 
from their hearts ; they notwithstanding keep their sins. If they 
groan at one time, they will recover again. But remember, im- 
penitent sinner ! the day is coming when the creature shall escape, 
and leave thee in the lurch for all. The whole weight that is on 
them and thee together now, shall lie on thyself alone, and press 


thee (Iowa through eternity, while not one of the creatures shall 
touch it with the least of their fingers. — Learn, 

(2.) That people had need to take heed how they use the crea- 
tures while they have them. For as much as they are under our 
feet now, their ears are not nailed to our door-posts to be our slaves 
for ever. The day of their freedom is approaching. Let us not 
abuse them to the service of our lusts, lest they witness against us 
at last. Let us not dishonour their Lord by them, lest they rejoice 
over us for ever in our misery, when their foot is out of the snare, 
and ours in it. Let us not pat them in God's room, lest they send 
all the effects of the curse from off themselves on us, and so put us 
in the same place with devils. — We may hence see, 

(3.) That this world, and what is therein, passeth away : 1 John 
ii. 17j *' And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof." It is a 
stage of vanity that will be taken down, and the table of a dying 
life will come to an end. "What marvel is it that man dies, seeing 
he lives by deaths, the death of the creatures ; but this bondage of 
the creatures will not continue, they will be delivered, and God will 
support the life of man another way in eternity. 

(4.) "We may learn "what glorious things will be the new heaven 
and the new earth ! "When the old cracked pewter vessel is melted 
down and refined, and cast into a new mould, how unlike will it be 
to what it was ! The heavens and earth are now very glorious, 
yet sin has marred them. He that made them is not pleased with 
them, and therefore will have thera cast over again. If they be so 
glorious, even while so far unmade by sin, how great must their glory 
be when they are again new made ! — "We learn, 

(5.) However large a share the wicked may have here, they will 
have neither part nor lot in them. For " in the new heavens and 
now earth dwelleth righteousness," 2 Pet. iii. 13. For the wicked 
to be there, would be inconsistent with the creatures. But as for 
the saints, they have a charter, making over the earth to be theirs ; 
which, seeing it is not fully put into their possession now, it must 
be in the other world : Matth. v. 5, " Blessed are the meek for they 
shall inherit the earth." But how and in what sense they shall pos- 
sess it, I am not here to inquire. 

2. From this subject we have afforded an use of terror to the 
■wicked. How dreadful shall their case be at the end of the world ! 
Come, impenitent sinner ! behold here, as in a glass, the misery 
that is abiding thee. Thou canst make a shift now for thy ease, 
but what wilt thou do then ? It is terrible news to thee, that the 
creature shall be delivered. — For, 

(1.) The misery that lies this day on any creature whatever for 

292 creation's tuavail 

thy sake, sliall be taken off it, and laid on tliee tliyself ; and when 
all is laid on thee, thy burden will be insupportable. There is a 
curse on thee already, as a transgressor of the law. Gal. iii. 10. But 
a heavy end of the curse lies on the creatures for thy sake : Gen, 
iii. 17, " Cursed is the ground for thy sake, in sorrow shalt thou eat 
of it all the days of thy life." There is no way to extinguish the 
curse but by faith in Christ's blood, which thou slightest. There- 
fore, seeing there must be a remoYal of it from the creatures, it must 
needs be turned over on thee, and with thee turned out of the world : 
Matth. XXV. 41, " Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, 
prepared for the devil and his angels." Compare Rev. xiv. 10, 
" Thou shalt also drink of the wrath of God, which is poured out 
without mixture, into the cup of his indignation, and thou shalt be 
tormented with fire and brimstone, in the presence of the holy an- 
gels, and in the presence of the Lamb." And wilt thou not then cry 
out with Cain, " My punishment is greater than I can bear ?" Gen. 
iv. 13. 

(2.) As thou wilt be deserted of God, so thou wilt be deserted of 
the creatures in thy misery. No help from heaven, none from earth: 
Isa. viii. 21, 22, " And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead 
and hungry: And it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hun- 
gry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king, and their God, 
and look upward. And they shall look unto the earth, and behold, 
trouble and darkness, dimness and anguish; and they shall be driven 
to darkness." When thine enemy falls upon thee, all thy friends 
will run away from thee. There are two ways by which the ungodly 
get ease in the world, which will both fail them here. 

(1.) Though they have no comfort or satisfaction in God, they 
can take it in the creature. Though they see no beauty in Christ, 
they see a great deal in the world. Though the marriage-supper of 
the King's Son be to them a light matter, yet the farm and the mer- 
chandise are not so ; Matth. xxii. 4 — 7- Though they have no heart 
for the bargain of the everlasting covenant, Prov. xvii. 16, yet they 
are easy when they can win a few pence or pounds. Though the 
promises of things unseen are to them hungry things, empty shadows, 
yet what they can see with their eyes, and get a hold of wiUi their 
hands, are substantial : Hos. xiii. 6, " According to their pasture, so 
were they filled ; they were filled, and their heart was exalted, 
therefore have they forgotten me." Though the man cannot lie on 
his right side, he can lie full well on his left; though not on his 
back, looking up to heaven, yet on his face, looking down to the 
earth. -B^iti, ah! sirs, this trade of yours will not last ; you will not 
shift long this way ; the creature will be delivered, and what wilt 


thou do then ? Thou wilt not have a whole side to turn thee to 
then ; thou slialt have as little comfort in the creature then as in 
God, and that is none at all. He that has but one pillar to lean to, 
had need to have it a durable one. But thou hast but one, and it 
cannot last. 

(2.) If they cannot find it in one creature, they take it in another. 
If Haman cannot have the comfort of Mordecai's bowing, he can 
take it in revenge. If there be not sap enough in one creature, he 
can go to another, and so make shift. But this trade will not last 
either. For the whole creation shall be delivered ; and if all must 
go, there will be nothing left thee to ease thee in thy misery. Was 
not Job in a heavy case, when he was full of sores, his whole bcdy 
over, and all his friends deserted him ? Job, xix. 13 — 19. But what 
was all this to what shall be thy case for ever ? If you call to the 
sun that serves you now, it will not bestow one single gleam of light 
upon you ; — to the waters, they will not afford thee one drop to cool 
thy tongue ; — to all that ever thou possessed upon the earth, it will 
not do thee the least service. For then their term is out, and they 
will leave thee for ever. — How heavy will all this be ! 

1st, To be thus left by all thy gods that had most of thy heart 
when thy days of strength were. faithless world ! is this thy 
kindness to thy friends ? Is this the reward of the precious heart 
and affections, time and soul, spent on thee ? Must they that loved 
it best, have least comfort of it one day ? They whose hearts idoliz- 
ed it, be the only persons abandoned by it in misery ? Yes, it must 
be so, and that justly. For it was no more pleasant to the creature 
to be set in God's room, than it was to a slave to be forced into the 
king's throne by his master. 

2dli/, To be concluded under such misery, when the creature, thy 
servant and slave, which thou didst use and abuse according to thy 
will and lust, shall be set free. When the suffering of the creature 
by thy hands shall cease, then thy suffering shall begin. As the 
heavens abused by Antichrist are called, on the fall of his kingdom, 
to rejoice, Rev. xviii. 20 ; so the abused creatures will turn their 
groans into songs of triumph upon thy ruin. And to be insulted in 
misery by any, is sad : but saddest of all to be insulted by those 
that sometime were our slaves. — This subject may be improved, 

3. In an use of comfort to the serious and godly, who notice the 
groans of the creatures under sin, and join their own groanings with 
theirs. This cloud that has so black and lowering a side to others, 
has a fair, white, lightsome side to you. — The creatures shall be de- 

(1.) The mournful spectacle of the creatures which you see to-day, 

294 creation's xravaiIi 

if that day were come, ye shall see no more for ever. You not long 
ago saw the heaven as brass, and the earth as iron, and you heard 
an extraordinary groaning among the creatures. But their groans 
are not gone, though become lower ; as yet the sun must serve to let 
wicked men see to dishonour God ; the earth and sea must afford 
God's good creatures to be fuel to men's lusts. Many a good crea- 
ture must lose its life, to preserve the lives of them who live hut to 
dishonour God; and every creature, meat, drink, and the like, is 
abused, and groans under the abuse. Well, the day is coming, when 
they will groan no more ; nor shall you need to groan for them. 
The travailing creation will cast out its sorrows. 

(2.) If that day were come, ye shall also be delivered. You 
shall groan no more under your own burdens. This is the time of 
your travail, then ye shall be well : John xvi. 20, " Verily, verily, 
I say unto you, Ihat ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall 
rejoice : and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned 
into joy." Ver. 22, '' And now ye therefore have sorrow, but I will 
see you again, and your heart shall rejoice : and your joy no man 
taketh from you." May we not argue here as our Lord doth ? If 
God so clothe the grass, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into 
the oven, will he not much more clothe us ? And as tlie apostle, 
" Doth God take care for oxen, to deliver them, and will he not take 
care for us ?" If God deliver the old groaning creature, will he not 
deliver the new creature, that is also groaning ? Yea, surely you 
shall be delivered, — delivered from sin, the body of sin, you now 
groan under ; the cords of guilt shall be broken in pieces ; the iron 
bands of sin's tyrannical power shall be burst asunder ; the old te- 
nant, that has sit long against your will, shall be cast out, never to 
set his foot in again : 1 John iii. 2, " Beloved, now are we the sons 
of God : and it doth not yet appear what we shall be ; but we know 
that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see 
him as he is." Your candle shall not burn dim any more, nor your 
fire be weakly. In the garden, now so much overgrown, there shall 
not be one weed, nay, nor the least seed of one left : *' The Egyp- 
tians, whom ye see to-day, ye shall see no more for ever." Ye shall 
be delivered from all the consequences of sin. Though you are at 
present recovering of the deadly disease, yet the effects of it hang 
about you ; miseries on your soul, body, character, and the like ; 
but then all of these shall take wing, never to return. No more 
complaints of a weak and crazy body ; no more reproaches, crosses, 
and losses ; no more temptations, for when the carcase is removed, 
why should the eagles gather together? The last enemy, death, 
shall be destroyed, 1 Cor. xv. 53. Ye shall have a perfect delivery. 


There are four words Christ spoke of, or to Lazarus, at raising 
him from the dead. These ho speaks for the elect. 

The first word is, " Where have ye laid him ?" John xi. 34. The 
old murderer took away the elect's life among the rest, and every 
elect soul he has naturally buried iu trespasses and sins. But our 
Lord, coming to seek what was lost, sends the gospel to the elect ; 
and though the party himself cannot discern the gospel-language, 
yet others do discern it, and hear Christ in the gospel saying of the 
elect soul, " Where have ye laid him ?" 

The second word is, " Take ye away the stone," ver. 39. This is 
spoken for the work of conviction. Though the dead soul cannot 
hear it, it is heard : " My Spirit," says he, " Jet him alone no more ; 
conscience, awaken and rouse him up ; law, take him by the tliroat; 
oif with his ignorance of God, of sin, and of himself; break his se- 
curity, throw by his self-conceit and fig-leave coverings : " Take ye 
away the stone." 

The third word is, " Lazarus, come fortli !" ver. 43. This is 
spoken for the work of conversion. It carries life along with it, the 
soul hears this voice, and lives. Then the Spirit of Christ enters 
into the soul, and he that was dead in sin lives to God, and is com- 
ing forth in the progress of sanctification. But, how slowly does 
he come forth ! For though the reigning power of death be broken, 
yet the grave-clothes are still about him, which entangle him. 
Though he can move both hands and feet, which he could not do be- 
fore, yet there are bands on them both. This is all that is heard in 
time. But good news to the groaning Christian : at the last day, ye 
shall hear the last word, which is the 

Fourth, " Loose him, and let him go," ver. 44. Then not only 
sin, but all the consequences of it, shall be taken off. No more sin, 
pain, death, sorrow, or any such thing. Then comes the glorious li- 
berty of the sons of God, which Christ has purchased, which God 
has promised, which the whole creation is earnestly expecting, and 
which the spiritual Christian is groaning and waiting for, Rom. viii. 
21, 23. — I come now to a 

4. And last use, of exhortation as to these things. 

(1.) Let us believe, and give God the glory due to his name. 
Man is changeable, and he that depends upon his promise may sooa 
find that he trusts to a broken reed. But not so with God's pro- 
mises : Psalm Ivi. 10, " In God will I praise his word : in the Lord 
will I praise his word." Abraham had a promise of a very unlikely 
thing ; he believed the promise, and it was accomplished, Rom. iv. 
17 — 21. Is it unlikely that the creature shall be delivered ? Yet 
God has said it ; believe, and give him the glory of his power, that will 

296 creation's travail 

perform this great thing. Should all tlie angels and men in the 
universe conspire to free the groaning creation, they could not effect 
it. It is long since they were nonplussed in the case of refreshing 
the weary earth with a shower of rain : Jer. xiv. 20, '* Are there 
any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain ? or can 
the heavens give showers ?" Nay, men conspire to hold down, to 
abuse the creatures, and keep tlie hold they have got of them. And 
the earth is made a field of blood for the mastery over them. But 
God will end the quarrel, and deliver the creature out of wicked 
hands. Tlie second Adam is as able to restore, as the first was to 
break in pieces. Give him the glory of his goodness, that will not 
allow it always to go ill with the good. Gol's good creatures suffer 
for man's sake : but a good God will not suffer it always to be so. 
How much more will he provide, that piety shall not always be 
ashamed, and wickedness triumph ! The day will come, when none 
will be high but they that are holy. Give him the glory of being 
mindful of his promise, and stedfast to his word. It is more than 
five thousand years since he subjected the creature to vanity in 
hope ; and so, to this day, they not only groan, but they travail, in 
the hope of delivery; and their hope shall not make them ashamed. 

that it could make us aishamed of our hope wearing out so soon 
under afflictions ! to whom a few years, months, days, nay, even 
hours, are sufficient many times to make us hopeless. 

(2.) Let us believe this delivery, and walk answerable to the faith 
of it : 2 Pet. iii. 11, " Seeing, then, that all these things shall be dis- 
solved, what manner of persons ought ye to be, in all holy con- 
versation and godliness !" 

[1.] Let us use the creatures as servants, not as slaves ; allowing 
thera a regard suitable to their natures and use. God has given the 
creatures into our hands, and they must endure much misery for 
our profit ; and even that may be humbling to us, as being the con- 
sequence of sin. But that ever God allowed man to make a sport 
of the proper effects of sin, to torment and put to pain any 
creature, merely for his pleasure, is what I do not believe. And 
therefore grave divines do condemn cock-fighting, and such like, as 
unlawful recreations ; and I think not without good ground. Sure 

1 am, Solomon says, " A righteous man regardeth the life of his 
beast; but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel," Prov. xii. 
10. And to whom can the needless torment of the poor creatures 
create pleasure, but to the cruel or unthinking ? 

[2.] Let us labour to use the creatures soberly, and in the fear of 
God, and not abuse them to the service of our lusts. God allows 
us them for our necessity, convenience, and delight, in sobriety, but 


not to be fuel to our lusts. Let ns use them so as we would wish 
to have done in the day when we will see them delivered ; that is, 
use them to the honour of God. 

[3.] Let us never build our nest in that tree at the root of which 
the axe is lying. The creature is passing, lay not the weight of 
your portion upon it. Ye cannot abide with this world ; and if ye 
could, it will not abide with you. He is a fool, though he act the 
part of a king on a stage, who looks not for a portion that will 
be more abiding. For where is he when the stage is taken 

[4.] Look for your portion in another world, where is an endur- 
ing substance : Matth. vi. 19, " Lay not up for yourselves treasures 
upon earth, where moth and rust corrupt, and where thieves 
break through and steal :" Yerse 20, " But lay up for yourselves 
treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, 
and where thieves do not break through nor steal." This world is 
no continuing city ; look out for one that is to come. That is life, 
which begins after death is subdued, and when men shall die no 
more. To be easy here is no great matter, but to be so then is what 
should be our chief concern. 

[5.] Be holy in all manner of conversation, 2 Pet. iii. 11. This is 
the time of God's forbearance, wherein many confusions are suffered 
in the world : the holy and unholy are mixed : the effects of sin lie 
on God's good creatures, as well as sinners : but this will draw to 
an end, and there will be a fair separation. It concerns you now 
to see on what side you shall be set, to distinguish yourselves by 
holiness now, from those you would be distinguished from by happi- 
ness hereafter. 

(3.) And last place. Believe thy delivery, and help it forwards 
with your prayers. Cry for the great deliverance, the restitution of 
all things. It is one of six petitions our Lord has put into our 
mouths, " Thy kingdom come ;" and the last in the book of God is, 
" Even so, come, Lord Jesus," Rev. xxii. 20. I would have you to 

[1.] That the churches are all groaning together this day ; some 
of them under temporal plagues, being raised by Antichrist; all of 
them under spiritual plagues, a fearful decay of power and purity 
among them, whereby the disease is become general. The concern 
for the Protestant interest is very little at the hearts of some Pro- 
testant states. But a due concern -for the Protestant religion, the 
promoting truth and holiness, by a thorough reformation, appears 
to be very little at the hearts of any of them : Isa. Ixiii. 5, " And I 
looked, and there was none to help : and I wondered that there was 

YoL. IX. u 

298 crkation's travail, &c. 

none to uphold : therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me, 
and my fury it upheld me." 

[2.] That the wheels of providence seem to be running speedily 
forward to great changes in the world. God is shaking the nations, 
and things appear as in Luke xxi. 10, 11, " Then said he unto them, 
Nation shall rise against nation, and kiugdom against kingdom ; 
and great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines and 
pestilences ; and fearful sights, and great signs shall there be from 
heaven." And who knows what shall be the issue ? But we may 
be sure that the mystery of God is carrying on by them, and a way 
making towards it being finished. 

Let us then, by our prayers, help on the deliverance of the crea- 
tion, from sin aud its consequences, by crying mightily to the Lord, 
that these glorious things which are spokeu of the city of God in 
the latter days may be fulfilled, and so the end may come. — I now 
proceed to 

DocT. III. That the whole creation makes a mournful concert in 
the ears of serious Christians, by their groans under man's sin. — Or, 

That how deaf soever others be to the groans of the creature un- 
der mau's sin, serious Christians will not be so, they will be affected 
with them. — In speaking to this, I shall be very short. 

I shall only, in a few words, 

I. Mention the reasons why they so affect serious Christians. 

II. Make some improvement. 

I. I am to mention the reasons why they so affect serious Chris- 
tians. — Among others, there are the following : — 

1. They are the undoubted mark of man's fall and apostacy from 
God, which cannot fail to affect a serious heart. Sin has marred 
the beauty of the creation ; and though blackness is no deformity 
among blackamores, yet it is so amongst the whites. Some glory in 
their shame, but they will not do so to whom sin has been truly 
shameful. Now, these groans are the memorials of the fall. 

2. They are the constant evidences of God's indignation against, 
and hatred of sin, which are never wanting in the world. And it is 
a child-like disposition to be affected with the tokens of their father's 
anger; though they who have no care to please God, can easily pass 
the signs of God's displeasure, others cannot. 

3. They bring their own sins to remembrance : and a tender con- 
science disposes persons to think, *' This is for my sake, for my pro- 
vocations, that they suft'er." And so the saints groan with the 
groaning creatures, and long for the common deliverance. 

4. God is dishonoured by the sinner's abuse of the creatures. This 


makes both the creature and true Christians to groan, to see God's 
good creatures abused, to the dishonour of their Creator. 

II. I am now to make some improvement ; and all I propose here, 
is an exhortation — not to be deaf to the groans of the creation 
under man's sin, but to be suitably affected with them. God has 
not only made them groan with their ordinary, but with an extra- 
ordinary groan ; aud if you do not from hence see what an ill thing 
sin is, what a just God the Lord is, and how severely he punishes, 
and so set forwards to reformation of life, you may assure yourselves 
you will see these things more to your cost, when you yourselves 
shall be made to groan under the heavy hand of the Lord. 

Alas ! for the security and impenitency of Scotland ; nothing of 
all we have yet met with will rouse us out of it. Take heed that 
God do not create a new thing amongst us, which whoso shall hear 
of, their ears shall tingle, and thus groans of another sort from 
houses and fields shall be heard. 

that we were showing ourselves serious Christians, by our being 
deeply affected by the groans of the creation under sin ! If we were 
so, we would be, 

(L) Groaning under a sense of our own sin, and the sins of the 
land : mourning for the dishonour done to God by ourselves and 
others, by which we have grieved the Spirit of God, and burdened 
the very earth that bears us. 

(2.) We would be weaned from, and in a holy manner wearying 
of the world, which is a compound of sin, misery, and vanity. 

Lastly, "We would be longing for the glorious day of the great 
change abiding the world, when our Lord's kingdom shall be fnlly 
come, — the mystery of God finished, — sin and misery swept out of the 
world, — aud the saints and the creatures perfectly delivered. Amen. 



Numb. xiv. 24, 
But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and 
hath followed me fully, hhmuill I bring into the land ivhereinto he 
went, and his seed shall possess it. 

The Lord being provoked with the murmuring of the people, in con- 
sequence of the ill report of the laud brought by the spies, though he 

* Delivered after the dispensatioa of the Lord's supper, July, 1712. 



did not destroy the people all at once ; yet, justly displeased, he 
threatened to cut off the whole generation of murmurers, so that not 
one of them should come to Canaan. His anger at the rebels, how- 
ever, did not make him forget his faithful servant Caleb, who had 
acted a totally different part from the rest of the spies, together 
with Joshua, who is not named here, because now he was not num- 
bered with the peoi)le, being for the present the attendant of Moses, 
and afterwards his successor, as captain to lead the children of 
Israel into Canaan. This intimates to us, that God's own people 
may get special intimations of his love in a time when God is angry 
with the generation. However great the darkness may be, some se- 
lect ones will always have a Goshen, a land of light to dwell in. Joys 
may be their portion, while God is distributing sorrows to others. 

There were twelve spies, all of them noblemen or gentlemen, 
heads of the children of Israel, Num. xiii. 3. There were two, and 
but two of them, faithful to God and their country. Ten of them 
brought up an ill report of the land, dishonoured God, and ruined 
both their countrymen and themselves. They that are false to 
God, will never be true friends to their country. Hence we see, 
though not many noble are called, yet some are. Greatness and 
goodness met in Caleb. — Goodness, that he would not desert the 
cause of God, notwithstanding of all the ill company with which 
he was associated. They have little religion, that will not endure 
the shock of ill company, be they never so great. — In the text 
there is, 

1. Caleb's character. — More generally, God owned him as his ser- 
vant. This honour God put upon him. It is an honour to the 
greatest to be God's servants ; though the greater part will rather 
be the devil's slaves, and count that their honour. But black- 
ness is beauty among black men. — More particularly, Caleb was 
a man of a truly gallant and generous spirit. His name sig- 
nifies all heart, and his disposition corresponded with his name. 
He had another sx)irit than that of the world, another than his 
own, another than the rest of the spies. He possessed a spirit 
from heaven, calculated for the work to which he was appointed ; 
and that Spirit inspired him with courage, with undaunted resolution, 
while the rest were misled by a base, mean, sneaking spirit. He was 
truly courageous in his actions ; his other spirit made him behave 
himself otherwise than the rest. He followed the Lord fully ; he 
walked with the Lord, kept close by his duty, in opposition to all 
difficulties and discouragements. He was not afraid of the Anakims, 
nor did his undaunted heart shrink at the sight of their high walls. 
He knew that towns, walls, armies, and giants, must fall before the 


Lord, wlicn his promise was engaged for it. His companions de- 
serted and contradicted him in his good report. The people threat- 
ened him with stoning, but ho was all heart, would not yield, but 
followed the Lord fully. (Hebrew, fulfilled after the Lord.) What- 
ever way the Lord led, he followed. — In the text there is, 

2, The gracious recompense which God promised to his steadiness 
and faithfulness ; that is, the possession of that good land, while the 
carcases of the rest fell. Piety is the best policy. They who are 
careful of God's honour, he will see to their interest. Caleb was to 
fight for the land, but God says, I will bring him into it. The praise 
of the success of our endeavours is due to the Lord only ; this pro- 
mise secured his through-bearing over all difficulties. — From this 
subject, we may draw the following doctrines, which we shall attend 
to iu their order, viz. 

DocT. L That the honest servants of Jesus Christ must distinguish 
themselves from others, by following the Lord fully. 

DocT. II. That they who would follow the Lord fully must have 
another spirit, another than the spirit of the world, another thau 
their own spirit naturally is. 

