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Full text of "The works of the Rev. William Bridge, M.A. ...now first collected"










Sermon 1. The True Soldier s Convoy: preached upon a 
Prayer Day for the Prince s good success in 
going forth to war. Numb. x. 35. . . 3 

Sermon 2. Of Courage : to the Volunteers of the City of 
Norwich, and also to the Volunteers of Great 
Yarmouth. 2 Sam. x. 12 33 

Sermon 3. The Diseases that make a stoppage to England s 
Mercies discovered, and attended with their 
Remedies. John vii. 4. .. .. 50 

Sermon 4. Some Comfortable Directions for such as have 
been, or may be driven from their houses, 
goods, or Country. Lam. v. 2. . . 74 

Sermon 5. Thankfulness required in every Condition. 1 
Thess. v. 18 94 

Sermon 6. The Woman of Canaan. Matt. \v. 21-28. 112 

Sermon 7. A Vindication of Ordinances. Deut. xviii. 15. 


Sermon 8. Grace and Love Beyond Gifts : preached before 
the Lord Mayor. 1 Cor. xii. 31. 162 

Sermon 9. Of the Sin against the Holy Ghost : wherein is 
shewed, 1. What this sin against the Holy 
Ghost is ; 2. How and in what respect this 
sin against the Holy Ghost, is above all other 
sins the Unpardouable Sin. Matt. xii. 31, 
32 187 

Sermon 10. Of the Sin of Infirmity : wherein is shewed, 
besides other things, 1. That a man may pos 
sibly fall into the same sin again and again, 
yet be a true disciple ; 2. That this sin may 
be but a sin of infirmity ; 3. That being so, 
Christ will not leave him in it, but will come 
again, and not cast him off. Matt. xxvi. 43. 


Sermon 11. The False Apostle Tried and Cast. Rev. ii. 2. 


Sermon 12. The Good and Means of Establishment. 1 
Pet. v. 10. . 260 



Sermon 13. 

Sermon 14. 

Sermon 15. 

Sermon 16. 

Sermon 17. 

III. 2. 

Sermon 1. 
Sermon 2. 

Babylon s Downfall : preached before the ho 
nourable House of Commons. Rev. xiv. 8. 


On Zech. i. 18 21, ii. 1. : before the honour 
able House of Commons, at their Public 
Fast 314 

The Saints Hiding Place in the Time of God s 
Anger i before the right honourable the 
House of Lords, at their solemn Monthly 
Fast. Zeph. ii. 3 346 

England Saved with a Notwithstanding : before 
the honourable House of Commons, on the 
Day of Thanksgiving for Deliverance from 
the Powder Plot. Ps. cvi. 8. . . 373 

Christ s Coming is at our Midnight : before the 
honourable House of Commons, on the Day 
appointed for Thanksgiving for the great 
Victory in Wales. Matt. xxv. 6. . . 405 





PREACHED A.D. 164065. 






" Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces as one that is slain; thoti hast scattered 
thine enemies with thy strong arm." Psalm Ixxxviii. 10. 


To THE READER. Reader, out of desire to the good of God s people, and in 
respect of these troublesome times, it was thought not altogether unfit by some 
friends to print these few notes, in reading of which thou art desired not to ex 
pect much completeness of dependency or style, as not being ordered to the press 
by Ihe Author himself, but by a very weak hand ; whatsoever, therefore, thou 
shalt find herein profitable, that improve ; if any thing otherwise, that cover by 
Christian love, and the God of love be with thee. Amen. 

" Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered." 
NUMB. x. 35. 

THIS chapter delivereth itself into four parts : in the first 
part the author speaketh of the silver trumpets, and of the 
matter and use of them ; secondly, he sheweth the march of 
the children of Israel under their several standards ; thirdly, 
he speaketh of a conference had between Moses and Hobab, 
verse 29 ; and, fourthly, you have Moses* prayer : " And 
they departed from the mount, and the ark of the covenant 
of the Lord went before them in the three days journey, &c. 
And it came to pass when the ark set forward, that Moses 
said, Rise up, O Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered." 
When they removed, still they prayed. When they set forth 
with their army they used those words, " Arise, O Lord, and 
let thine enemies be scattered." When they returned with 
their army at the latter end of the year, or at any time, they 
said, " Return, O Lord, unto the many thousands of Israel." 

You have here their going forth : " Arise, O Lord," &c. 

B 2 


It is as if he had said thus : O Lord, thou hast promised thy 
presence to thy people, and therefore thou hast given them 
thine ark, the outward sign of thy presence ; now we are to 
go forth to war, and that is a dangerous work, oh, let us not 
go alone, without thee, but let us have thy presence ; where 
fore, " Arise, O Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered." 
He doth not say thus : O Lord, we entreat thee give us good 
munition or good provision, or (that which the world calleth 
the nerves of war) give us money ; but, as if he would shew 
that God s presence is most desirable to an army, and that 
God s presence is their munition and provision, and containeth 
all things, he saith, " Arise, O Lord," &c. 

These words contain something implied and something ex 
pressed. Implied, two things. 1. That God hath enemies : 
that seems to be granted. 2. That God sleepeth to his ene 
mies ; therefore he saith, " Arise." These implied. Expres 
sed, three things. 1. The manner of the petition: and that 
is that God would arise. 2. The effect of God s rising : and 
that is, that his enemies may be scattered. 3. The occasion 
of this petition : that is, their going forth to war. 

From these words, " Then Moses said," &c., accordingly 
there are five notes or observations that I intend, God willing, 
to run through at this time. 

First, That God himself hath many enemies. 

Secondly, As God hath enemies, so sometimes he sleepeth 
to all their enmity. 

Thirdly, Though God sleepeth and they work, yet there is 
a time when they shall be scattered ; and when God ariseth 
they are scattered. 

Fourthly, Our prayers awaken God. 

Fifthly, When the people of the land go forth to war, 
God s people should go forth to prayer. 

First, God himself hath many enemies. Let none wonder 
at this, nay rather wonder that God hath any friends in the 
world, it is so wicked ; the Scripture is full for it : " Out of 
the mouths of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength, 
because of thine enemies," Psalm viii. 2 ; " But the wicked 
shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat 
of larr.bs," Psalm xxxvii. 20; " Thine enemies roar," &c. Ps. 
Ixxiv. 4. Ye know the Psalm, " For lo thine enemies, O 
Lord ; for lo thine enemies," xcii. 9. 


Those that are in league and covenant one with another 
have common friends and common enemies. God s children 
are in covenant with God, and therefore they having enemies, 
God hath enemies. 

There is a special contrariety between God and the world : 
" The flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against 
the flesh, for they are contrary," Gal. v. 17 Take but this 
one instance in this matter of contrariety to see how contrary 
God and the godly are to the devil and the wicked. Let a 
thing be never so bad, God and the godly will turn it to good 
and God s honour. Let a thing be never so good, the de 
vil and wicked men will turn it to bad and God s dishonour. 
Now enmity being nothing else but enlivened contrariety, 
and there being such a contrariety between God and the 
world, it cannot be but that God should have many enemies. 
That which maketh a thing so is more so. If a man loathe a 
beaker or vessel because physic hath been in it, he loathelh 
the physic much more ; and if the world hate the godly be 
cause they are godly, then they hate God much more. Now 
the godly have many enemies, and that for this reason, be 
cause they are godly, therefore God himself hath more. 

Further, when two are at a great distance and neither do 
yield, buckle, nor comply too or with one another, there must 
needs be a great enmity. Now, saith our Saviour Christ, 
" You cannot love God and mammon ; you must love the one 
and hate the other." God will have no complying. And for 
this reason the senate of Rome, as the historians give it, 
would not acknowledge Jesus Christ to be a God : because 
he is such an one, say they, as if we acknowledge him to be 
God, he will not let us acknowledge other gods ; other gods 
will comply, and be content we shall acknowledge others also, 
but for this Christ, if we acknowledge him we must acknow 
ledge none other. Now God is very incomplying in all his 
ways, therefore God himself must needs have many enemies, 
and very deadly. Hence we may see that it is no strange and 
new thing for us that are the people of God to meet with 
enemies. Why should we, be discouraged though we meet 
with enemies ? Are we better than our Lord and Master ? 
Shall God himself have many enemies and shall we think to 
have none ? It was the complaint of a heathen man, Inimicos 
habeo, I have enemies : his friend standing by gave him 


this answer, Sed pejus est quod amicos non habes, But that is 
worse, that thou hast no friends. Though a man have many 
enemies, yet if he hath some faithful friends he may comfort 
himself thus : Though I have most bitter and vile enemies, yet 
I have as fast and sure friends. So that here is a further argu 
ment to shore up our unbelieving hearts : God himself hath 
many enemies. 

But my enemies are such as do pretend friendship ; and 
truly so are God s enemies such as do pretend love. I 
pray you tell me, I put it to your own hearts, who are those 
that do pretend more love to God than the breakers of the 
second commandment, that do make images ; and wherefore do 
they so ? Say they, We will have an image of Christ wheresoever 
we be come that we may always be put in mind of Christ. 
What a mighty pretence of love is here ; and yet the breakers 
of the second commandment are said to be haters of God. 
It is not said so of the breakers of any of the other com 
mandments that they are haters of God, but of those that 
break the second commandment ; " visiting the iniquity of 
the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth gene 
ration of them that hate me." So that though they pretend 
the most love, yet they are the most haters. 

But for my enemies, the Lord knoweth I have done them 
no wrong, but good. I pray you hath not God done good 
unto his enemies ? God hath many enemies, but what hurt 
hath God done them ? Have you enemies ? God hath so. 
Have you many enemies ? God hath so. Have you many 
false enemies ? God hath so. Remember this doctrine : God 
himself hath many enemies. 

The second observation is : As the Lord hath many enemies 
so he is pleased for a time to sleep unto his enemies. He 
sleepeth ; therefore it is said here, " Arise " arising is opposed 
to sleeping. Lord, why sleepest thou ? Psalm xliv. 23. But 
what is that ? Not that we should understand it literally, for 
so the prophet derided BaaPs priests : " Cry aloud, it may be 
your God sleepeth," 1 Kings xviii. 27; but understand it meta 
phorically : a man is said to be asleep when he is so intense 
about one business that he doth not regard another ; that 
business which he doth not meddle with he is said to be asleep 
to : so, now, when God shall have many enemies, and they 
shall blaspheme his name, and revile his people, and hinder 


his ordinances, and God shall be deaf to all their blasphemies, 
revilings, and all their wickedness ; when they shall persist in 
evil, and bring their wicked devices to pass, and yet God shall 
be as it were blind to all their dealings ; then God sleepeth 
to the enmity of his enemies. Would you know the reasons ? 

It may be the enemies are not yet great enough for God to 
contend with. The eagle doth not hunt after flies, and a lion 
doth not harness himself to battle against a poor worm. It 
may be the malice of the enemy is not yet great enough, and 
so is not a fit object for the great indignation of the great 
God, and therefore God suffereth them to go on that it might 
be a greater and a more full object to bear his indignation. 

Again. Therefore God suiFereth this, and seemeth to sleep 
for a time, because his people are not provoked enough against 
their enemies. As it was with the children of Israel that 
went against Benjamin, and fell before them twice, if Israel 
had overcome them the first time, they would not have been 
so provoked against them to have cut them all off as they 
were ; but being beaten by them twice, thereby they were 
provoked to their destruction. So God suffereth his enemies 
to prevail, and sleepeth to the case of his people for a time, 
because the hearts of his people are not stirred enough 
against their enemies to cut them off fully; when that is 
done, then God awaketh. 

Again, sometimes God sleepeth because his people sleep 
to him, and say, Arise, to something else. They sleep to 
him. It was the speech of an emperor when he was in 
prison, Oh, said he, when I was in my palace, I hoped so 
much in men, that I neglected trusting in God ; but now I 
am in prison, I may hope less in men, and trust more in God. 
So it may be there is a time, when God s people do fall 
asleep to God ; hope too much in men, and not enough in 
God. Now, saith the prophet, " Woe to him that saith to 
the stone, Arise," Hab. xi. 19. Shall God arise to his peo 
ple, when they say to the stone, Arise ? Shall God arise for 
his people, when they sit down and arise not up themselves ? 
Brethren, faith is prayer in the coals, and prayer is faith in 
the flame ; now it may be men s faith doth not burn out 
enough, it burneth dark ; they pray, but are not hot in 
prayer ; they live, but they do not live out of themselves in 


God enough. Wherefore that God may awaken his people, 
he sleepeth himself. 

Sometimes it is for this end ; because the pit of his ene 
mies is not yet digged. Consider that Psalm xciv. 12, 13, 
" Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and 
teachest him out of thy law ; that thou mayest give him rest 
from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the 
wicked." There is a time when the pit of the wicked is dig 
ging, and all that time God s people may be in suffering. 
God suffereth the wicked to run away with the bait, and doth 
not yet draw them, because they are not full on the hook; 
but when they have swallowed the hook, then he will draw 

Hence we may see what the reason is many times, why 
there is so much evil in the churches, and why the enemies 
prevail so much, so long. God is the strength of the 
churches, and our strength sleepeth sometimes upon all the 
afflictions of the churches. We are apt to be much dis 
couraged, like the disciples, who whilst our Saviour was in 
the storm asleep, they came running in all haste to him, say 
ing, " Carest thou not that we perish ? " So it is many times 
when a storm ariseth upon the church, God seemeth to sleep, 
and we run in haste to God, and are apt to charge God, 
Lord, carest thou not that we perish ? But, peace, peace, he 
sleepeth only, he will awake shortly, you shall see it, and 
they shall feel it. For, 

The third point tells us, that though God seem to sleep, 
and his enemies prevail ; yet there is a time when they shall 
be scattered, and when God ariseth they are scattered. There 
are two parts in this doctrine, I will handle them severally. 

1. Though the enemies of the Lord do prevail, and God 
seemeth to sleep ; yet there is a time when they shall be 
scattered. In that Psalm Ixviii. 1, you have the same words 
that are here ; " Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered." 
In the following part of the Psalm, verse 12, it is said, 
" Kings of armies did flee apace/" In the Hebrew it is : 
They fled, they fled ; fled, is twice. Why so ? That is, they did 
flee very hastily, and they fled most confusedly, they fled all 
ways ; they fled, they fled, noting the greatness of the flight. 

If it were not so, how should God be honoured in the 
world ? God is resolved to recover his honour, his truth, 


and his justice out of the hands of the world. Saith the 
Psalmist, " He will wash his feet in the blood of the 
wicked : so that a man shall say, Verily, there is a reward for 
the righteous ; verily, he is a God that judgeth in the earth," 
Psalm Iviii. 10. But did they not know it before, that God 
ruleth in the earth ? True, but men will not say all that for 
God always which their hearts know, and the glut of prospe 
rity often doth quench their knowledge; but when God s 
judgments are abroad, then men shall say, (he doth not say 
godly men, but then men shall say,) though they be but bare 
men, they shall say, &c. Oh, it is a sweet time when ungodly 
men shall own their own principles. And if you look into 
Psalm Ixviii. 11, you shall find when the enemies of the 
church are destroyed, that God hath many preachers made 
that do teach his praises. Saith the psalmist, verse 12, " The 
Lord gave the word, great was the company of those that 
published it : kings ot armies did flee apace, and she that 
tarried at home divided the spoil." The words in the origi 
nal are very significant, and do note two things. First, the 
word which you read company,in the Hebrew it is,army: "great 
was the army " of preachers. An army of preachers is a 
great matter; nay, it is a great matter to have seven or eight 
good preachers in a great army ; but to have a whole army of 
preachers, that is glorious. Secondly, it doth note out the 
heartiness of this preaching army; for the word nephesh, 
soul, is to be understood as in that place of Ecclesiastes ; it 
is said there, "The words or book of the preacher," which being 
in the feminine gender, doth suppose nephesh,a.nd as if he should 
say, as Vatablus hath it : The words or book of him that hath a 
preaching soul or heart, or the words of a preaching soul or 
heart. So here, where it is said, great is the army of preach 
ers ; the word being in the feminine gender, it is as if he 
should say, great is the army of preaching souls, whose very 
hearts within them shall preach of the Lord s works. Now, 
my brethren, it is much to have a preaching army ; but if 
this army shall with heart and soul preach of God s praise, 
oh, that is a blessed thing. Yet thus shall it be, when the 
enemies of God shall be destroyed. And therefore, seeing 
God will not lose all those sermons of his own praises, in 
due time the enemies of the church shall be scattered. 

Again, all the plots and projects of God s enemies lie 


under a curse. Now the curse scattereth, and the blessing 
gathereth. When God blessed,, then the people were gath 
ered; when God curseth, then they are scattered. You 
know when Jacob was to bless his children, instead of bles 
sing Levi, he seemeth to pronounce a curse upon them, that 
they should be scattered in Israel. Gen. xlix. 7- Surely it is 
a part of the curse to be scattered, and the enemies of God 
and his people are always under the curse ; and, as a learned, 
holy divine of your own hath it, They are never prayed for. 
But look, as it is with some grass that groweth on the house 
top, though it be higher than that which grows in the field, 
yet no man prays for it, and no man saith, The Lord bless 
it. But the grass and corn that grows in the field, the men 
that come by, say, There is a good crop of corn, the Lord 
bless it. So, though wicked men and the enemies of the church, 
do perk up higher than the rest, yet they are never under 
prayer, but always under the curse, and therefore no wonder 
though they be scattered. 

God will lay men s ways upon their own heads : the fish 
shall be boiled in the water it lived in, and men destroyed by 
the same way they walked in. Therefore in Psalm lix., you 
shall see how sin is answered with the like punishment. The 
psalmist speaking concerning his enemies, ver. 6, 7> " They 
return at evening, tbey make a noise like a dog, and go round 
about the city. Behold they belch out with their mouth, 
swords are in their lips." That is, they revile, they jeer and 
scorn at the godly : there is their sin. Now look into the 
latter end of the Psalm, at ver. 14, you shall see their an 
swerable punishment : " And at evening they shall return, 
and make a noise like a dog, and go about the city ; let them 
wander up and down for meat, and grudge if they be not 
satisfied." As they went about the city, barking and making 
a noise like dogs, so shall they go about the city howling like 
dogs : thus God will answer men in their own kind. Was not 
Adonibezek punished in his own kind, Judg. i. 7 ; Egypt in its 
own kind; and the Jews of old in their own kind ? This is God s 
method still ; and therefore if you compare Rev. viii. and ix. 
with Rev. xvi., you shall see that the trumpets and the vials 
are alike, and some take them to be all one ; but the trumpets 
note out the time when the sins are committed, and the vials 
the time when the punishments are inflicted. But the evils 


mentioned in both are much alike, because God proportioneth 
men s punishment to their own sins. Now the enemies of 
the church have scattered themselves up and down to do 
mischief. How are the Jesuits and the locusts of our time, 
scattered up and down in all places ! They have scattered 
God s people, and they scatter their own sins wheresoever 
they be come. Therefore there must come a scattering time 
for themselves also, for that is equal. 

You will say, Do we not see the contrary ? Our eyes are 
witnesses of the contrary. We see the people of God are 
scattered, but we do not see the enemies are scattered. 

It is true God s people are scattered, and truly it is the 
remainder of the curse upon them, for which we are to be 
humbled. Though God provides a place for us in the world, 
yet ceitainly it is some part of the curse, to have our names 
changed from Israel to Jezreel. This is God s way, that what 
evil he doth afterward bring upon his enemies, he doth many 
times first bring it upon his own friends, by his and their 
enemies. He first sleepeth to them, then he awaketh for 
them. But to answer: God s people are often scattered; 
but though they be scattered, yet there is much difference 
between their and the world s scattering. The scattering of 
God s children is turned into a blessing to them ; the scattering 
of his enemies is a curse, and so it endeth. A plain instance 
for it you have in Levi: saith Jacob, " Let them be divided 
in Jacob, and scattered in Israel," Gen. xxix. 7- yet that proved 
a great blessing, for the tribe of Levi being scattered among 
all the tribes, by that means all the tribes had preachers. So 
now it is in the scattering of the saints, though they be scat 
tered into divers places, yet they are made thereby a blessing 
to many countries; hereby they carry truths into other 
places ; hereby they are cleansed from their own filthiness ; 
hereby they learn to walk more humbly ; hereby they learn 
to die daily to the world and outward comforts ; hereby they 
are weaned from their friends and all natural engagements ; 
hereby they are made more conformable to Jesus Christ, who 
was a stranger upon earth; hereby they meet with many 
experiences ; hereby they see many promises fulfilled ; hereby 
they enjoy the ordinances of God in a purer manner than 
before ; so that all their scatterings are blessings to them. 

Though the people of God be scattered, yet they are gathered 


again, for " great shall be the day of Jezreel," Hosea i. 1 1 . 
Yet more fully, Jer. xxiii. 2, 3, 4 : " Therefore thus saith the 
Lord God of Israel, against the pastors that feed my people : 
Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have 
not visited them : behold, I will visit upon you the evil of 
your doing, saith the Lord, and I will gather the remnant of 
my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and 
will bring them again to their folds, and they shall be 
fruitful and increase, and I will set up shepherds over them, 
which shall feed them ; and they shall fear no more, nor be 
dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord." Yea, 
they are therefore scattered, that they may be better gathered. 
Ezek. xxxiv. 11, 17 ; " Thus saith the Lord God, behold I, 
even I will both search my sheep and seek them out, as a 
shepherd seeketh out his flock, in the day that he is among 
his sheep that are scattered. Thus saith the Lord God, be 
hold I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and 
the he-goats." Before their scattering the goats were min 
gled with the flock ; upon their gathering, the goats were 
separated. A good garment may be ripped into pieces that 
it may be better sewed. Good is that speech of Augustine : 
He that killeth, considereth not how he slasheth and rend- 
eth ; but he that cutteth to cure, considereth how he cutteth.* 
Or thus, suppose a man be to cut two men, the one to cure 
him, the other to kill him ; that man which he cutteth to 
cure, he considereth how he cutteth him, but he taketh no 
care how he slasheth him whom he intendeth to kill. So 
doth God deal in the cuttings and scatterings of his own 
children and the vile world. Or thus : an army you know 
may be scattered two ways ; the soldiers when they come 
from their trenches, every one goeth to his hut, and the 
whole army is in some measure scattered and divided, but in 
order; this is an orderly scattering : but when they are 
routed, that is another scattering, wherein there is no order. 
God s people are scattered as those that go to their huts, but 
the wicked are scattered otherwise, their scattering is a full 
routing, that is never gathered. This is the punishment of 
the enemies of the church, they shall be scattered. 

If so, hence we may see what a lamentable thing it is to 

* Qui trucidat non considerat quo modo laniat, qui curat considerat quo modo 


be an enemy of God. This is the portion of all the enemies 
of God. they shall be scattered. Lamentable is their condi 
tion, therefore, that are God s enemies. Brethren, God is 
the best friend and the worst enemy. If God be my friend, 
what though I have many enemies ! Affliction shall be all 
rated off in due time, as the dog is when he falleth upon a 
friend. If the dog fall upon a thief or an enemy, we let 
him alone, he hath leave to worry him. When afflictions 
seize upon God s people, in due time they are chidden off; 
but when they fall upon God s enemies, they shall not be 
rated off, they may worry them, and the venom of their teeth 
shall abide in them to all eternity. The text saith, " As for 
those mine enemies," &c. It is some grief to be slain before 
justice, but before mercy itself, that is more grievous. It is 
some grief to be slain before those that cannot help, but to 
have help stand by and not help, that is most bitter. Such 
is Christ, he is our help, he is our merciful High Priest, and 
yet he saith, " As for those mine enemies, which would not 
that I should reign over them, bring hither and slay them 
before me," Luke xix. 27. Oh, what a sad thing it is to be 
God s enemy. 

But who are those enemies ? 

You will all say thus, that if a man seeth the picture of 
another, and as soon as he seeth it he falleth a tearing of it ; 
and the more like the picture is to the man, the more he 
teareth it ; surely this man was an enemy to him whom the 
picture is like unto. So when men shall fall a tearing of 
God s people, and therefore because they are godly, are not 
they enemies to God ? 

Consider Psalm Ixviii. 21, there is a plain place to shew 
you who are God s enemies. Saith the psalmist, " But God 
shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of 
such an one as goes on still in his trespasses." Such as go 
on still in their trespasses are God s enemies. There is no 
child of God but may and doth fall into sin ; he may fail in 
his speech and in his practice ; but it is the character of the 
world to " lie in wickedness," 1 John v. 19. And therefore, 
know you such an one as hath been a drunkard, and a 
drunkard still ; a swearer eight, nine, or ten years ago, and a 
swearer still ; a sabbath-breaker, a liar, an adulterer, a great 
while ago, and so still, that man is an enemy, and in due 


time the Lord will wound the hairy scalp of such a ruffian, 
for he is an enemy. 

When a man cannot endure to hear of the welfare and good 
success of the churches, and of the ordinances of God, that 
is a sign they are God s enemies. A man loveth to hear 
good of him that he loveth. If a man love God, he loveth 
to hear good of God and all that belongeth to him ; of the 
churches, and of all the ordinances : but when men hear of 
good news of the churches, and of the ordinances, and do 
secretly grudge, repine, and wish it otherwise, these are now 
secret enemies, and will be open. 

The scripture phrase telleth us who are God s enemies. 
Saith the psalmist, <( Lord, make plain thy way before my 
face, because of mine enemies," Ps. v. 8. In the Hebrew it is, 
" Lord, make plain thy way before me, because of my ob 
servers." Malicious observation is a sign of enmity ; and 
therefore when men. shall diligently observe and lay wait for 
the haltings of God s people, and are glad to find any thing 
to raise a scandal; more rejoicing at the scandal, than griev 
ing for the sin ; those, as beasts which seek for the excre 
ments of men to nuzzle in them, are God s enemies, and 
God is their s.* 

Those that hinder the great proceedings that God hath in 
the world, are his enemies. In the restoration and rebuilding 
of the temple, God had many enemies : Tobiah, Sanballat, 
and many others. Neh. vi. 1. How did it appear ? They 
did out of malice labour to make the work of God to cease. 
So when men in their generations and times shall maliciously 
labour to cause the works of God to cease, and hinder the 
great proceedings which God hath on foot in the world ; 
these are enemies and none but enemies. Now God is and 
hath been working of many great works in the world ; if any 
man s heart tell him that he hath thus taken up arms against 
God, let him lay down his weapons and humble himself, for 
God will be above him ; God is greater and will break him. 

The second part of the doctrine followeth : that these ene 
mies when God ariseth are scattered : God s arising is the 
cause of their scattering. 

When God ariseth, then all his host ariseth. When a 
man ariseth, then all his clothes arise ; when the subject 

* Qui tanquam famelici porci itnmergunt se, in stercora sanctorum et ex jis 
delicias faciunt. Luther in Gen. ix. 


ariseth, all the accidents arise ; when the prince in the field 
ariseth, all his soldiers arise : when God ariseth, then all his 
followers arise ; and when they arise, the enemies fly, and so 
are scattered. 

Consider but the nature of his enemies as they are de 
scribed in Scripture. They are compared to wax before the 
fire. Ps. Ixviii. 2. Though wax may lie awhile there and not 
melt, whilst the fire is not blown up ; yet when the fire 
flameth, the wax melteth. They are compared to the waves 
of the sea, Jude xiii. ; that roar whilst they are in the sea, 
yet when they come to the shore they break. They are com 
pared to smoke, Psalm Ixviii. 2 ; which though it rise like a 
dark cloud, yet is soon scattered and consumed by the puff 
of the wind. They are compared to vapours, mists and 
clouds, Hos. xii. 3 ; which though they may seem to threaten 
the earth with some great storm, yet when the sun ariseth in 
its full heat then are they scattered. Such wax, such waves, 
such smoke, such vapours and mists are the Lord s enemies ; 
soon therefore scattered when he ariseth. 

But though it may be easy, in regard of God s power, to 
scatter the enemies of the churches ; yet when we look upon 
the condition of the churches as they are in themselves, their 
deliverance is very difficult. It is an unlikely thing that the 
distressed churches should be delivered, as the matter now 
standeth with them ; when were the enemies of the church 
more prevailing than now they are ? 

So it must be. What is more unlikely than that a dead 
man, who lieth upon the grave s mouth, should be raised up 
to life, and to such life as to ascend and go up to heaven. 
Yet such is the deliverance of the church when it cometh. 
Rev. xi. 12. It was a very unlikely thing that Judah should 
ever come out of Babylon ; the Jews did despair of it : and 
therefore as a man that thinketh he shall never return the 
way that he goeth, taketh no heed to his way, observeth not 
by what turnings, windings and marks he cometh, so were 
they in their journey and way to Babylon ; wherefore saith 
Jeremiah, xxxi. 21, 22, " Set thee up waymarks, make thee 
high heaps, set thine heart towards the highway, even the way 
which thou wentest : turn thee again, O virgin of Israel, turn 
again to these cities, &c., for the Lord hath created a new 
thing in the earth ; a woman shall compass a strong man." 
As if he should say thus : You think yourselves in a very 


weak and low condition, the enemy strong,, and you in their 
hands ; well, but the time shall come that a woman shall 
lay siege to a strong man : Famina virum f orient angustiabit, 
Psalm i. 18; for that word read, to compass, in the Hebrew 
signifieth also, to compass by way of siege ; and that word 
read, man, in your translation, signifieth a strong man : and 
the sense of all is, that those which are as weak as women 
shall beset, encompass, and beleaguer those that are strong 
and valiant men. But we see no likelihood, might they say, 
of this. No, it may be so, but saith God, " I will do a new 
thing." But there is no means. It mattereth not, " I will 
create a new thing :" I, that drew once the world out of no 
thing, will draw the deliverance of the churches also out of 
nothing : I will be a creating God to the churches though 
they be never so low. Was it not an unlikely thing for Peter 
to be delivered that very night when he was to die the next 
day. Acts xii. 5, 6. He was in close prison, he was fast in 
chains, he was there kept with soldiers, he had rough keepers 
to keep the prison doors, he had to go through the first and 
second watch, and he was to pass the iron gate that leadeth 
into the city ; yet prayer conveyed him through all these par 
ties of opposition. The church prayeth and Peter cometh, 
but what is this to us ? We may not expect miracles now. Yes, 
we, even we are commanded " to commit our souls into the 
hands God in well doing as unto a faithful Creator," 1 Peter 
iv. 19. Not as unto a Redeemer only, but of a Creator, who 
hath promised his creating strength to supply us in our distres 
ses, and therefore saith, " into theh ands of a faithful Creator." 
Well, then, though the afflictions of the churches be never so 
great, let us not mourn as those that are without hope, for 
God can do it with ease and much facility. He is our Creator, 
he will do it in truth and in much faithfulness, for he is our 
faithful Creator, into whose hands we are to commit ourselves 
and the condition of all the churches. 

Again, When God ariseth, then God appeareth. Now the 
enemies of God cannot endure the sight J of God. When 
John the beloved disciple of Christ, who had the honour to 
be trusted with the book of the Revelation, saw but one 
angel, Rev. xxii. 8, he fell down and trembled. John was a 
good man, he had not a guilty conscience ; yet when an angel 
did but appear John falleth down. How shall men tremble 
when the great God shall appear, and they shall appear before 


him in all their guiltiness ! Surely they will tremble and fear 
then, and that their fear will end in scattering. 

Beloved, we may see what an easy thing it is for God to 
scatter the enemies of the church, though the afflictions of 
the church he never so great, and the condition of the saints 
be never so mean. Is it not an easy thing for a strong man 
to rise when he is free and healthy ; is it not an easy thing 
for fire to dissolve the wax ; is it not an easy thing for a lion 
to tear the caul of a man s heart ? What is more strong than 
a lion ; what more thin than the caul of a man s heart ? and 
God hath said it : "I will rend the caul of their heart ; and 
there will I devour them like a lion," Hos. xiii.8. Was it not an 
easy thing for Samson in all his strength to break those cords 
and withs wherewith he was tied ? Judges xvi.9. Jesus Christ is 
our spiritual Samson, and though his body, the church, be bound 
with the withs and cords of the Philistines, yet he can easily 
arise, crack and break them in pieces, though they be never so 
strong. Is it not an easy thing for a man to open his hand ? 
God openeth his hand and we are satisfied. Is it not an easy 
thing for a man to set his face against another ? God only 
setteth his face against his enemies and they are scattered. 
Oh, with what infinite facility can God help the church ! If 
his servants had no credit with him, or if he could not help 
them but with much difficulty, there were room for our dis 
couragements ; but it is not so, he speaketh the word only, 
hisseth, stampeth, riseth, and we are helped. 

Hence see what a necessity there is that we should ponder 
and observe the works of God and the judgments of the 
Lord. In these great volumes we may read much of God. 
When God ariseth, then God is to be seen, and seen especi 
ally; when God s enemies are scattered, then he ariseth. 
Now there are three sorts of people that are to blame here, 
as concerning the observation of the Lord s works and his 
great judgments : the first are those that the prophet com 
plains of: " When the hand of the Lord is lifted up on high 
they will not behold his majesty," Isa. xxvi. 11. Another are 
those that the psalmist strikes at in Psalm ii. 10, 12 : "Be 
wise, therefore, O ye kings, : kiss the Son lest he be angry 
and ye perish in the way :" who seeing and observing God 
fetching his stroke at a land or people, will not stand out of 
God s way and reach. The third sort are those that degrade 
VOL. iv. c 


the works of God, and nickname them, saying they are none 
of God s works, but works of Satan : like the Jews and pha- 
risees, who, when Lazarus was raised from the grave by a 
miracle, would have killed Lazarus out of spite to Christ ; so 
these men, when God hath wrought gloriously for the conver 
sion of a poor sinner, or the destruction of his vile enemies, 
do what they can to put God s work to death, calling that 
hypocrisy which is God s grace, that obstinacy which is good 
conscience, and that chance which is God s glory. But let 
all these consider that one place in Psalm xxviii. 5, " Because 
they regard not the works of the Lord, nor the operation of 
his hands, he shall destroy them, and not build them up." 
There is more in it than we are aware of: who doth not study 
to be built up ? Wherefore do many men of knowledge and 
learning study and take so much pains, wearing out their 
flesh, but that they may be built up in name and credit. 
Wherefore do you trade up and down the world, but that you 
may be built up in your estate ; and what is that which men 
fear more than destruction ? Destruction is final ruin. Now, 
my brethren, if the great works of the Lord be done before 
you, and you do not observe them, you cannot be built up ; 
and if you will not attend the operation of the Lord s hands, 
you shall be destroyed. God s judgments will take hold on 
those that will not give heed to his judgments ; a man may 
be destroyed for not observing another s destruction. It is a 
fearful judgment to have no judgment, and he hath no judg 
ment that doth not mind the Lord s judgment. It is made 
the character of the saints in the latter times of the world, 
that they are able to sing the song of Moses, the servant of 
God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, " Great and marvel 
lous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are 
ways, thou King of saints : who shall not fear thee, O Lord, 
and glorify thy name, for thou only art holy; for all nations 
shall come and worship before thee, for thy judgments are 
made manifest," Rev. xv. 3, 4. 

But suppose evil befal other men, it may be that it falleth 
out by common providence ; how shall I say that God is 
risen, and to be seen, and seen specially in a judgment, 
and when may a judgment be said to come in the way of a 
judgment ? 

When wicked men are snared in the works of their own 


hands, then God is seen and seen apparently: " The Lord is 
known by the judgment that he executeth; the wicked is snared 
in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah," Psalm ix. 16. 
There is not such a clause again in all the whole scripture that I 
remember. You have Selah in many places, but you have not 
those two words, Higgaion, Selah, in any other place. The 
word Higgaion, cometh from the Hebrew word, Hagar, that 
signifieth, to meditate ; and Higgaion is meditandum aliquid, 
a thing worth our meditation ; or, as much as if he should 
say, This is a matter of spscial meditation, that God is to be 
known by the judgment that he executeth, when the wicked 
are snared in the work of their own hands. When, therefore, 
wicked men begin a wcrk against the people of God, and it 
wheeleth about upon their own heads, insomuch as they are 
taken and snared in their own practices, then God is seen 
specially, and known by the judgment that he executeth. 
Higgaion. Selah. 

God is specially to be seen when the judgment lieth be 
yond the reach of second causes, and is greater than the stock 
of the second cause can bear. Samson s strength was a judg 
ment to the Philistines. How was God to be seen in that ? 
Yes, for Samson was the strongest man that ever was, yet his 
mother, when she was breeding him, was " to drink no wine 
or strong drink, nor to eat any unclean thing," Judges xiii. 5, 
which also did include strong meat. God would not have 
Samson s strength imputed to the strength of second causes ; 
out of the weak came strong ; the second cause was not able 
to bear so strong effect. This strength was their judgment, 
their vexation, their scourge ; and this their judgment lay 
beyond the reach of the second cause, therefore was God seen 
herein apparently ; where there is any thing of God s creating 
power, there is God plainly to be seen ; now where the effect 
lieth beyond the bounds of the second cause, God s creating 
power is seen for to raise that, and therefore if in any evils 
which befal the children of men, the strength of the second 
cause cannot reach them, there you may say, Oh, my soul, 
here is God s judgment, God s plague, God s hand ; here is 
God seen, and seen specially : here God is risen. 

When God s judgments for men s sins do so find them out 
as they are their own blabs, their own accusers, their own 
condemners, and sometimes their own executioners, then 

c 2 


God is to be seen, and seen especially: so with Judas and 
many others. It is written of Julian the Apostate, who 
raised an army against the Persians ; in the fight he was 
stricken, whether with an arrow or otherwise I say not, but 
being sorely wounded, he took a handful of his own blood, 
and flung it into the air, saying, Vicisti Galilei ! Thou hast 
overcome me, O Galilean. You have many stories to this 
purpose in the Book of Martyrs, recorded by Master Fox, I 
will name but that one of that vile wretch who dealt so inju 
riously with the martyr James Abbes, who, after all his 
base usage of that good man, was taken with a strange kind 
of frenzy, and cried out, James Abbes is saved and I am 
damned ; James Abbes is saved and I am damned ; and so 
died. Others were not privy to all his injuries, but his own 
guilt made him his own blab; so, now, when a man s sin 
cometh and arresteth him, and his heart and conscience is 
upon the rack continually, he bursting out into hideous out 
cries, being his own accuser, his own condemner, or his own 
executioner, there God is seen, and seen apparently. 

When the work of the Lord is carried with such a 
strong hand as cannot be resisted, there God is seen: " I will 
work and who shall let," saith God. Isaiah xliii. 13. 

A judgment cometh in way of a judgment when it maketh 
way to a further judgment : as when God giveth in mercy, 
he giveth that he may give; so when he smiteth in judgment, 
he smiteth that he may smite : he maketh way to his anger 
when he is angry indeed : and when you see this, then say, 
Here is God seen, and seen especially ; now God is risen ; 
blessed are all they that trust in him. 

But how shall we raise God that he may be seen in the 
world for the good of the churches ? 

The next point telleth us : viz. Our prayers do excite, raise 
and stir up God to the scattering and destruction of our ene 
mies. I will not spend much time in the proof of this; you 
all know the parable of the unjust judge, and you all know the 
promise of the just God to hear prayer. Brethren, is God able 
to scatter his enemies ; is God mighty ; is God all-sufficient ; 
hath God power enough to do it ? God is pleased to make 
over his power, his wisdom, his mercy to our prayers : who 
doth not know what credit prayer hath in heaven and what 
strength in earth ? The truth is, prayer may do any thing that 


I is reasonable with God ; and if you ask prayer by what au- 
I thority it doth all, it will shew you its commission in that 
place, 2 Chron. vii. 1, 2, compared with 2 Chron. vi., where 
God wrought a miracle to shew that he would answer prayer. 

But you will say, Can any prayer do this : excite, stir up 
and awaken God ? 

No, but it must be a crying prayer. If violence be offered 
to a man in his house, and he doth not cry for help, help 
cometh not in presently ; but if there be thieves in the house, 
and he putteth his head out at a window and doth cry, Murder, 
murder ! men will break up the doors and come in presently. 

Besides, they must be self-awakening prayers : that prayer 
will never waken God that doth not waken yourselves, and 
that prayer will never stir and raise God that doth not stir 
and raise your own soul. 

It must be a self-denying prayer. You know the case be 
tween Moses and Israel: Israel had provoked God, God says 
to Moses, Exod. xxxii. 10, 14, that he " would consume 
Israel, and raise up him to be a great people." Moses lays 
by all that, and he goes to God in prayer; and what argu 
ments doth he use ? His prayer was but short, and all the 
arguments were fetched from God and the covenant : " Re- 


member thy covenant with Abraham," &c ; and, " Thou art a 
merciful God, slow to anger." &c. Not a word of himself; 
it was a self-denying prayer, and was heard presently. In 
prayer those arguments take most with God that are from 

Besides, it must be a continued prayer, as Col. iv. 2. 
Prayers are the saints factors and negociate for them in hea 
ven, therefore they must lie by it. 

Again, It must be when the man abideth in Christ and 
Christ in him : " If ye abide in me, and rny words abide in 
you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you," 
John xv. 7- He doth not say, If you abide in a tavern, or in 
an alehouse, or in such a vile course ; but, " If ye abide in 
me, and my words abide in you, then ye shall ask." 

Reforming prayers are most prevailing. Virtutes stint ora- 
tionis fundament a ; there is no energy in those prayers that 
are not strengthened with reformation ; either your prayers 
will eat up your sins, or else your sins will make a hand of your 
prayers. Isa. Iviii. (i, " Loose the bands of wickedness, c., 


then shalt thou call and the Lord shall answer, thou shalt cry, 
and he shall say, Here am I, if thou," &c. Though the les 
son be never so good, yet if the instrument be out of tune 
there is no harmony, and harmonious prayer is very speeding, 

It must be joint prayer. When the church prayed, Peter 
was delivered. It is true that their prayer was very urgent in 
itself, for, according to the original, it is, they continued in 
outstretched prayer: it was holding prayer, for they con 
tinued ; it was seasonable, for it was the night before his ap 
pointed death : yet withal the church prayeth and Peter 
cometh. One string doth not make the harmony, and the 
word is, " If two or three of you shall make a symphony, it 
shall be done for you," Matt, xviii. 19. God who is overcome 
by none suffers himself to be overcome by prayer;* but your 
prayer must be full of himself, pressing and a close leaguer ; 
wherefore you that lie perdue, keep centinel, or to speak in 
scripture phrase, Isa. Ixii. 6, 7j all you that are watchmen 
upon the walls of Jerusalem, all the day and all the night 
continually cease not : ye that are mindful of the Lord keep 
not silence, and give him no rest, till he repair, and until he set 
up Jerusalem the praise of the Lord. 

Will prayer do it ? Will prayer raise God for the scatter 
ing of the enemies of the churches ? I beseech you, in the 
name of God, let us consider where to lay the fault and the 
blame of much of that evil which is come upon the churches 
in these latter times. When the defeat was lately before 
Antwerp, there was fault laid on such a man, and such a man. 
When we consider the afflictions of Germany, we are ready 
to say, If such a king or country had stepped in, all this evil 
had been prevented, the Palatinate restored and peace settled ; 
but may we not rather say, If our prayers had stepped in. 
This word telleth us that our prayers do awaken God, and 
when God is awakened, then the enemies are destroyed ; we 
see then, in truth, where the fault lieth, our prayers have not 
come in full enough ; wherefore the less we have prayed be 
fore, the more let us pray now ; pray in your closets, pray in 
your families, pray in the assemblies, pray alone, pray in 
company, pray for all the churches, pray for Germany the 
first place of reformation, pray for Holland your hiding-place, 

* Deus qui nullis contra se superari potest precibus superatur. Hierom. 


and in all your prayers forget not England, still pray for Eng 
land. Take some motives : 

You are unnatural if you pray not. It is reported of 
Croesus s son, that he was dumb, and seeing one about to 
kill his father, though he had been always dumb before, yet 
then he burst forth into this speech, What, will you kill Croe 
sus ? If you be in Christ, the church of Christ is more to 
you than many Croesuses ; your grace doth not extinguish 
nature, but advance it; help, and not hinder. A gracious 
heart cannot be unnatural though it loveth to be supernatural. 

Again, It is the property of a good Christian, and of true 
grace, to observe what work God is doing, and to help on 
that work : what God is doing in the world, and to help 
that on ; what God is doing upon his own heart, and to help 
that on. O Lord, saith the soul, help me ! I will help thec, 
I will put my shoulder unto thy work as thou art pleased to 
put thy hand to my duty. Now the great work which God 
is doing in these times is the pouring out of the seven vials, 
Rev. xvi. ; and if you look into Rev. v. 8, you shall find that 
the saints prayers are their vials : help forward, then, God s 
vials with your vial ; vial doth call for vial. 

Either good and deliverance will come unto the churches, 
or else it will not. If it do not, you had need pray that your 
hearts may be supported in all and settled. Prayer is a com 
posing duty, and fully settling. If it do come, you had need 
pray that you may have the comfort of it when it cometh, or 
else that you may not envy at those that have prayed, for it 
is a hard thing for one that standeth idle not to envy at him 
that worketh. 

You do not love the churches if you do not pray for them : 
" He that loveth Jerusalem, prayeth for the peace of Jeru 
salem." Do you love England ; do you love Germany ; do 
you love Holland ; do you love the churches, and your 
friends ? He that loveth Jerusalem prayeth for it, and if 
you do not pray for them, you have no love to them. 

You cannot prosper if you do not pray ; " They shall 
prosper that love thee." How love thee ? In praying for 
thee. You cannot prosper if you pray not for the churches : 
will you not pray then ? 

Again, You are not God s servants, if you do not pray for 
his servants ; you are not God s children, if you pray not for 


his children ; if you mark that of the psalmist, it is made an 
act of service, and a sign of a servant, to " pity the dust 
and stones of fallen Jerusalem." Saith he, " thy servants 
pity the dust thereof;" as if they were not servants that 
have no pity. I know you would not have vour livery taken 
from you. All things of the like nature sympathize with 
one another; if you have the same nature with the saints, 
you shall, you will, you must sympathize with them in all 
conditions; you cannot but pray. 

You cannot have a part in the prayers of the churches, 
unless you pray for the churches. Think upon this argu 
ment. Can you be contented to lose your share in all the 
prayers of the saints ? An action there, is better than an 
action in the East India Company ; their stock is great, if 
your stock go not in, you cannot have a part with them, and 
that is evil. 

If you pray not for the churches, your own selfish prayers 
will be bootless. When a man shall pray much for his own 
family, his own name or estate, his own child that lieth a 
dying, and will not pray for the dying churches ; this is a 
selfish duty. A carnal, selfish spirit, is very loathsome in 
what is spiritual ; and what are you the better for your rich 
cabin, your warm cabin, your neat cabin, if your ship sink. 

Consult with Neh. xiii. 1, 2 ; there you find it written, that 
" the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the 
congregation of God for ever." What was the reason ? 
" Because they met not the children of Israel with bread 
and with water." He that will not meet with distressed 
Israel with such relief as he may, is an unfit man to have a 
name in a church of Christ, and it is unfit he should come 
into the house of God for ever. Wherefore as ever you 
desire to have a name in God s house, pray, pray, oh now 
pray ; you may with this bread and water meet with Israel, 
meeting with them you do meet with Christ. 

The price of the welfare, peace, and good of the churches 
is now rising ; the time may come it may not be purchased 
or bought in by prayer.* I remember 1 have read of a man 
that brought the book of the sybils unto the emperor or king 
of the Romans, and desired a great price for those books. 

* Fugientia sequimur. 


The emperor refused. He goeth away, burneth half the 
books, doubled the price, and then cometh to the emperor, 
and offered him them at that rate. The emperor refuseth 
again. He went away, and burnt the half of those books 
which were left, and doubled the price : which the emperor 
considering, gave him the whole money which he desired. 
So now, it may be, you may have the welfare, the peace, the 
life of the churches for prayer ; time may come, wherein 
though you add to your prayer your estates, to your estates 
your liberties, to your liberties all your welfares, and to your 
welfares your lives, yet you may go without it. Now, it may 
be had at this good rate, will you not take this good commo 
dity whilst it is offered to you ? 

It may be the business of the churches stayeth upon your 
prayer. If that midwife would come away, the woman would 
be delivered. Rev. vii. Four angels were sent out to punish 
the world ; and after that a fifth angel is commissioned to go 
bid them hold their hand, until the servants of the living 
God are sealed in their foreheads. Angels work must stay 
until they be sealed, saith Hezekiah. Isa. xxxvii. 3 : " This 
day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of blasphemy, 
for the children are come to the birth, and there is not 
strength to bring forth." So say I, brethren, it may be the 
Lord your God will hear the words of all Rabshakahs, whom 
the enemies of the church have employed to reproach the 
living God, and will reprove the words, which the Lord your 
God hath heard : wherefore lift up your prayer for the rem 
nant that are left. God said to Moses, " Let me alone ;" 
but to you otherwise, Why do you let me alone ? I stay for 
you, if you pray earnestly I will come quickly. 

I put you but this disjunction ; either, O Jacob, thou hast 
thy brother Esau to meet withal, or else thou hast not : if 
not, what meaneth thy fears ? if thou art to meet with rough 
Esau, then remember what one night s sweating in prayer 
did, how it first obtained the face of God, then of Esau. 
Gen. xxxii. 24; xxxiii. 10; Isa. liv. 26, 17; Iviii. 14. The 
promise is made to you. Every promise is a new footstep 
for prayer, wherefore you that ever prayed, pray now; nay, 
you that never prayed, pray now ; now is a praying time, and 
it is good pulling whilst God is coming, begging whilst God 
is giving. And hath Go j dealt out nothing to the churches 


in these last times ? Do but observe which way the wheel 
turneth in these latter days. 

But why do you exhort us to pray ? We are here pur 
posely, and come to pray. 

True, we are so, but we must pray at other times too. We 
are here this day to pray, that we may pray hereafter, that we 
may set wheels of prayer on going; prayer doth fit for 
prayer ; but yet pray for the present. And so we are corne 
to note : 

Fifthly, When the people of the land go forth to war, the 
people of the Lord should go forth to prayer. When the ark 
removed, then said Moses, " Arise, O Lord," &c. Our 
prayers are to lead armies into the field. 1 Josh, xvii., see 
how the people led forth Joshua : " According as we heark 
ened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee ; 
only the Lord thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses." 
You know the prayer of Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and 
other worthies, to this purpose. Reasons of it, are these 
especially : 

Every business is to be led forth by prayer. Prayer is a 
leading duty to all our duties ; and the greater any business 
is, the more prayer is to be made. The business of war is a 
great business, almost miraculous. When I see an army, 
methinks I see a company of walking towns. It is a great 
matter, and will you not have so great a business led on by 

But if a man have a business to do, which requireth haste, 
by attending to prayer he may lose his business. 

For that purpose, consider but that one place in answer to 
this, Josh. v. 2. In the foregoing chapter the children of 
Israel went through Jordan, and came into their enemies 
country; and in this verse the Lord said unto Joshua, 
" Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children 
of Israel the second time," Josh. v. 2. Now upon their cir 
cumcision they were sore : verse 8, it is said, " They abode 
in their places in the camp till they were whole." Now 
being come through Jordan, and lying before Jericho, among 
all their enemies, the natives could not but hear that they 
were circumcised, and how sore they were ; insomuch as the 
children of Israel might have objected and said, Oh, Lord, if 
we be circumcised, we shall hinder our designs, M eaken our- 


selves, advantage our enemies, that they may fall upon us in 
our trenches. But as the Lord commanded, so did they, 
they were circumcised ; neither did this act of religion hinder 
their business. And therefore let none say, If I stay upon 
prayer my business will take despair; no, no, precedent 
prayer will make it prosper : trust God and you will find it. 

Solomon saith, " All things are beautiful in their season : 
there is a time for all things," Eccl. iii. 1, 1 1 . Therefore a 
time for prayer ; and though we are to pray continually, yet 
there is some time wherein we are especially to draw near 
to God. Saith the psalmist, Ps. xxxii. 6, " For this shall 
every one that is godly pray unto thee, in a time that thou 
mayest be found." Grace maketh one pray ; the wisdom of 
grace maketh one know the occasion, season, and time of 

Fearing times are times of prayer. Saith the psalmist, 
" At what time I am afraid, I will trust in thee ;" and true 
faith soon worketh itself into prayer. 

Tropical uncertain times are times of prayer. " Seek ye 
the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, if so be that ye may be 
hid in the day of the Lord s wrath," &c. Zeph. ii. 3. When 
the world laboureth under uncertainty, then should the saints 
labour in prayer. Again, the morning time is a time of 
prayer: "My voice shalt thou hear in the morning; O Lord, 
in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee," Ps. v. 3. 
There is a morning of every year, as well as a morning of 
every day ; there is a morning to every business, as well as a 
morning to every day : now is the year s morning, now is the 
morning of our great business; wherefore now up in the 
morning of this great work, let us direct our prayers to the 
Lord, and look up. Pray now, my brethren, for now it is 

As the promise is the only hold that we have on God, so 
prayer is the only odds that we have of our enemy. Beloved, 
the enemies have most commonly the outward advantage of 
God s people ; look upon both, and you shall find that out 
wardly they have much odds, either more men, more money, 
or more munition: what shall weigh down this odds but 
prayer ? Many times prayer doth more than the whole 
army. Consider Ps. Ixxvi. 3 ; u There brake he the arrows 
of the bow, the shield, the sword, and the battle." Where ? 


In Salem, in Sion, ver. 2. He doth not say in the field. 
The arrows are first broken in the assemblies by the saints 
prayers, after that in the field by the Lord s soldiers. It is 
said of Archimedes, being a mathematician, that he did more 
by drawing his lines, than any soldier did by his valour. 
So God s people may do more by the lines they draw, and 
the prayers they make, than others can do any other way. 
Prayers are the saints scaling ladders, wherewith they leap 
over walls, and their strength whereby they break through 
hosts. You know usually there is much disorder in armies ; 
the soldiers have much evil and sin among them ; though the 
soldiers be outwardly strong, yet many of them are inwardly 
weak, and prayer cometh in to gather up the weak forces. 
Numb. xii. 15, you may see how that for the sin of one wo 
man, the whole host of Israel was stayed, and could not march 
on. Her sin hindered their march ; she was but one, and a 
woman. It may seem therefore strange, that the whole body 
of the army should stay upon her; yet so it was, and they 
could not remove until prayer came in : ver. 13, " Moses 
cried to the Lord, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech 
thee." Then she was healed, and the people journeyed. 
Thus prayer ordereth the ranks, fetcheth up the weak forces, 
leadeth on the army upon the enemy, and cometh in the 
rear. Without prayer then there is no footing. We are not 
fit to strike until our armies be in joint, and prayer jointeth 
us ; we are not fit to be exalted until we be humbled, and 
prayer humbleth us; and if it be so, then by way of use : 

You may see what work we have to do this day, we are 
to lead forth this well-formed army, as you heard in the 
mandate sent unto us by the States, of a well-formed leaguer, 
under the command of that noble and worthy general, the 
Prince of Orange ; and methinks he doth, as it were, put 
prayer in office, and saith, I will not be commander, prayer 
shall; I will be only lieutenant unto prayer; let prayer go 
first, let prayer strike the first stroke. Methinks I hear a 
dialogue and conference between him and the country. We 
desire you, Sir, to take the care of this great army ; we com 
mit it to your wisdom ; go and prosper. But, saith he, I 
dare not go until prayer go ; I am under prayer ; give me 
prayer first, and then I will go : first smite with your prayers, 
and then we will smite with our weapons. Smiting prayers 


are now expected ; and though there are divers motives which 
I have used, to stir up your hearts to pray for the churches 
in general ; yet take three or four more, which may have 
some special relation unto this people, and you amongst 

The enemies which you pray against, are the most wicked 
enemies that God hath. Of all enemies, those are most 
wicked that are most crafty ; the artificial sinner is the worst 
sinner, as the naturalized grace is the most gracious ; such 
are the antichristian enemies of the church : for as, (Gregory 
observeth it,*) Jesus Christ did choose simple, poor men, to 
preach the truth ; so antichrist chooseth those which are 
crafty, subtle, to disperse errors. Of all enemies those are 
most vile which are most cruel ; and those are most cruel 
unto the churches, that have once made profession of the 
truth and proved apostates. The Scripture pointeth at three 
especially in this particular, the devil, the Jews, and anti 
christ. The devil is cruel unto mankind, he is the grand 
apostate; the Jew is cruel unto all chiistians, he is a vile 
apostate ; antichrist is cruel to all the present churches, and 
he is a great apostate, yet not only an apostate, but apostacy 
in the abstract, 2 Thess. ii. 3, and therefore cruelty itself. 
In the book of the Revelation, Rome and the antichristian 
party is called Sodom, it is called Egypt, and it is called 
Babylon. You know the unkindness of Egypt, the cruelty 
of Babylon, and the villainy of Sodom unto God s people. 
Why should Rome and the antichristian party stand under 
all these names, but because they are guilty of all their evils. 
And the worse they are, the more hold you have on them to 
pray against them. Arius was a vile enemy to the churches, 
and very cruel ; yet he was destroyed. How so ? Historians 
tell us, orationis opus fuit, non morbi ; his death was the 
work of prayer, not of his disease. Such effects may your 
prayers have; what stubble can stand before the flame of 
prayer. Oh that our hearts were much inflamed in this great 

Consider you are here in your possessions, in your lot ; 
hidden when others of your brethren are not come to their 

* Sicut pauperes spiritus et simplices ad predicandum elegit, ita astutos et 
duplices antichristus ad falsitatis predicationem assumet. Greg. rnor. lib. 12, 
cap. 5. 


lot. Mark that place in Deut. iii. 18, Reuben, Gad, and the 
half tribe of Manasseh were come into their lot and inherit 
ance, before the rest of the children of Israel: what then, 
should they sit down quietly ? No, at ver. 18, they were not 
to sit down, but they were to pass over armed before their 
brethren. So God having provided for you, before many of 
your dear brethren and his good people, you are not now to 
sit down quietly in your own lot, but to go up armed before 
the rest of God s people, and prayer is your best harness. 

You are here on purpose to pray ; it is the end why you are 
come hither, that you might have liberty to pray. I am 
loth to speak it, I would I might not, you had praying liberty 
denied to you ; when any met together in private to pray, 
you know it was their and your reproach. This place is your 
Gilgal, wherein the Lord hath rolled away that reproach from 
you. Oh, that your liberty might not degenerate into licence. 
You have now praying liberty, and if this be the thing you 
are come for, and now you have such an opportunity, will 
you not improve it ? If a man leave one place of trading, 
that he may set up his shop with more freedom in another ; 
and in the second place money be brought unto him, will he 
refuse to take money ? This is your case, you could not have 
so free a trade for heaven as you desired, here you have leave 
to open your shops, and behold this day a praying opportu 
nity, which I call money, is put into your hands ; will you 
refuse it ? consider you are come on purpose to pray. 

In all likelihood the country shall be hidden, and you shall 
not lose your prayers. I will tell you what Mr. Brightman 
saith, whose memory is sweet and precious, he saith, There 
are three sorts of reformed churches : the first, the German ; 
the second, the French, the Swedish, the Scottish, and Hol 
land ; the third the English ; which are all different. For 
the English is ruled by prelates ; the French, the Scottish, 
Swedish and Holland, is governed by presbyters ; the German 
hold consubstantiation, and other things, which other reformed 
churches do not. Germany therefore he compared to Sardis, 
and thence foretold all the evils that have come upon it. 
Holland, Sweden, Scotland and the French, he compared 
to Philadelphia, and saith, though they have but a little 
strength, and the hour of temptation shall come, and some 
shall labour to shut their door, yet none shall shut it. It is 


the rather to be considered, because he foretold the evils that 
came upon Germany. And why may he not speak true in 
this also ? and then who would not pray for this people, 
seeing that he may not lose his prayers. Wherefore I entreat 
you in the name of God, now, up and be doing ; arise, O 
daughter of Sion ; arise, oh hearts of the people of God, that 
God might arise, and his enemies might be scattered. 
Awake, awake, and now up to prayer. 

You will say to me, we are agreed, we must go to prayer 
both now and at home ; but what shall we speak, that God 
may arise and that his enemies may be scattered. 

Bring forth the Lord s engagements, and tell him how 
much he is engaged to help the churches : the Lord saith in 
his word that Babylon shall fall, Rev. xviii. 8, for strong is 
that God that hath condemned her; the Lord saith, Psalm 
cxxi. 4, " He never slumbereth or sleepeth ;" the Lord saith 
in his word, 2 Chron. vi. 34, 35, " If his people pray when 
they go forth to war, he will hear and maintain their cause :" 
go and tell God, Lord, thou hast said thus and thus : thou 
hast said thou wilt neither slumber nor sleep ; thou hast said 
thou wilt maintain thy cause ; oh, then, arise, O Lord, and 
let thine enemies be scattered. 

Tell the Lord how long he hath seemed to sleep, and that 
the time appointed for the church s deliverance is now at 
hand. Saith the Psalmist, " It is time for thee, Lord, to 
work, for they have made void thy law/ Psalm cxix. 126. 
And again, " Have mercy upon Zion, for the time to favour 
her, yea the set time is come, for thy servants take pleasure 
in her stones, and favour the dust thereof," Psalm cii. 13, 
14. This is the reason why the time is come. So go to God 
and tell him, Lord, thou hast stood still a great while, oh, 
now the time is come, men have made void thy law, the 
saints pity the dust and take pleasure in the stones of the 
wasted churches ; it is time for thee to rise, " Arise, O 
Lord," &c. 

Tell the Lord that the enemies are up already abun 
dantly; tell him that ere long he will rise, though you do 
not pray : Lord, if we should never pray, wouldst not thou 
help the churches ; and wilt not thou arise a little the sooner 
for our prayers ? wherefore, " Arise, O Lord," &c. 

Tell the Lord that all things are now ready ; it is 


an argument that God moveth us with to come in to him : 
Lord, we use thine own argument : Lord, arise, all things are 
now ready. When the wind is good, and when the servants 
of the ship are ready, and have got their tackling all ready, 
and the anchor is up, only the master is not come into the 
ship, they will send one to tell him, Sir, the wind is good, 
your servants are ready, and the ship is under sail, we pray 
you come away ; so tell the Lord that all his people are up at 
prayer expecting him, and all the prayers of God s people are 
spread, and their hearts under sail, and nothing can be done 
till the Master come, until God himself come ; come, there 
fore, O Lord, come away : (S Arise, O Lord, and let thine 
enemies be scattered." 




" My heart is towards the governors of Israel that offered themselves willingly 
among the people. Bless ye the Lord." Judges v. 9. 

PREACHED A. D. 1642. 

" Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and 
for the cities of our God, and the Lord do that which seemeth him 
good." 2 SAM. x. 12. 

IN these words are the speech of that brave commander 
Joab, which he made at the head of his army, being sur 
rounded with many enemies, as you read verse 9. He divides 
his army into two parts, the one led up by Abishai his bro 
ther, the rest of the forces he brings up himself, and spake 
thus to Abishai and to the rest of his men : <( Be of good 
courage, and let us play the men/ 3 &c. 

In those words you have these two parts : the braveness of 
his resolution : " Be of good courage and let us play the 
men." The humbleness of his submission : " And the Lord 
do that which seemeth him good." Or, if you will, thus : 
an exhortation to true noble valour in the former part, " Be 
of good courage/ 3 &c. ; and, secondly, an humble resignation 
of himself and cause and success into the hands of God ; 
" And the Lord do that which seemeth him good. 33 His ex 
hortation is strengthened with divers arguments : " It is for 
our people. 33 The Ammonites and Syrians are now about us, 
if you do not behave yourselves valiantly your people are 
pillaged, plundered, captived, murthered ; and therefore " be 
of courage, and let us play the men. 33 And for the cities of our 
God. Some think that by " the city of our God/ 3 is meant 
that city where the tabernacle was : but as Abulensis ob 
serves,* though in 1 Chron. xix. 13, it is read city, in this 

* Omnes urbes Israel vocantur urbes Dei ; quia Deus illas dederat Israelite 
vel ilia erat specialiter terra Dei. Abulens. in 1 Chron. xix. 

34 OF COURAGE. [SER. 2. 

place it is read in the plural number, cities ; and, as he saith, 
all their cities were the cities of God, because given by God, 
and because God in his worship and true religion was in their 
cities ; and therefore, now, Joab seeing all the people were in 
danger, and the cities of God, the religion and worship of 
God, he breaks forth into this exhortation, " Be of good 
courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the 
cities of our God." 

I shall not at this time reach the second part ; the humble 
ness of his submission and gracious resignation : only from 
his exhortation observe thus much : 

In times of great danger, when religion is in hazard and the 
people of God are in danger, good courage is very requisite. 

It is then good for good people to have good courage when 
the times are evil. This is that which Joab pitcheth upon, 
and is the only matter of his exhortation : " Be of good cou 
rage, and let us play the men." So David, when he was be 
girt and berounded with many enemies, " Wait on the Lord 
(saith he) and be of good courage." Some there are that do 
wait on the Lord but are not of good courage ; some have 
good courage, or courage, but do not wait on the Lord. 
" Wait on the Lord, be of good courage," Psalm xxvii. 14 ; 
both together ; " and he shall strengthen thine heart," Psalm 
xxxi. 24. Good courage, then, is very requisite in evil times. 
Some think this belongs only to soldiers ; but if you look into 
Haggai ii. 4, you shall find this commanded to all the people : 
" Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord (that is 
the magistrates) ; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Jose- 
dech, the high priest (there is the ministers) ; and be strong, 
all ye people of the Lord (there is the people)." And that 
you read, be strong, in the Hebrew, is all one with the word 
of my text, be of good courage ; and if you will, you may read 
the words so : " Be of good courage, O Zerubbabel," &c. So 
that it lies upon all, in evil times, men and women, to be of 
good courage. For my better prosecution of this point, I 
shall do these three things : 

First, Give the description of good courage, shewing what 
it is. 

Secondly, Confirm the point. 

Thirdly, Make application of all unto ourselves. 

First. For the description of good courage you may take 

SRR. 2.] OF COURAGE. 35 

it thus : Good courage is that gracious disposition of heart 
whereby a man, being called by God unto any service, doth 
adventure upon difficulties either in doing good or enduring 
evil, and that without fear. 

Here are four or five things considerable in this description. 
First, Good courage is a gracious disposition. There is a 
moral boldness, and a natural audacity, and this is not good 
courage, for the former is in heathens, and the latter is in 
brute beasts. Job describes the horse after this manner : 
" He rusheth into the battle, he laughs at the trumpet, and 
his neck is clothed with thunder," chap, xxxix. This brute 
beasts may have, and therefore this is not the virtue I press 
upon you. 

Again, There is a sinful desperateness whereby men are apt 
and ready to rush upon all that is evil, and are sinfully bold, 
and they think him a fool or a child that will not drink, and 
be drunk, and whore, and run into all kind of evil : this is 
not good courage. David, he was as valiant as any one 
of them, as ever the earth bare, and yet, notwithstanding, in 
the matter of sin he was very timorous.* Surely good cou 
rage is such a flower as grows upon a good conscience : a man, 
in truth, hath so much good courage as he hath a good con 
science; and if that a man shall desperately run upon what 
is evil and sinful, his courage does degenerate into a foolish 
desperateness. " Wait on the Lord (saith the psalmist) and 
be of good courage; and again, I say, wait on the Lord/ 
Good courage is hemmed in with waiting upon the Lord. 

Again, There is a vaunting, bragging, boasting cavalierism 
which hath no true courage.f Such a cavalier was Rabshakah, 
who said, " With us is valour and courage ;" when he defied 
the hosts and servants of the living God. Good courage is 
the health of the mind ; this vaunting, bragging, boasting is 
the swelling of the mind, not courage. 

Again, There is a fierce, angry, revengeful disposition, 

* Fortitude justorum est carnem vincere, propiis voluptatibus contraire delec- 
tationeni vitiae prsesentis extinguere, hujusmodi aspera pro feternis jmemiis aniare, 
prosperitatis blandimenta contemnere, adversitatis malum in corde superare ; re- 
proborum vero fortitude est transitoria sine cessatione diligere, contra flagella con- 
ditionis insensibiliter perdurare, bonorum vitam non solum ve rbis et moribus, sed 
etiam glacliis impugnare, in semetipsis sjiem ponere et iniquitatem quotidie sine 
ullo desiderii defectu perpetrare. Greg. Moral, lib. 3. 

t Tumor nnimi non est magnnnimitas. Seneca. 

D 2 

36 OF COURAGE. [SER. 2. 

whereby men are ready to run upon cruelties : this is no good 
courage. " The righteous is as bold as a lion." The lion 
himself is merciful, not revengeful ; if a creature lies down 
before him he will spare it.* I remember a story one hath 
concerning Malcolm, a king of the Scots. It seems there 
was one of his nobles who underhand conspired his death. 
The king having notice of it, he chose a day to go a hunting, 
and called many of his nobles to go with him, and amongst 
the rest he calls this courtier that was working of his death ; 
and when they were in the field, he singles him from all the 
rest, bids them go on with their game, he had something to 
speak to him alone : saith he, I hear you are, underhand, 
working of my death : if you put poison into my cup, a wo 
man may do that ; if you set upon me with a company of 
rascals, thieves may do that ; if you will put me to death, do 
it as a soldier, I will take my sword, take you your s, we will 
fight it out. The man fell down before him, and the king 
pardoned him, and gained him ever after to be his own.f 
This was true courage, but a fiery, cruel disposition is no 
good courage ; courage is a gracious disposition. 

It is a gracious disposition of heart. The heart, properly, 
is the natural element of courage, and therefore some do de 
rive the word courage, so ; courage, quasi cor agit, it is an 
action or motion of the heart. The truth is, the heart of man 
is the artillery yard where all the thoughts of courage train 

Again, I say, whereby a man being called by God unto any 
service. God s call is the ground of a Christian s courage. 
This was pretended in Rabshakah s speech; " Hath not the 
Lord sent me?" And this was, in truth, the ground of 
Joshua s courage : " Be of good courage, have not I com- 

* Leonum clementise rnulta indicia sunt, prostratis pareunt, in virus potius 
quara in faeminas sseviunt, infantes non nisi in magna fame perimunt. Solinus. 

f- Si igitur animus tibi sit, si valeas, si audeas, absolve quod propofuisti, redde 
hostibus nieis et sociis fuis quod promisisti : si me occidere stat animus, quando 
rectius, quando secretius, quando virilius ? veaenum parasti ? mulierculis id re- 
linquito, tortulo insidiaris? hoc et adulterse possunt? ferro ex insidiis me aggredi 
decrevisti ? hoc sicarii et non militis est officium, solus cum solo congredere, ut 
saltern prodito tua turpitudine careat, quse per fidia carere non potest. Miles au- 
tem hsec audiens mox verbis regis quasi gravi per cussus fulmine ad pedes regios 
cum lachrymis et tremore cucurrit : cui rex noli timere (inquit) quod nihil a me 
patieri? ; cumque ei de csetero se fidelem amicum futurum proxisisset, revertunter 
ad socios, hihil psenitus referentes. Mat. Paris, p. 21, Hist, Willil. 21. 

SER. 2.] OF COURAGE. 37 

manded thee ?" If a man ventures upon any design, and 
God s call doth not lead him to it, when he comes to make 
good his standing, the ground quakes under him, his heart 
trembles, his knees knock, his arms shake, and his heels be 
gin to run. When a man is called to do a work by God, 
though the opposition and difficulty be never so great, he may 
encourage himself here ; but I am called by God, and he will 
carry me through. 

Again, I say, whereby a man being called by God unto any 
service does venture upon difficulties, either in doing good or 
enduring evil. One would think that it were a desperate ven 
ture, but indeed a brave venture, of the men of Jabesh Gilead 
which we read of 1 Sam. xxxi., which fetched away the dead 
body of Saul out of the hands of the Philistines. There be 
ing a great fight between the Israelites and the Philistines, the 
Philistines had the best of it, kept the field and buried the 
dead ; and amongst the dead they find Saul, they cut off his 
head and fastened his body to the wall of Bethshan. And 
when the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead heard of it, all the 
valiant men arose, and went and took the body of Saul from 
the wall of Bethshan. Here was valour, here was courage. 
Wherein was it seen ? In venturing upon difficulties in do 
ing good and enduring evil. 

I add, All this must be done without fear : and therefore in 
Scripture these go together : " Be of good courage ; fear not, 
neither be dismayed." The more a man s fears are enlarged, 
the more his courage is lessened ; and the more a man s cou 
rage is enlarged, the more his fears are lessened. Good cou 
rage, it makes a man higher by the head and shoulders than 
the thing feared, though never so great : good courage lifts a 
man up above fear. Put all together and you have the des 
cription of good courage. It is that gracious disposition of 
heart whereby a man, being called by God unto any service, 
he does adventure upon difficulties, either in doing good or 
enduring evil, and that without fear. Let us now advance to 
the second thing, the confirmation of the point. 

Secondly, In evil times, in times of danger, good courage 
is very requisite. In times of danger good courage is the 
strength of a man, it is the spirits of a man, it is the spark 
ling of a man s heart, it is the life of one s life. Saith Solo 
mon, " The spirit of a man shall sustain his infirmity," 

38 OF COURAGE. [$ER. 2. 

Without strength there is no bearing of burthens. Now this 
is the way to be strong, to stand under burthens in evil times : 
" Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart." 

Again, Evil times are full of changes, and good courage 
will keep us from the power of those. It is a good speech 
Seneca hath : He is a stout man whom adversity doth not 
quail ; he is yet more stout whom prosperity doth not allure ; 
but he is most stout of all whom the change of things doth 
not disturb.* And in another place, saith he, He hath no 
great mind that can be bent by injuries. t And evil times 
are full of injuries. Without courage a man will easily be 
bent by them ; bent unto sin and bent unto what is evil. 
Had not the three children been men of courage, how would 
they have been bent to idolatry ; but being men of courage, 
say they, " Our God is able to deliver us ; but if not, be it 
known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods," 
Dan. iii. 17, 18. Oh, my beloved, in evil times good courage 
keeps us from evil bending, and therefore in evil times good 
courage is very requisite. 

Again, Evil times are very expensive. Then a man shall 
be called to lay out much ; his estate, his house, his liberty, 
his body, his all : and no affection, no disposition so spending 
as courage ; good courage will make a man spend and be 
spent for God. But if a man should expend and lay out all 
upon other things, they will not be able to quit charges. 
Good courage will make a man spend all on God, and be 
spent for God, as Paul was. Thus you see that in evil times 
good courage is very requisite. 

Thirdly, If this be so, you see what our duty is ; to be of 
"good courage, and play the men." You all know into what evil 
times we are now fallen, better than I can speak : are we not 
berounded with many enemies, the Syrians before and the 
Ammonites behind ; if Joab were alive he could see the battle 
before and behind. In the prophet s time, he prayed ee that 
God would open the eyes of his servant tliat he might see 
who were with him ;" now we had need to pray that God 
would open men s eyes to see who are against them : certainly 
enemies are amongst us, within and without, at home and 

* Fortis est quern adversa non frangunt fortier est quern prospera non alliciunt, 
forlissimus est quern vicissitude rerum non deturbat. Seneca, 
t Magnus animus est quern non incurvat injuria. Seneca. 

SER. 2.] OF COTKAGE. 39 

abroad, before and behind, they are very many. Now the 
people of God are in danger, now the cities of God and reli 
gion is in hazard ; and therefore, as Joab once, so now I may 
speak unto all, "Be of good courage, and let us play the men 
for our people, and for the cities of our God, arid the Lord 
do that which seemeth him good." Be of good courage. 
That is my exhortation ; notwithstanding the times be evil, 
yet be of good courage. Good courage now if ever is requi 
site ; requisite for magistrates, requisite for ministers, requisite 
for parents and governors of families, requisite for these gen 
tlemen that have listed their names for this great service of 
God and their country, requisite for all the people. 

Requisite for magistrates. Good courage is always in a 
magistrate s commission ; though times be never so peaceable 
they are to be men of courage, fearing God, much more in 
troublous times. Good courage is a virtue annexed to their 
place ; and therefore as injustice from the hand of a judge is 
worse than from any other, because there is a special repug 
nancy between him and the sin ; * so want of courage and 
neutralizing in a magistrate is worse than in others, because 
good courage is always annexed to his place. 

Ministers, they must be of good courage. We read of 
divers valiant men, 2 Chron. xxvi. 17, 18, who withstood 
Uzziah the king, and said unto him, " It pertaineth not unto 
thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the Lord," &c. You 
may see who they were in the 17th verse: " Azariah the 
priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the 
Lord that were valiant men." Wherein did their valour ap 
pear ? In that they withstood the king in doing that which 
was unlawful. These were valiant priests indeed, and it 
stands upon record, and that for ever. In times nearer to 
ourselves, we read of Dr. Latimer, that when the men of his 
order were to send new year s gifts unto the king, he sent a 
Bible with this posey written on the outside thereof: 
" Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." Was not 
Mr. Deering very bold with Queen Elizabeth, who told her, 
that though she once went, tanquam ovis ad lanienam, as a 
sheep to the slaughter ; yet now, tanquam indomiter juvenca, 
as an untamed heifer. In evil times the ordnance and mur- 
thering pieces are planted against the house of the ministers, 
* Peccatum majus ubi repugnantia major inter peccantem et peccatum. Aquin. 


against them especially, and therefore in them, also, good 
courage is very requisite. 

Requisite, also, for parents and governors of families. 
Otherwise, if they have not good courage, they will quench 
the forwardness and zeal and courage of those that are under 
them. It is a lamentable thing that the carnal wisdom of a 
worldly parent should be the quench-coal of the gracious de 
votion of a godly child. Granatensis makes mention of a 
woman, that hearing her son run away in the field, she got 
some advantage of him, and put him to death, with these 
words : Runaway, thou art none of mine. And of another 
woman, that when her son was slain in the battle, she being 
at the funeral with divers friends ; some wept and cried, du- 
ram fortunam ! O hard fortune! she cried, O felicem fortu- 
nam ! O happy fortune ! that ever I was so honoured to bear 
a child to die so bravely for his country. Parents must have 
courage ; and there are these three things to move parents 
and governors of families unto it : the danger that is now 
approaching, the protestation that you have taken, the special 
opportunity that you have. 

You that are parents and governors of families have the 
greater opportunity of serving the commonwealth and churches 
and people of God than others. Your children are your 
goods, nothing is so much a man s own as his child ; your 
children are your best household stuff. One observing that 
it was the manner and fashion to bespangle their cupboards 
with plate when they made any feasts ; when he was to make 
a feast, he got his children and set them on his cupboard s 
head : the guests asked the reason why he did so ; saith he, 
These are my plate. Beloved, you have given your plate al 
ready to the service of your country j what if God will have 
this plate also to be given unto him ? 

Again, The danger that is now approaching may move you 
unto this. You know the greatness of the danger ; how we 
are begirt with the Assyrians and Ammonites ; and should 
the Ammonites prevail, I mean that malignant, Jesuitical party 
prevail in the kingdom, what a dark and black day would it 
be upon England. The Lord be thanked, we know, partly, 
what a comfort it is to sit under our vines and fig-trees ; but 
should they prevail, what would they do ? yea, what would 
they not do ? the honour and safety of our dear sovereign, 

SER. 2.] OF COURAGE. 41 

the liberty of the subject, the security of the parliament, the 
peace of the three kingdoms, the power and liberty of the 
ordinances ; these are great mercies and much to be prized by 
us ; and methinks every one should sit down and think with 
himself, What shall I give or do that my person should not 
be enslaved, that my wife and daughters be not abused, that 
my poor children be not massacred, that my house be not 
plundered, that my country be not betrayed ? Oh, if there 
be any spirit, or valour and courage in any child or servant 
to serve God and his country, go on, O child, and prosper; 
do courageously. 

Then, again, besides this, you may remember the protesta 
tion that you have made. You have protested before the 
Lord and the world, or should have done, that you will main 
tain and defend the person of our king, the liberty of the law 
and subject, the parliament, the protestant religion; and shall 
you not give up your children and servants, though never so 
dear and faithful, to make good your protestation ? 

But methinks I hear some say, It is a hard thing to part 
with my child, my only son, my only joy, the comfort and stay 
of mine age ; oh, it is a hard thing to part with a child. 

True, it is ; and wouldst serve God and thy country with 
nothing ? Is that child lost that Christ gains ? I remember 
Origen observes, that when Abraham gave up Isaac unto 
God, and put the knife to his throat to offer him up as a 
sacrifice to him, then the Lord found him a ram, another 
sacrifice, and gave Isaac again unto him ; and, saith he, that 
which you give unto God you shall receive from God : if you 
can give up your child, and lift up your hand with a knife to 
offer him up unto him, the Lord will give you that child, 
and that child above others shall be the father of many gra 
cious. Methinks I hear that speech sounding in mine ears : 
" Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them, they 
shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies 
in the gate," Psalm cxxvii. 5. Your children are the arrows 
that the Lord hath given you into your quiver, if they be 
ready upon the string, will you break these arrows, or the 
spirits of them ? They are made on purpose to meet your ad 
versary in the gate ; and now the adversary is in the gate, will 
you not let the arrow fly ? Oh, methinks there should not be 
a father or master that hath a child or servant, but should say, 

42 OF COURAGE. [SfiR. 2. 

I will send one volunteer. What were it for such a town as 
this to have two or three hundred ? But I know your rea 
diness, the Lord bless it. Only I leave the exhortation of 
Joab with you, the words a little altered. Be of good courage, 
and if you cannot play the men yourselves, let your children 
and servants play the men. 

The exhortation looks also upon them that have listed them 
selves in this service of God and their country in these dan 
gerous times. Brethren, I have need for to speak to you, and 
my commission especially is to speak to you, I had need do 
it, for have not some freely offered themselves to this work, 
yet shamefully deserted it again ? I say shamefully, for what 
greater shame ? Marcus Crassus, amongst the Romans, 
caused the cowards to be let blood, giving this reason, That 
it was fit their blood should be shed in disgrace which they 
would not shed in the defence of their country. And if you 
look at Judges vii. 3, you shall find that when the hosts of 
the Midianites came against the Israelites, Gideon had gotten 
a good and well framed army together; but when word came 
from the Lord that the fearful should return, how many, think 
you, did return of them ? Surely no less than two parts of 
three. The whole army consisting of thirty and two thou 
sand. The divine story tells us that twenty-two thousand 
of them went back, and but ten thousand left. Twenty and 
two thousand not ashamed to be called cowards and fearful. 
So that I say, that I had need to speak to you, and to you is 
my commission, and if you please you may read my commis 
sion and your own duty together : Deut. xx. 2, 3, " And it 
shall be when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest 
shall approach and speak unto the people ;" not the captain, 
but the priest. What says the priest ? Let not your hearts 
faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be you terrified 
because of them. Therefore you see what I am commanded 
to speak unto you. Well, good sirs, and beloved in the Lord 
Jesus, be you also of good courage. And I have three words 
of encouragement to speak unto you. 

1. Your work and service you are about, it is very honour 
able. It is observed to my hand, that when Solomon built 
the temple, he did not employ the Israelites about the meaner 
works, carrying of stones and drawing of water; strangers 
were put to that work ; but the Israelites were employed to 

SER. 2.] OF COURAGE. 43 

be a guard about him. So did the most wise man in the 
world, Solomon, count it an honourable thing to bear arms 
and to be a soldier. Anciently soldiers were called latrones, 
because they were a latere regis ; and now the latin word, 
miles, for a soldier, signifies a knight. When the children of 
Israel went out to battle, some there were that went into the 
field, and some that did stay at home ; concerning those that 
stayed at home,it is said, that "she that tarried at home divided 
the spoil/ Psalm Ixviii. 12. As if they were only women, 
and the weaker sort that stayed at home ; as if all that were 
worthy to be called men went into the field. In the triumph 
ing psalm of Deborah, we read that some are condemned and 
some commended ; those that were condemned, were such as 
came not forth, that came not forth to " help the Lord against 
the mighty/ Judges v. 23. Those that were commended, 
were the volunteers that offered themselves willingly amongst 
the people (verses 2. 9). The truth is, that the volunteers of 
England, under God, are the bulwarks of England; and 
England, under God, the bulwark of the protestant religion. 
Wherefore, honoured brethren, be ye all of good courage, for 
your work and service is very honourable. 

And as your work is honourable, so your work is safe. In 
times of war, the safest place is the camp, and whilst that 
those of poor spirits, that love only to be in their beds and 
in their houses, shall be pillaged and plundered, men of brave 
spirits, that are willing to be in the field, shall be secured. A 
valiant and courageous mind commandeth all things, says Se 
neca: he that commandeth death, commandeth all things, as 
the valiant man doth. Now, beloved, you see into what times 
we are fallen ; of necessity things must either go well or ill : 
if things go ill, the worst is death, and what great matter is 
it to die for your God a little before your time ; who would 
live when religion is dead ? who would live to out-live his 
religion ? Cicero tells us of some Indians that having many 
wives, when the husband died the wives strived to be burned 
with him, and she that was the strongest prevailed to be 
burned, and the rest went away very sorrowful, as having met 
ith a great loss that they might not be burned with their 
usband ; and do you desire to live a day after the protestant 
religion that you have been married to now for many years 
together ? It is no great matter to live; the beasts, birds and 

44 OF COURAGE. [SfiR. 2. 

fishes live : this is truly great, to die well, honourably, freely, 
wisely ; as Seneca saith, It is better to die in the field, for the 
cause of God, than die in one s bed by the hand of a sick 
ness. It is storied of one Bibulus, a great Roman, that having 
obtained many victories, he came to Rome to ride in triumph, 
where a tile falling off the house struck him so deeply and 
mortally into the head, that he died of it. Thus may you die 
by an unworthy tile as you walk in the streets, or by the turn 
ing of some humour in your bodies ; and is it not better, 
then, to die for the truth ? Can you lose too much for Christ 
that hath lost so much for you ? Death is the worst. And 
if things go well, I cannot but think it will go with the po 
pish malignant party, as once with the Freislanders, when the 
Earl of Holland had overcome them ; they took up arms to 
resist him again : whereupon he ordered that the doors of 
their houses should be made so low as they should always 
stoop when they went in, noting their subjection ;* so, though 
the mercy of those that are in authority may let the houses 
of malignants stand, yet I make no question, but the doors 
of their houses shall be made so low, that they shall always 
stoop, as a note of their subjection ; whilst you that stand 
for the cause, and country, and cities of your God, shall have 
the doors of your houses enlarged ; and if a good cause have 
any interest in heaven, and the prayers of God s people hath 
any credit there, you shall undoubtedly in the end prevail, 
wherefore be of good courage, for your work is safe. 

And as your work is safe, so it is also warrantable. I know 
it is objected, They take up arms against their king. I am 
persuaded there is not such a thought in the bosoms of any 
of you all, and God forbid there should. But there is much 
difference between taking up of arms against the king s per 
son, and taking up of arms for the defence of the kingdom, 
without the king s command. David, though he were God s 
anointed, yet he was a subject unto Saul his king, and he 
took up arms to defend himself; he took up arms indeed, 
but if you look into 1 Sam. xxvi. 19, you shall find that 
David does impute that unnatural war that Saul his king 
made against him, to those wicked malignants and wicked 
counsellors about him. " If the Lord hath stirred thee up 
against me, let him accept an offering ; but if they be the 
* Hist. Nether. 

SEB. 2.] OP COURAGE. 45 

children of men, cursed be they before the Lord/ &c. He 
does not say the king had done it, but lays it upon those that 
were about him, and therefore took up arms to defend himself 
against the malignants. David s example is our practice: 
and certainly if the parliament should not have a power to 
send for those by force of arms which are accused before 
them for their just trial, they should no longer be a parlia 
ment. Every court of justice hath a power to send for by 
force, men accused to be tried before them : now the parlia 
ment as king James speaks, is the highest court of justice ; 
therefore, according to the known privilege of parliament, 
they do send a serjeant at arms for those that are accused, to 
be tried before them ; and if they have power to send out 
one serjeant at arms, then they have power also to send forth 
a hundred, and so a thousand, and so ten thousand if need 
require. And if the accused persons gather into an army, 
how can the parliament send for them but by an army ? So 
that when you consider the law of the land, or the law of 
God, or the law of nature, which is for a community to de 
fend itself, your way and course is very warrantable, your 
cause is good, for that must needs be good that religion ma- 
keth so ; your enemies are weak, for they must needs be weak 
that sin makes weak; your victory is certain, which the 
Scripture promiseth, and first or last the victory shall 
be to you. Put all together : your cause is good, your ene 
mies weak, your victory certain, your service honourable, safe, 
warrantable : wherefore, " Be of good courage, and play the 
men for the people and the cities of our God, and the Lord 
do with you what seemeth him good." 

This exhortation looketh upon all that heareth me this day, 
men, women and children; be you all of good courage in 
these sad times, notwithstanding the evil of the times ; " Fear 
not, neither be dismayed." Did the Lord do his work by 
halves when he brought the children of Israel out of Egypt ? 
Notwithstanding for men s unbelief some fell in the way to 
Canaan, yet he brought them into Canaan. Beloved, you are 
now again coming out of Egypt, for the Romish superstition, 
and that partly is called Egypt, Sodom, Babylon : you are 
now coming out of Egypt, marching up into the promised 
land and promised ordinances. Nothing can make you fall in 
the way but unbelief; wherefore be all of good courage, and 

46 OF COURAGE. [SfiR. 2. 

pray unto the Lord. Be all of good courage ; thereby you 
shall be able to set upon great things for God, though never 
so great ; thereby you shall endure great afflictions, though 
never so heavy ; thereby you shall be untired and unwearied 
in the service of God, though the opposition be never so 
strong ; thereby you shall honour the cause ; thereby you 
shall conquer your enemies; thereby you shall encourage 
others, your courage shall beget courage ; your courage will 
have an influence upon all the towns round about you> and 
make them of good courage, as I make no question but the 
courage and valour of London have had an influence upon 
your hearts, to make you courageous : so your courage will 
have upon others. What will they say when they come into 
towns, and return home again ? I will tell you what : I was 
at such a town, and there they were working and fortifying 
their town for their country and king; and I saw the best 
man s son in the town go to the work, and the best man s 
daughter in the town carry a basket; and, father and mother, 
shall we sit still ? Therefore put on, let the work never die 
for want of money ; let not such a town as we are be base, be 
poor and low, and want courage, when on the one side ye have 
the sea, on the other side the river, on the other side the 
walls, on the other side, I hope, friends; within abun 
dance of good people, and and above a loving God. Oh, 
therefore, put on, be all of good courage. I do but add some 
directions, and so wind up all. 

1. Be sure of this, that you make sure of God to be with 
you. I mean, not only in the general causes, but in your 
particular ; clear up your propriety to God himself. When 
David was in a great strait, his enemies ~had broken in upon 
him, taken away his wives, and then plundered all he had, 
his own soldiers began to mutiny, and thought of stoning 
him ; what did he do ? It is said, " He encouraged himself 
in the Lord his God," 1 Sam. xxx. 6. Therefore first make 
sure of this, clear up this your propriety in God himself. 
The sight of a great God under interest will encourage your 
spirits though dangers be never so great. 

2. Never go out upon any design without God s promise, 
God s promise of assistance, acceptance and success. Joshua 
was a valiant man and brave commander, and yet we read of 
him, chap, vii., when some thirty men were slain, and others 

SER. 2.] OF COURAGE. 47 

fled, he fell down upon the earth much discouraged. Why ? 
The Lord had promised he would never leave him nor forsake 
him, his enemies should not be able to stand before him ; but 
he had lost the promise that God had given to him, and 
therefore was discouraged ; but the Lord comes to him, and 
saith, " What dost here ?" and brings him to the view of the 
promise again ; and then a new spirit and new life came into 
him. God s promise is your encouragement; keep that al 
ways in your eye. 

3. Take heed of all those things that will debase your spi 
rits. These are three things especially: idleness, worldliness, 
false courage. 

As for idleness, saith Seneca,* it is the burying of a living 
man. As for worldliness, saith Aquinas, it doth effeminate and 
set a man below himself. And false courage is a true enemy 
to true courage. If courage be laid upon the sense of the se 
cond cause, when there is an ebb of the second cause there is 
an ebb of your courage. 

There were two sorts of spies that \ient into the land of 
Canaan. As for the first, we do not read of any hard use 
they met withal, and yet they were much discouraged, and 
discouraged the people, saying, The men of the country are 
giants, the cities are walled up to heaven, and the inhabitants 
ride in chariots of iron. The other spies met with ill use, 
and had not Rahab hid them they had been every man cut 
off; and yet they returned with good courage, and so encou 
raged the people, saying, " The men shall be meat unto us/ 
&c. What is the reason of this ? One would think, rather, 
that the first sort should be encouraged and the last discou 
raged, but it was not. so ; the reason is this, the first spies, 
that were discouraged, looked only upon the men and walls 
and iron chariots ; went out in the way of sense ; but as for 
the other spies, they looked upon God, upon his promise, and 
upon his providence in delivering of them ; and thereupon 
returned and said, " The men of the land are meat unto us," 
&c. Would you not be discouraged but encouraged, take 
heed how you raise or how you lay your courage upon second 
causes ; take heed of all those things that may debase your 
spirits, idleness, worldliness, and courage laid upon second 

* Otium est vivi hominis sepultura. Seneca. 

48 OP COURAGE. [SER. 2. 

4. Again, be sure of this, that you keep your conscience 
clear. A bad conscience is very timorous ; the righteous are 
as bold as a lion, but the unrighteous, that have any con 
science left, are as fearful as a doe ; be sure, therefore, that 
you keep your conscience clear. 

5. And then, again, keep and improve all the experiences 
of God s delivering mercy. Beloved, how many delivering 
mercies hath God wrought for us the last year ; truly it may 
be said it hath been the annus mirabilis, year of wonders ; 
and all the year long God hath been known to England by 
this name, a wonder-working God. When any temptations 
arise to discourage, answer, Surely if the Lord had meant to 
destroy us, he would never have done all this. Experienced 
men are most courageous. Only make use of your experience 
as a stirrup to get up your spirits to the promise. 

6. Again, Actuate, refresh and strengthen your love. True 
love is very valiant. Says the apostle, " Love suffers all 
things, it does all things." As one observes concerning a 
sheep, though it be so feeble and fearful a creature, that a 
little dog will make a whole flock run before it, yet, notwith 
standing, you shall see, that if a great mastiff comes to take 
away a lamb from the ewe, the ewe will stamp and run at 
him. Why ? Love puts it on. Do you, therefore, love your 
country ? I know you do. Do you love the people of God ? 
I presume you do. Do you love the cities of God ? I be 
lieve you do. Often actuate, refresh, and strengthen your 
love ; this will give courage. 

7. In the last place, Whenever any discouraging tempta 
tions arise, before ever you parley with those difficulties and 
temptations, step in to God by prayer. . Beloved, if you first 
parley with difficulties before you go to prayer, you will never 
have done ; a thousand objections will be created in your 
minds : whereas if you first go to prayer before you parley 
with them : in prayer you shall have the sight of a great God, 
and the sight of a great God will make your spirits great. In 
prayer your heart shall be composed, for prayer is a soul- 
composing duty. In prayer you shall meet with the Captain 
of your salvation, and he will lead up your hearts that are 
ready to run away. In prayer you shall bring your souls to 
this frame, quietly to resign up yourselves, and cause, and 
success unto God; and a man is never more courageous than 

SER. 2.] OF COURAGE. 49 

in that frame, as Joab s courage and resignation went together. 
Are you presented with any difficulty and discouraging temp 
tation ? then say with yourselves, It is true, indeed, to attain 
to such an event, certainly it will be hard; notwithstand 
ing, I know that my cause is good, my work is good, the 
people good ; and, therefore, though the difficulties and temp 
tations be never so great, I will give myself to prayer, and 
praying courage is good courage. Wherefore, my beloved, in 
the name of the Lord, pray, in these evil times; pray, pray, 
pray. And when you have done praying, then wait : " Wait 
on the Lord, and be of good courage ; and again, I say, wait 
on the Lord." And what I say unto one I desire to speak 
unto my own soul, and so unto you all in these sad and evil 
times, " Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our 
people, and for the cities of our God, and the Lord do with us 
what seemeth him good." 








" Thy destruction is of thyself, but thy salvation is of me." 
" Except ye reptnt. ye shall all likewise perish." Luke xiii. 



To THE READER. It is God s wont to warn before he smite a people, thereby 
walking himself after his own rule, Deut. xx. 10, 13, who would have no city to 
be destroyed until peace hath first been offered to it. The sword of the Lord is 
ever drawn, his bow bent, his arrows prepared, his instruments of death made 
ready, his cup mingled ; yet he doth not use to pour down his plagues, until he 
hath rained a shower of mercy before them : he doth not surprise men at 
unawares. God never discharges his murthering pieces, until he hath first dis 
charged his warning ones: pax domini, Luke s., " Peace to this house," was 
sounded at every door where the apostles came. All ages and nations will bear 
witness to this truth ; the old world, Sodom, Pharaoh, &c. : but no nation or 
age can better subscribe to God s goodness and fair dealing in this, than we, who 
have been warned sometimes by prodigious signs, as by the appearance of that 
wonderful comet, A. D. 1618, as importing some strange changes which we have 
seen and heard since ; and as if its last influence might seem to end in this island 
when it blazed over England, it was seen no more ; and Herlicius Stargardersis, 
a noted astrologer, held, that its influence was like to continue between twenty 
and thirty years. Sometimes by his ministers, by his administration of justice, 
and dealing with other nations : how long hath the sword walked circuit in 
Germany and in Ireland ? Sometimes by lesser and lighter judgments : how 
long hath the plague continued in this city without intermission ? Sometimes 
by taking many godly out of the world, and the removing many others out of 
the kingdom, who were wont to stand in the gap ; sometimes by a general with 
drawing himself, pulling down his hangings, not assisting his ordinances, &c. 
And unless we will wilfully shut our eyes, how hath the goodness, patience, 
bounty, merciful and powerful dealings of God towards us, and for us of late, 
been as an hand put f?rth to lead us home unto him, to cause us to meet him, 
and take warning, that we might prevent these wasting calamities that are 
gathered together in a black cloud, as though they meant to empty themselves in 
a shower of blood upon our heads ? But we are so far from taking warning, 
that we study to hasten our own ruin : almost every one instead of bringing his 
bucket of water to quench the fire that is already flaming about our ears, brings 

SER. 3.] THE DISEASES, c. . )! 

their bellows in their hands to blow up these coals of dissension in all places, so 
that now not only is there a kingdom divided, but the head and the members di 
vided, and the members among themselves, cities and towns divided, yea families 
divided, parents against children, brother against brother, and familiar friends 
become bitter enemies one to another ; the most sure symptom and presage of a 
fearful desolation to fall upon all, unless some speedy remedy be applied to this 
desperate disease, and the great God himself become our physician and heal our 
distempers. I shall desire to commend these two Sermons (the third and fourth 
of this volume) to thy serious consideration : in the one thou shall see there is a 
stoppage made of God s mercies, who was coming to heal us but we would not 
be healed ; the causes are discovered and the remedies prescribed, that could we 
so go to work to open these stoppings, and bring God again into the way of his 
mercies ; could we see our sins removed and God returned, I might then truly 
say that there would be yet hope for England : the other Sermon is a preparative 
to bear that cross that so many have already on their backs, viz. of being turned out of 
all our earthly comforts ; a sad calamity indeed, but now too usual ; and when so 
many of our neighbour s houses are on fire, why should we think to escape scot free 
that are as deep in sin as they? Being, therefore, forewarned, let us be forearmed, 
and get into God and his favour, as that one necessary thing for us all to look 
after, as the only means to keep us from sinking under the waves that flow in 
upon all, especially on God s people ; experience shewing, that if we will live in 
the power of godliness, and not walk in the same excess of riot with the world, 
we shall make ourselves a prey, and had need to have our helmets on to catch the 
blows that fall upon us, and resolve to sit loose from the world, that we may 
suffer the spoiling of our goods with joy, and be able to say with that noble 
Spartan , who being told, 1 . of the death of his children, answered : I knew well they 
were all begot mortal. 2. That his goods were confiscate : I knew what was but 
for mine use was not mine. 3. That his honour was gone : I knew no glory 
could be everlasting on this miserable earth. 4. That his sentence was to die : 
That is nothing ; nature hath given the like sentence both of my condemners and 
of me. Now should we get a stock of faith, and learn how to use it, to live by 
it when our lands, our stocks, our trades, our friends, our wit, our shifts (as the 
ordinary means of our livelihood) shall fail us. That we may live not only 
above our fears and troubles and doubts, but above the world, above ourselves, 
in God and in Christ, in whom we may see supply to all our wants, satisfaction 
to all our desires, and have recompense for all our losses, and every thing that 
may make for our good and welfare : light in our darkness, life in our death, 
strength in our weakness, riches in our poverty ; and comfort ourselves, that we 
serve a Master that will one day right all our wrongs, reckoning the injuries that 
be done to his as done to himself ; so that we should not think much to part 
with our country, our children, our possessions, our life, if the world will take 
them from us, for Christ and his gospel s sake. All these, and much better than 
these shall be restored to us one day ; and we may say thus to ourselves : Yet I 
am not miserable so long as my Redeemer is happy ; he lives, and I shall live 
with him. Men may take from me my goods, but they cannot rob me of my 
grace; they may banish me from my country, but not from heaven ; take from 
me my life, but not my happiness : no, my faith, my heaven, my soul, my hap 
piness is in his keeping, that will safely preserve them for me, and me for them. 
But I fear I have held thee too long in the porch, I shall now open thee the door 
and let thee in, praying God to make those lessons as profitable to thee, as the Au- 

K - 


thor s desire was they might both in his preaching them and his willingness to 
have them published for the public good. 

J. A. 

" So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men, 
and they fled before the men of Ai." JOSH. vii. 4. 

IN this chapter you have a treatise concerning Achan s 
sin, branching itself into three parts ; one concerning the 
commission of the sin, the second concerning the discovery 
of it, and the third concerning the punishment thereof. As 
for the sin itself, the commission thereof, what it was, you 
read in the first verse, that the children of Israel had com 
mitted a trespass. God had commanded that all the spoil 
of Jericho should be consecrated unto himself, and that the 
first fruits of all should be his. Jericho being the first 
city that they took in the land of Canaan, by right it did 
belong unto God j all the treasure, silver and gold, wealth 
and goods that was therein, properly it did belong unto God. 
Now Achan he plays the thief, and does appropriate some of 
God s goods and wealth unto himself. This was charged 
upon him as a sin, and so upon all Israel, as at the first 
verse : keeping from God any thing that does belong unto 
him, is a sin. Now in the second place this sin was disco 
vered by occasion of the defeat that was before the town of 
Ai. They passing on from Jericho, at the second verse, unto 
the town of Ai, they laid siege to it ; but their siege was 
broken up, and three thousand men fled, and thirty-six men 
were slain, verses 4, 5. Sins committed in one city, will 
follow us unto another, and overtake us there. Oh what 
unexpected ways and means hath God for to bring out men s 
sin to light. Three thousand men flee before the men of Ai, 
and thirty-six men are slain, and this was made the means of 
discovery of Achan s sin ; who would have thought that there 
should have been such a discovery as this ? 

The work was hindered by this defeat, and that sets them 
on work to search out the cause, and shews, 

That afflictions should set us on work, to search out our 
sins, and the cause of them. 

That sins shall not always be pocketed up, but shall be 
discovered, though never so secret. 

That God hath strange ways to discover men s sins. 


But why must the children of Israel be beaten here by 
the men of Ai, and why must one man s sin be punished 
upon all ? Surely the children of Israel were in covenant 
one with another, and so being in covenant together, the sin 
of the one not being punished by the rest, was charged upon 
all the rest. As for England, either we are in covenant one 
with another, or else we are not; either there is a national 
covenant, or else there is not. If there be not a national 
covenant, as was among the Jews, why do we not rather say, 
the churches of England, than the church ? And if there be 
a national covenant, the sin of one is made the sin of the 
rest, what sins do we bring upon ourselves. But they must 
flee before the men of Ai ; why ? Because that the men of 
Ai were to be destroyed with a great destruction. Therefore 
God does first suffer them to prevail, the more to embitter 
and stir up the spirits of Israel against them: this did pro 
voke them. 

Whence I take up these two observations : 

The first is this : Where God is in a way of mercy 
towards a people, there sin makes a stoppage in his pro 

The second is this : When God intends utterly to de~ 
stroy his enemies, he does first suffer his own servants, and 
dearest children to flee and fall before them. 

Concerning the first : 

First, Where God is in a way of mercy towards his people, 
there sin does make a stoppage in his proceedings ; so here 
God was in a way of mercy towards his people, carrying of 
them into the land of Canaan, but in the way they sin, 
Achan plays the thief; mark what a stoppage this made in 
the way of mercy ; so you have it in Josh. xxiv. 20. Though 
God be about to do you good, and have done you good, yet 
" if you forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, he will 
turn " from the good he is a doing, " and do you hurt, after 
he hath done you good." So in Jer. xxviii. 9, " At what 
instant I shall say or speak concerning a nation, and con 
cerning a kingdom, to build, and to plant it :" that is, at 
what time I shall give sensible testimony of good to a land 
or nation : " If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my 
voice, then I will repent of the good," &c. So that sins 
committed against God when he is in a way of mercy, do 


make a stoppage in those proceedings of mercy. There are 
these two or three reasons for it: 

Sins committed when God is in a way of mercy, are a 
slighting of mercy. Amongst yourselves, if you be doing 
any special work before others, that they may take notice of 
you, and they slight your work, you will leave off work, and 
work no more ; now, I say, when as God is in a way of 
mercy, and you then sin against him, your sins do slight 
mercy, nay then, says God, I will turn away ; it will make a 
stoppage in this work. 

Again, those mercies that come unto God s people, come 
unto them in the way of a promise. And God s promises 
they are either spiritual, concerning spiritual things, or tem 
poral, concerning temporal things. If they be spiritual pro 
mises, concerning spiritual things, then they are absolute, 
bottomed and grounded upon no condition ; as the promise 
he made that " he would drown the world no more," says 
the prophet Isaiah ; such a covenant as he made with Noah, 
he makes with his people, that runs upon no condition : he 
doth not say, If the world goes on and serve me, I will drown 
it no more : but the promise runs upon no condition, and so 
the promise of grace runs upon no condition : for if it runs 
upon a condition of faith, God promises to give faith, God 
promises perseverance, upon the exercise of grace he pro 
mises to give the exercise of grace, all spiritual promises run 
upon no condition. But now outward promises run upon 
condition, and therefore if men do not keep the condition, 
God takes himself free, and will turn himself out of the 
way of his mercy. You have an expression to this purpose, 
Num. xiv. 34, "After the number of the days in which ye 
searched the land, even forty days (each day for a year) shall 
you bear your iniquity, even forty years, and ye shall know 
my breach of promise. Will God break his promise ? As 
much as if he should have said, I have promised to bring 
you into the land of Canaan, upon such and such conditions ; 
but now, if you do not perform the condition, I count 
myself free, and you shall know my breach of promise, 
that I will not give you the thing that I am about to 
give you. 

God never gives his people any mercy, but he gives it 
them in a way in a way of mercy. He does not think it 


enough to give them that which is mercy, but he will give it 
them in a way of mercy. As now in your gifts to God, if 
you be gracious> you do not think it enough to do that which 
is gracious, but do it in a gracious manner ; so God in his 
gifts to you, will not only give yon that which is mercy, but 
he will give it you in a way of mercy : but now if God should 
be in a way of mercy towards his people, and they sin a- 
gainst him, and he should go on to give them the mercy, 
they would be hardened in their sin, and so it would not 
come unto them in the way of mercy. Therefore, if God be 
in a way of mercy towards his people, and they sin against 
him, he will break off the course of his mercy, and go ano 
ther way, and there shall be a stoppage made in these pro 

But you will say we see the contrary : who have more 
blessings, and outward mercies, than the church of Rome ? 
Who more sinful ? What adulteries, what idolatries, sor 
ceries, opposition of saints and ministers ? And you know 
what plenty is among them, and God goes on to give them 
mercy after mercy, outward blessing after outward blessing, 
and therefore this is not true, we see it in experience other 
wise, that our sins do not make a stoppage in the proceedings 
of mercy. 

But for answer hereunto, The thing is not true, God does 
not go on in a way of blessing and mercy towards them. 
Beloved, of all afflictions, it is the greatest affliction to be 
without affliction ; of all judgments, it is the greatest judg 
ment to want judgment : as you may see for this purpose, 
Isa. i., " Why should you be stricken any more ; ye will 
revolt more and more." It is the greatest stroke not to be 
smitten, and the greatest affliction to be denied affliction, 
when there is use and need of it : now though the people of 
Rome, and that party flourish in the world, yet their souls 
are smitten, God smites them with blindness, and with spi 
ritual death, so that there is a stoppage made in the proceed 
ings of mercy. 

But I rather answer it thus : When God is in a way of 
mercy towards his people, towards his church, then sin will 
make a stoppage. Those of Rome are no true church, the 
church was in Babylon, but Babylon was not the church ; 
the church was in Egypt, but Egypt was not the church ; 


Lot was in Sodom, Sodom was not in Lot s family; Rome 
is called Babylon, Egypt, and Sodom; they are not the 
church of God ; but if the church of God sin when God is 
in a way of mercy, a stoppage shall be made rather for them 
than for others, for these two or three reasons : 

They are in God s house, and their sin is greater. The 
great house of God is as a great man s house, who hath some 
servants that doth his work abroad in the field, some that 
tend in his chamber, that are nearer round about him : if 
those servants that are near him be naught and vile, it makes 
more to the dishonour of the master, than if those were so 
that are abroad in the field ; now God s people are a people 
that are round about him, near unto him, his household 
servants, and therefore if they sin when God is in a way of 
mercy, God will turn out of that way, and there shall be a 
stoppage made in God s proceedings. 

Their sin is of all others the most scandalous, and there 
fore the worse, the more dishonouring to God, the more 
provoking. If two men be drunk, one a professor and the 
other not ; why there is no scandal arises from the drunken 
ness of him that is no professor ; but if a professor be gotten 
in, and made drunk, they are all so, what a scandal ariseth ? 
And so, if two commit adultery, the one a professor, and the 
other not, the scandal ariseth from the professor ; profession 
is the ground of scandal. And therefore, 2 Sam. xx. 12, 
when as Amasa was slain and laid in his blood, the people 
made a stay and went no further, till they drew him out of 
the way, and cast a cloth over him ; so when a professor falls 
and lies in his blood, there is a stand made in people s duties 
and conversations ; and therefore just that there should be 
a stop made in the proceedings of God s mercy. 

