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Full text of "The complete works of Thomas Brooks"






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W. LINDSAY ALEXANDER, D.D., Professor of Theology, Congregational 
Union, Edinburgh. 

JAMES BEGG, D.D., Minister of Newington Free Church, Edinburgh. 

THOMAS J. CRAWFORD, D.D., S.T.P., Professor of Divinity, University, 

D. T. K. DRUMMOND, M.A., Minister of St Thomas's Episcopal Church, 

WILLIAM H. GOOLD, D.D., Professor of Biblical Literature and Church 
History, Reformed Presbyterian Church, Edinburgh. 

ANDREW THOMSON, D.D., Minister of Broughton Place United Presby- 
terian Church, Edinburgh. 

©tnrral ©Ht'tor. 
REV. THOMAS SMITH, M.A., Edinbuboh. 

















Epistle Dedicatory, . . . . . . 8-6 

The words opened, ...... 7-8 

The first doctrine. — Tlwse that are lowest in their own esteem are 

highest in God's esteem^ proved, . . 8—10 

Eighteen properties of an humble soul, . . . 10-26 

• Five reasons of the point, ..... 26-29 

Uses of it, ....... 29-30 

Eight motives to provoke persons to be humble, . . 30-36 
Nine directions and helps to keep us humble and low in our own 

eyes, ....... 86-41 

The dangerous nature of pride held forth in nine propositions : 

also, six ways wherein pride shews itself, . . 41-48 

The second doctrine. — All saints are not of an equal size and growth 

in grace and holiness, . . . 48-49 

Twelve things by which souls weak in grace are discovered and 

deciphered, ...... 49-60 

Twelve supports and comforts to uphold weak Christians, 

Wherein also you may see how Christ and they are sharers, 60-75 

Six duties that lie upon weak saints. And in the opening of 
them, several weighty questions are propounded and 
answered, . . . . . . 75-95 

The duties of strong saints to the weak shewed in eleven particu- 
lars, . . , . . . 95-102 

The third doctrine, — That the Lord gives the best gifts to his best be- 
loved oneSf .... 103 
What those best gifts are that Christ bestows upon his dearest 

ones, shewed in ten particulars, . . . 103-110 

The difference between Christ's giving and the world's giving, 

shewed in six things, ..... 110-111 
The excellency of those gifts that Christ gives above all other 

gifts that the world gives, shewed in five things, . . 111-113 

Six reasons why God gives the best gifts to his dearest ones, . ' 113-117 
Eight inferences or uses made of this point, . . . 117-122 

A word to sinners, ...... 122-124 

The fourth doctrine. — That the gifts and graces that God bestows upon 
his people should be improved, employed, and 
exercised by his people, . . . 124 



This point proved and opened, 

Twelve reasons why gracious souls should exercise and improve 

their gifts and graces ; in the handling and opening of 

which reasons several other considerable things fall in, 
Three special ends that the gifts and graces that God has be 

stowed upon believers should be exercised and improved to 
The main use is. To stir up all Christians to make a blessed im 

provement of their gifts and graces. 
Seven considerations or motives to stir saints up to improve their 

talents, ...... 

Question : When may a soul he said to he excellent in grace, or to 

have highly improved grace f , . . 
This question receives ten answers, . 

The fifth doctrine. — That the Lord Jesus Christ is very rich, 
This point is opened and proved by eight arguments, . 
Four grounds and reasons why the Lord Jesus Christ is held 

forth in the word to be so very rich. 
The excellency of the riches of Christ above all other riches 

the world, held forth in seven particulars, 










1st Use is. To exhort Christians to labour to he spiritually rich. 

Seven considerations or motives to work Christians to this ; in 
the handling of which, several weighty questions are 
answered, ...... 161-172 

Question : What means must Christians use that they may grow 
rich in grace f 

Answered in eight things, ..... 172-179 

Seven propositions concerning spiritual riches. The serious 
minding of them may give to many much satisfaction, and 
prevent many objections, .... 179-190 

Five notes or signs of a person that is spiritually rich, . 190-192 

2d Use. Do not join anything with Christ, in the great work 

of your redemption and salvation, . . . 192-193 

8d Use. If Christ be so rich, then take heed of three things, 193-194 

4th Use. If Christ be so rich, oh then open to Christ when he 

knocks, ...... 194 

5th Use. If Christ be so rich, then sit down and wonder at his 

condescending love, ..... 194-195 

6th Use. If Christ be so rich, then prize Christ above all. Five 
considerations to work Christians to a high prizing of 
Christ, ....... 195-198 

7th Use. Then trust to Christ, if he be so rich. Trust him 
with your best treasure. Trust him for power against the 
remainders of corruption. Trust him to bring you into the 
land of rest, ...... 198-199 

8th Use. If €hrist be so rich, then do not leave him, do not 

forsake him, do not turn your backs upon him, . . 199-200 

9th Use. If Christ be so rich, oh then let Christians strive 
more and more to clear up their interest in Christ. Six 
directions herein, ..... 200-202 

A word to sinners, ...... 202-203 

Nine directions to poor souls that would fain get an interest in 

Cbrist, . ..... 203-207 


The sixth doctrine. — That it is the great duty of preachers or ministers 

to preach Jesus Christ to the 'people, proved, . 207-208 
Five reasons why ministers must preach Christ to the people, . 208-210 
How Christ is to be preached, shewed in eleven things. 
(1.) He must be preached plainly, perspicuously, . . 211-212 

(2.) ... ... faithfully, .... 212-213 

(3.) ... ... humbly, .... 213 

(4.) ... ... wisely, .... 213-214 

(5.) ... ... zealously, .... 214-215 

(6.) ... ... laboriously, . . . 215-216 

(7.) ... ... exemplariiy, . . . 216-217 

(8.) . ... ... feelingly, experimentally, . . 217-218 

(9.) ... ... rightly, .... 218-219 

(10.) ... ... acceptably, . . . .219 

(11.) ... ... constantly. They must not lay down the Bible 

to take up the sword, &c., .... 219-220 

Three rules or directions, that such are to observe, as would 

preach Christ aright to the people. 
(1.) They must get a Christ within, .... 220-221 

(2.) They must mind more, and study more Scripture truths, 
Scripture mysteries, than human histories. No histories 
comparable to the histories of the Scriptures, hinted in 
seven things, ...... 221-222 

(3.) They should dwell much upon the vanity of human doc- 
trines, the vanity of which doctrines is discovered in 
five things, ...... 222-223 

The last doctrine. — That the office of a faithful minister is an honour- 
able office. 
Two things are premised for a right understanding of the point, 223 

I. Seven things speak them out to be honourable. 

(1.) The several worthy names and titles that are given them 

in Scripture, speak them out to be honourable, . . 224 

(2.) Their work is honourable, .... 224 

(3.) They are fellow-labourers with God in the salvation of sin- 
ners. And what greater honour than to be a co-worker 
with God ? . . . . . .224 

(4.) The honourable account that God hath of them, speaks out 

their office to be honourable, .... 224-225 

(5.) They serve an honourable master, . . . 225 

(6.) Their very work and service is honourable, . . 225 

(7.) Their reward is honourable, ... . 225-220 

II. What honour that is that is due to faithful ministers, shewed 

in three things. 
(1.) Honourable countenance is due to them, . . . 226-227 

(2.) Honourable maintenance, .... 227-228 

(3.) Honourable obedience, ..... 228-229 

A short use, ....... 229-236 

Quest. How must Christians honour their faithful ministers. 

Shewed in five things. 
(1.) By hearing them, and giving credit to their messages which 

they deliver from the Lord, .... 230 

(2.) By standing fast in the doctrine of the Lord delivered by 

them, ....... 230 



(3.) By being followers of them, so far as they are followers of 

Christ, .230 

(4.) By bearing them upon your hearts, when you are in the 

mount, . . . . • .• 230-231 

(5.) By adhering to them, and abiding with them in all their 

trials, &c., . . . • • .231 

The use of dl • 231-232 


Epistle Dedicatory, ...... 236-248 

Chapter I. — Eighteen special Maxims, Considerations, Eules, and 
Directions that are seriously to be minded and observed, in order 
to the clearing up of a man's interest in Christ : the saving work 
of God upon his own soul ; and his title to all the glory of 

another world, 249-306 

Chapter II. — Many choice, precious, and infallible evidences of 
true saving grace, upon which a Christian may safely and 
securely, comfortably and confidently, rest and adventure the 
weight of his precious and immortal soul, and by which he 
may certainly know that it shall go well with him for ever : and 
that he has a real saving interest in Christ, and shall be everlast- 
ingly happy, when he shall be here no more, &e., . . 306-390 

Chapter III. — Sound, saving repentance, repentance unto life ; that 
evangelical repentance that hath the precious promises of remis- 
sion of sin and salvation running out unto it. So far as may 
speak it out to be evidential of the goodness and happiness of 
a Christian's spiritual and eternal condition, . . . 390-436 

Chapter IV. — How far an hypocrite cannot go. What an hypocrite 
cannot do. What a hypocrite is not. The several rounds in 
Jacob's ladder that no hypocrite under heaven climb up to, . 436-466 

Chapter V. — Some propositions and directions, that so you may see 
what a sober use and improvement Christians ought to make of 
their evidences for heaven ; and how, in the use of gracious evi- 
dences, they ought to live above their gracious evidences, and 
how to exalt and lift up Christ above all their graces, evidences, 
and performances, ...... 466-505 




The ' Unsearchable Riches of Christ ' was originally published in 1655. A second edi- 
tion followed in 1657 ; a third, * corrected and amended,' in 1661 ; and a fourth in 1671 — 
all 4to. Our text is the third edition, and its title-page is given below.* — G. 

* * An^i^viaffTOi <7rXovroi rou ^^igtov. 


Unsearchable Eiches 







Held forth in Twenty.two ^ 


Ephesians III. VIII. 

By Thomas Brooks, Preacher of the word 
in London. 

The Third Edition Corrected and Amended. 

Ipse unus erit tibi omnia, quia in ipso uno bono, bona sunt om- 
nia, Aug. 
It pleased the father, that in him should allfullnesse dwell. Col. 1. 19. 
In lohom are hid all the treasures ofwisdome and knowledge. Chap. 2.3. 

LONDON : Printed by M.S. for John Hancock at the first Shop in 
Popes head- Alley, next to Cornhill. 
166 1. 


To all true Israelites, in whom there is no guile, Grace, mercy, and 
peace, from God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, be 

Dear Hearts, my design in appearing once more in print is not to 
please the captious critic, or the sullen cynic, but to heighten your 
' fellowship with the Father and the Son,' 1 John i. 3, 4, and to further 
you in a closer walking with God, and to ripen yoa more and more for 
reigning with God when you shall be here no more. 

' Beloved in our Lord,' there are two sad and great evils — oh that 
there were no more ! — among the saints this day. The strong are very 
apt, yea, they make little of offending the weak ; and the weak are as 
apt, and make as little of judging and condemning the strong, Rom. 
xiv. 1-10. The serious and conscientious perusal of this treatise may, 
by the blessing of the Lord, contribute much to the preventing of those 
sad evils. You that are weak may, in this treatise, as in a glass, see 
your weakness, your mercies, your graces, your duties, your privileges, 
and your comforts.^ You that are weak in grace, may here find many 
questions answered and doubts resolved, that tend to the satisfying, 
quieting, settling, and establishing of your precious souls in peace, joy, 
and assurance. You that are weak in grace, may here find a staff to 
support you, a light to direct you, a sword to defend you, and a cordial 
to strengthen you, &c. And you that are strong in grace, may here see 
what is your way, what is your work, and what at last shall be your re- 
ward. Here you will find that which tends to the discovery of spirits, 
the sweetening of spirits, the uniting of spirits, the healing of spirits, and 
the making up of breaches, &c. 

Here you will find ' meat for strong men,' and ' milk for babes.' Here 
you will find who is more motion than notion ; more heart than head ; 
more spirit than flesh ; more inside than outside, &c. 

Here you will find ' the unsearchable riches of Christ,' — which of all 
boxes of precious ointment is the most precious — opened ; and oh how 

• Invalidum omne natura querulnm, weak spirits are ever quarrelling and contending. — 
Seneca. [Z>e Animi Tranquillitate. — G.] 


sweet must he be, that is the sweetest of sweets ! In Christ are riches 
of justification ; in Christ are riches of sanctification, riches of consola- 
tion, and riches of glorification. And this following treatise may serve 
as a key, I say not as a golden one, to open the door, that you may come 
where these treasures lie. Christ's riches are like the eternal springs 
of the earth, that cannot dry up, but are and shall be diffused by his 
Spirit and gospel, until his whole house be filled with them. 

The excellency and usefulness of the riches of Christ, and answers to 
many weighty queries about his unsearchable riches, is more than 
hinted at in this tract. In this tract much is spoken concerning the nature, 
properties, and excellencies of humility, which is both the beautifier and 
preserver of all other graces. 

Here you may see that those that are lowest in their own esteem, are 
highest in God's esteem. Here you may see that humble souls are not 
so low and contemptible in the eyes of the world, as they are honourable 
in the eyes of God.^ 

And if ever there were an age since Christ was on earth, wherein it 
was needful to preach, press, and print this great doctrine of humility, 
of self, of soul abasement, this is the age wherein we live. Oh the pride, 
the stateliness of the professors of this age ! But because this point is 
largely spoken to in this tract, I shall satisfy myself with this touch. 

There are many other weighty things treated on, which for brevity's 
sake I shall omit, only give me leave to acquaint you with a few^ things 
about this ensuing tract, and then I shall draw to a close. 

Fii'st, That it is the substance of twenty-two sermons, preached by 
me about three years ago, on the lecture nights at this place where 
now I preach. 

Secondly, That there are in it several other things of no small con- 
cernment to your souls, that I did not then deliver, but have been given 
in since, from that fountain that fills all in all. 

Thirdly, That though I have been much pressed to print these 
sermons, yet I should never have yielded, had I not been thoroughly 
convinced and persuaded in my judgment and conscience, that they 
may, by the blessing of the Lord upon them, prove many ways useful 
and serviceable to all those honest Nathanaels into whose hands they 
may fall, else they had been buried in the dark, and never come to 
public light.^ 

I have only a few requests to make to you, and then I shall take my 
leave of you. 

And my first request is this, that you would meditate and dwell upon 
what you read ; otherwise your pains (I say not your souls) and mine 
will be lost. 

It is a law among the Parsees in India, to use premeditation in what 
they are to do, that if it be bad, to reject it ; if good, to act it. The ap- 
phcation is easy.^ The more any man is in the contemplation of truth, 
the more fairer and firmer impression is made upon his heart by truth, 
1 Humility is conservatrix virtutum, saith Bernard : that which keeps all graces together- 
. . . Humihtas animi, sublimitas Christiani. [Serra. : on Canticles, as before —G^ 
toriet ^^''°'°'' preached serveth but an auditory, a sermon printed may serve many audi- 

\ Lectio sine meditatione arida «st, meditatio sine lectione erronea est, oratio sine meditatione 
tepida est. — Augustine, finely. 


Christians must be like the clean beasts, that parted the hoof and chewed 
the cud ; they must by heavenly meditation chew truths and concoct 
truths, or else they will never taste the sweetness that is in divine truths. 

Mary * pondered the sayings of the shepherds in her heart,' Luke ii. 
19.^ Not they that eat most, but they that digest most, are the most 
healthful. Not they that get most, but they that keep most, are richest. 
So not they that hear most, or read most, but they that meditate most, 
are most edified and enriched. 

My second request to you is this, that you will make conscience of 
living out those truths you read.^ 

To read much and practise notliing, is to hunt much and catch 

Suetonius reports of Julius Caesar, ' That seeing Alexander's statue, 
he fetched a deep sigh, because he at that age had done so little.^ 

Ah ! what cause have most to sigh, that they have heard so much, 
and read so much, and yet done so little ! Surely it is more honourable 
to do great things, than to speak or read great things ! It is the doer 
that will be most happy at last, John xiii. 17. In vitm libro scrihuntur 
qui quod possunt faciunt, etsi quod debent, non possunt, they are 
written in the book of life, that do what good they can, though they 
cannot do as they would [Bernard.]* 

I have read of a good man coming from a public lecture, and being 
asked by one whether the sermon was done, answered, with a sad sigh, 
' Ah ! it is said, but not done.'^ 

My thi7'd request is this, that you will pray over what you read. 

Many read much, and pray little, and therefore get little by all they 

Galen writes of a fish called Uranoscopos, that hath but one eye, 
and yet looks continually up to heaven.^ When a Christian has one 
eye upon his book, the other should be looking up to heaven for a 
blessing upon what he reads. 

When one heard what admirable victories Scanderbeg's sword had 
wrought, he would needs see it ; and when he saw it, says he. This is 
but an ordinary sword ; alas ! what can this do ? Scanderbeg sent him 
word, I have sent thee my sword, but I have the arm that did all by it. 

Alas l"^ what can Christ's sword, Christ's word, do without his arm ? 
Therefore look up to Christ's arm in prayer, that so his sword, his 
word, may do great things in your souls. 

Luther professeth ' that he profited more by prayer in a short space 
than by study in a longer ;' as John, by weeping, got the sealed book 

My fourth request to you is this. That if, by the blessing of the Lord 
upon my weak endeavours, any leaf or line should drop myrrh or mercy, 

^ Tlie angels are much in meditation. 

'■* Your actions, in passing, pass not away ; for every good work is a grain of seed for 
eternal life. 3 HistoricB Coesarum, Julius Ccesar. — G. 

* It was a saying of Augustine, one thousand two hundred years ago, that we must 
take heed lest, whilst we fear our exhortation being cooled, prayer be not damped, and 
pride inflamed. 

^ Philip Goodwin's 'Evangelical Communicant' 1649.— G. 

^ See Index under ' Galen' for other references to the ov^avoirxo-ros. — G. 

' See Glossary for other uses of ♦ alas ' in this way, and cf. Sibbes, sub voce.—G. 


marrow or fatness, upon your spirits, that you will give all the glory to 
the God of heaven, for to him alone it does belong. 

Through grace I know I am a poor worm ; I am nothing, I have 
nothing but what I have received. The crown becomes no head but 
Christ's. Let him who is our all in all have the honour and the glory 
of all, and I have my end.^ 

Pliny tells of some in the remote parts of India that have no mouths, 
and yet live on the smell of herbs and sweet flowers ; but I hope better 
things of you, even such as accompany salvation.^ 

M.y fifth request to you is this. That you would let me lie near your 
hearts, when you are in the mount especially. 

Oh pray, pray hard for me, that the Spirit of the Lord may be re- 
doubled upon me ; that his word may prosper in my mouth ; that it 
may ' run, and be glorified ;' and that I may be high in my communion 
with God, and holy and imblameable in my walkings with God ; and 
that it may be still day with my soul ; that I may live and die in the 
joys and comforts of the Holy Ghost ; and that when my sun is set, my 
glass out, my work done, my race run, I may rest in the everlasting 
arms of divine love, &c.^ 

My last and least request to you is this. That you will please to cast 
a mantle of love over the mistakes of the press, and do me that right, 
and yourselves the courtesy, as, before you read, to correct any material 
faults that you shall find pointed at in the errata.* 

God's easy passing over the many and daily erratas of your lives, 
cannot but make you so ingenuous as readily to pass over the erratas 
in this book. 

You are choice jewels in my eye; you lie near unto my heart; I am 
willing to spend and be spent for your sakes. My earnest and humble 
desire is, that my service and labour of love may be accepted by you, 
Horn. XV. 31, and that it may work much for your internal and eternal 
welfare ; and that ' an abundant entrance may be administered to you ' 
into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,' 
2 Pet. i. 11, and i. 8 ; and that you may be filled ' with joy unspeakable 
and full of glory,' and with that ' peace that passes understanding.' 
This is, and by grace shall be, the prayer of him who desires to approve 
himself faithful to Christ, his truths, his interests, and his people, and 
wl.o is your souls' servant in all gospel engagements. 

Thomas Brooks. 

' Ingratitude, say some, is a monster in nature, a solecism in manners, and a paradox 
in grace, damming up the course of donations, divine and human. 

^ See our Index under Psylli, as before.— G. 

3 1 Thes. V. 25 ; 2 Thes. iii. 1 ; Heb. iii. 18 ; Col. iv. 3 ; Philip, i. 19 ; 2 Cor. i. 11 ; 
Acts xii. 5; Rev. xiv. 13. 

* In every pomegranate there is at least one rotten kernel to be found, said Crates the 
philosopher. [Suidas, s. v. K^^rt,; — G.] 


Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, 
that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of 
Christ.— EvH. JIl. 8. 

* Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints.' 

The Greek is a comparative made of a superlative. ' Less than the 
least of all saints,' is a double diminutive, and signifies lesser than the 
least, if lesser might be.^ Here you have the greatest apostle descending 
down to the lowest step of humility. Great Paul is least of saints, last 
of the apostles, and greatest of sinners.'' The choicest buildings have 
the lowest foundations, the best balsam sinks to the bottom ; those ears 
of corn and boughs of trees that are most filled and best laden, bow 
lowest. So do those souls that are most loaden with the fruits of paradise. 
* Unto me who am less than the least of all saints.' 

* Is this grace given.' 

In the Greek, or ' was this grace given.'^ The word that is here ren- 
dered grace, is taken in Scripture not only for the favour of God, but 
also for his gracious gifts ; and so you are to understand it in this place. 
Grace is taken for the gifts of grace ; and they are twofold, common 
or special. Some are common to believers and hypocrites, as know- 
ledge, tongues, a gift of prayer, &c. ; some are special and peculiar to 
the saints, as fear, love, faith, &c. Now Paul had all these, the better 
to fit him for that high and noble service to which he was called. 

' That I should preach.' 

That is, declare good news or glad tidings. The Greek word answers 
to the Hebrew word, which signifies good news, glad tidings, and a 
joyful message.* 

' That I should preach among the Gentiles.' 

Sometimes this Greek word is generally used for all men, or for all 
nations. Sometimes the word is used more especially for the people of 

' iXa;t;/o-TaTf^«, minimis simus. — Estius. [Commentaria in omnes S. PauH Epist., in loco. 
2 vols, folio, 1709.— G.] 

2 Qui parvus est in reputaiione propria, magnus est in reputatione divina. — Gregory [Na- 
zianzen]. He that is little in his own account is great in God's esteem. 

^ WoSn w x,^^ii avm. x.^^^t^"- ^^ always taken in Scripture for a free gift, a grace gift 
but xH^i ^s taken not only for the favour of God, but also for his gracious gifts. 

^ iV>{<7-/y tuccyyiXifftKr^ut, Mat. xxviii. 19 ; John xi. 48, 60, 61 ; Acts x. 22. 


the Jews. Sometimes it is used for the Gentiles distinguished from the 
Jews. So it is used Mat. vi. 32, 'For after all these things do the 
Gentiles seek.' And so it is used here. Those that are ' without God 
in the world; that stand in arms against God, that are ignorant of those 
riches of grace that are in Christ; this grace is given to me, that i 
should preach among the poor heathens, ' the unsearchable riches ot 

Christ ' 

'That I might preach among the Gentiles.' What, myself? No, 
but * the unsearchable riches of Christ'^ . , . • 

The Greek word signifies, not to be traced out.^ Here is rhetoric 
indeed ! Here is riches, unsearchable riches, unsearchable riches of 
Christ. Riches always imply two things : 1, abundance ; 2, abundance 
of such things as be of worth. Now in the Lord Jesus Christ is the 
greatest riches, the best riches, the choicest riches ; in Christ are riches 
of justification, Titus ii. 14 ; in Christ are riches of sanctification, Philip, 
iv. 12, 13 ; in Christ are riches of consolation, 2 Cor. xii. 9 ; and in 
Christ are riches of glorification, 1 Pet. i. 2, 8. But of these glorious 
unsearchable riches of Christ, we shall speak hereafter. 

I shall begin at this time with the first words, * Unto me who am less 
than the least of all saints.' There are these two observations that 
naturally flow from these words. 

Ohs. 1. That the most holy men are always the most humble, men. 

None so humble on earth, as those that live highest in heaven. 

Or if you will, take the observation thus : 

That \hose that are the most highly valued and esteemed of by God, 
are lowest and least in their own esteem. 

' Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints,' &c. 

Obs. 2. The second observation is, 

That there are weak saints as well as strong ; little saints as well 
as great. 

Or thus. 

All saints are not of an equal growth or stature. 

I. I shall begin with the first observation, That the most holy men 
are always the most humble men. Souls that are the most highly 
esteemed and valued by God, do set the least and lowest esteem upon 
themselves. * Unto me who am less than the least of all saints,' &c. 

In the handling of this point, I shall do these three things : 

I. I shall prove that the most holy souls are always the most humble 

II. I shall shew you the properties of souls truly humble. 

III. I shall shew you the reasons why those that are the most highly 
prized and esteemed of God, do set so low a price upon themselves. 

IV. And then the use. 

I. For the first, That this is so, I shall give you most clear proofs, and 
open them to you. 

* Ipse unvs erit tibi omnia, quia in ipso vno bono, bona sunt omnia : one Christ will be to 
tliee instead of all things else, because in hira are all good things to be found. — A%igustine. 

^ Gal. i. 16. anlix^iavrov. Nec Christus nee ccelum patitur hyperbolem, a man cannot 
liyperbolize in speaking of Christ and heaven. Omne bonum in summo bono, all good is in 
the chiefest good. 


See it in Job.^ No man ever received a fairer or a more valuable 
certificate under the hand of God, or the broad seal of heaven, for his 
being a soul famous in grace and holiness, than Job, as you may see, 
Job i. 8, 'And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant 
Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright 
man, one that feareth God and escheweth evil V And yet no man could 
speak more undervaluingly of himself than Job did. Job xlii. 5, 6, 

* I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye 
seeth thee, I abhor myself in dust and ashes.'^ This expression is the 
deepest act of abhorrency. Abhorrency strictly taken, is hatred wound 
up to the height. * I abhor myself.' The word that is rendered abhor 
signifies to reject, to disdain, to contemn, and to cast off.^ Ah ! says 
Job, I abhor myself, I reject myself, I disdain myself, I cast off myself, 
I have a vile esteem of myself.* So our blessed apostle, who had been 
' caught up into the third heavens, and had such glorious revelations as 
could not be uttered," yet he accounted himself less than the least of 
all saints.^ Not that anything can be less than the least ; the apostle's 
holy rhetoric doth not cross Aristotle's philosophy ; but the original 
word being a double diminutive, his meaning is that he was as little 
as could be ; therefore he put himself down so little as could not be, 
less than the least. 

Another proof you have, Isa. vi. 1, 5, 6. As Paul among the apostles 
was the greatest, so Isaiah among the prophets was the clearest and 
choicest gospel preacher, and holds out more of Christ and of his king- 
dom and glory, than all the other prophets do. Isa. vi. 1, He sees the 
glory of the Lord in a vision, and this makes him cry out, verse 5, 'Woe is 
me, for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in 
the midst of a people of unclean lips, for mine eyes have seen the King, 
the Lord of hosts ; I am undone.' The Hebrew is, * I am cut off,' I am 
a forlorn man ! Why ? * For I have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.'^ 
Here you have the highest and choicest among the prophets, as you 
had Paul before among the apostles, abasing and laying low himself. 

So Peter. Luke v. 8, ' Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O 
Lord.'^ When he saw that glorious miracle wrought by the Lord Jesus, 
he cries out as one very sensible of his own weakness and sinfulness. 

* Depart from me, for I am a sinful man.' Ah ! I am not worthy to be 
near such majesty and glory, who am a mere bundle of vice and vanity, 
of folly and iniquity. 

Take another clear instance : Gen. xviii. 27, ' And Abraham answered 
and said. Behold, I have taken upon me to speak imto the Lord, who 
am but dust and ashes.' Here you have the father of the faithful, the 

^ Job was a non-such in regard of those perfections and degrees of grace that he had 
attained to beyond any other saints on earth. 

2 Job was high in worth and humble in heart ; humilitas animi, svblimitas Chriatiani. 

* A me, me salva Domine : deliver me, Lord, from that evil man, myself. — Augustine, 
[Confessions. — G.] 

^ 2 Cor. xii. 1-7. Vide Bezam. [Nov. Test., Exp. in loco.—G.'] cl^^vra pnfiara, word- 
less words, such as words are too weak to utter. 

^ The clearest sight and vision of God does always give a man the fullest sight of his 
own emptiness, sinfulness, and nothingness. ^n^Dn3"''D, I am cut off. 

' 'Av^f af/.a^TuXos, a man, a sinner, a very mixture and compound of dirt and sin. 


greatest believer in the world, accounting himself dust and ashes.^ Dust 
notes the baseness of his original, and ashes notes his deserving to be 
burnt to ashes, if God should deal with him in justice rather than m 
mercy. The nearer any soul draws to God, the more humble will that 
soul lie before God. None so near God as the angels, nor none so 
humble before God as the angels. n ^^ r. 

So Jacob, Gen. xxxii. 10, 'I am not worthy of the least o± all the 
mercies, and all the truth which thou hast shewed unto thy servant/ 
&c.' Jacob, a man eminent in his prevailing with God, a prince that 
had the honour and the happiness to overcome the God of mercy, yet 
judges himself unworthy of the least mercy. Ah ! how low is that soul 
in his own eyes, that is most honourable in God's eyes ! 

David, you know, was a man after God's own heart, 1 Kings xv. 5 ; a 
man highly honoured, much beloved, and dearly prized by the Lord ; yet 
1 Sam. xxvi. 20, he counts himself a flea; and what is more contemptible 
than a flea ? In Ps. xxii. 6, * I am a worm,' saith he, ' and no man.' The 
word that is there rendered woi^m, is a word that signifies a very little 
worm which breedeth in scarlet, a worm that is so little that a man can 
hardly see or perceive it. A worm is the most despicable creature in 
the world, trampled under foot by every one. Says he, I am a despi- 
cable worm in my own eyes, and in my enemies' eyes.^ 

And thus you see the point proved, that the most holy men have 
been always the most humble men. 

II. The second thing that I am to do is, to shew you the properties 
of humble souls. I confess, when I look abroad in the world, and observe 
the carriage of all sorts of men, my heart is stirred to speak as fully and 
as home to this point as Christ shall help me. It is very very sad to con- 
sider, how few humble souls there be in these days. Ah ! the damnable 
pride that reigns and rules in the hearts and lives of most men. I 
think it is far greater than hath been known in the generations before 
us. Ah, England ! England ! what folly, what damnable wickedness is 
this, that thou shouldst be a-lifting thyself up in pride, when God is 
a-staining the pride of all glory, and bringing into contempt the honour- 
able of the earth, and a-setting his feet upon the neck of pride.* 

[1.] Now the first property that I shall lay down of an humble soul 
is this : 

An humble soul under the highest spiritual dicoveries, and under 
the greatest outward mercies, forgets not his former sinfulness and his 
former outward meanness. Paul had been taken up into the third 
heavens, and had glorious revelations and manifestations of God, 2 Cor. 
xii. 1-4 ; he cries out, ' I was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious,' 
1 Tim. i. 13. Under the choicest discoveries, he remembers his former 
blasphemies. So Rom. vii. 23, ' I see a law in my members warring 
against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law 
of sin, which is in my members.' He had been at this time about 

• 1DKT ISy, gnaphar vorphar, dust and ashes; i.e. base, vile, worthless. Solemnly think 
that thou art dust and ashes, and be proud if thou canst, Isa. vi. 1, 2. 

2 D'l'lDnn 7212 TiaiDp, l am less than all mercies, to wit, in worth or weight, &c. 
' nypiri' tolagnath, an humble soul is a little, little nothing in his own eyes. 

* God loves to hear this as a parcel of his praise, parcere suhjectis et debellare super- 
bos, to spare the lowly and strike down the proud. 

EpH. Ill 8.] KICHES OF CHRIST. 11 

fourteen years converted, as some judge. He was a man that lived at 
as high a rate in God, as any we read of ; a man that was filled with 
glorious discoveries and revelations, and yet under all discoveries and 
revelations, he remembers that body of sin and death that made him 
cry out, * O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me ?' Who 
shall ease me of my burden, who shall knock off these chains that make 
my life a hell ?^ I will by a few instances prove the other branch : 
Gen. xxxii. 10, ' I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies,' says 
Jacob, ' for with my staff I passed over this Jordan, and now I am be- 
come two bands/ I remember, saith he, when I went over Jordan, I 
was as a footman that carried all his wealth with him. Under his 
outward greatness he forgets not his former meanness. An humble 
soul is good at looking back upon his former low estate, upon his thread- 
bare coat that was his best and only robe.^ 

So David, 1 Chron. xvii. 16, 17, ' And David the king came and sat 
before the Lord, and said. What am I, O Lord God, and what is mine 
house, that thou hast brought me hitherto ? And yet this was a small 
thing in thine eyes, O God ; for thou hast also spoken of thy servant's 
house for a great while to come, and hast regarded me according to the 
state of a man of high degree. Who am I, O Lord God, and what is 
mine house ?' David remembered the meanness of his birth ; he 
remembered his shepherd's crook, as Jacob did his travelling staff.* 
Mercies make an humble soul glad, but not proud. An humble soul is 
lowest when his mercies are highest ; he is least when he is greatest ; 
he is lowest when he is highest ; he is most poor when he is most rich. 
Nothing melts like mercy, nothing draws like mercy, nothing humbles 
like mercy. Mercy gives the humble soul such excellent counsel, as 
Plasilla the empress gave her husband Theodosius, ' Remember, O 
husband,' saith she, * what lately you were, and what now you are ; so 
shall you govern well the empire, and give God his due praise for so 
great an advancement.'* The voice of mercy is, Remember what lately 
thou wert, and what now thou art, and be humble. Now proud men 
that are lifted up from the dunghill, that abound in worldly wealth, 
ah ! how does their blood rise with their outward good ! The more mer- 
cies they have, the more proud they are ; mercies do but puff and swell 
such souls. In a crowd of mercies, they cry out in the pride of their 
hearts : ' Depart from us, O God, for we desire not the knowledge of 
thy ways. What is the Almighty that we should serve him ? and what 
profit shall we have, if we pray unto him f Ps. Ixxiii. 3-13 ; Job xxi. 
7-16, xiv. 15. 

[2.] A second property of an humble soul is this. He overlooks his 

' Clirysostom observes it of Paul, as his greatest honour, that although he had obtained 
pardon of God for his sins, yet he is not ashamed to reckon them up to the world. The 
spouse of Christ, under all the kisses and embraces of Christ, acknowledges herself to be 
black : Cant. i. 2, 5, compared. 

■■* Omnia mea mecum porto, all my goods I carry with me, said Bias, one of the seven 
wise men of Greece. [-45 before. — G.] 

3 Iphicrates, that noble captain, cried out. From how small to how great an estate am 
I raised! [Son of Timotheus, a shoemaker. — G.] So does the humble soul, when God 
turns his brass into silver, his iron into gold, his pence into pounds. Agathocles, who, 
of a potter's son, was made king of Sicily, would always be served in earthen vessels. 
[A. was himself a ' potter.'— G.] 

* Rather Placilla, sometimes Flacilla and Placidia. Cf. Tillemont, as before. — G. 


own righteousness, and lives upon the righteousness of another, to wit, 
tJieLord Jesus. So the apostle, Philip, iii. 8-10, overlooks his own 
rio-hteousness, and lives wholly upon the righteousness of Christ : * I 
desire to be found in him,' saith he, ' not having mine own righteous- 
ness.' Away with it, it is dross, it is dung, it is dog's meat ! It is a 
rotten righteousness, an imperfect righteousness, a weak righteousness, 
' which is of the law ; but that which is through the faith of Christ, the 
righteousness which is of God by faith,'^ that is a spotless righteous- 
ness, a pure righteousness, a complete righteousness, an incomparable 
righteousness ; and, therefore, an humble soul overlooks his own right- 
eousness, and lives upon Christ's righteousness. Kemember this, all 
the sighing, mourning, sobbing, and complaining in the world, doth not 
so undeniably evidence a man to be humble, as his overlooking his own 
righteousness, and living really and purely upon the righteousness of 
Christ. This is the greatest demonstration of humility that can be 
shewn by man. Mat. vi. 8. Men may do much, hear much, pray much, 
fast much, and give much, &c., and yet be as proud as Lucifer, as you 
may see in the Scribes, Pharisees, Mat. xxiii., and those in Isa. Iviii. 3, 
who in the pride of their hearts made an idol of their own righteous- 
ness : ' Wherefore have we fasted,' say they, ' and thou seest it not ? 
wherefore have we afflicted our souls, and thou takest no knowledge ?' 
Oh ! but for a man now to trample upon his own righteousness, and to live 
wholly upon the righteousness of another, this speaks out a man to be 
humble indeed. There is nothing that the heart of man stands more 
averse to than this, of coming off from his own righteousness. Man is 
a creature apt to warm himself with the sparks of his own fire, though 
he doth lie down for it in eternal sorrow, Isa. L 11. Man is naturally 
prone to go about to establish his own righteousness, that he might not 
subject to the righteousness of Christ ; he will labour as for life, to lift 
up his own righteousness, and to make a saviour of it, Eom. x. 4. 
Ay, but an humble soul disclaims his own righteousness : * All our right- 
eousness is as filthy rags.' ' Enter not into judgment with thy servant, 
for in thy sight shall no man living be justified,' Ps. cxliii. 2. So Job, 
* Though I were righteous, yet I would not answer, but I would make 
supplication to my judge,' Job ix. 15. Proud Pharisees bless themselves 
in their own righteousness : ' I thank God I am not as this publican ; 1 
fast twice in the week,' &c., Luke xviii. 11, 12. Ay, but now a soul 
truly humbled blushes to see his own righteousness, and glories in this, 
that he has the righteousness of Christ to live upon.^ Rev. iv. 10, 11, 
the twenty-four elders throw down their crowns at the feet of Christ. 
By their crowns you may understand their gifts, their excellencies, their 
righteousness ; they throw down these before Christ's throne, to note 
to us, that they did not put confidence in them, and that Christ was the 
crown of crowns and the top of all their royalty and glory. An humble 
soul looks upon Christ's righteousness as his only crown. 

[3.] Thirdly, The lowest and the meanest good ivork is not below an 
humble sold. An humble David will dance before the ark : he enjoyed 

^ Ver. 8, irKv€ccXa, dogs' meat : i. e. coarse and contemptible, Isa. Ixiv. 6 • Cant iv. 2 • 
Rev. xiv. 5; Col. ii. 10. 

2 A proud heart eyes more his seeming worth than his real want. Non decet Christia- 
num m hac vita coronari, said the Christian soldier. 


SO much of God in it, that it caused him to leap and dance before it ; 
but Michal his wife despised him for a fool, and counted him as a simple 
vain fellow, looking upon his carriage as vain and light, and not becom- 
ing the might, majesty, and glory of so glorious a prince. Well ! says 
this humble soul, if this be to be vile, I will be more vile. 

Great Paul, yet being humble and low in his own eyes, he can stoop 
to do service to the least and meanest saint. 1 Cor. ix. 19-21, 'For 
though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, 
that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, 
that I might gain the Jews. To them that are under the law, as under 
the law, that I might gain them that are under the law. To them that 
are without law, as without law, being not without law to God, but 
under the law to Christ, that I might gain them that are without law. 
To the weak, became I as weak, that I might gain the weak. I am 
made all things to all men, that I might by all means gain some.'^ 
Here you have an humble soul bowing and stooping to the meanest 
saint, and the lowest services, that he might win souls. So the Lord 
Jesus himself was famous in this, John xiii. 4. Though he was the 
Lord of glory, and one that thought it no robbery to be equal with 
God, one that had all perfection and fulness in himself, yet the lowest 
work is not below this King of kings. Witness his washing his dis- 
ciples' feet and wiping them with a towel, 1 Cor. ii. 8 ; Philip, ii. 6 ; 
Col. i. 19. 