DocT. III. That those who, by following the Lord fully in the 
time of great declining, distinguish themselves from others, God will 
distinguish them, by special marks of favour in a time of great cala- 
mity. — The scripture afl'ords many instances in proof of this, as 
Noah, Lot, Jeremiah, &c. — We begin with 

DocT. I. That the honest servants of Jesus Christ must distin- 
guish themselves from others, by following the Lord fully. — For 
illustrating this doctrine, it is intended, 

I. To shew what it is to follow the Lord fully. 

II. To give the reasons of the point. And then, 

III. To improve the subject. — We are then, 

I. To shew what it is to follow the Lord fully. 

1. It is to follow the Lord only as our great guide and leader : 
Heb. xii. 2, " Let us run the race set before us, looking unto Jesus, 
the author and finisher of our faith." They that follow not the 
Lord only, do not follow him fully : Hos. x. 2, " Their heart is 
divided." Their heart was going, one part after the Lord, another 
after their idols. He must have the whole man. Now, this implies 
two things, 

(1.) The soul's ceasing to follow all others who do not lead in 
subordination, but in contradiction to him. We have eaten our 
gospel-passover, and must now set forward on our journey. We 
stand as in a place where two ways meet, and at the entrance to 


these ways there are false guides, who cry, Follow us ; the Lord 
says, as in Song iv. 8, " Come with nie from Lebanon, ray spouse." 
— "We must not follow false guides. — We must not follow our own 
spirits : Prov. sxviii. 26, " He that trusteth in his own heart is a 
fool." Most men's spirits are quite blind : " Ye were sometimes 
darkness," Eph. v. 8. The best of them are but in their spiritual 
childhood, not to be trusted to themselves, but standing in need of a 
governor. They are naturally biassed guides, having a bent the 
wrong way. There are many snares which our spirits perceive not, 
till they are caught in them as a bird ; they often grasp delusions 
instead of light ; and men's thoughts in religion, not regulated by 
the word, prove as false lights on the sea, that occasion the ship's 
dashing on a rock. Let us look above us, rather than within us, 
for our way. — Again, we must not follow our own lusts : Rom. viii. 
1, " Who walk not after the flesh." Lusts are followed by many 
uuto their own perdition ; when they lead, the devil drives, because 
they lead the highway from God. Wind and tide from hell go with 
the stream of corrupt lusts, while the soul follows as an ox to the 
slaughter. Much of the spiritual warfare here lies in striving against 
this stream. — Neither must we follow the world ; the world would 
have the leading of all, and it gets the leading of its own. — We 
must not follow the men of the world : 1 Cor. vii. 23, " Ye are 
bought with a price, be not ye the servants of men." No man must 
be followed farther than he follows Christ. The dictates and com- 
mandments of men, be they ever so great, are no rule for conscience 
and practice : " To the law and to the testimony ; if they speak not 
according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." It 
was the sin of Ephraim, Hos. v. 11, that "he willingly walked after 
the commandment." They have little faith, or truth either, that 
will pin their faith to the sleeve of any. — Farther, Follow not the 
course and way of the world : Rom. sii. 2, " Be not conformed to 
the world." To be neighbour-like is not tlie plain way to heaven, 
but a plausible Avay to hell, for the most part of people's neighbours 
are going the broad way. Tliere will none seek to heaven, but a 
peculiar people, a singular sort^of persons, true separatists from the 
multitude, who must resolve to be men wondered at. They that will 
follow the multitude must perish with the multitude, and it will be 
cold comfort to us, that we go to hell with a company. — Finally, 
Follow not the smiles of the world. If we will follow the Lord 
fully, we must lift our process, and leave off to make our court to a 
bewitching world, which treats its folloAvers like the false irregular 
lights that are sometimes seen in the night, which pleases the eye 
of the traveller, but lead him off his way into some quagmire, 


obliging him to retire with shame and sorrow. How often does the 
world repay our love with frowns, and kills when it flatters. — This 

(2.) The soul's following the Lord in opposition to all these. The 
souls of men are ruined by an exchange of the living God for idols ; 
Jer. ii, 13, " For my people have committed two evils: they have 
forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cis- 
terns, broken cisterns that can hold no water." And their salvation 
is begun by an exchange of idols for the true God. The devil, the 
world, and the flesh, make many oft'ers; God makes one, " I will be 
thy God," which, in a day of power, downweighs all the offers of the 
world and of hell. Hence, when the man is brought to follow the 
Lord fully, then farewell all others, and the Lord is welcome for nil. 
There the eye of the soul is fixed. You may take this in three 
things : — 

[L] The Lord points out to his people the place of eternal rest, a 
city where they may abide. This they follow after as their grand 
prospect in the world : Heb. xi. 14 — 16 " For they that say such 
things, declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they 
had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they 
might have had opportunity to have returned : but nowHhey desire & 
better country, that is, an heavenly : wherefore God is not ashamed 
to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city." 
There they must be, there they are resolved to be, cost what it will : 
Matth. xi. 12, " The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the 
violent take it by force." Their great question is, " What shall we 
do to be saved ?" "While others are following what is about them,, 
they follow what is above them for their happiness ; they will not 
have their portion in this world, nor can such small things satisfy 
them. They are inspired with holy ambition to have a place among 
them that stand before the throne of God and the Lamb. Their 
other spirit so ennobles them, as that they cannot rest in these little 
views, which the serpent's seed have before their eyes. It is a holy 
flame which natively ascends, and carries the soul upward : Phil, 
iii. 20, " For our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we 
look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ." 

[2.] The Lord points out the way leading to eternal rest ; and 
they following the Lord fully, their heart follows him, making 
choice of it. He points out Christ the personal way, John xiv. 6, 
Then the soul that was knocking at, and working to win in at 
Adam's bolted door, the covenant of works, gives it over, and comes 
in by the door of the sheep, renouncing the way of the law, that old 
dead, killing way, and choosing to enter by the new and living way 


Heb. X. 20. The Lord points to the real way of holiness, Isa. xxxv. 
8. That way they choose : Psalra cxix. 30, " 1 have chosen the way 
of truth." This is their choice, that they may not be either among 
the faithless workers, or the idle, indolent believers, neither of whom 
follow the Lord fully. True, it is a difficult way ; both the way of 
believing, and the way of holiness, lie up-hill, but they halt no 
more. Their feet follow him, walking in it. lie sets them to the 
strait gate, and they enter on the narrow way, and they walk in it. 
Better a narrow way to heaven, than a broad way to hell. Their 
choice is followed with action, their purposes issue in sincere endea- 
vours, and their resolutions are crowned with practice : Psalm cxix. 
106, " I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy 
righteous judgments." Like Naphtali, they give goodly words, and, 
like Joseph, are as a fruitful bough. 

[3.] The Lord goes before them, and they follow his steps. He 
is glorious in holiness, and their design is to be like him, holy as ho 
is holy. They labour to imitate him in his imitable perfections. 
They are " followers of God, as dear children." There is a likeness 
betwixt a man and his God, and therefore the heathens, when they 
could not be like God in holiness, they made their gods like them- 
selves in filthiuess; and God, to shew men how they should walk, 
sent his own Son in manhood, both to die for sinners, and also to 
leave them an example, that men might see with their eyes how God 
walked, and so learn how ho would have them to walk. Thus wo 
must write after his copy, 1 John ii. 6, " He that saith he abideth in 
him, ought himself so to walk, even as he walked." And no less 
pattern do they propose to themselves who follow the Lord fully. 

2. To follow the Lord fully, is" to follow him universally : Psalm 
cxix. 6, *' Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all 
thy commandments." Whosoever says ho will come after me, they 
must follow me " in all things, in all times, in all places, with all 
their souls." No exceptions can be admitted in following the Lord : 
but as the resignation at first was absolute, if honest, so must the 
following be. This is to follow him fully, to fulfil all the will of 
God. — More particularly, 

They that would follow the Lord fully, must follow the Spirit of 
the Lord, and not follow their own spirit. It is an ordinary 
character of a Christian in Paul's epistles, that he walks after 
the Spirit. It is the work of the Spirit to bring in light, to discover 
sin and duty ; we must entertain it, and comply with it, we must 
answer the call : Psalm xxvii. 8, " When thou saidst, Seek ye my 
face, my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek." To in- 
diue aud fit the soul for following, we must beware of quenching the 


Spirit, but rather, when the wind blows, spread out our sails, that they 
may be filled by it. We must be spiritual in our hearts, lips, and lives. 

They must follow the word of the Lord, Psalm cxix. 30. Tho 
Lord's written word is the Christian's directory for heaven, tho com- 
pass by which he is guided on the sea of this world, and by which he 
is to steer his course. It is tho map of the country to which, and 
through which, he is travelling. Thence must he take his way- 
marks. What the Bible says, should seldom be out of the Chris- 
tian's heart. Those who study the Bible, have the advantage above 
all others, they get their directors away to heaven with them. " It 
is written," will be enough to them that follow the Lord fully. They 
will make the word of the Lord overcome their prejudices. Isa. si. 
6, " The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie 
down with the kid : and the calf, and tho young lion, and tho fat- 
tling together : and a little child shall lead them." 

They must follow the providential will of the Lord : " Thy will 
be done in earth, as it is in heaven." If we have said, I am the 
Lord's, then we must have said, Our will is the Lord's. It remains 
that our will should follow the Lord's, as the shadow doth tho body. 
If it be God's will that wo should be poor, sick, crossed, &c., that 
should also be our will ; if not, we do not follow the Lord fully. 
It is a sad matter we should give up ourselves to be servants, and 
yet still aim at being masters, to cut and carve for ourselves. There 
will be a crook in every lot of ours under the sun. Eccl. i. 15, 
" That which is crooked cannot be made straight." That which is 
crooked, in respect of our will, is straight enough with God's, which 
is tho true rule, so that if we follow the Lord fully, oiir will should 
be bended to the crook, and not the crook straightened to our will. 

Again, we must follow the cause and interest of the Lord in the 
world. There is always war in the heaven of the church, between 
Michael and the dragon, though it does not always come to blood. 
The armies are always in the field, though they are not always actu- 
ally engaged in a furious battle. Ye must be on the Lord's side, 
whether it be the highest, or the lowest in the world. There is no 
lying neutral here ; if we be not for God and his cause, then we are 
against him. This is a day wherein the enemy has displayed his 
banners ; and we also have a banner to be displayed because of truth : 
" Who is on the Lord's side? — Who?" It is time God's people 
were taking courage to them, and cleaving to the Lord, his way 
and work, in this covenanted land, in spite of all opposition. 

In the next place, we must follow the ordinances and institutions 
of the Lord, that doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, 
which has the Lord's stamp on it, the preaching of his word, and the 


sacraments, &c. It is lamentable to think how that spirit is gone, 
which some time ago was among people, for following the ordinances 
of the Lord. We are even glutted and surfeited with them. Op- 
portunities of communion with God are undervalued. People will 
deprive themselves of them, from reasons which, if they were to 
lose a sixpence by, they would quickly come over. It was the com- 
mendation of the Levites, and godly people through the ten tribes 
in Jeroboam's time, that " they followed the|ordinances of the Lord." 
All these came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice to the Lord God of their 

We must also follow the worship of the Lord. — The secret wor- 
ship of the Lord by ourselves alone : Matth. vi. 6, " But thou, when 
thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy 
door, pray to thy Father, which is in secret ; and thy Father which 
seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly." Secret prayer is a duty 
which they who are exercised unto godliness cannot live without, a 
duty in which communion with God is as readily to be had as in 
any other : and though there may be prayers in your family, yet, if 
you know your duty, you will also pray in your closet. — Family 
prayer : " Pour out," says the prophet, " thy fury upon the heathen, 
and upon the families that call not upon thy name." What do 
prayerless families but expose themselves to the wrath of God ? 
Every house should be a church. We receive family mercies, and 
are chargeable with many family sins ; why not then family worship ? 
And do they follow the Lord fully that have their family worship ? 
They will worship God at night, but not in the morning. Complain 
not of want of time, others in your circumstances get time when they 
have a heart to it. — Next, internal worship, without which all your 
external worship will be to no purpose. There is no following of 
the Lord fully, if that be wanting : Phil. xiii. 3, " We are the cir- 
cumcision, that worship God in the spirit ;" that is, in the exercise 
of grace with external worship ; fear, reverence, faith, hope, love, 
and other holy aifections, which are the life and soul of worship. 

Finally, they must follow the Lord so as that one thing be not 
wanting: Mark x. 21, " One thing thou lackest." There is one 
thing usually that is the great thing which stands betwixt every one 
and heaven : it is as it were the Shibboleth they cannot frame to 
pronounce. They can comply with any duty, part with every sin, 
bear any cross, but such a duty, such a sin, such a cross. And 
therein they say, as Naaman, 2 Kings v. 18, " In this thing the 
Lord pardon thy servant. When I bow down myself in the house 
of Rimmon, the Lord pardon thy servant in this thing." But this 
is not to follow the Lord fully. People must either come over that 


also, or tliey cannot prove their sincerity. The only course to take 
here is that in Matth. v. 29, 30, " And if thy right eye offend thee, 
pluck it out, and cast it from thee ; for it is profitable for thee, that 
one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should 
be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it oft', and 
cast it from thee." Herein lies the great evidence of sincerity ; 
and the victory over predominant lusts is like that over the Ana- 
kiras, which will cost many a severe struggle. 

3. To follow the Lord fully, is to follow him uprightly. A hypo- 
crite does but walk in a vain show. His feet only, not his 
heart, do follow the Lord. God, who is the maker and the 
searcher of the heart, will never reckon himself followed fully 
in a carcase of duties ; but notices the manner, motive, principle, 
and end of actions, which, if they be not right, all is wrong. — Then, 
to follow the Lord fully, is to follow him honestly in respect of our 
principle, not with a carnal selfish principle, which can only set 
us agoing, but with a spiritual, principle ; not as a mercenary sol- 
dier follows his captain, but as a child follows his father : John vi. 
26, " Te follow me," said Jesus, " not because ye saw the miracles, 
but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled." There is a 
selfish religion, where self is the chief wheel that sets all agoing. — 
We must follow him singly, in respect of our end ; following the 
Lord with a design and desire to please him, and not for carnal 
selfish ends. What is not done for the Lord, as the chief end, he 
will never reward. "Want of singleness in the end, maims the 
action : as when a wife adorns herself to please an adulterer, her 
aim would make her action abominable. — We must follow the Lord 
evangelically, in respect of the manner; following the Lord, leaning 
on his, and not on our own strength. This is the life of faith in obe- 
dience, by which the soul goes out of itself to the Lord for all^strength, 
saying, as in Psalm Ixxi. 16, " I will go in the strength of the Lord." 

4. To follow the Lord fully, is to follow him constantly : John 
viii. 31, " Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him. If 
ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed," It is a 
small matter to begin well, but it is the continuing to follow the 
Lord which is true following of him. It is a following the Lord 
habitually and evenly, so that our souls are fixed on this as their or- 
dinary bend. It is not to take up our religion by fits and starts. 
We must delight ourselves in the Lord, and call always upon our 
God. This must be our daily business, not our by-hand work. It 
was the fault of Rehoboam, 2 Chron, xii. 14, " He did evil, because 
he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord," And it is the fault of 
many, that they are unstable as water in matters of religion; many 


people's religion is like a tree-leg, which they can lay by and put to 
as their convenience requires. Wo must follow the Lord, so as to 
end our journey without defection and apostacy : " Be thou faithful 
nnto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." "We must not 
follow the Lord as ordinary servants, who have their term day, at 
which they give up with their masters. But our course of obedience 
must have its perfect work ; we must go through with the work of 
Christ to the end. Apostates are not fit for heaven : " No man," said 
Jesus, " having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for 
the kingdom of heaven," Luke ix. G2. But fearful is their doom, if 
they apostatise : " If any man," says God, " draw back, my soul shall 
have no pleasure in him," Ileb. x, 38. 

Finally, it is to follow the Lord resolutely, as Ruth did Naomi, 
in opposition to all discouragements and impediments in the way. 
There is the river of the evil example of the world, but they must 
strive against the stream ; there are corrupt strong lusts of the 
heart, but they must cut off right hands, and pluck out right eyes ; 
and there is the cross that will be laid on their backs, which they 
must go through with, and not turn their backs on the Lord in a 
stormy day,'^but trample on all which they have in the world to follow 
the Lord. They must not be as those who go to sea for pleasure, but 
like hardy mariners, who ride out the storm. — We now proceed, 

II. To give the reasons of the point. 

Among others, we shall mention the following : — 

1. Because the change made in regeneration is a real change 
though not perfect. Believers are God's " workmanship, created in 
Christ Jesus unto good works." The new creature, from the time 
of its birth, is perfect in its parts, though not in degrees. There 
is something awanting in every part of the new man, but no part is 
altogether awanting. Each gracious person has all the graces of the 
Spirit, though some of them are more eminent than the rest, and are 
as top-branches. This cannot but produce a following the Lord in a 
gospel sense. 

2. In closing with Christ there is an universal resignation. They 
give themselves up wholly to the Lord. No exception can be made, 
but the most difficult duty is undertaken, the dearest lust is given 
up with. It remains that people's sincerity in closing with Christ 
be evidenced by their walk, in an unlimited respect to all his com- 
mandments, in following the Lord whithersoever he goes. 

3. The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, 
and truth, Eph. v. 9. When there is not something of all goodness, 
there the Spirit dwelleth not. Where the garden is only watered 
by man's hands, there some plants thrive, others go back for lack 


of moisture ; but where the shower comes from heaven, it brings all 
forward together. So where there is an artificial religion taken 
up by men, there may be some i)artial or external appearance of 
good fruits : but where the Spirit is at work in the so'ul, real good- 
ness, and righteousness, and truth, will at once be brought forth in 
the life and practice. 

4. True mortification is universal. Where death comes, it takes 
the life out of the whole body, the soul departs from every part. 
So, Gal. V. 24, " They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with 
the affections and lusts." Sin keeps its dominion by one lust, as 
well as by many : therefore where any lust remains unsubdued, there 
is no genuine mortification there. But where genuine mortification 
to sin is, the soul will follow the Lord fully. 

5. Hypocrites may follow the Lord, but none can fully follow 
him, but those that are sincere. Judas may be in Christ's company, but 
the bag was always dearer to him than his master. Demas, because 
he loved the present world, apostatized ; so that, unless we follow the 
Lord fully, we go not beyond the line of hypocrites. — I now go on, 

III. To make some improvement. — And this, 

1. In an use of warning. 

This may serve to warn one and all of us, to take heed to our 
ways, and examine well our walk, whether we follow the Lord fully 
or not. Much depends upon it. None follow the Lord fully in a 
strict sense, while out of heaven, but all honest Christiansfollowhirain 
a gospel sense. Therefore ye may well suspect your states,'if you do 
not follow the Lord fully. This may strike a damp uponthe spirits, 

(1.) Of the more gross sort of professors, whose religion appears 
plainly to be but half religion, who, even in the externals of religion, 
take some parts, and leave others which they know to be duty ; like 
these, Zeph. i. 5, " who worship the host of heaven upon the house- 
tops, and that swear by the Lord, and that swear by Malcham ;" that 
will sometimes be praying, and sometimes cursing, taking parts of 
religion only here and there. — It may strike a damp on the spirits, 

(2.) Of the more cleanly sort of professors, who go a great leno-th, 
only lack one thing. There is one thing that is the great make- 
bate betwixt God and them ; and they go through all the rest of 
religion, but there they are mired, there they stick. That is the 
great gulf fixed between heaven and them, through which they can 
by no means pass. But pass it wo must, or we follow not the Lord 
fully. Some do not see it, then it is the more dangerous ; but seen 
it must be, and also overcome, or men may bid farewell to heaven ; 
Rev. iii. 21, " To him that overcometh, will I grant to sit with mo 
on my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my 
Father on his throne," — Here some mav state an 


Objection, If following the Lord fully take in all these things, 
■who does it ? In Answer, These follow the Lord fully in a gospel 
sense, who, 

(1.) Observe the Lord daily, and bear up after him in every step, 
yet, like the weak child following its mother, their eye follows him, 
their desire goes out after him, they would be at him, and with him, 
wherever he goes. — This implies two things. — (1.) Their observing 
all the prints of his feet, they love all his footsteps, they love all 
the duties of religion for his sake, and desire to perform all his com- 
mandments : Psalm cxix. 5, " that my ways were directed to keep 
thy statutes !" Their heart is in some measure reconciled to every 
known duty, and at variance "with every known sin. The spirit is 
willing, though the flesh be weak. Some sins lie nearer their hearts 
than others ; some are as right eyes, others only but as left toes ; 
hut ! a right eye plucked out is good in their sight, the contrary 
grace is beautiful and glorious, and the desire of their souls : Rom. 
vii. 12, " Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, 
and just, and good," — (2.) Their observing himself as the centre of 
all their desires. All goodness, holiness, and perfection, centre in 
him. That which is scattered here and there in his word, ordinances, 
and people, they take a view of, as concentred in himself, and so 
see in him at one view the whole of what they should be ; they are 
pleased with it, and sincerely desire to be like him. — These follow 
the Lord fully, 

(2.) Who aim after the Lord fully ; though they cannot follow 
him precisely in every point, they aim at, they endeavour it, as the 
child following its mother, weeping, and making what way it can 
after her. This implies two things. — (1.) They aim at the perform- 
ance of all duties, and warring against every sin. They do not give 
goodly words, and so fold their hands together, wishing they were 
better; but they even put their hands to roll up the stone, which 
yet perhaps may come down and down, over and over again, upon 
them. They aim at being holy in all manner of conversation, 1 Pet. 
i. 15. Grace infuses a principle in the heart, that turns the man 
towards every thing to which God calls. — (2.) They aim at the all 
of every duty, to get it right as to the manner, as well as to the 
matter : Phil. iii. 3, " They worship God in the spirit, rejoice in 
Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." — I come now, 

2. To an use of exhortation. 

I exhort you to distinguish yourselves from others, by your fol- 
lowing the Lord fully. Sirs ! have ye a desire for heaven or not ? 
If ye have no desire, you may sit still at ease, time will carry you 
down the stream to an eternity of woo ! If ye have a desire for 


heaven, then up, follow the Lord, follow him fully. Set your aflfec- 
tions that way. You follow duties; that is not enough, follow the 
Lord in these fully, or you will never see heaven. I hope you are 
not for bidding farewell to, and taking your last sight of heaven. If 
then you be in earnest to get to heaven, set yourselves to follow the 
Lord fully. Before I press this upon you by motives, I exhort you 
to take a solemn, grave, and serious consideration of what is lacking 
in your conversation, that you may fill it up by following the Lord. 
We must see our defects before we can fill them up. To assist you 
in this, consider what is wanting, 

(1.) In your mortification of sin, what right eye remains to be 
plucked out, lest there may be some one leak or other that may 
sink the ship : Psalm Ixvi. 18, " If I regard iniquity in my heart, 
the Lord will not hear me." Self-love prevails much, and hence 
beloved lusts find harbour, and escape the axe. — Consider, 

(2.) What is wanting as to your compliance with known duties, 
whether ye make conscience of all ye know or not. Do you find 
that you pray, but do not meditate nor examine yourselves ? then 
fill up that want. Do you pray, but neglect to watch ? then fill up 
this want also ; and so on. — Consider, 

(3.) What is wanting in the duties ye perform ? For many times 
these are but the half of duties, the outward part only, wanting 
that faith, love, zeal, and liveliness, that should be in all our duties. 
— Consider, 

(4.) What is wanting in your bearing the cross. Every one has 
his daily cross. Consider how ye bear it, with what meekness and 
patience ye walk under it. 

(5.) Consider what is wanting in your graces, if you have any; 
and unto what you have you should be still adding : 2 Pet. i. 5^ 
" Add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge tem- 
perance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and 
to godliness brotherly love and charity." — Consider, 

(6.) What is wanting in yonr relative conversation. A man is 
really what he is relatively. Consider how thou answerest the 
duties of a husband, wife, parent, child, master, or servant. — Having 
carefully observed all these wants and defects, be conscientious in 
filling them up ; follow the Lord only, universally, uprightly, con- 
stantly, and resolutely. Follow him fully. — To constrain you to this, 
I would mention the following motives : — 

1. All is full which is set before you in the way of following the 
Lord. God deals not by halves. 

(1.) We have a full law for our rule to walk by: Psalm cxix. 96, 
" Thy commandment is exceeding broad." It is extended to all the 


parts of our walk ; it readies heart, lip, and life ; requires not only- 
duty to be done, but done aright. And unless we have respect to 
all God's commandments, our obedience is not acceptable. 

(2.) "We have a full word for our light in our walk, by which we 
may take up what is sin, and what is duty, see how to steer our 
course in times of the greatest darkness : Psalm cxix. 105, "Thy word 
is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto ray path." It is the star 
that is given to guide us through this world, and we should be much 
conversant with it. 

(3.) We have a full covenant for provision in our way. It 
is an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure," 2 Sam. 
xxiii. 5. Whatever be our case, there is suitable provision in the 
covenant for it. There are in it precious promises to the saints in all 
conditions of life. Whatever storms and tempests may blow in the 
world, the saints may find something in the covenant to shelter 

(4.) We have a full Christ to lean to. He is mighty to save. In 
him there is both righteousness and strength. 

(5.) There is a full weight of glory for reward ; such as will fill 
soul and body even those of the most enlarged capacities. Shall we 
not then follow hira fully ? 

2. The Lord Christ, our leader, did not do the work of our salva- 
tion by halves, but fully. He obeyed the law fully, none of its com- 
mandments wanted their full due of liim. lie suffered and paid the 
debt fully, its threats and curses fell on him in full measure. And 
what would have become of us, if Christ had halved the work of our 
salvation ? Who would have done the rest ? Who would have sa- 
tisfied for any of our sins, or made up for any deficiencies in our 

3. Our not following the Lord fully, makes the following him in 
any instance so difficult ; and to follow hira fully would be the high 
way to make religion easy. When the Christian has one foot fixed 
to the earth, it is no wonder than that he with difficulty mount up- 
ward. One lust unmortified is enough to mar all our duties, and 
make our progress in religion very irregular, and therefore difficult ; 
whereas it would bo a great ease if all came away together, Luke 
ix. 69. 

4. If wo do not follow him fully, we will lose the reward of fol- 
lowing him at all, in respect of eternal salvation, 2 John 8. Look 
to yourselves, that we lose not these things which we have wrought, 
but that wo receive a full reward : otherwise wo will lose all tho 
pains wo have been at in religion. That in which we follow him not, 
will draw a black stroke through all in which we have followed him. 


Lastly, Another motive is, if we follow Iiim not fully, we will 
share with them that have not followed him at all, in a fulness of 
wrath : Psalm cxxv. 5, " As for such as turn aside unto their 
crooked ways, the Lord shall lead them forth with the workers of 
iniquity." God will fill them with the wine of his wrath. He will 
" cut them in sunder, and appoint them their portion with unbe- 
lievers," Luke xii. 46, as those who divided themselves betwixt the 
Lord and their own lusts. 



Numb. siv. 24, 
But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit ivith him, and 
hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land ivhereunto he 
went, and his seed shall possess it. 

I NOW proceed to the consideration of 

DocT. IL That they who would follow the Lord fully, must have 
another spirit ; another than the spirit of the world, another than 
their own spirit naturally is. 

In attending to which, I shall, 

I. Shortly point out, that it is another spirit. 

II. Shew what that spirit is, which they who follow the Lord 
fully have, and must possess. — Illustrating, at the same time, the na- 
ture and necessity of such a spirit. 

III. Make some practical improvement. 

I. I am shortly to point out, that it is another spirit which such 

This other spirit, which is so necessary to following the Lord 
fully, is understood, either of the Holy Spirit of God, who dwells in 
all the saints, Rom. viii. 9, or rather of a spirit sanctified by the 
Holy Spirit, and raised above its natural spirit by the power of 
grace. Thus it seems here to be understood, though both amount to 
the same thing. Such a spirit may well be called another spirit. 

1. It is another spirit than that which the world is possessed of 
which is a mean and base spirit, influencing them to grovel on this 
earth. The world has what it calls a fine spirit. But even that does 

Vol. IX. X 


but grasp at sliadows, while the most excellent tilings are out of its 
view. But this is a spirit truly noble. 

2. It is another spirit than the most refined hypocrites hare. By 
the common operations of the Spirit, the sj^irit of hypocrites may 
be raised to act more nobly than before, but these change not the 
nature of a man's spirit, but only help it to act in a natural way to a 
better purpose ; whereas this spirit raises it to gracious actings. 