Their sins are most against the remedy. Sins against the 
remedy, are the greatest sins : and therefore his sin is great 
est that commits adultery being married, than his that com 
mits fornication, though both be evil, because he sins against 
the remedy ; now the people of God Lave more remedies 
against sins than others, more light, more grace, more means, 
more helps ; and therefore if they sin when God is in a way 
of mercy, God will rather make a stoppage in them than in 
others. Oh, that I might leave this impression upon you 


that are professors and godly, that you may take heed how 
you sin against God. 

Why should this be, that so small a sin should turn the 
great God of heaven out of the way of his mercy ? Achan 
commits but a small sin, and what a mighty stop is made in 
the way of mercy ? So, David numbers the people, it was 
no great matter, and a plague breaks out presently ; what 
is the reason, that for sins that are little and small, such a 
stoppage should be made in the proceedings and mercy of 
the great God ? 

For answer three things : 

1. There is nothing small between God and us, and it is 
true ; if thou hast but the least crumb of bread, it is a great 
mercy, because it comes from the great God ; and if you 
commit a sin, though never so little in your own eyes, it is 
great, because committed against the great God; I may 
boldly say thus much, that men sin a great sin in saying 
their sin is small. 

2. Sometimes what falls short in the greatness of the sin, is 
made up in the number of sins. Great sins do go alone, 
smaller sins do go by companies : as with creatures so with 
sins ; you shall observe it so in the heavens, and in the air, 
and in the water, and in the earth : in the heavens, but one 
great sun, many less stars ; in the air, you have but few 
great and kingly birds, the eagle she flies alone, but your 
pigeons that are lesser fly by flights ; in the water your great 
whale goes alone, but your lesser herrings go by shoals ; on 
the earth the great elephant goes alone, your lesser sheep go 
by flocks, and your hogs by herds ; the lesser sands infinite 
in number, rocks fewer. And so with men s sins ; great sins 
they go alone, but lesser sins go by companies, and often 
times the number of your lesser sins do make up what is 
wanting in the greatness of your sin. A man may be drunk 
but once or twice in his life, in the gross act of it, but he 
may be so often in drunken company, and spend away so 
many hours which shall amount to drunkenness ; a man may 
commit adultery but once in his life, but he may have as 
many unclean thoughts as shall amount to adultery. So, 
that what falls short in the greatness of sin, is made up in 
the number ; and therefore say not, why should God for a 


a little sin turn out of the way of mercy? it may be the 
number of your little sins amount to the greatest sin. 

3. Beloved, God will make good his name to the utmost, 
and his name is, "A jealous God;" now a husband s jealousy 
ariseth not when he sees his wife commit adultery, but if he 
do but see her playing and sporting with a stranger; so 
God s jealousy ariseth, not only when we commit the gross 
act of idolatry, when we bow before an idol, but if we be 
sporting and playing with superstition ; for God is a jealous 
God. And though the husband do not see cause enough to 
turn away his wife, because of her sporting, and playing, and 
dallying, he may see cause enough to deny such a courtesy ; 
so God, though he does not give a bill of divorce for such a 
sin which you count lesser, yet he may see cause enough to 
make a stoppage in his proceedings of mercy. Thus the 
doctrine stands firm, when God is in a way of mercy to 
wards his people, if they do sin against him, their sins may 
make a stoppage in his proceedings. By way of application ; 

Hence you may see what the reason is, why there is a stop 
made now of late in our England mercies. This last year 
God hath done great things for England, as ever England 
saw, and that man that sees it not, I shall think that Scrip 
ture hath taken hold upon him, which you have in Jer. xxvii. 
5, 6., " Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh 
flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord, for 
he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see 
when good cometh," whether out of envy or malice, but when 
good comes upon a people, he shall not see it : but who doth 
not see what a black cloud is drawn over us again : when the 
waters swell and stand up, you say, surely there is a stop 
made ; the waters do not run down as before, not long since 
justice and judgment did run down like a mighty stream ; 
but now, how the waters swell, gather, and stand up again : 
wicked men lie in prison, and those not censured : priests 
and Jesuits lie condemned, and those not executed : the 
plague is begun, and that is not quenched ; the sword hath 
begun to drink deep in our brethren s blood, and that is not 
sheathed : the wrath of our king is enkindled : divers of our 
parlimentary worthies accused of high treason; certainly there 
is a stoppage made in the proceedings of England s mercies ; 
oh, beloved, this our sin hath done. 


But you will say unto me, Shall there be a stoppage made 
for ever in the mercies of England ? 

You will find, for answer, if you look into Scripture, that 
there is a twofold stoppage of mercy : final and present : fi 
nal, as God was in a way of mercy towards Saul, and was 
about to settle the kingdom upon him and his posterity for 
ever; but he sinned, and the Lord turned away from Saul 
and turned away from him for ever ; there was a final stoppage 
of mercy made. Now though there be a stop made in the way 
of God s mercy towards England, I conceive there is not a 
final stoppage. And my reasons are these : 

Because that though many difficulties and mountains do 
arise, yet we see how one after another they do melt. 

And because God hath raised up instruments that are un 
wearied in his service, working night and day, and are un 
wearied in the work of the Lord. 

As also because that the type of this work does speak as 
much. The children of Israel s coming out of Babylon, and 
building the temple, is a type of our coming out of antichristian 
bondage, the great reformation that is now begun : now then 
though there were many lets and hindrances by Tobiah and 
Sanballat, and others, they could never hinder it fully, but it 
recovered itself, and was driven on : so in this building and 
work of reformation, though the Tobiah s and Sanballats of 
the times may cause the work to cease for a time, the build 
ing shall get up, and shall not fully cease, but the work of re 
formation shall be driven on in the despite of all the enemies. 
Therefore it is not a final stop now made in England s mer 
cies. But there is a present stop, as when the plague broke 
out in David s time ; and such a stoppage is made now. 

But what evil and hurt is in this, if a final stoppage be not 
made ? 

Is it nothing in your ears, and in your hearts, that the 
Lord should turn out of a way of mercy ? you read in Judges 
ii., when the angel came with a message unto the people, and 
told them that the Canaanites should be as " thorns in their 
sides, and a snare unto them, they lift up their voice and 
wept, and they called the name of the place Bochim :" you 
shall be brought into Canaan, the promised land, but the na 
tives shall be so mixed amongst you, as they shall be thorns 
in your sides, hereupon they lift up their voice and wept: and 


so, though the work of reformation be carried on, the Canaan- 
ites may be left to be as thorns in your sides, until Christ 
come. Oh that we could lift up our voice and weep, that the 
place might be called Bochim. 

When God breaks off in the way of his mercy, then his 
wrath breaks out ; he does not turn out of the way of his 
mercy, but he turns into the way of his judgment. Why to 
a loving child this a very cutting word, Your father is angry 
with you ; I may speak this to you, there is a stop made in 
England s mercy, and your Father is angry, this is much. 

If there be a stoppage made in England s mercy though 
but present, there is an obstruction in all your comforts : you 
are sensible of the obstructions of your body, will you not be 
sensible of State obstructions, of Church obstructions ? Sup 
pose you were in Ireland begirt with the enemy, and were in 
danger to have your convoy cut off, that should bring you 
victuals and supply, would it not make you fear ? Beloved, 
we have been begirt with enemies a long tirre, and God hath 
raised us up a convoy to bring us victuals ; we do not know 
whether our convoy shall be taken away, though but for the 
present. Certainly there is a thief in our candle that does 
make our comforts smear out. 

But what is that thief in our candle ? It is apparent to us 
that there is a stop made in England s mercy, what are those 
sins, for it is a day of humiliation, that have made a stoppage 
in England s mercy ? 

This is that I especially aim at, that you may see what you 
are to be humbled for this day and others. Parallel our condi 
tion with others in Scripture, and we shall find six or seven 
things especially, that do make a stoppage in mercy coming 
to a people, and you shall find them in our land. 

An unwillingness and backwardness to the great work of 
reformation, to the great work that God is now about, is 
one thing that doth make a stoppage in the proceedings of 
England s mercy. When the children of Israel were in Egypt, 
they groaned unto the Lord, God sent a deliverer to them, 
Moses, and they being vexed by their task-masters, after he 
came, they murmured, and for anguish of soul, hearkened not 
unto Moses ; God bare with that, till he got them on the 
other side of the water carried them through the Red Sea, 
when they came there, though they did sin and murmur, God 


did not swear they should not enter into Canaan, but at the 
last they made them a captain, and they would return back to 
Egypt ; says God, seeing you are there, I swear in my wrath 
you shall never enter into my rest, but your carcases shall fall 
here ; you shall neither go backward nor forward : we have a 
long time, the Lord look upon us, set under Egyptian dark 
ness, and the Lord hath sent his messengers to you to draw 
you out, and you would not, or for anguish of soul you 
hearkened not ; well, but now there is a tender of reforma 
tion made, and hath been lately : if people say now, What 
need this reformation ; were not things well before ? This 
provokes the Lord, and causes him to say, Your carcases shall 
fall. And yet oh how hath this been among us, what ado is 
here, says one ; what need this work ; were not things well 
before ? 2 Kings x. 32., " In those days the Lord began to 
cut Israel short." What days were those ? They were in a 
way of reformation, and they cut short the reformation ; and 
in those days the Lord began to cut them short of mercy. 
At verse 18., he got the worshippers of Baal by craft; at 
verse 25., he slays them ; at verse 29., they break down the 
images in the house of Baal : howbeit at verse 29, " From 
the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat who made Israel to 
sin, Jehu departed not," &c. Then at verse 32., when they 
thus cut short reformation, the Lord began to cut them short. 
You know what our Saviour Christ says, " O Jerusalem, 
Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered you, and you 
would not; behold your house is left unto you desolate." 
Beloved, when Christ comes to gather us, as certainly there 
is a time when Christ comes a gathering, and if the people 
will not be gathered, then behold thy house is left desolate. 
God hath made a tender of reformation lately, among you, 
this is one sin that hath made a stoppage in the proceedings 
of your mercy, people have been backward and unwilling un 
to this great work of reformation. 

A tempting of God does also stop and hinder the proceed 
ings of mercy. They tempted the Lord, and the Lord s 
mercy was stopped. 

You find in Scripture, people are said to tempt God; ei 
ther when they doubt of God s presence, after God hath 
especially appeared to them : " they tempted God, and said, 
Is God amongst us ?" after God had appeared to them. 


Again, when a man does not rely, and live upon God s all- 
sufficiency, when God hath appeared in that way. It is said 
of the Israelites " they tempted God, and said, can God pro 
vide a table in the wilderness ?" As Musculus observes well, 
The Israelites were not so silly, as to think God was not able; 
they knew God opened the rock, and brought them through 
the Red Sea, but this was the language of their conversation, 
" can God provide a table in the wilderness ?" 

A man is said to tempt God, when he does tie and limit 
God unto ordinary means, when God is in an extraordinary 
way. And so it is said of Ahaz that he tempted God, and 
would not take a sign ; what is the meaning of that ? that is 
that he would go in an ordinary way " why (says he) should I 
tempt God, and require a sign/ and go in an extraordinary 
way ? I will go in an ordinary way : when as God is in an 
extraordinary way of mercy towards his people, to tie God to 
ordinary means is a tempting of God. Now I appeal to you, 
whether or no, we have not tempted God, God hath appeared 
gloriously, oh yet we have said God is among us ? how few 
live upon God s all-sufficiency, notwithstanding he hath ap 
peared so gloriously; and we see no way and means for such 
a reformation as is spoken of, tying and limiting of God unto 
an ordinary way, when God is working extraordinarily. This 
is a second sin that hath made a stoppage in England s mercy, 
this tempting of God. 

Abusing of God s instruments which he raiseth up for to 
do his work by, doth exceedingly provoke and make a stop 
page in the mercy of God. There are two ways whereby his 
instruments are abused : either idolizing and deifying of them, 
or wronging, scorning and jeering of them, falsely accusing and 
condemning of them. The first way the Jews sinned, when 
they cried " the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord," 
and deified that ; well, says Christ, " there shall not be one 
stone left upon another." God raised up the king of Sweden, 
people idolized him, he was taken away and a stoppage was 
made in that way of mercy : on the other side scorning and 
evil speaking of the instruments of reformation, and falsely 
accusing them that God does set up, this makes a stoppage 
in mercy, Numb, xii., Moses was appointed by God to bring 
them into Canaan, mark how they speak against him verse 2., 
" And they said, Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Mo- 


ses ; hath he not also spoken by us ?" see what follows, verse 
9, 10., " And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them 
and he departed. And the cloud departed from off the 
tabernacle, and behold Miriam became leprous," &c. Mark 
what a step is made, verse 15., " Miriam was shut out of the 
camp seven days, and the people journied not," only because 
they opened their mouths against this instrument of God that 
was employed in this work. So Numb. xvi. 1., Korah, 
Dathan and Abiram rise up against Moses and Aaron instru 
ments that God employed in his service, you may see what 
became of it in the following part of the chapter, the Lord 
would have consumed the whole congregation, " And Moses 
said to Aaron, take a censer, and put fire therein from oft 
the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congre 
gation, and make an atonement for them, for there is wrath 
gone out from the Lord." verse 45, 46. Oh, my beloved, I 
would to God we were not guilty here : the Lord hath raised 
up a blessed and happy parliament, and hath made them in 
struments of much good unto this kingdom ; some idolize and 
deify them, others again have accused them as traitors, the 
great senators and judges of our kingdom, no less than trai 
tors: thus have the instuments of the Lord been abused, and 
bow can this but make a stoppage in our mercy ? 

What is this to us ? we have not accused them, that is done 

I pray do but consider the place diligently, Numb, xvi., it 
is said, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and the two hundred 
and fifty princes, men of renown, rose up against Moses, but 
wrath breaks out upon the whole congregation, and the Lord 
would have consumed them all, why ? because they were not 
humbled. And if upon all this evil that hath been done to 
the instruments of God, we have not been humbled, the wrath 
of God may break out upon us all, and justly it should be, that 
a stop should be made in England s mercy. 

Carrying on the work of reformation, and the great affairs 
of the church, upon the shoulders of human prudence, will 
make a stoppage in the way of mercy. You know that when 
David brought back the ark, they were very cheerful, and 
went along withal, nothing fearing, at last Uzzah lays his hand 
upon the ark, and is smitten, a cloud ariseth, David is dis 
mayed, a stop is made in the business, what is the matter : 


The text tells us, they carried the ark upon the cart, and it 
should have been carried upon men s shoulders. So when 
God is bringing back the ark, men set it upon a cart, and 
upon the shoulder of human wisdom ; oh, says one, there is 
no government appointed in the church, it is a matter of hu 
man prudence, and so will you cart the ark of God ? look 
that God will make a stoppage in mercy. And this is ano 
ther sin that provokes God to make a stoppage in our En 
gland s mercy. 

As prayer and humiliation do exceedingly further the 
work of God in the hands of his people ; so the falling and 
slacking of the hands in those two works, doth make a stop 
in mercy, and hath done in our mercy. In 2 Kings xxiii., we 
read there, that good king Josiah went a great way in the 
work of reformation ; the law is brought out, his heart trem 
bles, the images are pulled down, he executes justice upon 
Baal s priests ; yet notwithstanding all he had done, " The 
Lord turned not from the fierceness of his wrath wherewith 
his anger was kindled against Judah," verse 26, 29, 30 ; he 
went out to battle with Pharaoh Necho, and Pharaoh Necho 
slew good king Josiah ; oh, what a stoppage was made in Ju- 
dah s mercy ; what is the matter ? let us enquire into that ; 
here are two causes ; at verse 26., you have mention made of 
Manasseh s sin, " The Lord turned not from the fierceness of 
his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Ju 
dah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had pro 
voked him withal ;" the people were not thoroughly humbled 
for their father s sins : and good king Josiah goes up to war, 
and did not seek the Lord before, as he should have done. 
So that want of humiliation and slacking in the work of prayer 
made this stop. On the contrary, you shall read a notable 
place, Ezra viii. 21, 22, 23., when the Jews came out of Ba 
bylon to build the temple, they were way-laid by ther ene 
mies, and in the midst of the field Ezra proclaims a fast ; a 
strange kind of fasting and praying to be in the field, so i 
was then, in the field by the river s side they go to fasting an 
prayer : but Ezra might have had a guard from the king, wh 
had he not ? verse 22., " For I was ashamed to ask of th 
king a band of soldiers and horsemen, to help us against th 
enemy, in the way, because we had spoken unto the king, say 
ing; The hand of our God is upon all them for good tha 


seek him, but his power and his wrath is against all them 
that forsake him : so we fasted and besought our God for 
this, and he was intreated of us." Mark, fasting arid prayer 
was their convoy ; oh, beloved, what will not fasting and 
prayer do, when we are beset with divers enemies? there 
must be these two, the slacking of these make a stop. As for 
prayer, first, you know how it was with the Israelites when 
they fought against Amalek, when Moses held up his hand, 
Israel prevailed, when he let fall his hand, Amalek prevailed ; 
slacking in prayer made a stop. And so likewise for humilia 
tion ; there are two things that are opposite to that, which 
makes a stop : spiritual pride, and also nice curiosity concern 
ing the means of grace. Spiritual pride makes a stop. Paul 
was caught up into the third heaven, and had great revela 
tions ; but lest he should be proud, and a stop should be 
made in that mercy, a messenger of Satan is sent to buffet 
him. It is recorded of a Frenchman having read excellent 
lectures of divinity, some of his auditors came to him and de 
sired him that he would print them, he was so puffed up 
withal ; as he broke out into this blasphemy : Lord Jesus, 
how art thou beholden to me ! If I had turned my wits 
against thee, how much hurt could I have done thee ! where 
upon he was stricken with such blindness, ignorance, and 
dulness, that afterwards he was two years learning the Lord s 
prayer; this I speak to shew what a stoppage, spiritual pride 
will make. 

And for curious niceness about the means of grace, 
1 Sam. vi. The ark being in the hands and country of the 
Philistines, they sent it back, and so the ark returning, God 
was returning ; but at the 19th verse, the Lord smote of the 
people fifty thousand three score and ten men, why ? because 
they had looked into the ark of the Lord : their foolish 
niceness and curiosity about the ark, what a stoppage it 
made in the way of mercy ! It is recorded by historians, 
that before the great massacre in France, the protestants 
were grown so curious about preaching, that no preaching 
would down with them, but acute sententious preaching. 
Beloved, both these are opposite to humiliation ; and where 
these two, humiliation falls, and prayer slacks, there is a 
stoppage made, then will the Lord say to mercy, Stand, go 
no farther. For the present, God be thanked, there is a day 



of humiliation, and a spirit of prayer up in the field., but 
when of late the enemies began to fall, how did men leave 
off prayer, and began to insult over the enemies ; the Lord 
saw this, and therefore a stoppage was made in England s 

An unthankful receiving of the mercies that God hath 
given us, and a slight beholding of the great works he hath 
done before us now lately, is another sin that hath made a 
stoppage in our mercy. It is said, Ps. cvi. 7? concerning the 
Israelites, " Our fathers understood not thy wonders in 
Egypt, they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies, 
but provoked him at the sea, even the Red sea ;" there lies the 
emphasis, at the sea, even the Red sea that God carried them 
through. So you have a notable place for this purpose, 
Hosea ix. 14, 15, "Give them a miscarrying womb and dry 
breasts," they shall conceive, mercy shall be begun, but it 
shall not bring forth, why? at verse 15, "All their wick 
edness is in Gilgal :" why, how was all their wickedness in 
Gilgal ? they had much wickedness in other places : but the 
meaning is, Gilgal was the first place they went into when 
they went into Canaan, and there they were circumcised, 
and there the Lord rolled away their reproach, and therefore 
it was called Gilgal ; now to sin in Gilgal, in that place 
where the Lord had done so much for them, though they 
sinned in other places, yet the sin there was so great, as if 
all the sin were there, because that was a place of special 
mercy ; " for there I hated them, for the wickedness of their 
doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them 
no more ;" there is a stoppage made in mercy, when sin is 
in Gilgal, in the place of such and such mercy. So, my 
beloved, you all know what great things the Lord hath done 
for this place, you were brought exceeding low, into great 
straits, oh, poor afflicted distressed England ; but in the 
midst of all your troubles and fears, the Lord created a 
parliament for you, and delivered you with great deliver 
ances ; and if after all this you will go on in the way of sin, 
and thanklessly regard all that God hath done, this provokes 
God to make a stop. Mark how Ezra reasons for this pur 
pose, Ezra ix., they had committed a great sin in taking of 
the daughters of the country to themselves to wife, verse 10: 
"And now, oh, our God, what shall we say after this ? for 

SER. 3.] Kxoi.Axn s MERCIES. C7 

we have forsaken thy commandments," Ezra xiii., " and 
after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our 
trespass ; seeing that thou our God hast punished us less 
than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance 
as this :" see where the emphasis lies, not deliverance 
only, but such deliverance : should we again break 
thy commandments, and join in affinity with the peo 
ple of these abominations ? Wouldst thou not be angry 
with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should 
be no remnant nor escaping ? " Now, my beloved, you see 
where he sets the emphasis, and truly have not we this word, 
such, written upon our deliverances ; you were oppressed in 
your estates, and you are delivered from those manifold op 
pressions; you were oppressed in your consciences by the 
inventions of men, and you are delivered from those heavy 
oppressions in a great measure ; you were in great danger to 
have lain in blood, you and your children, and you were deli 
vered from that bloody war with Scotland j and your parlia 
ment worthies of late, delivered from a hellish conspiracy, I 
had almost said as bad as that of the powder plot: and now I 
say, after such deliverances, if you will go on still in the way 
of sinning, how just is it with God to say, O England, I 
thought to have done thee good, and to have built thee, but 
because he that was a drunkard before, is a drunkard still ; 
he that was a swearer before, is a swearer still ; he that was a 
sabbath-breaker before, a liar, and unclean person before, is 
so still : therefore I will now unkingdom thee, and unchurch 
thee ; if after such mercies and such deliverance you shall go 
on in a way of sin, I will make a stop in mercy, and in all 
the good I thought to do ; this hath made a stop in our Eng 
land s mercies. 

The last sin that makes a stop in England s mercy, is a 
worldly disposition, whereby a man hangs back unto the 
great work of God, and the glorious reformation that is now 
a doing. You know that when they came out of Ba 
bylon, and were to build the temple, the people were for their 
ceiled houses, and the temple went not on so long as they 
stuck to their cieled houses, but when once they were brought 
off from their cieled houses, the temple was built, and they 
settled. So now, the Lord is about to rebuild you, and build 
a temple among you ; if our hearts be after our cieled houses, 

F 2 


how just is it with God to say, I thought to do you good, but 
you will not be at the cost ; I know you would have your 
brethren in Ireland delivered, but you will not be at the cost, 
you that are rich will not lend twenty, or thirty, or a hundred 
pounds towards it; I thought to have gone on and purged 
the whole kingdom, but you will not be at the cost, you 
would have the pictures out of your windows, but you are 
loth to be at the cost to buy new glass ; you would have 
preaching ministers in every congregation, but you are loth 
to be at the charge ; this makes a stop in our England s 
mercy. Thus I have to my poor ability shewed you the 
seven sins that make a stop in the Lord s proceedings of 
mercy ; the Lord grant we may lay them to heart, and be 
humbled for them. 

We grant these are the sins that do make a stop in En 
gland s mercy, and the Lord is gone out of the way of mercy, 
and is angry : how shall we open a way to England s mercy ; 
how shall we bring God back again, and how may the Lord s 
anger be appeased ? 

In answer to this, I shall shew you it is a hard thing to ap 
pease God s anger when it is gone out. 

It must be done, and that quickly. 

I shall shew you what you shall do, that you may do it. 

Therefore it is an exceeding hard thing and very difficult to 
appease God s anger. God s anger is compared to a stream ; 
" Tophet is prepared of old for the king (saith the text) and 
out of his mouth goes a stream of fire." It is hard to turn a 
stream, you may easily turn the water when it is in the gutter 
before it comes into the stream, but when it is gotten into the 
river, it is hard turning of it ; God s wrath is a stream, it is 
hard turning of it. 

When you do solicit God to turn out of the way of his 
wrath, and turn into a way of mercy, you solicit him to that 
which is not for his ease, that is a burthen to him. Though 
you think you have great interest in a man, if you solicit 
him to that which is not for his ease, you will hardly 
obtain : now God says in Scripture, it is an ease to him to be 
avenged on his adversaries ; ah, " I will ease myself of my 
self of my adversaries :" when you turn him from wrath, you 
turn him from ease. 

Again, there are but few to do it. If the sea break over 


the banks, and there are but few to stop it, it is hard to do ; 
if fire hath taken two or three houses in a street, and but few 
to quench it, it is hard to do : the fire of God s anger is 
broken out, and there are but few to quench it : it is a hard 
thing, therefore. 

Again, God seems to be engaged in the way of his wrath. 
God walks according to his word. Now, says God, you would 
have me return again to the way of my mercy, and leave off 
mine anger, and for this purpose you tell me you do pray and 
humble yourselves and reform ; but was it not so in Josiah s 
time ? his heart melted, and he prayed, and broke down the 
images and pictures, and the offenders, Baal s priests, were 
punished; nevertheless I turned not from the fierceness of 
my wrath : why should I turn from mine anger now, for your 
sakes, more than in Josiah s time ? Oh, it is a hard thing to 
turn God from his anger. 

But it must be done, and done quickly. If a fire be bro 
ken out, and not quenched quickly, it is more hard to quench ; 
if the sea break in at a place, and be not stopped quickly, it 
is more hard to stop. Run in and make an atonement quickly, 
says Moses to Aaron ; it must be done quickly. 

What then shall we do ? Do as Joshua did. There are 
six things that Joshua did here, when they fled before the 
men of Ai. 1. He was very sensible of God s stroke that 
was given to them, for he says, Lord, would we had been con 
tented in the wilderness. 2. He was humbled under God s 
hand, for it is said, he rent his clothes, and fell down upon 
the earth. 3. And he prayed, and cried mightily unto God, 
as you read in the chapter. 4. And he put away the evil of 
their doings. 5. And he punished Achan the offender. 6. 
He made a holy resignation. And there must be a concur 
rence of all these six things if we would bring God back into 
the way of his mercy towards England. 

We must be sensible of God s stroke. Though men be 
greatly afflicted, yet if they be not sensible of their affliction, 
and of the stroke that God gives them ; says God, I have 
spent one rod upon them, and they do not feel it, I will lay 
on till blood come. God will make men sensible of their 
afflictions, and of the afflictions of the church, else he lays 
on more. 

Again, Though a man be very sensible of God s stroke and 


hand, yet, notwithstanding, if he be not humbled under the 
hand of the Lord, God will not exalt him ; for, says the Lord, 
I have promised, indeed, that if men humble themselves un 
der my mighty hand, they shall be exalted ; and I have said, 
if the people, upon whom my name is called, humble them 
selves, I will hear. He humbled himself much. This will 
mortify your sins as your sins mortified and took captive 
your duties, and this must be done thoroughly. And to move 
us to it, take notice of the general darkness that is in the 
land, how few know what they would have in a way of re 
formation, what is agreeable to God s way. Ezek. xliii. 10, 
11. The way to see stars in the day, is to go to the bottom 
of a well. But now here is a company not humbled, what 
fashion have they left since ; wherein does it appear that you 
are more humbled ? this must be. 

Though that a man be humbled, yet, notwithstanding, if he 
does not pray and cry mightily to God, he cannot fetch God 
back again, for, says God, I am engaged to my word, and I 
walk by rule. When I threatened Nineveh, the king went 
from his throne, and went in sackcloth and ashes, and they 
cried mightily unto me ; and do you think if you do not 
cry mightily, that I will return in mercy to you? Oh, 
says God, I have given you more than Nineveh, you know 
more and you must do more ; they cried mightily, and shall 
not you cry mightily ? We must pray more than ordinary ; 
so did Moses; and for motives to it: 1. It is all that some 
of you can do : you cannot help other ways, by building God 
an house, lending money, &c., but you may pray. 2. If you 
be idle, you will envy those that do pray ; for it is a sure rule, 
those that stand by will envy the workmen ; and what that 
will do you may see in Cain s envy of Abel when his sacrifice 
was rejected. 3. The scales may seem to hang even, it may be 
your grain of prayer may turn them to mercy. 4. The Lord 
seems to be going, he is rising : when the judge sits still the 
malefactor does not lift up his voice and cry after him ; but 
when the malefactor is condemned, and the judge riseth, and 
goes off the bench, then the poor malefactor lifteth up his 
voice, and cries, Good, my lord ; good, my lord. So when 
God is rising and going off the bench shall men cry, and cry 
mightily unto him ; pray, and pray mightily unto him. Be 
loved, the Lord seems to be going off the bench ; oh, you 


that never prayed, now pray ; you that have despised prayer 
and praying-meetings, now pray ; you that have a heart to 
pray, pray now, and cry mightily unto the Lord your God. 

Though a man does pray, and cry mightily unto God, yet, 
notwithstanding, if he does not turn from the evil of his do 
ings, all is nothing. Yet, says the Lord, I am constant to 
my rule, and I have promised, Isa. Ivi. 9, " If thou take 
away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of 
the finger and speaking vanity." If you put away the evil of 
your doings, what then ? Then shalt thou call, and the Lord 
shall answer presently ; thou shalt cry, and he answer sensibly, 
and say, There am I. And so Judges x. 14. they having 
come and cried to the Lord, the Lord gives them this answer, 
" Go and cry unto the gods which you have chosen, let them 
deliver you in the time of your tribulation. And the children 
of Israel said to the Lord, We have sinned ; do thou unto us 
whatsoever seemeth good unto thee, deliver us only we pray 
thee this day. And they put away the strange gods from 
among them and feared the "Lord." They cried before, but 
now they prayed and put away their strange gods ; " And his 
soul was grieved for the misery of Israel." So now will the 
Lord do when people are sensible of his hand, and are hum 
bled, and cry, and cry much unto him, and put away the evil 
of their doings : this will prevail. Wherefore, beloved in the 
Lord, let us now join together in this work, and for the Lord s 
sake put away the evil of your doings. All you that hear me 
this day are of three sorts, either such as do live upon your 
lands, or such as live upon your trades, or such as live by 
keeping taverns and ale-houses. If you be such as live upon 
your lands, then think, and say with yourselves, I see there 
is a stoppage made in England s mercy, come, oh my soul, it 
may be it is my sin hath done it ; it may be I have lived so 
much upon my lands, that I have lived little or nothing upon 
Christ; I will learn to live more upon Christ and less upon 
my lands. If you be such as live upon your trades, say, 
Husband, wife, children, servants, it may be it is our sin that 
hath made this stop ; our lying, our false dealing, our break 
ing of the Sabbath, selling upon the Sabbath for gain ; it may 
be it is our poor family that hath made this stop ; let us 
put away the evil of our doings. If you be such as keep ta 
verns and ale-houses, say, It may be it is the drunkenness 


that I have suffered in my house, the thousands of oaths that 
are sworn in my family; for my part I will never have Ire 
land s blood lie at my door, therefore, servants, children, 
friends, I charge you, no more lying, no more swearing, no 
more Sabbath-breaking ; for the Lord s sake, and for our poor 
brethren s sake in Ireland, let us put away the evil of our 
doings. You that have been drunkards, swearers, or adulte 
rers, put away the evil of your doings ; it may be this will 
bring God back again. 

But though there be this, yet unless the troubles of Eng 
land, the Achans be brought forth to punishment and thrown 
overboard, the sea cannot be appeased, the storm will not 
down. For, says the Lord, I am the same God that I was 
when wrath brake out upon Israel ; then stood up Phinehas, 
and slew Zimri and Cosbi, and my wrath was stayed. When 
wrath broke out in Joshua s time, Achan was brought forth 
and punished, and so my wrath was stayed. Do you think 
that I will take less at your hands ? Therefore let us pray 
that the Achans may be brought forth, and when they are 
brought forth, justify the worthies of the Lord, own them, 
guard them, and stand by them. And when the work is done, 
rejoice with fear and trembling, wash your feet in the blood 
of the wicked, and give glory to God, and say, Blessed be the 
Lord, who only doth great things ; marvellous are thy works, 
Lord God Almighty ; who would not fear thee ? 

He made an holy resignation of himself to be at God s 
disposing, so we may see Araunah did, 1 Chron. xxi. 23 : 
" Then Oman said to David, Take it to thee," &c. He gave 
up his threshing-floor, and his oxen, and his threshing instru 
ments ; those things that were his livelihood. So should we 
offer up our shops, our trades, yea ourselves and all we have 
to God. 

Thus you have heard, when God is in a way of mercy, sin 
does make a stoppage in his proceedings. You acknowledge 
there is a stoppage made in our mercy ; you have heard that 
those sins are as thieves in our candle, that do smear out 
our comforts ; you have heard what a hard thing it is to bring 
God back to mercy again ; you have heard the work must be 
done ; and you have heard what to do : wherefore let every 
man, as in the sight of God, go home and think, and say, and 
resolve with himself, I have not been much affected with Ire- 


land s condition, I confess it, the Lord forgive me, but I will 
look more into it than ever I have done ; I have not been 
much humbled for my own sin, and the sins of the time, but 
the Lord pardon it, and I will be more humbled ; I have not 
cried unto the Lord, but from this day following I will cry 
mightily unto the Lord my God, it may be he will return. 
And I will put away the evil of my doings : I have been an 
unclean person, I have been a Sabbath-breaker, and have been 
proud of this coat, and that gold lace ; I will be proud no 
more, farewell all bad company ; and I will pray that justice 
may be done upon all Achans and troublers of Israel, and 
when it is done I will rejoice with trembling. And thus I 
have done the first doctrine : when God is in a way of mercy 
towards his people, there sin makes a stoppage in his pro 






" Our inheritance is turned to strangers, our houses to aliens." 
LAM. v. 2: 

WHEN I consider the estate of this kingdom, this country, 
and this town ; I cannot but fear, notwithstanding the speech 
of accommodation, that evil is now approaching. Our breth 
ren in other parts of this land and in Ireland, are thrust out 
of their habitations ; and what are we better than they in 
other places ? We are as sinful as others, as secure as 
others ; and therefore why we should not fear their miseries 
I know not. That therefore you may not be unprovided in 
the evil day, I have made choice of these words, that in 
some measure we may be prepared for that condition. 

The words are part of the church s lamentations, penned 
by Jeremiah, in which there are two things that are most 

First, The matter of their lamentation. 

Secondly, The manner. 

First, The matter that they had lost their goods. 

Secondly, That those their goods were given, and " turned 
unto strangers." 

The goods lost are their inheritance, and their houses, their 
lands, and their habitations. Their lands were not such as 
they had purchased with their monies, but such as did de 
scend upon them from their forefathers by promise. " Our 
inheritance is turned to strangers," &c.* It is a great loss to 
lose one s lands, it is yet more to lose one s inheritance, it is 
yet more to lose one s house and habitation, it is yet more 
that they should be given to strangers. This was their con- 

* Coutingit enim all juando ut quis amittat prredium suam, agros et vites, 
dooms ejus maiieat iutaeta. Calvin in locum. 

SER. 4.] DIRECTIONS, &c. 75 

dition, whereupon they said in verse 1, " Remember, O Lord, 
what is come upon us; consider and behold our reproach." 
Whence I take up this observation : 

That it is a matter of great lamentation for God s people 
to be driven from their houses and inheritances, and for 
strangers and aliens to be brought into them. When the 
Jews were in Babylon, and remembered their former estate 
and condition, they sat down and wept by the waters of 
Babylon. Saith the psalmist, " We sat down and wept 
when we remembered thee, O Zion," Psalm cxxxvii. 1. This 
is matter of tears and weeping ; a condition in itself exceed 
ing sad and very lamentable. Which truth, that I may more 
fully open to you, and apply to ourselves according to our 
occasion, I shall deliver myself these four ways : 

First, Shew that it is a sore and heavy affliction for a man 
to be driven from his habitation, and aliens to be brought 
into it. 

Secondly, That it is such an affliction, as God suffers his 
own servants to fall under. 

Thirdly, Why God suffers his own people thus to be 
driven from their houses and habitations. 

Fourthly, How a man should prepare for the evil of that 
condition, and carry the matter so as he may have comfort 
and supportance in that estate. 

First, I say, that it is a sore affliction, and matter of great 
lamentation, for a man to be driven from his house and ha 

His house and habitation is the meeting place of all his 
outward comforts ; the seat and centre and receptacle of all 
those outward blessings that he doth enjoy in this world. 
If he hath riches, they do meet him there ; if friends, they 
do meet him there, if rest, quiet, peace, sleep, they do meet 
him there. There are all his pleasant things laid up. If he 
hath any money, choice gold or silver, left by his father, 
which he will not part with, but keep for a remembrance of 
the dead, there it is laid up. If he hath any choice linen or 
household stuff that was left by his mother, which he will 
not sell for any money ; where are they laid up, but in his 
house ? And therefore the church, in Lam. i., complains, 
that when the enemy came to rifle and plunder their houses, 
the adversary had spread out his hand upon all her pleasant 


things. Now whence is grief, but from the losing that which 
a man counts pleasant ? And for this cause, some say, the 
valley of Megiddo was so mournful a place, because it was 
the valley of Hadadremmon ;* that is, say they, the valley of 
the cutting of their pleasant things. Zech. xii. 11. So that 
when a man s house is spoiled, and he is outed, it is as it 
were a little valley of Hadadremmon, a man s house, &c. 
As a man s house is the nest where all these eggs are laid, 
and therefore when a man is driven from thence, the meeting 
place of all his outward comforts, surely it must be an ex 
ceeding sad thing and very lamentable. 

To say nothing of the reproach that doth come thereby, or 
of the violence that doth come therewith ; it is the judgment 
threatened, threatened against the wicked, and those that are 
most ungodly. The contrary is often promised unto God s 
people : " They shall build houses and inhabit them, and 
they shall plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them : they 
shall not build, and another inhabit ; they shall not plant, 
and another eat ; for as the days of a tree are the days of my 
people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their 
hands : they shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for 
trouble/ Isa. Ixv. 21, 22, 23. On the contrary, when God 
threatens evil to a place and people, this is the evil that he 
denounceth ; that he will drive them from their houses and 
habitations, and that others shall be brought into them : 
" But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto 
the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his com 
mandments, and his statutes, which I command thee this 
day ; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and over 
take thee : thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie 
with her; thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell 
therein ; thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the 
grapes thereof," &c. Deut. xv. 28, 29,30. Now is it nothing 
for a man to go up and down under the wounds of a threat 
ening ? Saith Paul, " I bear about in my body the marks of 
the Lord Jesus." But such an one may say, I bear in mine 
estate and name and body, the marks of the threatening ; oh, 

* LXX. Legunt Hadadremmon, sicut planetus mali granati quod in campo 
succiditur ; quia fortasse quo tempore occisus fuit Josias mala punica occisa 
sunt, quse Judaeis erant in deliciis. Theodor. similitudmem surni putat ab eo, 
strepitu qui a lignatoribus editur cum mala punicu succiduutur. 


the threatening hath taken hold upon me. As of all mercies, 
it is most comfortable to receive a blessing in the way of a 
promise ; so among miseries, it is the most lamentable to 
meet with an affliction in the way of a threatening : therefore 
matter of lamentation hereby. 

Again, A man loseth many, if not most of his opportuni 
ties of doing good and receiving. " Make yourselves friends 
of your unrighteous mammon (saith our Saviour), that they 
may receive you into everlasting habitations," Luke xvi. 9. 
But if this unrighteous mammon fail, how shall a man make 
him such friends ? So long as a man is at home, and hath a 
habitation to resort unto, he hath many opportunities of 
doing good, and receiving good into his family. He may 
pray, read, meditate, sing, and have a little church and 
heaven on earth.* If God give a man any notion or know 
ledge out of the Scripture in his chamber, when he hath a 
family he may come down and communicate it unto them. 
He may there receive strangers, for which many have been 
blest. There he may give a hiding, a resting place unto the 
saints, for which many have been hid themselves. There he 
may exercise good duties, the only way unto heaven and 
happiness. When he is thrust out, and strangers brought in, 
he doth therefore lose many of these opportunities ; and 
therefore how justly may he take up this lamentation and 
say, Have pity, have pity upon me, oh all my friends, for the 
hand of the Lord hath touched me. This condition is very 
sad, I am not able to express it in words, and praised be the 
Lord that your experience cannot preach it. 

Secondly, Yet God suffers his own people and dear chil 
dren many times to fall into this condition. Our Saviour 
Christ himself, who bare our sins, had not whereon to lay 
his head. The apostle tells us, Heb. xi., that many saints 
wandered up and down the world in woods and caves, of 
whom the world was not worthy. They did not only wander, 
and were removed from their own houses ; but, as Chrysos- 
tom observes,t they were not quiet even in the woods : they 

* Unum quod equantumvis exiguum tuguriolum fieret coelum quoddam et 
superaret omnia omnium regum palatta. Luther. 

Ipse Deus hospitiore cipitur. Cette eniiu scimus ipsum Deum domi nostne 
esse, apud nos pasci, cubare, re puescere quoties bonus aliquis frater ob evan- 
gelium exulans ad nos venit, et a nobis hospitio ex ipitur. Luther. 

t Non solum non habebant propriam dotnum intra civitatem, sed neque in 


did not only want their own house in the city, but they 
wanted a quiet seat in the wilderness. 

Four especial causes there are, or occasions, as Musculus 
observes* whereby men have been driven from their houses 
and habitations. First war. Secondly famine. Thirdly in 
humanity, cruelty, exaction of evil men and magistrates. 
Fourthly, want of liberty in the matter of religion : and in all 
these respects God s people have been driven from their 
houses. First by famine and outward scarcity : so Abraham, 
so Naomi, so Jacob and his family, when they went down 
into Egypt. Secondly by war : so the Israelites when they 
were carried into Assyria, and the Jews into Babylon. Thirdly : 
by the inhumanity, cruelty, and exaction of evil men and 
magistrates : so Joseph and Mary went down into Egypt. 
Fourthly, by want of liberty in the matters of religion : so it 
is said many of the saints in Jeroboam s time left their houses, 
and went down to dwell in Jerusalem underRehoboam,2 Chron. 
xi. 14, 16. " The Levites left their suburbs, and their possess- 
ionsandcametoJudahand Jerusalem. And after them, outof all 
the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the Lord 
God of Israel came unto Jerusalem to sacrifice unto the Lord 
God of their fathers." So that we see this condition, though 
sad, is no other than what may, and doth, and shall befal the 
servants of the Most High God. In the churches since Christ 
what men of note have there been, but have fallen under this 
condition ? Cyprian, Chrysostom, Jerome, Augustine, all 
by violence, one time or another driven out of their habita 
tions and forced to leave their houses. In times nearer to 
ourselves, Calvin driven from Geneva, because especially he 
would not administer the sacrament of the Lord s supper to 
some that were very scandalous : you know the story of Galea- 
cius Caracciolus, you may read it in Mr. Jewell s life ; to this 
purpose described in English and set down before his Works. 
Doctor Humfreyf also, relating his life, tells us how he was 

solitudine propriam et quietam sedem habebant ; quippe non dicit apostolus 
sedebant in solitudine, sed cum illic essent fugiebant. et illine expellebantur non 
solum exteria que inhabitari poterat, sed etiam ex inhabitabili. Tena in Heb. xi. 
Chrysostom in Heb. xi. a\\a K<U IK to leg ttyivyov. &c. 

* Musculus in Ps. xciv. page 714. 

f Certe qui me hie nolunt e^se si esset integrum nus quam vellent vivere. 
Ego vero cedo temporibus, et si quam ille amea calamitate voluptatem capiant 
earn niliil impedio ; quodque suis precatus est. Aristides cum ire in ex ilium 

SER. 4.] SUFFERING Ti\fF,s. J"9 

expelled the college, and at once suffered a threefold banish 
ment, who taking his leave of the college in a solemn oration, 
breaketh forth into these expressions : Well surely those that 
would not have me live here, if it were in their power, would 
not have me live in the world. But I give place to the times, 
only wishing, as Aristides when he went into banishment, 
and praying that none of you all hereafter may think on me : 
and so farewell all studies, farewell these schools and 
seat of learning, fare ye well, O young men, fellows, friends, 
brethren, yea mine own eyes. Ye know how it fell out 
with many of our brethren in England, Tyndale, Rogers, Pal 
mer, and divers others. Our Saviour saith expressly, " when 
they persecute you in one city, flee unto another." " And 
when you see the abomination of desolation standing in the 
holy place, then let them that are in Judea flee unto the 
mountains." Matt. xxiv. Let me allude and say also, when 
you see the desolating army, the army that maketh desola 
tions in places where it comes, that abomination of desola 
tion standing in the holy place, the highest court of justice, 
then let those that are in England also flee unto the moun 

But God hath promised the contrary, that he will plant 
his people surely with his whole heart, and they shall be no 
more removed. 

You must distinguish of times : some promises are made 
to all times, some promises are made only to some times, 
and are to be fulfilled especially in the later times, the end 
of the world, when the Jews are converted : when the Jews 
are called, the enemies of the churches shall be all destroyed, 
and then God s people shall be planted in their houses, 
and no more removed, as Isa. Ixv. Who would not pray 
for this time ? 

But besides you know God s promises are of two sorts, 
such as are made absolutely, and such as do run condition 
ally according unto the nature of that good thing which he 
promiseth ; some good things promised are absolutely good 

id ego nunc Deum opt max. preco ne mei posthac cuiquam in mentem veniat 
valete, omnes valete, Humfred. in vita Juelli, page 75. 

* Sed id tern pus in hac Angliorum Ecclesia Francforti exulante multinobiles et 
alioqui variis Dei muneribus illustrati convenerunt. Doctor Humfred. de vita Ju 
elli, page 87. 


for us, as pardon of sin, grace, and the like, and thus God s 
promise is made absolute to the elect in Christ : some good 
things are but conveniently good for us, and conditionally, 
as degrees of grace, comfort, and outward blessings ; and 
concerning these God s promise is made conditionally, which 
condition if we break, he is at liberty as in this case. 

Thirdly, But why doth God suffer this to befal his own 
people ; that his own servants and dearest children should be 
driven out of their houses and habitations ? 

In general it is for their good : we read of a vision which 
Jeremiah hath in chap, xxiv., of two baskets, the one of 
good figs, and the other of bad ; the good figs were the good 
people of the kingdom, the bad figs were the wicked, both 
these sorts of figs are said to be in baskets, which is a vessel 
whereby we carry fruit from one place unto another, setting 
forth unto us the moving condition of God s people, and 
how they were to be carried to Babylon, so it is explained, 
verse 5, "Thus saith the God of Israel, like these good figs, 
so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of 
Judah whom I have sent out of this place into the land of 
the Chaldeans for their good." That is for the good of the 
good people, that they should be thus removed for their 
good, that they should be driven from their houses and 
habitations, for their good they should be driven from all. 

But can it be for men s good to be carried and driven by 
violence from house and habitation, by those that are pro 
fane wretches, and very wicked ? 

Yes. Hereby first a man may be, and is, if godly, emptied 
of that slime and filth that did lie within him. It is written 
of Moab, Jer. xlvi., that because she was settled upon her 
lees, and not removed from vessel to vessel, Iheir scent re 
mained, so that to be removed from vessel to vessel, from 
one place to another, from one country to another, one house 
to another, is a means to take away the filth and scent of sin 
that is in the soul. The sea water though it be exceeding 
salt, and very brackish, yet if it run through several earths, 
the brackishness is lost thereby, as we find in all sweetest 
springs which, as philosophers say, come from the sea, and 
lose the saltness of the sea water by running through the 
earths : and in experience if you take water, though it be 
salt in your hand, yet if you cause it to pass through divers 


earths it will lose that saltness : so that though there may be 
much saltness and brackishness in the spirits of men, yet if 
the Lord by his providence cause them to pass through 
divers earths, it is a special means to lose that brackish, 
brinish disposition, and to grow more quiet, sweet, and 

Again, thereby sometimes the saints, though unwillingly, 
are carried from greater judgments that are coming upon the 
places where they dwell and live. As it is written of Lavater, 
that being in an house, was violently occasioned from it, and 
when he was gone, the house fell down to the ground. Lot 
though violenced, and pulled, and driven from his habitation 
in Sodom, yet thereby he was drawn out of the fire, so it is 
many times with other godly. 

Thereby also truth and knowledge is carried and scattered 
into other places, many shall run to and fro, " and know 
ledge shall be increased," Dan. xii., and that is a cause-all, 
and, Acts viii. 4, therefore they that were scattered, &c. 

Thereby a man is fitted and prepared for God s own house, 
and those revelations and manifestations that God hath to 
communicate to him concerning the house of God. A man 
is never more fit to see the beauty of God s house, than 
when he is driven from his own. When Jacob was driven 
by his rough brother Esau from his home and habitation, the 
first night he was fain to lie in the field upon the cold ground, 
but then and there the Lord appeared to him, and he called 
the name of that place Bethel, that is, the house of God, 
Gen. xxviii. When did God communicate so much of his 
mind concerning the churches to Daniel, but when he, with 
other Jews, was carried from Judah into Babylon ? When 
did God reveal so much of his mind concerning the churches 
under the New Testament, unto John the Evangelist, as 
when he was in Patmos, a banished condition ? Rev. i. 
This is God s way, he will first unhouse a man before he will 
shew him the beauty and glory of his own house : and is not 
this for our good ; who would not be quiet when he is driven 
from all ? 

Hereby also a man is received from the world, and taught 
to live upon God himself, when Abraham and the patriarchs 
were called from their own houses, then they looked for a 
habitation, a city that had a foundation. "The widow that 



is desolate (saith the apostle) trusteth in God " and when 
is a man more desolate, than when he is driven from all ? * 
The swimmer will not commit himself to the stream whilst 
he hath any thing to rest upon, no more will men leave them 
selves at length upon the stream of God s mercy, whilst they 
have anything at home to live upon. Chrysostome saith, a 
tree that grows by the highway side, will hardly have any 
of its fruit come to ripeness, but the passenger will one or 
another pull it off before it be fully ripened ; so, saith he, 
those that grow by the highway side, in the way of the 
world, and are always standing there, will hardly bring any 
good work or duty to perfection. A man whose heart cleaves 
to the world is like unto it : he that cleaves unto vanity, is 
made vain thereby, as he that cleaves unto God, is like unto 
God : so long as a man is fixed in the world, and settled 
there, he cannot settle upon God himself, the way to be 
settled on God, is to be unsettled in the world ; and because 
the Lord sees that some of his own people do settle too 
much in the world, he concludes with himself saying, I will 
take an order against this distemper, I will unsettle you in 
the world, that you may settle upon myself. Thus God 
works good out of this evil. But though his providence do 
work good out of this evil condition, yet in itself it is sad, 
and matter of great lamentation. 

And if so, why should not we more lament our brethren 
in other places ? Our brethren in Ireland and in other parts 
of this kingdom, upon whom this stroke is fallen, and why 
should not we prepare ourselves also for this condition ? f 
It may be some of you think that you shall shift well enough, 
and though the robbers, and spoilers, and plunderers come, 
yet you are friends to them, they have your names and mo 
ney underhand, and you have such and such a friend with 
them that will make your peace. But in this war that is 
now a foot, either you have to deal with God or else you 
have not ; if not, then are you Atheists, for is there evil in 

* Sed filiis Dei qui se agnoscant mundi hseredes exulare non adeo durum est 
re ipsa quoque assuefieri ut peregrini discant esse in terra, utile est. Calvin, 
exul. Anglicanis. 

* Cum advenis nuper receptaculum esset Anglica, dominus vos in tempore 
illorum exemplo premonuit ne vobis molestum foret easdcm obire vices Calvini 
literae, piis et doctis Anglire exulabus. Humfred. de vita Juelli, page 91. 


the city, and God hath done it ? if you do deal with him, 
he hath said that in such a time of public calamity as this, 
he will light up a candle to search out those that are settled 
upon their lees, and he tells you expressly who those are, 
even such as say, God will do neither good nor evil, Zeph. i., 
that is, not to them : and whom will you now believe, your 
own hearts, and friends, that speak peace unto you, or that 
God in whose hand this sword is ? Mr. Foxe in the Book 
of Martyrs tells us, that when the persecution was greatly 
in France, by the papists against the protestants, insomuch 
as ^the popish army were far raging up and down, some of 
the papists themselves were glad to send their children even 
to the houses of protestants that dwelt in other places, 
fearing the violence of their own soldiers : and why may not 
the sword of those that you think are on your own side 
knock at your door ? but what if a foreigner come into the 
kingdom ? what greater invitation can there be than this 
wasting and wracking of one another? and if a foreigner 
should land, why not as likely in these parts as any other ? 
considering the great evils that we above others are guilty 
of, and how the popish pollutions did first set in this country 
when England went astray: why should we not fear that 
God may have some intention to reserve the foreigner for us, 
the last and bitterest part of the cup ? and will a foreigner 
know the language of your entreaty more than your neigh 
bours ? will not his hand find out the riches of the people, 
one as well as another ? will his sword make a difference 
between you and your neighbour ? I am sure you that have 
made a combination, and said a confederacy with them that 
have said a confederacy, are more fully under the threatening 
than others, and if the sword come with a commission from 
God s threatening, as it doth, it will find you out as well as 
your neighbour : oh, therefore, who would not labour in some 
measure to be prepared for that condition ? One and ano 
ther, I beseech you, in Christ labour, labour all to be pre 
pared for this estate. 

Fourthly, What shall we do, that if it shall please the 
Lord to drive us out of our houses and habitations as well 
as our brethren, we may both prepare for it, and so carry the 
matter, as we may be patiently and sweetly supported in thut 
estate ? 

G 2 


By way of preparation, for the present before that condition 
come, and the Lord grant it may never come, be sure of this 
that you make good your interest in God himself, clear up your 
evidence for heaven, your assurance of God in Christ ; when 
David was driven from home and harbour, he encouraged 
himself in the Lord his God ; his God, tolle meum et tolle 
deum, saith Augustine, take away that word my, and take 
away God. If a man knows that God is his in Christ, his 
friend, his God, his habitation, unto whom he may contin 
ually resort, he will soon relieve himself thus : Well, though I 
have lost my house, yet I have kept my God, he is such a 
habitation as cannot be plundered, such a habitation as wind, 
and rain, and weather cannot beat through, such a habitation 
as I may carry up and down the world with me. Be sure of 
this therefore, that you clear up your interest in God himself. 

Learn now before the rainy day come to be dead unto all the 
world. The man that is dying is senseless, not affected with 
the cries of his children, wife, and friends, that stand round 
about him, though they weep and wring their hands, he is not 
stirred, why ? because being a dying man he is dead to them ; 
and if you be dead to your houses, liberties and estates 
aforehand, you will be able to buckle, and grapple with that 
condition : so it was with Paul who died daily. 

Be sure of this also, that you take heed now of all those 
things that may make your condition uncomfortable then. 
There are three things that will make that condition very un 
comfortable : pride, wanton abuse of your creature-comforts, 
and unwillingness to lay them out in the case of God. If you 
have house, lands, estates, friends or good clothes, and be 
proud thereof, when they are taken away from you, your heart 
will smite you and say, Ah this was because I was so proud 
thereof, and lifted up myself above my brethren, and there 
fore now I am made even with them, as poor as they. If 
you do wantonly abuse the creature in drunkenness, cham 
bering, wantonness &c., when they are taken away, your 
heart will upbraid you and say, Ah, this you may thank your 
wantonness for, you used the creatures so basely that they 
groaned under your hand, and so now they are gotten from 
you. If you be unwilling to lay them out in any good case, your 
heart will reproach you in the evil day and say, Ah, it is even 
just with God to take away all from me, I would not lay out 


my money and estate for his truth, his ordinances, his cases, 
and now he hath given me, and all into the hands of spoilers. 
We read of David that he was twice thrust out from his home, 
once by his father in law Saul, and once by Absalom his son ; 
when he was thrust out by Saul, though driven into a wilderness, 
we do not read, as I remember, that he wept ; Saul the perse 
cutor wept, but not David the persecuted : but when he was 
driven out by Absalom, he went barefoot, and wept, he wept 
and he went, and he went and he wept, why so ? oh, that was 
the punishment of his sin, God had threatened that the sword 
should never depart from his house and now that threat 
ening did seize upon him. Take heed therefore that this evil 
may not be the fruit of your sin, and do nothing now that 
may make your condition uncomfortable then; and because 
these three things will do it, take heed of them I pray you in 
the Lord. 

But in case this evil feared should come, and who knows 
how soon it may ? then some things are to be practised, and 
some things considered. 

By way of practice. If it pleased the Lord to bring you 
or me or any of us into this sad condition, first humble your 
selves, accept of the punishment of your iniquity, kiss the 
rod, and say, the Lord is righteous in all that is come upon 
you ; so did Daniel, Dan. ix. 6., " O Lord, righteousness be- 
longeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this 
day," &c., so must we do, saying, As for me I confess indeed 
I deserved this long ago, for I did not pity those enough 
that were driven from their houses and habitations ; I would 
not part with my house, and liberty, and estate for the truth, 
and give them up as a sacrifice unto the gospel, and now it is 
just, all should be taken from me ; the Lord is righteous, the 
Lord is righteous. 

Then be sure you bless and praise the Lord for that little 
that you have left ; and if nothing be left, praise God for 
others that are free from your condition. If a man be in 
prosperity, and grieve for others in adversity, it is the only 
way to keep him in prosperity ; if a man be in adversity, and 
can praise God for others and rejoice in their prosperity, it is 
the only way to have his own adversity changed into pros 
perity. A man is never so low but he hath somewhat left to 


praise God for ; so did Job, and so saith the apostle, " Be in 
all things thankful;" not in some conditions, but in all. 

If ever you be brought into this estate, be sure that you 
keep God s promise in your full view. The promise is very 
full and clear ; what condition is there enriched with more pro 
mises ? Are you afraid when you are driven out of your houses, 
that you shall faint and fall in the streets, that you shall die 
in the fields, or some ditch ? Remember that promise where 
God hath said ; " Those that forsake house and land shall 
receive an hundred fold :" then remember the hundred fold 
promise. But would you return to your own house ; and are 
you afraid that you shall not do so ? then remember that pro 
mise -, Micah iv. 6, 7> " In that day, saith the Lord, will 1 
assemble her that halteth, and will gather her that is driven 
out, and her that I have afflicted." In the interim are you 
afraid of misery, poverty, beggary? then remember that pro 
mise which hath five seals upon it, " I will never leave you 
nor forsake you " Heb. i. 3. 5 ; Joshua i. 5.; where in the 
original there are five negatives, as if he should say thus, " I 
will never, never, never, never, never leave you nor forsake 
you." Luther insists much upon that promise of our Saviour 
Christ unto his disciples : " You shall not have gone over all 
the cities of Judea until the Son of man shall come." The 
Son of Man was already come, saith Luther, when he did 
speak these words, and therefore the promise belongs not 
only to the disciples, but to all the disciples of Jesus Christ 
that shall be ; the promise speaking thus much that though 
they be persecuted and driven from one place to another : 
yet there shall be always some place open to receive them ; 
when persecution is one place, another shall be free from it ; 
and there shall be always some place free, until the Son of 
Man shall come. Stock and store yourselves with many suit 
able promises, and when this misery spoken of shall come, 
keep them in your full view. These things are to be practi 

Again, By way of consideration. Though such a condition 
as this be exceeding sad and very lamentable, yet consider 
this, that it is not any new thing that doth befal you, but such 
as befals the saints and best of God s servants. This some 
times bears the breadth of a great temptation, that my con 
dition is like to none ; and it may be you will think, Oh, 


never any was in such a condition as I ; what, driven from my 
houses and from my friends ? Yes, Abraham ; yes, Jacob ; 
yes, Joseph ; yes, David ; yes, Daniel ; yes, John, And 
Luther saith, as usually he doth speak boldly, This is the 
common chance and fortune of the gospel.* The very land of 
Canaan, the place of God s people is called by such a term 
as doth signify a land of beauty or comeliness, and a land of 
hinds,* or roes, or harts, that are swift in going, and of a fly 
ing nature, to shew, say some, that when God s people are in 
the most beautiful state, it is but a flying, moving state, c. 
Yet when they are so, they are notwithstanding a delight unto 
God himself. Think, therefore, with yourself, There is no 
new thing befallen me. 

Consider the way that God takes ordinarily to bring his 
people to mercy. He seldom brings them to any mercy but 
he brings them about by the way of the contrary misery. If 
he intends to give them a sure peace, he will bring them about 
unto it by the way of war ; so he brought Israel to Canaan, 
the land of rest, through much war. If he brings them to 
riches, he will bring them about by the way of poverty, as 
with Job. If he intends a kingdom to them, he will bring 
them by a wilderness, as with David. If a sure habitation, 
he will suffer a man to be driven from his habitation.* And 
therefore when you are driven from your s, despair not, but 
say, Ah, this is God s way, now am I in God s way to a sure 

Consider seriously with yourselves what that is which you 
leave, what the cause is that you do leave it for, and who 
it is you do leave it with : you leave your house, your habita 
tion, your land, your riches, which shortly would leave you, 
whose wings are like the wings of an eagle, strong to fly away ; 
you leave it for your God, your country, your religion. And 
is that lost which you do lose for truth ? Is there any loss in 
losing for Jesus Christ ? And with him you leave it, who is 
a faithful paymaster, and will pay you forbearance money 

* Hie mos hsec fortuna evangelii. Luther in Ezek. \x. 6. 

f Hie enim OY usurpatur saepius exist! mo spiritum consulto vocabulum hoc 
adhibuisse quo complecteretur utrumque de pulsionem ct faelicitatem ne despon- 
derent ejus cives animos sed in media sua trlstissima abdicatione se esse Deo 
IV cordi et deliciis. Brightman in Dan. p. 22. 

* Si enim non impense te deligeret Deus non ita tecum luderet hoc est non 
differet neque in contrarium disponeret suarn promissionem et auxiliuui. Luther. 


also. Did he not pay Ruth well all that ever she did leave for 
him ; mark but that one example of Naomi and Ruth : Naomi 
being in Israel, where the ordinances were, and there coming 
a time of famine, she left all to go into the land of Moab, 
and the text tells us (Ruth i.) she went for bread. If you 
inquire what became of her, you shall find she returns empty, 
bitter : " Call me not Naomi, call me bitter, for the Almighty 
hath dealt very bitterly with me." Her daughter Ruth, on 
the contrary left her country, Moab, to go to the place of 
God s ordinances ; and when she came into Israel she was so 
poor, at the first, that she was fain to glean for -her living, yet 
contented ; and after a while the Lord provided a husband 
for her, the richest man in all the country, Boaz. The moral 
of this example is this : those that will leave the ordinances 
and way of God s true worship for bread, shall return home 
empty and full of bitterness ; yea, though they be good peo 
ple : but those that will leave their own places and habita 
tions and friends to go unto the place of God s ordinance, 
though they be put to a gleaning condition at first, yet the 
Lord, in his providence, in his due time, will make them ex 
ceeding rich and very wealthy. Consider, therefore, when 
you are in this estate, what is that you leave, why, and with 
whom you leave it, even with Ruth s paymaster, who is as 
good a paymaster now as he was to Ruth. 

If you would have comfort and supportance in that condi 
tion, consider seriously and much how God hath dealt with 
his people that have been thus served and used. And if you 
look into Scripture, you shall find that he still hath provided 
for them, given them favour in the places where they have 
come, and brought them back again from those places into 
which they have been scattered. He hath provided for them, 
Did not God provide for Jacob when he was driven out 
of his father s house by his rough brother Esau ? Says Ja 
cob, " I passed over this brook with this staff and rod, and 
now I am returned with two bands." When at the first he went 
out and took up his lodging in the cold fields the first night, 
lying upon a stone for his pillow, as the Scripture speaks, 
there the Loid appeared to him in a vision, and shewed him 
a ladder, with angels ascending and descending upon it, which 
is interpreted by Christ to be Christ himself, in John i. 51. 
And so if it should ever be your portion to be driven out by 


your rough brethren Esaus, though you lie in the cold fields, 
God will there shew you this ladder. It is observed that our 
Saviour Christ sent out his disciples twice ; the first time he 
commands them to take no money, nor sword, nor scrip, and 
then, upon account, they said they wanted nothing : after 
ward he sent them out again, and said unto them, " Now let 
him that hath a sword take it, and he that hath a coat take 
it ;" then they met with more suffering than we read of be 
fore, teaching thus much, that God will then more fully pro 
vide for his people when they are purseless, scripless, sword- 
less, and in the most shiftless condition. Besides, the Lord 
gave them favour in the eyes of the people in the places 
where they came. Had not Abraham favour, and Joseph 
favour, and Moses favour ? David favour in the eyes of the 
king of Achish, Nehemiah favour, Ezra favour, and others of 
his people favour in the places into which they were driven ? 
And if you look into the xxxivth of Ezekiel, you shall find 
that when God s people were by the proud prelates of those 
times abused, the Lord promised to gather them from those 
places into which they were scattered. First he complaineth 
of the proud prelates that they would not gather them : verse 
4, " The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye 
healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that 
which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which 
was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost, 
but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them." Then 
he promiseth that he would do it himself: verse 13, "I will 
bring them out from the people, and gather them from the 
countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed 
them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers," &c. This 
he did, this he doth, this he will do. If my people would but 
think of these things, they would never stick with God for 
their houses and liberties when the profession of his truth 
doth call for them. Think of it, therefore, seriously, it will 
be exceeding helpful to you now, and comfortable then. In 
such a condition God hath always provided for his people, 
given them favour, and in due time gathered them to their 
own place again; and he is the same God now that ever 
he was. 

If you would have comfort and be supported in that estate, 
put yourselves often to these disjunctions. Either I am one 


of God s family and household servants or not ; if not, why 
do I not mourn rather that I am none of God s house, than 
that I have lost mine own house ? and if I be, will not God 
provide for his own family ? Men provide for their families, 
God will much more. Again, thus, either God doth take care 
of a man or woman in this condition or not ; if not, what 
mean those frequent charges in Scripture upon men to pity, 
to respect, to care for, to entertain the stranger ? and if God 
do take care, and that by promise, why should not I believe 
it, go away, and be very quiet ? Again, thus, either there is 
grace in me or not ; if not, why do I not rather mourn for 
want of grace than want of house ; for want of Christ than 
the want of liberty : if there be grace in me, surely it is not 
in the power of men to make me miserable. Seneca, though 
a heathen, speaks divinely to this purpose : A man s country 
is wherever he is well, but that whereby he is well is not in 
the place but in the man.* The whole world is a Christian s 
country. And says another author : The blood of Christ 
knows no nations ;f all are alike to him. Indeed when the 
child or boy hath gotten a long pole, he thinks to go up to 
the top of such a mountain and there to touch the heavens ; 
and when he comes there, he sees he is never the nearer ; 
then he thinks to run to the top of the next mountain, and 
then he will touch them surely, but when he comes there he 
is as far distant as before : so men think to get such and such 
a mountainous estate, and when they are at the top of that 
mountain they shall touch the heavens, or when they are in 
such and such a place they shall be nearer heaven ; but hea 
ven may be as near one place as another. " The earth is the 
Lord s, and the fulness thereof." The prophet doth not say 
that England is the Lord s, and the fulness thereof; London 
is the Lord s, and the fulness thereof; Norfolk is the Lord s, 
and the fulness thereof; Yorkshire is the Lord s, and the 
fulness thereof; no, but he saith, " The earth is the Lord s 
and the fulness thereof." 

Chrysostom J speaks excellently to this argument, who, 
being to be banished, in his parting sermon to his people, saith 

* Patria est ubicunque bene est illud cunctam per quod bene est in homine 
non in loco est. Seneca. 

f Sanguis Christi non novit rationes. 
% Chrysostom de exilio illius, torn iv. 


thus : What should I fear ? Shall I fear death ? To me to 
live is Christ, to die is gain." Shall I fear banishment ? 
" The earth is the Lord s and the fulness thereof." Shall I 
fear the loss of mine estate ? " I brought nothing into this 
world, neither can I carry any thing out of it." Shall I fear 
poverty ? I never desired to be rich. Shall I fear the misery 
and wasting and spoiling of the churches, part whereof I 
am now to leave ? The church is greater, saith he, than hea 
ven and earth. Christ never said, the gates of hell should 
not prevail against the heavens or the earth, as he hath said 
for the churches. Christ never took upon him the body of 
the heavens as he hath done of the church s. The church, it 
is the ship wherein Christ is ; and though the waves arise, 
and storms beat, they shall never be able to sink the ship, 
yea, though Christ himself doth seem to sleep. Often, 
often therefore, my beloved, put thyself unto this disjunction : 
Either I am in the ship with Christ or else I am not ; he in 
me and I in him, or else not : if not, why do 1 not rather 
mourn that I am not in Christ than that I am not in my 
house ? and if I be in him, surely he will be exceeding careful 
and very tender. Oh that men and women would but think 
of these things, surely they would be quiet, patient, if not 
joyful in that condition. Think of them, therefore, and lay 
them up by you. 

But I shall never be able to bear this affliction. What, to 
be driven from my house ! If I meet with any cross now in 
my family, I cannot bear it, how shall I be able to be thrust 
and driven out of all, and that with patience ? 

You do not know what you shall be able to do in that 
condition. Seneca tells us a story of one Marcellus, that 
being in banishment behaved himself so virtuously, that when 
a man was to part from him, he that parted from this banished 
man would rather count himself unhappy and the banished 
man, than he that was indeed so.* Dabitur in hora, God 
giveth more grace if need be, saith the apostle. 

But when you know that parents bear with their childrens 
frowardness in weaning times ; and though they cry, and are 
more froward than ordinary, yet the parent excuseth it, and 
says, It is weaning time, it is weaning time. Now if God 

* Quantus ille vir fuit qui efficit et aliquis exul sibi videretur quod ab exule 
recedebat. Seneca. 


calls you to lose your houses and liberties, that is your wean 
ing time ; and though there be some frowardness more than 
ordinary, yet your God and Father will bear with it: yet be 
humbled for it, for it is your weaning time. 

Oh, but that time when a man is driven from house and 
habitation, is a time wherein a man is exposed to great temp 
tations ; exposed to poverty, to reproach, many miseries and 
sad temptations ; and I shall never be able to stand out those. 

True, that time indeed is exposed to sad temptations. And 
we read of David, that when he came to the king of Achish, 
he changed his behaviour, and let fall his spittle upon his 
beard. Take heed that you do not see some that are good 
people, before such a condition as this come, when they are 
thus tried, do change their behaviour, and their spittle falls 
on their beards. Oh, take heed that you do not change your 
behaviour in this condition; which, that you may not do, 
fear, fear always. Fear is the keeper of innocency.* He is 
to be feared most, that doth fear least ; and he is to be feared 
least, that doth fear most. 

Oh, but I am afraid my children, my charge, should mis 
carry in that condition. 

I will tell you what Chrysostom f saith upon his return 
out of his banishment, wherein he compares the church that 
he had left unto Sarah in the hands of Pharaoh. Pharaoh, 
saith he, seeing Sarah to be a beautiful fair woman, desired 
her, Gen. xii. ; she was fain to leave her husband, and her 
husband her. She was in the hands of Pharaoh ; yet Pha 
raoh perceiving afterward that she was another man s wife, 
she returned again to her own husband untouched and chaste. 
So, saith he, though my charge hath been taken from me, 
and hath been as it were in the hands of Pharaoh ; yet God 
hath preserved you untouched and chaste, you have watched 
though I have slept. Surely if God calls for our liberties, 
and scattereth us from our charge, he will keep our charge ; 
if you keep the charge of God s house, he will keep the 
charge of your houses. Did not David preserve Mephibo- 
sheth, when the other sons of Saul were slain ; and why 
Mephibosheth preserved, a lame and deformed man ? but 
because there was entire love between Jonathan and David, 
and so for Jonathan s sake he did spare his son. And so if 

* Timor innocentise custos eat. f Chrysostora. torn iv. 


there be any entire love between you and Jesus Christ, 
though your children and charge be Mephibosheths, that 
even grow awry, the Lord Jesus Christ will take care of 
them and preserve them. If you can say that there is as 
much love in your heart towards Christ, as there was in 
Jonathan towards David ; I can say, that there shall be as 
much care in Christ towards your children and posterity and 
charge, as there was in David towards Jonathan s. Where 
fore, my beloved, either you do trust God with your souls 
for your eternal mansions, or you do not : if you do not, why 
say you that you do trust God for your eternities, and for 
your souls ? and if you do trust God with your souls for an 
eternal mansion, why should you not trust him with your 
children for a temporal mansion ? Certainly, if God s charge 
be your charge, your charge shall be his charge ; and being 
so, you have his bond that they shall never want their daily 
bread. Wherefore think on all these things ; think of them 
for the present, and in the future, if such a condition fall, and 
the Lord give us understanding in all things. 




" In every thing give thanks : for this is the will of God in 
Christ Jesus concerning you." I THESS. v. 18. 

WHAT is written to the Thessalonians, is written for our 
instruction. What they are commanded as Christians, we 
are commanded as Christians. 

In the latter part of this chapter, several exhortations were 
given to them. Among the rest this is one ; in which ye 

The exhortation itself : " In every thing give thanks." 

And, the reason enforcing that exhortation : " For this is 
the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." 

" In every thing give thanks :" in prosperity and in adver 
sity, whether things go well or whether they go ill ; in every 
thing give thanks. He had said before, verses 16, 17, " Re 
joice evermore, pray continually." Unto those exhortations 
he adds no such reason as here. Because it may seem 
strange that a man should give thanks in every thing, he 
adds also, " For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus con 
cerning you." So that plainly here lies this observation, or 
truth, upon the words : 

It is the will of God, even our Father, that we should be 
thankful to him in every thing. 

When we are full, it will be granted that then we are to 
give thanks to God. Deut. viii. 10. But ye are not only to 
give thanks when ye are full, but when ye are empty ; not 
only when ye are strong, but when ye are weak ; not only 
when ye are delivered from the hands of your enemy, but 
when you are delivered into the hands of your enemy. 
Therefore Job says, i. 21., " The Lord giveth, and the Lord 
taketh away, blessed be his name." Job was plundered by 
the enemy, and yet he does bless the Lord ; Job was emptied 


of a full estate, and yet he does bless the Lord ; Job had lost 
his dear children, and yet he does bless the Lord ; Job was 
in a great measure given up into the hands of Satan, and yet 
he blesses the Lord : for which he is commended. 

So then, it is our duty, and the will of God our Father, 
that we should not only be thankful, but we should be thank 
ful in every thing. 

For, there is always excellency enough in God and Christ, 
to entertain your thankfulness, to draw out your thankfulness 
and praises. Indeed, there is a formal or notional difference, 
between praising God, and giving thanks to God. Praises 
respect the excellencies of God himself; thankfulness re 
spects the benefits we receive from God. I praise God, 
when I honour him for the excellency that is in him ; I am 
thankful to God, when I bless him for those benefits I 
receive from him. But now in Scripture, these are put one 
for the other ordinarily : and whatsoever our condition be, 
whether high or low, rich or poor, full or empty, there is 
enough excellency in Christ for to draw out our praises : and 
therefore in every thing we are to be thankful. 

There is no condition so sad, but somewhat is good that is 
mingled with it ; no darkness so dark, but some light withal ; 
no misery so miserable, but some mercy withal. Heaven is 
all mercy, and hell is all misery : but this life is made up of 
both, it is a twilight, some good in every condition ; and 
therefore, in every thing we are to give thanks unto God. 

It is the duty of a Christian to be like unto Jesus Christ : 
he was thankful in every thing. When he had not whereon 
to lay his head, " Father, I thank thee," Matt. xi. 25. When 
he was to go to his agony, and sweat drops of blood; they 
sung a hymn, says the text, a psalm of praise. So, when a 
Christian is to go to his agony : whatever agony he meets 
withal, there is rise enough yet for his thankfulness : in every 
thing be thankful. As the apostle hath it in Eph. v. 20, 
" Giving thanks always, for all things unto God, even the 
Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." 

You will say, Suppose that a Christian meet with some 
long, heavy, and sharp affliction : is he to be thankful then ; 
to be thankful in that condition ? 

Yes ; look I pray into Isa. xxiv. 15, "Wherefore," says he, 
" glorify ye the Lord in the fires, even the name of the Lord 


of Israel in the isles of the sea." Glorify ye the Lord in 
the fires ; so ye read it. Some rather translate it thus : " Glorify 
ye the Lord in doctrines ;" Urim, the same word that we 
translate, Urim, for the Urim and Thummim : but I would 
rather translate it vallies ; so Calvin: for doctrines does not 
suit with that which follows : " Glorify ye the Lord in the 
vallies, even the name of the Lord God of Israel in the isles 
of the sea." A valley is a low place, and dark ; now, says 
he, though ye be in a dark condition, removed from light ; 
Glorify the Lord in the vallies, glorify the Lord there. And 
good reason why the saints should do so ; as ye will see, if ye 
will look into Zech. i. 8 : I saw by night, and behold a man 
riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle-trees 
that were in the bottom, and behind him were there red 
horses, speckled and white." This man upon a red horse 
plainly must be meant Christ : who is here attended with red 
horses, speckled and white, to send forth and dispatch into 
the several parts of the world upon his design. These other 
red horses, they are behind him, waiting upon him : now 
where is Christ ? he is among the myrtle- trees : and where 
are the myrtle-trees ? they are in the bottom. The saints 
and people of God for their fruitfulness they are called 
myrtle-trees, and sometimes their condition is as a valley ; 
they are in the bottom ; but yet they are myrtle-trees in the 
bottom, and Jesus Christ is among these myrtle-trees, though 
they be in a bottom, though they be in a valley ; and there 
fore no wonder that we should praise, and glorify God in this 
condition. Beloved, what we may rejoice in, that we may 
praise God for. Now, says the apostle, " Let the brother of 
low degree rejoice in that he is exalted ; and let the brother 
of high degree rejoice in that he is made low," James i. 9, 10 : 
" Rejoice in tribulation," Rom. v. 3. A man is to rejoice 
more for the opportunity of exercising grace, than in all 
prosperity : there are some graces that cannot be exercised 
but in tribulation, cannot be exercised in heaven ; patience, 
and the like. Now then, when tribulation comes, a Christian 
should thus look upon it : I have hereby an opportunity of 
exercising that grace, that I had not before ; and then he will 
bless God, and then he will be thankful in that condition : 
when God takes away one mercy, he gives another : if he 
take away Moses, he will give a Joshua : if he take away 


Eli, he will give a Samuel : if he will take away Christ s 
personal presence, he will send the Holy Ghost. And the 
truth is, he does not so much take away as borrow a mercy ; 
and he pays it again with usury and advantage : Onesimus 
goes away like a thief from Philemon, but he returns again 
with profit to him and others. As for these outward 
things, they will prove but debts at the great day of judg 
ment : riches now, and gifts now, but debts then : and the 
less ye have of these outward things, the less ye have to 
reckon for them. In a bad day, men they say, Oh, that I 
had less, my reckoning would be less : the less ye have, the 
less your reckoning will be. The comfort of a man s life, 
consists not in muchness, \>\& fitness to his heart. If a man 
have a great farm, and a small stock, it is the only way to 
break him : it is better to have a farm fit for one s stock, 
than a great farm. The Lord he sees what our stock of 
grace is, and accordingly he provides a farm for every one 
of his children ; and sometimes it is lessened, but the rea 
son is, because the stock of grace is no bigger, they have no 
more grace to stock it withal. Our gifts, and our parts, and 
our prosperity, they are so strong sometimes, that God is 
fain to mingle water therewithal, that we may not be drunk. 
I appeal to you : are not the saints gainers by all their losses ; 
are not they strengthened by all their weakness; are not 
they bettered by all their crosses ? Surely then, in all things 
they are to be thankful : though their affliction be exceeding 
long, sharp, and grievous ; yet they are to be thankful in that 

But suppose now, that it be persecution that a man is to 
be exercised with ; and that is bitter : is a Christian to be 
thankful then, even in that condition ? 

Yes, ye know what the apostle says; "to you it is given, 
not only to believe, but to suffer," Phil. i. 29. God s gift is 
worth our thanks. And says the apostle, " All shall turn to 
the furtherance of the gospel," Phil. i. 22. Is it not a great 
matter, and worth our praise and thankfulness ; that we should 
be trusted by God to bear witness to his truth ? " For this 
came I into the world," says Christ, "that I might bear 
witness to the truth," John xviii. 37- It was his design ; 
thereby ye are like to him, and so honour him. When were 
the churches and people of God more pure than under per- 



secution ? and is it not a great mercy to be kept pure ? The 
more you suffer for any truth, the more that truth will be 
spread by you : you die, but the truth lives : your estate dies, 
and your name dies, and your liberty dies : but your dying 
estate gives a living testimony unto the truth. " When I am 
lifted up," says Christ, meaning upon the cross, " I will draw 
all men after me," John xii. 32. And so shall you do, when 
you are lift up upon the cross for any truth, ye shall draw 
all men after that truth that ye are lifted up for. When have 
ye more communion with Jesus Christ, than when ye sufter 
most for his truth ? Is it not a great mercy for a man to be 
glorified on this side heaven ? Pray look upon that expres 
sion which ye have in John xiii. 30, 31 ; it is said concerning 
Christ himself, that when Judas went out, having received 
the sop, Jesus saith, Now is the Son of man glorified, and 
God is glorified in him, verse 30. Judas " having received 
the sop, went immediately out, and it was night : therefore 
when he was gone out, Jesus saith, Now is the Son of man 
glorified." Judas went out to betray him, to bring him to 
the cross, a false brother was gone out. Now is the Son of 
man glorified, says he, not only because the cross was the way 
to glory ; but the truth is, he was glorified upon the cross, there 
was a glory there. You may observe it ; he did many mira 
cles, and when he had done those miracles, he did not say 
then, Now is the Son of man glorified. He was transfigured ; 
and he did not say upon his transfiguration, Now is the Son 
of man glorified : but now he comes to suffer, now he comes 
to the cross; Now, says he, is the Son of man glorified. 
And indeed, now is his love to poor sinners glorified. The 
apostle says, " He triumphed over all principalities and pow 
ers upon the cross," Col. ii. 15 ; and his love triumphs over 
all our sins, and our guilt, and our unworthiness : oh, then 
was free grace and love, when Christ was upon the cross ! 
Now is the Son of man glorified. And so it shall be with 
you : when a false brother goes out to persecute you, to be 
tray you, to bring you the cross ; you may say so : Now is 
the servant of the Lord glorified, now is my love to Christ 
glorified ; never more glorified than now. This makes the 
apostle Peter speak in his 1st Epist. iv. 16 : " If any man 
suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him 
glorify God on this behalf." It is matter of praise, and 


thanksgiving here : says he, at verse 13, " Rejoice, inasmuch 
as ye are partakers of Christ s sufferings." Veise 14, "If 
ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye ; for 
the Spirit of glory and of God resteth on you." That is, 
says one upon that place, as Noah s dove hovered over the 
water, and found no place for to rest her foot upon, until she 
returned to the ark : so does the Spirit of God, as it were, 
hover over the souls of men, it wanteth rest : and when it 
sees a soul that suffers for the truth, there it lights, there it 
rests, there the Spirit of God and of glory rests. I appeal 
to you : which will be most comfortable, think ye, at the 
day of judgment ; that ye have been persecuted for the 
truth, or that ye have been a persecutor of the truth ? I 
know your answer ; when a Christian is under persecution, 
he may lift up his voice, and say, I might have engaged 
against the truth ; ah ! I might have been a persecutor of 
the truth ; but blessed be God it is not so. The apostles 
went away rejoicing that they were accounted worthy to 
suffer for the name of Christ. Surely therefore, there is 
matter of praise and thanksgiving, even in this condition 
also, in this condition a Christian should be thankful: it 
is the will of God our Father we should be thankful here. 

But suppose that a man s inward arid spiritual condition 
be overclouded, and God withdraw, and hide his face from a 
Christian : shall he, can he be thankful in this condition ? 
is it his duty to be thankful now ? 

Yes ; for though God do withdraw, though he do hide his 
face, and not shine upon a Christian ; yet it may be light with 
him. Day may be day though the sun do not shine forth in 
bright beams. And it may be day light, it may be day upon 
a Christian soul, though there be never a beam shines. We 
are saved by faith, and not by feeling. 

Again, Though Christ doth hide his face, though he doth 
withdraw his comforting presence, he never withdraws his 
supporting presence from a Christian ; sometimes more of 
that, when least of the other. Christ deals by a Christian 
as God dealt by Christ in his agony, and on the cross: 
though God withdrew his comforting presence, so as he cried 
out and said, " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken 
me ? " Matt, xxvii. 46, yet he had never more of God s 
supporting presence : and so it is with a Christian. Though 

ii 2 


Christ may withdraw his comforting presence, yet he never 
withdraws his supporting presence from them. 

Besides, Jesus Christ does so withdraw from a Christian as 
he does draw withal by his Spirit. He seemed to withdraw 
from the Canaanitish woman, but he did draw her to him by 
his Spirit. When he withdraws in Cant. v. from his spouse, 
he leaves myrrh upon the ringles of the door. And so when 
he withdraws from a Christian, he leaves his myrrh upon the 
ringles of the heart : the heart cannot be quiet, cannot rest, 
takes no contentment without him, he does draw the soul to 
him, while he seems to withdraw from the soul. 

What a man would not lose for all the world, that, you 
will say, is worthy of praise and thankfulness. Now take a 
gracious soul, a godly man when he is most deserted, forsa 
ken, left, as it were ; and he says, Now mercy is gone, now 
Christ is gone : ask him but this question : If Christ be 
gone, as you say, why do not you renounce Christ, and re 
nounce all his ways ? He will tell you, Oh, no, I dare not 
renounce him for all the world. But if he be quite gone, 
why do not you turn drunkard ; why do not you turn 
swearer: and why do not you cast off all duties ? Oh, no, 
that I dare not : I have yet something left, that I would not 
lose for all the world. Is there not then matter of praise 
and thanksgiving in this condition ? Surely there is, even in 
this condition also. 

But you will say : Suppose that a man be oppressed with 
sad temptations, black and dark temptations; God does 
not only withdraw, but Satan draws near, heavy, and dread 
ful temptations press in upon him : is it the will of God the 
Father, that he should be thankful in this condition also ? 
Yes ; for is it not matter of praise, think ye, and thankful 
ness, that your enemy is overcome before you strike a stroke ? 
you shall be more than conquerors : write, your enemy 
overcome before you fight. " Be of good comfort," says 
Christ, " I have overcome the world/ John xvi. 33 ; and so 
the god of the world, Satan, your enemy, is overcome before 
you do strike a stroke. 

Besides, is it not matter of praise and thanksgiving, that 
Satan can tempt you no more than your own Father gives 
him leave to do ? " Simon, Simon, (says Christ,) Satan 
hath desired thee, that he may winnow thee as wheat," Luke 


xxiii. 31. Mark the words, " He hath desired:" he was fain 
to ask leave first, he could not winnow Peter until he had 
leave. And he could not winnow Job until he had leave ; 
he hath not power to tempt you further than your own 
Father gives him leave. 

Again, is it not matter of praise and thanksgiving, that 
nothing hath befallen you but what hath befallen the best of 
God s children, the greatest saints ? Men say sometimes, 
Oh, never any one s condition like to mine, never any afflic 
tion like to mine. The most godly men have been most 
sorely tempted. In the Old Testament, David, a man after 
God s own heart, it is said of him, "The devil stood up, and 
moved him to number the people," 1 Chron. xxi. 1. What 
a report did God give of Job, and you know his winnowing 
and his continuance. In the New Testament, two famous 
apostles, Paul and Peter. " Peter, Satan hath desired to 
winnow thee :" Paul, " a messenger Satan, sent to buffet 
him." And our Lord Jesus Christ himself, " in all things 
tempted, that he might succour those that are tempted," 
Heb. ii. 18. Oh, beloved, how gracious will Jesus Christ be 
to tempted ones, that came from heaven on purpose to be 
gracious to them. 

Further, is it not matter of praise and thanksgiving, that 
you have always one for to run unto, to succour you, to 
relieve you in your temptations ? A brazen serpent up, 
against you be stung. Paul therefore, in Rom. vii., having 
said, " Oh, wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me 
from^this body of death ?" in the next words says, ff I thank 
God through Jesus Christ." When Satan is tempting, 
Christ is praying, interceding. " Satan hath desired to 
winnow thee, (says he,) but I have prayed," Luke xxii. 31. 
You cannot pray : truly sometimes we pray most, when we 
pray least, for Christ prays for us. 

Again, is it not matter of praise and thanksgiving., that ye 
have such an estate that these thieves can never rob you of? 
A Christian is a traveller; the thief meets him, and takes his 
money that he hath about him ; but he hath an inheritance 
of land at home, which the thief cannot take away from him. 
And Satan by his temptations possibly may rob you of these 
comforts that are about you ; but you have an inheritance 


and estate, Christian, in heaven, that shall never be taken 
away, that you shall never be robbed of. 

I will conclude thus, is it not matter of praise and thanks 
giving, that by this mud you shall be more cleansed. Be 
loved, this is Christ s way : he suffers men to be tempted, 
that they may be freed fiom more temptations, and he suffers 
this dirt to be cast upon them, that they may be the more 
cleansed. " Simon, Simon, (says our Saviour,) Satan hath de 
sired to winnow thee as wheat." How so ? Satan " goes up and 
down like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." True, 
that is his intent in his temptations ; Satan s intent in the temp 
tation, is not to winnow, that is Christ s intent. Satan s intent 
in the temptation is to devour, but Jesus Christ s intent in 
all those temptations is to winnow. And who more knowing, 
who more gracious, who more humble, who more thankful 
than those that have been most assaulted with a temptation ? 
Pray observe what is said in 2 Cor. xii. 7- Says Paul, " Lest 
I should be exalted above measure, through the abundance 
of revelations, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, the 
messenger Satan, (so it may be read, without of, the mes 
senger Satan,) to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above 
measure," again. See how that goes before and follows : it 
begins the verse and ends the verse : " Lest I should be ex 
alted above measure," at the beginning of the verse ; " Lest 
I should be exalted above measure," at the latter end of the 
verse. As if now, that these temptations were special pre 
servations against spiritual pride; it is set down twice, " Lest 
I should be exalted above measure ;" again and again. Spi 
ritual pride indeed is very dangerous. It was Mr. Fox s 
speech, As I get good by my sins, so I get hurt by my graces : 
in regard of that spiritual pride he was guilty of upon the 
receipt of them. By temptation God uses to keep men 
humble. The Hebrew word for lees, the lees of wine, comes 
from the root that signifies, to keep, because the wines are 
kept by the lees. And so God is pleased to keep men hum 
ble by these temptations ; in these lees, and in these dregs, 
God keeps men s graces. Temptations do you no hurt, until 
ye yield to them. The greater the temptation, and the more 
your flesh does tremble at it, the greater the affliction, but 
the lesser the sin. Temptation is the soul s rape ; it may 


deflower your soul, offer violence to your soul : it cannot 
take away your innocency. Now, is it not a great mercy to 
be kept innocent and chaste unto Jesus Christ ? Austin 
hath a notable speech : If ye praise God under good things, 
ye are paid your debt; if ye praise God under evil, ye have 
made God your debtor. The truth is, we can never pay our 
debt to God, neither are we able to make God our debtor ; 
but God is pleased to call himself so : when men praise him 
under temptations, and under persecutions, and under deser 
tions, God is pleased to call himself our debtor. Surely 
therefore, it is good for a Christian to bless God, and to 
praise God in every thing; in all things to be thankful; in 
affliction, in persecution, in desertion, under temptation. 
This is the will of God our Father, that we should be 
thankful to him in every thing, in every condition. 

And if so, then what great cause have we to be very thank 
ful to God in these times. Had the Lord let in the enemy up 
on you, ye should have been thankful : had ye been plun 
dered of all your estates, ye must have been thankful : had ye 
lien at the mercy of the merciless enemy crying for quarter ; 
yet you must have been thankful : how much more now ? 
Had ye been emptied of all ye must have been thankful. Oh, 
shall we not be thankful then unto God now, that hath given 
us such deliverance, and such victories as these ? 

You will say unto me ; what special thing is there that we 
should be thankful unto God for in these times ? 

Hath the Lord done such great things for England, and 
art thou only a stranger in Israel ? Did ever England 
hear of such a year as this last year hath been ? Can any re 
cords tell us of such a year ? May I not say, stand out, O all 
ye ancient records from your dust, and tell us from the first 
day of England s birth, did ever England see such a year as 
this hath been, wherein the power and mercy, and free grace 
of God hath rode in triumph throughout the kingdom ? 

Yet that I may not be wanting to you, to your question : 
look I pray into Psalm cvii. 1, 2., ye shall find it written : 
" O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy 
endures for ever: let the redeemed of the Lord say so; 
whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy." See 
who are to say so: "let the redeemed of the Lord say so, 
whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy." Be- 


loved ye know that not long since we were in captivity : I 
mean a spiritual captivity : we sat down by the waters* side, 
and saic, How shall we do to sing a Christian song ? The 
Lord hath redeemed us, he hath redeemed us out of the hand 
of our enemies. And if the Lord hath not redeemed you 
out of the hand of your enemy : do not say so : but if he 
have, let the redeemed of the Lord say so. 

Besides, Is it not worth our thankfulness, that we have 
had so many days of thanksgiving together ? A day of fast 
ing and prayer, is a sweet day ; a thanksgiving day sweeter, 
if I may make compare : for in a day of fasting and prayer, 
we deal with the anger and wrath and displeasure of God : 
in a day of thanksgiving with the love of God, and the mercy of 
God. In a day of fasting and prayer, we exercise grief: but in a 
day of thanksgiving, we exercise joy and love ; in a day of fast 
ing and prayer, your eye is upon your sins ; in a day of 
thanksgiving, upon your graces, to be thankful for them. As 
the fish swims upon the top of the water when the sun 
shines, which in a storm lay at the bottom : and wood, and 
sticks tumbled up and down, and those were. seen. So in a 
day of thanksgiving, there ye see and take notice of your own 
graces, to be thankful for them. In a day of fasting and 
prayer, sometimes, ye are so humbled for sin committed, as 
the sense of your justification is quite shattered : but in the 
day of thanksgiving, your assurance for heaven is sealed : they 
are sweet days. And, beloved, you have had many of them of 
late ; and surely this is worth our praise. 

But give me leave a little to enumerate : for enumeration is 
one kind of argument : hath not the Lord from heaven 
owned his own cause in the hands of his servants, our breth 
ren in the field ? Hath not the Lord heard your prayers ? 
Hath not the Lord opened many mines of precious truths 
that ye never knew before ? Hath not the Lord delivered 
you from the hand of a savage enemy ? Those that lay 
among the pots, brought forth with doves wings : victory 
after victory ; one treading upon the heel of another, overta 
king one another ? Does he not daily load you with his be 
nefits ? I cannot say as David in Psalm ix. 1., " I will praise 
thee, O Lord, with my whole heart : I will shew forth all thy 
marvellous works." The former part, " I will praise thee, O 
Lord, with my whole heart," you will say, but the latter 

Ski*,. 5.] IX EVERY COXDITION*. 105 

part, " I will shew forth all thy marvellous works ;" who can 
say ? they are beyond us. 

And now, beloved, if it be our duty to praise God, to be 
thankful to him in every condition, when we are low : shall 
we not be thankful to him now, that the Lord hath raised us, 
and filled us thus ? 

You will say, there is one thing that hinders us in the work 
of praise and thanksgiving in these times : a reformation is 
now begun, and things do not succeed according to our desires 
in the matter of reformation : should we, can we be thank 
ful now ? 

Yes ; if the Lord give me a child, should not I be thankful 
for it, because it is not born a man ? When the Jews built 
the temple, did not they shout, and praise God that the 
foundation was laid ? When the Israelites had overcome 
their enemies, in Samuel s time; though the enemies were 
round about them, they set up a stone, and called it Eben- 
ezer, " Hitherto the Lord hath helped us," 1 Sam. vii. 1 2. 
Beloved, in our thanksgiving we are to be like unto Je 
sus Christ : he did not only praise God when he had 
the mercy, but before he had it, in the entrance upon it. 
When he raises up Lazarus from the dead : " Father (says he) 
I thank thee that thou nearest me always :" John xi. 41, 42. 
and then he commands Lazarus to come out. But first he 
gives thanks to God. In the Scripture, the Holy Ghost 
hath commanded us, " to honour the Lord with our sub 
stance ; and with the first fruits of all our increase." Prov. 
iii. 9. Either ye have the first-fruits of reformation or not. 
If not, what mean all those precious ears and fruits which ye 
have been gathering in these latter times ? And if ye have 
the first fruits, though ye have not reaped the harvest 
yet : then " honour the Lord with your substance, and with 
your first fruits ; so shall your barns be filled with plenty, 
and your presses with the new wine of the gospel." God 
does give one mercy as a seal unto another; a first as 
a seal to the second : the second as a seal to the third : 
the lesser as a pledge of the greater. God does give a 
lesser mercy to try us whether we will be thankful, that he 
may give a greater. Beloved, these are trying times, God 
tries us whether we will be thankful for what we have. A 
reformation is now on foot : what though things do not sue- 


ceed according to your desire, shall we not be thankful for 
what we have, because we want something of what we would 
have ? when then shall we thankful ? 

Aye, but it is not only want of reformation, but many er 
rors that are risen up among us in these times : and should 
we be thankful now in this condition ? 

Yes, shall I not be thankful for some grace, because it is 
mingled with much corruption ; shall I not be thankful for 
my field of corn, because divers weeds are mingled therewith; 
shall I cast away the kernel, because it is compassed about with 
a shell ? Luther, in the beginning of the reformation, met 
with many errors, and he comforted himself with this ; When 
the corn is grown, the weeds will die alone. Meaning 
this ; when reformation is come to greater strength, errors 
would die alone. It is said of our Lord and Saviour Christ, 
" He was numbered among transgressors :" Isa. liii. 12. 
Should not I love Christ, or own Christ, or be thankful for 
Christ ; because he was numbered among transgressors ? 
The errors of the time, you say, are the transgressors of the 
time. Shall I not love the truth, and own the truth, and be 
thankful for the truth because it is numbered among the 
transgressors, the transgressors of the time ? Blessed is the 
man that can see a beauty in truth when it hath a scratch 
ed face. And indeed every truth hath a beauty ; and the 
Lord hath given you out many truths in these times that ye 
were ignorant of before. Beloved, I do not say that ye 
should be thankful for any error, we ought to be grieved for 
any error. But shall we be so mindful against error, crying 
out against error, error; as not to be thankful for any truth 
we have ? If the whole world were spread with error ; that 
one truth living : " Jesus Christ died for sinners ;" there were 
matter of praise. The more error does prevail, the more 
mercy it is, that you are kept. And truly the only way, or a 
special way to be kept from error, is to be thankful for truth. 
As a way to be kept from sin, is to be thankful for grace : so 
a special way to be kept from error is to be thankful for 
truth. So then, notwithstanding all this ; yet you are to be 
thankful : thankful even in this condition, though many 
errors, yet ye are to be thankful, to be in all things thankful, 
in every thing thankful. Thankful when ye are straitened, 
as well as when ye are most enlarged. Thankful when ye 


are deserted, as well as when God shines upon you. Thank 
ful when ye are afflicted, as well as when ye are delivered. 
Thankful when ye have no victories, as well as when ye have 
victories. Some, it may be, now will praise the Lord and 
be thankful ; hearing of so many victories ; and because 
there may be some hopes of peace : but beloved, it is our 
duty to be in every thing thankful : it is the will of God our 
Father, that we should be thankful in every thing, thankful in 
every condition. 

Give me leave to propound some few encouragements 
hereunto : for it seems a hard thing to be thankful in every 
thing, in every condition. 

If you can be thankful in every thing, even when ye are 
low, you will engage God for to raise you up : if when you 
are weak, you engage God for to make you strong : if when 
you are deserted, you engage God to enlarge you, to shine 
upon you. It pleases God much, you cannot please him 
more, than to be thankful in every thing, even when ye are 
low. For example, suppose a man be convinced of sin, 
troubled in conscience, hath no assurance of God s love in 
Christ ; if he should die, he does not know whether he shall 
go to heaven or hell. Yet notwithstanding, says he, what 
ever become of me, I bless the Lord that I am come hither : 
I was going on in the most sad condition : the Lord hath 
opened my eyes, I see indeed nothing but the wrath of God, 
due for my sins ; but yet blessed be the Lord, that hath 
opened my eyes to see this : Aye, says the Lord, dost thou 
bless me because I have opened thy eyes for to see thy sins ? 
I will open thine eyes for to see thy Saviour. Dost thou 
bless me because I have opened thy eyes to see thy own 
heart, and the naughtiness thereof ? I will open thy eyes to 
see all my grace, and I will cause all my grace to pass before 
thee. This engages God, when we can be thankful for 
every thing ; and when ye are low, it engages God much 
unto you. 

Again, Hereby your afflictions shall be made blessings 
unto you. You say, How shall I know whether an affliction 
be a blessing or no ? Take this note : when thou canst bless 
God under an affliction, then thy affliction is made a blessing : 
thy very blessing of God under an affliction, makes thy 
affliction a blessing to thee. Job, was greatly afflicted, and he 


blessed God and his affliction was a blessing to him : so shall 
it be with you. Touch but thy affliction with a thankful 
heart, it will turn it into gold. 

Moreover, the more you can be thankful for any thing 
when ye are low ; the more peace shall your heart and your 
soul be filled with. Some of you, it may be, want peace of 
conscience; and ye say: Oh, that I had peace within, what 
ever become of me outwardly : whatsoever the world do with 
me, oh, that I had peace within. 

To this purpose consider Phil. iv. ; says the apostle : " Be 
ye in nothing careful," verse 6, " but in every thing, by 
prayer, and supplication, with thanksgiving; let your requests 
be made known unto God. And the peace of God which 
passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds 
through Christ Jesus." This is the way to get a great, and 
a full peace. Be in nothing careful : be in all things thank 
ful, then the peace of God shall guard you. 

Besides, hereby ye shall shame the devil : your great ad 
versary shall retreat from tempting of you, as one ashamed 
and confounded. Some there are that shame the saints : and 
are a shame to the ways of God, and to the gospel : some 
there are that shame the devil. The devil said unto God con 
cerning Job, " Do but touch him, and he will curse thee to thy 
face." Job i. 11. Says the Lord, " He is in thy hand, only save 
his life :" and Satan touched him : what then ? " The Lord 
giveth, the Lord taketh away ; blessed be his name." The 
devil said he would curse God, and he blesses God : see 
how the devil is shamed and confounded here. Some there 
are that make the devil s words good : " Touch him, and he 
will curse thee to thy face :" and so do some do, and thereby 
they are a shame indeed unto the people of God, and the 
ways of God. But when people can bless God under afflic 
tion : if ye in every thing be thankful ; the devil is con 
founded, God is much honoured. Wherefore, beloved, as 
ye desire that God may be much honoured by you, the devil 
confounded, your own peace settled, all your afflictions 
turned into blessings, and the Lord engaged to you, to raise 
you up when ye are low : learn out this lesson, not only to 
be thankful when ye are full, but to be thankful when ye are 
empty, to be in every thing thankful, this is the will of God 
your Father. 


How shall we do this, you will say, how must that be 
done ? 

Some few things in answer to that, and so I will wind up 
up all. 

Observe your own temper, and accommodate yourselves ; 
put thyself upon that duty, and that grace, which thine own 
disposition lies next unto. God hath given us this indul 
gence. " Is any afflicted ? let him pray : is any merry ? let 
him sing psalms." According to your disposition, says he, 
that is the meaning ; so let your work be, so let your grace 
be. It may be thou canst not pray ; by that time thou hast 
been at another duty that thy disposition lies more unto, 
next unto, thou wilt be fit to pray. It may be thou canst 
not sing; by that time thou hast been at prayer, which thy 
disposition lies next unto, thou wilt be fit to sing. Let us 
not be more cruel to our souls than God is ; he hath given 
us this indulgence : observe yourselves, accommodate your 
selves ; and by this means you shall be able upon all occa 
sions to bless and praise the Lord. 

Again, Be sure of this, that you maintain your assurance 
fresh, and green. It is a hard thing for a man to be thank 
ful in every thing that wants assurance ; come to him for to 
praise God for a great work : but it may be, said he, it came 
in judgment to me, I have no assurance. Strengthen your 
assurance in these three things, and it will cause continual 
thankfulness, thankfulness in every thing : assurance of your 
interest in Christ, and union with him : assurance that all 
comes from love : assurance that all things work together 
for your good : and then if the Tempter come, and says, 
Wilt thou praise the Lord; dost thou not see how all thy 
acquaintance hath left thee ; and all thy friends left thee ? 
you will answer again, Aye, but all this is for my good, and 
all this comes out of love, and so whatever falls out, you will 
be thankful in every thing. 

Desire not much : he that desires much, will expect much ; 
and he that expects much, he will not be content with little, 
much less thankful for every thing. Jacob was a plain 
hearted man ; he desired little, he was content with less, he 
was thankful for every thing. So must you be. 

And if you do desire much, let your eye be as much upon 
what ye have, as upon what ye want. The covetous rich 


man, having a desire to have more, is not thankful for what 
he hath ; if you come to borrow money of him, says he, 
I have need to borrow of you, I am a very beggar, I have 
nothing. His eye is so much upon what he would have, he 
forgets what he hath. So many times it falls out spiritually ; 
let your eye therefore be as well upon what you have, as 
upon what you want. 

Be sure of this, that you maintain the sense of your own 
unworthiness. No man more thankful than David, no man 
more sensible of his unworthiness than David ; continually 
thankful, continually sensible of his unworthiness. There is 
a twofold unworthiness : creature unworthiness and sinful 
unworthiness. Accordingly a twofold sense of unworthiness; 
one that arises from the apprehension of creature unworthi 
ness, of emptiness of that is in us as creatures ; and another 
that arises from sense of guilt of sin. See them both in the 
viiith Psalm. The psalmist there praises the Lord : verse 1, 
" O Lord our God, how excellent is thy name in all the earth. 
When I consider the heavens, the work of thy fingers, what 
is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that 
thou visitest him ?" He praises the Lord. This thankfulness 
was raised from the sense of unworthiness, it was creature 
unworthiness : " Lord, what is man ? O Lord our God, how 
excellent is thy name in all the earth. Lord, what is man ?" 
Look into the cxvith Psalm, and there ye find the psalmist 
praising God upon the sense of unworthiness too : " Gracious 
is the Lord, and righteous ; yea, our God is merciful." And 
at the 12th verse, " What shall I render to the Lord for all 
his benefits towards me ?" Here is his thankfulness. It was 
raised upon sense of unworthiness. But what unworthiness ? 
Sinful unworthiness : verse 11, (f I said in my haste, All men 
are liars : what shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits 
towards me?" He was sensible of his own unworthiness, and 
it was a sinful unworthiness : " I said in my haste, All men 
are liars :" yet God is gracious to me : " What shall I render 
to the Lord for all his benefits ?" So now it will be with you. 
If ye can but keep the sense of your own unworthiness, you 
will say, I was a wretched and a great sinner, and though I 
have but little in the world, yet any thing is too much for one 
that was such a great sinner as I was ; you will be thankful 
for every thing, in every thing thankful; maintain but this. 


Beloved, ye see how in all these troubles of these times God 
hath given us our lives for a prey. As the Lord said con 
cerning Job : " Only spare his life," chap. ii. 6 ; so hath the 
Lore said concerning us, Spare their lives. God did not deal 
so by our Saviour Christ. When our Saviour Christ came 
into the world, he met with hard dealing from wicked men, 
and his life went for it. He did not say, " Only spare his 
life;" his life went for it. You have more, in this respect, 
than our dear Saviour had ; you have your lives given you 
for a prey in these evil times, our Saviour had not. Shall we 
not, then, be thankful in every thing ? having more than our 
Saviour had in this respect, shall we not be thankful for any 
thing ; for any thing that God gives us shall we not now be 
thankful ? How many are there that walk directly contrary 
unto this truth that I have spread before you: in every thing 
thankful : and they in nothing thankful, in nothing contented : 
husband godly, children hopeful, estate comfortable, and yet 
never contented ; servants cannot please, children cannot 
please, friends cannot please ; never contented. Oh, is this 
a duty, to be in every thing thankful; how do they lie in a 
sin, and the breach of this commandment, that are in nothing 
contented, never pleased. Beloved, I do not now come to 
call for contentment and patience and quietness under afflic 
tion, but for thankfulness ; and not for thankfulness only, 
when all goes well with you, but for thankfulness in every 
thing. Oh, therefore, let us return unto our own souls, con 
sider how it hath been with us. If there be ever a discon 
tented man or woman, read this sermon, consider this scrip 
ture. The Lord says, " Be in every thing thankful ;" and 
thou hast been in nothing thankful, in nothing contented in 
thy condition. Oh, how will you answer it at the great day ? 
Let me leave this exhortation with you, in your bosoms ; the 
Lord knows into what condition we may come, whether into 
affliction, or persecution, or desertion, or of temptation ; re 
member here lies your duty before you, lay it up in your 
hearts : " It is the will of God, even our Father, that we 
should be thankful to him in every thing ;" not in some things, 
not when things go well only, when we have victory ; but in 
all things thankful; " In every thing give thanks unto God; 
for this is the will of God our Father concerning you." 




"21. Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre 
and Sidon. 

22. And behold a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, 
and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, Lord, thou Son of 
David, my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 

23. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and 
besought him, saying, Send her away, for she crieth after us. 

24. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep 
of the house of Israel. 

25. Then came she and worshipped him, saying. Lord, help me. 

26. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children s 
bread and cast it to dogs, 

27. And she said, Truth, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs whiih 
fall from their master s table. 

28. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, woman, great is thy 
faith : be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made 
whole from that very hour." 

YE have in this story a great storehouse of heavenly com 
fort and instruction. I shall labour, briefly, to open it at this 
time unto ye. 

The words tell us of a great miracle wrought by our Saviour 
Christ : casting out the devil in one that was possessed. 
Concerning which cure two things are considerable : where 
this cure was wrought; and by what means it was wrought. 
Wrought in the coasts of Tyre and Sidon ; and by means of 
a woman s faith, for our Saviour said, " O woman, great is 
thy faith : be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daugh 
ter was made whole." The greatness of this woman s faith 
is set out by three great temptations that she did meet withal 


when she came and besought our Saviour for the cure of her 

First, " lie answered her not a word ;" but was silent to 
all her misery and prayer. This was a great temptation, a 
great trial. 