Bonaventure, though he was born of great parentage, and a great 
scholar, yet to keep his mind from swelling, he would often sweep rooms, 
wash vessels, and make beds. 

So that famous Italian marquess,^ when God was pleased by the ministry 
of his word to convert him, the lowest work was not below him. Though 
he might have lived like a king in his own country, yet having tasted 
of that life and sweet that was in Jesus, he was so humble that he would 
go to market, and carry home the meanest and the poorest things the 
market yielded. There was nothing below him, when God had changed 
him, and humbled him.^ 

It was recorded to the glory of some ancient generals, that they were 
able to call every common soldier by his own name, and were careful to 
provide money, not only for their captains and soldiers, but litter also 
for the meanest beast.* There is not the lowest good that is below the 
humble soul. If the work be good, though never so low, humility will 
put a hand to it ; so will not pride. 

1 Ver. 19. xi^Tiffu signifies to gain with joy and delight of heart. Ah, says Paul, it is 
my greatest joy, my greatest delight, to gain souls to Christ. The word also signifies 
craft, or guile Ah ! humble Paul will use a holy craft, a holy guile, to win souls. To 
know the art of alms is greater than to be crowned with the diadem of kings, and yet to 
convert one soul is greater than to pour out ten thousand talents into the baskets of the 
poor. — Chrysostom. 

2 Galeacius Carraciolus, as before. Cf. Sibbes, vol. i. pp 184, 289, seq. — G. 

3 Proud hearts cannot stoop to low services ; they say this work and that is below their 
parts, place, parentage, and employments. 

* Cirius [Cyrus?] and Scipio. These heathens will rise in judgment against many 
proud professors in these days, who scorn to stoop to mean services, &c. Veniat, veniat 
verbum Domini, et submittemus illi sexcenta etsi nobis essent colla, said Baldassar, a German 
minister. So it is with all that are high in worth and humble in heart. Lev. x. 2, 3, 
God will be sanctified either actively or passively ; aut a nobis aut in nos, either in us or 
upon us. 


[4.] A fourtli property of an humble heart is this, An humble heaH 
will submit to every truth of God, that is made known to it ; even to 
those divine truths that are most cross to flesh and blood. 1 Sam. iii. 
17, Eli would fain know what God had discovered to Samuel concerning 
him ; Samuel tells him that he must break his neck, that the priesthood 
must be taken away from him, and his sons must be slain in the war ; 
why ' it is the Lord,' saith he, ' let him do what seemeth him good.' So 
in Lev. x. 3, the Lord by fire from heaven destroys Aaron's two sons. 
' Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is that the Lord spake, saying, I 
will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people 
I will be glorified ; and Aaron held his peace.' If God miss of his honour 
one way, he will rain hell out of heaven, but he will have it another 
way. This Aaron knew, and therefore he held his peace, when God 
shewed himself to be * a consuming fire.' The Hebrew word^ that is here 
rendered peace, signifies the quietness and silence of his mind. He did 
not hold his tongue only, for many a man may hold his tongue, and yet 
his mind and heart may kick and swell against God, but his very mind 
was quiet and still ; there was a heavenly calm in his spirit ; he was 
dumb and silent, because the Lord had done it. So in Acts x. 83, ' We 
are all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded 
thee of God.' We are not here to hear what may tickle our ears, or 
please our fancies, or satisfy our lusts. No ; but we are here to hear 
what God will say. Our hearts stand ready pressed to subject them- 
selves to whatever God shall declare to be his will. We are willing to 
hear what we may do, that we may obey sincerely and universally the 
good pleasure of our God, knowing that it is as well our dignity as our 
duty so to do. 

There are three things in an humble soul that do strongly incline it 
to duty. 

The^rs^ is divine love. 

The second is divine presence. 

The third is divine glory. 

The dove made use of her wings to fly to the ark ; so doth an humble 
soul of his duties to fly to Christ. Though the dove did use her wings, 
yet she did not trust in her wings, but in the ark. So though an humble 
soul does use duties, yet he does not trust in his duties, but in his 
Jesus. But now proud hearts they hate the truth, they cry out, ' Who 
is the Lord, that we should obey him V And what are his command- 
ments, that we should submit to them ? Ay, but an humble soul falls 
under the power of truth, and counts it his greatest ^lorv to be obedient 
to all truth. "^ -^ 

[5.] A fifth property of an humble soul is this: An humble soul lives 
not upon himself, nor upon his own actings, but upon the Lord Jesus, 

' °^'V The word often signifies a modest quietness of mind, the troubled affec- 
tions being allayed ; so here. In Lam iii. 27-29 it signifies to submit unto God, and to 
be patient in affliction ; and so it may be taken here. Nunquam nimis dicitur, quid nun- 

MxMv ^^\%^2 ,^fenda plura, the Christian soldier must do many things, and suffer 

tl;Ji ZT^. n Z^'-'^ "^^l' ^'^''''' P""'"' ^'"^'^ '''^ «^^^ desccndU, he is more 
in heaven than in earth this is much more true of humble, holy souls. fSeneca • De 
ConstanhaSapimhs.~G.-\ Dnlce mmen CAns^«, sweet is the name of Christ Chr"^t 
S::" medS!"' '' '"' '"" °' *'^ ""°^"^^^' ^^^^- ^^-^- 12, which w"re bc^h"ox 


and his actings. Poor men, you know, they do not live upon them- 
selves, they live upon others ; they live upon the care of others, the love . 
of others, the provision of others. Why ! thus an humble soul lives 
upon the care of Christ, the love of Christ, the promise of Christ, the 
faithfulness of Christ, the discoveries of Christ. He lives upon Christ 
for his justification, Philip, iii. 7-10 ; he lives upon Christ for his sanc- 
tification. Cant. iv. 16, * Awake, O north wind, and come thou south, 
blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out ;' and he 
lives upon Christ for his consolation : Cant. ii. 3, * As the apple-tree 
among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat 
down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my 
taste ;' and he lives upon Christ for the performance of all holy actions : 
Philip, iv. 13, ' I can do all things through Christ which strength eneth 
me ;' Gal. ii. 20, * I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me ; and the life 
which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who 
loved me, and gave himself for me." An humble soul sees in Christ^ a 
fulness of abundance, and a fulness of redundancy, and here his soul 
lives and feeds. An humble soul sees that all his stock is in the hands 
of Christ. His stock of graces, his stock of comforts, his stock of expe- 
riences are in the hands of Jesus Christ, who is thegreatLord-keeperof all 
a believer's graces, and of all his comforts ; and therefore, as children live 
upon them in whose hand their stock is, be it a brother or a friend, 
why, so an humble soul sees its stock is in the hand of the Lord 
Jesus, and therefore he lives upon Christ, upon his love, and his pro- 
vision, and his undertakings, &c. But now proud hearts live not upon 
the Lord Jesus Christ ; they live upon themselves, and upon their own 
duties, their own righteousness, their own actings, as the Scripture 
evidences. Christ dwells in that heart most eminently that hath 
emptied itself of itself, ^hrist is the humble man's manna, upon which 
he lives, and by which he thrives, Isa. Iviii. 2, 7; Luke vii. 47. 

[6.] A sixth property of an humble soul is this. He judges himself to 
he belovj the wrath and judgments of God^ An humble soul looks upon 
himself as one not worthy that God should spend a rod upon him, in 
order to his reformation, edification, or salvation. As I am unworthy, 
saith an humble soul, that God should smile upon me, so I am unworthy 
that he should spend a frown upon me. Job xiii. 25, 'Wilt thou break 
a leaf driven to and fro ? And wilt thou pursue the dry stubble ?' Why, 
I am but a leaf, I am but a little dry stubble, I am below thy wrath ; I 
am so very, very bad, that I wonder that thou shouldst so much as 
spend a rod upon me. What more weak, worthless, slight, and con- 
temptible than a leaf, than dry stubble ? Why, Lord, says Job, I am a 
poor, weak, and worthless creature, I wonder that thou shouldst take 
any pains to do me good, I can't but count and call everything a mercy 
that is less than hell. 

So David, in 1 Sam. xxiv. 14, 'After whom is the King of Israel come 

* Plenitudo abundanticB and plenitudo redundantice. Omne bonum in summo bono, all 
good is in the chiefest good. Christ is quicquid appeiibile, as Origen speaks, whatever 
we can desire. 

* A proud heart resists, and is resisted : this is duro durum, flint to flint, fire to fire. 
An humble soul blesses God as well for crosses as mercies, as well for adversity as for 
prosperity, as well for frowns as for smiles, &c., because he judges himself unworthy of 
the least rebukes from God. 


out ? After whom dost thou pursue ? After a dead dog, after a flea.' 
The lano-uage of an humble soul, when God begms to be angry, is this : 
Lord, I'can bless thee that thou wilt take any pams with me ; but I 
humbly acknowledge that I am below the least rod, I am not worthy 
that thou shouldst frown upon me, threaten me, strike me, or whip me, 
for my internal and eternal good. But proud hearts think themselves 
wronged when they are, afflicted, they cry out with Cain, / Our punish- 
ment is greater than we can bear,' Gen. iv. 13. 

[7.] A seventh property of an humble soul is this, An humble soul 
doth highly prize the least of Christ. The least smile, the least good 
word, the least good look, the least truth, the least mercy, is highly 
valued by an humble soul. 

The Canaanitish woman in the fifteenth of Matthew sets a high price 
upon a crumb of mercy.^ Ah, Lord, says the humble soul, if T may not 
have a loaf of mercy, give me a piece of mercy ; if not a piece of mercy, 
give me a crumb of mercy. If I may not have sun-light, let me have 
moon-light; if not moon-light, let me have star-light; if not star-light, 
let me have candle-light ; and for that I will bless thee. 

In the time of the law, the meanest things that w^ere consecrated 
were very highly prized, as leather or wood, that was in the tabernacle. 
An humble soul looks upon all the things of God as consecrated things. 
Every truth of God is a consecrated truth ; it is consecrated to holy 
use, and this causes the soul highly to prize it ; and so every smile of 
God, and every discovery of God, and every drop of mercy from God, is 
very highly prized by a soul that walks humbly with God. The name 
of Christ, the voice of Christ, the footsteps of Christ, the least touch of 
the garment of Christ, the least-regarded truth of Christ, the meanest 
and least-regarded among the flock of Christ, is highly prized by humble 
souls that are interested in Christ, Song i. 3 ; John x. 4, 5 ; Ps. xxvii. 4 ; 
Mat. ix. 20, 21 ; Acts xxiv. 14 ; 1 Cor. ix. 22. An humble soul cannot, 
an humble soul dares not, call anything little that has Christ in it ; 
neither can an humble soul call or count anything great wherein he 
sees not Christ, wherein he enjoys not Christ.^ An humble soul highly 
prizes the least nod, the least love-token, the least courtesy from Christ ; 
but proud hearts count great mercies small mercies, and small mercies 
no mercies ; yea, pride does so unman them, that they often call mercy 
misery, &c. 

[8.] The eighth property of an humble soul is this. It can never be 
good enough, it can never pray enough, nor hear enough, nor mourn 
enough, nor believe enough, nor love enough, nor fear enough, nor joy 
enough, nor repent enough, nor loathe sin enough, nor be humble 
enough, &c. 

Humble Paul looks upon his great all as nothing at all ; he forgets 
those things that are behind, and reaches forth to those things which 
are before, * that if by any means he might attain unto the resurrection 
of the dead,' Philip, iii. 11-14 ; that is, that perfection of holiness which 

1 Ver. 27. Faith will pick an argument out of a repulse, and turn discouragements 
into encouragements. Luther would not take all the world for one leaf of the Bible ; such 
a j)rice he set upon it, from the sweet that he found in it. 

' Austin loved Tully before his conversion, but not so much after, quia nomen Jesu non 
erat ibi, because the name of Christ was not there. [Confessions, b. iii., iv. 7. G.l 


the dead shall attain unto in the morning of the resurrection, by a 
metonymy of the subject for the adjunct.^ 

No holiness below that matchless, peerless, spotless, perfect holiness 
that saints shall have in the glorious day of Christ's appearing, will 
satisfy the humble soul. An humble heart is an aspiring heart ; he 
cannot be contented to get up some rounds in Jacob's ladder, but he must 
get to the very top of the ladder, to the very top of holiness. An humble 
heart cannot be satisfied with so much grace as will bring him to glory, 
with so much of heaven as will keep him from dropping into hell; he 
is still crying out. Give, Lord, give ; give me more of thyself, more of 
thy Son, more of thy Spirit; give me more light, more life, more love, 
&c. Csesar in warlike matters minded more what was to conquer than 
what was conquered ; what was to gain than what was gained. So does 
an humble soul mind more what he should be than what he is, what is 
to be done than what is done. Verily heaven is for that man, and that 
man is for heaven, that sets up for his mark the perfection of holiness. 
Poor men are full of desires ; they are often a-sighing it out. Oh that we 
had bread to strengthen us, drink to refresh us, clothes to cover us, 
friends to visit us, and houses to shelter us, &c. ; so souls that are spi- 
ritually poor they are often a-sighing it out, Oh that we had more of 
Christ to strengthen us, more of Christ to refresh us, more of Christ to 
be a covering and shelter to us, &c. I had rather, says the humble 
soul, be a poor man and a rich Christian, than a rich man and a poor 
Christian. Lord, says the humble soul, I had rather do anything, I had 
rather bear anything, I had rather be anything, than to be a dwarf in 
grace. Rev. iii. 17, Isa. Ixv. 5, Luke xviii. 11, 12. The light and glory 
of humble Christians rises by degrees: Cant. vi. 1, (1.) Looking forth 
as the morning, with a little light ; (2.) Fair as the moon, more light ; 
(3.) Clear as the sun, i.e. come up to a higher degree of spiritual light, 
life, and glory. Lord, says the humble soul, give me much grace, and 
then a little gold will serve my turn ; give me much of heaven, and little 
of earth will content me ; give me much of the springs above, and a 
little of the springs below will satisfy me, &c. 

[9.] The ninth property of an humble soul is this. It will smite 
and strike for small sins as well as for great, for those the world count 
no sin, as well as for those that they count gross sins. 

When David had but cut off the lap of Saul's garment, his heart 
smote him as if he had cut off his head. The Hebrew word signifies 
to smite, wound, or chastise.^ Ah! his heart struck him, his heart 
chastised him, his heart wounded him for cutting off Saul's skirt, 
though he did it upon noble grounds, viz., to convince Saul of his 
false jealousies, and to evidence his own innocency and integrity: and 

^ iTixrinifAivoi ; it signifies the straining of the whole body, a stretching out head and 
hands, as runners in a race do to lay hold on the mark or prize proposed, Ps. x. 17. De- 
sires, laavath, from Avah, that signifies so to desire and long after a thing as to have one's 
teeth water at it ; so in Micah vii. 1. But proud hearts sit down and pride themselves, 
and bless themselves, as if they had attained to much, when they have attained to nothing 
that can raise them above the lowest step of misery. 

2 1 Sam. xxiv. 5, y]. A good man's heart, when kindly awakened, may smite him 
for those actions that at first he judged very prudent and politic. How great a pain, 
not to be borne, comes from the prick of this small thorn ! Little sins have put several 
to their wits' ends, when they have been set home upon their consciences, 
VOL. in. -^ B 


SO at another time, his heart smote him for numbering the people, as 
if he had murdered the people- 2 Sam. xxiv. 10, 'And David's heart 
smote him, after that he had numbered the people; and David said unto 
the Lord, 1 have sinned greatly in that I have done : and now I be- 
seech thee, Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant, for I have 
done very foolishly.' An humble soul knows that little sins, if I may 
so call any, cost Christ his blood, and that they make way for greater; 
and that little sins multiplied become great, as a little sum multipHed 
is great ; that they cloud the face of God, wound conscience, grieve the 
Spirit, rejoice Satan, and make work for repentance, &c. An humble 
soul knows that little sins, suppose them so, are very dangerous ; a little 
leaven leaveneth the whole lump; a little staff naay kill one; a little 
poison may poison one ; a little leak in a ship sinks it ; a little fly in 
the box of ointment spoils it; a little flaw in a good cause mars it; so a 
little sin may at once bar the door of heaven and open the gates of hell ; 
and therefore an humble soul smites and strikes itself for the least as 
well as the greatest. Though a head of garlic be little, yet it will poison 
the leopard, though he be great. Though a mouse is but little, yet it 
will kill an elephant, if he gets up into his trunk. Though the scorpion 
be Httle, yet it will sting a lion to death ; and so will the least sin, if 
not pardoned by the death of Christ. 

A proud heart counts great sins small, and small sins no sins, and so 
disarms conscience for a time of its whipping and wounding power ; 
but at death, or in hell, conscience will take up an iron rod, with which 
it will lash the sinner for ever ; and then, though too late, the sinner 
shall acknowledge his little sins to be very great, and his great sins to 
be exceeding grievous and odious, &c. 

[10.] The tenth property of an humble soul is this, It will quietly 
bear burdens, and patiently take blows and knocks, and make no 
noise. An humble soul sees God through man ; he sees God through 
all the actions and carriages of men : * I was dumb,' saith the prophet, 
' I opened not my mouth, because thou didst it.' ^ An humble soul 
looks through secondary causes, and sees the hand of God, and then 
lays his own hand upon his mouth. An humble soul is a mute soul, a 
tongue-tied, soul, when he looks through secondary causes to the supreme 
cause. So Aaron, when he saw his sons suddenly surprised by a dread- 
ful and doleful death, he held his peace, he bridled his passions; he sits 
silent under a terrible stroke of divine justice, because the fire that 
devoured them went out from the Lord. So when Samuel had told Eli 
that God would judge his house for ever, and that he had sworn that 
the iniquity of his house should not be purged with sacrifice nor offering 
for ever, &c., ' It is the Lord," says Eli, ' let him do what seemeth him 
good.' Eli humbly and patiently lays his neck upon the block ; it is 
the Lord; let him strike, let him kill, &c., says Eli, ] Sam. iii. 11, 18. 

So David, when Shimei manifested his desperate fury and folly, malice 
and madness, in raving and raging at him, in cursing and reproaching 
of him, says he, ' Let him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord hath 
bidden him,' 2 Sam. xvi. 5, 14. God, says he, will, by his wise provi- 

' Ps. xxxix. 9, ^nO'PNi, from alam, which signifies to be mute, or tongue-tied. Lev. x. 
1-3, vaiidem from Damd, which signifies the quietness of the mind, the troubled afi'ec- 
tions being allayed. 

EpH. hi. 8.] RICHES OF CHRIST. 19 

dence, turn his cursing into blessing. I see the justice of God in his 
cursing, therefore let him alone, let him curse, says David. ^ 

Cassianus reports, that when a certain Christian was held captive by 
the infidels, and tormented by divers pains and ignominious taunts, 
being demanded, by way of scorn and reproach, Tell us what Christ has 
done for you, answered, He hath done what you see, that I am not 
moved at all the cruelties and contumelies you cast upon me.^ 

So that blessed martyr, Gyles of Brussels, when the friars, sent to 
reduce him, did at any time miscall him, he ever held his peace, inso- 
much that those wretches would say abroad that he had a dumb devil 
in him.^ Full vessels will bear many a knock, many a stroke, and yet 
make no noise. So Christians that are full of Christ, that are full of 
the Spirit, will bear many a knock, many a stroke, and yet make no 

An humble soul may groan under afflictions, but he will not grumble 
in calms. Proud hearts discourse of patience, but in storms humble 
hearts exercise patience. Philosophers have much commended it, but 
in the hour of darkness it is the humble soul that acts it. I am 
afflicted, says the humble soul, but it is mercy I am not destroyed. I 
am fallen into the pit ; it is free grace I am not fallen into hell. God 
is too just to wrong me, and too gracious to harm me ; and therefore I 
will be still and quiet, let him do what he will with me, says the humble 
soul. But proud souls resist when they are resisted, they strike when 
they are stricken, Isa. Iviii. 1-3 : ' Who is the Lord,' says lofty Pharaoh, 
' that I should obey him ?' and Cain cries out, ' My punishment is 
greater than I am able to bear/ Well ! remember this : though it be 
not easy in afflictions and tribulations to hold our peace, yet it is very 
advantageous ; which the heathens seemed to imitate in placing the 
image of Angerona [goddess of silence], with the mouth bound upon 
the altar of Volupia [of pleasure], to shew that those that do prudently 
and humbly conceal their sorrows and anxieties by patience, shall attain 
comfort and refreshment.'* 

[11.] The eleventh property of an humble soul is this: in all religious 
duties and services, he trades with God upon the credit of Christ^ 
Lord, says the humble soul, I need power against such and such sins : 
give it me upon the credit of Christ's blood. I need strength to such 
and such services : give it me upon the credit of Christ's word. I need 
such and such mercies for the cheering, refreshing, quickening, and 
strengthening of me : give them into my bosom upon the credit of 
Christ's intercession. As a poor man lives and deals upon the credits 
of others, so does an humble soul live and deal with God for the strength- 
ening of every grace, and for the supply of every mercy, upon the credit 

^ Gallesius observes upon Exod. xxli. 28, the exceeding patience of those three em- 
perors, Theodosius, Honorius, and Arcadius, towards those that spoke evil of them. [Qu. 
'Gallasius?'— G.] 

2 [Foxe.] Acts et Mon. fol. 811. [By Townsend, sub nomine.— G.] 

3 By long soothing our own wills, we have forsaken, as Cassian saith, the very shadow 
of patience. [Voes and Esch, not Gyles. Foxe, as above, vol. iv. 349-50. — G.] 

* Non sic Deos coluimus aut sic viximus, ut ille nos vinceret, said the emperor [Marcus A.] 
Antoninus Philosophus, [' Meditations.' — G.] 

^ John xiv. 13, and xv. 16, and xvi. *2Z, 26. The name of Jesus hath a thousand 
treasures of joy and comfort in it, saith Chrysostom ; and is therefore used by Paul five 
hundred times, as some have reckoned. 


of the Lord Jesus. An humble soul knows that since he broke with 
God in innocency, God will trust him no more, he will take his word no 
more ; and therefore when he goes to God for mercy, he brings his Ben- 
jamin, his Jesus, in his armvS, and pleads for mercy upon the account of 

Plutarch reports that it was wont to be the way of the Molossians, 
when they would seek the favour of their prince, they took up the king's 
son in their arms, and so went and kneeled before the king, and by this 
means overcame him.'^ So do humble souls make a conquest upon God 
with Christ in their arms. The Father will not give that soul the 
repulse that brings Christ in his arms.'^ The humble soul knows that 
God out of Christ is incommunicable, that God out of Christ is incom- 
prehensible, that God out of Christ is very terrible, and that God out of 
Christ is inaccessible ; and therefore he still brings Christ with him, and 
presents all his requests in his name, and so prevails, &c. Oh ! but 
proud souls deal with God upon the credit of their own worthiness, 
righteousness, services, prayers, tears, fastings, &c., as the proud Phari- 
sees and those wrangling hypocrites in Isa. Iviii. 1-3. 

It was a very proud saying of one, Coslum gratis non accipiam, I 
will not have heaven but at a rate ; and therefore well did the father 
call vain-glory a pleasant thief, and the sweet spoiler of spiritual ex- 

[12.] The twelfth property of an humble soul is this : it endeavours 
nnore how to honour and glorify God in afflictions, than how to 
get out of afflictions. So Daniel, the three children, the apostles, and 
those worthies of whom this world was not worthy. They were not 
curious about getting out of affliction, but studious how to glorify God 
in their afflictions.^ They were willing to be anything, and to bear any- 
thing, that in everything God might be glorified. They made it their 
business to glorify God in the fire, in the prison, in the den, on the 
rack, and under the sword, &c. Lord, says the humble soul, do but 
keep down my sins, and keep up my heart in a way of honouring of 
thee under all my troubles, and then my troubles will be no troubles, 
my afflictions will be no afflictions. Though my burdens be doubled, 
and my troubles be multiplied, yet do but help me to honour thee by 
believing in thee, by waiting on thee, and by submitting to thee, and I 
shall sing care away, and shall say. It is enough.* 

When Valens the emperor sent messengers to win Eusebius to heresy 
by fair words and large promises, he answered, Alas, sir ! these speeches 
are fit to catch little children that look after such things, but we that 
are taught and nourished by the holy Scriptures are readier to suffer a 
thousand deaths than to suffer one syllable or tittle of the Scripture to 
be altered. And when the emperor threatened to confiscate his goods, 

^ So Themistocles did when he sought the favour of king Admetus. [Plutarch, sub 
nomine. — G.] 

' The name of a Saviour, saith Bernard, is honey in the mouth, and music in the ear, 
and a jubilee in the heart. [Serm. on Canticles, as before.— G.'\ The boy that was a 
monitor cried aloud to him that rode in triumph, Memento te esse hominem, remember thy- 
self to bo a man. 

3 Dan. iii.; Acts v. 41, 42, and iv. 29 ; Heb. xi.; Eph. vi. 19, 20; Philip, i. 13, 19. 

* Prorsus Satan est Luthervs, sed Christus vivit et rcgnat, Amen, said Luther, in writ- 
ing to his friend Spalatinus. [During Diet of Augsburg G.] 


to torment him, to banish him, or to kill him, he answered, He need not 
fear confiscation that hath nothing to lose; nor banishment, to whom 
heaven only is a country ; nor torments, when his body will be dashed 
with one blow ; nor death, which is the only way to set him at liberty 
from sin and sorrow.^ Oh ! but when a proud man is under troubles 
and afflictions, his head and heart are full of plots and projects how to 
get off his chains, and to get out of the furnace, &c. A proud heart will 
say anything, and do anything, and be anything, to free himself from 
the burdens that press him, as you see in Pharaoh, &c. ; but an humble 
soul is willing to bear the cross as long as he can get strength from 
heaven to kiss the cross, to bless God for the cross, and to glorify God 
under the cross, &c., John i. 20, 21. 

[13.] The thirteenth property of an humble soul is this : it seeks not, 
it looks 7wt, after great things. A little will satisfy nature, less will 
satisfy grace ; but nothing will satisfy a proud man's lusts.^ Lord, says 
the humble soul, if thou wilt but give me bread to eat and raiment to 
put on, thou shalt be my God, Gen. xxviii. 20-22. Let the men of the 
world, says the humble soul, take the world in all its greatness and 
glory, and divide it among themselves.^ Let me have much of Christ 
and heaven in my heart, and food convenient to support my natural 
life, and it shall be enough : Job xxii. 29, * When men are cast down, 
then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble 
person ;' or as the Hebrew hath it, ne shahh gneaim, him that hath low 
eyes, noting to us that an humble soul looks not after high things.* So 
in Ps. cxxxi. 1, 2, * Lord, my heart is not haughty nor mine eyes lofty/ 
But how do you know that, David ? Why, says he, * I do not exercise 
myself in great matters, or in things too high, or too wonderful for me. 
Heb. ^3DD mfc^^am Surely I behaved and quieted myself * My soul is 
as a child that is weaned of his mother. My soul is even as a weaned 
child.' As a great shoe fits not a little foot, nor a great sail a little ship, 
nor a great ring a little finger, so a great estate fits not a humble soul. 
It was a prudent speech of that Indian king Taxiles to the invading 
Alexander :^ What should we need, said he, to fight and make war one 
with another, if thou comest not to take away our water and our neces- 
saries by which we must live ? As for other goods, if I be richer than 
thou, I am ready to give thee of mine ; and if I have less, I will not 
think scorn to thank thee if thou wilt give me some of thine. Oh ! but 
proud Absalom can't be content to be the king's son, unless he may 
have the crown presently from his father's head. Caesar can abide no 
superior, nor Pompey an equal. A proud soul is content with nothing. 
A crown could not content Ahab, but he must have Naboth's vine- 
yard, though he swim to it in blood. Diogenes had more content 
with his tub to shelter him from the injuries of the weather, and with 
his wooden dish to eat and drink in, than Alexander had with the con- 
quest of half the world, and the fruition of all the treasures, pleasures, 
and glories of Asia.^ So an humble soul is more contented and satisfied 

^ Happy is that soul, and to be equalled with angels, who is willing to suffer, if it 
were possible, as great things for Christ as Christ hath suffered for it, said Jerome. 

2 Galen. 3 yij- bonus paucis indiget. 

^ Ps. iv. 6, 7 ; Prov. xxx. 8. Luther made many a meal of a herring, and Junius of 
an egg. [Francis Junius, the noble-born coadjutor of Tremellius. Died 1602. — G.] 

s Plutarch {^Alexander, 59, 66. — G.] ^ Plutarch, &c., as before.— Q. 


with Daniel's pulse and John's coat than proud princes are with their 
glistering crowns and golden sceptres. 

[14.] The fourteenth property of an humble soul is this : it can 
rejoice in the graces and gracious actings of others, as well as in its 
own. An humble Moses could say when Eldad and Medad prophesied 
in the camp, * Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and 
that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them,' Num. xi. 26-80. So 
humble Paul in Acts xxvi. 29, ' And Paul said, I would to God that not 
only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost and 
altogether such as I am, except those bonds.'^ 1 heartily wish and 
pray for thine own sake that not only in a low but in an eminent, 
degree, both thou and all that are here pr^ent, were as far Christians 
as I am ; only I would not wish them imprisoned as I am. An humble 
soul is no churl. There is no envy in spiritual things ; one may have 
as much of spirituals as another, and all alike. So in 1 Thes. i. 2, 3, 
' We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in 
our prayers ; remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and 
labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the 
sight of God and our Father.' So in the 2 Epistle i. 2-4, ' Grace be unto 
you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. We 
are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because 
that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you 
all towards each other aboundeth : so that we ourselves glory in you in 
the churches of God, for your patience and faith in all your persecutions 
and tribulations that you endure.' Ezekiel can commend Daniel, his 
contemporary, matching him with Noah and Job, for his power in 
prayer ; and Peter highly praises Paul's epistles, though he had been 
sharply reproved in one of them, Ezek. xiv. 1 4, 2 Peter iii., &c. Oh ! but 
proud souls will be still a-casting disgrace and contempt upon those 
excellencies in others that they want in themselves. 

A proud cardinal, in Luther's time, said, Indeed, a reformation is 
needful, and to be desired, but that Luther, a rascally friar, should be 
the man should do it, is intolerable.^ Pride is like certain flies, called 
cantharides, who light especially upon the fairest wheat and the most 
blown roses.' 

Though Licinius, who was joined with Galerius in the empire, was 
so ignorant that he could not write his own name, yet as Eusebius re- 
ports, he called the liberal arts a pubhc poison.'^ 

This age is full of such monsters that ^nvy every light that outshines 
their own, and that throw dirt upon the graces and excellencies of others, 
that themselves may only shine. Pride is notable both at subtraction 
and at multiplication. A proud heart always prizes himself above the 
market ; he reckons his own pence for pounds, and others' pounds for 
pence ; he looks upon his own counters as gold, and upon others' gold as 
counters. All pearls are counterfeit but what he wears. 

' {» cxiyu *«) iv •raxxi : a little and a great way. The ancient clmrcli had her diptychs, 
or public tables, wherein the persons most noted for piety were recorded. Plato called 
Aristotle the intelligent reader, and Aristotle set up an altar in honour of Plato. 

2 Attributed to Cardinal Cajetan. Cf. Sibbes, vol. vii. p. 464— G. 

' Caesar Borgias, emulating and imitating Julius Caesar, did use to say, Aut Ccesar, 
aut nullns ; but not long after he was slain in the kingdom of Navarre. 

* As before : see Index, sub nomine.— G. 

EpH. hi. 8.] KICHES OF CHRIST. 23 

[15.] The fifteenth property of an humble soul is, he will rather hear 
wrongs than revenge wrongs offered. The humble soul knows that 
vengeance is the Lord's, and that he will repay, &c., Ps. xciv. 1 . The 
humble soul loves not to take the sword in his own hand, E,om. xii. 19 ; 
he knows the day is a-coming, wherein the Lord will give his enemies 
two blows for one, and here he rests. An humble soul, when wrongs 
are offered, is like a man with a sword in one hand and a salve in 
the other ; could wound but will heal •} Ps. xxxv. 11-16, ' False wit- 
nesses did rise up : they laid to my charge things that I knew not. 
They rewarded me evil for good, to the spoiling of my souL But as for 
me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth : I humbled my 
soul with fasting ; and my prayer returned into my own bosom. I be- 
haved myself as though he had been my friend or brother : I bowed 
down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother,' &c. The Scripture 
abounds in instances of this nature. 

Dionysius having not very well used Plato at the court, when he was 
gone, fearing lest he should write against him, he sent after him to 
bid him not to write against him. Says he, * Tell Dionysius that I 
have not so much leisure as to think of him.' So humble wronged souls 
are not at leisure to think of the wrongs and injuries that others do 
them. 2 

Mr Foxe, that wrote the Book of Martyrs, would be sure to do him 
a kindness that had done him an injury : so that it used to be a pro- 
verb, ' If a man would have Mr Foxe do him a kindness, let him do him 
an injury.' An humble soul is often in looking over the wrongs and 
injuries that he has done to God, and the sweet and tender carriage of 
God towards him notwithstanding those wrongs and injuries ; and this 
wins him, and works him to be more willing and ready to bear wrongs, 
and forgive wrongs, than to revenge any offered wrongs. 

[16.] The sixteenth property of an humble soul is this. An humble 
soul, though he he of never so rare abilities, yet he will not disdain to 
he taught what he knows not, hy the meanest persons, Isa. xi. 6. A 
child shall lead the humble soul in the way that is good ; he cares not 
how mean and contemptible the person is, if a g\iide or an instructor 
to him. 

ApoUos, * an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scripture,' a master in 
Israel, and yet sits by an Aquila, a tent-maker, and Priscilla his wife, to 
be instructed by them. Acts xviii. 24-26.^ Sometimes the poorest and 
the meanest Christian may, for counsel and comfort, be a god to an- 
other, as Moses was to Aaron. As an humble soul knows that the stars 
have their situation in heaven, though sometimes he sees them by their 
reflection in a puddle, in the bottom of a well, or in a stinking ditch ; 
so he knows that godly souls, though never so poor, low, and contempt- 
ible, as to the things of this world, are fixed in heaven, in the region 
above ; and therefore their poverty and meanness is no bar to hinder 
him from learning of them, Eph. ii. 6. 

' 1 may truly say of the humble soul what Tully said of Caesar, Nihil ohliyisci soles, 
nisi injurias, that he forgot nothing but injuries. Augustus Ceesar, in whose time Christ 
was born, bid Catullus, the railing poet, to supper, to shew that he had forgiven him. 
[Rather Julius Caesar : Suetonius, Jul. 73. — G.] 

2 Cf. Tyzetzes, Chil. v. 182-185.— G. 

3 Vide Beza on the words. [Annot., as before. — G.] 


Though John was poor in the world, yet many humble souls did not 
disdain, but rejoice in his ministry. Christ lived poor and died poor, 
Mat. viii. 20. As he was born in another man's house, so he was buried 
in another man's tomb. Austin observes, when Christ died he made no 
will ; he had no crown-lands, only his coat was left, and that the sol- 
diers parted among them ; and yet those that were meek and lowly in 
heart counted it their heaven, their happiness, to be taught and instructed 
by him.^ 

[17.] The seventeenth property of an humble soul is this : an Iiumhle 
soul will bless God, and be thankful to God, as vjell under misery as 
under mercy ; as well when God frowns as when he smiles ; as well 
when God takes as when he gives ; as well under crosses and losses, 
as under blessings and mercies:^ Job i. 21, ' The Lord gives and the 
Lord takes, blessed be the name of the Lord.' He doth not cry out 
upon the Sabeans and the Chaldeans, but he looks through all second- 
ary causes, and sees the hand of God ; and then he lays his hand 
upon his own heart, and sweetly sings it out, * The Lord gives, and 
the Lord takes, blessed be the name of the Lord.' An humble 
soul, in every condition, blesses God, as the apostle commands, in 
the 1 Thes. v. 18, ' In every thing give thanks to God.' So 1 Cor. iv. 12, 
* Being reviled, we bless ; being persecuted, we suffer.' The language 
of an humble soul is. If it be thy will, saith an humble soul, I should 
be in darkness, I will bless thee ; and if it be thy will I should be again 
in light, I will bless thee ; if thou wilt comfort me, I wiU bless thee ; 
and if thou wilt afflict me, I will bless thee ; if thou wilt make me poor, 
I will bless thee ; if thou wilt make me rich, I will bless thee ; if thou 
wilt give me the least mercy, I will bless thee ; if thou wilt give me no 
mercy, I will bless thee. An humble soul is quick-sighted ; he sees the 
rod in a Father's hand; he sees honey upon the top of every twig, and so 
can bless God ; he sees sugar at the bottom of the bitterest cup that God 
doth put into his hand ; he knows that God's house of correction is a 
school of instruction ; and so he can sit down and bless when the rod 
is upon his back. An humble soul knows that the design of God in all 
is his instruction, his reformation, and his salvation.^ 

It was a sweet saying of holy Bradford, If the queen will give me 
my life, I will thank her ; if she will banish me, I will thank her ; if 
she will bum me, I will thank her ; if she will condemn me to perpe- 
tual imprisonment, I will thank her.* Ay, this is the temper of an 
humble heart. ^ An humble soul knows, that to bless God in prosperity 
is the way to increase it ; and to bless God in adversity is the way to 
remove it. An humble soul knows, that if he blesses God under mer- 
cies, he hath paid his debt ; but if he blesses God under crosses, he 

» On John xiv. 27.— G. 

' Tullj calls gratitude Maximam, imo mafrem, omnium virtutum rdiquarum, the 
greatest, yea, the mother of all virtues. 

3 The Jews have a proverb, that we must leap up to mount Gerizim, which was a 
mount of blessings ; but creep into mount Ebal, which was a mount of curses : to shew 
that we must be ready to bless, but backward to curse. An humble soul can extract one 
contrary out of another, honey out of the rock, gold out of iron, &c. A fflictions to humble 
souls are the Lord's plough, the Lord's harrow, the Lord's flail, the Lord's drawing-plas- 
ter, the Lord s pruning knife, the Lord's potion, the Lord's soap ; and therefore they can 
sit down and bless the Lord, and kiss the rod. 

< Foxe, sub nomine, and his own Letters. — G. 


hath made God a debtor. But oh the pride of men's hearts, when the 
rod is upon their backs ! You have many professors that are seemingly 
humble, while the sun shines, while God gives, and smiles, and strokes ; 
but when his smiles are turned into frowns, when he strikes and lays 
on, oh the murmurings ! the disputings ! the frettings ! and wranglings 
of proud souls ! they always kick when God strikes. 

[18.] The last property of an humble soul is this : an humble soul 
will wisely and patiently bear reproof : Pro v. xxv. 12, 'As an ear- 
ring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon 
an obedient ear.' A seasonable reproof falling upon an humble soul 
hath a redoubled grace with it. It is an ear-ring of gold, and as an 
ornament of fine gold, or as a diamond in a diadem. 