3. It is another spirit than what the saints had before they were 
sanctified. Another, not in substance, but in qualities. How does 
this other spirit make a man differ from himself? How doth it ad- 
vance him to a higher sphere ? It made a preaching Paul of a per- 
secuting Saul. It endows a man with quite new principles, motions, 
ends, and aims, and elevates him to new measures for attaining the 

II. I go on to show what that other spirit is which these who fol- 
low the Lord fully have and must possess. — Illustrating, at the same 
time, its nature and necessity. — This spirit is, 

1. A noble elevated spirit, aiming at high things, and is not satis- 
fied with these with which the common herd of mankind are satis- 
fied. Thus Caleb aimed at Canaan, Numb. xiii. 30, while the rest 
were for Egypt again, chap. xiv. 4. Such another spirit have the 
saints, Phil. iii. 14, " They press forward toward the mark, for the 
prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Were a beg- 
gar's child adopted by a prince, he would change his spirit with his 
lot, and aim at things suitable to his new quality. Thus the child- 
ren of God rise in their aims and designs, will not be content with 
the creatures, but with God himself ; not with earth, but hea- 
ven, not the favour of men, but of God, not with gold, but grace; 
for they have another spirit, which can be content with nothing less. 
They have high projects, not bounded within the limits of this nar- 
row world, but aiming at a greater conquest. Now, such a spirit they 
must have that would follow the Lord fully. — For, if less can satisfy, 
they will be content to take their portion on this side Jordan ; they 
will exchange heaven for earth, and keep their grand prospect with- 
in the bounds of this world : Phil. iii. 19, " Their God is their belly, 
and they mind earthly things;" and so will never follow the Lord 
fully, nay, they will leave him where they cannot get their carnal 
interest along with them, as Demas did. — Again, if they have not 
such a spirit, they will continue creeping on the earth, to get their 
food, as the beasts among their feet, and never follow the Lord in the 
way to true happiness. They will fall down before these three that 
are in the world : " The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and 
the pride of life," 1 John ii. 16. Tliey will wrap themselves up in 


the world's profits, or drench themselves in its pleasures, and, like 
beggars, take care of their cottages, having no eye to a palace. 
Finally, if they have not such a spirit, they will never use means 
and endeavours suitable to such high aims. Noble spirits will pro- 
portion their endeavours to their high designs, while the mean spirit 
will go heartlessly about them. Gold is not got, like stones, beside 
every brook ; nor is grace and glory got, but in the way of hearty 
exertions : Prov. ii. 3 — 5, " Tea, if thou criest after knowledge, 
and liftest up thy voice for understanding, if thou seekest for her as 
silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures, then slialt thou 
understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. 

2. It is a spirit of faith, as the apostle speaks, 2 Cor. iv. 13, " We 
having the same spirit of faith." Such a spirit had Caleb, another 
than that of the rest, who could not enter because of unbelief. Such 
another spirit have the saints, while the rest of the world remain 
under the power of unbelief, and if they had it not, could never 
follow the Lord fully; for unbelief will soon trip up a man's heels 
in following the Lord : Heb. iii. 12, " Take heed, brethren, lest there 
be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the 
living God." Now, Caleb's other spirit of faith thus discovered itself 

(1.) It took part with the promise, and hung by it, while the un- 
believing spirits of the rest sided with sense in opposition to it. 
Thus, while the unbelieving world, whatever they pretend, do never 
solidly venture their happiness on the promise, but seek it rather 
among those things which are the objects of sense — the saints have 
another spirit, which rejects these, and by faith rolls the weight of 
its eternal happiness on the promise ; which spirit of faith realises 
to them the things which are not seen, Heb. xi. 1, aftords a view of 
them, as matters of the greatest realities, and of the word of pro- 
mise as sufficient security. "Without this, none will ever follow the 
Lord fully ; — for, if that which is held out in the promise be not 
realised unto men, it will never make sensible things, the reality of 
which men certainly know, to yield and give place to it ; for men 
will not quit certainty for hope. Were men as much persuaded of 
the reality of the things contained in the promise, as they are of gold, 
and other metals in the earth, think ye they would slight the pro- 
mise and take up with the objects of their senses as their happiness ? 
No. The truth is, all the glorious promises are to the world but 
fair words about fancies. — Again, if men cannot trust the promise 
as sufficient, security, they will never venture their all upon it, but 
our all must be ventured upon it if we follow the Lord fully : 
2 Sam. xxiii. 5, " This is all my salvation, and all my desire." 
We must glorify him by faith, hanging by his bare word. All for 



another world must be laid upon it, and often it comes to this, that 
all for this world must also be laid upon it. 

(2.) This spirit of faith took np the land of promise, as a land 
well worth all the pains, toil, and hardships, which the conquering 
it would incur : Numb. xiv. 7, " It is an exceeding good land." 
Thus, while unbelievers cannot see heaven worth the pains and toil 
that must be at the work, like the false spies, chap. xiii. 32, " they 
bring up an evil report of it." But the saints have another spirit 
of faith, which makes them see the glory of that land to be such as 
to deserve their utmost efforts and endeavours. " Let us therefore 
labour," say they, Heb. iv. 11, " to enter into that rest, lest any 
man fall after the same example of unbelief." Now, without such 
a spirit, men can never follow the Lord fully ; because to work for 
nothing makes us extremely averse to engage. If the recompense 
of reward be not seen as sufficient to counterbalance all the pains, 
persons will never strive to enter into God's rest, nor take heaven 
by force, Heb. xi. 26. Whence do we see, that men will strain 
every nerve for a little of the world, which they think worth the 
pains, who will not bow a knee to God for heaven ? They will 
work eagerly, who pray very heavily and carelessly, because they 
think the one worth their pains, the other not. — Again, men are na- 
turally very averse to spiritual endeavours, and if they see not some- 
thing that will provoke the sluggard to run, they will not follow 
the Lord fully. There must be a glory seen by an eye of faith, to 
overcome this aversion. Thus Christ proposed the treasure to the 
man, Mark x. 21, but he saw it not, therefore he went away. — Far- 
ther, no man can reach heaven with ease, the way to it lies up-hill. 
It will cost striving, wrestling, using violence, and the like. There 
are right eyes to be plucked out, that is hard ; there are giant-like 
lusts to be mortified, who will adventure upon that ? there is a 
combat, a fight to be maintained, in which the person must be a 
conqueror. Will ever men, then, follow the Lord fully, without such 
a spirit as by faith discerns heaven as worth all that pains ? Most 
men see it not : they think less may serve, for they want that other 
spirit, which accounts nothing too much here ; and so, with Judas, 
they say. Why all this waste ? 

(3.) This faith penetrates through all the difficulties which the 
unfaithful spies could not see through. Caleb's other spirit took 
the glass of the word of promise, and saw thereby how their numer- 
ous armies might be beaten, their high walls thrown down, the Ana- 
kiras laid as low as ever they were high : Numb. xiv. 9, " Only re- 
bel ye not against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land, 
for they are bread for us ; their defence is departed from them, and 


the Lord is with us ; fear them not." Such another spirit have all 
the saints in a greater or less measure. The carnal professor, like 
the sluggard, cries, " There is a lion in the way, I shall be slain in the 
streets." There is no meddling with such a duty, no mortifying 
such a lust ; thus he gives over the attempt. But the saints have 
another spirit^ which by faith discovers how impossibilities may be 
surmounted, how hills may be made to skip like lambs : and there- 
fore falls a-blowing his ram's horns, in hopes that the walls of Jericho 
sliall fall down ; and, like another David, with his sling, he sets 
upon Goliah, and attacks even the children of Anak. I do not say 
but this faith sometimes may be very weak, it may be very low ; 
but it is such as makes them venture on duty and difficulty, though 
trembling. Now, without such a spirit none will follow the Lord 
full. — For the want of it cuts the sinews of resolute endeavours 
after universal holiness. It is the hope of victory that makes the 
soldier to fight ; and when he loses, he turns his back : 1 Tliess. r. 
8, " But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breast- 
plate of faith and love, and for an helmet the hope of salvation." 
Faith must go before and see through difficulties, ere a person can 
come up and break through them. — Again, the want of it makes 
men, like Issachar, to couch under the burden, or as one who is 
upon an unruly horse, and finding there is no mastering of him, he 
lays the reins ou his neck. This is the reason why people, after 
some struggle against sin, turn worse than ever. They find difficul- 
ties in the way of duty, they have no hope to surmount these, and 
therefore give it over. But how can any reach the promised land, 
without the promise in their eye ? How shall they go through in the 
spiritual battle, while they throw away the sword of the Spirit, the 
word of God, the word of promise, and leave themselves destitute 
of the shield of faith ? Without this they cannot go out in the 
name of the Lord against their enemies, and so must turn their back 
as foiled. 

(4.) Caleb's spirit of faith looked to the Lord, as sufficient to bear 
him over all difficulties. He saw the Anakims as well as the rest, 
and had as little confidence in himself as they had; but he had con- 
fidence in the Lord, and so would go against them in the strength of 
the Lord. Such a spirit have all the saints : Psalm Ixxi. 16, " 1 
will go in the strength of the Lord." Isa. xlv. 24, " Surely shall 
one say. In the Lord have I righteousness and strength." This 
carries them to the Lord as the fountain of strength ; while as to 
the rest of the world, their spirit is as a pipe laid short of the 
fountain, by which no water can be conveyed. Without such a 
spirit, none can follow the Lord fully. — For, there are difficulties in 


the way to heaven, which none can overcome, bat by divine strength : 
2 Cor. xii. 9, " My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is 
made perfect in weakness." Unmortified corruptions will be as 
heavy as a giant upon a child, till Grod himself take part with the 
soul, and give the victory. They may lie under them and groan, 
but who shall roll away the stone, if the angel come not from hea- 
ven for that purpose ? Wo to him that is alone when he falleth ! 
without the Lord, the least work of religion is above us. " With- 
out me," saith he, John xv. 5, " ye can do nothing." The slenderest 
temptation will be found a wind from hell sufficient to blow over the 
man that is not supported ; the least duty, a task which they can- 
not perform acceptably. Where the Spirit of the Lord does not 
draw, we never will follow. Thus that spirit of dependence upon 
the Lord is necessary. 

3. This spirit is a spirit of holy courage and resolution. Numb, 
xiv. 9. Such a sj)irit, in some measure, have all the saints : Prov. 
xxviii. 1, " The wicked flee when no man pursueth, but the righte- 
ous is bold as a lion." Their spirit is peremptory and resolute for 
following the Lord whithersoever he goeth, not to be diverted by 
any means from their great interest. And though the godly may 
be naturally fearful and unsteady, yet this spirit in the things of 
God will prevail, seeing that their all lies at the stake ; without 
such a spirit, none can follow the Lord fully, for the following, 
among other reasons. — Because, 

(L) The work of religion is a great work, for which we had need 
of courage and resolution. The outward work of religion is great 
work, the inward work is still greater : Prov xvi. 32, " He that is 
slow to anger is better than the mighty : and he that ruleth his 
spirit, than lie that taketh a city." The labour of the hand is hard, 
the labour of the head is harder, but the labour of the heart hardest 
of all ; and religion is work of that sort. To work out our own sal- 
vation, to serve our generation, to get heart, lip, and life cleansed, 
is work sufficient to fear cowards who have not another spirit. — 
Again, consider, 

(2.) That our own strength is small. how weak is man at best 
for the work ! What a vast disproportion there is betwixt our 
strength and the least duty, if done aright ! 2 Cor. iii. 6, " Not 
that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves ; 
but our sufficiency is of God." When we view our work, how far 
it is above us, we may say, " Who is sufficient for these things ?" 
2 Cor. ii. 16. Here is need of another spirit to influence men, in 
attempting to roll away the stone, that is so far above their strength. 
But holy courage, through faith in Christ, will do it: Phil iv. 13, 


" I caado all things through Christ that strengtheneth mc." — Consider, 

(3.) That our opposition is great. If ye have a desire for the 
heavenly Canaan, ye must fight your way thither over ranch op- 
position, and so have need of another spirit. He that overcoiueth 
shall be crowned. If you have a desire to follow the Lord fully, 
you must follow him over much opposition. 

1. From the devil : Eph. vi. 12, " For we wrestle not against 
flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against spiri- 
tual wickednesses in high places." No sooner Avas man set up in 
the world, than the devil attacked and overcame him : and as soon 
as a soul begins to set heaven-ward again, the devil then will bo ou 
his lop. it is much to stand, when hell is in arms against us, 
Avhcn the black bands of temptations make an attack ! Satan is a 
powerful and subtle enemy. He will be sure to attack you on your 
weak side, and suit his temptations to your circumstances. Thus 
he did with our Saviour; for when he had fasted forty days, the 
devil said to liim. If thou be the Son of God, command that these 
stones may be made bread," Matth. iv. 3. He has his temptations 
for the poor and for the rich. He tempts the poor to steal, and the 
rich to deny God. Hence said Agur, '' Give me neither poverty nor 
riches, feed me with food convenient for me; lest I be full, and 
deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord ? or lest I be poor, and steal, 
and take the name of my God in vain," Prov. xxxx. 8, 9. He has 
temptations for youth and for age, for the joyful and for the mourn- 
ful Christian. Sometimes he appears as a fox transforming him- 
self into a lamb. Sometimes he roars as a lion. There is thus need 
of a spirit of courage to oppose him. 

2. We have great opposition from the world. 

(1.) From the things of the world. They collect their bands to 
encounter those who would follow the Lord, to turn them back. — 
There is the white band of the world's smiles, stained already with 
the blood of thousands. Many have been wounded, and many slain 
by these ; Prov. i. 32, " For the turning away of the simple shall 
slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them." Many 
a soul has died by the embraces of a smiling world, for it does with 
men as the panther with other beasts, who draws them after him 
with the sweet smell of his breath, hiding his head, while he after- 
wards devours them. Its profits and pleasures are syren songs, 
which end in bitter lamentations. They are silken cords, which 
afterwards grow as iron fetters, which may cost a flood of tears to 
get them off. Here is a trial for true courage of spirit, it is a 
great spirit that rises above the world when it courts us ! while our 
own spirit naturally loves it, even when it gives us gall to drink. — 


There is next the black band of the world's frowns. The world 
often puts on the lion's skin, and brings a train of crosses against 
the followers of fhe Lord : Acts xiv. 22, " We must through much 
tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." The world often turns 
stepmother to the godly, who may hare enough ado to get their 
bread, while plenty flows to its own darlings. We see how the 
world's sun went down at noon with Job. There is need of another 
spirit to carry a man above these, to give him another joy when 
that of the world fails, and to make him sing as the nightingale 
when the very storm is at his back. Thus did Habakkuk when the 
world failed : chap. iii. 18, " Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, and joy in 
the God of my salvation." Again, there is the mixed band of the 
world's cares. These are the world's thorn-hedge, which the Chris- 
tian must break through, or else they will choke the seed of the 
word in his heart, Matth. xiii. 22. This is the thorny crown it 
sets upon our heads so soon as we set out into the world. How 
hard is it to keep our ground here ! The care of a family, the care 
of the body, is that which has rendered many careless of eternity. 
Yea, and care we must : our meat will not be found among our feet, 
as that of the beasts, nor will it drop into our mouths without care. 
But what need of another spirit to use these things as if we used 
them not ! But, 

(2.) We have great opposition from the men of the world. The 
devil has his agents in the world, factors for hell, that will give 
much ado to those who would follow the Lord fully. And people 
may lay their account to be attacked with their tongues. They are 
not for heaven who cannot digest the raockings of a graceless ge- 
neration ; nor are they meet for it that will pass over their duty, 
only for the virulent reproaches they may meet with in their way. 
These sting severely, but there must be a resoluteness against them, 
to please God. Let a generation of imbittered spirits say what they 
will ; let Christians strive to have the testimony of God and their 
o^n conscience, which will be a secret support, condemn them who 
will. — They will attack them \\ ith their feet. The example of an 
unholy life : Matth. xviii. 7, " Woe unto the world, because of 
offences ! for it must be that offences come ; but woe to that man by 
whom the offence cometh." The world lieth in wickedness ; it is hard 
to bear out against the stream of example set before us. To be 
righteous as Noah in his generation, to keep clean garments in Sar- 
dis, is not easy : Matth. xxiv. 12, " Because iniquity shall abound, 
the love of many shall wax cold." Example ruins many, who like 
sheep, when one gets into the water, the rest readily follow. — They 
will attack them with their hands. The hands of persecutors are 


sometimes bound up ; the Lord seems now to be loosing them ; and 
some are already finding the smart of that. And it is like it will not 
be so easy to follow the Lord as it has been for some time past. 
But they who will follow the Lord fully, must have another spirit, 
which may urge them on to lose all, rather than lose their soul 
by leaving off to follow the Lord. 

Finally, The Christian has great opposition from his own lusts. 
He will not only find a war without, but also a war within him : 
Gal. r. 17, " For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit 
against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other ; so 
that ye cannot do the things that ye would." Our greatest enemies 
are within our own bosoms. — First, there is the general of this army, 
indwelling sin, the corrupt nature, the old man, flesh, called sin by 
way of eminence: Rom. vi. 12, "Let not sin, therefore, reign in 
your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lust thereof." The 
plague of the heart : 1 Kings viii. 38. This is the cursed gronnd, 
bringing forth briars and thorns. There must be another spirit to 
draw this to the cross : Gal. v. 24, " And they that are Christ's 
Lave crucified the flesh, with the aflTections and lusts." — Next, there 
is a swarm of hellish soldiers under him, particular lusts, as pride, co- 
vetousness, envy, malice, and tho like, that dog the man wherever he 
goes, and will give him enough ado to resist : Rom. vii. 21, " I find 
then a law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me." If 
you ask their name, it may be Legion, for they are many: Titus iii. 
3, " Serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, 
hateful, and hating one another." All sins are radically even in the 
best. Look through the world, and see what appears there ; these 
swine, who are running on others, show that corruption which is 
within the whole. Who are their allies? These are the devil, 
John viii. 44; the world. Tit. ii. 12. All the snares and tempta- 
tions in the world are allied to some one or other lusts within us, 
that suits them as tinder to fire. — There is, their quarters, the 
heart. " Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders," &c. ; 
and the nearer to us, the more dangerous. The heart is as a com- 
mon inn, so often thronged with these, that the master is kept out. — 
There is, their qualities. They are deceitful : Eph. iv. 22, " The 
old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts." Hurt- 
ful : 1 Tim. vi. 9, " But they that will be rich, fall into temptation, 
and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown 
men in destruction and perdition." 

III. I'now proceed to make some improvement of the subject. — 
Aud this, 

1. In the use of information. — From this we see, 


(1.) The great spring of defection and apostacy from the good ways 
of the Lord. How is it that so many make such a bad account of re- 
ligion ? They have not another spirit. Many, at their first taking 
up of religion, have great vigour and briskness of spirit ; but it is 
only like a blaze of straw, their oil fails, and their lamps go out. 
Such appearances denote only awakening, and not changing grace, 
which they have got ; therefore it lasts not. There is no spring of 
grace in the soul, only some showers from the clouds, water- 
ing the old ground of their natural spirits, which is soon dried 
up. They who thus drink, shall soon thirst again, John iv. 13; 
it decays by little and little, as the light after sunset, till it be 
quite dark. Again, because they have not another spirit, that 
frame of their souls is not fed by nourishment from Christ, as the 
sincere soul is, who receives out of the fulness of Christ. Hence, 
for want of nourishment, it dies, and they wither as branches cut off 
from the trunk, John xv. 6. A branch newly cut off from its stock, 
and ingrafted into another, may keep a short time green ; but if it 
do not take with the stock, it will wither. Now, they cannot take 
with the stock, because they have not another spirit : John i. 12, 
13, " He came to his own, and his own received him not. But as 
many as received hira to them gave he power to become the sons of 
God, even to them that believe on his name : Which wei'e born, not 
of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of 
God." Farther, it is the newness of the thing, not the newness of 
their nature, that makes that stir among their affections. Hence, 
when they have a little accustomed themselves to religion, and the 
duties of it, the newness is gone, and so their delight is gone, their 
affections settle, for they have not another spirit, to which religion 
would be its element : John v. 35, " He was a burning and a shining 
light, and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light." 
Hence old truths turn stale with many, and nothing relishes with 
them but some new thing. They are sprightly for a while, but at 
length their metal is gone, their hearts are deadened, their affections 
withered, and their consciences seared. Hence, a spirit of reigning 
sloth, which was only covered, not subdued, rises again, as weeds in 
the spring, which, though nipped with winter frosts, yet were not 
plucked up by the roots : Psalm Ixxviii. 37, " For their heart was 
not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant." 
They are awakened as with noise a little while, but, because they 
have not another spirit they fall asleep again. — Finally, hence a 
spirit of profanity succeeds in many : 2 Pet. ii. 22, " But it is hap- 
pened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to 
his own vomit again, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing 


in the mire." Their lusts, which were forcibly restrained before, 
break out again with greater violence than ever. The devil returns 
with seven spirits worse than the first ; and not being able to follow 
the Lord fully, they turn back with the greater violence. 

(2.) This instructs us as to the great spring of a divided religion, 
where there is still one thing or more lacking, Mark x. 21. They 
have not another spirit : the old spirit may follow the Lord in many 
steps, but it will never carry a man through with it. There are dif- 
ficulties in the way to heaven, which it is impossible to pass without 
another spirit. These are such as, 

It is a difficult step to advance into the heart and life of duties, 
spiritual worship, and the like. Bodily exercise is the farthest the 
old spirit can carry a man. A bird may as soon fly without wings, 
or a beast reason, as one that has not another spirit can worship 
God in spirit. 

Another difficult step is, to be denied to duties : Matth. v. 3, 
" Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of hea- 
ven." The old spirit is a selfish spirit, that does all from and for 
self. It knows not to strip itself of its own robes, spun out of its 
own bowels, and to go naked to Christ for a covering. A man shall 
as soon rend out his own bowels, pluck out his own heart, and cast 
it from him, as one without another spirit will lay the stress of his 
salvation on Christ alone, counting as if he had done nothing, when 
he has done all he can. 

A third difficult step is, to give up with bosom idols. Jesus laid 
the treasure in heaven, on the other side, to that man, Mark x. 21, 
and directed him to step over his idols, and he should have it ; but 
he was sad, and went away grieved, for he had great possessions. 
Fire, sword, and gibbet, will not affright some people from follow- 
ing the Lord, who will yet start back, when Christ offers them the 
knife of mortification, to cut off the offending right hand : 1 Cor. 
xiii. 3, " And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and 
though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it pro- 
fiteth me nothing." Thou hast a hand, it is a right hand, it must bo 
cut off, it must be done with thy own consent, nay, thou must put 
thy own hand to the knife, and thou must labour to carry it through. 
This is language that will never go down with a man that hath not 
another spirit. — Hence, men have a heart aversion to encounter 
heart difficulties in religion. Few see heaven, Why? Ileaven's gate 
is strait, ease is sweet. They are like the rich man in hell, see hea- 
ven afar off, but there is a great gulf fixed between them and it. 
Their base spirit from within, when the man is looking over the gulf, 
tries, Man, spare thyself, and then the heart starts back. They 


lo7e the gold but thoy do not dig for it. And they have not an- 
other spirit, a new spirit, as Caleb had, to put them forward. — 
Hence any attempts they make that way are faint, and therefore 
fruitless : Luke xiii. 24, " Strive to enter in at the strait gate : For 
many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able." 
Like a cowardly man, offering to cut off his own hand, which 
threatens the ruin of his whole body, he takes up the knife, lays it 
to the skin, but always the heart misgives, and he pulls it back. 
Whereas a man of another spirit, will do it resolutely, because he 
is resolved not to die. Hence such tampering with idols, in the way 
of mortification. Then finding the fruitlessness of these faint at- 
tempts, they even give over, losing all courage. They see it will 
not do that way, and they despair of getting any more power over 
them : Jer. ii. 25, " Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy 
throat from thirst, but thon saidst. There is no hope ; no ; for I have 
loved strangers, and after them will I go." Lusts are like an un- 
manageable horse, v/hich therefore gets the reins on his own neck. 
They have tried to roll the stone away, but it comes down on them 
again, and therefore they even let it die, and leave it. — Finally, 
their endeavours thon are turned to the soothing of conscience for 
peace. For this cause the man pretends he can do nothing, but 
Christ must do all. What is left is but an infirmity, from which 
the best cannot be freed on this side of the grave ; he will look for 
pardon, and so makes the blood of Christ a defence for his bosom 
lust. For as great an enmity as the natural man has to Christ, the 
devil will preach Chi-ist to serve a turn ; and thus the grace of God 
is turned into lasciviousness. 

(3.) This subject points out to us, that the righteous is more ex- 
cellent than his neighbour. He has another spirit. what a glo- 
rious difference does this other spirit make between one man and an- 
other ! I will instance this in a few things. 

How is it that one man contemns the world, with all that is in it, 
the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, while 
another man adores the world, and drives after it as his chief good 
and happiness ? He drives a trade with another world, looking be- 
yond others. What is it but that he has another spirit, a finer spi- 
rit, a spirit of a greater elevation and compass than others, which 
cannot take up with the little views of time. 

How is it that a serious holy Christian, appearing in his own co- 
lours, strikes a damp upon the profane, and even on the formal hy- 
pocrite ? Is it not that another spirit shines out of him, which com- 
pels them to fear him, though they hate him, to give him a secret 
testimony, though openly they reproach Lim ? Is it not because 


greater is that spirit which is in the saints, than that which is in the 
world ? 

How is it that when many are carried away with the strong tide 
of an evil time, keeping but one principle, which is to save them- 
selves on any terms, others do resolutely row against the stream, 
keeping one principle, which is to please God, to follow the 
Lord, from which they will not be diverted, whatever they meet 
with in the way ? No worldly advantage, the preventing of no 
worldly loss, do they think worth their going out of their way to 
attain it. ! is it not another spirit ? 

How is it that one man enjoys such serenity and tranquillity of 
mind, amongst the swelling waves of outward trouble, which carry 
others quite off their feet ? That one stands as an unmoveable rock, 
before the temptations which carry others hither and thither, as the 
chaff before the whirlwind ? Is it anything but another spirit, fixed 
on the Lord, his word, his promise, which are better things than 
what the world has, and the tempter offers. 