Secondly, He was not only silent, but when the disciples 
spake for her, he seems to give her a flat denial : " I am not 
sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." And this 
was a further and greater temptation. 

Thirdly, When yet she pressed in upon him, he seems to 
give her the repulse, and to call her dog : " It is not meet to 
take the children s bread and to cast it to dogs." Here was 
a great temptation indeed. But her faith wrought through 
all these temptations. And because, as ye shall see and hear 
in the opening of the words, that there is none of all these 
temptations but one time or other may befal the best of God s 
children, it will be good for us to observe how this woman s 
faith wrought through every temptation, that we may do the 
like in our temptations. 

But before we come unto that. The Holy Ghost here 
would have us take notice, first, from whence Christ came, and 
upon what occasion. Secondly, Whither he came, and how 
he was received. 

First of all, it is said here, "Then Jesus went thence:" he 
went from the Jews. He had been, as ye read in the former 
part of the chapter, disputing with them against their tradi 
tions : " Ye have made the commandments of God void 
through your traditions," verse 6. Whereupon they were 
much offended, verse 12. Our Saviour now then goes from, 
them; they were offended, and rejected his words, and he 
goes from them. These were the Jews that dwelt at Jerusa 
lem, not the meanest neither, the scribes and pharisees, the 
learned men of that time, and those that were most in account 
for holiness. See what entertainment the gospel finds in 
Christ s own time among the learned and those that were ac 
counted the most holy : scribes, learned men, and the phari 
sees, the most precise and strict men of those times, and yet 
here the gospel is rejected by them. Christ goes away, Christ 
goes from thence upon this account. 

None more rigorous opposers of the gospel of Jesus 
Christ, than learned men, and such as go for holy and pre- 


114 THE WOMAN OF CANAAN. [SfiR. fi. 

cise men, being wedded to their own inventions : so were 
these here. Know ye, therefore, men wedded to their o\vn 
inventions, though never so learned, or never so strict in 
their lives ; little hope that the gospel or the Lord Christ, 
should find entertainment among them. Be not offended 
though this fall out. 

Jesus went from thence : but whither went he ? The text 
says, " He departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon." 
How so ? Our Lord and Saviour Christ, commanded his 
disciples, that they should not go into the way of the gen 
tiles ; but says he, " Go and preach to the lost sheep of the 
house of Israel, but go not into the way of the gentiles," 
Matt. x. 5, 6. Will Christ forbid his disciples and apostles 
to go into the way of the gentiles, and will he himself go 
into the way of the gentiles, go into Tyre and Sidon, how can 
this be ? Some answer it thus : That the law-giver was not 
bound unto the law that he made himself. Others answer it 
thus : That our Lord and Saviour did not go unto Tyre and 
Sidon for to preach, but he went thither to be hid. And in 
Mark vii., where ye have the same story, " From thence he 
arose and went to Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, 
and would have no man know it." In this respect now, he 
did not forbid his disciples to go into the way of the gentiles. 

But the answer is clear, both in Matthew xv., and that 
same of Mark, " He departed c ra^rj unto the coasts of 
Tyre and Sidon." And in Mark vii. 34., " He arose and 
went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon." He went unto 
some place of Judea ; he did not go into the way of the gen 
tiles, but he went unto some town and place in Judea, which 
was upon the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 

And here now he being, a woman comes unto him, who is 
described at verse 22., from her country ; and from the 
action which she did. " Behold a woman of Canaan came 
out of the same coasts, and cried unto him saying," &c. 

A woman, a woman of Canaan, and " behold a woman of 
Canaan." As if that the Holy Ghost would have us take 
special notice of it, " Behold, a woman of Canaan came unto 
him." The Canaanites were of all others the most wicked : 
the Jews were for to cast them out of their nation, and not to 
converse with them : in the Jews account they were dogs. 
And therefore our Saviour says afterward, " It is not lawful 


to cast children s bread unto dogs." She was a Canaan- 
ite. But now this woman, this Canaanite, she believes ; 
comes unto Christ, and believes greatly : " O woman, great 
is thy faith." 

Pray let us observe the wonderful dispensation of God 
here. The Jews that Christ was sent unto, they rejected 
Christ : a Canaanite that is called a dog, receives Christ. 
Oh, the wonderful dispensation of God s grace. Mercy takes 
those in, and free grace takes in those into Christ that are 
most unlikely. The Jews they were called the children of 
the kingdom; the children they turn dogs: " Beware of the 
concision, beware of dogs," Phil. iii. 2. Children turn dogs : 
and dogs turn children : the Canaanite, a dog, becomes a 
child and believes ; and the Jews that were the children of 
the kingdom, they turn dogs and rend Christ ; oh, what free 
grace and love is here. Who would rest upon any out 
ward privilege though it be never so great ? Who would be 
discouraged in regard of any unworthiness though it be never 
so much ? 

But what says the woman ? Says she, " Have mercy upon 
me, O Lord thou Son of David, my daughter is grievously 
vexed with a devil." " Have mercy upon me, O Lord, thou 
son of David." Why does she call him the Son of David, 
and not rather the son of Abraham ; and not rather the son of 
Adam ; and not rather the Son of Man ? as Christ was often 
called ; why does she here call him the Son of David ? 

We find in Scripture, that Christ and David did often ex 
change names. " And David your king shall reign over 
you," Jer. xxx. 9. A promise is made to the Jews yet to be 
converted ; that is, Christ, David your king, and not Abra 
ham, shall reign over you ; but David your king. David was 
the king of the people of God, and was to feed them : and 
so Jesus Christ is king of the church, and feeds the people 
of God. Abraham was not a king, David a king ; and there 
fore, thou Son of David, and not thou Son of Abraham. And 
then, Messiah ordinarily among the Jews was called David. 
And therefore this woman here says, " O Lord, thou Son of 

She does first of all acknowledge his Deity ; and therefore 
she calls him Lord, " O Lord :" she does acknowledge his 
humanity, and incarnation ; and therefore she says, " Thou 

i 2 

116 THE WOMAN OF CANAAN. [SEll. fi. 

Son of David." Her faith was rightly planted ; here now 
ye have her faith in the mustard seed ; look but down 
a few verses, and you find it grown up into a great tree, that 
the birds of the air, and the saints may come and build their 
nests in the branches of her faith, But here it is planted. 
She had in her own country, some that by exorcism did un 
dertake for to cast out devils : she does not go to them : she 
had her own gods in her own country, she leaves them, and 
she singles out Christ, and she singles out that name, title, 
and attribute of Christ, wherein was most of the covenant, 
and most of the promise : and her faith now, being thus 
rightly planted, it rises up unto great perfection, she comes 
on with boldness. 

But stay, O woman, a little, thou art a great sinner, thou 
art a Canaanite, and so a dog, and what dost thou coming 
unto Jesus Christ ? I know what I do, might she say, I do 
not come to Peter, I do not come to James, I do not come to 
John ; but I come to Christ, and I come to mercy, to 
mercy itself. I do not plead mine own righteousness, or 
mine own patience, or my humility, or prayer, or perseve 
rance in prayer ; but I plead mercy, " Have mercy on me, O 
Lord." Behold a miracle in the midst of a miracle, says 
Chrysostom. The angels in heaven cover their faces in be 
holding the glory of Jesus Christ; and a poor woman here 
on earth comes with boldness : the cherubims and seraphims 
in heaven, says he, fear before Christ; fear above, and faith 
below ; fear in angels, faith and boldness in a poor woman, 
she comes with boldness. 

If faith be true and right, it lays aside all one s own righ 
teousness, and comes unto naked mercy ; passes by all other 
helps and means, singles out Christ, that name and title of 
Christ that hath most of the covenant, and of God s love in it. 

She does not only come with boldness, but she comes with 
prayer, " Have mercy upon me," &c. She comes praying, 
for she came believing. * Faith and prayer well go together. 
Prayer is the issue of faith. Faith is prayer in the coal, and 
prayer is faith in the flame ; she comes praying. And mark 
also, she comes with love ; and such love, as makes another 
body s infirmity and weakness one s own : for she does not 
say thus, " My daughter is grievously vexed with a devil," 
have mercy on my daughter ; but have mercy on me : her 


daughter s vexation is her own, her infirmity is her own. 
Faith wrought the love here. Oh, that parents would imi 
tate this woman, and go unto Jesus Christ for their children 
that are vexed with devils. If a child be sick in body, a pa 
rent will run to God and cry for help ; but children s souls 
may be vexed with devils, every lust and sin is a devil, and 
they do not run to Christ, and say, Oh, Lord, have mercy 
on me ; for my daughter, or my son, or my child is vexed 
with an unclean devil, or a profane devil ; but this woman, 
having planted her faith rightly, her faith here it does work by 
prayer, and it works by love, and she says thus, " Have 
mercy upon me, O Lord, thou Son of David, my daughter is 
grievously vexed vuth a devil." 

But what now is Christ s answer to her ? " He answered 
her not a word." Now comes the temptation, the three 
great temptations ; do not wonder that I call these tempta 
tions. It is true, God tempteth no man, and Christ tempteth 
no man ; but take temptation for trial, so Christ tempts, so 
God tempteth. Satan, he tempts a man for to draw out 
his sin ; but Christ tempts for to draw out our faith. Satan s 
temptations are black within, white and sweet without ; but 
Christ s temptations are black without, white and sweet 

The first temptation therefore, you have here, " He an 
swered her not a word." Not a word ! Christ is called the 
Word: the Word answers not a word. The fountain of 
mercy seems to be enclosed ; as if he rejected her, and her 
condition ; as if he cared not for it, nor for her ; he answered 
her not a word. Here was a great temptation upon the 
woman, a great trial ; for she might say thus : I have heard 
" that the Lord heareth prayer ;" and now I come and pray 
unto him, he answers me not a word; how is the Scripture true ? 
I have heard that this man says, " Come unto me all ye that 
are weary and heavy laden, and I will ease you :" and now 
I do come unto him, he answers me not a word. The cen 
turion came unto him, and he helped him. A poor leper 
came unto him, and he helped him : my condition is worse 
than any body s. Here was a great temptation, Christ an 
swered her not a word. 

Though Christ answered her not a word, he heard every 
word ; in not answering her, he answered her. In not 


speaking, Christ speaketh much, many times, for when he 
speaks no answer to your prayers, the language of his actions 
speaks thus : Pray on, cry on, and lift up your voice on high. 
Christ holds the door close, not that he may keep you out, 
but that he may make you knock the more. Christ lets you 
continue praying, not because he does not regard your prayer, 
but because he loves your prayer so well, that he would hear 
your prayer again and again. Christ knows that strength 
comes in wrestling. 

It is no new thing, then, for believers to have no present, vi- 
ble answer to their prayers. But mark, although they have no 
visible answer to their prayers, they have invisible strength : 
he answered her not a word to her prayer, but he assisted 
her all that while in praying: he gives her no answer to her 
prayer, but he gave her prayer, he gave her faith to continue 
in prayer. So long therefore, as the Lord Jesus Christ does 
send down his Spirit upon your heart in prayer ; though you 
have no visible answer unto your prayer, yet if he uphold 
your heart in believing, still to hang upon him, still to wait 
upon him, your condition is not new, it is no other than 
that which befals the best of God s children and true be 
lievers : thus it befel this woman. 

If this temptation do befal any of you as it befel this 
woman, to have no visible answer unto your prayer ; pray 
do as this woman did. What did she ? 

He answered her not a word ; but still she does acknow 
ledge that he was able to help her, does acknowledge his 
Deity, and says, " Lord." So do you. 

She does acknowledge ; that it is his office for to help : 
and therefore she says, "Thou Son of David." So do you 
also say in your heart, Though I have not help for the pre 
sent, it is the office of Christ to help me ; he is the Son of 

She does not rest upon her own duty, or her own righ 
teousness ; but she comes unto mere mercy, and she waits on 
that. So do you also. 

She does propound her misery, leave her misery at the 
feet of Christ, and does not stint or limit him to this or that 
means. " Lord," says she, " my daughter is grievously 
vexed;" but she does not say how she would have her 
daughter cured, she leaves that to Christ, only propounds 


her misery, and leaves that at the feet of Christ, to take his 
own way, and use his own means. So do you also. 

She continues yet praying, yea, when the disciples had 
done. The disciples they said, " Send her away for she 
crieth after us," verse 23. Christ made an answer to them, 
and ye hear no more of the disciples, they had done. Thus 
do you also, as this woman did, though your friends, and the 
disciples of Christ that have been praying for you, be weary, 
have done, and have no more to speak for you ; yet hold you 
out, and continue praying. Thus did this woman, she would 
not leave Christ, but she comes on afresh, she comes unto 
him again. 

What is Christ s answer ? " He answered and said, I am 
not sent, but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." 
Here now is the second temptation. And this indeed seems 
to be greater than the former. Before, he answered her not 
a word ; and now here is denial, seeming denial, tf I am not 
sent, but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." This 
temptation is greater : for now in this his dealing, his way 
seems to run cross unto promises. The promise was made 
unto the gentiles ; the Old Testament is full of it, Isa. xlii. 
1. " He shall bring forth judgment unto the gentiles." verse 6. 
" I have given thee for a covenant of the people, for a light 
of the gentiles." And so in many places, mercy is promised 
unto the gentiles. Here now our Saviour says, " I am not 
sent, but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." His 
dealing with this woman seems to run cross to the promises. 
Yea, now he comes to the great unanswerable objection ; 
as if he should say thus : There are a company of poor lost 
ones, that are my sheep, elected, predestinated to salvation 
from all eternity ; and I am sent unto them, I am not sent, 
but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Whereupon 
this woman might say, Nay then, what do I waiting any 
longer ? for if I be not one of the elect, if I be not one of 
Christ s sheep, then there is no hope for me. This was a 
great, and a very great temptation, to lay these words before 
her, a great trial, " I am not sent, but unto the lost sheep of 
the house of Israel." But mark her carriage ; she coes not 
fall to dispute the matter of election, or predestination ; she 
came and worshipped him, saying, "Lord help me," verse 21. 
As if she should say, Lord, whether I be elected or not, I 


do not know ; whether I be one of those lost sheep or no, I 
cannot tell, but I am sure I am lost, and therefore, O Lord, 
help nee. Observe, 

A man s temptations may rise higher and higher, even 
after prayer; and yet pray aright. This woman did pray 
before, and her temptation arises after prayer, yet her prayer 
right, and her faith right. 

Observe this, that God s dealings, or Christ s dealings 
with a man, may sometimes seem to be cross to his very 
promise, and yet a man s condition right. So here with this 

That it may be the case of some of God s children, to be 
exercised about their election and predestination ; and temp 
tations concerning election and predestination thrown in 
upon them. 

That in case any poor believer, that is a weak person, 
weak in the faith, be tempted and tried about election or 
predestination, the best way for the present is, to lay that 
dispute by ; and to run to mercy, and say, u Lord help me :" 
and for the present, not to dispute whether he be a sheep 
or no, elected or no, predestinated or no, but run to Christ, 
and go to prayer, and say, Lord help me, and lay the dispute by. 

Again, As our temptations increase, so our faith shall 
increase. The woman s temptations rose, so did her faith 
too ; " She came and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help 
me:" still she held on and and hung upon Jesus Christ. 
According to the increases of our temptations, so shall the 
increases of our faith be. 

If all this will not do, behold now a third, and a greater 
temptation. " He answered and said, It is not meet to take 
the children s bread and to cast it to dogs." 

" It is not meet to cast children s bread to dogs" The 
word in the original is, a whelp. A dog grown, or a mastiff, 
may be, and is good for something, of great use ; but what 
is a whelp good for, for the present, of what use ? It is not 
meet to cast children s bread unto whelps. 

" To cast children s bread." It intimates thus much, that 
God does cast out some outward blessings upon wicked men 
that are even dogs : but the bread of children is so dis 
pensed, gospel bread is so dispensed, as nothing shall be lost. 

Here was a very great temptation, and greater than the 


other. Dog is most unworthy. When the Scripture would 
set out the unworthiness of a man, and the ahject condition 
of any, he is called a dog. Goliah could understand this, 
" Am I a dog, that thou comest out thus against me," 1 Sam. 
xvii. 43. Am I so base, vile, and unworthy ? am I a dog ? 
And so Mephibosheth, when he would acknowledge his own 
unworthiness to David he calls himself, a dog, and a dead 
dog. So Hazael, te Am I a dog ?" Yet says our Saviour 
here, " It is not meet to cast children s bread unto dogs." 
This woman now, her heart might have risen, and she 
might have said thus, One would think I am no dog; I 
am no dog; I am a woman, though a sinful woman, but I 
am no dog : I have now come and spread my condition, and 
misery before ye ; if ye will not relieve me, do not miscall 
me ; if ye will not help me, yet do not abuse me ; if ye will 
not help me, yet pity me, do not call me dog, I am no dog. 
The Jews, that you call the children of the kingdom, they in 
deed are dogs, they turn again and rend you, but I do not 
turn again and rend you, I am no dog. Her heart might 
have risen at this phrase : here was a great temptation now, a 
mighty trial here in this third thing. 

It is no new thing for true believers, God s own people, to 
have their unworthiness objected to them. It is an ordinary 
thing amongst men and women : I am unclean, I am unwor 
thy of communion with the saints, communion with God s 
people, with Christ, I am a dog, I am most unworthy ; it is 
no new thing for true believers to have their own unworthi 
ness objected to them. 

But mark, how this woman s faith works through this 
temptation. Says she, " True, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the 
crumbs which fall from their master s table." 

" True." The word is the same that in the Corinthians, 
ye translate, protest. " I protest by our rejoicing, that I die 
daily," 1 Cor. xv. 33. And it should rather be translated so ; 
" Yea, by our rejoicing we die daily :" rather than in the 
form of an oath, as it is there, it is the same word that is 
here for, true. 

Ye cannot charge a believer so deeply, or speak so meanly 
of him, but he does think and speak as meanly of him 
self: Lord, that dost call me a dog, and one that is most un 
worthy ; true, Lord, I am most unworthy. Some, they will 


dispraise themselves; but if you dispraise them too, then 
they will be angry ; if you fall in with their own dispraises, 
and say, It is true : then they will be angry. But a true be 
liever, you cannot speak or think so meanly of him, but he 
will say, True, Lord, true. 

" Lord." Observe here, she calls Christ, Lord, when 
Christ calls her dog. Lord, says she, though thou speakest 
dishonourably of me, yet I will speak honourably of thee : 
though I am a dog in thy mouth, thou art a Lord in my 
mouth. A gracious heart, and a true believer, will speak 
and think honourably of Jesus Christ, even then, at that 
time, when the Lord Jesus Christ shall suffer the great 
est dirt and reproach to be thrown upon him : True, Lord. 

" But the dogs eat the crumbs." True faith finds out a 
promise in the very refusal, in Christ s refusal : finds out en 
couragement in the bowels of discouragement. True, Lord, 
bread is for children ; that is the loaf, the piece that is cut off 
the loaf; but the crumbs do as well belong to a dog, as the 
loaf belongs to the child. And, Lord, thou sayestl am a dog, 
therefore a crumb does belong to me. True faith, it gathers 
in upon Jesus Christ, and gathers in upon him by that very 
hand that seems to put the soul away from him : it makes 
advantage of a discouragement, and gathers it upon Jesus 
Christ even by that hand that does thrust it away. " The 
dogs eat the crumbs." 

Again, You may observe here, that the least of Christ is 
highly prized with a true believer : a gracious heart, a true 
believer does highly prize and value the least of Christ. A 
crumb, a crumb ; oh, if I may have but a crumb ; a crumb 
shall be welcome ; Lord, a crumb of mercy is welcome : the 
loaves are for children, but if I can get a crumb I will praise 
God for it, I will be contented. The least, the worst of 
Christ in the eye of a believer is highly \alued, and he sets a 
great price upon it. 

Lastly, All this is said by a woman. Women usually are 
not of that boldness, but more easily dashed out of counte 
nance. Faith rises above our nature and above our natural 
disposition. Faith had gotten into this woman s heart, and 
she forgets her own disposition, she come like any man with 
boldness upon Jesus Christ, follows him, and will never let 


him alone. Faith rises above our own dispositions and above 
our natures. 

From all this you may observe here, if you be tempted 
with consideration of your own unworthiness, how you should 
give an answer unto those temptations. Do as this woman 
did : If I be a dog, Lord, yet I am thy dog ; and if I be a 
dog, Lord, yet crumbs belong to me ; and if I be never so 
great a sinner, mercy and grace is for sinners, and I come to 
mercy. Oh, still, still hang upon Jesus Christ, still hang 
upon Jesus Christ, and never let him go. Ab negando pro- 
mittit, he does promise in denying. There was honeycombs 
found in the body of the lion. Do but hang upon Jesus 
Christ, hang upon him by faith, and you will find honeycombs 
in the midst of all those temptations and discouragements 
that you do meet withal. And though for the present he does 
seem to give a denial unto all your prayers, yet at the last he 
will own your prayers, he will own your faith, and he will say 
unto thee, man or woman, " Great is thy faith : be it unto 
thee even as thou wilt." 

I come to the victory after this combat. " Then Jesus 
answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith : 
be it unto thee even as thou wilt." Here, now, the Lord 
does give a testimony of her faith, and he does give her the 
mercy desired. First, he commends her faith, and, secondly, 
he commends the greatness of her faith, " O woman, great is 
thy faith." 

Why does he rather commend her faith than other graces ? 
She had other graces. Here is humility in this woman to be 
seen ; here is a great deal of wisdom in this woman to be 
seen ; here is prayer ; here is perseverance in prayer. Christ 
commends none of these, but commends her faith. Why 
does he rather commend her faith than any other grace ? 

Faith does commend Christ above all the other, and there 
fore Christ will commend faith above all other duties or 
graces. Faith honours Christ, and Christ will honour faith. 
It is faith that gives a being to, and is the root of all other 
graces. He commends that. It is only faith that brings 
Christ and the soul together; and therefore he does commend 
faith above all other graces. 

If the Lord Jesus Christ does commend faith so, why 
should we not all labour especially to strengthen our faith. 


Get faith, you that have it not; and strengthen it, you that 
have it. Get humility, patience, wisdom; be much in prayer, 
and continue in prayer; but above all things get faith. Faith 
is the grace commended by Jesus Christ above all other 
graces ; therefore we should labour above all for to get faith, 
and to strengthen faith. It is observed from this place, that 
Christ commends none but the gentiles, the faith of the gen 
tiles. He says concerning the centurion, " I have not found 
so great faith, no not in Israel;" he was a gentile. And here 
he says concerning this woman, " O woman, great is thy 
faith ;" and she was a gentile. Whatever, therefore, thou 
hast been ; though a Canaanite, though a sinner, though a 
great sinner ; get faith, labour to strengthen thy faith, and the 
Lord Jesus Christ will own thy faith at last. Though for the 
present he seems to hide himself from thee, yet he will own 
it at the last, and he will commend it at the last. 

He commends here the greatness of her faith. Wherein 
was the greatness of her faith ? Faith consists in the know 
ledge of Christ, assent unto the truth, a relying upon God in 
Christ in time of temptation; it is a coming to Jesus Christ, 
an adherence to him. But the greatness of her faith lay in 
this, that in the midst of all these temptations, yet she did 
hang on Christ, and would not be beaten off by any of these 
discouragements or temptations. Here was the greatness of 
her faith. 

The strength of faith does not lie in the assurance of our 
salvation, or of God s love, or of the mercy that we desire 
in prayer; one may have strong faith, and yet no assurance ; 
I say, not only faith, but strong faith. This woman had no 
assurance, that we read of, not assurance of the thing that she 
begged, that the Lord would hear her prayer; she had no as 
surance of it, only she hung upon Christ, and would not away. 
And when he put her away, she gathered in upon him ; in 
the midst of all temptation and opposition still she did hang 
upon him. So, then, a man may have faith, and strong faith, 
although he have no assurance. 

And, upon this account, how many are there that have 
strong faith, that think they have no faith all. Some think 
they have no faith because they cannot say, Christ is mine, 
mercy is mine, heaven is mine ; but yet, if in the time of your 
temptation ye can hang upon Christ, and will not away from 

. 6.] THE WOMAN OF CANAAN*. 125 

Christ, but will still hang upon him, still wait upon him ; you 
have not only faith, but you may have strong faith, a great 
faith, as this woman had. And let me tell you this for your 
comfort : at the last the Lord will make a report of your faith 
unto your own heart ; yea, he will make a report answerable 
to your temptation ; for you may observe here, that as the 
wound was made, so the plaster was laid. You have three 
great temptations : answerably, now, the Lord Jesus Christ 
does testify of this woman. First of all, " He answered her 
not a word," would not own her, would not speak to her : now, 
says he, " O woman/ Then he said that " he was not sent 
but unto the lost sheep :" now he does own her for a sheep, 
and he says she hath faith. Before, he says, " It is not meet 
to cast children s bread to dogs :" this did argue that she 
was a dog, one most unworthy : now, he says, that she is 
most worthy; O woman, thou hast not onlv faith, but thou 
hast a great faith ; " O woman, great is thy faith." So that, 
I say, still hang upon Christ ; in all your temptations, in the 
midst of all your discouragements, still hang upon Christ ; 
and the Lord Jesus, he will not only make a report of your 
faith unto ye, but, according as your temptations rise, so shall 
the report of your grace be from the Lord Christ unto your 
poor soul : therefore hang upon Christ. 

He does not only here give a testimony of her faith, and 
the greatness of her faith, but now he does give the thing : 
" Be it unto thee as thou wilt." Christ can deny nothing to 
a true believer. A believer may have what he will of Christ 
at last. Christ cannot hold : though he do hide himself from 
his brethren, as Joseph did, for a time, he cannot hold it out 
always, he cannot hold out the siege always, but he will give 
up himself to a poor believer; O poor believer, be it accord 
ing as thou wilt; thou wouldest have grace, thou wouldest 
have this or that mercy, be it unto thee even as thou wilt. 

I will only take one lesson from all and so conclude. 

And the great lesson that we should all learn from this 
whole story is, to believe in the face of all discouragement, of 
all opposition, all temptation ; still to hang upon Jesus 
Christ. The very reading of this story provokes us here 
unto. Whatsoever your temptations be, whatever your dis 
couragements be, yet hang on Christ, never away, still wait 
upon him. 


You say, it may be, But I fear Christ and the promise does 
not belong to me. 

But did Jesus Christ ever say unto ye with his own mouth, 
" I am not sent, but unto the lost sheep," and thou art 
none ? He said so to this woman, and yet she did hang 
upon him, and he commended her for her faith. 

But you will say unto me, I have been at prayer, I have 
prayed long, and I hear nothing of all my prayers. 

This woman did pray to Christ, he answered her not a 
word, and yet she did hang upon him, yet she did believe : 
and she is commended for her believing. 

You will say, I am one that have been a great sinner, an 
unclean wretch, even as a dog ; surely there is no hope and 
no mercy for me. 

Did the Lord Jesus Christ ever himself say to you, as he 
said to this woman, seeming to call her dog ? yet she did 
hang upon him, yet she did wait upon him, yet she did be 
lieve, and the Lord commended her for her faith. 

I pray, indeed, but it is my necessities make me go unto 
God in prayer; and when I go unto God in prayer, my 
necessities put me on. 

And was it not so with this woman ? Her daughter was 
grievously vexed with a devil, and thereupon her necessity 
drave her unto Christ ; and yet, poor woman, she is welcome. 

But I do not go unto Jesus Christ : I go not unto Christ 
at all. 

But Jesus Christ yet will come to you. This woman did 
not come to Jerusalem, Christ went down unto the coasts 
of Tyre and Sidon ; Christ came to her, and yet she be 
lieved : this stood with faith, and Christ commended her 

I have no assurance of Christ s love and mercy towards me. 

Tell me, Had this woman any assurance of this mercy 
that she prayed for ? She only brings in her wants, pro 
pounds them to Jesus Christ, lays them at his feet, hangs 
upon him ; and this was her faith, and she is commended for 
her faith, and the greatness of her faith : " O woman, great 
is thy faith." So that, do but now hang on Christ, though 
thou hast not assurance of thy salvation, or of the love of 
God, yet in the face of all temptations, and all discourage 
ment, hang on Christ, never away, never be beaten off by 


any discouragement, hang on Christ, wait on Christ, and the 
Lord Christ will at last commend thee as thou wilt. How 
shall people that go on in a continued way of doubting and 
unbelief, ever look this poor woman in the face at the great 
day of judgment, this poor Canaanitish woman ? How will 
you be able, you that go on in a continual way of doubting 
and unbelief, to look the Lord Jesus Christ in the face ? 
Stir up yourselves, stir up yourselves, I beseech you, to this 
great work of believing. I confess it is a hard thing to 
believe, and harder to believe than to keep all the ten com 
mandments. There is something in nature to contribute 
towards the keeping of the ten commandments, but there is 
nothing in nature to contribute to thy believing on the Lord 
Jesus Christ. It is a very hard thing to believe truly ; and 
those that make it an easy matter, they do not know what it 
is to believe. But read over this story, and your hearts will 
be provoked to believe, to hang upon Jesus Christ. Do it, 
and the Lord will commend your faith, and own you and 
your faith. 




GOOD READER. The Jews say, that there is not the least letter of the word, 
upon which huge mountains do not hang. Luther saith, That one tittle of the 
word is greater than heaven and earth. But our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ 
saith, " That heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass 
away." Shall we then stand still, behold and see the ordinances of Christ 
wrested from us, and not bear witness against it ? Upon this account, though 
the entreaties of divers friends have been very pressing, I am not unwilling that 
this Sermon concerning ordinances be brought into public view. 

You may read in the Scripture, that in the times next before Christ and his 
glorious coming, professors shall not keep their garments which they were used 
to wear with honour. Therefore saith our Saviour, " Blessed is he that watch- 
eth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame," 
Rev. xvi. 15. When shall this be ? In the time of the pouring out of the sixth 
vial, which is immediately before the coming of Christ : for he saith, then, 
" Behold I come as a thief, blessed is he that watcheth," &c. In Matt. xxiv. 
it is said, " Immediately after the tribulation of those days, shall appear the 
sign of the Son of Man," ver. 29, 30. What days are those? Even the days 
when men shall say of Christ, " Behold he is in the desert, behold he is in the 
secret chamber," ver. 26. Gone from the public ordinances, only to be enjoyed 
in private. Who shall those be that shall say thus ? Such as would fain he 
reputed prophets, such as have had a hand in the great works of God in those 
times, and such as have been great and high professors ; for saith our Saviour, 
" There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs 
and wonders, insomuch as, if it be possible, they shall deceive the very elect," 
ver. 24. But when shall these things be ? Immediately before Christ s coming, 
ver. 29, for saith he, " Verily this generation," that is, the generation on which 
he spake of, not which he spake to, " shall not pass, till all these things be ful 
filled." So that immediately before the glorious coming of Christ, men shall 
depart from, and cast away the precious ordinances of Jesus Christ: which is as 
well grief as comfort to us : grief, that there should be such decliuings ; comfort, 
that our Lord is at hand. This declining is an ill sin, but a good sign : as an ill 
sin, it is grief; as a good sign of Christ s coming, so it is comfort. And if our 
Lord and Saviour be at hand, even at the door, who would not watch and keep 
his garments ? Shall we not watch with him one hour? The scope and drift 
of this Sermon is, to call upon your s and mine own soul to watch. Wherein is 
proved, both in the general, that ordinances, and in particular, that such and 
such ordinances ought to be still continued, and that new testament believers are 
still to live under the same ; not that they should not Jive beyond them, in the 
use of them ; for in the way of nature we are to use our daily bread, though we 

SER. 7,] A VINDICATION , &c. 129 

do live beyond it. Living under an ordinance as Christ s appointment, and 
living beyond it in regard of divine enjoyment, are not repugnant : but that be 
lievers should so live beyond the ordinances, as that they are not bound to the 
use thereof, is the thing which this Sermon lies against. 

I have not spoken of the Lord s day herein. There are divers treatises 
abroad which do prove that an ordinance of Christ to be still continued ; and 
the clearing and proving thereof, requires more time than an hour or two in 
preaching would admit. Neither have I spoken much unto that objection, 
namely, That all the ordinances of Christ do hang upon the ministry, and there 
can be no ministry now, because those extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost are 
wanting : for the question before me was not, Whether the ordinances may or 
can possibly continue ? but, Whether they ought to continue ? Yet as to that 
objection, I add, if you look into 1 Tim. i. 3, where the apostle Paul dotb set 
down the qualifications of one who is fit to be a minister of the gospel; ye shall 
not find one word declaring that those extraordinary gifts of the Hoi) Ghost, are 
any part of the essential qualification of an elder or bishop. The apostle shews 
how a man should be qualified that is made a deacon, ver. 8 12 ; how a widow 
should be qualified who is to be taken into that number, chap. v. 9, 10 ; and how 
a bishop or elder should be qualified, chap. iii. : but though he set down many 
particulars of the qualifications of a man fit for that office, yet not one word of 
these extraordinary gifts, plainly speaking this truth, that those gifts are not of 
the essence of a minister of the gospel ; yea, where do we find that those ordi 
nary elders chosen in the apostles time, Acts xiii. ; Titus i., were endued with 
such gifts ? Apostles and evangelists, who were extraordinary officers, and not 
to continue, had those gifts ; we read they had them, but where do we read that 
the ordinary elders, who were to continue, had these extraordinary gifts of the 
Holy Ghost constantly? We find that baptism was administered to those 
persons who had none of these gifts. Acts viii. 15, 16, 17 ; that the Lord s 
Supper was administered to Christ s disciples, before the Holy Ghost in those 
gifts fell upon them, Matt. xxvi. ; and that the church s censure requires no 
such gifts, Matt. <viii. Now therefore if the ordinances may be received without 
them, and they are not of the essence of the ministry j why should any man 
think that the ordinances of Jesus Christ do so hang upon these, that if these 
be wanting, the ordinances cannot be used or administered ? 

And as for the Lord s day, which is called the Lord s day, as the Lord s Sup 
per is, because of the Lord s appointment and institution ; who doth not see how 
the power of godliness hath grown and thriven under the droppings thereof? 
What nation or kingdom is there under all the heavens, where the power of 
godliness hath flourished more than in England ? Why ? Not excluding other 
reasons of God s grace and free love to us, but because the Lord s day hath lived 
more institution-wise in England, than in any other part of the world. And 
what gracious man is there in all this nation who may not rise up and say to 
this day, Blessed art thou amongst the days of the week : my soul doth, yea, 
and all generations shall call thee blessed. 

The other Sermon (the eighth in this volume) is about Grace and Gifts ; the 
excellency of grace and love above gifts ; whereunto we shall do well that we 
take heed, for if our gifts do wax wanton, they will despise ordinances, and kick 
against grace itself, which they have the more cause to nourish, because they live 
plentifully under the roof of grace. Happy is the man whose gifts do cherish 
his graces, and whose graces do produce gifts : and as diversities of gifts should 
not make us disagree or envy one another, but rather bind us in love to one 
another ; so extraordinary enjoyments should not draw us from ordinary means, 


but quicken up our hearts thereunto. As if God do marvellously bless us without 
prayer, and we be driven the more unto prayer by it, then it is of God and his 
love ; but if it cause us to leave or neglect prayer, then it is perilous. Now 
these are perilous times, for they are the last times ; wherefore, good reader, let 
us rather desire to have plain grace than fine gifts, for this is the more excellent 

I have not had so much time to peruse these two Sermons as I would, for the 
notes stayed a very little while in my hands ; but I find they are agreeable to 
what I delivered in preaching, whereunto I have made some little addition. The 
title, &c I left to my friends who desired the printing ; the mending of some 
press-faults I must leave to the pen of the reader. Now the good Lord himself, 
who hath often refreshed our souls with the sense of his love in Christ Jesus, 
keep all our feet in his ways, and grant that we may hold fast what we have, lest 
another take our crown. 

Your s in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 


" Unto Him shall ye hearken." DEUT. xviii. 15. 

THESE words are spoken concerning our Lord and Saviour 
Jesus Christ, who is our great prophet; whose work and 
office it is, to reveal and make known the mind and will of 
God the Father unto us. Our duty therefore is, to hearken 
unto him. And this is that inference which the Lord himself 
makes here, " Unto him shall ye hearken." Only ye may 
observe, that when the apostle Peter in Acts iii. doth cite 
this scripture, he gives you a double exposition : for whereas 
it is said in verse 19 of this chapter, " It shall come to pass, 
that whosoever will not hearken unto my words, which he 
shall speak in my name, I will require it of him ;" Peter in 
Acts iii. 23 renders it thus, " And it shall come to pass, that 
every soul which will not hear the prophet, shall be destroyed 
from among the people." And whereas it is said here in the 
text, " Unto him shall ye hearken ;" Peter in Acts iii. 23, 
renders it thus, " Him shall ye hear in all things, whatsoever 
he shall say unto you." So that this is the great inference 
and use that the Lord himself doth make of this prophetical 
office of Christ, " Unto him shall ye hearken." 

It will be therefore worth our time to consider, what it is 
for to hearken to him, this great Prophet. Know therefore, 
that when he saith, " Unto him shall ye hearken ;" the mean 
ing is, unto him alone, and to none else ; as, " Thou shalt 
worship the Lord thy God," our Saviour translates, " And 
him only shalt thou serve." So here, " Unto him shall ye 


hearken ;" that is, to him only, to him alone, and to none 

Now a man is said to hearken unto Christ, this great Pro 
phet, either when he doth acknowledge, receive, and submit 
unto his appointments ; or else when he doth obey his voice 
with the obedience of faith. I say, first, a man is said to 
hearken unto Christ, this great Prophet, when he doth 
receive, acknowledge, and submit unto his appointments. 
And therefore if you compare Matt. x. with Luke x, ye shall 
find that hearing and receiving is the same thing. In Matt. 
x. 40, " He that receiveth you, receiveth me." In Luke x. 
16, " He that heareth you, heareth me." What is hearing in 
one, is receiving in the other : so that I say, first, a man is 
said to hear Christ, this great Prophet, when he doth receive, 
acknowledge, and submit unto his appointments : this is our 
duty. When it is said, fs Unto him shall ye hearken," this 
is here commanded. 

For the opening therefore, and pressing of this truth, I 
shall labour, 

First, To shew you, what those appointments of Christ, 
this great Prophet of cur s, are, which we are to receive, 
acknowledge, and submit unto, and thereby to hearken unto 

Secondly, That these appointments and institutions of 
his, do still continue and bind us, and that we are still to 
hearken to him therein : still he lives and speaks in those 

Thirdly, I shall answer to some objections, questions, and 
cases of conscience concerning ordinances, and the institu 
tions of Christ. 

Fourthly, Shew you what a dangerous thing it is for a man 
to turn his back upon, and ears from, the voice of this great 
Prophet, speaking in his appointments and institutions. 

Fifthly, How and in what manner this hearing work should 
be rightly performed ? 

First, If you ask me what these appointments are which 
we are to receive, acknowledge and submit unto, and so to 
hearken unto this great Prophet in ? 

I answer, That if you look into the whole new testament, 
you shall find the precepts of Christ are either moral, as the 
ten commandments, or positive. As for the moral precepts of 

K 2 


the ten commandments, though our Lord and Saviour Christ 
hath added no new thing unto them more than what was be 
fore, yet, as I may so speak, he hath put them into another 
dress than what was formerly put upon them ; for saith he in 
the vth of Matthew, " It hath been said by them of old, 
Thou shalt not commit adultery : but I say unto you, whoso 
ever looketh upon a woman to lust after her," &c. In this 
vth of Matthew there are six cases that our Lord and Saviour 
Christ speaks unto ; in three of them he makes mention of 
the very words of the moral law ; as at verse 21, " Ye have 
heard it was said of old, Thou shalt not kill." At the 27th 
verse, " Ye have heard that it was said of old, Thou shalt 
not commit adultery." So again, verse 33. But, now, when 
he speaks of the other laws that were not of the ten com 
mandments, ye may observe that he alters his manner of 
speaking : " Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for 
an eye." He doth not say, Ye have heard that it hath been 
said by them of old time. When, I say, he speaks of any of 
the ten commandments, that clause is added; when he speaks 
of the other three cases, that clause is not added. 

Again, You may observe this, that those words, * Ye have 
heard that it was said to them of old time;" should be rather 
translated, as it is in some of your books, " Ye have heard 
that it was said by them of old time ;" which appears by the 
antithesis, or opposition, " But I say." 

Again, You may observe, that when he saith, at the 17th 
verse, " Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the 
prophets, I am not come to destroy but to fulfil ;" those 
words, according to the original, may be read thus ; " I am 
not come to destroy but to fill up ;" for though Christ added 
nothing unto the ten commandments, or moral law, yet, not 
withstanding, he did more fully reveal and make known what 
was and is therein commanded; for ourLord andSaviourChrist 
did not barely speak against the false glosses and interpreta 
tions of the Jews and Jewish rabbins, for he instanceth in 
the words of Moses, and of the law itself. " It hath been 
said by them, Thou shalt not commit adultery ; but I say, 
Whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust," &c. What, then, 
were not unclean thoughts forbidden by the law, and in Mo 
ses s time ? Yes : but when Christ came, he doth more fully 
and clearly reveal what was before commanded and forbidden 


in the law; and so though he hath made no new addition to 
the law, yet in this respect he hath, as it were> made some 
advance upon the very moral law, the ten commandments ; 
and herein we are to hearken to him, this great Prophet, by 
acknowledging, receiving and submitting unto these commands 
thus opened and interpreted by him. 

But now if you look upon the positive precepts or com 
mandments of Christ, you shall find that Jesus Christ hath 
given forth many that were not given forth in the times of 
Moses, or of the old testament : for in the times of the old 
testament circumcision was, now baptism is ; then the pass- 
over, now the Lord s supper ; then their ministers were 
priests and Levites, now pastors and teachers ; then the 
whole nation of the Jews a church, now as men do believe 
they are added to the church ; then if any man did sin pre 
sumptuously he was to be cut off by the sword from among 
the people, now to be cut off by the censures of the church. 
So that, I say, if you look upon the positive precepts, there 
are many that are now given forth by Christ which were 
not given forth before in the times of Moses and of the 
old testament ; and these, all these we are to receive, to ac 
knowledge, and to submit unto, and herein to hearken to this 
great Prophet. 

But it will be granted on all hands, that there are many 
appointments, institutions and ordinances which were given 
forth by this great Prophet in the times of the new testament ; 
but the question is, whether these are to continue still or no ? 
We grant, indeed, that there were such appointments in 
Christ s own time, and in the apostle s time; for the people 
of those times, and of that generation : but the question is, 
whether these still are to continue, and whether still we are 
to submit, to receive, and to acknowledge these appoint 
ments ; and so whether still we are to hearken unto Christ 
herein ? 

For answer hereunto, observe, I pray, the laying of Christ s 
appointments, institutions and ordinances. If they be laid 
and pressed upon universal and perpetual grounds, then they 
are still to continue. Now you shall find that these appoint 
ments, institutions and ordinance of Christ baptism, the 
Lord s supper, particular churches, the ministry, church cen 
sures, singing of psalms, and the like are laid upon such 

134 A VINDICATION [SfiR. 7- 

universal and perpetual grounds, as to continue until Christ s 
coming again. 

I shall touch a little upon these particulars, and prove the 
thing first by way of enumeration. 

As for that of particular churches. You find in the book 
of Revelation, that Christ speaks of things to come after 
John s time, who lived the longest of all the apostles, at 
chap. i. 1, thus : " The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God 
gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must 
shortly come to pass." And chap. iv. 1, at the latter end of 
the verse, saith the Lord Christ to John, " I will shew thee 
things which must be hereafter." Now in the ist chapter he 
gives him a vision of the Son of Man walking between the 
seven golden candlesticks ; and he tells us, at the last verse, 
that those seven golden candlesticks are the seven churches ; 
shewing that thus Christ would appear unto his people in the 
way of churches after John s time, in the times that were to 
come. And so in the close of the book of the Revelation, 
after he had spoken of all things that should come to pass, 
saith he, at the 16th verse, " I have sent mine angel to testify 
unto you these things in the churches." Not in the church 
in general, but in the churches. And if ye look into the first 
epistle of Timothy, ye shall find, that the apostle Paul having 
given directions and several precepts concerning bishops, 
elders, deacons, widows, and about the ordering of the house 
of God, which, saith he, is the church of God; he concludes 
all with a solemn charge, chap. vi. 13, " I give thee charge, 
in the sight of God, and before Jesus Christ, that thou keep 
the commandment," not this, but the commandment, accord 
ing to the old translation, and the original greek, " without 
spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus 
Christ." Which appearing doth synchronize with the judg 
ing of the quick and dead. 2 Tim. iv. 1. But Timothy 
himself doth not live so long, and therefore this charge lies 
upon every minister, and others respectively, for so indeed 
the charge is directed to the man of God, chap. vi. 11, who 
by the same apostle is interpreted to be every minister. 2 Tim. 
iii. 17. So that the ordering of God s house by bishops, or 
elders, deacons and widows is still to continue, and therefore 
particular churches and congregations for public worship are 
still to continue. 


As for the ministry, you know what the apostle saith in 
Eph. iv. 11., speaking of Christ, " He gave some, apos 
tles : some, prophets: some, evangelists : and some, pastors 
and teachers ; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work 
of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." 
Well, but how long are these to continue ? read verse 13., 
" Till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the know 
ledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the mea 
sure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." And I pray are 
we yet come unto this condition ? It may be some particu 
lar man will dare to say it, that he himself is come unto 
this condition, this stature of the fulness of Christ; but 
mark what the apostle saith, till we all come in the unity of 
faith. What a world of differences in faith are there now 
amongst us ? but saith the apostle, these offices of the minis 
try are to continue till we all come ; not till one man comes, 
or two men come, but till we all come unto the unity of the 
faith ; that is not yet come to pass, and therefore the minis 
try is still to continue ; neither can it be said, that this unity 
of faith is to be understood of the doctrine of faith ; for that 
were to say, that the ministry were to continue till the doc 
trines and rules for the ministry were given out, and then to 
cease : and if ye look into Psalm Ixviii., from whence these 
words are cited; ye shall find at verse 18, that Christ hath 
given these gifts, " That the Lord God might dwell amongst 
men." As if there were no abode or dwelling for God 
amongst men, without these gifts ; and have we not need 
still that God should dwell amongst us ? yea, and doth not 
God still dwell amongst us ? 

As for baptism; you know what our Lord and Saviour 
Christ said to his disciples, Matt, xxviii. 19. " Go teach all 
nations, baptizing them/ I do not insist upon those words, 
" Lo, I am with you until the end of the world," though that 
will carry it ; but I pray you mark those words, " Go teach 
all nations, baptizing them." So that all nations are to be 
taught and baptized ; baptism therefore, is not to end till all 
nations be taught and baptized ; and is that done ? read 
what is said in Matt. xxiv. 14. " And this gospel of the 
kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness 
unto all nations, and then shall the end come." But the end 
is not yet come. When the gospel is preached unto all na- 

136 A VINDICATION [SfiR. 7- 

tions, then shall the end come ; but the end is not yet come, 
therefore the gospel still is to be preached unto the nations, 
and they to be baptized, and so this ordinance of baptism is 
to continue still. 

As for that of the Lord s supper ; ye know what the apos 
tle saith, " As oft as ye eat, &c., ye shew forth the Lord s 
death till he come." That cannot be understood of the 
coming of the Spirit ; for so he was come in the apostle s 
time. But if ye look into 1 Cor. xi., ye shall see what a reason 
the apostle gives, why he gave out the Lord s supper unto 
the Corinthians, and they were to receive it; even such a 
reason as reacheth unto us as well as to the Corinthians, 
saith he, verse 23., " For I have received of the Lord, that 
which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the 
same night in which he was betrayed, took bread," &c. He 
makes this the reason why he gave forth the Lord s supper 
unto the Corinthians, and why they were to receive it, even 
because that the Lord Christ did give it to his disciples in 
the night when he was betrayed, and because he had thus 
received of the Lord, &c. Now I appeal unto any man, Is 
not this reason as good a reason upon us, as upon the Cor 
inthians ? If indeed the apostle had made this the reason, I 
have received a message from Christ, that you Corinthians 
should receive the Lord s supper, then this reason had not 
bound us as well as them, but the reason that he gives of 
this dispensation, reacheth to us as well as them, and there 
fore to continue amongst us as it was used amongst them. 

As for the censures of the church, in case that any do of 
fend and continue scandalously and obstinately in their sin ; 
ye know what our Saviour saith in Matt, xviii., " Tell it un 
to the church ; but if he neglect to hear the church, let him 
be unto thee as a heathen man, and a publican." Now if 
you look upon the verses before and after this text, ye shall 
find that they do all bind us. Verse 10., " Take heed that 
ye despise not one of these little ones :" that still continues, 
So after this text. " Peter came unto Christ and said, Lord, 
how oft shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him ? 
Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven 
times, but until seventy times seven times," verse 21., yea, 
look upon the whole chapter, and the other verses thereof, 
and ye find that they do still bind us and continue upon us, 


why therefore not this also, which you have at verse 17. 
And if we mind 1 Cor. v., we may see that the apostle 
Paul doth argue this censure of the church, from universal, 
perpetual, and moral grounds ; cast out therefore the old lea 
ven, why ? because " a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." 

As for singing of psalms ; you know w T hat is said concern 
ing our Saviour Christ and his disciples when they had re 
ceived the supper Matt. xvi. 30., " And when they had sung 
a hymn, they went out." It was a usual practice among 
the Jews after the passover to sing a hymn : our Saviour 
Christ did receive the passover then, but he did not sing a 
psalm or a hymn between the passover and the Lord s supper, 
but he takes the hymn and removes it from following the pass- 
over, and hangs it upon the Lord s supper, to shew that it 
should be a new testament ordinance. 

And they all sang : for those that went out did sing, and 
when they had sung a hymn they all went out. 

And they all sang together : for if one of them only did 
sing, then either our Lord and Saviour Christ alone did sing, 
or some one of his disciples did sing alone : our Lord and 
Saviour Christ did not sing alone, for the evangelist would 
have told us so : John tells us, That our Saviour prayed then, 
and he sets down his prayer in John xvii., and saith he, he 
prayed, " and he said, Father, glorify thy Son," &c. So if 
Christ had sung alone, John or some other evangelist would 
have said that he sung, and would have given us his psalm 
which he sung, as well as his prayer which he prayed : nei 
ther can it be said, that they all sung because they did all 
consent unto what he did : for they consented unto his 
preaching, to the miracles which he wrought, and to his 
prayer which he made ; yet it is not said, they wrought this 
or that miracle when he wrought it ; or that they preached, 
when he preached ; or that they prayed, when he prayed 
alone : yea, where do we find in all the New Testament, that 
they are said to do any thing that Christ did alone : surely 
therefore he did not sing here alone, for it is said, " And 
when they had sung," &c. Nor did one of his disciples sing 
alone ; for to that kind of singing two gifts are required, the 
gift of prophesy, whereby a man is able to speak in the con 
gregation to the benefit of the whole body ; and the melo 
dious gift of singing. Now those gifts were not yet given, 
for Christ was not yet dead and ascended and therefore one 

138 A VINDICATION [SfiR. 7- 

of the disciples did not sing alone, and if Christ did not sing 
alone, nor one of his disciples alone, then they all sang together. 

Aye, but if they did all sing together, how could it be to 
edification ? For we read in Col. iii., that the apostle says 
thus, " Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wis 
dom, teaching, and admonishing one another in psalms, and 
hymns, and spiritual songs." How can we teach and ad 
monish one another if we sing altogether ? If a disciple do 
sing alone, he may teach and admonish the rest. 

For answer to that, I shall but acquaint you with the mis 
reading of the words ; look upon the words in verse 16., and 
the very right reading will take off this and other scruples. The 
words are to be read thus, " Let the word of Christ dwell in 
you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one an 
other : (there is a stop) In psalms, and hymns, and spiritual 
songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." The 
words do not run thus, Let the word of Christ dwell in you 
richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in 
psalms, stopping there, but in the Greek and original, the 
words run thus, " Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly 
in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another: (there 
is the stop) In psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, sing 
ing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." And thus there 
is a better sense of the words too, and a greater dependence 
of things together. So that I say, our Lord and Saviour 
Christ and his disciples did all sing together, and if they all 
sung together at the supper, why should not his practice 
be a rule to us as well as his receiving the supper a rule to us ; 
as it is pressed by the apostle in 1 Cor. xi., if Christ could 
sing thus with his disciples without stinting the Spirit, in 
whom the Spirit was without measure, then also we may sing 
together, and yet not stint the Spirit ; but Christ and his 
disciples did all sing together, and that for our example. 
Thus whether you look upon one or another of these ordi 
nances, ye find that they are still to continue, and that we 
are to receive, acknowledge and submit unto these appoint 
ments, and to hear Christ herein. 

But besides these particulars, take three or four general 
reasons for the continuance of them. 

If that the word of the New Testament, as command 
ing to believe, and promising to give the Spirit ; I say, 


if this word do continue, then the ordinances of Christ are 
still to continue. If the appointments, institutions, and 
ordinances of Christ be not still to continue, then the word 
of the New Testament, as the commandments of believing, 
and the promise of giving the Spirit, do not continue 
neither. There is the same reason : for, when we say that 
the Lord Jesus Christ hath appointed baptism, the Lord s 
supper, and other ordinances, what do men say ? True, 
these were appointed indeed for those times, when Christ 
and the apostles lived. But now I pray, may not the same 
be said concerning the commandment of believing, and con 
cerning the promise of giving the Spirit ? You say that you 
are bound to believe ; how prove you that ? Say you, because 
Christ hath commanded me. But I answer you with your 
own answer, He commanded the men of those times only. 
You say, that you shall have the Spirit; how prove you 
that ? Christ hath promised it. But how prove you, that 
the promise of the Spirit reacheth beyond those times ? 
Look what you answer for the ordinances, that may be an 
swered to the commandment of faith, and the promise of 
giving the Spirit, and so for the whole New Testament. And 
so both Old and New Testament will fall to the ground, and 
then we return to heathenism. 

If the doctrine of the ordinances be of the foundation of 
our religion, then certainly the ordinances are still to continue, 
for without a foundation there is no building. Now if you 
look into Heb. vi., you shall find, that the doctrine of ordi 
nances is of the foundation of religion, ver. 1, " Therefore 
leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on 
unto perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance 
from dead works, and of faith towards God, of the doctrine 
of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of the resurrec 
tion of the dead, and eternal judgment." What this baptism 
is, I will not dispute ; what this laying on of hands is, 1 will 
not now reason ; but certainly they must be ordinances. 
Now look, saith the apostle, as the doctrine of the resurrec 
tion, and eternal judgment, and repentance from dead works, 
and of faith towards God, are fundamental doctrines ; so the 
doctrine of baptisms, and laying on of hands, are of the 
foundation. Now I say, if these are of the foundation, then 
the ordinances must still continue. Neither can it be said, 

140 A VINDICATION [SfiR. 7- 

that these doctrines of baptisms, and of the laying on of 
hands, are to be laid aside, because the apostle saith, " Leav 
ing these principles, let us go on to perfection " for thereby 
he meaneth only in regard of his pressing, urging, and incul 
cating thereof upon them ; as appears by the words of the 
former chapter in the last verses : otherwise he should wish 
them to lay aside the doctrine of the resurrection, eternal 
judgment, and faith towards God, which he presseth unto in 
the after part of this very epistle. 

If this be a great difference between the ministration of 
Moses in the time of the Old Testament, and the ministration 
of Christ, and of the gospel ; that the ministration of Moses 
and the Old Testament was not to continue, and the minis 
tration of the gospel is to continue : then surely the ordi 
nances of Christ are still to abide. Now look into 2 Cor. 
iii., and there plainly you shall see this difference : " If the 
ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was 
glorious, (at ver. 7>) bow shall not the ministration of the 
Spirit be rather glorious ?" Ver. 1 1, " For if that which is 
done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is 
glorious." He makes this difference between the ministra 
tion of the gospel and that of Moses, that one is to be done 
away, and the other remains. Now if the ordinances were 
not to continue and remain, what difference would there be, 
as concerning this matter, between the ministration of Moses* 
and the ministration of the gospel ? But the apostle here 
plainly speaks that this is the difference, the ministration of 
the one to be done away, the ministration of the other doth 
still continue ; therefore the ordinances and the appointments 
of Christ do still remain. 

If there shall be ordinances in the most glorious times that 
are to come, when there shall be a full pouring out of the 
Spirit of God upon the children of men, then certainly they 
are to remain now. And if you look either upon the last of 
Isaiah, the iiird of Jeremiah, the xivth of Zechariah, or upon 
other scriptures where mention is made of the most glorious 
times that are yet to come ; ye shall find that there is 
mention made also of ordinances in those times. Only let 
us look into the xith chapter of the Revelation, and ye shall 
find there, at the 15th verse, " The seventh angel sounded, 
and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms 


of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of 
his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever." Here are 
plainly the glorious times spoken of that are yet to come. 
Well, shall there be any ordinances then ? Yes; for at the 
19th verse, "And the temple of the Lord was opened in 
heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his tes 
tament." What is this but ordinances ? The ark, the visible 
sign of the presence of God in way of ordinances ; and the 
temple open, though it was shut before. But it is said in the 
latter end of the book of the Revelation, there shall be no 
temple. True, no Jewish temple, for there he speaks in that 
chapter of the conversion of the Jews, and the bringing in of 
the Jews ; but a Christian temple shall then be opened again, 
though shut before in antichristian times, in those glorious 
times the temple shall be fully opened again. Now, I say, if 
that in those more glorious times, when the Spirit shall be 
fully poured out upon the children of men, there shall be or 
dinances, then certainly they are now to continue ; but so it 
is : surely, therefore, the appointments, institutions and ordi 
nances of Christ are still to continue ; we are to acknowledge, 
receive and submit unto these appointments, and to hearken 
unto Christ our great Prophet herein. 

But what need of ordinances, for I enjoy God most in 
private ; when I go unto God alone, when I am all alone in 
prayer I enjoy God more than I do under the public ordi 
nances, and therefore what need of them ? 

Do you enjoy more of God in private ; what, more than 
ever you did in public ? Where wert thou then converted ? 
Wert thou not converted under the public ministry ? Ordi 
narily men are converted by the public ministry ; and now 
you have some good affections in private, doth that good 
affection that you have in private arise to a higher enjoyment 
of God than your first conversion to God ? Do you think 
that a little affection or drawing out of the heart in private, 
doth arise to a higher enjoyment of God than your first turn 
ing to him ? This cannot be. Is it not an easy thing for a 
man to think that God is most enjoyed when his heart is most 
affected ? It is possible a man s heart may be more affected 
when God is less enjoyed; such is the deceit of our hearts. 
God is most enjoyed where God is most served. But, now, 
suppose God were more enjoyed in private than under public 

142 A VINDICATION [SfiR. 7- 

ordinances, T do but suppose it, yet were this no reason why 
a man should lay by the public ordinances : for you are some 
times in your closet at prayer, and there you enjoy God ; 
sometimes you are below at dinner and supper, and you have 
some enjoyments of God there. But, I pray, tell me, whe 
ther do you enjoy God more at your ordinary dinner and 
supper or in your closet in prayer ? Surely I enjoy God 
more in my closet in prayer. And is this a reason why you 
should never dine and sup again ? Yet, notwithstanding, how 
do people reason thus : I enjoy God more in private, there 
fore I must lay by the public. 

But yet I have not only mine own experience, but I have 
the experience of divers other precious souls : I know some 
men and women that have left the ordinances, the public or 
dinances, and they profess that they never enjoyed more of 
God than since they have left the ordinances ; I have not, 
therefore, mine own experience only, but I have the experi 
ence of divers other gracious people. 

Poor soul ! Wilt thou hang thy salvation upon another 
man s experience ? Hath not our Lord and Saviour Christ 
said, that many shall say, " Lord, Lord, we have prophesied 
in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many 
wonderful things in thy name ; and Christ will say unto them, 
Depart, I know you not :" Hath not our Saviour said, " Not 
every one that saith, Lord, Lord, but he that doeth the will 
of my Father." What is the will of the Father ? The will 
of the Father is, That ye hear his Son, " A voice was heard 
from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, hear ye him." 
How can ye hear him, and turn your backs upon Christ s 
appointments ; is this the will of the Father ? 

But now suppose it be so, that others give in their experi 
ences, some that you look upon as godly and precious ; and 
they say, I never enjoyed more of God than since I have 
left the ordinances. Are there not also divers godly that 
have said and say, I never enjoyed more of God than in the 
ordinances ? Yea, and are there not a hundred of those to 
one of the other ? Yea, and are there not some, if you go 
to experience, are there not some that have laid by the ordi 
nances, and by this lime are come home, as you say, by 
weeping cross ? some that were in the last defeat at Burford, 
who formerly had laid by the ordinances and said they lived 


upon God, and in God immediately, stout-hearted cham 
pions ; yet being condemned to die, they cried out, and said, 
Oh that I might live but two days longer : Oh, that I might 
live but one day longer : Oh, that I might live but one hour 
longer: I am unprepared for death, I know not how to die. 
And yet these men said before, that the ordinances were 
nothing, and they lived in God, and upon God immediately ; 
see what it came to, how their experience shrunk. And wilt 
thou hang the salvation of thy soul upon the experience of 
such people as these ? 

But I do not go the way of experience, neither mine own 
nor others experience, but I have scripture, at least I think 
so, and there are three scriptures especially that do persuade 
me; and the one is that in the Hebrews: "You shall no 
longer teach your neighbour, but every man shall be taught 
of God." Another scripture is that in John: "Ye need 
not that any man should teach you, for ye are taught of God, 
and have received the unction of the Holy One, and need 
not that man should teach you." Another scripture is that 
of Peter : " We have a more sure word of prophesy, unto 
which ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that 
shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star 
arise in your hearts." But now the day-star hath arisen in 
my heart, and therefore why should I attend upon these 
ordinances any longer ? 

For answer, Let us I pray consider whether these scrip 
tures do speak any such thing or no. 

As for that of the Hebrews, chap, viii., the words run 
thus : (( This is the covenant that I will make with the house 
of Israel after those days, saith the Lord, (verse 10) I will put 
my laws into their mind, and write them in their heart ;" 
verse 11, "And they shall not teach every man his neigh 
bour, and every man his brother ; saying, Know the Lord, 
for all shall know me." Mark the words, they do not run 
as they are ordinarily cited by people, viz., They shall not 
teach every man his neighbour, for all shall know the Lord ; 
but thus, " They shall not teach every man his neighbour, 
nor every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord." That 
is, they shall not teach them as if they were to teach hea 
thens, that knew not the Lord, but in gospel times they shall 
teach a knowing people. If it were only said thus, They 


shall not teach every man his neighbour, but they shall be 
all taught of God, then it were another case ; but the words 
run thus, They shall not teach every man his neighbour, 
saying, Know the Lord. There is that clause too. That is, 
they shall not teach an heathenish, unknowing people, but 
in the times of the gospel, they shall be taught by God, and 
his ministers shall teach a knowing people. 

As for the place in John, ye have it in the 1st Epis. ii. 27 : 
" But the anointing which you have received of him abideth 
in you, and you need not that any man teach you, but as 
the same anointing teacheth you of all things." Now if you 
look into verse 18, you will find that these words are spoken 
in opposition to antichrist, to the false unction. X^OTO? signi- 
fieth, anointed. Antichrist is the false anointed. Little chil 
dren, saith he, at verse ] 8, " It is the last time, and as ye 
have heard that antichrist (the false anointed) shall come, 
even so there are false anointeds, but (verse 20, says he) we 
have an unction from the Holy One." So that plainly, he 
speaks here of this unction as opposite to the false unction 
of antichrist. " But (saith he, at verse 27) the anointing 
which we have received of him, abideth in you, and you need 
not that any man teach you, but as the same anointing 
teacheth you/ Ye need not be taught by false anointings, 
and antichristian anointings. That this is the meaning, and 
that he speaks in opposition to antichristian anointing, ap 
pears plainly by the words that go before, at verse 26, 
" These things have I written unto you concerning them 
that seduce you." So the meaning is, ye need not be 
taught by man, or by those that are falsely anointed, as anti 
christ is ; nor any otherwise need ye be taught by man, but 
as the same anointing, Christ, teacheth, and Christ teacheth 
by the public ministry of the word. 

As for that place in 2 Peter i. 19, "We have also a 
more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye 
take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until 
the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts." Until ; 
this until, doth not always denote an end of time, the end 
of that time to be then, which this until doth relate unto ; 
for example, David saith, " I will wait upon the Lord till he 
shews mercy unto me." Would David wait upon the Lord 
no longer ; when he had the mercy, would he not wait upon 


the Lord then ? Is that the meaning : I will wait upon the 
Lord till he shews mercy ; that is, only till I have it : was 
he to make an end of his waiting upon the Lord when he 
had received the mercy? No, that is not the meaning; but 
saith he, I will wait on the Lord till he shews mercy ; be 
cause the times in the interim are full of temptation and 
trouble ; " I will wait upon the Lord till he shews mercy unto 
me." So the Lord saith to Christ, " Sit thou on my right 
hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool." Till ! what 
no longer ; is not Christ to sit for ever at the right hand of 
the Father ? Yes, yet saith the Father, sit thou on my right 
hand till; not that then when the enemies of Christ are 
brought under, he shall sit no longer at his Fathers right 
hand, for he shall sit there for ever. So here, Ye shall do 
well that ye take heed, " till the day-star arise in your hearts." 
Not that they should leave taking heed unto the word then, 
but because of the temptations, trials, and dark condition 
that they should be in before ; he saith, Ye do well to take 
heed until the day-star arise in your hearts. So that thus 
now you see, there is nothing in these scriptures that do hold 
forth any such thing as this, any such sense and meaning as 
this objected. 

But the apostle Paul saith, that the ordinances are only to 
continue till Christ come: for saith he, 1 Cor. ii. 26, "As 
often as ye eat of this bread, and drink this cup, ye shew 
forth the Lord s death till he come." Now he is come al 
ready by his Spirit to my soul, therefore this ordinance of 
the supper is to continue no longer to me, and so no other. 

And do you think that in this sense Christ was not come 
in those times when Paul wrote to the Corinthians, was 
Christ come to none of the Corinthians by his Spirit ? Read 
the 1st Epis. xii. " Unless I go, (saith Christ) the Comforter 
will not come." When Christ ascended, the Comforter 
came ; in that sense therefore Christ was come in the apos 
tles time, yet they were under ordinances then. 

But he was not come in such a degree of the Spirit as 
now he is. 

No : either, then, you have a greater degree of the Spirit 
in regard of gifts or in regard of grace ; if you have a greater 
degree of the Spirit in regard of gifts, why do you not speak 
with tongues, and work miracles, healing, &c., as they did ? 



and a greater degree of the Spirit in regard of grace you have 
not, for are you filled with all goodness ? so were they too, 
Rom. xv. 14, yet they were under ordinances : or is the gos 
pel come unto you in power, so that you are an example to 
those that believe ? so were they too, 1 Thess. i. *J } 8, yet they 
were under ordinances : or do you live in God, and is your 
life hid with Christ in God ? so it was with them too, Col. iii. 
3, yet they were under ordinances. And will you venture the 
salvation of your soul upon this point, that you have a greater 
degree of the Spirit than they had in those times ; which you 
must do if you cast up the ordinances upon that ground. But 
I suppose it will be granted that Christ s coming and appear 
ing is all one : and if ye look into 2 Tim. iv. 1, his appearing 
and judging of the quick and dead go together. And is that 
time come ? The angel saith, Acts i., that as the disciples 
saw him go away, so he should come again ; and they saw 
him go away personally, therefore his coming is personally : 
but he is not yet come again personally, and therefore, accord 
ing to the Scripture, the Lord s supper, and so ordinances 
which hold forth his death and first coming, are still to con 
tinue : why should it, therefore, enter into any of our hearts, 
that we are to lay aside the precious ordinances of the Lord 
Jesus Christ our great Prophet ? 

But we do not deny the ordinances ; we grant that the or* 
dinances are still to continue ; but they are lower dispensations, 
for the weak only, not for those that are strong. 

No ! not for those that are strong ! why ? were there none 
strong among the Romans, among the Thessalonians, among 
the Corinthians ? Saith the apostle, " You that are strong, 
bear with those that are weak." And yet they were under 
ordinances. Aye, but they were not so strong, and had not 
so much of the Spirit, and were not filled with the Spirit. 
Stay then a little. First, We have it granted that the ordi 
nances are to continue upon those that are weak. Secondly, 
That they are to continue upon those that are strong; but, it 
is said, that if a man be so strong, then not. Now, then, let 
any man shew that the ordinances are to continue upon those 
that are weak and upon those that are strong, but if a man 
come unto such a degree of strength, then they are not to 
continue upon him. Where is that degree mentioned in 
Scripture ? Let any man shew that degree. The Scripture 


doth speak the contrary; for it is said that Stephen was filled 
with the Holy Ghost, and yet he was made a deacon of the 
church, arid was under ordinances. Filled with the Holy 
Ghost : here is a high degree, and yet under ordinances. 
And if that the Spirit of the Lord be therefore poured out 
in the fulness of it, that men may be enabled for to walk with 
God under his ordinances, then the fulness of the Spirit is 
no reason why ordinances should be laid aside. Now I pray 
look into the xxxvith chapter of Ezekiel, and you shall find 
that the Lord speaking concerning the new covenant, pro- 
miseth thus, ff I will put my Spirit within you (at the 27th 
verse) and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall 
keep my judgments and do them." I will put my Spirit 
within you, and cause you to walk, &c. The word in the 
Hebrew signifies, to prepare, as we prepare and dress our 
meat, or as sacrifices were dressed for the offerings : so saith 
the Lord, I will put my Spirit within you, and will prepare 
you, or adapt and fit you for to walk in my statutes ; the 
Spirit is therefore put into us, that we may be prepared and 
fitted to walk in God s statutes. And saith he, "Ye shall 
keep my judgments, and do them." I will not only give you 
my Spirit to keep my commandments and do the things I 
command you, but ye shall keep my judgments, and my sta 
tutes, and therefore I will give you my Spirit that ye may be 
fitted and thus adapted to walk in my statutes and keep my 
judgments. Yea, more plainly yet, in the xith of Ezekiel, 
where the Lord opening the new covenant, saith, at verse 19, 
" I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit with 
in you, and I will take away the stoney heart out of their 
flesh, and I will give them an heart of flesh, that they may 
walk in my statutes and keep my ordinances," verse 20. Now 
I say, if the Spirit of the Lord be therefore given, that a man 
may be more fitted to walk with God under ordinances, then 
the fulness of the Spirit cannot be a reason why you should 
lay aside ordinances ; but thus it is, the Spirit of the Lord is 
therefore given that we may walk with God in his statutes, 
and in his judgments, and keep them and hold them ; yea, 
and if we look into the xth chapter of the Acts of the Apos 
tles, we shall find that baptism with water is therefore ad 
ministered, because men had received the Holy Ghost and 
the gifts thereof: verse 44, " Whilst Peter spake, the Holy 

L 2 


Ghost fell on them all which heard the word : (verse 45) on 
them was poured the gift of the Holy Ghost. Then said 
Peter (verse 47), Can any forbid water that these should not 
be baptized which have received the Holy Ghost as well as 
we ? And he commanded them to be baptized." Now if 
this be reason why they were to have the ordinance pass upon 
them, because they had received the Holy Ghost in the gifts 
and pourings out of it, then our being filled with the Spirit 
is no reason why we should lay by the ordinances ; but as we 
see plainly this is made a reason why they were to come under 
the ordinance, surely, therefore, the ordinances are still to 
continue, though we have the Spirit, and be filled therewith. 
Why, therefore, should we be so bold as to call them low, 
and poor, and weak, or fleshly dispensations, seeing that the 
Holy Ghost by Paul, 2 Cor. iii., calls the whole ministration 
of the gospel and dispensation thereof, Spirit, and glorious ; 
upon this very account, because the ministration and dispen 
sation of the gospel, as then used in Paul s time, were to abide 
and to continue, the ministration of Moses only to be done 

But suppose these ordinances and appointments of Christ, 
this great Prophet, do still continue, and that we do and 
should use the same ; yet we are not to use them because of 
any appointment or commandment without us, but because 
of the law within us. 

This destroys all obedience on this side heaven; for what 
is obedience, but doing the will of God because it is com 
manded? The apostle Paul saith to the Thessalonians, 1st 
Epist. iv. 9, touching brotherly love, " Ye yourselves are 
taught of God to love one another." Yet he presseth them 
thereunto from the commandment without them : verse 2, 
" For ye know what commandment we gave you," by the 
Lord Jesus, for this is the will of God, even your sanctifica- 
tion, that ye should abstain from fornication, verse 3, and 
" that no man go beyond and defraud his brother," verse 6. 
Had not our Lord and Saviour Christ a law written within 
him ? yet he obeyed, not only because of that law within, but 
also because of the commandment without him. Heb. x. 7, 
" Lo I come to do thy will, O God." Why ? " For in the 
volume of the book it is written of me." And yet he saith, 
withal, Thy law is within my heart ; I delight to do thy will. 


And doth not the apostle James press obedience upon 
those believers whonc he wrote unto, from the authority of 
God, and commandment without them ? " For he that said, 
Do not commit adultery; said also, Do not kill/ chap. ii. 11. 
Had not the godly, believing Jews the law of grace written 
within them ? yet how frequently doth the Lord press them, 
through the whole book of Deuteronomy, to obedience, be 
cause it was commanded, and from the commandment with 
out them ? 

But all this doth not reach my scruple. I grant that the 
ordinances are still to continue, and should continue ; yea, 
and that I am to submit to them because they are appointed 
and commanded : but then they must continue as they are 
appointed and commanded, according to the institution of 
the Lawgiver, and this great Prophet ; but we read that anti 
christ shall lay waste, and trample upon the churches, minis 
try and ordinances of Christ. Now these are antichristian 
times ; and therefore now the churches, ministry, and ordi 
nances are all levelled, laid waste, and utterly spoiled ; and 
therefore though they should, yet they do not continue, and 
so there are none for me to submit unto, wherein I should hear 
ken to this great Prophet : when the apostle comes again, all 
shall be then restored ; but for the present, through anti- 
Christian defilement, there are no public ordinances to sub 
mit unto. 

Not so : we read indeed in Rev. xi., that the outward court 
of the temple shall be given to the Gentiles, the antichristian 
party ; but the inward court, and the altar, and those that 
worship therein, shall be measured, ver. 1 ; and if the woman, 
which is the church, shall be nourished in the wilderness, and 
the two witnesses shall prophesy in sackcloth the whole time 
of antichrist; then the woman and the witnesses shall con 
tinue with ordinances, even in antichristian times. Now the 
whole time of the whore of Babylon and the beast, is forty- 
two months, Rev. xiii. ; and all that time shall the woman be 
nourished, chap, xii., and the witnesses continue prophesying, 
chap. xi. And do we not read, that at the same time whilst 
the vassals of antichrist do receive his mark in their forehead 
and hand, Rev. xiii., that there are an hundred, forty and 
four thousand, who stand upon Mount Zion with their harps 
in their hand, having the mark of God and the Lamb in their 


foreheads. Rev. xiv. In chap. xvi. the vial of the wrath of 
God is poured out upon the beast and the throne of the 
beast ; but those angels who do pour out those vials men 
tioned in chap, xvi., come out of the temple, chap. xv. ; 
indeed it is said, chap. xv. 8, that the temple shall be filled 
with smoke, and that none shall be able to enter into it ; but 
it is with the smoke of God s glory, the sign of his presence 
in the temple : and though through the wickedness of the 
times no man shall be able to enter, that is, no considerable 
company shall be added to the churches of Christ then; yet 
this proves that there shall be a temple, for can the temple 
be filled with the smoke of God s glory, and yet no temple ; 
or doth this argue that you have no house, because it is said, 
that no man could get in ? this proves rather that you have 
an house ; so here. And if antichrist, the man of sin, shall 
sit in the house of God, or rather upon the house of God, as 
Austin translates it, in regard of his tyranny; then there 
shall be a temple, and public worship, even under the most 
tyrannical oppressions of antichrist. Why therefore should 
any poor soul be deceived and say, There are no ordinances 
now ? Surely the ordinances and appointments of Christ, < 
this great Prophet, are and do still continue, wherein we are 
to hearken to him. 

But in all this discourse you proceed in a way of reason, 
and these things are not to be beaten out or attained to by 
reason ; no not by Scripture reason, but as God shall reveal 
them to us by his Spirit. If God do shine upon my soul, 
and reveal the necessity of ordinances to me, then I shall use 
them, else not. Sometimes, therefore, I do attend upon or 
dinances, sometimes I do not ; I can use them, and I can 
forbear, or not use them ; even as the Spirit doth reveal 
things, so do I. 

But if any thing seem to be revealed which is contrary to 
the Scripture, there is no revelation of the Spirit, for saith 
our Saviour, " The Spirit shall take of mine, and shall shew 
it to you," John xvi. 14 ; and ver. 13, He shall lead you 
into all truth, for he shall not speak of himself," &c. And 
saith the Lord, " I will put my Spirit into you, that ye may 
keep my statutes and ordinances," Ezek. xi. Whatever 
therefore is revealed contrary to the word, is not of the Spirit. 
Now it is contrary to the word, as hath been proved, that we 


should cast off or neglect ordinances ; and therefore there 
can be no revelation of the Spirit for this : a delusion there 
may be, but no true revelation. Besides, our Lord and Sa 
viour Christ hath so ordered things in the gospel, that if a 
man err, or be a heretic, he may be convinced. " A bishop, 
(or elder,) must be unreprovable," 1 Tit. vii. 9. " Holding 
fast that faithful word according to doctrine, that he also may 
be able to exhort with wholesome doctrine, and convince 
them that say against it." But how can any man be con 
vinced but in a way of Scripture reason, the Spirit of the 
Lord joining therewith ? If this were the way of Christ, 
that a man should say, I have a revelation for what I hold, 
the Spirit hath revealed it to me, and there is no more Scrip 
ture reasoning to be admitted about it ; how should a man 
be convinced any more ? But I say, Christ hath so ordered, 
that men should be convinced in case they err, and be out of 
the way ; and therefore flying from Scripture reasonings to a 
way of mere revelation, cannot be right. And whereas you 
say, that you can use the ordinances, and you can forbear or 
not use them ; this doth not heal the wound, but makes it 
greater : for if you can forbear the ordinances, or not use 
them, then you think there is no commandment upon you to 
use them, and so, as to yourself, you have cast them off; and 
if yet you do use them, vi hen you think there is no com 
mandment for the use of them, then are you superstitious, 
for what is superstition, but to worship God without a com 
mandment ? Super stitio quasi super statutum : superstition 
is that worship which is without God s commandment. 

But suppose all this be true, what is the danger of re 
nouncing or forsaking the ordinances then ? We grant now 
after all this, that the ordinances of Christ are still to con 
tinue ; we have seen it proved, and objections are answered : 
but is there any danger in renouncing and forsaking of them ? 

Yes, and much danger too : let me lay before you the mind 
of God herein ; only first I distinguish, there is a difference 
between those that forsake the ordinances, as being under a 
temptation, and those that are not under a temptation. 
Possibly a good man may be tempted to it, and may lie under 
this temptation ; for there is no sin that I know of, but a 
godly man may be tempted to it: possibly therefore, I say, a 
godly and a good man may be tempted to this, and may for 


a time lie under this temptation. But now if a man not 
under a temptation shall forsake ordinances, when he hath 
tasted of the sweetness of them, and turn his back upon this 
great Prophet, the Lord Jesus, not submitting unto his ap 
pointments, see what the Scripture saith of him in this 
chapter : saith the Lord, " I will require it at his hand/ 
And in Exod. xxiii. 20, 21, " Behold, I send an angel before 
you, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place 
which I have prepared ; (this is Christ) beware of him, and 
obey his voice, provoke him not, for he will not pardon your 
transgressions, for my name is in him." And you know what 
the apostle saith, " If any man sin wilfully after he hath 
received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth 110 more 
sacrifice for sin," Heb. x. 26. Which speech, which dreadful 
speech, relates unto those that cast off the ordinances of 
Christ, after they have tasted of the sweetness of them ; for 
the word is brought in with a for, " For if we sin wilfully." 
What doth he then speak in relation to ? Read the words 
before : " Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves toge 
ther, as the manner of some is : for if we sin wilfully, after 
that we have received the knowledge of the truth," &c. It 
comes in as relating to this matter ; so that if men not under 
a temptation, shall wilfully throw up the ordinances of 
Christ, after they have tasted the sweetness of them, and of 
the ways of God by them, the Lord pronounceth this doom 
upon them. And if ye look into Heb. vi., ye shall find, that 
the apostle speaking concerning those that had left their 
principles, saith, that " it is impossible to renew them again 
unto repentance." Ye read at verse 6, " If they shall fall 
away .... to renew them again unto repentance." But in 
the Greek and original, the word if is not, but it runs as the 
other words before do, thus : " For it is impossible (verse 4) 
for men having once been enlightened, and having tasted of 
the heavenly gift, and having been made partaker of the Holy 
Ghost, and having tasted of the good word of God, and the 
powers of the world to come, and having fallen away," not 
with an if; and having "fallen away, it is impossible to renew 
them again unto repentance." Who are these that he speaks 
of? Pray mark ver. 1, " Therefore leaving the principles of 
the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection, not lay 
ing again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and 


of faith towards God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of 
laying on of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and 
of eternal judgment : for it is impossible." This same word 
for, shews that it relates unto those that he speaks of before, 
that had lost these principles. " For," saith he, it comes in 
as a reason, " For it is impossible to renew them again to 
repentance/ If once they come to this pass, that they shall 
lose their principles, and deny the doctrines that are funda 
mental; the doctrines of the resurrection, and of eternal 
judgment, and the fundamental doctrine of ordinances ; if 
they shall fall from these, and let go their principles, and not 
under a temptation, it is impossible, or very unlikely, utterly 
unlikely in a way of reason, that ever those souls should be 
renewed again ; yet if we look into Matt, xxiv., ye shall find 
that such as these there shall be in the latter times, the times 
immediately before the coming of Christ: for saith our Sa 
viour, " There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, 
and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch as if it 
were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." How shall 
we know them, how are they characterized ? why, they shall 
say of Christ, ver. 26, " Behold he is in the desert, behold 
he is in the secret chamber ;" gone from the public ordi 
nances, they are low and flesh ; but, saith our Saviour, " Be 
lieve them not ;" yet, Lord, how many do believe them. 

But oh, what a sad condition are these poor creatures in ; 
they may pretend living upon God immediately, but oh, what 
a sad condition are these poor souls in ! I hope better things 
of you, and every of you, though I thus speak ; yet I must 
here exhort you to keep close unto your principles, and to 
the appointments of the Lord Jesus this great Prophet. 
And I do exhort you, by the sweat of all your ministers, 
dead and living : by the love you bear to the precious 
name of God : by the love you bear to your own precious 
souls ; hold and keep close to ordinances in these declining 
times ; see where they are in purity and power, keep close to 
them. I am persuaded, that there is never a one of you, 
but would be a friend to Christ ; says Christ, " Then are ye 
my friends, if you do whatsoever I command you." And 
can my heart tell me, that I am a friend to Christ if I cast 
off all his appointments, and all his ordinances ? I arn per 
suaded there is none of you, but desire to be the children 


of God, "Wisdom is justified of her children;" Christ is 
the Wisdom of the Father; and if you be the children of 
Wisdom, you will justify Christ in all his appointments, but 
if Christ the Wisdom of the Father, shall give you such 
institutions and ordinances, and you cast them off, and say, 
They are low and fleshly, and the like : oh, how will you 
justify Christ the Wisdom of the Father ? Wherefore I say, 
you that are professors, hold your hold in these declining 
times; and if you know any of your friends that are 
departed from the good ordinances of God, oh, stand 
and mourn, and lament over them and say, Alas, alas, my 
friend, how is his crown fallen from his head ? If you 
have a neighbour that hath a monster born instead of a 
child, you will lament over your neighbour and say, My 
neighbour instead of a sweet child hath an ugly monster, 
with the head of a hog, and the ears of an ass; ah, my poor 
neighbour hath a monster born in his family. Why, this 
non-ordinance is England s monster; and as people carry 
monsters up and down to shew them ; so in other countries 
they go up and down, and say, Come and behold the Eng 
lish monster; a thing never seen before, that professors 
should deny ordinances. And yet, good Lord, how many 
families in this kingdom hath this monster born there. Ah, 
will you not pray, weep, and lament over the families of 
your friends? Christian, hold thy hold, in these sad and 
declining times, hold thy hold. 

But what shall we do then ? These are deceiving and declin 
ing times, and there is nothing so dangerous, but by steps 
we may be drawn into it ; what shall we do, that in these 
times we may be kept close to ordinances ; that we may 
never turn our backs upon this great Prophet the Lord Jesus 
Christ, but receive, acknowledge, submit unto his appoint 
ments, and therein hearken unto him ? 

Ye know that there is a concatenation, a linking together 
of ordinances, and dispensations : as of sins and of graces, 
so of ordinances and dispensations ; take away one link, and 
the whole chain is broken ; open but one gap in the hedge, 
and a way is made unto all the beasts. Austin writing upon 
John, tells us a story of a certain man, that was of an opi 
nion, that the devil did make the fly, that God did not make 
a fly, but the devil did make a fly ; saith one to him then, 


If the devil did make the flies, then the devil did make the 
worms, and God did not make the worms neither, for the 
flies are living creatures as well as the worms : True, said he, 
I grant it, the devil did make the worms too. But, said the 
other, if the devil did make the worms, and not God; then 
the devil did make the birds, for the worms are living 
creatures as well as the birds : True, said he, I grant it, 
the devil did make the birds, and God did not make the 
birds. Then, saith the other, if God did not make the birds, 
but the devil made the birds, then the devil made the beasts ; 
for the birds are living creatures as well as the beasts : True, 
I grant it, said he, the devil did make the beasts too. Then_, 
said the other again, if the devil did make the beasts, the 
devil made man, for the beast is a living creature as well as 
man : True, said he, I grant it, the devil made man. Thus 
saith Austin, by denying God in the fly, he came to deny 
God in man, and to deny the whole creation ; by letting a 
little hold go, to deny the whole workmanship of God in 
the creation. So I say here, if you let go but a little in this 
spiritual creation, you may lose all. Whensoever therefore, 
you have a question upon your own soul concerning any one 
of the ordinances, then know, you are upon your trial, upon 
your good behaviour ; and therefore then go to the Lord, 
and say, Lord keep me now, for it I let go one, I am in 
danger to lose all. 

If you would be kept close to ordinances, and hearken to 
Christ this great Prophet, in acknowledging, receiving, sub 
mitting unto his appointments ; then take heed that you be 
not dead, dull and formal under them ; but improve them, 
grow and increase under them ; otherwise you will say, Alas, 
I get but little good under these ; were these the ordinances, 
appointments, and institutions of Jesus Christ, I should 
profit by them, but I get little or no good at all under them, 
therefore it is a vain thing for me to wait any longer, I will 
attend no longer upon these. If a rich man put out a child 
to nurse, and he send clothes for the child, or give money 
unto the nurse for his child, and she takes the money and 
lays it out upon her own, or takes those clothes and puts them 
upon the back of her own child, the father will surely fetch 
away his child quickly from that nurse. The Lord hath given 
vis ordinances, and given us i^ood affections, and if we lay out 

156 A VINDICATION [SfiR. 7- 

those affections upon the world, upon our own brats, then 
will the Lord say, I will take away my child, my ordinances 
from that soul, or I will take away that soul from my ordi 
nance. Labour, therefore, to profit, grow and increase under 

If you would keep close unto these appointments, and not 
stop your ears unto the voice of this great Prophet, then have 
a very watchful eye upon those principles that walk abroad in 
the world, which though they have a truth and goodness at 
the bottom, yet, notwithstanding, being not well digested or 
understood, are dangerous guides in these dark times. For 
instance, it is an ordinary principle that now walks abroad, 
that a godly man doth not sin, a believer sins not : the thing 
is true, for the apostle saith, " He that is born of God sins 
not," that is, irrecoverably, " for the seed of God abides in 
him." But it is not true in regard of the act of sin ; for the 
same apostle says, " If any man saith he sins not, he is a 
liar." Again, It is a common principle that now walks 
abroad, that the Spirit of God in me is not to be tried by any 
thing without me. It hath a good sense, for the testimony of 
the Spirit hath a sufficiency in itself as to the matter of tes 
timony ; yet, notwithstanding, it is not true in regard of the 
Scripture, for the Spirit of God in me is to be tried by the 
Scripture without me. Again, It is a common principle that 
walks now abroad, that the coming in of a particular word 
upon one s heart, the impression of the word upon one s heart 
is to be the rule of action : a word came, and therefore I 
must do such a thing. The thing is true in a sense ; for if a 
man be in a strait between two lawful things, and a word come 
and be set upon the heart, that impression is enough for to 
cast the business : but it is not true in all respects, for it is 
not the bare coming in of the word, but the Lord s command 
that is to be the rule of my action. Again, It is a common 
principle that walks now abroad, that the ordinances are for 
the enjoyment of God. This is true, they are for the enjoy 
ment of God ; when do we enjoy God more, when doth God 
let out himself more than under ordinances ? but though it 
be true, yet it is not all the truth, for the ordinances are not 
given only for the enjoyment of God, but for us to give a vi 
sible testimony, and to bear witness before the world of our 
obedience to God. Now many such principles as these there 


are abroad in the world : but if you take them up and do not 
understand them, I dare boldly say, you will be carried from 
all ordinances presently. As, now, suppose I be of an opin 
ion that I, who am a believer, cannot sin ; then, it follows, if 
I go to ordinances, well ; if I do not go to ordinances I do 
not sin : here is ordinances gone upon this principle. 

So, again, if I be of this opinion, that the coming in of a 
particular word upon one s heart is to be the rule of my ac 
tion ; I am in a doubt, now, and a strait, whether I should 
attend upon ordinances or no ; then comes a word, it may be 
Satan throws it in, or mine own memory reacheth it in, and the 
word tells me I am to attand upon ordinances no longer ; then 
farewell ordinances. Again, Suppose I be of this opinion, 
that the Spirit of God within me is not to be tried by any 
thing without me ; then I think the Spirit and word within 
me saith, Wait upon God no longer in these lower dispensa 
tions, do not attend upon ordinances any longer ; and that is 
to be tried by nothing without me, not by the Scripture, and 
thus ordinances are gone too. Again, If I be of this judg 
ment, that ordinances are given us only for the enjoyment of 
God, then, think I, I can enjoy God in private, and ordinan 
ces are only for the enjoyment of God, what need I, there 
fore, attend upon ordinances any longer ? Thus, I say, follow 
these principles to the head, and you will certainly forsake 
ordinances. Wherefore, you that are godly, look to your 
principles ; do not take a principle, and not understand it, 
but look well into it, thus shall you be kept. 

But suppose that I be kept to ordinances, institutions and 
appointments of Christ, this great Prophet, and I do hear 
him, that is, I do receive, acknowledge and submit unto his 
appointments ; possibly a man may do this and miscarry to 
all eternity : what shall I do that I may so receive, acknow 
ledge and submit unto Christ s appointments, that I may hear 
him effectually, hear him savingly ? 

You know that Christ our great Prophet, doth especially 
look at the inward man ; for he is God, and a Spirit, and 
minds the Spirit. Though he will have every letter of his 
commandment to be observed, yet he lays the great stress 
and the emphasis upon the spiritual part of the command 
ment. As now, " It hath been said (saith he), Thou shalt 
not commit adultery ;" but, mark where he lays the empha- 

158 A VINDICATION [SfiR. 7- 

sis, "But I say unto you, Thou shalt not look upon a woman 
to lust after her." Here this great Prophet lays the empha 
sis and stress upon the spiritual part. So saith he, " It hath 
been said to you of old, Thou shalt not kill ;" but mark 
where he lays the emphasis, " But I say unto you, ye shall 
not be angry." Would you therefore so hearken to this 
great Prophet, as ye may hear him effectually and savingly; 
observe where he lays the emphasis in the giving of the com 
mandment, and there do you lay the emphasis in your obe 
dience. Doth the Lord say, " It hath been said of old, Thou 
shalt not commit adultery; but I say:" is the Lord Christ s 
(( I say " written upon the spiritual part of the command 
ment ? then through the grace of God shall my " I say " for 
obedience be pitched upon the spiritual part also. 

The law you know was given by Moses, but grace and 
truth came by Christ. The law and the ten commandments 
was given by Moses, but no grace to keep them. But Christ 
our great Prophet, doth not only give forth his appoint 
ments, but he gives grace to keep them ; do I, therefore, or 
do any of you stand poring upon the letter of the command 
ment, and not look upon the grace, the assisting grace for to 
keep the commandment ? Herein I hearken to Moses. But 
do I so look upon the commandment and appointments of 
Christ, as that withal I have an eye to grace, assisting grace, 
and say, I shall have grace too to keep this commandment ? 
Then do I hearken unto Christ Jesus, this great Prophet. 
Look therefore, I say, as well to grace as to the letter of the 

The more you have the exercise of faith in the observance 
of Christ s institutions, appointments, and ordinances ; the 
more effectually and savingly you hear him. Faith is a saving 
hearing of this great Prophet. There is a great difference 
between an instituted and a natural means. Physicians and 
physic are natural means of health ; but the beholding of the 
brazen serpent was an instituted means for recovery, not a 
natural means. Now if we go to the use of natural means, 
we are to use our faith ; much more when we go to the use 
of instituted means : and the appointments of the Lord 
Jesus Christ are instituted means ; therefore when we come 
to them, we must come with our hearts full of faith, exer 
cising much faith when we come to them. You find the 


apostle, writing unto the Thessalonians, makes this sign of 
election, 1 Thess. i. 4 : " Knowing, brethren, your election 
of God ;" how so ? fi for our gospel came not unto you in 
word only, but also in power." Why our gospel ; why doth 
he call it their gospel, and not the gospel ? For es our gos 
pel, because he speaks of the gospel as it was preached by 
them in the ministry, in the dispensation thereof. " For our 
gospel came not to you in word only, but also in power :" it 
came in power, and not in word ; therefore saith he, hereby 
it appears that ye are elected. Would you know whether 
you are elected or no ? hereby it appears, " For our gospel 
came not unto you in word only, but also in power." But 
how may it appear that it came in power ? At ver. 6, " And 
ye became followers of us, and of the Lord ; having received 
the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost." 
Here is faith, faith exercised here. So I say, it shall be an 
argument to you, that ye are chosen and precious, when as 
you mingle the appointments of Christ with your faith. 
Come unto Christ s appointments, but oh, come believing, 
come believing. It may be some poor soul will say, Oh, but 
I cannot believe ; I can keep close to ordinances, but I can 
not believe, I cannot receive them so. 

Why, but if thou dost leave off thy parley with Satan in 
the time of temptation merely upon Christ s command, thou 
dost hear him, and hear him effectually. For suppose now 
that a man s son be treating, in a way of marriage, with an 
other man s daughter, and the father doth not like the match ; 
the father comes unto the son, and saith, I would not have 
thee, son, to marry there, but I have a match for you in such 
a place, such a woman that is fit for you every way ; son, I 
would not have you go on where you do. Then saith the 
son, Father, I am willing with all my heart to hearken to 
you, but my affections are not in mine own hand, I cannot 
love where I list ; as for the person you point at, and the 
motion you make, my affections do not yet come unto it, but 
this I will do, sir, I will presently knock off where I am, and 
I will strive to love where you would have me. Doth not 
this child hear his father now, in that he knocks off, and 
will go no more to the person that he was in parley w r ith> 
although for the present he cannot love the person his 
father would have him love ? So here, the Lord would 


have us believe, and cast our souls upon Jesus Christ, and 
love him; but, saith the soul, I cannot believe in Christ, I 
cannot love him ; yet this I will do, Lord, I am in parley 
with Satan upon such and such terms, I will knock off with 
him : this being done is a hearing of the Lord Jesus Christ, 
this great Prophet, and it is an effectual hearing too. Thus 
we are to hear this great Prophet, and thus you have heard 
that ye are to hear him, and how ye are to hearken to him. 
What now remains, but that you up and be doing. Whoso 
ever you are that hear the word of the Lord this day, either 
you are godly or you are ungodly. If you be ungodly, " hear, 
and your souls shall live." Hear this great Prophet, and 
your souls shall live. If you be godly hear this Prophet, for 
saith he, fc My sheep hear my voice, and they follow me." It 
was the speech of that holy, eminent person Mr. Brightman, 
If Christ be not your Prophet, he shall never be your Priest : 
if Christ may not be your Prophet to teach you, guide you, 
and direct you, he shall never be your Priest to satisfy God s 
vrath for you. Now, therefore, as you desire that the Lord 
Jesus should be your Priest, to satisfy the wrath of God for 
you ; oh, let him be your Prophet ; hearken to this Prophet, 
to his institutions, appointments, and keep close to them. 

And, to end all, take but one scriptural encouragement, it 
is at Isa. xlviii. 17: "Thus saith the Lord thy Redeemer, 
the Holy One of Israel (this is Christ), I am the Lord thy 
God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the 
way that thou shouldest go." Christ is our teacher. Aye, 
but we have many teachers ; oh, that I could meet with that 
teacher once that could teach me to profit by all that I have 
heard. So Christ teacheth : " Thus saitli the Lord thy Re 
deemer, the Holy One of Israel, I am the Lord thy God 
which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way 
that thou shouldest go." Well, but what is my duty then ? 
Your duty is to hear him ; at verse 18, " Oh that thou hadst 
hearkened unto my commandments." But what good shall 
I get thereby ? " Then had thy peace been as a river ;" not 
as a drop of water in a glass that is soon dried up : in a river 
there is much water, and in a river, you know, there is fresh 
water : now saith the Lord, Do but hearken unto this teacher, 
this great Prophet, and the peace of thy conscience shall be 
like a river, full of peace shall thy conscience be; and as the 


water of the river is always fresh, so shall thy peace of con 
science be; whereas now thou art troubled in conscience, and 
hast no peace within, do but hearken unto this great Prophet 
as distinct from Moses, and thou shalt have peace within as a 
river, full and fresh. But what matter for peace unless I 
have grace withal ? If I do hearken unto him shall I have 
grace too ? See what follows : " Oh that thou hadst heark 
ened to my commandments, then had thy peace been as a 
river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea." Thy 
righteousness and thy holiness shall be as a sea, thy peace as 
a river, but thy grace shall be more, as the sea that knows no 
bottom so shall thy righteousness be. Who doth not desire 
these two, peace and grace ? If there be ever a poor soul in 
all the congregation that is troubled in conscience, and labours 
under conscience burdens, hearken, then, and hear the Lord 
Jesus ; go, I say, to him, and stand waiting on him as the 
great Prophet, as distinct from Moses. I do not say hearken 
to Moses, that speaks conditionally, but hearken to Christ, 
that speaks grace absolutely; " I will write my law in thy 
heart;" that is upon no candition. Soul, go and hearken to 
this great Prophet and thou shalt certainly have peace ; yea, 
the peace shall be as a river, and thou shalt have fulness of 
peace, and freshness of peace : that whereas now thy soul is 
mudded, and thy conscience troubled, and thou goest under 
many temptations, thou shalt then have thy conscience clear, 
and thy soul cleansed : and whereas now thou labourest un 
der much corruption, then shall the righteousness be as the 
waves of the sea, thou shalt have grace and abundance of 
grace ; wherefore what I say to one I say to all, Hear, hear, 
hear and your souls shall live. 




JULY 22, 1649. 


ACCORDING to your command, I have presented these notes to your view, 
which were once delivered unto your ear and heart. 1 have joined another Ser 
mon therewith, pleading for our submission to Christ in the way of his ordi 
nances : the argument of the one is a friend to the other stantque caduntque 
simul. The sweet enjoyment of ordinances together, is a great help to our love. 
We can hardly cool in our love to one, but we shall abate in our love to the 
other: swelling gifts despise ordinances and neglect love. This sermon, there 
fore, of grace, love and gifts, is to call upon our gifts, that they take not the 
wall of our graces ; the other sermon of ordinances, is to call upon our graces 
to submit unto Christ s appointments : for gifts thrive best when they live under 
grace, and grace thrives best when it lives under ordinances. Now the girdle of 
all the ordinances is the Lord s day, which doth surround and combine all the 
rest. May it please the magistrate to be a friend to this good day, Christ will 
surely be a friend to him in an evil day. You cannot make people sanctify this 
day, for the hearts of men are not in your hands ; but you may restrain them 
much from public profaning this day, for the tongues, hands, and feet of men 
are much in your hands. Job is said to sanctify his sons, Job i, because he 
commanded them to sanctify themselves, used all means for their sanctification, 
and prayed for them. So, though the magistrate cannot sanctify the people as 
to the infusion of grace, yet by his prayers and gracious endeavours of love, 
mixed with some power, as just occasion requires, he also may be said to sanctify 
them. The magistrate is the people s father, and the people are the magistrate s 
children. Now, therefore, as it was said of Job and his children, so let it be 
said of you and your children in the generations to come ; And it was so, that 
when the days of their feasting, or rather sporting, were come, (for so the Lord s 
days have been too truly called of late,) the magistrate sent and sanctified them. 
Thus shall our decayed love to God, his truth, his ordinances and his children, 
revive and be advanced again ; and thus shall the blessing of the house of Obed- 
edom (who received the ark) rest upon you and your families, which shall be the 
prayer of your servant in the work of the gospel, 


Yarmouth, c ept. 10, 1649. 

" But covet earnestly the best gifts : and yet I shew unto you a 
more excellent way." 1 COK. xii. 31. 

OF all the churches of Christ which we read of in the New 

*KK. 8.] GRACE AXD LOVE, &C. 1 G3 

Testament, the church of Corinth seems to have abounded 
most with spiritual gifts ; and as they did abound most in 
them, so they did most abuse them. All had not those spi 
ritual gifts, some had : those that had them, despised those 
that had them not; and those that had them not, envied 
those that had them. The apostle Paul, therefore, that he 
might heal this distemper, doth acquaint them with the excel 
lency of those gifts, and the end for which they were 
appointed. Concerning the excellency of gifts, he tells them 
in the beginning of this chapter, that they are all from the 
Spirit. " There are diversities of gifts (ver. 4) but the same 
Spirit : there are differences of administrations, but the same 
Lord." Ver. 8, " To one is given by the Spirit, the word of 
wisdom ; to another the word of knowledge, by the same 
Spirit ; to another faith, by the same Spirit." And concern 
ing the end for which they were appointed, he tells them, at 
verse 7> that they are given to profit withal : " But the 
ministration of the Spirit is given to every man to profit 
withal." Now both the excellency of gifts, and the end for 
which they were appointed, he doth illustrate by a similitude 
drawn from the natural body : that as in the natural body 
there are many members, and those, having several gifts, 
are helpful to one another; and the eye cannot say unto the 
foot, I have no need of thee : so in the body of Christ, all 
members, with their several gifts, are to be helpful to one 
another, and one member of Christ cannot say to the other, 
" I have no need of thee." For, at ver. 26, " Whether one 
member suffers, all the members suffer with it ; or one mem 
ber be honoured, all the members rejoice with it." Now, at 
ver. 27, saith he, " Ye are the body of Christ, and members 
in particular/* But how do these members come, or attain 
unto these gifts ? Ver. 28, " God hath set some in the 
church, first, apostles ; secondly, prophets ; thirdly, teachers ; 
after that, miracles; then gifts of healing." But have all 
men these gifts ? No. Are all apostles ? At ver. 29, " Are 
all prophets, are all teachers, are all workers of miracles, have 
all the gifts of healing ?" &c. But may we not all desire 
gifts then ? Yes. " But covet earnestly the best gifts : and 
yet I shew unto you a more excellent way." What way is 
that ? If you look into this chap, xii., it is the way of hu 
mility, grace and holiness. If you look down into chap. 


164 GRACE AND LOVE [$ER. 8. 

xiii., it is the way of love ; for, saith he, in ver. 1, " Though 
I speak with the tongue of men and angels, and have not 
love. I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." 
So then take the words as they look upwards and downwards, 
relating unto all the former parts of chap, xii., and unto chap, 
xiii., and you have this observation or doctrine : 

Though the way of gifts, spiritual gifts, be an excellent ! 
way, and much to be desired ; yet the way of grace and love j 
is a more excellent way, and most to be desired. 

For the opening of which truth, three things : 

First, That there is a way of gifts distinct from the way of 
grace, and a way of grace distinct from the way of gifts. 

Secondly, That there is much excellency in these spiritual 1 
gifts ; that the way of gifts is a yery excellent way, and much ] 
to be desired. 

Thirdly, That the way of grace and of love is yet a more ^ 
excellent way, and more to be desired. 

First, I say, there is a way of gifts distinct from the 
way of grace and holiness, x a P 19 and x a ^ ff ^ a are distinct: all 
the saints and people of God have grace, but all have not 
these gifts. Grace is that excellency whereby we are made 
like to God in Christ ; gifts are that excellency whereby we 
are made able to do service for God in the church of God. 
By grace, say the schools, we do bene agere, we do work 
well; and by gifts we do expedite agere, we do act more* 
facily, easily, expeditely. A man may have a gift in prayer, 
and yet no grace in prayer ; a man may have a gift in preach 
ing and exercising, yet no grace under it ; a man may have 
the gift of faith, (though " I have all faith, so that I could 
remove mountains, and have not charity, I have nothing ;" he 
speaks of the gift of faith) ; a man may have, I say, the 
gift of faith, and yet not the saving grace of faith. So that 
plainly there is a way of gifts distinct from the way of grace, 
and a way of grace and holiness distinct from the way of 

Secondly, But what excellency is there then in gifts, and 
in the way of gifts ? 

Much, very much; they are called Trveu/xaru-a^ in chap. xiv. 
1, te Desire spiritual gifts." In chap. xii. they are said to be 
of the Spirit, by the Spirit, from the Spirit. And if you 
look into Acts x., you shall find that they are called, " The 


very Spirit," or the Holy Ghost ; at ver. 44, " While Peter 
yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell upon all them 
which heard the word, and they of the circumcision which 
believed, were astonished, because that upon the Gentiles 
was also poured out the gifts of the Holy Ghost," In one 
Verse it is said, " They received the Holy Ghost ;" and in the 
next, they " received the gift of the Holy Ghost." " For 
they heard them speak with tongues and magnifying God : 
then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these 
should not be baptized, which have received the Holy 
Ghost ? " Yet notwithstanding, before, it is said, the gift of 
the Holy Ghost was poured out upon them. So that here 
the gift of the Holy Ghost is called the Holy Ghost. And 
so I take that place in Heb. vi. to be understood, concerning 
wicked men that do fall away : it is said, " They are made 
partakers of the Holy Ghost;" that is, the gifts of the Holy 
Ghost : for in those times the Holy Ghost appeared by sen 
sible gifts, and it is usual to put the sign for the thing signi 
fied. But now, that these gifts should be raised up to such 
a title as this, to be called the Holy Ghost, it argues that 
there is a great deal of excellency in these gifts, in spiritual 

They are the purchase of Christ, the fruits of his ascen 
sion ; some of those talents which that great Lord left unto 
his servants, when he went into a far country ; they are bet 
ter than all gold and silver in the world, for if you had all 
the gold and silver of both Indies, you had but natural gifts, 
but these gifts are spiritual. 

It is an excellent thing for a man to be able to do good to 
others : this is the end of gifts ; they are, as the schools 
speak, in ordine ad alium, they are given for others good ; 
they are to profit with, saith the apostle. The sun is 
an excellent creature ; why ? because he doth good to others : 
so, many are, by these spiritual gifts, enabled to do good to 
others ; they are those vessels, which grace and holiness being 
embarked in, is transported into others souls. Though there 
be excellent commodities in other countries, yet if you have 
not shipping to transport them, you are not the better for 
them; therefore you say, there is a great use of shipping, 
thereby such and such rare commodities are transported : so, 
by these gifts, that grace and goodness that grows in one 

166 GRACE AND LOVE [SfiR. 8. 

man s heart, is transported into another s, carried into an 
other s soul. " He hath given gifts," saith the apostle, " for 
the edifying of the body of Christ," Eph. iv. If you cannot 
reach a book off the shelf, you take a stool, and standing 
upon that stool, you are able to reach down the book: the 
stool are these gifts ; grace alone many times cannot reach 
clown such a notion in divinity, as it is able to do by the help 
of gifts. Dona dantur in adjutorium gratia : gifts are given 
for the help of grace, they are the handmaids of grace, and 
they bring forth sweetly upon the knees of grace. 

Again, That must needs be excellent, that is able to add a 
further excellency unto that which is the most excellent. 
You say ordinarily, that if a worse thing be added unto a 
better, the better is defiled ; as if water be added unto wine, 
the wine is corrupted ; if lead be added unto silver, the silver 
is denied ; if silver be added unto gold, the gold is debased ; 
and so the better is defiled by the worser. But now grace is 
the greatest excellency in the world, yet add gifts unto grace, 
and grace itself is made the more excellent and beautiful: 
for as the temple did sanctify the gold, but the gold did 
beautify the temple ; so though grace do sanctify gifts, yet 
gifts do beautify grace. Now grace being the greatest beauty 
under heaven, and gifts putting a further beauty upon that 
which is the most beautiful, what doth this argue, but that 
there is abundance of excellency and beauty in spiritual gifts. 

Thirdly, But then, if there be such an excellency in gifts, 
in spiritual gifts, wherein is grace and love more excellent? 
Wherein lies the excellency of grace and love, beyond the 
excellency of gifts ? 