An humble David can say, * Let the righteous smite me, it shall be 
a kindness, and let him reprove me, it shall be an excellent oil, which 
shall not break my head,' Ps. cxli. 5. David compares the faithful 
reproof of the righteous, to the excellent oil that they used about their 
heads. Some translate it, * Let it never cease from my head.' That is, 
let me never want it, and so the original will bear too, I would never 
want reproofs, whatsoever I want : ' But yet my prayer shall be in their 
calamities.' I will requite their reproofs with my best prayers in the 
day of their calamity, saith David. Whereas a proud heart will neither 
pray for such nor with such as reprove them, but in their calamities 
will most insult over them.^ 

Some translate it more emphatically : * The more they do, the more 
I shall think myself bound unto them.' And this was Gerson's dispo- 
sition,^ of whom it is recorded, that he rejoiced in nothing more than if 
he were freely and friendly reproved by any : Pro v. ix. 8, 9, ' Rebuke 
a wise man, and he will love thee ; give instruction to a wise man, and 
he will be yet wiser.' Prov. xix. 25, * Reprove one that hath under- 
standing, and he will understand knowledge.' You know how sweetly 
David carries it towards Abigail, 1 Sam. xxv. 32, 33 ; she wisely meets 
him, and puts him in mind of what he was going about, and he falls 
a-blessing of her presently : * Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which 
sent thee this day to meet me, and blessed be thy advice, and blessed 
be thou which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood.' I 
was resolved in my passion, and in the heat of my spirit, that I would 
not leave a man alive, but blessed be God, and blessed be thy counsel ! 
An humble soul can sit down and bless God under reproofs. An humble 
soul is like the Scythian king, that went naked in the snow, and when 
Alexander wondered how he could endure it, he answered, ' I am not 
ashamed, for I am all forehead.' An humble soul is all forehead, able 
to bear reproofs with much wisdom and patience. Oh ! but a proud 
heart cannot bear reproofs, he scorns the reprover and his reproofs too.^ 

* ^I^N") ^3"*'?J<. Oil is here metaphorically taken for words of reproof, which may be 
said figuratively to break the head. Vide Job x. 2. 

2 In vit. Jo. Gerson. So Alypius loved Austin for reproving him [Confessions, b. vi., 
vii. 12.— G.] So did David Nathan, 1 Kings i. ; 2 Sam. xii. 12, 13, and xxiv. 13, 14. 
That is a choice and tender spirit that can meekly and humbly embrace reproofs, and bless 
God for reproofs. 

3 Manasseh, king of Judah, being reproved by the aged princely prophet Isaiah, caused 
him, near to the fountain of Siloa, to be sawn in sunder with a wooden saw, in the 
eightieth year of his age ; for which cruel act, amongst other of his sins, lie was sorely 


Prov. XV. 12, 'A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him, neither 
will he go unto the wise.' Amos v. 10, ' They hate him that reproveth 
in the gate ;' as Ahab did good Micaiah, and John Baptist did Herod, 
and our Saviour the Pharisees,^ Luke xvi. 13. Christ being to deal with 
the covetous Scribes and Pharisees, he lays the law home, and tells them 
plainly that they could not serve God and mammon. Here Christ 
strikes at their right eye ; but how do they hear this ? Mark in the 
14th verse, ' The Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these 
things, and they derided him.' The Pharisees did not simply laugh at 
Christ, but gave also external signs of scorn in their countenance and 
gestures. They blew their nose at him, for that is the meaning of the 
original word.^ By their gestures they demonstrated their horrid derid- 
ing of him ; they fleared and jeered, when they should have feared and 
trembled at the wrath to come : Isa. xxviii. 1 0, ' For precept must be 
upon precept, precept upon precept ; line upon line, line upon line ; 
here a little, and there a little.' One observes, that that was a scoff 
put upon the prophet, and is as if they should say, Here is nothing 
but precept upon precept, line upon line. And, indeed, the very sound 
of the words in the original carries a taunt, zau le zau, kau lakau, as 
scornful people, by the tone of their voice and rhyming words, scorn at 
such as they despise. Pride and passion, and other vices, in these days 
go armed ; touch them never so gently, yet, like the nettle, they will 
sting you ; and if you deal with them, roimdly, roughly, cuttingly, as 
the apostle speaks, they will swagger with you, as the Hebrew did with 
Moses : 'Who made thee a judge over us?' Exod. ii. 13, 14. And 
thus much for the properties of an humble soul. 

III. I come now to the next thing, and that is, to shew you the 
reasons why the best men are the most humble men, 

[1.] First, Because they see themselves the greatest debtors to God for 
tvhat they do enjoy. 

There is no man on earth that sees himself such a debtor to God as 
the humble man. Every smile makes him a debtor to God, and every 
good word from heaven makes him a debtor to God. He looks upon 
all his temporals, as health, wealth, wife, child, friend, &c., and sees 
himself deeply indebted for all. He looks upon his spiritual mercies, 
and sees himself a great debtor to God for them ; he looks upon his 
graces, and sees himself a debtor for them ; he looks upon his experi- 
ences, and sees himself a debtor for them ; he looks upon all his pri- 
vileges, and sees himself a debtor for them ; he looks upon his in-comes, 
and sees himself a debtor for them.^ The more mercy he hath received, 
the more he looks upon himself indebted and obliged to pay duty and 
tribute to God ; as you may see in Ps. cxvi. 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14 verses 
compared. In the 6th, 7th, 8th verses, he tells you of the mercies he 
punished by God, 2 Chron. xxxiii. 11. So Cambyses, king of Persia, hated Praxaspes, 
one of his nobles that was familiar with him, for reproving his drunkenness. 

^ The meaning is plain, though the sentence is inaccurate. — Ed. 

2 They blowed their nose at him, manifesting thereby their scorning at what he said. 

3 When a knight died at Rome that was much in debt, Augustus the emperor sent to 
buy his bed, conceiving there must needs be some extraordinary virtue in it, if he that 
was so much in debt could take any rest upon it. An humble soul sees himself so much 
in debt for mercies in hand, and mercies in hope, that he cannot sleep without blessing 
and admiring of God. 


had received from God, and in the 12th and ISth verses, says he, * What 
shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits towards me ?' I see my- 
self, saith he, wonderfully indebted ; well, what then ? why, ' I will take 
the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay 
my vows unto the Lord, in the presence of all his people.' The same 
you have in the 16th, l7th, and ISth verses of the same psalm. 

So David, Ps. ciii. 1-4, casts his eyes upon his temporal and his 
spiritual mercies, and then calls upon his soul : ' O my soul, bless the 
Lord ; and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, 
O my soul, and forget not all his benefits : who forgiveth all thine 
iniquities ; who healeth all thy diseases,' &c. An humble soul knows, 
that it is a strange folly to be proud of being more in debt than another. 
It is true, saith he, I have this and that mercy in possession, and such 
and such mercies in reversion ; but by all, I am the more a debtor to 

Caesar admired at that mad soldier, who was very much in debt and 
yet slept so quietly. So does an humble soul wonder and admire, to see 
men that are so much indebted to God for mercies, as many are, and 
yet sleep so quietly, and be so mindless and careless in blessing and 
praising of God. There is nothing, saith one, that endures so small a 
time, as the memory of mercies received ; and the more great they are, 
the more commonly they are recompensed with ingratitude. 

[2.] Secondly, It is because in this life they have hut a taste of God. 

In the 1 Pet. ii. 2, 3, ' As new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of 
the word, that ye may grow thereby ; if so be ye have tasted that the 
Lord is gracious.' The best men on this side heaven have but a taste ; 
he is but in a tasting, desiring, hungering, thirsting, and growing condi- 
tion : Job xxvi. 14, 'These are part of his ways, but how little a por- 
tion is heard of him !' So in 1 Cor. xiii. 9, 10, 12, ' We know but in 
part, and we prophesy but in part ; now we see through a glass darkly, 
but then face to face.' The Lord gives out but little of himself here, 
we have but a taste of divine sweetness here, we see but the back-parts 
of God, the day is not far off when we shall see his face. The best of 
Christ is behind, as the sweetest honey lies in the bottom. Our greatest 
knowledge here is to know that we know nothing. 

The Kabbins in their comments upon Scripture, when they meet with 
hard knots that they cannot explicate, they salve all with this, Elias 
cum venerit solvet omnia, ' When Elias comes, he will resolve all 
things.' The best men are in the dark, and will be in the dark, till the 
Lord comes to shine forth upon them in more grace and glory. The 
best men on this side heaven are narrow vessels : they are able to receive 
and take in but little of God. The best men are so full of the world, 
and the vanities thereof, that they are able to take in but little of God. 
Here God gives his people some tastes, that they may not faint ; and he 
gives them but a taste, that they may long to be at home, that they 
may keep humble, that they may sit loose from things below, that they 
may not break and despise bruised reeds, and that heaven may. be the 
more sweet to them at last, &c. 

^ I have read of a stork that cast a pearl into the bosom of a maid, which had healed 
her of a wound. So humble souls cast the pearl of praise into the bosom of God for all 
his favours towards them. — Guc. Hist., lib, iv. [Guicciardini.— G.] 


[3.] A third reason why the best men are the most humble, and 
that is, because the best men dwell more %ijpon their worser part, their 
ignoble part, than they do upon their noble part, their better part. 

In Isa. vi. 5, M am a man of unclean lips,' saith that humble soul. 
So humble Job cries out of the iniquity of his youth ; and says he, 
' Once have I spoken foolishly, yea, twice, but I will do so no more,' 
Job xiii. 26, xl. 15. Humble David, Ps. li. 3, sighs it out, 'My sin is 
ever before me.' So humble Paul, Eom. vii. 22, 23, complains, that he 
' hath a law in his members warring against the law of his mind, and 
leading him captive to the law of sin ;' and that, ' when he would do 
good, evil was present with him.' An humble soul sees that he can 
stay no more from sin than the heart can from panting, and the pulse 
from beating; he sees his heart and life to be fuller of sin, than the 
firmament is of stars ; and this keeps him low.^ He sees that sin is so 
bred in the bone, that till his bones, as Joseph's, be carried out of the 
Egypt of this world, it will not out. He every day finds that these 
Jebusites and Canaanites be as thorns in his eyes, and as goads in 
his sides. He finds sin an ill inmate, that will not out, till the house 
fall on the head of it; as the fretting leprosy, in the walls of the house, 
would not out till the house itself was demohshed.^ Though sin and 
grace were never born together, and though they shall not die together ; 
yet while the believer lives, these two must live together ; and this 
keeps them humble. 

As the peacock, looking upon his black feet, lets fall his plumes, so 
the poor soul, when he looks upon his black feet, the vanity of his 
mind, the body of sin that is in him, his proud spirit falls low. 

Epaminondas, an Athenian captain, being asked why he was so sad 
the day after a great victory, answered, * Yesterday I was tickled with 
much vain-glory, therefore I correct myself for it to-day.'^ That is the 
temper of an humble soul. It is very observable, that the saints are 
pressed to take notice of their better part : Cant. i. 15, ' Behold thou 
art fair my love, behold thou art fair.' And so, chap. iv. 1, ' Behold 
thou art fair, behold thou art fair.'* God hath much ado to get a 
gracious heart to mind his spiritual beauty; to take notice of the inward 
excellency that he hath wrought in it. Though ' the king's daughter 
be all glorious within,' yet God hath much ado to bring her to see and 
take notice of her inward beauty and glory. The humble soul is more 
set to eye and dwell upon its deformity, than it is upon that beauty 
and glory that God hath stamped upon it. And this makes the man 
little and low in his own eyes. 

[4.] Fourthly, Because they have the clearest sight and vision of 
God, and have the nearest and highest comTnunion with God. None 
on earth are so near to God, and so high in their communion with God, 
as humble souls. And as they have the clearest visions of God, so 
those actions of God give them the fullest sight and knowledge of their 
own sinfulness and nothingness. So in Job xlii. 5, 6, ' I have heard of 

* Teneo'in memoria, scribo in charta, sed non habeo in vita. — Augustine. 

'As Hagar would dwell with Sarah till she beat her out of doors, so will sin dwell 
with grace till death beat it out of doors. 3 Plutarch : Epam. — G. 

* This duplication, as well as the ecc*'-, is full of attention and admiration, and Christ 
by praising perfects his own work ; for locutio verbi infusio doni, to call her fair is to 
make her so, &c. 


thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye hath seen thee, I 
abhor myself in dust and ashes." Isa. vi. 1, 5, In a vision the Lord 
discovers his glory to the prophet, then verse 5, * Woe is me !' saith he, 
* for I am undone -' or ' I am cut off,' why ? Because ' I am a man of 
unclean lips ; and have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.' ^ Oh, the 
vision that I have had of the glory of God hath given me such a clear 
and full sight of my own vileness and baseness, that I cannot but loathe 
and abhor myself When Abraham draws near to God, then he accounts 
himself but dust and ashes. Gen. xviii. 26, 27. The angels that are 
near God, that stand before him, they cover their faces with two wings, 
as with a double scarf, in the 6th of Isaiah ver. 2. 

[5.] The fifth and last reason why those are most humble that are 
most holy is, because they maintain in themselves a holy fear of sin- 

' And the more this holy fear of falling is maintained, the more the 
soul is humbled. Pro v. xiv. 16, ' A wise man feareth, and departeth 
from evil;' and chap, xxviii. 14, 'Happy is the man that feareth always: 
but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief And this 
keeps the holy soul humble. 

1 have known a good old man, saith Bernard, who when he had heard 
of any that had committed some notorious offence, was wont to say 
with himself, Ille hodie, et ego eras, he fell to-day, so may I to-morrow. 
Now, the reason why humble souls do keep up in themselves a holy 
fear of falling, is because this is the best to keep them from falling. 
Job fears and conquers on the dunghill ; Adam presumes, and falls in 

, paradise; Nehemiah fears, and stands, Neh. v. 15 ; Peter presumes, 
and falls, Mat. xxvi. 69, seq. ; Mr Sanders the martyr, in Queen Mary's 
days, fears and stands ; Dr Pendleton presumes, and falls from a pro- 
fessor to be a papist.' 

When Agamemnon said. What should the conqueror fear ? Casander 
presently answered, Quod nihil timet, He should fear this most of all, 
that he fears not at all. 

And so I have done with the reasons of the point. I shall now come to 

IV. The uses of it : and the first is this. 

[l.J Is it so, that the most holy souls are the most humble souls? 
Then this shews you, that the number of holy souls is very few. Oh, 
how few be there that are low in their own eyes! The number of souls 
that are high in the esteem of God, and low in their own esteem, are 
very few. Oh, the pride of England ! Oh, the pride of London ! 
Pride in these days has got a whore's forehead ; yet pride cannot climb 
so high but justice will sit above her. 

Bernard saith, that pride is the rich man's cousin. I may add, and 
the poor man's cousin, and the profane man's cousin, and the civil 
man's cousin, and the formal man's cousin, and the hypocrite's cousin ; 
yea, all men's cousin ; and it will first or last cast down and cast out all 
the Lucifers and Adams in the world.* 

* DXlOX, from DKJ3, which signifies to reject, to despise, to cast off, to contemn. 

2 As one fire, so one fear drives out another. As the sunshine puts out fire, so doth 
the fear of God the fire of hists. ^ Clarke, as before. — G. 

* A proud heart resists, and is resisted ; this is duro durum, flint to flint, fire to fire, 
yet down he must. 


[2.] Secondly, As you would approve yourselves to he high in the 
account of God, as you would approve yourselves to be not only good, 
but eminently good, keep humble. Since England was England, since 
the gospel shined amongst us, there was never such reason to press this 
duty of humility, as in these days of pride wherein we live ; and there- 
fore I shall endeavour these two things : 

First, To lay down some motives that may work you to be humble. 
Secondly, To propound some directions that may further you in this 
First, For the motives, Consider, 

(1.) First, How God singles out humble souls from all others, to 
pour out most of the oil of grace into their hearts. 

No vessels that God delights to fill, like broken vessels, like contrite 
spirits: James iv. 6, 'He resists the proud, and gives grace to the 
humble.' The Greek word signifies, to set himself in battle array. 
God takes the wind and hill of a proud soul, but he gives grace to the 
humble. The silver dews flow down from the mountains to the lowest 
valleys. Abraham was but dust and ashes in his own eyes ; ay, but 
saith God, ' Shall I hide from Abraham the thing that I will do V Gen. 
xviii. 17. No ; I will not. An humble soul shall be both of God's 
court and his counsel too. Humble Jacob, that was in his own eyes 
less than the least of all mercies, Gen. xxxii. 10, what a glorious vision 
had he of God, when the ground was his bed, and the stone his pillow, 
and the hedges his curtains, and the heavens his canopy ; then he saw 
angels ascend and descend. Gen. xxviii. An humble soul that lies low, 
oh what sights of God hath he ! What glory doth he behold, when the 
proud soul sees nothing ! God pours in grace to the humble, as men 
pour in liquor into an empty vessel. He does not drop in grace into 
an humble heart, but he pours it in.^ 

The altar under the law was hollow, to receive the fire, the wood, 
and the sacrifice ; so the hearts of men, under the gospel, must be 
humble, empty of all spiritual pride and self-conceitedness, that so they 
may receive the fire of the Spirit, and Jesus Christ, who offered himself 
for a sacrifice for our sins. 

Humility is both a grace, and a vessel to receive grace. There is 
none that sees so much need of grace as humble souls. There is none 
prizes grace like humble souls. There is none improves grace like 
humble souls. Therefore God singles out the humble soul to fill him 
to the brim with grace, when the proud is sent empty away. 

(2.) A second motive is, of all garments humility doth best become 
Christians, and most adorn their prof ession. 

Faith is the champion of grace, and love the nurse, but humility the 
beauty of grace : 1 Peter v. 5, ' Be clothed with humility.' The Greek 
word iy^oiM^Mdaak imports, that humility is the ribbon or string that ties 
together all those precious pearls, the rest of the graces. If this strino- 
break, they are all scattered. 

The Greek word that is rendered clothed, comes of another Greek 
word ■/.oiJ.Zog, that signifies to knit, and tie knots, as delicate and curious 
women used to do, of ribbons, to adorn their heads and bodies, as if 

^ He that is in the low pits and caves of the earth sees the stars in the firmament, when 
they who are upon the tops of the mountains discern them not. 


humility were the knot of every virtue, the grace of every grace. 
Chrysostom calls humility the root, mother, nurse, foundation, and 
band of all virtue.' Basil calls it ' the storehouse and treasury of all 
good.' For what is the scandal and reproach of religion at this day? 
Nothing more than the pride of professors. Is not this the language of 
most ? They are great professors. Oh but very proud ! They are great 
hearers, they will run from sermon to sermon, and cry up this man, and 
cry up that man, Oh but proud ! They are great talkers. Oh but as proud 
as the devil ! &c. Oh that you would take the counsel of the apostle, 
' Be clothed with humility' ; and that Col. iii. 12, * Put on therefore, as 
the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercy, kindness, humble- 
ness of mind, meekness, longsuflfering.' No robes to these.^ 

(3.) The third motive is this, humility is a loadstone that draws 
both the heart of God and man to it. 

In Isa. Ivii. 15, ' Thus saith the high and lofty One, that inhabiteth 
eternity, whose name is holy ; I dwell in the high and holy place, with 
him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit.' The Lord singles out 
the humble soul of all others, to make him an habitation for himself 
Here is a wonder ! God is on high ; and yet the higher a man lifts up 
himself, the farther he is from God ; and the lower a man humbles 
himself, the nearer he is to God. Of all souls, God delights most to 
dwell with the humble, for they do most prize and best improve his 
precious presence. 

In Prov. xxix. 23, * A man's pride shall bring him low, but honour 
shall uphold the humble in spirit. Prov. xxii. 4, * By humility and the 
fear of the Lord are riches and honour,' &c. The Hebrew is, ' The heel 
of humility.' Riches and honour follow humility at the very heels. 
One of the ancients used to say that humility is the first, second, and 
third grace of a Christian.^ Humility is a very drawing grace ; it draws 
men to think well and speak well of Christ, the gospel, and the people 
of God ; it makes the very world to say. Ay, these are Christians 
indeed ; they are fuU of light, and yet full of lowliness ; they are high 
in worth, and yet humble in heart. Oh, these are the crown and the 
glory of religion.' 

An humble soul is like the violet, that by its fragrant smell draws 
the eye and the hearts of others to him. Mat. xviii. 4, * They are the 
greatest in the kingdom of heaven.' He that is least in his own account 
is always greatest in God's, and in good men's account. 

(4.) The fourth motive is this, consider all the world cannot keep 
him up, that doth not keep down his own spirit. 

One asked a philosopher, what God was a-doing 1 He answered, 
* That his whole work was to lift up the humble, and to cast down the 
proud.'* That man cannot possibly be kept up, whose spirit is not kept 
down, as you may clearly see in Pharaoh, Haman, Herod, and Nebuchad- 
nezzar ; all the world could not keep them up, because their spirit was 
not kept down. 

' It is reported of the crystal, that it hath such a virtue in it, that the very touching 
of it quickens other stones, and puts a lustre and beauty upon them. So does humility 
put a lustre upon every grace. 

^ Augustine. Cf. our Index under IlumiUty for other references. — G, 

' Vis magnus esse ? incipe ah imo, wilt thou be great ? begin from below, saith the father. 

* Totam ipsius oceupationem esse in elevatione humilium, et superborum dcjectione. 


Prov. xxix. 27, ' A man's pride shall bring him low ;' for it sets God 
against him, and angels against him, and men against him ; yea, even 
those that are as proud as himself. It is very observable, that whereas 
one drunkard loves another, one swearer loves another, and one thief 
loves another, and one unclean person loves another, &c., yet one proud 
person cannot endure another, but seeks to undermine him, that he 
alone may bear the bell, and carry the commendations, the praise, the 
promotion. It is storied of the Romans, that were the proudest people 
on the earth, that they reckoned it as a parcel of their praise, that they 
brought down the proud. All the world, sirs, will not keep up those 
persons that do not keep down their spirits.^ 

Proud Valerian, the Roman emperor, fell from being an emperor to 
be a footstool to Sapor, king of Persia, as oft as he took horse. 

Henry the Fourth, emperor, in sixty-two battles, had generally the 
better, and yet was deposed, and driven to that misery, that he desired 
only a clerkship in a house at Spira, that himself had built. And oh ! 
that professors would think of this in these days in which we live. All 
the world shall not keep up those which do not keep down their own 
spirits. The very design of God is to stain the pride of all glory, and 
to bring into contempt the honourable of the earth. Therefore now if 
men in our days shall grow proud and high, under mercies and divine 
appearances, justice will be above them, and turn their glory into shame, 
and lay their honour in the dust. If your blood rises with your out- 
ward good, you will certainly fall, and great will be your fall. 

(5.) The fifth consideration to provoke us to be humble is this : let us 
have always our eye fixed upon the example of Jesus Christ, and his 
humble and lowly carmage. 

Christ by his example labours to provoke his disciples to keep humble, 
and to walk lowly: in John xiii. 4, 5, 12, 13, 14, 15 verses compared. 
He rises and washes his disciples' feet, &c., and mark what he aims at 
in that carriage of his, verse 12-14 : 'Know ye what I have done unto 
you,' saith he ; * Ye call me Master and Lord, and ye say well, for so I 
am ; if I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also 
ought to wash one another's feet ; for I have given you an example, 
that you should do as I have done to you.' I have given you an ex- 
ample, saith Christ, and I would have you to imitate my example. 
Example is the most powerful rhetoric ; the highest and noblest example 
should be very quickening and provoking. Oh ! here you have the 
greatest, the noblest example of humility, that was ever read or heard 
of. Upon consideration of this great and eminent example of Christ's 
humility, Guericus, a good man, cried out. Thou hast overcome me, O 
Lord ! thou hast overcome my pride. This example of thine hath mas- 
tered me. Oh that we could say with this good man, Thou hast over- 
come, Lord ! thou hast overcome our proud hearts, by this example 
thou hast overmastered our lofty spirits. 

This example of Christ's humility you have further set forth, Philip, 
ii. 6-8, 'Who being in the form of God,' that is, in the nature and 
essence of God, being very God, clothed with divine glory and majesty 
as God, ' thought it no robbery/ it being his right by nature, ' to be 

^ Dionysius, a proud king of Sicily, foil from a king to a schoolmaster. History is full 
of such instances. 


equal with God/ The Greek words that are rendered, ' he thought it 
DO robbery/ do import, he made it not a matter of triumph or ostentar- 
tion to be equal with God, it being his right by nature, and therefore 
the challenging of it could be no usurpation of another's right, of 
taking to himself that which was not his own. 'He thought it no rob- 
bery to be equal with God/ The Greek is equals, that is, every way, 
equal, not a secondary and inferior God, as the Arians would have 
him. ' But made himself of no reputation,' verse 7. The Greek is 
* emptied himself,' that is, he suspended and laid aside his glory and 
majesty, or dis-robed himself of his glory and dignity, and became a 
sinner, both by imputation and by reputation, for our sakes. 

And verse 8, ' he humbled himself This Sun of righteousness went 
ten degrees back in the dial of his Father, that he might come to us 
with healing under his wings. * And became obedient unto death, even 
the death of the cross.' In these words there is a kind of gradation ; 
for it is more to become obedient than to humble himself ; and more to 
yield unto death than to become obedient ; and yet more to be crucified 
than simply to die ; for it was to submit himself to a most painful, 
ignominious, and cursed death. * He became obedient.' That is, saith 
Beza, ' to his dying day,' his whole life being nothing but a con- 
tinual death. ^ 

I have read of an earl called Eleazarus, that being given to immo- 
derate anger, was cured of that disordered affection by studying of 
Christ and his patience ; he still dwelt upon the meditation of Christ 
and his patience, till he found his heart transformed into the simili- 
tude of Jesus Christ. And oh ! that you would never leave pondering 
upon that glorious example of Christ's humility, till your hearts be 
made humble, like the heart of Christ. Oh ! that that sweet word of 
Christ, Mat. xi. 29, might stick upon all your hearts, 'Take my yoke 
upon you, and learn of me ; for I am meek and lowly, and you shall find 
rest to your souls.' 

Bonaventure engraved this sweet saying of our Lord, * Learn of me, 
for I am meek and lowly in heart,' in his study ; and oh that this saying 
was engraven upon all your foreheads, upon all your hearts ! Oh that 
it was engraven upon the dishes you eat in, the cups you drink in, the 
seats you sit on, the beds you lie on, &c.'' 

Jerome having read the religious life and death of flilarion, folding 
up the book, said, Well ! Hilarion shall be the champion whom I will 
imitate. Oh ! when you look upon this glorious example of Christ, 
say, The Lord Jesus his example shall be that that my soul shall 

(6.) Sixthly, consider Humility will free a man from perturbations 
and distempers. 

When there are never such great storms without, humility will cause 
a calm within. There are a great many storms abroad, and there is 
nothing will put the soul into a quiet condition but humility. An 
humble soul saith, Who am I, that I may not be despised ? Who am I, 

* Annot. in loco, as before. — G- 

* It was a good law that the Ephesians made, that men should propound to themselves 
the best patterns, and ever bear in mind some eminent man. 



that I may not be reproached, abused, slighted, neglected? That 
which will break a proud man's heart, will not so much as break an 
humble man's sleep. In the midst of a storm, an humble soul is still 
in a calm. When proud hearts are at their wit's ends, stamping, 
swearing, and swaggering at God, and man, and providence, an humble 
soul is quiet and still, like a ship in a harbour. Shimei, 2 Sam. xvi. 
6, 13, comes railing and cursing of David, and calls him a bloody man, 
and a man of Belial, that is, a runnagado, one who being desperately 
wicked had shaken off the yoke of government, and would be under no 
law. So the Hebrew word Jagnat, signifies men without yoke, or lawless. 
Therefore the Septuagint commonly translate it 'ragavo/^oj, altogether 
irregular. It signifies most flagitious men, and notorious and des- 
perately wicked, stigmatized villains, even incarnate devils ; and yet 
David holds his peace, though provoked by his mighty men to revenge 
himself Oh ! how would this cursing and railing have madded and 
broken many a proud man's heart ; and yet it stirs not David. 

Fulgentius, after he was extremely persecuted, he had an advantage 
to seek revenge, but he would not; for, saith he, plura pro Christo 
toleranda, we must suffer more for Christ than so. What though I am 
thus and thus wronged? What though I have an opportunity for 
revenge ? yet I must suffer more than so for Christ, says the humble 
soul. An humble soul, when wrongs are offered him, is like a man 
with a sword in one hand and salve in another ; he could kill but will 

One wondering at the patience and humble carriage of Socrates, 
towards one that reviled him, Socrates said. If we should meet one 
whose body were more unsound than ours, should we be angry with him, 
and not rather pity him ? Why then should we not do the like to 
him whose soul is more diseased than ours ? An humble soul, when 
he meets with this and that wrong from men, he knows that their 
souls are diseased, and that rather moves him to pity than to revenge 
wrongs offered. A proud heart swells and grows big, when in the least 
wronged, and is ready to call for fire from heaven, and to take any 
opportunity for revenge of wrongs offered. No man so abused as I, no 
man thus styled as I, says the proud soul. Oh, but an humble soul in 
patience possesses himself in all trials and storms. 

Gallasius observes upon Exod. xxii. 28, the patience and humble car- 
riage of those three emperors, Theodosius,Honorius, and Arcadius, towards 
those that spake evil of them ; they would have them subject to no pun- 
ishment ; for they said. If it come from lightness of spirit, it is to be con- 
temned; if from madness, it is worthy of pity ; if from injury, it is to 
be forgiven ; for injuries and wrongs are to be pardoned.^ And this is 
the true temper of an humble soul, and by this he enjoys peace and 
quiet in the midst of all earthquakes and heartquakes. 

(7.) The seventh consideration is this, consider humility exalteth. 

He that is most humble, is and shall be most exalted and most 
honoured. No way to be high, like this of being low. Moses was the 
meekest man on earth, and God made him the honourablest, calling of 
him up unto himself into the mount, making known his glory to him, 
and making of him the leader of his people Israel. Gideon was very 
' Willet on Exodus xxviii. Qu. 51. [1618, folio.— G.] 

EpH. hi. 8.] RICHES OF CHRIST. 85 

little in his own eyes ; he was the least of his father's house in his own 
apprehension, and God exalts him, making him the deliverer of his 

It was a good saying of one, Wilt thou be great ? begin from below. 
As the roots of the tree descend, so the branches ascend. The lower 
any man is in this sense, the higher shall that man be raised. Mat. 
xxiii. 12, 'And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased ; and he 
that shall humble himself shall be exalted.' God, that is wisdom itself, 
hath said it, and he will make it good, though thou seest no ways how 
it should be made good. The lowest valleys have the blessing of 
fruitfulness, while the high mountains are barren ; Prov. xviii. 12, 
' Before destruction, the heart of man is lofty, and before honour is 

David came not to the kingdom till he could truly say, ' Lord, my 
heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lifted up,' Ps. cxxxi. ], 2. Abigail 
was not made David's wife till she thought it honour enough to wash 
the feet of the meanest of David's servants, 1 Sam. xxv. Moses must 
be forty years a stranger in Midian, before he became king in Jeshurun ; 
he must be struck sick to death in the inn, before he goes to Pharaoh 
on that noble embassage. 

It was a sweet observation of Luther, ' That for the most part when 
God set him upon any special service for the good of the church, he was 
brought low by some^fit of sickness or other .'^ Surely, as the lower the 
ebb, the higher the tide; so the lower any descend in humility, the 
higher they shall ascend in honour and glory. The lower this founda- 
tion of humility is laid, the higher shall the roof of honour be overlaid. 
If you would turn spiritual purchasers of honour, or of whatsoever else 
is good, no way like this of humility. We live in times wherein men 
labour to purchase honour ; some by their money, others by their 
friends ; others by making themselves slaves to the lusts of men; others 
by being prodigal of their blood, and many by giving themselves up to 
all manner of baseness and wickedness, whereby their carnal ends may 
be attained, and themselves exalted ; but these men and their honour 
will quickly be laid in the dust. Oh ! but the readiest, the surest, the 
safest, the sweetest way to attain to true honour, is to be humble, to 
lie low. Humility makes a man precious in the eye of God. He that 
is little in his own account, is great in God's esteem.^ 

(8.) The eighth and last consideration that I shall propound is this, 
consider humility keeps the soul free from many darts of Satan's 
casting, and snares of his spreading. 

As you may see in the three children in Daniel, and in those worthies 
in the 1 1 th of the Hebrews, * of whom this world was not worthy.' As 
the lowest shrubs are freed from many violent gusts and blasts of 
wind, which shake and rend the tallest cedars ; so the humble soul is 
free from a world of temptations, that proud and lofty souls are shaken 
and torn in pieces with. The devil hath least power to fasten a temp- 
tation upon an humble soul. He that hath a gracious measure of 
humility, is neither affected with Satan's proffers, nor terrified with 

1 In ' Table Talk,' as before, often.— G. 

2 Qui parvus est in reputatione propria, magnus est in reputatione divina. — Gregory [of 
Nyssa. — G.] 


Satau's threateDings. The golden chain does not allure him, nor the 
iron chain does not daunt him. 

I have read of one who, seeing in a vision many snares of Satan 
spread upon the earth, he sat down and mourned, and said with him- 
self, ' Who shall pass through these V whereunto he heard a voice 
answering, ' Humility shall pass through them.' A proud heart is as 
easily conquered as tempted, vanquished as assaulted. But the hum- 
ble soul, when tempted, says with that worthy convert, ' I am not the 
man that 1 was.'* There was a time when my heart was proud and 
lifted up, and then thou couldst no sooner knock but I opened ; no 
sooner call but I answered ; no sooner tempt but I did assent. Oh ! 
but now the Lord taught me to be humble ; I can resist, though I can- 
not dispute ; I can fight, but not yield. 

Mistress Katherine Bretterge, an humble precious soul, being once 
in a great conflict with Satan, said thus to him, * Satan, reason not with 
me, I am but a weak woman ; if thou hast anything to say, say it to 
my Christ; he is my advocate, my strength, and my redeemer, and he 
shall plead for me.^ An humble soul is good at turning Satan over to 
the Lord Jesus, and this increases Satan's hell. It is reported of Satan, 
that he should say thus of a learned man, Tu me semper vincis, thou 
dost always overcome me ; when I would throw thee down, thou liftest 
up thyself in assurance of faith ; and when I would exalt and promote 
thee, thou keepest thyself in humility ; and so thou art too hard for me. 
The only way to avoid cannon-shot, as they say, is to fall down flat ; no 
such way to be freed from temptations as to keep low. 

And so I have done with the first head ; namely, the motives that 
should move and provoke us to keep humble, to be base, to be nothing 
in our own eyes. 

I shall now come to some helps and directions that may be useful 
to keep us humble and low in our own eyes. And the first is this : 

[1.] Divell m^uch upon the greatness of God's mercy and goodness 
to you. 

Nothing humbles and breaks the heart of a sinner like mercy and 
love. Souls that converse much with sin and wrath may be much ter- 
rified ; but souls that converse much with grace and mercy will be 
much humbled. Luke vii., the Lord Jesus shews mercy to that noto- 
rious sinner, and then she falls down at his feet, and loves much and 
weeps much, &c.^ In the 1 Chron. xvii., it was in the heart of David 
to build God a house. God would not have him to do it, yet the mes- 
senger must tell David that God would build him a house, and estab- 
lish his Son upon the throne for ever. Look into the 1 5th, 16th, and 1 7th 
verses, and there you shall find that David lets fall such an humble 
speech, which he never did before that God had sent him that message 
of advancement. ' And David the king came, and sat before the Lord, 
and said, Who am I, O Lord God ? and what is mine house, that thou 
hast brought me hitherto ? And yet this was a small thing in thine 
eyes, O God ; for thou hast also spoken of thy servant's house for 
^ Quis pertransiei ista ? The answer was, HumilUas pertransiet. . . . Effo non sum 
^90- ^ As before : see our Index under Bretterge.— G. 

3 It is said of Adam, that he turned his face to the garden of Eden, and wept sore. 
[Query, by the Rabbins? or is it a tacit allusion to Milton's description? Par. Lost 
b. xii. 645 G.] ' 

EpH. Ill 8.] RICHES OF CHRIST. 37 

a great while to come,' &c., 2 Sam. vii. 18, 19. And this sweetly and 
kindly melts him, and humbles him, before the Lord. Oh, if ever you 
would have your souls kept low, dwell upon the free grace and love of 
God to you in Christ.^ Dwell upon the firstness of his love, dwell upon 
the freeness of his love, the greatness of his love, the fulness of his love, 
the unchangeableness of his love, the everlastingness of his love, and 
the activity of his love. If this do not humble thee, there is nothing 
on earth will do it. Dwell upon what God hath undertaken for you. 
Dwell upon the choice and worthy gifts that he has bestowed on you ; 
and dwell upon that glory and happiness that he has prepared for you, 
and then be proud if you can. 

[2.] Secondly, Keep faith in continual exercise, upon Christ as 
crucified, and upon Christ as glorified. 

There are two special sights of Christ, that tend much to humble and 
abase a soul. 

The one is a sight of Christ in his misery, in the 12th of Zech. 
ver. 10. 

And the other is a sight of Christ in his glory (Rev. i. 7, Isa. vi. 1, 
3, 5, compared). It is dangerous to be more notion than motion ; to 
have faith in the head and none in the heart ; to have an idle and not 
an active faith. It is not enough for you to have faith, but you must 
look to the acting of your faith, upon Christ as crucified, and upon Christ 
as glorified. Souls much in this will be very little and low in their 
own eyes. The great reason why the soul is no more humble is because 
faith is no more active.^ 

[3.] Thirdly, Study your own natures more, and whatever evil you 
behold in other mens 'practices, labour to see the same in your own 

There is the seed of all sins, of the vilest and worst of sins, in the best 
of men. When thou seest another drunk, thou mayest see the seed of 
that sin in thy own nature. When thou seest another unclean, the 
seeds of uncleanness thou mayest see in thy own nature. And in that 
thou dost not act uncleanness as others, it arises not from the goodness 
of thy nature, but from the riches of God's grace.^ Remember this, 
there is not a worse nature in hell than that that is in thee, and it 
would discover itself accordingly ; if the Lord did not restrain it, it 
would carry thee to those horrid acts that are against the very light of 

There was one that was a long time tempted to three horrid sins : to 
be drunk, to lie with his mother, and to murder his father. Being a 

' As honey flows naturally from the bee, so does mercy flow naturally from God. 

* As one scale goes up, the other goes down ; so as faith goes up, the heart goes down. 
3 Imibria sued Scenola, for that he received not his weapon deep enough into his 

body. — Augustine. [Qu. Scavola? — G.] 

* I have read of an Italian monster, who, taking his enemy upon an advantage, set his 
dagger to his heart, and made him to abjure and blaspheme the Lord, that so he might 
save his life ; which being done, he thrust him through, and with a bloody triumph, in- 
sulting over him, said, Oh, this is right noble and heroical revenge, which doth not only 
deprive the body of temporal life, but bringeth also the immortal soul to endless flame.s 
everlastingly. See what natures you carry with you. Jt was a good saying of one of the 
fathers : Other vices are in sins, saith he ; but pride and high confidence is most apt to 
creep in upon duties well done. [Related in Wanley's Wonders, with authority, book 
iv. c. xi. — G.] 


long time followed with these horrid temptations, at last he thought to 
get rid of them, by yielding to that he judged the least, and that was 
to be drunk ; but when he was drunk, he did both lie with his mother 
and murder his father/ Why, such a hellish nature is in every soul 
that breathes I and did God leave men to act according to their natures, 
men would be all incarnate devils, and this world a perfect hell. Such 
is the corruption of our nature, that propound any divine good to it, it 
is entertained as fire by water ; but propound any evil, and it is like 
fire to straw. It is like the foolish satyr that made haste to kiss the 
fire ; it is like that unctuous matter, which the naturalists say that i1 
sucks and snatches the fire to it with which it is consumed. There wa; 
a holy man that rarely heard of other men's crimson sins, but he usuall}^ 
bedewed the place with his tears, considering that the seeds of those 
very sins was in his own nature. In thy nature thou hast that that 
would lead thee with the pharisees to oppose Christ ; and with Judas, 
to betray Christ ; and wdth Pilate, to condemn Christ ; and with the 
soldiers, to crucify Christ, &c. Oh, what a monster, what a devil 
wouldst thou prove, should God but leave thee to act suitable to that 
sinful and woful nature of thine ! 