(4.) Hence we may see, the ground and rise of the spiritual com- 
bat which is in the saints. They have another spirit. They have 
a spirit in them, naturally as the rest of the world, which ordinarily 
takes the first word ; but then they have another spirit, that contra- 
dicts and corrects it : Gal. v. 17, " For the flesh lusteth against the 
spirit, and the spirit against the flesh : and these are contrary the 
one to the other." The natural raau has one spirit, which is corrupt, 
and not another ; therefore he is wholly corrupt, in heart, lip, and 
life. The saints in glory have one spirit, which is holy, and not an- 
other; therefore they are perfectly holy. But the saints on earth 
have one spirit that is corrupt ; but they have another spirit also ; 
and therefore their heart becomes a field of battle. — Hence we see 
how it comes to pass that the saints are at war with these lusts 
with which the natural man cannot but be at peace. He has an- 
other spirit, which is contrary to them, while the natural man's lusts 
and his spirit are of the same nature, and he has not another spirit 
contrary to them. If a man have a father, a brother, or son, in the 
opposite army, how can he find in his heart to lift up a sword against 
him ? The natural man's spirit, in the faint mortification which he 
makes, says to him, as David said to his three generals, " Deal 
gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom." The 
man that has a wooden leg can take it off, and cast it from him, but 
how can one do so with his limbs ? A man that has meat on his sto- 
mach, which loathes and disorders it, can vomit it up, but how can a 
man do this with a dainty morsel which he loves. — Hence we see 
also how there comes to be snch diflicultyin dealing with these lasts; 


there is a made resistance by one spirit, which is opposed to another. 
Lusts have a friend within the bosom of the saints, which takes part 
with them, and gives that other spirit so mnch work. You will see 
in them, as it were, the company of two armies, — twins struggling 
within them. 

(5.) Hence we may see the ground of that enmity that is betwixt 
the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. There is a holy 
amity among the saints as people of one spirit, which is a most close 
knitting thing. They cleave to one Christ: they pursue one object; 
they point towards one place ; because they have all one spirit. 
And what jars are among them, How from their own spirits not be- 
ing sufficiently subdued by that other spirit. But betwixt the godly 
and the wicked, how can there be but great enmity, seeing the godly 
have another spirit than they ? Those of different spirits and tem- 
pers are ill-yoked. This makes that enmity. — It is, 

(1.) A spiritual enmity, it breeds a natural antipathy betwixt 
them, for they have not only other actions, but another spirit. Hence 
the man whom the world caressed, and embraced, while of the same 
spirit with itself, when once he becomes truly serious, and gets an- 
other spirit, he is quickly turned out of the world's favour, he loathes 
them, and they loathe him. 

(2.) It is a most diffusive enmity; the spirit of the world is car- 
ried out after these things which savour of the flesh, that other spi- 
rit is carried out after the things which savour of the spirit. The 
spirit of the world has things which it loves, and hates these which 
the other spirit loves. Hence such an enmity against holiness of 
life, against divine ordinances, preaching the word, and other duties 
of religion ; but trace all these to their fountain, they will be found 
to meet in that of their other spirit. 

(3.) It is a most violent enmity; for the two spirits strike like 
two flints against one another, to raise the fire. No enmity like that 
which obtains on account of religion ; it breaks over all bounds of 
liumanity, while no other reason can be given for it but religion. 
It sets the daughter against the mother, the son against the father, 

(4.) It is a most rooted and fixed enmity. This quarrel began 
sooner than any in the world ; Cain and Abel were thus enemies. 
Many other quarrels have begun since this one, which have been long 
since rooted out. But no length of time can root out this ; the 
wicked children continue the quarrel, though they have seen the fa- 
thers fall in it. 

(6.) This subject directs us to the great object towards which such 
as would follow the Lord fully are to look, it is to their spirits. If 


our spirit be right, we will be carried through ; if not, we will fall 
off. The great work of religion lies inward. Take heed, therefore, 
to your spirits ; see that these be of the right kind, that your hearts 
be right with God, and sound in his statutes. — I shall have done 

2. An use of exhortation. Labour then to get another spirit, ear- 
nestly seek it, aim at, and pursue after it. To obtain your compli- 
ance with this exhortation, I would lay before you the following 

(1.) The prevailing spirit among us is a spirit which is our plague, 
and therefore we have great need to labour for another spirit : Luke 
xix. 55, " Te know not what manner of spirit ye are of." This is 
among the rest of our plagues. Men are little at home, weigh not 
their spirits in the balance of the sanctuary; bat their spirit of self- 
love makes all of high importance, and to appear well, which is their 
own. There is a sixfold spirit that is our plague this day. — There 

(L) A carnal worldly spirit: Phil. ill. 19, " They mind earthly 
things." Our spirits are sunk in the thick clay of a present world, 
and have got into an earthly constitution, as if, with our bodies, 
they were only sprung of earth. From communion and converse 
with God, our spirits are greatly estranged, but the world gets our 
first, middle, and last thoughts ; so that there seems need of some 
terrible alarm to make us lift up our heads off that pillow. — There 

(2.) A private narrow spirit : Phil. ii. 21, " For all seek their 
own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's." O what a rare thing 
is a public spirit among us this day, a kindly concern for the king- 
dom and interest of Christ in the world, men naturally caring for 
these things as their father's concerns. Sirs, our wide mouths will 
not absolve us from the crime of a narrow spirit in God's matters, 
more than Jehu's bravado, " Come, see ray zeal :" Prov. xxvi. 23, 
*' Burning lips and a wicked heart, are like a potsherd covered with 
silver dross." The Protestant religion is in hazard abroad and at 
home; is there anything of the care of the churches lying upon you? 
This church is in hazard of falling into the enemy's hands; are your 
hearts, like good old Eli's, " trembling for the ark ?" 1 Sam. iv. 13. 
Nay, do not many look upon our present privileges with such a de- 
spising eye, that it is all one to them whether they sink or swim. 
Have the attempts of our enemies ever made you go alone to wrestle 
with God against them ? You profess you would have ministers to 
keep honest ; but are we obliged to your wrestlings with God for us 
on that account ? Ilavc we any larger share in your prayers than 


we were wont to have ? Will the loss of our honesty be to you the 
loss of many prayers for us in a difficult time ? Psalm cxxxii. 9, 
"Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness, and let thy saints 
shout aloud for joy." It is a time of much sinning ; are you sigh- 
ing and crying for all the abominations that are in the midst of the 
land ? Ezek. ix. 4. Are you putting to your hand, as you have ac- 
cess, to stop the stream of abounding sin ? — There is, 

(3.) A stout, sturdy, fearless spirit. I fear, if God look to none 
but to those who are poor, of a contrite spirit, and who tremble at 
his word, Isa. Ixvi. 2, there will be few amongst us that will get a 
look of him. How little are we affected with the word, the dispen- 
sations of the day, and the signs of the times I Is not the word like 
a ball thrown against a wall ? The custom of hearing it has lessened 
the value of it. Who is hearkening for the time to come ? Does 
that question lie near your heart, How shall I be carried through in 
the evil day ? Are you putting matters in order between God and 
you, and preparing an ark for your safety ? — There is, 

(4.) A proud fiery spirit, while the humble, meek, and lowly spirit 
does rarely appear. People are so puffed up with conceit of them- 
selves, there is no dealing with them. If they make themselves vile, 
they will rather be more vile than submit to admonition or reproof. 
And if they be in the least rufiled, they are ready to cast all ordi- 
nances behind their backs. If the whole be not exactly according to 
their mind, they will contemptuously reject all. Witness the contempt 
poured by some upon the last fast. Humiliation of heart, and self- 
denial would cure us of this irreligious heart, which is the banc and 
ruin of religion among us, and would kindle in us a more kindly 
warmth of heart towards God and the things that bear his stamp. — 
There is, 

(5.) A formal spirit : 2 Tim. iii. 5, '• Having a form of godliness, 
but denying the power thereof." The bodily exercise of religion is 
much amongst many of us, but for exercise unto godliness among us, 
it appears to be very rare, 1 Tim. iv. 7, 8. And many proclaim 
themselves utter strangers to it. In the eyes of any discerning 
Christian, they have so little sense of the vitals of practical godli- 
ness, that these things are an absolute mystery to them. It would 
fare the better with many of us, that we would begin again and lay 
the foundation of our religion, and follow it out in the great myste- 
ries of the Christian life, mortification of heart corruptions, the life 
of faith, and communion with God. — There is, 

(6.) A profane spirit, where the works of the flesh Are manifest. 
There is a lying spirit, which so possesseth many, that they make 
no conscience of speaking truth, but lend their tongues for lies. 


There is a bitter spirit of cursing aud swearing, railing and reproacli- 
ing, amongst us, so that sober persons may say, as in Psalra Ivii. 4, 
" My soul is among lions; and I lie even among them that are set 
on fire, even the sons of men whose teeth are spears and arrows, and 
their tongue a sharp sword." See also Psalm Ixiv. 3 — 7. A base, 
sneaking, dishonest spirit, lodges in the breast of many, whose cove- 
tous, unrighteous ways, in undermining, deceiving, and wronging 
their neighbours, will bring a vengeance from heaven on their heads. 

(2.) The case of our day requires another spirit than we have. 
God seems to be speaking to the carnal worldly generation this day, 
as in Haggai i. 4 ; Jer. xliv. 4, 5. To the formal and profane, as in 
Matth. iii. 10. To the private-spirited, as in Amos vi. 1. Aud to 
all, as in Amos iv. 12. But how unsuitable are our spirits to the 
case of the day ! How unmeet are our spirits to act for God ! They 
are too mean to do any thing great and honourable for God and his 
glory. And doubtless, if we get not another spirit, we will never 
be honoured of God to perform any thing that is great for him. 
Our work as Christians is at all times difficult, but we are likely to 
have a special difficulty in our time. Is the mean and base spirit 
wherewith we are plagued, meet to set us to oppose the stream and 
tide of sin that is going through the generation ? Is our careless 
carnal spirit meet to wrestle with God, to keep him still in our land ? 
— Again, how unmeet are our spirits for suffering? The soft and 
carnal spirit which prevails, suits very ill with a time in which the 
Lord seems to be about to pluck up and destroy. That spirit of for- 
mality and profanity answers very ill with a time iu which people's 
religion may be put to the utmost trial : Isa. xsxiii. 14, " The sin- 
ners in Zion are afraid, fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites." 
Verily, if we get not another spirit, a time of trial will make a 
dreadful discovery among the professed followers of the Lord. 

(3.) Does not our own particular case, with respect to eternity, 
require another spirit ? Eternity is no dream, the wrath to come is 
no scare-crow ; these are the greatest of realities, and certainly require 
our utmost efforts. Does the prevailing temper of our spirits look 
like the eternal weight of glory that is abiding those who strive, run, 
wrestle, and fight tlie good fight of faith ? Alas ! our spirits are as 
unlike the attaining it, as the sluggard, who will not plow his field, 
is like to attain a good crop." They who look for a treasure, dig for 
it ; and they who wish for the prizC; run for it; but it is a loitering 
not a labouring spirit with which most of us are possessed, who have 
small probability of seeing heaven, unless it will drop down into our 
mouths. — Again, does our spirit look like flying from the wrath to 
come, that infinite load of wrath which is abiding a perishing gene- 

YoL. IX. X 


ration? We seem to be creeping from it rather than fleeing; and 
therefore it is ready to overtake us. how would our spirits stir 
within us, if we were duly affected with eternity, and the danger 
that our souls are in of the wrath to come ! — But farther, how un- 
like is our spirit to the subduing of strong corruptions within our 
own breasts ! How soft are our spirits against these our deadliest 
enemies ! "We must have another spirit, or our spirits will soon be 
devoured by thera. — Lastly, There is no following of the Lord fully, 
and so no heaven, without another spirit ; and therefore, as ever we 
would be found Christians indeed, and safe through eternity, let us 
labour for that other spirit : " Create in us, Lord, a clean heart, 
and renew a right spirit within us." — I shall now very briefly attend 

Doctrine III. That those who, by following the Lord fully in the 
time of general declining, distinguish themselves, God will distin- 
guish them from others, by special marks of favour in the time of 
general calamity. — The scriptures afford many instances in proof of 
this, as Noah, Lot, Jeremiah, and many others. 

For illustrating this doctrine, we shall, 

I. Shew how those must distinguish themselves from others in the 
time of general declining, who would have the Lord to distinguish 
them from others in the time of general calamity. — We shall point 

II. The marks of favour by which, in times of great calamity, God 
uses to distinguish such. 

III. We shall subjoin some reasons of the point, to confirm it. — 

lY. Make some improvement. 

We are then, 

I. To shew how those must distinguish themselves from others 
in the time of general declining, who would have the Lord to dis- 
tinguish them from others in time of general calamity. — Here we ob- 

1. That they must be best, when others are worst : Gen. vi. 9, 
"Noah was a just man, and perfect in his generation; and Noah 
walked with God." Their candle must shine brightest, when that of 
others is dying out. It is the property of holy zeal for God and his 
way, to become more vehement by opposition; so that the declining 
of others is as oil to their flame. It was better with Lot when he 
dwelt among the Sodomites, than when with his own children in the 
cave : 2 Pet. ii. 7 — 10, " And delivered just Lot, vexed with the fil- 
thy conversation of the wicked, (for that righteous man dwelling 


among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from 
day to day with their unlawful deeds)." The Lord knoweth how to 
deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto 
the day of judgment, to be punished." " It is time for thee, Lord, 
to work ; for they have made void thy law. Therefore I love thy 
commandments above gold, yea, above fine gold." If religion be dy- 
ing out among others, this will the more kindle an holy fire of zeal, 
and increase it in their own breasts. — We observe, 

2. That they must cleave to God, especially in that article in 
which others are leaving him, as in Caleb's case ; that is to say, they 
must be careful that they be not led away with the sins of the time, 
that they do not enter into the general conspiracy of the generation 
against the Lord aud his way, whether it be against truth or holi- 
ness. Thus the promise was to those who kept the life and power 
of godliness in Sardis, where there was a great general declining, a 
deadness and formality, and the bare carcase of religion : Rev. iii. 
4, " Thou hast a few names even in Sardis, which have not defiled 
their garments ; and they shall walk with me in white, for they are 
worthy." — We observe, 

3. That they must witness against every declining, according to 
their stations, and as they have access, for the exoneration of their 
own consciences, and the honour of God. Thus did Noah, that 
preacher of righteousness, to that unrighteous world. These must 
give a real testimony by their contrary practice, and, as they may 
have access, labour to withdraw others from sinful courses. — Thas 
did Caleb. — We observe, 

4. That they must be mourners over the sins of others, lamenting 
them before the Lord ; sighing and crying for all the abominations 
which are done in the midst of the land, Ezek. ix. 4. They must 
mourn for those who cannot mourn for themselves. When the glory 
of God is impaired by the sins of an apostatizing generation, their 
love to the persons of the sinners, and hatred of their sins, must 
draw tears of godly sorrow from their eyes. 

Let us now, 

II. Point out the marks of favour by which, in times of general 
calamity, God useth to distinguish such. — There is, 

1. Liberal furniture for duty, in a large communication of the spi- 
rit, when the Spirit is withdrawn from others: Matth. x. 19, "But 
when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall 
speak, for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall 
speak." The Lord calls not his people to serve him for nought; 
he even rewards the will to his work, with strength for it. If they 
be resolute to bear his burden, God will strengthen the back for it. 



Hence it comes to pass, that God's people never make better speed, 
than when rowing against the stream of opposition. — There is, 

2. Intimations of his special love to their souls. Thus had Caleb 
in the text, the saints of God have often golden days in the dregs of 
time upon this account. When the deluge of public calamity carries 
incorrigible sinners before it, with their burden of guilt upon their 
back, the saints are then made to rest in the evil day, by virtue of 
that peace which they have with God and their own conscience, Hab. 
iii. 16. — There is, 

3. Special provision in a time of calamity : Psalm xxxvii. 19, 
" They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, and in the days of fa- 
mine they shall be satisfied." God riseth often to see well to the 
provision of those whose work it is to cleave to their duty, and rely 
on the Lord for their provision : Psalm xxxvii. 3, " Trust in the 
Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily 
thou shalt be fed." So that their faces are fatter and fairer than 
those who eat of the defiled meat. — There is, 

4. Special protection in an evil day. God sets a mark on their 
foreheads : Ezek. ix. 4. " And the Lord said unto him. Go through 
the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark 
upon the foreheads of the men that sigh, and that cry for all the 
abominations that be done in the midst thereof." They are always 
protected from the evil of trouble ; but God sometimes, besides this, 
affords them special protection from trouble, by some surprising 
providence removing them out of the way of it ; sometimes by mak- 
ing them find favour in the eyes of their enemies : Jer. xv. 11, 
" The Lord said, verily, it shall be well with thy remnant; verily, 
I will cause the enemy to intreat thee well in the time of evil, and 
in the time of affliction." And sometimes by hiding them in the 
grave before the calamity come on: Isa. Ivii. 1,2, "The righteous 
man perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart ; and merciful men are 
taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from 
the evil to come. He shall enter into peace, they shall rest in their 
beds, each one walking in his uprightness." 

Lastly, He gives them the crown of glory : Rev. ii. 10, " Fear 
none of these things which thou shalt suffer ; behold, the devil shall 
cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried ; and ye shall 
have tribulation ten days : Be thou faithful unto the death, and I will 
give thee a crown of life." He brings them into Canaan above, and 
crowns them, while others, who forsook God, are for ever forsaken 
of him ; and they who sinned with the multitude, suffer with them 
for ever : Luke xxii. 28, 29, 30, " Ye are they which have continued 
with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom. 


as my father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink 
at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve 
tribes of Israel." — "We now proceed very shortly, 

III. To subjoin the reasons of the point, to confirm it. — Here we 
offer the following, viz. 

1. It is hard work to follow fully in a declining time, to strive 
against the stream which is so ready to carry people away: Matth. 
xxiv. 12, " And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many 
shall wax cold." Hard to keep warm in cold Sardis, Rev. iii. 4. 
To keep up the flame of religion, when a deluge of sin comes on, is 
very hard work. But hard work has always the greatest reward 
from the Lord. 

2. It is a piece of special honour to God ; and those who honour 
him he will honour. It is not so much to follow Christ when he hath 
a great backing, as to cleave to bim when many are dropping off 
from him on every hand. 

3. The Lord orders it so for the encouragement of his people, to 
follow him fully. He gives them the view of the recompense of re- 
ward, to encourage and animate them in pressing forward towards 
the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 

lY. We are now to make some brief improvement of the whole ; 

1. In an use of information. — We see, 

(1.) That none shall be losers at God's hand. They that cleave 
to him, when others leave him, God will cleave to them when ho for- 
sakes others. Our errand will come in his way, and he will shew 
himself mindful of any respect and love shewn him by them that 
walk uprightly. — We see, 

(2.) That he who walketh uprightly walks surely, come what will 
come. Whoso wanders from God's way, and follows the multitude 
to do evil, their feet will slide. But the best preparation and secu- 
rity for a time of general calamity, is to walk with God in a declin- 
ing time. — We shall only add, 

2. An use of exhortation, 

We exhort you, then, to follow the Lord fully now. Our time is 
a declining time. There is a declining from the purity of gospel 
doctrine and gospel ordinances. There is a horrid declining in 
practice ; the veil is falling off many faces, and the mask of religion. 
There is a general declining from holiness, and the power of godli- 
ness, on the spirits of professors in our day. It is a day of ap- 
proaching calamity. Would you be safe ? Return now, and set 
your face against the stream; and the more you see others going off 
from God, cleave the more to him. If you do so, ycu will be distiu- 


guislied by special marks of favour in a day of public calamity ; but 
if you also go away, your sin will afterwards find you out. 

Remember, now you have heard your duty ; it is the duty of com- 
municants, and also of others. Remember that it is not enough to 
set fair off. It is only he tliat follows fully who will be brought 
safely to the promised land. It is only he that endureth to the end 
who will be saved. Be not, therefore, " weary in this well-doing, 
for in due time ye shall reap, if ye faint not." 



RoM. ii. 28, 29, 

For he is not a Jew wJiich is one outiuardly, neither is that circumcision 
which is outward in the fiesh. JBut he is a Jew which is one inwardlt/, 
and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, 
luhose praise is not of men, but of God. 

These words are a reason why no man ought to value himself on 
the externals of religion, for they will go but short way. However 
they please men, they will never please God. The scope of them is, 
to show who are the people of God. The Jews of old were the peo- 
ple of God; the Christians are so now, being come in their room. 
The apostle here distinguishes the people of God into nominal and 
real ones, calling them Jews, because he was speaking to Jews ; the 
case is the same as to Christians. — In these words, he shews two 

1. Who are not true Jews, real Christians, or saints indeed, ver. 
28 ; for these are they whom he means by Jews, saying, " He ia 
not a Jew." Not those who are Jews outwardly, Christians and 
saints by profession, that is, who are only so, and no more ; for God 
requires externals of religion as well as internals, though the for- 
mer, separate from the latter, avail nothing. But those who have 
no more religion than what is outward, viz. what men see or may 
see, they have nothing of the reality of it. 

The Jews valued themselves on circumcision, as Christians on 

• Delivered in March and April, 1719. 


baptism; but true circumcision is not what is outward in the flesli, 
nor baptism wliat is by water ; that is only so. These external 
rites signify an inward grace, without which they signify nothing 
before God. Circumcision was in a hidden part of the body, yet it 
was on the body, and what might be seen ; so religion might be in 
saints; yet being only what may be seen, will not constitute a per- 
son truly religious. — He shows, 

2. Who are true Jews, real Christians, or saints indeed ? There 
arc two characters of these, which distinguished them from the other. 
They are, 

(1.) Those who are so inwardly, or in the hidden part, which is 
open to God alone, as well as in the outward part, which appears to 
the world. These who have the hidden part of religion, which being 
hid from the world's view, they cannot certainly judge of. Those 
who have the true circumcision, the spiritual baptism, that is, the 
circumcision of the heart, Deut. x. 16, by which corrupt lusts are 
cut oflf, and the body of sin put off, Col. ii. 11. This is the spiritual, 
not fleshly circumcision only. It touches on, reforms, and renews 
our spirit, our soul, the hidden, but most valuable part of a man. 
The carnal is but the cutting off a bit of the flesh of the body, 
which might be done while the spirit remained overgrown with un- 
mortified lusts, and the soul quite defiled. The spirit is here op- 
posed to the letter, which last cannot be well understood of the 
body, but of circumcision, and therefore the spirit also ; q. d. and 
circumcision of the heart, which is circumcision in the spirit or grace 
of it, (not in the letter, or external rite of circumcision), is the true 
circumcision. So they have the spirituality of it, which is as the 
soul thereof, as well as the letter, which is as the body thereof. 
The spirit of circumcision is the invisible grace signified by it, and 
joined with it, when it is effectual ; the letter of it is the sensible 
sign or external rite, 

(2.) They are such as have God's approbation, commendation, and 
praise, whether they have men's or not. There is an allusion here 
to the word Judah, from whom that i)eople, now called Jews, had 
their name ; it signifies praised, Gen. xlviii. 8. These are the true 
Judahs, whom not only their brethren, but their Father, even God, 
praises. Outward religion may gain praise of men, who cannot dis- 
cern what is Avithin ; but the true Jew the real Christian, is one ap- 
proved even by the heart-searching God, according to the reality, 
and not the appearance. — From this subject I take this 

Doctrine, That he is not a true Christian, who only in the out- 
ward part, and in the letter of religion, approves himself to men ; 


but he who, by the inner part of religion, and the spirituality there- 
of, also approves himself to the heart-searching God. 

In illustrating this important truth, I shall, 

I, Speak to this point generally. 

II. Consider it more particularly. — I shall, 

I. Speak to this point more generally. — Here I propose, 

I. To shew that there is such a difference in the visible church, 
that there are some who are only Christians outwardly, and that 
there are others who are also Christians inwardly. 

II. To inquire what are the causes of this difference ? 

III. To point out what is the outside and letter of religion, which 
only makes an outside Christian, and what the inside and spirit of 
religion is which makes a genuine Christian. 

IV. To confirm the doctrine. — I am, 

I. To shew that there is such a difference in the visible church, 
that there are some who are only Cliristians outwardly, and that 
there are others who are also Christians inwardly. 

This difference appears many Avays. It appears, 

1. In the very different characters given those who profess the 
same faith and true religion. The preachers of the gospel are fishers 
of men, but they are not all good that come by profession into the 
net, Matth. xiii. 47, 48. The tares and the wheat grow together in 
the field of the church, the goats and the sheep go together all the 
day, till the great Shepherd separate them. And as to virgin-pro- 
fessors, some are wise, and have oil in their vessels, with their lamps ; 
others are foolish, Matth. xxv. who mock God with fair promises, 
befool even the godly, who looked well upon them, and, worst of 
all, befool themselves in the latter end, when the Bridegroom 
Cometh. — This appears, 

2. In the very diflferent effects religion has on the lives of those 
who are called Christians. There are some whose religion has a 
powerful efficacy on their hearts and lives to make them holy, others 
who have nothing but an idle form, having no more sanctifying 
power with it, than a painted fire has to burn : 2 Tim. iii. 5, "Hav- 
ing a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. The know- 
ledge of some is confined to their heads, it never gets down to their 
hearts : Tit. i. 16, " They profess that they know God, but in works 
they deny him." Others, by reason of their li^ht, dare not venture 
on an ill thing, more than on a precipice. Religion makes some 
persons godly, sober, and righteous, binds powerfully on them their 
duty to God, to themselves, and to their neighbour. The pretended 
religion of others, leaves them loose as to all those things. It never 


checks them when neglecting secret prayers, or prayers in the fa- 
mily, or when disposed to swear, drink, lie, defraud, &c. — This 

3. In the very diiferent acceptance with God which persons' 
prayers get. There are some whose duties are very pleasing to 
God, they have a sweet savour in his nostrils : their words are re- 
gistered before him, their tears are bottled, their sighs and groans 
are regarded, their will is accepted for the deed. But there are 
others whom God abhors, and also their duties. The word is 
preached to them, but it never reforms them ; yet they hold on 
with their attendance on ordinances, and it may be also with their 
prayers. What says the Lord of all such ? " He that turueth away 
his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomina- 
tion," " For all these things hath my hand made, and all those 
things have been, saith the Lord ; but to this man will I look, even 
to him that is poor, and of a conti'ite spirit, and trembleth at my 
word. He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man ; he that sa- 
crificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck ; he that offereth an 
oblation, as if he offered swine's flesh ; he that burneth incense, as 
if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and 
their soul delighteth in their abominations." " To what purpose is 
the multitude of your sacrifices to me ? saith the Lord ; I am full of 
the burnt-offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts, and I delight 
not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he-goats," Prov. 
xxviii. 9 ; Isa. Ixvi. 2, 3, and i. 11. — This appears, 

4. From the very different sense and feeling which those have of the 
advantage of religion, the ordinances and duties thereof. Some are 
acquainted with the gain of religion, and, from their own experience, 
can give a solid reason why they follow it: 1 Tim. vi. 6, " But god- 
liness with contentment is great gain." They have tasted of com- 
munion with God in duties, and of access to him, of the sanctifying 
iuflueuces of the Spirit in ordinances : Mic. ii. 7, " thou that art 
named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the Lord straitened ? are 
these his doings ? do not my words do good to him that walketh 
uprightly ?" But unto others all these things are in very deed but 
as empty husks : Prox. xiv. 10, " The heart knoweth his own bitter- 
ness, and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy." They 
abide in the outer court of religion all their days ; they see not its 
intrinsic glory, nor taste of its kernel or marrow. They keep up a 
form of duties from custom, t^nd an unenlightened conscience ; but 
they feel nothing in them kindly to draw their hearts towards God. 
— This appears, 

5. In the very different effects of the religion which those profess. 


Grace is of a growing nature, and it will gi'ow, though not visible at 
all times : Prov. iv. 18, " But the path of the just is as the shining 
light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." And the 
longer that saints have a standing in religion, they will be the more 
firmly rooted ; though perhaps their affections be not always so vi- 
gorous, yet solid tenderness will display itself with them : Psalm 
xcii. 13, 14, " Those that are planted in the house of the Lord, shall 
grow up and flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still 
bring forth fruit in old age : they shall be fat and flourishing." 
And if they fall, they will not lie still, but recover again : Psalm 
xxxvii. 24, " Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down ; for 
the Lord upholdeth him with his hand." But what are the effects 
which the religion of many has ? Some grow up to their false pitch, 
and there they stand without motion : Prov. xxvi. 14, " As the 
door turneth on his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed." They 
think they are right, and they seek no farther. Some, instead of 
growing better, grow worse and worse ; the longer they live, they 
are the more unholy, more untender in the substantials of moral 
duties ; and some throw aside the mask altogether, and, in sight 
of the world, desert to the devil's camp, by falling into some pro- 
fane course, apostatising upon some temptation or other, and so, 
as they were before loathsome before God, they become also loath- 
some before his people : Rev. iii. 16, " So, then, because thou art 
lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my 
month." This appears. 