Concerning love first. Love is not an empty thing, the 
voice and sound of love is not an uncertain sound, or an 
empty voice; but saith the apostle here, 1 Cor. xiii., "Though 
I speak with the tongue of men and angels, and have not love, 
I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal." A 
man s heart may be purged from grosser sins, and he may be 
garnished with parts and gifts, and yet his soul left empty for 
Satan to return into again, as you read in that xiith of Mat 
thew ; but grace and love is a filling thing, yea, saith the 
apostle, chap. xiii. 8, " Love (or charity) never fails," but 
it continues, it is that garment that never waxeth old ; but 
gilts do, and are soon threadbare. Though these gifts are 


fine sweet flowers, yet therewithal the mower filleth not his 
hand ; a gracious heart cannot be satisfied with gifts alone, 
gifts alone are not able to satisfy, love and grace doth. But 
wherein doth love work beyond gifts ? Saith the apostle here, 
I will tell you, chap. xiii. 4, " Love is not easily provoked ;" 
better read thus, Love is slow to anger ; parts and gifts are 
not so. But a man may be slow to anger, and yet not kind 
and bountiful. True, but " love is kind," or bountiful, as 
the word bears it, gifts are not so. The apostle speaks of the 
effects of love in opposition to parts and gifts all along. 
Love, saith he, is slow to anger, and is kind, or bountiful. 
Aye, but though a man be kind or bountiful, yet notwith 
standing he may envy at the good of others. True, if he 
have parts and gifts only; but love, true love, that envies 
not. Aye, but though a man do not envy at the good of 
others, yet he may not consider the wants of others. True, 
but love will, for in the next words, " Charity (or love) vaunt- 
eth not," so you read it, but according to the greek, rather, 
u Love is not light/ or inconsiderate, but considers, and 
weigheth all things. Aye, but though you do all this, yet 
notwithstanding a man may be proud when he hath done. 
True, if he have gifts alone, but " love is not puffed up," is 
not swelled or blown and filled with wind as the bellows are ; 
at the 5th verse, saith he, " Love doth not behave itself un 
seemly." This may be understood two ways, saith Peter 
Martyr ; love will do no unseemly thing, or, love counts no 
thing unseemly for the person loved. Our Saviour Christ 
washed his disciples* feet : one would think it an unseemly 
thing for the Lord and Master to do this for the servants, 
but he loved them, and love counts nothing unseemly for the 
person loved. Judas comes and betrays his Master with a 
kiss, this was an unseemly thing ; Judas had parts and gifts, 
but he had not love, and therefore he did an unseemly thing. 
Love doth not behave itself unseemly, that is, it doth no un 
seemly thing, and yet counts nothing unseemly for the person 
loved. " It seeks not her own," in the next words, but the 
good of the person loved. " Love is not easily provoked ;" 
the words rather to be read thus, " Is not easily embittered," 
or is not sharp, doth not speak bitter language ; gifts and 
parts will. " Love thinks no evil j" that follows : and at 
verse (>, "It rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rcjoiceth in the 

168 GRACE AND LOVE [SflR. 8. 

truth." " It rejoiceth not in iniquity ;" the word is a&iaa,* 
injustice : " It rejoiceth not in injustice, but it doth rejoice 
with the truth ;" <rvyx ai P" ^ a\jj9ea ;f so the words are to be 
read, and that is thus : If a man be oppressed, love cannot 
rejoice in his oppression ; but if a man be freed and delivered 
from his oppression, and the truth heard and known, love re 
joiceth with such a man when the truth is discovered; it re 
joiceth not in injustice, but rejoiceth with the truth when that 
comes to light. Well, but suppose all this, yet notwithstand 
ing a man may labour under some sinful infirmities, &c., 
what will love do then ? " Love beareth all things," verse 7 
But the words should be otherwise translated ; for as you 
read them, " Love beareth all things ;" what difference will 
there be between that clause and the latter of that verse, 
" Endureth all things, it bears all things," &c. ? J Here is no 
difference. The words, therefore, should be read thus : " It 
covereth all things." So the greek word, ortyw, signifies pro 
perly, to cover : it is the same word that is used ordinarily in 
the New Testament to that purpose. Mark ii. 4, " They un 
covered the roof of the house," &c. The roof, or the cover 
ing, is the same word that is used here, and so, " love cover 
eth all things ;" though men have many infirmities, yet true 
love will cover them all : and " it believeth all things ;" 
though a man have done that which is evil in itself, yet love be 
lieves he had a good intention in the doing of it, for it believeth 
all things ; and though a man go very far in sin, yet if another 
have love, he hopeth that God will bring him back again, for 
" love hopeth all things, it covers all things, it believeth all 
things, it hopeth all things;" and if another do me wrong, if 
I have love I shall bear that too, for " love endureth all 
things." But, now, will gifts and parts do these things ? 
Surely no ; gifts and parts will not bear all things, cover 
all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure 
all things. Aye, but love doth, and love will, and there 
fore here is a greater excellency in the way of love than in 
the way of gifts ; ana if love do outshoot gifts in their own 
bow, then certainly there is a greater excellency in love than 
in all gifts. Now if you look into 1 Cor. viii., you shall find 

* Ou X a ? t 7rt rr l 
\ Ah/x.a et arty if ita distinguuntnr quod Ewfj-ae. sit sutnma edium pars artyt] 
ver notat tabulatum TOV 


that it is said concerning love, that it edifies ;" knowledge 
puffeth up, but charity (or love) edifies." Knowledge, that 
is, the gift of knowledge, doth puff us up. The end of gifts 
is edification ; it is the proper work of gifts to edify; yet, 
saith the apostle, love edifies ; comparing love and gifts to 
gether, he shews that love edifies rather than gifts. Now, I 
say, if that love do thus outshoot gifts in their own bow, then 
certainly there is a great deal more excellency in love than 
in all gifts, though they be never so great. Thus concerning 

And concerning grace and holiness in the general. Grace 
and holiness is the proper and natural effect of the Spirit, as 
I may so speak. Gifts are, opus ad extra. You shall find 
that voluntary and rational agents have a twofold effect: a 
man begets a child like himself, that is a natural effect; then 
he makes a stool, or a hat, or a ship, this is not a natural 
effect, this is an artificial effect : so God the Father, he made 
the world, there is opus ad extra : but he begat his Son, and 
the Son is of the Father, so the Holy Ghost hath a twofold 
effect. The proper and the natural effect of the Holy Ghost 
is grace, but the opus ad extra is gifts. Grace and holiness is 
the proper effect of the Holy Ghost, and therefore the apostle 
Paul speaking of love, joy, peace, and of other particular 
graces, saith, they are " the fruits of the Spirit," Gal. v. 22. 
" But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, gentleness, 
goodness, faith," &c. 

Again, Sin and corruption will not so easily plant upon 
grace as upon gifts ; pride and corruption will more easily 
plant upon gifts than upon grace ; gifts do sooner gather filth 
and sooner rust than grace doth. Saith the apostle in that 
place I named even now. " Knowledge puffeth up, but love 
edifies;" he speaks of knowledge as of a gift; now saith he, 
" Knowledge, that puffeth up." But how can knowledge, or 
how can any spiritual gift puff one up ? Can that which is 
the fruit or the effect of the Spirit of God puff one up ? No, 
but occasionally it can, and it will occasionally. So, you will 
say, grace itself doth, for a man may be proud of his grace 
as well as he may be proud of his gifts. It is very true. I 
remember that speech of Mr. Fox, Sometimes, said he, I get 
hurt by my graces, and sometimes I get good by my sins ; for 
by my sins I am made more humble, and by my grace I am 

170 GRACE AND LOVE [SfiR. 8. 

made more proud. It is true, occasionally a man may be 
proud of and puffed up by his very graces, but there is yet 
that in true grace itself that will suppress pride, grace being 
contrary to sin ; as for gifts, though they be divers from sin, 
yet they are not contrary unto sin, and so cannot suppress 
sin, as grace can do, that is contrary thereunto ; for one con 
trary doth destroy the other. I express it thus : a man may 
be proud of his clothes, and he may be proud of his graces, 
but there is not that in his clothes which will suppress his 
pride ; there is nothing in clothes that is contrary unto pride, 
but in grace there is. So a man may be proud of his gifts, 
and he may be proud of his graces, but there is not that in 
gifts that is so contrary unto pride as there is in grace ; there 
is that in grace that is directly contrary unto sin and pride : 
I say, therefore, that pride and corruption cannot so easily 
plant and grow upon grace itself as it can upon gifts, and 
therefore there is a greater excellency in grace, and the way 
of grace and holiness, than in the way of gifts. Though a 
man have never so little grace, and have no gifts, yet he gives 
no offence, is not scandalous ; but if a man have all gifts, arid 
have no grace, how many offences doth he fall into, and how 
scandalous is he ? let experience speak. 

Though a man have never such great parts and gifts, yet if 
he have not grace withal, he may go to hell, and perish to all 
eternity, for by his gifts he is not united unto Jesus Christ, 
for by his gifts he is not made the child of God, for by his 
gifts he is not estated in the covenant of grace. You know 
what our Saviour saith : " Many shall say in that day, Lord, 
Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils 
in thy name, and have done many wonderful works?" these are 
the effects of gifts; " and he shall say unto them,Depart,I know 
you not." But saith the apostle concerning grace and love, 
" I hope better things of you, and such as accompany salva 
tion, for God is not unmindful to forget your labour of love" 
that accompanies salvation. You see how it is with children 
that are playing together in the day, if they be playing abroad, 
and children of divers parents, when night comes, one child 
goes to his father, and the other unto hlB father; they are 
very like, it may be, and their clothes are alike, and when 
they are playing together abroad, you cannot say whose child 
this is, or whose child that is, but when night comes, the fa- 

. 8.] BEYOND GIFTS. 171 

ther then comes unto his child and saith, Come home, my 
child, come in at doors, and if the other offers to go in there, 
No, child, you must go home to your father ; so while we 
are living, grace and gifts are mingled together, some men 
have gifts and some men have graces, and they look very like. 
Ah, but when night comes, and when death comes, then God 
the Father, he saith to those that have grace, Come, my chil 
dren, enter in ; but if those that have gifts only come, he 
sends them away : No, you must go to your father, it is not 
your gifts make you my children ; by grace you are my chil 
dren, but not by gifts, and therefore home to your fa 
ther, I am none your father, home unto your own father ; 
thus will the Lord speak when night comes: yea, and 
if a man do go to hell and perish, the more gifts he hath, 
the deeper will he sink into hell ; as it is with a man that 
is in the water, sinking in the water, the more he is laden 
with gold, the more he sinks, and as he is sinking if he 
hath any time to cry out, he saith, Oh, take away these bags 
of gold, these bags of gold will sink me, they will undo me : 
so 1 say, these golden parts and golden gifts they will 
undo men ; when men come to hell, and shall perish, the 
more golden gifts and parts they have had, the deeper they 
shall sink in hell; parts and gifts will never save a man from 
the wrath to come, aye, but grace, and love, and holiness 
under Christ will ; surely therefore there is an excellency in 
the way of grace and of love, beyond the way of gifts : though 
the way of gifts be an excellent way, and much to be desired, 
yet the way of grace and of love is a more excellent way, and 
most of all to be desired. 

By way of application then methinks this doctrine looks 
wishly upon those that have gifts, upon those that have none, 
or very weak, and it looks wishly upon us all. 

It looks wishly upon those that have parts and gifts, and 
it calls upon you all for to bless the Lord. Hath the Lord 
led you in a way of gifts ? He hath led you in an excellent 
way, for the way of gifts is an excellent way. Is it not a 
great mercy for a man to be able to do guod to others, and to 
save another man s soul, to have a hand to pull others out of 
everlasting burnings ? Herein man seems to go beyond the 
angels, tor the angels are ministering spirits, but men are 
called saviours, " Others save with fear, pulling them out of 


the fire." And hath the Lord led you in a way of gifts, 
and given you gifts to do good to others ? Such a hand he 
hath given to you, surely therefore you have cause for ever 
to bless the Lord. 

But though the Lord, through his grace, hath led me in 
this way of gifts, I fear I have nothing but gifts, I fear that 
they are gifts alone, and not grace withal ; had I gifts and 
graces too, I should bless the Lord indeed, but I fear it is 
nothing but gifts. 

For answer, it is possible that a man that hath grace may 
think he hath nothing but gifts ; it is possible for a man that 
hath only gifts to think that his gifts are graces. But would 
you know the difference between gifts and graces as they are 
in subjecto, as they are in a particular person ? for the differ 
ence between them as they are in themselves, I have shewn 
you in the beginning. Then thus, the faculty you know is 
distinguished by the act, and the act by the object, potentia 
distinguitur per actum, et actus per objectum, saith philo 
sophy. If a man have gifts only, he is exercised most about 
a gifting object; if grace, then about a gracious object; and 
therefore if you look into Scripture, you shall find, that grace 
and faith fall in with a crucified Christ, " I desire to know 
nothing but Christ, and him crucified/ saith faith and grace. 
But now gifts coming in by the ascension of Jesus Christ, 
" He hath ascended on high, he hath given gifts to men/ 
they are conversant especially about ascensions and glories, 
but a crucified Christ is a mean and fleshly thing in their 

Again, They differ in their nature ; for gifts, as I may so 
speak, are a dead grace, and grace is a living gift ; dead men 
are free among the dead, and living men love to converse 
with the living ; grace is a living quality, and therefore it 
prizeth living saints, and things are most savoury that come 
from a living hand ; but gifts in comparison are a dead thing, 
and therefore prizeth dead notions, and dead persons ; and 
things relish best which come from a dead hand, as books 
and the like ; why ? because gifts being dead, themselves 
are free among the dead. 

Again, They differ also in their disposition, for grace and 
holiness is contented with the simplicity of the gospel, gifts 
are not contented therewithal, and therefore you shall ob- 


serve that the Corinthians, who excelled in gifts, adulterated 
the gospel with their swelling words ; the Galatians adulter 
ated the doctrine of the gospel, and mingled the doctrine of 
the gospel with justification by works ; and the Corinthians 
mingled the words of the gospel with their own swelling 
language ; they had gifts and they were not contented with 
the simplicity of the gospel, aye, but grace is. Yoxi see how 
it is with a child that comes into a corn-field, he is mightily 
taken with the blue or red weeds, or a company of daisies, 
but now when a man comes, the husbandman comes, he 
looks at the corn, and is not so much taken with the blue or 
red weeds, or the daisies that grow there, but is taken with 
the corn itself. So now take a man that hath gifts only, and 
bring him to a sermon, or to a prayer, and if there be any 
fine expressions, any daisies, he is much taken with them, 
he prizeth and magnifieth them, and he hangs on them ; but 
now bring a man that hath grace, to prayer, or to a sermon, 
and he looks at the corn, he doth not look at the daisies so 
much, but at the spirituality and the power of those things 
that are there delivered. They differ in their disposition. 

Again, They differ also in their effects ; grace hath a good 
hand at suffering as well as at doing ; gifts have a very good 
hand at doing, but they have an ill hand at suffering ; they 
are given to profit withal, they are given to act, and to do 
with ; but when you come to suffer, gifts, I say, though they 
have a good hand at doing, they have a very ill hand at 
suffering : but now grace hath as good a hand at suffering 
as it hath at doing. 

Again, They differ also in their abatement and in their 
quenching : if a man have grace and fall into sin, that sin 
will hinder and quench the former actings of his grace ; he 
cannot act now as he did act before ; therefore saith the 
apostle, " Quench not the Spirit :" but if a man have gifts 
only, and no grace, and he fall into sin, that sin hinders not 
his actings, he can pray as he did, and he can converse as he 
did, his actings are not so much hindered or quenched there 
by ; as it is with a candle, if it be only painted upon a board, 
and you put it into the water, that is not quenched thereby ; 
why ? because it is a dead candle, it is not a living candle : 
but now come and take a living candle, a burning candle, 
and put that into the water, and that is quenched : why ? be- 


cause it is a living candle, it is a burning candle : so now, 
take a man that hath gifts only, and let him fall into sin, and 
his gifts are not quenched with his sin ; why ? because he is 
but a dead candle, a painted candle, and so he can pray as 
well, and converse as well, though he fall into sin : but now, 
a man that hath grace in truth, and more than gifts, if he 
fall into sin, oh, he cannot act as he did act before, he hath 
not the same face towards God as he had before : thus, I say, 
they differ in their abatements. And therefore now, whoso 
ever you are that make this objection, and fear that you have 
nothing but gifts, and not grace ; as it is the scruple of many 
Christians, Oh, I fear, saith one, I have nothing but gifts, that 
I have not grace at all, but gifts alone : I appeal unto you 
before the Lord, whoever you are that labour under this fear, 
whether do you not desire above all to know Jesus Christ 
and him crucified ; whether are not things best that come 
from a living hand to you; whether do not your disposition 
lie towards the simplicity of the gospel; and are you not 
content and satisfied therewithal ; whether have you not as 
good a hand at suffering, when God calls you thereunto, as 
at doing ; whether are you not quenched, when you fall into 
sin ? Oh, yes, saith the poor soul ; this I must needs say, 
through grace thus it is with me ; the Lord knows I can 
speak this in truth, I desire to know nothing but a crucified 
Christ; living things from a living hand do savour best with 
me, and my disposition lies towards the simplicity of the 
gospel; I am not so much taken with the daisies, as with the 
corn that grows in a sermon and in a prayer ; and through 
grace I have as good a hand at suffering, when God leads me 
to it, as at doing ; and this I can say in truth, that when I 
do fall into any great sin, that I find some abating and 
quenching, I cannot pray then as I could pray before. Well, 
if these things be in you and abound, be of good comfort, here 
is more than bare gifts, here is grace also. 

This doctrine looks wishly also upon those that have no 
gifts, upon those that are weak in gifts, have either no gifts 
at all, or very weak gifts ; and it calls upon you to be of good 
comfort. There is many a poor soul complains and says, As 
for such and such men, they have great gifts, but I have no 
gifts at all ; I have no memory at all, I have no utterance, I 
have no elocution, I have no gifts in prayer, I have no gifts 

. 8.] BEYOND GIFTS . ] 7. ) 

I in conference. Well, the way of gifts indeed is an excellent 

way : and hath not the Lord led you in the way of gifts, that 

ij excellent way ? yet notwithstanding, if he have led you in a 

i more excellent way, have you any cause to complain ? 

Though the way of gifts be an excellent way, the way of 

grace is a more excellent way, the way of love is a more ex- 

! cellent way. What then, soul, what then ? Though the 

Lord hath not led thee in the way of gifts, that excellent 

way, yet, I say, if he have led thee in the way of grace, and 

in the way of love, in the more excellent way, certainly you 

have no cause to complain. 

Will you complain for want of that, which if you had in 
abundance, you would have less time to tend your own souls? 
Gifts are given for to profit with, gifts are given for the good 
of others, to do good to others ; the more gifts you have 
therefore, the more you are to tend upon others, and do good 
to them ; and the more you are to tend upon others, the less 
time you have to tend upon your own souls. Now, I say, 
would you complain for want cf that, which if you had in 
abundance, you should have less time to tend your own souls? 
Or, will you complain for want of that, which if you had 
without grace, would be your undoing ? The heathens tell us 
a fable concerning a man, who desired that all that ever he 
touched might be gold, and, say they, it was granted to him 
by the gods ; when therefore he came to eat his meat, he 
touched it, so his meat was turned to gold, and so the man 
was starved : the moral of it is this, that many a man would 
be utterly undone if he had that which he most desires : and 
let me tell you this, had you all gifts and golden parts, yet, if 
you had not grace withal, you would desire that all that ever 
you should touch might be gold, you would turn all into gifts, 
and matter of parts, and so your own soul would be undone 
and starved by it. 

Or, will you complain for want of that, which, if you have, 
may aggravate your condemnation ; but, if you want, cannot 
hinder your salvation ? Pray consider it ; will you, I say, 
complain for want of that, which, if you have, may aggravate 
your condemnation ; but, if you want, can never hinder your 
salvation ? If you have gifts, they may aggravate your con 
demnation ; but if you have them not, your wanting of them 
shall never hinder your salvation. Shall I then complain for 


want of them ? Yet thus, I say, thus it is with you that 
complain for want of gifts ; hath not the Lord therefore led 
you in the way of gifts ; and hath he led you in the way of 
grace ? be of good comfort : comfort, comfort, comfort, to all 
those that are weak in gifts, but have truth of grace. Only 
here give me leave to lay before you some few directions, 
whether you have gifts, or no. 

Either you have gifts, or not ; if that you have gifts, then 
you are called to doing good ; if you have not gifts, thsn you 
are called to receiving good, for all a man s life should be 
spent, either in doing good, or receiving ; if a man have gifts, 
then he is called to doing ; if a man have no gifts, then he is 
called to receiving : have you gifts ? therefore know, you are 
called to doing ; have you no gifts ? know, you are called the 
more to receiving. 

And either you have gifts, or not ; if you have gifts, take 
heed you do not despise those that have none ; and if you 
have not, take heed that you do not envy those that have ; 
take heed you do not desire grace for gifts sake, as hypocrites 
do, but rather desire gifts for grace s sake, as the godly do ; as 
your gifts come upon you, labour to grow proportionable in 
grace : for if a man have a great farm, and have no stock, or 
a small stock, it is the only way to break him; so if a man 
have great gifts, and but little grace, it is the only way to un 
do him. 

But, above all things, take heed that you do not lay your 
gifts at the foundation of your religion ; gifts are good in the 
building, but they are naught in the foundation ; gifts are 
good above, but they are naught beneath : you see how it is 
in some trades, if men have gunpowder, barrels of gun 
powder, or commodities that are apt to take fire, they lay 
them in the upper rooms on the top of their houses; and if 
you ask them the reason, Why do not you lay these things 
below ? they will say, Nay, but they are apt to take fire ; and 
if they should but take fire, the whole house might be blown 
up therewithal. Beloved, gifts and parts are as gunpowder, 
they are very apt to take fire ; and what is the reason that 
many a professor is blown up, and the whole building of his 
religion ruined ? but because when first he began to look to- 
words heaven, he laid his gifts at the foundation of his pro 
fession, whereas Christ only is our foundation, and if any 

. 8.J BKYOND GIFTS. 177 

man will build upon gifts and parts, his whole building will 
come to nothing: take heed therefore that gifts and parts do 
not come into the foundation of your religion. 

This doctrine looks wishly also upon all of us : Is this 
true, that though the way of gifts be an excellent way, yet 
the way of grace is a more excellent way, and the way of love 
a more excellent way, and more to be desired ? Why stand 
we then so much upon our gifts and parts ; and why look we 
no more after love ? love is the great command, the most ex 
cellent way; the apostle saith, chap. 13., " Though I speak 
with the tongue of men and angels, and have not love, I am 
become as sounding brass, and a tinkling cymbal." What 
though I preach as never man preached, yet if I want love, I 
am but as sounding brass, and a tinkling cymbal : what 
though I pray as never man prayed with praying gifts, yet if 
I want love, I am but as sounding brass, and as a tinkling 
cymbal ; what though I confer and discourse of all things, as 
never man did, yet if I want love, I am but as sounding brass, 
and as a tinkling cymbal. Yet, good Lord, how many are 
there that bear themselves upon these bladders of gifts and 
parts (which will ere long be pricked) and neglect this way 
of love. Are there not some professors that do sometimes 
question their everlasting condition for the want of gifts, yet 
can go up and down a whole year together in the breach of 
love, and never question their condition for want of that ? 
Yea, are there not some preachers that fetch the great part 
of their evidence for heaven from their gifts; and the exer 
cising of their gifts, whilst they lie in the breach of love ? 
The apostle, you see here, doth advance love above all gifts ; 
and I pray let us consider a little what these gifts are, that 
are thus sunk down before love, which love is advanced 
above : the apostle tells us they are spiritual gifts, not natural 
gifts : suppose now I be to preach, and I go from one book 
to another : out of one book I take one thing, out of another 
book I take another thing, out of a third book I take another 
thing, and I do but only put these together that I have out 
of several books ; is this any more than a natural gift ? sup 
pose a book-binder be to bind up divers sheets of paper, and 
he stitcheth them up together, is it any more than a natural 
gift ? so suppose I be to preach, or I be to pray, and I take 
this expression from one, and that expression from another, 



and this thing from one, and that from another and I do only 
put these things together, is this any more than a natural 
gift ? Aye, but they are spiritual gifts that the apostle doth sink 
before love, and doth advance love above, yea, and if you 
observe this scripture, you shall find that they were the high 
est gifts, for saith he at verse 28. " God hath set some in 
the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, 
after that miracles, then gifts of healing." And " though 
(saith he, chap, xiii.,) I speak with the tongue of men and 
angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, 
and a tinkling cymbal." Though I be an apostle, have the 
gift of an apostle ; be a prophet, and have the gift of a pro 
phet, though I have gifts of miracles, yet notwithstanding if 
I want love, all is nothing : these were great and high gifts, 
the highest gifts, and yet all nothing without love : and are 
all these gifts as nothing, spiritual gifts nothing without love? 
apostolical gifts and prophetical gifts and miraculous gifts, 
are all these gifts nothing without love ? O Lord, what are 
my poor minnum gifts then without love ? my gifts either in 
preaching, or in praying, or in conference ? ah, what poor 
shrubs are my gifts then ? how are they much more nothing 
without love ? and yet how many have these times brought 
forth that hunt much after gifts, and the exercise of their 
gifts, and are strangers to the way of love ? I had almost said, 
they are out of love with this grace of love : but if we look 
into 1 John ii., we find a scripture that may make all of us 
to take heed how we walk up and down without love. 
Verse 10., " He that loveth his brother, abideth in the light, 
and there is no occasion of stumbling in him." Though 
there be much stumbling abroad, yet if a man love his bro 
ther, though he have many failings, and some odd opinions, yet 
if he love his brother he abideth in the light and there is 
no occasion of stumbling in him. But (saith he, verse 11.) 
" He that hateth his brother, is in darkness, and he walks in 
darkness, and he knows not whither he goes." He thinks 
he is going to heaven, and he is going to hell ; he thinks he 
is going on in a way of zeal, but alas, poor man, he walks up 
and down in darkness, he knows not whither he goeth ; who 
soever walks in this way of hatred, or want of love, he walks 
in darkness, and he knows not whither he goes ; but I need 
not say no more. The apostle here tells us, that the way of 


love is an excellent way, the more excellent way, and most 
to be desired : now therefore, oh, that our love might abound. 
Oh, that our love, that is much declined in these days, might 
be recovered. Oh, that our love might abound towards one 
another, and towards all the saints. Oh, that there were love, 
and peace, and reconciliation yet among prossessors. 

But though such a man be a professor, it may be he is not 
godly, yea, I do not think he is godly, and why should I love 
him then ? 

You know what our Saviour saith concerning the Father, 
" He maketh his sun to shine upon the good and bad " and 
I pray is it not usual with deceitful hearts, first to degrade a 
godly man into ungodliness, that so they may have room to 
hate him ? There is a great deal of difference between the 
affection of a profane man, and of an hypocrite j a profane 
man makes nothing to profess that he hates, and that he 
doth not love such a man that is godly, and that he hates him 
because he is pure and holy; but now an hypocrite knows in 
his conscience that he must not hate a man that is godly : 
what then ? Therefore that he may make room to hate him, 
he will first make him ungodly; first he will degrade him, and 
make him ungodly, that so he may have room to hate him ; 
as now, if he have a mind to love one, and to be intimate 
with him, his conscience tells him, that he must not walk 
with, or be intimate with them that are wicked ; therefore 
first he will make a man godly, that so he may have room to 
love hirr ; and so if a man be godly, he will first make him 
ungodly, that so he may have room to hate him : take heed 
of this deceit of heart ; you say such a one is not godly, take 
heed of this deceit. 

But suppose he be godly, yet notwithstanding he is of a 
different judgment from me, he is not of the same opinion 
with me, and should I love him then ? 

I confess it is hard to do it, and we should all pray that we 
might be of the same mind ; yet where, I pray, do you find 
in all the Scripture, that the Lord doth make oneness of 
judgment to be the only rule and measure of love ? Where 
doth the Lord say in any place in Scripture, that oneness of 
judgment shall be the only measure of our love to one an 
other ? Doth a father say unto his child, Child, love your 
brother, because he is of the same growth with you ? No, 



but, my children, love one another, for ye are brethren : so 
the Lord doth not say, My children, love one another, be 
cause you are of the same growth, and the same pitch ; but 
love one another, for you are brethren. 

Aye, but suppose that a man doth me wrong, stirs and 
provokes me, and that he hath first made the breach, should 
I love him then ? 

Yes, else there were no labour of love : God is not unmind 
ful to forget your labour of love ; if there were no provoca 
tion, your love were not worthy of God ; that faith is a faith 
worthy of God that steps over difficulties, and that love is a 
love worthy of God that steps over provocations : you see 
how it is with a glass that hath sweet liquor in it, the more 
you stir that glass, the more savoury sweet smell it sends 
forth ; come indeed to a glass that hath filthy and unsavoury 
liquor in it and the more you stir it the worse it smells. Art 
thou provoked and art thou stirred ? if there be sweet 
liquor in you, grace and patience within you, the more you 
are stirred, and the more you are provoked, the sweeter you 
will smell ; but if there be a froward spirit and a froward dis 
position, if there be filthy liquor within, then indeed the more 
you are stirred, and the more you are provoked, the worse 
you will smell. And whereas you speak of his first making 
the breach upon love, I pray look upon 2 Kings vi., you 
shall find there with what bloody intentions the king of Syria 
came to Dothan to take Elisha, at verse 14., " Therefore 
sent he thither horses and chariots, and a great host, and 
they came by night and compassed the city." Elisha goes 
forth unto them at verse 19., and he said, " This is not the 
way, neither is this the city; follow me, and I will bring you 
to the man whom ye seek : but he led them to Samaria. 
When they were come into Samaria, (at verse 20,) the Lord 
opened their eyes : and the king of Israel said (at verse 21) 
unto Elisha when he saw them, My father shall I smite 
them ? shall I smite them ? He answered, Thou shalt not 
smite them ; wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast ta 
ken captive with thy sword, and with thy bow ? set bread 
and water before them that they may eat and drink, and go 
to their master: so he prepared great provisions for them, and 
when they had eat and drunk, he sent them away, and they 
went to their master ; so the bands of Syria came no more 


into the land of Israel." Mark the issue, the Syrians came 
out first, were the first that made the breach ; well, Israel 
had advantage upon them, and the king of Israel s fingers 
did itch at them to be smiting of them, but Elisha would not 
have it so, but instead of smiting he would have kindness 
shewn unto them ; and I pray what was the effect thereof ? 
having set bread and water before them, and refreshed them 
with those provisions, they went away, " so the bands of 
Syria came no more into the land of Israel/ I have read of 
two famous philosophers that were at great variance, the one 
an elderly man, the other younger, the elder comes unto the 
younger with a motion of peace, and the younger willingly em 
braced it ; peace being made, Well, saith the elder, remem 
ber that though I were the elder, yet I come to you, and I 
first offered peace; true, saith the younger unto him again, I 
acknowledge it, and I shall upon this account for ever ac 
count you the more worthy man, because though I was the 
first that did make the strife, you were the first that did make 
the peace. And shall heathens do thus, and shall not we 
Christians, go beyond them, or do the same ? 

Aye, but there is time for all things : there was a time, in 
deed, for love, and for men to be reconciled, but now things 
are grown to that height and to that pass, that it is now too 
late to talk of love and of reconciliation ; we confess that the 
way of love is the more excellent way, and there was a time 
indeed to have been reconciled, but now it is all too late. 

Well, then, if it be too late, give me leave to entreat one 
thing at yonr hands, and that is this ; I say, If it be too late, 
and you say it is too late to be reconciled and love one ano 
ther, let me entreat this, that you would all lay aside your 
garments, the garments of your profession of being Christ s 
disciples ; for our Saviour saith, " By this shall men know that 
ye are my disciples, if ye love one another:" and therefore if 
it be too late for to love one another, and to be reconciled, 
come and let us lay down our garments, let us lay down our 
profession of being the disciples of Christ ; yea, let us lay 
down our expectation of heaven too, for saith the apostle, 
"Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." 
And is not passion, malice, and want of love, flesh and blood ? 
Certainly, certainly if I do not walk in this way of love, it is 
not all my parts and all my gifts that will bail me from the 

182 GRACE AND LOVE [SfiB. 8. 

arrest of that scripture, " Flesh and blood shall not inherit 
the kingdom of heaven." I have read or heard of a certain 
champion that challenged a devil ; two armies being come 
near to one another, one comes forth out of one army and 
challengeth to fight hand to hand with any one of the other 
army ; at last there steps forth a man for to meet him, and 
they being there to fight, and many of both armies gotten 
round to behold and see what would become of it, who should 
fall and who should stand ; at last saith one of the two, Who 
are you for ? saith the other, Sir, I am for you, and I am 
come forth to save your life ; why, said he, should we, like 
fools, kill one another to make sport for these beholders ? so 
they threw down their weapons and embraced one another, 
and so parted with love, to the admiration of all that did be 
hold them. Now, beloved, things are grown to a great height, 
and there is too much dissension amongst professors, and all 
men are upon the tiptoe at this time to see who shall fall and 
who shall stand. But now, after all our animosities, if we 
would step in to one another, and embrace one another, how 
would this glorify God and make religion glorious in the eyes 
of the world ? Oh, why should we that are professors kill, 
wound or abuse one another to make sport for our common 
enemies that behold us ? Believe it, believe it, it is not too 
late, it is not too late to love one another, it is not too late 
for me to do my work, as long as it is not too late to receive 
my wages ; and if I say, It is too late to be reconciled ; what 
if God say to me, then, It is too late for my soul to be saved. 

What, then, shall we do that we may get into this excellent 
way of love ? 

I shall only lay before you two or three directions. Two 
or three things I conceive there are that yet would make a 
reconciliation, and repair love among us ; that would recover 
and recruit our love that is much declined. The first is an 
evangelical, gospel spirit or disposition. A legal disposition 
is a fretful, froward, fiery disposition, but a gospel disposition 
is like the gospel, smooth, gentle, loving and sweet. We read 
of Abraham, that he went in to Hagar, and he had a child, 
Ishmael, by her ; he went in to Sarah, and he had a child by 
her, Isaac; and these two mothers, Hagar and Sarah, the 
apostle tells us, Gal. iv., were types of the law and of the 
gospel. After Abraham had gone in to Hagar, and the child 

SfcR. 8.] BEYOND GIFTS. 183 

of Hagar well grown, there was no peace in the family, though 
it were Abraham s family. And as Abraham then did go in to 
Hagar, so now the children of Abraham do too much go in 
to Hagar, the law. And as Luther said, Cain semper occidit 
fratrem adfinem mundi ; Cain will be always killing of his 
brother Abel till the world s end : so say I, Abraham will be 
always going in to Hagar till Christ come again. I mean, the 
children of Abraham will be always going in to the law and 
to Hagar. And what is the reason, I pray, that there are so 
many divisions and dissensions now among us, and so little 
love ? But because the children of Abraham go so much in 
to Hagar. I dare boldly say, it is not so much diversity of 
judgment that maketh these dissensions, as it is the legality 
of our dispositions ; for though your judgments were very 
different and removed one from another, yet, if your spirits 
were evangelical, you would love one another: and though 
your judgments were all of a piece, yet if one were of a legal 
disposition, and the other of an evangelical disposition, there 
would be want of love still, still there would be divisions ; 
now, therefore, whensoever you find divisions begin to stir, 
or want of love, then go to God, and beseech the Lord, say 
ing, O Lord, deliver me from a legal disposition ; O Lord, 
bestow upon me a gospel disposition. 

And again, a true and real sense of the name of God, and 
how greatly the name of Christ and God the Father doth 
suffer by the divisions of professors, and their want of love, 
will recruit and recover our love. We are very sensible of 
our own names, the sufferings of our own names ; but were 
we as sensible of the suffering of God s name, certainly there 
would not be such want of love amongst us. Luther said in 
his time, The thief wrongs one, the adulterer wrongs two, the 
slander wrongs three : but I think four ; himself, the person 
abused, the bystander, and the precious name of God. You 
have heard, it is likely, of the parable of the stomach. 
There was a great variance sometimes fell out at Rome, be 
tween the people and the senate, insomuch that the peo 
ple banded together, to the hazard of the commonwealth. 
The senate, to quiet the people, sent a certain eloquent man 
amongst them ; and when he carne amongst them, he pro 
pounded them this parable. Saith he: Upon a time the 
members ot the body were at variance with the stomach, be- 

184 GRACE AND LOVE [SfiR. 8. 

cause the stomach devoured all the meat, and lay still, was 
idle, and did not work, and all the other members of the 
body wrought hard and sorely for their living: whereupon 
they all combined against the stomach, and the eye would 
not see no more for it, and the hand would work no more for 
it, and the feet would walk no more for it, and the teeth 
would chew no more for it, and other members refused for to 
do their office, whereupon the whole body was weak, the eye 
began to wax dim, the hand began to wax weak, the feet 
began to be feeble, and all the members began to be weak, 
and the whole body for to wither. So here, now in these 
days of ours ; one man he thinks he is wronged, and he 
withholds his influence and his love ; and another man he 
thinks he is wronged, and he withholds his influence and his 
love; and another man he thinks he is wronged, and he with 
holds his influence and his love : and so in fine all the mem 
bers are weakened, and the whole body of the commonwealth 
weakened ; yea, and the body of Christianity weakened, and 
the name of Christ, the precious name of Christ, that suffers 
much. You that are a professor, you strike at me; and I 
that am a professor, I strike at you : but 1 pray, where falls 
the blow ? the blow falls upon the name of Christ, the blow 
falls upon the name of God. Have I done you wrong ? I 
pray, what wrong hath the name of Christ done you ? Hath 
not Christ suffered enough for us, but shall his precious name 
suffer more by us ? Moses was a man, you know, tender of 
the name of God : " What shall become of thy great name }" 
In Malachi s time, it was the character of a man fearing God, 
that he " thought upon the name of God." Solomon in the 
Proverbs saith, <e The name of the Lord is a strong tower, 
the righteous fly thereunto and are safe." Now then, as ever 
you desire that the name of the Lord should be a refuge and 
a shelter to you in the evil day ; oh, be tender of the name 
of God, and I dare say, the more tender you that are profes 
sors are of the precious name of God, and the more sense 
you have of the sufferings of God s name, the more you will 
lay down your weapons one against another, and the more 
you will set yourselves for to love one another. 

And would you love one another now, as you have loved 
before ? then do as you have done before. " I have some 
what against thee, (saith Christ to the church of Ephesus,) 


thou hast left thy first love." But wouldest thou be recov 
ered ? " Remember from whence thou hast fallen, and 
repent, and do thy first works." I wish I might not say, 
that Christ hath a somewhat against us, even this, that in 
these days of ours we have lost our former love, love unto 
one another. But would we be recovered, reclaimed ? Oh, 
let us remember from whence we are fallen, repent and 
bewail our divisions, declinings in love, and do our first 
works. What are those ? Times were heretofore, when you, 
that are of different judgments now, would have met toge 
ther, prayed together, yea, fasted, prayed, and have wept 
together. So let us do again : we meet now and dispute 
together, we meet now and we wrangle together, but we shall 
never dispute ourselves into love. If we would love one 
another now, as we have done before, then let us do as we 
did before, meet and pray together, as before. The living 
fish swims against the stream, the dead fish is carried down 
with the tide ; so a living Christian swims against the tide of 
the times, a dead professor is carried down with all. And 
which way doth the stream and tide of these times run, but 
against love ? great oppositions that are made to love. Now 
then, as we desire to be counted living Christians, let us make 
it our work and business to heal and reconcile things. It is 
in regard of graces, as in regard of ordinances ; when any or 
dinance of God is decried, then it is our duty, and we are called 
to it, for to cry it up ; so when any one grace is opposed, then 
is our time, and then we are called to advance it most. And 
when ever was this grace of love among professors so much 
opposed as it is now ? Now therefore, if ever, is our duty to 
abound in love, and to walk in this excellent way. 

But you desire gifts, yea, and your gifts are great ; I know 
where I speak, in this great and famous city of London, 
where gifts and parts grow alone, even in your streets ; yet 
let me tell you this, though you or I should have all gifts and 
parts, yet if we want love, we should be but as sounding 
brass and as a tinkling cymbal. But you desire gifts, the 
gift of teaching, exercising, that ye may be able to do good 
to others ; and you do well therein, for the way of gifts is an 
excellent way: oh, but the way of love is a more excellent 
way. You desire gifts, the gift of prayer, the gift of confer 
ence, that you may speak a word in season unto them you 

186 GRACE AND LOVE &C. [SfiR. 8. 

shall meet with ; and you do well therein, for this way of 
gifts is an excellent way ; yet saith the apostle, " Behold I 
shew you a more excellent way." As for all our gifts and 
parts, they will leave us when we must go in to our Father. 
Do ye, therefore, any of you desire gifts ? desire them still, 
yea, " covet earnestly the best gifts : but yet shew I you 
(saith the apostle) a more excellent way :" and ye have heard 
what that way is ; in general, the way of grace, holiness, and 
of the power of godliness; in particular, the way of love. 
" Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead 
the Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of our souls, through 
the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect (in 
this great work of love), working in you that which is well- 
pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory 
for ever and ever." Amen. 


Wherein is shewed, 





" Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasjihemy shall 
be forgiven unto men ; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall 
not be forgiven unto men. 

" And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of Man shall be 
forgiven ; but whosoever speaketh a word against the Holy Ghost, it 
shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to 
come." MATT. xu. 31, 32. 

HERE are two great arguments laid before you in these 
words : 

First, The largeness of God s heart in forgiving sins unto 
the children of men : every sin : " All manner of sin and 
blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men." 

Secondly, You have here the unpardonableness of the sin 
against the Holy Ghost : " But the blasphemy against the 
Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men." 

I would rather choose to speak unto the former argument, 
but if I should do so at the first, possibly some poor soul 
would say, Though God s heart be very large in forgiving sins, 
yet there is one sin that shall never be forgiven, the sin against 
the Holy Ghost ; and I fear I have committed that. 

That I may therefore take away this obstruction, and make 
your way plain and easy to the forgiving mercy of the Lord, 
I shall at this time speak unto the last of these two argu 
ments ; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not 
be forgiven. " Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, 
it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in 
the world to come." 


For the opening of which words two questions must be 

The first is, Whether these Jews, that our Saviour spake 
these words unto, did then sin against the Holy Ghost? 

I answer, Some think, no ; but I rather conceive that these 
pharisees did sin this sin against the Holy Ghost ; for if you 
look into Mark iii., ye shall find that our Lord and Saviour 
spake this because of some words that they had spoken 
against him : he had cast out devils, and they said, " He cast 
out devils by the prince of devils," verse 22. Whereupon 
our Saviour reasoned with them, and at last he saith, at verse 
28, " Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto 
the sons of men, and blasphemies : (verse 29) but he that 
shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost shall never be for 
given." And the reason of this speech is given at verse 30 : 
" Because they said He hath an unclean spirit. 5 And indeed 
if these men did not sin the sin against the Holy Ghost, our 
Lord and Saviour Christ should tell us that there is an un 
pardonable sin, and not tell us what it is ; for unless it be in 
this scripture, you shall not find, either in the gospel or in 
the epistles, that the sin against the Holy Ghost is any where 
mentioned in express words. Now our Lord and Saviour 
would not tell us that there is an unpardonable sin, and not 
tell us what it is : but he saith expressly, that " whoever doth 
blaspheme or speak against the Holy Ghost shall never be 
forgiven." And he chargeth those Jews, that they blas 
phemed and spake against the Spirit of God, or that work 
which was done by the Spirit ; and therefore, without doubt, 
they did then sin the unpardonable sin, the sin against the 
Holy Ghost. 

But again, Why is it here said, that he that sinneth this 
sin shall never be forgiven, either in this world or in the 
world to come ; is there any forgiving of sins in the world to 
come ? 

Chrysostom saith, As men are punished in this world, and 
in the world to come ; so they are pardoned in this world, 
and in the world to come : pardoned in this world, when any 
temporal affliction for sin is removed. So I also understand 
that parable in Matt, xviii. at the latter end ; and pardoned 
in this life when a man is justified, Rom. iv., pardoned and 
forgiven in the world to come. So saith the apostle in Acts 


iii. 19, " That your sins may be blotted out in the day of 
refreshing." Which day of refreshing, compared with the 
speech which you have in Heb. ii. speaking of the world to 
come, shews that the day of refreshing is the time of the 
world to come. But it is an usual phrase with Scripture, 
noting the eternity of misery ; and therefore if you look 
again into Mark iii., you shall find, that whereas here in 
Matthew the words run thus : " Shall not be forgiven, either 
in this world, or in the world to come ;" Mark hath it thus, 
" He shall never be forgiven," that never being the explica 
tion of this, " not in this world, nor in the world to come." 

The words being thus far opened, the doctrine then will 
presently be this : 

That the sin against the Holy Ghost is the unpardonable 
sin; that whosoever sins against the Holy Ghost, shall never 
be forgiven, either in this world, or in the world to come. 

For the opening of this great truth, which I shall the 
rather desire you to hearken unto, because as it lies out of 
the ordinary road, so it makes your way clear to the laying 
hold of the former words of God s mercy. I say, for the 
opening of this truth, we must inquire into two things. 

First : What this sin against the Holy Ghost is, for people 
are very ignorant of it. 

Secondly : How and in what respect this sin against the 

Holy Ghost, is above all other sins the unpardonable sin. 

First : If you ask, what this sin is ? 

I answer both negatively and affirmatively. 

Negatively. It is not that sin, whereby men do barely 

deny the personality, or the deity of the Holy Ghost. Pos 

sibly a man may deny the personality or the deity of the 

Holy Ghost, and yet not sin the sin against the Holy Ghost. 

For as Chrysostom observes,* in his time there were divers 

heretics, that did deny the personality and the deity of the 

Holy Ghost, and yet afterwards repented, and were received 

into the bosom of the church. And ye do not find that these 

pharisees, who are here charged with this sin, did either deny 

the personality or the deity of the Holy Ghost. So that 

plainly then, the sin against the Holy Ghost doth not 

FloXXot yap rwv raiHa e^rfxoTuv fTrioreuffav, varepov $e TTCLVTCL at- 
a.(j>$ri. Chrysostom in Math. x. 


consist in this, the mere and bare denying of the personality 
or the deity of the Holy Ghost. 

As it doth not consist therein, so neither doth it consist in 
every opposition, or in a bare opposition unto the work of 
the Holy Ghost, as distinct from the Father and the Son. 
Unto God the Father belongs power ; unto the Son, wisdom ; 
unto the Spirit, holiness. The work of the Father is to 
create ; the work of the Son, to redeem ; the work of the 
Spirit, or the Holy Ghpst, to sanctify. And hereupon some 
have thought, that opposition unto holiness is the sin against 
the Holy Ghost. But you find here it is a blasphemy, there 
fore not every opposition. And if you look into Acts vii., 
you find that Stephen speaking of the Jews, saith at verse 
51, " Ye stiff-necked, and uncircumcised in heart and ear, ye 
do always resist the Holy Ghost :" yet they did not sin this 
sin against the Holy Ghost : why ? for Stephen prays for 
them at the last verse, " Lord, lay not this sin to their 
charge." But now saith the apostle John, in 1 John v. 16, 
" There is a sin unto death, I do not say that ye shall pray 
for it." Had they in Stephen s account sinned this sin unto 
death, he would not have prayed for them ; but he did pray 
for them. So that this sin against the Holy Ghost, doth not 
consist in every opposition unto the work of the Holy Ghost, 
as it is distinct from the Father and the Son. 

As it doth not consist therein, so it is not necessary that 
every man that sins the sin against the Holy Ghost, should 
be an universal apostate, backsliding from the profession of 
the gospel, and the power thereof. I know it is ordinarily 
thought so ; but I say, it is not necessary that whosoever 
doth sin the sin against the Holy Ghost^ should be a gospel 
apostate, backsliding from the gospel, and the power thereof, 
once professed : for these pharisees, who sinned against the 
Holy Ghost, never professed the gospel, neither do we read 
of any backsliding in them, from the power of the gospel 
once professed ; and yet they sinned against the Holy Ghost. 
Surely, therefore, such a gospel apostacy is not of the essence 
of the sin against the Holy Ghost. Only here I must dis 
tinguish concerning the word apostacy. A man may be said 
to be an apostate two ways : either because he doth decline 
and fall away from the profession of the truth, and power of 
godliness, once professed ; or else because he doth rebel 


against truth revealed, and the will of God manifested, and 
will go no further. I will express it thus : five or six men go 
a great journey, suppose to Wales, or into the north, to Scot 
land ; when they come about the middle of the way, two or 
three of them say, These ways are dirty, and longer than we 
intended, and therefore we will go no further; but say the 
other, Let the way be as dirty, and as long as it may be, we 
will go on ; and on they go : which of these men do depart 
one from the other ; do those that go on depart from them 
that stay ? No ; those that will go no further depart, they are 
the forsakers. So in the way to heaven, professors set out 
together, and some find the way long, further than they 
thought of, We will go no further, say they, and we will have 
no more light ; but say the other, God willing, we will on ; 
and on they go. Which of these two sorts are the apostates ? 
Those that will go no further : they think not so, but the 
Lord knows the truth, that those that will go no further are 
they that leave and forsake the other. I will give you one 
scripture for it, it is in Numb. xiv. ; there were certain spies 
went into the land of Canaan, and they brought an ill report 
upon the good land, " and the children of Israel murmured 
against Moses/ verse 2; whereupon Moses speaks unto 
them, and saith at verse 9, " Only rebel not against the 
Lord." The words in the Septuagint, which greek the New 
Testament follows, are, " Only be not apostates against the 
Lord." So that in Septuagintal language, those that rebel 
against light revealed, and will go no further, are called apos 
tates. Now, indeed, this kind of apostacy always goes with 
the sin against the Holy Ghost, but not the former, always ; 
for we do not find that the pharisees were guilty of the for 
mer, for they did not profess the gospel. So that the essence 
of this sin doth not consist in apostatizing or backsliding from 
the profession of the gospel and the power thereof. 

Some think that this sin doth consist in final unbelief and 
impenitency ; but final impenitency and unbelief is not the 
sin against the Holy Ghost, for by final unbelief and impen 
itency, they either understand that impenitency and unbelief 
which a man lives and dies in, or that which he purposeth to 
continue in to the last. The latter cannot be the sin against 
the Holy Ghost, for many have purposed to continue in their 
unbelief to their death, and yet have been converted and par- 

192 THE SIN AGAINST [SfiR. 9. 

doned.* And the first cannot be the sin against the Holy 
Ghost, for, 1. The Jews whom Christ spake unto did then 
commit this sin, and yet they had not continued in it to their 
death. 2. Final unbelief is rather a sin against the Son ; but 
the sin against the Holy Ghost is distinguished from that. 
3. Our Saviour saith, Those that commit this sin shall not be 
forgiven in this world nor in the world to come. Not in this 
world. If therefore final unbelief or impenitency be this sin, 
then Christ should threaten that he that dies in his sin shall 
not be forgiven whilst he lives. 4. If a man sin against the 
Father or Son, and die impenitently in that sin, he shall not 
be forgiven either in this life or in the life to come : but here 
in the sin against the Holy Ghost is worse than the sins 
against the Father or the Son, and therefore it cannot consist 
therein. 5. The apostle saith, 1 John v. 16, " There is a sin 
unto death, I say not that you pray for it." Doth he say that 
we must not pray for a man, and for the forgiveness of his 
sin when he is dead ? 6. It is that sin for which there lies 
no remission, but a man may sin such a sin whilst he lives : 
for if any man sin wilfully, there remaineth no sacrifice for 
sin, and wilfully a man may sin before his death. 7 It is 
such a sin as a man may know another man is guilty of whilst 
he lives, for saith the apostle, " There is a sin unto death, I 
say not that you pray for it :" but final unbelief and impeni 
tency is not known till death. 8. Our Saviour saith, " He 
that speaketh a word against the Holy Ghost shall not be 
forgiven." But a word may be spoken against the Spirit long 
before a man dies, and therefore surely this sin against the 
Holy Ghost doth not consist in final impenitency and unbe 
lief; final unbelief and impenitency is not this sin against 
the Holy Ghost. 9. For then all wicked men living under 
the gospel, and dying impenitently, should sin the sin against 
the Holy Ghost, which is false.* 

* Altissiodorensis, lib. ii. Tract. 30, in Sentent. 
Desperatissimos convertit Deus. Augustin. 

Sic homo potest penitere de finali impenitentia. Altissiodorensis, ib. 

f Blasphemia in Spiritum Sanctum ea esse videtur qua quis destinata malitia 
contra proprium animi sui sensum Spiritus Sancti gratiam et virtutem deique 
gloriam oppugnat. Luc. Brugen. in Matt. xii. 

* O? av enrr) \oyov Kara TOM viov TOU avO^ocrow 09/<7ra, os oe av 
Ka.ro. TOV aytov Trvtv^aroe OVK EITI ^al on TOVTO yvopipov 

rpov ra $r)\a Evctixwrefle. Chrysostom in Math. xii. 


You will say, then, What is this sin against the Holy 
Ghost, and wherein doth it consist? 

Affirmatively. It is that wilful sinning against God, where 
by a man doth maliciously oppose and blaspheme the proper 
and peculiar work of the Holy Ghost, and that after he hath 
been convinced thereof by the Holy Ghost. 

I say, It is a wilful sinning against God ; and so the apostle 
speaks, saying, " If any man sin wilfully, after he hath re 
ceived the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more 
sacrifice for sin," Heb. x. 26. So that the sin for which there 
is no sacrifice, and of which there is no remission, is a wilful 
sin. Now a man is said to sin wittingly, willingly, and wil 
fully : wittingly, in opposition to ignorance ; willingly, in op 
position to force and constraint ; wilfully, in opposition to 
light, knowledge and reason ; and so he that sins against the 
Holy Ghost doth sin ; for says the apostle, " If any man sin 
wilfully, after he hath received the knowledge of the truth," 
or after the acknowledgment, rr\v nriyvtaaiv, &c. 

He that commits this sin doth also oppose and blaspheme 
the proper and peculiar work of the Holy Ghost; for it is 
called here, a blasphemy, and a blaspheming of the Spirit, 
as distinct from the Father and the Son. Now the work of 
the Father is to create, the work of the Son to redeem, 
the work of the Holy Ghost to sanctify ; and therefore he 
that sins this sin, doth oppose and blaspheme holiness and 
goodness ; and so these Jews did : for when our Saviour 
Christ did cast out the devil, that unclean spirit, they said, 
he did it by the power of the devil, calling the work done, 
a work of the devil, and did oppose him therein.* Yet this 
is not all, for, 

It is that sin, whereby a man doth maliciously oppose, and 
blaspheme ; and so the word /co<nwg, Heb. x. 26, is used by 
the Septuagint, Exod. xxi. 13, 14. And thus did those 
pharisees sin, for the Evangelist tells us, that when Christ 
saw their thoughts, verse 25, s{ He said unto them/ &c. 
So that it was not a bare opposing or blaspheming, but a 
malicious opposing and blaspheming of this great work 
of the Holy Ghost, which made them so deeply guilty.f 

* Dicere verbum contra spiritum sanctum est verbis impugnare Deum sancti- 
ficantem. Cajet. in Matt. \ii. vide sixth Senens. in locum, 
f Peccatum iu spiritum sanctum dicitur illud ex carta malitia sit quod solent 


But how can a man sin, ex malitia, or maliciously, seeing 
that, voluntas temper ferter in bonum, et omnis peccans est 
ignorans. Now if the will be always carried out upon what 
is good, and every man that sins, doth sin ignorantly, how 
any can man be said to sin maliciously, or ex malitia ? 

Yes, very well : for although the will be always carried out 
upon that which is good; yet that good, is either morally 
good, called, bonum honestum, honest good; or naturally 
good, called, bonum utile, or jucundum, profitable, or de 
lightful good. Now the will is not always carried out upon 
that which is honestly good in appearance ; for voluntas est 
appetitus universalis, the will is an universal appetite. And 
if the will should be always carried out upon that which 
is honestly good in appearance, then, as Suarez reasons well, 
every thief and adulterer, should be an heretic, which no 
man will say. And if the will may be carried out sometimes 
upon that which is pleasantly, or delightfully, or naturally 
good ; then it may hate that which is morally, and spiritually, 
and honestly good ; for, amor odii causa, love is the cause of 
hatred ; the will doth naturally hate that which is contrary 
to the thing loved ; and if the will may hate that which is 
honestly and spiritually good, then it may oppose and blas 
pheme the same, and that out of hatred and malice ; for 
every man speaks evil of and opposes what he hates. 

If this be a reason why a man cannot sin maliciously, or 
ex malitia, because the will is always carried out upon what 
is good ; then the devils and damned in hell, do not sin ma 
liciously, or ex malitia ; for they have wills in hell, as well 
as men on earth ; but I presume it will not be said that the 
devils and damned in hell do not sin maliciously ; for then if 
they sin upon some mistake, and ex ignorantia, they should 
have some excuse for their sin.* 

distingui tria genera peccatorum, peccatum in patrem ex infirmitate bumana 
peccatum in filium ex ignorantia, quod patri appropriatur potentia filio sapientia, 
peccatum in spiritum sanctum, ex malitia quia bonitas attribuitur spiritui sancto. 
Altissidorens. Lib. 2. Tract. 30. in Sent. Scot, in Sent. Lib. 2. Ques. 2. 

* Non existimo absolute necessarium ad operandum malum per voluntatem 
ut prsecedat defectus erroris in judicio intellectus vel speculativo vel practico. 
Suar. Metapbys. disp. de necess. et conting. Eff. Sect 7. 

Prima Propositio. Cum perfecta scientia et consideratione vel habituali vel 
uaturali potest esse peccatum et defectus in voluntate, est communis sententia 
et certa de fide. 


Though every man that sins doth sin ignorantly, yet he 
doth not sin ex ignorantia^ out of ignorance ; ignorance is 
sometimes the cause of the sin, and so the man sins out of 
ignorance : sometimes ignorance is the companion and con 
sequent of the sin, and then he sins ignorantly. Now it is 
granted, that every man that sins doth sin ignorantly, there 
is always a darkness and obscuration of the mind, which 
goeth along with every sin ; but every man that sins, doth 
not sin ex iffnorantia, out of ignorance : I say, it is not true, 
that every sin doth arise from some precedent error, or ig 
norance in the understanding, as the cause thereof : For then, 

Why should the Holy Ghost make so great and vast a 
difference between him that sins ignorantly, and him that 
sins presumptuously ? Num. xv. If any sinned through 
ignorance, there was a sacrifice for him, verse 27? 28, but if 
any man sinned presumptuously, there was no sacrifice for 
him, verse 30, 31. Now if every sin do arise ex ignorantia^ 
from some precedent error and ignorance in the understand 
ing, as the cause thereof; then presumptuous sins also 
should arise from this cause, and so there would be no such 
distinction between them, as the Holy Ghost makes.* 

If every sin in the will, should arise from some error or 
ignorance in the understanding; then the will should be 

Secunda Propositio. Non est necesse prsecedere in intellectu aliquem erroretn 
speculationum qui sit quasi origo ad peccandum. 

Tertia Propositio. Ad peccandem non est necessarium ut prsecedat inconsi- 
deratio speculativa tanquam origo peccandi. 

Quarta Propositio. Etiam ad peccandum non est necessarius error practicus 
qui peccatum antecrdat et sit quasi origo ejus. 

Quinta Propositio. Moraliter loquendo semper in omni peccato occurrit 
aliqua inconsideratio practica vel pravitatis object! vel actus licet si absolutam 
voluntatis potentiam consideremus neque iste defectus intellectus simpliciter 
videtur necessarius ad peccandum. 

Sexta Propositio. Licet cum actu peccati semper sit conjunctus ille defectus 
intellectus nou tamen ille est prima origo peccandi sed potius ilia reducitur in 
defectum voluntatis. 

Septima Propositio. Voluntatem posse peccare est defectus quidam naturalis 
ipsius voluntatis. 

Suarez de Causis propriis et interior, peccatorum Disputat. 5. Sect. 1. 

* Quod aliquis ignoret illud quod scire debet contingit tripliciter : Uno ex 
impotentia qua scire non potesi : Alio ex nescientia qua quis nescit quod scire 
debet : Alio ex voluntate quando quis renuit scire quod debit, ilia ignorantia est 
peccatum mortale, quod est effectus voluntatis, quod est in potestate voluntatis 
ignorare vel non ignorare. Holcot de imputabilitate peccati. 

o 2 

190 THE SIN AGAINST [SfiR. 9. 

always carried out upon bonum honestum, honest good, at 
least in appearance ; but the will is an universal appetite, 
and the wills of the devils and damned in hell, are not 
carried out upon that which is apparently honest. 

If every sin should suppose such a precedent error and 
ignorance in the understanding, then the will cannot fall off 
from, or resilire from the ultimate dictate of the under 
standing, but must necessarily and continually follow the 
same; and so the liberty will be formally, and not radicately, 
in the understanding, and not the will ; then the will cannot 
move, and apply the understanding to cousider a thing, nor 
be the cause of ignorance in the understanding; yea, then 
there shall be no sin in the will, because it follows the un 
derstanding, as God hath set a law upon it to do ; but where 
grace is, there is sin also. 

If the will doth always pre-suppose such an error and 
ignorance in the understanding, and doth necessarily follow 
such an act of the understanding, presenting some truth, or 
honest good, either real, or apparent, then the created and 
defiled will of man, cannot tend unto any object upon any 
reason, upon which the divine will of God cannot tend unto 
its object ; for the divine will can tend, and be carried out 
upon any good, being abstracted from all deformity : and 
although the created will be carried out, and tend unto that 
which is apparently good, and the divine will is always carried 
out upon that which is really good, yet the reason why the 
created will is carried out upon that which is apparently 
good, is because it appears to be real, and so the divine will, 
shall be carried out upon its object, upon no other reason 
than the created will of man, yea, than the wills of devils, 
and the damned in Hell, which I suppose none will affirm.* 

It is confessed by all that there is a sin of malice, and a 
sin of ignorance. Now if there be a sin of malice, as Ocham 
reasons, then he that sins out of malice, hath either an uni 
versal, or particular knowledge, or both ; if both, then as he 

* Utrum voluntas creata possit peccare ex malitia volendo aliquod non ostensum 
Bibi sub ratione boni veri, boni simpliciter vel boni apparentis et secundem 
quid, &c. 

Si non potest tune videtur quod voluntas creata non possit tendere in objectum 
sub aliqua ratione sub qua non possit tendere voluntas Divina, voluntas enim 
divina potest tendere in omne bonum substractutn illi deformitati. Scotus lib. 2 
Sent. Dist. 44. Quest. 2. 

. 9.] THE HOLY GHOST. 197 

saith, habetur propositum, viz., every sin doth not pre-suppose 
an error, or ignorance in the understanding. If he that sins 
out of malice, hath an universal knowledge only, then he that 
sins ignorantly shall have equal knowledge with him that 
doth sin maliciously; for he that sins ignorantly hath an 
universal knowledge that every just thing is to be done, and 
that every good thing that pleaseth God is to be done ; but 
he that sins out of ignorance, hath not equal knowledge with 
him that sins out of malice ; and therefore he that sins out 
of malice, must have both an universal and a particular 
knowledge ; and if so, then every sin doth not pre-suppose 
an error and ignorance in the understanding as the cause 
thereof.* But, 

Suppose that some ignorance in the understanding be the 
remote cause of the sin, yet malice may be the next and 
chief cause. As for example : suppose that a man hath 
taken up some prejudice against another, through a mistake 
and error; yet now he hates him, and out of hatred kills 
him ; shall not this murderer be said to kill him out of malice, 
because the malice was founded upon a mistake or error ? 
Yes, surely. But why is he said to kill him out of malice ? 
Because malice was the next cause of this murder. So that 
though ignorance be the remote cause of a sin., yet malice 
may be the next cause thereof; and being so, he shall be 
said truly to sin ex malitia, though with some precedent 
ignorance, as the remote cause thereof.* 

Yet if you ask, how it can be that the will should be 

* Secundum omnes theologos aliquid est peccatum ex malitia. Ocham. Lib. 
3. in Sent. Quest. 12. 

Quid est peccatum ex malitia ? est communis sententia patrum et Theolo- 
gorum. Suarez de pecca. ex. pass, ignor. malitia Disput. 4. Sect. 1. 

Peccatum ex malitia communiter dici peccatum ex certa scientia. Vasquez 12. 
Tom. 1. Q 78. act. 

Tune quaere- an peccans ex malitia habet notitiam tarn universalem quam 
particularem aut tarn universalem, si prime- habitur propositum, quod babens 
notitiam tarn universalem quano particularem potest ex malitia facere contra 
utramque, si ducenti ita peccans ex ignorantia habet notitiam universalem sicut 
peccans ex malitia, quis peccans ex ignorantia scit tales majores, omne justum 
est faciendum, omne bonum est faciendum quod Deo placet, &c. sed ignorat 
minores puta hoc est justum, hoc est Deo placitum, &c. si ergo peccans ex 
ignorantia non tune plus sciret aequalern scientiam haberet peccans ex malitia 
et ignorantia. Ocham in Sent. Lib. 3. Q. 12. 

* Quo ex m litia ? an eousque ajnentue prosilire queant homines ut Dei gloriam 
oppugnare scieutes et volentes non dubitent ? Resp. audacium istam prodire 

10-" THE SIN AGAINST [SfiR. 9. 

always carried out upon what is good, and yet a man sin 
maliciously ? Plainly thus : from what hath been said, the 
will of man is an universal appetite, willing that which is 
naturally good, as well as that which is honestly good : if it 
be carried out upon that which is naturally good, it will hate 
all that spiritual good which is contrary to the obtainment 
of it, and the man will oppose and blaspheme what the will 
hates. Now because the hatred and malice of the will, is 
the cause of that blasphemy and opposition, the man is truly 
said to oppose and blaspheme out of malice, though the will 
be carried on upon that which is naturally good at the same 
time ; which was the case of these pharisees : for they sought 
their own honour and greatness ; Christ and the truth op 
posing, they did hate him and the truth ; and because they 
hated him, the truth, and that light which reproved their 
sins, they did oppose and blaspheme, and that out of malice, 
and so the sin against the Holy Ghost is a malicious sin, or 
that sin whereby a man doth oppose and blaspheme the 
proper and peculiar work of the Spirit out of malice. Yet 
this is not all. But, 

It is that sin against God, whereby a man doth maliciously 
oppose and blaspheme the peculiar work of the Holy Ghost, 
after he hath been convinced thereof by the Holy Ghost; 
for possibly a man may oppose and blaspheme, even mali 
ciously, the work of the Holy Ghost, and yet not be con 
vinced of it by the Holy Ghost, but otherwise; but those 
that sin this sin, are such as are enlightened, and made par 
takers of the Holv Ghost in the gifts and common graces of 


it, Heb. vi. And so these pharisees were convinced, by the 
Spirit which did work that great work before them ; and yet 
after such a convincement wrought by the Spirit, they did 
maliciously oppose and blaspheme this work of the Spirit. 
So that I say, the sin against the Holy Ghost, is that wilful 
sinning against God, whereby a man doth maliciously oppose 
and blaspheme the proper and peculiar work of the Holy 
Ghost, and that after he hath been convinced thereof by the 
Holy Ghost. Or if you will, thus: it is that deliberate sinning 
against God, whereby men do oppose the work of God, 
which their own conscience and conviction tells them is 

quidem ex cordis csecitate sed in qua malitia exsuperet, ut clarum est hoc loco 
de Puarisaeis Lucas Brugensis in Matt. 12. 


wrought by the Spirit and finger of God, in order to man s 
salvation, yet out of malice do blaspheme the same.* 

Secondly, But why is this sin, above all other sins, unpar 
donable ? 

Not in regard of difficulty only, or because it is hardly 
pardoned, as some would ; for many sins are hardly par 
doned, and yet are not the sins against the Holy Ghost ; 
for, as Zanchy doth well observe, if this sin were only un 
pardonable, because it is hardly pardoned, then a man might 
pray for those that sin this sin : but the apostle saith, 
" There is a sin unto death, I do not say that ye shall pray 
for it," 1 John v. 16. Therefore the unpardonableness of 
it, doth not lie here.f 

Neither is it unpardonable only in regard of event, because 
in event it shall never be pardoned ; for there are many sins 
which in event shall never be pardoned, which yet are not 
the sins against the Holy Ghost. There is many a wicked 
man that goes to hell, whose sins in event are not pardoned, 
and yet he did never sin against the Holy Ghost. So that 
this sin is not unpardonable only in regard of event. 

Neither is it unpardonable because it is so great as doth 
exceed the power and mercy of God ; for God s mercy and 
power, in forgiving sins, is like himself, infinite. If that be 
a good argument that David useth, " Forgive my sin, for it 
is wondrous great ;" then the greatness of the sin cannot be 
the only reason of the unpardonableness of it. There is 
nothing greater than that which is infinite, but God s mercy 
is infinite. 

Neither is it unpardonable because it is against the means 
of pardon ; for then the sin against the free love of the 
Father, and the sin against the Son, should be unpardonable. 

Neither is it unpardonable because a man doth not repent 
thereof; for then all sins unrepented of, should be sins 
against the Holy Ghost. It is true, that those who commit 
this sin cannot repent, as the apostle speaks, It is impossible 

* Tune aliquis masitne peccat in spiritnm sanctum qnando contra divinitatis 
opera stupenda ordinata ad nostram salutem aliquis couvitia jactat cum proposito 
perseverandi in illo peccat o usque ad mortem, abjectig procul spe et timore Dei 
Domini. Bannes, 22. Q. 14. Art. 1. 

t Peccatum dicitur irremissibile septem de causls. Altissidorens. Lib. 2. 
Tract. 30. in Sent. 


that they should be renewed to repentance, Heb. vi., because 
God doth give them up to impenitency : but we do not find 
in Scripture, that their not repenting is made the reason of 
the unpardonableness of this sin.* 

But the sin is unpardonable because there is no sacrifice 
laid out by God s appointment for it ; " If any man sin 
wilfully, there remaineth no more sacrifice," Heb. x., and 
without blood and sacrifice there is no remission. He that 
sinned ignorantly, Numb, xv., was pardoned ; why? because 
there was a sacrifice laid out for him ; but if any man sinned 
nm no with a high hand, he was to bear his own sin ; 
why ? because there was no sacrifice laid out for him. But 
why was there no sacrifice for that sin ? Not because the 
man did not repent after it ; but because that in the com 
mitting of that sin, he did despise the commandment of 
God. So now, God hath declared that every sin and blas 
phemy against the Father and Son, may be forgiven ; but if 
men come to that height of sin, as maliciously to oppose 
and blaspheme that very way and work of God s Spirit, 
which they have been convinced of by the Spirit, then there 
shall he no sacrifice for that, and so no remission and 

And thus now ye have seen what the sin against the Holy 
Ghost is ; in what respects it is not, and in what respects it 
is unpardonable ; and so the doctrine cleared and proved, 
That the sin against the Holy Ghost, is the unpardonable 
sin, which shall never be forgiven, neither in this world, nor 
in the world to come. 

The application follows : 

If the sin against the Holy Ghost be the unpardonable 
sin, then surely the Holy Ghost is God, very God, true God, 
as the Father is : for can it be a greater evil, or more dan 
gerous, to sin against a creature, than against God the Fa 
ther ? It is God that is sinned against, now the Holy Ghost 

* Nunquam remittetur, quod intellige regulariter, nam nee divina potentia 
nee divina miserecordia alligata est ad non remittendum, spiritus blasphemiam, 
sed secundum regularem cursum eveniet non remissio quod comitem semper 
habet obstinationem. Cajetan. in Matt. 12. 

Duplicitur dicitur peccatum irremissibile, dicitur uno quod nunquam remittetur, 
alio dicitur irremissibile quod remitti non potest et sic non sequitur iste est 
similiter impenitens ergo habut peccatum irremissibile. Holcotdeimputabilitate 


is sinned against ; yea, the unpardonable sin is against the 
Holy Ghost. The Socinians say, That if he be a person, he 
must needs be God, true God : but ye see by this scripture, 
that he is joined with the other person of the Son ; so also 
he is joined with the Father and the Son, in Matt, xxviii. in 
whose name we are to baptize. He who hath a name, and 
in whose name something is to be done, must needs be a 
person. And I pray you, what is proper and peculiar to a 
person ? Is not understanding, willing, and speaking? these 
are all given to the Spirit. 1 Cor. ii. 1 1 ; 1 Cor. xii. 1 1 ; Rom. 
viii. 26, 27 ; Acts xiii. 2; and xx. 28. But I need go no 
further than this text ; here the Spirit is joined with the Son, 
and the sin against the Holy Spirit is made the unpardonable 
sin. Surely, therefore, he is verily and truly God as the 
Father is. 

If this doctrine be true, then what a necessity is there 
upon us all, to know and understand what this sin against 
the Holy Ghost is ; for if a man have sinned this sin, we 
are to forbear praying for him, 1 John v. 16. Therefore we 
may know what this sin is, and we may know that another 
hath committed the same; for how can we forbear prayer for 
him, if we do not know and understand what this sin is ? 
The not knowing what this sin is, makes many men fall into 
it before they are aware. When the laws of a nation are 
written in an unknown tongue, the people break them before 
they are aware, because they do not know them. So the not 
knowing what this sin is, makes many a poor soul to fall into 
it ; yea, the not knowing what this sin is, breeds many scru 
ples, doubts, and fears in new converts. Oh, saith one, I 
have sinned that great sin against the Holy Ghost ; and I, 
saith another, have sinned the unpardonable sin : and why ? 
but because the man doth not know what this sin is ! Oh, 
what a necessity, therefore, is there upon us all, to know and 
understand what this sin is, and wherein it doth consist. 

If the sin against the Holy Ghost be the unpardonable 
sin, what mercy and what grace is it, that the Lord hath kept 
us from this great sin ; that though ye have fallen into great 
and heinous sins, and the Lord hath suffered you to fall into 
such sins that you may be humbled ; yet that the Lord 
should keep you from this sin, this unpardonable sin, for 


which there is no sacrifice, nor no remission ; oh, what mercy 
and what grace is this. 

But I am afraid I have sinned this sin, and the truth is I 
have often feared it ; and my reason was and is, because my 
sins are so great, so exceeding great. 

Great, say ye ; how great, man ? I have sinned against 
my light, I have sinned against my knowledge, I have sinned 
against my conviction ; and therefore I fear I have sinned 
the unpardonable sin. But I pray, for answer, did not Adam 
sin against. light, when he eat the forbidden fruit? Did he 
not sin against his knowledge, and against conscience ? Yet 
he sinned not against the Holy Ghost, though he brought all 
the world under condemnation by his sin ; for the Lord him 
self came and preached mercy to him, " The seed of the 
woman shall break the serpent s head." And I pray did not 
Jonah, when he run away from God, sin against his light ; 
and did he not sin against his conviction, and against his 
knowledge ? yet he did not sin against the Holy Ghost, for 
the Lord pardoned him and wonderfully delivered him. 
Possibly this therefore may be, and yet not a sin against the 
Holy Ghost. It is true indeed, that those who sin against 
the Holy Ghost, do sin against their light, knowledge, and 
conscience; but whoever sins against light and knowledge, 
though he sins greatly, doth not sin against the Holy Ghost. 

Oh, but I fear that I have sinned this sin, for I have fallen 
foully into gross sins. 

That is ill. But I pray did not David sin so ; were they 
not great and gross and foul sins that David fell into, such as 
one of your civil, moral men would abhor ? yet he did not 
sin against the Holy Ghost, for the Lord pardoned him, and 
Nathan said from the Lord, " The Lord hath forgiven thee." 

Oh, but yet I fear that I have sinned this great sin, for I 
am much declined, I have lost my former acquaintance and 
communion with God ; I have lost my former heat and affec 
tions to good, and in duty ; and I fear upon this account 
that I have sinned this great sin. 

Be it so: yet did not the church of Ephesus lose her first 
love? yet this church of Ephesus did not sin the sin against 
the Holy Ghost: why ? for the Lord saith unto her, " Repent 
and do thy first works." She could not have repented thus, 
if she had sinned this sin. 


Oh, but yet I fear that I have sinned this great sin, because 
that I have sinned directly against the Spirit ; I have 
quenched, I have grieved, I have resisted the Spirit : the 
Spirit of the Lord hath come and fallen upon my heart in 
preaching, and I resisted and grieved it; the Spirit of the 
Lord hath fallen upon my heart in prayer, and I have grieved 
that ; therefore I fear I have sinned this great sin, that shall 
never be pardoned. 

This is ill too ; but those that you read of in Acts vii., 
resisted the Holy Ghost, yet they did not sin the sin against 
the Holy Ghost, for then Stephen would not have prayed for 
them. And indeed, beloved, if every resisting of the breath 
ings of the Spirit, and grieving of the Holy Ghost, were the 
unpardonable sin, what godly man would be free ? A godly 
man is more properly said to grieve the Spirit, than a wicked 
man. If an enemy strike you, you are angry; if your friend 
strike you, ye are grieved. If a wicked man strike at God, 
he is angry with him ; if a godly man strike at God, God is 
angry, and his Spirit is grieved, because he is a friend. 
" Grieve not the Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto 
the day of redemption/ So that thus far, possibly a man 
may go, and yet not sin this unpardonable sin. 

But I am afraid that I have sinned this great sin, the sin 
against the Holy Ghost, because I have not owned but denied 
the truth. The work of the Spirit is to enlighten and to lead 
into truth, and I have not owned but denied the truth rather, 
therefore I fear that I have sinned this great sin against the 
Holy Ghost. 

This is evil, very evil. I remember a speech of Godtes- 
chalchus,* worthy to be written in letters of gold : I am 
afraid, said he, to deny the truth, lest I should be for ever 
denied by the truth, that is, Christ. But I pray, did not 
Peter deny the truth when he denied Christ; and did he not 
do it again and again, and did he not do it openly, with 
scandal; and did he not do it after admonition ; and did he 
not do it with cursing and swearing ? and yet he did not sin 
against the Holy Ghost, for the Lord pardoned, and took 
him into his bosom, and made him a blessed instrument in 
the church. Thus far yet a man may go possibly, and yet 
not sin this sin. 

* Timeo veritate negare quia metuo a veritate uegari. 


Oh, but I am afraid yet that I have sinned it, for I have 
been an opposer of goodness, 1 have been an opposer of the 
people of God, and I have been a blasphemer; therefore I 
fear I have sinned this sin. 

This is ill indeed. But, I pray, tell me, was not Paul an 
opposer and blasphemer of the saints and ways of God ; and 
yet he did not sin against the Holy Ghost ; for I did it igno- 
rantly, saith he : "I was a blasphemer and a persecutor, but 
I obtained mercy, for I did it ignorantly." 

Oh, but I have sinned, and I have done it maliciously, and 
therefore I fear I have sinned this same dreadful sin. 

This is yet worse : but what mean you by that word mali 
ciously ? A man may be said to sin ex malitia or maliciously 
three ways, saith Aureolus :* Either because he sins from 
some evil habit, and so all wicked men sin ; yet they do not 
all sin against the Holy Ghost ? or, because a man sins out 
of anger, passion, or evil will against another ; so Paul sinned 
when he persecuted the church of God, he was carried out 
with a malicious spirit against the saints and people of God ; 
yet he did not sin against the Holy Ghost : or else, because 
a man is moved to sin, not out of any evil habit, passion, or 
ignorance, but merely from the liberty of his own will, be 
cause it pleaseth him, and because he doth hate that which 
his own conviction tells him is right and good. Now have 
you sinned thus ? Surely no ; for then you would not foe 
troubled about it, but be well pleased with it. 

Oh, but yet I fear I have sinned this great sin, for I have 
forsaken God, and God hath forsaken me ; God is gone, 
Christ is gone, and mercy is gone. Oh, what freedom once I 
had, but now God is departed from me, God hath forsaken 
me : and I fear it is upon this account, because I have sinned 
this great sin. 

But doth not David say, " How long, O Lord, wilt thou 
forget me, forsake me }" and our Saviour himself saith, " My 
God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?" There is a 

* Peccatum ex malitia quandoque dicitur peccatum ex habitu, puta quando ex 
malo habitu, quis est intemperatus vel gulosus et sic non loquimur in proposito, 
alio modo dicitur quod procedit ex passione tamen deliberate et scienter puta si 
quis invideat, &c, nee sic loquimur in proposito ; sed vocatur peccatum ex malitia 
proprie qnando movetur quis non ex habitu nee passione nee ignorantia sed ec 
mera libertate voluntatis Sc. quod sic placet et hoc modo dicitur peccatum in 
spiritual sanctum. Aureol. in lib. ii. Sent. Dist. 43, Art. 1. 


gradual forsaking, and there is a total. As with a man that 
goes from his house; possibly he goes a voyage, or is from 
home a quarter, half a year, or a year; but he doth not leave 
his house ; for his wife, his children and goods are there still : 
but another man goes from his house, the house is let, and he 
carries away all his goods : this is a total departure, the other 
gradual. So now it is with the Lord : he doth sometimes 
forsake his own children for a time ; but he doth not pull 
down his hangings, or carry away his goods ; he doth not go 
away, but returns again; this is gradual. But there is a total 
forsaking of a man, and then he gives him up to his sin. 
Now this is not the burden that you lie under; for if God 
had thus forsaken you, you would be given up to your sins, 
and you would give up yourselves unto all uncleanness. 

Oh, but I am afraid, yet, that I am under the worst forsak 
ing, and that therefore I have sinned this great sin ; for I do 
lie despairing, saying, God is gone, and mercy gone; I am in 
the dark. Oh, I despair, I despair, and upon this account I 
fear I have sinned this great sin, the sin against the Holy 

You know what Heman said, " I remember God and am 
troubled ; O Lord (saith he), all thy waves are gone over my 
head." The waves of thy wrath are gone over my head, and 
yet a penman of Scripture. Aretius tells us of a certain man 
in his time : It is no feigned story, saith he, but I saw the 
man with my own eyes, one that had been a most vile and des 
perate sinner, a drunkard, a swearer, a wanton, a gamester, 
and so he continued to his grey hairs ; but at the last it pleased 
God to set his sins in order before him, and the man was so 
troubled in conscience, that he threw himself down upon the 
ground, calling unto Satan to take him away, provoking Sa 
tan to take him away ; Devil, take thy own ; I am thy own, 
take thy own. Whereupon, saith Aretius, prayer was made 
for him ; Christians prayed, they fasted and prayed, they 
prayed night and day ; and, it pleased God, at last this poor 
man revived, converted to God, lived a godly life, and died 
comfortably. So that it is not an easy thing, saith he, to pro 
nounce what the sin against the Holy Ghost is. But, now, 
whosoever you are that have laboured under this fear, as in 
deed this fear I know hath oppressed many, give me leave to 
ask you four or five short questions. 

206 THE SIX AGAINST [SfiR. 9. 

The first is, Whether canst thou not find in thy heart to 
forgive men that do trespass against thee ? Do not you find 
a disposition in your own heart to forgive others ? Yes, I 
praise the Lord that I do. Now if you can find in your heart 
to forgive others, I am sure God can find in his heart to for 
give you, and therefore you have not sinned this great sin, 
which is unpardonable. 

Secondly, Whether, aye or no, have you ever opposed the 
ways of God, the people of God, and that out of malice ? 
No : I confess I have opposed them, but the Lord knows I 
did it ignorantly, it was not out of malice ; then remember 
the description of this sin. 

Thirdly, Whether, aye or no, do not you desire to be hum 
bled for every sin, though it be never so small ? Yes, for 
though I know that my greatest humiliation cannot, placere 
Deum, make an atonement for my sin ; yet I know that the 
least humiliation in truth doth, placere Deo, please God, and 
it is my duty to be humbled for every sin ; for the least sin is 
a great evil; and he that commands humiliation for the one, 
commands it for the other also ; and through grace I desire 
to be humbled for every sin : why then you cannot have sin 
ned against the Holy Ghost, for it is impossible that they that 
sin this sin should be renewed to repentance. 

Fourthly, Whether, aye or no, do not you desire above all 
things the breathings of the Spirit of God upon your heart ? 
Yes : oh that God would come and breathe upon my poor 
soul in duty. But those that sin against the Holy Ghost, do 
despite to the Spirit of grace. Heb. x. 

Fifthly, Where do you find in all the Bible, that those that 
sin this sin against the Holy Ghost, are afraid that they have 
sinned it? Those that sin against the Holy Ghost, are never 
afraid that they have sinned against the Holy Ghost. This 
alone satisfied Mistress Drake, a woman much troubled in 
conscience ; she was afraid she had sinned against the Holy 
Ghost; Mr. Dod, of blessed memory, came to her, and told 
her, that therefore she had not sinned the sin against the 
Holy Ghost, because she feared she had sinned it ; for those 
that sin the sin against the Holy Ghost are never afraid that 
they have sinned it; and she acknowledged it did satisfy her, 
and she was thereupon comforted. Now, therefore, where is 
the man or woman that hath laboured under such a fear as 

SER. 9.] THE HOLY GHOST. 2()/ 

this ? Oh, I have sinned this unpardonable sin ! Art thou 
one that fearest thou hast sinned it ? I tell thee from the Lord 
thou art free from it, and thou mayest go home and say thus : 
Though I have sinned much, for which the Lord humble me, 
yet I bless God I am kept from this great sin. And oh, my 
beloved, what a mercy is it, that among all the sins that we 
have committed, that yet we should be kept from this great 
sin ! The greater the evil is, the greater is the mercy to be 
kept from it. Now, I pray, what is the misery of this sin ? 
Is it not a great misery to be past prayer, to be thrown out 
of the prayers of the saints ? " For such an one pray not," 
saith the apostle. Is it not a great misery for a man to be 
beyond the line of mercy ? A man that hath sinned this sin 
against the Holy Ghost, is worse, spiritually, than a man that 
is sick of the plague outwardly ; for if a man be sick of the 
plague, ye pray for him, and say, Lord, have mercy upon him ; 
but if a man have sinned this sin, he is past prayer and past 
pardon, he is past sacrifice : the truth is this man is in the 
devil s case : the devil, you know, is reserved in chains unto 
the great day, and he cannot get out ; so, if a man hath sin 
ned this sin, though he live ten years, twenty years, or thirty 
years, he is reserved in chains, and he shall never be pardoned, 
he is upon the deviFs ground, Oh, what a misery is it to 
commit this sin ! Oh, what a mercy is it, then, to be kept 
from it ! Now here is hope for the greatest sinner in the 
congregation upon this account. Saith our Saviour, " All 
manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men, 
except the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost." Hast thou, 
therefore, been a great sinner ? Hast thou been a drunkard ? 
Hast thou been a wanton ? Hast thou been a swearer ? Hast 
thou been an opposer of the people of the Lord ; and hath the 
Lord kept thee from this great transgression ? Man or woman, 
here is hope yet. Who would not then turn to God ? Come 
drunkard, swearer, wanton, here is yet hope for thy soul. Who 
would not come in to Christ ? 

And oh, what comfort is here for believers that are in 
Christ? If thou beest in Christ, and a believer, thou canst 
not sin this sin : that look as it is with a man that hath 
sinned this sin, he cannot be pardoned; so if a man be the 
child of God, a believer in Christ, he cannot sin this sin ; 
for " he that is born of God sinneth not, neither can he, 

208 THE SIN AGAIXST [SfiR. 9. 

for the seed of God abides in him." Oh, you that are be 
lievers, comfort yourselves with this truth. Here is comfort 
for all the people of the Lord from this doctrine. 

But again, If the sin against the Holy Ghost be indeed 
the unpardonable sin, what cause have we all to look to our 
steps, to our words, to our actions ? Beloved, this sin 
against the Holy Ghost, is the professor s sin ; a man less 
than a professor cannot sin this sin against the Holy Ghost ; 
this sin against the Holy Ghost is the knowing man s sin, 
a man less than a knowing man cannot sin the sin against 
the Holy Ghost : and, as I said before, a man may possibly 
go very far in sin, and yet not commit this great unpardon 
able sin : so now on the other side, I say, possibly a man 
may go very far in religion, and yet he may sin this 
sin. These pharisees that committed it, had the key of 
knowledge : knowing they were, and very knowing in the 
Scriptures ; as for zeal, they travelled sea and land to make 
a proselyte ; for their practice, they fasted twice a week, 
exceeding strict in observing the Sabbath day ; the lights of 
the church, and the eyes of all the people were upon them 
for their guides ; and yet these men sinned this sin against 
the Holy Ghost. Oh, what care should there be in all our 
souls ; how had we all need to look to our ways ! The more 
truth revealed, the more danger of sinning this sin, the more 
great works of God are done by the very Spirit and finger 
of God; if men do oppose and blaspheme, the more danger 
of sinning this great sin. Now I will appeal to you, when 
was there ever more light revealed than in these days of 
ours; yet when more opposing and blaspheming of it? 
When were there ever such great works done by the very 
Spirit and finger of God; and yet when more opposing 
and blaspheming ? Are there not some that have been con 
vinced that the Spirit of God breathed upon their hearts in 
such and such ordinances, and such and such ways, and yet 
now oppose and blaspheme those very ways of God, wherein 
they said heretofore they had the Spirit of God ? Are there 
not some that are convinced that in these times great things 
are done by the very finger, by the power and arm of God 
among us, and that in order to our salvation ; and yet how 
do men speak against them, and blaspheme ? I will not say 
that these men do it out of malice, and therefore I do not 


charge this sin against the Holy Ghost upon them ; but, 
beloved in the Lord, this is certain, that in knowing times, 
times when God is doing great things by his own finger, 
then is this sin stirring most. The times of Christ, and of 
the apostles, were times of great light, when God wrought 
by his own finger, then was this sin committed. Now in 
these times, there is much breaking forth of light, and great 
things done by the very finger of God; therefore, I say, 
there is great danger if men do now blaspheme ; wherefore 
I say again, take heed to your souls, you that are professors, 
look to your steps in these days of ours. 

But you will say, We grant indeed that this sin against the 
Holy Ghost, is the unpardonable sin, and woe be to them 
that do fall into it, and it cannot be committed but by a 
knowing man ; but what shall we do that we may be kept 
from this great transgression ; that whatsoever sin we do fall 
into, yet we may be kept from this great evil, and this un 
pardonable sin ? 

I would that you would mind and consider the description 
which you have heard, and think of it. But I will tell you 
what David did ; saith David, " O Lord, keep back thy ser 
vant from presumptuous sins, so shall I be free from the 
great transgression :" It seems then that presumptuous sin 
ning makes way to this great transgression. When is a man 
said to sin presumptuously ? When a man sins upon this 
score, that God will shew mercy to him, saying : I know, 
indeed, it is not good for me to go to such a wicked company, 
it is a sin so to do ; but I will venture, and repent afterwards, 
for God will shew mercy. To venture upon a sin, presuming 
that God will shew mercy, and that a man shall repent after 
wards, is presumption, and presumptuous sinning makes way 
to this great transgression ; therefore would you be kept 
from this great transgression ? go to God with David, and 
say, " O Lord, keep back thy servant from presumptuous 
sins, so shall I be free from the great transgression." 

Again : Be always humbled for lesser sins : he shall never 
fall into the greatest, that is always humbled for the least ; 
he shall never fall into the worst, that is always humbled for 
the smallest. 

Besides, fear is the keeper of innocency ; Timor innocen- 

VOL. iv. p 


ti(B custos, fear is the guard of innocency : if you always 
fear to commit it, you shall never commit the same. 

In case that you do at any time fall into sin, say, Well, but 
through the grace of God, though I commit what is evil, I 
will never oppose what is good ; by the grace of God I will 
carry this rule along with me : Though I commit what is evil, 
I will never oppose what is good. 

In case any great work be done before you, that lies beyond 
your reach and beyond your fathom, say, though I do not 
understand this work, I will admire ; and though I cannot 
reach it, yet I will not blaspheme and speak against it. 

And if heretofore, Christian, thou hast found God breath 
ing upon thy heart in any ordinance, public or private, or in 
any way of God, take heed, as for thy life, that thou dost 
never speak evil or blaspheme that way of God wherein thou 
hast found the Spirit of God breathing. This sin is always 
accompanied with invidentia fratrum, with the envy of the 
saints, and therefore some have thought the sin against the 
Holy Ghost did consist in it, in the envying of the saints ; 
but though that be not it, yet that accompanies it. Canst 
thou not find thy own heart rise to those heights of graces 
that others do ? take heed you never envy the saints lest you 
fall from envying those that are good, to oppose goodness it 
self, which is the proper work of the Holy Ghost.* 

And if, indeed, you would be kept from this great trans 
gression, then take heed of all declinings, and the steps 
thereof. There are three steps, as in our conversion to God, 
so in our apostacy, declining, and going out from God. Three 
steps in our coming in to God : first, a man s affection is 
taken with that which is good ; then his judgment is con 
vinced ; and then his will strikes in, and he resolves with all 
his heart and soul to cleave to the Lord for ever. So in a 
man s declining and going out from God . first, a man s affec 
tion declines ; then his judgment alters : I thought so and so 
indeed before, but now I am of another mind ; and then it 
comes to his will, and he will go on, and let parents say, and 
ministers say, and friends say what they will, yet he will go 
on, and that because he will. Now saith the apostle, " If any 

* Hinc discimus quantopere nobis ab odio fratrum, cavendum est, quandoqui- 
dem eo fit, ut quandoque odio hominis in ipsam Dei veritatem feramur precipites. 
Cartwrighti Harm. p. 357. 

. 9.] THE HOLY GHOST. 211 

man sin wilfully, after he hath received the knowledge of the 
truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin." Therefore 
as you desire to be kept from this great transgression : doth 
your affections decline ? take heed your judgment do not 
alter ; doth your judgment alter ? take heed that your will 
be not perverse : oh, take heed of all declinings, and the steps 

But finally, Forsake not the assembling of yourselves to 
gether, as the manner of some have been ; but as heretofore 
provoke one another to love and good works ; and so much 
the more as you see the day approaching ; and what I say to 
you, I say to all, and to mine own soul, Let us breathe after 
the Spirit, and walk in the Spirit, " for there is no condem 
nation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after 
the flesh but after the Spirit." Oh, let us pray to God for his 
keeping grace, it is he alone that keeps us ; and the Lord keep 
all our souls from this great transgression. 

p 2 



Wherein is shewed, besides other things, 






"And he came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were 
heavy." MATT. xxvi. 43. 

IN the verses next precedent and consequent, you may see 
the difference between the true and the false disciple ; both 
sinned, but they differ in their sin, and in the issue of it. 
The true disciple sleeps, when he should have prayed ; and 
he slept again and again, that was his sin, for our Saviour 
commanded them to watch and pray. But Christ wakened 
them, and would not leave them sleeping; he came to them 
with his wakening mercy, and they were awakened ; that 
was the issue of their sin. But the false disciple Judas was 
awake, and he watched unto what is evil. The good disciple 
slept unto what was good, and the false disciple watched unto 
what was evil; that was his sin. "For while Christ yet 
spake (ver. 17)> lo Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with 
him a great multitude, with swords and staves, from the chief 
priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed him, 
gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same 
is he, hold him fast : and forthwith he came to Jesus, and 
said, Hail, Master, and kissed him." This was his sin, 
wherein our Saviour leaves him, and doth not awaken him, 
but suffered him to go on, leading him forth with the workers 
of iniquity. That was the issue of his sin. 

In this verse 43, you have the true disciple s sin, and the 
Lord s grace ; his dealing by Christ, and Christ s dealing by 


He slept when he should have been at prayer ; which sin 
is described by the cause thereof, and by the repetition of it. 

The cause of it in these words : " For their eyes were 
heavy." This sin, therefore, was a sin of infirmity, a sin of 
weakness, and so our Saviour calls it, ver. 41, for saith he, 
" The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." 

The repetition of this sin you have in these words : " He 
found them asleep again." Christ had wakened them before, 
and commanded them to pray; but they slept again and 
again. Thus did they deal by Christ. 

But how did Christ deal by them ? He did not leave them 
in their sin, nor cast them off, as he did deal by Judas ; but 
he came to them again, and as they slept again, so Christ 
came again : his waking grace and mercy was as high as their 
slumbering sin ; they sin again, and he comes again. So that 
the doctrine from the whole verse is this : 

Though a man do sin again and again, yet if his sin be a 
sin of infirmity, Christ will not leave him in it, but will come 
again, and not cast him off. 

For the opening and clearing whereof, three things will 
fall under our consideration. 

First, That a man may possibly fall into the same sin 
again and again, yet be a true disciple. 

Secondly, That this sin may be but a sin of infirmity. 

Thirdly^ That being so, Christ will not leave him in it, but 
will come again, and not cast him off. 

First, It is possible that a good man may fall into the same 
sin again and again. 

I confess it is an evil thing so to do, and a great evil. In 
some respects it may be worse to fall into the same sin, than 
to fall into others; for this may more waste one s peace, and 
destroy the assurance of God s love. Sins against light do 
the most darken. Now when we have repented, and then 
fall into that very sin which they repented of, they do sin 
against light; yea, it is a kind of repenting of one s repent 
ance : for as when a man hath gone on in a sinful way, and 
doth return unto God, he doth then repent of his sin ; so 
when a man hath gone on in a good way, and doth return to 
his sin, then he doth as it were repent of his repentance.* 
When God pardoneth a man, he saith, Go and sin no more : 

* Lavamini niuiuli e=totc, Esa. i. Lavatur et mundus cst, qui et preterrita 


do I therefore return unto the same sin ? then am I most un 
thankful, disingenuous, and disobedient ; yea, it is exceed 
ingly displeasing unto the Lord, for a man to fall into the 
same sin again and again. Ye shall observe, therefore, that 
although the Lord pardoned the children of Israel that great 
sin of idolatry in the matter of the golden calf, yet in refer 
ence to the land of promise, he did not pardon their unbelief 
and murmuring, for they entered not into Canaan ; why ? 
because of their unbelief, saith the apostle. Now if you 
look into Numb. xiv. 19, you shall find that Moses prayed, 
" Pardon I beseech thee, O Lord, the iniquity of this people, 
according to the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast 
forgiven this people from Egypt, even until now. And the 
Lord said, I have pardoned, according to thy word ; but as 
truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of 
the Lord." At ver. 22, " Because all these men which have 
seen my glory, and my miracles which I did in Egypt, and in 
the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, 
and have not hearkened to my voice, surely they shall not 
see the land, which I sware to give unto their fathers." 
Though I pardon them, saith God, they shall never come 
into Canaan, the land of rest that I have promised : why ? 
because they have sinned these ten times, murmuring again, 
and again, and again. So that it is exceedingly displeasing 
unto the Lord, for a man to fall into the same sin again and 
again. But yet, I say, it is possible that a good man, and 
true disciple of Christ, may fall into the same sin again and 
again. It was a sin for them thus to sleep, when our Saviour 
had commanded them to watch and pray ; but they slept 
again and again. Look I pray you into Job xix., and see 
what Job saith concerning his friends : " These ten times 
(saith he, at verse 3) have ye reproached me, yet are ye not 
ashamed." It is an evil thing to reproach a man, it is worse 
to reproach a godly man, as it is yet worse to reproach a godly 
man under affliction, and to afflict the afflicted. But to re 
proach a man ten times, this is evil indeed ; yet saith Job, 
" These ten times have ye reproached me :" and yet Job s 
friends were godly. Possibly then, a good man may fall into 

plangit, et iterum non adtnittit ; lavatur et non est num. his, qui plangit quod 
gessit, nee deserit, sed post lachrimas flenda, hsec quse fleverat, repetit. Au- 
gustini Ser. 66, de tempore. 


the same sin again, and again, ten times : that is very often. 
And you know how it was with Abraham, the father of the 
faithful. You read in Gen. xii., that when he was driven by 
reason of famine into Egypt, he desired his wife, Sarah, to 
say that she was his sister; which indeed was no lie, but his 
sin of unbelief, and very evil, for thereby he put his wife upon 
a great temptation. He was reproved for it, as you read in 
the chapter ; yet if you look into chap, xx., you shall find 
that he was at the same work again. " And Abraham jour- 
nied towards the south country ; and Abraham said (ver. 2) 
of Sarah his wife, She is my sister." And so also if you 
look into 2 Chron. xix., you shall find it was thus with that 
good king Jehoshaphat, complying too much with the king of 
Israel, for which he is reproved, at ver. 2 : " And Jehu went 
out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou 
help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord ? there 
fore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord." Yet if you 
look into chap. xx. you shall find that he falls into the same 
sin again : " And Eliezer prophesied against Jehoshaphat, 
saying, (at the last verse) Because thou hast joined thyself 
with Ahaziah, the Lord hath broken thy works : and the 
ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish." 
Jehoshaphat a good man, yet he falls into the same sin again. 
So that I shall not need to spend longer time in this, it is too 
apparent: possibly a good man, a true disciple of Christ, 
may fall into the same sin again and again. That is the first. 

Secondly. Though a man do fall into the same sin again 
and again, yet it may be but an infirmity. 

For the opening and clearing of this, we must consider 
what a sin of infirmity is, and what is the true notion of it : 
which being cleared, the truth proposed will naturally fall into 
your bosom. Properly, therefore, a sin of infirmity is that 
sin which doth rather arise from want of strength to resist, 
than from will to commit, else it should be wickedness and 
not weakness. 

But, in Scripture phrase, it is called a weakness, as here in 
this chapter, " The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak ;" 
and Rom. vi. 19, " I speak after the manner of men, because 
of the infirmity (or weakness) of your flesh." And, therefore, 
it must be in one that hath spiritual life. You do not say 



[SEE. 10. 

that a stone is infirm or weak ; why ? because a stone hath 
no life in it : infirmity is a defect in one that hath life. 

And, I say, it doth arise, not from wilfulness, but want of 
strength to resist. Now this want of strength to resist, doth 
either arise from some natural cause, which one cannot avoid, 
of which Paul speaks in Rom. vii. 19, " The good that I 
would, I do not ; but the evil that I would not, that I do :" 
and why so ? he gives the reason at verse 21, "I find, then, 
a law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me ; 
and verse 23, " I find a law in my members fighting against 
the law of my mind, and leading me captive/ &c. : or else it 
doth arise from some present distemper, and that either in 
the mind and judgment, and then it is called an error, " Who 
knoweth the errors of his life ?" Psalm xix., Heb. iii. 2 : or 
else this distemper doth arise from some present passion, fear 
or the like, whereby a man is hurried into evil, and then he 
is said to be overtaken, Gal. vi. 1. So that when a man is 
alive unto God, and doth commit a sin for want of strength 
to resist, then he is said to sin out of infirmity. 

Therefore if you ask whether every sin that a godly man 
doth commit be a sin of infirmity ? I answer, No ; because 
there are some sins that a godly man doth commit which he 
hath strength to avoid. Sometimes the word infirmity is 
taken largely, for all sin, which Jesus Christ our High Priest 
doth sympathize with us in. So Heb. iv. : " We have not 
such an high priest who cannot be touched with our infirmi 
ties." And thus all the sins of the godly may be and are 
sins of infirmity. But, properly and strictly, an infirmity is 
that sin which a man is taken captive by against his will, 
Roir. vii., that is, against the general bent and frame of his 
heart which he hath not present strength to resist. So Rom. 
xv. 1, " Ye which are strong ought to bear the infirmities of 
those that are weak." And thus every sin that a godly man 
commits is not a sin of infirmity.* 

If you ask whether any sin that a wicked man doth com- 

* The sins wbereinto the godly falleth, are not presumptuous, but are ordina 
rily of weakness and infirmity. Perkins Cases, book i. chap. 2. 

Peccatum ex iiifirmitate est, cujas est determiuutur causa instigans, ita ut bine 
tali causa non fieret. Corduba, lib. ii. quest. 8. 

Ut peccatutn sit ex infirmitate, ita debere fiereex passione ut ipsasit sufficiens 
causa qua ablata, tule peceatum lion sequeretur. Vazquez iu 12. Co. 1, q. 77. 
art. 3. 


mit be a sin of infirmity ? I answer, No ; because he hath no 
spiritual life, and infirmity is in one that hath life ; and there 
fore a wicked man being dead, his sin that he commits cannot 
be called a sin of infirmity.* 

If you ask whether any great, gross, foul, scandalous sin 
be or can be a sin of infirmity ? I answer, No ; because it is 
a sickness, as Austin well observes, and not a weakness ; for, 
saith he, there is a great deal of difference between agrotus 
and infirmus. If a man have some distemper and ailment in 
his body, and yet he bears up to his meat and to his work, 
he is not sick, but he hath an infirmity ; this is weakness : 
but if a man have a distemper and illness in his body, where 
by he is driven both from meat and work, and doth lie by it, 
then it is not an infirmity but a sickness. So spiritually, if a 
man have a failing, and yet through the grace of God he bears 
up to meat and work, it is an infirmity ; but if he sin, and 
thereby be driven both from meat and work, through the 
commission of some gross sin, this is a sickness, this is no 
weakness or infirmity. So then, properly, the sin of infirmity 
is that sin which is committed by one that is spiritually alive 
unto God, and which doth arise from want of strength to re 
sist, and not from will to commit. And thus you see, briefly, 
what the nature of this sin of infirmity is.f 

But yet this doth not come near enough. When may a 
man be said to sin a sin of infirmity, and how shall I know 
whether my sin be of that rate of sins or no ; for if the Lord 
will not cast a man off for a sin of infirmity, it concerns me 
to consider what kind of sins my sins are : there are some 
sins that God doth reject men for, as in the case of Saul, God 
rejected him for his sin ; when may a man, therefore, be said 
to sin out of infirmity ? 

For answer unto this, First, I shall speak unto some mis 
takes. Secondly, I will speak something unto it negatively, 
and something affirmatively. 

For mistakes. There are mistakes on both hands. Some 
think that the sins which they commit are not sins of in- 

* Infirmity cannot properly be said to be in them, in whom sin hath firmity 
and strength, and where there is no power of grace at all. Perkins Cases, book 
i. chap. 2 

t Sicut corpori noxium est escam corporalem non posse percipere, ita aniuise 
periculosurn est spiritales delitias fastidirc. Augu&tin. 


firmity, when indeed they are; and some think that their sins 
are sins of infirmity when indeed they are not. Both on the 
right hand and on the left hand, men are mistaken about this 

On the left hand, men think that their sins are infirmities, 
when indeed they are not, and that upon a four-fold account 
because their sin is but small in bulk ; or because that they 
are tempted and drawn into their sin by others ; and because 
they do strive against their sin ; and because they are trou 
bled after it. 

I think, will some say, that my sin is a sin of infirmity 
because it is but small. But if you look into 1 Sam. xv. 
you may read that Saul s sin, for which the Lord rejected 
him, was of no great outward bulk; for he spared the 
failings that he might sacrifice thereby ; and though he 
spared the king Agag, it was neither murder that he com 
mitted, nor adultery, nor drunkenness; yet saith the Lord 
unto him, f Thy sin is as the sin of witchcraft." A great 
many small sins may make as great a bulk as one gross sin ; 
yea, possibly there may be much sinfulness and evil in com 
mitting of a small sin ; for as amongst men, it is the greatest 
incivility to break with another for a small matter ; so with 
God, to break with God for a small thing, is a great unwor- 
thiness and ingratitude. Thus did Adam in eating the for 
bidden fruit ; the smallness of the thing to be done aggra 
vated his sin; and the smaller the thing is, the more unwor- 
thiness it is to break with God in so little ; a small leak 
neglected may sink the ship, as well as the most boisterous 
and greatest wave : and much skill may be seen in a small 
work ; a little watch, &c. So your skill in sinning may be 
seen in a small sin ; his sin is never small that thinks it 
small. And if this be true, that there is no sin that a 
wicked man commits which is a sin of infirmity, because he 
is dead ; then a man may commit a sin that is but small in 
the bulk, and yet no sin of infirmity.* 

* Minuta peccata si negligantur, occidunt minutiae sunt guttse quse flumina 
implent, minuta sunt grana arense, sed si multa arena imponatur, premit afque 
opprimit ; hoc facit sentina neglecta, quod facit fluctus irruens, Paulatim per sen- 
tinara intrat sed diu intrando et non ex hauriendo mergit navim. August. 
Tom. vi. 9. Tract. 13. in Joan. 2. 

Ne putemus parvum esse has culpas quae sunt plures, arenulaa parvoe sunt sed 


But I think my sin is a sin of infirmity becouse I am 
tempted to it, and because I am drawn on by others. But 
I pray, was not Adam tempted unto the eating of the for 
bidden fruit by Eve ? And was not Eve tempted by Satan ? 
And will you call that a sin of infirmity that condemned all 
the world as Adam s sin did ? And I pray you, was not Aaron 
put upon making the golden calf by the people ; and will 
you call that sin of idolatry a sin of infirmity ? Possibly a 
man may be tempted, drawn unto sin by others, and put 
upon it by others, and yet the sin may be no sin of infirmity. 

But I think my sin is a sin of infirmity because I do strive 
against it. And, I pray, did not Pilate strive against the 
crucifying of Christ ? He would have delivered him from 
the Jews, calls for a bason of water, and washed his hands, 
saying, I am free from the blood of this man, used means, 
and did strive against it, and yet the sin of Pilate no sin of 
infirmity : Possibly therefore a man may strive against his sin, 
and yet the sin be no sin of infirmity. 

But my sin is a sin of infirmity because I am troubled 
after it. And was not Esau troubled after he had sold his 
birth-right for a mess of pottage ; did he not seek it with 
tears ? And when Judas had betrayed his master, and our 
Saviour, it is said that he repented of what he had done, and 
was troubled. Surely then, though the sin that I commit, 
may be lesser in bulk, than another s sin, and small compar 
atively, and though I be drawn into it by others, and though 
I do strive against it, and though I am troubled after it, yet 
it may be no sin of infirmity. Yet, good Lord, how many 
poor souls are there that deceive themselves, and think that 
their sins are but sins of infirmity; and thus are mistaken 
on the left hand. 

But as some are mistaken on the left hand, thinking that 
their sins are sins of infirmity, when indeed they are not : 

tot possunt esse ut obruant citius quam saxum ingens, infirma res cst una locusta 
sed qua plaga major agris quam multitude illarum. Euseb. Nieremberg. de 
adoratione, Lib. ii. Cap. 13. 

Cum Deus tantus sit nih.il est parvum quod ei displicet aut quod ei placet 
quicquid est bonum statim est magnum quicquid malum statim hie non est 

Non est parvum quod censetur minimum cum in minimis stet perfectio. 
Erubesse te vinci a parvis nam ad lioste exili et pumilione sterni turpissimuin 
et ignavi signum. Id. Cap. 14. 


so others on the right hand are mistaken, and think that 
their sins are not sins of infirmity, but of a worse nature, 
when indeed they are : and that upon these accounts : 

Because they sin knowingly. 

Because they fall into the same sin again and again, and 
do lie therein. 

Because they fall into the sin after admonition. 

Oh, saith one, I fear my sin is no sin of infirmity, for I 
sin knowingly, and with deliberation ; I sin against my 
knowledge, and against my conscience, and therefore my sin, 
can be no sin of infirmity. 