[4.] Fourthly, Dwell much upon the imperfection that follotvs and 
cleaves to thy best actions. 

Oh the wanderings ! Oh the deadness, the dulness, the fruitless- 
ness of thy spirit in religious duties ! Man is a creature apt to hug 
himself in religious services, and to pride himself in holy duties ; and 
to stroke himself after duties, and to warm himself by the sparks of his 
own fire, his own performances, though he does lie down in sorrow for 
it, Isa. 1. 11. Whenever thou comest off from holy services, sit down, 
and look over the spots, blots, and blemishes that cleave to your choicest 
services. The fairest day has its clouds, the richest jewels their flaws, 
the finest faces their spots, the fairest copies their blots, and so have our 
finest and fairest duties. 

Plutarch tells of a private soldier of Julius Caesar's, who fought so 
valiantly in Britain, that by his means he saved the captains, which 
otherwise were in great danger to be cast away, being driven into a bog, 
then marching with great pain through the mire and dirt : in the end 
he got to the other side, but left his shield behind him. Caesar, won- 
dering at his noble courage, ran to him with joy to embrace him ; but 
the poor soldier, hanging down his head, the water standing in his eyes, 
fell down at Caesar's feet, and besought him to pardon him, for that he 
had left his shield behind him.^ You know how to apply it. He had 
done gallantly, yet he falls down at Caesar's feet, after his brave ser- 
vice, with tears in his eyes, upon the sense of his leaving his shield 
behind him. When we have done our best, we have cause to fall down 
at Jesus's feet, and with tears in our eyes sue out our pardon. 

[5.] Fifthly, In the day of thy prosperity, forget not thy former 

In the day of thy present greatness, forget not thy former meanness. 
Humble Jacob, in the day of his prosperity, remembers his former 
poverty : * With my staff I passed over Jordan, and now I am become 

^ Given in < Precious Remedies.' Cf. Vol. I. p. 20, and note.— G. 
2 Plutarch. [Julius Ccesar : Britain.— G,] 


two bands,' Gen. xxxii. 10. And so David, in his prosperity, remem- 
bered that his sheep-hook was changed into a sceptre, and his seat of 
turf into a royal throne, Ps. Ixxviii. 71, 1 Chron. xvii. And when 
Joseph was a royal favourite, he remembered that he had been an im- 
prisoned slave. And when Gideon was raised to be a saviour to Israel, 
he remembered how God took him from the threshing-floor, Judges 
vi. 11, and how God changed his threshing instrument of wood into 
one of iron, to thresh the mountains, as God himself phraseth it, 
Isa. xli. 15. 

Primislaus, the first king of Bohemia, kept his country shoes always 
by him, to remember from whence he was raised. 

Agathocles, by the furniture of his table, confessed that from a potter 
he was raised to be a king of Sicily. 

We live in times wherein many a man hath been raised from the 
dunghill to sit with princes ; and oh that such were wise to remember 
their former low and contemptible beings, and to walk humbly before 
the Lord ! otherwise who can tell but that greater contempt shall be 
poured forth upon them, than that which they have poured upon 

[6.] Sixthly, Look upon all that you have received, and all that you 
shall hereafter receive, as the fruit of free grace. 

Look upon thy adoption, and write this motto, This is the fruit of 
free grace. Look upon thy justification, and write this motto. This is 
the fruit of free grace. Look upon all thy graces, and write. These 
are the fruits of free grace. Look upon thy experiences, and write, 
These are the fruits of free grace. Look upon thy strength to with- 
stand temptations, and write, This is the fruit of free grace. Look upon 
divine power to conquer corruptions, and write, This is the fruit of free 
grace. Look upon the bread thou eatest, the beer thou drinkest, the 
clothes thou wearest, &c., and write, These are the fruits of free grace. 
1 Cor. iv. 7, ' Who maketh thee to differ from another ? and what hast 
thou that thou hast not received ? and if thou hast received it, why 
dost thou glory as though thou hadst not received it ?' Who maketh 
thee to differ ? Episcopius, a great insolent Arminian, answered, Ego 
me ipsum discerno, I make myself to differ, to wit, by the improve- 
ment of nature. 

This age is full of such proud monsters, ; but an humble soul sees 
free grace to be the spring and fountain of all his mercies and com- 
forts ; he writes free grace upon all his temporals, and upon all his 
spirituals, &c. 

[7.] The seventh direction is. Meditate much upon these two things : 

First, The great mischief that sin hath done in the world. 

It cast angels out of heaven, and Adam out of paradise. It hath 
lain the first corner-stone in hell, and ushered in all the evils and 
miseries that be in the world. It hath threw down Abraham, the best 
believer in the world; and Noah, the most righteous man in the world; 
and Job, the uprightest man in the world; and Moses, the meekest man 
in the world ; and Paul, the greatest apostle in the world. Oh, 
the diseases, the crosses, the losses, the miseries, the deaths, the hells, 
that sin hath brought upon the world ! 

Basil wept when he saw the rose, because it brought to his mind the 


first sin, from whence it had the prickles, which it had not while man 
continued in innocenc}^ as he thought! Oh, when he saw the prickles 
his soul wept ; so when we see, hear, or read of the blood, misery, wars, 
and ruins that sin has brought upon us, let us weep and lie humble 
before the Lord. 

Secondly, Meditate much on this, that many vnched men take 
more pains to daTYin their souls and go to hell, than thou dost to save 
thy soul and to get to heaven, Mat. xxii. 15. 

Oh, what pains do wicked men take to damn their souls and go to 
hell ! Lactantius saith of Lucian, that he spared neither God nor man. 
He took pains to make himself twice told a child of wrath,^ 

It is said of Marcellus, the Roman general, that he could not be quiet, 
nee victor, nee victus, neither conquered nor conqueror. Such restless 
wretches are wicked men. The drunkard rises up in the morning, and 
continues till midnight, till wine inflame him, Isa. v. 11. The unclean 
person wastes his time, and strength, and estate, and all to ruin his 
own soul. 

Theotimus, being told by his physician, that if he did not leave his 
lewd courses, he would lose his sight, answered. Vale lumen amicum, 
then farewell, sweet light. ^ What a deal of pains does the worldling 
take ! He rises up early, and goes to bed late, and leaves no stone 
unturned, and all to make himself but the more miserable in the 

Pambus, in the Ecclesiastical History, wept when he saw a harlot 
dressed with much care and cost, partly to see one take so much 
pains to go to hell, and partly because he had not been so careful to 
please God as she had been to please a wanton lover.^ Oh, sirs ! what 
reason have you to spend your days in weeping ? When you look 
abroad, see what pains most men take to damn their souls and go to 
hell, and then consider what little pains you take to escape hell, to save 
your souls, and go to heaven. 

[8.] Eighthly, Get more internal and experimental knowledge and 
acquaintance with God. 

If ever you would keep humble, no knowledges humbles and abases 
like that which is inward and experimental. We live in days wherein 
there is abundance of notional light. Many professors know much of 
God notionally, but know nothing of God experimentally ; they know 
God in the history, but know nothing of God in the mystery. They know 
much of God in the letter, but little or nothing of God in the Spirit ; 
and therefore it is that they are so proud and high in their own con- 
ceits, whenas he that experimentally knows the Lord is a worm and no 
man in his own eyes. As the sun is necessary to the world, the eye to 
the body, the pilot to the ship, the general to the army, so is experi- 
mental knowledge to the humbling of a soul. Who more experimental 
in their knowledge than David, Job, Isaiah, and Paul ? And who are 
more humble than these worthies ?* 

* Such a mad devil was Catiline. 2 Ambrose, as before. G. 

* Socrates, Eccl. Hist., lib iv. cap. 28. 

* It is a sad tiling to be often eating of the tree of knowledge, but never to taste of the 
tree of life. [The ' History' and ' Mystery' is a favourite distinction of the Puritan 
divines, and is tdaborately carried out by Roberts in his extraordinary and exceedingly 
rare folio, entitled, ' The Mystery and Marrow of the Bible,' (1657) ; and also by Nessun 


Seneca observed of the philosophers, that when theygrewmore learned, 
they were less moral,^ so a growth in notions will bring a great decay in 
hunulity and zeal, as it is too evident in these days. Well, remember 
this, a drop of experimental knowledge will more humble a man than a 
sea of notional knowledge. 

[9.] Ninthly, Look up to a crucified Christ for special power and 
strength against the pride of your hearts. It is sad in these knowing 
times to think how few there are that know the right way of bringing 
under the power of any sin. Most men scarce look so high as a cruci- 
fied Christ for power against their powerful sins. One soul sits down 
and complains, Such a lust haunts me, I will pray it down ; another 
saith. Such a sin follows me, and I will hear it down, or watch it down, 
or resolve it down : and so a crucified Christ is not in all their thoughts. 
Not but that you are to hear, pray, watch, and resolve against your 
sins ; but above all, you should look to the acting of faith upon a cruci- 
fied Christ.^ As he said of the sword of Goliath, * None like to that,' 
so I say. None like to this for the bringing under the pride of men's 
hearts. The weaker the house of Saul grew, the stronger the house of 
David grew. The weakening of your pride will be the increase and 
strengthening of your humility, and therefore what the king of Syria said 
unto his fifty captains, 'Fight neither with small nor great, but with the 
king of Israel,' so say I, If you would keep humble, if you will lie low, draw 
forth your artillery, place your greatest strength against the pride of 
your souls. The death of pride will be the resurrection of humility. 
And that this may stick upon you, I shall lay down several proposi- 
tions concerning pride ; and I am so much the more willing to fall upon 
this work, and to make it the subject of our discourse at this time, 
because this horrid sin doth appear so boldly and impudently, and that 
not only among profane persons, but professors also. There are ten pro- 
positions that 1 shall lay down concerning pride. 

[1.] And the first is this, Of all sins pride is most dangerous to the 
souls of men. 

Pride is a sin that will put the soul upon the worst of sins. Pride 
is a gilded misery, a secret poison, a hidden plague. It is the engineer 
of deceit, the mother of hypocrisy, the parent of envy, the moth of 
holiness, the blinder of hearts, the turner of medicines into maladies, 
and remedies into diseases. It is the original and root of most of those 
notorious vices that be to be found among the children of men. It was 
pride that put Herod upon seeking the blood of Christ. It was pride 
that put the Pharisees upon the persecuting of Christ. It was pride 
that made Athaliah destroy all the seed-royal of the house of Judah, 
that he might reign, 2 Chron. xxi. 10. It was pride that put Joab upon 
murdering perfidiously, under colour of friendship, Abner, 2 Sam. 
iii. 27, and Amasa, 2 Sam. xx. 9, 10. Zimri, out of ambition to reign, 
murdered Elah his lord, 1 Kings xvi. 8-10. Omri, out of pride and 
ambition to reign, rose up against Zimri, and enforced him to burn 

his not less remarkable and equally rare work, ' History and Mystery' of the Bible, 4 
vols, folio, 1G96.— G.] 

' De Constantia tiapientis et Epistoloe. — G. 

* Ps. X. 4. It was the blood of the sacrifice and the oil that cleansed the leper in the 
law, and that by them was meant the blood of Christ and the grace ot his Spirit, is 
agreed by all. 


himself in the king's palace, 1 Kings xvi. 18. It is pride that hath 
ushered in all the contentions that be in towns, cities, countries, 
families, and pulpits throughout the world. It was pride and ambition 
to reign that put Absalom upon pursuing his father's life, from whom 
he had received life.^ 

It is very remarkable, that the pride and ambition of Nebuchad- 
nezzar did usher in the destruction of the Assyrian monarchy ; and the 
ambition and pride of Cyrus that did usher in the overthrow of the 
Babylonian monarchy ; and the ambition and pride of Alexander was 
the cause of the annihilation of the Persian monarchy; and it was the 
pride and ambition of the Koman commanders that was the cause of 
the utter subversion of the Grecian monarchy. There is no tongue that 
can express, nor heart that can conceive, the horrid sins and miseries 
that pride hath ushered in among the children of men. All sin will 
down with a proud heart that is resolved to rise. Great sins are no sins 
with such a soul ; he makes nothing of those very sins that would make 
the very heathen to blush, 

[2.] The second proposition that I shall lay down concerning pride 
is this, 

Where pride hath possessed itself thoroughly of the soul, it turns 
the heart into steel, yea, into a rock. 

As you may see in Pharaoh. Pride turned his heart into steel, yea, 
into a very rock. God strikes again and again ; he sends plague upon 
plague ; and yet the more he is plagued, the more he is hardened. 
His pride turned his soul into a rock : he is no more sensible of the 
frowns of God, the threatenings of God, the plagues, the strokes of God, 
than a rock. Pride had hardened his heart ; he stirs not, he yields 

It was the pride of Saul that turned his heart into steel : ' I have 
sinned,' saith he, ' yet honour me before the people,' 1 Sam. xv. 30. 
God gave him many a blow, many a knock, and many a check, and 
yet, after all, ' Honour me before the people.' Oh how desperately was 
his heart hardened in pride ! In Dan. v. 1 8, Nebuchadnezzar's mind, 
saith the text, ' was hardened in pride.' He saw the vengeance of the 
Almighty upon his predecessors, and God took him up, and lashed him 
till the blood came, and yet he made nothing of it, because his heart 
was hardened in pride. Pride sets a man in opposition against God. 
Other sins are aversions from God, but this sin is a coming against God. 
In other sins a man flies from God, but in this sin a man flies upon 
God : James iv. 6, ' God resisteth the proud.' A man doth not resist 
another till he is set upon ; the traveller doth not resist until such time 
as the thief sets upon him. Saith the text, ' God resisteth the proud.' 
It intimates thus much to us, that the proud heart sets upon God him- 
self, and therefore God resists him. The Greek word is dvTirdffsirai ; 
he places himself in battle array against the proud. God brings forth 
his battalia against the proud, and they bring forth their battalia 
against God. A proud heart resists, and is resisted; this isduro durum, 

' A world of instances out of histories might be given, if it were needful, further to 
evidence this truth. 

Proud souls are of his mind that said, J)fon persuadebis, etiam si persuaseris, thougli 
you do convince me, yet. will 1 not be convinced. 


flint to flint, fire to fire; yet in the day of God's wrath the proud shall 
be burnt up as stubble, both branch and root, Mai. iv. 1. 
[3.] The third proposition concerning pride is this, 
Pride is a sin that shales forth and shews itself not one way, but 
many ways. 
For instance, 

First, Sometimes it shews itself in the looks, Prov. vi. 17: he tells 
you of seven things that the Lord hates, and one is a proud look. The 
Hebrew word there is, ' The haughty eye.' The haughty eye God hates. 
Men's hearts usually shew themselves in their eyes : Ps. cxxxi. 1, ' Mine 
heart is not haughty, nor mine eye lofty.' There be such who shew 
pride in their very looks, but the Lord looks aloof at them, Ps. 
cxxxviii. 6.^ 

Secondly, Sometimes pride shews itself in words : Dan. iv. 30, ' Is not 
this great Babylon that I have built, for the house of the kingdom, by 
the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?' and in 
chap. iii. 15, ' Who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?' 
It was a very proud saying of one, Coelum gratis non accipiam, I will 
not have heaven but at a rate ; and of another, * We have not so lived 
and deserved of God that the enemy should vanquish us.' These were 
the proud ones, that spake loftily, and that set their mouths against the 
heavens, as the psalmist speaks, Ps. Ixxiii. 6, 8, 9, compared. And 
such a one was Henry the Second. Hearing that his city Mentz was 
taken, he used this proud blasphemous speech, ' I shall never love God 
any more, that suffered a city so dear to me to be taken away from me.' 
Such a proud wretch, both in words and actions, was Sennacherib, aa 
you may see in Isa. xxxvii., from ver. 8 to 18. 

Thirdly, Sometimes pride shews itself in the habit of the body ; so 
Herod's pride appeared : Acts xii. 21, Herod was ' arrayed in royal ap- 
parel.' In cloth of silver, saith Josephus,^ which, being beaten upon by 
the sunbeams, dazzled the people's eyes, and drew from them that blas- 
phemous acclamation, ' It is the voice of God, and not of man.' The 
people being most commonly like the Bohemian curs, that used to fawn, 
upon a good suit ; so the rich man, Luke xvi. 19, was clothed in purple, 
xa/ ^{jGffov, and in silk. He was commonly so clothed ; it was his every- 
day 's wear, as the Greek word hsdidvoxsro implieth. 

Quest. But here a question may be asked. May not persons habit 
themselves according to their dignities, ranks, and places that God hath 
put them in in the world ? 

Atis. 1 answer, They may, and ought so to do. If God hath lifted 
them up in the world above others, they may wear better apparel than 
others, Gen. xli. 42, Esther vi. 8, Ps. xlv. 13, 14, 2 Sam. xiii. 18, Lam. 
iv. 5, Mat. xi. 8, Gen. xxvii. 15, Isa. Iii. 1, Hosea ii. 13, Exod. xxviii. 40. 
I cite these scriptures so much the rather, because some, through weak- 
ness and peevishness, stumble and are not satisfied herein. There is 
nothing in the law of God or nature against it. 

Quest. But you may say. May not persons sin in their apparel ? 

Ans. I answer, Yes, and that in four cases. 

[1.] When it is not modest, but carries with it provocation to lust 

^ Frofecto ocuUs animus inhabitat. — Pliny. [Of. Nat. Hist., lib xi. cap. 54, et alibi. — G.] 
2 Anttq., xix. 8, 2.— G. 


and wantonness : Prov. vii. 10, ' There met the young man a woman 
in the attire of an harlot.' The Hebrew word signifies a habit or or- 
nament finely set- and fitted to the body ; and saith the text, ' She 
was subtle of heart,' or trussed up about the breasts, with her upper 
parts naked ; so Levi-Ben-Gersom reads the words, ' She met him with 
her naked breasts,' at this day too commonly used by such as would 
not be held harlots. Oh what a horrid shame and reproach is it to 
religion, the ways of God, and the people of God, that professors should 
go so ! One saith ' that superfluous apparel is worse than whoredom, 
because whoredom only corrupts chastity, but this corrupts nature.' 
Another saith, * If women adorn themselves so as to provoke men to 
lust after them, though no ill follow upon it, yet those women shall 
suffer eternal damnation, because they offered poison to others, though 
none should drink of it.'^ 

[2] Persons sin in their apparel whenas they exceed their degree 
and rank in costly apparel, which is that which is condemned by the 
apostle, 1 Tim. ii. 9, 1 Pet. iii. 3. The apostle doth not simply condemn 
the wearing of gold, but he condemns it in those that go above their 
degree and rank. The words are rather an admonition than a pro- 

[3.] It is sinful when it is so expensive as that it hinders works of 
mercy and charity. Oh how many proud souls be there in these days 
that lay so much upon their backs, that they can spare nothing to fill 
the poor's bellies. ' Silk doth quench the fire of the kitchen,' saith the 
French proverb. The meaning is, that it doth hinder works of charity 
and mercy. Surely those that put on such costly ornaments upon their 
backs as close up the hand of charity, will at last share with Dives in 
his misery. 

[4.] When persons habit themselves in strange and foreign fashions, 
which is the sin, shame, and reproach of many among us in these days. 
Now that is strange apparel which is not peculiar to the nations where 
men live. The Lord threatens to punish such, Zeph. i. 8, that are 
clothed with strange apparel. There are too many women and men in 
our days that are like the Egyptian temples, very gypsies, painted with- 
out and spotted within; varnish without and vermin within. 

Mercury being to make a garment for the moon, as one saith, could 
never fit her, but either the garment would be too big or too little, by 
reason she was always increasing or decreasing. May not this be ap- 
plied to the vain curiosity of too too many professors in these days, 
whose curiosity about their clothes can never be satisfied ? 

I shall conclude this head with this counsel : Clothe yourselves with 
the silk of piety, with the satin of sanctity, and with the purple of mo- 
desty, and God himself will be a suitor to you. Let not the ornaments 
upon your backs speak out the vanity of your hearts. 

Foui'thly, Sometimes pride shews itself by the gesture and carriage 
of the body. Isa. iii. 16, The daughters of Sion 'were haughty, and 
walked with stretched out necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing 
as they go, making a tinkling with their feet.' Oh earth ! earth ! dost 
thou not groan to bear such monsters as these? 

^ These and even more vehement rebukes will be found in Thomas Hall's ' Loathe- 
Bomeuess of Long Hair,' &c. 1654. — G. 



Fifthly, And sometimes pride shews itself in contemptuous challenges 
of God ; as Pharoah, ' Who is the God of the Hebrews, that I should 
obey him V 

Sixthly, Sometimes pride shews itself by bragging promises, ' I will 
arise, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, and my lusts 
shall be satisfied,' Exod. xv. 9. 

[4. 1 The fourth proposition that I shall lay down is this : 

Pride is a sin that of all sins makes a man or woman vnost like 
to Satan. 

Pride is morbus Satanicus, Satan's disease. Pride is so base a dis- 
ease, that God had rather see his dearest children to be buffeted by 
Satan, than that in pride they should be like to Satan. When Paul, 
2 Cor. xii. 7, under the abundance of revelations, was in danger of being 
puffed up, the Lord, rather than he would havfe him proud like to Satan, 
suffers him to be buffeted by Satan. Humility makes a man like to 
angels, and pride makes an angel a devil. Pride is worse than the devil, 
for the devil cannot hurt thee till pride hath possessed thee. If thou 
would see the devil limned to the life, look upon a proud soul ; for as 
face answers to face, so doth a proud soul answer to Satan. Proud souls 
are Satan's apes, and none imitate him to the life like these. And oh 
that they were sensible of it, before it be too late, before the door of 
darkness be shut upon them ! 

[5.] A fifth proposition is this : 

Pride cannot climb so high, but justice will sit above her. 

One asked a philosopher what God was a-doing ? He answered, That 
his whole work was to exalt the humble and pull down the proud. It 
was pride that turned angels into devils ; they would be above others in 
heaven, and therefore God cast them down to hell. Pride, saith Hugo, 
was born in heaven, but forgetting by what way she fell from thence, 
she could never find the way thither again. The first man would know 
as God, and the Babel-builders would dwell as God, but justice set above 
them all. This truth you see verified in the justice of God upon Pharaoh, 
Haman, Herod, Belshazzar, and Nebuchadnezzar ; all these would be 
very high, but justice takes the right hand of them all, and brings them 
down to the dust. Yea, pride cannot climb so high in the hearts of 
saints, but divine justice will be above it. Uzziah his heart was lifted 
up, 2 Chron. xxvi. 16, but justice smites him with a leprosy, and so he 
died, out of grief and sorrow, saith Josephus.^ David glories in his own 
gi-eatness, 2 8am. xxiv. 1, seq., and for this seventy thousand fall by the 
hand of justice. Hezekiah's heart was lifted up, but wrath was upon 
him, and upon all Judah and Jerusalem for it, 2 Chron. xxxii. 25, seq. 
Pride sets itself against the honour, being, and sovereignty of God, and 
therefore justice will in spite of all sit above her. Other sins strike at 
the word of God, the people of God, and the creatures of God, but pride 
strikes directly at the very being of God, and therefore justice will be 
above her. 

Nebuchadnezzar was proud, and God smites his reason, and turns him 

into a beast. Oh ! how many young professors are there in our days, 

who have been proud of their notions, and proud of their parts and gifts, 

and justice hath so smitten them, that they have lost that life, that 

' Aniiq., ix. 10, sec- 4.— G. 


sweetness, that spiritualness, that quickness that once they had, and are 
dried and shrivelled up by a hand of justice.^ They are like the apples 
of Sodom, glorious without, but rotten and worthless within. Some 
there are that have been very shining, yet by reason of pride have fallen 
from a seeming excellency to be naught, and from naught to be very 
naught, and from very naught to be stark naught. Isa. xxiii. 9, 'The 
Lord of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to 
bring into contempt' (or to make light) * all the honourable of the earth.' 
The Hebrew word that is here rendered purposed, signifies to consult, 
or take counsel.^ It is consulted and agreed upon in counsel, that 
he will stain the pride of all glory, and bring into contempt the honour- 
able of the earth ; and the counsel of the Lord shall stand, Ps. xxxiii. 
11 ; Isa. ii. 11, 12, 'The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the 
haughtiness of man shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be 
exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon 
every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up, 
and he shall be brought low.' 

Divine justice will take the right hand of all proud ones on the earth. 
God bears, as I may say, a special spleen against pride. His heart hates 
it, Prov. vi. 16, 17; his mouth curses it, Ps. cxix. 21; and his hand 
plagueth it, as you have seen in the former instances, and as you may 
see further in these following instances : 

The king of Egypt, that Jeremiah prophesied against, in his forty- 
fourth chapter, was so puffed up with pride, that he boasted his kingdom 
was so surely settled, that it could not be taken from him either by God 
or man ; not long after he was taken in battle by Amasis, one of his own 
subjects, and hanged up.^ 

Dionysius the tyrant said in the pride of his heart, that his kingdom 
was bound to him with chains of adamant ; but time soon confuted 
him, for he was driven out, and forced to teach a school at Corinth for 
a poor living. * 

Cares, a soldier, being proud of his valour, because he had given Cyrus 
a great wound, shortly after he ran mad. In all ages there are notable 
instances to prove that pride has not got so high, but justice has set 
above her. 

[6.] The sixth proposition is this, 

Of all sins spiritual pride is most dangerous, and must he most 

Spiritual pride is the lifting up of the mind against God ; it is a 
tumor and swelling in the mind, and lies in contemning and slighting 
of God, his word, promises, and ordinances, and in the lifting up of a 
man's self, by reason of birth, breeding, wealth, honour, place, relation, 
gifts or graces, and in despising of others. Of this spiritual pride Ha- 
bakkuk speaks, chap. ii. 4, ' His heart, that is lifted up in him, is not 
upright.' Prov. xvi. 5, ' Every one that is proud in heart, is an abomi- 

* Staupicius was proud of his memory, and justice smote it. 

2 r^t^V, deliberately to consult and agree upon a thing. 

3 Pharaoh-hophra (Jer. xliv. 30, as above), called by Herodotus Apries, and by him 
designated ' proud' (b. ii. 169, et alibi) ; but in contradiction of Amasis having ' hung' 
him, is the text and Ezek. xxix. 19, and xxxi. 11, 16, 18 ; whence Josephus (Antiq., b. x. 
c. 11), and Jerome (in Jerem. Thren., c. 4), make Nebuchadnezzar to have been the 
slayer of him.— G. * Plutarch : Dionysius, 7.— G. 

EpH. hi 8.] RICHES OF CHRIST. 47 

nation to the Lord;' or, that 'lifts up his heart against God/ or his 
decrees ; as Lewis the Eleventh did, in that proud speech of his, 
Si salvabor, salvabor ; si vero damnabor, damnabor. * If I shall 
be saved, I shall be saved ; and if T shall be damned, I shall be 
damned; and there is all the care that I shall take/ Like to this, was 
that proud and wretched speech of one Rufus, who painted God on the 
one side of his shield, and the devil on the other, with this mad motto: 
* If thou wilt not have me, here is one will.' Spiritual pride is a white 
devil, as one calls it,^ a gilded poison, by which God is robbed of his 
honour, a man's own soul of his comfort and peace, and others of that 
benefit and fruit which otherwise they might receive from us. Satan 
is subtle ; he will make a man proud of his very graces ; he will make 
him proud that he is not proud. Pride grows with the decrease of other 
sins, and thri\'es by their decay. Other sins are nourished by poison- 
ous roots, as adultery is nourished by idleness, and gluttony and mur- 
der by malice and envy ; but this white devil, spiritual pride, springs 
from good duties and good actions towards God and man. Spiritual 
pride is a very great enemy to the good and salvation of man. Pride 
is like a very great swelling, which unfits men for any service. 

Again, spiritual pride is a very great enemy to the good and salvation 
of men. The Greek word signifies sivelleth, for pride is like a great 
swelling in the body, which unfits it for any good service. John v. 40, 
' You will not come to me, that you may have life ;' and ver. 44, ' How 
can ye believe in me, which seek honour one of another?' Christ blesses 
his Father, Mat. xi. 25, that he had ' hid those things from the wise and 
prudent, and had revealed them unto babes and sucklings." It is the 
pride of men's hearts that makes them throw off ordinances, as poor 
and low things, when, alas ! in their practices they live below the power, 
beauty, glory, and holiness of the least and lowest ordinance. There's 
more holiness, purity, and glory manifested in the lowest administra- 
tions of Christ, than is held forth by them, m their highest practices. 

[7.] The seventh proposition is this. 

Pride un-mans a man ; it makes him do acts that are below a 

As you may see in Pharaoh, Haman, Herod, Nebuchadnezzar, &c. 
It makes men bedlams, to say they know not what, and to do they 
care not what. It was pride that made Hildebrand to cause Henry the 
Fourth to stand three days at his gate, with his wife and his child, 
barefooted. It was pride that made Adonibezek cause three-score and 
ten kings, with their thumbs and great toes cut off. Judges i. 5-7, to 
gather their meat under his table. Oh ! what wretched unmanly acts 
hath the pride of many persons put them upon. 

[8.] The eighth proposition is this. 

The poorest are oftentimes the proudest. 

Pretty is the parable of Jotham : the best trees refused to be king, 
but the bramble affected it ; and did sperare et aspirare, hope and 
aspire it. Judges ix. 15. So in 2 Kings xiv. 9, 'The thistle that was 
in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon, saying. Give thy 
daughter to my son to wife.' Hagar the kitchen-maid will be proud, 

1 Thomas Adams, whose * White Devil' is one of his most remarkable sermons. See 
Works, vol. ii. pp. 221, et seq.—G. 


and insult over her mistress Sarah, Gen. xxi. The poor sons of Zebedee 
would sit at Christ's right hand and left, Mat. xx. 20, 21. And those 
that Job disdains to set with the dogs of his flock, yet contemn him 
in the day of his sorrow. Job xxx. 1. The foot strives to be equal with 
the head, the servant as the master, the cobbler as the councillor, and 
the peasant as the prince, &c. 

[9.] The ninth proposition is this, 

Pride is a sure fore-runner of a fall. 

* Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty mind before a fall,' 
Prov. xvi. 18, xviii. 12. Herod fell from a throne of gold to a bed of 
dust. Nebuchadnezzar fell from the state of amighty king, to be a beast. 
Adam fell from innocency to mortality. The angels fell from heaven 
to hell, from felicity to misery. 

[10.] The tenth and last proposition is this : 

Ood will by an invincible power carry the day against proud souls. 

You that it escape,^ and ruffle it out, and carry it with a high hand, 
remember this, God will by an invisible power carry the day against 
you ; when you think not of it, he will eat you like a moth. Isa. xlvii. 
10, 11, 'For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness, thou hast said, None 
seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge hath perverted thee. And 
thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else besides me. There- 
fore shall evil come upon thee, thou shalt know not from whence it 
riseth ; and mischief shall fall upon thee, and thou shalt not be able to 
put it off. And desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou 
shalt not know.' Impunity oftentimes causeth impudency, but quod 
differtur non aufertur, forbearance is no acquittance. The longer tlie 
hand is lifted up, the heavier will be the blow at last. Of all metals, 
lead is the coldest, but being melted, it becomes the hottest. Humble 
souls know how to apply this, and proud souls shall sooner or later 
experience this.^ 

II. I shall now proceed to a second observation, 


That all saints are not of an equal size and growth in grace and 

Some are higher, and some a,re lower ; some are stronger and some 
are weaker, in spiritual graces and heavenly excellencies. * Unto me 
who am less than the least,' &c. 

Among true believers, some may be found to be but weak believers. 
This point flows as natural from the words as the stream does from the 
fountain, and no point more clear in all the Scripture than this. 

In Rom. xiv. 1, you read of some that are weak in the faith ; ' Them 
that are weak in the faith receive,' saith the apostle. None are to be 
rejected in whom aliquid Christi, anything of Christ, is to be found. 
And so Mat. xiv. 31, there is mention made of ' little faith.' 1 Cor. ix. 
22, * To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak.' You 
read of babes in grace : 1 Pet. ii. 2, 3, ' As new-born babes, desire the 

' Qu. ' You that think to escape'? — G. 

' Pope Innocent the Fourth, as he was walking securely in his palace, heard that sor- 
rowful and dreadful summons, Veni miser in judicitim, come, thou wretch, receive thy 
judgment ; and soon after he was found dead. Eccles. viii. 11. 


sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if so be that ye 
have tasted that the Lord is gracious.' 1 John ii. 12-14, there is men- 
tion made of ' little children, of young men, and of fathers.' All are 
not fathers in grace, nor all are not young men in grace ; there are some 
children in grace. A Christian in this life hath his degrees of growth ; 
he is first a child in grace, and then a young man in grace, and then a 
father in grace.^ 

For the further opening of this point, I shall endeavour these four 

I. I shall endeavour to decipher to you souls weak in grace. 

II. I shall endeavour to lay down those things that may encourage, 
support, and comfort souls that are weak in grace. 

III. I shall speak to the duties that lie upon those that are weak in 

lY. The duties that lie upon those that are strong in grace, towards 
tht)se that are weak in grace. 

Of these four we shall speak, as the Lord shall assist. 

I. I shall begin with the first, To decipher souls vjeak in grace. 

The first thing by which I shall decipher souls weak in grace is this : 

[1.] Weak Christians are usually carried much out after the poor 
lotu things of this world. 

They are much in carking and caring for them, and in pursuing and 
hunting greedily after them. That is a clear text for this: Mat. vi. 24, 
to the end. Christ labours by several weighty arguments to fence 
and fortify his disciples against those diffident, doubtful, carking cares, 
that divide, distract, distemper, torture, and tear the heart in a thou- 
sand pieces. And yet neither these arguments, nor yet the presence of 
him who was the great landlord of heaven and earth, and whose love 
and bowels were still yearning towards them, and whose special eye of 
providence was still over them, could, rid their heads and hearts of 
these worldly cares that do but vex and perplex the souls of men. And 
it is very observable, that after this smart lecture that Christ had read 
them, they did strive three several times who should be greatest and 
highest in worldly enjoyments. Their hearts should have been only 
in heaven, and yet they strive for earth, as if there were no heaven, 
or as if earth were better than heaven. All which does clearly evi- 
dence, that their graces were very weak, and their corruptions very 
strong. Men that have little of the upper springs within, are carried 
out much after the springs below. Baruch was good, but weak in 
grace ; he had but some sips and tastes of the glory of that other 
world, and that made him, when God was a-pulling down all worldly 
glory, to seek for earth as if there were no heaven, Jer. xlv. 1-5. 
Certainly there is but little of Christ and grace within, where the 
heart is, so strongly carried out after these things without. Where 
there is such strong love and workings of heart after these poor 
things, it speaks our soul's enjoyment of God to be but poor and 

' It is with Christians as it is with planets : the moon goes her course in a month, tlie 
sun in a year, the rest not in many years ; yet at length they finish. 


In the Old Testament, the Jews, being babes and infants in grace 
and holiness, had a world of temporal promises, and very few spiritual 
promises. But now in the days of the gospel, the Lord is pleased 
to double aod treble his Spirit upon his people, and now you meet with 
very few temporal promises in the gospel, but the gospel is filled with 
spiritual promises. The gospel drops nothing but marrow and fatness, 
love and sweetness ; and therefore God looks in these days that men 
should grow up to a greater height of holiness, heaven'liness, and spirit- 
ualness, than what they attained to in those dark days, wherein the 
sun shined but dimly. Men rich and strong in grace look upon the 
world with a holy scorn and disdain, as Themistocles, when he saw^ in 
the dark a thing like a pearl, he scorned to stoop for it himself, saying 
to another, ' Stoop thee, for tbou art not Themistocles.'^ Abraham, a 
man strong in grace, looked with a holy scorn and with an eye of dis- 
dain upon these poor things. When Melchisedec from God had made 
him heir of all things, he refused the riches that the king of Sodom 
offered him, because God w^as his shield and his exceeding great reward. 
Gen. xiv. 21, xv. 1. The greatest bargain that a soul rich in grace 
will make with God for himself is this, ' Give me but bread to eat and 
clothes to wear, and thou shalt be my God.' So it w^as with that brave 
soul. Gen. xxviii. 21, he desires but food and raiment. Mark, he asks 
food, not junkets;^ raiment, not ornaments. A little will serve a man 
that is strong in grace, much will not serve a man that is weak in grace, 
nothing will serve a man that is void of grace. Souls weak in grace, 
have their hearts much working after these poor low things ; as you 
may see. Mat. xviii. 1, 'Who shall be greatest in the kingdom of 
heaven V The question is stated by the disciples, that one w^ould have 
thought should have had their hearts and thoughts in heaven ; but they 
dreamed of an earthly kingdom, where honours and offices should be 
distributed, as in the days of David and Solomon. And it is observable 
in Mark ix. 33, 34, they are at it again : ' And he came to Capernaum ; 
and being in the house, he asked them. What was it that ye disputed 
among yourselves by the way ? But they held their peace' (they were 
ashamed to tell him) ; ' for by the way they had disputed among them- 
selves who should be greatest.' Saith one, I'll have this, and saith an- 
other, I'll have that, &c. ; or as it is in the Greek, ' they disputed who 
was greatest ;' so in Luke ix. 46. Says one, I am greater than thou ; 
No, says another, I am greatest : rig [xzi^m, who was greatest. It is an 
argument of a childish disposition to be taken more wdth rattles and 
baubles than with jewels and pearls. That Christian hath little of the 
power of grace within him, whose heart is so strongly carried out to these 
vanities below. Men that are grown up to years of understanding prefer 
one piece of gold above a thousand new counters, A soul that is strong 
in grace, that is high in its spiritual enjoyments, prefers one good word 
from God, one good look from Christ, above all the glory of this world. 
* Lord,' saith he, ' lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon me,' 
Warm my heart with the beams of thy love, and then a little of these 
things will suffice. You see Moses and all those worthies in the 11th 
of the Hebrews, who were men strong in grace, how bravely they trample 
upon all things below God. They left their families and their countries, 
J Plutarch, as before. — G. * < Dainties.' — G. 

EpH. Ill 8.] RICHES OF CHRIST. 5\ 

where they lived like princes, to wander in a wilderness, upon the bare 
command of God.^ So Luther, a man strong in grace, when he had a 
gown and money given him by the elector, he turned himself about, 
and said, * I protest God shall not put me off with these poor low things.' 
Souls that know by experience what the bosom of Christ is, what spiri- 
tual communion is, what the glory of heaven is, will not be put off by 
God nor man with things that are mixed, mutable, and momentary. 
And to shame many professors in these days, I might bring in a cloud of 
witnesses ; even from among the very heathen, who never heard of a 
crucified Christ, and yet were more crucified to things below Christ than 
many of them that pretend much to Christ. But I shall forbear, only 
desiring that those that think and speak so scornfully and contemp- 
tuously of heathens may not at last be found worse than heathens ; yea, 
be judged and condemned by heathens in the great and terrible day of 
the Lord. 

Secondly, In order to a further deciphering of weak Christians, I shall 
lay down this : 

[2.] That weak saints do usually overfear troubles before they come; 
yea^ those future evils that, forty to one, may never fall out. 