Lastly, In the very different passage which those have out of 
time into eternity. True, all must die, that is the point in which 
we all meet ; but as true is it, that it is the point where outside and 
inside Christians part for ever : Psalm xxxvii. 37, 38, " Mark the 
perfect man, and behold the upright, for the latter end of that man 
is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together ; the 
end of the wicked shall be cut off." Though thay have lived in the 
same church together, under the same ordinances, gone to prayers 
together, to one communion-table, when they come to that step 
where their ways part, they separate never to meet more. The one 
goes to the society of God, angels, and saints ; and their unseen reli- 
gion terminates in a glorious open reward, their grace in glory, their 
inward beauty in shining as stars in the firmament. The other gets 
his portion with reprobates, and those who had as little of the shew, 
as of the reality of religion : Psalm cxxv. 5, " As for such as turn 
aside unto their crooked ways, the Lord shall lead them forth with 
the workers of iniquity." — I shall point out, 

II. What are the causes of this difference which obtains betwixt 
Christians and others. — Among others, there is. 


1. The very different way that persons come by their religion ; if 
■WG examine outside and inside Christians, how they came by the re- 
ligion they severally have, it will be found, that the religion which 
they have is answerable to the way they came by it. — Thus, 

(1.) There is a difference in the weight which their entering on 
their religion had on their spirits. Some come very lightly by 
their religion ; hence it sits lightly upon them, and often goes as 
lightly from them. They venture upon building a tower, without de- 
liberately counting the cost. To others it is not so easy, but they 
are brought to the utmost seriousness in the matter, Luke xiv. 28, 
29 ; hence they go to the bottom of the matter, while others satisfy 
themselves with superficial work, 

(2.) There is a difference in the depth of their conviction and 
humiliation : Luke vi. 48, 49, " He is like a man which built an 
house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock, and when 
the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and 
could not shake it, for it was founded on a rock. But he that 
heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that, without a foundation, 
built an house on the earth, against which the stream beat vehe- 
mently, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was 
great," The plough of conviction lightly going over the fallow 
ground of tho heart, is sufficient to make an outside Christian : 
Matth. xiii, 5, 20, " Some fell upon stony places, where they had 
not much earth, and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no 
deepness of earth. But he that received the seed into stony 
places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy re- 
ceiveth it." If he have as much of it as to let him see tho evil and 
danger of a life quite profane, without so much as the form of god- 
liness, it is sufficient to make him put on the form. But it must be 
carried deeper, to make an inside Christian, even to the root of the 
most inward beloved lust, to the sin of one's nature, and to the dis- 
covery of Christ for sanctiflcation, as well as justification. 

(3.) There is a vast dift'erence in their light and illumination in 
the knowledge of Christ : John iv, 10, " Jesus answered, and said 
nnto her. If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith 
unto thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and 
he would have given thee living water," This is plainly intimated 
in the wise and foolish builders and virgins ; so that an outside 
Christian has never been right in the head. All their insight into 
the excellency of Christ and religion, has left them fools, while 
others have been made really wise, their judgment rectified, their 
taste purified, so as to be capable to discern things concerning their 
souls in their native colours. Hence that glory in Christ has been 


seen by the one, which has darkened all created glory, made thera 
content to part with all for him, while the other has always some 
lust or other more dear to them than Christ and religion. — There is, 

(4.) A difference in the issue of their exercises about their soul's 
case. In the one they have issued in the change of their nature, 
the taking away of the heart of stone, Ezek. xxxvi. 26, the making 
of thera new creatures, putting off the old man, and putting on the 
new. But in the other, whatever stir has been made in the affec- 
tions, whatever griefs or joys they have had, the stony heart has 
remained untaken away, Mattli. xiii. 5 ; so, though they have be- 
come other men than they were before, yet not new men. — Another 
cause of difference is, 

2. The different ways in which professors follow religion. This, 
if attended to, cannot fail to make a mighty difference. 

(1.) Some make religion their business, their main business, in 
the world : Gen. v. 24, " And Enoch walked with God, and he was 
not, for God took him." Religion is their all. They see nothing 
they have to do in the world, but it is either their salvation-work or 
their generation-work, so that they must observe God in all things. 
And this makes an inside Christian : Psalm cxix. 6, " Then shall ] 
not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.' 
Others make religion but a bye-work ; their main business is oi 
another kind, how to please themselves, how to advance their tem- 
poral interest ; and this makes an outside Christian. In regard to 
the one, all things else about him bow to his religion, he cuts and 
carves them as may best suit God's honour, and his soul's welfare ; 
whereas, as to the other, he makes his religion bow to his other de- 
signs, takes so much of it, and no more, as may leave him in quiet 
possession of some lust or other, 

(2.) They follow religion from different principles, motives and ends. 

[1.] Some follow it from natural principles and motives; that 
which moves them to it is a natural conscience, in some sort enlight- 
ened by the word and providence, which will give them no rest in 
the utter neglect of religion. Fear of punishment, or hope of re- 
ward, are powerful enough to make an outward Christian. But an 
inside Christian has a gracious principle of love to God and holiness 
implanted in him, the law is written in his heart, he has a new na- 
ture, which inclines him unto universal holiness, and thereby he is 
kindly drawn to follow religion, upon a view of its inward beauty ; 
and thus he fills up his character. 

[2.] Some aim at approving themselves to men in their religion. 
They seek a name by it, they desire thus to advance their credit and 
reputation among the sober part of the world, Matth. vi. 2 ; and 


seeming to be religious will satisfy, because men can judge no far- 
ther than the outward appearance. But others study to approve 
themselves to God : 2 Cor. v. 9, " Wherefore we labour, that 
whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him." Now, since 
God cannot be deceived with outward appearances, this engages 
them to be careful of the hidden man of the heart, and to value no 
approbation of any, if the Master approve them not. — From what 
has been observed, we may learn. 

That there is something in religion above nature's reach. study 
to attain it ! The mystery of godliness is a great mystery. It is 
no easy thing to be a Christian. The difference betwixt the godly 
and others lies not in externals, but in internals, things removed 
out of the view of the world, and open to God only. labour to 
study internal religion, and to approve yourselves to God who 
searcheth the hearts ! — Try yourselves. Consider to which of the 
two sorts you belong, whether you be real Christians or not. Never 
value yourselves on the outward part or letter of religion, for you 
may have that and be stript of all by apostacy to which you lie 
open, and will be turned out with the workers of iniquity at last, 
though you still keep on the mask. We must all appear before 
the tribunal of Christ. Study that religion which will be approved 
by him there. — I now proceed to consider, 

III. What is the outside and letter of religion, which only makes 
an outside Christian, and what is the inside and spirit of it, which 
makes a Christian ? — Here I observe, 

1. That the outside of religion is that part of it which lies open to 
the view of the world, by which men form their estimate, not God : 
1 Sara. xvi. 7, " But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his 
countenance, or on the height of his stature, because I have refused 
him ; for the Lord seeth not as man seeth ; for man looketh on the 
outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." It com- 
prehends all church privileges, duties, whether of doing or suffering, 
and attainments lying open to the view of men. Men may come a 
great length in this, and yet be nought in God's esteem. — I observe 

2. That the letter of religion is that part of it which is agreeable 
to the letter of the law, whether in externals or internals. And it 
comprehends not only the outside, which is open to man's view, but 
also internal dispositions, exercises and attainments, as to the mat- 
ter of thera ; for example, Judas's sorrow for sin, the stony ground's 
joy at receiving the seed of the word, and the hypocrite's delight in 
approaching to God, Isa. Iviii. which have the matter, but not the 
form and manner, and so is like a body without the soul. — I observe, 

3. That the inside of religion is that part of it which is open to 


the all-seeiug eye of God, Mattli. vi. 4, " That thine alms may be ia 
secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret, himself shall reward, 
thee openly." What, persons go about, out of mere conscience to- 
wards God, as knowing that the world either is not, or cannot be 
witness to it, and though it was a witness, it does not know right or 
wrong; but such setting themselves in the presence of God, are 
carried to their duty as if the eyes of all the world were upon them, 
Acts xxiv. 16. But this is not all. — I observe, 

Lastly, That the spirit or spirituality of religion is the internal 
grace, joined to the external performance ; it is the right manner, 
joined to the right matter of religion : John iv. 24, " God is a Spirit, 
and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." 
1 Tim. i. 5, "Now, the end of the commandment is charity out of a 
pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned," as 
when heart-humiliation is joined with bending of the knees to God 
in prayer, and the duty is gone about from right principles, and di- 
rected to a right end. — It remains that, 

IV. I confirm the doctrine, 

That not the former, but the latter sort of religion, marks a 
true Christian, is evident, if we consider, 

1. That there is nothing in the outside or letter of religion, but 
what one may reach in an unregenerate state, in which no man can 
ever please God, Rom. iii. 8. The hypocrite's mask may take in 
the whole outward man, and the devil's goats may resemble Christ's 
sheep, in all but the hidden man of tlie heart. All these are but 
acts of moral discipline, not requiring a new nature from whence to 
spring, but may arise from the old corrupt nature, assisted by ex- 
ternal revelation, and the common influences of the Spirit. — It will 
be farther evident, if we consider, 

2. That the outside and letter of religion may be without any 
true love to God in the heart, which yet is the substance of practical 
holiness, and the comprehensive duty of the whole law : Ezek. 
xxxiii. 31, " And they come unto me, as the people cometh, and 
they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but 
they will not do them ; for with their mouth they shew much love, 
but their heart goeth after their covetousness." Love to God makes 
all duties run in a right channel ; but how can this be found, when 
the natural enmity is not overcome by regenerating grace ? Self- 
love may supply its place, so far as the outside and letter of religion 
go, and that upon this principle. Job iii. " Skin for skin, yea, all 
that a man hath will he give for his life." — This will also be evident, 
if we consider, 

3. That the outside and letter of religion may consist with the 


reign of sin in the heart: 2 Tim. iii. 5, " Having a form of godli- 
ness, but denying the power of it." Such in themselves are weak, 
and can never turn sin off the throne in the soul. Hence it is that 
every hypocrite is a slave to some lust or other; whatever be his 
attainmeuts, this always remains true of him, Mai'k x. 21. This 
kind of religion i.5 ever like the legs of the lame, unequal. — This 
will be evident, if we consider, 

4. That men are in religion only what they are before God, not 
what they are before men. When God directs Abraham to a holy 
walk, he says, " Walk before me," Gen. xvii. 1. If God did not 
observe the hearts, the insides of men, the principles of their 
actions, an outside religion would be sufficient. But what does it 
avail before the all-seeing God, to cleanse the outside of the platter, 
while the inside is full of ravening, while that is wanting which 
God chiefly requires and delights in ? Psalm li. 6, how is it possible 
that the man should be approved of God ? — This will be evident, if 
we consider, 

Lastly, That the great difference of accepted and unaccepted per- 
formances, dispositions, &c., does not lie in the letter but in some- 
thing else. Cain and Abel both offered, the one acceptably, the other 
not. Gen. iv. 3, 4, 5, where lay the difference ? The apostle shows it, 
Heb. xi. 4, " By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sa- 
crifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness, that he was righte- 
ous, God testifying of his gifts ; and by it he being dead yet 
speaketh." Peter and Judas both mourned, and we need not 
hesitate to say, that the mourning of the latter in itself was fully 
as hearty as that of the former, but they differed in their kind, the 
one was godly sorrow, the other was the sorrow of the world. The 
trial of men's works is not only by what they have wrought, but 
hoiu they have wrought: John iii. 21, *' But he that doth truth 
Cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they 
are wrought in God." 

Y. I now come to make some brief improvement. — "We infer, 

1. "What are those Christians, who do not so much as approve 
themselves to men, by the outside, and letter of religion. Those 
surely have nothing of God, and shall never see heaven, if they 
change not their course of life : Matth. v. 20, '• Except your righte- 
ousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, 
ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." How many 
are there among us this day, whose way of life is a scandal to 
Christianity, who are in the church, as boils, botches, and sores, are 
in the body, serving for nothing but to grieve the spirits of others 
who have any concern in thorn ? What sort of Christians are 


prayerless persons, liars, Sabbath -breakers who loiter away whole 
Sabbaths, unclean persons ? &c. 1 Pet. iv. 18, " And if the righte- 
ous scarcely be saved, where shall tlie ungodly and sinners appear?" 
The day will come, when such will see that it had been their hap- 
piness to have lived and died among Pagans. — "We infer, 

2. That those also are a sad sort of Christians, who, if they can 
approve themselves to men, make it none of their business to ap- 
prove themselves to God : Rev. iii. 1, " I know thy works, that 
thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead." How many are 
there, with whom their credit goes farther than their conscience ! 
And therefore, if they can carry their wickedness, so as none but 
God may see it, they value not his eye on them : Numb, xxxii. 23, 
'* But if you will not do so, behold you have sinned against the 
Lord ; and be sure your sin will find you out." This practical atheism 
will be bitterness in the end, when the day comes, when God shall 
judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to the gospel, 
Rpm. xi. 16. Ah ! how many cast a fair cloak of profession over 
reigning lusts; but behold their 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 ; but peace shall be upon Israel." 

II. I shall consider this point more particularly, and shew, in 
some particulars, how far one may go, and yet be an outside Chris- 
tian, and in what respects the inside Christian goes beyond him, and 
these jointly, in the following propositions. 

I. That he is not a true Christian who only bears the visible bad- 
ges of Christianity, but he who, with the visible badges, also par- 
takes of the invisible grace. 

II. That he is not a true Christian, whose outward man is only 
cleansed from the gross pollutions of the world, but he whose in- 
ward man is also cleansed. 

III. That he is not a true Christian who only performs the duties 
of external obedience, but he who, with them, joins the duties of in- 
ternal obedience. 

TV. That he is not a true Christian, who has inside religion only 
in the letter, but he who has it also in its spirituality. — These I shall 
illustrate in their order. — I observe, 

I. That he h not a true Christian, who only bears the visible bad- 
ges of Christianity, but he who, with the visible badges, also par- 
takes of the invisible grace. — Mark xvi. 16, "He that believeth,and 
is baptised, shall be saved ; but he that believeth not shall be 
damned." The visible badges of Christianity are the sacraments, 
baptism, and the Lord's Supper ; by partaking of these, we are dis- 
tinguished from Pagans ; but there is an invisible grace, without 
which these avail nothing to salvation. — For, 


1. One may be baptised in the name of Christ, and yet be no true 
Christian, but even at the last only an outside one ; as in our text, 
" For he is not a Jew which is one outwardly, neither is that circum- 
cision which is outward in the flesh." We find some have been bred 
Jews or pagans, and, by their own free choice, have turned Chris- 
tians, and received the seal of the covenant, and after all been 
naught : Acts viii. 13, 21, " Then Simon himself believed also; and 
when he was baptised, he continued with Pliilip, and wondered, be- 
holding the miracles and signs that were done. But Peter said to 
him. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter, for thy heart is 
not right in the sight of God !" How much more may persons 
amongst us be such, who were baptised in their infancy with water, 
which was not their choice, but a benefit they had by their parents' 
care, and from Christianity's being the religion of our country ! 
And how little it avails many, and what good they make of it, may 
be learnt from this, that the impressions of their baptismal engage- 
ments are so slight on them that they never mind them, many bap- 
tised persons pass year after year, without preparing themselves for 
the Lord's table. But he is a true Christian, who has the invisible 
grace signified by baptism. See the diflTerence betwixt outside and 
inside Christians in this, Matth. ili. 11, " I indeed baptise you with 
water unto repentance : but he that cometh after me is greater than 
I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; he shall baptise you with 
the Holy Ghost, and with fire." 1 Pet. iii. 21, " The like figure 
■whereunto even baptism doth also now save us, (not the putting 
away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience 
towards God), by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." The outside 
Christian maybe baptised with water, but the inside is baptised with 
the Holy Ghost, working like fire, burning up the lusts of the flesh. 
He is born of water, and the Spirit, working like water, to the wash- 
ing away of the natural filthiness of the spirit with which he was 
born, on whose conscience Christ's blood is sprinkled, on whose soul 
Christ's spirit has savingly operated to his spiritual cleansing. In 
this the inside goes beyond the outside Christian. 

2. In like manner, persons may be admitted to the Lord's table, 
and yet not be true Christians. Though this be only the privilege 
of saints, yet a person may be a communicant, who is nothing more 
than an outside Christian. While others are debarred, they may 
be admitted to an external partaking of the children's bread, and 
yet be but dogs in the sight of the heart-searching God : Luke xii. 
26, *' Then shall ye begin to say. We have eaten and have drunk in 
thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets." Matth. xxii. 13, 
*' And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having 
Vol. IX. z 


a wedding-garmeut ? and he was speechless. Then said the king to 
the servants, bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast 
him into outer darkness, there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." 
A competency of knowledge, with an appearance of seriousness of 
an holy life, will entitle persons to this privilege before the church, who 
can judge only by the outward appearance ; but he is a true Christian 
who is admitted to communion with God in that ordinance : Cant. v. 
1, " I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse, I have gather- 
ed my myrrh with my spice, I have eaten my honeycomb with my 
honey. Eat, friends, drink, yea, drink abundantly, beloved." 
In this matter, the inside Christian goes beyond the outside one. 
The outside Christian gets the token from men, the inside Christian 
has also the Lord's token. The one only eats the bread of the Lord, 
the other, with it, eats that bread which is the Lord : John vi. 57, 
" He that eateth me, he shall live by me ;" he feeds by faith on a cru- 
cified Christ, unites with him, as partaking of his Spirit, of all the be- 
nefits of his purchase, to his spiritual nourishment, and growth in 
grace. The one is held in the outer court, the other is admitted into 
the inner, and is there feasted in greater or lesser measures. The 
lusts of the former are strengthened by the abuse of that ordinance, 
those of the latter are weakened by the holy use of it. — I observe, 

II. That he is not a true Christian, whose outward man only is 
cleansed from the gross pollutions of the world, but he whose in- 
ward man is also cleansed. Saving grace penetrates to the inside, 
and stays not in the outside only : Psalm xxiv. 34, " Who shall 
ascend into the hill of the Lord ? and who shall stand in his holy 
place ? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart, who hath not 
lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully." A person may 
he clean from gross pollutions of the outward man, and yet be but 
an outward Christian ; no swearer, liar, Sabbath-breaker, fornica- 
tor, &c., and yet no Christian, Luke xxviii. 11. Negative holiness 
and outside religion, though the want of it will damn the profane, 
1 Cor. vi. 9, 10, yet the having it will not keep the outside Chris- 
tian from ruin. A blameless life in the world, though good in itself, 
yet comes not the length of true Christianity, There are several 
things beside saving grace, that may in some measure cleanse the 
conversation from gross pollutions. — Among others, there is, 

1. Good education, and good company, as in the case of Joash 
under the tutorage of Jehoiada. This may chain men's lusts, though 
it cannot change their nature ; their heart is of an apish nature, apt 
to follow example. Though readily the worst example is the most 
taking, yet good example has a mighty influence, especially when 
persons are brought up with it from their childhood. — There is, 


2. A good natural temper and disposition. Many a person is 
more indebted to his natural temper, than to the tenderness of his 
conscience, for his cleanness from gross pollutions. It is evident, 
that several persons who have no real religion, nay, nor even the 
form of it, may be sober, as it would be a pain and a torment to 
them to go to the extravagant courses in which others indulge them- 
selves. But no man is born a true Christian, as he is with his na- 
tural temper; religion in reality is a supernatural temper: 2 Pet. 
i. 4, " "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious pro- 
mises, that by these ye may be partakers of the divine nature, hav- 
ing escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." — 
There is, 

3. Their being kept out of the way of temptation. It is a mercy 
to be so kept ; but while people's corruptions are not tried with a 
suitable bait, they cannot so well know what influence the command- 
ment has or has not upon them. The cleanness of the outward con- 
versation of many is owing more to those circumstances in which 
they were placed in the world, than to any gracious disposition ; as 
may appear from the case of some who kept right as long as they 
were not tried, but so soon as the trial of their corruptions comes 
they give way. — There is, 

4. The workings of a natural conscience under the common in- 
fluences and convictions of the Spirit, and a rousing ministry : Mark 
vi. 20, *' For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man, 
and an holy, and observed him : and Avhen he heard him, he did 
many things, and heard him gladly." The preaching of the word 
sometimes serves to embalm dead souls, who are never by it quick- 
ened. It also sets the natural conscience a-working to purify the 
outward man, while the inner is never renewed. It brings on many 
so far, as that they are not far from the kingdom of God, who yet 
never have power to go forward to it. 

5. Self-love may do it, in so far as a regard to their soul or body, 
credit or reputation, may move men to all this. Fear of punishment, 
and hope of reward, are poA^erful incentives, where God's authority 
is but little valued ; nay, some reigning lust, as covetousness, 
pride, or ambition : Matth. vi. 2, " Therefore, when thou dost thine 
alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in 
the synagogues, and in the streets, that they may have glory of 
men. Verily, I say unto you. they have their reward." But what 
avails all this to salvation, while the hidden man of the heart is 
sunk in pollutions before the all-seeing God, while the man is as a 
painted sepulchre, fair without, but within full of rottenness : Ezek. 
viii. 12, *' Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what 



the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the 
chambers of his imagery ? for they say, the Lord seeth us not ; the 
Lord hath forsaken the earth." It is a weak evidence to lean to 
outward religion. But the true Christian has this cleanness of the 
outward conversation, and besides goes farther than the outward 
Christian in that point, in two particulars. 

(1.) The inside Christian joins internal purity to external: Psalm 
xxiv. 4, " He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart, who hath not 
lifted up his soul to vanity, nor sworn deceitfully." Matth. v. 8, 
" Blessed are the poor in heart, for they shall see God." He does 
not sit down contented with outside purity, as the other does, bat 
his chief concern is the heart, the fountain of all impurity of life. 
And though the world cannot charge him with any gross pollutions, 
he finds he has work enough to do with the blind mind, the rebel- 
lious will, and the carnal corrupt affections. He accordingly strives 
to get them mortified : Gal. v. 24, " And they that are Christ's have 
crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts." Though the world 
sees not, yet, since God sees the disorder of his heart, that is enough 
to humble him, and give him new errands to Christ for his blood 
and Spirit. 

(2.) Even his external purity is from religious motives, springs, 
and principles. Thus Joseph, Gen. xxxix. 9, " How can I do this 
great wickedness, and sin against God ?" In this he serves God, 
while in it the outward Christian does but serve himself. It is God's 
authority that sways him to it ; though his natural inclinations be 
to break out, yet the fear of God in his heart does restrain him. 
And if he be surprised into temptations, the offence and dishonour 
to God weighs more with him than all the shame and loss in the 
world which he incurs. 

From all which we may learn, that certainly they are not true 
Christians, who are profane in their walk, whose conversation is not 
so much as cleansed from gross pollutions, such as cursers and 
swearers, drunkards, mockers at religion, obscene speakers, unclean 
persons, &c. Gal. v. 19, 20, 21. These bear the devil's mark on 
their foreheads, Isa. iii. 19 ; and have not so much as the rude 
draughts of the form of godliness. — Hence, 

Let no man value himself on the cleansing of the outward man 
from those pollutions, for a person may go all that length, and much 
farther, and yet be a cast-away. Religion is much deeper than this 
is, and is more inward. What the world observes least, God looks 
most to. Therefore study the inwards of religion, truth and purity 
in the inward parts. 




Rom. ii. 28, 29, 

For he is not a Jew tuhich is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision 
ivhich is outward in the ficsh. But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly, 
and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the 
letter, ivhose praise is not of men, hut of God. 