But for answer hereunto, you must know, it is one thing 
for a man to sin knowingly, and another thing for a man to 
sin out of knowledge, or against his knowledge. As in the 
case of ignorance ; it is one thing for a man to sin ignoranter, 
and another thing to sin ex ignorantia. A man sins ignor- 
rantly when ignorance is the companion of his sin only : a 
man sins out of ignorance, when ignorance is the only cause 
of his sin, and not the companion only. As for example : 
Suppose a man be in fight, in a great battle, and he kill 
another ; he kills him because he did not know him, if he 
had known him in the battle, he would not have killed him ; 
here his ignorance is not the companion only, but the cause 
of it : so that it is one thing to sin ignorantly, and another 
thing to sin out of ignorance. A man sins ignorantly, when ig 
norance is the companion of his fact : a man sins out of 
ignorance, when ignorance is the cause of it. So a man sins 
knowingly, when knowledge is the companion of his fact : 
but a man sins out of knowledge, or he sins against know 
ledge, when knowledge is the cause thereof; as when a man 
doth use his knowledge to make distinctions and shifts for 
his sin, whereby he is emboldened to it, and continues in it. 
Knowledge is sometimes only a companion of sin ; as when 
a man knows that the first risings of sin are evil; this know 
ledge is no cause of them, but merely a companion : some 
times knowledge is the cause of sin ; as when a man dot! 
know that his way is naught, and he doth deliberately consul 
and devise excuses and lies to hide the same ; here his know 
ledge is the cause of those sinful excuses, and the man dot! 
not only sin knowingly arid with knowledge, but out o; 
knowledge, and against his knowledge ; and this cannot 


stand with infirmity, but the former may : for the disciples 
knew that it was evil for them to sleep ; yet their sin was a 
sin of infirmity.* 

Oh, but I fear that my sin is no sin of infirmity, because I 
fall into it again and again, and do lie in it. 

But do ye know what it is to lie in sin ? there is much mis 
take about lying in sin. Possibly a man may lie in a sin, yet 
never fall into the gross acts thereof; he may lie in the breach 
of the seventh commandment, and yet never commit the 
gross act of adultery ; he may lie in the sin of covetousness, 
yet never be any great oppressor. So on the other side, a 
man may possibly fall divers times into the same sin, and yet 
not lie therein ; for properly a man is said to lie in sin, when 
he doth continue in it, and not purge it out ; so he that 
is born of God sinneth not, because his heart is as a fountain 
or spring, that purifies itself from that dirt and filth of sin 
which doth fall into it : but as the apostle speaks, " The 
whole world lies in wickedness " why ? because a wicked 
man s heart is as a lake or standing pool, which keeps all that 
dirt which is thrown into it. Now if you do thus keep and 
lie in your sin, why do you so complain ? this your complain 
ing argues that there is some purging out, and therefore you 
do not lie in sin. 

Oh, but I fear my sin cannot be a sin of infirmity, because 
I fall into it after I have been admonished of the evil of it. 

To that I say no more, but desire you to consider the in 
stance that is here before you. The disciples slept, our Lord 
and Saviour Christ comes and wakens them ; yea, and he 
chides them too : " What (saith he) cannot ye watch with 
me one hour ! watch and pray ;" and yet they slept again : 
and he comes and wakens them again, and admonisheth them 
again, and yet they slept again. Possibly, therefore, a man 
may fall into the same sin again and again, yea, even after 

* Adrian, sic definit peccatum ex infirmitate, est actus vel omissio culpabilis 
sine deliberatione propter passionis impetum facta : hac tamen definitions non 
complectitur omne peccatum ex infirmitate ; nam potest peccatum ex infirmitate 
accidere cum deliberatione imo vero ut sit peccatum debet esse aliqua deliberatio 
Vasquez. xii. Q. 77. A. 3. 

Utrum sit possibile quod aliquis sciens ex infirmitate peccat. 

Dicendum quod communiter ab omnibus ponitur aliqua peccata ex infirmitate 
committi quse a peccatis ex ignorantia non distinguerentur nisi contingeret 
aliquem scientem e< infirmitate peccare. Tho. Aquinas Quest. Disputat. de 
causa peccati. Art. ix. p. 96. 


admonition, and yet it may be a sin of infirmity. Yet how 
many poor souls are there, that are mistaken here on the 
right hand, and do think that their sins are no sins of infir 
mity, when indeed they are. 

But if there be such mistakes, how shall we then know 
whether our sins be sins of infirmity ? 

Negatively, That is no sin of infirmity, which is a gross, 
foul, scandalous sin, committed with deliberation and con 
sultation. It is said of David, that he turned not aside to 
the right hand or to the left, save only in the matter of 
Uriah. It seems then, that in this matter he did turn aside ; 
but why is it said that he turned aside here, and not in other 
things ; did he not sin at other times ? Yes, very often : but 
there is a difference between missing one s way, and turning 
aside out of one s way; a man may ignorantly miss his way, 
or unadvisedly, but he that turns aside out of his way, doth 
it voluntarily and deliberately : and so did David here in this 
case, and not in others ; this act was a foul fact, which he 
was able and had strength to avoid, committed with much 
deliberation, and therefore it was no sin of infirmity. So 
that if a man s sin committed, be a gross, foul, scandalous 
sin, committed with deliberation and consultation, this is no 
sin of infirmity. 

If the sin be a ringleader unto other foul sins, it is no sin 
of infirmity. The ringleading sin is the most heinous sin. 
You shall observe, therefore, that when Samuel was raised 
up, (whether it was true Samuel, or false, I will not now de 
bate,) when he was raised up by the witch of Endor, 1 Sam. 
xxviii., the only sin that Samuel lays to the charge of Saul, 
is this, ver. 18, that he obeyed not the voice of the Lord, in 
executing his fierce wrath upon Amalek : " Because thou 
obeyedst not the voice of the Lord, nor executedst his fierce 
wrath upon Amalek (saith Samuel), therefore hath the Lord 
done this thing unto thee this day. Moreover, the Lord will 
also deliver Israel with thee into the hands of the Philistines." 
If you read this story you shall find, that this only sin Samuel 
doth instance in. Saul had committed other sins, Saul had 
persecuted David, and out of malice, and had committed 
great sins ; why doth Samuel instance in this sin above all 
other sins ? but because this sin was the ringleading sin unto 
all the sins that Saul did commit ; and therefore this is 


charged upon him especially, as a great and a heinous sin. 
And you see how it is amongst men ; if there be a rebellion 
or insurrection, they take the ringleader and hang up him, 
for say they, This is the great transgressor, for he is the ring 
leader. So amongst sins, the great sin is the ringleader ; and 
therefore if your sin be a ringleader unto other foul sins, it 
is not a sin of infirmity. 

A sin of presumption is not a sin of infirmity. Sins of 
presumption and sins of infirmity are set in opposition one 
to the other in Numb. xv. and Psalm xix. Now, I pray, 
-when doth a man sin out of presumption, but when he sinneth 
because God is merciful ; when he sinneth because his sin 
can and may stand with grace ; when he sinneth because the 
sin is but an infirmity ; when he sinneth because he shall re 
pent afterwards ? Now this is ordinary. I have read of a 
certain young man, who being admonished of the evil of his 
way and course, and pressed to leave his wickedness by the 
consideration of judgment, eternity and death a coming, that 
he said, Why tell ye me of these things ; I will do well enough ; 
for when death comes I will speak but three words, and will 
help all ; and so he went on in the way of his sin : but in the 
end, coming to a bridge on horse-back, to go over a deep water, 
the horse stumbling, and he labouring to recover his horse, 
could not, but at last he let go the bridle, and gave up himself 
and horse to the waters, and was heard to say these three 
words : Diabolus capiat omnia : Devil take all. Here was 
three words indeed, and an example for all men who think to 
repent with a three word repentance at last, viz. Miserere mei 
Deus ; Lord have mercy ; to take heed by. Such is the end 
of presumption. And when a man doth therefore sin the 
rather because God is merciful, or because the sin is but a sin 
of infirmity, or because he hopes to repent afterward, or be 
cause his sin may and can stand with grace ; this is a sin of 
presumption, and is no sin of infirmity : sins of presumption 
are no sins of infirmity. 

Again, If the sin be a reigning sin, then it is no sin of 
infirmity, for when sin reigns, grace doth not ; therefore saith 
the apostle, Rom. vi., " Let not sin have dominion over you, 
for ye are not under the law but under grace ;" and when sin 
reigns it is in its lull strength. Now a sin of infirmity is not 
therefore called infirmity because, as the schoolmen would, it 


doth make a man infirm, by impeding and hindering the vital 
operations of the soul, for then all sins, and especially the 
greatest, should be sins of infirmity ; but it is said to be a 
sin of infirmity, because it doth arise from weakness, the 
strength thereof being taken out and mortified ; and there 
fore a reigning sin can be no sin of infirmity. Now sin reign- 
eth in a man,* 

1. When it hath the command of his duties, his spiritual 
duties. When a master commands a servant from his meat, 
it argues that he rules over him ; and if you see a man rise 
from his meat at the command of another, you say, Surely 
this man is the other s servant, for he was at dinner or supper, 
and the other did but speak or come by him, and he took his 
hat and cloak, and left all his meat, and followed him. So 
when a man shall sit down to duty, and he shall ordinarily be 
commanded from his duty by his sin, what doth this argue, 
but that his sin is his master, and doth rule and reign over 

2. When men do yield the members of their bodies as 
weapons of unrighteousness unto sin, then sin reigns in them. 
" Let not sin reign in your mortal body (saith the apostle), 
that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof; neither yield ye 
your members as weapons of unrighteousness unto sin," Rom. 
vi. 12. 13.f 

3. Sin reigns when it usually riseth by opposition. It was 
with sin as with grace ; when grace is in power it riseth by 
opposition; "I will yet be more vile," saith David; and 
when the believing blind man was commanded to hold his 
peace, he cried so much the more, " Jesus, thou Son of Da- 

* Potest autem dici infirmitas in anima ad similitudinem infirmitatis corporis, 
dicitur autem corpus esse infirmum, quando debilitatur vel impeditur in executione 
proprise operationis propter aliquam inordinationem partium corporis ita scil. 
quod humores et membra hominis non subdantur virtuti regitivse et motivse cor 
poris, unde et membrum dicitur infirmum esse, quando non potest perficere ope- 
rationem membri sani : unde et infirmitas animse dicitur quando impeditur anima 
in propria operatione propter inordinationem partium ipsius, partes autem cor 
poris dicuntur esse inordinatse, quando non sequuntur ordinem naturae ita et 
partes animee dicantur esse inordinatse quando non subduntur ordini rationis, &c. 
Thorn. Aquin. xii. quest. 77. art. 3. 

f Illicitse delectationi si resistamus, si non consentiamus, si membra velut arma 
non ministremus non regnat peccatum in nostra mortali corpore peccatum enim 
ante regnum perdidit et sic perfit, in hac ergo vita, quantum ad sanctos atlinet 
regnum perdit, in alia perit. Augustin de Verbis Apost. Ser. 66. 


vid, have mercy on me." Herein the power of godliness is 
distinguished from the form. Godliness in power rises by 
opposition, but the form doth not ; but the power of faith 
doth, the power of love doth, and the power of repentance 
doth : even as a little fire is quenched with water, but if 
the fire be strong, it flames and burns out the more by that 
dish of water which ye do cast upon it. So in regard of sin, 
where it is in power it will not be quenched by opposition, 
but it flames out the more ; witness that powerful malice of 
the Jews against Christ, who when they were but a little 
checked by Pilate, they cried out so much the more, Crucify 
him, crucify him. Doth thy sin, therefore, ordinarily rise by 
opposition ? this argues that it is sin in power, that it reigns 
in thee, that it is no sin of infirmity ; for a reigning, full- 
breathed sin is no sin of infirmity.* Thus negatively. 

But how shall we know, then, affirmatively, whether our 
sin be a sin of infirmity ? 

Thus : If it do merely proceed from want of age in Chris 
tianity, then it is, without doubt, a sin of infirmity. There 
are several ranks and forms of Christians in the school of 
Christ. The apostle John doth allude unto three ages : " I 
write unto you fathers (saith he), I write unto you young 
men, and I write unto you babes." There are the grown 
children of God, and there are babes. Babes are weak and 
full of weaknesses. And if your sin be such as doth arise 
merely from want of age and time in grace, then it must needs 
be a sin of a babe, and so a sin of infirmity. 

If it be no other sin than what is incident unto all the 
saints, then it is a sin of infirmity ; for that sin which is com 
mitted by all the saints, is no reigning sin, but a sin mortified, 
enervated and weakened ; there is no reigning sin in the child 
of God : sin reigning and being under grace are opposed, 
Rom. vi., " Let not sin have dominion over you, for ye are 
under grace." Those that are under grace have their sin at 
an under : and if the sin be committed by all the saints, then 
it doth rather arise from want of strength to resist than from 
will to commit. Is thy sin, therefore, no other than what is 

* Manifestura igitur est quod credere improbabilia, fortitudinis est, atque vigo- 
ris nostri intellectus, sicut amare daumosa, molesta et ignominiosa fortit udines est 
et vigoris nostri affectus. Parisiens. de fide, p. 2. 


incident unto all God s people ? then surely it is no other 
than a sin of infirmity. 

If it be such a sin as you cannot avoid, which breaks in 
upon you before you are aware, even before you can call in 
for help from your reason and consideration, and which the 
general bent and frame of your heart and soul is against, then 
it is a sin of infirmity, for then it doth arise from want of 
strength to resist, and not from will to commit. This was 
the case of Paul, Rom. vii., when evil was present with him, 
being against the general bent and frame of his soul; for 
saith he, " I delight in the law of God after the inward man, 
and yet the thing that I would not do, that do I." Can you, 
therefore, say with Paul, " It is no more I that do it," &c, for 
my delight is otherwise, and the general bent and frame of 
my heart is otherwise ? then you may also say, This is mine 

If your sin be your burden, because it is the burden of 
your grace, then is your sin your infirmity. I speak not of 
gross, foul and scandalous sins. But the apostle tells us, Gal. 
vi., that this sin of infirmity is our burden, for having said in 
verse 1, " If any one be overtaken, you that are spiritual res 
tore him," &c ; he then gives the reason of it at verse 6, 
" Bear ye one another s burdens." It seems, then, that this 
sin of infirmity is a burden unto him that commits it. Now 
a man may be burdened with sin upon a twofold account : 
either because he is or shall be burdened with it, in regard of 
pain and punishment, or, because it is the luggage and burden 
of his grace and duty. In the first sense, all men may be 
burdened with sin, even the most wicked man : Cain was so 
burdened when he cried out, and said, " My sin (or burden) 
is greater than I can bear." In the second sense, only those 
are burdened with sin that are godly. Dost thou, therefoi 
groan under the burden of this evil, though it be no gross 
and scandalous sin, and that because it is a burden to your 
grace and duties ? surely it is no other than a sin of infirmity. 

* Hsec peccata quae accidunt ratione operationis sensitivi prevenientis rationem, 
dici peccata ex infirmitate, natn infirmitas humanse voluntatis contracta ex peccato 
original! magna ex parte consistit in rebellione appetitus, hoc est in ilia potestate 
quam habet operandi ante usum rationis ex sola apprehensione sensus. Caspens. 
Cursus Theolog. Tract, de Peccat. Disp. v. 4. 

Ego sum in carne, ego sum in mente, sed magis ego sum in mente quam in 
carne, et quia mens regit ego sum in regente. August, de Verbis Apost. Serm. 5. 


An infirmity will hardly acknowledge itself to be a sin of 
infirmity ; but the person in whom it is, fears lest it should be 
worse. It is in this case as in the matter of temptation ; 
though a wicked man s sins be his own, the brat of his own 
conception and corruption, yet he will hardly acknowledge them 
to be his own corruption : no, but saith he, These are the temp 
tations of Satan and not mine own corrruption: a good man, on 
the contrary,saith, Nay, but these are mine own corruptions, not 
the devil s temptations ; oh, these are worse than temptations, 
they are all mine own. Witness David, 1 Chron. xxi. 8, " And 
David said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have done 
this thing, I have done very foolishly ;" yet the devil pro 
voked him to it, and it was originally his temptation, for it is 
said, verse 1, " And Satan stood up against Israel, and pro 
voked David to number the people." David doth not lay the 
fault upon the devil, but upon himself; he did not say, I was 
thus and thus tempted by Satan, no, but I, even I have sin 
ned and done foolishly. Temptation will hardly acknowledge 
itself to be a temptation ; and so infirmity will hardly ac 
knowledge itself to be infirmity ; but the person in whom it 
is, doth fear worse, saying, This my sin is great, and I fear it 
is no infirmity. Wicked men excuse their sin by infirmity, 
because it is no infirmity ; but a good man fears it is worse 
than infirmity. And therefore is thy sin no gross and foul 
sin, and yet art thou afraid that it is worse than infirmity ? 
this doth rather argue that it is no other than a sin of infirmity. 

If your sin do arise chiefly from some outward cause, it is 
a sin of infirmity ; for then it is not so much from will to 
commit, as from want of strength to resist. The sin which 
the apostle speaks of, Gal. vi. 1, is a sin of infirmity, and the 
man that commits it is said to be overtaken. Now when a 
man is upon his journey travelling and is overtaken by ano 
ther person, his inward inclination and disposition was not to 
meet the other: so when a man is overtaken by sin, it argues 
that his sin doth proceed from some outward cause ; and 
when it doth proceed from some outward cause, then he is 
truly said to be overtaken with it. It is true the worst of 
men say they are overtaken when they sin. Oh, saith the 
drunkard, I confess I was drunk at such a time, and in such 
a place, but I was drawn into it ; my inward disposition was 
Otherwise, but I was so and so overtaken. But if men were 

Q 2 


only overtaken and surprized by their sin, then why are they 
angry with those who keep them from their sin ? why are 
they in their own element, and never more at home than in 
the way of their sin ? and why do they so heartily will that 
which is the cause of their sin ? It may be they do not will 
the effect, namely, drunkenness, but do they not will that 
which is the cause thereof? He that is overtaken with a 
sin, is unexpectedly surprized with the cause thereof; and 
therefore if it be not a gross and scandalous sin, it is a sin of 

Infirmity loves admonition : I mean, the person that sins 
out of infirmity, loves to be admonished, takes admonition 
kindly, and doth bless God for it. Possibly the admonition 
may be given scalding hot, and so he may refuse to take it 
down ; but ordinarily, he will take the admonition kindly. 
Ye know how it was with David, when he was going against 
the house of Nabal in a great passion : Abigail came forth to 
meet him, and having admonished him of his duty, he did 
not only forbear the evil intended, but he blessed God for 
her and her words, who kept him that day from shedding 
innocent blood. Tell an honest man that he is out of his 
way, and direct him into it, and he will thank you for it. 
Tell a thief that he is out of his way, and he will laugh at 
you. So, tell a wicked man that he is out of his way, and he 
will despise you for it ; tell a good man that he is out of his 
way, and he will bless God for it, and for you : why ? because 
he hath but missed his way. Canst thou, therefore, take an 
admonition kindly, when thou art out of thy way ? This 
argues that thy sin is one of those infirmities, which Christ 
our great High Priest will forgive, " Who can have compas 
sion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way ; 
for that he also was compassed with infirmities," Heb. v. 2. 

An infirmity discovers good, though it be in itself evil ; it 
is an ill sin, but a good sign. The thistle is an ill weed, yet 
it discovers a fat and a good soil ; smoke is ill, but it discovers 
fire. So do the saints infirmities ; though they be in them 
selves weaknesses, yet they discover life. Moses was angry, 
but his anger did discover his zeal : Job was somewhat im 
patient, but his impatience did discover his innocency and 
his great goodness : Abraham failed in saying Sarah was his 
sister, but there was a faith which this unbelief grew upon : 


the woman that came behind Christ, touching the hem of his 
garment, came fearing and trembling, discovering her unbe 
lief; yet she discovered her faith therewithal: the disciples 
failed, when they said, " Lord, save us, carest thou not that 
we perish ?" yet they discovered their faith too. Infirmity 
sometimes is an excrescence which doth grow out of duty, 
and upon duty. Doest thou therefore fail in thy duty, or 
exercise of thy grace ; and doth thy duty go on, and thy 
grace go on ? Though thy failing may be thy burden, yet it 
being but an excresence and discoverer of thy grace, it is no 
other than a sin of infirmity. 

Sins of infirmities are servants and drawers of water unto 
your graces ; though in themselves evil, yet through the over 
ruling hand of God s grace, they will make you more gracious 
another way. Ye know how it is with a young tradesman, 
who hath but a small stock; he keeps his shop diligently, and 
will not spend as others do. If you ask him the reason, 
saying, Such and such men are of your trade, and they will 
spend their shilling with us, and their time with us ; why will 
not you do as they ? He answers presently, True, they do 
so, and they may do so, their estate will bear it; but as for 
me, my stock is small, very little, therefore I may not do as 
they do, but I must be diligent, and a good husband; I am 
but a young beginner, and have little skill in the trade, there 
fore it behoves me to be diligent. His very weakness is the 
cause of his diligence. So here, the more infirmities that a 
gracious soul labours under, the more diligent he will be ; 
and it you ask him, Why do you take so much pains in fol 
lowing the means, and the like ? he answers, Alas, I am a 
poor weak creature : such and such an one there is that hath 
an excellent memory, all that ever he reads or hears is his 
own ; but my memory is naught, my head and heart is 
naught, and therefore by the grace of God I will take the 
more pains in following after Christ. Thus his very infirmity 
is a provocation unto all his diligence. The Gibeonites 
served the Israelites, and were hewers of wood and drawers 
of water for them ; why ? but because the Gibeonites were 
at an under. So now. if your very sins be drawers of water, 
servants, and handmaids to your graces, it argues that your 
sins are at an under ; and being so, they are weak, and but 


sins of infirmity, if they be not gross, foul, and scandalous 

Infirmity doth constantly keep a man s heart low, down, 
and humble. If one have an infirmity in his speech, he will 
not be so forward to speak as others are ; but being conscious 
of his own infirmity, he is always low, and afraid to speak. 
So spiritually. There are two sorts of sins that men do 
commit: some are foul, gross, and scandalous sins; others 
are weaknesses and infirmities : those that fall into great 
and gross sins, will be much troubled, much trouble and sor 
row they do meet with presently, in case they repent; but 
those that lie under a constant infirmity, are constantly 
kept low and humble thereby, f Do you therefore complain 
of your sin, and would you know of what sort of sins it is r 
Why, if it be not a gross and scandalous sin, and thy heart 
be kept constantly low thereby, then without doubt it is no 
other than this sin of infirmity. For though God could have 
wholly delivered his people from the filth of sin, as well as 
from the guilt of it, and as well from lesser sins as 
from great and scandalous ; yet he hath left these infirmities 
and weaknesses in the hearts and lives of his people, that 
they may be constantly humbled in themselves, and prize 
Christ the more. And if this be the manner of an infirmity, 
then surely a good man, a true disciple of Christ, may possi 
bly fall into the same sin again and again, and yet the sin be 
but a sin of infirmity. Which was the second thing proposed 
to be cleared by us. 

But suppose that my sin be no other than a sin of infir 
mity, what then ? 

* Mirabilis Deus in consiliis super filiis hominum, maltos per peccata sanat a 
peccatis, sicut venenum pellitur a veneno. Luther. 

Non solum mala passiva, quse nobis irrogantur, in bonum cedunt, sed etiam 
activa, hoc est, mala quae nos ipsi facimus ; quorsum hoc inquis ? quia homo 
pius cum videt lapsum suum, pudesit, et confunditur, sic lapsus ille principio 
operatur humilitatem, deinde invocationem ardentum, ac malum illud quod in 
carne reliquam est ceu calcar est quod nos excitat, ut nobis ipsis irascamur, nos 
damnemus et clamemus cum Paulo. Infelix ego, quis me liberabit a corpore 
hujus peccati, sic crescit fides occasione vitiorum, &c. Luther, Com. 2. Gen. 
fol. 151, in cap. 20. 

f Datus est mihi stimulus carnis, ne extollar inquit Paulus, o venenum quod 
non cnratur nisi veneno ; caput caedebatur ne caput extolleretur o antidotutn 
quasi quod de serpente conficitur et propterea theria cum dicitur. Augustin de 
vcrbis Apost. Serm. 3. 


The third particular answers you. Then, your sin being 
but an infirmity, Christ will never leave you for it, nor cast 
you off for it ; but if you sleep, he will waken you ; and if 
you sleep again, he will waken you again ; and if you yet sleep 
again, he will come again with his wakening mercy, and will 
never cast you off for it. Oh, what sweet grace is this. 

Is there no evil then in this sin of infirmity ? 

Yes, much, very much : for though it be a drawer of water 
to your grace, yet it is a Gibeonite, a native, a Canaanite, 
that will upon all occasions be ready to betray you, and to 
open the door unto greater thieves, and will always be a thorn 
and goad in your sides ; and though it do not put out your 
light, yet it is a thief in your candle, which may smear out 
much of your comfort, and blemish your duty. Ye know 
how it is with a good writing pen ; if there be a small hair in 
it, though the hair be never so little a thing, yet if it be not 
pulled out, it will blot and blemish the whole writing some 
times. So may the sin of infirmity do ; your whole duty 
maybe blotted and blemished by this small hair, and although 
God can and doth make use of your infirmities for to keep 
your graces, yet they are but your lees and dregs, whereas 
your graces should be all refined. The word of God is as 
gold refined seven times ; your ordinances are refined ordi 
nances, refined by the hand of reformation ; your comforts 
and mercies and privileges, are refined mercies, privileges and 
comforts : surely therefore your graces should be refined 
graces, and your duties refined duties. When Christ " shall 
sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, he shall purify the sons 
of Levi as gold and silver, and then shall the offerings of 
Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord," Mai. iii. 3, 
4. Oh, what an evil thing therefore is it, for a man to be 
unrefined. Is it not an evil thing to be burdensome unto 
others ? By your sin, though it be but an infirmity, you may 
be a burden to others ; for the apostle speaking of infirmities 
saith, " Bear ye one another s burdens," Gal. vi. 1,6; and, 
" Ye that are strong, ought to bear the infirmities of the 
weak," Rom. xiv. 1. And although Christ will not cast you 
off for a sin of infirmity, yet you may provoke him thereby 
to chide you, and to be angry with you. The unbelief of the 
disciples M-HS but their infirmity, yet Chi.st did upbraid then; 
because of their unbelief. The remissness and loss of first love 


in the church of Ephesus, is by Christ called a somewhat^ 
" Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee " and yet 
Christ threatens her, that he will for this somewhat come 
against her quickly, and remove her candlestick, if she did 
not repent. And, Rev. ii. 16, the Lord Christ threatens the 
church of Smyrna, that unless she repented, he would come 
unto her quickly : yet he saith not to her, I have many things, 
but a few things against thee ; or if you will, for the word is 
oXiya, I have some small or little things against thee. So 
that although your sin be not of so great a bulk as others, 
yet you may provoke Christ thereby, and he may be angry, 
and chide you for it. Thus here he did chide the disciples, 
yet their sin was but a sin of infirmity. Surely, therefore, 
there is evil, and much evil in the sin, though it be but a sin 
of infirmity. But, 

Thirdly, Though there be much evil in this sin, Christ will 
not cast you off for it. 

For it is an honour to a man to pass by infirmities, saith 
Solomon ; much more is it for the honour of Christ to pass 
by the infirmities of his people. 

The saints and people of God are in covenant with God 
by Jesus Christ, and that covenant is a conjugal covenant. 
Hosea ii. But what husband will put away his wife for her 
infirmities ? That covenant is a paternal covenant, and what 
father will thrust his child out of doors for his infirmities ? 
A child, though deformed, is more pleasing to the father, 
because the child is his own, than another beautiful child that 
is not his own. Yea, that covenant is a covenant of grace: 
now in the covenant of works, the least sin breaks the cove 
nant ; but in the covenant of grace, the greatest sin doth not 
break the covenant between God and the soul : in the cove 
nant of works, the least sin provokes God to hatred ; in the 
covenant of grace, the greatest sin provokes and moves God 
to pity. If a master should turn away his servant for every 
failing and weakness, who would serve him ? But God hath 
many servants in the world, who do serve him with cheerful 
ness ; surely, therefore, he doth not and he will not cast men 
off for their infirmities. 

The saints and people of God are the body of Christ; 
and every one a member of that mystical body, whereof our 
Lord Christ is the head. Now, saith Luther, what man will 


cut off his nose, because there is filth in it ? yea, though the 
nose be the sink of the brain, yet because it is a member 
a man will not cut it off.* And will Christ cut off one of his 
members, because there is filth in him, or some weakness 
and infirmity in him ? No, surely. What woman will cast 
away the mortar, because it savours of the onions, or garlick 
which hath been beaten in it ? What father will knock his 
child on the head, because a wart grows on his forehead ? 
These infirmities in the saints and people of God, are their 
warts, which grow in the face of their conversation : the 
blessed martyrs themselves had these warts : Hierom of 
Prague had a great wart upon him, Cranmer another, Jewel 
another ; yea, if we look into that little book of Chronicles, 
I mean Hcb. xi., what saint is there mentioned upon record, 
but had one wart or another? Had not Abraham his wart, 
in saying, that Sarah was his sister ? Had not Sarah her s 
in laughing ? Had not Jacob, Isaac, and Joseph their s ? 
Moses, Rahab, Samson, Jepthah, and David their s ? Luther 
had his, and our reformers their s ; yet God owned, used, and 
honoured them. Surely therefore, though there be much 
evil in a sin of infirmity, especially if a man fall into it again 
and again ; yet Christ will not leave a man, or cast him off 
for it.f 

But Solomon tells us, that the backslider in heart shall be 
satisfied with his own ways. 

True: But there is much difference between the back 
sliding of an hypocrite, and the relapses of God s own chil 
dren into their infirmities: a backslider loseth that power 
which once he had ; but a good man relapsing into his infir 
mities, doth still keep that power of godliness which he had 
before : a backslider s judgment and principles crack and 

* Nemo nasum ideo abjicet quod impure phlegmate abundat, et quasi cloaca 
cerebri, ita etiam infirmi temporis infirmitatis sunt pars regni Cbristi qui non 
ideo abjiciendi sed so vendi sanandi et erigendi sunt. Luther. 

f Ego non possum excusare patres ut multi faciunt nee volo, imo libenter 
audio lapsus et innrmitates sanctorum non quod laudem, &c. sicut non evcuso 
apostolos fugientes a Christo, Petrum negantem et alias eorum infirmitates, 
stultitias et ineptias, nee scribuntur ista propter duros super bos et obstinatos 
sed ut ratio regni Christi ostendatur qui in grege suo pusillo habet pauperes et 
infirm us conscientias ; est rex fortium paritur et infirmorum, &c. Luther in 
Gen. xxvi. 

Scio ego me saepe multa ttulte et temere admodum egisse adeo ut cogituruin 
cur Deus, vocavit me ad predicaudum &c. Luther in Gen. xxvii. 


alter, insomuch as he doth bless himself in his apostacy ; 
but the good man relapsing into his infirmities, still doth 
retain his judgment, keep his principles, and doth groan 
under his relapses. Possibly a man may fall into the same 
sin again and again, yet he may be no backslider, nor called 
a backslider in scripture language. 

But again, A man may be said to be satisfied with his 
own ways either because he is given up to his sins, so as 
to be glutted with them, finding all delight and contentment 
in them ; or he is said to be satisfied with his own ways, in 
regard of that sorrow and affliction which he doth reap by 
them : in this sense a good man may have enough of his 
sin, and be said to be satisfied with his own ways. Thus it 
with Jacob ; he deceived his brother Esau, and he deceived 
his father Isaac ; afterwards he was deceived by Laban, and 
by his children ; as he deceived his own father, so was he 
deceived by his father-in-law ; and as he deceived his bro 
ther, so was he deceived by his children, in the reports of 
Joseph s death : here was he satisfied in a way of sorrow 
with his own ways ; he deceived others, and was deceived by 
others : he had enough of it. But though a good man may 
be thus satisfied with his own ways, yet he is never satisfied 
with them, so as to be given up to them. Possibly he may 
fall into them again and again, yet saith the Lord, Isa. Ivii. 
17, "For the iniquity of his covetousness, was I wroth, and 
smote him ; I hid my face and was wroth :" What then ? 
"And he went on frowardly, turning aside again, (so the 
Hebrew,) in the way of his hqart." But, saith the Lord, " I 
have seen his ways, and will heal him, and will lead him also, 
and restore comforts to him, and his mourners/ So that 
though a good man may have enough of his sin, in regard of 
sorrow that may come thereby : yet he shall never be satis 
fied with his own ways, or sins, so as to be given up to 
them: Christ will not cast him off ; if he sleep, Christ will 
waken him ; and if he sleep again, Christ will wake him 
again ; Christ will not leave him in it, nor cast him off for it. 

If these things be true, then what necessity is upon us, 
and what great cause have we to examine ourselves, and to 
consider seriously, what sort of sins those sins are, which we 
labour under. We do all sin, that is most certain ; but 
there is a great difference between sin and sin : there is a 


sin unto death, and there is a sin not unto death : there is a 
sin which may stand with grace, and there is a sin which 
cannot stand with grace : there is the spot of the godly, and 
there is the spot of the wicked : there is a gross sin, a reign 
ing sin ; and there is a sin of infirmity : there is a sin, for 
which God will leave and cast off the sinner, witness Judas s 
sin, the sin of the false disciple : and there is a sin for which 
God will not cast one off; witness the sin of these true 
disciples : oh, then what cause have we to make it out to 
our own souls, whether our sins be sins of infirmity or not. 

But it seems that all the sins of the godly are not sins of 
infirmity, and God will not cast off a godly man for any 
sin : what advantage, therefore, hath this sin of infirmity 
above other sins ; or what disadvantage do the other sins 
of the godly labour under, which this sin of infirmity doth 

Much, very much : for though my sin be great ; yet if it 
be a sin of infirmity, it shall not hinder the present accep 
tance of my duty. Hezekiah and the people were not pre 
pared according to the preparation of the sanctuary, that 
was his and their weakness ; but he prayed, and the Lord 
heard his prayer : so David said in his haste, " I am cast 
out of thy sight ;" this was his infirmity, yet he prayed 
withal ; and saith he, " Nevertheless thou heardest the voice 
of my supplication." But if a man, a good man, do fall 
into a foul, gross, and scandalous sin, though the Lord pardon 
it to him afterward, yet it will suspend his present communion 
with God. 

Although my sin be great, yet if it be but an infirmity, 
it shall not hinder the sense of my justification. A foul and 
scandalous breach upon our sanctification, will make a breach 
upon the sense of our justification : but though the sin be 
great, yet if it be but an infirmity, it shall not make a breach 
upon the sense of our justification. 

Though my sin be great, yet if it be but an infirmity, there 
is a pardon that lies in course for it ; and though it be good 
to repent of every sin, with a distinct, and particular repen 
tance, yet it is not necessary that there should be a particular 
repentance for every sin of infirmity. If a man, though a 
good man, do commit a gross, foul, and scandalous sin, there 
must be a particular repentance fur it; and without that, 


there will be no peace, no true peace in his soul : but if the 
sin be only a sin of infirmity, a general repentance may, and 
will serve for that; "Who knows the errors of his life ?" 
saith David ; " Lord cleanse thou me from my secret faults." 

Though a man s sin be great, yet if it be but an infirmity, 
it shall never bring a scourge upon his family. It is a great 
misery to a good parent, to see his family scourged for his 
sin. Possibly the sins of a godly man may bring a rod on 
his family : " Because of this," saith the Lord to David, 
" the sword shall never depart from thine house." But now 
if the sin be only a sin of infirmity, my family shall never 
be scourged for that. 

And though my sin be great, yet if it be but a sin of in 
firmity, it shall never spoil my gifts, nor make them unpro 
fitable : if a man have great gifts, praying, exercising gifts, 
and his life be scandalous, what saith the world ? Aye, this 
man hath exceeding good gifts indeed, but do ye see how he 
lives ? A scandalous life soils and spoils his gifts, and doth 
make them unuseful. But now if my sin be only a sin of 
infirmity, it shall never soil my gifts, so as to make them 
unuseful and unprofitable unto others. Surely then, there is 
a great, and a vast difference between this sin of infirmity, 
and another sin ; and therefore why should we not labour to 
make it out with clearness to our own souls, what kind of 
sins our sins are ? Every man almost thinks that his sin is a 
sin of infirmity; come to the dninkard, swearer, adulterer, 
opposer, and these will tell you, that their sins, are but sins 
of infirmity ; they will rail at and oppose the people of God, 
and yet their sins are but sins of infirmity ; swear, and swear 
daily, yet their sins are but sins of infirmity ; go to the tap 
house, play-house, whore-house, and yet their sins but sins 
of infirmity : the vilest of men think their sins are only 
infirmities. But is there such a great difference between sins 
and sins; this, and the other sins? Then why should we 
not look wishly into our condition ; consider our ways, arid 
labour to make it out with clearness to our own souls, whether 
our sins, be sins of infirmity, or not ? 

But suppose that upon due search and examination, I find 
that my sin is no other than a sin of infirmity, which will 
not cast me off, although through my weakness, I do fall into 
it again and again, what then ? 


Then several duties follow, and accordingly you are to take 
up these, and the like gracious resolutions. 

If my sin be a sin of infirmity, and no other, then through 
grace, will I observe what God s design is, in suffering and 
leaving such infirmities in me, and will labour what I can 
and may, to promote and advance that design : God could 
have freed me from all sin, these infirmities as well as the 
greater; but God had some great designs in leaving of these 
infirmities, as that I may be always humbled, that I may be 
always upon the work of mortification, that Jesus Christ 
may be the more sweet and precious to me, that I may live 
in continual dependance on him, that I may not gather up 
the assurance of my salvation only from my sanctification, 
but from the free grace of God, and his absolute promise, 
that I may be weary of my present state, and groan after 
heaven, where no imperfections are ; and that I may learn 
to pity others, and therefore through grace, I will do what I 
can to help on these designs.* 

If my sin be but a sin of infirmity, and God will not cast 
me off for it, then, through the grace of God, will I never 
believe these false reports of Christ, and those misrepresen 
tations of him which Satan would put upon him, whereby he 
would persuade me and others, that our Lord Christ is an 
hard master: as Satan doth labour to present himself to me 
as an angel of light, so he would represent Christ as an angel 
of darkness. Bat is this true, that the Lord will not cast me 
off for my sins of infirmity ? then will I never believe that 
my dear Saviour is an hard master. 

If the Lord Christ will not cast me off for my sins of in 
firmity, then, through the grace of God, I will not question 
my spiritual estate and condition for every sin ; I will grieve 
for every sin of infirmity because it is a sin, but I will not 
question my condition, because it is but a sin of infirmity. 

Then will not I cast off myself and others for the sins of 

* Deletur iniquitas manet infirmitas. Augustin. 

Sed quare Deus talia peccato sinit fieri a suis, cur sic impingere eos perraittit ? 
respondetur ex effectis, ideo ita permitt.it Deus ut occasionem accipiat multarum 
bonarum rerum non enitn labantur sancti ut pereunt sed ut copiose eis Deus 
benefaciat. ut lapsus principio operatur humiliatem, deinde invocationem ut 
nos excitat ut nobis ipsis irascamur et nos damnemus, ut majori studio caveamus. 
Luth. in Gen. cap. xx. 


infirmities. Shall Christ s eye be good and shall my eye be 
bad ? Will not Christ cast me off for mine infirmities, and 
shall I cast off others for their infirmities ? God forbid. 

Then will not I cast off the things of Christ because of any 
infirmity that may adhere to them, or the dispensation of 
them. When Christ took our nature on him, his deity was 
veiled under our humanity, his excellency under our infirm 
ity. So now, his grace and his dispensations are veiled under 
the infirmity of our administrations : as for example : preach 
ing is an ordinance of Christ, yet the sermon may be so de 
livered, with so much weakness of the speaker, that the 
ordinance of Christ may be veiled under much infirmity. 
So the admonition of a fallen brother is an ordinance of 
Christ, yet it may be so administered, with so much passion 
in the speaker, that this ordinance may be veiled under much 
infirmity. Scarcely any ordinance but is veiled under some 
infirmity in regard of its administration. But is this true, 
that the Lord will not cast me away because of mine infirm 
ities ? surely, then, I will never cast away the ordinances, or 
things of Christ, because of those infirmities which may ad 
here or cleave unto them. 

And if the Lord will not cast me oif for my infirmities, 
then, through grace, I will never be discouraged from the per* 
formance of any duty. I will pray as I can and hear as I 
can, and though I be not able to pray as I would, I will pray 
as I am able ; and though I am not able to examine mine own 
heart as I would, yet I will do what I am able, for the Lord 
will not cast me off for infirmities, and therefore I will not 
cast oif my duties because of them. 

And, lastly, if the Lord Jesus Christ will not cast me off 
for mine infirmities, then will I never sin because the sin is 
but a sin of infirmity. Will the Lord pardon my sin because 
it is but an infirmity, and shall I commit sin upon that 
ground, because it is but an infirmity? then shall I walk con 
trary to God, then shall I turn the grace of God into wan 
tonness. Surely, therefore, I will never sin upon that account, 
because it is but a sia of infirmity. Thus ye see what we are 
to do, and what gracious resolutions we are to take up from 
the consideration of this great truth. 

But though the Lord will not cast us off for our sins of 
infirmity, yet there is much evil in this sin, especially if we 

SER. 10.] THE six OF INFIRMITY. 2.39 

fall into it again and again ; what shall we therefore do that 
we may not fall into this same sin so often ? 

Be sure that you do not forget your former sins ; the slum 
ber of grace is a preparation to sin, and the forgetfulness of a 
former sin is a preparation unto future sin. When we forget 
our old sins, then God leaves us to fall into new sins. As 
long as the sense of old sins abide upon your heart, so long 
you will be kept from new sins ; and as the sense of old sins 
doth wear off, so the lust after new sins will come on. Would 
you not, therefore, fall into the same sin again and again ? 
then take heed that you do not forge t your old sins, or lose 
the sense thereof. 

If you would be kept from relapses into your infirmities or 
other sins, then take your sin and quench it in the blood of 
Christ by a fresh act of faith, over and beyond all your resolu 
tions and acts of humiliation. You know how it is with a 
candle ; if it be blown out only, it is easily lighted again, but 
if you quench it in water, it is not so easily lighted again : so 
in regard of sin ; if a man blow it out with a resolution, it 
will be soon recovered, but if besides a man s resolutions and 
humiliations, he takes his sin, and by an act of faith doth 
quench it in the blood of Christ, it will not be lighted again 
with that ease and facility. 

And if you would not fall into the same sin again and again, 
then watch and pray. Our Saviour Christ here saw that his 
disciples were like to sleep again and again ; and, I pray you, 
what direction doth he give them ? only this, " Watch and 
pray :" as if watching with prayer, and prayer with watchful 
ness, were the only or chief means to keep us from falling 
into the same sin again and again. And indeed it is not all 
our habitual strength that can keep us from falling, for then 
Adam in the state of innocency would have been kept from, 
falling; nor is it want of temptation that can secure us from 
falling, for then the angels in heaven should not have fallen, 
for they had no temptation there ; but we are kept by con 
tinual dependance upon God in Christ : it is not therefore 
enough to watch, but we must watch in prayer ; neither is it 
enough to pray, but we must pray with watchfulness. What 
I say, therefore, to one, I say to you all, and to mine own 
soul, Let us watch and pray, and pray and watch, that we en 
ter not into this temptation. 


PREACHED A. D. 1656. 

fl And hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and 
hast found them liars." REV. ii. 2. 

IT is not only the opinion of Mr. Brightman, but of very 
ancient writers,* that these seven epistles, written to the 
seven churches of Asia, do contain the state and condition of 
the whole church of God, unto the coming of Christ. This 
first epistle is written to languishing Ephesus, holding forth 
the state of the church presently after Christ and his apos 
tles, and is a good looking-glass for all those which begin 
now to languish, and to lose their first love. Something our 
Saviour doth commend in this church, and something he 
reproves them for. He commends them for what was good, 
and rebukes them for what was evil. Some will commend 
what is good in their friends, but will not take notice of what 
is evil. Some will take notice of what is evil in others, but 
will not commend what is good. This is not according unto 
Chrises proceeding ; the commendation of good, is a good 
introduction to the reprehension of what is evil. 

Now our Saviour Christ doth commend this church, both 
officers and people, for many things. For their labour ; for 
their patience ; for their zeal. " I know thy works, (saith 
he,) and thy labour, and thy patience." Labour and patience 
go together. Those that will labour in the work of God, 
must be patient ; they shall surely meet with opposition, and 
therefore patience must accompany our labours. Yet this 
patience does not exclude zeal; but saith Christ here, " I 
know thy labour, and thy patience, and thy zeal : thou canst 
not bear them that are evil." Possibly then, a man may be 

* In Joannis Apocal. septem ecclesias scribitur per quas una catholica desig- 
natur. Greg. Horn. 15, in Ezek. 

Joannes scribit ad septem ecclesias, in quibus etiam universas ecclesias septen- 
ario numero intelligimus cooimendari. Austin Epist. 106, Extra septem ecclesias 
quicquid foris est alienum est optat. Milevitan, lib. 2. 

SfiR. 11.] THE FALSE APOSTLE, &C. 241 

itient, and yet cannot bear or endure those that are evil, 
low this zeal and severe dealing with those that were evil, is 
described two ways : first, by the persons which they did 
deal withal, those were false teachers, ver. 2, 6 ; secondly, by 
the exercise of their zeal and severity, which did consist in 
two things, the discovery of those false teachers, and the 
hatred of their deeds. The hatred of their deeds ye have at 
ver. 6, " This thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the 
Nicolaitans ;" the discovery of these false teachers ye have 
in these words, " And thou hast tried them," &c. 

It is strange that there should be false apostles in those 
days, whilst some of the true apostles were alive to confute 
and discover them. But it seems that the discovery of these 
false apostles, was not a work only belonging to the true 
apostles, for this church of Ephesus found them out, and are 
commended for it by our Saviour Christ. And so the doc 
trine from this part of the verse is : 

That it is a matter of great commendation in the eyes ot 
Jesus Christ, to try and discover false teachers, or false 

Christ doth not only commend this church for their zeal 
herein, but hath left their commendation upon scriptural 
record, as a good example for all the churches of Christ. 
And therefore, I say, the discovery of false teachers and false 
apostles, is still a matter of great commendation in the eyes 
of Christ. 

It is that which we are all commanded to do, 1 John iv. 1, 
" Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they 
are of God, because many false prophets are gone into the 

But for the clearing of this truth, it will appear, if you 

What a dangerous and mischievous people, false teach 
ers and false apostles are. They do deceive men in the 
matter of their souls ; they are called deceivers and seducers, 
John ii. 7, " Many deceivers are entered into the world," &c. 
2 Tim. iii. 13 ; " But evil men, and seducers, shall wax worse 
and worse, deceiving and being deceived." And deceitful 
workers, 2 Cor. xi. 13, 6, " For such are false apostles, de 
ceitful workers." Now a man loves not to be deceived in 
any thing, no, not in a small matter. If I had spent or given 

VOL. iv. R 

242 THE FALSE APOSTLE [SfiR. 1 1 . 

away much more, it would never have grieved me, you say ; 
but I cannot endure to be cheated and deceived. And if a 
man cannot endure to be deceived in lesser things, what an 
evil thing is it then to be deceived in the matters of his soul? 
Such are the things that these false teachers do deceive men 
in ; yea, they will and do subvert men s faith, and spoil them 
of the very fundamentals of their religion. Therefore saith 
the apostle, Col. ii. 8, " Beware lest any man spoil, or make 
a prey of you." Is it not a sad thing for a man to lose his 
faith for a fable ? They will first take away your faith, and 
then they will lay a fable in the room of the faith ; for their 
highest speculations and notions are but fables. Ye may ob 
serve, therefore, that when the apostle Paul doth cehort from 
their doctrine, he saith still, " Take heed and beware of 
fables." Those are many, and of divers sorts. There are 
old wives stories and fables ; such are the doctrines and 
speculations of false teachers. Therefore, 1 Tim. iv. 1, the 
apostle having said, that in the latter times some should de 
part from the faith, " giving heed to seducing spirits ;" and 
speaking of the doctrines of those seducers, in the following 
verses, he saith, ver. 7? " But refuse thou profane and old 
wives fables :" for such in the eyes of God are the doctrines 
of these seducers. There are Jewish fables also, whereof the 
Talmud is now full ; and such are all those doctrines and 
commandments of men, which are beside the Scripture, the 
doctrines of false teachers : and therefore saith the apostle, 
Tit. i. 14, having spoken of seducers in the former verse, 
whose mouths must be stopped, " Not giving heed to Jewish 
fables, and commandments of men." There are also the 
fables of heathen poets, the figments and devices of men s 
own brains : and such are the doctrines and speculations of 
all false teachers. And therefore says the apostle, 2 Pet. i. 
16, " We have not followed cunning and devised fables ; but 
we have a more sure word of prophecy," at ver. 19. So that 
look whatever doctrine is not according to the Scripture, is 
but a fable in the eyes of God. Now is it not an evil thing 
to lose my faith for a fable ? Such fables do these false 
teachers bring ; they steal away your faith, and lay a fable in 
the room thereof; yea, they will and do beguile men of their 
reward ; they beguile them of their faith ; they beguile them 
of their souls, and they beguile them of their reward ; there- 


fore saith the apostle Paul,, "Let no man beguile you of your 
reward," Col. ii. 18. Yea, they will not only beguile you of 
your reward, but they will bring you into pernicious ways, 
which if you follow, the way of truth shall be evil spoken of, 
2 Pet. ii. 1, 2 : in which scripture the apostle Peter tells us, 
that as false prophets did arise in the times of the old testa 
ment, so false teachers should arise in the times of the new 
testament. He tells us, that the ways of these false teachers 
are pernicious ways. That they shall infect many, for he 
saith, " Many shall follow them." That by reason of them, 
the ways of truth shall be evil spoken of. Surely then, this 
sort of people are a very dangerous and mischievous people, 
and therefore a commendable thing in the eyes of Christ to 
make discovery of them. But, 

Though they be a dangerous and mischievous people, yet it 
is an hard thing to discover them, for they walk in the dark, 
and transform themselves into ministers of light; they creep, 
and they privily creep into houses, saith the apostle ; and 
they will come to you, saith our Saviour, in sheep s clothing, 
Matt, vii.* That is, look whatever garb the true prophet was 
or is found in, that will they be found in also. Did the true 
prophets of the old testament go in a plain or rough garment, 
or a garment of hair, 2 Kings i. 8, Matt. iii. 4 ? so did the 
false prophets also, Zech. xiii. 4, wear a rough garment, or a 
garment of hair, as the Hebrew, to deceive. Did the true 
prophets sometimes quake, shake and tremble ? so did the 
wicked diviners also. And so now in the times of the new 
testament. Uo the true teachers of the gospel press or make 
use of Scripture ? so do false teachers also. Did the true 
apostles preach Christ? so did the false apostles also : "Some 
preach Christ out of envy/ Phil. i. 15, 16. Did the true 
apostles and prophets declare the deep things of God ? 1 Cor. 

* Induti specicm ovium, id est mentientes ovinam fraudisque nesciam simplici- 
tatem, vestimenta Sgitur ovium sunt ea omnia, quae sunt proprie ovium, hujusmotii 
vestimenta sunt perpetua verbi Dei et cvangelii inclamatio, densissima, scriptu- 
rarum citatio, mansuetudo, blandiloquium sanctirnoniffi species, &c. LUc. Bru- 
gens. in Matt. vii. If). 

Vestes oiium sunt : I. Sophisticus verbi pretevtus, Matt. iv. 2. Nomen ec- 
clesiie, Jer. vii. 3. Hypocrisis in vita, Col. ii. 4. Ficti enthusiasm!, Col ii. 
5. Miracula, 2 Thess. ii. 6. Excei entia dond, Matt. vii. 7. Fortitudo in slip- 
pliciis. 8 XpijiTToXoyteu KO.I tiAoytai, blanditia) et promissiones Strigel. 
in Matt. vii. p. 64. 


244 THE FALSE APOSTLE [Sfcll. 11. 

ii. 10; so did the false prophets also, Rev. ii. 24, "the depths 
of Satan as they speak." Look what that is which the true 
preachers do, that will false teachers in appearance do. On a 
time, says Austin in his Confessions,* the house where I 
lived was broken up in the night by thieves ; and the men of 
the house perceiving that the house was beset with thieves, 
and making a noise, the thieves run away, and left their crows 
of iron and instruments whereby they did break up the house. 
Then my friend Alipius coming to the house, and finding 
those instruments and tools lying on the ground, he took the 
crow of iron into his hand ; and when the men of the house 
came out, and saw the crow of iron in his hand, they took 
hold of him, and thought that he was the thief. So, says 
another, the heretics of the times will take the same instru 
ments to destroy the house of God as we do to build the 
same. The same crow of iron, the same scripture that is in 
the hand of Alipius, a friend, is made use of by a heretic, 
one that is a thief, who comes to make a prey of your faith. 
He that comes not in by the door, is fur et latro, a thief and 
a robber : not apertus hostis, an open or professed enemy, but 
a secret thief and a robber, whose coming is unknown, and 
of whom you can less be aware : and you know the more 
crafty and subtle they are in their practices, the more hardly 
they will be discerned. Now false teachers, who come in 
sheep s clothing, are a subtle and crafty generation ; for as 
Satan at the first beguiled Adam by beginning with Eve, the 
weaker vessel ; so do these people also creep into houses, 
leading silly women captive, laden with divers lusts ; there 
they begin, even with the weaker vessel, as Satan at the first 
did ; and as Satan beguiled Eve, by telling her that she should 
be like unto God himself, and so drew her from the appoint 
ment of God ; so do false teachers now tell poor souls, that 
if they will follow their doctrines, they shall be like to God, 
yea, be God and Christ, and so draw them from the appoint 
ments of Christ ; and therefore saith the apostle, " I fear lest 
by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his sub 
tlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity 
that is in Christ," 2 Cor. xi. 3. Now if it be so hard a thing 
to discover these false teachers, and they be so dangerous and 

* Auijustini Confess, lib. vi. cap. 9. 


mischievous a people, then surely it is a matter of great com 
mendation to make discovery of them. 

It is an excellent thing also to make discovery of them ; 
Christ doth commend what is excellent, spiritually excellent, 
and the more excellent the thing the more it doth fall under 
the commendation of Christ. Now by discovering of these 
false teachers, you put a stop and check unto their folly and 
madness ; their madness or folly, saith the apostle, shall pro 
ceed no further. How so ? It shall be made known to all : 
2 Tim. iii. 9, " But they shall proceed no further, for their 
folly shall be made manifest to all men." Thereby, also, ye 
shall preserve those who are not declined ; and thereby you 
shall be serviceable unto Christ in the great work which he 
hath to do and is doing in these latter times. One part of 
his work is to discover those that are unsound : Rev. ii. 24, 
" Then shall all the churches know that I am he that search- 
eth the heart and reins." But did not the churches know 
that before ? Yea, but then, that is, in the latter times, they 
shall have experience of it, for then I will discover Jezebel 
and all her false prophets ; so that this discovery of false 
teachers is part of Christ s own work in the latter days, and 
the more you labour therein, the more serviceable you are 
unto Christ. Surely, therefore, it is a matter of great com 
mendation in the eyes of Christ, to try, find out and discover 
false teachers and false apostles. 

If it be so commendable in the eyes of Christ to discover 
these persons, then it is lawful for us, though weak, to go to 
the meetings of these false teachers, or to receive them into 
our houses, and to speak with them ; else how shall I try and 
discover them ? 

Nay, but this follows not, no more than that you must go 
to Rome to try and find out the deceits of the papists, or that 
you must go into Turkey to try and find out the false doctrine 
of the Turks; you may try and discover papists and Turks, 
yet it doth not follow that you must read over their books 
and Alcoran. The apostle saith, " Mark those which cause 
division, and avoid them. False teachers shall arise in the 
last days (saith he), and from such turn away." And the 
apostle John saith, " If any come to you not with this doc 
trine, receive him not into your house, nor bid him God 
speed," lest you be partaker of their evil deeds. Lc ok, what- 


ever mischief they shall do abroad by their false doctrines, all 
that shall you partake in if you receive them into your houses, 
or countenance them by bidding them God speed. He that 
receiveth a true prophet in the name of a prophet, shall re 
ceive that prophet s reward ; he shall profit by that prophet, 
and shall have a share in all the good which he doth. So 
he that receiveth a false prophet, shall receive a false pro 
phet s reward ; he shall be poisoned by him, and shall partake 
in his evil deeds. 

But how then shall I try all things ? 

Mark this scripture well. Those words are spoken to the 
church of the Thessalonians, 1 Epist. v. 20, 21, " Despise not 
prophesyings, prove all things ;" that is, try those things 
which ye hear in the church by way of prophesy; but he doth 
not say that you must run out to every meeting of suspected 
persons to try all things there, but keep your place in the 
church, and try all things ; otherwise, it being a command 
ment, all men should be bound to read Popish books, Socin- 
ian books, and the Turkish Alcoran. And if you should go 
to these meetings, do you think that is the way to try all 
things ? Do ye not know that it is the ordinary Xvay of all 
false teachers, to hold out truth at the first ? Will they not 
preach an hundred truths first, that they may make way to 
one error ? And if so, how can you try them by going to a 
meeting or two ? But keep your station in the church of 
God, despise not, turn not your back on prophesyings, and 
so try all things. If you be convinced of the truth and way 
of God by the Scripture, you will easily find out a false doc 
trine, for rectum est index sui et obliqui ; truth known will 
discover error. But where do you find in Scripture that try 
ing is the end of hearing : that we are to hear that we may 
try ? I must therefore go to hear that I may learn and profit 
by my hearing; and if you go to these meetings that you 
may learn and profit, are you not in a fair way to be de 
ceived by them ? The members of the church of Ephesus, 
here, did not run from the church for this discovery, for says 
the apostle, Acts xx. 30, "And of your own selves shall men 
arise speaking perverse things ;" which, when it came to pass, 
the Ephesians did discover them, saith our text, for which 
they were thus highly commended of Christ. 

Now if this be so commendable in the eyes of Christ, 


then why should we not all take some pains herein, and be 
found doing this work of our generation ? Do ye think that 
there are no false teachers, and false apostles, and false 
prophets, in these days of ours ? Read what is said in Zech. 
xiii. 2 6. 1. The prophet tells us, that in the days im 
mediately before the calling of the Jews, there shall be 
unclean spirits in the land, verse 2, and false prophets, 
verse 3. 2. He tells us, that when the Jews shall be 
called, in that day, verse 1, there shall be so great a zeal 
amongst them, against these false prophets, that their pa 
rents, and such as are near to them, shall be the first that 
shall punish them, verse 3, " His father and mother that 
begat them, shall say, Thou shalt not live, for thou speakest 
lies " and yet these are high gospel times. 3. He tells 
us here, that this correction shall be a means to reduce 
them; for upon that it is said, verse 4, "And it shall come 
to pass in that day, that the prophet shall be ashamed," &c. 
But the thing that I bring this scripture for, is to shew you, 
that there shall be such people as these, immediately before 
the call of the Jews, and that is in these days of ours. 
Only observe how the prophet doth here describe them : 
He tells you that they shall be such as were originally hus 
bandmen; for upon their reducement, he shall say, "I am 
no prophet, I am an husbandman." He tells you here, that 
they shall be such as shall wear a rough, hair, or plain gar 
ment to deceive, verse 4. He tells you, that they shall come 
in the name of the Lord, and say, they are not sent by men, 
but by God immediately, verse 3. That yet these men shall 
be acted by the very spirit of the devil ; for says the Lord, 
" I will cause the false* prophet, and the unclean spirit, to 
pass out of the land ;" that is, such as do work and act by 
the inspiration of the devil, having the fierce and unclean 
spirit of the devil : these are the men that shall arise in 
these days of ours. Do you think then, that we are free 
from false teachers now ; or do you think that it is not in 
cumbent upon all ; only upon officers, to try and discover 
them ? Here the whole church are commended for it. Or 
do you think that it is nothing to be commended by Christ? 
Those that he commends now, he will commend before the 
Father, and all the angels, and saints another day ; his com 
mendation shall never make you proud, as the applause of 


man may do. Oh, what an excellent thing then is it, to make ; 
discovery of these false apostles, and false teachers : why 
should we not all, more or less, according to our places, la 
bour to be found in this work, in these days of ours ? 

How shall we find out, and discover them ? for if we may 
not go to their meetings, and they be such a crafty, deceiving 
people, what shall we do, and how shall we try, a true 
teacher, from a false teacher ; or a true apostle, from a false 
apostle ?* 

All teachers are to be tried three ways. By 
Their call. 
Their doctrine. 
Their fruits or lives. 

As for a man s call to preach : whoever is called to preach, 
is either called ad opus, to a particular work : or he is called 
ad munus, to an office. If he be called to a work only, then 
his preaching is called prophesy ; and so some are called to 
preach ; for else how should we know whether men be fit for 
office, if they may not preach before they be in office ? Now 
if men be so called to preach, then they must preach ac 
cording to the proportion and analogy of faith, Rom. xii. 6. 
If they be so called to preach, they must have a gift to pro 
fit others publicly ; for all prophesy is for exhortation, edifi 
cation, and comfort, 1 Cor. xiv. 3. And if they be so called 
to preach, they must submit that they speak to the judgment 
of others : the officer speaks with authority ; but another 
speaks with submission, " and let the rest judge," 1 Cor. xiv. 
29. So that, if any man will take upon him to preach and 
teach as a gifted man, if he have not a gift to profit others 
in public: a gift beyond a family gift; and if he do not 
speak according to the proportion of faith, and do not sub 
mit what he speaketh to the judgment of others, he is a false 
prophet, and no true teacher in this kind. 

But if a man be called to office; then his office is either 
extraordinary, or ordinary. 

If extraordinary, then he is either a prophet, who doth 
foretell things to come, and they do come to pass ; or he is 
an^evangelist, whose office was to accompany, and minister 

* Veri doctoris lana est vooatio vel authoritas, sana doctrina ; vita probata 
sed hae lana non otiines eodem mode utuntur imo multi abutuntur. Ferus in 
Matt. vii. p. 255. 


unto the apostles : when the apostles therefore ceased, then 
the evangelists ceased ; for sublato subjecto tollitur adjunctum. 
Or he is an apostle who hath seen the Lord, and is immedi 
ately sent by him, whose commission extendeth unto all the 
world, who is infallible in regard of doctrine delivered, 
having the gifts of tongues given him ; not by industry, but 
by inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and doth work miracles. 
And therefore if any man say, that he is an apostle, and yet 
hath not seen the Lord Christ, nor hath these gifts of 
tongues, nor can work miracles ; then he is a false apostle, 
and a false teacher in that kind. 

But if a man be called to an ordinary office, then, he 
must be apparently godly: not only free from vice and 
scandal, but holy and blameless, shining with positive 
virtues, as well as free from scandalous sins, 1 Tim. iii., Tit. i. 
He must be qualified, and gifted for the work of preaching, 
being apt to teach, anointed with the unction of the Holy 
One ; not that he must necessarily have the extraordinary 
gifts of the Holy Ghost : for when the apostle Paul sets 
down the due qualifications of a minister, 1 Tim. iii., there is 
not one word of that. Being gifted and duly qualified, he 
must be chosen, or desired by the church, Acts xiv. 23. 
Then having consented, he must be separated to the work 
of the ministry. And therefore if any man say, that he is 
a teacher in office, ordinarily called, and yet be profane, 
scandalous, or vicious, or ignorant, being not fitly qualified ; 
or is not desired, or chosen by the church, and separated 
to the work of the ministry, he is a false teacher in this 

But whether a man s call be ordinary or extraordinary ; 
whether he be called, ad opus, to a work, or ad munus, to an 
office, he must make out his call to others ; it is not enough 
to say, I am sent of God, I tell thee I am sent of God : the 
apostles themselves made out their call to others ; " Do ye 
require a proof of my ministry, or apostleship ? " says the 
apostle Paul; then thus and thus. So that though a man do 
pretend that he is sent of God, and that he hath seen the 
Lord ; yet if he be not able to give an account thereof unto 
others, he is surely a false apostle, and a false teacher. Thus 
may you try and discover men by their call. 

As for doctrine. Teachers may, and must be tried by 



. 11. 

their doctrine, 1 John iv. 1. Particular doctrines whereby men 
may be tried, are many : I will name some briefly, because I in 
tend this work no further than to this one exercise. Therefore, 
The true apostles never did decry the Scriptures, but 
under God and Christ, did exalt the Scriptures. They called 
them the word of God, Rom. ix. 6 ; 2 Cor. iv. 2. They told 
us that the Scriptures are a sufficient rule, and able to make 
us wise unto salvation, 2 Tim. iii. 14, 16, 17- That they 
are the onlv rule and iudge of all doctrines, wherebv we are 

*F O - > 

to try the same, according to that of the prophet Isaiah ; 
" To the law, and to the testimony ; if any one walk not 
according to this rule, there is no light in him," chap. viii. 
That these Scriptures may be expounded, 2 Peter i. 20. 
The apostles never did deny the original, saying, I deny the 
Hebrew, or I deny the Greek ; but often cited the original 
Hebrew ; yea, the Septuagintal Greek. This was the true 
apostle s doctrine in regard of the scripture. 

As for Christ : The true apostles never did deny the Deity 
of Christ, whilst he lived here on earth ; nor the humanity 
of Christ in heaven. But for his Deity, the apostle tells 
us, that he is very God, and the only wise God, 1 John v. 20. 

And for the body of Christ: The true apostles tell us, 
that he did not only rise from the dead, but his body as 
cended, and that he is man still, 2 Tim. ii. 5, "There is one 
Mediator, the man Jesus Christ." 

As for the ordinances : The apostles never did deny the 
ordinances; but have told us that the ministration of the 
gospel, is more glorious than that of Moses, because this 
was to continue, 2 Cor. iii. ; they did not destroy, but erect 
these ordinances, by commission from Christ, "As I have 
ordained in all the churches," saith Paul. And more par 
ticularly, they did not deny the ministry, not the being of a 
settled ministry, Rom. xii. 7> though by the hand of man : 
Titus i., " For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou 
shouldest ordain elders in every city :" nor the maintenance, 
the settled maintenance of ministers, 1 Cor. xi. 14, " Even 
so hath the Lord ordained, that those that preach the gospel, 
should live on the gospel." As they did not deny the mi 
nistry, so they did not deny water baptism : but they 
rather called for water baptism, because Cornelius had re 
ceived the Spirit, Acts x. 47- They did not lay a necessity 


upon the disciples, to be plunged into the river or water ; 
for the jailor and Cornelius were baptized in their houses : 
nor did they ever forbid infant baptism, but tell us that 
children of believers are holy, 2 Cor. vii. As the true 
apostles did not deny water baptism, so they did not cry 
down the Lord s supper, but tell us plainly, that thereby we 
hold forth the Lord s death till he come. As they did con 
tend for the supper, so they commanded singing: 1. That 
the whole church should sing ; for the whole church of 
Ephesus, and the whole church of Colosse, are commanded 
to sing, Eph. v. 18 ; Col. iii. 16. 2. That the whole 
church should sing the Psalms of David ; for by those titles, 
psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, the Psalms of David 
are distinguished. 3. That this singing should be per 
formed with an audible voice, and not in the heart only ; 
for saith the apostle in the same scriptures, " Speaking 
and singing with grace in your hearts." 4. That these 
psalms, or hymns, or spiritual songs, should be sung by many 
together ; not by one alone, but by the whole church ; for 
the evangelist tells us, that Christ, and his disciples, sung a 
hymn, and so went out after supper: if only one sang, and 
the rest consented, then that one was Christ, or some one of 
his disciples ; Christ it was not, for if he had sung a hymn, 
it would have been said, that he sung, and the hymn would 
have been set down ; as it is said, he prayed, and his prayer 
recorded, John xvii. Nor was it one of the disciples, for 
as yet the Holy Ghost was not fallen upon them, to gift them 
with spiritual gifts ; neither can it be said, that the word 
v^rjjffuj le*, should be translated, Praised; and when they 
had praised, &c. For when it is to be so translated, then it 
is joined with an accusative case, as Heb. ii. 12, but they 
all sang, audibly, and together. Thus the true apostles 
of Christ, were for, and not against the ordinances of Christ.* 

As for the doctrine of justification : The true apostles 
preached for justification by imputed righteousness, and by 
faith, in opposition to works, Rom. iv. 

They never preached, or told us that there is a light in 

* AffinrKibant autera hanc fuisse aummarn vel culpae sure vel erroris quod 
essent soliti stato die ante lucem convenire carmenque Christo quasi Deo dicere 
secum invicem. Plin. Epist. ad Trajan. 

Vel communi voce dicere. Magdeburgens. Hist. Cent. ii. cap. C. 

252 THE FALSE APOSTLE [SfiR. 11. 1 

every man, which followed, will bring to salvation : indeed | | 
the evangelist saith, That Christ, as God, enlighteneth every , 
one that conies into the world ; the wicked with the light of I] 
reason and understanding; the godly with the light of grace: |j 
and the apostle saith, that the grace of God hath appeared I \ 
to all men, that is, both Jews and gentiles ; but doth not I 
say, that the grace of God hath appeared to all particular : l 
men : but he saith, The whole world lies in wickedness ; k 
and a natural man doth not perceive the things of God, |j 
neither can he. 

They never preached, that any man might be perfect, so 
as to be without sin in this life, but the contrary ; saying, 
" If any man say, he hath no sin, he deceives himself, and 
there is no truth in him," 1 John i. 8 ; he doth not say, and 
there is no humility in him, though it be pride to say so ; 
but there is no truth in him.* And again, the apostle James, 
" In many things we offend all/ chap. iii. 2. And again, 
" We see and know but in part," 1 Cor. xiii. 9, they acknow 
ledge indeed a perfection of uprightness : but the true apos 
tles never placed any perfection in monastical virginity, or 
abstaining from meats, cuffs, points, and laces. f But says 
the apostle, Col. ii. 18, "Let no man beguile you of your 
reward in a voluntary humility, and in being subject to ordi 
nances : as touch not, taste not, handle not : which all perish 
in the using, after the commandments and doctrines of men. 
Which things indeed have a shew of wisdom, in will-worship, 
and humility, and neglecting of the body," ver. 19 23. 

The true apostles never preached against respect unto 
magistrates, parents, and masters. Indeed our Saviour 
Christ says, " Call no man your father ; neither be ye called 
masters :" but master, he tells us at verse 8, is all one with 
rabbi : now these rabbins were their sect-masters, who were 
the masters of their faith ; and such a father and master, 
no man ought to be : but otherwise the apostle saith, 
" Children obey your parents ; honour thy father : and ser- 

* Poterat enim apostoliis dicere, si dixerimus, quod non habemus peccatum 
nos ipsos extollimus, et humilitas in nobis non est, sed cum ait nos ipsos decipi- 
mus et veritas in nobis ncn est satis ostendit eum qui sic dixerit non verum 
loqui sed falsum. Concil. Milevit. Cau. 6. 

f Nunc bene vivitur si sine crimine sine peccato auteno si quis vivcre se 
existtimet non id agit, ut peccatum non babebat, sed ut veniam non accijnat. 


vants, be subject to your masters/ And did not Paul the 
apostle call himself, a wise master-builder ? Acts xxvi. 25, 
Paul calleth Festus, most noble Festus ; and Agrippa, King 
Agrippa. And chap, xxvii., he saith to them that were in the 
ship with him, " Sirs, I perceive that voyage will be dan 
gerous :" and again, verse 21, " He stood forth in the midst, 
and said, Sirs :" and yet again, verse 25, " Wherefore, Sirs ;" 
or excellent men, be of good comfort, &c. 

The true apostles never preached against the resurrection 
and ascension of the body, but make the doctrine of the 
resurrection a fundamental article of our faith, 1 Cor. xv., 
yea, they tell us, that Christ did not only rise, but ascend 
with his body ; and that our bodies shall remain bodies in 
heaven, as Christ s doth, Phil. iii. 20, "Who shall change 
our vile bodies, that they may be like to his glorious body." 

The apostles never preached that there is no place of 
heaven and hell after death : but as they received of Christ, 
so they delivered truth unto us. Now Christ saith expressly ; 
" Go ye cursed into everlasting torment, prepared for the 
devil, and his angels : and Come ye blessed, inherit the king 
dom of the Father, prepared for you before the foundation 
of the world." 

These were the doctrines of the apostles, and the true 
teachers of the gospel. Doth any man therefore say, I now 
come uuto you from God, and God hath sent me? And 
doth he say, there is no other heaven, nor hell, than what is 
in this life ? Or doth he preach against the resurrection and 
ascension of our bodies ? Or doth he preach against respect 
unto magistrates, and civil relations ? Or doth he tell you 
of a light within all men, which is able to bring them to 
salvation ? Doth he preach perfection, saying, that man 
may be perfect, and without sin in this life ? Or doth he 
tell you of justification by somewhat within you ? Or doth 
he cry down, degrade, and vilify the ordinances of -Christ, 
ministry, water baptism, Lord s supper, and singing? Or 
doth he deny the Deity of Christ on earth ; or the humanity 
of Christ in heaven ? Or doth he preach down the Scripture 
by telling you, that the light and spirit within you is your 
rule ? Surely this person is a false apostle, and a false 
teacher. Thus you may try a man by his doctrine. 

A teacher also may and must be tried by his life and fruits; 


for saith our Saviour, " Beware of false prophets, which 
come to you in sheep s clothing, but inwardly they are raven 
ing wolves : ye shall know them by their fruits," Matt. vii. 
15, 16. As ye know a tree, not by the leaves, but by the 
fruit; so, saith he, ye shall know these men, not by their first 
profession, but by their after works and ways and fruits. 

But if they go in sheep s clothing, how shall I know they 
are wolves ? 

Yes; for though their clothing be the sheep s, yet they 
have the nature and disposition of wolves, the voice, howling 
and barking of wolves, and the practice of wolves. 

The nature of a wolf, though he be in sheep s clothing, is 
fierce and cruel. So is the nature, spirit and disposition of 
the false teacher : 2 Tim. iii. 3, " Without natural affection, 
truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of 
those that are good : of this sort are they (ver. 6) which creep 
into houses, and lead silly women captive," &c. 

The voice of the wolf -doth betray him ; he howls as the 
sheep do not, and barks at the shepherds. So do false 
teachers do, they resist the truth, as Jannes and Jambres re 
sisted Moses, and are continually barking at and speaking 
evil of the true ministers of the gospel, and shepherds of the 
sheep. It is recorded of Philip of Macedon, when he laid 
siege to Athens, that he sent word into the city, that if they 
would send out ten of their orators, he would be at peace 
with them. Whereupon Demosthenes rose up in the senate, 
and said, If the wolves come to the fold, and tell the sheep, 
that they will be at peace with them, if they will send away 
all their dogs and shepherds, will the sheep do it ? No, the 
great design of the wolf is to part the sheep from the shep 
herd. Those therefore that come in sheep s clothing, and 
cry out against the true ministry of Christ, are no true sheep, 
but wolves. 

The wolf, though he be in sheep s clothings, doth tear and 
rend the sheep ; he cometh not in by the door ; and when he 
is come in, then he doth devour the poor sheep. And so it 
is with false teachers, they come not in by the door of a 
lawful call, and they bite and devour and destroy the faith of 

* Oili^c? %x vrat Tgos vjj.ac, Mact. vii. 13, qui venicnt ex seipsis legi- 
t<me non missi, de quibns Jer. xxiii. 21, currebant et non mittebatn. Luc. 
Brugens. in Matt. vii. 15. 

. 11.] TRIE!) AND DISCOVERED. -.")."> 

But our Saviour saith, that we may know them by their 
fruits ; what are those fruits, and how shall we know them 
thereby ? 

If you find that they are given to uncleanness, then they 
are not sent of God. So are false teachers many times, 2 
Pet. ii. 1, " There shall be false teachers amongst you." 
" These do walk after the flesh, in the lust of uncleanness," 
ver. 10. See the Epistle of Jude. God doth often give 
men up to fleshly sins for their vile errors.* 

If you find that they are given to lying, then you may 
know that they are not of God. Truth doth not need our 
lies to maintain it with ; but the doctrine of lies is often 
maintained with the practice of lying. " And hast found 
them liars," saith our text here. 

If you find that the height of their religion is to maintain 
some opinion, and that doth consist in some voluntary humi 
lity, and keeping under the body, then are they not of God. 
Col. ii. 1826. 

If you find that their doctrine tends to draw men away 
from the ordinances of God, then though they pretend to be 
prophets, yet they are but false prophets. Deut. xiii. 1, " If 
there arise among you a prophet, and he giveth a sign, and it 
come to pass, thou shalt not hearken to him," ver. 3. "And 
he shall be put to death," ver. 5. Why ? " Because he hath 
spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God." 

If you find that in truth he falls short of him whom he 
would seem to be, and yet in shew goes beyond him, then he 
is a deceiver. As for example : If a man say that he is an 
apostle, but pretends to do more than ever any apostle did, 
as to judge infallibly in all things; whereas the apostle saith 
sometime, " This say I, not the Lord " yet in truth falls 
short of what an apostle did, who spake with tongues, and 

* Pseudo-prophetse quo modo probari possint : cettissima autem demonstratio 
haec est, si deliquerit et contemnat voluptates corporales, imprimis vero sensum 
ilium qui nobis est opprobrio et dedecori et si abominentur omnem libidinem et 
scortationem ; an ignoras enim, qua ratione Zedekias filius Maasijse et Achab 
filius Kolijse de propetia gloriati fuerint, multos homines ad se pertraxerint, ver- 
baque prophetise ab aliis instinctus divini afflatu prolata sub suo titulo ventita- 
rint, et tamen in voluptatibus suis venereis perrexerint, ita ut sociorutn et 
discipulorum suorum uxores stupraverint. Donee a Deo retecti et a rege Baby- 
Ionise, raeritissima psena igne combusti fuerint. Jer. xxix. 22, 23. Rab. Mos. 
Maiemon. More Nevochim, part 2, cap. 40. 


did work miracles ; surely this man is a false apostle. It is 
the way of an hypocrite to imitate the godly, and in outward 
things he will go beyond many a godly man, yet doth fall 
short of the weakest saint. Now though every hypocrite is 
not an heretic, yet every heretic is an hypocrite. 

If you find that his great work and business is, to destroy 
the churches of Christ, then he is not of God, but by this 
fruit you may know him to be a false teacher. The apostles 
went up and down confirming the churches, not destroying 
them. But now, says Luther,* after we have taken much 
pains, even for ten years together, to gather and settle a 
church ; then comes some fanatic person, and he destroys 
more in one moment, than we could build in ten years. But, 
says the apostle, " Mark those which cause division," much 
more those that cause destruction, and avoid them. 

" If they will not hear us (says the apostle John), they are 
not of God," 1 John iv. 6. " We are of God : he that know- 
eth God, heareth us ; he that is not of God, heareth not us. 
Hereby know we the Spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." 
Doth a man then forsake the assemblies of the saints, as the 
manner of some is, and teach men so to do ? he shall be 
called least in the kingdom of heaven ; he is a false teacher, 
and by this fruit you may know him. Yea, and by all these 
fruits you may know false teachers. You may know them 
by their call; you may know them by their doctrines; and 
you may know them by their fruits and their practices. 
And thus you see how those that are false apostles, or false 
teachers, may be tried and discovered. And is it a com 
mendable thing in the eyes of Christ, to make discovery of 
them ? Now then, as you desire that you may fall under the 
commendation of Christ here or hereafter, let it be your work 
and business in these times to make this discovery. Only 

That it is the special work of church officers, to try and 
discover false teachers ; for this epistle is directed to the 
angel of the church of Ephesus. 

But though it is their work especially, yet it is a work in- 

* Decem annis laboratur antequam ecclesiola recte et pie instituta paratur, et 
ubi parata est, irrepit aliquis fanaticus et quidem idiota, qui nihil novit quam 
contumeliose loqui, contra sinceros verbi doctores, is uno momenta evertit omnia. 


cumbent upon all the saints and churches; fur though the 
epistle he directed to the angel of the church, yet the matter 
thereof doth belong to all ; tor saith the same epistle, " He 
that hath an ear, let him hear, what the Spirit saith unto the 
churches." And if this work do helong unto all the church, 
what an evil thing is it for those that are members of a 
church, to be beguiled with false teachers. Shall they he be 
guiled by them, that, should discover them ? This is directly 
contrary to their duty. It is your duty, and it is all your 
duty, to make this discovery. Therefore, yet more practically, 

Go to God for wisdom and the Spirit of discerning ; it is 
Christ alone that doth see men s fruit under all their leaves : 
beg this discerning Spirit therefore at the hands of Christ. 

Take heed that you do not lie in any sin or error, for all 
sin and error blinds. How shall you see the error of another, 
if you be blinded with your own sin and error? 

In case any thing doth arise, which hath any difficulty in 
it, consult with others, for ye are not alone ; and saith David, 
" I will inquire in thine holy temple." 

Be sure that you keep to the Scripture, and take heed that 
you do not judge of doctrines by impressions. Let the light 
within you be your principle, enabling you unto what is good; 
but let it not be your rule to judge of doctrines, that is the 
word alone. 

Take heed that you have not too great a charity towards, 
and opinion of, those that are suspected to be false teachers. 
Ye shall know them by their fruits, saith Christ. And lest 
you should think that they may be good, I tell you, nay, 
says Christ, in the next words, for a corrupt tree cannot 
bring forth good fruit : no man gathers grapes off thorns, or 
figs off thistles : u but evil men and seducers," says the 
apostle. If seducers, you are to look upon them as evil men, 
as well as on drunkards, swearers, and profane persons; 
which because some have not done, they have been deceived, 
instead of making this discovery.* 

And if you would be sure to make up a right judgment in 
this great discovery, then stay your time, and wait long 

* Plerique enim hominurii ita impostorum liberalitate fascinaiitur ut quicquid 
proponunt monstruosse doctrinse tamen pro bonis habeant. Quibus Christus re- 
spondet, non modo hujusmodi homines bonos non esse. sed ne esse quidem 
Cartwri^hti Harm. p. 271. 



before you close with any of their opinions ; for saith Christ, 
Ye shall know them by their fruit. Now the fruit of a tree 
is not presently seen ; an ill tree in winter may seem to be 
as good as the best : stay therefore your time, and you shall 
know them by their fruit, and so be able to make this disco 
very, which is so pleasing to, and commendable in the eyes 
of Jesus Christ.* 

It may be some will think and say, This doth not concern 
or reach my condition ; I am troubled with and labour under 
such or such a temptation ; and in all this, nothing hath been 
spoken unto that temptation. But remember, that our Lord 
and Saviour Christ hath not said to some, but to all, " Be 
ware of false prophets " not behold, but beware : we behold 
what is open, and beware of what is hidden ,f And both 
Christ and his apostles tell us, " That in the last days there 
shall arise false Christs, false prophets, false apostles, and 
false brethren ; insomuch, as if it were possible, they should 
deceive the very elect :" and is this nothing then unto your 
condition ? It may be it is your temptation, that you do not 
take heed and beware enough. I dare boldly say, he is 
under a temptation, that thinks these things do not reach 
him, or concern his condition. And what is the reason that 
many poor souls are so misled in these days of ours, but 
because they have not been prepared, and underlaid with 
knowledge for to make resistance. All their work and busi 
ness hath been about some particular temptation, striving 
against some temptation : if they have heard any thing about 
that, well ; if not, then they think the matter concerns not 
them ; and so not being grounded in the faith, when deceivers 
come, they are taken captive by them. But I know you all 
desire to be commended by Christ at that great day, when he 
shall say, " Well done, good and faithful servant." And 
this discovery of false teachers, is a matter of great com 
mendation in his eyes now ; and what he commends now, he 
will commend then : wherefore up and be doing. It may 

* Si quis ex foliis et fioribus judicium formare velir, non expectata fructuum 
maturitate plane hallucinetur, sic etiam qui de initiis quibusdam judicium sibi 
singant, &c. tandem enim eorum amentia omnibus innotescet. 2 Tim. in. 
Cartwrighti Harm. p. 270. 

t Attendite a falsis prophetis, diligenter cavete non dixit aspicite, sed attendite, 
quod aspicere est ad allud quod palam videtur, attendere autem est cum sollici- 
tudine inquirere. Abulens. in Matt. vii. p. 218. 


be this may be some pains and labour to you ; but Christ 
saith, " I know thy works and thy labour." It may be it 
may cost you much trouble and sorrow ; but he saith also, 
" I know thy labour and thy patience/ It may be some 
may think you are too busy and severe in the work of this 
discovery ; but he hath said, " I know thy works, and thy 
labour, and thy patience, and that thou canst not bear them 
which are evil, and hast tried them which say, they are apos 
tles, and are not, and hast found them liars." Wherefore 
let us comfort and encourage one another with these words. 

s 2 



" But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory 
by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect, 
stablish, strengthen, settle you," 1 PETER v. 10. 

SOME think these words are spoken in the way of a pro 
mise from God ;* others think they are spoken in the way of 
a desire and prayer to God.f They are a promise, say some, 
because they are brought in to comfort and relieve these dis 
persed saints against the temptations of Satan and opposition 
of the world, which the apostle had mentioned in the former 
verses (8 and 9), as also because those words, " perfect, stab 
lish, strengthen, settle you," are found in some books in the 
future tense of the indicative mood, to be read thus : " Shall 
perfect, stablish, strengthen and settle you ;"f but I find the 
copies ordinarily to give them in the optative. Beza tells 
us that all our books, excepting three, do read these words in 
the optative mood.|| And Estius, though the vulgar latin 
renders them in the future tense of the indicative, saith that 
all such copies are of less credit, and that although the words 
should be in the future tense, it comes all to the same reckon 
ing ; forasmuch as the Hebrews, whom the New Testament 
follows much, do ordinarily put futures for optatives as well 
as for preceptives. So Num. xx. 17, we translate the words 
thus : " Let us, I pray thee, pass through thy country ;" and 

* Promissionem adjungit apostolus. Salmeron, Grotius, Gerardus, Tirinu?, 
Thorn. Aquinus. 

f Ad precationem se convertit apostolus. Calvin, Beza, Piscator, H. Illiricus, 
Estius, Gomarus. Aretius. 

|| Games nostri codices, tribus tamen exceptis, scripta hsec habent optandi 
modo. Beza in loc. 

In nonnullis qnidem exemplaribus grsecis verba sunt indicativa modi tempo- 
risque futuri, quern admodura in latinis, verum ea minus probatse sunt fidei. 
Estius in loc. 

SfcR. 12.] THE GOOD AND MEANS, &C. 261 

yet the word in the Hebrew is in the future tense : u We will 
pass through/ &c.* So Jer. xl. 15, we read, " Let me go, I 
pray thee, and I will smite Ishmael ;" and yet the word in 
the Hebrew is, " I will go and smite Ishmael/ f So that 
according to the Hebrew, the future is ordinarily put for the 
optative in a way of desire and petition. But the words here 
used are in the optative mood,]: and therefore, by that argu 
ment, we cannot conclude these words to be spoken in the 
way of a promise. It is true, indeed, that they contain mat 
ter of much comfort and relief for those that surfer under the 
temptations of Satan or oppositions of the world, but so they 
do, also, though they be spoken in a way of prayer; and it is 
usual with the apostles to conclude their epistles with a short 
prayer, and that prayer with a doxology ; and so doth the 
apostle here : " The God of all grace, who hath called you, 
&c., perfect, stablish, strengthen and settle you ; to whom be 
glory for ever and ever: 5 a promise is not so concluded, but 
a prayer is.|| I conceive, therefore, that these words are spo 
ken in way of a prayer ; wherein we have, 

First, The mercy, and the blessing prayed for. 

Secondly, the arguments ensuring it. 

First, As for the mercy and blessing prayed for ; it is ex 
pressed in four words : perfect, stablish, strengthen and settle 
you. Some think they are synonimous, all intending the 
same thing, the confirmation and perseverance of those dis 
persed Christian Jews. But though they may aim at the 
same general tiling, yet there are several particulars under 
that general which the words seem to point at. The first 
word, which we render perfect, should, I think, be translated 
otherwise. It is the same word that is used Matt. iv. 21, and 
Mark i. 19, for mending of their nets; and the same that is 
used, Gal. vi. 1, " You that are spiritual restore such an one 
with the spirit of meekness ;" and it signifies such a restoring 

W TT)Q y? s - Septuagint. 
FIopEvcro/xai 2e. Septuagint. Ibo nunc. Montanus. 

II Postquam satis incubuit in monitiones nunc se ad precationem convertit, 
nam frustra in nerem fundetur doctrina nisi Deus per Spiritum suum operetur. 
Calvin in loc. 

Quod pluribus verbis rem unam designat Petrns, nempe fidelium confirma- 
tionem, boc ideo facit ut sciamus rarse esse difficultatis eursum nostrum persequi 
et proinde singular! Dei gratia opus ese. Calvin in loc. 

262 THE GOOD AND MEANS [SfiR. 12. 

as is of unjointed members.* Now these Christians being 
scattered, the apostle prays that God would please to joint 
them again. Thus the God of all grace, after you have suf 
fered, and been shattered, bring you into order, restore and 
repair you. But suppose that God restore and mend us, yet 
we may fall again. True, but I do not only pray for you, 
saith Peter, that ye may be restored and mended, but that 
ye may be confirmed, so as ye may not fall away : " The God 
of all grace stablish you also/ 3 The word signifies to fasten, 
and confirm, and establish ;t so Rom. i. 11 ; 1 Thess. iii. 1, 
2. But though we be so confirmed by the grace of God that 
we cannot fall away, yet we may be weak and labour under 
great infirmity. True, but te I have prayed for you, that you 
may be strengthened also."J But though we be strong and 
confirmed, so as we shall never fall quite away from grace, yet 
we may be unsettled. True, but I have not only prayed 
against your apostacy, but against your unsettlement : " The 
God of all grace restore, stablish, strengthen and settle you," 
even as the foundation of the house is settled. || So that he 
doth not only pray for these saints that they may be restored 
and put into joint, in opposition to their scattering, but 
for confirmation in opposition to apostacy, and for settlement 
in opposition to all unsteadfastness, and for strength of grace 
in opposition unto weakness, the cause and ground of all un- 
settledness. Now these graces he doth assure them of by 
divers arguments. Some drawn from the nature of God, he 
is the God of all grace ; not of grace only, as the Syriac 
reads the words, omitting the word all, but he is the God of 
all grace : and therefore though you have need of much grace, 
yet you need not be discouraged, for the God whom you deal 
with is a God of all grace ; and under this title have I prayed 
unto him for you. It is good closing with God in prayer by 
that title and attribute which is most suitable to our condition. 
Other arguments are drawn from the precedent work of God 

* Significat ergo apostolus relam bonorum operum quam teximus facile ac cito 
in hac vita rumpi nisi accedat Dei (cara^noyio?. Gerard. 

Significat enim Kmaer^tw , membra in corpore luxata reponere. Ibid. 

Beza compingat Erasm. instauret. 

f 2r;ift> significat figere, firmitur statuere, Septuag. utuntur pro II? stare 
fecit : quod alibi exponunt pro or^peow, alibi pro <rr?/Aow, alibi pro 

J Qivovv, significat roborare aSerw valeo, opponitur a 
, fundare 


upon them : " Who hath called you unto his eternal glory," 
Now the gifts and calling of God are without repentance : 
" Whom he hath called, them he hath also glorified." And 
therefore seeing he hath called you, you may be assured that 
he will confirm, strengthen and settle you. God s calling 
grace doth assure us of his confirming grace; " He that hath 
called you unto eternal glory, even he (at/Ioc, is emphatical, 
and omitted in the English to be read, thus, The God of all 
grace, who hath called you, &c.), he himself establish you," 
&c.* But our sufferings do still abound, for we are a dis 
persed people. Be it so, yet your sufferings are but a modi 
cum, a little, oXiyov, both in regard of measure and time : and 
after you have thus suffered a little, and a little while, the 
God of all grace will restore, stablish, strengthen and settle 
you. This have I prayed for you. So that the doctrine from 
the verse is this : 

It is a great blessing of God, and worthy of all our prayer, 
to be established and settled in the truth and good ways of 
God. Settling grace and mercy, in opposition both to out 
ward and inward trouble, is a great mercy, and well worth 
praying for. 

It is a great mercy and blessing to be outwardly settled. 
The apostle speaks here in reference to that opposition and 
hatred which they met with from the world, in scattering them 
as a people and as a church ; for saith he, verse 9, " Be sted- 
fast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accom 
plished in your brethren that are in the world :" as also in 
reference to those temptations of Satan which they laboured 
under ; for saith he, verse 5, " Your adversary, the devil, as a 
roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." 
So that I say, 

First, It is a great mercy for a nation and state to be settled. 

Secondly, A mercy and great blessing for a church to be 

Thirdly, A great blessing and mercy for a particular soul to 
be settled in the good ways of God. 

It is a great mercy and blessing, for a nation or kingdom 

* Emphaticutn quoque illud quod in Grseco textu hsec verba O frs 0ioc TraarjQ 
Xapiloc, conjunguntur cum sequentibus UVTOQ Kot^apTiaai : ostendit enim apos- 
tolus ex eodem gratise fonte et primam ad gloriam coelestem vocationein et ultimam 
bujus beneficii consummationem provenire. Gerard. 


to be in a settled state and condition, outwardly : for it is the 
mercy promised; and promised mercies are no small mercies. 
Now the Lord promiseth to his people, when he deals with 
them in a way of mercy, to settle and establish them, Jer. 
xxiv. 6, " For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and 

1 will bring them again to this land, and I will build them, 
and not pull them down, and I will plant them, and not 
pluck them up. So chap, xxxii. 37, "And I will cause them 
to dwell safely;" yea, vease 41, " I will rejoice over them, 
to do them good ; and I will plant them in this land assur 
edly, with my whole heart, and with my whole soul." This 
also was that mercy which the Lord promised to David, 

2 Sam. vii. 16, " But thine house, and thy kingdom shall be 
established for ever before thee, and thy throne shall be 
established for ever." And if ye look into 2 Chron. ix. 8, 
ye shall find, that this establishing of a nation or kingdom, 
is both a sign, and a fruit of God s love ; " Blessed be the 
Lord thy God," said the Queen of Sheba to Solomon, 
s: which delighteth in thee, to set thee on his throne, to be 
king for the Lord thy God ; because thy God loved Israel, 
to establish them for ever, therefore made he thee king over 
them," &c. On the other side ; when God is angry with a 
people, then he pours a spirit of giddiness and perverseness 
on them, that they run to and fro, and stagger like a drunken 
man, and are as the leaf shaken with every wind, 1 Kings 
xiv. 1 5, the Lord threatens Israel " to smite them, as a reed 
is shaken in the water, because they had made them groves, 
provoking the Lord to anger." A great judgment then it is, 
to be shaken like a reed in the water. This also is a fruit of 
God s anger ; and when a people are in this posture, it 
argues that God hath smitten them in his anger. But when 
may a people be said to be thus smitten, as a reed shaken in 
the water ? Even then, when they are driven to and fro 
with every wind, when they are easily moved, and put by 
their station, so that any one that rises up against them, 
may afflict them, and lay them low. And if this unsettled, 
shaking condition, be a great judgment upon a nation or 
people ; then surely the contrary is a great mercy, it is a 
great blessing indeed for any kingdom or nation to be in a 
settled estate and condition.* 

* Sicut solet uioveri arundo in aqua scilicet quia arundiaes fuciliter moventur 


Secondly, As it is a mercy and blessing for a nation 
to he settled and established, so for the church of God : 
for when the church hath this rest, then it is edified, walking 
in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy 
Ghost, Acts ix. 31. 

Establishment is the mercy promised to the church also, 
Isa. ii. 2, " It shall come to pass in the last days, that the 
mountain of the Lord s house shall be established in the top 
of the mountains :" what is more settled on earth than a 
mountain ? The house of the Lord shall be as a mountain 
upon the mountains in the last days ; great shall be the 
glory of the latter days. As the sins and apostacies of the 
latter days, shall be the greatest sins and apostacies ; so the 
glory of the churches, shall be the greatest in the last days : 
and the establishment of the churches, is not only promised, 
but promised as part of the glory of the latter times. 

It is that mercy and blessing which the apostles laboured 
for continually. First they took a great deal of pains to 
convert, and bring men home to God ; being converted, the 
apostles then formed them into several churches ; and 
churches being planted, then their great work and business 
was to establish them, Acts xiv. 21, "And when they had 
pleached the gospel to that city" or had gospelized that 
city, "and had taught man}," or had discipled many, or 
those that were fit and worthy, "they returned again to 
Lystra, to Iconium, and Antioch, confirming the souls of 
the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith," 

This they also prayed for; and therefore as the apostle 
Peter shuts up his Epistle with this prayer for the dispersed 
Christian-Jews : so the apostle Paul doth close up his Epistle 
to the Corinthians, with the same desire and prayer for 
them ; 2 Cor. xiii., " And this also we wish, even your per 
fection," verse 9, rr\v v^uv Kalapliffav. And, Rom. xvi. 25, he 
concludes thus : " Now to him that is of power to establish 
you," &c. vpas dlripifai where the apostle Paul useth two of 

in ".qua quocunque vento impellente, aut levi aqnarum decursu, ita Israeli inci- 
dert-t iu magnas calamitates et Deus faceret euni tain passibilem ut a quocunque 
Lnsurgente contra euni posset percuti. Abulens. in Loc. 

iora/^f) in ri\v TTO\LV ek^t^/jv KOI ^a^rjrivffai ri 
-u? ^ /-u^ae; rw* /taS/jIwv vapanaXowrtf e/x/^tj m rrj 


these four words that are used by Peter. The closing wish 
doth always fall upon some precious mercy. 

And as it is the mercy prayed for, so sometimes it is made 
the signal mercy, whereby the church is declared to be the 
church of Christ ; " Whose house ye are," saith the apostle 
to the Hebrews, " if you hold fast the confidence of your 
rejoicing, stedfast to the end." An house is settled, fixed, 
and established ; a tent is removable, but a house is not so : 
unworthy are those of the name of the house of God, that 
are unsettled in the truth : "These things write I unto thee, 
saith Paul to Timothy, "that thou mayest know how to 
behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of 
the living God, the pillar and ground of truth." Yea, 
every member of a church, should be the pillar in the 
house of God. So the Lord promiseth to the church 
of Philadelphia. Surely therefore it is matter of great im 
portance for a church and people of God, to be settled and 

But thirdly and especially: It is a great mercy and blessing 
for a particular soul to be settled in the truth, and established 
in the good ways of God. " It is a good thing," saith the 
apostle, " that the heart be established with grace, not with 
meats, which have not profited them that have been exer 
cised therein." Possibly a man s heart may be comforted 
and strengthened with meats, Ps. civ. 15, it is said, " And 
wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and bread which 
strengthened man s heart." Where the same word is used 
by the Septuagirit, that is here used in the text.* But the 
apostle Paul doth relate to the ceremonial law : for the Jews 
converted to Christ, were too superstitiously addicted to the 
observation of legal ceremonies, especially those which con 
cerned meats,f and difference of meats, Rom. xiv. 2 ; Col. 
ii. 16, and to those is this speech opposed ; "It is good that 
the heart be established with grace :" as if he should say, 
some think to find establishment in the observation of meats, 
and doctrines for the Jewish ceremonies, but the best esta 
blishment, is in the doctrine of the gospel, and the grace of 

fffu arSpoTrwc J^ilu. Septuagint. 

f Judsei ad Christum conversi superstitiosius inhserebant observationi legalium 
ceremonialum cum primis discrimini ciborum a Moyse prescripto illis hoec sen 
tentia est opposite. Gerrard in Joe. 


God revealed in the gospel. Some think that by grace here, 
we are to understand holiness, and those spiritual gifts 
whereby men are sanctified. But having said in the former 
words, " Be not carried about with divers and strange doc 
trines :" these words seem to comply and correspond better 
with them, if by grace we understand the doctrine of the 
New Testament ; from which the Galatians are said to fall, 
" Ye are fallen from grace," when they returned to the law : 
but in both respects, it is a good or beautiful thing, that the 
heart be established with grace.* For, 

It is the ground of all our fruitfulness : ye know how it is 
with a tree or plant, though in itself it be never so good, yet 
if it be not settled in the earth, it bringeth forth no fruit : 
if the plant be good, and the soil good, it may bring forth 
good fruit ; but if you be always removing it from one place 
to another, it cannot bring forth fruit. And what is the 
reason that many are so unfruitful in their lives, but because 
they are so unsettled in their hearts and judgments ? The 
tree that is planted by the water s side, brings forth fruit in 
its season, Ps. i. But as for the ungodly, it is not so with 
them, " They are as the chaff," that brings forth no fruit, 
whom " the wind drives to and fro." And the truth is, an 
unsettled man, is neither fit to receive good, nor to do good. 
So long as the vessel is moved up and down, ye cannot pour 
the liquor into it ; and who can write exactly when his arm 
is jogged ? Can any man walk exactly in a crowd, which 
one while carrieth him this way, and another while that 
way ? No surely : neither can an unsettled, unestablished 
heart walk exactly with the Lord his God. 

It is the bottom of all our praises : The birds do not ordi 
narily sing till they be set ; they do not usually sing flying ; 
but when they are fixed, then they begin to sing : so saith 
David, " My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed ;" and 
what then ? then saith he, " I will sing and give praise ;" 
but not till then : and what is the reason that many pass so 
many years of their lives in doublings and fears, never prais- 

* Quidam in genere intelligunt interna et spiritinlia Dei dona quibus homines 
Fanctifk-antur ; quidam doctrinam Christianam fide susceptam. Oratiam Chris- 
tianismi, ut sit sensus tirmitatem et stabilimentum cordis quaerendum esse in 
gratia Dei quam N. T. mediator Christus attulit, non in observatione ciborum 
quani Moses tradidit. Ibid. 

268 THE GOOD AND MEANS [SfiK. 12. 

ing God for any love, or mercy to them ? but because tbey 
are unsettled in their spiritual estate and condition. 

It is the beginning of our perseverance : then I begin to 
persevere, when I begin to settle, and to be established; 
as instability is the beginning of apostacy, so settledness 
is the beginning of perseverance. 

It is that good thing which pleaseth God exceedingly: 
God was so pleased with Jehoshaphat upon that account, that 
he passed by, and winked at all his infirmities, even because 
his heart was fixed and established, 2 Chron. xix. 2, the 
prophet reproves him for joining with the ungodly ; " Never 
theless/ saith he, " there are good things found in thee, in 
that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and 
hast prepared thine heart :" so ye read it: but I think rather, 
"And hast fixed, established, or set thine heart to seek 
God." On the contrary, it is said of Rehoboam, though he 
did many good things, that " he did evil in the sight of the 
Lord, because he prepared not;" or, because he fixed not, 
established not, set not his heart to seek God, 2 Chron. 
xii. 14, it is the same word which we translate, establish, in 
other scriptures,* as Ps. xl. 2, " He hath set my feet upon a 
rock, and established my goings ;" and it notes, such a fix 
ation and settlement, whereby a man doth so continue in his 
way and course that he will not be put out of it. This 
Rehoboam wanted; for he was i"?n, a soft hearted man 
naturally : and though he did many things that were right 
and good, yet he was led by the counsel of his young men, 
and his heart was not set and fixed to seek the Lord : but 
Jehoshaphat was of a stedfast spirit, and would not be put 
out of his way, and therefore though he did some things 
amiss, yet the Lord commends him, and accepts of him: 
so that, although a man do many good things ; yet if his 
heart be not fixed, and established, the Lord will pass by, 
and not regard the same : but though a man do commit great 
evils, yet if his heart be set to seek the Lord, God will 
pardon and pass by all his failings. Oh, what a blessed frame 
of heart, is this fixed spirit. Surely it is that grace wherein 
God is much delighted: an unsettled soul God cares not for, 

* "pi in Niphal "pDa. Paratus, sirmus stabilis qui nee everti nee impediri 
qacat in Pirl. et Hiphil. paravit preparavit firmavit canfirmavit, stabilivit, includit 
tirtnitatem et certitudinem. Shindlerg. 


nor for any work or service that is done by him. We read 
ot hundreds and thousands of vessels of gold, silver, and 
brass that were in the temple, but not of one crystal glass 
or vessel ; why so, saith one, but because that is of a brittle, 
fragile, arid uncertain nature ? which, as it hath no colour of 
its own, so it is apt to receive the colour of any liquor.* 
So is an unsettled man, and uucoiistant, whom. God cares 
not for in his temple and service. Who cares for the service 
of a fool ; or regards the prayers, desires, and petitions of a 
fool ? If a fool knock earnestly at your door, you say to 
your servant, Go not to the door, it is the fool that knocketh ; 
and if a fool come and speak to you, you regard not what he 
saith. Now an unconstant, unsettled soul, is a foolish soul. 
It is the property of a fool to be always beginning ; he 
begins a good work, and then he leaves it off; then he begins 
another, and he leaves off that; Stultus semper incipit vi- 
vere, the fool doth always begin to live : and the same word 
in the Hebrew, and Scipture phrase, that signifies an incon 
stant man, signifies a fool :f and if ye look into Eccles. v., 
ye shall find, that the sacrifice ot fools, is called so upon 
account of unconstancy and unsettledness ; for, says Solo 
mon, " When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to 
pay it, for he hath no pleasure in fools ; pay that which thou 
hast vowed/ verse 4.J And therefore, if an unsettled man 
pray and knock at God s door, he will say, Let him alone, 
regard him not, it is that unsettled fool, that unconstant fool, 
who is off and on, to and fro in my service. God hath no 
pleasure in fools, and an unsettled, unestablished soul, is a 
fool in Scripture language ; surely therefore he is so in the 
eyes of God. But if a man be fixed and established, the 
Lord delighteth in him, and in all those works and services 
that are done by him. Establishing grace is a great mercy. 

* Cur quseso in tanta multitudine vasorum, ne unum quidem vitreum reperi- 
tur ? dices quod cum facile frangatur est symbolum inconstantiae, quam Deus, 
vult a suo templo exulare. Ita est, sed ulterius addo, quod vitrum quam expers 
est coloris proprii, tarn facile refert alienos, quibuscunque enim liquoribus im- 
buitur stutim concolor efficitur, sub hoc igitur typo voluit Deus a suo obsequio 
arcere eos omnes qui non servant unam vivendi rationem, sed in diversa studia 
feruntur, et nunc hos nunc illos mores imitantur. Mendoza in Reg. i. cap. i. 
p. 300. 

t ? D3 stultur, insipiens, varius, mobilis, levis, incoustans. 


And it is also the character of a good and gracious person, 
whereby he is distinguished from the ungodly of the world.* 
A good man lives and dwelleth at the sign of a settled con 
versation ; he is planted by the rivers of water, Ps. i., the 
wicked are as the chaff that are driven to and fro, not settled, 
not planted. It is true indeed, that a moral, civil man, may 
be naturally of a fixed spirit, serious, staid, and settled in 
his moralities ; but though he be settled in what is morally 
good, yet he is also settled upon his lees, in what is spiritually 
evil; settled in prejudice against the saints, and against the 
power of godliness ; settled in his neglect of the sabbath, 
&c., and though he be of a fixed spirit and temper naturally, 
yet that fixation doth not arise to any high or great matter. 
It is an easy thing to cast up the account truly, where the 
sum is small : morality is a small sum.f When did you 
hear of a boat cast away in the river, the narrow waters ? 
It is the ship that puts to sea, that doth make the shipwreck : 
small boats seldom miscarry in the narrow waters. Now 
the civil, moral man, doth trade in the narrow waters, and 
he boasts that he doth not miscarry : some make shipwreck 
of faith, and a good conscience, but as for me, saith he, I 
walk constantly, evenly, and these many years have made 
no shipwreck of my profession, as others have done : but, 
I pray, what is the reason ? He never put to sea, he never 
yet did launch forth into the great ocean of the gospel ; he 
trades in the narrow waters of his own righteousness, and 
therein he is exact and constant. But now, take a godly, 
gracious man, and he doth abound in the work of the Lord, 
and yet he is established in it ; according to that of the 
apostle, 1 Cor. xv. 58, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, 
be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of 
the Lord ; Why ? Forasmuch as ye know that your labour 
is not in vain in the Lord." Surely therefore it is a great 
mercy and blessing, to be settled in the truth, and established 
in the good ways of God ; a mercy for a nation, a mercy for 

* Ut venti in autumno arbores non tollunt, sed folia secum in auras forunt sic 
tristia, leves tamen mentes movent fortes et in pietate firmas non evertunt. 
Origen. Homil. xiii. in Numb. 

Maximum malae mentis indicium nuctuatio. Sen. 

t Virtus est circa difficile bonum, sed in parvis operibus constantem esse non 
est difficile. Aquin. 


a church, a mercy for a particular person to be thus esta 
blished : and therefore, 

Secondly, It is worthy of all our prayers ; which is the 
second part of the doctrine : for saith the doctrine, It is 
a great blessing, and worthy of all our prayers, to be settled, 
and established in the good ways of God. 

It is that mercy, grace, and blessing, which we all need. 
<l Man in his best estate," or according to the Hebrew ex 
pression, Man in his most consistent, and settled estate, 
"is altogether vanity/ Man at the best is a poor, wavering, 
and unsettled creature : yea, saith the scripture, God saw no 
stability in his angels ; and therefore if we do naturally 
labour under such instability, we have all need to pray, and 
to pray much for this grace of establishment. 

It is God only who doth give out this grace, it belongs 
unto him alone to establish nations, churches, and persons. 
He is able to establish those who do come to him for it : 
" Now to him that is of power to establish you/ &c. Rom. 
xvi. 25. He is willing to do it : " But the Lord is faithful, 
who will establish you, and keep you from evil," 2 Thess. iii. 
3. He is Migaged to do it, for he hath promised to do it, as 
hath been proved already, and it is his prerogative : " Now 
he which establisheth us with you in Christ, and hath an 
ointed us, is God," 2 Cor. i. 21. As for a land or nation, it 
is the Lord alone that doth settle it : " He looseth the girdles 
of princes, and maketh them to wander or stagger like a 
drunken man," Job xii. 25. Again, " He girdeth their loins 
with a girdle," ver. 18. He speaketh the word, and it stand- 
eth fast ; who said to Solomon, and so to all the princes of 
the earth, " If thou wilt walk before me in integrity of heart, 
and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have com 
manded thee, and wilt keep my statutes, and my judgments, 
then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel 
for ever," 1 Kings ix. 4, 5. As for a church, it is he alone 
who doth settle and establish it: " And of Zion it shall be 
said, this and that man was born in her, and the Highest 
himself shall establish her," Psalm Ixxxvii. 5. And as for a 
particular person, it is God alone that doth settle him, both 
in his outward and spiritual condition. In his outward con 
dition, " The Lord will destroy the house of the proud, but 
he will establish the border of the widow," Prov. xv. 25 ; 

272 THE GOOD AND MEANS [SfiR. 12. 

and in his spiritual estate and condition, " Now our Lord 
Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, comfort your 
hearts (saith the apostle), and establish you in every good 
word and work," 2 Thess. ii. 17 And the psalmist cloth 
address himself unto God for this, saying, " Establish thou 
the work of our hands upon us ; yea, the work of our hands, 
establish thou it," Psalm xc. 1 7 And if it be so great a 
blessing to be thus settled and established, if we have so 
great need of establishing grace, and it belongs unto God 
alone to work it ; then surely it is not only a matter worthy 
of our prayer, but our duty also, to say and pray with the 
psalmist, " Stablish thou, O Lord, the work of our hands 
upon us ; yea, the work of our hands, establish thou it." 
And thus you have the doctrine cleared in the parts thereof. 