The very empty thoughts and conceit of trouble is very terrible and 
perplexing to a weak saint. When it was told the house of David, say- 
ing, ' Syria is confederate with Ephraim,' his heart was moved, and the 
heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind, Isa. 
vii. 2. Their heart quaked and quivered, as we say, like an aspen leaf. 
It is an elegant expression, shewing, in their extremity, the baseness of 
their fears, arguing no courage or spirit at all in them. The very news 
and conceit of trouble or calamities, oh how doth it perplex, and vex, 
and grieve, and overwhelm weak Christians !^ The very hearing of 
trouble at a distance makes them to stagger and reel, and ready to say, 
' Will God now save ? Will he now deliver V It puts them into those 
shaking fits, that they know not what to do with themselves, nor how 
to perform the service they owe to God or man. Now tell me,, can you 
call that a stout spirit, a strong spirit, that is daunted with the very 
report and thoughts of calamity \ Or that does torment men with im- 
moderate fear of a thousand things that happily shall never fall out; as 
fears of foreign invasions, or fears of home-bred confusions, fears of change 
of religion, or being surprised with such or such diseases, or being ruined 
in their outward estate by such and such devices or disadvantages, or 
by falling under the frowns of such a great man, or under the anger 
and revenge of such and such a man, and a thousand such like things. 
Now, this speaks out much weakness in grace. Souls strong in grace 
are carried above these fears; yea, with the leviathan in Job, they can 
laugh at the shaking of a spear, chap. xli. 29. They can say with David, 

* The philosopher preferred the king's countenance before his coin. [Said of Socrates 
in Plato, as before.— G.] 

2 The chameleon, saith Pliny, is the most fearful of all creatures, and doth therefore 

turn into all colours to save itself ; and so it is often with weak Christians Pray 

for me, said Latimer in his letter to Ridley ; for I am sometimes so fearful, that I would 
creep into o. mo\\sft-\\o\e.—[^I<oxe] Acts et Mon. 15C5. [Rather, 'A Conference had be- 
twixt Master Ridley and Master Latimer in Prison,' &c. Foxe, by Townsend, vii. 423. 
The words are touchingly humble : ' Pardon me, and pray for me ; pray for me, I say ; 
pray for me, I say. For I am sometimes so fearful, that I would creep, into a mouse - 
hole.'— G. 


' Though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will 
fear no evil ; for thou art wdth us, thy rod and thy staff do comfort us,' 
Ps. xxiii. 4. But weak souls are afraid of their own shadow. The very 
shadow of trouble will exceedingly trouble such souls, and oftentimes 
make their lives a very hell.^ 

[3.] Thirdly, Faintin-g in the day of adversity epeaks of a soul to 
be but weak in grace. 

Weak Christians are overcome with little crosses. The least cross 
doth not only startle them, but it sinks them, and makes them ready 
to sit down and to cry out with the church, ' Behold you that pass by, 
see whether there be any sorrow like my sorrow,^ Lam. i. 1± Before 
trouble comes, weak Christians are apt to think that they can bear much 
and endure much ; but, alas ! when the day of trial comes upon them, 
when they are put to it, they prove but men of poor and impotent spirits, 
and then they roar, and complain, and lie down in the dust, suffering 
crosses and losses to bind them hand and foot, and to spoil them of all 
their comforts. And now though they have many comforts for one 
cross, yet one cross doth so damp and daunt their hearts, that joy and 
comfort flies away from them, and they sit down overwhelmed. Cer- 
tainly this speaks out little of Christ within. All Rachel's comforts 
were no comforts, because her children were not. This speaks out much 
weakness within. 

Prov. xxiv. 10, 'If thou faintest in the day of adversity, thy strength 
is small ;' if thou shrinkest, if thou abatest and slackest, in the day of 
adversity, thy strength is small. Man hath no trial of his strength till 
he be in trouble ; faintness then discovers weakness. Afflictions try 
what sap we have, as hard weather tries what health we have. A weak 
Christian sinks under a little burden ; every frown, every sour word, every 
puff of wind blows him down, and makes him sink under his burden. 
But now a soul strong in grace bears up bravely against all winds and 
weather. That is a brave text, and worthy to l3e written in letters of 
gold, that you have in Gen. xlix. 23, 24, ' Joseph's bow abode in strength, 
though the archers sorely grieved him, shot at him, and hated him. And 
the arms of his hands were made strong, by the mighty God of Jacob.' 
The archers that sorely grieved him were his barbarous brethren that 
sold him ; his -adulterous mistress that, harlot-like, hunted for his precious 
life ; his injurious master, that without any desert of his, imprisoned him ; 
the tumultuating Egyptians, that were pined with hunger, perhaps spake 
of stoning him ; and -the envious courtiers and enchanters spake evilly of 
him before Pharaoh, to bring him out of favour. All these ^hot sorely at 
him. The word that is rendered archers in the Hebrew, vy^^ is arrow- 
masters, which term implieth cunning and skilfulness in shooting. They 
were cunning and skilful to hit the mark, and they shot at him, as at a 
mark ; but yet ' his bow abode in strength.' When God in the midst of 
weakness makes a soul strong, that soul will not only face enemies and 
difficulties, but triumpih over them. Those that are strong in grace seldom 
want courage or -counsel when they are at the worst. They always find 
their hope to be an anchor at sea, and their faith a shield upon land ; 
and therefore they triumph in all storms and dangers. They stand firm 

1 Bucephalus was not afraid of Ins burden; the shadow only frighted him. So weak 
Christians are afraid of the shadow of the cross. 


when they are under the greatest pressures i 2 Cor. xi. 23^ ' In labours 
more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in 
deaths often,' &c. And yet he triumphs in 2 Cor. i. 12, 'Our rejoicing 
is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in singleness and godly 
sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had 
our conversation in the world, and more abundantly ta you-wards.' 
Strong Paul rejoiced in his sufferings for Christ, and therefore often 
sings it out : ' I, Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ ;' not ' I Paul, rapt 
up in the third heaven.'^ " He preferred his crown of thorns before a 
crown of gold, his prison rags above all royal robes.^ 

[4.] Fourthly, A tueak Christian thinks that little to be much that 
he suffers for Christ. 

In Mat. xix. 27, then ' answered Peter, and said unto him, Behold, 
we have forsaken all, and followed thee ; what shall we have V Their 
worldly case in following Christ, was little worse than when they only 
traded in fishing ; and yet, ' we have forsaken all, and followed thee ; 
what shall we have ? ' This their all was not worth a speaking of, and 
yet, for this they look for some great worldly reward and recompence. 
' We have forsaken all.' A great all sure ! a few broken boats, and a 
few tattered and torn nets, and a little old household stuff, and Christ 
maintained them too, upon his own cost and charge ;. and yet say they, 
' We have forsaken all, and followed thee.' Neither is it without an 
emphasis, that they begin with a Behold ;. ' Behold we have forsaken all,' 
as if Christ were greatly beholding to them. Let their wills be but 
crossed a little, by servants, children, fil^nds, &c, or let them but suffer 
a little in their names or estates, &c., and presently you shall have them 
a-sighing it out, ' No sorrow like our sorrow,' no loss to our loss, no cross 
to our cross, &c.^ Whereas souls strong in grace suffer much, and yet 
count that much but little. A soul strong in grace can suffer much, 
and yet make nothing of it. I am heartily angry, saith Luther, who 
suffered very much, with those that speak of my sufferings, which if com- 
pared with that which Christ suffered for me, are not once to be men- 
tioned in the same day, &c.^ 

[5.] Fifthly, Those that are weak in grace dwell more itpon what 
tnay discourage ther)% in the ways of grace and holiness, than they do 
upon what may encourage them. 

They dwell more upon their sins than upon a Saviour ; more upon 
their misery, than upon free grace and mercy ;. more upon that which 
may feed their fears, than upon that that may strengthen their faith ; 
more upon the cross, than upon the crown ; more upon those that are 
against them, than those that are for them : Isa. li. 12, 13, * I, even I, 
am he that comforteth you : who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid 
of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as 
grass ; and forgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the 
heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth ; and hast feared con- 
tinually every day, because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were 
ready to destroy ? and where is the fury of the oppressor V ^ The same 
is intimated Bom. iv. 19, 20, 'Abraham, being not weak in faith, he 

1 If we perish, Christ perisheth with us, said Luther. [' Table Talk,' as before.— G-l 

2 Weak Christians are like children ; they look for a great reward for a little work. 
^ ' Table Talk,' as before. -G. 


considered not his own body being dead, nor yet the deadness of Sarah's 
womb.' Mark, ' being not weak in faith/ Souls weak in faith are very 
apt to dwell upon discouragements, but strong Christians look above 
all discouragements. 

* He considered not.' The Greek is ov Tcarsvorjfrs he cared not for his 
own body, he did not mind that ; but in the 20th verse, * he considered 
him that had promised.' Souls strong in grace dwell more upon their 
encouragements to holiness and believing, than upon their discourage- 
ments. ' He considered him that had promised.' He had an eye fixed 
upon the faithfulness of God, and the sufficiency and almightiness of 
God, and this bore up his heart above all discouragements. So in 2 
Cor. iv. 16-18, ' Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh 
for us a far more exceeding, and eternal weight of glory ; while we look 
not (mark, they are not doatingupon their discouragements) upon things 
that are seen, but upon things that are not seen : the things which are 
seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal.' An eye 
fixed upon encouragements makes heavy afflictions light, long afflictions 
short, and bitter afflictions sweet. Those blessed martyrs found it so, 
that were cast out all night, in a cold frosty night, naked, and were to 
be burnt the nextday, who thus comforted themselves, The winteris sharp, 
but paradise is sweet ; here we shiver for cold, but the bosom of Abra- 
ham will make amends for all. Weak Christians have eyes to behold 
their discouragements, but none to see their encouragements ; they look 
niore upon their corruption than upon their sanctification ; upon their 
disobedience than their obedience ; upon their distrust than upon their 
faith ; upon the old man than upon the new ; and this keeps them low 
and weak in spirituals, it causes a leanness in their souls. 

[6.] Sixthly, The zeal of weak Christians usually outstrips their 
wisdom and knovjledge. 

Weak Christians are very zealous, but not according to knowledge : 
Rom. x. 2, * For I bear them record, that they have a zeal of God, but not 
according to knowledge.' They were very zealous, but not true zealots, 
they are very peevish and pettish and censorious ; but they want wis- 
dom and knowledge to manage their zeal, to God's glory and their 
brethren's good. Such zeal had those two rabbins that set upon 
Charles the Fifth, to persuade him to turn Jew, as judging their 
religion to be the only religion in the world, and for which they were 
put to a cruel death, in the year 1530.' A great zeal they had to the 
winning over of him to Judaism, but this zeal was their ruin. Zeal 
without knowledge is as wild-fire in a fool's hand ; it is like the devil 
in the demoniac, that sometimes cast him into the fire, and sometimes 
into the water. So the disciples of Christ were weak in their light, 
and furious in their zeal : Luke ix. 54, ' Let fire come down from heaven, 
and consume them,' say they. But mark what Christ saith, ver. 55 : 
" Ye know not what manner of spirits ye are of;' that is, ye know not 
what spirit acts you. You think that you are acted by such a spirit as 
Elijah of old was acted by, but you err, saith Christ ; ' you have a zeal, 
but not according to knowledge,' therefore it is a human affection and 
not a divine motion. Zeal is like fire : in the chimney it is one of the 
best servants, but out of the chimney it is one of the worst masters. 
' David Rubenita, and Shilomeh Molcha. Alsted. Chr. 426. 


Zeal kept by knowledge and wisdom, in its proper place, is a choice 
servant to Christ and saints ; but zeal not bounded by wisdom and 
knowledge, is the high way to undo all, and to make a bell for many at 

Weak Christians are usually most zealous about circumstances and 
things that have least of God and Christ and the power of holiness in 
them ; and most cold about substances, as woful experience doth evi- 
dence in these days. Zeal ordered by wisdom, feeds upon the faults of 
offenders, not on their persons. It spends itself and its greatest heat 
principally upon those things that concern a man's self It is most ex- 
ercised about substantials : Tit. ii. 14, but that which is rash, is most 
exercised about circumstantials ; Gal. i. 14, Paul was, in the days of his 
ignorance, very zealous for the traditions of his fathers, &c. 

[7.] Seventhly, Among all saints, the weakest saints act most like 
carnal sinners. 

No saint so like a sinner as a weak saint : 1 Cor. iii. 1-5, 'And I, 
brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, 
even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with 
meat : for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye 
able. For are ye not yet carnal : for whereas there is among you envy- 
ing, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men ? For 
while one saith, I am of Paul, aud another I am of Apollos ; are ye not 
carnal V They were advanced but very little above the imperfections 
and passions and sins of mere men, of such which had nothing of the 
Spirit in them, &c. Do wicked men quarrel with their teachers, as 
shallow trivial teachers, when themselves are in fault, as being not cap- 
able of more mysterious matter ? So did these babes here. Do wicked 
men impute their not profiting to the minister, as he that, having a 
thorn in his foot, complains of the roughness of the way as the cause of 
his limping, whenas it was the thorn and not the roughness of the way 
that hurt him. Or as she, that, being struck with a sudden blindness, 
bid open the window, whenas it was not the want of light, but want 
of sight, that troubled her. So did these babes in the text lay the 
fault of their non-proficiency upon their teachers, when the fault was 
wholly in themselves.^ 

Now he calls them carnal, partly because the flesh was strong in 
them, and partly because they followed and relished the things of the 
flesh, and partly because they did in their actions resemble carnal men. 
Do carnal and wicked men cry up one good man, and cry down another ? 
Do they lift up one, and abase another ? So did they. Are wicked 
men full of envy, strife, and divisions ? So were they. And these over- 
flowings of the gall and spleen, come from a fulness of bad humours, from 
that abundance of carnality tliat was in them. But now souls strong 
in grace are higher than carnal men, as Saul was higher than the people 
by head and shoulders. Souls strong in grace have their feet where 
carnal men's heads are : Prov. xv. 24, ' The way of life is above to the 

1 Joseplius, in the lltli and 12th chapters of his hook, tells you of some that imposed 
the name of Zelote upon themselves, as if they were zealous for the honour and service 
of God, and under this pretence committed all riots and imaj^inable wickedness. It were 
well if we had no such monsters among us in these days. [Zealots ; Anticj., b.iv. 10, teq, 
et alibi.— G.'] 

■ In many things, weak Christians are carnal men's apes. 


wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.' Souls that are strong in 
grace, do act rather like angels than like carnal men ; they do as much 
resemble the Father of spirits, as carnal men do the Father of lies. 

[8.] Eighthly, Souls weak in grace are easily drawn aside out of 
the ways of holiness. 

You know a man that hath but a little bodily strength, is easily 
thrust out of the way ; so it is with souls weak in grace : 1 John iii. 7, 
' Little children, let no man deceive you ; he that doth righteousness 
is righteous, even as he is righteous/ Saith the apostle, 'Little children, 
let no man deceive you.' Many in these days, under pretences of high 
and glorious enjoyments of God, neglect and despise righteousness and 
holiness, crying up visions and manifestations, when their visions are 
only the visions of their own hearts and their manifestations are plain 
delusi(ms. Ah ! but says the apostle, ' Little children, let none of these 
deceive you.' I tell you he, and only he, that doth righteousness, is 
righteous, as God is righteous. Children, you know, may be easily 
cozened, and made to take counters for gold, because they are broader 
and brighter. Children in grace are soon deceived, hence is it that 
they are so cozened. 'Little children, keep yourselves from idols,' 
1 John V, 21.^ So in Heb. xii. 12, 13, 'Wherefore lift up the hands 
which hang down, and the feeble knees.' Some think that the apostle 
aUudes to those combats of the heathens, wherein it was a token of 
yielding, when a man hung down his hands. You are weak, saith the 
apostle, and by reason of trials you are apt to hang down your hands, 
and to give up all as lost; therefore, says he, lift up your hands to fight, 
and your feet to run, take heart and courage, faint not, give not over, 
turn not aside because of the sharpness of afflictions. But souls strong 
in grace will hold on in the ways of grace and holiness, in the face of 
all dangers and deaths, Ps. xliv. 

[9.] Ninthly, Weak Christians are apt to Tnake sense and feeling 
the judge of their spiritual estates and conditions. 

And, therefore, upon every turn they are apt to judge themselves 
miserable, and to conclude that they have no grace, because they can- 
not feel it, nor discern it, nor believe it; and so making sense, feeling, 
and reason, the judge of their estates, they wrong, and perplex, and vex 
their precious souls, and make their lives a very hell: as if it were not 
one thing to be the Lord's, and another thing for a man to know that 
he is the Lord's ; as if it were not one thing for a man to have grace, 
and another thing to know that he hath grace. 

The Canaanite woman had strong faith, but no assurance that we 
read of. Mat. xv. 22, seq. Gal. iv. 6, ' And because ye are sons, God 
hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, 
Father.' Mark, they are first the sons of God, and then the Spirit 
cries, Abba, Father. 1 John v. 13, 'These things have I written unto 
you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that 
ye have eternal life.' Mark, they did beUeve, and they had eternal life, 
in respect of Christ their head, who, as a public person, was gone to 
heaven, to represent all his saints. And they had eternal life in respect 

* The idols that are here mentioned are surely those that the Gnostics used to wor- 
ship, viz., the images and pictures of Simon Magus and Helena, as might be made 
evident out of Eusebius. 


of the promises, and they had eternal life in respect of the beginnings 
of it ; and yet they did not know it, they did not believe it. There- 
fore ' these things write I unto you that believe on the name of the Son 
of God,' saith he, ' that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and 
that this life is in his Son.' Ponder on Mieah vii. 7-9. Much of this 
you may read in my treatise called Heaven on Earth, or a well- 
grounded Assurance of Mens everlasting Ha^ypiness and Blessedness 
in this World, and to that I refer you.^ 

The word shall judge us at last, John xii. 48 ; and therefore strong 
saints make only the word of God the judge of their spiritual condition 
now, as Constantino made it the judge and decider of all opinions. 

[10.] Tenthly, Their thoughts and hearts are more taken with the 
love-tokens, and the good things they have by Christ, than with the 
person of Christ. 

Oh their graces, their comforts, their enlargements, their meltings, 
and their warmings, &c., are the things that most take them. Their 
thoughts and hearts are so exercised and carried out about these, that 
the person of Christ is much neglected by them. The child is so taken 
with babies^ and rattles, &c., that the mother is not minded. And 
such is the carriage of weak Christians towards Christ. But now souls 
strong in grace are more taken with the person of Christ than they 
are with the love-tokens of Christ. They bless Christ indeed for every 
dram of gTace, and for every good word from heaven, and for every 
good look from heaven; ay, but yet the person of Christ, that is more to 
them than all these.^ This is remarkable in the church. Cant. v. 9, 1 0, 
' What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among 
women ? &c. My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten 
thousand,' &c. She doth not say, My beloved is one that I have got 
so many thousands by, and heaven by, and pardon of sin by, and peace 
of conscience by. Oh no ! but he is white and ruddy. Her soul was 
taken most with the person of Christ. Not but that every one is to 
mind the graces of Christ, and to be thankful for them ; ay, but it is an 
argument of weakness of grace, when the heart is more exercised about 
the bracelets, and the kisses, and the love-tokens of Christ, than it is 
about the person of Christ.* But now saith. one strong in grace. My 
bracelets are precious, but Christ is more precious ; the streams of grace 
are sweet, but the fountain of grace is most sweet ; the beams of the 
sun are glorious, but the sun itself is most glorious. A naked Christ, 
a despised Christ, a persecuted Christ, is more valued by a strong 
Christian, than heaven and earth is by a weak Christian.^ 

[11.] Eleventhly, Souls weak in grace are easily stopped and taken 
off from acting graciously and holily, when discouragements face 

This you may see in that remarkable instance concerning Peter, in 
that 26th of Matthew, from the 69th to the end. A silly wench out- 
faces him; she daunts and dis- spirits this self-confident champion ; she 
easily stops and turns him by saying, * Thou wast with Jesus of Galilee,' 

1 See Vol. II. p. 301, seq.—Q. 2 < Dolls.'— G. 

' Christ is the most sparkling diamond in the ring of glory, &c. 

* That wife is hut weak in her love that is more taken with her husband's presents 
than with his person. 

* Christ's person, to a strong Christian, is the greatest cordial in all the world. 


V. 70. 'But he denied it before them all, saying, I know not what thou 
sayest.' He makes as if he did neither understand her words or her 
meaning; and this false dissembling was a true denying of Christ. Now 
Mark saith, chap. xiv. 68, that upon the very first denial of Christ, the 
cock crew, and yet this fair warning could not secure him, but when 
another maid saw him, and said, 'This fellow was with Jesus of 
Nazareth,' ver. 72, he denied it with an oath, saying, ' I do not know 
the man.'i This was fearful and dreadful, and the worse because his 
Master, whom he forsware, was now upon his trial, and might say with 
wounded Caesar, x-ai od tskvov, What! and thou my son Brutus!'^ Is 
this thy kindness to thy friend, to him that has loved thee, and saved 
tbee, and owned thee ? &c. Then ver. 73, ' Surely thou art one of them, 
for thy speech betrayeth thee.' And ver. 74. ' He began to curse and 
to swear, I know not the man. 

The Greek word that is rendered curse, imports a cursing and a 
damning of himself, an imprecation of God's wrath, and a separation 
from the presence and glory of God, if he knew the man.^ Some 
writers say, that he cursed Christ. ' I know not the man,' saith he. 
Though it were ten tliousand times better to bear than to swear, and 
to die than to lie, yet when discouragement faces him, he is so amazed 
and daunted, that he tells the most incredible lie that almost could be 
uttered by the mouth of man. For there was scarce any Jew, saith 
Grotius, that knew not Christ l:)y sight, being famous for those abund- 
ance of miracles that he wrought before their eyes. Neither could 
Peter allege any cause why he came thither, if he had not known 
Christ. But, ver. 75, * He went out, and wept bitterly.' One sweet look 
of love breaks his heart in pieces, he melts under the beamings forth of 
divine favour upon him. Once he leapt into a sea of waters to come 
to Christ, and now he leaps into a sea of tears for that he had so shame- 
fully denied Christ. Clement notes, that Peter so repented, that all his 
life-time after, every night when he heard the cock crow, he would fall 
upon his knees and weep bitterly, begging pardon for this dreadful sin.* 

Others say, that after his lying, cursing, and denying of Christ, he 
was ever and anon weeping, and that his face was furrowed with con- 
tinual tears. He had no sooner taken in poison, but he vomits it up 
again, before it got to the vitals. He had no sooner handled a serpent, 
but he turns it into a rod to scourge his soul with remorse. This truth 
is further confirmed by the speech and carriage of the disciples : Luke 
xxiv. 21, seq., ' We trusted,' say they, ' that it had been he which should 
have redeemed Israel, but now we cannot tell what to say to it.' Here 
their hope hangs the wing extremely. Weak souls find it as hard to 
wait for God, as it is to bear evil.^ This weakness Christ checks, ver. 
25, 'O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have 
spoken,' &c. And John xvi. 5, the first news Christ tells them, is of 

' Cavehis autem, si pavebis. ^ Plutarch, &c., as before. — G. 

^ xxroivcchf^x-r't^iiv. Vide Calvm on the text in Rom. vi. 19, There are three tos in 
the expression of tlie service of sin: to uncleanness, to iniquity, and unto iniquity ; but 
in the service of God there are only two tos : to righteousness, and unto holiness ; to 
note that we are more prone to sin before conversion, than we are to grace and holiness 
after conversion. < In loco : Epist.— G. 

^ Invalidnm omne naturd queridum, weak spirits are ever quarrelling and contending. 
[Seneca : Be Animi Tranqmllitaie.—G.'] 

EpH. hi. 8.] RICHES OF CHRIST. 59 

their sufferings and of his leaving of them; and upon the thoughts 
hereof their hearts were so filled with sorrow, that they could not so 
much as say, ' Master, whither goest thou V ver. 6. But now, souls 
strong in grace will hold on in holy and gracious actings in the very 
face of the greatest discouragements, as those in Ps. xliv. 19, ' Though 
thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with 
the shadow oF death, yet our heart is not turned back, neither have 
our steps declined from thy ways.' And so the three children, they 
hold up in the face of all discouragements. And so those brave worthies, 
of whom this world was not worthy, Heb. xi., their hearts were carried 
out exceedingly, notwithstanding all discouragements, to hold on in 
ways of holiness, and in their actings of faith upon God, in the face of 
all dangers and deaths that did attend them.^ 

When Henry the Eighth had spoken and written bitterly against 
Luther, saith Luther, Tell the Henries, the bishops, the Turks, and the 
devil himself, do what they can, we are children of the kingdom, wor- 
shipping of the true God, whom they, and such as they, spit upon and 
crucified.^ And of the same spirit and metal were many martyrs. 
Basil affirms of the primitive saints, that they had so much courage 
and confidence in their sufferings, that many of the heathens, seeing 
their heroic zeal and constancy, turned Christians. 

[12.] Twelfthly, Weak saints mind their wages and veils more than 
their work. 

Their wages, their veils,^ is joy, peace, comfort, and assurance, &c. ; 
and their work is waiting on God, believing in God, walking with C^od, 
acting for God, &c. Now, weak saints' minds are more carried out, and 
taken up about their wages, about their veils, than they are about their 
work, as experience doth abundantly evidence.* Ah! Christians, if you 
don't mind your wages more than your work, what means the bleating 
of the sheep, and the lowing of the oxen? 1 Sam. xv. 14. What 
means those earnest and vehement cryings out and wrestlings for joy, 
peace, comfort, and assurance, when the great work of believing, of 
waiting, and of walking^ with God, is so much neglected and disregarded? 
But now strong saints are more mindful of their work than they are of 
their wages. Lord! saith a strong saint, do but uphold me in a way of 
believing, in a way of working, in a way of holy walking, &c., and it 
shall be enough, though I should never have assurance, comfort, peace, 
or joy, till my dying day. If thou wilt carry me forth so as thou 
mayest have honour, though I have no comfort ; so thou mayest have 
glory, though I have no peace, I will bless thee, Rom. iv. 18-20. I 
know, says such a soul, though a life of comfort be most pleasing to 
me, yet a life of believing, abstracted from comfort, is most honourable 
to thee, and therefore I will be silent before thee. Lord ! do but help 
me in my work, and take thine own time to give me my wages, to give 
me comfort, joy, peace, assurance. They are none of the best servants 
that mind their wages more than their work, nor they are none of the 

• Such a spirit shined in Chrysostom when he bid them tell the enraged empress 
Eudoxia, Nil nisi peccatum timeo, I fear nothing but sin. 

2 ' Table Talk,' as before, with reference to Henry 8th's • Assertio Sacramentorum 
adversus Lutherum,' 1521, which won for him from the pope his title of ' Defender of 
the Faith.'— G. 3 ' Presents.'— G. 

♦ Children mind more play-days than they do working-days, or school-days. 


best Christians that mind their comforts and their in-comes^ more than 
that homage and duty that they owe to God, 

Before I come to the second thing premised, give me leave to give 
you this hint ; viz., that there is no such way to joy, peace, and assur- 
ance, as this, to mind your work more than your wages. Ah I had many 
mourning, complaining Christians done thus, their mourning before this 
had been turned into rejoicing, and their complaining into singings. 
Christians, th^ high way to comfort is to mind comfort less, and duty 
more ; it is to mind more what thou shouldst do, than what thou 
wouldst have, as you may see in Eph. i. 13, ' In whom ye also trusted, 
after that ye heard the word of faith, the gospel of your salvation : in 
whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit 
of promise." 

The original runs thus, sv IL xal 'TTKsrsvffavng^ in whom believing, ye were 
sealed. While faith is busied and exercised about Christ, and those 
varieties of glories and excellencies that are in him, the Lord comes, 
and by his Spirit seals up the life, and love, and glory of them. 

Thus by divine assistance I have despatched the first thing, viz., the 
deciphering of weak Christians. 

II. The second thing that I propounded for the further opening and 
clearing of this point was, to hold forth to you those things that fend to 
sujpport, cor)ifort, and uphold weak Christians. And truly I must 
needs say, that if ever there were a time wherein weak Christians had 
need of support, I verily believe this is the time wherein we live, for 
by the horrid profaneness of men on the one hand, and the abominable, 
loose, and rotten principles of others on the other hand, the hearts of 
many weak Christians especially are sadded, that God would, not have 
sadded, and their spirits wounded and grieved, that God would have 
comforted and healed ; and therefore I shall dwell the longer upon this 
second thing. 

And the first thing that I shall lay down by way of support is this. 
Support 1. That the weakest Christians have as much interest and 
propriety in Christ, and all the fundamental good that comes by 
Christ, as the strongest saints in the world have? 

Weak saints are as much united to Christ, as much justified by Christ, 
as much reconciled by Christ, and as much pardoned by Christ, as the 
strongest saints. It is true, weak Christians cannot make so much im- 
provement and advantage of their interest in Christ, as strong saints 
can ; they have not that power, that wisdom, that spiritual skill to 
make that advantage of their interest and propriety in Christ as strong 
saints have ; yet have they as much interest and propriety in the Lord 
Jesus, and all the fundamental good that comes by him, as the strongest 
saint that breathes. The sucking child hath as much interest and pro- 
priety in the father, and in what is the father,^ as the child that is grown 
up to age, though the young child has not that skill, nor that power, 
nor wisdom to improve that interest to his advantage, as he that is 
grown up in years hath. It is just so here; a soul weak in grace hath 

' = ' Incomings' of the Spirit of graces. — G. 

* He that looked upon the brazen serpent, though with a weak sight, was healed as 
thoroughly as he that looked upon it with a stronger sight. A weak faith is a joint pos- 
sessor, though no faith can be a joint purchaser of Christ. ^ Qu. ' father's ' ?— Ed. 


as much interest in the Lord as the strongest saint hath, though he 
hath not that skill to improve that imterest. And is not this a singular 
comfort and snpport ? Verily, were there no more to bear up a poor 
weak saint from fainting under all their sins, and sorrows, and suffer- 
ings, yet this alone might do it, &c. 

The second support and comfort to weak saints is this : 

Support 2. That God doth vnth an eye of love reflect upon the least 
good that is in them, or done by thenn} 

And is not this a glorious comfort and support, that the Lord looks 
with an eye of love upon the least good that is in you, or done by you? 
You cannot have a good thought, but God looks upon that thought 
with an eye of love : Ps. xxxii 5, * I said I would confess my sin, and 
thou forgavest mine iniquity.' I said it in my thoughts, that I would 
confess my sin, and thou presently meeting me with pardoning mercy, 
forgavest mine iniquity. So in Mai. iii. 16, 'And there was a book of 
remembrance written for them that feared the Lord, and that thought 
upon his name.' They had but some thoughts of God, and God re- 
flects upon those thoughts with an eye of love : Isa. xxxviii. 5, ' I have 
heard thy prayers, I have seen thy tears.' Tears we look upon but as 
poor things, and yet God looks upon them as pearls, and therefore he 
puts them into his bottle, as the psalmist speaks.^ There is not a bit 
of bread, not a drop of drink thou givest, but God casts an eye of love 
upon it. Mat. xxv. 35, 36. 

There is not a desire that arises in thy soul, but the Lord takes 
notice of it: Prov. x. 17, 'Thou hast heard the desire of the humble.' 
Weak saints are full of desires, their whole life is a life of desires, they 
are still a-breathing out holy desires : Lord, pardon such a sin, and 
give me power against such a sin, and strength, Lord, to withstand such 
a temptation, and grace. Lord, to uphold me under such an affliction, 
&c. ; and the Lord hears and answers such gracious breathings and 

It was holy Jewel's desire, that he might die preaching ; and God 
looked with an eye of love upon his desire, and he had it. 

It was Latimer's desire, that he might shed his heart's blood for 
Christ ; and God looked with an eye of lov-e upon the breathiugs of his 
heart, and he had it. 

The Israelites did but groan, and God looked upon their groans with 
an eye of love ; he comes down, he makes his arm bare, he tramples 
upon their proud enemies, and by miracles he saved them. O weak 
Christian 1 is not this a singular comfort, that the Lord reflects with an 
eye of love upon your thoughts, upon your desires, upon your tears, and 
upon your groanings, &e. What though others slight you ! what 
though others take no notice of you ! yet the Lord casts an eye of love 
upon you. 

Some think it very strange that God should set down in Scripture 
the story of Jacob, a poor countryman. Gen. xxxi., that he had a few 
ewes and Iambs, streaked and spotted, and yet take no notice of the 

• The least star gives light ; the least drop moistens. 

2 So in Ps. vi. 8, one ohserves that there are two strong things in tears : [1.] Deor- 
sum flaunt, et ccelum petunt, they drop downward, and fall to the earth ; yet they reach up- 
wards, and pierce the heavens. [2.] Muice sunt et loquuntur, they hold their peace, yet 
cry very loud. 


great emperors and kings of the earth, nor of their great actions and 
warlike designs in the world. But this is to shew that tender love and 
respect that God bears to his children, above what he does to the great 
ones of tliis world. God is more taken with Lazarus's patched coat than 
with Dives's silken robe, &c. 

A third thing that I shall propound for the support and comfort of 
weak saints is this : 

Sujyport 3. Consider, the Lord looks more upon your graces than 
he doth upon your iveaknesses. 

Or thus, 

The Lord will not cast away weak saints, hy reason of the weak- 
nesses that cleaves to their persons or services. 

In 2 Chron. xxx. 18-20, there came a multitude of people to eat the 
passover, but they were not prepared according to the preparation of 
the sanctuary ; therefore Hezekiah puts up a prayer for them, and the 
text saith, that the ' Lord hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the peo- 
ple.' The Lord looked upon their uprightness, and so passed over all 
their other weaknesses. He did not cast off Peter for his horrid sins, 
but rather looks upon him with an eye of love and pity : Mark xvi. 7, 
' But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter, that he goeth before you 
into Galilee ; there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.' O admirable 
love ! matchless mercy ! where sin abounds, grace does superabound. 
This is the glory of Christ, that he carries it sweetly towards his people, 
when they carry themselves unworthily towards him. Christ looks 
more upon Peter's sorrow than upon his sin, upon his tears than upon 
his oaths, &c. The Lord will not cast away weak saints for their great 
unbelief, because there is a little faith in them. He will not throw 
them away for that hypocrisy that is in them, because of that little 
sincerity that is in them. He will not cast away weak saints for that 
pride that is in them, because of those rays of humility that shine in 
them. He will not despise his people for their passions, because of 
those grains of meekness that are in them. We will not throw away a 
little gold because of a great deal of dross that cleaves to it, nor a little 
wheat because mixed with much chaff, and will God ? will God ? 

We will not cast away our garments because of some spots, nor our 
books because of some blots, nor our jewels because of some flaws, and 
do we think that the Lord will cast away his dearest ones, because of 
their spots, and blots, and flaws ? Surely no. God looks more upon the 
bright side of the cloud than the dark : James v. 11, ' Remember the 
patience of Job.' It is not, remember the murmuring of Job, the 
cursing of Job, the complainings of Job, the impatience of Job ; but, 
* Remember the patience of Job.' God looks upon the pearl, and not 
upon the spot that is in it. So in Heb. xi. 30, 31, there is mention 
made of Rahab's faith, love, and peaceable behaviour towards the spies, 
but no mention made of her lie. The Lord overlooks her weakness, 
and keeps his eye upon her virtues. Where God sees but a little grace, 
he doth as it were hide his eyes from those circumstances that might 
seem to deface the glory of it. So in 1 Pet. iii. 6, ' Even as Sarah 
obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.' Mark there was but one good 
word in Sarah's speech to Abraham, she called her husband lord ; the 
speech otherwise was a speech of unbelief, yet the Holy Ghost speaking 


of her in reference to that speech, conceals all the evil in it, and men- 
tions only the reverent title she gave to her husband, commending her 
for it. 

He that drew Alexander, whilst he had a scar npon his face, drew 
him with his finger upon the scar. So when the Lord comes to look 
upon a poor soul, he lays his finger upon the scar, upon the infirmity, 
that he may see nothing but grace, which is the beauty and the glory 
of the soul. Ah 1 but weak Christians are more apt to look upon their 
infirmities than on their graces, and because their little gold is mixed 
with a great deal of dross, they are ready to throw away all as dross. 
Well, remember this, the Lord Jesus hath as great and as large an 
interest in.the weakest saints, as he hath in the strongest. He hath the 
interest of a friend, and the interest of a father, and the interest of a 
head, and the interest of a husband ; and, therefore, though saints be 
weak, yea, though they be very weak, yet having as great and as large 
an interest in them as in the strongest saints, he cannot but overlook 
their weakness, and keep a fixed eye upon their graces. 

K fourth support is this : 

Support 4. That the Lord will graciously ^preserve and strengthen 
those weak graces that are in you} 

Though your graces be as a spark of fire in the midst of an ocean of 
corruption, yet the Lord will preserve and blow up that spark of fire 
into a flame. It was the priest's office in the time of the law, to keep 
the fire in the sanctuary from going out ; and it is the office of our 
Lord Jesus, as he is our high priest, our head, our husband, our media- 
tor, for to blow up that heavenly fire that he hath kindled in any of our 
souls. His honour, his faithfulness, and his goodness is engaged in it, 
and therefore he cannot but do it, else he would lose much love and 
many prayers and praises, did he not cherish, preserve, and strengthen 
his own work in his own people. The faith of- the disciples was gene- 
rally weak, as I have formerly shewed you, and yet how sweetly doth 
the Lord Jesus carry it towards them ! John xvi., Acts ii. He was 
still a-breathing out light, life, and love upon them ; he was still a- 
turning their water into wine, their bitter into sweet, and their discour- 
agements into encouragements, and all to raise and keep up their 
spirits. His heart was much in this thing, therefore says he, ' It is 
necessary that I leave you, that I may send the Comforter to be a com- 
fort and guide unto you.' I will pour out my Spirit upon you, that a 
little one may become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation, 
and that the feeble may be as David, and the house of David as God, 
as the angel of the Lord,-Zech. xii. 8. That is a sweet text, Isa. Ixv. 8, 
' Thus saith the Lord, As the new wine is found in the clusters, and one 
saith, Destroy it not, for a blessing is in it, so will I do for my servants' 
sake,' &c. Oh, saith Christ to the Father, here are a company of weak 
saints that have some buddings of grace, oh do not destroy it. Father ! 
there is a blessing in it, though it be but weak. The genuine sense of 
the similitude, I think, is this : when a vine being blasted or otherwise 
decayed is grown so bad and so barren, that scarce any good clusters of 
grapes can he discerned on it, whereby it may be deemed to have any life, 
or of ever becoming fruitful again, and the husbandman is about to grub 

' The tallest oak was once an acorn, and the deepest doctor was once in his horn-book. 


it up or cut it down to the ground, one standing by sees here a cluster, 
and there a little cluster, and cries out, Oh do not grub up the vine, 
do not cut down the vine, it hath a little life, and by good husbandry 
it may be made fruitful. We may look upon the Lord Jesus as thus 
pleading with his Father's justice : Father, I know thou seest that these 
souls are dry and barren, and that there is little or no good in them, 
and therefore thou mightest justly cut them down. But, O my Father ! 
I see here a bunch and there a bunch, here a little grace and there a 
little grace, surely there is a blessing it. Oh spare it, let it not be 
stubbed up, let it not be destroyed. 

Mat. xii. 27, ' A bruised reed shall he not break, nor smoking flax 
shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.'^ 

' A bruised reed shall he not break.' The Jewish commentators 
carry it thus : he shall not tyrannise over, but nourish and cherish the 
poor, weak, feeble ones, that are wont to be oppressed by great ones. 
But men more spiritual carry it thus : Christ will not cany it roughly and 
rigorously towards poor weak tender souls, whose graces are as a bruised 
reed and as smoking flax. A reed is a contemptible thing, a tender 
thino", it will break sometimes before a man is aware ; a bruised reed 
is more tender, it will be broken with a touch, yet Christ will not break 
such a bruised reed, i.e. a soul weak in grace. 