Haviijg, in tlie preceding discourse, considered the two first pro- 
positions which I laid down for illustrating the second doctrinal 
point, I go on to the 

III. That he is not the true Christian who only performs the 
duties of external obedience, but he who also with them joins 
the duties of internal obedience. It is not the outward duties of 
obedience, but those which are inward, which constitute a true 
Christian. A hypocrite may go the whole round of outward duties, 
and thus have a form of godliness, so as, to the view of the world, 
he appears nothing short of the true Christian. — Thus, for instance, 

1. A man may perform the external duties of righteousness and 
morality towards his neighbour, and yet be no more than an out- 
ward Christian. He may be just in his dealings with men : Luke 
xviii. 11, " The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I 
thank thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, 
adulterers, or even as this publican." He may be liberal and 
abundant in mercy towards the needy, 1 Cor. xiii. 3, and yet after 
all no true Christian. True Christianity makes a good neighbour, 
makes him abhor every unjust and dishonest thing, it renders him 
true to his word, and upright in his dealings in the world ; but when 
a man has this and no more, he has but one half, and hardly the 
half, of what is necessary to make a true Christian. — Besides this, 

2. A man may perform the outward duties of piety towards God, 
yet after all be but an outside Christian. For pointing out the 
hypocrite's attainments in this respect, I would have you consider, 

(1.) That persons may attend public ordinances, and not only so, 
but they may be very punctual in their attendance ; they may be 
far from loitering away Sabbaths at home, or from satisfying them- 
selves with a partial attendance, as in Isa. Iviii. 2, " Yet they seek 
me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righte- 
ousness, and forsook not the ordinance of our God." They may be- 
have themselves gravely and attentively, and neither be sleepers 


nor gazers, far less laughers at ordinances, and yet after all nought 
in God's esteem : Ezek. xxxiii. 31, " And they come unto thee as the 
people Cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear 
thy words, but they will not do them ; for with their mouth they shew 
much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness." They 
may be at much pains in following ordinances from place to place : 
John vi. 24, 26, " When the people, therefore, saw that Jesus was 
not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to 
Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. — Jesus answered and said unto them, 
Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye seek me, not because ye saw the 
miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled." 
They may talk well of what they hear, and after all be but outside 
Christians : 1 Cor. xiii. 1, " Though I speak with the tongues of 
men or of angels, and have not charity, I am become as a sounding 
brass or a tinkling cymbal." — Consider, 

(2.) That they may be praying persons, and so carry religion 
into their families, and into their closets : Jer. xii. 2, " Thou hast 
planted, yea, they have taken root ; they grow, yea, they bring 
forth fruit ; thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins." 
Even secret prayers, where no eye but the Lord's doth see, is a piece 
of bodily exercise, not beyond the walk of a hypocrite, which an 
awakened conscience may put a person upon at first, and other sel- 
fish principles may keep them at it. They may be persons of many 
prayers, not like those who pray some, but who indeed pray much : 
Heb. xii. 17, " For ye know how that afterwards, when he would 
have inherited the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place 
of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." — Consider, 

(3.) That they may not only do much, but they also may be suf- 
ferers for religion, suffering not only to the spoiling of their goods, 
but even unto death, and yet be naught in God's esteem ; 1 Cor. 
xiii. 3, " And though I give my body to be burned, and have not 
charity, it profiteth me nothing." Hypocrisy is such a salamandar, 
as can live in the fire of persecution, of which there have been many 
instances ; namely, of such whom the violent wind of persecution has 
not been able to drive off the Lord's way, but the warm sun of pros- 
perity has done their business, to their undoing. 

3. They may join both the outward of the first and second 
tables, and yet be but outside Christians. There are some who are 
very upright in their dealings with men, yet have not so much as a 
form in regard to the duties of piety. Others who do not neglect 
duties of piety towards God, but they make no conscience of their 
duty to their neighbour, but where they apprehend their worldly 
interest will drive to it, right or wrong. Persons may even join 


botb together, nud yet be naught in God's esteem. " The Pharisee 
stood and prayed thus with himself, God I thank thee that I am not 
as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this 
Publican ; I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all I possess," 
Luke xviii. 12, " Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching 
the righteousness which is in the law, blameless," Phil. iii. 6. — All 
this may be, and yet not beyond the boundaries of Pharasaical 
righteousness : Matth. v. 20, "Except your righteousness exceed the 
righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter 
into the kingdom of heaven." The reason of this is manifest, namely, 
that all these things being but bodily exercises, are within the com- 
pass of nature, and do not require any supernatural grace to the 
bare performance of them ; if the conscience be in any measure 
awakened, persons may thus be influenced to perform them ; and 
custom may so habituate them, that the performance may be con- 
sistent enough with the reign of sin in the heart. But he only is a 
true Christian who joins internal to external obedience : spiritual 
exercise to bodily exercise in religion. The inside exceeds the out- 
side Christian in various particulars. — As, 

(1.) The inside Christian performs the duties of evangelical obe- 
dience, in subjecting his whole heart and soul to the Lord, as well 
as the outward man. This is the spiritual service which declares a 
man to be a true Christian : " God is a Spirit, and they that wor- 
ship him must worship him in spirit and in truth," John iv. 23, 
" For we are the circumcision, that worship God in the spirit, and 
rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh," Phil, 
iii. 3. The bulk of the hypocrite's religion lies in externals, but 
that of the true Christian's lies in internals, in faith, love, resignation, 
and other parts of unseen religion. Their chief labour is with the 
heart, to notice the risings of corruptions, their bewailing the de- 
fects which the world cannot perceive, and mourning over the sin 
of their nature, the spring of all evil: Gal. v. 24, "And they that 
are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with its afi'ections and lusts." 

(2.) The inside Christian is unreserved and universal in his 
obedience, which the outside Christian never is. They have still 
some lusts with which they can never part, they reign in them. — 
Enmity against the power of godliness : 1 John iii. 12, " Not as 
Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother ; and where- 
fore slew he him ? because his own works were evil, and his 
brother's righteous." — Self-seeking : John v. 44, " How can ye be- 
lieve, who seek honour one of another, and seek not the honour 
that Cometh from God only ?" — Bitterness of spirit, which cannot 
digest the gospel command, of doing good for evil : Tit. iii. 3, "For 


we also ourselves were sometime foolish, disobedient, deceived, 
serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful 
and hating one another." — lleigning love to the pleasures of this 
world, and covetousness : Ezek. xxxiii. 31, " And they come unto 
thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, 
and they hear thy words, but they will not do them ; for with their 
mouth they shew ranch love, but their heart goeth after their co- 
vetousness." But the gracious soul's obedience is universal ; all 
such in so far sincerely aim at every known duty, approve the holy 
law in every point; desiring their spirits to be conformed to it, not 
it to be brought down to them ; lamenting from the heart their 
shortcoming in all points. 

3. The inside Christian's obedience is son-like obedience, the 
other is servile and slavish. The highest principle with the hypo- 
crite is fear of punishment, and hope of reward, Hos. x. 11 ; their 
highest end is themselves, Hos. x. 1. Jehu professed zeal for the Lord, 
but in effect it was but zeal for a kingdom. The inside Christian 
serves God as a son does his father. — Prompted by love to him, next 
to his command : 1 Tim. i. 6, " Now, the end of the commandment is 
charity, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith 
unfeigned." — Leaning on him for strength to perform his duty : Col. 
iii. 17, " And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of 
the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." — 
Aiming at his honour : 1 Cor. x. 31, '* Whether, therefore, ye eat 
or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 

From this learn, that those are inevitably exposed to death, who 
come not the length of the outward duties of religion, of mercy to- 
wards their neighbours, or of piety towards God. Lay this to 
heart, ye unrighteous, ye slighters of religion, prayerless persons, &c. 
Ye come not even the length of some who will fall short, and never 
see heaven. ! if those who do all these things be lost, what will 
become of you ? — Ye that even come that length, lay no stress upon 
it, it will be but a broken reed to trust to. Duties are by no means 
sufficient confidences : nor in themselves, without internals joined to 
them, can they even be evidences of your safety. Examine not only 
what ye do, but how ye do it, for this last is that to which God 
chiefly looks. — I now come to the 

lY. And last proposition. That he is not a true Christian, who 
has inside religion only in the letter of it, but he who also has it in 
its spirituality. We have pursued the nominal Christian through his 
outside religion, but we may not leave him here ; for, as an hypo- 
crite may go farther than mere externals, so the text pursues him 
for discovery, even in internals in the letter. — For explaining which, 
I observe. 


1. That a man may carry his religion into internals, and yet be 
but a Christian in the letter. He may do and have that in religion 
which no eye but Grod sees or can see, and yet be no true Christian : 
Jer. xvii. 9, 10, " The heart is deceitful above all things, and des- 
perately wicked, who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, 1 
try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and 
according to the fruit of his doings." A person may form such a 
fine thread of hypocrisy, as to beguile every eye but the all-seeing 
eye ; Jer. iii. 10, " And yet for all this, her treacherous sister Judah 
hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith 
the Lord." Do not think that all hypocrisy is gross dissimulation, 
or yet that all a hypocrite's religion lies only in his outside, and in 
nothing within. — For, 

(1.) A natural conscience may check for heart-sins, and sins that 
no eye sees but God's, Rom. ii. 15, " Which shew the work of the 
law written on their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, 
and their thoughts the mean time accusing, or else excusing, one 
another ;" and consequently must j)ress to inward duties, according 
to the light. Hence there may be sorrow and grief for what is hid 
from all the world; since the conscience perceives that God sees it, 
and that he will write his indignation on it. This fire has burned 
in many an unsanctified breast, yet it behoved it to have a vent, 
though to their own shame and loss. 

(2.) An unsanctified desire of salvation, in the way of the co- 
venant of works, may carry a man to internals in religion : Rom. x. 
3, " For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about 
to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted them- 
selves unto the righteousness of God." — The covenant of works is 
engraved on man's heart naturally, and under the influence of it a 
man may do his utmost to conform to the letter of the law, in the 
inward as well as outward duties of it. Observe the case of the 
young man in Matth. xix. 16 — 20. It is no rare thing to see men 
eager to purchase heaven by their works. 

(3.) Light may be strong, and kept strong by the common opera- 
tions of the Holy Spirit, in an unholy heart. Thus, Balaam durst 
not entertain a thought of cursing Israel ; though he would fain 
have gained the wages of unrighteousness, if his light would have 
suff'ered him. Our Lord Christ breaks up the outer door of onr 
understanding often Avhile the inner remains shut. This cannot 
miss to have some bond on the heart, as well as on the outer man. 

(4.) Even in the internals of religion, there is a letter and a 
spirit ; there is the body or matter of the thing, and the soul and 
spirit of it lying in the right manner of doing it. The former is not 


beyond the power of nature, but the latter is ; and therefore a 
hypocrite may come the length of the letter of internals of re- 
ligion. He may have desires of good ; Prov. xiif. 4, " The soul of the 
sluggard desireth," &c., though not holy desires ; so in other cases. 

2. The true Christian has inside religion, not in the letter only, 
but in the spirituality thereof: Phil. iii. 3, " We — worship God in 
the spirit, and — have no confidence in the flesh." He does not sa- 
tisfy himself with the thing itself, but labours to get it, and main- 
tain it as of the right stamp, such as God will approve. Here lies 
sincerity, that ornament of all religion, or rather the spirit and life 
of all, John i. 47. Now, this spirituality consists in two things. 

(1.) In the graciousness of tho principle, 1 Tim. i. 5. Their in- 
ward religion is the fruit of their new nature influenced by the Lord 
the Spirit ; it is natural, and not violent or forced out by terrors, 
or from necessity, as screening them from the wrath of God. The 
new nature makes it their absolute choice, in whatever circum- 
stances they may be : whereas it is the choice of others, only be- 
cause they cannot otherwise act safely. — It consists, 

(2.) In the holiness of their aim : their chief aim is to please the 
Lord, Col. i. 10. The stress of their salvation is laid on the obe- 
dience of Christ, not their own, whether outward or inward ; and 
hence their aim in all their duties, is not to please themselves, but 
him who has called them to be partakers of his glory. The hypo- 
crite is servile in his aims to please God, as he is mercenary for his 
own profit, so that himself, and not God, is his chief end ; but the 
sincere soul acts like a son, by virtue of the spirit of adoption. — 
From all this we may learn. 

That this shews they are not true Christians, whose religion lies 
all in externals, and have no concern about their hearts, Matth. 
xxiii. 25. A whited sepulchre is the emblem of a hypocrite, not of 
a true Christian. Persons also may be at much pains inwardly, 
who yet never come the length of the spirit of religion. What, 
then, will become of these, whose case is entirely confined to the 
outward man ? — Let those who carry religion inwardly also examine 
well, what are the principles and ends they act from, lest their in- 
side religion be found a spiritless, lifeless corpse of religion, the 
mere product of their own exertions. Such may perceive whether 
or not they have the spirit of religion, by, 

1. Their endeavouring to approve themselves to the Lord, as an 
all-seeing holy God, not in some things only, but in all things, Col. 
i. 10. Being content to know the whole word of God as to duty, 
and what they know not to be discovered to them, in order to their 
setting about it, .lob xxxiv. 32 ; Psalm cxxxix. 23, 24. They will 
know it by, 


2. Their endeavouring to purge their inward, as well as their 
outward religion, of all carnal and selfish motives, principles, and 
ends, John iii. 21. Self is an insinuating thing, and much of our 
spirituality lies in persons endeavouring to be spiritual in what they 
do. So short length do most come, we must bo concerned to be 
purged from hypocrisy ; it is a good sign with those who are unsa- 
tisfied with their performance of duty, and are lamenting that they 
are not spiritual in it, Rom. vii. 22, 23. — They will know it, 

3. By being denied to their outward, and also their inward re- 
ligion, Phil. iii. Though they endeavour to do all as if they were to 
gain heaven by doing, yet they renounce all in point of confidence 
before the Lord, as naked and bare. This is a good sign, Matth v. 3. 

In pursuance of this point touching inside religion, I shall ofi^er 
the following observations touching the hypocrite's attainments in 
this respect, and at the same time shew wherein the true Christian 
goes beyond him. 

1. A person may be under heavy exercise of soul after the com- 
mission of some sin, especially a gross sin, and yet be but a Chris- 
tian in the letter. This is manifest in the case of Judas. Though 
there are some sins, which every unsanctified heart makes no bones 
of yet there are some which may stick in the throat even of a per- 
son void of the grace of God ; nay, more, in this exercise of soul 
there may be, (1.) Great restlessness and anxiety of mind, which 
the person cannot divert, as he was wont to do. (2.) Indignation 
at himself, for doing as he has done. (3.) A taking shame to him- 
self before men, by a plain and open confession of guilt, Matth. 
xxvii. 3, 4. Lastly, Strong resolutions to guard against that sin in 
all time to come. Thus, Exod. ix. 27, in which Pharaoh was morally 
serious, speaking as he thought in the time. — But here there are 
four things wanting, which are to be found in the exercises of true 
Christians after their falls into sin. — There is, 

(1.) Kindly humiliation of soul before the Lord. The Christian 
in spirit sees not only an evil in sin which afifrights him, but a 
loathsomeness in it which turns his stomach at it, as being contrary 
to God's holy nature and will : Job xlii, 5, 6, " I have heard of thee 
by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee : wherefore I 
abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. He owns himself un- 
worthy of God's grace, and casts himself down at the Lord's feet, 
stopping his mouth from quarrelling with God, however he dispose 
of him. Psalm, li. 4. 

(2.) The dishonour done to God, and the grieving his Spirit, is 
what does most touch the heart of the true Christian : Psalm 
li. 4, " Against thee, thee only have 1 sinned, and done this evil 


in thy sight ; that thou ralghtest be justified when thou speakest, 
and be clear when thou judgest." The consideration of God's glo- 
rious majesty, his loving-kindness and gracious benefits towards the 
l)erson, furnish a quiver of arrows to pierce his heart, and he calls 
himself beast and fool for thus requiting the Lord. 

(3.) No peace will that person have, but that which God himself 
speaks, and what flows from the application of the Redeemer's 
blood, Rom. i. 5. Others may be for peace at any rate, build up 
their peace on their sorrows, repentance, and confession ; but no 
peace for the true Christian, till he get it under the covert of the 
blood of Christ, Heb. ix. 14. 

(4.) Their exercises under their trials drive them out of them- 
selves to Christ for sanctification : Psalm li. 10, 11, " Create in me 
a clean heart, God ; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast 
me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy Spirit from 
me ;" whereas trials drive others into themselves, as resolved, that 
if God, for Christ's sake, will but pardon their sin, they will see to 
their own holiness of life ; after which, in some, they issue in faith- 
less blind vows against such and such sins, not sensible of their own 
weakness, and not fleeing to Christ under a sense of it. But the 
true Christian will be equally concerned for sanctification of his 
spirit, as justification of his person by blood, knowing he equally 
needs both. — In like manner, 

2. A person may have a great struggle in himself against sin, 
and against temptation to it, and yet be but only a Christian in the 
letter. It is a dangerous mistake to think, that every inward strug- 
gle against sin is the combat between the flesh and the spirit. 
Herod had no small struggle with himself, before he could yield to 
the beheading of John, Matth. xiv. 9. Pilate also, before he could 
yield to the condemning of Christ. Nay, a hypocrite may not only 
have this struggle, but may carry the day against the temptation, in 
so much that he will not yield to it. This is clear in the case of 
Balaam, when all Balak's entreaties and rewards could not engage 
him to curse Israel. — There are five things wherein the true Chris- 
tian goes beyond the hypocrite in this respect. — As, 

(1.) His struggle arises from the new nature, with which he is 
endowed; he has an habitual bent to holiness, and an aversion to 
evil : Gal. v. 17, " For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the 
spirit against the flesh ; and these are contrary the one to the other, 
so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." The hypocrite's 
struggle does arise only from a slavish fear, or at best from a civil 
disposition, which is easily overcome, as being but a part of the old 
nature, and so reaches but to some things. — Which brings rae to ob- 


(2.) That a true Christian's struggle is against all sin, every thing 
•which is discovered by him to be sin, of whatever sort it be, whether 
it be of those which are more gross or more subtile, those that are 
brought to the light by some external action, or those that are in 
the soul or spirit only : thus the psalmist : Psalm cxix. 128, 
*' Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be 
right, and I hate every false way." Hence the struggle of the trne 
Christian is against unbelief, the actings and workings of self in the 
various shapes which it assumes, and against predominant idols. But 
the struggle of others is confined to the grosser kinds of sin, and is 
never taken up against all known sin, but only against some one 
lust or other, -which has often at length a respite given to, or rather 
league concluded with it. A hypocrite gives evidence that the cause 
of this vrar is not a natural antipathy, as in the true Christian, but 
an accidental quarrel. 

(3.) The Christian's struggle tends to the mortification and extirpa- 
tion of sin, the plucking upof it by the roots, the destroying of the tree 
"with its fruit. Gal. v. 24. It tends to no less than the perfection of 
sanctification, and the utter abolition of sin as the cause of this war. 
This the new nature lusteth and longeth after, and cannot be satisfied 
to lay down the sword while there is a Canaanite in the land; and 
since it is not obtained in this life, the war is continued till death 
make the sword drop, and victory is obtained : Phil. iii. 13, 14, 
"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one 
thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching 
forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark, 
for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." The other 
is not so violent, but strives only to repress certain lusts which are 
troublesome or dishonourable. 

(4.) The Christian's struggle prevails, to the constituting of the 
habitual course of his life, a holy course. This is the chief strain in 
which he runs on, although mixed with many slips, John iii. 9, 10 ; 
so that he has that noble testimony with the apostle, " that with 
simplicity, and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the 
grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world," 2 Cor. 
i. 12. But the other still lives a life habitually unholy. 

(5.) The Christian's struggle is betwixt a new and gracious quality 
in the will, and the old corrupt inclinations, its neighbours there, 
whose reign is broken, though their molestation still continue ; Gal. 
V. 17, " For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit 
against the flesh : and these are contrary the one to the other ; so 
that ye cannot do the things that ye would." But the struggle of 
the hypocrite is betwixt his will and his partially enlightened con- 


science, which takes up the cudgels against the corrupt will, and 
fights against it with the fire and terror of a holy law ; or, at most, 
between a slight inclination of the will, and the reigning corrupt 
inclinations. — There is farther to be considered, 

3. That a person may be in great concern about his state, and yet be 
but a Christian only in the letter. How is it possible that men living 
under the clear light of the gospel, can but have some touches of 
this ? Felix was so troubled with it, that he trembled. Acts xxiv. 
25. Simon Magus, Acts viii. 24. Conversion begins here in the 
work of conviction ; but oftentimes it stops here, and goes no 
farther, Hos. xiii. 13. But I will say more than this : a person may 
have such an exercise on his spirit about his state, and it may be 
carried on from one step to another, in so much that, in his own 
eyes, and the eyes of others, it may be taken for the work of con- 
version, and yet after all he be a Christian only in the letter, and 
not in the spirit. — Thus, for instance, 

(1.) He may have a law-work on his spirit, and yet may be no 
true Christian. Had not Pharaoh and Felix deep conviction ? and 
was not Judas stung and pricked at the heart under the sense of his 
guilt ? Legal qualms of conscience may fill a man with terrors, 
sorrow, and anxiety, on account of sin, who notwithstanding is never 
brought to Christ. The apostle tells us, Gal. iv. 24, that " the law 
gendereth to bondage." The covenant of works bringeth forth 
children ; but they are only bond-children, that is, slaves, not sons, 
in their obedience to God. There are many pangs of conscience in 
the world, which, though they may be taken for pangs of the new 
birth, are nothing other than pangs of the second death. The mat- 
ter lies here : either the wound which the hypocrite gets, is over 
deep, as is the case when it drives the person to utter despair, as it 
did Judas, so that he neither closed, nor pretended to close, with 
Christ ; or else it is not deep enough, so that the work is marred, 
being but superficial ; and he is like the person who, without a foun- 
dation, built his house upon the sand, and the storm, whenever it 
arose, swept it away, Luke vi. 48. Betwixt these two extremes, in the 
middle way, the work is carried on for making a Christian in spirit, 
and not in the letter only. The case of utter despair is manifest ; 
but to shew that deepness of the soul's wound, which issues in 
conversion, which is wanting in that which only issues in a per- 
son's becoming a Christian in the letter, consider the nature of 
that wound which is given in the work of grace. 

[1.] It brings the soul to be content to part with all sin, and to 
take Christ on any terms : Hos. xiv. 2, " Take with you words, and 
turn to the Lord ; say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive 


US graciously ; so will we render the calves of our lips." Acts ix. 
6, " Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?" said Paul, trembling and 
astonished. The man is content to expose the right-eye sin, that 
the Lord may pluck it out, and the right hand, that it may be 
cut off. But the hypocrite, with all his soul-exercise, is never 
brought this length. There is still some one bias of the heart or 
other he is never content to have corrected. There is always some 
idol of jealousy to be spared, some particular or other in Christ's 
terms of salvation to which he cannot submit, Mark x. 21. 

[2.] The wound goes to the root of sin in the soul, namely, the 
sin of our nature ; Jer. iv. 3, 4, " For thus saith the Lord to the 
men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and 
sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take 
away the foreskins of your hearts, ye men of Judah, and inhabi- 
tants of Jerusalem." He that is only humbled for the sins of a 
wicked life, and some particular lusts in the heart, which is the ut- 
most of the hypocrite's attainmeut, in him the serpent's heel may be 
bruised, but not his head. The sin of our nature is the great reign- 
ing sin, and in the work of grace the Lord strikes at that particu- 
larly, and makes the soul feel the intolerable weight of it : Rom. vii. 
24, " wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the 
body of this death ?" But as long as heart-corruption is untouched, 
as the man recovers his peace, his sin will recover its strength. 

(3.) The wound brings the soul to a sense of its absolute need of 
Christ, and his whole salvation, for justification and also for sancti- 
flcation. This is the issue of kindly soul-exercise, namely, that thus 
a person becomes poor in spirit, which the exercise of the hypocrite 
never brings him to : Matth. v. 3, " Blessed are the poor in spirit 
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Right soul-exercise carries a 
man out of himself to Christ for righteousness, roots up his confi- 
dence in himself, in his best duties and dispositions, &c., breaks the 
marriage between him and the law, that he maybe married to Christ, 
without anything whatever to recommend him : Gal. ii. 19, 20, " For 
I, through the law, am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 
I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ 
liveth in me ; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by 
the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." 
He also depends on Christ for sanctification, being persuaded of his 
utter inability to do any good : Rom. vii. 18, " For I know that in 
me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing." And under the 
sense of this, the soul lies down at the Lord's feet, as in Jer. xxxi. 
18, "Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock un- 
accustomed to the yoke ; turn thou me, and I shall be turned, for 
thou art the Lord my God." 


(2.) A person may have a common illumination in the knowledge 
of Christ, and yet he hut a Christian only in the letter : Heb. vi. 4, 
" For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have 
tasted of the heavenly gift, &c., if they fall away, to renew them 
again to repentance." They may have such knowledge of Christ in 
his natures, person and offices, as may enable them even to teach 
others, and edify them in the knowledge of Christ, and yet be no 
true Christians themselves. Such were Judas, Demus, and thousands 
of others in other ages of the Church. Great gifts may be without 
grace ; and there may be much heat, where there is no sanctified 
warmth. — But there is a saving illumination, communicated to all 
true converts, of which others never partake : John iv. 10, " Jesus 
answered and said nuto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and 
who it is that saith to thee. Give me to drink ; thou wouldst have 
asked of him, and he would have given thee living water." And it 
has these three characters. 

(1.) Saving illumination discovers to the soul such a suitableness 
in the mystery of Christ to the divine perfections and the sinner's 
case, that the soul heartily falls in with, and acquiesces in the glo- 
rious device of salvation by infinite wisdom : 1 Cor. i. 24, " But 
unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power 
of God, and the wisdom of God." They see that there is nothing 
wanting in it, which is necessary to promote God's honour, or to an- 
swer their own miserable case, but that it has a perfect suitableness 
to both ; so that their awakened consciences may find complete rest 
there ; and hence they lay themselves wholly for rest upon it, while 
the consciences of others, being awakened, and their minds being 
still blinded, they never go to him only for rest, but at best mix 
their own righteousness with his, and dare not trust to his righteous- 
ness alone. — Saving illumination, 

(2.) Discovers such a transcendent glory and excellence in him, as 
that th€ soul is made content and determined to part with all for 
him : Phil. iii. 8, '* Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss, 
for the excellence of the knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord, for 
whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but 
dung, that I may win Christ." It is a sad, but common question in 
the hearts, though, it may be, not in the months, of unrenewed sin- 
ners. Song V. 9, " What is thy beloved more than another beloved, 
thou fairest among women ? what is thy beloved more than an- 
other beloved, that thou dost so charge us ?" Certain it is, that the 
most refined hypocrite has always something that to him is dearer 
than Christ, and which has more of his heart than He has. But the 
soul enlightened with the light of life, beholds that in him which 


darkens all created excellence, as the rising sun makes the stars 
hide their heads ; so that they will part with all lawful, as well as 
unlawful enjoyments, to win him, Luke xiv. 26. 