If it be so great a mercy and blessing, to be settled, fixed, 
and established in the truth, and good ways of God ; then 
what cause have all those that are now established, to praise 
the Lord, and say, I was a poor, unsettled person, but through 
grace I am now settled. The more unsettled the times are, 
and men in the times, the greater is the mercy to be truly 
fixed and established. Hath the Lord, therefore, settled 
your heart in these unsettled times ? Oh, then give thanks 
unto the Lord, and say, " My heart is fixed; O God, my 
heart is fixed ; I will sing and give praise." 

Oh, but I cannot find this fixation of spirit in my soul, 
nor that stedfastness in my life, as I desire, and therefore I 
cannot praise the Lord as I should. 

It may be so. Yet know that there is much difference 
between variety of grace and instability of spirit. The exer* 
cise of various graces, is a great blessing; instability of spirit 
is a great evil. Ye may exercise one grace which you did not 
exercise before, and you may perform one gracious work 
which you did not before ; yet this no instability of spirit. 
You must know also, that there is a kind of shaking which is 
consistent with this true settledness and establishment of 
heart. Ye see how it is with the ships in the harbour, and 
with those ships which lie at anchor, though they be not 
driven, and tossed up and down with the waves of the sea, 
yet in the time of a storm, they do move and are shaken. 
So it may be with thy soul : though thou hast cast anchor 
within the vail, and art come unto thy harbour, yet thou 

SlCIl. 12.] OF ESTAIlLfSlIMRNT. L>7-* 

niayest be somewhat moved and shaken ; but though you be 
in some measure shaken, yet you are not tossed up and down 
as those that are not at anchor ; and therefore, oh, what cause 
have you in these unsettled times, for to praise the Lord. 

If establishment be so great a blessing, what a sad condi 
tion are those in, that are not established, not settled, not 
fixed, either in their judgments, or lives ? Not a mounte 
bank come to town, but they must run to him for some of 
his salves ; not a wandering star appear, but they must go to 
him for some of his light. These are those unlearned and 
unstable souls ; these are those that are laid out for a prey 
unto Satan s instruments : as Satan goes up and down, seek 
ing whom he may devour, so do his instruments ; and there 
are a people that through the just judgment of God, shall 
be a prey unto them : and who are those, but these unlearned 
and unstable souls ? Some again are unsettled in their lives 
and practises ; sometimes they are for God, and sometimes 
against him ; sometimes for his service, and sometimes 
against it : these are those that are contrary to all men, and 
to themselves : these are those that are like to Ephraim, 
whose righteousness is like the morning dew, fading and 
vanishing : and both these are as the picture or map in the 
frame, which you may carry from one room to another ; hang 
it in this room, and it suits well with it; carry it into an 
other room, hang it up there, and it suits well with that ; 
and whatever room yoa hang it in, it can comply therewith : 
whereas, if it be in no frame, only glued or plastered to the 
wall, ye cannot remove it without tearing of it. So in this 
case ; take a good, and gracious, fixed soul, and you may 
sooner tear him than remove him from the truth, or the good 
ways of Christ : but an unsettled person, is for every room, 
and for every company ; carry him into one company, and 
he can comply with it; carry him into a second, third, or 
fourth, he can comply with all ; why ? but because his heart 
is unfixed, not established. But woe unto him, for he is 
upon the road to apostacy ; instability is the highway to 
apostacy. Oh, the sad condition of those that are not esta 

What shall we do then, that we may be established ? It 
is a mercy and great blessing for a nation, church, and parti- 

vou iv. T 


cular person to be settled ; what shall we do, that in all these 
respects we may be established ? 

As for a nation or Christian state. It must first settle 
religion : such a nation can never be settled, till religion be 
settled ; for religion is the main mast, and if that be not 
strengthened, all the tackling will be loose, Isa. xxxiii. 23, 
"The tacklings are loosed," saith the prophet; "they could not 
well strengthen their mast, they could not spread their sail :" 
and Deut. xxviii. 9, it is said, " The Lord shall command 
the blessing upon thee in thy store-houses, and in all that 
thou settest thine hand unto, and he shall bless thee in the 
land which the Lord thy God giveth thee/ verse 8, yea, 
" The Lord shall establish thee, &c., if thou shalt keep the 
commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways," 
verse 9. " And all the people of the earth shall be afraid of 
thee," verse 10. And if ye look into the Books of the Kings, 
and Chronicles, ye shall observe that in the latter days of the 
kingdoms of Israel and Judah, before their captivity, these 
kingdoms were unsettled, only upon this account, because 
religion was not settled ; as religion was settled, so the land 
was settled ; and as religion was unsettled, so was the land 
unsettled. Men think that the settlement of religion is to 
be an after work : First, say they, let us look to our being, 
the settlement of the land ; and then look to our well-being, 
the settlement of religion : But if we consult with God in 
the Scriptures, we shall find that a professing nation, shall 
never be settled, till religion be settled ; and as that wavers, 
so shall the state waver also. Would you therefore have 
a land settled ? pray for the settlement of religion in the 
first place. 

Then must there be care taken for a succession of godly 
magistrates : a good magistrate, is a good steersman : but if 
one steer one way, and his successor steer another way, how 
can the state be settled ? While the children of Israel 
had a good judge, the people served the Lord ; but when 
Joshua was dead, " And the elders who had seen all the 
great works of the Lord, they forsook the Lord, and the 
anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he delivered 
them into the hand of their enemies," Judges ii. 7, H 15. 
"Then God raised up other judges, and the Lord was with 
the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their ene- 


mies," verse 18. But when that judge was dead, they re 
turned, and corrupted themselves, and so the anger of the 
Lord was hot against them again, verses 19, 20. Then God 
raised up Othniel, and he judged Israel, and the Spirit of the 
Lord came on him, and the Lord delivered their enemies 
into his hand, chap, iii., and so the land had rest forty years, 
verse 10, 11. But when Othniel died, the children of Israel 
did evil again, and so the Lord delivered them into the hands 
of their enemies, verses 12 14. Then God raised up Ehud, 
and he judged Israel, and subdued their enemies, verse 30 ; 
but when Ehud was dead, the children of Israel did that 
which was evil in the sight of the Lord again, chap. iv. 1, 
and the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin, king of 
Canaan. Then they cried unto the Lord, and he raised up 
Deborah and Barak, who destroyed their enemies, praised 
God, and settled religion, and the land had rest forty years, 
chap. v. 31. Thus unsettled was the land, whilst there was 
no succession of godly magistrates. Would you therefore 
have your land settled ? pray for a continuation, and suc 
cession of godly magistrates, and that care may be now 
taken for this thing : thus shall your land and state be esta 

Yet this is not enough ; but these godly, righteous men, 
must not only do some righteous things ; but govern in righ 
teousness : for the throne is established by righteousness : 
though righteous men do rule, yet if they oppress the people, 
and do not govern in righteousness, the nation cannot be 
settled. Now God hath promised a new heaven, and a new 
earth, wherein righteousness dwells ; not where righteous 
things shall be done, and where righteousness shall now and 
then pass through it ; but where righteousness shall take up 
its habitation and dwelling. Pray, and pray much for this ; 
for by this shall your throne be established. 

Yet this is not all; but the governors of a nation, must 
believe and trust in the Lord ; not ruling and managing the 
afiuirs of the nation by policy only, and moral prudence ; 
but they must trust in the Lord, and live, and act by faith in 
their government; for saith the Lord to Ahaz, " If ye will 
not believe, surely ye shall not be established/ Isa. vii. 9. 
So that if princes, governors, and rulers, will trust in their 
own strength, or in their confederacies with other nations, 

T 2 


they and their land cannot be settled : but if in all their 
dealings with the nations, they rule and act in a way of faith 
towards God, then shall the land be established. And there 
fore let them, and all the people, remember the good counsel 
of that good king Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. xx. 20, " Believe 
in the Lord your God, so shall you be established ; believe 
his prophets, so shall ye prosper." 

As for a church. All the churches must know, that they 
are a people which of all others, are laid out for sufferings ; 
unto them especially it is given, not only to believe, but to 
suffer for Christ ; and the serious consideration hereof, will 
help to establish them: for when the apostles went up and 
down confirming the disciples, and churches, what doctrine 
did they preach unto them but this ? Acts xiv. 21, " They 
returned to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, confirming 
the souls ot the disciples, and exhorting them to continue 
in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation, 
enter into the kingdom of God." 

If particular churches would be settled and established, 
they must have all the officers, and ordinances of Christ 
then ; as a ship under sail, with all its sails out, is beautiful 
and doth move evenly ; so shall they also do. A church is 
never settled, till it have all those officers in it, which our 
Lord and Saviour Christ hath appointed. And what is the 
reason that many are so unsettled at this day, but because 
they do either despise, or neglect those offices, and officers 
which are the fruits of Christ s ascension, and which he hath 
given for the perfecting of the saints, for the edifying of th< 
body of Christ, " That we henceforth be no more children, tos 
sed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine/ 
Eph. iv. 11 14. What is more uncertain than a weather 
cock that is carried about with every wind ? If you forsake 
the ministry, and those officers which Christ hath given to hi 
church, this will be your state and condition, saith the apos 
tie here. Now, when pride or covetousness gets into churches 
then, though they have some of Christ s officers amongs 
them, yet they will not be for all : for, say they, we are no 
able to maintain more than one ; and, saith that one, if an 
other be chosen, I must have less, and rule less. Oh, tha 
churches therefore, would take heed of these great sins, pride 


and covetousness ; which will always keep them in an un 
settled condition. 

Let all the churches know, what the word of God s pa 
tience is, and observe and keep the same: For saith our 
Saviour to the church of Philadelphia, " Because thou hast 
kept the word of my patience, I will keep thee from the 
hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world ; 
and him that overcometh, will I make a pillar in the temple 
of my God, and he shall go no more out," Rev. iii. 10, 12. 
He that overcometh, is the same that keepeth the word of 
Christ s patience : what is that ? In all times : there is some 
truth, which is the trying, suffering truth. In Luther s time, 
the doctrine of justification by faith alone, was the word of 
God s patience; in queen Mary s time, that truth which 
opposed tran substantiation, was the word of God s patience ; 
In Athanasius time, the doctrine of Christ s Deity was the 
word of Christ s patience. There is always some truth or 
other, the profession and owning whereof, saith, here is the 
patience of the saints, Now if the churches keep that word, 
and overcome in the keeping of it, the Lord Christ will make 
every member of them, as a pillar in the temple of God, 
that shall go no more out. 

In case any difficulty or trouble do arise in a church 
which is beyond their own light and strength, they must call 
in the help of other churches : for when there was such a 
knot as the church of Antioch could not untie, they sent 
to the church and apostles at Jerusalem, Acts xv. 16 ; 
who having settled the matter, they sent the result and 
decrees unto other churches concerned, whereby they had 
peace and establishment. 

But especially, it is the duty of all the churches to pray, 
and pray much for this great mercy of establishment; for 
the Lord hath said, Isa. Ixii. 6, " Ye that make mention of 
the Lord, keep not silence, and give him no rest, till he esta 
blish, arid make Jerusalem a praise in the earth." Such a 
time as this there is a coming ; we are commanded to pray, 
and to pray earnestly for it ; and the Lord hath not only 
promised the mercy, but to give hearts to pray for it : for 
saith he, " I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, 
which shall never hold their peace, day nor night," where- 


fore let us give him no rest : so shall the churches have rest, 
and be established. 

As for particular persons. Would st thou be established 
in the truth, and good ways of God ? Then observe what 
those things are, which do make others unsettled, and take 
heed thereof. In case a man doth decay, or break in his 
estate ; some great merchant, tradesman, or farmer break, 
you will diligently look into the causes of it, and say, this 
man lived at too high a rate, beyond his estate ; or he was 
bound for others, or he kept ill company, or he did not keep 
his accounts well, and therefore I will take heed of these 
things. Now will ye observe the causes of an outward 
break, and will ye not observe what are the reasons that so 
many are unsettled, break and decay, in the trade of their 
souls ? Surely, either it is because they do want primitive 
breakings ; for the stony ground comes to nothing at the 
last, though it hath much joy at the first, because it wants 
depth of earth. The stick that is thrust into the earth, is 
more easily pulled up than the plant which is rooted in the 
earth. So are all those who have no root in themselves. 
Or because they take up great resolutions, without answer 
able pre-deliberations ; whereas we know that the needle 
must play about the polar point, before it comes to stand and 
settle ; he that would hit the mark, must take his level be 
fore he parts with his arrow. And if men resolve before 
they have fully considered, they will ere long be unresolved 
again. Or because men do not walk by a settled rule : he 
can never be settled, that doth not walk by a settled rule : 
a man s own thoughts and apprehensions are mtsettled things ; 
the Hebrew word for thoughts,* comes from a root which 
signifies to move, as the tops of trees, because as the tops 
of the trees waver, and are in continual motion, so are our 
thoughts and apprehensions. But the word of the Lord is 
settled as the heavens, Ps. cxix. "Thy word is for ever 
settled in heaven." So long as I want the divine counsel of 
the word, my heart is like a vagrant, that is most unstable, 
said Bernard ; for whilst I am not subject to God, I am con 
trary to myself. Or because they are divided in their own 
hearts : a double minded man, is unstable in all his ways, 
saith the apostle ; and when men have a heart, and a heart, 

* Q E)#D cogitatioues quse in corde sunt sicut ramus in arbore bine inde diffusus. 


a 1 ?! a 1 ? a heart for the world, yet a good mind to Christ ; 
how is it possible but they should be most unsettled ? Or 
because they are too confident of their own strength and 
judgment : whereas the only way to be firm and stedfast, is 
to be sensible of one s own infirmity. We read of a two 
fold confidence in Peter ; a confidence in Christ, and a con 
fidence in his own strength : when he was confident in 
Christ, saying, " Master, if it be thou, command that I come 
unto thee," he did not miscarry ; but when he was confident 
in his own strength, saying ; " Lord, though all men forsake 
thee, yet will not I," then he fell, and fell foully. " Hold thou 
me up," said the Psalmist, " and I shall be safe, and I will have 
respect unto thy statutes continually," Ps. cxix. 119. But if 
men lean to their own understanding, are confident of their 
own strength, and think that they are able to deal with all 
gainsayers, and so will try all things, God leaves them to 
their own opinions, and they scrabble upon the door, and do 
change their behaviour. Or because men do forsake the 
ministry, which Christ hath given to the churches for their 
edification, perfection, and establishment, Eph. ix. 11 14. 
Or because they have too fair an opinion of those that are 
erroneous, thinking that they may be godly, though they be 
never so unsound in their judgments, whereby they are 
drawn into society and communion with them, and so fall 
from their own stedfastness ; whereas the apostle tells us of 
the error of the wicked, 2 Peter iii. 1 7, and that men may be 
wicked upon the account of their errors in judgment, James v. 
19, 20, " Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and 
one convert him ; let him know that he which converteth 
a sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from 
death, and shall hide a multitude of sins :" and our Lord 
and Saviour Christ calling upon us to beware of false pro 
phets, Matt. vii. 15, tells us, that they are corrupt trees, and 
cannot bring forth good fruit, verse 16, 17, 18. As if he 
should say, if you would take heed, and beware of them, 
you must know them, and not think that they are good men ; 
for if you think that they may be good, notwithstanding 
their errors in doctrine, you will be misled by them, and 
removed from your stedfastness. Or because that men do 
not improve their Christian communion for the life and 
power of godliness, but for light only, and discoursing 


notions : whereas the apostle Paul writing to Timothy, saith, 
"Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding oppo 
sitions of science, falsely so called ; which some professing, 
have erred concerning the faith," 1 Tim. vi. 20, 21. And 
what is the reason, that not only some, but many have now 
erred concerning the faith, and have fallen from their sted- 
fastness, but because they have been thus affected ? Or 
because they have not been built on the rock Christ ; but on 
some sandy, and washy foundation : whereas the Psalmist 
saith, " He set my feet on a rock, and established my 
goings," Ps. xl. 2, but if men be upon the sand, they must 
needs fall, and great will be their fall, as their profession is 
great. Sometimes men live high, and profess beyond that 
stock of grace which they have : but if you would be kept 
and established, observe what the causes, and reasons are, 
of the instability and apostacy of others, and take heed 

But what shall I do, that I may be more settled in regard 
of my judgment; and that I may be established in the pre 
sent truth ? 

Get a clear and distinct understanding in the things and 
truths of the gospel : labour, not only to know, but to get a 
clear, and judicious apprehension, and clearness in the truths 
of Christ ; Ps. cvi., it is said of the Israelites, that when 
they saw the Egyptians drowned in the sea, " They sang the 
praises of God, and believed his words," verse 12, " yet they 
soon forgat his works, verse 13. And why so ? but because 
they had no clear understanding in them, verse 7> " Our 
fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt." And this 
apostle Peter, doth join the unlearned and unstable man 
together, 2 Peter iii. "Which they that are unlearned, and 
unstable, wrest to their own destruction," verse 16. Some 
would have it read thus : " Which those that are unteachable, 
and do refuse." But unlearned suits well enough with the 
original, apaSeie :* for what is the reason that men are so un 
stable, but because they are not grounded, and studied, in the 
body of divinity ? They take up some truth by hear-say, 
and education ; and not being studied in them, they are soon 
removed from them : study therefore, and get a clear and 
* Gnecum a/uaStic proprie significat indociles qui nolunt rectius instrui 
et informari, qui monstratse ex verbo Dei ccelebti veritati locum dare renunt. 
Gerard in loc. 


distinct knowledge in the great mysteries and truths of the 

Take heed of unsettling principles ; for they will baptize 
your judgment into a conformity with them; such as the 
apostacy of saints, and falling from grace. If a man hold 
that he may be a saint to day, and none to-morrow ; a saint 
the third day again, and none the fourth day; must not he 
needs be unsettled in judgment ? It is commonly known that 
Bertius wrote a book de Apostasia Sanctorum, of the apos 
tacy of the saints;* and as well known, that being then a 
protestant, he after fell away unto popery : and when he came 
to France, and made a renunciation of his former faith, and 
shewed the reasons of his conversion to the popish faith, he 
tells us in his printed oration, that primus conversionis gradus, 
the first step to his popish conversion was, the knowledge of, 
and contending for, that doctrine, that faith, as an act justi 
fies ; and that the TO credere, is imputed to us for our justifi 
cation in the sight of God. And well might that principle 
have such an influence upon him, being brought forth by his 
former unsettling principles. Unsettling principles will make 
an unsettled judgment; and an unsettled judgment, will 
bring forth an unsettled life, and practice. Take heed there 
fore of unsettling principles. 

Be sure that you do not make any impression, the rule and 
square of your judgment ; judge not doctrines by impres 
sions ; " We have a more sure word of prophesy, whereunto 
ye shall do well, that you take heed, as unto a light shining 
in a dark place," saith the apostle, 1 Pet. i. 19. Where do 
ye find in all the scripture, that God hath put heart-impres 
sions into the chair, to be judge of doctrines ? If I judge of 
a doctrine by an impression made upon my soul, the devil 

* Cum improbarem illam novatorum sententiam, qua docebant non justificari 
DOS a Deo nisi jtistitia aliena videremqne illius sententiae. Authores in dicto illo 
B. Pauli fides credentis reputatur ipsi in justitiam rocem fidei non proprie acci- 
pere sed per catalepsin aut metonymiam ita sell, ut per fidem non ipsa fides sed 
objectum fidei Cbristus scil. vel obedientia Christ! significaretur ; ostendi non 
tamen id a Scripturis ease alienum sed etiam nervos religionis, hoc est studium 
bonorum operum ea sententia succidi suscepi ergo adversus. Sibrand. Lubber- 
turn, acerrimuui novae illius arrogautis et prophanae opinionis patrouuin grave 
certauiea hie ergo primus suit mese ad fideui catholicam conversionis gradus. 
Petri Bertii Oratio qua rationcm rcddit cur roinano catholicam fidem aniplexus 
sit. page 19. 


knows how to fetch me off quickly from the truth : what 
settlement, or establishment of soul can there be, whilst men 
will make their light within them, the rule of their judging 
doctrines ? The word of God without, is my rule ; the light 
within, is my help to understand that rule : but if I judge of 
doctrines by impressions of the word on my heart, I can 
never be settled ; therefore take heed of that. 

Get into the house of God : God s house, is an house of 
establishment; there he commandeth his blessing, and life 
for evermore ; there if one fall, another may help him up ; and 
if one err, another may inform him ; there the Lord hath pro 
mised to make men pillars for stedfastness : " And he that over- 
cometh, I will make him (saith Christ) a pillar in the temple of 
God, and he shall go no more out/ Rev. iii. 12. Ye know 
how it is with the bee : so long as it is fair, and sun-shining 
weather, it is abroad in the fields ; but if the winds be high, 
and rough, it doth then keep its hive. Now as Solomon 
saith, Learn of the pismire ; so say I, Learn of the bee. Are 
the winds high and rough ? Keep your hive ; and your hive, 
or rather God s house, will keep you. 

Go not into those companies, and meetings, where the false 
prophet, and unclean spirit are, and where false doctrine is 
taught ; false doctrine is a great leaven. Ye read of three 
leavens in the New Testament: 1. The leaven of hypocrisy, 
Luke xii. 1. " Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which 
is hypocrisy." 2. The leaven of ill company, and society, 
1 Con v. 6. " A little leaven, leaveneth the whole lump." 
3. The leaven of false doctrine, Matt. xvi. 6. 11, 12; Gal. vi. 
8, 9. " This persuasion, is not of him that calleth you ; a 
little leaven, leaveneth the whole lump," verse 9. Pos 
sibly all these three leavens may be in such a meeting : but 
the two last are certainly. And can you think to be under 
the power of these leavens, and to come away unleavened ? 
It argues unsettledness to go to such a meeting; and by your 
going, you will be more settled in your unsettledness : as 
men are confirmed in that grace which they bring to God s 
ordinances : so they will be confirmed in that sin, which they 
carry to the devil s ordinances. Who can come freely off from 
the devil s ground? Will men tempt God, and think to 
prosper ? And what is it to tempt God, but to put him upon 
an unnecessary protection, and preservation of us ? Take 


heed therefore, how you come at such meetings, lest you leav 
ing God, he do leave you. 

Whatever truth you know, do not only know it in a spirit 
ual way, but put the same into practice ; for he that knows 
truth carnally, is not far from error ; and the way to be es 
tablished in the truth, is to walk therein ; " As ye have 
therefore received Christ (saith the apostle) so walk in him, 
rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith/ 
Col. ii. 6, 7. 

Then go to God for his establishing grace, and put your* 
judgments into the hand of Christ to keep them for you : 
even as you would put your children, or family into God s 
hand, to keep them for you, when you are absent from them ; 
so put your judgment into God s hand, to keep it for you 
also : for it is God alone who doth settle us, even the God 
of all grace ; and he hath said, Prov. xvi. 3., " Commit thy 
works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be estab 
lished :" it is he that hangeth weights on the wings of the 
wind who hath founded the earth on nothing ; and therefore 
though your thoughts be as fleeting and uncertain as the 
wind ; yet he can hang weights upon them, he can make you 
solid, staid, sober, who do now stagger to and fro like a 
drunken man. And if you put your judgment into Christ s 
hand, he will keep it for you ; for faithful is he who hath 
called you, who will also establish your hearts in the truth 

But what shall I do, that I may be more settled in my life, 
and established in the good ways of God ? for I want settle 
ment in my ways and practises. 

You must be very sensible of your own unsettledness, and 
be humbled for it: he is not far from grace, that is sensible 
of his sin, that is contrary to it; he is not far from humility, 
that is sensible of his pride ; not far from sincerity, that is 
sensible of his hypocrisy ; not far from faith, that is sensible 
of his unbelief; not far from establishment, that is very sen 
sible of his own unsettledness. 

Labour for a serious spirit, a staid, solid, and a serious spi 
rit ; a serious spirit, and an established heart go together, 
Prov. iv. 26., " Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy 
ways be established." Young men generally, are more un 
settled, than ancient men : and what is the reason of it, but 

284 THE GOOD AND MEANS [Sfill. 12. 

because ancient men are the more serious and ponderous ? 
Young men are the less serious, and so the more unsettled. 
Labour therefore to be more serious, for the more you think 
of the greatness of God, and the great things of your ever 
lasting estate and condition, the more serious you will be. 

Be sure that you do not live upon your condition itself, 
but on the God of your condition : that is perpetual, which 
hath a perpetuating cause.* God is perpetual, but your con 
dition is uncertain, although it be never so firm and good ; 
therefore live not upon your condition I say, but on the God 
of your condition. 

Take heed of a divided heart, that you have not a mind, 
and a mind : " The double-minded man, is unstable in all his 
ways," saith the apostle. Now a man may have a mind, and 
a mind thus ; when his conscience runs one way, and his af 
fection another way. So it was with Herod ; his consci 
ence told him, that John was a just, and an holy man, and a 
powerful preacher ; therefore his mind was to deliver him ; 
but his affection was to gratify the damsel which begged 
John s head, and so his mind was to kill him. Pilate also 
had a mind, and a mind ; the mind of his conscience was to 
deliver Christ; but the mind of his affection, was to gratify 
and please the Jews. Zedekiah had a mind, and a mind; 
the mind of his conscience was to spare Jeremiah ; but the 
mind of his affection was to gratify his nobles : and between 
these two minds, how unconstant was he ? So now, if the 
mind of your conscience lie one way, and the mind of your 
affection lie another way, you will be wrung like Paul s ship, 
between two streams; one while you will be a servant unto 
your affection, another while a servant to your conscience, 
and so between both, you will never be settled : take heed 
therefore of this divided heart ; the Lord hath promised to 
give us one heart, Ezek. xi., oneness in regard of God, that 
we shall be one with him ; oneness in regard of men, that we 
shall be one with them : oneness in regard of our selves, 
that we shall not be divided in our own souls : therefore 
pray unto him for this oneness, and he will fulfil this his pro- 

* Perpetuum est quod habet causam perpetuantem. 

f Et dabo eis cor uiium. Mihi soli deservieas non idolis, nunc enim divisuin 
fju imlo habent cor quo et me et idola colunt sic interpretatur R. Da\id eodemque 


Be sure that you put on the whole armour of God ; for 
if you do not withstand in the day of temptation, ye cannot 
stand ; " for ye fight not with flesh and blood," saith the 
apostle, but with a more crafty, powerful enemy : and 
therefore, if any place lie open, he will be sure to find it 
out. You know how it was with Ahab ; a man drew a bow, 
and shot an arrow at a venture, and wounded him between 
the joints of the harness. Now Satan knows where your 
naked, open place is, and therefore if you be not harnessed 
all over, with every duty, with every truth, and with every 
ordinance, you cannot withstand him : wherefore saith the 
apostle, "Take unto you the whole armour of God, that you 
may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done 
all, to stand ; stand therefore, having your loins girt about 
with truth, having on the breast-plate of righteousness, and 
your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace : 
Above all, take the shield of faith, and take the helmet of 
salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, and pray always with 
all manner of prayer, and supplication, and watch thereunto/ 
&c. Eph. vi. 1318. 

The more delight and contentment that you find in the 
good ways of God, the more your hearts will be fixed, esta 
blished, and staked down to them : comfort and establish 
ment go together, 2 Thess. ii. 17- A man will never hold to 
that work long, which he finds no comfort and delight in : 
when the devil draws a man from duty, he doth not tell him 
at the first, that the duty is naught or evil; but he labours 
to clog the way of that duty with many difficulties ; for saith 
he, if I can make this man draw heavily, and uncomfortably 
in his duty, he will soon cast it off. And indeed, what is the 
reason that men are so off and on, to and fro, in the good 

sensu vertit Chald. Paraph. Alii cor unum. Simplex vocari putant quasi dicat 
faciam ut me simplici ac sincere animo colant : alii unum id est amicum atque 
consentiens quod in christianis factum fuisse scribit, Lucas, \ct. 4. multitudinis 
autem credentiam erat cor unum et anima una. Septuag. videntur pro ln le- 
gisse in alterum, verterunt enim KO.I SUHTU) awrotc xap<JVaj> ele^av e t dabo 
illis cor alterum. Novum qui sensua magnopere mihi placet, id enim videtur 
dicere voluisse cum dixit unum et cum dixit spiritum novum, corfirmat hanc in- 
terpretationem, Ezek. xxxvi. 25., hanc eandem repetens sententiam non dixit 
dabo vobis cor unum, sed dabo vobis cor novum et spiritum novum quanquam 
Jer. xxxii. 39., cor unum et viam unam dixit quid autem vocet cor alterum et 
spiritum alterum declarat statim cum dicit auferam cor lapideum de carne eorum 
et il.tbo eis cor cirneutn. Maldonat. in Eztk. xi. 19. 

286 THE GOOD AND MEANS [SfiR. 12. 

ways of God, but because they do not find delight and con 
tentment in them ? Do you therefore desire to be fixed and 
established ? labour more and more then, to make your way 
to heaven easy and comfortable to you. 

Now that the way to heaven may be made sweet and easy 
to you : be sure that you do not separate between God s com 
mandment and his promise : there is no one thing which 
God hath commanded us to do, but he hath promised 
strength, and grace to perform it with : if I look upon the 
command alone, then the work doth seem hard to me ; but 
if I take in the promise, then it is most sweet and easy. 
Be sure that you apply yourself unto God s work, according 
unto God s method ; let that be first which he hath made 
first ; and that last, which he hath made last : a faggot, or 
billet is easily drawn from the stack, if you begin aloft ; but 
if you will take out that first, which doth lie below, it will 
come hardly : so in regard of duties ; there are some duties 
which do lie above, and some that lie beneath ; some are to 
be performed first, and some after : first you must believe, 
and then do good ; " Trust in the Lord/ saith the Psalmist, 
" and do good :" but if you will do good before you believe, 
then it will come off with difficulty. God s own method 
observed, makes his way sweet and easy. Be sure that you 
improve, and make use of that variety which God hath given 
you : varietas resocillat, variety refresheth, and God s variety is 
most refreshing : but if I will hold myself only to one duty, 
when God hath given me many, and so neglect God s variety, 
no wonder that his work is made hard and tedious : are you 
therefore weary with praying ? Apply yourself unto reading. 
Are you weary in reading ? Away then to conference. Possibly 
your heart may be backward to prayer ; but by that time you 
have been a while reading and meditating, you shall be fit for 
prayer ; and having been a while at prayer, you shall be more 
fit for conference : but if you will keep yourself only to one 
duty, your way to heaven will be more difficult. Observe there 
fore God s variety, and neglect not the same. Be sure that 
you do not stint yourself unto any work, or duty, so as to 
say, Thus far will I go, and no further. If a man be in a 
journey, and hath fixed all his stages, he rides in continual 
pain and fear, lest he should not reach his appointed 
place, by his time appointed : but if he say, I will go as 


far as the providence of God will carry me, then he rides 
more at ease in his mind all the day long. So in our 
journey to heaven ; if you say, Thus far I will go this day, 
and no further ; then you will go in continual pain, lest you 
should not reach your appointed stage : but if you say, I 
will pray morning, evening, and as much as I can, hear as 
much as I can, read, and meditate as much as I can ; I will 
go as far for heaven this day as I can, then the work of God 
will come off with more ease and sweetness, and with less 
difficulty : I speak not this against set times of prayer and 
duty : but against stinting and limiting God, and your own 
hearts. Oh, let us take heed of that. If you would so 
sweeten the ways of God, as that you may be more fixed 
and established therein, then labour more atid more to na 
turalize them unto your own souls ; violent things never hold, 
natural things do : the sun is constant in rising every morn 
ing, for it is natural : the stone, if thrown up into the air, 
will descend constantly; for it is natural. So, if the work 
of God be natural to you, you will be constant in it; and 
though you be put by it, yet you will return again, and 
again. Labour therefore to naturalize the work of God to 
your own soul ; so shall it be more and more sweet and 
easy ; and you will be more fixed, settled, and established 
therein ; for it is delight that doth give fixation. 

If you would be fixed and established in the good ways of 
God, then consider these ensuing motives : thereby you 
shall rid and free yourselves from temptations, which will 
otherwise press in and return upon you. The Jews saw that 
Pilate was wavering, and not fixed for Christ, so they came 
upon him with new volleys of temptations, and carried him 
at the last : but when the disciples saw that Paul s heart was 
fixed on his journey to Jerusalem, they gave over their siege, 
and left him to his own thoughts: and though Naomi did 
persuade Ruth to return unto her own country and kindred, 
yet at the last she left speaking to her, for saith the text, " She 
saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her," Ruth i. 
18. As an unsettled spirit doth lie open unto new tempta 
tions, and doth invite them ; so a settled, fixed and established 
heart shall be freed from them. 

This fixation of soul is a great honour upon your profession, 
and thereby ye shall walk worthy of the gospel, Phil. i. ; he 


that is unsettled, unconstant and uneven in his course, doth 
bring no honour unto his profession, but lays stumbling- 
blocks before the blind, and doth offend the world. Do you 
not see, say they, what a giddy and unsettled people some 
of these professors are ? But there or there is a man that 
doth walk closely with God ; there is a chiistian indeed. He 
that keeps his constancy keeps his dignity.* 

Thereby you shall rejoice the hearts of those that are set 
over you in the Lord, who do watch for your souls. If you 
stand fast, we live, say they, and your constancy is our re 

You have been constant in seeking earthly things, which 
are in their own nature unconstant ; and will ye be constant 
in seeking unconstant things, and not constant in seeking 
those things that are most constant, and durable riches.f 

If you be not constant in good, you will be constant in 
what is evil ; if not settled in the truth, you will be tena 
cious of error. Which is the greatest evil, tenacity in 
error or instability in truth ? I say not; but seldom any are 
unstable in good but they are most tenacious in what is evil. 

And the more unsettled you are, the more you make the 
way to heaven difficult and uneasy : you think and say, Oh, 
this work of God is exceeding hard, and very difficult, and 
therefore you leave it off; then you come to it again, and 
then you leave it off again ; but by your leaving it off you do 
make it difficult-! If a horse be ridden with an even hand, 
he will go well all the day ; but if sometimes you ride him 
upon the spur, and then he stand awhile, and then ride him 
on the spur again, and then he stand and take cold again, he 
will sooner tire : and what is the reason that many men are 
so often jaded, tire, and give in, but because they do not 
keep an even pace in good ? Now, therefore, as you do de 
sire that the way to heaven may be more easy to you, that 
you may not be tenacious in what is evil, that you may not 

* Qui servat constantiam, servat dignitatem. 

f Multos annos laborant homines et constantes sunt pro rebus mundi incon- 
stantibus et fugitivis ; quia inconstantes sumus pro seterna et constanti gloria. 

J Difficile putabis perseverare at difficilius est iterum incipere, multo molestius 
inceptare sepius, equi minorem vim faciunt cum continuant iter, trahentes cur- 
rum quam cum repetere volunt postquam steterunt: non fugiunt difficultatem qui 
cessant ab opere, nam perseverando facilius net, si potuisti incipere quod difficil 
ius est poteris continuare facilius. Euseb. Nierem. de Adorat. lib. iii. c. 7. 


grieve the ministers of the gospel, instruments of your good 
and conversion, that you may not lie open unto sad and new 
temptations, and that you may not be a scandal to the good 
name of God ; for what hurt hath the precious name of God 
done to you ? labour to be more settled, fixed and establish 
ed ; which that you may be, think and think much on these 

And, lastly, go to God by prayer for this fixation and es 
tablishment of soul, he is apt and ready to pardon your former 
unevenness and want of establishment. In Psalm Ixxviii. 37, 
it is said of the Israelites, that " they were not stedfast in the 
covenant ; yet God, being merciful, forgave their iniquity," 
verse 38. And he it is alone who hangeth weights on the 
wings of the wind ; and therefore though your spirits have 
been as light as the wind itself, yet he will hang weights upon 
them ; therefore go to him, for he is the God of all grace, 
who having called you to his eternal glory, after you have 
suffered awhile, will restore, strengthen, stablish and settle 

VOL. iv. u 





GOOD READER, Thou hast, I doubt not, heard with what difficulty and pains 
this small work is brought forth, and delivered into the world ; let the difficulty 
of printing quicken thine affection in reading. As the fall of Babylon is much 
expected, so the rising of the churches is much desired. Thy prayers and our 
pains may help forward both. Wherefore, that I might not be wanting to this 
great service, I am willing that these notes should walk abroad, which I thought 
should never see more light than what crept in at my study windows. This ser 
mon may prove all the legacy which your dying friend shall be able to bequeath 
unto you ; for I am now returning to that church and people of God, which 
Jesus Christ hath committed to me and others. And if in this voyage, the Lord 
shall put the winds and seas in commission for my death, my desire is 

First, That God would forgive our adversaries, if it be his will, that have put 
us to these extremities. 

Secondly, That it may be ever said of this island, as once it was said of Israel : 
" Happy art thou, O Israel ; who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, 
the shield of thine help, and the sword of thine excellency," Deut. xxxiii. 29. 

Thirdly, That falling Babylon may befallen Babylon ; and that all the dis 
tressed churches may be restored churches. Vivat Chrlstus moriatur Barrabas, 
moriatur Antichristus. 

For the first we have great cause to forgive, seeing all their injuries are turned 
unto our blessings. And therefore as Joseph said to his brethren that sold him 
into a strange country, " As for you, ye thought evil against me, but God meant 
it unto good : now, therefore, fear not," &c. Yet we know that public adminis 
tration of justice is not contrary to personal forgiveness. We must confess, that 
the leaving of our own dear country, was and is most afflictive to us : a trouble 
to leave our good friends, convenient houses, precious liberties, and so many 
souls under the hazard of your eternities. But Luther s counsel is good : Si 
nolint vosferre in ditione sua non frangatur animus ad cessandum ad deferen- 
dum verbum et officium, sed persevet andum et docendum, si non in hoc loco 
saltern in alia. At ilerum dices quid si nullo loco liceat, sed ubique ; ejiciamur 
in toto mundo, respondet Christu nolite solliciti esse. Antequam id eveniret ut 
nullus locus amplius sit vcrbo, ego adero meo adventu, erit igitur semper locus 
ubi doceatis donee ego veniam, tantum vos perdurate el salvi eritis, non expedi- 
etis omnes civitates Israel quinfilius hominis veniet. Luther loc. com. de piis 
exulibus. " If they will not suffer you where they have to do, let not your mind 
be troubled to cease from your work, or desert your office, but teach and perse 
vere ; if it be not lawful in one place, it may be in another. But thou wilt say, 
What if it be lawful in no place, and that we be every where cast out in the 


whole world ? Christ answers, Be not solicitous ; before it come to pass, that no 
place be left for the word, I will be present by my coming ; there shall always be 
a place where you may teach till I shall come : only do you hold on, and you 
shall be saved : you shall not have gone over all the cities of Israel, till the Son 
of Man shall come." 

So that according to Luther, and the truth, though the persecutions of the 
churches be never so great, yet there shall always be some place free and open, 
as a city of refuge for God s people to fly unto, and hide themselves in, till 
Christ shall come by public deliverance for the churches. 

- For the second. You have seen what great things the Lord hath done for 
you ; believest thou because of these, thou shalt see greater, only let us follow 
the star of heavenly and divine guidance, which hath led us along all this while, 
and not go in to consult with the scribes and pharisees of the times, with those 
that say they are Jews, and are not : so shall our star, the Scripture, lead us 
more clearly to the place and house where Christ is. Neither be thou ashamed 
to receive and own the truth and way of Christ, though it be despised. The 
wise men did worship Christ in a manger. 

And for the third, I shall not prophesy if I say, the sword is now drawn, 
whose anger shall not be pacified till Babylon be down, and Sion raised. Yet if 
thou shalt meet with another suffering bout, in patience possess thy soul, in faith 
thy God, in love thy neighbour. And know that it is God s usual way to bring 
his best servants to his choice blessings by tedious bouts. Exod. xiii. 18. In 
the interim observe diligently what God is now doing, and help forward the work 
of God what you can. Quod Deusfacit pro nobisfacit in nobis. And as you 
would read and study some choice book to get learning, so read, attend, and 
study every page, line, and letter of this great volume of the Lord s works which 
is now extant ; be in commons with the Lord s people. " The works of the 
Lord are sought out of all those that have pleasure in them," saith the psalmist. 

Finally, good reader, pray for us, that we may stand complete in all the will of 
God ; and though the malice of some men hath been so great, that we may not 
live together in one land, yet the mercy of God is so rich, that we may live 
together in one heaven. 

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, 
that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 
make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which 
is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and 
ever." Amen. 

Thine in Christ, 


" Babylon is fallen, is fallen, the great city," &(C. REV. xiv. 8. 

THIS text hath connection with the present times, and the 
preceding words ; for the Holy Ghost having made a de 
scription of the state and condition of the church of Christ, 
in verses 1 5, comes in ver. 6 to make mention of another 
vision which St. John saw, and that is of an angel flying in 
the midst of heaven with the everlasting gospel ; which is 
said to be everlasting, in opposition to those innovations and 

u -> 


traditions of men, under which the churches of Christ had 
laboured a long time. This vision being past, as a right 
consequent of the former vision, he sees another angel, 
crying, " Babylon is fallen, is fallen," verse 8. And no won 
der, for where the everlasting gospel is preached in the midst 
of heaven, that is openly, there Babylon falls, and falls 

The words themselves are a short, and sweet prophecy of 
Rome s ruin and destruction. Wherein we have : 

The description of Rome itself. 

The description of her destruction. 

She is described two ways : 

1. From her greatness, called the great city. Indeed she 
hath been great in large possessions, and great revenues, so 
she is fallen already in a great measure, yet she is too great. 
Great in her opinion with kings and princes, and thus she 
is fallen already in a great measure, yet still too great. 
Great in her authority and power over the saints, and 
churches of Christ, and from this greatness she is much 
fallen already, and yet too great. 

2. From her sins that she is guilty of, under that word 
Babylon. For if we consult with this book of the Revela 
tion, we shall find that the church of Rome, and that party 
is called Egypt, Sodom, and Babylon, as if the wickednesses 
of them all were concentred in her. 

Egypt was exceeding harsh and cruel to the church, and 
Israel of God : so are they. 

Sodom was exceeding base and filthy in corporal unclean^ 
ness ; and so are they. 

Babylon full of sorceries and idolatry, so are they. She 
is called Babylon. 

Her destruction is described, and that two ways. 

1. From the fulness and greatness thereof, therefore she 
is said to fall, and not once, but again fallen, fallen. As it 
is God s way to reward those that are good with the good 
which they most desire ; so it is his way to punish the 
wicked with that punishment which is most contrariant to 
their dispositions, and their own humours. Babylon, and 
the Babylonish company most affect rising, and great prefer 
ment ; contrary their punishment shall be that it may be 


most vexatious to them, they shall fall, their destruction is 
called a. fall. 

2. From the certainty thereof. It is put in the present 
tense, as if it were already done. The words are repeated, 
* It is fallen, it is fallen. 

Hardly a word but it affords its several observation. Yet 
because I would not cut out more bread than we shall eat at 
Dne meal, I will fall, and close with these especially. 

Antichristian and Romish Babylon is truly Babylon. 

Though this Babylon be never so great, yet it shall fall. 
[t will fall assuredly. 

It is the duty of the saints, and people of God to speak of 
;his fall as if it were done already. 

Antichristian Romish Babylun, is truly Babylon. Herein 
[ shall parallel the old and our late Babylon. I shall prove 
;hat by this Babylon is meant Rome. In the Old Testa 
ment we read of a Babylon wherein Israel was once captived, 
;hat was heathenish Babylon. In the New Testament we 
ead here and in divers other places of another Babylon, 
mtichristian Babylon. Give me leave to parallel them a little. 

Heathenish Babylon was the metropolitan, or the chief 
jity of the Chaldees, full of trade and merchandize, insomuch 
is she calls herself the queen of the world, "who sat upon 
uany waters/ Jer. li. xiii. So it is with our late Babylon, 
vho calls herself the queen sitting upon many waters, which 
s also interpreted by St. John, to be "peoples, multi- 
;udes, and nations," Rev. xvii. 15. 

Babylon of old was a proud people, and very confident, 
exceeding delicate, and very wanton, calling herself a " lady 
or ever," Isa. xlvii. 7? 8. Thus antichristian Babylon sits 
ilso. Rev. xviii. 7 5 " She hath glorified herself, and lived 
leliciously : for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am 
10 widow, and shall see no sorrow." 

This wanton and delicate place of old was full of sorcerers 
md soothsayers. Isa. xlvii. 12, 13, " Stand now with thine 
enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, 
.vherein thou hast laboured from thy youth," &c. Therefore 
read that in Daniel s time they came before the king to 
;ell him the meaning of his dream, but could not. So it is 
tvith our late Babylon, wherein are many sorceries and sor 
cerers. Rev. ix. 21 ; xviii. 23. 


Heathenish Babylon was exceeding full of idols and vile 
idolaters, the mother of them, and therefore we read, that 
the three children were commanded to worship the king s 
idol, Dan. iii. Answerably it is said of our late Babylon, 
that she doth "make all nations drunk with the wine of her 
fornication/ Rev. xvii. 2. 

As ancient Babylon was full of idols, and gross idolaters, 
so also it was exceeding cruel to the church and people of 
God. Ps. cxxxvii. 1, "By the rivers of Babylon there we 
sat down, yea we wept, when we remembered Sion," &c. 
Who hath not read of the Babylonish captivity, the fiery 
furnace, and their den of lions. Answerably in this late 
Babylon is "found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and 
of all that were slain upon the earth," Rev. xviii. 24. 

The destruction of ancient Babylon was great, and very 
dreadful. For, 

It was universal. Isa. xlvii. 14, " There shall not be a 
coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before." And Is. xiv. 22 3 
" For I will rise up against them, saith the Lord of hosts, 
and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son 5 
and nephew, saith the Lord." 

It was very sudden. Is. xlyii. 9, "In a moment, in on 
day : the loss of children, and widowhood : they shall com 
upon thee in perfection." 

It was irrevocable. Jer. li. 63, 64, " And it shall be when 
thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shal 
bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates 
And thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall no 
rise from the evil that I will bring upon her." 

Answerably the destruction of our late Babylon is ver 
dreadful. For, 

It shall be universal. Rev. xviii. 23, "The light of 
candle shall shine no more at all in thee." 

It shall be sudden. Rev. xviii. 8, "Therefore shall he 
plagues come in one day, in one hour." 

It shall be irrevocable. Rev. xviii. 21, "And a might 
angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it int 
the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great cit 
Babylon be throw r n down, and shall be found no moi 
at all." 

Because of all these things, great sins, and great destruc 


tions, the people of God were commanded to depart and go 
out of old Babylon. Jer. li. 6, " Flee out of the midst of 
Babylon, and deliver every man his soul." And verse 45, 
" My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye 
every man his soul," &c. In like manner \ve find that the 
Holy Ghost having given warning to the world concerning 
the fall of this late Babylon, he exhorteth his people to go 
out from the midst of her, Rev. xviii. 4, " Come out of her 
my people," &c. 

Thus are these two Babylon s paralleled, certainly they are, 
and shall be exceeding like one to another in these parti 
culars. But the question now is, who is here meant in the 
Revelation by this late Babylon ; indeed this is a question of 
much concernment, because she is to fall, the princes of the 
earth are to be provoked to eat her flesh, and drink her 
blood, and we are all to depart from her, lest we partake 
with her in her plagues. 

By this late Babylon therefore, we understand the church 
of Rome ; not as confined within her walls, but as by her 
merchants she tradeth with, and putteth off her commodities 
to other kingdoms. Rome in her latitude, with all her 
merchants, and those that symbolize with her, is here to be 
understood. And that Rome and no other is here meant, 
I prove by these reasons : 

Babylon is here in my text called " the great city," and in 
St. John s time, what was the great city but Rome itself ? 
for suppose a man were in France, and should hear another 
say, that such and such a work were to be done in the great 
city, who would not know that he meant Paris ? or suppose 
a man in England should hear another say, that some great 
work were to be done in the great city, who would not know 
that he meant London ? In St. John s time the Roman 
empire prevailing, the great city was Rome itself; and there 
fore the Holy Ghost saying, that Babylon was the great city, 
saith expressly, that by Babylon is meant Rome. 

This city and whore of Babylon, is said to sit upon a 
beast, Rev. xvii. 7 Now if we look into the book of 
Daniel, whereby much of the Revelation is to be interpreted, 
we shall find mention of four beasts to succeed one another, 
which is there interpreted to be four kingdoms or mo 
narchies. The first of the Chaldees. The second of the 


Medes and Persians. The third of the Grecians. And the 
fourth of the Romans. Now before John s time, the three 
first beasts were dead, and gone ; the fourth and last only 
remained, the Roman empire. And what city or people hath 
so ridden the Roman empire, as Rome hath done ? 

St. John tells us, that this beast that carried the woman, 
this city was to have " seven heads, and ten horns," Rev. 
xvii. 7, which the Holy Ghost interpreted in the same chap 
ter, saying, " These seven heads are seven mountains," verse 9, 
or " seven kings," that is, several sorts of government, verse 
10. And the ten horns are ten kings or kingdoms, verse 12, 
which this empire did break into. Now though some think, 
whilst they look through false perspectives, that they see 
some other city sitting upon seven hills, yet let any man 
shew us these three met together in any other city. Who 
knows any other city whose building hath been laid on seven 
hills, so famous that the city itself is called Septiros, and 
whose government hath been of seven sorts, and whose 
empire hath been broken asunder into ten kingdoms, or 
thereabouts? This we know is agreeable to Rome itself, 
and therefore Rome and no other people is here meant by 

The Scripture is most express, telling us, totidem verbis, 
that that city which in St. John s time reigned over the 
kings of the earth, was Babylon, Rev. xvii. 18, "And the 
woman which thou sawest, is that great city which reigneth 
over the kings of the earth." But in St. John s time no 
other city than Rome reigned over the kings ot the earth, 
and therefore that, and that alone is truly Babylon, that is, 
our late Babylon. Whereupon Cornelius a Lapide, consi 
dering also how Irenaeus, Lactantius, Jerome, and other 
ancients, speak fully to our purpose, professes that he will 
not tergiversari, but granteth, that by Babylon is meant 

If so, what ill office have they done to the church and 
people of God, that obtrude this position upon us, That the 
church of Rome is a true church. But was Babylon a true 
church ? was Sodom a true church ? was Egypt a true church ? 
Rome is Sodom, Egypt, and truly Babylon. Oh, what abun 
dance of hurt and mischief hath this dangerous position done, 
that the church of Rome is a true church ! I myself have known 


some that had relinquished the church of Rome, and written 
against her, who again staggered in their faith, I wish I 
might not say they were revolted, when they saw this opi 
nion countenanced, and published by great authority. And 
what say the papists ? Your own men, say they, hold that 
the church of Rome is a true church, and that salvation is 
to be had in her; as for the church of England it is a schis- 
matical, heretical church, wherein no salvation is to be had. 
The safest way therefore is to join with us, where, according 
to all men, both ours and yours, you may be sure of your 
salvation. And indeed the argument were very strong, and 
home, if the premises were true. But when it shall appear 
by Scripture, that Sion is called Babylon, and Babylon 
called Sion, then, and not till then will I believe that Rome 
is a true church. I know what some urge, namely, that 
antichrist, that man of sin, is to sit in the house of God, 
and therefore that the church of Rome is the house, and 
church ot God. But if we consult with the original, we 
shall find that the words are not tv rw va.u in the house, but 
c rov votu upon, or against the house of God ; so Austin, and 
others turn it. Upon ; noting his tyranny and usurped go 
vernment, so the coherent words also give it, " He shall sit 
exalting himself above all that is called God." The whole 
words being nothing else, but a description of his proud 
government and vile tyranny. 

If antichristian and Romish Babylon be truly Babylon, 
then set yourselves in array against her round about. I 
mean not in way of warlike hostility, oh that all your 
swords were turned into ploughshares, my exhortation is no 
other than that of the prophet Jeremiah, concerning old 
Babylon, chap. 1. 14, " Put yourselves in array against 
Babylon, round about all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, 
spare no arrows, for she hath sinned against the Lord." It 
is the wisdom of every man, to observe what design God 
hath upon the world, a kingdom, or place, and to be in our 
callings serviceable, and helpful to God s designs. God will 
help us, if we help him. We love to be on the strongest 
side, and God is strongest. Now is the time that God is 
bearing down the walls of proud Babylon, that are raised up 
in every kingdom. Magistrates, ministers, people, help. Help, 


oh, you that love the Lord, help the Lord, down with them, 
down with them even to the ground. 

But what shall we do to help forward the fall of Babylon ? 

Either you are of public place, or private station. If you 
be of a private station, yet you ought to be of a public 
spirit. If you he of public place, give me leave to tell you 
out of God s word what to do, and yet I will not so much 
direct you to what you are not doing, as encourage you from 
Scripture in what you are doing. 

Therefore ye worthies of our Israel, it lies upon you 
to search out, and inquire after this Babylonish company, 
and to repay them according to their demerits. "An eye 
for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, burning for burning, ear for 
ear, liberty for liberty, and blood for blood." We find in 
the Old Testament, that if there were a noise and report of 
idolatry in the land, the magistrate was not barely to take 
information, but to make diligent search, Deut. xiii. 12 15, 
" If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities which the Lord 
thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying, Certain men 
of the children of Belial are gone out from among you, and 
have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us 
go and serve other gods which you have not known. Then 
shalt thou enquire and make search, and ask diligently," &c. 
And in the verses before you may see their punishment, 
verse 6 10. And who knows not that of the Psalmist, 
Ps. cxxxvii. 8, 9. " O daughter of Babylon, who art to be 
destroyed : happy shall he be that rewardeth thee, as thou 
hast served us. Happy shall he be that taketh, and dasheth 
thy little ones against the stones." Though as little ones 
they call for pity, yet as Babylonish little ones they call for 
justice, even to blood. You may think it cruel, but there is 
nothing cruel which God commands. Indeed father Latimer 
in his sermon before king Edward the sixth, is exceeding 
earnest, that popish prelates might be made quondams, as, 
saith he, Abiathar the high priest was, because he laboured 
to keep king Solomon from his throne. And behold a 
greater than Salomon, Christ Jesus in the government of his 
church is here. And there is a notable Scripture for this, 
Ezek. xliv. 10 15, "And the Levites that are gone away 
far from me when Israel went astray from me after their 
idols, they shall even bear their iniquity." verse 13, " They 


shall not come near unto me to do the office of a priest unto 
me, nor to come near to any of my holy things in the most 
holy place," &c. Whence it appears, that those which were 
unfaithful, superstitious, following innovations when Israel 
went astray and followed idols, were to be thrust from their 
places, and to be made quondams for ever. This now the 
magistrate may see into, I prescribe not, I leave with you 
this general. It is your duty to search and inquire after 
these persons, and to punish them according to their de- 

It is in you also to call for days of public humiliation, 
fasting, prayer, and soul-affliction. It will be said this hath 
been done already. True, it hath been done, and much 
good hath been done thereby in heaven ; but when a man 
lays his ears to the several committees, and hears what a 
world of evil is discovered in each committee ; what filthi- 
ness, and lewdness of filthiness in this and that priest, in 
this and that officer ; how can a man but break forth, and 
say, or rather sob, Good Lord, what a lamentable condition 
was this poor land in ? Oh, that the weight of our sins 
should not break the axle tree of God s patience. Oh, that 
we are a nation to this day. And then is there not yet need 
of more tears, humiliation, and soul afflictions ? Of all the 
reformed churches in the world, England hath borne the 
name, and worn the crown for the life and power of godli 
ness ; yet give me leave with grief of heart, and sadness of 
spirit, to make a challenge : What reformed church is there 
in all the world, that ever knew so many suspended ministers 
as England ? Speak, O Sun, whether in all thy travels from 
one end of the heaven to the other, thou didst ever see so 
many silenced ministers as thou hast done here. And is 
there not then need of more humiliation, more fasting, and 
prayer, more self-afflictions, and more tears ? I will lead you 
but to one Scripture, and leave it with you, Ezek. xliii. 10, 
11, "Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of 
Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities, and let 
them measure the pattern. And if they be ashamed of all 
that they have done ; shew them the form of the house, and 
the fashion thereof, the goings out thereof, and the comings 
in thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms 
thereof, and all the laws thereof," &c. I know not such 


another text in all the Bible, as this is for this purpose. 
One man says, the government of the church of England 
is the best ; another, that the Scottish government is the 
best ; a third, that a third is best ; another, Oh, that I knew 
what were the government and form of God s house, pre 
scribed by God himself. Well. Wouldst thou know ? " If 
you be ashamed of your own iniquities, God will shew you 
the form of his house." 

It is with you also, right worthy and beloved, to see 
that all the ordinances of Jesus Christ, be rendered to the 
churches in their native beauty, and that all the relics, and 
remains of Babylon be quite removed. Opus marmoreum 
albario non indiget. True marble needs no painting. And 
God s ordinance is all marble, no chalk, True beauty needs 
no colouring ; and the most deformed of God s ordinances 
to a gracious eye, is truly beautiful. Great is the pomp of 
God s ordinances, when freed from pomp, great is their 
glory when freed from ours. Every ordinance is then best 
administered, when it is most effectual, and a thing is most 
full of efficacy, when it is plenum sui, immixtum alieni. As 
wine or water which doth most cool, or cleanse when freed 
from mixtures. 

In the primitive times when the heathen would put the 
Christians to a cruel death, they tied a living man to a dead 
man, that so by the filthy savour, and stench of the dead 
carcase, they might poison the living man to death ; this they 
counted the worst of death ; the death of deaths. So when 
the dead ordinances of man s inventions, shall be tied to the 
living ordinances of God s appointment; what is this, but 
as much as in us lies to poison the living with the dead ? 
But I pray tell me, what unkindness hath the good ordinance 
of Christ done to us, that we should put it to so sad a death. 
And as Christ said to the Jews, ({ I have done many good 
works amongst you, for which of all these do you take up 
stones against me ? so may the ordinances of Christ say, 
Oh, ye people of England, I have done many good works 
among you ; I have converted many of you by preaching to 
you ; I have healed many of you that were sore bruised ; 
I have comforted many of you that were sore troubled ; for 
which of all these do you use me thus unkindly; for which 
of all these do you thus tie and link me to that, which never 


entered into the heart of God to match me with ? What 
Luther says concerning preaching, that may I say, concern 
ing all the ordinances of God. We that are ministers, saith 
he, think to take our people with our expressions, and if we 
light upon an expression that pleaseth us well, we think that 
it should convert every one that hears it from us; but when 
the auditor comes, et hominem olet, he smells man in the 
expression, turns his back upon it, and the whole vanisheth, 
and comes to nothing. The explication is plain and easy. 

Wherefore, I beseech you, in Christ s stead, that are the 
heads of our tribes, that nothing be obtruded upon the 
churches of Christ ; but what may clearly, and plainly have 
Jus divinum written and engraven upon it. Your wisdoms 
cannot but observe the several distractions that are both in 
church and common-wealth. If you analyze the distractions 
of the common-wealth, you may find thereby what is the 
head of our distractions in the church also. And in the 
common-wealth this is that which troubles, that proceedings 
are so illegal ; Oh, says one, though it cost me never so 
much, yet if it were according to law, I would yield unto it. 
This is that which cuts so deep, says another, there is no law 
for these, and these courses : so in the church, I cannot yield 
to this, and that custom, this and that innovation, for there 
is no law for it. 

But if a thing be indifferent, and authority command it, 
then Jus divinum is written upon it. 

It is the wisdom of authority to preserve the churches in 
that liberty, wherein Christ hath left them, for authority is 
Tabularum custos, non author. 

If a thing be indifferent in its own nature, and the doing 
thereof offensive to a weak brother, authority cannot write 
Jus divinum upon it ; for to offend a weak brother is to de 
stroy him, 1 Cor. viii. 11. And the destruction of a weak 
brother, is the breach of the moral law. Now we all know, 
that authority cannot write Jus divinum upon the breach of 
the moral law. 

Solomon saith, Eccles. xii. 13, " Fear God, and keep his 
commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." As God 
is an all-sufficient being for a man to live upon, so God s 
word is an all-sufficient rule for a man to live by. And if 
we look into Isa. xxx. 22, we shall find that God doth not 


only command that the images themselves should be de 
stroyed, but that "their coverings should be denied." I 
remember what Master Bering said in a sermon before queen 
Elizabeth. There hath been much dust in the house, and 
though for the present the house be swept, yet the dust is 
but laid behind the door, and a hen will come that will spread 
it all abroad again. Wherefore, I beseech you take heed, 
that there be no dust left in the house of God in any cor 
ner. Give us the ordinances of Christ in their naked and 
own colours, so shall they be blest to us, we under them 
and you by them. 

It is with you also to set up burning, and shining lights 
in every candlestick of the kingdom. First, that the candle 
stick be rightly fashioned ; secondly, that the lights therein 
be duly settled with golden snuffers, not brazen extinguishers. 
This is a special help to the fall of Babylon, for ye heard 
from the context, that no sooner did there an angel fly 
through the midst of heaven with the everlasting gospel, 
that is, preaching openly; but another angel followed pre 
sently, crying, " Babylon is fallen." You know, that con 
traries have contrary consequences. Babylon was built by 
ignorance, therefore the papists say, Ignorance is the mother 
of devotion, and they say truly ; for indeed ignorance is the 
mother of their devotion ; therefore they use their friends, 
that the people may be put off with matins, and even-song, 
that so our ignorance might be an inlet to their devotion. 
Wherefore then let there be an angel sent, that is a ministry 
flying in the midst of heaven, that is openly, and not by 
stealth, preaching the eveslasting gospel to every place and 
congregation, then will Babylon fall, and fall immediately. 

These be your duties. 

But it is exceeding hard and very difficult to do these : 
a perfect and full reformation is very good, and necessary, 
but exceeding hard and difficult. 

True, but did not Abraham s sacrifice hang in the briars and 
bushes ? Ye read that when Isaac should have been sacri 
ficed, God provided a sacrifice, but that sacrifice did first 
hang in the briars. Ye are the children of Abraham, and if 
you would offer a sacrifice of God s own, a sacrifice that 
should be pleasing to him, make account that it must hang 
in the briars, bushes, and many difficulties. 


The heathen could say, Virtue grows upon the rocks ; and 
if the extirpation of Babylon, with the reformation of true 
religion, were not a hard work, it were not fit for a parlia 
ment to do. They are met to untie such knots as none else 
can untie. The heathen king said to a poor man, Though 
this gift be too great for you to receive, yet it is not too 
great for me to give. Either it is of God that you are as 
sembled, or else it is not ; if it be not why sit you here, if 
it be, can any thing be too hard for God ? Wherefore, let 
your faith laugh in the face of difficulties. For as unbelief 
will make a thing difficult though never so easy, so faith will 
make a thing easy though never so difficult. 

But this work is not only exceeding hard and difficult, 
but very dangerous. In great reformations there must be 
some alterations, and alterations cannot be without danger 
and trouble. 

There is much difference between smart and danger. If 
a man have rotten and aching teeth in his head, though the 
pulling them out be exceeding troublesome, and full of ache, 
and smart even to bleeding of the gums, and vexation of all 
the body, yet there is no danger, much smart, but no danger. 
So in regard of the church and common-wealth, though the 
pulling out of some rotten members may cause a bleeding, 
make trouble, and some disturbance, yet there is no danger, 
some ache, but no danger. 

Many things seem to be dangerous at a distance, that are 
not so at hand. When Moses rod was at a distance from 
him, it was turned to a serpent, and he fled from it ; but 
when he took it by- the tail at God s command, it was his 
rod in his hand again. Prisons, banishments, miseries, at 
a distance are serpents to us ; when we come to them, are 
exceeding comfortable, and our rods in our hands. 

Suppose there were danger in a reformation, and extirpa 
tion of all that is Babylon s, yet there is more danger in 
want of reformation. Vomiting physic is very troublesome, 
but disease more. He that ventures against Babylon, at the 
worst can but lose his life, which may be taken away by the 
fall of seme tile, or the turning of some humour in our 
body ; but he that partakes with Babylon in her sin, shall 
partake with her in her plagues and punishments to all 
eternity. What a trouble did Achan cause, yet he was but 


one man, his act one, and the Babylonish garment but one. 
Oh what trouble wuTit be then to"suffer many Achans, and 
that continually ? ^ Augustine says, that when the Jews 
would not acknowledge Christ, lest the Romans should come, 
and take their place, in preventing loss, they lost most. 
They would not lose their earth, and they lost their heaven ; 
they would not lose their place, and they lost their God. 

But suppose that there were the most danger in the best 
reformation, is there not enough in heaven to pay for all ? 
Nay, my beloved, even on this side heaven, there is no loss 
by Christ in losing for Christ ; non habendo habemus, in not 
having, we have. I remember what was written of fortis 
Zisca, and, as my author says, written upon his tomb in his 
epitaph, thus, Eleven times in joining battle, I went victor 
out of the field, I seemed worthily to have defended the 
cause of the miserable and hungry, against the delicate, fat, 
and gluttonous priests, and for that cause to have received 
help at the hand of God. Mark the emphasis, it lies there, 
And for that cause. But ye have an example of Jehoshaphat, 
which is exceeding full, and much encouraging, 2 Chron. 
xvii. 3, " And the Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he 
walked in the first ways of his father David/ 1 He brought 
up reformation to the first institution, and he was full therein, 
for it is said, " he walked in the first ways/ not in the last, 
" of his father David," and sought not to Baalim, " Nor 
after the doings of Israel," verse 4. And see what followed, 
" Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand, 
and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents, and he had 
riches., and honour in abundance," verse 5. The prophet 
Haggai is most express, and bids them compute, whether 
that from the very day that they set their hands to the 
building of the temple, God did not build them up in out 
ward mercies. Certainly, my beloved, the only way to 
gain, is to lose for God. It is a greater mercy to have, that 
I may lose for God, than that I may keep for my posterity. 

But suppose that a man be in place of authority, and find 
that his heart is exceeding dull and dead, and backward to 
this work of reformation, what should he do that may give 
wings to his affections, that may move and quicken up his 
spirit in this particular ? 

In this case let him put himself upon the exercise of his 


authority in the execution of justice. For it is with the 
magistracy herein, as with the ministry, the way to preach, 
is to preach ; the way to prayer, is prayer ; Iter ad yratiam 
est gratia, the way to grace is grace. God is pleased some 
times to come in with fresh strength, and to give new assist 
ance in the heat of preaching. So in the acts of magistracy, 
God comes in also in the dispensation thereof. 

In that case present your souls with that great trust that 
is committed to you, and put upon you. If a minister when 
he is handing away his precious hours between this and that 
play-book ; or when he is most prodigal of his people s time, 
for it is their s not his ; if then I say when he is most idle, and 
indisposed to those great services, he could but realize a 
congregation, and present before him the many souls that 
depend upon him, and as it were hear them calling out unto 
him : Oh, sir, study, study for our souls, study for our eter 
nity ; certainly this would awaken, move, and put life into 
him. So if those that are in authority and place of magis 
tracy, would but present themselves with those many thou 
sands that have entrusted them with their liberties, estates, 
lives, I had almost said consciences, and eternities, surely it 
would be exceeding quickening and helpful. 

Consider your present opportunity. Opportunity once lost, 
is never recovered. My words shall know no flattery ; never 
did England see a parliament more fitted for the service and 
work of God than this now is. A quiver so full of chosen 
and polished shafts for the Lord s work. I have often 
thought that God would deal by our present parliamentary 
assembly, as Samson did deal with the jaw-bone, wherewith 
he had slain heaps of the Philistines, which when he had 
done, he threw it away ; but afterwards thirsting, and being 
like to die for want of water, God sent him back to his jaw 
bone again, and tells him that he would cleave that, and open 
a fountain of water to him from thence. So hath God used 
this great parliamentary ordinance for the slaying of many 
Philistines ; but, in these latter times, this jaw-bone of ours 
hath been thrown away, and despised in the eyes of the 
world ; and it may be now God will open a fountain of water 
from hence, that we may all be revived and live thereby. 
Wherefore then let all those that are of this honourable 
assembly think : It may be God hath raised me up to this 



time, all the while I was at the university, God was laying 
in of abilities in my education for this occasion ; and shall 
I lose this opportunity, Opportunitas indicat virum, oppor 
tunity shews the man, and makes the man, and sometimes hath 
the casting voice for man s eternity. 

Consider this also, that if reformation be not now wrought, 
our sin and guilt will be greater than ever it was. This 
parliament time is a commencement time for good or evil ; 
take a good work, and though it were never so private, and 
personal, yet if it pass in this house, it does commence 
national: so take an evil, and though it were never so pri 
vate before, yet if it pass here, it will take a higher degree, 
and commence national wickedness ; this is a fearful evil, 
and very dreadful, that a personal sin should become na 
tional. I know you are unwilling that any sin should 
steal its degree ; as therefore you do desire that no personal 
sin shall become national, I beseech you in Christ s stead, 
let the reformation be full and perfect, and let every man say : 
Babylon shall fall, I also will have a hand in it, and shoulder 
at it. "Down with it, down with it, even to the ground/ 

And if you be a minister, you know your duty ; only, as 
Luther phrases it, let your knowledge be incarnate into godly 
practice ; good works are faith incarnate, knowledge incar 
nate. Now you read Joshua iii. 13, 15, 17, that when the 
children of Israel went through Jordan, these priests that 
bare the ark of the Lord, were first to enter upon the waters, 
and to stay in the midst of them, till all Israel passed 
over. The water doth note affliction, the feet of those that 
bare the ark are to be first in danger, and there to stand til 
all be over. In the place before mentioned, Ezek. xliv. 
10 12, God s threatening is very terrible. As if he shoulc 
say, As for those Levites that go astray when Israel goes 
astray, and do admit the uncircumcised in heart to mine holy 
things, though they be suffered in mine house, yet they shal 
but do the out-works thereof, as for those inward things 
mine house and self, they shall not be admitted to them, 
nor trusted with them. Though they may preach some 
outward truths, which they may read of in books, yet for 
those inward secret heart things of the covenant, 1 will never 
trust them with them, they shall not draw near to me. Oh, 
therefore beloved, that we could deny our own knowledge, 


wisdoms, parts, gifts, liberties, and all that is ours in this 
great service. 

But if a man s condition and state be private, what must 
he do to help forward the fall of Babylon ? 

Take heed that thou do nothing to hinder God s public 
design by your private practices, put away the evil of all 
your doings, lest your private wickedness do ponere obicem 
to God s providence. 

Achan s wickedness was committed in the dark, and with 
much privacy, yet what influence had it into public misery. 

Miriam and Aaron murmured against Moses, and envied 
at him, for which she was stricken with leprosy whereby the 
whole congregation was stayed, and their march hindered. 
It is said, 2 Chron. xx. 33, that the high places were not 
pulled down, " because the people were not prepared for the 
Lord;" not because the prince was not prepared, or the 
great ones not prepared, but because the people were not 
prepared. It is in regard of truth, as in regard of error in 
this particular, though the baker may have kneaded his 
dough, that is, his false opinion, and made it ready, yet as 
the prophet Hosea speaks, and as Zanchy interprets the 
place, he sets not in, till the oven be heated, that is, the 
heart of the people warmed and prepared for it. So for a 
truth also, or a public mercy and deliverance, though God 
have provided it for a people, yet it is not handed to them, 
and set in, till their hearts be warmed and prepared for it. 
You may observe therefore, that when David had made his 
penitential psalm for his own sin, Ps. li., after much suppli 
cation for the pardon of his own evil, and for grace, and 
comfort he comes at last in the 18th verse to this petition : 
" Do good in thy good pleasure unto Sion," &c. How comes 
that in here ? Yes, when a man hath once repented of his 
own sin, and cleared that reckoning, then he is fittest to ask 
mercy for the church, and till then unfit. Therefore though 
in regard of your own souls, your own eternity, you will not 
part with your own sins, yet if you have any pity, any com 
passion, any bowels towards your own country, or churches 
of God, put away the evil of all your doings. 

Though your condition be never so private, you may dis 
cover the ways of Babylon, the works and complotments of 
the Babylonish party : and the discovery of evil is half its 



ruin, as the apostle speaks, 2 Tim. iii. 9, " They shall pro 
ceed no further, for their folly shall be made manifest to all." 

You may believe down the walls of Babylon. Faith re 
moves mountains, though it be but a grain; by it the walls 
of Jericho fell, in the blowing of those poor rams horns. 
And the walls of Jericho were built up to heaven, surely 
then the walls of Babylon cannot be higher. Wherefore 
seek out those promises and threaten ings, set your heart 
towards them, bear yourselves upon them, urge, and press 
God by virtue of them, and say, though it be very unlikely 
that Babylon should fall, yet God hath thus and thus pro 
mised, thus and thus threatened, and he is faithful, here I 
will stay, and here I will wait. 

You may spread the blasphemies of the Babylonish faction 
in the eyes of heaven. Thus did Hezekiah when Rabshakeh 
blasphemed, and we know how it prevailed. Great and 
grievous have the blasphemies been wherewith the men of 
Babylon have blasphemed the saints of God, and the foot 
steps of his anointed, which God takes as done against 
himself, and so repays them, Ezek. xxxv. 12, compared with 
the 13th verse. In the 12th verse it is said, "I have heard 
all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against the 
mountains of Israel, saying, they are laid desolate, they are 
given us to consume :" but in the 13th verse these words 
are charged upon them, as if they were spoken against God him 
self: "That with your mouth you have boasted against me, 
and have multiplied your words against me." Therefore at 
the 14th verse follows the punishment. The spreading of 
their hellish blasphemies, is exceeding prevalent with God, 
and very potent. 

You may use all the interest you have in heaven, and 
whatsoever credit you have there, improve it, which we be 
seech you do now in this particular. Your prayers puts them 
under God s curse. 

Though your condition and station be never so private, 
you may according to your place, curse the practices and 
complotments of all the enemies. Doth not Jacob seem to 
pronounce a curse upon the practices of Simeon and Levi, 
though his own children, Gen. xlix. 7> " Cursed be their 
wrath for it was cruel, &c., for in their anger they slew a 
man, and in their self-will they digged down a wall. " What 


is the endeavour of the Babylonians, but to dig down the 
walls of Jerusalem, and of our protection. Oh, my soul 
come not thou into their secret. God hath commanded that 
Meroz should be cursed, and cursed bitterly ; because they 
went not forth to help the Lord against the mighty. How 
bitterly then are they to be cursed, that go forth to help the 
mighty against the Lord, 

It was a statute and a law in Israel, that if any removed 
the ancient landmarks, he shall be cursed. " Cursed," says 
the text, " shall he be that removes the ancient landmarks, 
and let all the people say Amen." What is the ancient land 
mark of England, but our laws and religion ? and therefore 
if any man shall remove this our landmark, cursed shall he 
be, of the Lord cursed, and let all the people say Amen. 

Whatever personal injury hath been done unto you by any 
of the enemies of the churches, you may, you must pass 
them by, so far as it is a private concernment, and you shall 
not lose hereby, your forgiveness hastens their ruin. For 
this cause, as you may read Numb. xii. 2, 3, 4, God himself 
took vengeance on Miriam, because Moses was a meek man. 
See how the mention of his meekness is brought in by way 
of parenthesis at ver. 3, as the cause of God s proceedings 
against her, ver. 4. Wherefore, my beloved, have any been 
wronged and injured by your and God s enemies, carry it 
meekly, carry it humbly, no revenge, no revenge, but all 
forgiveness. And have they begun to fall before you, let 
there be much rejoicing, but no insulting ; praises, but no 
insulting; prayer still, but no insulting. Let your moder 
ation be known to all, for God is at hand. These are your 
duties ; which things if they be in you and abound, in due 
time Babylon shall fall, and you shall see it ; for the next 
doctrine tells us it : 

Though antichristian and Romish Babylon be never so 
great, yet it shall fall, and fall assuredly. 

This is but equal : those that have fallen from God, shall 
fall by God ; those that have made others to fall, shall fall 
themselves. Now the man of sin is the star that is fallen 
from heaven, who in 2 Thess. ii. 3, as some observe, is called 
in the abstract, apostacy, not an apostate, a falling away, not 
one that is fallen away, so notorious is he for sinful falling 


And as God rewards grace with his own grace, so he rewards 
sin with its own likeness. 

How else shall Sion rise, if Babylon do not fall ? It is 
said, when the Lord exalteth the low tree, he bringeth down 
the high tree, then shall all the trees of the forest rejoice. 
God is making way to such a jubilee, therefore Babylon must 
fall, and that assuredly. 

Those that are too big for themselves, and cannot manage 
their own greatness, must needs fall. Pride goes before a 
fall. It is the natural genius of Babylon to be proud and 
great, great and proud. Babel was at first built to affront 
providence, that the world might be no more drowned. 
Afterwards says that king, in Daniel, " Is not this great 
Babylon that I have built for mine honour?" And, Rev. 
xviii., saith our late Babylon, " I sit a queen," &c. They 
have been great, and in their own eyes great, surely therefore 
their own weight shall sink them. 

Must not those needs fall, that are set in dark and slippery 
places, whom the angel of the Lord drives ? Now, if ever, 
the places of God s enemies are very slippery, themselves in 
the dark, and the angel of God driving them. Therefore 
they shall fall, and fall assuredly. 

And if so, then learn we how to take notice of, and behold 
these great works of God concerning the fall of Babylon, as 
they fall out in our generation. It is in regard of the evil 
that comes to evil men, as in regard of the good that comes 
to the good. Now when the saints do receive any mercy, 
their hearts stick not in it, nor their eyes on it, but they see 
it lying under its relation, in relation to the word and pro 
mise, saying, It is indeed a great mercy that I have a house, 
and place to dwell in ; but God hath not only given me sweet 
habitation, but he hath given it me in the way of a promise, 
to perform the mercy promised. He hath given me wife, 
children, and friends, to perform the mercy promised. Nay, 
he hath given me Christ himself, to perform the mercy pro 
mised. Luke i. Thus they see s\\ things lying under a 
promise in that relation. So also when ye see any judgment 
befal the enemies of God s church, you are not to look upon 
them as mere works of God, but to look upon them in their 
relations, in relation to the threatening, as lying under the 
threatening, and the fruits of it j and the reason hereof is 


I this especially, because otherwise you do not see the whole 
I work of God, when you do see it before you. As it is said 
of Israel, " Yet the Lord hath not given you eyes to see," 
E &c. Deut. xxix. 4. 

As now suppose that a fool, a madman, or a beast should 
I come into the congregation, though they should see the water 
I of baptism, yet they would not see the sacrament, or half 
I the sacrament, because they could not see it under its rela- 
I tion. Wherefore, my beloved, whenever you shall behold 
I the hand of God upon the world, in the fall of Babylon, and 
this great works, that way, be sure that ye behold them under 
I the relation, in relation to the Lord s threatening, and say : 
I True, here is a Babylonish priest crying out, Alas, alas, my 
I living ! I have wife and children to maintain, and all is gone, 
I my preferment is gone, my hope is gone, my place and office 
I gone. But all this is to perform the judgment threatened. 
I God threatened before, that he would " put it into the hearts 
I of the princes of the earth, to eat her flesh and drink her 
I blood," Rev. xvii. 16. Now it is in a great measure fulfilled, 
E for her great revenues and rich livings are in part her flesh 
I and blood. God said before, that " her merchants should 
| stand afar off weeping and wailing, and saying, Alas, alas, 
| that great city/ Rev. xviii. Thus is the word of the Lord 
fulfilled, and God is faithful. 

As the fall of Babylon is very certain, so it is the duty of 
the saints to speak of it as if it were done already. 

We are bound to honour the faithfulness of God, more 
than the faithfulness of any other, because other things are 
faithful to us, as Salvian observes, because he is faithful. 
We expect cooling and cleansing from the water, and that is 
faithful. Why ? For God is faithful, he bids it be faithful 
to us. We expect warmth and light from the fire, and that 
is faithful. W T hy ? For God is faithful, he bids it be faithful 
to us. In all these faithful creatures there is but a drop of 
God s faithfulness ; and when they promise, we believe 
them : and shall we not believe Him, when he promises 
and when he threatens ? When a faithful friend promises, 
we say it shall be ; but we are to honour God s faithfulness 
more, and therefore to speak of the thing promised or 
threatened, as if it were done already. 

When we do but begin a good work, God speaks of it as 


done already. It is said, " By faith Abraham offered up 
Isaac," Heb. xi. 17; yet he did not actually offer him up, 
but intended it, and set himself to do it at God s command. 
It is said, that " Moses took his wife and son, and returned 
to the land of Egypt," Exod. iv. 20 ; yet he was but in the 
beginning of his return. When we have begun any good 
work for God, he speaks of it as done altogether. Therefore 
he having begun that great and good work for the churches, 
the fall of Babylon, it is our duty also to speak of it as if it 
were done already. 

Let us therefore correct our manner of speaking. If any 
storm or trouble arise upon the churches, we are ready to 
break forth into despondent conclusions, saying, God is 
now gone, mercy gone, the ordinances gone ; we were in 
good hope to have seen good days, the ruin of the church s 
enemies ; but they do so prevail, as that we have no hope at 
all in this particular. But though the extremity of the 
church be never so great, and the enemies never so flourish 
ing, we ought to say, They are fallen, they are fallen. 

But how can we speak thus, when an utter improbability 
and unlikelihood dwells upon the business? 

Yes. For when God destroys his enemies, he either takes 
them away by a weak hand, as Jer. 1. 45, " The least of the 
flock shall draw them out ;" or, they shall perish by their 
own hands, as Ps. ix. 16, " The wicked is snared in the work 
of his own hands ;" or, they shall be destroyed without 
hands, as Job xxxiv. 20, " The mighty shall be taken away 
without hands." And is this true, may the soul say, that the 
enemies of the church shall perish by a weak hand, or by 
their own hand, or without hands ; then will I never sink and 
despair in my heart, or give ill language to God s faithful 
ness, though the condition of God s churches be never so 
low, though the condition of the enemies be never so high. 

If we are to speak of this work as if it were done already, 
when it is not done indeed; then how contrary are those to 
God s word, who say it is not done when it is done indeed : 
that will not acknowledge God s work, that say on the con 
trary, It is not fallen, it is not fallen, when it is fallen in 
truth. And such there shall be, who when the vial is poured 
upon the seat of the beast, " shall gnaw their tongues, and 
blaspheme the God of heaven, not repenting of their deeds," 


Rev. xvi. 10, 11. But I hope better things of you, and such 
as accompany salvation. Only now if there be any here, 
that have given any assistance to Babylon, by pen, tongue, or 
hand, let them repent. Oh, every one, repent you of your 
superstition, repent, repent you, lest you partake with Baby 
lon in all her plagues and torments to all eternity. And re 
member that speech of Godtesscalchus : I am afraid to deny 
the truth, lest I be for ever denied by the truth. Christus 
est via et veritas, non consueludo. Christ is the way and 
truth, not custom, not innovation. And if there be ever a 
drunkard, swearer, adulterer, sabbath- breaker, or profane 
person here, let him labour to get into Christ, lest when he 
shall see these great works come to pass, and come to pass 
ye shall see them shortly, with greater works of God than I 
have mentioned, ye may be able to rejoice in them ; whereas 
otherwise you will say, Aye, these be glorious works indeed, 
and comfortable for those that are in Christ, but I am a poor 
wretched drunkard, and not in Christ. Wherefore above all 
things get into Christ, so shall you rejoice with the felicity of 
God s chosen. 

And if any have had any ill thoughts or words of, or 
against God s people, now change your words and your 
thoughts of them, for, for their sakes it is, that these great 
works are to be done. " Thus saith the Lord your Re 
deemer, the Holy One of Israel, for your sake I have sent 
to Babylon, and have brought down all the nobles, and the 
Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships," Isa. xliii. 14. 


ON ZECHARIAH I. 1821, II. 1. 


" Behold I come as a thief, blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his gar 
ments lest he walk naked, and they see his shame," Rev. xvi. 15. 


RIGHT WORTHY SENATORS. According unto your command I have presented 
these notes unto your hands and the world s view ; give me leave, withal, to pre 
sent my humble thankfulness for your unwearied labour of love to these three 
kingdoms, and in them unto all the churches of Christ ; for as once the Poles 
ambassador said in regard of the Turk, Per latus Polonies petunt Europam, I 
may say in regard of your and our enemies, through the sides of England, Scot 
land and Ireland, they strike at all that is truly called Christendom, your wisdom 
therefore doth well to make good these passages. 

It is true, indeed, your work is great, but it is for the great God ; and Solomon 
saith, " The house that I build is great, for great is our God," 2 Chron. ii. 5. 
Shall not we do great things for him who hath done and suffered great things for 
us and by us ? " Sicut calere contra frigidum hoc est repugnare frigido, virtutis 
est atque vigoris, sic amareet appetere insuavo sive molestum," &c. Parisiens de 

Your work is clogged with many difficulties ; but if it were not so, how should 
the strength of your love appear either to your God or to your country ? A man 
may be said to love the truth before the wind of opposition riseth, but he cannot 
be said to hold it fast, or cleave unto it, till he meets with some that would take 
it from him, Deut. xiii. 1 4. Difficulty doth commend duty : there was a stone 
rolled upon Christ s grave, and there is a difficulty rolled upon every truth or way 
of God which through the evil of the times hath been buried ; but when you 
come to the grave s mouth, the place where you think to meet with most difficulty, 
there and then the stone shall be rolled away. " Operum difficultates ccelorum 
suavitates consequuntur." The more difficulty in doing, the more sweetness in the 
work done. 

Your work is berounded with many dangers, but the neglect of it is more dan 
gerous, and the frown of a prince may sometimes stand with the favour of God ; 
" Nee mendacii utilitas est diuturna, nee veritatis damnum diu nocet:" neither 
shall flattery always hold in credit, nor truth ever continue in disgrace. 

Your work is reproached sometimes, and calumniated by divers adversaries : 
but as Seneca said to his friend, Male de te loquuntur homines, sed malt; so may 
I say to you, Men speak evil of you, but they are evil men, and it may be, yea it 
is likely God will hear the language of your Peninahs, and make you the more 
fruitful, especially you doing as Hannah did, who though she was willing to an 
swer to the charge of Eli, because he did speak from zeal, yet she would not an- 

SEU. 14.] ON ZECHARIAH I. 18 21. 315 

swer the reproach of Peninah because she spoke from hatred. " Cur respondet 
sacerdoti, sed Peninnaa non respondeat Anna? quia Peninna erat persona privata, 
sacerdos autem publica: item Peninna loquebatur ex odio, sacerdos ex zelo : unde 
illud negligendum erat, ille instruendus." Mend, in Sam. Surely malignant 
clamours are best answered when neglected. Tutius aliquando agit qui calrtm- 
nias non exaudet. Jesus Christ was eclipsed that God s servants might shine. 

Your work, also, is or may be disadvantageous unto your own particular in 
terests, your public employments cannot but hinder your private affairs, yet be 
pleased to remember Moses and Joshua, who were men of great service in their 
generation, having as full an opportunity to have made themselves rich as ever 
men had, yet we do not read of any great lot they shared out to themselves or 
their posterity. You are now employed upon God s service ; as for your own 
private affairs, if you afford them some relics of your love, and so much only as 
the public leaves, it is enough ; for what is too cold for God is hot enough for the 
world ; yet as the baggage unto an army, so are things temporal to spiritual, and 
personal estates to public employments. " Toleramus potius praesentia quam 
diligamus. Augustin. 

And in the throng of all your discouragements, be pleased also to remember 
how good, how honourable, how successful your service is and will be. 

It is good, first, in regard of the State ; for you are now in travail for your 
country s liberty, which though it may stick some time in the birth, and a dragon 
stand before you to devour it before it is born, yet in due time it shall be brought 
forth, and we shall not only be liberati, but/iiert. The Hebrews Lave a proverb 
which they have borrowed of Solomon, lynJn IJDUf ~nj]?~lS, that whoso 
breaketh down the hedge fcl.all be bitten with serpents. The hedges of the State 
or Church are the laws, as Drusius interprets it: " Qui diruit maceriam, eum 
mordebit serpens ; qui legum constitutiones impingit, non feret impune ; qui re- 
ligionis sacra violat, non erit a paena immunis :" or the ordinances thereof. 
Those enemies of yours or ours, that have or would tread down our hedges even 
to the ground, shall not ever go unpunished. When the hedge is lowest the ser 
pent is nearest. 

Good, again, in regard of the churches ; for through your pains and labour of 
love, those swelling parts, I had almost said wens, which engrossed all the out 
ward nutriment unto themselves, the direful presage of a people s death and ruin, 
are either taken off or made more proportionable. " Ut videmus in corpore hu- 
mano (cui apostolus in pluribus epistolarum suarum passibus comparat) quod si 
nutrimentum luit ad unum membrum, ita ut enormiter ingrossetnr et alia nimia 
attenuatione demacerentur non potest diu vivere : sic in corpora eccles. si supe- 
riores fiant ita graves attractione substantial quod inferiores vix possunt prse inopia 
se sustinere, hoc est signum jam propinquae ruinse." Gersom. 

Your service is very honourable ; for what greater honour than under Jesus 
Christ to be your country s saviours and your Lord s servants ? Upon Moses s 
death, it was said, Moses, the servant of the Lord, is dead; not Moses, the prince 
of the people, but the servant of the Lord, So Psalm xviii., in the title of the 
Psalm, it is said, " A Psalm of David, the servant of the Lord ;" not, A Psalm 
of David, the anointed king of Israel, but, as if it were more honour to be God s 
servant than Israel s king, it is said, the servant of the Lord : such honour have 
all our worthies. 

Your service is and will be most successful ; it is truth you stand for ; and 
though the truth may labour, as Hierom speaks, it cannot be overcome : 
" Veritas laborare potest, vinci non potest." For what, saith Mendoza, is more 

316 ON ZECHARIAH I. 18 21. [SEK. 14. 

impregnable than the heavens ? and truth hath built itself a tower there. 
" Quid enim coelo inexpugnabilius ? veritas arcem in cselo collocavit," Ps. cxix. 
" Thy word, O Lord, is settled in the heavens," Ps. cxix. Wherefore, worthy 
Sirs, as heretofore, so now much more be always abounding in the work of the 
Lord, in due time you shall reap if you faint not. If you want money to carry 
on your (yet not your, but God s) public design, remember what was promised 
unto C)rus, who in regard of rebuilding the temple, was to do your work in the 
type. " 1 will go before thee, saith God, and make the crooked places straight ; 
I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron, and 
will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places," Isa. 
xlv. 2, 3. And doth not your own experience tell you, thus, even thus hath 
our God dealt by us ; for the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret 
places have been brought forth unto us ; gold and silver that hath not seen the 
light for many years before. God is the same God still, and his promise, which 
is your mint, the same. 

If you want outward strength and power, then remember how often, when the 
Jews were to build the temple, and therein to meet with enemies, the Lord in 
culcates that his attribute upon them, the Lord of Hosts : " Thus saith the Lord 
of Hosts," thrice in one verse, Zech. xv. 3 ; and five times in four short verses, 
Hag. ii. " Silver is mine, and gold is mine, saith the Lord of Hosts j I will 
fill this house with my glory, saith the Lord of Hosts," &c. 

And if you find not the hearts of the people coming up always to your for 
wardness, then your wisdom knoweth how to improve the beats of their hearts 
while they last. All things, you know, are easy and beautiful in their season ; 
and because men know not time and judgment, therefore their misery is great 
upon them. 

But, above all things, let your eye be upon that most which God s eye is most 
upon, truth, reformation, and pure religion. State hypocrites desire truth for 
peace sake, godly statesmen desire peace for truth s sake ; war is for peace, but 
peace for truth : wherefore that I may serve you herein, I take the boldness to 
lay these few lines before you. 

The sermon calleth for exactness of reformation. If I have not been exact, 
whilst I have called for exactness, your goodness knoweth as well how to connive 
at what is mine, as to embrace what is God s. Go on, right worthy patriots, 
still to defend your country, to contend for truth, to be willing to lose and be 
lost for Christ. Whilst I live, I shall live praying for you, and when I die, I 
hope I shall die praising God for you. 

Your humble servant in the gospel of Jesus Christ, 


ZECHARIAH i. 18 21, n. 1. 

" 18. Then lift I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns. 

" 19. And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? 
And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, 
Israel and Jerusalem. 

" 20. And the Lord shewed me four carpenters. 

"21. Then said I, What come these to do ? and lie spake, saying, 

SER. 14.] ON ZECHARIAH i. 18 21. 317 

These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did 
lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns 
of the gentiles, which lift up their horn over the land of Judah to 
scatter it. 

"1. / lift up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold, a man with 
a measuring- line in his hand." 

ALTHOUGH, according to the English translation, these 
words are parts of several chapters, yet in many Hebrew copies 
the iind chapter begins where my text doth, and they have 
such connection that I may not part them. 

Three things there are which this age of ours hath brought 
forth: malignant enemies; special instruments of their ruin; 
and great endeavours for reformation. Accordingly here are 
three visions: a vision of " four horns/ verses 18, 19; a 
vision of " four carpenters," verses 20, 21 ; a vision of " a 
man with a measuring-line in his hand," ii. 1. 

Every vision hath its narration and explication. 

The narration of the first vision is at the 18th verse, " I 
saw, and behold four horns:" the explication in the 19th 
verse, " These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Is 
rael and Jerusalem." So that 

You have the description of the church s enemies under 
the vision of four horns, who are here described, 1. From 
their number or multitude ; they are four horns according to 
the four parts of the world : Quatuor cornua sunt quatuor 
mundi paries. 2. From their power and strength : the horn 
is a word that in scripture phrase doth note strength : " He 
hath raised up a horn of salvation for us," Luk^ i. 69 ; that 
is, strong and powerful salvation. 3. From their mischievous 
and malignant practice : " They scattered Judah, Israel and 

In the second vision you have the description of those 
special instruments that are raised up for their destruction, 
under the similitude of four carpenters, or four smiths ; who 
are here described, 1 . From their number : four. And, 2. 
From their work, which is to scatter the horns, and to cast 
out the gentiles. 

Then cometh in the third vision, the endeavours for refor 
mation, under the similitude of " a man with a measuring 
line in his hand;" which is described two ways : 1. From the 
instrument thereof, a man, or, as in the Hebrew, , an ex- 

318 ON ZECHARIAH I. 18 21. [SER. 14. 

cellent man, explained to be Zerubbabel their governor, chap, 
iv. 10. 2. From the exactness thereof; he doth work by 
line : " I saw a man with a measuring line in his hand." 

Give me leave to open the words and draw out some short 
observations upon them before I come to the main truths. 

" Then lift I up mine eyes and saw," verse 18. That is, 
I stirred and roused up myself with all intenseness to receive 
this vision. Heavenly revelations are not to be obtained in a 
drowsy and sleepy way. 

ff And behold four horns." That is, enemies from all parts 
of the world, and especially those four monarchies who have 
all in their course and turn been vexatious to the people of 
God. It is no new thing for the saints and churches to be 
pushed, gored, scattered by cruel and beastly enemies. Yea 
the churches may be so afflicted with enemies, that a man 
shall not know whither to fly for safety, for in every part of 
the world there shall be some opposers : " I saw four horns," 
misery and calamity and persecution arising out of every 

" And I said to the angel that talked with me," &c., verse 
19. This angel by interpreters is said to be Christ himself, 
the angel of the covenant, who is the best interpreter of 
heavenly visions and of hard scriptures. When we under 
stand them not, we should search, make inquiry, and go to 
Christ, saying, as Zechariah here, " What are these, Lord ?" 

" And he answered me, These are the horns which have 
scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem." The enemies of the 
churches are not said here to have wounded or killed Judah, 
Israel, or Jerusalem, but m ventilarunt, they have tossed 
them up as it were into the air ; they have scattered, saith 
the English. It is the proper work of the enemies of the 
churches to scatter God s people. The disciples of Christ 
are corrmanded to be without horns; " Be wise as serpents 
and innocent as doves ;" the word in the Greek is, a^atoi, 
without horns as doves ; but here the enemies are said to 
scatter Judah, Israel and Jerusalem ; that is their work and 

" And the Lord shewed me four carpenters," verse 20. 
The word is mtmn,* that is, such agents and instruments as 
do work with art, counsel and deliberation. Though the ene- 

* ann fabricavit. 

SER. 14.] ON ZECHARIAH i. 18 21. 319 

mies of the churches be unreasonable and cruel as horned 
beasts, yet the instruments that God raiseth up to suppress 
them are full of humanity, wisdom and counsel ; and they are 
four, too, a proportionable strength. 

" Then said I, What come these to do ? And he spake, 
saying, These are come to fray them away, and to cast out 
the horns of the gentiles." verse 21. Look how they dealt 
by God s people, so God will deal by them ; they scattered 
Israel, and the God of Israel will raise up instruments that 
shall scatter them ; they cast out God s people, and they 
shall be cast out. Scattering enemies shall be scattered them 
selves at last. 

" I lift up mine eyes again." chap. ii. 1. Here is another 
vision brought to the same purpose, in general, to uphold and 
comfort the distressed servants of God. When the condition 
of the saints is low and their fears great, there is need of re 
peating comforts ; then visions, promises and consolations 
must be oft repeated, " I lift up mine eyes again." 

" And I looked, and behold a man with a measuring line 
in his hand;" that is for to build exactly. Verse 2., tells us 
it was for to measure Jerusalem, which cannot barely be un 
derstood literally, for chap. i. 16., it is said, " I am returned 
to Jerusalem with mercies, saith the Lord, my house shall be 
built in it, and a line shall he stretched forth upon Jerusa 
lem," &c. which promise in its latitude was never yet fulfilled 
literally, but it is to be understood of the new Jerusalem es 
pecially, mentioned in Rev. xxi. Where we find a man also 
at this measuring work. So that we may yet say, though the 
afflictions of the churches be very great, and their desolations 
many, yet if a man will lift up his eyes and stir up himself, 
he may and shall behold, " a man with a measuring line in 
his hand." And thus you see that there is hardly a word of 
these three visions, but afFordeth some special instruction. 
But because I have not time for all, I shall especially close 
with those three doctrines, that are especially held in these 
three visions. Thus, 

1. In that here are four horns that appear, you may ob 
serve this, That when God intendeth any good and salvation 
to his churches, he doth first suffer many potent, malicious 
enemies to rise against them, 

2. In that these four carpenters do appear immediately after 

320 ON ZECHARIAII I. 18 21. [SER. 14. 

these four horns, as it were in the same vision, you may ob 
serve, that though God do suffer the enemies of his churches 
and people to be exceeding strong, many, and most mischie 
vous, yet he will raise up an answerable strength against 
them ; four carpenters against four horns, which shall fray 
them away, and deal by them as they have done by others. 

3. In that the " man with a measuring line," doth imme 
diately follow upon these, you may observe,that when God shall 
please to raise up special instruments to surprise the church s 
enemies, then and then especially reformation is to be much 
endeavoured, which is to be done with exactness, even by 

1. I begin with the former vision of the four horns, and 
the first doctrine, namely, that when God intendeth any 
great good and salvation to his people, he doth first suffer 
malignant, potent, and many enemies to rise against them. 
Was it not so with Israel when God intended to bring them 
out of Egypt ? Then their taskmasters arose and doubled 
their work, and were more inimicitious to them than former 
ly. Was it not thus with the Jews when God brought them 
out of Babylon to build the temple ? opposition they met 
withal in their remove, in their journey, and all along in 
their temple-work. Was it not thus with the Israelites when 
they went to execute justice upon that malignant tribe of 
Benjamin for the great sin of Gibeah ? If you look into 
Judges xx., you shall find that before Benjamin was pu 
nished they got two great victories upon Israel ; Israel, (if you 
count the number of their soldiers) were twelve to one ; Is 
rael had the best cause, and their work was good, they went 
forth to do justice on that delinquent tribe ; yet if you con 
sult the story, the tribe of Benjamain first slew of them down 
to the ground forty thousand men. This is God s way still ; 
he seldom or never destroyeth his enemies but out of zeal ; 
" The zeal of the Lord of Hosts hath done this," saith the 
prophet : now zeal is nothing else but angered love ; and 
three things there are in the world that God doth love espe 
cially, his people, his truth, and his worship ; when the ene 
mies prevail, they spoil his people, they defile his worship, 
they scorn his truth, so his love is angered, his zeal is stirred, 
and then his enemies are confounded. 

But what reason is there why God should suffer his pre- 

14.] ON ZECHARIAH i. 1821. 321 

cious servants and people to be thus handled, oppressed, 
gored, scattered by cruel enemies ? 

Good reason for it. Totidem inimici, totidem padagogi : 
so many enemies, so many school-masters. " Make plain 
my way before me (saith the Psalmist) because of mine ene 
mies ;" but in the Hebrew it is, " because of mine obser 
vers :" our enemies are our observers, and their observation 
is our preservation.* As a man s best friend sometimes doth 
him more hurt than his worst enemy, so his worst enemy doth 
him more good than his best friend. Now suppose, saith 
Salmeron,t that a man were in great want and need of money, 
and his friend should throw him a bag of gold, though in his 
catching of it he might hurt his hands or head, yet when he 
hath taken out the gold, he loves his friend nevertheless. 
There is no persecution but brings a bag of gold to God s 
people ; though it may somewhat hurt them in falling upon 
them, yet when they have picked out the gold thereof, they 
will love God the more. 

Let me instance : 

Hereby they are occasioned to honour God, which is the 
end of their life and the comfort of their soul : for what is 
honour, but as Aquinas J speaks, a testimony of another s 
excellency ? The more I testify of any excellency in any 
truth or way of God s, the more I honour him ; and in times 
of persecution the saints of God do thus testify of him. 

Hereby the children of God are weaned from the world, 
and made to hie them home to their Father s house. 

Hereby they are made more useful in their places, and 
beneficial unto their enemies ; for therefore our enemies do 
us so much hurt, because we do them no more good. 

* Tlty Inimicus quasi observator dictus, quod semper observet et contempletur 
quibus malefaciat. Buxtorf. 

f Magna Dei misericordia in flagello temporal! : ut si quis crumenam graveiu 
et auro onustam ex edito loco in caput cujusdam pro debito aliquo in carcerem 
detenti proficeret et dolorem aliquem ei inferret, et tumorem capitis excitaret, 
et unam vel alterem guttulam sanguinis eliceret, ille quidem rei ignarus moleste 
ferret in principio, et vicem suam maguopere doleret quod afflicto afflictio ad- 
deretur ; verum si paulo post animo jam tranquillo ad jaxum oculos suos convertit, 
et crutnenam multo auro refeftam deprehendat, qno possit debiU sua persolvere 
et quod superest ad vitam tranquillies plaoideque traducendam sufficere, profecto 
de illato tantillo vulnere nulla esset amplius querimonia vel memoria, imo seria 
congratulatio : Ad eundem modum de Cliristi flagellis considcraudum. Salmer. 
de minicul. in Joan. iii. 

J Honor eat testimonium de alicujus e\ce:lentia. Aquinas. 


322 ON ZECHARIAH I. 18 21. [SER. 14. 

Hereby they carry the truths of God and Christ into 
other parts ; the enemy intendeth to scatter their persons, 
but God intendeth to scatter his truths. 

Hereby the children of God receive a fuller and clearer 
testimony of their own graces. When the world frowns 
most, God smiles most upon them. When the enemy gives 
the loudest testimony of their hypocrisy, God from heaven 
doth give the highest testimony of their sincerity to their 

Hereby the enemies themselves are more convinced. 
Some men snore so loud in their sleep, that they wake them 
selves with their own snortings ; and some men s sins are 
so loud and unreasonable, that they convince themselves and 
others by their own unreasonable dealing with the people 
of God. Master Fox tells of one in queen Mary s time that 
had so basely and maliciously used that servant of God 
Jarnes Abbes, that when that good man James Abbes was 
dead, the remembrance of this martyr s patience and his own 
unreasonableness, made the persecutor cry out and say, James 
Abbes is saved, and I am damned ; and so he went wringing 
his hands to his grave, crying, James Abbes is saved and I 
am damned, James Abbes is saved and I am damned. It is 
recorded also of one Calocerius, that when he saw the malig 
nancy of the enemies, and patience of the martyrs, he cried 
out and said, Of a truth great is the God of the Christians.* 
And what can a Christian desire more ? Is not God s truth 
better than my house ? 

Hereby also the saints are kept from and cured of divi 
sions among themselves. Cyprian meditating of the several 
causes that brought those sad and heavy persecutions in the 
primitive times, reckoneth up this for one, their own divisions, 
wherefore God was fain to let out the dog upon the sheep, 
that the sheep might run together. Our punishments often 
times wear the names of our sins in their foreheads : and 
if ever, then now; God doth punish our divisions with 
divisions ; but it is to cure our divisions. He points to 
our sin by our punishment, that in our punishment we may 
be cured of sin. 

Hereby also the servants of God may see and know by 
experience, that it is better to serve God than men. When 

* Vere magnus Deus Christianorum. 

. 14.] ON ZECHARIAH 1. 18 21. 

,ve worship God after and for the precepts of men, we do 
atlier worship men than God, and serve them than him ; 
md when his servants do so, then God suffers men to rise 
ip against them, that they may learn in a smarting way, as 
veil as they have done in a sinning way, what it is to serve 
nen.* This cause you have expressed, 2 Chron. xii. 7> 8, " And 
the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word 
jf the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humbled 
:hemselves, therefore I will not destroy them, but I will 
rant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be 
)oured out by the hand of Shishak ; nevertheless they shall 
>e his servants, that they may know my service and the ser 
vice of the kingdoms of the countries." 

Hereby again the servants of God learn the right use of 

he rod, both in church and state : sometimes it so falleth 

Kit that justice is not executed in a kingdom, and discipline 

not exercised in a church ; Well then, saith God, seeing that 

ou will not take the rod into your hand, I will take it into 

mine own, but it shall be in such a manner as shall make all 

our hearts to ache. In Rev. ii. and iii. you know that there 

are seven epistles written to the seven churches, and there 

none of all the churches but are threatened with one 
affliction, calamity or another, save only that of Philadelphia, 
nd if you mark it, you shall find that only that church had 
he keys rightly used and handled. And you shall find this 
also in all God s dealings both with states and churches : let 
a state or kingdom be never so wicked, yet if justice be exe 
cuted there is hope thereof; let a church be never so defiled, 
et if discipline be exercised, there is hope of that: but if a 
dngdom where there is no justice, or a church where there 
s no discipline, nor in tendentia to it, then the Lord himself 
ariseth and saith, Well, because you will not take this rod 
nto your hand, I will, and I will raise up enemies against 
rou that shall do the same to you, that you should have done 
o them. Good reason therefore, yea, infinitely good reason, 
licit God should sometimes suffer his own people to be 
nished, gored, scattered, by cruel and bloody enemies that 
are most unreasonable. 

Wherefore then let no man be stumbled or offended at 

* Qui Deum ideo colit ut aliud magis quam ipsum asscquatur, non Deum sed 
llud colit quod assequi concupiscit. Augustin. 


324 ox ZECHARIAH i. 1821. [SER. 14. 

God s present proceedings in the world, or in this kingdom, 
though very mysterious. Our Saviour says, " These things 
tell ye before, that when they come to pass, ye may not be 
offended;" and whatsoever is now come to pass among us, 
Christ hath told us of it before ; yea, this Scripture. Yet, 
good Lord, how many are there that are offended ! Oh, say: 
one, we looked for reformation, and we meet with confusion ; 
for light, and we meet with darkness ; we looked that Jesus 
Christ should at this time have restored his kingdom to the 
churches ; for friends, and we meet with enemies ; can Goc 
love us, and suffer such enemies to rise against us ? Were 
there ever any enemies that were like to ours ? so potent, so 
cruel, so many, so blasphemous, so hellish, &c. 

But who art thou, O man, that speakest thus long without 
book under the command of unbelief, and darkenest know 
ledge ? Should st thou not rather write so and such over thy 
sins, than over thine afflictions ? You say, had ever any o 
God s people such enemies as we ; so cruel, so many, so vile 
&c. ? You should rather say, Come, O my soul, did evei 
any commit such sins as I do ; so frequently, so knowingly 
so deliberately, so incorrigibly, so scandalously ? Why dc 
not rather write the so upon your sins, than upon your 
sorrows? Thus did Eusebius Nieremburgius, aggravating 
his own sins, Oh, saith he, never any sinned so as I have 
done, the devil sinned indeed, but Christ never died for him 
as he hath done for me; Judas sinned indeed, but he was j 
never pardoned as I have been ; Achan sinned indeed and 
troubled the kingdom, but he had not that light and know 
ledge as I, nor lived under such means as I have done ; oh,] 
never any sinned so as I have done: thus Nierembergius,- 
thus Parisiensis, and thus should you think and say.* 

But besides, though your enemies be so great, so many,, 
so cruel, &c., as none of God s people have had before; 
know you not that this is most agreeable to Scripture?] 
When Satan s time is short, his wrath is great, Rev. xii. 
The latter times of the world are above all others by the! 

* Domine Deus meus, quod est malum cujus ego reus non sum, vel perpe- 
trando illud opere, vel volendo illud perpetrare ? quod enim est bonum quod in 
me non extinxi, vel in alio persecutus non sum impediendo ne fieret, vel detra- 
bendo jam facto, vel permittcndo extingui, vel gaudendo si extinguebatur inj 
ipso ? Domine misericordise, quot bona perierunt vel me procurante ut non 
essent, vel me non juvante ut essent ? Parisiens. 