' Nor quench the smoking flax/ The wick of a candle is little worth, 
and yet less when it smokes, as yielding neither light nor heat, but 
rather smokes, and offends with an ill smell, which men cannot bear, 
but will tread it out. But the Lord Jesus Christ will not do so. Souls 
whose knowledge, love, faith, and zeal do as but smoke out, the Lord 
Jesus will not trample under foot ; nay, he will cherish, nourish, and 
strengthen such to life eternal. Look, what tallow is to the wick, or 
oil is to the lamp, that will the Lord Jesus be to the graces of weak 

' Till he shall bring forth judgment unto victory.' That is, until the 
sanctified frame of grace begun in their hearts be brought to that per- 
fection that it prevaileth over all opposite corruption. 

Thus you see how sweetly the Lord Jesus carries it to souls weak 
in grace ; therefore let not those that bring forth a hundredfold despise 
those that bring forth but thirty, nor those that have five talents despise 
those that have but two. 
The fifth support is this : 

Support 5. That weak saints may he very useful to the strong, and 
sometimes 'iuay do more than strong saints can. 

As you may see in 1 Cor. xii. 14) to 28.^ The apostle in this Scrip- 
ture discovers the singular use of the weakest saint in the body of 
Christ by the usefulness of the weakest and meanest member in the 
natural body to the strongest : ver. 21, ' The eye cannot say to the hand, 

^ \)t,p>a.\Xu : to brin^ forth. It is the custom of all writers, and very frequent in the sacred 
dialect, to use phrases whereby they understand much more than they do express : an 
example whereof you have in this verse, where Christ's not breaking the bruised reed 
signifies his great mercy and kindness in repairing, and restoring, and curing tlie bruised 
weakling. And so his not quenching the smoking flax is his enlivening, quickening, 
and inflaming that fire or spark of grace or goodness which was almost quenched, &c. 

2 Others understand the words of Christ setting up the profession of the gospel in tho 
world among the heathens, if the Jews will not receive it. 


I have no need of thee ; nor again the head to the foot, I have no need 
of thee.' By the head and by the eye he means such saints as were 
eminent in gifts and graces, that were adorned more richly and that 
shined more gloriously in grace and gracious abilities than others. Oh 
these should not despise those that were not so eminent and excellent 
as themselves; for God hath so tempered the inequality of the members 
in the natural body, that the more excellent and beautiful members can 
in no wise lack the more abject and weak members ; therefore slight 
not the weakest saints, for certainly, at first or last, the weakest will be 
serviceable to the strongest. A dwarf may be useful to a giant, a child 
to a man ; sometimes a little finger shall do that that a limb in the 
body cannot do ; it is so often in Christ's spiritual body.^ I will give you 
a very famous instance for this. 

At the council of Nice there was 318 bishops, and by the subtlety of 
a philosopher disputing against the marriage of ministers, they gene- 
rally voted against it, that those that were single should not marry. 
At length up starts Paphnutius, a plain Christian, and in the name of 
Christ, with the naked word of God, he pleaded against them all in that 
case; and God so wrought by his arguments, that he convinced the 318 
bishops, and carried the cause against them ; yea, and so convinced the 
philosopher of his error, that before all he freely confessed it: 'As long,' 
saith he,/ as men's words were only pressed, I could repel words with 
words ; but what is weak man to withstand the word of God ? I yield ; 
I am conquered.'^ 

Weak Christians may be of singular use to the strongest ; those that 
know most may learn more even from the weakest saints.^ 

Junius was converted by discoursing with a ploughman ; * and, Acts 
xviii. 24 to 27, Apollos, though he was an eloquent man and mighty 
in the Scriptures as the text speaks, yet was he furthered and bettered 
in the knowledge of Christ's kingdom by Aquila and Priscilla. A poor 
tent-maker and his wife were instrumental to acquaint him with those 
things that he knew but weakly. He had not ascended above John's 
baptism, but they had, and so communicated their light and knowledge 
to him. 

The sixth support is this: 

Support 6. Where there is hut a little grace, there God expects less, 
and will accept of less, though it be accompanied with many failings. 

Thou sayest, Oh! I have but a little grace, a little faith, a little love, 
a little zeal. Oh know, where there is but a little grace, there God 
expects less obedience, and will accept of less service : 2 Cor. viii. 12, 
* For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that 
which a man hath, and not according to that which he hath not.' The 
two mites cast into the treasury, Luke xxi. 3, by the poor widow, her 
heart being in the action, were more acceptable than two talents cast in 
by others. Noah's sacrifice could not be great, and yet it was greatly 
accepted by God. In the time of the law, God accepted a handful of 

' It was a saying of General Vera to the king of Denmark, that kings cared not for 
soldiers, until such time that their crowns hung on the one side of their heads. [See 
Sibbes, vol. i. 35. — G.] ^ Socrates, Eccles. Hist. : ^Sub nomine. — G.] 

3 A little star hath light and influence, though not the glory which is proper to the 
sun. ♦ As before, page 21. — G. 



meal for a sacrifice, and a gripe of goat's hair for an oblation ; and cer- 
tainly God hath lost none of his affections to poor souls in the time of 
the gospel : Cant. ii. 14, * Let me hear thy voice, for thy voice is sweet, 
. and thy countenance is lovely.' The Hebrew word ethkolech signifies 
any sound such as birds or brutes make. Their chattering is like lovely 
songs in the ear of God, their mite is a sweet oblation. Parents, that 
have but some drops of that love and tender affection that is in God to 
his people, yet accept of a very little service from their weak children ; 
and will not God ? In time of strength God looks for much, but in the 
time of weakness God will bear much, and overlook much, and accept 
of a little, yea, of a very little.^ 

One, writing of the tree of knowledge, saith that 'it bears many 
leaves, but little fruit.' Though weak saints have a great many leaves, 
and but little fruit, little grace, yet that little the Lord will kindly 
accept of 

Artaxerxes, the Persian monarch, was famous for accepting of a little 
water from the hand of a loving subject ; God makes himself famous, 
and his grace glorious, by his kind acceptation of the weakest endea- 
vours of his people, &c. 

The seventh support is this: 

Support 7. The least measure of grace is as true an earnest, and as 
good and sure a pledge of greater measures of grace that the soul shall 
have here, and of glory that the soul shall have hereafter, as the greatest 
measure of grace is.^ 

' He that hath begun a good work, he will perfect it to the day of 
Christ,' Philip, i. 6. Christ is called not only the author, but also the 
finisher of our faith, Heb. xii. 2. In Mai. iv. 2, 3, ' Unto you that fear 
my name, shall the Sun of righteousness arise, with heaUng in his 
wings, and he shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall.' And 
so in Job xvii. 9, ' The righteous shall hold on his way, and he that hath 
clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.'^ Zech. xii. 8, ' In that day 
shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and he that is 
feeble among them at that day shall be as David, and the house of 
David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.' So in 
Hosea xiv. 5-7, I will be as the dew to Israel, he shall grow as the lily, 
and cast forth his fruits as Lebanon : his branches shall spread, and his 
beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that 
dwell under his shadow shall return, they shall revive as the corn, and 
grow as the vine : the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon,' 

The tree in Alcinous's garden had always blossoms, buds, and ripe 
fruits, one under another. Such a tree will God make every Christian 
to be. * The righteous,' though never so weak, ' shall flourish like the 
palm tree,' Ps. xcii. 12-1 -t. Now the palm tree never loseth his leaf or 
fruit, saith Pliny. 

* It is very observable that the eagle and the lion, those brave creatures, were not 
offered in sacrifice unto God, but the poor lamb and dove : to note that your brave, high, 
and lofty spirits God regards not ; but your poor, meek, contemptible spirits God accepts. 

2 Though men often lose their earnest, yet God will never lose his. His earnest is 
very obliging. 

3 The Hebrew word I")"!, or way, signifies a distinct course from others, as the way 
from one town differs from the way to another. Here in Job it is taken for a course in 


An old man being asked if he grew in goodness, answered, Yea, 
doubtless I believe I do, because the Lord hath said, ' They shall still 
bring forth fruit in old age, they shall be fat, and flourishing;' or green, 
as the Hebrew hath it.^ 

In the island of St Thomas, on the back side of Africa, in the midst 
of it is a hill, and over that a continual cloud, wherewith the whole 
island is watered. Such a cloud is Christ to weak saints. Though our 
hearts naturally are like the isle of Patmos, which is so barren of any 
good as that nothing will grow but on earth that is brought from other, 
places, yet Christ will make them like * a watered garden, and like a 
spring of water, whose waters fail not,' Isa. Iviii, 11. 

The eighth support is this : 

Support 8. That the least good that is done by the weakest saint 
shall not be despised by Christ, but highly esteemed and rewarded.^ 

As you may see in Mat. xix. 27, * Behold we have forsaken all, and 
followed thee, and what shall we have?' A great all! a great catch 
indeed, as I have formerly shewed you ; they left a few old boats and 
torn nets and poor household stuff, yet Christ carries it very sweetly 
and lovingly to them, and tells them in verse 28, that they should ' sit 
upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.' Christ tells 
them they shall sit as ambassadors or chief councillors and presidents, 
which have the chief seats in the kingly assembly, yea, they shall sit 
as kings. They are here but obscure kings, but kings elected ; but in 
that day they shall be kings crowned, kings glorified, kings acknow- 
ledged. Then they shall as far outshine the glory of the sun, as the 
sun now outshines a twinkling star. In that day they shall be * higher 
than the kings .of the earth/ Ps. Ixxxix. 27. So in Mat. x. 42, * And who- 
soever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones, a cup of cold 
water only, in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in 
no wise lose his reward, for a cup of cold water/ Water, the common 
element, and cold water, which cost them not so much as fire to warm 
it ; for that, there is a torrent and a very sea of all pleasures provided 
for thee to all eternity. God esteems men's deeds by their minds, and 
not their minds by their deeds. The least and cheapest courtesy that 
can be shewed shall be rewarded. There is an emphasis in that deep 
asseveration, * Verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.' 
Mercy is as sure a grain as vanity.^ God is not like to break, neither 
will he forget the least good done by the least saint. The butler may 
forget Joseph, and Joseph may forget his father's house, but the Lord 
will not forget the least good done by the weakest saint.* 

The Duke of Burgundy, being a wise and loving man, did bountifully 
reward a poor gardener, for offering of him a rape-root, being the best pre- 

^ CJ^yri. From hagnan, green. 

2 A dying saint once cried out, ' He is come, he is come!' meaning the Lord, with a 
great reward for a little work. 

3 So in all the editions. Qu. Mercy, typified by 'grain' or seed, [Cf. Ps. xcvii. 11], 
yields as ' sure' a harvest of 'good' or blessing, as does ' vanity' of ' evil ?'— G. 

* Agrippa, having suffered imprisonment for wishing Caius [Caligula. — G.] emperor, 
the first thing Caius did when he came to the empire was to prefer Agrippa [grandson of 
Herod. — G.] to a kingdom. He gave him also a chain of gold as heavy as the chain of 
iron that was upon him in prison [whither he had been sent by Tiberius. — G.]. And 
will not Christ richly reward for all our well-wishes toward him, and for all our gracious 
actings for him ? Surely he will. He has a king's heart, as well as a king's purse. 


sent the poor man bad ; and will not our God, whose very nature is 
goodness, kindness, and sweetness, &c., do much more ? Surely he Avill 
reward the least good done by the weakest saint. Therefore be not dis- 
couraged, weak Christians, though you should meet with hard measure 
from the world, though they should reward your weak services with re- 
proaches, &c., for the Lord will reward you ; he * will not despise the 
day of small things,' Heb. vi. 10. What though, O precious soul, thy 
language be clipped and broken ? what though thou canst but chatter 
. like a crane ? what though thou canst not talk so fluently and eloquently 
for Christ as others ? what though thy hand be weak, that thou canst 
not do so much for Christ as others ? nor do so well for Christ as others ? 
yet the Lord, seeing thy heart sincere, will reward thee. Thou shalt 
have an everlasting rest for a little labour, and a great reward for a 
little work. 

The ninth support is this : 

Support 9. That as your graces are weaker than others, so your temp- 
tations shall be fewer, and your afflictions lighter than others. 

God in much wisdom and love will suit your burdens to your backs, 
he will suit all your temptations and afflictions to your strength. Your 
burdens shall not be great, if your strength be but little, as you may 
see, 1 Cor. x. 13, ' There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is 
common to man ; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be 
tempted above that you are able, but will with the temptation also make 
a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.' The Lord, O weak 
Christian! will suit thy burden to thy back, and his strokes to thy 
strength. This is most evident in Scripture, that the strongest in grace 
have always been most tempted, afflicted, and distressed.^ 

If Abraham excel others in faith, God will try the strength of Abra- 
ham's faith to the uttermost, and put him to that that he never put man 
to before, Gen. xx. If Moses excel all others in meekness, the Lord will 
try the strength of that grace, and Moses shall have to do with as proud 
and as murmuring a generation, as ever man had to do with. If Job 
carry the day from all others, in point of patience, he shall be exer- 
cised with such strange and unheard of afflictions, as shall try not only 
the truth, but also the strength of his patience to the uttermost. If 
Paul have more glorious revelations than the rest of the apostles, Paul 
shall be more buffeted and exercised with temptations, than the rest of 
the apostles.2 

And thus you see it clear by all these instances, that the best and 
choicest saints have always met with the worst and greatest temptations 
and afflictions. So when the disciples were in the lowest form, when they 
were weak in grace, the Lord Jesus exercises them but with light afflic- 
tions ; but when they had a greater measure of the Spirit poured upon 
them, then their troubles were increased and multiplied, and their for- 
mer troubles, in comparison of the latter, were but as scratches of pins 
to stabs at the heart, Acts ii. 1 to 21. When the Spirit of the Lord 
was poured out upon them, then they were afflicted, opposed, and 

1 When Latimer was at the stake, ready to be burned, he breathed out those sweet 
words, Fidelis est Deus, God is faithful, &,c.~lFoxe] Ads et Mon. fol. 1579. [By Town- 
send, as before, vii. 550, et alibi. — G.l 

2 Num. xii. 3 ; Exod. xvi. 7, 8 ; Num. xiv. 27, 36, and xvi. 11 ; E.xod. xv. 24 ; James 
V. 11 ; read the 1st, 6th, and 7th chapters of Job ; 2 Cor. xii. 1-11. 


persecuted with a witness ; when they had a greater measure of the 
Spirit, to enable them to bear the hatred, frowns, strokes, and blows 
of the enraged world, then all of them had the honour to suffer a violent 
death for Christ, as histories do evidence. 

That is a very remarkable scripture, Luke xxiv. 49, ' And behold I 
send tlie promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of 
Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.' The Lord 
Jesus would not have them go from Jerusalem, till they were endued 
with power from on high. By ' the promise of the Father,' is meant 
the gifts and graces of the Spirit that is promised in Isa. xliv. 3 ; Joel ii. 
28 ; John xiv. 16, and xv. 26. * Tarry ye here,' says Christ, ' at Jeru- 
salem, till ye be completely armed and fitted for all encounters, till ye 
be endued with power;' or, as the Greek carries it, 'till ye be clothed,' 
hdvffrjffdi. They were as naked persons ; they had but a little of the 
Spirit, so that they were not complete ; they were not clothed with the 
Spirit, till after the ascension of Christ. Now saith Christ, ' Tarry until 
such time as ye are clothed with the Spirit.* The Lord Jesus knew well 
enough that they should meet with bitter opposition, terrible afflictions, 
and dreadful persecution for his and the gospel's sake ; therefore ' Tarry,' 
said he, ' until ye be clothed with the Holy Ghost,' that so nothing may 
daunt ye, nor sink ye. 

The tenth support is this : 

Support 10. That your persons stand not before God in your own 
righteousness, but in the perfect, spotless, and matchless righteousness 
of the Lord Jesus. 

Weak hearts are apt to sit down troubled and discouraged, when they 
look upon that body of sin that is in them, and those imperfections that 
attend their chiefest services ; they are ready to say. We shall one day 
perish by the strength of our lusts, or by the defects of our services. 
Oh but weak souls should remember this, to strengthen them against 
all discouragements, that their persons stand before God, clothed with 
tlie righteousness of their Saviour, and so God owns them and looks 
upon them as persons wrapped up in his royal robe. Hence it is that 
he is called, Jer. xxiii. 6, ' Jehovah tsidkenu, the Lord our righteous- 
ness.' And so in I Cor. i. 30, * He is of God made unto us wisdom, 
righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.'^ 

Though weak saints have nothing of their own, yet in Christ they 
have all, for in him is all fulness, Col. i, 19, both repletive and diffusive; 
both of abundance and of redundance ; both of plenty and of bounty. 
He is made to weak saints wisdom, by his prophetical office ; and he is 
made to weak saints righteousness and sanctification, by his priestly 
office ; and he is made to weak saints redemption, by his kingly office. 
So in Col. ii. ] 0, ' And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all 
principality and power." 

Varro reports of two hundred and eighty-eight several opinions that 
were among the philosophers, about the complete happiness of man; 
but they were out in them all, one judging his happiness lay in this 
and another in that. They caught at the shadow of happiness, but 

^ The costly cloak of Alciatbeues, which, Dionysius sold to the Carthaginians for an 
hundred talents, was a mean and beggarly rag to that embroidered mantle that Clirist 
does put upon the weakest saints. 


could not come at the tree of life, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is weak 
saints' complete happiness. Rev. xiv. 5, 'And in their mouths was 
found no guile, for they were without fault before the throne of God.' 
Though men may accuse you, judge and condemn you, yet know for 
your support, that you are acquitted before the throne of God. How- 
ever you may stand in the eyes of men, as full of nothing but faults, 
persons made up of nothing but sin, yet are you clear in the eyes of God. 
So in Cant. iv. 7, ' Thou art all fair, my love, and there is no spot in 
thee.' There is none, such as are the spots of wicked men, nor no spot 
in mine account. God looks upon weak saints in the Son of his love, 
and sees them all lovely ; they are as the tree of Paradise, Gen. iii. 6, ' fair 
to his eye, and pleasant to his taste.' Or as Absalom, in whom there 
was no blemish from head to foot. Ah, poor souls ! you are apt to look 
upon your spots and blots, and to cry out with the leper not only 
* Unclean, unclean !' but * Undone, undone !' Well, for ever remember 
this, that your persons stand before God in the righteousness of Christ ; 
upon which account you always appear, before the throne of God, with- 
out fault ; you are all fair, and there is no spot in you. 

The eleventh support is this : 

Support 11. Your sins shall never provoke Christ, nor prevail ivith 
ChHst so far, as to give you a hill of divorce} 

Oh there is much in it, if the Lord would set it home upon your 
hearts. Your sins shall never prevail so far with Christ, nor never so 
far provoke him, as to work him to give you a bill of divorce. Your 
sins may provoke Christ to frown upon you, they may provoke Christ 
to chide with you, they may provoke him greatly to correct you, but 
they shall never provoke Christ to give you a bill of divorce : Ps. Ixxxix. 
30-34, ' If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments ; 
if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments ; then will 
I visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. 
Nevertheless my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor 
suffer my faithfulness to fail.' That is a great support to a weak saint, 
that his sin shall never separate him from God nor Christ. Thou art 
many times afraid that this deadness, this dulness, this earthliness, and 
these wandering thoughts, &c., that do attend thee, will provoke the 
Lord Jesus to sue a bill of divorce against thee. But remember this, 
thy sins shall never so far prevail with Christ, as to work him to give 
thee a bill of divorce. Mark, 

There is nothing can provoke Christ to give thee a bill of divorce 
but sin : 

Now sin is slain ; ergo, 

I shall open this to you in three things : 

[1.] First, Sin is slain judicially ; for it is condemned both by 
Christ and his people, and so it is dead according to law ; which is and 
may be a singular comfort and support to weak saints, that their greatest 
and worst enemy, sin, is condemned to die, and shall not for ever vex 
and torment their precious souls. It is dead judicially, it is under the 

' Read Jer. iii. Out of the most poisonful drugs God distils his glory and our salva- 
tion. Galen speaks of a maid, called Nupella, that was nourished by poison. God can 
and will turn the very sins of his people, which are the worst poison in all the world, 
into his children's advantage. 


sentence of condemnation : ] Cor. xv. 55, 56, * death, where is thy 
sting ? O grave, where is thy victory ? The sting of death is sin,' &c.^ 
The apostle here triumphs over it as a thief condemned to death. Sin 
is sentenced now ; though not fully put to death, it is dead judicially. 
As when the sentence of death is passed upon a malefactor, you say he 
is a dead man ; why ? he is judicially dead ; so is sin, sin is judicially 
dead. When a man that hath robbed and wounded another is taken, 
and sentenced judicially, we say he is a dead man ; and it is often a 
great refreshing and satisfaction to a man that he is so. Sin, O weak 
soul ! is sentenced and judicially slain ; and therefore that can never 
work the Lord Jesus to give thee a bill of divorce. The thoughts of 
which should much refresh thee and support thee. 

[2.] Secondly, Sin is dead or slain civilly, as well as judicially. It 
is civilly dead, because the power of it is much abated, and its dominion 
and tyranny overpowered. As when a king or tyrant is whipped and 
stripped of all power to domineer, reign, and play the tyrant, he is civilly 
dead, even while he lives ; so is sin in this sense dead even while it 
lives, Rom. vi. 14. That text is suitable to our purpose : Hosea xiii. 1, 
* When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel ; but 
when he offended in Baal, he died.'^ 

What is the meaning of these words ? The meaning is this : W^hen 
the king of Ephraim spake, the people even trembled at his voice, such 
power once he had ; but when he offended in Baal, by serving Baal, by 
giving himself up to idolatry, he died in respect of obedience not yielded 
to him as formerly. Time was that he was terrible, but when he fell 
to idolatry, his strength and glory came down, so that now he became 
even like a dead carcase. 

Adam died civilly the same day that he sinned. The creatures that 
before lovingly obeyed him, as soon as he renounced obedience to his 
God, they renounced all obedience to him or his sovereignty, so that he 
civilly died the very same day that he sinned. 

That is a sweet word that you have, Rom. vi. 11, 'Likewise reckon 
ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin.' Therefore Christ will 
never divorce you for sin. Oh what a support may this be to a weak 
saint, that sin, that he fears above all other things in the world, is slain 
judicially and civilly. The Lord hath whipped and stripped it of all its 
ruling, reigning, domineering, tyrannizing power. Oh, therefore, Chris- 
tians, look upon sin as dead, that is, as not to be obeyed, as not to be 
acknowledged, no more than a tyrant that is stripped of all his tyran- 
nizing power. People that are wise, and understand their liberty, look 
not upon such a one as fit to be obeyed and served, but as one fit to be 
renounced and destroyed. Do you so look upon your sins, and deal 
accordingly with them.^ 

[3.] Thirdly, Sin is slain naturally, as well as civilly. Christ hath 
given it its death's wound by his death and resurrection. He hath given 
sin such a wound, that it cannot be long-lived, though it may linger 

* Vide Grotius and Vorstius on the words. 

2 It is with sin in the saints as it was with those beasts, Dan. vii. 12, who had their 
dominions taken away, though their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. 

^ Where sin sits in the soul, as a king sits upon his throne, and commands the heart, 
as a king commands his subjects, there is reign of sin ; but grace frees the soul from this. 


awhile in a saint. As a tree that is cut at the root with a sore gash or 
two, must die within a year, perhaps a month, nay, it may be within a 
week ; though for a time it may flourish, it may have leaves and fruit, 
yet it secretly dies, and will very shortly wither and perish. The Lord 
Jesus hath given sin such a mortal wound, by his death and Spirit, and 
by the communication of his favour and grace to the soul, that sin shall 
never recover its strength more, but die a lingering death in the souls of 
the saints. Christ did not die all at once upon the cross, but by little and 
little ; to shew us, that his death should extend to the slaying of sin 
gradually in the souls of the saints. When our enemy hath a mortal 
wound, we say he is a dead man, his wound is mortal ; so when Jesus 
Christ hath given sin such a deadly wound, such a mortal blow, that it 
shall never recover its strength and power more, we may truly say, it 
is dead, it is slain. Therefore cheer up, O weak souls, for certainly sin 
that is thus slain can never provoke Jesus Christ to give you a bill of 
divorce. Ah ! that all weak Christians would, like the bee, abide upon 
these sweet flowers, and gather honey out of them, &c. 

To proceed. 

The twelfth support is this : 

Support 12. Christ and you are sharers. 

Know this, weak saints, for your support and comfort, 

1. That Christ shares with you, and you share with Christ. 

I shall open this sweet truth to you a little. 

[1.] Christ shares with you in your natures. 

In Heb. ii. 16, ' For verily he took not on him the nature of angels, 
but he took on him the seed of Abraham.^ And by this he hath ad- 
vanced fallen man above the very angels. This is the great mystery 
spoken of, 1 Tim. iii. 16, ' And without controversy great is the mystery 
of godliness, God manifested in the flesh," &c. 

[2.] The Lord Jesus shares ivith you in your afflictions. 

In Isa. Ixiii. 9, ' In all their afilictions he was afilicted, and the angel 
of his presence saved them : in his love and in his pity he redeemed 
them ; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.' It is 
between Christ and his church as between two lute strings, no sooner 
one is struck but the other trembles.^ 

[3.] He shares with you in all sufferings and persecutions, as well 
as in all your afflictions. 

Acts ix. 4, 5, ' Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me f There is such 
a near union between the Lord Jesus Christ and the weakest saints, 
that a man cannot strike a saint but he must strike through the very 
heart of Christ. Their sufferings are held his, Col. i. 24 ; and their 
afflictions are his afilictions, and their reproaches are his reproaches, 

^ The notion of iTiXecf^(icinTett is best expressed by Chrysostom in these words : ' When 
mankind fled far from Christ, Christ pursued and caught hold of it ; and this he did by 
fastening on our nature in his incarnation,' &c. 

' The_ ancients use to say commonly, that Alexander and Hephastion had but one soul 
in two distinct bodies, because their joy and sorrow, glory and disgrace, was mutual to 
them both. [Cf. Sibbes, vol. i, p. 194, note b.—G.I It is so between Christ and his 
saints. Their names, that are written in red letters of blood in the church's calendar, are 
written in golden letters in Christ's register in the book of life, said Prudentius. In my 
lifetime, said a gracious soul, I have been assaulted with temptations from Satan, and he 
hath cast my sins into my teeth to drive me to despair ; yet the Lord gave me strength 
to overcome all his temptations. 


Heb. xiii. 13 ; and their provocations are his provocations, Neh. iv. 
4, 5 ; God is provoked more than Nehemiah. So Isa. viii. 18, compared 
with Heb. ii. 3 3. ' Behold I, and the children whom the Lord hath 
given me, are for signs and wonders in Israel.' This the apostle applies 
to Christ, Heb. ii. 13. 

[4.] The Lord Jesus Christ shares with you in all your tempta- 
tations, Heb. ii. 17, 18, and iv. 15, 16. 

Christ was tempted, and he was afflicted as well as you, that he 
might be able so succour you that are tempted. As a poor man that 
hath been troubled with pain and grief, he will share with others that 
are troubled with pain or grief. Ah, friends ! the Lord Jesus Christ 
hath lost none of his affections by going to heaven ; he is still full of 
compassion, though free from personal passion. When he was on earth, 
oh ! how did he sympathize with his poor servants in all their tempta- 
tions. * Satan,' says Christ to Peter, ' hath desired to winnow thee, but 
I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not,' Luke xxii. 32. Luther, 
in his preaching, met with every man's temptation, and being once 
asked how he could do so ? answered, Mine own manifold temptations 
and experiences are the cause thereof Oh 1 the manifold temptations 
that the Lord Jesus hath undergone, makes him sensible, as I may say, 
and willing to share with us in our temptations. 

Secondly, As Christ shares with weak saints, so weak saints share 
with Christ. And this I shall shew you briefly in a few particulars. 

[1.] Weak saints share with Christ in his divine nature. 2 Peter 
i. 4, * Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious pro- 
mises ; that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature.' Not 
of the substance of the Godhead, as the Familists say, for that is incom- 
municable ; but by the divine nature we are to understand those divine 
qualities, called elsewhere, * the image of God,' * the life of God,' that 
whereby we are made like to God in wisdom and holiness, wherein the 
image of God, after which man was at first created, consists, Eph. iv. 24, 
Col. iii. 10.^ Saints that do partake of this divine nature, that is, of 
those divine qualities before spoken of, they resemble God, not only as 
a picture doth a man, in outward lineaments, but as a child doth his 
father, in countenance and condition. And well may grace be called 
' the divine nature,' for as God brino^eth light out of darkness, comfort 
out of sorrow, riches out of poverty, and glory out of shame, so does 
grace bring day out of night, and sweet out of bitter, and plenty out of 
poverty, and glory out of shame. It turns counters into gold, pebbles 
into pearls, sickness into health, weakness into strength, and wants into 
abundance. * Enjoying nothing, and yet possessing all things,' 2 Cor. 
vi. 10, &c. 

[2.] Weak saints share with Christ in his Spirit and grace. 

In Ps. xlv. 7, Christ is 'anointed with the oil of gladness above his 
fellows.' They have the anointings of the Spirit, as well as he, though 
not so richly as he. They have their measure, though not that measure 
and proportion of the Spirit as the Lord Jesus hath. So in John i. J 6, 
' Of his fulness have all we received, grace for grace.' There is in 
Christ not only a fulness of abundance, but also a fulness of redundance. 

' To be made partakers of the divine nature notes two things : (1.) fellowship with 
God in his holiness ; (2.) a fellowship with God in his blessedness. 


There is an overflowing fulness in Christ, as a fountain overflows, and 
yet still remains full. ' Grace for grace,' or, * grace upon grace.' 
Abundance of grace, and the increases of graces, one by another.^ 

' Grace for grace,' that is, as a child in generation receives member 
for member ; or as the paper from the press receives letter for letter ; 
or as the wax from the seal receives print for print ; or as the glass 
from the image receives face for face, so does the weakest saint receive 
from Jesus Christ. 

* Grace for grace,' that is, for every grace that is in Christ, there is 
the same grace in us, in some measure. There is not the weakest saint 
that breathes, but has in him some wisdom tliat answers to the wisdom 
of Christ, and some love that answers to the love of Christ, and some 
humility, meekness, and faith, that answers to the humility, meekness, 
and faith of the Lord Jesus, in truth and reality, though not in degree 
or quantity, &c. 

[3.] Weak saints share wdth Christ, in the manifestations and dis- 
coveries of his Father. 

The Lord Jesus, that lies in the bosom of the Father, hath the clearest 
and the fullest manifestations of the Father that can be, and he comes 
and opens the love and heart of the Father, he unbosoms and unbowels 
God to the weakest saints, as in John xv. 15, * Henceforth I call you not 
servants ; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doth : but I have 
called you friends ; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have 
made known unto you.' So in John xvii. 6-8.^ 

[4.] Weak saints share with Christ in his honourable titles. 
in the title of sons, 1 John iii. 1, * Behold what manner of love the 
Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of 
God ! ' And in that of heirs, Kom. viii. 17. Yea, they are priests, and 
prophets, and kings, as well as he, as you may see by comparing Rev. 
i. 5, 6, with 1 Peter ii. 9, &c.' 

[5.] Weak saints share with Christ in his conquests. 
In 1 Cor. XV. 55-57, Rom. viii. 37, Christ hath triumphed over sword, 
famine, death, and devils, &c., and so have they through him also. 
Over all these we are more than conquerors, we are over and above 
conquerors. Oh what a blessed thing is this ! that weak saints should 
share with Christ in his conquests. The poor weak soldier shares with 
his general in all his noble and honourable conquests ; so does a poor 
weak Christian share with his Christ in all his noble and honourable 

[().] Lastly, They share with Christ in his honour and glory. 

And what would they have more ? John xii. 26, ' If any man serve 

me, let him follow me ; and where I am, there shall also my servant be : 

if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.' 1 Peter v. 1, Eph. 

ii. 6, ' And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in 

^ Omne honum in summo bono, all good is in the cliiefest good. 

2 Plutarch's reasoning ia good : to. tuv <p,xZv TdvTx xoiva, friends have all things in com- 
mon ; but God is our friend. Ergo, . . . This was a rare speech from a heathen. 
[_Moralia, sub voce. — G.] 

* The wife shares with her husband in all his titles of honour ; so does a Christian 
with his Christ. 

4 See 1 Sam. xviii. 17-29 ; Col. ii. 14, 15 ; Eph. ii. 13-16 ; Heb. ii. 14, 16 ; Rom. viii. 
37. uvri^vtKuftiy, we do overcome- 


heavenly places in Christ Jesus.' Believers are already risen in Christ 
their head, and they do at this instant sit in heavenly places in Christ 
Jesus. Christ, as a public person, doth represent all believing souls, 
and they are set down in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. In Rom. 
viii. 17, * If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him.' And in 
John xiv. 2, 3, 'I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and pre- 
pare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself ; 
that where I am, there ye may be also.' So in Rev. iii. 21, 'To him 
that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I 
overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.' ^ Now, what 
would you have more, weak souls ? Christ shares with you, and you 
share with Christ. You are apt to be discouraged because you do not 
share with Christ in such measures of grace, comfort, and holiness, as 
such and such strong saints do. Oh ! but remember in how many 
weighty things Christ and you are sharers ; and be dejected if you can ! 
Ah, Christians ! what though you do not share in the honours, profits, 
pleasures, and advantages of the world ; yet this should be your joy and 
crown, that Christ and your souls are sharers in those things that are 
most eminent and excellent, most precious and glorious ; and the 
serious remembrance hereof should bear up your heads, hopes, and 
hearts, above all the troubles, temptations, and afflictions that come 
upon you in this world, &c. 

III. The third thing propounded, was to shew you the duty of weak 
saints. Who these weak saints are, you have beard ; and what their 
supports and comforts are, you have heard ; and now I shall shew you 
their duty in the following particulars. 

And t\\Q first duty that I shall press upon weak saints is this : 

1. To he thankful for that little grace they have? 

Wilt thou be thankful, O Christian, for the least courtesy shewed 
thee by men ? And wilt thou not be thankful for that little measure 
of grace that is bestowed upon thee by God ? Dost thou remember, 
O weak Christian ! that the least measure of grace is more worth than 
a thousand worlds? that it is more worth than heaven itself? Dost 
thou remember, weak Christian ! that the greatest number of men 
have not the least measure or dram of saving grace ? Doth free grace 
knock at thy door, when it passes by the doors of thousands ? And 
doth it cast a pearl of price into thy bosom, when others are left 
to wallow in their blood for ever ? And wilt thou not be thankful ? 
Oh do but consider, weak souls, how notoriously wicked you would have 
been if the Lord had not bestowed a little grace upon you ! Thou 
lookest, O soul, one way, and there thou hearest some a-cursing, ban- 
ning, and a-blaspheming God to his very face. Had not the Lord given 
thee a little grace, ten thousand to one but thou hadst been one in 
wickedness among these monsters of mankind. And thou lookest an- 
other way, and there thou seest persons dicing, carding, drabbing, and 
drunkenning, &c. ; why, had not the Lord vouchsafed to thee some 
tastes and sips of grace, thou mightst have been as vile as the vilest 
among them. Ah, weak saints ! you do not think what an awakened 

* Christ is the believer's harbinger, to prepare for them the best mansions, &c. 
2 The laws of Persia, Macedonia, and Athens, condemned the ungrateful to death ; and 
certainly unthankfulness may well be styled the epitome of all vices. 


conscience would give for a little of that little grace that the Lord has 
given you. Were all the world a lump of gold, and in their hand to 
give, they would give it for the least spark of grace, for the least drop 
of mercy, 

1 have read of a man who, being in a burning fever, professed that if 
he had all the world at his dispose, he would give it all for one draught 
of beer. So would an awakened conscience for one dram of grace. Oh ! 
saith such a soul, when I look up and see God frowning, when I look 
inward and feel conscience gnawing and accusing, when I look down- 
ward and see hell open to receive me, and when I look on my right and 
left hand, and see devils standing ready to accuse me, oh ! had I a 
thousand worlds I would give them all for a little drop of that grace 
that such and such souls have, whom I have formerly slighted and de- 
spised. Oh ! what would not a damned soul, that hath been but an 
hour in hell, give for a drop of that grace that thou hast in thy heart ! 
Think seriously of this and be thankful^ 

Well ! remember one thing more, and that is this, viz., that there is 
no such way to get much grace, as to be thankful for a little grace. He 
who opens his mouth wide in praises, shall have his heart filled with 
graces. Ingratitude stops the ear of God, and shuts the hand of God, 
and turns away the heart of the God of grace, and therefore you had 
need be thankful for a little grace. Unthankfulness is the greatest in- 
justice that may be ; it is a withholding from the great landlord of 
heaven and earth his due, his debt. 

Philip branded his soldier that begged the land of one that had 
relieved him, and kindly entertained him, with ingratus hospes, the un- 
grateful guest. ** O weak saints ! give not God an occasion by your 
ingratitude to brand you, and to write upon your foreheads, ungrateful 
children. Had it not been for imthankfulness, Adam had been in para- 
dise, the lapsed angels in heaven, and the Jews in their own land of 
promise. The Jews have a saying, that the world stands upon three 
things, the law, holy worship, and retribution, and if these things fall 
the world will fall. You know how to apply it, Isa. i. 3, 4. 

But [that] I may in good earnest stir up your souls to thankfulness, 
will you take home with you these things, that haply have never or 
seldom been thought of by you ? 

[1.] First, Consider, that there is more need of praises than there is 
of prayers. 

Two things do with open mouth proclaim this truth. 

And the first is this, our mercies do out-weigh our wants. This is 
true in temporals, but infinitely more in spirituals and eternals. Thou 
wantest this and that outward mercy, and what is thy want, O soul ! of 
this and that single mercy, to the multitudes of mercies that thou dost 
enjoy ? And as for spirituals, there is nothing more clear than this,> 
that thy spiritual mercies do infinitely out-weigh thy spiritual wants. 
Thou wantest this and that spiritual mercy, but what are those wants 

' One of the kings of England in his straits cried out, ' A kingdom for a horse ! a 
kingdom for a horse !' [Richard III., as before. — G.] So do awakened consciences cry- 
out, A kingdom for a Christ ! a kingdom for a Christ, or a little grace ! 

2 Lycurgus, saith Musculus, amongst all his laws, made none against the ungrateful ; 
because that was thought a thing so prodigious, as not to be committed by man. 


to that God, that Christ, and all those spiritual blessings in heavenly 
places, with which thou art blest in Christ Jesus,' Eph. i. 4. 

Secondly, Consider this. That all your wants and raiseries are de- 
served and ^procured by your sins. Jer. iv. 18, * Thy way and thy 
doings have procured these things unto thee : this is thy wickedness, 
because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thy heart.' And chap. 1. 
25, * Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have 
withholden good things from you.' But now all your mercies are un- 
merited and undeserved ; they all flow in upon you from the free love 
and favour of God ; and therefore there is more need of praises than of 
prayers. And oh ! that the high praises of God were more in your 
mouths, upon this very account ! And oh that, with David, you would 
summon all the faculties of your souls to praise the Lord, who hath 
filled you, and followed you with the riches of mercy all your days,^ Ps. 
cxlix. 2, and ciii. 1-5. But, 

[2.] Secondly, Consider this, Thankfulness is a surer and a better 
evidence of our S'incerity, and spiritual ingenuity, than praying or 
hearing, or such like services^ are. 

Thanksgiving is a self-denying grace ; it is an uncrowning ourselves 
and the creatures, to set the crown upon the head of our Creator ; it is 
the making ourselves a footstool, that God may be lifted up upon his 
throne, and ride in a holy triumph over all ; it is a grace that gives 
God the supremacy in all our hearts, thoughts, desires, words, and works. 
Self-love, flesh and blood, and many low and carnal considerations, may 
carry men to pray, and hear, and talk, &c. The whip may work a shame' 
to beg, but thankfulness is the free-will offering of a child. There is 
nothing that so clearly and so fully speaks out your sincerity and 
spiritual ingenuity, as thankfulness doth. Therefore, weak saints, if 
you would have a substantial evidence of your sincerity and spiritual 
ingenuity, be thankful for a little grace. The little birds do not sip 
one drop of water, but they look up, as if they meant to give thanks, 
to shew us what we should do for every drop of grace, &c.* 

The third and last consideration to set this home is this : 

[3.] A thankful soul holds coiisort with the music of heaven. 