[3.] Saving illumination discovers such a fulness in him, that the 
heart takes up its everlasting rest in him : Psal. Ixxiii. 25, " Whom 
have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that I de- 
sire besides thee." The returning prodigal sees bread enough and 
to spare in his father's house ; and the true convert sees a rest to 
his heart, as well as for his conscience, in Christ, so that he is 
brought to be content with him alone, as seeing him to be all in all. 
But this the hypocrite never comes to ; the divided heart must have 
Christ, and also some lust or other, or else no contentment, 

(3.) A person may give a consent to the covenant, and in some 
sort close with the Lord in his covenant, while, after all, he may be 
only a Christian in the letter; and thus the work of conversion may 
seem to be completed, as it would really be if they were sincere in so 
doing. A hypocrite may expressly and solemnly covenant with 
God, by word or by writ, and thus engage to be the Lord's. This 
is evident from the practice of the Israelites : Exod. xiv. 8, " And 
all the people answered and said. All that the Lord hath spoken, 
we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the 
Lord." — Here we may observe, how full they are in their consent 
and engagement, "All that the Lord hath spoken, we will do." See 
also Exod. XX. 19. But mark the Lord's own verdict on this cove- 
nanting ; Dent. V. 29, " that there were such an heart in them, that 
they would fear me, and keep ray commandments always, that it 
might be well with them, and their children for ever !" Not only 
may all this be classed among the externals of religion, but I shall 
add, for illustration, that persons may be morally serious in their 
consent to the covenant, that is, thinking and resolving in the time 
to do as they say. Moral seriousness is opposed to gross dissimula- 
tion, which there was no place for here, Deut. v. 24. Yet it maybe 
where there is no sincerity, Psal. Ixxviii. 37. Of the same people it 
is said, " For their heart was not right with him, neither were they 
stedfast in his covenant." Hypocrites, in this case, are like those 
who, out of mere simplicity, and ignorance of the worth of a thing, 
offer to buy it; but if they really knew what it could not be sold 
under, they would never once bid for it. — They may also consent to 
the covenant out of a real sense of their sin and misery, and a con- 
viction of their need of a Mediator, as in Exod. xx. 19, " And they 
said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear ; but let not 
God speak with ns, lest we die." There was the mountain on fire, 
for a tribunal ; ihe voice of a trumpet, summoning the criminals ; 
YoL. IX. 2 a 


terrible thunders, to pronounce the sentence of death against them. 
This filled them with horror and fear of death, and shewed them the 
need of a Mediator. But there are three things in which the Chris- 
tian in spirit goes beyond the Christian in the letter, in this point, 

[1.] He engages freely and heartily to the Lord in his whole 
covenant. The hypocrite is but dragged and forced into it, when 
the matter is seriously considered. They are not a willing people : 
Psalm. Ixxviii. 34, 36, 37, " "When he slew them, then they sought 
him ; and they returned and inquired early after God. Neverthe- 
less they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him 
with their tongues. For their heart was not right with him, neither 
were they stedfast in his covenant," I doubt not but a hypocrite 
may be very hearty in his consent to receive the comforts of the 
covenant : Matth. xiii. 20, 21, *' But he that received the seed into 
stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with 
joy receiveth it. Yet he hath not root in himself, but dureth for a 
while." But if he consider the duties of the covenant, there he 
sticks, and can come no other way to the whole covenant, but as he 
is dragged : Eom. viii. 7, " Because the carnal mind is enmity against 
God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." 
When the Spirit enters into a person's heart, he takes such hold 
of it, that the person is overcome by grace into willingness. Thus 
it is said, Jer. xxxi. 3, " Tea, I have loved thee with an everlasting 
love ; therefore, with loving-kindness have I drawn thee." Then 
the person pours out his heart like water : Psalm Ixii. 8, " Pour out 
your heart before him : God is a refuge for us." Terror may begin 
the work, but love crowns it : Hos. ii. 14, " Therefore, behold I will 
allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably 
unto her." 

(2.) "While the person's heart consents to the covenant with the 
Lord, it is divorced from sin ; but the hypocrite consents to the cove- 
nant with a heart glued to his lusts : Psalm xlv. 10, " Hearken, 
daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear ; forget also thine own 
people and thy father's house." It is an ill-made second marriage, 
where there is neither death nor divorce from the first husband ; and 
this is the cause of apostacy, men going back to their lusts, because 
they never freely parted with them. What makes a man and his 
lusts one, is, the greedy hold the heart takes of them ; the heart 
cleaves to them : Jer. viii. 5, " Why, then, is the people of Jerusa- 
lem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, 
they refuse to return." But the bond is loosed by divine grace, and 
their liking is turned to loathing; though sin cleaves to them, they 
cleave not to it : Rom. vii. 21, 22, " I find then a law, that when i 


would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight ia the law of 
God after the inward man." In which case, it is not only put out 
of the life, but out of the heart. 

(3.) In covenanting with God, the person resigns himself absolute- 
ly to the Lord, the hypocrite never without reserves. The sincere 
soul absolutely gives up itself, (1.) To the yoke of his command- 
ments, Psalm cxix. 128, " Therefore, I esteem all thy commandments, 
concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way." But 
there is some one duty or other the hypocrite's heart cannot digest, as 
in Mark x. 21. (2.) The soul gives up itself to the providential will 
of God, Luke xiv. 26. He is content to bear his cross, as well as 
to wear his crown ; but there is always something in the cross to 
which the hypocrite cannot submit. 

(4.) And lastly, A person may be in the exercise of religious duties, 
may be much enlarged and aftected, and yet only a Christian in the 
letter, Heb. vi. 4. Many get a taste of gospel-benefits, who never 
digest them, this taste arising only from common operations of the 
Spirit on an unrenewed heart ; and a person may, at a time, get an- 
other heart, who never gets a new heart. Thus it was with Saul, 

1 Sam. X. 9. — As to this, I would observe, 

1. In the general, that a hypocrite may have a mighty enlarge- 
ment in duties, and be much affected in them. That there may be a 
great stir and motion among the affections, while the stony heart 
does yet remain, is plain from the case of the stony-ground hearers, 
Matth. xiii. 20, and the many instances of joys and sorrows raised 
in unrenewed hearts by the word. Many lay a great deal of weight 
on this, that they are not always alike in duties : Sometimes they 
are bound up, sometimes enlarged ; sometimes they drive heavily in 
them, sometimes they have a great deal of comfort and pleasure in 
them. But, do not such swallow down this as an evidence of the 
grace of God without examination ? — To understand this, consider, 
that there is an enlargement in the exercise of a gift, as well as in 
the exercise of a grace ; and the one may be mistaken for the other, 

2 Cor. ii. 13 — 15. Thus also God both enlarged and straitened king 
Saul in gifts : And as the gifts of othei-s, well exercised in holy 
things, may greatly delight a man, as in Ezek. xxxiii. 32, " And lo, 
thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant 
voice, and can play well ou an instrument ;" so much more may the 
exercise of one's own gift with ease and readiness, delight the per- 
son's self. — Consider also, that the power of a deluded fancy may 
produce this, as in the stony ground hearers, Matth. xiii. 20. As a 
man may have a great deal of pleasure in a dream, or in a miscon- 
ception, so a deceived heart may make a person feed very sweetly 

2 a2 


upon ashes, and never snspect that there is a lie in his right hand, 
Isa. xliv. 20. Do we not read of a fire of men's own kindling, 
which, though it may mightily comfort them for a time, yet ends 
in sorrow and darkness, Isa. i. 11. — Consider, in a word, that there 
are common influences of the Spirit which are not sanctifying, 
which may produce a mighty commotion among the affections, Heb. 
vi. 4, 5, 6. Even signal providences will have this effect on unre- 
newed hearts, whether they he in mercy or in judgment : Psalm 
Ixxviii. 34. \yhen he slew them, then they sought him ; and they 
returned and inquired early after God." These things come like 
a summer-shower, which wets the surface of the earth, and makes 
every channel run for a while, but is quickly again dried up. — 
Now, the difference between the Christian in the spirit in his 
gracious enlargement in duties, and the Christian in the letter in 
his delusive enlargements in duty, may be seen in these two par- 
ticulars : — 

(1.) Gracious enlargements tend always to the killing and mor- 
tifying of self, that grand competitor with Christ: 1 Chron. xxix. 
14, " But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able 
to offer so willingly after this sort ? for all things come of thee, and 
of thine own have we given thee." The hypocrite's enlargements 
feed and nourish it, swelling the heart with pride and self-conceit ; 
Isa. Iviii. 3, " Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest 
not? "Wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no 
knowledge ? Behold, in the day of your fast, ye find pleasure, and 
exact all your labours." The more a person is graciously enlarged 
in duties, the more his sinfulness, weakness, wants, and nothingness 
appear, notwithstanding all his meltings, mournings, humilia- 
tions, &c. But the hypocrite, the more he is enlarged, appears to 
himself the more worthy that Christ should do great things for him ; 
and he becomes the less self-denied. 

(2.) Gracious enlargements are sanctifying ; they promote holi- 
ness in heart and life : Zoch. xii. 10, " And I will pour upon the 
house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of 
grace and supplications ; and they shall look upon me whom they 
have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for 
his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in 
bitterness for his first-born." They are a burning, as well as a 
shining light, and make persons more tender in all moral duties to 
God and man. If one has been taken into the temple of God in 
duties, it will appear about him in the substantials of morality. He 
will fear sin more, and be more exercised to keep a conscience void of 
offence towards God and towards men. Bat delusive enlargements 


have not this effect. On the contrary, they readily leave people 
more prond, peevish, and selfish, often making them snch sons of 
Belial, that a person cannot speak to them ; and never strike at 
inward beloved lusts to mortify them. 
2. But to be more particular, 

(1.) A hypocrite may be much affected with sorrow for sin in his 
duties. All mourners are not true mourners, Zech. vii. 3. One 
may hear the word, or pour out a prayer with wet cheeks, and yet 
have a whole heart, a heart far from being broken for sin, Esau 
was in a flood of tears, seeking the blessing. Many times, where 
water goes out in their case, wind enters in. It is not always 
humbling grace that produces tears. Some are of soft dispositions, 
and easily wrought upon by a melancholy object, without any effi- 
cacy of grace, like the daughters of Jerusalem, Luke xxiii. 27, and 
downwards. Some, of most rugged dispositions, because their af- 
fections are vehement in any case, may be thus touched and affected, 
and yet there be nothing more than the product of nature. Thus, 
when David shewed him mercy, even Saul lifted up his voice, and 
wept, I Sam. xxiv. 16. But the difference betwixt the Christian 
and the hypocrite lies here, (1.) That the chief ground of the true 
Christiau's sorrow for sin is, the offence and dishonour done to a 
holy gracious God, as an ingenuous child is moved with his father's 
displeasure and dishonour : Psalm li. 4, " Against thee, thee only, 
have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight : that thou mightest 
be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest." 
But the hypocrite's chief ground is selfish, because of the evils to 
which he has thereby exposed himself, whether in time or eternity. 
(2.) The hypocrite's sorrow is soon over ; it is but a flash, and 
away : and he goes back again, if not to the same sins, yet to others 
no less offensive to God. His sorrow never goes the length to loose 
the bonds of wickedness ; Isa. Iviii. 5, 6, " Is it such a fast that I 
have chosen ? a day for a man to afflict his soul ? Is it to bow 
down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under 
him ? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord ? 
Is not this the fast that I have chosen ? to loose the bands of 
wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go 
free, and that ye break every yoke ?" It is not so with the godly : 
Lam. iii. 49, 50, " Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, with- 
out any intermission : till the Lord look down, and behold from 
heaven." Their sorrow for sin is habitual, because the body of sin 
still remains, and this sorrow influences them to war against all sin. 
(2.) A hypocrite may have a kind of love to God and Christ, and 
a desire after grace and good things. Hence Paul prays for grace 


to " them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity," Eph. vi. 24. 
The Christian in the letter may say, " Lord, evermore give us this 
bread," John vi. 34, and join the foolish virgins in their desire to 
partake of the oil of the wise. But the difference betwixt the Chris- 
tian and the hypocrite here lies : — • 

[1.] That a hypocrite may love God as his benefactor, as one who 
does him good every day, and from whose hands he looks for good 
in time coming, either for time or for eternity, Mai. iii. 1. This is 
to love God for one's self. But the true Christian loves him, not 
only because of his benefits, but because of his lovely nature, his per- 
fect holiness, truth, hatred of sin, &c. This is to love God for him- 
self : Psalm xxx. 4, " Sing unto the Lord, ye saints of his, and 
give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness." And this the 
nnholy heart can never do, Rom. viii. 7, " Because the carnal mind 
is enmity against God." Now, they that love God thus, they love 
his image, wherever it appears, and particularly in the holy law 
even where it strikes against that sin which most easily besets 
them : Rom. vii. 22, " For I delight in the law of God after the 
inward man." — The difference lies, 

[2.] That they may desire grace, for its necessity in order to 
save them, but not for its intrinsic beauty and likeness to the 
Lord : Matth. v. 7, " Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst 
after righteousness, for they shall be filled." It is the chief thing 
the true Christian desires, grace to be holy, as well as grace to be 
justified and pardoned : Psalm xxvii. 4, " One thing have I desired 
of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house 
of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the 
Lord, and to inquire in his temple." — The difference lies, 

Lastly, That a hypocrite may have much joy and delight in the 
duties of religion ; so had the stony ground hearers, Matth. xiii. 
20. — Isa, Iviii. 2, " Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know 
my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the 
ordinances of their God ; they ask of me the ordinances of justice ; 
they take delight in approaching to God." There may be delu- 
sive raptures of joy, as well as unsound floods of sorrow. I shewed 
very lately the difference betwixt genuine joy and these delusive 
raptures. True joy riseth orderly, after a preceding rending effect 
on the heart, &c. ; delusive joy more quickly, &c.* — I now come, 

III. To make some short improvement. — I have endeavoured to 
lay before you the differences betwixt the hypocrite and the sincere 
Christian ; and from the whole, I think you may carry away these 
lessons. — We may hence see, 

* See Catechetical Sermons on Rom. v, 2. 


1. That it is no easy thing to be a Christian. A parcel of ex- 
ternal performances do not make a Christian, nay nor even internal 
things also, -without the genuine spirit of duties, performances, 
and attainments : that the great thing which makes the difference 
is, not so much what is done, as how it is done, the principles, 
ends, manner, &c. of doing it. — We may learn, 

2. That a man may go a very great length in religion, and not- 
withstanding be naught in God's esteem. A person may look so 
like a true Christian, that he may deceive both saints and sinners 
like him who is said to have made an image with such motion, that 
others thought it had life. Nay, I know not but he may deceive the 
devil himself: Jer. xvii. 9, " The heart is deceitful above all things, 
and desperately wicked ; who can know it ?" like him who is said 
to have painted grapes so lively, that the birds came and picked at 
them. He may deceive himself like the Laodiceans, and go to death 
with the delusion, like the foolish virgins. — We may learn, 

3. That however far the hypocrite goes, the true Christian goes 
beyond him ; and therefore we must not, we ought not, to satisfy 
ourselves as to the point of sincerity, unless there be something in 
us which is not to be found in hypocrites. And therefore I exhort 
you to put yourselves to the trial. Try yourselves whether you be 
in Christ or not, whether you be sincere Christians or not. — Con- 

(1.) True religion is very rare at all times : Matth. vii. 14, 
" Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, 
and few there be that find it." The miserable decay and untender- 
ness among all sorts of persons, shew it to be especially rare at this 
time, in which we may say, " Help, Lord, for the godly man ceaseth ; 
for the faithful fail from among the children of men," Psalm xii. 1. 
— Consider, 

(2.) That we are like to see trying times, in which the Lord will 
set his furnace in Zion. God has appeared often seasonably and 
wonderfully for our deliverance ; but the generation is not bettered, 
but rather growing worse and worse in all points. This is a fore- 
runner of a fearful stroke. Now, Sirs, a shew of religion may do 
in a time of ease and peace, but when that trial comes, it will be 
hard to bear xip without the reality. — Consider, 

(3.) That death and judgment will try us all. We may put off 
the trial as we will for a time, there is however no shifting of it 
altogether. God will not be mocked. — Consider, 

Lastly, That it will be a terrible disappointment to be awakened 
out of dreams of heaven, by falling into hell. It will be no time 
to seek oil, when the Bridegroom is come, and hath shut the door. 


We have in view an ordinance that calls to self-examination : 
1 Cor. xi. 28, " But let a man examine himself, and so let him 
eat of that bread, and drink of that cup." Therefore bestir your- 
selves, and consider your state. Study the spirituality of religion, 
that you may thus approve yourselves to the heart-searching God. 



Luke xiv. 26, 

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, 
and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he 
cannot be my disciple. 

He is a fool who joins himself to any society, before he has 
■weighed with himself how he can comply with the laws and rules of 
that society. In vain do we propose to be a disciple to any person, 
if we are not disposed, to submit to his discipline. Man is 
born like a wild ass's colt, naturally untractable and unteach- 
able ; the Son of God has set up his school amongst us ; 
many who externally belong to it stand at a distance from him, 
as rude and unpolished by grace as when they first came to it. 
There is a solemn and awful entry into the school of Christ be- 
fore us, and it cannot be unsuitable, especially on such a season 
as this, to stand and hear, out of the mouth of the great Master, 
the necessary qualifications of all such as will be reckoned his 
disciples indeed. This we have in the text. — In which there is 

1. A case supposed; and there are two things in it. For this 
case, though the case of many, is like the legs of the lame, which 
are not equal. — In it, first, there is a fair profession. The man 
Cometh to Christ, not in the way of believing on him, as this 
word is often used, the expression here can by no means be thus 
explained ; but in the way of an outward profession, joining him- 
self with his followers, taking on him the name of his party. The 
occasion of the words clears this. Multitudes went with him, and 
they were ready to value themselves because they kept good com- 

' Delivered at Selliiik. Saturday, Oct. 11, 1712. 

or DisciPLESuir. 369 

paiiy. The Lord turns to them, and tells them, that it was 
another thing to be a disciple of his than most of them took it 
to be. He lays the matter so plainly before them, as would make 
it easy to conclude, that most who followed him now would leave 
him afterwards ; and that when it came to the trying pinch, he 
would have but a thin backing ; therefore they should in time 
consider what they are doing. — In the case there is, next, a foul 
and false heart. The man comes to Christ, and brings not his 
heart with him, but leaves it at home with his father or mo- 
ther, &c. or keeps it still hugging and embracing his dear self, his 
life, so that he cannot embrace Christ, more than a man can take 
both heaven and earth in his arms at once. Christ must be dearer 
to his disciples than what is dearest to them in the world. The 
dearest persons are father, mother, &c. The dearest thing is 
life. That which makes this case so bad is, that they are dearer 
to the man than Christ. He hates not his father, mother, &c. 
He who taught us in the law, to love our neighbour as ourselves, 
does not contradict this here, but speaks out what was implied 
there, that we must neither love our neighbour nor ourselves, 
as God. It is not an absolute, but a comparative hatred which 
is here meant; that is, a less love; Gen. xxix. 31, "And when 
the Lord saw that Leah was hated :" that is, less loved than 
Rachel. Similar instances occur, as in Deut. xxi. 15; John xii. 25. 
And thus it is explained, Matth. x. 37, " He that loveth father or 
mother more than me, is not worthy of me." A man must leave 
father and mother to cleave to his wife ; but he must leave his 
wife, yea, and his life also, to cleave to Christ. Levi gave a prac- 
tical commentary on this text, Deut. xxxiii. 9, " Who said unto his 
father, and to his mother, I have not seen, neither did he acknow- 
ledge his brethren, nor knew his own children ; for they observed 
thy word, and kept thy covenant." And so did that disciple-like 
resolution of Jerome : " If my father should stand before me," says 
he, " my mother hang upon me, my brethren press about me, I 
would break through my brethren, throw down my father, tread 
under feet my mother, to cleave to Jesus Christ." So said a cer- 
tain Dutch schoolmaster, being asked, if he loved not his wife and 
children ? " Yes," says he, " if all the world were gold, and mine 
to dispose of, I would give it all to live with them, though but in a 
prison ; yet is my soul and my Lord Christ dearer than all." But 
perhaps this is only the attainment of few. Mistake it not, but hear, 
2. Christ's verdict upon the cose, and venture not to distinguish 
where the law makes no distinction : " If any man come to me, and 
hate not, &c., he cannot be my disciple." Be he or she who 


they will, they cannot be Christ's disciples, if Christ be not dearer 
than what is dearest to them in a world. Nominal disciples 
they may be indeed, but real they cannot be, they cannot bear afflic- 
tions for Christ, because they want such affections to him as are 
necessary to make them go in the strait and narrow way which leads 
unto life. — From this subject I would take this 

Doctrine, That no man can be a true disciple of Christ, to whom 
Christ is not dearer than what is dearest to him in the world. 
For illustrating this subject, I shall, 

I. Speak to the nature of this necessary qualification of a true 
disciple of Christ. 

II. Confirm the doctrine of the text. 

III. Ofi"er some reasons why Christ is dearer to his true disciples, 
than what is dearest to them in the world. And, 

lY. Conclude with some improvement. 
"We are then, 

I. To speak to the nature of this necessary qualification of a true 
disciple of Christ. — There are in it, 

1. An esteem of Christ above all : Psalm xlv. 2, " Thou art fairer 
than the children of men, grace is poured into thy lips; therefore 
God hath blessed thee for ever." Christ is the highest and most 
glorious object in the practical judgment of all his true disciples : 
Psalm Ixxiii. 25, " Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is 
none upon earth that I desire beside thee." They do not only think 
him the best portion, considering things in the general, in which sense 
he has even the commendation of those who slight him ; but they 
look upon him as best for them, in whatever circumstances they may 
be ; this is the character of a true disciple : Matth. xi. 6, " And 
blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me." As the spark- 
ling stars hide their heads when the sun ariseth, so all things in the 
world lose their lustre when the glory of God appeareth to them, 
shining in the face of Jesus ; though to others there is in him no 

2. The heart renounceth its property in all things of the world, 
in the day of its closing with Jesus Christ. As a rebellious son, 
turned out of his father's house into an uninhabited land, takes that 
as his property which he falls upon by the right of first finding; but 
when he has access to return, he quits it, that he may enjoy his fa- 
ther's estate : so Adam and his children being driven out of para- 
dise, and banished from the presence and enjoyment of the Lord 
himself, they take up with what created comforts they stumble upon 
in their blind rambling through the wilderness of this world, as 


their own portion ; but retnrning and taking Christ, they part with 
these, their souls returning into their quiet rest. The natural man, 
being alienated from the life of God, takes a dead hold of created 
things, as suited to his corrupt state, and therefore his own by- 
choice ; hence so many carnal " mys," but not a word of " my 
God" amongst them : Hos. ii. 5, " She said, I will go after my lovers 
that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine 
oil and my drink." This is very unlike to Psalm xviii. 1, 2, " I will 
love thee, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fort- 
ress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; 
my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower." 
Now, when the soul begins to live, it quits that greedy grip of carnal 
things, and begins to fall off from the world ; that bond of iniquity 
which bound the heart and the world together being broken ; so that 
the disciple of Christ looks on all he has as no more his own. 

3. The soul resigns all to the Lord, lays all down at the Lord's 
feet, to be disposed of as he will : 1 Sam. iii. 18, " Eli said, it is the 
Lord, let him do what seemeth iiim good." 2 Sam. xv. 26, "David 
said, Behold, here am I, let the Lord do with me as seemeth good 
unto him." If the Lord have use for his comforts in the world, he, 
and all that are his, are for his part at his service. Though they 
were^ his before, he now makes a free-will offering of them all 
to the Lord ; so that, in very deed, all that a true disciple of Christ 
has, are dedicated things, consecrated to God. He may not, he 
dare not, revoke the grant ; they must be used, as God who is the 
proprietor doth direct, whose will must not be disputed in the dis- 
posal of his own ; they can be no more for profane, but holy uses. 
And if, through the prevalence of corruption, he has put his hand 
to that which is not holy, Christ's discipline will make him bring it 
back with the tear in his eye. Never a soul closes with Christ aright, 
that layeth not all its enjoyments, even life itself, at his feet. 

4. The soul accepts of Christ for, and instead of the things re- 
signed. God does not require us, nor will the heart ever part with 
these, but for a better : Matth. xiii. 45, 46, " Again, the kingdom 
of heaven is like unto a merchant man seeking goodly pearls, who 
when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that 
he had, and bought it." The man takes Christ instead of father, mo- 
ther, and all things ; for it is impossible that man can be self-suffi- 
cient. The heart of man is an empty, hungry thing, that must needs 
have something to feed upon ; and let men ply their hearts with the 
utmost diligence, they will still find it impossible to draw the husks 
of the world out of their hearts, unless something better is set before 
them. They must see heaven, before they will be drawn from earth ; 


therefore, the great transaction between Christ and the soul is held 
out under the notion of buying, in which a man does indeed in one 
sense, namely, as to his portion, give away his money : but he ob- 
tains something instead of it, which is better to him than his money. 
He gets Christ, the pearl of great price, the one thing needful. 

5. The soul is disposed to part with them, when the Lord calls for 
them ; has an habitual readiness to part with them for Christ. It 
is true, indwelling corruption is ready to hold the grip too fast, 
even when the Lord calls for a delivery ; yet every soul closing 
■with Christ has an honest resolution to part with all for him actu- 
ally, when he shall please to put them to the trial. The grace of 
God looseth them at the root, when it first comes into the soul, 
rooting and grounding them in love to Christ ; which root of the 
righteous shall never be moved. 

6. There is in the soul a new power of living, without them, on 
Jesus Christ ; a life which is an absolute mystery to every Christ- 
less soul : 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." 
If in this spiritual bargain they have quit with their money, on the 
purchase made, they can live without it, else would they never have 
quit with it. Though all temporal things fail them, yet can they 
rejoice in the Lord as their portion, and joy in the God of their sal- 
vation, Hab. iii. 18. If father and mother should leave them, they 
can satisfy themselves in the Lord's taking them up. If they should 
lose all relations for him, his relation to them is, in their eyes, more 
than sufficient to make up the loss. If they should not know where 
to hide their heads, or how to get food in a hiding-place, he is to them, 
not only a refuge for protection, but a portion for maintenance, 
Psalm cxlii. 4, 5. If all their substance should be taken from them, 
the A-lmighty shall be the gold and silver of their strength, Job 
xxii. 25. Yea, though natural life should go in his cause, himself 
is their life, a life which cannot be taken from them ; for. Col. iii. 
4, " When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we ap- 
pear with him in glory." — We now proceed, 

II. To confirm the doctrine of the text, or shew, that no man can 
be a true disciple of Christ, to whom Christ is not dearer than what 
is dearest to him in the world. — For this purpose, consider, 

1. That the soul cannot truly lay hold on Christ, but it must of 
necessity part with the world. The embracing of Christ infers na- 
turally the loosing our hold of the world : Matth. vi. 24, " No man 
can serve two masters. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." We 
may as soon grasp heaven and earth at once in our arms, as fix on 
Christ, and not loose our hold from all things besides him. If you 


would look up to the heavens, you must look away from the earth. 
The world is the terra from which Christ calls us : Song iv. 8, 
" Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon." 
Men may keep his company, with the world under their feet, but 
not with the world in their heart. — Consider, 

2. It is impossible that the love of God, and the love of the 
world, (the persons and things of the world), can at the same time 
be predominant in the heart. One of them must of necessity be 
uppermost. If the love of God be predominant, then it will com- 
mand the love of all worldly things to yield ; and these things will 
be disposed of, so as may best please him that has the chief room in 
our hearts. All the streams of our love to things below, will be 
swallowed up in the depth of our love to Christ : but this will be 
swallowed up by none; for this love is strong as death. Many 
Avaters cannot quench it, neither can the floods drown it. If a man 
should give all the substance of his house for love, it would be ut- 
terly contemned ; see Heb. xi. 25, 26, If the love of the world pre- 
dominate, then it leaves no love to the Lord, because no predomi- 
nant love of the world is consistent with the true love of God : 

1 John ii. 15, " Love not the world, neither the things that are in 
the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is 
not in him." This proves the man no disciple of Christ, Matth. vi. 
24 ; James iv. 4 ; 2 Tim. iii. 4, 5. — Consider, 

3. That if Christ be not dearer to us than the world, there is no 
universal resignation, which is necessary to prove the sincerity of 
the heart : Acts ix. 6, " Lord, what wilt thou have me to do !" 