SER. 14.] ox ZECHARIAH i. 18 21. 325 

apostle called "the perilous times/ Austin observeth that 
the church from Christ to Christ, from Christ s death to 
Christ s coming again, should meet with three sorts of per 
secutions ; one by the sword, as in the primitive times ; 
another by heresies, as in the Arian times ; the other both 
by sword and heresies, as in these latter antichristian times.* 
Luther says well, Cain shall be killing his brother Abel to 
the end of the world, but he is most bloody in his old days. 
It is observed to my hand, that the four great monarchies, 
who have been the constant enemies of the church, are com 
pared by Daniel unto four beasts, a " leopard, a bear, a lion," 
&c., but the antichristian beast that should arise in the 
latter times is made up of all these ; his feet being the feet 
of a bear, his mouth the mouth of a lion, himself like a 
leopard, and the dragon giving his power unto him, Rev. xiii. 
2. As if the cruelties of all the monarchies were concen 
trated and met in him. Of all enemies, you shall observe 
those are most deadly and cruel that are apostates, that have 
been once professors, and then prove apostates :f therefore 
the devil, the Jew, and antichrist are greatest enemies to the 
saints, because they are all apostates. Now the enemies that 
are risen up in our days are apostatizing enemies, and there 
fore if they prevail, which God in mercy forbid, are like 
to prove the sorest enemies that ever the English sun did 
see ; yea, worse than the enemies of those Marian days ; 
for in queen Mary s time we read that here and there two, 
three, four, or ten were brought forth to the stake, but 
should these enemies now prevail, not two, or three, or four, 
or ten, but three thousands, and four thousands, and ten 
thousands would be led out together to be all massacred. In 
queen Mary s time though the parent died, the child did 
inherit his land ; but now at once our lands, our liberties, 
our children, our religion and we are all like to die together. 
In queen Mary s days Germany was open, and a place of 
refuge to God s people, many did fly thither, and were safe 
in the time of that storm ; but now if these enemies prevail, 

* Prima ecclesiae persecutio fuit violenta per mnndi principes ; secunda 
fraudulenta per hsereticos ; tertia erit violenta et fraudulenta simnl, ubi scilicet 
temporal!* et spiritualist potestas in unnm convenient adversus Dominum ct 
Christum ejus. Augustin. 

f Solus apostata est persecutor ordinis sui. 

326 ox ZECIIARIAH i. 18 21. [SER. 14.|?E 

whither should God s servants fly? Not to Frankfort, not 
to the Palatinate, not to Bohemia, not to Ireland, not to 
Scotland, I had almost said not to our graves, for they will 
hardly give us grave room in our own country. Oh, the 
black and dismal day that is like to come upon us, if these 
horns that are now pushing at us should prevail against us. 
Well, out remember God s method, your own sins and God s 
method ; his method is, first the horns, and then the carpen 
ters ; though the horns may push, and gore, and scatter for 
a time, yet the carpenters shall fray them away, and cast 
out these gentiles. And so I come to the second vision of 
the four carpenters, and the second doctrine, namely, 

Secondly, Though God suffer the enemies of his church 
and people to be exceeding strong, cruel, and very many, 
yet he will raise up proportionable strength against them, 
apt and fitted instruments to suppress them, who shall fray 
them away and deal by them as they have dealt by others. 
This is in the commission of those who are deputed to de 
stroy Babylon, Rev. xviii. 6. " Reward her even as she hath 
rewarded you." And to this purpose, I say, God will raise I 
up a suitable and proportionable strength, four carpenters ; 
for the four horns. Now the truth of all this will be more 
fully evidenced, if you consider those names, titles, and 
attributes wherewith Jesus Christ hath invested himself; 
titles and attributes directly opposite to all that evil which 
is any of the church s enemies. Three enemies you know 
there are by whom you are most molested, the flesh, the 
devil, the world. 

The flesh brings forth three great evils. Ignorance in the 
understanding; in opposition to that Jesus Christ is called 1 
our Prophet. Rebellion in the will ; in opposition to that] 
Jesus Christ is called our King. Guiltiness that ariseth from ; 
ignorance and rebellion ; irk opposition to that Jesus Christ 
is called our Priest. 

The devil our second enemy is armed with all weapons of 
hostility against us ; therefore there are several names given 
to him. He is said to be the strong man, o tox^oe, "when the 
strong man keepeth the house," &c. ; in opposition to that 
Jesus Christ is called io^vpor^oc a.vrov y stronger than he, Luke 
xi. 22. The devil is called the accuser of the brethren ; in 
opposition to that Jesus Christ is called our Advocate. 

SER. 14.] ox ZECHARIAII i. 1821. 327 

The devil is called Apollyon, destroyer ; in opposition to that 
Jesus Christ is called our Saviour. The devil is called the 
old serpent; in opposition to that Jesus Christ is called the 
brasen serpent. The devil is called a roaring lion, in oppo 
sition to that Jesus Christ is called "a Lion of the tribe 
Judah* The devil is called the god of this world, tl.e 
prince of the air; in opposition to that Jesus Christ is called 
the " Prince of Peace, the mighty God." Thus whatever 
terms or titles of strength and power there is in Satan, there 
is somewhat in Jesus Christ that answereth, yea that over- 
answereth all. 

And for our third enemy, the world, you cannot have a 
more full description of its power than as it is presented to 
you in Rev. xiii. 1. " I saw a beast arising out of the sea having 
seven heads and ten horns." Our text speaks but of four 
horns, and here are ten ; yet if you look into Rev. v. you 
shall find an answerable strength in Christ, who is de 
scribed to be a Lamb having seven horns, seven rather than 
ten being the number of perfection in Scripture. But if you 
think that seven is not enough to equalize the ten, you find 
also in Habak. iii. 4. that the Lord our God is said to 
have horns in his hand, because all the works of his hand 
are done in strength and power. So that whatever your ene 
mies are, there is strength enough in Jesus Christ to subdue 
their strength. 

And why is Christ thus furnished, but for his church and 
people ? He is the Lord-keeper of all our comforts, the Lord- 
treasurer of all our graces, and the great magazine of all our 
ammunition. f He was anointed that he might anoint ; he 
was sanctified that he might sanctify ; he received of the Fa 
ther that he might give unto you, unto you I say and unto 
all the churches. He is the head of his church, and there 
fore, as Luther J observeth well, though every member is sensi 
ble of wrong or hurt done to another member, yet the head 

* Iste leo ob feritatem , Christus ob fortitudinem Christus leo ad vincendum, 
diabolus ad nocendum Augustin. 

f Christus communis thesaurus. Luther. 

J Sensus subtilitor et velocior est in capite quant in reliquis membris corporis : 
hoc experientia videmus, naro Iseso dignitulo nut alb min ma corporis partr l">a, 
statim caput in vnltu prodit sese hoc sentire; nasus i-iiim contrahitur, oculi 
tirvum vident: sic Christus caput nostrum afflictiones nostras suas facit et ut 
in capite omnes sensus, &c. Luther. 

328 ON ZECHAIUAH i. 1821. [SER. 14. 

is much more sensible then all the members, for the head is 
the seat and habitation of all the senses ; the hand may 
touch, but it cannot see; the foot may feel, but it cannot hear 
or taste ; the head sees and feels and hears and tastes, and 
smells ; so, says he, it is with Christ our head, in whom all 
the senses dwell, and therefore infinitely more sensible of the 
church s misery then any other member in all the world ; and 
sensible he cannot be unless in due time he be helpful unto 
them. Upon this very ground you shall find that God pro- 
miseth to raise up seven shepherds and eight principal men 
for the help of his people, Micah v. 5. " When the Assyrian 
shall come into our land, and when he shall tread in our 
palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds and 
eight principal men ;" As if he should say, though you have 
been heretofore without guides, and captains, and command 
ers, and princes, yet when the enemy is come into your land, 
I will raise up instruments enough to suppress them ; and look 
what these Assyrians have done unto you, that shall my instru 
ments and workmen do unto them ; do they come into your 
country and tread down your palaces; so shall mine instru 
ments go into their country and tread down their palaces, 
ver. 6. And would you know the ground of all this ? It is 
my love in Christ, for, " thou Bethlehem Ephratah, though 
thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee 
shall He corne forth unto me, that is to be ruler in Israel, 
whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." 
And ver. 4. " He shall stand and feed in the strength of the 
Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God, and 
they shall abide; and this man shall be the peace when the 
Assyrian shall come into our land, ver. 5." So that whosoever 
doth but seriously consider the strength and anointment of 
Jesus Christ, must needs conclude this doctrine with me : 
Though God suffer the enemies of his church and people to 
be many and great, yet in due time he will raise up a propor 
tionable strength against them to suppress them and to deal 
by them as they have done by others. 

The application of this doctrine looks two ways : 

To the saints in general ; 

To the carpenters in special. 

To the saints by way of consolation and encouragement. 

SBR. 14.] ON ZECHARIAII i. 1821. 329 

To the carpenters, to God s workmen, by way of direction 
and exhortation. 

Here is consolation and encouragement unto all the saints 
and people of God. Wonder not that in a day of humilia 
tion, I speak of consolation.* Beloved, you are never more 
fit to mourn for sin, then when you can rejoice in God. One 
grace makes way for another. It is the Avar in beams of 
God s love and care must thaw our hearts. Two things that 
we are this day to do. To wrestle with God ; to fight with 
our enemies. You cannot in your wrestling take better hold 
of God then by the skirt of a promise j you cannot fight bet 
ter against your enemies than by faith. The devil, with 
whom especially we fight in these wars, will not be killed 
with swords and knives ; " This is our victory whereby we 
overcome the world, even our faith." It is written in the 
life of Mr. Tyndale, that when he was in the Netherlands, 
there was a conjurer that could command dishes of meat from 
several men s tables, so that he would invite his friend to a 
dish of meat from such or such a prince s table ; divers going 
to see his exploits, Mr. Tyndale went with the rest, if it might 
be, to hinder it ; and when he came there, he set himself in 
a way of believing to hinder this conjurer s proceedings, which 
he did accordingly, for when that wretched man should have 
done his exploit, his hands were held by Mr. Tyndale s faith, 
and he cried out and said, I cannot do it, there sits the man 
that hinders me, or to that purpose. What will not faith 
do, if good ? what will it not hinder, if evil ? I will not say 
that in these sad days of ours we have to deal with conjurers, 
but surely with such persons as through their violence and 
thefts are able not only to command men s dishes off their 
tubbs, but all their goods out of their houses. Oh that we 
had but faith enough, w r e might soon believe them out of all 
their plunderings.f 

Wherefore that I may raise up your faith a little and keep 
you from discouragements, I lay before you this promise; 
Zechariah s vision is your promise; yea it is somewhat 
more, for as we say of sacraments, so I say of these two last 
visions, they are promises unto the eye, unto sense. When 
Joshua was to bring the children of Israel into Canaan, and 

* Sanctus dolet et de dolore gaudct. Augustin. 
t Fides si: duuiitlit ad dumestica. 

ON ZECHARIAH I. 18 21. [SfiR. 14. 

so to meet with many enemies, before he went out, God, and 
Moses, and the people bestowed their several exhortations on 
him; and if you consult the place, you shall find that all of 
them, God, Moses, and the people wish him to " be of good 
courage, and not to fear." Why so ? Abulensis answereth, 
Rationabiliter enim timere portuit Joshua.* Joshua might 
rationally fear, for he saw how that his master Moses was oc 
casioned by the Israelites to sin against God, and to be angry, 
insomuch as he was kept out of Canaan ; whereupon Joshua 
might well think thus with himself, O Lord, if Moses who 
was the meekest man on earth was moved to anger, the 
holiest man, a man that saw God face to face, yet could not 
do this work, but through his failing was denied entrance into 
Canaan ; how shall I be able to lead this people up against all 
these enemies ; well therefore might he fear (saith Abulensis) 
lest God should give both him and his people into the hands 
of his enemies. Well, but how then doth God remove these 
fears, and relieve his heart; only thus, he strengthened him 
with a promise, " Fear not, (says God) neither be dismayed, 
for I am with thee, and I will never leave thee nor forsake 
thee." So now, are there any of you oppressed with divers 
fears because of these horns that are risen up in several parts 
of the world, of this kingdom ? The Lord hath said that 
according to the number of the horns, the carpenters shall 
be. Are there enemies in every part ; there shall be carpen 
ters in every part. Will you say, Oh but our enemies are 
exceeding many, and very cruel ; so were these mentioned 
in the text, who (as Sanctius observeth, the words signify) 
were to do mischief in quantum potuerunt et in quantum 
voluerunt, and as your English hath it, " so that no man did 
lift up his head." Will you say, Oh but I do not yet see 
these carpenters at work ; but is it not because you do not 
stir up yourselves ; " I lift up mine eyes and saw," saith 
Zechariah. Will you say, Oh but when I do stir up myself 
to behold things as they are, I cannot see four for four, a pro 
portionable strength on the church s side raised up against 
the enemies ; well, but yet you may see some strength in 
every place, wherever there is any opposition made by ene- 

* Rationabiliter ergo timere poterat Josua, quod cum ipse fragilior esset facil- 
lime peccare poterat, ita ut dens ipsum et populum in hostilem tradert potes- 
tatem. Tostat. in Josu. cap. i. 

SER. 14.] ON ZECHARIAH i. 18 21. 331 

mies, some there are in the same place that God hath raised 
up to resist them. And the text is not, that God will raise 
up strong gigantic carpenters, but carpenters, four carpen 
ters, some or other that shall do the work of God, though 
they be never so weak. In that Micah v. where the promise 
is to raise up " seven shepherds and eight principal men," he 
saith, ver. 7-j " The remnant of Jacob shall be as the dew 
that waiteth not for the sons of men." Mark that word, 
" that waiteth not for the sons of men." When Sisera and 
all his host were discomfited, what were the carpenters ; 
were not Deborah and Jael with her hammer amongst them ? 
and saith the text, lf so let all thine enemies perish ;" it is not 
only a prayer, but a prophecy. 

It is recorded in the life and death of Melancthon, that 
when Charles the fifth, and the Pope of Rome threatened 
the protestants with fire and sword, Luther, Melancthon, and 
others got together to seek a way for themselves, their little 
ones, and their substance ; and on a certain day after long 
deliberation, Philip tired out with labour, rose up exceed 
ingly sad and very sorrowful, to go and speak with some that 
knocked and inquired after him at the gate ; in his return to 
his company he heard in a room as he passed by, the noise 
of children, as it were pronouncing their catechism 5 where 
upon he put aside the door where they were, and he saw the 
ministers* wives of the place, praying and praising God with 
their children ; upon this Melancthon returned to his com 
pany exceeding cheerful and very joyful. Luther espying his 
gladsome countenance, said thus to him, Philip, how cometh 
it to pass that you return so joyful that went out even now 
so sorrowful ? He answered, Let us be of good comfort, for 
I have seen them that will fight for us and defend us. Luther 
asked what those stout and brave captains were ? Oh, says 
Melancthon, they are the chaste wives and virtuous children 
of holy men. It seems that holy man Melancthon thought 
such carpenters were a great matter in his time. Beloved, 
you have many such carpenters as these at work for you. 
But besides these, look into any part of the kingdom, and 
you shall find that wherever any horn is raised up, there is a 
carpenter at work also, some or other that God hath unex 
pectedly raised up to make resistance. Wherefore, then, lift 
up your heads, oh, all ye people of the Lord, and be not dis- 

H ON ZECHARIAH I. 18 21. [SfiR. 14. 

couragcd ; what Zechariah saw, you shall find, God s promise 
is your security, he will raise up four carpenters to the four 

Again, This doctrine speaks direction to the carpenters, it 
tells them what they ought to do, and what is their work. 
The work of the four carpenters, you see, is not only to fray 
these horns away, but to cast out the gentiles. Whoever, 
therefore, you are, whom God hath raised up for this employ 
ment, behold your service, up and be doing, and do it fully ; 
" Cursed is he that doth the work of the Lord negligently ; 
and withholdeth his hand from shedding of blood:" they are 
knit together in one verse, Jer. xlviii. 10. 

But we are now upon the work of reformation, building 
the temple; and if a man be a man of blood he is not fit for 
that service. 

Mistake me not, it is not in my intention to call for blood. 
Oh that in this day of our humiliation and addresses to God, 
we could so touch the hem of Christ s garment, that Eng 
land s bloody issue might be staunched ! Be as mild as you 
can, so you be like unto Christ, who was both a lamb and a 
lion ; a lamb in his own cause, a lion in God s. Meekness 
and justice may well stand together. Moses was the meekest 
man upon earth, you know, yet when Israel had defiled them 
selves with idols in the matter of the golden calf, he stood in 
the gate of the camp, and said, Exod. xxxii. 27, " Thus saith 
the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, 
and go in and out from gate to gate through the camp, and 
slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, 
and every man his neighbour." He doth not say, Slay every 
man his enemy, or every man his countryman, but every man 
his brother, and his companion, and his neighbour.* And, 
verse 28, it is said, " The children of Levi did according to 
the word of Moses; and there fell of the people that day 
about three thousand men :" yet the Levites had their hand 
in temple-work more than any other tribe, and Moses had 

* Moses totus ex misericor lia et justitia compositus, totus ex benignitate et 
severitate conflatus : nam in monte miseracordiam a Deo postulabat, ver. 32, in 
campo justitiam exercebat, ver. 27. Quis non miretur tantam pietatem cum 
tanta severitate conjunctarn ? Mendoza in 1 Sam. ii. 

Sic amavit eos quibus prsefuit, ut pro eis nee sibi parceret et tamen delinquentes 
sic persecutus est, quos amavit, ut eos etiam Domino parceute prosterneret. 

SER. 14.] ox ZECHABIAH i. 18 21. 333 

the honour to build the tabernacle. You read also, in Zech. 
xiii. of a great and glorious reformation, so high, so great and 
so convincing, that the very priests who were wont to go in 
rough garments to deceive the people, should throw away 
their priest s coats, and say, verse 5, et I am no prophet, I am 
an husbandman, for man taught me to keep cattle from my 
youth/ As if they should say severally, Though I am able 
to read a chapter, yet I am not fit to be a minister, I have no 
learning, but in truth am more fit to go to the plough. Well 
but now mark, I pray, how this great change and reformation 
is ushered in and brought about, not without some kind of 
holy violence, for it is said, verse 2, " It shall come to pass in 
that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will cutoff the names 
of the idols out of the land, and they shall be no more re 
membered ; and also I will cause the prophets and the un 
clean spirits to pass out of the land : and (verse 3) it shall 
come to pass that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father 
and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when 
he prophesieth." And, verse 6, when any should ask him, 
" What are those wounds in thy hands ? then he shall an 
swer, Those wherewith I was wounded in the house of my 
friends." Another notable scripture you have for this pur* 
pose in Psalm xxiv., when the question is made at verse 3, 
" Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord, and who shall 
stand in his holy place ?" that is, Who is fit to be a member 
of a true church ? answer is made to this at verses 4, 5, 6 : 
" He that hath clean hands and a pure heart," &c. Where- 
fore then saith the psalmist, " Lift up your heads, oh, ye 
gates ;" that is, magistrates that sit in the gates : t( and be ye 
lift up, ye everlasting doors ;" that is, of the churches, for 
the doors of the churches are everlasting doors, against which 
u the gates of hell shall not prevail:" and then, " the King 
of glory shall come in ;" that is, God will come in and dwell 
amongst you in his great glory, and your very congregations 
shall be filled with glory. But, " Who is the King of glory ? 
The Lord strong and mighty (saith the psalmist), the Lord 
mighty in battle, the Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory :" 
that is, thus will he bring his glory into the churches, by 
shewing himself to be " the Lord strong and mighty, the 
Lord mighty in battle." Wherefore, then, " lift up your 
heads, oh, ye gates," and execute you justice and judgment, 

334 ON ZECHARIAH I. 18 21. [SffiR. 14. 

" and be you lift up, ye everlasting doors " of the churches, 
and be you reformed, and "the King of glory shall come in" 
with his glory into your congregations. But if you ask me 
who this King of glory is ? I must tell you he is the Lord of 
hosts, and so he will be known unto you when he bringeth his 
glory amongst you, " even the Lord strong and mighty in 
battle." Wherefore I say, lift up your heads, oh, you car 
penters and servants of the Lord, drawn forth to that em 
ployment ; you see your work, the text hath cut it out, I be 
seech you in the Lord Christ, do it, and do it thoroughly, 
only let me lay in one caution, which is this : 

When you have frayed away the horns, and cast out the 
gentiles, take heed that the spirit of the horns do not live in 
the carpenters. When the children of Israel drove the Ca- 
naanites out of their land, they did as well inherit their sins 
as their lands; the sins they came to punish they did commit, 
the spirit of the Canaanites did dwell in the Israelites. So it 
was with Jehu when he had beat down the house of Ahab. 
So with Amaziah, who when he had destroyed the Edomites, 
he brought the gods of the children of Seir and set them up 
to be his gods, 2 Chron. xxv. 14, 15. This is too common in 
times of reformation. You all know what a blessed instru 
ment of reformation Master Calvin was in his time, yet when 
he came to that matter of denying the Lord s supper to Bart- 
lerius and other Servetians, who were most unworthy, those 
that otherwise were called protestants rose up in opposition 
to him, insomuch that he was ready if not altogether forced 
to leave Geneva for a time.* And was it not thus in that 
unhappy difference at Frankfort ?f In Queen Mary s time 
you know that many left this their own country and did fly to 
Germany ; when they came there, did not many of them that 
fled for religion prove pushing, goring horns unto their breth 
ren ? Yea, some of them were so bitter to others, that they 

* At ego, inquit Calvinus, Chrysostomum sequuntus, occidi me potius patiar, 
quam hsec manus Dei contemptoribus judicatis sancta Domini porrigat. 

A prandio vero Calvinus locum ilium insignem Actorum Apost. forte tractans 
in quo Paulus ecclesiae Ephesinse, testatus se eum mm esse qui adversus magis- 
tratum jmgnare sciret aut doceret, coetumque ; multis verbis cohortatus ut in ea 
quam audivisset doctrina perseveraret, tandem veluti postremam concionem Ge- 
nevae habiturus, et quemadmodum, inquit, se res habent. liceat mihi quoque fra- 
tres apud vos haec apostoli verba usurpare, commendo vos Deo et sermoni gratiae 
ejus. Mel. Adam, de vita Calvini. 

t llisloire de Frankfort. 

SER. 14.] ON ZECIIARIAH i. 18 21. 335 

complained of and impeached that reverend man Master 
Knox of high treason against imperial dignity, insomuch that 
he was banished from the city and driven from his congrega 
tion. Oh, what a sad thing is this, that the spirit of papists 
should live in protestants ; that the spirit of the horns should 
live in the carpenters ; that the spirit of prelates should live 
in those that are risen up to fray them away and cast them 
out ! I say no more, but when we have done all, cast out 
the gentiles and frayed away the horns ; if then we shall turn 
and gore and cast out our brethren and one another, God will 
find it out, and will not put it up at England s hands. 
Wherefore, my beloved, in the fear of God let us all remem 
ber this caution : oh, take heed that the spirit of the horns do 
not dwell in the carpenters. And so I come to the third vi 
sion, " A man with a measuring-line in his hand," and the 
third doctrine, which is this : 

When God shall raise up his carpenters against his church s 
enemies, then, and then especially, reformation is to be laid 
unto the line. You see how these three visions are knit 
together, one following immediately upon another, shewing 
not the coherence of the words only, but of the matter. The 
doctrine therefore falleth asunder into two propositions : 

1. Stones of reformation are to be laid with most ex 

2. When God raiseth up his carpenters against his church s 
enemies, then, and then especially, this exact reformation is 
to be much endeavoured. 

1. Stones of reformation are to be laid with most exact 
ness. Temple-work is a great work and of great consequence. 
When the matter that a man is to work upon is precious, 
the eye curious and exact that he is to work unto, and the 
work itself of infinite consequence, there exactness is much 
required, especially when a miscarriage can hardly be mended 
but with much difficulty. Now so it is in the work of refor 
mation : the matter to be wrought upon are the souls of men 
and women, the most precious matter in the world ; the eye 
that we are to work unto is God s, is Christ s, who walketh 
between the golden candlesticks ; and the business itself is 
of infinite consequence, yours and mine and thousands 
eternities lying at the stake ; and if there be a miscarriage, it 
will be a hard thing to bring the whole nation unto the work 

336 ox ZECHARIAM i. 1821. [SEO. 14. 

again. You see that when a man walketh upon the rope, he 
carrietli a pole in his hand to sway him, and he looks dili 
gently to his feet, quia non licei bis peccare, because if he do 
fail he cannot mend his miscarriage. And I say, that in this 
work of reformation, if there be the least slip, it will be a 
hard thing to recover it, when once a nation is settled in that 
miscarriage. Surely therefore the work is to be done with 
the most exactness. 

It is only exactness that doth cause conviction in those 
that do behold. There is no national reformation, but the 
eyes of nations are upon it. Give me leave to tell you what 
I have read in a letter written from a learned professor of 
divinity in an university beyond the seas, who writes thus to 
England :* Upon your reformation, saith he, if happily per 
formed, doth depend the reformation of all the churches in 
Christendom, as upon a rule and exemplar. So that I say, 
there is no reformation on foot in any nation, but the eyes of 
other nations are upon it. If it be done exactly, the behold 
ing nations will also come in and say, We will take hold of 
your skirt, and your God shall be our God. When Judah 
shineth, and God s glory resteth upon them, then nations 
come in and join themselves unto them, Isa. Ix. 1, 2, 3. It 
is only beauty that doth take the eye; when there is no 
beauty, there is no allurement ; KaXov, beautiful, comes from 
Ko>.en y which signifies to call, because beauty calls forth the 
eye and holds it in its beams. Now four things must concur 
to beauty. There must be all the parts ; all in their propor 
tion ; all in their due place ; all laid over with a sweet and 
lively colour. So it is in the beauty of God s house ; there 
must be all the ordinances ; all in their place ; all in due 
proportion ; and laid over with the power of godliness. 
When these meet in any church, there is beauty; but meet 
they cannot, unless there be exactness in reforming. Surely 
therefore stones of reformation are to be laid with most 

2. But what reason is there of the second proposition, 
which is, that then this exact reformation is especially to be 
endeavoured, when God shall raise up his carpenters against 

* A vestra reformatione, siquidem fteliciter pevacta, pendebit reformatio om 
nium aliarutn ecclesiarum in christianisrao, tanquam a norma et exemplari. 
D. Voet. 

SER. 14.] ON ZECHARIAH I. 18 21. 337 

the church s enemies ? for when the carpenters do arise the 
times are troublous. 

True, they are indeed ; but God chooseth troublous times 
to build in both his house and walls of the city. The 
churches have always lost most in times of peace, and gained 
most in times of trouble.* Whilst the ten persecutions con 
tinued, the integrity of the churches was best preserved. 
The psalmist saith., " Send out thy light and thy truth, O 
Lord, and let them lead me unto thine altar," Psalm xliii. 4. 
There is no going unto God s altar with worship, without the 
leading hand of truth ; and there is no building God s house 
for an altar without light. When God made the world, he 
first made light on the first day, as an example unto us in all 
our works to work by light. Now light and truth do break 
forth much in troublous times. 

Troublous times are praying times, and praying times are 
knowing times. " If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest 
up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, 
and searchest for her as for hid treasures ; then shalt thou 
understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of 
God," Prov. ii. 3, 4, 5. 

In troublous times men s hearts are most low and hum 
bled, and so more apt and ready to receive and to be led into 
any truth. You read in Isa. xi., that God promiseth that in 
the latter times " the whole earth shall be filled with the 
knowledge of the Lord ;" and in the verses a little before, it 
is said of the lion and the young lion, (( that a child shall 
lead them :" these two go well together ; but the stout lion- 
like spirit will never be led by the hand of a sucking child, 
until it be brought down and low by troublous times. 

In troublous times God is pleased to communicate himself 
more freely to his people. God is not unto his in affliction 
as at other times ; he is most sweet when the world is most 
bitter. It is with a nation, church and people, in their refor 
mation, as with a person in his first conversion : because of 
those many temptations that a converting person is to conflict 
withal, God doth more abundantly reveal and communicate 
himself unto him at his first conversion ; so with a reforming 
people, because of those many oppositions that they shall 

* Ecclesia tune semper fuit optima quando agebat inter pessimos. Luther. 

338 ON ZECHARIAH I. 18 21. [SER. 14. 

meet withal in that work, God doth then more than ordina 
rily communicate hirrself unto them. Thus troublous times 
do bring forth light and truth. God loveth to have a sacrifice 
from the hands of the children of Abraham out of the 
thickets and briars. Opposition commendeth reformation : 
in troublous times there is much opposition, and therefore in 
those times reformation is very beautiful. The doctrine is 
clear then, the application easy. Thus : 

Hence we may all see and know what is the work of the 
times, even to measure the temple. Now for a long while 
we have had experience of the first vision, and we have felt 
the horns ; the rising of the carpenters we have seen also ; 
and who may not say, " 1 have lifted up mine eyes, and be 
hold, a man with a measuring line in his hand ? " Blessed 
be God that we have lived to see this day, to see a man stand 
with a measuring line in his hand in England. And whoever 
you are that hear me this day, you are either such as have 
this measuring line in your hand, or else such as are to be 

If you have the measuring line in your hands, then re 
member this doctrine, the first proposition : stones of refor 
mation are to be laid with most exactness. Herein, if you 
be exact, you shall be like unto Jesus Christ, who, as Sal- 
meron observeth,* when he came to purge the temple, did 
not only admonish, chide, reprove the money-changers, or 
whip them away, but did overthrow their very tables, ne 
impium opus facile repeterent, lest they should recover their 
trade again. In other things you are very exact : men are 
exact in their trades, exact in their accounts, exact in their 
reckonings, exact in their diet, exact in their sleep, exact in 
their hair both of head and face ; in small things you are, 
exact, and will you not be exact in this greatest ? You knoi 
what other reformed churches have done; the reformation ol 
all other churches are round about you, you have their wri 
tings before you, their books, their practices, their examples, 
and this for many years : can you think that God hath set us 
now for an hundred years upon their shoulders, to see no 
further into reformation than they have done ? If two mei 
be to do the same work, the one first and the other after; 

* Sacerdotes in teroplo offendentes sunt flagellorum dignissimi. Salmeron in 
Joan. 3. 

SER. 14.] ON ZECHARIAH i. 18 21. 3.59 

that doth it first, though he doth it never so well, yet will 
excuse himself and say, I never saw the work done before 
trie, I was fain to invent my very tools and instruments ; and 
you will excuse him though there be some failing in him : 
but when the second man cometh to the same work that hath 
a former example, and all his tools to help him, you expect 
more exactness from him. You know my meaning, I need 
not apply this ; oh, that our God would make England the 
praise of the whole earth ; nothing will do it but our exact 
ness in reformation. Certainly this reformation that is now 
on foot, hath, as I may speak with reverence, cost our God 
very dear, the liberties, the estates, the lives and blood of 
many of his dear children, lt of whom the world was not 
worthy." Do you think God will lay out all this for an im 
perfect, unexact, poor and low reformation ? Let me present 
you with the prophecy of Bishop Hooper, who when he was 
in prison called his printer to him, and said, You shall out 
live these Marian times, and see the alteration of the present 
religion, when the gospel shall be freely preached ; wherefore 
remember me to my brethren, as well in exile as others, and 
bid them be circumspect in displacing of popish priests, and 
put good ministers in churches, or else their end will be 
worse than ours. He said, be circumspect ; I say, be exact : 
and though I do not wish that every morning there might be 
a boy crying at your doors, as once at Philip s, Mortalis es, 
Thou art mortal, thou art mortal; for that the drum doth 
sufficiently every morning ; yet I could wish that this sen 
tence might be sounding in your hearts every morning and 
night, that it might lie down with you and rise with you : 
Stones of reformation are to be laid with most exactness. 
But how shall that be ? 

Thus : be sure of this that you take the right line into 
your hands. God s word it is our line, able to reach unto 
all particular affairs of the churches. 

Mistake me not, I pray. A church is considered two 
ways; as a meeting of people, men and women; or as a 
church meeting, a meeting of saints, apparent believers, 
ctetus fidelium. I do not say that the word is to be the only 
line and rule to the church in the first respect, so reason may 
be a rule to men as men ; but in the second respect it is, the 
word is able to reach unto all things belonging unto a church 


340 ON ZECHARIAH I. 18 21. [SfiR. 14. 

as a church. Our commission is not larger now than the 
apostles commission was, and their commission ran thus : 
" Go teach and baptize, &c., teaching men to observe what 
ever I command you," Matt, xxviii. If not commanded by 
Christ, then not to be preached by them nor by us. Jesus 
Christ was and is as fully Christ in his prophetical as priestly 
office, and his priestly satisfaction reached unto all our sins, 
though they were never so small, therefore his prophetical 
direction reacheth to all our duties, though they be never 
so little. That which cometh not from heaven, can never 
bring you into heaven. If you say, There are some things 
indifferent ; it is true, but Christ s command is to keep them 
so then, and not to alter them.* If you say that circum 
stances are left unto the church ; either you mean all circum 
stances, or some ; if you mean only some, then you conclude 
nothing, for a particular proposition cannot make a general 
conclusion ; if you mean that all circumstances are left unto 
the church, then you do at once and at one stroke cut off 
three commandments from the decalogue; the first com 
mandment, "Thou shalt have no other Gods but me," 
commandeth the substance of worship, the second the means, 
the third the manner, the fourth the time ; and means, 
manner, and time are circumstances. Herein Luther speaks 
well,f Whatsoever a man believeth, or learneth, or teacheth 
besides the word, it is sin ; and again, saith he,J The church 
is the daughter of Scripture, brought up at the feet of 
the word. Oh, the perfection of that line, it is a complete 
line, a glorious line, a blessed line. Take this line therefore 
first into your hands. 

* Cum Moses per incultam et desertam regionem populum exulem et vagum 
traduceret, in tanta olitudine quicquid vel dicendeum vel agendum esset, semper 
consuluit Dominum, nihil unquam attulit de suo ; prophetse semper aiunt, verbum 
Domini, visio Domini, vox Domini, hsec dicit Dominus, audite Dominum ; Ego 
(inquit Paulus) evangelium meum non accepi ab homine, neque per hominem ; 
imo Christus omnia inquit quse audivi a Patre meo tradidi vobis, et predicate 
inquit non quicquid incident, sed evangelium omni creature. Jewel in Concione 
ad Clerum de verb, Dei, page 55, 56, &c. 

t Circumst. cur, quomodo, quando, quibus auxilius. Quicquid vivitur, doce- 
tur, discitur extra verbum, peccatum est. Ecclesia est Scripture filia. 

J Non enim nostro judicio instituenda est religio, sed e \erbo Dei. Omnia 
pervertuntur, cum religio non verbo Dei, sed hominum arbitrio nititur. Jewel, 
Concio ad Clerum de verbo Dei. 

SEB. 14.] ON ZECHARIAH i. 18 21 341 

When you have gotten this line into your hand, view your 
ground well, and stones well, that you are to draw this line 
over. Three sorts there are that are especially to be lined 
by it : the magistrates, the ministers, the congregations. 
These three the Pope and prelates, notwithstanding their 
flattering with princes, have especially laboured to degrade 
and to deprive of that power which was given unto them by 
Jesus Christ. The magistrates, and therefore the " man of 
sin " is so described by the apostle, that he te shall exalt him 
self above all that is called God," 1 Thess. ii. 4. The minis 
ters and elders of the church, and therefore you shall ob 
serve that from Rev. vii. to xiv. there is no more mention 
made of elders, unless it be in relation unto that same time. 
In chap. iv. the condition of the church is stated, and then 
the elders are mentioned ; so again in the vth and viith, but 
in the after chapters to the xivth you have the story of anti 
christ, his rise, his reign, and ruin; and till the fall of anti 
christ, which is begun in the xivth and perfected in the xviiith, 
we read no more of the elders ; but in the beginning of the 
xixth, after Babylon is fallen, then come forth the elders 
again, praising God, and with great joy. So in our service- 
book, the collect runs thus, " Send down upon our bishops 
and curates," &c., as if ministers and elders were only 
bishops curates, and had no power but under them. The 
congregations also have been much oppressed by them, 
therefore Azorius * the Jesuit professeth ingenuously, that 
until Gregory the first, and Charles the great, the congrega 
tions had the power of choosing their own ministers; 
since antichrist s power the congregations have lost their 

Now beloved in the Lord, there is none of all these three 
but have some power about church affairs ; the magistrate 
he hath his power, and therefore he is called " a nursing 
father ;" the minister and elder, he hath his power, there- 
he is commanded TTOI^O.IVI.IV^ which signifieth both to feed and 

* Non itaque ; inficiamur veterem ritum ac morem episcopos eligendi, quo plebe 
prsesento, imo et ipsius suffrages aliquando eligebantur : nam in Africa ilium 
morem observatum esse constat ex electione Eradii successoris S. Augustin in 
Grsecia tetate S. Chrysostum ex libro ejus 3. de sacerdote : qua quidem eligendi 
Episcopi ratio usque ; ad Gregorium I. ut constat ex ejus epistolis, imo et ad 
Caroli Magni, et Ludovici II. Imperatorum usque j tempera perduravit. 
Azor. instit. Morab. p. 2. 1. 3. c. 28. 

342 ON ZECIIAUIAII I. 18 21. [SER. 14. 

rule ; the congregation hath its power, and therefore well 
saith that blessed and learned man Dr. Whitaker,* who is 
now in heaven : If you consider the government of the 
church in regard of its Head, Christ, so it is monarchical ; 
if in regard of the elders, so it is aristocratical ; if in regard of 
the people who have a power to choose their own officers, 
it is democratical : whether this power of theirs be a matter 
of privilege or of jurisdiction, I dispute not now ; but a 
power they have : a power the people, a power the minister 
and elder, a power the magistrate; and if your line can be 
so drawn, as that every one of these three may have that 
native power which Jesus Christ hath left them by legacy, 
then have you drawn your line aright : view therefore your 
ground well. 

Which that you may do, in the next place take heed of 
self- engagements and self-respects in this work of reforma 
tion. Veritas stat in aperto campo, the truth stands in the 
open field, it sees no house, it sees no friend, no home ; and 
if your eye be upon your engagements, your hand will draw 
the line awry. Chrysostom observeth, that when our Sa 
viour propounded the parable of the husbandmen unto the 
scribes and pharisees, saying, " What shall be done to these 
husbandmen?" Matt. xxi. 41., the Jews answered, "He 
shall miserably destroy those husbandmen;" Luke xx. 16, 
yet in another gospel when our Saviour saith, " he shall 
miserably destroy them," the Jews answered, "God forbid." 
In one gospel their answer is related to be, " He shall misera 
bly destroy them ;" in the other gospel their answer is related 
on the contrary, " God forbid." How can these agree ? Yes, 
says Chrysostom, for first they say, "he will miserably de 
stroy these husbandmen " but when they perceived Christ 

* Ergo si velimus Christum ipsam respicere, fuit semper ecclesise regimen 
monarchicum ; si ecclesise presbyteros qui in doctrina et disciplina suas ptirtes 
agebant, aristocraticum : si totum corpus ecclesiae quatenus in electione episco- 
porum et presbyteros suffragia ferebat ita tamen ut f.v roia semper a presbyteris 
servaretur, democraticum : sic partim monarchicum, partim aristocraticum, 
partim democraticum est semperque fuit ecclesise regimen ; non quod unus 
aliquis episcopus potuit pro suo arbitratu singula facere, sed quod Christus 
sum mus ecclesise suas monarcha episcopum quemqne suo loco constituit, qui 
cum consilio pastorum, seniorum, et populi ecclesiam quoque suam regeret : 
hanc fuisse eeclesise apostolicae TroXtma) ex scripturis discimus, eamque longo 
tempore conservatum in ecclesiis fuisse historise ecclesiasticse tetantur. Whita 
ker controvers. iv. de Rom. Pontif. q. i. c. i. 

SER. 14.] ON ZECHARIAH i. 18 21. 343 

that aimed at them, then they said, " God forbid." So mis 
leading are all self-respects and engagements in receiving 
the truth ; reforming persons therefore must be self-denying 

They must deny their own wits, understandings, reasonings, 
though they be never so plausible : Da mihi baptizatam ra- 
tionem ; Give me baptized reason, saith one, mortified reason. 
Natural reason may be a drawer of water unto the temple but 
no officer in the temple. 

They must deny their own wills and affections though they 
be never so strong. The saints in heaven are the least pro 
prietaries to their own wills, and yet most happy. Our Sa 
viour says, " I am not come to do my own will, but the will 
of him that sent me ;" and this must be the resolution and 
practice of all those that are sent by God upon any service.* 

They must deny their own labours though they be never 
so great. So did Paul, who though " he laboured more abun 
dantly than all," yet says, " I am the least of all the apos 
tles." I have read or heard a story of one being in the boat 
where the king s crown was, and the crown falling accidentally 
into the water, he leaped after it, and having recovered it, to 
save himself and it, he put the crown upon his own head, 
that so he might swim the better unto the boat or land ; but 
though he was thanked for his venture, yet he was sharply 
reproved for his boldness for putting the crown upon his own 
head. The case is ours, is yours, the crown of the Lord 
Jesus hath as it were fallen into the water, and been ready to 
sink; it is our duty and practice to venture for to save it, but 
you must not then set the crown upon the head of your own 
labours, but upon Christ himself. " The four and twenty 
elders threw down their crowns at the feet of Christ/ * Rev. 
iv. 10. 

They must deny their own enjoyments, comforts and con 
tentments, though they be never so sweet. So Nehemiah 
denied his court favours, his governor s table, and sometimes 
to shift his own clothes : he that will lift up one that is 
fallen must stoop himself. t 

They must deny their own relations, though they be never 
so near. Salmeron observeth that our Saviour Christ did still 

* Quia voluntati propria non divinae obedit, sibi parit ruinam. Mendoaa. 
t Nullus jacentem excitabit nisi in flexione sui. Augustin. 

344 ON ZECHAUIAII i. 18 21. [SER. 14. 

call his mother, woman : " Woman, what have I to do with 
thee ?" not mother, but woman. Why so, says he, but to 
shew that in matter of religion we are to know no relations.* 
Thus must all reforming persons be self-denying persons. 
And thus, right worthy Zerubbabels, if you do first take the 
right line into your hands, then view your ground well, giving 
unto every one those immunities that Christ hath left him, 
and deny yourselves in working, your own reasons, wisdoms 
and understandings, your own affections, your own labours, 
your own outward contentments and all relations, I make no 
question but our stones of reformation shall be laid with 
much exactness, and the Lord s blessing ; and the Lord grant 
it may be so. 

As for these that are to measured, let them be willing to be 
measured, to be reformed, exactly reformed, willing to be fully 
measured. Wonder not that I call upon you to be willing; 
I shall tell you what I read concerning Beza, who coming unto 
a disputation before the court of France, and being very 
mighty in his arguments against the adversary, a cardinal 
stood up and said unto some peers, I would to God that either 
Beza were dumb, or that we were all deaf; so unwilling were 
they to receive the truth and to be reformed by it. And if 
people did not in their hearts wish as much now, why should 
they say in every place, Would to God we had never meddled 
with this work of reformation; here is ado about reformation 
and exact reformation, see what it has come to, would to God 
that we had stayed in our old condition. Oh, my beloved, do 
you not remember Christ s complaint ? " I came unto my own, 
and my own received me not." Shall Jesus Christ take up 
the like complaint and say, I came unto my own in England 
and they received me not ; I offered, I tendered my own go 
vernment unto them, and they would none of it ? O Eng 
land, England, how long have I stood knocking at thy door, 
and as it were put my finger in at the hole of the door by 
my providential works : wilt thou not yet open unto me ? 
How often would I have gathered thee under my wings as a 
hen gathereth her chickens, and thou wouldest not ; where 
fore now thy house is left unto thee desolate. Oh that people 
therefore would be willing ! yea, go to God and say, Behold, 

* la causa religionis consanguineos lion esse audiendos nee respiciendos. 

SEB. 14.] ox ZECHARIAII i. 18 21. 345 

Lord, we are all here before thee, do with us what is good in 
thine eyes, only measure us ; measure my family, measure my 
children, measure my servants, measure myself, only let the 
line of reformation pass over me and mine ; I am willing, 
Lord, help my unwillingness. 

Then, again, if ever God shall please to bring you unto the 
haven of your desires, reformation in exactness, Christ in his 
own government into your congregations, be sure that you lay 
fast hold of him, that he may never leave you or go from you 
any more. When the spouse in the Canticles had lost Christ, 
she goes bemoaning, lamenting, crying and inquiring after 
him ; when she had found him, she brings him into the 
chamber of her mother, and says, " I charge yoa, oh, ye 
daughters of Jerusalem, I charge ye by the roes and by the 
hinds, that ye awake not my Beloved until he please." So do 
you; if ever you light on Jesus Christ again, a settled gospel, 
carry him, oh, carry him into the chamber of your mother, 
as it were, and say unto all your friends, neighbours and con 
gregations, I charge ye, oh, ye daughters of England, yea by 
the roes and hinds of the field, I charge ye, oh, ye daughters 
of England, that ye awake not my Beloved until he please. 
This do hereafter, and for the present engage yourselves 

In the mean while, that you may do and have all this, now 
pray, pray alone and pray in company, pray in public, pray 
in private. The " man with a measuring-line in his hand," 
says, Pray ; your carpenters that are abroad in the field, say, 
Pray ; the examples of all reformed churches, say, Pray ; 
your parliament, say, Pray ; your assembly, say, Pray ; your 
lives, your liberties, your gospel, your all, say, Pray : oh, you 
that have any credit in heaven, pray now ; you that never 
prayed before, pray now. It is but one hour and the work 
is done. Can ye not watch with Jesus Christ one hour ? 
" Watch and pray." And that I say unto one I say unto all, 
and unto my own soul, Let us all watch and pray lest we en 
ter into temptation. 







RIGHT HONOURABLE, According to your command I have published these 
notes, which I humbly present to your lordships. They were once in your ear, 
they are now in your eye, the Lord ever keep them in your hearts. They lead 
to hiding love in the day of God s anger, and tell your honours where his hiding 
places are : and though it is better to have no storms than the best harbour ; yet 
if it shall please God that we must put to sea again, which mercy prevent, it is 
good to be acquainted with a good harbour. They call for righteousness. The 
first part of true righteousness, is to deny our own righteousness and to seek 
Christ s. As, " prima pars salutis est nullam videre salutem." The second 
part is to acknowledge and contend for the truth, the word of righteousness. 
Solomon bids us " buy the truth," but doth not tell us what it must cost, because 
we must get it though it be never so dear. " Multi amant veritatem lucentem 
oderunt redarguentum," Aquin. ex Augustino. We should love it both shining 
and scorching. 

And another part, is to deal justly, and to set this land free from oppressions. 
" Blessed art thou land (saith Solomon), where thy king is the son of nobles," 
Eccles. x. 17. The Septuagint reads it, tXevSepwv, the son of free-man. 
Righteousness doth not only strengthen, but nobilitate a nation and enrich it. 
When the officers are peace, and exactors are righteousness, then the gold and 
silver abounds. Isa. Iv. 17. 

The work of righteousness seems to be divine work, as authority itself is a 
beam of divine majesty : for as the sun is said to be God s peculiar, " He 
maketh his sun to rise." &c. ; and the wind is called his, " He causeth his wind 
to blow," Ps. cxlvii. 18 ; so is righteousness also in a special manner called his, 
" Give thy judgments unto the king, and thy righteousness unto the king s son," 
Ps. Ixxii. 1. " Da judicia tua et justitiam tuam, Ps. Ixxii. 1, habet mundus sua 
judicia et suam justitiam verum ita ut quod vere justum est, magis opprimatur 
quam promoveatur ; ergo dicit Psal. da id est da illis hanc gratiam ut quod apud 
te justum est judicent. Quse ut recto judicent principes et justitiam exerceant 
est donum Dei," Musculus. And if God lead your lordships into his own work, 
he will accompany you with his own strength. You cannot better consult honour 
unto your own families, and happiness unto this nation, than by causing justice 
and judgment to run down like mighty streams into all the countries thereof. 

They call for meekness and sweetness of disposition : which being gained, you 
shall not need to leave your place if the spirit of the ruler rise up against you ; 
" for yielding (saith the English, but according to the Hebrew and Montanus s 
translation, lenity or sweetness,) pacifieth great offences." Eccles. x. 4, NQ"ID, 
gaiiitas autlenitas, Ar. Montan. None pretend more to good nature than our 


gentry, and indeed I think it is a flower grows much in their gardens : but though 
divine nature will bring us to heaven, meek, good nature will not. It is gospel 
love and meekness which this sermon means. The gospel works it, and it 
honours the gospel, The more the gospel conquers this nation, the more love 
and meekness, which is so wanting, will abound. Oh, spread the gospel, and by 
your means let us see the angel flying in the midst of our heavens, with the 
, everlasting gospel in his hand. Rev. xiv. 6. This is a work worthy of you. 
Great men should do great things, and count themselves little. " Vere magnum 
est magna facere et teipsum putare nihil," Euseb. Nier. 

My lords, Christ hath done much for you, you must do much for Christ. 
The more you have in this world, the more grace it is to be of another. For 
outward things, afford them some relics of your love, and so much only as better 
things leave ; for what is too cold for God, is hot enough for these things. 
" Toleremus potius prsesentia quam deligamus." Why should not we give that 
unto God by an act of our faith, which he hath given unto us as a fruit of his 
love ? Thus shall you be able to say in your lying down, as Christ spake at his 
death : " Father, I have glorified thee on earth, I have finished the work which 
thou gavest me to do, and now glorify me with thine own self," John xvii. 4, 5. 
Which that your Honours may do, shall be the prayer of 

Your humble and most unworthy servant in the gospel of Jesus Christ, 


" Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought 
his judgment, seek righteousness, seek meekness : it may be ye shall be 
hid in the day of the Lord s anger." ZEPH. n. 3. 

GOD never lets off his murdering pieces upon a nation or 
kingdom, but he doth first discharge his warning pieces ; he 
never strikes, but he doth threaten first. For as he doth 
therefore strike once, that he may not strike again ; so he 
doth therefore threaten at the first, that he may not strike at 
all. He promises that he may fulfil, but he threatens that he 
may not fulfil. 

Having therefore denounced great judgments in the first 
chapter, he proceedeth by the prophet Zephaniah to soft and 
sweet exhortations in the beginning of this second. 

And because men are either godly or ungodly, he begins 
with the ungodly, and exhorteth them to gather themselves, 
&c. ver. 1, 2. And for the godly, he exhorteth them for to 
seek the Lord, ver. 3, " Seek ye the Lord," &c. 

In which words three things are most considerable : 

First, The matter of the exhortation, which is, " To seek 
the Lord, to seek righteousness, and to seek meekness." 

Secondly, The subject or persons upon whom this exhor 
tation falls ; that is, " the meek of the earth," further de 
scribed to have wrought judgment. 


Thirdly, The motive pressing thereunto, " It may be ye 
shall be hid in the day of the Lord s anger." 

For explication : 

" Seek ye the Lord." That is, the Lord himself, his face, 
his favour, his honour. The word " seek," is used in Scrip 
ture, either more largely, for our whole service of God and 
endeavours after him ; or else more strictly for prayer. Here 
it is taken in the largest sense, because the word in the 
Hebrew is not f?i, which signifies rather verbo qucerere, 
Prov. xv. 14, to seek by word or petition ; but iypi, which 
signifies rather conatu queer ere, to seek by endeavour.* 

" The meek of the earth." The Hebrew word turned 
meek, signifies afflicted as well as meek, and so it is often 
translated, for afflictions well used are means to meeken us, 
and to file off the roughness and ruggedness off our disposi 
tion. But here it doth note the grace and virtue of meek 
ness, which is irarum moderativa, that scripture grace whereby 
a man hath the command and moderation of his anger, leav 
ing all his revenge unto God himself; for it is the same word 
that is used after for meekness, which cannot be understood 
of affliction, but of the grace and virtue of meekness, for 
that no man is to seek affliction. 

" Which have wrought his judgment." The word 
judgment is used in Scripture, either for the commandments, 
word and statutes of the Lord, or for that evil which God 
doth bring upon a people in a way of justice ; in both these 
respects the meek may be said to work his judgments, either 
as obedient to the Lord s word, or as executioners of justice ; 
but 1 take it rather in the first sense. 

" Seek righteousness." That is, the righteousness of 
Christ, just and righteous dealing between man and man : 
and the truth of God which is called the word of righteous 
ness ; none more fit to seek justice and righteousness, than 
those that are the meek of the earth. 

" Seek meekness." Yea, though they were meek before. 
When God calls upon wicked men, to love and seek him, 
as Estius observes,* he wills them to do that which they did 

* irpl est quserere magis conatu et studio quam interrogatione aut petitione 
quod per iNty significatur, i. e. petere seu rogare et si interim confundatur. 
Mercer. Pagni. in Thes. 

* Quseritur quo re hsec non sit supervacanea prophetae exhortstio, cum eo ipso 


not before : when he calls upon godly men to love and seek 
trim, he wills them to do that more which they had done 
before. It is not enough to be habitually godly, but what 
ever grace we have in the habit, must be drawn forth into 
exercise, and though we have wrought judgment, we must do 
it again. 

We must not think to exercise one grace alone, but there 
must be an harmony, mixture, conjuncture of all graces. 
Some are wise, but not zealous ; some zealous, but not wise : 
some just, but not meek ; some meek and sweet dispositioned, 
but not righteous in execution of justice. But these graces 
must be mixed together; and therefore saith the Lord here, 
" Seek righteousness, seek meekness. 5 

" It may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord s anger." 
Ye shall surely be hidden from the wrath to come, and it 
may be from the wrath present. This may be,* says Junius, 
is not a word of doubting, but provoking to more endeavour : 
it is a half promise. 

From all which words ye may observe these five notes. 

First, that God hath his days of anger, there is wrath and 
anger with God, which upon occasion breaks forth upon the 
children of men. 

Secondly, that in these days of anger, God is very willing 
for to hide, save, and defend his own people. 

Thirdly, though he be willing to hide his own children 
in evil times, yet he doth sometimes leave them at great un 

Fourthly, when God s anger doth break forth upon the 
children of men, and his people at uncertainties, not know 
ing what will become of them ; then and then especially 
it is their duty to seek the Lord, to seek righteousness, and 
to seek meekness. 

Fifthly, that if any men can do any good in the evil day, 
it is the meek of the earth. 

First, God hath his days of anger, there is wrath and 
anger with God. 

Take anger properly for a passion, and so there is none 

mansueti sunt, Dominum jam antea qusesierint ? Resp. Quando impiis discitnr 
diligite Dominum mopenturfacere id quod antea non faciebant ; quando autem rec- 
taicorde discitur, diligite Dominum monentur amplius et diligentus facere quod an 
tea faciebant, ita cum dicitur malis et duris quaerite Dominum, &c. Estius in locum < 
* Kl/ Non dubitantis est sed sollicitudinem exacueniis. Jun. in Exod. xxxii. 


with God : ira we say is from ire, because when one is 
angry he goes out of himself; and when he is pacified, he 
does redire ad seipsum return to himself. Thus it is not in 
God : Fury is not in me, saith the Lord. 

If ye take anger for the effects and fruits thereof, so it is 
not with God as his mercy is. " His mercy is over all his 
works," even over the works of his anger. He is no where 
called an angry God, but a merciful God often. The Psalmist 
speaking of God s justice, and the fruits of his anger, saith, 
(( His judgments are like the great mountains," Ps. xxxvi. 6, 7 
but speaking of his goodness and mercy, saith, " It reacheth 
unto the clouds. " What mountain doth so ? 

His mercy is for itself, he gives that he may give ; he 
loves that he may love ; and shews mercy that he may shew 
mercy : but he is not angry that he may be angry. The 
Lord is angry a little that he may love for ever, his very 
anger doth end in love. 

Exod. iv. 14 16, " He is slow, the slowest to conceive 
a wrath, and ready to forgive :" he makes a way to his anger, 
but the way to mercy lies always open.* 

Yet there is anger with him, he hath his days of anger. 
For as Aquinas says, Excellentia irascentis est causa ira. 
The excellency of the person that is angry, is the cause of 
anger; the more excellency in a person, the sooner he is 
moved to anger, because pervipensio or contempt, is the 
greatest provocation to anger. Now there is most excellency 
in God, and therefore sin being a contempt of him, he 
cannot but be moved to anger. Anger is the dagger that 
love wears, to save itself, and to hurt all that wrongs the 
thing loved : there is love with God, infinite love in God, 
and therefore there must needs be anger too. 

Yea, there is not only wrath, but great wrath with God. 
His works are like himself : if his anger fix on a person, it 
extendeth to all the man, soul and body. If one man be 
angry with another, he may afflict his body, but he cannot 

* Iratus est Dorainns adversus Moysem, Exod. iv. 14. In quo quseso furor 
ejus declaratur in quo ira ejus exprimitur ? beneficium cognosco, non indigna- 
tionem ; ecce enim verse 15, pollicetur ei virum eloquentissimunj in socium 
legationis et hunc in itinere sibi occursurum ; an hsec signa indignationis vel 
potius amoris ? sed Deus ita liberalis est ut nesciat eis cum punire debeat non 
benefacere. De Haye in Exod. iv. 14, 15. 


reach his soul. God s anger doth especially seize on that 
part, because he is a Spirit, and doth reach the spirits. 

Yea, his anger doth not only extend unto all the man, 
but as in heaven, when he pours out his glory upon men, 
he doth enlarge and enable the faculty to receive his mercy, 
which else could not take it in, or stand under it, the weight 
of glorious mercy would break the very soul : so, when he 
is angry, and pours out his wrath upon a person, he enlarges 
the soul and faculty to receive, and to bear the same. 

He blocks up all ways of succour and relief when he is 
angry, which men cannot do ; his own children cannot bear 
the strokes of his anger, though they be strokes of love ; * 
what are they then when they do come from hatred ? 

His anger gives a being to all our angers. What is the 
wrath of man, kings, princes, or states, but, comparatively, 
as the claw of the dead lion ? If the lion be dead, what hurt 
can his claw do ? It is the anger of God that puts life into 
all our angers. One drop of his wrath distilled into the soul 
is able to burst it. Who knows the power of his anger ? 
saith the psalmist. Oh, it is great, it is infinite, it is unspeak 
able, it is inconceivable : and this wrath and anger of his doth 
sometimes break forth upon the children of men ; he hath 
his days of anger. 

He hath three houses that he puts men into : an house of 
instruction, an house of correction, an house of destruction. 
If men mend not in the first they are removed to the second, 
if they mend not in the second they are removed to the third. 
As the creditor that lends his money gratis hath his three 
times ; his time of mere love, his time of forbearance and 
patience after the money is due, his time of execution and 
judgment after forbearance and patience is tired. 

So hath God also a time when he doth freely give forth 
mercies to the children of men : if they improve them, well ; 
if not, yet then he hath patience with them and forbearance ; 
but if after long forbearance they do not mend and turn unto 
him, then he brings his judgment, and does execution on 
them. Oh, there is wrath with God : God hath his days of 

Therefore it is not in itself unlawful to be angry, for God 

* Si Deus tarn aspere percutit ubi parcit, qua aspere percutiet ubi ssevtit ? et 
quanta destructione feriet quos reprobat, si sic crucial quos amat ? Greg, moral. 

352 SAINT S HIDING-PLACE. [Sen. 15. 

is angry sometimes ; only your wrath and anger must be in 
order to reformation, as God s is. " Be angry (says the 
apostle) and sin not : let not the sun go down on your wrath." 
The beer or drink may be good in the cup over-night, but if 
it stand all the night, it sours in the cup : so will your anger 
sour that stands all night in your hearts, which you lie in. 
Smoke may be borne whilst it goes up in the chimney, but if 
it break out into the house or room, it is most offensive : so 
is your anger too, yet it is not in itself unlawful to be angry. 

Again, If there be wrath with God, and great wrath, how 
infinitely are our souls bound unto Jesus Christ, by whom we 
are delivered from the wrath to come, 1 Cor. v. 18, by whom 
we are reconciled to God the Father, and made friends to 
him; and being friends, his very wrath and anger are our 
friends also. As when a man is my friend, not only his 
power is my friend, his love is my friend, his purse is my 
friend ; but his sword is my friend. So when God is my 
friend, not only his wisdom is my friend, his power my friend, 
and mercy my friend ; but his wrath and anger are my 
friends also. Now suppose that one of you should be much 
in debt, so as not able to pay, and being arrested and carried 
away into prison, a man should come and pay all your debt, 
only desiring that you would love him, aad now and then go 
unto the prison to behold what he had delivered you from ; 
would you not do it ? Thus it is with Christ : you were all 
indebted, and so deeply that you were not able to pay ; 
Christ hath paid our debt, and holds forth his empty veins, 
saying, Behold, these are the purses that I have emptied to 
pay your debt; only, I will that you love me, and look now 
and then upon the wrath and anger from which I have deli 
vered you. Shall we not then love him ? Oh that our hearts 
were inflamed in love unto Jesus Christ ! 

I have read of a certain monk, that being in a town where 
there was a great fire, and divers of the houses and families 
escaping, he ran up and down the town, saying to delivered 
persons, Deo gratias pro te ; Deo gratias pro me : God be 
thanked for thee ; God be thanked for me : God be thanked 
for thee, and God be thanked for me. Now this kingdom 
hath been all on fire, and we that are here, as so many fire 
brands pulled out of England s burnings. Who may not run 
up and down, saying, God be thanked for thee, and God be 


hanked for me ? But what is this fire to the fire of God s 
Jternal wrath ? and this we are delivered from by Christ. 
h, blessed be God for Christ, for his love in Christ. 
Again, If there be wrath with God, and great wrath, which 
ifter forbearance breaks forth upon the children of men ; then 
see what great and just cause there is why those that are 
in place should send forth godly and faithful preachers into 
all the parts of this kingdom that may preach the gospel of 
peace. Every godly, faithful minister, preacher, is an under 
officer to Jesus Christ, a reconciler : " We beseech you, in 
Christ s stead, be reconciled," says the apostle, 1 Cor. v. 19, 
20. Thousand and ten thousand souls in this kingdom that 
lie under wrath. Oh, that God would effectually stir up your 
hearts to send forth more labourers into this harvest. The 
harvest is great, the labourers few, but the work is necessary, 
for poor ignorant souls to be delivered from the wrath to 
come. What though ever} 7 formality cannot be had now 
which you would have at another time ? Sure it is necessary 
that men and women should be delivered from the wrath to 

Melancthon* makes mention of two certain persons in 
Austin s time, that were in a ship which was like to perish in 
a storm at sea, the one very godly but yet not baptized, the 
other baptized but excommunicated ; there being no other 
Christian in the ship with them, and they fearing they should 
be both cast away, knew not what to do in that condition ; 
he that was not baptized desired baptism by the hands of him 
that was excommunicate, and he that was excommunicated 
desired absolution from the other, and so it was concluded ; 
whereupon the question was moved, whether these acts were 
valid and good. 

Austin commended the actions, which I only mention to 

* Augustin. ad Fortunatum narrat. historiam quse continet eruditam disputatio- 
nem ; ait enim in una nove fuisse quendam pium, sed nondum baptizatum verum 
Karrjxovfjitvov, et alterum baptizatum, qui tatnen lapsus et si cuperat poenitentiam 
agere, tamen nondutn erat absolutus, quod juxta veteres canones irrogabantur 
poene exempli causa ante absolutionem. Addit Augustin. prseter hos neminem 
ibi fuisse christianum ; quurn autem naufragium timerent, petit Kae,rr]\ov[^ei oi 
ab illo altero baptismum ; qui cum isti impertiisset baptism um, visissim ab eo 
petit absolutionem; proinde quaeritur an hsec administratio sacraraentorum valu- 
erit ? Augustiiius reste respoudet valuisse ; et quidam hanc historiam tan topi- re 
commendat ut dicat neminem tenere lachrymas posse qui earn audiat. disjj.it. 
P. Melanch. Lutheri Opera, torn i. 443. Wittebergse 1558. 


shew what men of judgment think lawful in case of necessity. 
I plead not for the like action : but now, if ever, there is a 
time of necessity, when some things may be done which are 
not ordinary. Do not ye hear the souls of poor, ignorant 
people crying from several countries, Help, O parliament ! 
Help, O nobles ! Help to deliver us from the wrath to come ! 
And blessed are those persons that have a hand in so good a 
work as this. 

Secondly, You may observe from the words, that in days 
and times of God s anger, he is exceeding willing to hide his 
own people; therefore he exhorteth them to the hiding means. 
" Seek ye the Lord," &c. 

" Come, O my people/ says the Lord by the prophet 
Isaiah, chap, xxvi., " enter into your chambers, and shut the 
doors about you, hide yourselves till the day of mine indig 
nation be overpast." 

" O Jerusalem, Jerusalem," says Christ, foreseeing the day 
of anger that was coming, " how often would I have gathered 
your children as a hen gathereth her chickens ?" The hen 
doth, therefore, gather her chickens under her wings, that 
they may be hid from danger. Christ says, he would often 
have done it: " How often would I," &c., Luke xix 41. 
And that it may appear he was very willing, the text tells us 
that he wept over Jerusalem when he spake these words. 
Children weep upon all occasions, wise men seldom. It was 
some great matter that made Christ weep : here Christ weeps ; 
and why ? but because they would not be hidden. Yet this 
people a wicked and an ungodly people. Oh, how willing is he, 
then, for to hide the saints ! 

If he be so willing to hide his own children, how is it that 
so many of his dear servants have fallen in these late wars : 
some spoiled, wasted in their estates, some maimed in their 
bodies, some killed by sword : if God be willing to hide his 
people, why then so many exposed to dangers ? 

God will never sell away his people or their comforts but 
for a valuable consideration. Nothing of his children not 
dear unto them ; their lives dear, their estates dear, their 
names dear : he will have a valuable consideration for what 
ever they lose ; though they do lose for present, yet they do 
and shall gain thereby.* God knows how to deliver from 

* Mercatura est qusedam, minora amittere ut majora lucreris. Parisiensis. 


Janger by danger, from death by death, from misery by mi- 
>ery. Perjissem nisi perjissem. I had been spoiled, unless 
[ had been spoiled ; wasted, unless I had been wasted ;* 
indone, unless undone ; and died, unless I had died, may 
many say. God can provide a chamber of preservation in 
;he belly of destruction, as he did for Jonah in the whale s 
oelly ; and make the very miseries of his people to be a ten- 
ier midwife to their great happiness. We do not always see 
,he fence that is about Job : the devil saw it when Job s 
Wends did not. God can and doth hide by cobwebs. I have 
read or heard of one of our English soldiers, when we went 
against some part of Spain, that when the Spaniards came 
lown on our men to have cut them all off, crept under the 
stairs, into a hole there ; the enemy seeking for him, came to 
;he place, and finding a cobweb made over the mouth of the 
lole where he lay, said, Surely there are none here ; so went 
way, and the poor man escaped. God hath many such cob 
webs : and thatwhich we look upon as a mere cobweb, in which 
s no strength or shelter, God can and doth hide his people by. 
Indeed, much of the saints preservation is put into the 
land of angels. And we read, in Ezekiel i., that their hands 
are under their wings ; that is, work in an nnseen way : yet 
work they do, and bear them up in their arms, hiding, pre 
serving and keeping them by God s commission. God is 
very willing, then, exceeding willing to hide his own people 
n evil times. 

Behold a shelter in the time of a storm : who would not 
ly to it ? Shall God be willing to hide us, and shall not we 
>e willing to be hidden by him ? I know men will say, they are 
willing to be hidden ; who is not willing to be hidden by 
>y God ? But, qui vult finem, vult media, 8$c. He that wills 
;he end, in sincerity, wills the means also. And if indeed, 
rou be willing to be hidden by God, observe who those are 
whom God hath hidden, or doth by promise engage for to 
lide, and labour to be like to such. 

Those that hide the saints of God are sure to be hidden 
jy God. Two sorts of evil times there are, as in Noah s 
days there were two floods ; the flood of profaneness, which 
did first drown the world ; and the flood of God s anger in 
water. And in our times, before the last flood and deluge of 

* Christus ut bonus medicus aliquando non facit voluntatem ut facial sanitatem. 

A A2 


blood broke out, there was a flood of superstition and wick 
edness, that had covered even the mountains of this king- 
dom. So in all times. And the first flood is the herald of the 
second. If a man shall provide an ark for God s children in 
the day of the first flood, God will provide an ark for him 
and his children in the day of the second flood. 

Ebedmelech hid Jeremiah, as the prophecy of Jeremiah 
tells us, in the day of the king s anger ; and therefore God 
hid him in the day of God s anger. 

Rahab hid the spies ; and God hid Rahab and her family.* 

As God doth punish men in their own kind, so he doth 

reward men : both punishments and rewards have the names 

of their sins and graces engraven in their foreheads. 

Our dear brother Joseph, (I mean Jesus Christ, who is not 
ashamed to be called our brother, as the apostle speaks,) will 
be sure to put our own money in our sack s mouth. God 
will hide every hiding Obadiah. 

Again, Those that keep the word of God s patience, have 
a promise to be hidden by God : Rev. iii. 10, " Because thou 
hast kept the word of my patience, therefore I will deliver 
thee from the hour of temptation, which will come upon all 
the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." The 
word of God s patience, I take to be the truth which the 
saints suffered for in their time. Sometimes the saints suffer 
for one truth, and sometimes for another. In the days of 
Luther, the word of God s patience was, justification by faith 
alone, and of free grace. In the days of queen Mary, the 
word of God s patience was, The pope is antichrist, bread is 
not transubstantiated. Now, says the Holy Ghost, "Because 
thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will keep thee," 

Those are sure to be hidden by God in evil times, that 
fear not the fears of men, nor say a confederacy with them 
that say a confederacy. There are always confederacies 
against Christ, his cause and his children ; and some out of 
fear are apt to be drawn into those confederacies. See what 
God says in this case : Isa. viii. 12, " Say ye not a confederacy 
to all them to whom this people shall say a confederacy ; 

* Si Rahab meretrix salutem consecuta est, cum omni clomo sua, quia ducis a 
Deo fflissi exploratores semel excepit : quid ille consequentur qui Deum ipsum 
intra mentis suse domutn frequenter devote rtceperit ? Heb. ii. 2. 


neither fear ye fear, nor be afraid/ Verse 13, " Sanctify the 
Lord of Hosts himself, and let him be your fear, and let him 
be your dread." What then ? Then at verse 14, " And he 
shall be for a sanctuary ; but for a stone of stumbling, for a 
rock of oifence, to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and 
for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem." That is, for 
those that did say a confederacy ; but as for those that did 
not say a confederacy, the Lord would be a sanctuary unto 

Those are sure to be hidden by God, that remain green 
and flourishing in their religion, notwithstanding all the 
scorching heats of opposition that do fall on them. We 
read in Rev. ix., that an angel opening the bottomless pit, 
much smoke ascends, and out of the smoke came locusts like 
scorpions to destroy, but they might destroy no further than 
their commission reached ; and their commission extends not 
to the green things. Verse 4, it was commanded them they 
should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green 
thing, neither any tree. Some that are dried and withered 
in their profession ; great professors they have been, and are 
now declined and withered ; these may be hurt in the day of 
the locusts, but whoever remains green may not be touched. 

And the text tells us, that the meek of the earth shall be 
hidden by God; they have a half promise here, and a whole 
promise in other places of Scripture. 

Where is the person, therefore, that is thus qualified ? 
You may go to God, and say, I confess, Lord, I am not 
worthy to be hidden by thee, I have sinned as others ; yet 
through thy grace, I and my family have been an hiding 
place to thy children, I have kept the word of thy patience, 
not feared men s fear, nor said a confederacy with them ; I 
am yet green in my profession, not so strong as the green 
tree, but yet green as the grass, not withered ; and I do apply 
my soul to the ways of meekness : now, Lord, let me be 
hidden in this evil day that is come upon us. And, my be 
loved, as ever you desire to be hid in the day of God s anger, 
get your souls in-arked in all these promises and scriptures. 

Thirdly, Ye may observe from the words, that though God 
is willing to hide his own people in evil times, yet he doth 
sometimes leave them at great uncertainties, that they may 


not know what shall become of them, only with a may be, of 
their salvation. 

They have more than a may be, for their eternal salvation. 
" I know that my Redeemer liveth," saith Job. " I am 
persuaded (saith Paul) that nothing shall separate me from 
the love of God," &c. Indeed God suffers his own children 
sometimes, to labour under many doublings * and fears 
about their eternal salvation. Luther tells us of one, that 
lived a very gracious and holy life, yet when he came to die, 
being filled with doubtings, some of his friends came to him 
saying, Sir, what need you be troubled, you have lived most 
exactly and graciously. True, saith he, I have indeed in 
your eye, but the eye of man and of God differs ; God s 
judgment is one, and man s judgment another, and therefore 
now I do fear to die.f But there is an insuring office set up 
in the gospel, as to the venture of our eternities. " These 
things have I written (saith John, 1st Epist. v. 13) that ye 
may know that ye have eternal life." Not that ye may 
have eternal life, but that ye may know that ye have it. 

But as for our temporal and outward salvation, God doth 
sometimes leave his people to a may be. So here ; and in 
Joel ii. 14, " Who knows if he will return, and repent, and 
leave a blessing behind him ?" and Exod. xxxii. 30, " Perad- 
venture (saith Moses) I shall make an atonement for your 

God loves to have his people trust to the goodness of his 
nature. If you have a man s word or promise for a kind 
ness, then you trust to his promise. If you have his pro 
mise, you say, But he is full, and rich, and of a good nature, 
and therefore I will venture on him. And is there not infi 
nite sweetness and goodness of nature in God ?J As God 
would have us trust sometimes unto his promise, so unto the 
goodness of his nature ; and therefore sometimes he gives 
but a may be. We are at great uncertainties with God ; and 
when we are left unto uncertainties, then we think and say, 
Aye, this is just, I have been at uncertainties with God, 

* Fidei certitude importat firmitatem adhsesionis, non semper quietationem 
intellectus. Parisiens. 

f Alia sunt Dei et liominum judicia. 

+ Amat Deus ; non aliunde hoc habet, sed ipse eat unde amet; et idco velie- 
mcntius amat quia non amorem tarn habet quatn hoc est ipse. Augustiu. 


hometimes praying, and sometimes not, and it is fit he should 
Ibe so with me, that I may be minded of mine own sin. 

The more uncertain a man is, the more, if not ingenuous, 
he will fear; and the more a man fears before the Lord, the 
[more he will fly unto God : timor nos fecit consiliativos. 

Truly we are not ingenuous enough towards God ; were we 
more ingenuous, we should improve our assurance unto 
greater obedience. Therefore God is fain to rebuke our want 
of ingenuousness, and this uncertainty carries a report of it. 

But suppose it be so, that in evil times we shall not be 
able to say what shall become of us, what is our duty then ? 

The fourth doctrine tells us, and so I come unto that, 
which is, 

Fourthly, When the tokens of God s anger are abroad, 
and his people know not what will become of them, but 
have only a may be for their deliverance, then, and then 
especially, it is their duty for to seek unto God. 

As the motions of the earth are guided and governed by 
the motions of the heavens; and the earth s fruitfulness 
depends on the heaven s influence : so do the motions of 
our hearts and lives, and all their fruitfulness, depend on the 
influence of God. When the scales are even, gold-weight, 
then is a fit time to put in some grains of prayer: who 
knows but that one prayer then may turn the scales ? 

It is the duty of all the saints, in days of God s anger, 
and uncertain times, to commit their ways unto God. I will 
tell thee, saith Job s friend to him, what I would do in thy 
case, " Unto God would I seek, unto God would I commit 
my cause," Job v. viii. " Commit thy ways unto God, and 
thy thoughts shall be established," saith Solomon, Prov. 
xvi. 3. 

And indeed, there is no such way to establish our thoughts 
or kingdom, as to commit our ways unto God. Luther hath 
a notable story to this purpose : There was, saith he, a great 
contest between a duke of Saxony and a bishop of Ger 
many, insomuch as the duke intended war against him ; but 
before the war, he would send out a spy, to observe the 
bishop s actions and motions ; and the spy being returned, 
Come, saith the duke, what is the bishop a doing ? Oh, sir, 
saith he, you may easily surprize him, he lives without fear, 
idle, doing nothing, making no preparations for war. No, 


said the duke, but what said the bishop then? He saith he 
will feed his flock, preach the word, visit the sick ; and as 
for this war, he will totius belli molem Deo committere, he 
will commit the whole weight and bulk of the war unto God 
himself. Aye, saith the duke, then bellum ei inferat diabolus, 
non ego ; then let the devil wage war against him, for I will 
not. Thus faith turns away the fury of the sword ; and 
committing our cause unto God, turns away the anger and 
wrath of God. But a man cannot commit his cause unto 
God, unless he doth seek unto God ; and therefore, when his 
anger is abroad, and people at uncertainty, then it is their 
duty, then and then especially for to seek unto him. 

By this truth we know now what we ought to do. 

Your thoughts may prevent me, and say, But the wrath 
and anger of God is pacified toward us, and this nation : 
is not the war at an end ; are not our swords fully beaten 
into plough-shares ? 

Now I would to God it were so ; and long, oh, long may 
you sit under your vines and fig-trees, praising the name of your 
God : yet give me leave to tell you three reasons why I con 
ceive that God is angry with us still, the day of his anger 
not yet done. 

1. The plague is begun. The beginnings of a plague are 
the signs of God s anger. " Run in quickly," saith Moses, 
" wrath is gone forth, the plague is begun," Num. xvi. 46. 

2. I cannot but think God is angry with us still, be 
cause we are so angry with one another. When God is 
reconciled to a people, they are reconciled among themselves : 
our reconciliation an emanation of his. Then the lion and 
the lamb lie down together: then the sucking child plays on 
the hqle of the asp. Then envy,* the root of all division, 
and the wrath of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Judah ceaseth, 
Isa. xi. Our love is a reflection of God s love. His love 
is the cause of our love ; but our love is the sign of his love : 
so contrary. You may observe therefore what the Lord 
saith by Micah, chap, vii. 5, to this purpose, " Trust ye not 
in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide, keep the doors 
of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom." These are 
treacherous times, and wrathful times. For, saith he, verse 6, 

* Tolle invidiam et tuum est quod habeo, tolle invidiam et meum est quod 


" the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up 
against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother- 
in-law ; a man s enemies are they of his own house." Here 
is anger indeed, much like that of our times. But what is 
all this to God s anger ? Yes, says he, verse 9, " I will bear 
the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against 
him." Where these things are in this posture, there is God s 

You know the parable in Matt, xviii., " A certain servant 
owed his master a thousand talents, and said, I will go to my 
Lord, and say, Have patience with me and I will pay thee 
all, which he did, and his master forgave him. But then he 
meets with his fellow-servant that owed him an hundred 
pence : and when that servant said the like words unto him, 
which he spoke unto his master, he took him by the throat, 
and cast him into prison, which (says the parable) his Lord 
hearing of, was wrath." Beloved, God hath forgiven us a 
thousand talents : our fellow-servants owe us some lesser 
sums, and we cannot forgive them, but take them by the 
throat ; surely our Lord and Master cannot but be angry 

3. I cannot but think that God is angry with us still ; 
because the former sins that God hath been punishing all 
this while, do still live among us : live in their principles, 
live in the spirit of them, live in their practises under other 
names and notions : old sins walking up and down under 
new clothes. 

Three great sins there are for which God hath been con 
tending with us for divers years. Idolatry and superstition. 
Opposition of the saints, and the power of godliness. Op 
pression and injustice. I know that for oaths and drunken 
ness, and adultery, the land hath mourned : but these three 
named, are the great capital sins that God doth usually draw 
out the sword against nations for. 

Now I appeal to you : doth not idolatry and superstition 
live in the principle of it ? Give me leave to instance in 
one particular : the superstitious men of the former times, 
commanded bowing before altars, at the name of Jesus, and 
before bread in the Lord s supper. But I pray, What was 
the principle whereby they forced their superstitions but 
this ? That God commandeth the worship both of soul and 


body ; and it is in the power of the church to determine all 
circumstances : time and place are left to the church : and 
therefore when he come, said they, at the table, then ye shall 
bow. Not that we command the worship itself, that is com 
manded by God ; we only command the time. 

And so, when ye hear the name Jesus mentioned ; and so 
when the bread comes before you in the Lord s supper. 
Now though our altars and groves be broken down ; doth 
not this principle still live too much in our bosoms, that God 
commandeth the substance, and the circumstance is left unto 
men ? 

As for opposition to the saints, and the power of godli 
ness ; 1 confess it doth not run in the same channel as be 
fore. Before, profane men opposed the saints, and opposed 
professors ; but now professors, oh, that I might not speak 
it, oppose professors. And is this more pleasing to God, 
that professors should oppose professors, than that profane 
men should oppose them ? 

As for oppression and injustice. What mean those cries 
out of several countries, and parts of this kingdom, of the 
widows and fatherless, Give me my husband s wages, or give 
me my husband again ? Oh, give me my father again, or 
give me my father s wages ? What mean those complaints 
of some, of many : We have borne the heat of the day and 
are no more kindlier used, or respected, than those that have 
been the most enemies ? We ventured our whole estates in 
the beginning of this war, for this cause, and yet we are 
taxed as heavily as if our estates were all in our hands ? 
Aquinas rule is good, Peccatum majus ubi specialis rcpug- 
nantia inter peccantem et peccatum, The sin is the greater 
where there is a special repugnancy between the sin and the 
sinner. Injustice is naught in all, but worst in a judge, or 
court of justice. Darkness is terrible, but when it falls upon 
the vessels of light, as in the eclipse, it is more terrible than 
the darkness of the night. And is there no injustice now 
in our courts of justice or in our committees in town or 
country ? I wish I might not say the same sins live still, 
but disguised, and clothed in other habits : before the saints 
opposed under one name, and now under another; I cannot 
therefore but say, God is angry with us still, the day of his 
anger is not done. And is this nothing to you, oh, all 


you that hear the word of the Lord this day, that God 
is angry still ? When the lion roars, all the beasts of 
the field tremble : " The wrath of a king is as the roaring of 
a lion :" what then is the wrath of God the King of kings ?" 
What more cutting word to the heart of an ingenuous child, 
than to say to him, Your father is angry ? Oh, you that are 
the children of God, I tell you your father is angry, your 
heavenly father is angry still. 

And as for the uncertainty of our condition : who knows 
or can say, what shall become of us ? Some think the sword 
is dead, others no, but it sleepeth ; some think, the three 
years and a half for slaying the three witnesses are over : 
others think no, that they are yet to come : some think the 
war is at an end, others think not. Whenever were the 
people of God at greater uncertainties than now they are ? 

What shall we do in this case ? 

The text points us unto three things. 

Seek ye the Lord himself: not his goods, but his good 
ness ; not his, but him.* If a poor condemned malefactor 
cry loud in the ears of the judge, though he usetb many 
sweet appellations, Good my Lord, and the like, yet the 
judge regards him not ; for, saith the judge, these are not 
out of love to me, but only thus he pleads and cries, and 
gives good words for to save himself. So saith God also, 
when we come before him in prayer and fasting ; True, this 
people cry aloud, but it is for themselves, for their little ones, 
their substance, their corn, their wine, their oil, it is not for 
my name, and out of love unto me ; and so he regards it 
not, though we cry loud, and fast often. Wherefore, seek 
ye the Lord himself, oh, all ye meek of the earth, that have 
wrought judgment, seek the Lord himself. 

Again, would you know what to do in the day of God s 
anger, and uncertain times ? Seek righteousness. 

The righteousness of Christ : <c He is the Lord our 
righteousness, when the Assyrian treads in the land," saith 
the prophet. " He shall bring peace, and raise up seven 
shepherds, and eight principal men :" seven is a note of 
perfection, that is abundance of help. He is that Shiloh, 

* Hoc affectu ut desiderio colendus est Deus ut sui cultus ipse sit mcrces : 
nam qui Deum ideo colit ut aliud magis quam ipsum habeat, non Deurn colit, 
scd illud quod asscqui coiicupiscit. Augustin. 


who should give peace when the sceptre should depart from 
Judah. He is that Prince of peace, the great Mediator 
between a distanced God and us. When the sea rages he 
will say to it, " Be still ;" though the disciples say, " Lord, 
carest thou not that we perish ? " His wounds are the cities 
of refuge. " If his anger be kindled, yea, but a little, bles 
sed are all they that trust in him :" so we read it ; or, as 
some better, " that betake themselves unto him." Is this 
therefore a day of God s anger? Come, oh, come unto 
Jesus Christ that ye may be hidden by him. You will say, 
Oh, but I have been a great sinner, a drunkard, a swearer, 
unclean, opposer, scorner, and a very rebellious wretch. 

But doth not the psalmist say, " He hath received gifts for 
men, even for the rebellious also ?" Psa. Ixviii. 18. Not 
only for sinners, but for rebellious sinners even for the re 
bellious also. Hath he not made an invitation to all? Doth 
not the proclamation run general, " Ho, every one that 
thirsteth come ?" Hath not he himself said, " Those that 
come unto me, I will in no wise cast out 1" Yea, hath he 
not said, " Every sin and blasphemy," except the sin against 
the Holy Ghost " shall be forgiven unto men ?" yea, though 
it be such a sin as boils up unto blasphemy ? And hath he 
not said, " Look unto me from all the ends of the earth and 
be saved ?" Oh, therefore, whatever your lives have been, 
whatever course you have run, come unto Jesus Christ : 
come poor, sinful, vile wretch, come and be saved for ever. 
Do not corne unto Christ that you may live wickedly; nor 
think to be first holy, that you may come unto Christ; 
but come unto Christ that you may be holy. Seek the Lord 
and his righteousness in this respect. 

Again, Seek righteousness, in opposition to all injustice 
and oppression. If private men, seek righteousness in all 
your dealings. The righteous just God, loveth righteous 
dealings. If magistrates, seek righteousness in opposition to 
all oppression : and if the cause of the poor and of Christ 
come before you, say not, Go away, and come again, when it 
is in the power of your hand to help them. 

Surius* tells us of a certain poor woman that came to Ba- 

* Mulier pauper Basilum adiit, et ab eo literas petiit ad perfectum regionis, 
tanquam qui apud ilium plurimum posset ; arrepta charta, scripsit in haec verba, 
accessit ad me ista muliercula, inops, dicens litter as incus apud te pondus ha 


sil, desiring him to write to the governor of the place for fa 
vour : I am greatly taxed, and I know, saith she, that your 
letter may do me a great deal of pleasure : he writes ; and 
says he in his letter : This woman tells me, that my letter 
hath weight with you : if so, then I pray help her. The go 
vernor returns this answer, I would with all my heart have 
helped this woman for your sake, but I cannot, she is under 
such and such taxes, I cannot relieve her. Well, says Basil, 
in his reply, Si adsit voluntas, 6fC. If you had a will, and 
wanted power, it is tolerable : but if you had a power, and 
wanted will, God will bring you into a poor condition. Af 
terward, through the disfavour of the emperor, this governor 
was thrown into prison;, and then he sent to Basil to inter 
cede for him, which he did, and after six days he was deli 
vered : and then he comes to Basil, and shews twice as much 
favour to the woman then, as she desired before. So apt are 
men in place to say, we cannot help, when they will not.* 
Take heed of that. And take heed of delaying justice; for 
sometimes the very delay of justice, is injustice. Know we 
not, that thrones are established by righteousness ? and so 
kingdoms. " The mountains (saith the Psalmist) shall 
bring peace unto the people, and the little hills by righteous 

Oh, therefore, as you desire that this our kingdom may be 
established in peace, seek righteousness : and let it come to 
us by you that are the mountains and nobles of this land : 
yea, even by you also that are the lesser hills of this king 
dom, " seek ye the Lord and his righteousness " righteous 
ness, righteousness we cry for, that the oppressed may be re 
lieved, the wicked punished, and the poor saints in all parts 
of these kingdoms refreshed. And if righteousness be out of 
sight, and as it were lost, yet seek it. Seek righteousness, in 
opposition to all injustice. 

bere ; si sic est, id fac ostendas ; tradidit mulieri chartulam quam ilia obtulit 
prsefecto, at ille sic rescripsit, hac causa libens essem misertus mulierculse, sed 
non potui eo quod subjaceat tributis ; cui rursus Basilius ita replicavit, si quidem 
voluntas prompta fuit, sed de fuit facultas, tolerabile quidem est ; si autem potuisti 
et noluisti, Christus te in ordinem inopum rediget ; quod quidem re ipsa evenit ; 
nam non multo post imperatoris ira in ilium concitata, in vincula conjectus est ; 
bine vero preces offert Basilio ut sua intercessione imperatoris clementiam ipse 
conciliet, idque sic fastum ; post sex namque dies jussus est a vinculis absolvi, 
&c. Sur. 1. Tom. in vita Basil. 

* Non est dicendus velle quicum potuit non fecit. 


Again, seek righteousness in seeking the truth. The truth 
and gospel is called " the word of righteousness," Heb. v. ; 
Isa. xxvi. The righteous nation are expounded in the same 
verse, to be such as do keep the truth. When truth falls in 
the city or streets, God s anger breaks forth ; when truth is 
raised up again, then God is pacified. Is the Lord angry 
with us now, and would you know what to do in this day of 
God s anger ? Seek the truth, seek righteousness in this 

Only in seeking this part of righteousness, take these rules 
along with you : 

In seeking the truth, do not despise any truth because it 
is called old, nor neglect any truth because it is called new. 
It is a sign that men mean to sleep, when they draw the 
curtains about them, and will have no more light to come in. 
The reapers of the former reformation, could not so bind up 
all ears of corn into their sheaves, but there will be some 
ears left for the poor that come after to glean up. 

Again, in seeking the truth, be as plain, sincere, open- 
hearted as ever you can. Veritas stat in aperto campo. 
Truth stands in the open fields, in this sense. Truth knows 
no bushes, no houses, no relations. Christ who is truth, 
said, Woman, not mother, as knowing no relations in matters 
of religion. It was indeed the speech of one heathen, Facile 
me Romanum episcopwn et ero protinus christianus. Make 
me bishop of Rome, and I will be presently a Christian. 
And now, many men will know no more truth, than what can 
grow upon their own land. Some would have the truth 
come down to them and to their interests ; some will bring 
up their interest to truth. Ever let my soul cleave unto 
those that can lay down all their engagements, relations and 
comforts, at the feet of truth. 

In seeking truth, rest not upon any means though it be 
never so great, nor despise any means though it be never so 
small. Sanctornm minima Deo placent maxime. God loves 
the saints minnums, and delights to reveal his truths to those 
that are most unlikely. The great truth of the incarnation, 
first revealed to shepherds. The great truth of the resurrec 
tion, first revealed to Mary, a woman. And when Christ 
came, and gave the world a taste of his kingdom, riding upon 
an ass colt : the multitude, who were then counted cursed 


with the disciples, cry out, Hosanna, and own him ; when at 
the same time, the scribes and pharisees in council make an 
order and decree to apprehend him, John xi. 53 ; with John 
xii. 12 ; and Matt. xxi. 8, 9. God loves to take those things 
and persons that stand behind, and to bring them before. 
The temple is refused^ and the synagogue is kept. In the 
Jews time, when any were proselyted, they were washed and 
circumcised ; the great ordinance of circumcision was laid 
aside, and washing advanced unto a sacrament of baptism. 
At the passover, they had their ordinary supper and the 
paschal lamb : the use of the paschal lamb laid aside, and 
bread and wine, which was used in the ordinary supper, 
exalted to the sacrament of the Lord s supper. Thus God 
exalts low things, and lays by greater. I speak not this that 
men should neglect the ministry ; preachers lips shall and do 
preserve knowledge ; but rest not on means, though they be 
never so learned ; despise not means, though they be never 
so unlearned. Who more despised for want of learning than 
the Waldenses,* and yet the first blessed instruments of re 

In seeking truth, " look not to gather grapes on thorns, or 
figs on thistles " to find the scions of truth upon a crab- 
stock of error or carnal principles. 

They write of the partridge, that if one hen lay the egg, 
and another hatch the bird, it will return to the true mother 
when it is well grown. And this, saith Drusius Caminus 
Jerome, is the meaning of that in Jer. xvii. 1 1, S( As the par 
tridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not ; so he that 
getteth riches and not by right, shall leave them in the midst 
of his days, and at his end shall be a fool." But this we 
know certainly, that though an hen sit on a raven s egg, yet 
when the young raven is hatched, and its wings well grown, 
it will fly away and leave the hen in the lurch. So will all 
carnal principles deal by spiritual truths. Oh, therefore, let 
not any gospel truth be planted on a legal principle ; not a 
spiritual truth on a carnal or mere philosophical principle ; 
not a truth of Christ on an antichristian principle.f 

* Vide Hist. Waldens. 

f Ex philosophorum principiis omnis haeresis animatur ; omnes hsereses ex 
philosophorum regulis constant, cum dogmata hsereticorum frigent et volare non 
possunt, sedem sibi et requiem inter Aristotelis spineta reperiunt. 


Again, In seeking the truth, do not so hold the greater as 
to neglect the lesser ; do not so seek tha lesser as to forget 
the greater. Indeed, no truth of the gospel purchased by 
Christ s blood is small or little, though comparatively with 
others it may be called so. 

And here I cannot but say I have seen a sore evil under 
the sun, men losing their religion in seeking for religion ; los 
ing the power of religion in seeking for the due form : others 
losing the right form and circumstantials in resting upon fun 
damentals. We have enough to bring us to heaven, what 
need we more ? say some.* Would you therefore so seek 
the truth as you may find it ? do not forget your old acquaint 
ance, those great and precious truths which nursed you in the 
cradle of your godliness ; the great truths of Christ, the 
power of godliness, and humiliation for sin committed. And 
take heed that you do not look awry, or cast a proud look on 
small truths, yea, though strangers, for some have entertained 
angels by receiving these strangers. Every truth is a stranger 
at the first. What truth was ever received but was first op 
posed ? Christ and his gospel is first a little stone, then a 
great stone, then breaking the mountains, then filling the 
world. Hold, therefore, your old fundamental truths, yet so 
as you may raise your buildings. Seek your buildings, yet 
so as you may keep foundations. Thus seek the truth, this 
part of righteousness. 

And, again, If you would know what to do in the day of 
God s anger, so as to be hidden ; seek meekness : righteous 
ness and meekness. 

And so I come unto the fifth and last doctrine. 
Fifthly, That if any man can do any good in the day of 
God s anger, either for himself or others, it is the " meek of 
the earth ;" therefore the text calls on them especially for to 
seek the Lord. 

The meek of all other men have the promise of the earth. 
"The meek shall inherit the earth." This promise, or spring, 
rises in the Old Testament, the head of it is there, and runs 
down into the New : " Blessed are the meek, for they shall 
inherit the earth," Matt. v. It seems this entail was not cut 
off by the coming of Jesus Christ. 

* Miuime bonus est qui tnelior esse non vult ; et ubi incipit nolle fieri melior, 
ibi definis esse bonus. 


The meek of all other men do most honour Christ, the way 

Christ, and the gospel. The heathens had this notion 
iinongst them, as Lactantius reports,* that the way to honour 
iheir gods was to be like to them ; and therefore some would be 
wicked, counting it a dishonour to their god to be unlike to 
him. I am sure we have a meek and sweet dispositioned 
Saviour : "Learn of me (saith he) for I am meek and lowly." 
A. physician and surgeon, who as he hath a quick eye, so a 
mild heart and a tender hand. The more meek a man is, 
the more he is like to him, and honours him. What says 
the world ? Aye, there is a man of a humble, quiet and sweet 
disposition ; if all professors were such, then I would become 
one too. 

A meek person leaves his cause to God, and his revenge to 
him; is led by the hand of God, mansuetus quasi manui as- 
suetus : and when men do, and are so, God comes in quickly 
for their relief. Aaron and Miriam rose up against Moses, 
Moses is silent, carries it meekly, and the text says, Num. xii. 
" Then God arose, and was very angry." And the reason is 
given, because Moses was the meekest man. A meek man is 
subject to God in all conditions, gives up his matters to him, 
and so God takes himself engaged for his succour. 

Again, The meek person above all others is most fit for the 
service of God. If I would convey a reproof, or a reprehen 
sion into the heart of a man, a meek and sweet disposition is 
the most fit for to do it with. If I would convey a comfort or 
consolation into a man s heart, a meek disposition is most fit 
for that. Christ gave the gospel, and he was meek ; Moses 
gave the law, and he the meekest man upon earth in his time. 
So that whether law or gospel, it is best handed into the heart 
by meekness. I may with a soft breath blow a feather fur 
ther than with strength of arm I can throw it. God loves 
those that are like himself. The Holy Ghost is compared to 
a dove, Christ is called a lamb, the Father, love itself in the 
abstract ; no wonder, then, that a meek person, being so like 
to God, hath so great an interest and credit in heaven. 

And if these things be so, how little is this poor nation 
and kingdom beholding to those that are of a froward, harsh 
and perverse spirit; they disturb their own souls, they disturb 

* Quoniam mores et vitia regis imitari genus obsequii est ; abjecerunt pieta- 
tem ne exprobrare regi (Jovi) scelus viderentur. Lactantius. 


their own families, they disturb the place and kingdom where! 
they live. If a meek person shall be hid in the day of God aj 
anger, oh, where will you appear that are of a froward temper ? 
I say, where will you appear in the evil day ? Bear the word^ 
of exhortation. It is only to get a sweet and loving dispo-* 
sition. Qh, that our love might flourish at last and abound! 
towards one another and to all the saints. 

Hereby, even your meekness, ye walk as becometh the gos 
pel, ye inherit the earth, are made like unto Jesus Christ, 
have a great power and credit in heaven for yourselves and 
others, and shall be hidden in the evil day. 

And therefore, if any are here that are of a froward and per 
verse disposition, go to God and say, Lord, give me meek 
ness; and wherein I have been froward, either in my family 
or elsewhere, forgive me this frowardness, and let not the 
kingdom fare the worse by it. 

It may be you will say, Oh, but he, or he, or he hath much 
provoked me, and I cannot bear it. 

But suppose that you have a ball of gold in your hand, and 
another throw dirt in your face, will you throw away that 
golden ball at him, because of the dirt that he doth throw on 
you ? This meekness, sweet disposition, is your ball of gold; 
and what though he throw dirt in your face ? you must wash 
the dirt off his feet. Christ did so, washed his disciples feet. 
And for our example, Luther calls upon magistrates, minis 
ters, and all people, to tuck up their sleeves, and to fall a 
washing of the disciples feet, by a loving and sweet submit 
ting of our excellencies unto their infirmities. 

But, Lord, how contrary are we unto Christ ? He washed 
his disciples feet ; we throw dirt in disciples faces. Oh that 
this guilt may not cleave to our souls in our dying day ! If 
this day we could but stand up and forgive one another, and 
learn meekness and sweetness towards one another, it would 
prevail more with God than all our fasting and prayer ; and 
without it, all our fasting and prayer is of no avail. 

But my exhortation is unto you, especially, that are the 
meek of the earth. Ye hear what interest, power and credit 
ye have in heaven : seeing ye have so great an interest, away, 
away to your Father s knee, and for poor England s sake im 
prove your interest, and for Ireland s, Scotland s sake hold 
not your peace : your dear and tender Father will bid your 


>rayers welcome. Take a prospect of our sad condition : do 
e not hear how Ireland cries, Help, help, O living England, 
iclp poor, dying Ireland ! Do ye not hear how our afflicted, 
>lundered and spoiled brethren in other parts of this king- 
iom cry, Have pity, have pity upon us, oh, all our friends, 
or the hand of the Lord hath touched us ! How the poor, 
gnorant cry out of the countries, Oh, help to deliver us from 
he wrath to come ! How this whole staggering nation cries, 
f ever you help, help now ; if you have an interest in heaven, 
ise it now ! 

Now, therefore, according to all your engagements here and 
r our interest in heaven, go pray, cry, and cease not ; you may 
o muchj you shall do much : for if any man in the earth can 
o any good, it is the " meek of the earth." Wherefore, oh, 
11 you that are the meek of the earth, I beseech you improve 
our interest, seek ye the Lord : and not only this day, but 
11 your days, seek righteousness, seek meekness : it may be 
ou, and others by you, shall be hidden u in the day of the 
jord s anger." 

B B 2 







IN what frosts and snows your hand hath cleaved to your plough, is not 
known to this kingdom ; untharkfulness may say you have done little for us, buti 
the truth cannot. " Magistratus labor m<jor rusticano," Luther. " Gubernatiol 
est divina quaedam vertus, ideoque vocat Deus magistratus omnes, Deos, nouj 
propter creationem, sed propter administrationem, quse solius Dei est, qui igitur 
in regimine est, est quasi Deus incarnatus," Luther in Gen. The Lord hath 
said ye are gods. Still therefore be pleased to act unweariedly and unchangeably 
God doth save us with a notwithstanding our reluctancy, so should the magis 
trate. God is a Father of the fatherless, and an help to the oppressed ; gather- 
eth the outcasts, careth for those whom none careth for, and doth sometimes 
carve for them first who do sit lowest. So should magistrates be and do ; anc 
therefore the Lord, having said concerning magistrates that they are gods, PS 
Ixxxii. 1, he addeth in ver. 3, 4, " Deliver ye the poor and needy," &c. The 
magistrate should not always stay until the crying complaints of the poor be 
brought to him, but should sometimes seek and inquire after them. The cry ol 
the afflicted belongs to the magistrate, though they cry not to him. Musculus 
therefore observes well, that the psalmist doth not say of the magistrate, " He 
shall deliver the poor and needy " when he crieth unto him, but, " when he 
crieth," Ps. Ixxii. 12. " Clamor afflictorum pertinet ad eos, qui in magistratu 
sunt etiam si ad ipsos non clametur ; nam non dicit, liberabit egenum ad se cla- 
mantem, sed clamentem et afflictum cui non est adjutor, hoc est, cui nihil est IE 
rebus afflictis patrocinii," Musculus in Psal. God is a God of love, mercy and 
grace ; he is called love itself, not justice, though he be so, but God is love : 
should the magistrate be, full of love, bowels, and tender compassions unto 
people ; therefore he is called, father, tender father, and Nasi, not only beca , 
he is lifted up above the people, but because he doth lift up. or ease their bur- 
then, and doth potare populum in gremio suo. " IN ab raN velle quasi volens 
bene suis aut benevolus dictus, T>3N Gen. xli., aliqui ducunt a 3^3 benedixit, 
genua flexit, clamabant enim autem cum, genua flecte : sic Aben Ezra : alii di- 
vidunt verbum in IN et D1 R. Solomon quod D1 in lingua Aramsea est rex nar 
Joseph fuit pater regis : sed vox Ebraica m significat tener, mollis, quia prince 
tener et molJis pater est, Mayer, philolog. Saer. par. prima p. 116. N ttf J a Nltf 
levavit, clevavit, sublevavit, portavit." Now, most worthy patriots, ye hav 
conquered this kingdom with your sword, conquer us once more with your lov 
in providing for the poor, desolate, and in healing our sad divisions with a father 
hand, and you are complete saviours and fathers to this bleeding kingdom. " Pa 
cem nos poscimus," but not such a peace, as Augustine speaks, " ut inimi 

ER. 16.] ENGLAND SAVED, &C. 373 

ibmittant, sed ut amici jungant." I had thought to have been, date veniam 
rrbo, disobedient to your command of printing this sermon, but being persuaded 
iat it may in some measure conduce unto love both towards God and man, I 
jose rather to disobey mine own inclinations than your order. Now the Lord 
.mself make you the repairers of our breaches, and the restorers of paths to 
ivell in : which is and must be the prayer of 

Your servant in the gospel of Christ, 


"Nevertheless he saved them for his name s sake: that he might 
ake his mighty power to be known." PSALM cvi. 8. 

THIS psalm is a psalm of thanksgiving, as the first and 
ist verses declare. Now because a man is most fit to praise 
rod, when he is most sensible of his own sin and unworthi- 
ess ; the psalmist doth throughout this psalm, lay Israel s 
in and God s mercy together. Ver. 7, * Our fathers (says 
e) understood not the wonders in Egypt/ 

They saw them with their eyes, but they did not under- 

tand them with their heart; they did not apprehend the 

esign and scope and end of God in those wonders : and 

herefore, " they remembered not (says the text) thy mercies;" 

a man remembers no more than he understands. 

But it may be these mercies were very few, and so their 
in in forgetfulness the less ? 

Nay, not so, for verse 7> " They remembered not the mul- 
itude of thy mercies." 

But it may be this was their infirmity or weakness, and so 
hey were the rather to be borne withal ? 

Not so, " but they rebelled against him ;" so Montanus 
eads it better.* 

But it may be this sin was committed whilst they were in 
Sgypt, among the Egyptians, being put on by them ? 

Not so neither, but when they were come out of Egypt, 
.nd only had to deal with God, and saw his glorious power 
.t the Red Sea, then they rebelled against him, " At the sea, 
.ven at the Red Sea." 

What then, did not the Lord destroy them ? 

* pD l sed rebellaverunt a mO: non dicit, et obedientes, vel haesitantes 
ut tergiversantes, sed rebelles fuerunt ; rebellio est qua per contumaciam et 
ontumtliarn adversatur subditus majori suf ; sic Israelite non simpliciter de- 
rectabant obsequi, sed addebant murmura, obloquia, contumelias adversus Deum 
t Moysen. Musculus in Psal. 


No, says the text, " Notwithstanding " all their ignorance, 
unthankfulness, and their rebellion, " he saved them for his 
name s sake. 

" He saved them ;" that is, with an outward salvation. 

" For his name s sake ;" the name of God is that whereby 
he is made known unto us. God s working for his name s! 
sake, is still set in opposition to our deservings. 

God doth sometimes work for his name s sake, that it maj 
not be defiled and polluted by men. Sometimes, that thej 
glory and honour of his name may shine out the more. Iiu 
both these respects the words are to be understood, but 
especially they are meant in the latter ; and so they are ex-J 
plained in Isa. Ixiii. 12. And to this purpose the following! 
words, " That he might make his mighty power known." 
The word in the Hebrew is, To make known his mighty 

Much of God s power is to be read and known in all his 
creatures ; but in this their deliverance at the Red Sea, there 
were the special prints of his fingers, the characters and 
marks of his infinite power and deity, whereby he might be 
plainly and clearly known. And that this name and power 
of his might be thus known, he did save them with a not 
withstanding all their former sins. Whence observe two 
things : 

First, Though the sin of a people be exceeding great, and 
very heinous, yet God will and doth sometimes save them for 
his own name s sake. He doth sometimes save his people 
with a notwithstanding: notwithstanding all their sin and 

Secondly, When God doth thus save his people with a 
notwithstanding , he doth then leave such marks and characters 
of his mighty power upon their salvation, that he may be 
cleaily and fully known and manifested to the sons of men. 

First, God doth sometimes save his people, with a notwith 
standing all their sin and all their unworthiness. 

For God is gracious to a people, as well as to a person. 
The blood of Jesus Christ is sprinkled on nations, as well as 
particular persons. Now for a particular person ; ye read in 
1 Tim. i. 15, how the Lord dealt with Paul: saith Paul 
himself, " I was a blasphemer, injurious, persecutor ; never- 

ad notificandum foititundinem suam. Ar. Montanus. 


theless I obtained mercy, although I did it ignoruntly through 
unbelief/ or, Notwithstanding I did it ignorantly &c. Ye read 
the words ordinarily thus, For I did it ignorantly ; as if igno 
rance were the reason of his conversion, by way of excuse : but 
the Greek on which you tran slate for, may be read, although. 
As in Luke xxiii. 40, " Fearest thou not God," saith the 
thief on the cross to his fellow, " seeing, (or although) thou 
art in the same condemnation ? "* So Acts i. 17, "Who/ 
speaking of Judas, " was guide to them that took Jesus, 
although he was numbered with us :" ye read it ordinarily for, 
but it should he rather rendered although, for it is the same 
on. Neither can it be truly translated for, by way of ex 
tenuation, it being an aggravation rather : for sins of ignor 
ance are of two sorts : either such as are simple ignorance ; 
or of prave disposition. Simple ignorance doth excuse ; 
but ignorance of prave, or ill disposition doth aggravate. 
Such was Paul s ignorance :f for, says he, I did it ignorantly 

* Or* iv TW avrti) K^i^ari , Luke xxiii. 40. Or* K ar7;pt9yu//iw.vos > rjv 
aw rjp.iv, Acts i. 17. Vulg. annumerabatur enira nobiscum, quasi esset ratio 
cur iste se ducem proebuerit illis qui Christum capiebant, cum contrarium velit 
apostolus, hoc modo, ille Judas a diabolo et carne sua seductas eo pervenit 
dementia?, ut suum dominum turpiter prodiderit, quamvis cum aliis maximis ab 
eo sit affectus beneficiis, turn vel hoc inprimis ornatus, quod in numerum et 
collegium apostolerum erat cooptatus. Tarnov. exercit. bibl. 188, 189. 

f Paulus cum verbum de Christo prsedicato audiret, nolebat credere, sed re- 
pugnabat, ut alii pharissei, licet hie eis fervidius, fecit enim ea quae sunt infide- 
litatis ; hoc est, non tantutn habuerit fidei vacuitatem, sed etiam malo- 
rum operum plenitudinem : quo spectat quod vox aTrtortae ssepe includat 
onriiQuai imo repugnantiam. Jgnorantia facti et circumscautise excusat, in 
tantum, non in totum, sed Paulus peccavit e\ ignorantia juris, qua; non excusat. 
Nam Paulus se vocat peccatorem primum seu preecipuum, et misericordiaiu 
Dei prsedicat, quse, quo peccatum majus, eo et ipsa major, quamvis igitur Paulus 
pharisseus, cum scire omnino posset et deberet, Jerosolymis vivens, Christi doc- 
trinam esse divinam, quippe tot miraculis, coiifirmatam, ipsumque esse mundi 
salvatorem in V. Test, promissam, taraen oculos ad tantum lucem claudens. 
volens illam ignorabit quam habere poterat, si non restitisset prsefracte ; et jam 
id admirans dicebat, gratiam nihilominus sibi esse factam, quantumvis ignorans 
fecerit ilia sua incredulitate, Idem 1106, 1107, &c. quomodo igitur per ori vel 
quia, ignorantia potest constitui causa? ? quum extraordinaria prseter Dei volun- 
tatem nullam habeant, saltern quod nos sciamus, causara. Paulus enim hie con- 
stituitur Trgoe virolvTrwaii omnium qui sunt credituri, confer, v. 15, 16. Et 
hie versu 16 est causa cur deus Paulus converted! ha rovro si euim or* vertis 
causaliter, turn ignorantia et incredulitas erunt causo remissionis peccatoruui, 
et proinde omnis qui peccat ex incredulitate et ignorantia, ut Judaei, Act. xxxvii. 
13, 27 j 1 Cor. ii. 6, gratiam consequitur, quod tamen f alsum est, Idem, i .\cr- 
cit. bibl. page 193, 189. 


in unbelief. He doth not barely say, 1 did it ignorantly ; 
but ignorantly in unbelief: which is the worst disposition, 
and that doth aggravate. 