By thankfulness thou boldest a correspondency with the angels, who 
are still a-singing hallelujahs to him that sits upon the throne, and is 
blessed for ever. Rev. iv. 6-9, and v. 12-14. In heaven there is no prayers, 
but all praises. I am apt to think, that there cannot be a clearer nor a 
greater argument of a man's right to heaven, and ripeness for heaven, than 
this, being much in the work of heaven here on earth. There is no grace 
but love, nor no duty but thankfulness, that goes with us to heaven.^ 

Ay, but weak saints may say, Sir! we judge that there is weight in what 
you say, to provoke us to thankfulness ; but did we know that we had 

^ God's favours and mercies seldom or never come single ; there is a series or concate- 
nation of them, and every former draws on a future. 

2 God and Christ are the sole fountain from whence all these streams of living waters 
flow. 3 Qu, I slave ' ?— Ed. 

* It is much to be feared that that man is Christless and graceless, that is earnest in 
craving mercies, but slow and dull in returning praises. It is a sign that the dumb devil 
hath possessed such a man. 

5 Epictetus wished he were a nightingale, to be ever singing. And what then should 
a saint wish ? &c. 


true grace, though it were never so little, though it were but as the 
grain of mustard seed, we would be thankful. But this is our con- 
dition, we live between fears and hopes ; one day hoping we shall to 
heaven, and be happy for ever, another day we are fearing that we shall to 
hell, and miscarry for ever ; and thus we are up and down, backward 
and forward. Sometimes we believe we have grace, and at other times 
we doubt we have none ; sometimes we have a little light, and suddenly 
our sun is clouded ; one day we are ready to say with David, * The Lord 
is our portion/ and the next day we are ready to complain with Jonah, 
that we are ' cast out' from the presence of the Lord. 

Methinks I hear a weak saint saying thus to me, Sir, I would fain 
have an end put to this controversy that hath been so long in my soul, 
viz., whether I have grace or no, and if you please, I will tell you what I 
find, and so humbly desire your judgment and opinion upon the whole. 

Well, speak on, poor soul, and let me hear what thou hast found in 
thine own soul. 

Why, sir, then thus : 

[1.] I find, first, a holy restlessness in my soul, till with old Simeon 
I have gotten Christ in my arms, yea, till I have gotten Christ in my 
heart, Luke ii. 25-33. I go from duty to duty, and from ordinance to 
ordinance, and yet I cannot rest, because * I cannot find him whom my 
soul loves,' Cant. v. 10. I am like Noah's dove, that could not rest 
until he had gotten into the ark. Oh I cannot be quiet till I know that 
I am housed in Christ. My soul is like a ship in a storm, that is tossed 
hither and thither, oh ! where shall I find him ? Oh ! how shall I 
obtain him who is the chiefest of ten thousand ? What Absalom said 
in another case, I can say in this, saith the poor soul ; in his banish- 
ment he could say, 'What is all this to me, so long as I cannot see the 
king's face ?' And truly the language of my soul is this. What is honour 
to me ? and riches to me 1 and the favour of creatures to me ? so long 
as I go mourning without my Christ, so long as I see not my interest 
in my Christ.^ 

Well, have you anything else to say, O weak Christian ? 

Yes sir, I have one thing more to say. 

What is that ? 

Why, it is this. 

[2.] I can truly say, that the poorest, the most distressed and afflicted 
man in the world, is not fuller of desires, nor stronger in his desires 
than I am. The poor man desires bread to feed him, and the wounded 
man desires a plaster to heal him, and the sick man desires cordials to 
strengthen him, &c. But these are not fuller of desires after those 
things that are suitable to them, than I am of holy and heavenly desires.^ 
Oh that I had more of God ! oh that I were filled with Christ ! oh that 
I had his righteousness to cover me, his grace to pardon me, his power 
to support me, his wisdom to counsel me, his loving-kindness to refresh 
me, and his happiness to crown me, &c. 

Well, is this all, O weak saint ? 

No, sir, I have one thing more to tell you. 

What is that? 

* The child is restless till it be in the mother's arms. 
2 Tola vita honi Christiani sanctum desiderium est. 


Why, that is this : 

[3.] Though I dare not say that Christ is mine, yet I can truly say, 
that Christ, his love, his luorks, his grace, his word, are the main objects 
of my contemjplation and meditation. Oh I am always best, when I 
am most a-meditating and contemplating Christ, his love, his grace, &c. 
Ps. cxxxix. 17, * How precious are thy thoughts unto me, God ; how 
great is the sum of them 1'^ 

Well, is this all, O weak saint ? 

No, sir, I have one thing more to say. 

What is that ? 

Why, it is this : 

[4.] I can truly say, That the want of Christ's love is a greater grief 
and burden to my soul, than the want of any outward thing in this 
world. I am in a wanting condition, as to temporals ; I want health, 
and strength, and trading, friends, and money, ' that answereth all 
things,' as Solomon speaks, Eccles. x. 19. And yet all these wants do 
not so grieve me, and so afflict and trouble me, as the want of Christ, 
as the want of grace, as the want of the discoveries of that favour that 
is better than life, Ps. Ixiii. 3, 4. 

Well, is this all, O weak saint ? 

No, sir, there is one thing more. 

What is that ? 

Why, that is this : 

[5.] That I would not willingly nor resolvedly sin against Christ, 
for a world. It is true, I dare not say I have an interest in Christ, yet 
I dare say that I would not willingly and resolvedly sin against Christ 
for a world.^ I can say, through grace, were I this moment to die, 
that my greatest fear is of sinning against Christ, and my greatest care 
is of pleasing Christ. I know there was a time, when my greatest care 
was to please myself and the creature, and my greatest fear was to 
please^ myself and the creature. I can remember with sorrow and 
sadness of heart, how often I have displeased Christ to please myself, 
and displeased Christ to please the creature ; but now it is quite other- 
wise with me, my greatest care is to please Christ, and my greatest 
fear is of offending Christ.* 

Well, is this all, weak saint ? 

No, sir, I have one thing more. 

What is that? 

Why, that is this : 

{6.] Though I dare not say that Christ is mine, and that I have an 
interest in him, yet I can truly say, I dearly love the people of Christ, 
for the image of Christ that I see stamped upon them. It is true, I 
dare not say Christ is mine, and heaven is mine ; I cannot say with 
such and such, ' The Lord is my portion ;' yet I can say that I dearly 
love those that have the Lord for their portion. I can truly say, that 

* Some contemplations have generationem longam, fruitionem brevem ; but these are not 
the contemplations of the saints. 

2 I will rather leap into a bonfire than wilfully to commit wickedness, wilfully to sin 
against God. ' Qu. ' displease ' V — Ed. 

< And I, said Anselm, had rather go to hell pure from sin than to heaven polluted 
with that filth. The primitive Christians chose rather to be thrown to lions without, than 
left to lusts within. Ad leonem magis quam leones, saith TertuUian. 


the poorest and the most neglected, and the most despised saint in the 
world, is more precious in my eye, and more dear to my soul, than the 
greatest and the richest sinner in the world, Ps. xvi. 3.^ 

Well, is this all, O weak saint, that thou hast to say ? 

No, sir, I have one thing more. 

What is that ? 

Why, that is this: 

[7.] Though I dare not say that I have any interest in Christ, or 
that I love Christ, yet I dare say, that my soul weeps and mourns in 
secret for the dishonour that is done to Christ, both by myself and by 
others also. I can look the Lord in the face, were I now to die, and say, 
Lord ! thou that knowest all thoughts and hearts, thou dost know, that 
' mine eyes run down with rivers of tears, because men keep not thy 
law,' Jer. ix. 1-3 ; Ps. cxix. 136. 

Well, is this all? 

No, sir, I crave your patience to hear me in one thing more. 

What is that, O weak Christian f 

Why, that is this: 

[8.] That I prize persons and things according to the spiritualness 
and holiness that is in them ; and the more spiritual and holy any 
man or thing is, the more is that man and thing prized by my soul. 
1 have often thought of that sweet word, Ps. cxix. 104, 'Thy word is 
very pure, therefore doth thy servant love it.''^ Other men love it 
because of the profit they get by it, or because of a name, or this, or 
that ; but I love it for the purity, for the holiness, and the cleanness of 
it. No preaching, saith the weak saint, nor no praying, nor no talking, 
nor no society that likes me and is sweet to me, but that that is most 
spiritual, most holy. It is not an exercise tricked and trimmed up 
with wit, learning, and eloquence ; it is not the hanging of truth's ears 
with counterfeit pearls, that takes me ; but the more plainness, spiritual- 
ness, and holiness, I see in an exercise, the more is my heart raised to 
prize it and love it. And therefore, saith the weak saint, because Christ 
is perfectly and infinitely holy above all other, I prize Christ above all. 
Ordinances are sweet, but Christ is more sweet to my soul. Saints are 
precious, but Christ is far more precious. Heaven is glorious, but Christ 
is infinitely more glorious. The first thing that I would ask, if I might 
have it, saith the weak saint, is Christ. And the next thing that I would 
ask, if I might have it, is more of Christ. And the last thing that I 
would ask, if I might have it, is that I might be satiated and filled with 
the fulness of Christ. Let the ambitious man take the honours of the 
world, so I may but have Christ. Let the voluptuous man swim in all 
the pleasures of the world, so I may have Christ. And let the covetous 
man tumble up and down in all the gold and silver of the world, so I 
may have Christ, and it shall be enough to my souL^ 

1 It is reported of Bucer and Calvin, that they loved all them in whom they could espy 
aliquid Ghristi, anything of Christ. It is just so with these poor hearts that question their 
present condition. 

2 Much in the word is wrapped up in a little ; it is more to be admired than to liave 
Homer's Iliads comprised in a nutshell. The word is like the stone, garamantides, that 
hath golden drops within itself, enriching of the gracious soul. 

3 None but Christ, none but Christ, said the martyr. [Sanders and Hudson, as before 


Well, is this all, weak saint ? 

No, sir ; I liave one thing more to say, 

What is that ? 

Why, it is this : 

[9.] I find the same confi,ict in my soul that Paul found in his soul, 
after he vms converted near upon fourteen years, after he was taken up 
into as clear and choice enjoyments of God, as any soul that ever I read 
of. The conflict that is mentioned, Rom. vii. 6, I find in my soul. 
The whole frame of my soul, understanding, will, and affections, are 
set against sin. I find that ' I hate the evil that I do, and I find that 
the good that I would do, I do not, and the evil that I would not do, 
that do I. I find a law in my members, rebelling against the law of 
my mind, and leading of me captive into the law of sin,' and this makes 
me often to cry out with Paul, ' O wretched man that I am, who shall 
deliver me from this body of death? Therefore I sometime hope, that 
those sins that are now my burden, shall never hereafter be my bane.^ 

Well, and is this all, O weak saint ? 

No, sir ; I have one thing more to say. 

What is that ? 

Why that is this : 

[10.] I can truly say, when the Loy^d gives me any strength against 
si.n, and any power to serve him, and walk close with him in his 
ways, it is a greater joy and comfort to my soul, than all the blessings 
of this life. Though I have not yet seen, he hath 'set me as a seal 
upon his heart, as a seal upon his arm ; though I have not yet the 
clear assurance of his love ; though his spirit hath not yet set up such a 
light in my soul, whereby I might run and read my right and title to 
himself, and heaven; yet when he doth give me but a little light through 
a crevice, when he does but beginto cause his love to dawn upon me, when 
he gives me but a little strength against sin, and a little power to walk 
close with himself, &c. ; oh, this doth administer more abiding joy, and 
more sweet peace, and more solid comfort to my soul, than all the riches, 
honours, friends, and favours of this world.^ 

Well, is this all, O weak saint ? 

No, sir ; I have one thing more to say. 

What is that? 

Why, that is this : 

[1 l.J Though my interest in Christ he not clear to me, yet I can truly 
say I would not change my condition with the men of this yjorld, for 
a thousand worlds, Ps. ci. 3 ; cxxxix. 21, 22; cxx. 6. It is true, I 
cannot say that I have * the seal and witness of the Spirit,' that many 
talk and boast of, though I fear but a few enjoy; yet I can truly say, 
that I would not change my estate with men merely civil, nor with the 
profane men of this world, for ten thousand worlds, &c. 

Well, is this all, soul ! 

^ The best saints in this world are like the tribe of Manasseh, half on this side Jordan, 
in the land of the Araorites, and half on that side, in the Holy Land. And though to 
be kept from sin brings most comfort to a poor soul, yet for a poor soul to oppose sin, and 
God to pardon sin, that brings most glory to God, 2 Cor. xii. 7-9. 

2 Sozomen relates of one who v,as as circumspect to be seen as to be. A gracious soul 
is as careful that he does not endanger another by a bad life, as he is careful to save hia 
own life. 



No, sir ; I have but one thing more, and then I have done. 

Well, what is that ? 

Why, that is this. 

[12.] I find my soul carried forth to a secret resting, relying, lean- 
ing, staying, aad, hanging upon Christ for life and happiness. 
Though I know not how it shall go with me, yet I have thrown myself 
into his arms ; I lean upon him ; there I will hang, and there I will 
rest and stay : ' if I must perish, I will perish there,' Job xiii. 1 5 ; 
2 Kings vii. 3-5 ; Esther iv. ] 6. 

And thus, sir, I have opened my state and condition to you ; and 
now I do earnestly desire your judgment upon the whole. 

Well, then, this I shall say, as * I must answer it in the day of my 
appearing before God,' that had I as many souls as I have hairs on my 
head, or as there be stars in heaven, I could freely adventure the loss 
of them all, if these things do not undeniably speak out, not only the 
truth, but also the strength of grace, &c. Nay, let me tell you, that he 
that finds but any of these things really in his soul, though the Lord 
hath not given him a clear and full manifestation of his love and favour, 
&c., yet, while breath is in his body, he hath eminent cause to bless 
God, and to walk thankfully and humbly before him. 

The second duty is this, 

2. Live up to that little grace you have. 

Thou sayest, O weak Christian, thou hast but a little light, a little 
love, a little zeal, a little faith, &c. Well, grant it, but know that it is 
thy duty to live up to those measures of grace thou hast. And this is 
the second head that I shall press upon you, live up and live out that 
grace you have.^ And if ever there were a season to press this point 
home upon souls, this is the season in which we live. And considering 
that it is not a flood of words, but weight of argument, that carries it 
with ingenuous spirits, I shall therefore propound these following things 
to their serious consideration. 

[1.] First, Consider this, living up to your graces carries with it the 
greatest evidence of the truth of grace. 

That man that lives not up to his grace, let him be strong or weak, 
wants one of the best and strongest demonstrations' that can be to 
evidence the truth of his grace. If you would have a clear evidence 
that that little love, that little faith, that little zeal you have is true, 
then live up to that love, live up to that faith, live up to that zeal that 
you have, and this will evidence it beyond all contradiction, &c.^ 

[2.1 Secondly, Consider this, God and your own souls will he very 
great losers, if you live not up to those measures of grace you have. 

God will lose many prayers and many praises ; he will lose much 
honour, and glory, and service, which otherwise he might have ; and 
you will lose much peace, much comfort, much rest, quietness, and con- 
tent that otherwise your souls might enjoy, &c.^ 

1 To speak well, saitli Isiodore Pelusiota, is to sound like a cymtal ; but to do well, is 
to act like an angel, &c. 

' If Seneca said of his wise man, Mojore parte illic est, unde descendit, he is more in 
heaven than in earth ; may not I say this is much more true of the godly ? &c. [Be Con- 
ttantia Sapientis et Epistolce. — G.] 

3 Of all lossfs, spiritual losses are the saddest and greatest, and fetched up with the 
greatest difficulty. 


[3.] Thirdly, Consider this, your not living up to that little light 
and grace you have, will open the mouths of graceless souls against 
your gracious God, and against his gracious ones, and against his 
gracious ways} 

You think, because of the weakness of your grace, you must be borne 
with in this, and that, and what not. But remember, it is your duty 
to live up to the light and grace you have; and nothing below this will 
effectually stop the mouths of graceless wretches from barking against 
the ways of God, the truths of God, and the people of God. Vain men 
will be often a-reasoning thus : though such and such men and women 
have not such great knowledge, such clear light, such strong love, and 
such burning zeal as David, Paul, and other worthies, yet they have 
so much light and knowledge as tells them that they should not carry 
themselves thus and thus as they do. Their light and knowledge tells 
them that they should be just and righteous in their dealings, and in 
all their ways and designs, &c. Though they have not such great mea- 
sures of spiritual enjoyments as such and such, yet that little grace they 
have should lead them by the hand to do things worthy of that Christ 
and the gospel they profess, &c. 

Let me a little expostulate the point with you, weak saints ; you know 
that you should not be stirred and heated by every straw that is in 
your way. Why do not you in this, then, live up to your light ? You 
know that you should not ' be overcome of evil, but overcome evil with 
good,' Kom. xii. 21. And why do not you in this live up to your light ? 
You know that you should ' do good to those that do hurt to you,' Mat. 
V. 44-48. Why do not you in this live up to your light 'i You know 
that you should do your duties to others, though they neglect their 
duties to you. It is not the neglect of a husband's duty that frees the 
wife from the discharge of hers, nor the neglect of a wife's duty that frees 
the husband from the discharge of his. You know this, don't you ? Yes. 
Why don't you tten live up to your light? Why do you by your contrary 
actings open the mouths of others against God and his ways ? You 
know that you should be exemplary in your relations, in your genera- 
ations, and in your conversations ; you know that you should be ex- 
amples of holiness, meekness, sweetness, patience, and contentedness, 
and why then don't you live up to your knowledge in these things ? 
You know that you should do to others as you would have others to do 
to you ; and why in this don't you live up to your knowledge ? Ah ! 
that you that are weak did not cause the mouths of wicked men to be 
opened against God, his truths and ways, by your living below that light 
and knowledge that God hath given you ! I beseech you, as you tender 
the honour of God, and as you would stop the mouths of vain men, live 
up to those measures of grace that the Lord hath given you. No way 
to comfort like this, no way to the crown like this. He will not be long 
a babe in grace, who lives out that little grace he hath. 

[4.] Fourthly, Living up to your ligM is the readiest and the only 
way to fetch up and to recover all that hath been lost by your living 
below your light. 

• 1 Peter ii. 15, ye may put to silence. The Greek word (piftovv signifies to muzzle, to 
halter up, or button up their mouths, as we say. Oh ! there is nothing that will so 
muzzle and button up the mouths of vain men as Christians living up to that light aud 
grace they have. [Cf. Glossary under ' button ' for other references. — G.] 


By your living below your light, God, your own souls, and the gospel 
liave lost much, yea, and others also have lost much light, comfort, 
strength, and quickness, &c., that they might have had, had you but 
lived up to that little grace you had. Now, there is no way on earth to re- 
cover and to fetch up these losses, but by living up to that grace you have. 
Ah, Christians ! it is not your running from sermon to sermon, — not that 
I speak against frequent hearing of the word, — nor your crying up this 
man and that man, or this notion and that, or this way or that, that 
will recover and fetch up the honour that God hath lost by your living 
below your graces.^ It is only your living up to your graces that will 
make up all the breaches that have been made upon his honour and the 
gospel, and upon the comfort and peace of your own souls and others'. 
Well, remember this, all the honour that God hath from you in this 
life, is from your living up to that light, knowledge, love, fear, and faith 
that he hath given you. There is nothing that will make up all losses 
but this; therefore I beg of you, upon the knees of my soul, that you 
would take this one thing home with you, and go into your closets, and lay 
your hands upon your hearts, and say. Well, the Lord hath lost much, 
and my own soul hath lost much, and others have lost much, by my 
living below that little grace I have ; and therefore I will now make it my 
business, by assisting grace, to live up to those measures of grace that 
I have received, more than yet I have done all my days. I will, by the 
strength of Christ, make it more my duty and my work to live out what 
God hath given in than ever yet I have done, that so the Lord and the 
gospel may be no further losers but gainers by me. 

[5.] The fifth and last motive is this, the readiest and the surest 
way to get more grace, is to live up to that little grace you have. 

He that lives up to a little light shall have more light ; he that lives 
up to a little knowledge shall have more knowledge ; he that lives up 
to a little faith shall have more faith ; and he that lives up to a little 
love shall have more love, &c.^ There is no such way to attain to 
greater measures of grace as for a man to live up to that little grace he 
hath. Verily, the main reason why many are .such babes and shrubs 
in grace, is because they do not live up to their attainments. He that 
wont improve two talents, shall never have the honour to be trusted 
with live ; but he that improves a little, shall be trusted with much : 
' The diligent hand maketh rich,' Prov. x. 4. He that is active and agile, 
that works as well as wishes, that adds endeavours to his desires, will 
quickly be a cedar in grace. Ah, Christians ! you have a God that is 
great, a God that is good, a God that is gracious, and a God that is rich, 
that loves not to see his children to be always weaklings and striplings 
in grace. The very babe, by drawing tho breasts, gets strength and 
nourishmentu Oh you babes in grace, put out that little strength you 

' Bernard [Serm. on Canticles, as before.— G.'] paraphrasing on that of Solomon, 'A 
lily amongst thorns,' saith, The manners, or lives of men, as lilies, have their colours 
and odours ; that which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience hath the colour 
of a lily, if a good name follow. It is more truly a lily when neither candour nor 
(Klour of the lily is wanting. Non enim passibus ad Deum sed affectibus currimus. 

2 Job xvii. 29 ; Cant. vi. 10 ; Prov. iv. 18. History reports of a country in Africa where 
the people's industry hath an abundant reward ; for every bushel of seed they sow, they 
receive tme hundred and fifty after. — Blazacium. Pliiy, lib. xviii. cap. x. The application 
18 easy. 


have, be you still a-drawing at the breasts of Christ, at the breasts of 
the promises, and strength will come, nourishment will follow, &c.^ 

The third duty that I would press upon weak saints is this : 

3. Be sure that you always reflect upon your graces, and luhatso- 
ever good is in you, with cautions. 

This is a weighty point, and doth bespeak your most serious 

There are six rules or cautions that weak saints should always ob- 
serve in their looking upon their graces. 

And the first is this: 

[].] Look upon all your graces as gifts of grace, as favours given 
you from above, as gifts dropped out of heaven into your hearts, as 
flowers that are given you out of the garden of paradise. 

A man should never look upon his grace, but he should look upon 
it as a flower of paradise, as a gift that God hath cast into his bosom 
from heaven. 1 Cor. iv. 7, 'Who maketh thee to differ from another? 
And what hast thou that thou hast not received ?' &c. ' Of thine own,' 
saith David, ' have we given thee,' 1 Chron. xxix. 14. Thou talkest of 
light, of love, of fear, of faith, &c., but what are all these but pearls of 
glory that are freely given^ thee by the hand of grace ? ' Every good 
and perfect gift comes down from above.' As all light flows from the 
sun, and all water from the sea, so all good flows from heaven. The 
greatest excellencies in us do as much depend upon God, as the light 
doth upon the sun. When thou lookest upon thy wisdom, thou must 
say. Here is wisdom, ay, but it is from above ; here is some weak love 
working towards Christ, but it is from above ; here is joy, and comfort, 
and peace, but these are all the flowers of paradise ; they never grew 
in nature's garden. When a soul looks thus upon all those costly 
diamonds with which his heart is decked, he keeps low, though his 
graces are high. Where this rule is neglected, the soul will be en- 
dangered of being swelled and puffed. 

Mr Foxe was used to say, that * as he got much good by his sins, so 
he got much hurt by his graces.' When you look upon the stream, 
remember the fountain ; when you look upon the flower, remember the 
root ; when you look upon the stars, remember the sun ; and when you 
look upon your graces, remember the fountain of grace, else Satan will 
be too hard for you. Satan is so artificial,'' so subtle and critical, that 
he can make your very graces to serve him against your graces ; con- 
quering joy by joy, sorrow by sorrow, humility by humility, fear by 
fear, and love by love, if you do not look upon all your graces as streams 
flowing from the fountain above, and as fruits growing upon the tree 
of life that is in the midst of the paradise of God. Therefore, when 
one eye is fixed upon your graces, let the other be always fixed upon the 
•God of grace. 

[2 ] Secondly, At that time when your eye is upon inherent grace 
and righteousness, let your heart be fixed upon Christ, and his ira- 
puted righteousness.^ 

• Dionysius gave him his money again, from whom he had taken much, after that he 
heard he employed a little well. And will God be worse than a heathen ? 

2 'Artful.'— G. 

' Ant. totam mecvm tene, ant totam amitte. — Gregory Nazienzen. Let us say of Christ, 
as the heathen once said of his petty gods, Conlemno minutos istos Deos, modo Jovem pro- 


Paul's eye was upon his grace: E-om. vii. 22, 25, 'I delight iu the 
law of God, after the inward man. And with my mind I serve the law 
of God.' And yet at tliat very same time, his heart was set upon 
Christ, and taken up with Christ ; ver. 25, ' I thank God, through our 
Lord Jesus Christ.' So in Col. ii. 2, 3, you have one eye fixed upon 
grace, and at the same time the heart fixed upon Christ. ' That their 
hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all 
riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment 
of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ ; in whom are 
hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.' His eye is upon grace, 
his heart is upon Christ. So in Philip, iii. 8, the apostle hath his eye 
upon the excellent knowledge of Christ, but ver. 9, his heart is set upon 
the righteousness of Christ. 'That I might be found in him, not 
having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is 
through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.' 
Here you have his eye upon grace, and his heart upon Christ, in the 
very presence of his grace. This is your glory. Christians, in the presence 
and sight of all your graces, to see the free grace of Christ, and his in- 
finite, spotless, matchless, and glorious righteousness, to be your surest, 
sweetest, highest, and choicest comfort and refuge. 

Peter was not well skilled in this lesson, and that was the very 
reason that he fell foulest, when his confidence was highest. Grace is 
a ring of gold, and Christ is the pearl in that ring ; and he that looks 
more upon the ring than the pearl that is in it, in the hour of tempta- 
tion will certainly fall. When the wife's eye is upon her rings or 
jewels, then her heart must be set upon her husband. When grace is 
in my eye, Christ must at that time be in my arms, yea, he must lie 
between my breasts : Cant. i. 13, ' My beloved is as a bundle of myrrh, 
lie shall lie all night between my breasts.' Christ, and not grace, must 
lie nearest to a Christian's heart. 

[3.] A third thing is this. When you look upon your grace, you 
TYiust look upon it as a beautiful creature, that is begotten in the soul 
by Christ, and that is strengthened, maintained, cherished, and up- 
held in your souls by nothing below the spiritual, internal, and 
glorious operations of Christ} 

Though grace be a beautiful creature, yet grace is but a creature, 
and so your souls must look upon it. Grace is a heavenly offspring, it 
is the first-born of God, as I may say, and does most represent him to 
the life. Grace is a bud of glory ; it is of the blood royal ; it is nobly 
descended, James i. 17. So in Heb. xii. 2, 'Looking unto Jesus, the 
author and finisher of our faith.' Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the 
beginner and ender.^ In all other things and arts, the same man 
cannot begin and finish, but Christ doth both. Philip, i. 5, Our graces 
thrive and are upheld in life and power, in beauty and gloiy, by the 
internal operation of Christ in our souls. So in Col. i. 27, ' Christ in 
you the hope of glory,' So ver. 29, ' Whereunto I also labour, striving 

pitium habeam, so long as he had Jupiter to friend, he regarded them not. So, so long 
as we have our Jesus to friend, we should not regard others, no, not our very graces, in 
comparison of Christ. 

^ Gal. ii. 20, Philip, i. 6. Deus nihil coronal nisi dona sua, when God crowneth us, he 
doth but crown his own gifts in us. — Augustine. 

2 u^X^Yiyo)) xat rtXiiuTYi)!, the leader and crowner. 


according to his working which worketh in me mightily.' So Philip, 
iv. 13, 'I can do all things, through Christ that strengtheneth me ; I can 
be high and low, poor and rich, honourable and base, something or 
nothing, &c., through Christ that strengthens me.'^ So in Cant. iv. 
16, * Blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may send forth a 
fragrant smell' We may puff and blow our hearts out, and yet no 
savoury smell will flow forth, if Christ does not blow. So in Ps. cxxxviii. 
3, * In the day when I cried, thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst 
me with strength in my soul' Your graces, Christians, are heavenly 
plants of God's own setting and watering ; and certainly the heavenly 
liusbandman will never suffer such plants of renown to wither, for 
want of heavenly sap ; he will look to the strengthening, supporting, 
and nourishing the work of his own hand. He will cause the desires 
of his people to bud, and their graces to blossom, and their souls to be 
like a watered garden, green and flourishing : Isa. Iviii. 1 1, compared 
with Isa. XXXV. 6, 7. 

[4.] Fourthly, When yow look upon your graces, you must look 
upon them as an earnest of more glorious and unspeakable mea- 
sures of grace and glory, tJiat your souls shall be filled with at 

In Eph. L 13, 14, 'After that ye believed, ye were sealed with that 
Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until 
the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his 
glory.' That little light and knowledge thou hast, is an earnest to thy 
soul, that thou shalt at last know, even as thou art known. 1 Cor. xiii. 
12, 'For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face. 
Now I know in part, but then shall I know, even as I am known.' 
Christians know but little of that they should know, they know but 
little of that they might know, they know but little of that others 
know, they know but little of that they desire to knaw, they know but 
little of that they shall know, when they shall come to know 'even as 
they are known.' And yet these weak and imperfect glimpses that 
they have of God and heaven here, are infallible pledges of that perfect 
knowledge and full prospect that they shall have of God and heaven 
hereafter. So that that little spark of joy thou hast, is an earnest of 
those everlasting joys that shall rest upon thy head, when all sorrow 
and mourning shall fly away, Isa. xxxv. 10, &c. And those sips of 
comfort thou hast now, are an earnest of thy swimming in those ever- 
lasting pleasures that be 'at God's right hand,' Ps. xvi. 11. The least 
measures of grace are an earnest of greater measures. God will not 
lose his earnest, though men often lose theirs. God will not despise 
' the day of small things ;' he will make those that bring forth but 
thirty fold, to bring forth sixty fold ; and those that bring forth sixty 
fold, to bring forth a hundred fold, &c. He, his Son and Spirit, are all 
eminently and fully engaged to carry on the work of grace in his 
children's souls. Therefore do not sit down and say, My light is but 

' ivi^yovfiivnv iv ^uvoifin, IS wrouglit in me in power. The word iruvrei, all things, though 
it be an universal, is not to be taken in the utmost extent, but according to the use of the 
like phrases in all languages, wherein the universal sign affixed, either to persons, or 
times, or places, or things, signilies a great number, but not all without exception, as 
you may see by comparing these scriptures together : Ps. xiv. 4, 8, 9 ; John xiv. 26 ; 
1 Cor. X. 23. fcjo those words are to be understood in Thilip. iv. 13. 


dim, and my love but weak, and my joy but a spark that will quickly 
go out, &c. But always remember, that those weak measures of grace 
thou hast, are a sure evidence of greater measures that God will confer 
upon thee in his own time and in his own ways, Isa. Ixiv. 4, 5.^ 

[5.] Fifthly, When you look upon your graces, be sure that you look 
more at the truth of your graces, than at the measure of your graces. 

You must rather bring your graces to the touchstone, to try their 
truth, than to the balance, to weigh their measures. Many weak 
Christians are weighing their graces, when they should be a-trying the 
truth of their graces, as if the quantity and measure of grace were 
more considerable than the essence and nature of grace. And this is 
that that keeps many weak saints in a dark, doubting, questioning, and 
despairing condition ; yea, this makes their lives a very hell. Weak 
saints, if you will not observe this rule, this caution, when you look 
upon your graces, you will go sighing and mourning to your graves. 
Ah ! poor hearts, you should not be more cruel to your own souls than 
God is. When God comes to a judgment of your spiritual estates, he 
doth not bring a pair of scales to weigh yowY graces, but a touchstone 
to try the truth of your graces ; and so should you deal by your own 
souls. If you deal otherwise, you are more cruel to your souls than 
God would have you. And if you are resolved that in this you will not 
imitate the Lord, then I dare prophesy that joy and peace shall be 
none of your guests, and he that should comfort you will ' stand afar 
off,' Lam. i. 16. It is good to own and acknowledge a little grace, 
though it be mingled with very much corruptions ; as that poor soul 
did, Mark ix. 24, ' And straightway the father of the child cried out, 
and said with tears. Lord, I believe ; help thou mine unbelief.' He 
had but a little little faith, and this was mixed with abundance of un- 
belief, a.nd yet notwithstanding he acknowledges that little faith he had, 
* Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.' His faith was so weak, that he 
accounts it little better than unbelief; yet, says he, 'Lord, I believe, 
help my unbelief.' The least measure of faith will make thee blessed 
here and happy hereafter.^ 

A doctor cried out upon his dying-bed. Credo languida fide, sed 
tamenfidei; much faith will yield unto us here our heaven, and any 
faith, if true, will yield us heaven hereafter. So the church in Cant. i. 
5, ' I am black, but comely.' She had nothing to say for her beauti- 
fulness, yet she ackno wledgeth her comeliness. 'I am black, but comely.' 
Though she could not say she was clear, yet she could say she was 
comely. As she was free to confess her blackness, so she was ingenuous 
to acknowledge her comeliness. 'I am black, but comely.' Ah, Chris- 
tians! will you deal worse with your own souls, than you deal with your 
children? When you go to make a judo^ment of your child's affections, 
you look more to the truth of their affections, than you do to the strength 
of their affections; and will you be less ingenuous and favourable to 

' iv eelviyfiKTi, in a riddle. Enigma is properly obscura aWgoria, an obscure allegory : 
it is an allegory with a mask, or it is a cloudy, knotty, intricate speech, sealed and locked 
Tip from vulgar apprehensions. That is a riddle. 

* Grace is homogeneal. Every twinkling of light is light ; every drop of vs^ater is 
water ; every spark of fire is fire ; every drop of honey is honey. So every drop of grace 
is grace ; and if the least drop or spark of grace be not worth acknowledging, it is worth 


your poor souls ? If he deserves to be branded, that feasts his child 
and starves his wife, what do you deserve, that can acknowledge 
the least natural good that is in a child, and yet will acknowledge 
none of that spiritual and heavenly good that is in your souls ? 

[6.] Sixthly, and lastly, When you look upon your graces, look that 
you do not renounce and reject your graces, seen in the light of the 
Spirit, as a weak and worthless evidence of your interest in Christ, 
and that happiness that comes by Christ. 

I know in these days many cry up revelations and visions, yea, the 
visions of their own hearts, and make slight of the graces of Christ in 
the hearts of his people ; yea, they look upon grace as a poor weak 
thing. Ah, Christians ! take heed of this, else you will render null, 
in a very great measure, many precious scriptures, — especially the 
Epistles of John, — which were penned for the comfort and support of 
weak saints.^ 

But that this may stick and work, be pleased to carry home with 
you these three things. 

(1.) First, Other precious saints that are now triumphing in heaven, 
have pleaded their interest in God's love, and hopes of a better life, 
from graces inherent. 

I will only point at those scriptures that speak out this truth : 1 John 
iii. 14, ii. 3, 4 ; Job xxiii. 10-1 2 ; and the whole 31st chapter of Job ; 
Ps. cxix. 6 ; Isa. xxxviii. 2, 3; 2 Cor. i. 12. All these scriptures, with 
many others that might be produced, do with open mouth proclaim 
this truth. And surely to deny the fruit growing upon the tree to be 
an evidence that the tree is alive, is to me as unreasonable as it is 
absurd. Certainly, it is one thing to judge by our graces, and another 
thing to trust in our graces, to make a saviour of our graces. There is 
a great deal of difference betwixt declaring and deserving ; and if this 
be not granted, it will follow, that the apostle hath sent us aside to a 
covenant of works, when he exhorts us to * use all diligence to make 
our calling and election sure,' 2 Peter i. 5-10.^ 

(2.) Secondly, Carry home this with you. If justification and sancti- 
fi cation be both of them benefits of the covenant of grace, then to 
evidence the one by the other, is no ways unlawful, nor no turning 
aside to a covenant of works : 

But our justification and sanctification are both of them benefits and 
blessings of the covenant of grace. Ergo. . . . 

In Jer. xxxiii. 8, ' I will pardon all their iniquity, whereby they have 
sinned against me,' there is your justification ; ' and I will cleanse them 
from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me, there is 
your sanctification. And therefore to evidence the one by the other 
can be no ways unlawful, nor no turning aside to a covenant of works. 

(3.) Thirdly, Carry home this with you, Whatever gift of God in man 
brings him within the compass of God's promise of eternal mercy, that 
gift must be an infallible evidence of salvation and happiness. 

1 Grace, saith one, is the foundation of all our felicity, and comprehends all blessings, 
afi manna is said to have done all good tastes. John's epistles are a rich treasury for 
Christian assurance. 

• Christians may doubtless look to their graces as evidences of their part in Christ and 
salvation ; and the clearer and stronger they are, the greater will be their comfort ; but 
not as causes. 


But such are those gifts mentioned in those scriptures that prove the 
first head. 

Therefore they are infalUble evidences of our salvation and eternal 

1 confess a man may have many great gifts, and yet none of them 
bring him within the compass of God's promise of eternal mercy. But 
I say, whatever gift of God in man brings him within the compass of 
God's promise of eternal mercy, that gift must be an infallible evidence 
of his happiness and blessedness.^ 

For the further clearing of this, I will instance in a gift of waiting. 
Where this gift is, it brings a man within the compass of God's pro- 
mise of eternal mercy. And had a man, as in a deserted state it often 
falls out, nothing under heaven to shew for his happiness, but only a 
waiting frame, this ought to bear him up from fainting and sinking. 
When the soul saith. My sun is set, my day is turned into night, my 
light into darkness, and my rejoicing into mourning, &c., oh, I have 
lost the comforting presence of God ! I have lost the quickening 
presence of God ! 1 have lost the supporting presence of God ! I have 
lost the encouraging presence of God ! &c., and when I shall recover 
these sad losses, I know not. All that I can say is this, that God keeps 
me in a waiting frame, weeping and knocking at the door of mercy. 
Now, I say, this waiting temper brings the soul within the compass of 
the promise of eternal mercy. And certainly such a soul shall not 
miscarry. Take three promises for this. 

In Isa. xl. 31, ' They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their 
strength ; they shall mount up with wings as eagles ; they shall run, 
and not be weary ; and they shall walk, and not faint.' The mercy is 
the waiting man's, but the waiting man must give God leave to time 
his mercy for him. So in Isa. xxx. 18, ' And therefore will the Lord 
wait, that he may be gracious unto you ; and therefore will he be 
exalted, that he may have mercy upon you : for the Lord is a God of 
judgment ; blessed are all they that wait for him.' So in Isa. Ixiv. 4, 
'For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived 
by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, besides thee, what he 
hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.' So in Isa. xlix. 23, 'They 
shall not be ashamed that wait for me.'^ Men are often ashamed, that 
wait upon the mountains and hills. Men high and great often frustrate 
the expectation of waiting souls, and then they blush, and are ashamed 
and confounded that they have waited, and been deceived; but 'they 
shall not be ashamed that wait for me,' says God ; I will not deceive 
their expectation, and after all their waiting turn them off, and say, I 
have no mercy for you.^ Now, I say, where this waiting temper is, 
which is all that many a poor soul hath to shew for everlastmg happi- 
ness and blessedness, that soul shall never miscarry. That God that 
doth maintain and uphold the soul in this heavenly waiting frame, in 

• Covet rather graces than gifts ; as to pray more fervently, though less notionally or 
eloquently. Stammering Moses must pray rather than well-spoken Aaron'. The Co- 
riuthians came behind in no gift, 1 Cor. i. 7 ; yet were babes and carnal, chap. iii. 2, 3. 