2 Cor. viii. 5. — " But first gave their owuselves to the Lord." — If 
this be wanting, there is nothing done ; we give not to the Lord 
what he seeks, namely, that we be all his. If we deal thus in this 
solemn transaction, we do but lie to the Holy Spirit, as Ananias and 
Sapphira, keeping back part of the price. This is a sure evidence 
that grace is not effectually at work with us, else we would have 
been a willing people ; we would have made no reserves in closing 
with Christ. — Consider, 

4. That if Christ is not loved supremely, there is a root want- 
ing, the fruit of which is necessary to evidence sincerity. (1.) There 
is no root of universal obedience, the want of which will leave us 
ashamed, Psalm cxix. 6. There will always be, in this case, one 
thing lacking, that will mar all other good things about us. There 
will always be some idol of jealousy that gets Christ's room ; some 
offending right hand spared, that will bring the whole body to hell 
at length. (2.) There is no root for Christian suffering, bearing the 
cross of Christ, which is a cross of Christ's choosing, not of our own. 


Oar part is, to take up the cross that Christ lays down to us ; and 
•without this we cannot be his disciples. And when Christ lays on 
his cross, it is found, that readily he will have the man tried in that 
which of all things lies nearest his heart, and bids fairest for Christ's 
room : so that, if any thing be dearer than Christ, the cross readily 
discovers it, and the man's hypocrisy with it. 

You, then, tbat are to sit down at the Lord's table, may see how 
you are to manage this solemn transaction, so as that it may be ra- 
tified in heaven. If you take Christ, let these go their way. Lay 
down your all at Christ's feet, with all solemn seriousness ; if there 
be aught kept back, you do but ruin your own souls. The laws of 
Christ's school are read before you. Examine yourselves this night, 
whether ye be content with Christ on these terms or not. If you be 
not, it will be unnecessary, and even criminal, for you to come to 
his table ; you cannot be his disciples. If you be content, then give 
up your all to liim, and lay down your all at his feet. Because of 
the deceitfulness of your heart, it will be good to be very distinct 
and particular in this point, on which eternity depends. — In con- 
sequence, I would advise you, 

1. To give up with all your lusts. You have held the grip long, 
let it now go : " Ephraim shall say. What have I to do any more 
with idols ?" Hos, xiv. 8. Let none escape, let there be no reserved 
morsel, as you would not quit your lot and portion in Christ. Let 
every man give up with " the iniquity he knoweth," as the phrase 
is, 1 Sara. iii. 13. If there be any bosom-lust, which has been a 
signal competitor for the heart with the Lord, let it be given up with 
in a particular manner. Sure, if lawful things must be laid at the 
Lord's feet, unlawful must much more be laid down. — I would ad- 
vise you, 

2. To lay down at the Lord's feet your nearest and dearest re- 
lations, so as that you may never break with Christ for them : his 
favour, truths, and ways, must be dearer to you than they. And 
sure I am, if thou meetest with Christ at his table, thou wilt say, 
" Henceforth know we no man after the flesh." *' I will love my 
father, mother, wife, children, brethren, and sisters; but my Lord 
Jesus more than all." 

3. Lay down at the Lord's feet your substance in the world, be 
it great or small, houses and lands, goods, &c. that he may dispose 
of them as he may see meet. Times have been, and they are like to 
return, wherein the Lord has sent for these things from professors, 
even by wicked messengers, as he sent for the ass and colt, Matth, 
xxi. 3, " Saying, The Lord hath need of them." And they that had 
before fairly given them, with themselves, to the Lord, did not 
stand to deliver him his own : " Go thou, and do likewise." 


4. Lay down at the Lord's feet, yoar credit and esteem in the 
world. This is often a great idol, and goes betwixt many a man 
and Christ. There are few that ever have it, but suffer an eclipse 
in some time or other. God even sends for his people's credit, to be 
a stepping-stone for his glory. But if thou makest sure work in 
this transaction, thou wilt even be content at his call to creep down, 
and lie among the pots, till he himself bring thee out again. 
Thou wilt be content to commence a fool to the world, that thou 
mayest be wise to God. 

5. Lay down at the Lord's feet, your ease and liberty : Acts 
xxi. 13, " I am ready," said Paul, not to be bound only, but also 
to die at Jerusalem, for the name of the Lord Jesus." The flesh 
will cry, "Man, spare thyself;" but the spirit must offer all to the 
Lord. Thou wilt not break with Christ, though thou shouldst 
never get an easy hour, but be hunted as partridges, till in heaven. 
He to whom his ease and liberty is dearer than Christ, is a slave to 
the devil, and cannot be Christ's disciple. 

6. Lay down at Christ's feet, your desires. Tour desires shall 
be to your spiritual Husband, who shall choose for you your inherit- 
ance. Psalm xlvii. 4. If he shall grant your lawful desires, it is 
well ; if he see meet to refuse them, it must even be well also in your 
eye ; you are to take himself, and give up with your own will, and 
say. Thy will be done. 

Lastly, Lay down at the Lord's feet, your life. Let your bodies 
be given now to the Lord, not only for service, but also for a 
sacrifice, if he requires it. The text makes it plain, none go to 
heaven but martyrs, either in action or in affection. It may bo the 
Lord may have use for your strength, for your health, it may be 
for your blood. Resign all to him now. If you hate not your 
life, yon cannot be his disciple. Be not deterred from the sa- 
crament by this, for, by the word of God, the way to heaven is 
no easier. But when the time comes, that the saints are to be 
cari'ied to the table above, they will not be supposed to stand 
and look on, as when they present themselves before the lower 
table ; the fearful and unbelieving shall be excluded from that 
table. Rev. xxi. 8. It is necessary at all times that people 
should manage matters thus when they sit down at the Lord's 
table, but especially at this time, when the cloud of the church's 
trouble is gathering so fast, and our peace is flying from us. That 
party has now got the ascendant, whose temper always has been to 
breathe out threatenings, cruelty, and blood, and furiously to drive 
their plough over the back of the church, and to make their furrows 
deep, till the righteous Lord do cut the cords of the ungodly crew. 


Tliey have brouglit in their superstitions already, by the favour of 
a toleration which reflects shame on themselves before the world, as 
if they were men of no faith, but as to one article. By their means 
we are threatened with idolatry, and with a French government. 
But God sits in heaven, and can bripg order out of confusion. Let 
us prepare for whatsoever may come, honestly committing all to the 
Lord, and he will raise the sincere soul above itself, and give the 
back to bear its own burden, if we be but willing to stoop, and take 
it on for his sake. He left all for us, and shall we account any 
thing too much for him? However, this is the settled law of hea- 
ven, " If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mo- 
ther, and wife, and children, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, 
he cannot be my disciple." Amen. 



Luke xvi. 26, 

If any man come unto me, and hate not his father, and mother, and 
wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his oion life 
also, he cannot he my disciple. 

Having, in the preceding, discourse, attended to what was proposed 
as the first and second heads of method, I now proceed, 

III. To offer some reasons why Christ is dearer to his true dis- 
ciples than what is dearest to them in the world. — Among other 
reasons, the following are mentioned. 

1. Because to every true disciple, sin, of all bitter things, is the 
bitterest. A man will get a clearer view of the stars from the 
bottom of a deep pit, than from the top of a high mountain ; and 
the lower that a man is laid in humiliation for sin, Christ will be 
the dearer to him. Many things, nay, almost any thing, is dearer 
to most persons than Christ. "Why so ? Because any bitter thing 
is more bitter to their depraved taste than sin. As when God in- 
tended to endear the promised land to the Israelites, and make 
them content to leave the flesh-pots of Egypt, Exod. i. 14, their 
lives then were made bitter to them ; go God gives his people deep 
wounds for sin, till their consciences be made to dread it, and their 

* Delivered at Selkirk, Monday, Oct. 12, 1712. 

OF DisrirLESiiTP. 377 

hearts to loathe it; he .makes thera sick at the heart with it, and 
puts more and more bitterness in the cup to them, till it be of all 
things the bitterest, to this very end, that Christ may be the 
dearest to them, and that whatever they may afterwards meet 
with in his way, they may embrace it rather than sin. Sin has 
been bitter to many, but not extremely bitter ; therefore they say, 
as the drunkard, Prov. xxiii. 35, " When shall I awake ? I will 
seek it yet again." But the experience of sin duly embittered 
quickly determines the Christian which side to choose, when they 
are brought to this alternative, to suffer or sin. — Another reason is, 
2. That God is man's chief end ; and when he made him, he made 
him pointing towards himself as his chief end: Eccl. vii. 29, " God 
made man upright." But man sinning, turned off from God, turned 
his intention, his love, and desire, beside the mark set before hira, 
turned these in to himself, trade himself his chief end. So that the 
whole of every natural man's religion, however refined, resolves 
itself into that cursed principle, " Master, spare thyself." Hence 
they choose new gods, father, mother, &c. sttting their heart on 
them more than on God. Hence is their war in the gates against 
heaven, those things which were to be subordinate to God are set 
in opposition to him ; those which were to be below him in their 
love and esteem, are set above hira. If the grace of God rectify 
not this disorder, it does nothing : for it is impossible, while the 
soul is perverted as to its chief end, that any thing can be right with 
that person ; as a watch that is once wrong set, though it go never 
so regularly, it is still wrong, for it never points right. But grace 
truly, though not perfectly while here, brings back the Christian 
to God as his chief end. It makes him say, " Whom have I in 
heaven but thee? and there is none upon the earth that I desire be- 
sides thee," Psalm Ixxiii. 25 ; and again, " For to mo to liv^e is 
Christ, and to die is gain," Phil. i. 21. It makes hira holy in all 
manner of conversation ; so that whatever way the Christian turns, 
he points habitually towards God. — Another reason is, 

3. That as there unquestionably is, so they have seen, a vanity 
and emptiness in all things of the world, even the things that are 
dearest to them : Psalm cxix. 96, " I have seen an end of all per- 
fection, but thy commandment is exceeding broad." God has hung 
the sign of vanity at tlie door of all the creatures, yet do men 
throng into the house, every one calling and looking for a fill, and 
promising it to themselves after a thousand disappointments : Isa. 
Ivii. 10, " Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way : yet saidst 
tliou not. There is no hope : thou hast found the life of ihine hand; 
therefore thou wast not grieved." They see not the sign by the 
YOL. IX. 2 B 


light of grace, altliougli they may have a rational conviction of it, 
which will be as far from producing a trne weaning of the heart 
from the world, as painted fire is from burning off a man's bands. 
But Christians are made to see it with the light of grace, which is 
the light of life, which makes them go by the creatures' door to him 
in whom " it hath pleased the father that all fulness should dwell," 
Col. i. 19. The Lord squeezes the sap out of all things, besides him- 
self, to his 5vn, so as that when the heart is seeking its rest, they 
are tasteless to them as the white of an egg : Phil. iii. 7, 8, " But 
what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, 
doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the 
knowledge of Jesns Christ my Lord ; for whom I have suffered the 
loss of all things, and do count them bnt dung that I may win 
Christ." — Another reason is, 

4. Because they find Christ of all objects the most suitable to 
them, and therefore he cannot but be dearer to them than the 
dearest thing in the world. The soul which has long gone through 
the dry places of the world, seeking rest, and finding none, when it 
comes to Christ, finds rest to the conscience under the covert of his 
blood, and rest to his heart in that all-fulness dwelling in Christ 
which is commensurate to the unbounded desires of the heart, desires 
which can never be satisfied but by an infinite good ; and therefore 
of necessity, and from choice, settles here, saying, " This is my 
rest ;" and that soul is not to be drawn away from Christ by any 
means whatever : Rom. viii. 35, 38, " Who shall separate us from 
the love of Christ ? For I am persuaded, that neither death nor 
life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, 
nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, 
shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ 
Jesus our Lord." He is fully suited to their case : and, what is 
more, he is suited to their mind, they have no fault whatever to 
him : Song v. 16, " His mouth is most sweet, yea, he is altogether 
lovely ; this is my beloved, and this is my friend, daughters of 
Jerusalem." There is nothing in him they would have out of him, 
and nothing out of him they would have in him ; whereas every 
created enjoyment is lame, and defective to a great degree ; the 
fairest rose has some sharp prickles about it. Now, that soul which 
has traversed all created enjoyments dissatisfied, and could never 
find contentment, is completely satisfied in him. How, then, can it 
otherwise be, than that he is dearer to it than all other persons and 
things whatever? — Another reason is, 

5. Because he is their greatest benefactor ; his unparalleled bene- 
fits command their hearts to be all his : he has done for them what 


none other could do. "When Lebanon was not sufficient to burn, nor 
the cattle on a thousand hills for a sacrifice, when rivers of oil were 
too shallow, and the fruit of their bodies for the sin of their souls 
would have been rejected, he redeemed them with his own blood ; 
he left the bosom of his Father, and came and poured out his soul 
unto death for them, when they deserved to have died for ever. He 
is doing for them what none can do, he is their resident at the court 
of heaven, taking up emergent differences betwixt God and them, 
preparing a place for them in his Father's house of many mansions. 
And he will do for them what none but he himself can do ; he will 
at last bring them to his glory, and make them perfectly blessed in 
the full enjoyment of their God and Saviour through all eternity. — 
Another reason is, 

6. Because they are sensible, that whatever they have in the 
world, they have it through and by him. And so they behold him 
as the fountain of all their mercies. — Thus, 

(1.) They have the enjoyment of their blessings through him. 
It is by him they enjoy father and mother, wife and children, &c.; 
not only by his common providence, as the wicked enjoy their mer- 
cies, but by his blood, whereby the malefactor is not only pardoned, 
but also is set down with these, and far better things, as the pur- 
chase of Christ's blood ; whereas, had not the Mediator intervened 
betwixt them and the stroke of justice, they had been stripped of all 
their enjoyments in the world, even life itself, and shut up for ever 
in the prison of hell.* 

(2.) They have the comfort of them through him. Every crea- 
ture is to us what the Lord makes it to be, and it is no more ; no 
more it can be. The creature in itself is a mere nothing : what 
drops of sweetness are to be found in it, are distilled into it from 
himself, the fountain of goodness : none good but one, that is, God. 
And surely the Lord never puts any sweetness in the creature to 
arrest our hearts upon it, but rather that, finding the sweetness of 
the streams, we might thereby be drawn up to the Fountain, where 
sweet water is always sweetest. Let God call in his own from ouv 
enjoyments, our dearest relations shall be utterly uncomfortable ; 
yea, our very life a burden. If it be by him only, then, that our 
enjoyments are desirable, surely himself is much more so. And 
seeing the Christian loves these things for what of God is in them, 

* The worthy author is doubtless here to be understood as referring to that comfort 
and benefit which is enjoyed in such relations ; for it is only in the nature and 
extent of this kind of enjoyment, that a diflferenco arises between the Christian and 
the sinner, or that the former, with propriety, can contemplate the enjoyment of 
these relations as the fri\it of Christ's blood. — Edit. 



and with them, and can never be satisfied with them without Christ, 
surely Christ himself must be dearest of all. — Another reason is, 

7. Because, if it were not so, Christ would have no church in the 
world. His standard would fall, and there would be none to take 
it up. There is an old inveterate enmity in the wicked against 
godliness ; the devil's partizans are alway the most numerous. If 
imprisoning, banishing, spoiling of goods, fields and scaffolds reeking 
with the blood of the saints, would have deterred all persons from 
following Christ, there had been no church in the world this day. 
But God will have a church in spite of devils and wicked men. 
The spark shall be kept alive, though in the midst of an ocean, 
and " his name shall endure for ever," Psalm Ixxii. 17. A new seed 
shall ever be rising to enlist themselves under Christ's banner. God 
will not remove the rocks for them, but the way to heaven, to the 
world's end, shall lie through many tribulations ; for he will animate 
his people to quit with all that is dearest to them in a world, 
rather than quit his way, and make thera overcome through the 
word of his testimony, and not love their lives even unto death. — 
I come now, 

IV. To make some practical improvement. 

1. In an use of information. — You may hence see, 

(1.) That Christ will admit no rival in the heart. One throne 
cannot receive two kings, and one heart cannot admit both Christ 
and any worldly thing set up beside him ; it must needs lie at his 
feet, or all is wrong in that heart ; Matth. vi. 24, " No man can 
serve two masters. — Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Christ 
and the world have long struggled together, it is hard to tell which of 
them many of us have been chiefly following : but when Christ and 
the world parts, it will be known which of them is our master. — 
Ilcnce see, 

(2.) How far those persons are from being Christ's disciples, to 
whom a loathsome lust is dearer by far than the Lord Christ. 
Though it tends to ruin their bodies, their souls, and consciences, 
they notwithstanding will not part with it for Christ. "VYlicn Christ 
commands thee to do some great thing for him, how wilt thou do it ? 
Is it a right hand, a right eye ? Thou must cut it off^, pluck it out ; 
for wast thou parting with all but one thing, this one will eternally 
separate betwixt Christ and thee, if thou canst not also part with it 
for him. — Hence see, 

(3.) That men are not out of danger, even when walking within 
the bounds of lawful things. It is a certain observation, that law- 
ful things are a ditch, in which many souls arc drowned, Matth. 
xxiy. 38, 39. A man in the use of lavyful things, is like cue walking 


on the brink of a steep precipiece ; the ground is firm, but his head is 
ready to become giddy, and he may fall over. It is hard to rejoice 
in them, and not to overjoy; to have them, and yet to sit loose to 
them. Be often feeling the pulse of thy affection to them, how it 
beats, lest it be so violent as to separate Christ and thee. 

(4.) This shews what is the root of apostacy and defection from 
the truths and ways of Christ, in a time of the church's trials and 
troubles. It is the things of the world being dearer than Christ, his 
truth and ways, this is the first spring of it: *' Deraas hath forsaken 
me, having loved the present world," If Christ be dearer to us 
than all things else, we will follow him wherever he goes, and never 
break with him, for the world's frowns. — I shall only add, 

2. An use of exhortation. 

Let me now exhort all of you, especially those who have been com- 
municants, to evidence yourselves the true disciples of Christ by your 
comparative hating of father and mother, &c., for Christ and his cause 
in the world. Let your hearts be loosed from, and do you sit loose 
to, all that is dear to you in the world, resolving in the Lord's 
strength, and showing yourselves ready to part with all for Christ, 
if he shall call you to it. In order to influence your complying 
with the exhortation, I would lay before you the following motives : — 

Mot. 1. This is necessary to fit you for trials ; that you may be 
able to stand in the evil day, arm your souls with this disposition. 
— For this purpose consider, 

(1.) That the pathway to heaven lies by the cross, and all who 
have a real desire for heaven must lay their account with suffering ; 
John xvi. 33, "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of 
good cheer, I have overcome the world." Acts xiv. 22, " We must 
through much tribulation enter into the kingdom." 2 Tim. iii. 12, 
" Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer per- 
secution." Therefore he who does not lay his account thus is a 
foolish builder, Luke xiv. 25, and downwards. There is always a 
hot noon-tide in the church's day. Song i. 7, and it may as cer- 
tainly be expected as the noon. — Consider, 

(2.) That the things which concern us appear to be making 
haste. You have enjoyed the dispensation of the sacrament after 
Christ's institution in peace, we have no great ground to promise 
another such season in a haste. There has been much sad work 
wrought upon this church in a little time, and it is the temper of 
our enemies to drive more violently than deliberately. We have 
had long peace, and the air is usually quiet and clear before an 
earthquake, and the winds are laid before great rains fall. The gos- 
pel has been doing little good for many years ; and where people 


are not bettered, they are made worse by it. I believe there was 
never a generation more disposed to root out serious godliness from 
the earth, than that which this time affords. Among the fashion- 
able people of the age, religion is become almost quite out of 
fashion. Ministers and professors, through long ease, have gathered 
much mud, they need to be emptied from vessel to vessel. And it 
seems that judgment, as ordinary, must begin at the house of God, 
to purge it, and prepare the nations for a more dreadful vengeance ; 
so that it is probable it will be brought to this ere long, — suffer or 
sin. — Consider, 

(3.) That it is not easy to stand in a time of trial. Many will 
venture to sea in a fair day, that will never abide a storm. Many 
tall cedars have been blown up from the root by the wind of perse- 
cution, and they who have stood firmest, their towering branches 
have been made to sweep the ground. Be not over confident ; though 
you have endured a storm already, there may be a harder yet be- 
fore you, Heb. x. 34, compared with chap. xii. 4. There is need, 
then, to be preparing. — Consider, 

(4.) That this will fit you for it. When the things of the world 
hang loose about us, like Joseph's mantle, and Satan, by the hands 
of wicked men, seizes them, to draw us to him by them, they will 
slip off, and we will leave them in their hand, and so escape, as he 
did. They who are standing ready to encounter, will resist the 
enemy, while they who are surprised will fall into confusion. It is 
a sad thing to feel trouble before we see it, to be past hope before 
we have any fear. Troubles that find men secure, ordinarily leave 
them desperate. 

Mot. 2. Apostacy and defection from God in a trying time, is 
dreadful and dangerous : Heb. x. 38, " Now the just shall live by 
faith ; but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in 
him." God punishes men of this description oftentimes remarkably. 
How has a spirit of defection been followed in the fearful judgment of 
God with a spirit of persecution ; for when God departs, the spirit 
is imbittered. As the sharpest vinegar is made of the most gener- 
ous wine, so apostate professors ofttimes become the bitterest per- 
secutors. Besides, their gifts often wither, and dry up. It has 
also often been seen, that they have quickly lost their all dishon- 
ourably, who have gone out of God's way to save it, while they who 
have walked honestly, have walked surely. Dreadful above ex- 
pression will their doom be, if they get not grace to repent : Matth. 
X. 33, " Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny 
before my Father which is in heaven." But, Heb. x. 32, " Call to 
remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, 
ye endured a great fight of afflictions." / 


3. The truths and ways of God are more worth than the whole of 
what we have to lose for them. It is a general rule : Prov. xxiii. 
23, " Buy the truth, and sell it not." The profane spirits of some 
influence their slighting some less truths of religion ; and they 
imagine, after doing so, that they are secure from suffering, while 
the foundation points remain untouched. If these men A'alued their 
bodies as little as they do the truths of Grod, they would, in like 
manner, allow you to cut and mangle them as you please, provided 
ye did not stab them in the heart : but they who value fundamental 
truths, because of Christ's stamp upon them, will not dare to give up 
with circumstantial truths which they know, seeing they also bear 
the same impression of divine authority ; so that it is a bold venture 
for a man, on any pretence, to quit the word of Christ's patience in 
a time of trial, and to step out of God's way : for he leaves his soul 
in pawn for it, which is of more worth than all he has in a world ; 
and it is one to a thousand, if ever he has power to come back, and 
redeem it by repentance. 

Mot. 4. Death is approaching, and then you must part with all 
you have in the world. Cleave as fast as you will to these things, 
you must let go your hold at length. The serious consideration of 
the shortness of our time, the certainty of death, and the uncertainty 
of the time of it, would discover to us, that the whole we can make 
by turning aside from God's way in a time of trial, is not worth our 
trouble, not worth the going off our road for it ; for it may be, what 
is refused for Christ may quickly bo taken from you at death. I am 
sure we will never part so easily with what we have, as when we 
sit loose to it. Ripe fruit falls oft' ihe tree with a shake, when the 
unripe must be rent off. When the heart is loosed from what we 
have in the world, it is easy parting with it, by what it is when the 
heart holds by it till it be forced from it. — Nothing is ever parted 
with so honourably, as when it is parted with for Christ. No thanks 
to you that you part with what you have, when God takes it from you 
whether you will or not. It is honourable to forsake the world at 
Christ's call, for Christ's sake, before we be forsaken of the world. 

Mot. 5. You will be no losers at Christ's hands. If you quit 
with them now t0 Christ, he probably will let you keep them, and 
accept of your will for the deed. This was the case with Abraham, 
when called to offer up Isaac ; and with David when it was in his 
heart to build a house to the Lord. Thus you will have them with his 
blessing and favour. If he take them from you, without them you 
will get a throughbearing : Psalm xxxvii. 3, " Trust in the Lord, and 
do good ; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be 
fed." A little served up to you from the promise, and brought to 

381 A lacii nEWARjj to 

your liand by a particular provideuce, will liave a double sweetuess 
in it. That bread will not be lost which is thrown upon these waters ; 
after many days you shall find it : Matth. xix. 29, " And every one 
that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or mother, or wife, 
or children, or lands, for ray name's sake, shall receive an hundred- 
fold, and shall inherit eternal life." Himself will be to you instead 
of all, and better than all here ; and heaven will fully make up all 

If any shall say, " But, ! I fear I shall never be able to carry 
through," I would say to such. You know that the foundation of 
your throughbearing is laid, if your heart be loosed from all things 
besides Christ, and if he be dearer to you than what is dearest to 
you in a world : Psalm xlv. 10, 11, " Hearken, daughter, and con- 
sider, and incline thine ear ; forget also thine own people, and thy 
father's house. So shall the King greatly desire thy beauty, for he 
is thy Lord, and worship thou him." When the king thus greatly 
desires thy beauty ; he will see to preserve it ; John x. 28, 29, ** I 
give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither 
shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, who gave 
them me, is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck thera 
out of my Father's hand." You have taken him for all, and it lies 
upon his honour to see you carried through. Live by faith, and 
draw your daily supplies from him : Hab. ii. 4, " The just shall liv« 
by his faith." Isa. xl. SI, " They that wait upon the Lord shall renew 
their strength ; they shall mount up with wings as eagles ; they shall 
run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Amen. 



Hos. vi. 3, 
Thc7i shall ive knoiv, i/ we follow on to know the Lord. 

It is an observation of Soloraan's, Prov. xii. 27, " The slothful man 
roasteth not that which he took in hunting." Men are at some pains 
to get something, but when they have got it, they let it slip through 
their fingers. Hence our religion, good frames, attainments, resolu- 
tions, &c. turn to small account. We are at some pains to acquire 
tomcthing when attending divine ordinances, but then we put it in 

* DelLvereil at Tweedsniuir, A|iiil, 17>2. 


a bag with holes. Now, tho text tells us liow to remedy this loss, 
and to bring our religion to some good account : and that is, when 
once our hand is in