Besides, ignorance is either such as is invincible, and 
cannot be helped ; or such as is wilful and may be helped : 
such was Paul s ignorance, for he stood by, and held the 
clothes of those that stoned Stephen. There was enough 
done and said before him to convince him of Christ, and 
therefore his ignorance was rather aggravating. 

Yea, and as Tarnovius doth well observe, Paul in this 
Scripture doth not go about to extenuate, but aggravate his 
sin. Witness the precedent, and following words : in the 
precedent words, says he, " I was a blasphemer," and " a 
persecutor, " and "injurious." In the following words, 
"whereof I am chief," &c. 

Besides, the conversion of Paul was miraculous, and not 
to be laid on the ordinary cause of ignorance: and if he 
were therefore converted because ignorant, then all that are 
ignorant should be converted; but not so, we see the con 
trary. The words therefore, are not to be read with for, but 
with an although, or with a notwithstanding, thus : I was a 
blasphemer, injurious, persecutor, nevertheless I obtained 
mercy, although I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 

And will the Lord save a particular person with a notwith 
standing, and will he not save a people, his people with a 
notwithstanding all their guilt and sin ? 

God keeps the same method in giving out the benefits 
that do corne by Christ, as in giving out of Christ himself. 
Now for Christ himself: the first promise that was given of 
him, was given with a notwithstanding, Notwithstanding the 
great sin that Adam and Eve committed in the fall, yet, says 
the Lord, " The seed of the woman shall break the serpent s 

Thus in the types of Christ; there were three great types 
of him in the wilderness : the manna, the brazen serpent, 
and the rock : but though all these were types, yet the rock 
especially : and therefore in 1 Cor. x. 4, says the apostle, 
" And that rock was Christ." He had said before, they did 
all eat the same spiritual meat ; yet he doth not say, And 
that meat was Christ, or that manna was Christ: but having 
said, They all drank of the same spiritual rock, he addeth, 


And that rock was Christ. Why ? but because the rock and 
water was a special type of Christ. Now if we look into the 
history, we shall find, that the waters of the rock, whereby 
Israel were saved from death, was given with a notwithstand 
ing : they murmured, and sinned much through unbelief; 
yet the Lord struck the rock, and waters came forth like 
honey ; yea, and the apostle tells us that the rock followed 
them, they did not follow the rock, but the rock went after 
them. And when Christ himself came into the world, ye 
may read in Luke iii. what a pack of wicked men were then 
in Judea that were in office ; Pontius Pilate, Herod, Annas 
and Caiaphas ; yet then, even then did Christ come notwith 
standing all the malice of those tyrants and times. And if 
ye look into Isa. Ivii. 1 7j ye may read a clear proof of all 
this, lf For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and 
smote him : I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on fro- 
wardly in the way of his heart." What then ? "I have 
seen his ways," verse 18, "I will heal him: I will lead hirn 
also, and restore comforts unto him, and to his mourners." 
All this is spoken of a people, as well as of a particular per 
son. Here is mercy, here is love, here is pardon with a 
notwithstanding. So that God doth sometimes save his 
people with a notwithstanding all their sins. That is the 
first reason. 

Again, if God should not shew mercy to his people 
with a notwithstanding; how should the glory of his mercy 
appear ? If a physician should only cure a man that hath 
the head-ache or tooth-ache ; one that hath taken cold, or 
some small disease ; it would not argue any great skill and 
excellency in the physician. But when a man is nigh unto 
death, hath one foot in the grave, or is, in the eye^of reason, 
past all recovery ; if then the physician cure him, it argues 
much the skill and excellency of that physician. So now, if 
God should only cure, and save a people that were less 
evil and wicked ; or that were good indeed, where should the 
excellency of mercy appear ? But when a people shall be 
drawing on, lying bedrid, as it were, and the Lord out of 
his free love, for his own name s sake, shall o rise, and cure 
such an unworthy people, this sets out the glory of his 
mercy. Read therefore, and consider what is said in Ps. 
Ixxxvii. 3. Glorious things are spoken of thee : but rather, 


according to the Hebrew, in thee, Othoucity of God.* What 
are those glorious things ? Verse 4 } I will make mention of 
Rahab, and Babylon, to them that know me : Rahab signi 
fies, pride and insolence; for Egypt dealt proudly and inso 
lently with the people of God ; Babylon also oppressed 
them sorely, and held them in captivity ; yet, says the Lord, 
I will make mention of Egypt and Babylon to them that 
know me. Yea, Philistia, and Tyre, and Ethiopia ; men and 
people that were very wicked, shall be found with the saints ; 
the Lord will take special notice of them, as of those in 
Zion. What then ? Then glorious things shall be spoken 
in thee. Mercy is never glorious, but when it is rich ; it is 
never rich, but when it is free ; and the more free it is, and 
works with a notwithstanding, the more glorious it is. Now 
God, who is the God of glory, will have his mercy, which is 
his glory, made glorious ; and therefore, though the sin of a 
people be exceeding great, and very heinous, yet he will 
sometimes save them for his own name s sake, with a not 
withstanding all their sins. 

If God doth sometimes save a people with a notwith 
standing all their sin : then it is possible, I see nothing in 
the word contrary to it, but that England, Scotland, Ireland, 
may yet be saved, with an outward salvation, notwithstanding 
all our fears, notwithstanding all our sins. The Lord saved 
Israel, brought them out of Egypt through the Red Sea, 
notwithstanding all their rebellion. The Lord saved Lot out 
of Sodom, notwithstanding he saw what he would do with 
his two daughters afterward. The Lord saved Israel out of 
Babylon, notwithstanding that they were loth to depart, and 
were grown exceeding vile and very wicked there. The Jews 
were a people that were under the law ; indeed they were 
saved by the same covenant of grace that we are, and by 
Jesus Christ as we are, yet were under the law, for God 
dealt with them in a more legal way and manner than he 
doth deal by us. And did the Lord s grace and free love so 
strive upon them, as to save them with a notwithstanding, 
and shall not his grace and love now strive upon his gospel- 
people, to save, and deliver them with a notwithstanding ? 
Were they under the law, and yet saved by grace ? Did the 
Lord save the Mosaical Israel, for his own name s sake, with 
* "p "ID "ID gloriosa dicta in te. Ar. Mont. 


a notwithstanding ; and shall he not save Christian Israel, in 
a way of free love, with a notwithstanding also ? Surely 
the Lord is as full of grace now, in the times of the New 
Testament, as ever he was in the times of the Old Testa 

But we are a people that have been much defiled with 
the superstitions of the former times, and the idolatry thereof. 

And was not Israel so in the land of Egypt ? read Ezek. xx. 

Oh, but since the Lord hath been pleased to come among 
us, and make a tender, and offer of reformation, we have 
been unwilling to it. 

True, but were not Israel unwilling to go out of the land 
of Egypt ? 

But we are not only unwilling, but we have risen up 
against, and murmured, and chidden with tluse that would 
have been our reformers. 

And did not Israel chide with Moses ? 

Oh, but we have sinned worse than they, for we have 
sinned greatly in the face of all those glorious mercies, which 
God hath shewed of late among us. 

And I pray consider it, was it not thus with Israel ? It is 
said in the verse precedent ; They rebelled at the sea, even 
at the Red Sea. Or, as in the Hebrew, even in the Red 
Sea :* when the waters stood like walls on both sides of them ; 
when they saw those walls of waters that never people saw 
before, and saw the power, the infinite power of God leading 
them through on dry land ; then did they rebel, at the sea, 
even in the sea ; and yet for all this the Lord saved them, 
he saved them with a notwithstanding all this. And I say, 
shall the Lord put forth so much of grace upon a people, 
that were under the law ; and not put forth much more of 
his grace upon those that are under the gospel ? O England, 
England, I cannot write thee lost or forsaken ; thou mayest 
yet be saved, I speak of outward salvation, thou mayest yet 
be saved, notwithstanding all thy fears, and all thy sins. 

* DIDD l D 1 ?]?. Grsec. Kcu 7rapMnix.%ira.v a.vaaivov\i.c w rr) 
SAa<7<n/. Vulg. lat. in mare. Hieron. in mari rubro ; erant in grandi et 
senti, et inevitabili discrimine constituti. nam Egyptii a tergo, mcntibus inape- 
diebantur ne vel ad dextram vel ad sinistram declinare, mari vero ne jn 
possent occludebantur : hisce augustiis inclusi murmurabant et rebellabuul uli 
potissimum diviiiaj bonitatis rnemoria vigere debet. Muscat, in Nas. 


Yea, the Lord hath saved us, he hath saved us with a not 
withstanding : as great and large a notwithstanding as ever 
people and nation were saved with. Witness the mercy, and 
deliverance of this day. When the powder-treason was on 
foot, what a dark night of security had trodden upon the 
glory of our English day ? Then did our strength lie fast 
asleep in the lap of Dalilah. What pride, oppression, court- 
uncleanness, superstitions, and persecutions of the saints 
then, under the name of Puritans ! Nevertheless he saved us, 
and our fathers. 

And now of late what bitterness of spirit among profes 
sors ; what divisions; oppressions, instead of justice; what 
new-fangled prides ; what unwillingness to be reformed ? 
Time was heretofore when we did call for truth, and cried 
aloud for truth ; oh, that we might know the truth. But 
now we deal by truth, as the friar said the people did by 
their holy-water ; Ye call, and cry, said he, for holy water, 
but when the sexton sprinkles it, ye turn away your faces, 
and it falls upon your backs. So the times were heretofore 
that we called, and cried out for truth, truth : it is now come 
unto you, we would sprinkle it upon you, but you turn away 
your faces from it, and it falls upon your backs. 

And is there not as much swearing, drunkenness, profane- 
ness still as before ? I read of a street in Rome, called Vi- 
cus Sobrius, the sober street : because there was never an 
ale-house to be found in it. And upon this account, I think 
there will be never a sober street in England ; or very rare. 

As for the precious ordinances of Jesus Christ, never so 
slighted, and rejected as now. Nevertheless, the Lord hath 
saved us ; yea, he hath saved us with a great salvation ; I 
may say, miraculous salvation : oh, if ever people were saved 
in a way of free love, and with a notwithstanding, thus are 
we saved here in England. 

But suppose it be so, that the Lord hath saved us with a 
notwithstanding, for his own name s sake, out of his mercy 
and free love : what is our duty that doth flow from hence ? 

If the Lord doth save us with a notwithstanding, for 
his own name s sake, out of mere grace ; then, what mighty 
engagements are upon us all, to become gracious ; to repent 
of, and turn from our former sins, notwithstanding which he 
hath saved us. An ungracious heart may possibly mourn for 


sin that it may be pardoned; but an ingenuous, gracious 
heart, will mourn for sin because it is pardoned. Yea, and 
the more he apprehends that his sin is pardoned, the more 
he will, and doth mourn for it. 

We read of David, that he had sinned greatly, and he lay 
long therein without testimony of repentance : at the last, he 
breaks out into a penitential psalm, the list, and there he 
melts, and breaks all to pieces in repentance. When was 
that psalm made ? The title tells us, A Psalm of David ; 
when Nathan the prophet came unto him, that is after Na 
than the prophet had come. And what did Nathan say to 
him, but " thy sin is forgiven thee ;" whereupon he did melt 
into that repentance. So now, when a person doth truly 
consider how many notwithstanding s the Lord doth carry his 
conversion through, then he doth melt indeed, if there be ingen 
uousness in him. Oh, says he, I was a poor ignorant man, 
a drunkard, a swearer, an opposer, and a jeerer at goodness 
and good men ; yet the Lord saved me, shewed mercy to me, 
notwithstanding all this : and therefore, what infinite cause 
have I to be humbled for sin committed ; here he breaks, 
and melts. And if ye look into Ezra ix., ye shall find that 
nothing did so melt and break his heart as this, that the peo 
ple sinned against the free love of God, verse 6., " O my 
God, I am ashamed arid blush to lift up my face to thee, my 
God : for now for a little space grace hath been shewed from 
the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape and to give 
us a nail in his holy place." verse 10, " And now O our God, 
what shall we say after this ? for we have forsaken thy com 
mandments." verse 13, " And after all that is come upon us, 
for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that 
thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities 
deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this: should 
we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with 
the people of these abominations ? O Lord our God, thou 
art righteous, for we remain yet escaped : behold we are be 
fore thee in our trespasses : for we cannot stand before thee, 
because of this." So say I, hath the Lord shewed mercy to 
us with a notwithstanding all our sins; and shall we sin 
against him notwithstanding all his mercies ; how shall we 
stand before him because of this? Surely, the latter end 
will be sad and smart. Ye read of the children of Israel s 


unbelief, and that therefore they fell, and died in the wilder 
ness: they had sinned greatly in unbelief on the other side 
the water, before they came through the Red Sea, but God 
pardoned that : but when the Lord had brought them 
through the Red Sea, and they had seen God saving 
them with a notwithstanding, and then fell into that unbelief, 
they died for it : their unbelief on this side the water, was at 
a dearer rate than on the other. And so it will be with us ; 
many and great were our sins which we committed before the 
Lord saved us ; and if yet we will go on, and will not repent 
of them ; now they will cost us dear. The Lord hath saved 
us with a notwithstanding : oh, what a mighty engagement is 
this upon us all to leave those sins, notwithstanding which 
the Lord hath saved us ? 

If the Lord hath saved us with a notwithstanding, out of 
free love ; then let us all walk humbly after all our deliverances, 
victories, salvations. Be it known unto thee, O Israel, saith 
the Lord, " that not for thy righteousness, not for thy up 
rightness, but for mine own name s sake have I done all this." 
So may I say to England : O England, the Lord hath done 
great things for thee formerly, and of late ; yet, be it known 
unto thee, that not for thy righteousness, nor thine upright 
ness, but for his own name s sake hath he done it. Why 
should any of us then be proud, and not walk humbly under 
all ? " My soul (says Mary) doth magnify the Lord, &c., 
for he that is mighty hath magnified me :" so your old ser 
vice book ; but it is, according to the original* " Hath done 
great things for me." She doth not say, as Austin observes, 
Fecit in me, or fecit per me, but fecit mihi he hath done 
great things, not in me, nor by me, but to me and for me, 
holy and reverend is his name ; as for me, I am not so much 
an agent, as a poor patient. So may we say, The Lord hath 
done great things for us, nor in us, not by us, but for us and 
to us for his own name s sake. Oh, therefore let us all walk 
humbly with our God. 

If the Lord hath saved us with a notwithstanding : then 
why should not we love one another with a notwithstanding ? 
You say, I could love such, or such a man, but that he is of 
this opinion : I confess he is godly, but not of my judgment, 
nor of my opinion, this or that failing, or oddness of carriage 

* On f&otr](r /not fieyaXeia o ^Walop. 


he hath.* But did God love me with a notwithstanding all 
ray sin ; and shall not I love his children with a notwith 
standing all their failings ? ye know the parable : when the 
Lord forgave his servant frankly and freely, what he expec 
ted that the servant should do to his fellow servant : and be 
cause he did not, his Lord " was wroth with him." This is 
an everlasting rule ; that when Christ loves us, he expects 
that we should love his, as he hath loved us. And therefore 
says he, " A new commandment give I unto you, that ye love 
one another, even as I have loved you." Now he hath loved 
as freely, notwitJistanding all our failings and sins ; all our 
oddnesses and weaknesses : awake, awake, oh love of the 
aints, awake. 

Some think the best way to unite hearts in these dividing 
times, is to make all things common, according to that verse, 
Si duo de iiostris tollas preenomina rebus prolia cessarent, pax 
sine lite foret. Take but two pronouns, that is, meum and tuum, 
out of our matters, and wars will cease, and there will be peace 
without strife. But the statute of meum and tuum was made in 
heaven, and it is engraven in our nature. " Thou shalt not covet 
thy neighbour s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-ser 
vant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is his." This 
his is part of the moral law, and so in our nature. Indeed, 
we read that when Cain, a wicked man, came to sacrifice, that 
it is said, " he brought an offering of the field," in common. 
But when godly Abel brought a sacrifice, it is said, {< he 
brought a firstling of his sheep ;" the word of propriety be 
ing written upon his sacrifice. And surely the way to unite 
hearts, is not to dissolve our nature ; but if you would love 
one another, as this doctrine calls for at our hands, let me tell 
you, that the way to love, is to begin in faith. As in our love 
to God : love is the fruit of faith, faith is the root of love : I 
cannot love God if I do not trust him, nor can I ever love 
my neighbour if I do not trust him. Away, therefore, with 
all designings one upon another, and let us first profess sim 
plicity and integrity. Though I can never help you as I 
would, yet I will never detain you ; ye cannot love if ye do 
not trust first. And, therefore, let us so carry it towards one 
another, in all simplicity and godly gospel integrity, that we 

* Diversutn sentire duos de rebus cisdem incolumi licuit semper amicitia. 


may confide in each other. And if you would love one ano 
ther much, do not expect too much from any ; man is but 
man : " Verily every man in his best estate," and therefore 
though he be godly, " is altogether vanity." There is some 
what of the worst in the best, In optimo semper aliquid pessi- 
mi. Every man must have his allowance, he hath his failings. 
Whenever you look upon another man s infirmities, think of 
his other excellencies. As when you look upon your own 
excellency, think withal upon your other infirmity : so when 
you look on another man s infirmity, think withal on his other 
excellency. If we expect too much we are disappointed, and 
disappointment doth breed vexation and displeasure : if we 
expect little and find much, it breeds love ; if we expect much 
and find little, it breaks love. 

Again, If you would have the returns of love upon your 
heart, walk and be together, you that are godly. Strangeness 
is the next door to enmity. Strangeness doth breed suspicion, 
and suspicion doth breed enmity. There are some things 
wherein we are all agreed, let us walk together in the practice 
of them.* It is a vain thing for men to run up and down to 
get work, when much lies unmade upon their shop-boards. 
Now there is much on our board yet not made up, let us all 
work to make up that which lies on our board for the present, 
arid by that time it is made up, through ,God s grace we shall 
be agreed in the rest. And in the mean time let every man 
keep his place. A learned man being asked what the reason 
was of the dissensions of those times wherein he lived, said, 
Because men do not keep their places ; all men were out of 
their places.f I wish I might not say so too. We are out of 
our places ; and what peace or love while men are out of their 

* Nunciatum est mihi de vobis fratres ab aliquibus, qui in vestra congregatione 
sum et ad nos inde venerunt, quod de hac re dissentiones in vobis sunt, itaque 
dilectissimi ne vos perturbet hujus qusestionis obscuritas, moneo vos primum ut 
de his quae iutelligitis agatis Deo gratias ; quicquid est autem quo pervenire non- 
dum potest vestrse mentis intentio, pacem inter vos et charitatem servantes a do 
mino ut intelligatis orate, et donee res ipsa perducat ad ea quse noudum intelligitis 
ibi ambulate quo pervenire potuistis. Haec etiam admonet apostolus Paulus, qui 
cum dixisset se nondum perfectum esse, paulo post ait, quotquot ergo perfect! 
suimis hoc sapiamus et si quid aliter sapitis hoc quoque Deus revelabit, verum 
1. -mien in quod pervenimus in eo ambulamus, Phil. iii. 15, 16. Augustin. vide 
Cassandri tractat. de pii viri officio circa religionis desidium. 

f Unde tot in rebus humanis turbse, nisi quod fere omnes earn quam Deus 


places, and do not act nor move in their own spheres ? Oh, 
you that are scholars of Jesus Christ, away to your places, 
your Lord is coming, and if he find you out of your places 
he will take the rod into his hand. 

But above all things, think of this truth much that is now 
before ye. Lactantius observes, that the heathens accounted 
it the best honouring of their gods, to be like them : and there 
fore some would be wicked, that they might be like to Jupiter 
their god :* and though it were evil which they did, yet they 
thought they honoured their gods in it, because they were like 
to them. Ye would all honour your God : labour more and 
more to be like to him ; he hath saved, delivered and loved 
you with a notwithstanding. Oh, therefore let us love one 
another notwithstanding all our failings, and infirmities. 

Ye read of Rebecca, that when she was with her servants, 
she rode on camels : but when she saw Isaac on foot, she 
did alight and walk as he did. It may be when you are with 
your fellow servants, you think it fit to be on horse-back, you 
are high and in your ruffe r but behold our Isaac, our Saviour 
hath condescended to our infirmities, came down, walked on 
foot : he hath saved us with a notwithstanding ; and why 
should not all we be contented to walk, as Christ walked ; 
and to love, as he loved ? He hath loved us with a notwith 
standing, so let us do. 

If the Lord doth sometimes save his people with a never 
theless,, out of mere love, then why should we despise, or 
despair of any, though they be never so vile ; or envy at any, 
though they be never so good ? Say not, says Austin, Num 
quid Deus correcturus est hominem tarn vilem $c. Will God 
correct and convert a man so vile and so perverse ? Do not 
despair, says he, attend whom thou pray est to, not for whom 

imposuit nobis personam, nobis nolumus, et peregrinam agere desideramus ; qui 
agere debet theologum, agere audet politicum, qui privata contentus esse umbra 
debet, publico apricare sole molitur : quod non minus creat in hac mundi histri- 
onia incomniodi, quam si in comoedia&ervusagatherum et ancilla dominum, morio 
regem, &c. Est via ad concordiam, quisque facial in suo vitse genere ad quod 
Deus eum vocavit suum officium. Non extollat se supra alios neque opera aliorum 
reprebendat, et sua velut meliora laudet, sed alii aliis per cbaritatem serviant, 

* Mores et vitia regis imitari genus obsequii est : abjecerunt pietatem ne ex- 
probrare regi (Jovi) scelus viderentur. Lact. 


thou prayest.* You see the disease of the patient, but not 
the power of the physician. And seeing God works and 
saves with a notwithstanding, who kno\vs what he will do, 
whose ways are past finding out ? Joseph was thrown be 
hind for a while, and though he had a promise that his sheaf 
should be higher than the rest of his brethren, yet at the 
first it was lowest, but God took him, raised him, and made 
his sheaf higher than all his brethren s. So can God do by 
this or that wicked person : though now he stands behind, 
God may take him, and set him before ; for God works 
freely. Oh, therefore, never despise any, though they be 
never so wicked ; nor I say, envy at others, though they be 
never so good, for their parts, gifts, and abilities : God can 
take you and make you as good, or better. For the present 
indeed, you may bemoan yourselves, and say, Is God so 
good, so gracious, so free as to save with a notwithstanding, 
and am I the only wicked man or woman that shall have 
none of this free love ; that shall not taste of this rich grace ? 
Si impius es, says one, If thou art wicked, think on the pub 
lican : if unclean, think on Rahab : if injurious, think on the 
thief ; if an idolater, think on Abraham ; if a blasphemer, 
think on Paul : who would have thought, that should have 
seen Paul trudging with a persecuting commission, that he 
would ever have been such a famous preacher of the gospel ? 
But the Lord, our Lord, works, delivers, saves with a notwith 
standing ; he doth work freely : therefore, despise not any, 
though they be never so vile : envy not any, though they be 
never so good. 

If the Lord doth save for his own name s sake, then let 
us all be tender of his name : take heed that we do not 
wrong his name, our only friend in adversity: but if we be in any 
danger, labour more and more to engage his name in our work, 
and upon all occasions exalt this name of the Lord. Abulen- 
sis observes, that though Moses did strike other things with 
his rod, yet himself would not strike the waters, but spake to 
Aaron to strike them, when they were to be turned into 
blood : for, says he, Moses was preserved in the waters, and 
ont of thankfulness he would not strike the waters that had pre 
served him. I do not like his reason, but I allude : it is 

* Attende quern rogas non pro quo ragas, vides periculum morbi sed non vides 
potentiam medici fecit reficere potest Augustin. 


the name of the Lord that hath preserved you, and shall we 
now strike his name ? I say nothing of those that do swear by 
his name, their own consciences tell them, that they wound 
the name of God : but how few are there in these days that 
are tender of God s name ? If a man, a professor, fall and 
sin, how ready are others to spread and divulge his sin ? yea, 
though the spreading thereof be a scandal unto God s name. 
As Luther said in his time, ob quodcunque erratum, for every 
fault, and error, they presently cry out, These are your fruits 
of the gospel : so now this is the fruit of your profession and 

But ye see into what times of danger we are now fallen. 
" The name of the Lord (says Solomon) is a strong tower, 
the righteous fly thereunto and are safe i" or, as some read it, 
lifted up. If a man be in a tower, he may not only defend 
himself, but offend his enemy. Abimelech and a sorry wo 
man were too unequally matched ; what was a weak woman 
to him ? Yet, Judges ix., a woman, having the advantage of 
a strong tower, proved too good for him ; for, from the tower 
she cast down a great stone upon Abimelech, brake his skull, 
and he died. Now such a strong tower is the name of the 
Lord : though you be so weak as a woman, yet if in-towered 
in the name of God, you shall be able to cast down millstones 
upon all your enemies. Who would not, therefore, engage 
the name of God more and more in the time of danger ? 
And seeing for his own name s sake he hath saved you, and 
your fathers, and children, and families, as it is this day ; 
come now, and let us exalt his name together. 

The name of God is exalted, when ye speak highly of his 
power, faithfulness, mercy, free love and grace, and of all his 

A man exalts his name, \then he ventures upon great 
things, and hard things, even lions in his way, upon confi 
dence in the name of God : as David against Goliah. 

The name of God is exalted, when men yield up their 
resolutions and engagements, and that presently, upon the 
least discovery of dishonour that may come thereby to this 
name of God. 

We exalt the name of God, when we labour to bear up 
those ordinances, ways and truths of God, which the world 
decries. There is a verbal, and there is a real exalting of 

c c 2 


God s name ; it is not the verbal but the real that God ex- 
pecteth : and seeing he saveth us, arid all our s hitherto, for 
his own name s sake, why should we not all join together in 
exalting his name ? Oh, you that are parents, call upon your 
children to exalt his name ; you that are governors and mas 
ters, call upon your servants to exalt his name : tell them 
how he hath saved us with a notwithstanding, for his own 
name s sake; and therefore exalt his name. 

I shall now tell you, in the next place, that if God doth 
save us with a notwithstanding, then we should serve him 
with a notwithstanding all opposition, notwithstanding all 
discouragements : that we should believe and trust in him, 
notwithstanding all our fears and dangers. But I hasten to 
the next doctrine, which is this : 

Secondly, When God doth save his people with a notwith 
standing, he doth then leave such marks and characters of 
his infinite power upon their deliverance to salvation, that he 
may be fully, clearly, plainly known to the sons of men. 

Ye shall observe, therefore, that when God promised any 
great deliverance to his people in the time of the prophets, 
he frequently addeth these words, " Then shall ye know that 
I am the Lord," or, " Then shall ye know that I am Jeho 
vah." God s infinite and almighty power is never more seen 
or legible, than when he works in a way of free love. And 
therefore, if ye look into Numb, xiv., you find, that when 
Moses pleaded with God to pardon and pass by the iniquity 
of his people, to shew forth his grace and love to them ; he 
doth then implore and call in the power, the great power of 
God ; ver. 17, it is said, he made the heavens by his power, 
but here great power is used and expressed for the pardoning 
of sin. And in Ps. xcix. 8, we find that his free love and 
power are knit together. Deusfortis condonans, fyc. For he 
is not only strong and merciful, but he is strong in mercy. 
So that, whensoever God doth save his people with a a not 
withstanding, his great design is to make known his mighty 
power unto the sons of men. 

But it will be said now, We are all convinced and per 
suaded, that the Lord hath saved us and ours in a way of 
free love, with a notwithstanding : but what marks or impres 
sions of a Deity, or of infinite power, are there upon the 
deliverances or salvations that we have had ? 


It is only God himself that can turn the tide. Poor weak 
man may turn and divert the stream of a river, but it is only 
God, and the infinite power of the Almighty, that can turn 
the tide. When the tide comes in, we may sail up with the 
tide, or cast anchor : but none can turn the tide but God 
alone. Not long since, there was a full tide of superstition 
and prelatical malice coming in upon all God s people ; and 
now of late how hath this tide been turned ? Oh, the tide 
is turned, it is turned : this is the Lord s doing, and it may 
be marvellous in your eyes if it be not. 

Again, when there are such great things done for God s 
people as the nature of the second cause will not, cannot 
bear; then the hand, and arm, and special power of God is, 
and may be seen therein, Jer. xxxi. 22, " I the Lord have 
created a new thing in the earth, a woman shall compass a 
man."* It is ordinarily understood of Christ in the womb 
of the virgin Mary, but, as Calvin doth well observe, (it is 
his comment not mine,) it is not said, that a woman shall 
compass a man barely, but a strong one : a woman shall 
compass a strong one, or one that is strong : so the Hebrew 
word signifies : and, says he, that word which is translated 
compass, signifies such a compassing) as enemies do use when 
they lay siege to a city. So Ps. cxviii., " They compassed 
me about like bees." It is the same word there which is 
used in a hostile way. And so the meaning is thus : though, 
oh, ye Israelites, ye be as weak as women, and your enemies 
strong, yet you shall lay siege to them, and take them cap 
tive, for I will create a new thing." 

When God works creation-wise, then he puts forth his 
almighty power ; and when a woman, or those that are weak, 
shall lay siege to, and take the strong, then his creating 
hand is at work. 

* Neque enim sinapliciter propheta hie de viro loquitur, sed nominal virum 
robustura. ~OJ enim sumitur a fortitudine ; cum igitur fseminam viro comparet, 
non dubito quin signified propheta Israelites qui similes erant fceminis, hoc est 
carebant viribus, destituti erant omni auxilio, quin dicit superiores fore hostibus 
suis quorum potentia poterat toti roundo terrorem incutere : Nam 3.30 signi- 
ficat non amplecti sed obsidere, ssepenumero, et multis accipitur scripturse locis 
in malam partem : Hostes circundederunt me, Ps. cxviii. Cum igitur notatur 
obsidio scriptura hoc verbum usurpat. et perinde est acsi propheta dixisset, 
redigent fseminse viros in angustias, ita ut ipsos captivos teneant. Calvin, in 
Jerem. xxxi. 22. 


And bath it not been thus in these great deliverances that 
he hath wrought for us of late ? We may all say, " The 
Lord hath created a new thing," for the woman, that is, those 
that are weak, have laid siege to, and taken those that are 
strong. Here is power legible. 

Again, the Psalmist doth speak expressly, " The Lord is 
known by the judgment that he executeth : the wicked are 
snared in the work of their own hands." When the wicked 
plot, consult, and design upon, and against the righteous, 
and they are so snared in their complotments, as that the 
cause of the just and righteous is furthered by their own 
workings, then is the Lord known : then and there are the 
marks, impressions, characters, of a Deity upon that work. 
And hath not the Lord led you in this way all along ? 

For the powcer treason : the enemies and papists thought 
to have swallowed up the protestant party, and to have sub 
dued all this kingdom with their religion ; promising them 
selves such a good day, as they never had before : but never 
had the papists such a blow, nor that religion made rrore 
odious in this kingdom, than by this design of their own : 
they were snared in their own works. 

And was it not so with the prelates of late ; and with all 
your enemies ? I appeal to ye, what hath contributed to, or 
advanced the cause of God s people, more than the design 
ings of their enemies ? Oh, therefore who may not say, 
Now I have seen a Deity, now I have seen the Lord, and 
his mighty power ? 

But if there have been such marks and impressions of an 
almighty power upon all our deliverances and salvations; 
what is the reason, that men see God no more therein, God 
is yet known no more ? 

Let me tell you plainly : some men come to God s work 
full of their own sense. Interpretation follows the dispo 
sition. Every man interprets according to his own affection. 

It is therefore observed by Masius, that when Moses and 
Joshua came down from the mount, and heard the people 
dancing, playing, and singing before their golden calf; 
Joshua, being of a warlike disposition, interprets the noise 
to be the noise of war : Moses, being a meek man, interprets 
the noise to be the noise of singing. I have read of a 
certain controversy that was at Rome, concerning the two 


missals or services of Gregory and Ambrose: the contro 
versy was very hot, whose missal or mass-book should be 
allowed, and authentic : and thereupon they determined, that 
they should both be left upon the altar in Peter s church all 
the night ; and that they would expect some immediate 
revelation from heaven the next morning : it was so done, 
both were left on the altar ; and in the morning, they found 
that Gregory s mass-book was rent, and torn in many pieces, 
and lay scattered about the church : but Ambrose s whole, 
and open upon the altar. Which event, says my author, 
one would have thought, should have signified thus much, 
that the missal of Gregory should have been cancelled and 
abolished ; and that of Ambrose authentic and canonical : 
but Pope Adrian, in whose time it was, being for Gregory s 
mass-book, expounded this lying miracle thus : that the 
rending of Gregory s missal, intended the dispersing thereof 
over all the Christian world, and that it only should be made 
authentic. Thus do men s interpretations follow their own 
dispositions. And so now, when men come to God s works, 
deliverances, and salvations, though there be much of a 
Deity therein, yet coming to them in their own sense, and 
abounding in their affection, they follow their own disposi 
tion, and so they lose the Deity. 

But when Moses came to see the wonder of " the burning 
bush, that was not consumed ;" though he said, " I will turn 
aside to see this great wonder;" the Lord said, " Pull off thy 
shoes, Moses, pull off thy shoes." So doth God now call 
unto us : you say, I will turn aside, and see this wonder, 
that England s bush hath been burning thus many years, 
and is not consumed ; a wonder indeed, to be beheld and 
considered by all : but if you would see the Lord therein, 
ye must pull off your own shoes ; and the Lord calls unto 
ye, Oh, my servants, pull off your shoes ; lay aside your 
own dispositions, else you will not see this wonder, nor my 

Sometimes men come to God s work with their hearts 
full of envy and malice at God s instruments : and envy is 
blind.* They will not see, says envy, in a case of justice, 
but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at thy 

* Ira sequintui invidium, qua; mentem exulcerat, sensum hebetat, linguam 
iuirautat, ocnlos obumbrat, tutumque corpus perterbat. Ambrose. 


people. If a man have an envious, malicious eye at God s 
instruments, he will never see much of God in the work. 

Though there be much of God s power and glory in all 
those salvations which he hath wrought for us with a notwith 
standing : yet sometimes men see not God, because they stand 
poring so much on the second cause. God seldom doth 
any great work, but still he doth use some creature in the 
doing of it, though the creature be too short to reach the 
work. And though it be but a piece of brass, which, say 
the naturalists, to behold is hurtful to those that are stung 
with the serpent : yet the Israelites will rather adore the 
brazen serpent, than they would see the Lord. 

The Jewish Rabbins say, that when the Philistines had 
taken Samson,* and saw that he was a man of such strength, 
none like him in all the earth ; they caused him to sleep with 
some women, that they might have a generation of Samsons, 
and strongmen among them: and the reason of this notion 
they take from Judges xvi. 21, where it is said, That they 
made him him grind, not in the mill, but they made him 
grind. Which word is the same in the Hebrew, with that in 
Job xxxi., "Then let my wife grind to another." And if 
this notion of theirs be true : ye see how the Philistines lost 
the sight of God in the strength of Samson ; namely, by 
poring too much on the second cause of strength. But 
when our Lord Jesus Christ was on earth, what great and 
glorious things did he do, yet the Jews had not an eye to 
see them, or God in them : why ? " Is not this the carpen 
ter s son ? " say they. " Can any good come out of Naza 
reth ? " They looked no higher than Nazareth, or a carpenter. 
There was flesh in Christ, and a Deity : they looked so much 
upon his flesh, as they did lose his Deity. So in all these 
great things that God hath done for us ; there is a flesh in 
the work, something of flesh ; and there is a Deity, the im 
pressions of infinite power : but men stand looking so much 
upon the flesh of the action, . as they lose the Deity of it. 
Some stretch and crack their eye-strings so much in behold 
ing the creatures, and in the admiration of men ; as they 
have no eye left for to see the Lord : sometimes men see no 

* Ebrsei tamen dicunt quod Philistsei fecerunt cum dormire cum mulieribus 
robustis ut ex eo prolem robust am susciperent : quoniam idem vocabul : Judges 
xvi. 21. imtS et Job xxxi. Tntsn Dilheius. Elect, lib. ii. cap ix. 


more of God in his works because they are not acquainted 
with his ways and methods of his proceedings with his peo 
ple ; his way is in the deep, and therefore his footsteps are 
riot known ; we seek for him in our own way, and find him not ; 
for his ways are not as our ways : whereupon says Luther,* 
If we would see more of God in his works, we must under 
stand his ways as distinct from ours. Nam ego, saith he, I 
often endeavoured to prescribe God his way which he should 
walk in. O Lord, said I, this I would have thus done, in 
this order, and with this event : but God did the contrary 
unto what I desired : then did I think but my counsel was 
for God s glory, and did make to the sanctifying of his name ; 
sed risit dominus, the Lord laughed at my wisdom, saying, 
I know thou art a wise man, and learned ; but it is not my 
manner to do, or work, or govern, as Peter Martyr, Luther, 
or any other shall teach ; for I am not a passive but an ac 
tive God : sciamus ergo, we must know therefore, that God 
doth sometimes hide himself, that we may learn that his 
goodness, mercy, power, is not to be attained by speculation, 
but experience. The way to see him in his work is to under 
stand his method in working, which nothing can attain unto, 
but faith : " all men have not faith, few that do live by faith/ 
Sometimes men are so discontented with what is evil amongst 
us, that for anguish of their souls, they cannot see what is 
good : some crumb goes awry, and so they lose the whole 
meal of mercy. But would you have a true prospect of the 
great things God hath done for us ? then let us all go, and 
run unto Jesus Christ, to open the mystery and parable of 

* Discamus regulam et ordinem gubernationis Dee usitatum, nam ego ssepe 
certas rationes conatus sum Deo prsescribere, quibus uteretur in administratione 
sanctse ecclesiae et aliarum rerum ; ab Domine, dixi, hoc velim ita fieri, hoc 
eventu ; sed Deus prorsus contrarium faciebat ab eo quod petiveram : ibitum 
cogitabam, atqui meutn consilium non est alicuum a gloria Dei, sed plurimutn 
facit ad sanctificandum nomen ejus : sed risit haud dubie dominus hanc sapieu- 
tiam et dixit, age vero uovi te esse prudentem et eruditum, sed mihi nunquam 
hie mos fuit ut aut Petrus, aut Divus Martinus, aut alius me doceret : non sura 
Deus passivus, sed activus. Sciamus Deum se abscondere sub specie pessimi 
Diaboli, ideo ut discamus bonitatem, tnisericordiam, potentiam Dei non posse 
comprehend! speculando, sed experiendo. Deus suos humiliat uc exaltet, occidit 
ut vivificet, confundit ut glorificet, subjicit ut extollat. Nam sic Deus sapien- 
tiam nostram mortincat, ut homo agrestis mirabilem symphoniam tot vocum in 
organis, aut Cythara non intelligit, propterea quod totius harmonise rationem 
ignorat : sic nos arbitratnur temere omuia fieri, diabolum vigilare, Deuiu dor- 
mire, &c. Luther in Gen. 


his works ; he is the Lord that is now at work. And as 
when he lived, without a parable spake he nothing, so now 
without a parable works he nothing : his works are all para 
bolical as his words are. 

We read, that when John, in Rev. v., met with a sealed 
book that had seven seals, which neither he nor any could 
open, he fell down and wept ; but one came to him and told 
him, " the Lion of the tribe of Judah is worthy to open the 
book ;" and so he was fully quieted, praising the Lord, Now 
there is a great folio book of providence that is before you ; 
indeed it is sealed with many seals, but if opened, you will 
find that it is written in every page, Free grace, free love, 
salvation with a notwithstanding. Would you open this book ? 
away then to Jesus Christ, and as the disciples said, so do 
you also, " Lord, tell us the meaning of this parable ;" tell 
us the meaning of this dispensation ; oh, tell us the meaning 
of this thy providence. Christ is very ready to teach you : 
as a schoolmaster morning by morning teacheth his scholars, 
so Christ, Isa. 1. 4. And all the worst he will say to you, as 
to Peter, " What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt 

But suppose we have seen the Lord already, the finger, 
hand, arm, and almighty power of God; for we must all 
needs acknowledge " that the Lord hath done great things for 
us " that we have seen the marks and characters of his al 
mighty power imprinted upon all our deliverances, upon the 
deliverance of this day, and upon all those salvations which 
this age hath brought forth : but then what is our work, and 
what returns are we to make unto God again ? 

Discovery of power calls for fear : it must be the song of 
these latter times, " Great and wonderful are thy works, O 
Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways, who shall 
not fear thee, and worship thy name ?" Rev. xv. 

But if God hath done great things for us, then are we to 
do some great thing for God again. God never did any 
great thing for his servants but they did great things for him, 
so David, Paul, Zaccheus, and many others. And because 
Hezekiah did not make answerable return of praise, though 
he did praise the Lord for his deliverance, God was displeased 
with him, and it cost him dear. Now God hath done great 
things for us, and made known his infinite power in a way of 


free love to us, what great thing shall we do for God ; yea, 
what great thing shall we not do for God ? 

Let us fix here a little. 

It is in these working busy times a great thing to sit still 
and be contented to be without work, to be laid by, and to 
be used no more. God hath his times for men : he uses one 
to-day and another to-morrow. If a man be used in one 
service once, he thinks he must be used in all things and al 
ways ; and when God lays him by and takes another, then, 
like the elder brother in the parable, he murmurs, and envies 
at the younger brother that is called home to God s work. 
It is an hard thing for one that hath been used, to be con 
tented to be used no more. Oh, that magistrates, ministers, 
men of service could but be willing to be used no more, and 
to be laid aside if God will have it so. A man is never more 
fit for service than when he is willing to be used no more in 

Again, Simplicity and plainness in God s work is a great 
matter in these designing times : those come nearest to God 
that are the most simple, and without folds and doubles, for 
divine nature is simplicity itself. 

A great thing it is now to do God s work quickly and with 
despatch ; to shew mercy readily, and to do justice speedily, 
without delay. There may be and is as much of God s power 
seen in the lesser creatures, as in the pismire, worm and the 
like, as in the great bodies of the sun and moon ; because, 
though the pismire be little, yet there is life in that, and none 
in the sun or moon. Now when justice is executed speedily, 
and mercy dispensed quickly, there is life in it. Let beer or 
wine stand awhile, or till the morning, and though it were 
never so good when it was drawn, yet after standing it grows 
flat and dead. So do justice, equity and mercy too. Let 
mercy, equity or justice be delayed, and stand awhile, and 
then, though never so good in themselves, yet they are flat 
and dead ; quickly dispensed and executed hath life. 

Wherefore, right honourable, if you would do any great 
thing for God, look over your laws and ordinances of justice, 
equity and mercy, and consider what there is that clogs the 
speedy execution thereof: take off the clogs. It may be 
some half ordinance against Sabbath-sportings, drunkenness 
and swearing may lie before you ; oh, that there may be more 


despatch, more despatch, this will put life into all your works, 
and make them great, though otherwise small in your own 

Again, It is a great matter for a man to know his time and 
tide of working. There is a time for all things under the 
sun ; and because men know not their time and judgment, 
therefore their evil is great upon them, says Solomon.* But 
if men could take the tide of providence, how easily might 
they carry up a great burden ; whereas losing their tide, and 
rowing against the streams of providence, things come off 
heavily and with much difficulty. 

When a man is at sea in a vessel, he must not go where he 
will, but as the wind and tide carries him. Ye are now em 
barked in a great work and service; ye may not, ye cannot 
go where and when you will ; sometimes ye must lie becalmed. 
But oh, that men did know the gale of providence, the time 
and tide of providence. But though we have often come up 
against tide, and come down with the tide, yet how few do 
know the time and tide of providence ; how many heats of 
own our hearts have we lost ! Would you, therefore, do any 
great thing for God ? take your time and tide, and improve 
those heats of your hearts when providence warms them. 
This will be your wisdom, and thus shall you be great and do 
great things in the eyes of heaven and earth. 

Again, It is no great matter now for a man to spread the 
gospel into all the parts of this kingdom, and dominion of 
Wales, if men had an heart for it; and oh that they had a 
heart to do it : but to spread the gospel into all the parts 
of the world is something. Thus the Jesuits, thus the 
papists do in regard of their gospel. Why should not we 
be as active for good as they are for evil ? you have a better 
master and you shall have better wages. When shall the 
blessing of the poor Indian come upon our English parlia 
ment ? This would be a great thing : let encouragement be 
given this way. 

It is no great matter for a man to do that which is right 

* Tale ingenium erat laudatissimi principis Frederic! Saxonise ducis Electoris. 
Is erat vir vere industrius, qui non dicebaf, non faciebat omnia quse poterat in 
prsesens dicere et facere ; sed expectabat tempus, personam, locum commodum, 
dissimulabat omnia, suo autem tempore et loco, uno verbo plus efficiebat quam 
multi alii sine hac industria potentia et viribus summis, &c., quare adhibenda est 
etiam oratio ut Deus ad sit. Luther in Gen. 


and good, yea, to do it exactly ; but to walk exactly in a crowd 
and throng of business, this is somewhat. 

It is no great matter for to be godly in a godly place ; but 
to be godly in an ungodly place, in the midst of those that 
are most ungodly, this is somewhat. 

It is no great matter for a man to be the same for God in 
the same condition ; but to have a sameness of heart for 
God in variety of conditions, this is somewhat. 

It is no great matter to be thankful, rejoice, and love God 
in prosperity ; but to fear God in prosperity, and to love God 
in adversity ; to bless God when he takes away from us, and 
to be " in all things thankful," as the apostle speaks, is 

It is no great matter for a man to pray morning and even 
ing, thinking no more of God all the day after ; but to be 
heavenly in all our earthly employments throughout the day, 
and in all our dealings with man, still to deal with God, living 
to God and in God, this is somewhat. 

It is no great matter to do well and hear well ; but to do 
well and hear ill, for a man to do great things for God and 
think himself nothing, to believe in the dark, to see through 
natural impossibilities, and to trust in God for life in a busi 
ness when the sentence of death is upon second causes ; this 
is a great matter.* 

Many other great things that I might lay before ye, but 
I should be too long. God hath done great things for us : 
a thankful heart says, What shall I return unto the Lord for 
all his benefits ? and the answer is, Great is the Lord, and 
greatly to be praised : great is the Lord, and greatly to be 
served : he hath done great things for us, we must do great 
things for him : small things now will riot serve our turn. 

Again, if the Lord hath made bare his holy arm for your 
deliverance , if he hath saved you with a great salvation, as 
it is this day : you, and your fathers, and children from the 
hand of Rome, and of the papists ; then why should you not 
all prejudice your hearts against that religion that was the 
mother of such a bloody design as the powder treason was ? 
The papists said indeed, when their plot miscarried, that it 
was but the work of some few unfortunate gentlemen. Aye, 

* Magnum est, magna facere et teipsum putare nihil. Eusebius Nieremb. 


and blessed be the Lord they were so unfortunate. But had 
the plot fired, and taken, then the execution thereof would 
have been painted in the Pope s palace : as I have read the 
massacre of Paris was, in perpetuam rei memoriam. But if 
their religion * itself do carry such principles in the bosom 
of it as do naturally breed and lead to such practises, then 
it cannot be said that this was only the design of a few unfor 
tunate gentlemen. Now what are the principles of that 
religion ? the papists themselves say, that what a Pope de 
termines in a council, or general council, is de fide : ask 
therefore the Lateran council, and Concilium Lugdunense, 
ask Aquinas, Bellarmine, Suarez, Toilet, Sa, Mariana, Tan- 
nerus, and Becanus, they will tell you, that infidelical, hereti 
cal, apostatizing princes and governors are to be deposed 

* Si vero dominus temporalis requisitus et monitus ab ecclesia, terram suam 
purgare neglexerit ab hac haeretica fseditate, per metropolitanutn et caeteros 
episcopos excommunicationis vinculo innodetur ; et si satisfacere contempserit 
intra annum, significetur hoc sumino Pontifici ut ex tune ipse vassallos ab ejns 
fidelitate absolutus denunciet et terram exponat Catholicis occipandam, qui 
earn exterminates haereticis sine ulla contradictione possideant. E decretis 
Concilii Generalis Lateranensis tempore Innocentii Papae iii. de fide Cathol. 
cap iii. Binius. Omnesque qui ei (Imperatori scil.) juramento fidelitatis aliquo 
modo tenentur astricti, vel obligati, a juramento hujusmodo perpetuo absolvimus 
et liberamus, auctoritate apostolica firmiter et stricte inhibendo ne quisquam de 
caetero ei tanquam imperatori vel regi pareat ; decernendo quoslibet qui dein- 
ceps ei velut imperatori vel regi consilium, vel auxilium prestiterint, seu fauto- 
rem ipso facto excommunicationis vinculo subjacere. Concil Lugdun. xiii. 
oecnmenic. approbatum centum et quadraginta episcoporum, causa Frederici ii. 
imperat. deponendi celebratum, 1245. Bin. vide plura apud Mat. Paris: cum 
depositione, et submissione Joannes Regis Anglicani. Principibus apoatatanti- 
bus a fide non est obediendum, et ideo cum cito aliquis per sententiam denuncia- 
tur excommunicatus propter apostasiam a fide, ipso facto ejus subditi sunt abso- 
luti a dominio ejus et juramento fidf-litatis, Thorn. Aquin. 22. quaest. 12. art. 
2. et quest. 10. art. 10. Non licet cbristianis tolerare regem infidelem haere- 
ticum si ille conetur pertrahere subditos ad suam haeresim vel infidelitatem, 
tenentur christiani non pati super se regem non christianum, si ille conetur 
avertere populum a fide. Bellarm. de Roman, pontif. lib. v. cap. vii. Possu- 
mus veritatem hanc authoritate et praxi ecclesiae ostendere, et post varia exempla 
addit, at vero haec omnia. et similia non temere nee in angulo, sed aliqua ex illis 
in conciliis frequentissimns, aliquando in General. Ergo incredibile est fuisse 
actus usurpatae, et uon verae authoritatis. Suarez. lib. iii. de Rom. pontif. 
cap. xxiii., XMV. quaenam sunt apostatarum et haereticorum poenae ? privatio 
politicae potestatis juxta Canonem nos Sanctorum et can. juratos 15. q. 6. et 
extravagantem Martini v. ad evitanda ; septima poena est poena corporis, viz. 
iucarceratio exillium, mors. Tannerus de fide, dispnt. i. quaest. viii. dub. 6. 
Tom. 3. in Thorn. Aquinat. Em. Sa in voce, Tyrannus. Mariana, lib. 6. de 
reg. c. vi. p. 59 


and excommunicated by the Pope. 2. That being so sentenced, 
their subjects are absolved and freed from the oath of 
fidelity and allegiance. 3. That excommunicated persons, 
being heretics, cujuscunque ordinis, are to be deprived 
of their estates, jurisdictions, yea, their lives; heretici 
sunt comburendi. And though this powder treason were 
the design of some unfortunate gentleman, yet I dare chal 
lenge all the Jesuits in the world, to shew such a practice 
designed by any unfortunate gentlemen of the protestant 

Or is this the only bloody practice of the papists and 
Jesuits ; or is this the only evil of that religion ? Truly as 
things lie in my apprehension, this religion, this Bellarminian 
religion destroys the whole law and gospel; the law, and 
the ten commandments. 

It destroys the first commandment : for they worship a 
piece of bread for God, with the worship of God. 

It destroys the second : witness their many images. 

It destroys the third : taking God s name in vain, by 
praying and worshipping in an unknown tongue. 

It destroys the fourth, by denying the morality of the 

It destroys the fifth ; for if a man or woman get into a 
cloister, and say, Corban, it is a gift, they are no more bound 
to obey their parents. 

It destroys the sixth commandment ; for they murder 
princes and magistrates, witness this day and the principles 
of this action. 

It destroys the seventh ; for they say single fornication is 
no sin, or venial. 

It destroys the eighth ; for it hath stolen away the cup in 
the Lord s supper from the people, and the Scriptures from 
them too. 

It destroys the ninth : for they bear false witness of the 
fathers and ancient writers, making them say what they never 
did, to bear up their own cause ; and of godly Luther, Calvin, 
Beza and others, affirming that they did and died, as they 
did not and died not. 

It destroys the tenth commandment : for they say concu 
piscence is no sin, and that original sin is pcccatum minus 


minimo, less than the least. I know nothing less than the 
least, but nothing. 

It destroys the gospel, setting up a covenant of works. 
The comfort and sweetness of the gospel hangs on the 
priestly office of Christ, which consists in his satisfaction for 
sin and intercession. This religion tells us of other satisfac 
tions than that of Christ, and other mediators and inter 
cessors, as saints and angels. 

It destroys your faith ; for it holds doubtings, and that a 
man cannot be ordinarily assured of his salvation.* 

It destroys your repentance, by extenuation of sin, the 
great sin of our nature, and giving a babel penance for true 

It destroys your obedience by the ingrediency of merits. 

It destroys the whole law of God and Scripture, by making 
it a nose of wax, and insufficient rule for us to live by, with 
out their own traditions. J 

It destroys the laws of man too ; for what is the law of 
England, but the parliament ? The law is a dead parliament, 
and the parliament is a living law. You have now time to 
dispute your liberty of subjects, privilege of parliament, and 
royal prerogative ; but had this design taken, in what woful 
confusion had all been wrapt up together ! 

It may be you say, So they are now. 

But, unthankful heart, it had been worse then, infinitely 
worse then. Then might the poor countryman have come up 
and seen an heap of blood, flesh, and stones together; and 
after long scraping in that heap, possibly might have found 
the head of their knight and burgess, saying, Here is the 
head of our dear knight and burgess, but where are his 
arms, where his legs ? 

Then might the wife and children have done the like, and 
said, Here, oh, here is my husband s head, but where is his 
body ; my father s head, but where is his body ? Then might 
you have heard, not Rachel mourning for her children, but 
all the children of this land mourning for their fathers, and 
not comforted, because they were not. You will mourn, and 

* Concil. Trident. Sess. 6, c. 9, 12. 

t Quicunque peccatum originis extenuant, doctrinam de psenitentia depravant. 

J Vide Gerardi Disputation. Theolog. 1. 2, ubi de hisce omnibus agitur fusius. 


lament, and weep sometime, at the execution of a malefactor, 
and say, What pity is it, that such a man as this should die ; 
though he were thus and thus faulty in this matter, yet other 
wise a valiant man, a wise man, a brave man : what pity is it 
that his head should thus be stricken off at one blow ! But 
here the head of England should have been stricken off at 
one blow, and not a malefactor executed, but our judges 
themselves, under the stroke of injustice, tumbling in their 
gore. Oh, unparalleled cruelty ! I know nothing beyond it, 
but hell itself. Speak, O sun, whether in all thy travels from 
one end of the heavens to the other, thou hast ever beheld 
such a practice as this ? Yet this design, this black, cruel, 
hellish design hath this Jesuitical religion brought forth, as it 
is this day. 

But I say no more ; ye know what the northern gentleman 
said : I cannot dispute, but I have two arguments against the 
papists that can never be answered, equivocation and the 
powder treason : and this may all you say that cannot dis 
pute. Who would not prejudice his own heart, his children s, 
his servants hearts against this religion ? Oh, for ever take 
heed of tampering with this religion. 

I fear the hand of the Jesuit is too much among us at 
this day ; but, O England, O parliament, for ever remember 
the fifth of November : te The snare is broken, and we are 

And so I come to the next duty, which upon the account 
of God s gracious and powerful deliverance, we are to return 
unto God ; namely, c To praise him, and speak well of his 

" The Lord hath saved us, and made his mighty power 
known in the midst of us : oh be thankful unto the Lord, for 
he is good, for his mercy endures for ever." We read in 
Psalm cxxvi., that when the Lord turned the captivity of 
Zion, it is said, the church " was like unto those that are 
restored to health." The words run thus : " When the Lord 
turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like unto them 
that dream." But the words should rather be translated, 
" We are like unto those that are restored to health." The 
Hebrew word signifies,* to recover, or, to be restored to 

* D?n incolumis, sanus, sanatus, reviluit, convaluit, sic Ps. cxxvi., fiiimus 
D D?nD sicut convalescentes, Targum : sicut iegroti, qui sanati sunt, at captivi- 


health. And so the same word is translated in Isa. xxxviii., 
when Hezekiah recovered, he made a psalm of praise, and 
said, " O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these 
things is the life of my spirit : so wilt thou recover me, and 
make me to live." It is the same word that is used here. 
Thus Cajetan, Shindler, and others would have it translated 
here ; and it suits best with the following words, " Then were 
our mouths filled with laughter, and our tongues with praise." 
When a man is in a good dream, his mouth is not filled with 
laughter, nor his tongue with praise ; if a man be in a bad 
dream, his mouth is not filled with laughter, nor his tongue 
with praise: but when a man is restored to health after a 
great sickness, it is so. And therefore, says the psalmist, 
" When the Lord turned our captivity," &c. Now if you 
look into Scripture, you will find, that the word captivity is 
used for any violence that is done by others upon God s 
people. So it is said of Job when he prayed for his friends. 
He was never from his own house in all his affliction, how 
then in captivity ? he was under violence, for the present put 
into the hands of Satan, and so in captivity. When God s 
people are under violence, then in scripture phrase they are 
said to be in captivity. Ye have also been under the violence 
of men : in queen Mary s days, under the violence of papists ; 
in later days, under the violence of prelates ; and now of late, 
the parliament under the violence of the rout ; and the godly 
of the city under violence too. But the Lord having freed 
you from this violence, he hath turned your captivity, even 
as the waters of the south : and therefore, why should not 
all we be as those that are restored to health again ? When 
a man is restored to health, then he praises the Lord, and 
rejoices in all his goodnesses : yea, he will praise the Lord for 
less strength and health than before, for that which he did 
not praise God before. 

Wherefore now then, though we do not keep this day as 
an holy-day, " Let our mouths be filled with laughter, and our 
tongues with praises. Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for he 

tas morbo et sanationi liberatio comparetur. Sept. we ira^a.(.ic\T}/^Evoi sicut 
consolati. Alii sicut somniantes, ex significations secunda, Shind. p. 582, fuimus 
sicut convalescentes, veram esse hanc prophetiam res postea gesta testatur, quo- 
niam similes ex agritudine convalescentibus fuerunt redeuntes ex captivitate 
Babyloniae, paulatim enim auctse sunt vires eorum. Cajetan in Ps. cxxv. 


is good, for his mercy endures for ever. He hath scattered 
the proud in the imaginations of their hearts : for his mercy 
endures for ever." He hath saved us with a notwithstanding : 
for his mercy endures for ever. He hath not only delivered 
us from one powder treason, but from many, in these late 
years : for his mercy endures for ever. 

Oh, you right honourable, the House of Peers, " Praise ye 
the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures for ever." 

And you, most honourable, the House of Commons, " Praise 
ye the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures for ever." 

And let all the household of the faithful, " Praise the Lord, 
for he is good, for his mercy endures for ever. Oh, give 
thanks unto the God of gods, for his mercy endures for ever." 
We sinned, God saved us ; we sinned greatly, he hath saved 
us with a great salvation, with a nevertheless : " Nevertheless 
he hath saved us, for his own name s sake, that he might 
make his mighty power known." Now then, let us all praise 
the Lord, and call upon his name. 

D D 2 



COMMONS, MAY 17, 1648, 



ACCORDING to your command I have presented these notes to your view, some 
what concerning the kingdom and coming of Christ ; an argument as unwelcome 
to some as welcome to others. Kings, princes and rulers sometimes startle at it, 
but they need not, for Christ means them no hurt ; if they will throw down their 
crowns at his feet, he will set their crowns on their heads and his own too. The 
Jews feared and refused to receive Christ and his kingdom, lest they should lose 
their own kingdom ; and thereby they lost both their God and their kingdom, as 
Austin observes. But who ever lost his sceptre by submitting unto Christ s 
sceptre ? I may say, truly, potestus Christi is rather cumulative^ than privi- 
tiva. In helping Christ to his throne, you shall help yourselves to your honours 
and greatness. I will not say that Christ hath need of you, he hath no need of 
us : but if that of the schools be true, namely, that one is helped by another, 
either by addition of new strength and virtue, or by the exercise of what was 
formerly given ; then Jesus Christ may in some sense, and that according to 
scripture phrase, Judges v. 23, be said to be helped by you. Great confederacies 
will be raised against him when he comes to his kingdom, Psalm ii. 1, 2. But 
God, who sits in heaven, laughs at those combinations, verse 4, and in spite of 
them will set his King upon his holy hill of Zion, verse 6. And to him that 
overcometh will I give to sit down with me in my throne, saith our Saviour, even 
as I have overcome and sit with my Father in his throne, Rev. iii. 21. Where 
fore, most honourable, be not overcome with evil, be not overcome with difficul 
ties, with oppositions or combinations of men ; but overcome evil with good, and 
do what in you lies to bring this blessed King Jesus unto his throne and inheri 
tance that as the earth in due time shall, so England in special manner may be 
come the kingdom of our Lord Christ, and we may all say, The Lord God 
omnipotent reigneth amongst us. 

I could not long deliberate in so short a time what part of God s word I should 
preach to jou, but knowing the trouble of these times, and that the more you 
spend your thoughts on Christ s coming and kingdom, the more your hearts will 
be upheld in the times of your troubles ; I chose rather to preach on this argu 
ment, which I here now present, and beseech the Lord to bless it to you, and you 
to this kingdom ; only be strong, and be of good courage ; fear not, neither be 

SER. 17.] CHRIST S COMING, &c. 405 

dismayed ; and the Lord your God will be with you as he hath been formerly, 
which shall be the prayer of, 

Your humble servant in the gospel of Jesus Christ, 


" And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold the Bridegroom 
cometh." MATT. xxv. 6. 

IN this parable ye have the state and posture of the church 
a little before and at the coming of Jesus Christ. " Then 
shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins," 
verse 1. Sometimes the doctrine and grace of the gospel is 
called the kingdom of heaven ; " The kingdom of heaven is 
like to a grain of mustard seed," &c. This cannot be meant 
here : because in the gospel there are not ten virgins. Some 
times the state of glory above is called the kingdom of hea 
ven : that is not meant here, because there are no foolish 
virgins. Sometimes the church of Christ under the new 
testament is called the kingdom of heaven, for there God 
appears, manifests himself, and it is heaven on earth ; and 
this is that which is here called the kingdom of heaven; 
which kingdom is described by the Governor, King and Head 
thereof, and by the subjects of that kingdom. The subjects 
are described by their agreement and disagreement. First, 
They agree in this, that they are all virgins ; though some 
foolish, yet virgins, not defiled with men or the pollutions of 
the world : it is possible a foolish and unsound heart may go 
thus far in religion, to be free from the pollutions of the 
world, yea, through the knowledge of Christ, says the apostle 
Peter. Secondly, They agree in this, that they have all their 
lamps, good and bad, wise and foolish, under ordinances, 
which are the lamps, whereby the golden oil of the sanctuary 
is emptied into our hearts. Thirdly, They agree in this, that 
they are all expectants, wise and foolish wait the Bridegroom s 
coming ; they all think to receive good, and have a good day 
by the coming of Jesus Christ : this is far, yet thus far may 
a foolish virgin go. Fourthly, They all agree in this, that they 
had oil in their lamps ; indeed it is said, verse 3, that " the 
foolish virgins took no oil with them," but they say, verse 8, 
" Our lamps are gone out ;"* so that oil they had once, but 

* Ad nihilum valet quod non valet ad finem suutn. 


they had not enough, and so none ; parts and gifts and com 
mon graces a man may have, not only his lamp, but some oil 
in it for a time, yet be a foolish virgin. Fifthly, They agree 
in this, that they keep company, have communion and fellow 
ship together in the church, yea, so far that the foolish are not 
known till Christ s coming ; so smoothly may a foolish virgin 
carry it, yet remain foolish. Sixthly, They all agree in this, 
also, that they hold out their profession with lamps, and wait 
ing until the Bridegroom comes. So that possibly a man 
may be a professor of the gospel, and bear up his profession 
among the best, even to the last, yet be unsound at heart, and 
a foolish virgin. Thus far they agree. 

But though these virgins agree in many things, yet they 
disagree in point of wisdom; for the wise got so much oil as 
did serve till the last, the foolish not so ; there was defectus 
olei, verse 8. 

Again, You have here the description of the King, Gover 
nor and Head of this kingdom, who is described from and by 
the manner of his coming. First, He comes as a Bridegroom. 
Secondly, He comes apparently : not as in the days of his 
flesh, when he came more hiddenly ; " Behold a great cry/ 
&c. Thirdly, He comes suddenly, unexpectedly, in the most 
dark time, he comes at midnight. 

Now Christ s coming is either spiritual and invisible, John 
xiv. 18, "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to 
you;" or visible ; and that either at the day of judgment, or 
else at the calling and conversion of the Jews, when he will 
appear in the clouds, and come to set up his kingdom in this 
world in a more glorious manner than ever. So Rev. xvii., 
" Behold he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, 
and they also which pierced him (that is the Jews) ; and all 
kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him, even so, 
Amen ;" which relates unto Zech. xii. 10 14, " I will pour 
upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jeru 
salem, the Spirit of grace and supplication ; and they shall 
look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn 
for him as one mourneth for his own son, &c. In that day 
there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, and the land 
shall mourn, every family apart : the family of the house of 
David apart, and their wives apart ; the family of the house 
of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; the family of the 

. 17.] AT OUR MIDNIGHT. 407 

house of Levi apart, and their wives apart/ &c. ; which can 
not be understood of the day of judgment, because then the 
families of David, Nathan, Shimei, Levi, shall not mourn 
apart, and their wives apart. Of this coming of Christ to 
set up his kingdom, I rather take this parable to be under 
stood, and not of his coming at the day of judgment ; for in 
Matt. xiv. the disciples did propound three questions to our 
Saviour Christ : verse 3, Tell us, when shall these things 
be ?" that is, the destruction of the temple ; " and what shall 
be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world ?" 
To the last he doth answer first, as is usual in Scripture, ne 
gatively : verse 6, " Ye shall hear of wars, and rumours of 
wars, but the end is not yet." Affirmatively, verse 14, " And 
this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world 
for a witness to all nations, and then shall the end come." 
To the first question he doth answer in the second place, 
verses 15, 16, and to the second he doth answer in the third 
and last place, because he intended to speak most of that, and 
so proceeds to speak of his coming, and the signs thereof, in 
the after part of the xxivth chapter, verses 37 50, and so he 
goes on in this beginning of the xxvth : " Then shall the 
kingdom of heaven be like unto ten virgins." In which pa 
rable still he speaks of his coming as before, for, verse 13, he 
concludes this parable thus, " Watch ye, therefore, for ye 
know not the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh." 

Besides, Christ comes not as a Bridegroom but as a Judge 
at the day of judgment. And if ye look into Rev. xix., xxi., 
and xxii., where mention is made of the glory of Christ s 
kingdom in the latter times, ye find that the converting Jew, 
who there sings the Hebrew song, Hallelujah ! is called the 
bride, the Lamb s wife, saying, " Come, Lord Jesus." And 
at chapter xix. 18, 19, mention is made of a great battle : but 
there is no fighting or battling at the day of judgment. That 
is no time for feasting, nor suppers neither ; but at weddings 
and marriages there were and are great suppers, which we 
read shall be at this time, verse 17. And as the wise enter, 
so the foolish, and those that tell and make lies, are shut out. 
Finding therefore all these things at that coming of Christ, 
thus to suit with this parable, I rather incline to think, that 
it cannot be understood of the day of judgment, but of that 
time when Christ will appear at the Jews conversion, to set 

408 CHRIST S COMING is [SER. 17 

up his kingdom on earth, in that glorious and blessed manner 
which all the prophets bear witness unto. 

And because all the victories and deliverances that Christ 
worketh for the churches in the meantime, are so many steps 
unto this kingdom and coming of his : therefore, in scripture 
phrase, sometimes they are called his coming. Matt. xvii. 
His transfiguration was called his coming in his kingdom, for 
chap. xvi. 28, Christ saith, " There be some standing here, 
which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of Man 
coming in his kingdom." And then, chap. xvii. 1, it is said, 
" And after six days, Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John 
his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain 
apart, and was transfigured before them." In three gospels 
the history of the transfiguration is linked unto that speech : 
" There are some standing here, which shall not taste of 
death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom," 
with those words, "And after six days Jesus took Peter," &c. 
Our Lord and Saviour Christ was then come when he spake 
those words, but he was to come in a more glorious way and 
manner to set up his kingdom ; and his transfiguration being 
a taste of that glory and coming, it is here called his coming 
in his kingdom. So all these great deliverances and victories 
which Christ worketh for his church, being so many tastes 
and forerunners of his coming in his kingdom, they may be 
called his coming too : surely they are as so many steps that 
he takes in the way of his coming to his kingdom. 

But, says the text, he comes at midnight ; that is, in a time 
when he is least expected, suddenly, and when we are most 
in the dark. And so the observation is this : 

Christ comes at midnight : though his coming be most 
expected, yet he will come in a time when he is least ex 
pected : when he comes as a Bridegroom, he comes at mid 
night, in a time when he is least expected, in the darkest 
time ; Christ comes at midnight. 

" Behold (says Christ) I come as a thief :" thieves come in 
the darkest time, a time when they are least expected ; so 
will Christ s coming be. 

For the opening and clearing of which truth, I shall labour 
to shew, 

First, That our Lord and Saviour Christ will come again. 

Secondly, That he will come at midnight. 


Thirdly, Give you some account why he chooses rather 
thus to come at midnight, than otherwise. 

And then draw down this by way of application to our 
present occasion. 

First, Our Lord and Saviour Christ will come again. 

Take his coming for his spiritual coming, and though now 
absent from your souls, yet he will come again. " If any 
man love me, my Father will love him, and we will come 
unto him and make our abode with him," John xiv. 25. 

Take his coming, for his personal, visible coming at the 
day of judgment, so he will come again, 2 Thess. i. 7 10. 

Take his coming for his appearing in the clouds, when he 
will come to set up his kingdom, so he will come again before 
that great day : for if ye look into the Scripture, ye shall find 
that his coming and his kingdom are knit together, do syn- 
chronnize. Dan. vii. 13, 14. 

So in many scriptures ye shall find that his coming and 
his kingdom do go together. Now if ye look into Rev. xi., 
we shall find it spoken of times yet to come : " The king 
doms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord 
and his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever," ver. 15. 
" And we give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, because 
thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned," 
ver. 17: which cannot be understood of the day of judg 
ment, for then the nations are not angry, then the temple 
door is not opened, as is here said, ver. 18, 19. 

1 would not be mistaken here; for I do not think that 
Christ shall come and reign, continue reigning upon earth a 
thousand years : I do not see how the saints can spare him 
out of heaven so long. Neither do I think that this his 
coming is only to be understood of a spiritual coming into 
the souls of his, so filling their souls with his Spirit, that they 
shall have need of ordinances no more ; for in those glorious 
times, though there shall be no temple, that is, a Jewish tem 
ple, yet the temple door, that is, the gospel temple, shall be 
opened. And in Zech. xiv. which is plainly spoken of 
the glory of the latter tinr.es yet to come, it is said expressly 
three times in that chapter, that men shall go up to keep the 
feasts of tabernacles, an allusion to the Jewish ordinance. 
But why not the feast of pasaover and pentecost, only the 
feasts of tabernacles ? Many reasons may be given, but I 

410 CHRIST S COMING is [SER. 17. 

think one is, because the feast of tabernacles had been more 
neglected than other feasts ; for upon the coming out of Ba 
bylon, in Neh. viii. it is said, they had not kept that feast 
from the time of Joshua the son of Nun to that day, which 
was almost a thousand years. Now the Holy Ghost seeing 
what degenerations there would be in our latter times, and 
losings and neglectings of ordinances, he saith here, that then 
they shall keep the feast of tabernacles : that is, in the ex 
pression of the Jews, observe those ordinances especially, 
which had been most defaced and forgotten. But I keep to 
the words of Scripture. 

Christ shall come in the clouds again, when the poor Jews 
shall see him, and those which are called, Forsaken, shall be 
called, Beloved, the King s bride ; when the fulness of the 
Gentiles shall be come in, when Christ himself shall set up 
his kingdom in the world, his regnum potentia, not patientice, 
when he shall rule from sea to sea, when he shall come, not 
riding upon an ass colt, but in the clouds, with thousands of 
angels ministering unto him. When foolish virgins shall be 
shut out from his glory, and the wise professor taken in. 
And in the meanwhile, though our Lord and Saviour Christ 
seem to forsake the churches for the present, yet he will come 
again unto them with delivering and conquering mercy : 
" Behold, I come quickly, hold fast that which thou hast," 
Rev. iii.* 

But how may it appear that Christ will come at midnight ? 

I shall give you a taste of it in all his comings, because 
there is the same Spirit in one as in another. 

For his spiritual coming. When Christ comes first with 
his converting grace, and causes his converting mercy to pass 
upon any soul, then he doth come at midnight. " God 
speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceives it not ; in a 
dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon 
man, in slumberings upon the bed : then he openeth the ears 
of men, and sealeth their instruction," Job xxxiii. 14, 15, 16. 
When a man is fast asleep in his sins, little thinks of any 
good, unless it be to oppose it, then Christ comes and seals 

* Read 2 Esdras xiii. which though it be apocryphal, and the lowest of the 
Apocrypha, being written in Latin, yet of great antiquity, cited by Cyprian, Je 
rome, Austin, Clemens Alexandrinus, and divers others. 

. 17.] AT OUR MIDNIGHT. 411 

on some instruction upon his soul. Thus he doth come at 

Again, When Christ comes with his comforting mercy, and 
causes his comforting grace to pass upon a man s heart, then 
he doth come at midnight, in an hour and time when he doth 
least expect him. " I sought him (says the spouse) but I 
found him not. I sought him on my bed (in private), and 
found him not. I sought him in the streets (in the public 
ordinances), but I found him not. It was but a little that I 
passed from the watchmen, but I found him whom my soul 
loveth." Then and there she finds him, where she looked 
not for him, and did not expect him. Ps. xlii. 6, 7 3 8, says 
David, " O my God, my soul is cast down within me." 
Here is trouble, sorrow and heaviness. (f All thy waves have 
gone over me," ver. 7- Here is more. Yet, saith he, ver. 
8, " The Lord will command his loving kindness in the day 
time, and in the night his songs shall be with me." It is 
God s ordinary title, " The Lord our Maker, who giveth 
songs in the night," Job xxxv. We read of Master Robert 
Glover, mentioned by Master Fox in the Book of Martyrs, 
that though he were a man very gracious and holy, faithfully 
bearing witness to the truth ; yet it pleased God to withdraw 
himself and presence from him, insomuch that he was greatly 
distressed while he was, in prison : and opening himself to 
his friend, told him how God had left him and deserted him. 
His friend exhorted him still for to wait on God, which he 
laboured to do ; and the night before his execution, spent 
much of that time in prayer. Yet no comfort came, no 
manifestations of the presence of Christ. The next day he 
was drawn out to the stake for to die for the truth, and as he 
went, he mourned much for the presence of Christ; but 
when he came in the sight of the stake, it pleased God so to 
fill his heart and soul with comfort and the incomes of his 
love, that he cried out unto his friend, Oh, Austin, he is 
come, he is come, he is come ! This good man was in the 
dark a great while, but when in the darkest time, then Christ 
came. Christ comes at midnight, when he doth come with 

And, when Christ comes with outward delivering mercy to 
a person or people, then he doth come at midnight also. It 
is said of Israel, that they went oat of Egypt at midnight. 

412 CHRIST S COMING is [SEB. 17. 

God had promised deliverance a long time before, and they 
did all expect it; but who would have expected it at such a 
time as that was ? And if ye look into that last chapter of 
Zechariah, we shall find that the great deliverance of the 
churches, promised, is to be " in one day, which shall be 
known to the Lord, not day nor night, but it shall come to 
pass, that at evening time it shall be light," ver. 7 Who 
would expect light at evening ? All expect darkness at evening 
time. But at evening, when we look most for darkness, God 
hath promised this great light. 

And for Christ coming at the last, ye know what he says, 
" I will come in an hour when ye look not for me." And 
for this great deliverance and victory which the Lord hath 
now given unto you, was it not at midnight ? Consider with 
yourselves a little, remember the days of your former trou 
bles, and were you ever in a more dark condition ; were ye 
not all benighted ; when were your enemies more high and 
lofty ; when were your friends more down and dejected ? A 
night, a night, the Lord knows, a dark night was come upon 
us. Well, but now Christ comes with a seasonable, almost 
miraculous victory and deliverance. And this is Christ s way 
and manner ; he never comes to his people as a Bridegroom, 
but still he doth come at midnight ; in all his comings, still 
he doth come at midnight. 

Christ loves that his people should sit up for him, watch 
and wait for him. He waiteth to shew mercy on them that 
wait on his mercy. The more a man is respected and beloved 
in a house, the more, if he be abroad, those in the house will 
sit up and watch for him : he that loves him not, says, I will 
go to bed, I will stay no longer, let him come when he 
pleases ; but he that loves him saith, I will watch, I will 
stay, I will sit up for him, yea, though he do not come until 

And does it argue love, for one man to sit up and wait for 
another ; and not love in our souls, to sit up and watch, and 
wait for Christ ? Christ loves to see our love exercised ; and 
therefore, says he, Though I intend to save and help such a 
person, yet I will stay, and stay long, I will not help him 
presently, I will suffer a night, a dark night to come upon 
him ; so shall I see his love in waiting for me. 

Christ loves to shew mercy to his people in such a way, 

. 17.] AT OUR MIDNIGHT. 413 

as he may hide pride from men ; he would not have his peo 
ple to be proud of mercies. And upon this account, says 
the text, in Job xxxiii. " He seals on instruction in the night, 
that he may hide pride from man." When a man is awake, 
he tries things by reason, and if reason like them, then they 
do pass for current; if reason do not approve them, then 
they will be rejected : but in a dream, in a deep sleep, the 
mind receives things, not examining them by reason. Now 
in the great things of God, the less hand reason hath, and 
the more faith, the better. Reason s going before faith doth 
diminish it ; but reason s following faith, strengthens it : say 
the schools.* Faith ennobles a work. The more a man 
ushers in a business with his own reason, the more apt to be 
proud thereon ; but in a dream, in a deep sleep, there is little 
of reason to be used ; and therefore in a deep sleep he comes 
upon us, that he may hide pride from us. 

Christ loves to come so as he may be most welcome to his 
people; and the less expected, the mere welcome many 
times : and when is he less expected than at midnight? If a 
man be in extremity of misery, and a friend comes to visit 
him, then he doth not only bid him welcome, but admires his 
love : Oh, sir, could you find in your heart to come to me 
now ; what, now at midnight ? this is love indeed. Christ 
comes to be admired of all that believe, says the Scripture ; 
and therefore, when his people are in the dark, in a dark 
night, then he chooses to come, and then especially, and then 
a man s heart doth melt with love to Christ : Oh, what a 
gracious Saviour have I, that could find in his heart to find 
me out with his mercy in this dark condition, in this unex 
pected time. His time is not as our time, as his thoughts 
are not as ours. Christ is the good Samaritan, he will pour 
wine and oil into the bleeding wounds of his servants ; but 
he will first let the priest pass by, and the levite pass by, and 
such means and helps pass by which we ordinarily expect 
comfort from; and when we have none from them, then 
says he, Now is a time for me : but by that time all other 
helps are passed by, it will be midnight. But though it be 
midnight, says Christ, it is all one to me, for I create light, 
and my thoughts and my times are not as man s are. And 
though man come with help and succour in the day time, yet 

* Rationes precedentes minuunt fidem, subsequentes augent. 

414 CHRIST S COMING is [SEB. 17- 

I will come at midnight. Oh, what glorious dispensations of 
love and mercy is here ! 

What is the issue of this doctrine ; what if Christ do come 
at midnight? 

This doctrine looks wishly upon two sorts of people, such 
as he doth come against, and such as he doth come for. 

Some foolish virgins there are whom Christ comes against, 
and these he will come upon at midnight, take them in their 
beds, when they are fast asleep in their sin, and are most 
secure. Ye have heard of the lamentation of Norwich: 
there was a generation of men that rose up and threatened 
to destroy the godly party there ; but the Lord so ordered 
things in his providence, that those whom they threatened 
to destroy, were preserved, and the destroyers perished ; nigh 
two or three hundred, if relations be right, blown up with 
powder, or spoiled, and three godly families, consisting of 
about twenty persons, in several rooms of the house that 
was blown up, were all preserved, and not a bone of them 
broken, whilst the others flew up into the air, as spectacles 
of divine anger, as if God should speak from heaven, These 
are the people whom I would have preserved, and those are 
the people that I would have punished. But oh, poor de 
stroyed souls who perished in the thunder of God s anger, 
did they ever think that Christ would have come upon them 
at such a midnight ? Here is a great deliverance and vic 
tory that is now before ye : if relations speak true, two thou 
sand and five hundred, putting to flight eight thousand of the 
enemy, fifteen hundred slain, three thousand taken prisoners, 
and the rest scattered : but, oh, poor deceived people who 
made this insurrection, did they ever think that Christ would 
have come so suddenly, in such a time, at midnight upon 
them ? Consider all your wars, and hath not Christ come at 
midnight all along ? Christ is in the way to his kingdom, 
and every step he takes shall be midnight ; both unto those 
he comes for, and those that he comes against ; but woe to 
them whom he doth come against, it is a dreadful thing to 
be cut off suddenly, and surprised in our sins. This is a 
judgment threatened on the latter day, Christ will come 
quickly, be quick with men in a way of judgment : as a 
thief in the night will come, when poor foolish virgins shall 
be fast asleep. 


I would here therefore exhort and beseech ye in the Lord, 
to consider the ground ye stand upon, the principles ye 
work by, the cause ye manage; and I appeal to you, whether 
do ye not think that God is in all these wars, that the event 
of battles is only in the hand of God ? Some of you, no 
friends to parliament, nor the cause of God in their hands, 
have tried many ways, as once Balaam, to curse Israel ; 
sometimes ye have got upon one hill, and there ye have built 
an altar, thinking from thence to curse God s people ; when 
that would not do, then you got upon a second ; when ye 
could not do it from thence, then ye got to a third mountain : 
one while ye thought to have done it by the strength of your 
old skilful soldiery ; when that would not do, then ye came 
home, and sought to make divisions among us, and to raise 
jealousies between brethren ; seeing that would not do it 
sufficiently, you have now gotten to a third mountain, la 
bouring to stir up the countries to make insurrection, and 
yet ye cannot curse them from these. Wherefore now after 
all, do ye not think that God is against you ; can ye believe 
that God is with you, after all these successive victories that 
have fallen against you ? Have ye not read that scripture, 
" The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth, 
the wicked are snared in the works of their own hands ? " 
and have ye not been snared in the works of your own 
hands ; have ye not risen to fall ; have not your own doings 
been your undoing ; and will ye yet go on to plot, consult, 
design ; what, will ye never have done ? Well then, go on, 
consult, plot, devise, associate, confederate together, try the 
conclusion, work to the utmost ; yet know that when ye have 
done all, and as ye think have the better, and all is your 
own, then will Christ come upon you at midnight, in an hour 
and time when ye do least expect him, and it will be a darker 
night than ever yet you saw ; for our Lord and Saviour 
Christ, he doth come as at the last, so now in these his pre- 
cedaneous comings, still at midnight, he doth come at mid 
night. Be wise now therefore, oh, ye princes, nobles, rulers, 
judges, gentlemen, and others : kiss the Son, lest ye perish 
in the way, for Christ is upon his way unto his kingdom. 

Again, this doctrine looks wishly upon such as Christ 
comes for. Why should any of God s people despair or be 
discouraged, saying, Christ is now gone, and will never come 

416 CHRIST S COMING is [SER. 17* 

come again ; he hath hid himself, and I shall never see his 
face again. Nay, but he does come at midnight, that is his 
time, a time wherein he is least expected, a dark time, the 
darkest time, the sleepiest time, the coldest time, a time when 
all your candles are out, and your comforts out, when you 
cannot see your hand, your working hand, your praying hand, 
when you say all is gone and lost, and I shall never see the 
light again, comfort again ; then doth Christ say, This is my 
time, it is now dark, and night, and midnight with my ser 
vant, now will I go and comfort and deliver him: why should 
any godly man be discouraged, whatever his condition be ; 
shall Christ come at midnight, and shall I be discouraged 
because I am in the dark? Oh, my soul, remember this, 
Christ comes at midnight, in all his comings, still he doth 
come at midnight. And that this is Christ s constant course 
with all his people, see what is said in Hosea vi. 3, " Then 
shall we know if we follow on to know the Lord, 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/ 
Oh, but I am a poor ignorant creature, do not know or un 
derstand the mind and will of God in these actions, and 
transactions of things abroad. Be it so, yet, says the Lord, 
you shall know him, if ye follow on to know him. Oh, but 
I am in a sad and a dark condition, benighted with some 
affliction. Be it so, Christ will come, and he will come as 
the morning ; as sure and certain as the morning comes, so 
will Christ come ; and though it be a dark night, yet ye say, 
certainly morning will come again ; so confident may you be 
of Christ s coming; for, saith the text, he will come as the 
morning : that is, certainly. Oh, but I shall faint in the 
meanwhile, he will stay long ere he comes. Nay, but he will 
come in season, as the former, and as the latter rain ; the 
former and the latter rain come in their seasons; so will 
Christ do, and therewithal your comforts shall be all revived 
and refreshed ; why should then any of God s people be dis 
couraged ? 

But suppose that the Lord Jesus do comfortably appear 
to us in a dark condition, when we look not for him, as now 
he hath done to this kingdom : what is our duty that doth 
flow from hence ? 

If Jesus Christ hath appeared to you in the dark, and 

. 17-] AT OTR MIDNIGHT. 417 

come to you even at midnight; then trust in the Lord for 
ever ; and again I say, trust in the Lord, trust in the Lord at 
all times. Here is one night over, but another night will 
come, I fear, and it may prove a darker night ; night and 
day have their courses. But does Christ come at midnight ; 
why then should we not trust in God at midnight, in the 
darkest time ? * "At what time I am afraid," says the 
Psalmist, " I will trust in the Lord." Faith moves Christ 
for to come the sooner : and therefore, says the apostle, 
" Looking for, and hastening the coming of the Lord." 
You read it in the English, hastening unto ; but according 
to the Greek,t the words may be read better thus, looking for, 
and hastening the coming of the Lord. Our very looking for 
his coming doth hasten his coming. Faith mitigates our 
calamities, and holds the hands of our enemies. I have read 
in the life of Tyndale, that he being in the Low Countries, 
heard of a certain juggling conjuror, that could by his con 
juring, command a dish of meat from any prince s table in 
the world, which he did use to do, and would ordinarily in 
vite his friends unto dinner : whereupon Master Tyndale 
resolved, that he world go see this act, but would set himselt 
to believe the contrary ; which he did ; and the company 
being come together, and the conjuror endeavouring the 
same, was so hindered by the faith of Master Tyndale, that 
he cried out, and said, I cannot do it, there sits the man that 
hinders me, and holds my hands. J I say, faith will hold the 
hands of wicked and devilish men ; such too many we have 
to deal with in these times : oh, that you would use your 
faith more and more. And have ye not ground enough for 
it: Christ comes at midnight; why should you not believe 
whatever your condition be, although it be never so dark ? 

Again, If Christ come at midnight, then why should 
those who are employed for Christ, be shaken, or unsettled 
in his work and service ? 

We many times leave God s work, and are not constant in 
it because of opposition, which doth make us fear : but will 
Christ come and own us, and come in a time when we look 
not for him, in, the darkest time ; then why should not men 

* Nee super biendum rebus florentibus nee desperandum adversis. 
f ripo^oKwirac KOII crTTtv^ov^atc rr\v iragovfftav, 2 Peter iii. 12. 

J Fide armdtus, difficilia queque potest. 

418 CHRIST S COMING is [SEB. 17- 

go on with all constancy, even in their darkest fears ? Lu 
ther relates a story of Austin s mother, which also Austin 
doth mention, who was much troubled for her son Austin, 
because for the space of seven or nine years, he had been a 
Manichee, she prayed and continued praying for him ; at the 
last, in a night, she had as a word from God in answer to 
her prayer these words, Qualis tu, tails ille ; As thou so he. 
Whereupon she was much refreshed, and told him, she had 
received a promise from the Lord that he should be con 
verted from his error ; but he told her the meaning of the 
words was contrary, that she should be as he was, that is, 
converted to his opinion ; but she did so constantly abide in 
her sense, that, Facile transmit in sententiam matris, he 
easily turned to his mother s opinion. And indeed, what 
more convincing to an adversary than to see one constantly 
abiding by what is good. A Christian, especially a Christian 
magistrate, should be like to Christ, who, when he is in a way 
of mercy, will not be put out of his way by men. Isaiah xxvii. 
4., " Who would set the briars and thorns against me in 
battle ? I would go through them, I would burn them to 
gether." At verses 2, 3, he speaks of his great love and care 
to and of his church : {f A vineyard of red vine, I the Lord 
do keep it, I will water it every moment, lest any hurt it, I 
will keep it night and day." Aye, but in this vineyard, there 
may be many briars and thorns, that may arise up to afflict 
God s people. True, but says the Lord, Who would set the 
briars and thorns against me in battle ? I would go through 
them. As if he should say, Indeed these wicked men are as 
briars and thorns, rending and tearing my poor people, and 
as briars and thorns they do conjoin and twist together ; but 
though they do rise up against me in the way of my mercy 
towards my people, yet they shall not put me out of my way ; 
I will even pass through them : yea and though they do rise, 
it shall be to their own ruin ; they shall burn together ; I 
would burn them together, I the Lord would pass through 
them. Now our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I hope, is 
in the way of mercy to this poor kingdom ; but certainly, he 
is upon the way to his own kingdom ; and though wicked 
men may obstruct and hinder us, they shall never hinder 
him, but he will pass through them. Oh, therefore, labour 
more and more to be like to Christ, keep on your way ; for 

. 17-] AT OUR MIDNIGHT. 411) 

though it be late ere he come, yet he will certainly come, he 
comes at midnight. 

Again, If Jesus Christ have come unto us, even at mid 
night : why should not all of us go forth to meet him with 
some present of thankfulness ? The more abundant, full, 
free, and continued any mercy is, the more it doth call for 
thankfulness, Christ hath been in the field for you and fought 
your battles for these many years ; and I must needs say, 
that of late our divisions and sins have been so great, that I 
feared they would even drive Christ out of the field : but 
now I see still he doth own your cause, and own your forces, 
still he doth keep the field ; yea, and goes on marching, as if 
he were resolved not to leave the field, till he hath conquered 
all this kingdom with his love ; and he hath now given you a 
taste of his intentions and love in this victory, a seasonable 
victory, a wonderful victory, an unexpected victory, a mid 
night victory ; oh, thou wonder-working God, shall we not 
now praise thy name ? We read of a great strait and dark 
condition that Jehoshaphat was in by reason of his enemies ; 
but he crying unto the Lord, the Lord heard and delivered 
him and his people : insomuch as they kept a day of thanks 
giving in the open fields, and they called the name of the 
place Berachah, the valley of blessing. 2 Chron. xx. 26. 

In Joshua s time the people of Israel were in a great strait 
by reason of the Amalekites, who came upon them when they 
were weak ; but the Lord fought for his people, smote their 
enemies, and they were quite destroyed ; whereupon Israel 
made an altar, and called it, Jehovah-nissi, the Lord my 
shield. In Samuel s time, again, they were in a great dis 
tress by reason of their enemies ; but they cried to the Lord, 
and he delivered them, and destroyed all their enemies : then 
they set up a stone, and called it, Ebenezer, the stone ot 
help, saying, " Hitherunto the Lord hath holpen us." After 
wards, again, they were brought very low, into a very dark 
estate, sold into the hands of their enemies ; but the Lord 
raised them up saviours, Deborah and Barak, and delivered 
them from all their enemies : and then they penned a psalm 
of praise, the vth of Judges, wherein they do ascribe and 
give the glory of all unto God himself; wherein they make 
an honourable mention of the instruments which God used ; 
they did not revile the instruments but honoured them; 

E E 2 

420 CHRIST S COMING is [Sen. 17. 

wherein they condemned and cursed those that would not go 
forth to help the Lord, " Curse ye Meroz ;" wherein they 
commended the tribes and countries who came forth and wil 
lingly offered themselves unto the service of the Lord ; 
wherein they prayed against the enemies of the church : and 
then mark the issue, at the last verse, " And the land had 
rest forty years." And such an issue, not only forty years, 
but many times forty years rest may you have, as an issue of 
the praises of this day. 

But yet, observe, still some monument of praise was erected; 
sometimes a stone, sometimes an altar, always one monument 
or other of praise. And have we no altar; no stone now; no 
name of God to celebrate now ; no present of thankfulness 
to bring to our God this day ? Is there no act of mercy to be 
shewn ; none of Christ s friends to be relieved ? Shall we 
make no progress ; shall we stand still ; do nothing, as men 
in amaze? Shall we make no improvement of this deliver 
ance and victory ? Why should we not all sit down under 
our relations, and say, How shall I make improvement of this 
mercy ; what shall I do now for God and Christ that I did 
not before ; is there nothing in your hand ; what, no present 
to be given to Christ; have we nothing at all? then let us 
bring the sense of our own nothing ; for the more humble ye 
are after victories, the more thankful for victories. And if ye 
have no present in your hand t nis day to bring unto God for 
this victory, yet bring the victory itself and give it to God. 
Ye give to Caesar the things that are Caesar s : why ? because 
his image is upon them ; and hath not this victory much of 
the image of God upon it ? When David was delivered from 
his enemies, we read, in Psalm cxvi., that he checks himself 
for his formei unbelief, " I said in my haste," &c., and gathers 
up himself into God again ; " Return unto thy rest, O my 
soul." When delivered from his enemies, as we read in Psa. 
cxviii., he found a retreat from man. O my soul, trust not in 
princes, not in man, nor in the sons of men; trust not in 
princes. The word in the Hebrew is, ingenuous men, for 
princes should be ingenuous ; and if any men are to be trusted 
to, they are ingenuous men ; but being delivered from men, he 
retreats from men, and says, O my soul, trust not in men, nor 
in the sons of men, not in princes, not in ingenuous men. 

Yes, and in that Psalm he call upon others also for to praise 
the Lord, and so let us do in his words : " Oh, give thanks 

. 17.] AT OUR MIDNIGHT. 421 

unto the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures for ever: 
he stilleth the rage of the sea and the tumults of the people, 
for his mercy endures for ever." Who hath owned your 
cause again, and your forces again, for his mercy endures fur 
ever; who hath remembered you in your low condition, 
for his mercy endures for ever ; and hath visited us with his 
love at midnight, for his mercy endures for ever. " Oh, give 
thanks unto the God of gods, for his mercy endures for ever. 
Praise the Lord. * 

If Christ come at midnight, then methinks his personal 
coming is not far off. I cannot say it is midnight in that res 
pect, but surely it is very late ; it is very dark, and it hath 
been dark a great while. 

We read of two sorts of signs which go before the coming 
of Jesus Christ ; some that are more remote and transient, 
some that are more immediate and just at his coming. Those 
that are more immediate and just at his coming, ye read of 
in Matt. xxiv. 29, 30 : " Immediately after the tribulation ot 
those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not 
give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the 
powers of the heaven shall be shaken, and then shall appear 
the sign of the Son of Man in heaven; and then shall all the 
tribes of the earth mourn ; and they shall see the Son of Man 
coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory." 
These are yet to come. But those that are more remote, all 
seem to be past already. Before the coming of Christ, says 
the apostle, the man of sin shall be revealed : that is past. 
Before the coming of Christ there shall false prophets arise, 
and say, I am Christ; and another, I am Christ: that is past. 
Before the personal coming of Christ there shall be wars and 
rumours of wars : this is past. And before that day there 
shall be great divisions, even in the matter of religion ; one 
saying, Lo. here is Christ ; and another, Lo, there is Christ : 
this is already. And immediately before, and at his coming, 
men shall be smiting their fellow servants, eating and drink 
ing with the drunken : this is already. The wise and the 
foolish virgins shall be all asleep : and was there ever a time 
when both wise and foolish were more asleep than now ? 
When men set themselves to sleep, they draw their curtains, 
put out their lights, and will have no more light come in ; so 
now, when men are asleep, their senses are bound up that 

422 CHRIST S COMING is [SER. 17- 

were open before ; they see not, bear not, taste not, smell 
not ; their senses are locked up. Sleep is, legatio sensvum. 
And was there ever a time when men s senses were more 
bound up, that were formerly exercised, than now ? Are 
there not some that would pray and hear and read, that will 
not now ; who have now thrown off all duties, ordinances and 
means ? Oh, what sleeping is here ; was there ever such 
sleeping among professors as now there is ? If ever wise and 
foolish virgins were asleep, they seem to be in our days ; and 
shall we sleep also ; will ye not rather watch and pray ? 
Watch and pray, pray and watch ; and what I say to one I 
say to all, " Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation." 
Take but two or three wakening observations from this 

1. If ye look into this parable, ye may observe a most des 
perate sleep is come upon all professors, immediately before 
the coming, the great coming of Christ. I call that desperate 
sleep which is universal ; this parable falls upon the churches; 
" Then shall the kingdom of heaven (not the kingdom of the 
world) be like to tea virgins ;" and those ten shall be all 
asleep, good and bad. And says our Saviour in another 
place, " Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, shall he 
find faith on earth ?" Again, I call that a desperate sleep 
which shall be in the face of light. It is a hard thing to sleep 
whilst a candle is held unto one s eyes ; and in the time be 
fore Christ comes, much light and truth shall break out, as 
antichristian error goes off; and yet, even then, good and bad 
shall fall asleep. 

I call that desperate, again, which shall be in the midst of 
trouble. It is a hard thing for a man to sleep when he is 
pinched and stricken : in the times before Christ, and when 
he comes, men shall be smiting their fellow servants, and yet 
even the smitten shall be asleep. Oh, what desperate sleep 
ing times shall the latter times be ; have we not all cause, 
then, for to watch and pray ? 

2. If ye look into this scripture or parable, ye find that 
those who fall asleep immediately before the coming of Christ, 
shall never wake again till Christ come. " And they all slept 
(says the text of the ten virgins) and waked not till the 
Bridegroom came." 

Now if a man be very si eepy, and you come to him, and 

. 17.] AT OVR MIDNIGHT. 423 

say, Sir, take heed of sleeping, for if you do fall asleep, you 
will never wake again, will he not take heed of sleeping ? thus 
it shall be with the sleepers of this latter time. At other 
times, men shall sleep and wake, and wake and sleep ; but if 
men fall asleep, into a spiritual sleep, immediately before the 
coming of Jesus Christ, they shall sleep till he comes, and 
shall be waked no more but by his coming. O Lord, who 
would not watch and pray lest he enter into temptation ! 

3. If ye observe this parable, ye shall find that there are 
two sorts of sleepers, and accordingly two events of their 

Some slept, as the wise virgins, but did keep their oil, their 
oil not spent ; these when the Bridegroom came, entered with 
him into his joy. 

Others there are that sleep, and have spent their oil, had 
oil but spent it ; and these when the Bridegroom cometh are 
shut out ; and though they call, Lord, open ; he answers, " I 
know ye not." So now in the latter days, there shall be two 
sorts of professors, one that shall sleep and slumber, but they 
shall keep their graces, their oil, their principles ; and these, 
though they be found asleep when Christ comes, Christ will 
pardon, and their sleeping, because they have still their oil. 

Others there shall be, who shall not only fall asleep, but 
they shall lose their principles. True, I thought, indeed, that 
a man was bound for to keep the Sabbath, to live strictly, and 
to make a conscience of every word and thought, but now I 
see there is more liberty : thus they shall lose their principles, 
their oil, their judgments. These poor souls shall never wake 
again ; and when Christ comes, though they cry to him for 
mercy, they will not obtain it. No, ye have lost your prin 
ciples, your oil, your judgment ; ye are foolish virgins, ye 
shall never enter into my joy, he will then say. Who would 
not, then, watch and pray ? What I say to you, I speak unto 
my own soul, and to every person here present, Oh, let us all 
watch, for the Son of Man comes, and he comes at midnight ; 
and if it be not midnight now, yet it is late already. 

And seeing all these things are so, give me leave, honour 
able and beloved, to leave an exhortation with you, which is 
no other than that which the psalmist presents unto ye in the 
xxivth Psalm : " Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be lift 
up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come 

424 CHRIST S COMING, &c. [$ER. 17. 

in." Gates, ye know, are the place where the magistrate sat. 
The temple door was called the everlasting door, in opposition 
to the door of the tabernacle, which was to continue but a 
little time. The psalmist speaks here of Christ s kingdom 
and lordship on earth : verse 1, " The earth is the Lord s, 
and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell 
therein." Then he will have a church and precious people : 
" Who shall ascend unto the hill of the Lord; who shall 
stand on his holy place?" verse 3 ; which he answers in the 
general : " He that hath clean hands and a pure heart :" and 
more particularly at verse 6 : " This is the generation of them 
that seek him, that seek thy face, even Jacob." 

The children of Israel had two names : sometimes they were 
called Israel, when they were in a more flourishing arid strong 
condition ; sometimes they were in a low and weak condition, 
and then they were called Jacob : " Fear not, O worm Ja 
cob." Now says the psalmist here, The earth is the Lord s, 
and Christ shall reign, and the poor despised Israel shall be 
converted, and ascend unto the hill of God. Now, therefore, 
my advice and counsel unto you is, that as the Lord Jesus 
shall make any approach unto your towns, cities, kingdoms, 
churches, you would receive him, and not shut your gates and 
doors against him ; but, oh, all ye cities, towns and magis 
trates, lift up your heads ; lift up your heads, O ye gates, and 
all you temple-men and churches, lift up your everlasting 
doors, that this King of glory may come in. And if ye ask 
who it is ? " It is the Lord strong and mighty, the Lord 
mighty in battle ;" wherefore lift up your heads. And be 
cause this exhortation is of great consequence, and men are 
slow to receive, I exhort you to it again, at verse 9 : " Lift 
up your heads, O ye gates, even lift them up, ye everlasting 
doors, and the King of glory shall come in." Now the Lord 
grant that we may also lift up our heads and gates, that this 
King of glory may come in among us, not as a judge to con 
demn us, but as our bridegroom to love us. 



STREET. A. D. 1645-6. 



" Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." MATT. in. 2. 

Or thus, 
" Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven hath approached." 

THESE words are the words of John the Baptist, when he 
first began to preach the gospel of Christ ; and if you look 
into the next chapter, Matt. iv. 17? ye shall find that our 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ himself does preach the same 
doctrine in the same words, " Jesus began to preach, and to 
say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Our 
Saviour Christ, the better preacher, is not ashamed to tread 
in John s steps and words : John honoured Christ, and Christ 
honoured John. Ministers should strengthen the hands one 
of another. And if ye look into Matt, x., ye shall find, that 
when our Saviour sent out his disciples for to preach the 
gospel, he commands them to preach the same doctrine too, 
in the same words, ver. 7 " Go ye, preach, saying, the king 
dom of heaven is at hand." But, here is no Repent ? Yes, 
that was in their commission too, as ye may read in Mark vi. 
12 ; they would not preach a word beyond their commission : 
" And they went out, and preached that men should repent." 
So that their commission also was to preach thus, " Repent, 
for the kingdom of heaven hath approached," or hath drawn 
near unto you. Surely there is somewhat more than ordinary 
in these words, that John and our Saviour Christ and all the 
disciples, should begin thus, for to preach in these words, 
" Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." They 
were all ministers of the gospel, and the ministers of the 
gospel are not barely to preach repentance, but they are to 
preach repentance upon gospel motives : " the kingdom of 
heaven is at hand." 

In the words ye have an exhortation, " Repent ye ;" a 
motive unto the work of repentance, " for the kingdom of 
heaven hath approached." 


" Repent ye ;" that is, be not only sorrowful for sin com 
mitted, but mend your lives. Repentance is sometimes taken; 
in a large sense for amendment of life. Sometimes repent 
ance is taken only for godly sorrow, in a more strict and a 
narrow sense. 

Sometimes it is taken largely, for the amendment of our 
life ; not only for godly sorrow, but all obedience and reform 
ation. And so it may be taken here, as ye may perceive by 
ver. 3, where this word Repent, is explained : " Repent ye, 
for the kingdom of heaven is at hand : for this is he that 
was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of 
one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, 
make his paths straight." Preparing the way of the Lord, 
and making straight paths, all one with repentance. There 
is a legal repentance, and there is an evangelical repentance. 
Some think it is a legal repentance that is here required : and 
thereupon they urge a necessity of legal preparation before a 
man does come to Christ : as there is John Baptist before 
Christ, so, say they, there must be a legal work of necessity 
before a poor soul can have any admittance to Jesus Christ. 

But I pray consider the words, and you will find, that not 
a legal repentance, but evangelical, is here required. Did our 
Saviour Christ himself preach legal repentance ? They are 
the words of our Saviour Christ, he uses them too. 

The repentance is, as the consideration is, that this work is 
to be founded on, as the motive is. What is the motive ? 
The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Repent; let your re* 
pentance be upon this ground, because the kingdom of heaven 
hath approached, because the kingdom of heaven hath drawn 
near. He does not say, Repent, because the kingdom of hell 
is near; but, because the kingdom of heaven is near: the 
motive being evangelical, the repentance is so ; it is not a 
legal, but an evangelical repentance that is here required. 
Besides, these words, u Repent, for the kingdom of heaven 
is at hand," are not spoken only to the ungodly, but unto the 
godly also of those times, who were to prepare the way of 
the Lord, and to make straight their paths. And, therefore, 
not to be understood of a repentance only preparatory to that 
in the heart. 

But what then are we to understand here by the kingdom 
of heaven ; and the approaching of the kingdom of heaven ? 


For the kingdom of heaven hath approached or drawn near 
unto you. 

The kingdom of heaven sometimes, in the language of the 
New Testament, notes, the glorious condition of the other 
world that we are going to. Sometimes it notes the state of 
the church ; it is used for the church of Christ ; and some 
times for the gospel of Christ. I take it here for the whole 
state of the Messiah : the kingdom of grace, Christ, and all 
his benefits, grace, mercy and free remission published in the 
gospel, in the several dispensations and administrations 
thereof. This is called the kingdom of heaven ; for this 
motive, the kingdom of heaven is at hand, is set and used 
here in opposition unto the motives that were used among 
the Jews. When the Jews were excited and put upon any 
duty, they were stirred up thereunto upon such motives as 
these : for the kingdom of Canaan is at hand ; if you do so 
and so, God will bring you into the land of Canaan, and give 
you that land. Now under the gospel here are other motives, 
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Not like 
those Jewish motives : the kingdom of Canaan is at hand, or 
the kingdom of the Jebusites is at hand. Christians are not 
only or especially to be stirred up by such motives as these, 
but by higher and greater motives, Repent, for the kingdom 
of heaven is at hand ; and may carry an Hebraism with it ; 
the kingdom of heaven, that is, a heavenly kingdom ; as the 
law is called, the law of fire, in the Hebrew, a fiery law. 
The Jews expected the Messiah, and dreamed of an outward, 
glorious, and pompous kingdom : now, says John the Baptist, 
the Messiah is come, his kingdom is come ; but it is not an 
outward, glorious, and pompous kingdom, but it is an hea 
venly kingdom, and therefore, repent, and prepare yourselves 
for the receiving of it, make your way plain, for the kingdom 
of heaven, an heavenly kingdom, is now at hand. 

" Is at hand," we read it ; but according to the original 
rather thus, " The kingdom of heaven hath approached ;" 
appropinquavit. As if he should say thus : Do you turn to 
God, because God hath turned to you ; do you draw near to 
God, because^the kingdom of grace and free remission hath 
drawn near to you. 

There are two notes that lie here before us, that I shall 
commend unto your consideration. 


The first is this, That the kingdom of heaven, of grace,Ji 
mercy, and of free remission, does approach unto us beforeR 
we do come unto it. 

And secondly, that the appropinquation, or drawing near I 
of the kingdom of heaven is the highest, and greatest argu- 1 
ment and motive in the world unto true repentance. 

The kingdom of heaven, I say, the kingdom of grace,! 
mercy, and free remission of sin, does approach to us, before j 
we draw near to it ; repent, turn ye, for the kingdom of 
heaven hath approached, or it hath come near to you, and 
therefore do you come to it. 

Thus it lies in the words : and thus you will find it 

Tims God hath promised; thus Christ hath parabled 
thus God fulfilled. 

Thus God hath promised. Thou shalt hear a voice behin 
thee : what voice is that, but the voice of mercy, and the 
voice of grace, and of free remission ? 

" Thou shalt hear a voice behind thee :" when thou art 
going away from God, and when thou hast thy back upon 
God, thou shalt hear a voice of mercy behind thee ; it shall 
follow after thee before thou dost come to it. 

And thus you have a clear parable for it, which you may 
read, fully speaking this truth in Luke xiv. 16 18, and so 
on, " A certain man made a great supper, and bad many ; 
and sent his servant at supper time, to say to them that were 
bidden, Come, for all things are now ready. And they all 
with one consent began to make excuses : so that the ser 
vant came (verse 21) and shewed his Lord these things. 
Then the master of the house being angry, said to his ser 
vant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, 
and bring in hiiher the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, 
and the blind." Mark, here are invitations of mercy sent 
out to those that never thought of it. " And the servant 
said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded and yet there 
is room. And the Lord said unto the servant, (verse 23) Go 
out into the highways, and hedges, and compel them to come 
in, that my house may be filled." See I pray, how the kin 
dom of grace, and mercy, and free-remission is brought ne 
unto a people, before ever they did make after it. 

And this, I say, you shall find fulfilled. So God hath 


lealt by the world. So by particular kingdoms and nations 
n the world. So by particular towns and countries in a 
cingdom. So by particular families in a town. And so by 
particular persons in a family. 

Thus God hath dealt with the world, he hath brought 
lear the kingdom of grace, and mercy, and free-remission to 
:he world, before ever the world did make after it. When 
>he whole world had sinned in the fall, and lay in wickedness, 
ind never thought of returning unto God ; ff God so loved 
he world, that he sent his only begotten Son to them," John 
ii. 16. When Adam did not think of Christ, nor the world 
n him ; the Lord gives out a promise, " The seed of the 
voman shall break the serpents head/ Gen. iii. 15. Thus