2 Vide Lyra and Junius on the words. 

3 That is, they shall be advanced by me to great happiness and glory, to great dignity 
and felicity ; for in the Hebrew dialect, adverbs of denying signify the contrary to the 
import of that verb whereunto they are joined, as might be shewed by many scriptures. 


the appointed season will speak life and love, mercy and glory, to the 
waiting soul. 

And so I have done with the third use, which was to stir you up to 
look upon your graces with cautions. 
The fourth duty is : 

4. To persuade weak saints not to turn aside from the ways of God, 
nor from the service of God, because of any hardships or difficulties 
that they meet ivith in his ways or service. 

There is a very great aptness in weak saints to take offence almost 
at everything, and to be discouraged by the least opposition, affliction, 
and temptation, and so to turn aside from the good old way. Now that 
no difficulties nor hardships may turn you out of the way that is called 
hoty, consider seriously of these few things. 

[1.] First, Consider this, the Lord will sweeten more and more his 
services to you. 

He will make his work to be more and more easy to your souls ; he 
will suit thy burden to thy back, and thy work to thy hand. weak 
sou] ! thou shalt find that his grace will be sufficient to hold thee up 
and carry thee on, notwithstanding any difficulties or discouragements 
that be in the way. He will shed abroad that love that shall constrain 
thy soul, both to keep close to his service, and to delight in his service, 
2 Cor. xii. 9 ; v. 1 4. He will make all his services to be easy to thee ; 
he will vouchsafe to thee that assisting grace that shall keep up thy 
head and heart from fainting and sinking under discouragements, as 
you may see in Ezek. xxxvi. 25-28, * And I will put my Spirit within 
you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judg- 
ments, and do them.' So in Ps. Ixiii. 8, * My soul followeth hard after 
thee,' (ay, but how comes this to pass?) : ' Thy right hand upholds me.' 
I feel thy hand under me, drawing of my soul off after thee. Oh ! were 
not thy gracious hand under me, I should never follow hard after thee. 
The Lord will put under his everlasting arms, weak Christian !' and 
therefore though thy feet be apt to slide, yet his everlasting arms shall 
bear thee up. Therefore be not discouraged, do not turn aside from 
those paths that drop marrow and fatness, though there be a lion in the 

[2.] Secondly, Consider this, O weak saint ! that there is less danger 
and hardship in the ways of Christ, than there is in the ways of sin, 
Satan, or the world. 

That soul doth but leap out of the frying-pan into the fire, that thinks 
to mend himself by turning out of the way that is called holy. Oh ! 
the horrid drudgery that is in the ways of sin, Satan, or the world. 
Thy worst day in Christ's service is better than thy best days, if I may 
so speak, in sin or Satan's service. Pro v. xi. 18, 19, and xxi. 21. Satan 
will pay the sinner home at last with the loss of God, Christ, heaven, 
and his soul for ever. ' But in the way of righteousness is life, joy, 
peace, honour, and in the pathway thereof there is no death,' Prov. xii. 
28. ' His ways are ways of pleasantness, and all his paths are 
peace,' Prov. iii. 1 7. 

^ The philosopher told his friends when they came into his little low cottage, The 
o^ods are here with me. Surely God, and Christ, and the Spirit are, and will be, with 
weak saints, to aid and assist them in every gracious work. 


[3.] Thirdly, Remember, O weak saint ! that all those hardships 
that thou meetest with, do only reach the outward man. 

They only reach the ignoble, the baser part of man ; they meddle not, 
they touch not, the noble part. ' With my mind I serve the law of God, 
though with my flesh the law of sin,' Rom. vii. 22. And verse 25, * I 
delight in the law of God, after the inward man.' And indeed many 
of the heathen have encouraged themselves in this very consideration, 
against the troubles and dangers of this life.^ All the arrows that are 
shot at a Christian stick in his buckler, they never reach his conscience, 
his soul. The raging waves beat sorely against Noah's ark, but they 
touched not him. The soul is of too noble a nature to be touched by 
troubles. Jacob's hard service under Laban, and his being nipped by 
the frost in winter, and scorched by the sun in summer, did oniy reach 
his outward man ; his soul had high communion, and swest fellowship 
with God, under all his hardships. Gen. xxxi. 40. Ah, ChrisCian ! bear 
up bravely, for whatever hardships thou meetest with in the ways of 
God, shall only reach thy outward man ; and under all these hardships 
thou mayest have as high and sweet communion with v.od, as if thou 
hadst never known what hardships meant, Hosea ii. 14. 

[4.] Fourthly, Tell me, lueak saints ! hive not you formerly en- 
joyed such sweet refreshings while you have leen in the very service of 
God, as hath outweighed all the troubles and. hardships thai your souls 
have met with 1 I know you have and you know that you have often 
found that scripture made good "pon your hearts, Ps. xix. 11, 'More- 
over, by them is thy servant warned, and in keeping of them there is 
great reward.' Mark, he doth not say, 'for keeping of them there is 
great reward,' though that is a truth ; but, ' in keeping of them there 
is great reward. While the soul is at work, God throws in the reward. 
Do not yon remember, weak Christians ! when you have been in the 
service and way of God, how he hath cast in joy at one time and peace 
at another i &c. Oh ! the smiles, the kisses, the sweet discoveries that 
your souls have met with, whilst you have been in his ways. Ah, poor 
souls ! do not you know that one hour's being in the bosom cf Christ will 
make you forget all your hardships ? Heaven at last will make amends 
' for all ; and the more hardships you find in the ways of God, the more 
sweet will heaven be to you when you come there.^ Oh, how sweet is 
a harbour after a long storm, and a sunshine day after a dark and tem- 
pestuous night, and a warm spring after a sharp winter I The miseries 
and difficulties that a man meets with in this world, will exceedingly 
sweeten the glory of that other world. 

[5.J Lastly, consider. What hardships and difficidties the men of 
this world run through, to get the world, and undo their oiun souls. 

They rise early, go to bed late ; they go from one end of the world to 
another, and venture through all manner of dangers, deaths, and miser- 
ies, to gain those things that are vain, uncertain, vexing, and dangerous 
to their souls, Ps. cxxvii. 2, Mat. xvi. \6. And wilt not thou, as ' a good 
soldier of Christ,' 2 Tim. ii. 3, 4, endure a little hardship for the honour 
of thy Captain, and thine own internal and eternal good ? Thou art 

* Anaxagoras, Plato, and others. 

• Austin saith, If a man should serve the Lord a thousand years, it would not deserve 
an hour of the reward in heaven, much less an eternity, &c. 


listed under Christ's colours, and therefore thou must arm thyself against 
all difficulties and discouragements. The number of difficulties makes 
the Christian's conquest the more illustrious. A gracious man should 
be made up all of fire, overcoming and consuming all oppositions, as fire 
does the stubble. All difficulties should be but whetstones to his for- 
titude, as Chrysostom said of Peter. 
The fifth duty is this : 

5. You that ewe weak saints should observe how Christ Jceeps your 
wills and affections. 

That man is kept indeed, whose will and affection is kept close to 
Christ ; and that man is lost with a witness, whose will and affections 
are won from Christ. Weak saints are more apt to observe their own 
actions than their wills and affections, and this proves a snare unto 
them ; therefore observe your affections, how they are kept ; for if they 
are kept close to Christ, if they are kept faithful to Christ, though thy 
foot may slide from Christ, all is well. The apostle, Rom. vii. 17, seq., 
observed, that his will and affections were kept close to Christ even 
then, w^hen he was tyrannically captivated and carried by the preva- 
lency of sin from Christ : ' With my mind I serve the law of God,' says 
he, ' and what I do I allow not ; therefore it is no more I that doth it, 
but sin that dwelleth in me.' My will stands close to Christ, and my 
affections are faithful to Christ, though by the prevalency of corruption 
1 am now and then carried captive from Christ. It is one thing to be 
taken up by an enemy, and another thing for a man to lay down his 
weapons at his enemy's feet. I am, saith the apostle, a forced man, ' I 
do what I hate ;' I do what I never intended. The heart may be sound, 
when more external and inferior parts are not. The heart of a man 
may be sound God-ward and Christ-ward and holiness- ward, when yet 
there may be many defects and weaknesses in his conversation. Now, 
a w^eak Christian should be very studious to observe how his heart stands 
God-v/ards ; for the man is as his heart is ; if that be right with Christ, 
then all is well ; therefore, says Solomon, Prov. iv. 23, ' Keep thy heart 
with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.' The Hebrew runs 
more fully thus : ' Before all,' or, ' Above all keepings, keep thy heart ;' 
for out of it is the goings forth of lives/ The heart is the spring and 
fountain of all natural and spiritual actions, it is the primum mobile, 
the great wheel that sets all other wheels agoing; it is th^ great 
monarch in the isle of man ; therefore keep it with all custody and 
caution, or else bid farewell to all true joy, peace, and comfort. When 
the heart stands right towards Christ, Christ will pardon much, and 
pass by much.^ 

If the ravished virgin in the time of the law cried out, she was guilt- 
less ; so when a poor soul, ravished by the power of corruption, and 
strength of Satan's temptations, cries out, ' Lord, I would not, for all 
the world, sin against thee, I would not distrust thee, I would not be 
impatient under thy afflicting hand, I would not be proud under thy 
merciful hand ; but, Lord, these sons of Zeruiah, 2 Sam. iii. 39, these 
corruptions, are too hard for me; they commit a rape upon me; they 
ravish me of my Jesus, and of my joy, and of my peace; Lord, help me, 
Lord deliver me!' now these weaknesses shall not be chai-gcd upon 
^ The heart is camera omntpotentis regis, the presence-chamber of the king cf heaven. 


the soul. The ravished virgin under the law, if she cried out, was guilt- 
less ; and certainly God is not, nor will not be, less merciful and gracious 
to his people under the gospel, who are still a-crying out against their 
sins and Satan's assaults. Surely those sins shall never be a Christian's 
bane, that are now his greatest burden. It is not falling into the water, 
but lying in the water, that drowns. It is not falling into sin, but lying 
in sin, that damns. If sin and thy heart be two, Christ and thy heart 
are one. If thy heart be Christ ward, thou art so happy that nothing 
can make thee miserable. 

6. Sixthly, Take heed of making sense and feeling a judge of your 
condition. Though there is nothing more dangerous, yet there is nothing 
more ordinary, than for weak saints to make their sense and feeling the 
judge of their condition. Ah, poor souls ! this is dishonourable to God, 
and very disadvantageous to yourselves. Sense is sometimes opposite to 
reason, but always to faith ; therefore do as those worthies did^ 2 Cor. 
V. 8, 9, * We walk by faith, and not by sight.'^ For a man to argue 
thus : Surely God is not my God, for I am not enlightened, I am not 
quickened, I am not melted, I am not raised, I am not enlarged as for- 
merly. Oh ! I have not those sweet answers and returns of prayer that 
once I had! Oh! I cannot find the Lord's quickening presence, nor 
his enlivening presence, nor his humbling presence, nor his encouraging 
presence, as once I have ; therefore surely my condition is not good. 
Oh ! I am more backward to good than formerly, and more prone to 
evil than formerly, therefore I am afraid that God is not my God, and 
that the work of grace is not thorough upon me. Oh ! God does not 
look upon me as in the days of old, nor speak to me as in the days of 
old, nor carry it towards me as in the days of old, and therefore I am 
afraid that all is naught. 

Yerily, if you will make sense and feeling the judge of your estate 
and condition, you will never have peace nor comfort all your days. 
Thy estate, O Christian, may be very good, when sense and feeling 
says it is very bad. That child cannot but be perplexed that thinks his 
father doth not love him, because he does not always feel him smooth- 
ing and stroking of him. Christians, you must remember that it is one 
thing for God to love you, and another thing for God to tell you that he 
loves you. Your happiness lies in the first, your comfort in the second. 
God hath stopped his ear against the prayers of many a precious soul 
whom he hath dearly loved.^ The best of men have at times lost that 
quickening, ravishing, and comforting presence of God that once they 
have enjoyed. And verily, he that makes sense and carnal reason a 
judge of his condition, shall be happy and miserable, blessed and cursed, 
saved and lost, many times in a day, yea, in an hour. The counsel that 
I would give to such a soul that is apt to set up reason in the room of 
faith is this. Whatsoever thy estate and condition be, never make sense 
and feeling the judge of it, but only the word of God. Did ever God 
appoint carnal reason, sense, and feeling, to be a judge of thy spiritual 
estate? Surely no. And why, then, wilt thou subject thy soul to 

1 Sense and reason in spiritual things, says Tjuther, is noxia hestia, an harmful beast, 
that will destroy and pull down what faith builds up. 

2 Ps. Ixxx. 4 ; Lam. iii. 34 ; Ps. cxix. 25, 37, 40, 88, 107, 149, 154, 156, 159 ; xlii. 5 ; 
Cant. iii. 1-3 ; Isa. iiv. 7, 8. 


their judgments ? God will judge thee at last by his word : John xii. 
48, * The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge you in the last 
day/ Carnal reason is an enemy to faith ; it is still a-crossing and con- 
tradicting of faith; it fills the mind full of cavils and prejudices, full of 
pleas and arguments, to keep Christ and the soul asunder, and the soul 
and the promises asunder, and the soul and peace and comfort asunder. 
It will never be well with thee so long as thou art swayed by carnal 
reason, and reliest more upon thy five senses than the four evangelists. 
Remember Job was as famous for his confidence as for his patience : 
* Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him,' Job xiii. 15. As the body 
lives by breathing, so the soul lives by believing, &c. 

IV. The duties of strong saints to the weak. 

We come now to the last thing propounded, and that is, the duties 
of strong saints to those that are tueak. I intend at this time to finish 
this point, and therefore shall not speak everything that might be 
spoken, being not of their minds that think a man never speaks enough 
that speaks not all that may be spoken to an argument. I shall, as 
near as I can, instance in those duties that are most weighty and 
worthy. And surely those souls that are serious and conscientious in 
the discharge of these, cannot, nor will not, be negligent in the dis- 
charge of the rest. Now there are eleven duties that strong saints are 
to perform to those that are weak. 

And the j^rs^ is this. 

[1.] Those that are strong ought to bear with the infirmities of the 

Rom. XV. 1, ' We then that are strong,' saith the apostle, ' ought to 
bear with the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.' 
The word that is rendered to hear signifies to bear as pillars do bear 
the weight and burden of the house ; to bear as porters do bear their 
burdens, or as the bones do bear the flesli, or rather as parents bear 
their babes in their arms. 

' Bear the infirmities.^ Mark, he doth not say the enormities, but 
the infirmities ; he doth not say the wickedness, but the weakness. 
The strong ought to bear with the infirmities of the weak. The Lord 
bears with the weakness of his children. Peter is weak, and sinful 
through weakness ; he will not let the Lord Jesus wash his feet, John 
xiii. ; but the Lord Jesus knowing that this was from weakness, and not 
from wickedness, he passes it over, and notwithstanding his unkind 
refusal, he washes his feet. Thomas is very weak : * I will not believe,' 
says he, ' except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and 
thrust my hand into his side,' John xx. 25. Now this Christ bears with 
much tenderness and sweetness, as you may see in ver. 27, ' Then said 
he to Thomas, Reach hither thy fingers, and behold my hands, and reach 
hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side, and be not faithless, but 
believing.' The Lord Jesus doth, as it were, open his wounds afresh ; 
he overlooks his weakness. Well, saith he, seeing it is so that thou 
wilt not believe, I will rather bleed afresh than thou shalt die in thy 
unbelief So the three disciples that Christ had singled out to watch 
with him one liour. Mat. xxvi., they shewed a great deal of weakness 
to be sleeping when their Lord was a-sorrowing, to be snorting when 


their Saviour was sighing, &c. Yet Christ bears this, and carries it 
sweetly towards them, and excuses their weakness : ver. 41, 'The spirit 
is willing, but the flesh is weak/ Oh how sweetly doth the Lord carry 
it ! Every new man is two men ; he hath a contrary principle in him, 
the flesh and the spirit. The spirit, the noble part, is willing, but the 
flesh, the ignoble part, is weak and wayward. 

Now shall the Lord thus bear with his weak ones, and shall not strong 
saints bear also ? Remember, strong Christians, there was a day when 
you were as weak as others, as apt to fall as others, as easily conquered 
as others ; and if then the Lord carried it sweetly towards you, let the 
same spirit be in you towards those that are weak. It will be no grief 
of heart to you, if in this you act like your Lord and Saviour. 

If you do not bear with the infirmities of the weak, who shall ? who 
will? This wicked world cannot, nor will not. The world will make 
them transgressors for a word, and watch for their halting ; and there- 
fore you had need to bear with them so much the more, Isa. xxix. 21, 
Jer. XX. 10. The world's cruelty should stir up your compassions. 

[2.] Secondly, As it is your duty to hear with them, so it is your 
duty to receive them into communion with you. 

Rom. xiv. 1, ' Him that is weak in the faith receive you, but not to 
doubtfiil disputations.' 

* Him that is weak in the faith receive' that is, him that is not 
thoroughly persuaded of all things pertaining to Christian liberty, about 
things indifferent. ' Them that are weak in the faith receive ; ' he doth 
not say, ' Them that have no faith receive.' For there is no rule for the 
saints or churches to receive them into communion that have no faith, 
that have no fellowship with the Father and the Son. But ' him that 
is weak in the faith/ saith he, * receive.' 

The word that is here rendered receive, signifies to receive into 
our bosom with charitable affection. The Greek word signifies three 

(1.) It signifies to receive weak saints as our own bowels ; to receive 
them with the greatest tenderness, affection, pity, and compassion that 
possibly can be. So the same Greek word is used in the Epistle of 
Philemon, ver, 12, where Paul entreats Philemon ' to receive Onesimus 
as his own bowels.' The word there is the same word with this in the 
text. So must the strong receive the weak, even as their own bowels ; 
receive them with the greatest affection, with the greatest compassion 
that possibly can be. 

(2.) The word signifies patiently to hear with the weak when they 
are received; and not to take them into your bosom, into your com- 
munion one day and cast them out the next, but patiently to bear with 
them, as well as affectionately to receive them. 

It was a heathen prince [Xerxes] that crowned his steersman in the 
morning, and beheaded him in the evening of the same day, &c. 

(3.) The word signifies hy fatherly instruction to seek to restore him. 
It is not the will of Christ that weak saints should be rejected, or that the 
door of entrance should be shut against them, till they are stronger, or 
till they have attained to such heights and such perfections of grace 
and divine enjoyments of God as others have attained. Remember 
this, as the weakest faith, if true, gives the soul a right to all that 

EpH. hi. 8.] RICHES OF CHRIST. 97 

that internal and eternal worth that is in Christ : so the weakest faith, if 
true, gives a man a real right unto all the external privileges and 
favours that come by Christ. In Rom. xv. 7, ' Wherefore receive ye 
one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.' This is 
the standing rule for all the saints and churches in the world to go by. 
It is not their wills, but these two scriptures last cited, that are the 
standing rules by which all the churches on earth are to go by, in the 
admission of members. 

' Them that are weak in the faith ' are to be received by you, be- 
cause the Lord Jesus hath received them. Christ does not receive the 
strong to the glory of God, and cast off the weak. No ; the Lord Jesus 
gathers the weak into his bosom, and tenderly dandles them upon his 
knee. He receives the weak to glory, as well as the strong ; therefore 
saith the apostle, ' As the Lord hath received them, so do you.' 

Bucer rejected none in whom he saw aliquid Christi, anything of 
Christ, but gave them the right hand of fellowship. Such persons and 
churches can never answer it to Christ, that keep the door of admission 
shut against souls truly gracious, though they are bub weak in grace, 
though they have [not] attained to such a measure of light, or degrees 
of love, or to such perfections in holiness, as such and such have done. 
No ; the standing rule is, ' Him whom the Lord hath received, receive.' 

If weak saints shall desire communion, and be willing to walk in the 
ways that Jesus Christ hath appointed his saints to walk in, the 
churches ought to give them the right hand of fellowship. And that is 
the second duty that lies upon the strong, viz., that they are to receive 
the weak into communion and fellowship with them, and that with the 
greatest affection, love, and compassion, that possibly can be. 

A third duty that lies upon strong saints to the weak is this : 

[3.] They must look more upon their graces than upon their weak- 

It is a sad thing when they shall borrow spectacles to behold their 
weak brethren's weaknesses, and refuse looking-glasses wherein they may 
see their weak brethren's graces. Saints that are strong ought to look 
more upon the virtues of weak saints than upon their miscarriages. 
When Christ saw but a little moral good in the young man, the text 
saith that ' He looked upon him, and loved him,' Mark x. 12. And 
shall not we look upon a weak saint and love him, when we see the love 
of God and the image of God upon him. Shall moral virtue take the 
eye, and draw the love of Christ ? And shall not supernatural grace in 
a weak Christian take our eyes and draw our hearts ? Shall we eye a 
little gold in much earth ? And shall we not eye a little grace where 
there is much corruption ? ^ 

It is an unsufferable weakness, I had almost said, for persons to 
suffer their affections to run out only to such that are of their judg- 
ments, and to love, prize, and value persons according as they suit their 
opinions, and not according to what of the image of God shines in them. 
But if this be not far from a gospel spirit, and from that God-like spirit 

1 Tf moral virtue conld be seen with mortal eyes, it would soon draw all hearts to it- 
self, saith Plato. What, then, should grace do ? the least dram of which is of more worth 
than all the moral virtues in the world. 

VOL. III. , G 


that should be in saints, I know nothing. It speaks out much of Christ 
within, to own where Christ owns, and love where Christ loves, and 
embrace where Christ embraces, and to be one with every one that is 
practically one with the Lord Jesus. Christ cannot but take it very 
unkindly at our hands, if we should disown any upon whom he hath set 
his royal stamp. And I bless his grace that hath drawn out my desires 
and endeavours to love, own, and honour the people of Christ, according 
to what of the appearances of Christ I see in them. And, if I am not 
much mistaken, this is the highway to that joy, peace, and comfort, the 
want of which makes a man's life a hell. God looks more on the 
bright side of the cloud, than he doth on the dark, and so should we. 

It was the honour of Vespasian that * he was more ready to conceal 
the vices of his friends, than their virtues.' Surely there is much of 
God in that soul, that is upon a gospel account more careful and skilful 
to conceal the vices of weak saints, than their virtues. Many in these 
days do justly incur the censure which that sour philosopher passed upon 
grammarians, that 'they were better acquainted with the evil of 
Ulysses, than with their own.' ^ 

[4.] Fourthly, It is the duty of strong saints^ in things indifferent 
to deny themselves, to please the weak. 

1 Cor. viii. 18, ' Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will 
eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.' 
Strong saints must stand unchangeably resolved neither to give offence 
carelessly, nor to take offence causelessly. Says the apostle, I will not 
stand to dispute my Christian liberty, but will rather lay it down at 
my weak brother's feet, than I will by the use of it offend one for 
whom Christ hath died. 1 Cor. ix. 22, ' To the weak became I as weak, 
that I might gain the weak. I am made all things to all men, that 
I might by all means save some.' That is, I condescended and went 
to the uttermost that possibly I could, without sin, to win and gain 
upon the weak ; I displeased myself in things that were of an indif- 
ferent nature, to please them. Thou oughtest not, O strong Christian, 
by the use of thy Christian liberty, to put a stumbling-block before thy 
weak brother. Rom. xv. 2, ' We then that are strong, ought to bear 
with the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let 
every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.' He 
doth not say. Let every one of us please the lust of his neighbour, but 
let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. Let 
us in things of an indifferent nature so yield as to please our neighbour. 
There were some thought that they might observe days ; others thought 
they might not. Some thought they might eat meat ; others thought 
they might only eat herbs. Why, saith the apostle, in these things 
that are of an indifferent nature, I will rather displease and deny myself, 
to profit my neighbour, than I will, by the use of my liberty, occasion 
my neighbour to offend. Ay, this is true Christian love indeed, for a 
man to cross himself to please his neighbour, so it may be for his soul's 
edification. But this heavenly love is driven almost out of the world, 
which causeth men to dislike those things in others which they flatter 
in themselves. 

A fifth duty incumbent upon strong saints is, 

^ Diogenes apud Laertium, lib. vi. 


[5.] To support the weak. 

] Thes. V. 14, 'Support the weak, be patient towards all men/ Look, 
what the crutch is to the lame, and the beam of the house is to the 
ruinated house, that ought strong saints to be to the weak. Strong 
saints are to be crutches to the weak, they are to be, as it were, beams 
to bear up the weak. Strong saints are to set to their shoulder, to 
shore up the weak by their counsels, prayers, tears, and examples. 
Strong saints must not deal by the weak, as the herd of deer do by the 
wounded deer ; they forsake it and push it away. Oh no ! When a 
poor weak saint is wounded by a temptation, or by the power of some 
corruption, then they that are strong ought to succour and support 
such an one, lest he be swallowed up of sorrow. When you that are 
strong see a weak saint staggering and reeling under a temptation or 
affliction. Oh, know it is then your duty to put both your hands under- 
neath, to support him that he faint not, that he miscarries not in such 
an hour. Isa. xxxv. 3, 'Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the 
feeble knees.'^ 

' Strengthen the weak hands,' that is, hands that hang down ; ' and 
confirm the feeble knees,' that is, such knees that by reason of feebleness 
are ready to fall. Strengthen such, that is, encourage them, by casting 
in a promise, by casting in thy experiences, or by casting in the expe- 
riences of other saints, that so they may be supported. It may be his 
case was once thine : if so, then tell him what promises did support thee, 
what discoveries of God did uphold thee ; tell him what tastes, what 
sights, and what in-comes thou hadst, and how bravely thou didst bear 
up, by the strength of his everlasting arms that were under thee, &c.^ 

A sixth duty that is incumbent upon strong saints is, 

[6.] To take heed ofTnaking weak saints halt and go lame in a way 
of holiness, or of keeping them, off from, the ways of God, or of turning 
them out of the ways of God. 

That is the meaning of that scripture, as I conceive, Luke xvii. 2. 
And of that. Mat. xviii. ]0, 'Take heed that ye offend not one of these 
little ones, for their angels do always behold the face of my Father/ 
You are apt to slight them because they are weak in grace and holiness, 
and so you are apt to cause them to halt ; but take heed of this, they 
have glistering courtiers that do attend them ; therefore take heed 
that you do not offend them, for their angels, as so many champions, 
stand ready to right them and fight for them. A man were better 
offend and anger all the devils in hell, and all the witches in the world, 
than to anger and offend the least of Christ's little ones. If Cain do 
but lower upon Abel, God will arraign him for it : ' Why is thy counte- 
nance cast down T Gen. iv. 6. If Miriam do but mutter against Moses, 
God will spit in her face for it. Num. xii. 14. That is a very dreadful 
word. Mat. xviii. 6, 'Take heed how ye offend one of these little ones ;' 
you make nothing of it, but saith Christ, take heed, 'for it were better 
that a millstone,' a huge millstone, as the Greek word signifies, such a 
one as an ass can but turn about ; (this kind of punishment the greatest 

^ Look, what the nurse is to the child, the oat to the ivy, the honse to the vine ; that 
should strong saints be to the weak, &c., 2 Cor. ii. 7, 

2 For a fine example of this, adduced elsewhere by Brooks, see Index under Throg- 
morton — G. 


malefactors among the Jews were put to in those days, saith Jerome), 
' and cast into the middle of the sea ;' so it is word for word in the 
Greek, the middle being deepest and furthest off from the shore, ren- 
dering his estate most miserable and irrecoverable. 

[7.] Seventhly, It is the duty of strong saints to suit all things to 
the capacity of the weak. 

To suit all their prayers and all their discourses to the capacity of 
the weak. Paul was good at this : ' To the weak became I as weak.' 
Paul was a man as strong in natural and acquired parts as any living, 
and he knew how to word it, and to carry it in as lofty strains, as any 
that breathed, yet who more plain in his preaching than Paul ? It 
hath many a time made my heart sad, to think how those men will 
answer it in the day of Christ, that affect lofty strains, high notions, and 
cloudy expressions, that make the plain things of the gospel dark and 

Many preachers in our days are like Heraclitus, who was called ' the 
dark doctor;' they affect sublime notions, obscure expressions, uncouth 
phrases, making plain truths difficult, and easy truths hard. ' They 
darken counsel with words without knowledge,' Job xxxviii. 2. Studied 
expressions and high notions in a sermon, are like Asahel's carcase 
in the way, that did only stop men and make them gaze, but did no 
ways profit them or better them. It is better to present truth in her 
native plainness, than to hang her ears with counterfeit pearls. 

That is a remarkable scripture, 1 Cor. iii. 1, 2, ' And I, brethren, could 
not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto 
babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat ; for 
hitherto ye were not able to bear it; neither yet now are ye able.' The 
apostle did not soar aloft in the clouds, and express the mysteries of 
the gospel in such a dark obscure way as that poor creatures could not 
be able to pick out the mind of God in it. No ; but he suited all his 
discourses to their capacities ; and so must you. 

[8.] Eighthly, It is your duty to labour to strengthen weak saints 
against sin^ and to draw them to holiness argumentatively. 

When a strong saint comes to deal with one that is weak, and 
would strengthen him against sin, he must do it argumentatively ; 
and when he would draw to holiness, he must do it argumentatively. 
1 John iL 1, 2, compared with chap. i. 7, 9, 'My little children, these 
things write I unto you, that ye sin not.' What things were those he 
wrote ? Mark, chap. i. 7, ' If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, 
we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ 
his Son cleanseth from all sins.' Here he fenceth them against sin, 
by one of the strongest and choicest arguments that the whole book of 
God affords, by an argument that is drawn from the soul's communion 
with God. And then in verse .9, ' If we confess our sins, he is faithful 
and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 
If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father.' Here the 
apostle labours to strengthen weak saints argumentatively, even by the 
strongest arguments that the whole book of God affords. So verses 12, 
Jo, ' L write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven 
you, for his name's sake,' &c. So in verse 18, 'Little children, it is the 
last times, and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now 



are there many antichrists, whereby we know that it is the last time/ 
So verse 28, ' And now, little children, abide in him, that when he shall 
appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his 
coming. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one 
that doth righteousness is born of him.' You see in all these scriptures 
how the apostle labours to strengthen weak saints in a way of holiness, 
and to fence them against ways of wickedness argumentatively, and so 
must you ; this being the ready way to convince them, and to make a 
conquest upon them, &c. 

The ninth duty that lies upon strong saints is, 

[9.] To cast a mantle over the infirmities of the weak. 

Now there is a three-fold mantle that should be cast over the infir- 
mities of the weak. There is a mantle of wisdom, a mantle of faith- 
fulness, and a mantle of compassion, which is to be cast over all the 
infirmities of weak saints. 

First, Strong saints are to cast a mantle of wisdom over the infirmi- 
ties of weak saints. They are not to present their sins in that ugliness, 
and with such aggravations, as may terrify, as may sink, as may make 
a weak saint to despair, or may drive him from the mercy-seat, or as 
may keep him and Christ asunder, or as may unfit him for the dis- 
charge of religious duties. It is more a weakness than a virtue in 
strong Christians, when a weak saint is fallen, to aggravate his fall to 
the uttermost, and to present his sins in such a dreadful dress, as shall 
amaze him, &c. It often proves very prejudicial and dangerous to 
weak saints, when their infirmities are aggravated beyond Scripture 
grounds, and beyond what they are able to bear. He that shall lay 
the same strength to the rubbing of an earthen dish, as he does to the 
rubbing of a pewter platter, instead of clearing it, shall surely break it 
all to pieces. The application is easy, &c.^ 

Secondly, There is a mantle of faithfulness that is to be cast over 
the infirmities of weak saints. A man should never discover the infir- 
mities of a weak saint, especially to such that have neither skill nor 
will to heal and bury them. The world will but blaspheme and blaze 
them abroad, to the dishonour of God, to the reproach of religion, and 
to the grief and scandal of the weak, &c. They will with Ham rather 
call upon others to scoff at them, than bring a mantle to cover them, 
&c. Ham was cursed for that he did discover his father's nakedness to 
his brethren, when it was in his power to have covered it. He saw it, 
and might have drawn a curtain over it, but would not ; and for this, 
by a spirit of prophecy, he was cursed by his father, Gen. ix. 22. 
This age is full of such monsters, that rejoice to blaze abroad the 
infirmities of the saints, and these certainly justice hath or will curse. 

Thirdly, There is a mantle of compassion that must be cast over the 
weaknesses and infirmities of weak saints. When a^ "v^ak man comes 
to see his sin, and the Lord gives him to lie down in the dust, and to 
take shame and confusion to himself, that he hath dishonoured God, 
and caused Christ to bleed afresh, and grieved the Spirit, &p, ; oh now 

^ Parisiensis said sometimes concerning trifles : It is, said* h:^, as K a man slionld seq'a 
fly or a flea on a man's forehead, and for that should preseiVtJIy tttke a beetle to liii^^k 
him on the head to kill the fly. [Query, Peter Lombard? Cf. Sibbes, vol. j. |;p) 55, 


thou must draw a covering, and cast a mantle of love and compassion 
over his soul, that he may not be swallowed up with sorrow. Now 
thou must confirm thy love to him, and carry it with as great tender- 
ness and sweetness after his fall, as if he had never fallen. This the 
apostle presses, 2 Cor. ii. 7, ' Love,' says the wise man, ' covereth all 
sin.' Love's mantle is very large. Love claps a plaster upon every 
sore ; love hath two hands, and makes use of both, to hide the scars of 
weak saints. Christ, O strong saints, casts the mantle of his righteous- 
ness over your weaknesses, and will not you cast -the mantle of love 
over your brother's infirmities ?^ 

[10.] Tenthly, It is the duty of strong saints to sympathize with the 
weak ; to rejoice with them when they rejoice, and to mourn with 
them when they mourn. 

2 Cor. xi. 29, ' Who is weak, and I am weak 1 who is ffxavSaX/^sra/, 
scandalized, offended, and I TygoC^a/, am not on fire, burn not ? 

Thuanus reports of Lodovicus Marsacus, a knight of France, when 
he was led with other martyrs that were bound with cords, going to 
execution, and he for his dignity was not bound, he cried, Give me my 
chains too, let me be a knight of the same order.^ 

It should be between a strong saint and a weak, as it is between two 
lute-strings, that are tuned one to another ; no sooner one is struck, 
but the other trembles ; no sooner should a weak saint be struck, but 
the strong should tremble. 'Remember them that are in bonds, as 
bound with them,' Heb. xiii. 3. 

The Romans punished one that was seen looking out at his window 
with a crown of roses on his head, in a time of public calamity ; and 
will not God punish those that do not sympathize with Joseph in his 
afflictions ? Surely he will. Amos vi. 1-14. 

[11.] Lastly, It is the duty of the strong to give to the weak the 
honour that is due unto them. 

I Peter iii. 7: They have the same name, the same baptism, the 
same profession, the same faith, the same hope, the same Christ, the 
same promises, the same dignity, and the same glory with you ; there- 
fore speak honourably of them, and carry it honourably towards them. 
Let not them be under your feet, that Christ has laid near his heart, 
&c. And so much for this second doctrine. 

We come now to the next words. 

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, 
c&c— Eph. iii. 8. 

We shall speak now to the word grace. The Greek word %a^/», that 
is here rendered grace, hath a twofold signification. 

Fi7^st, Sometimes it is taken for the gracious favour and good-will of 
God, whereby he is pleased of his own free love to accept and own poor 
sinners in the Son of )iis love, for his own. This is called the first 
grace, because it is the fountain of all other graces, and the spring 
from whence they flow. And it is therefore called grace, because it 
makes a man gracious, with God. 

' tha-we known a good oJ.d man, said Bernard, who, when he had heard of any that 
liad cevumitted some notbrioHs offence, was wout to say with himself, lUe hodie, et ego 
oas, he ijW to-day ; so in ay I to-morrow, &c. ^ Thuauus, Hist, {sub m>mine. — (jr.] 

EpH. Ill 8. J RICHES OF CHRIST. 103 

Secondly, This word %Ǥ'?, that is here rendered grace, is taken for 
the gifts of grace, and they are of two sorts, special or common. 
Common grace is that which hypocrites may have, and in which they 
may excel and go beyond the choicest saints, as in a gift of knowledge, 
a gift of utterance, a gift of prayer, a gift of tongues, &c. A man may 
have these, and many other excellent gifts, and yet miscarry, yea, fall 
as low as hell ; witness Judas, Demas, the scribes and pharisees, &c.. Mat. 
vii. 21-25. Secondly, There is special grace, as faith, love, humility, 
meekness, which the apostle reckons up. Gal. v. 22, 23. Now here by 
grace you may either understand the gracious favour of God, *' Unto 
me who am less than the least of all saints is this choice favour given, 
that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of 
Christ,' or else you may take it for the gifts of grace, both saving 
and common, which the apostle had given him, in order to the dis- 
charge of his ministerial office, which, by the special favour of God, 
he was advanced to. 

The word grace being thus opened, we may from thence observe, 

I. That the Lord gives his best gifts to his best beloved ones. 

' Unto me,' saith the apostle, * who am less than the least of all saints, 
is this grace given.' 

For the opening and clearing of this point, I shall premise these four 

I. To shew you what those best gifts are that God bestows upon his 
best beloved ones. 

II. I shall shew you the manner of his giving the best gifts to his 
beloved ones, or the difference there is between Christ's giving and the 
world's giving. 

III. And then the excellency of those gifts that Christ gives, above 
all other gifts that the world gives. 

IV. And lastly, The reason why Christ gives his best gifts to his best 
beloved ones. 

For the first, What are those best gifts that Christ bestows upon his 
best beloved ones ? 

I shall not instance in those common gifts that they have in common 
with others, but rather shew unto you those special gifts that he be- 
stows upon them ; and of those I shall single out them that are most 
choice, and that carry most in them of the glory, favour, and ' good 
will of him that dwelt in the bush.' 

And the first is this : 

[1.] He gives light to his beloved ones; and 'light is a pleasant 
thing to behold,' as the wise man speaks, Eccles. xi. 7. He gives 
spiritual light, which is a mercy of mercies. Eph. v. 14, ' Awake, thou 
that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.'' 
So John i. 7-9, ' He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of 
that Light. That was the true Light, that lighteneth every man that 
Cometh into the world.'^ He gives that light whereby his people are 
enabled to see sin to be the greatest evil, and himself to be the chiefest 

1 'fyrKpixvtru aoi, shine upon thee. Life without light is but a lifeless life. 

2 Vide Camerou and Augustine on the words. 


good. He gives that light that melts the soul, that humbles the soul, 
that warms the soul, that quickens the soul, that quiets the soul, and that 
glads the soul. Man is not bom with heavenly light in his heart, as he is 
born with a tongue in his mouth. Till Christ comes and sets up a light 
in the soul, the soul lives in darkness, and lies in darkness, yea, is dark- 
ness in the very abstract : Eph. v. 8, ' Ye were sometimes darkness, but 
now are ye light in the Lord." Saints are always in the sunshine, there- 
fore they should be like a crystal glass, with a light in the midst, which 
appeareth in every part.^ 

A Christian should be like the lamp in the story, that never went 
out. Were it not for the sun, it would be perpetual night in the world, 
notwithstanding all starlight, and torchlight, and moonlight. It is not 
the torchlight of natural parts and creature-comforts, nor the starlight 
of civil honesty and common gifts, nor yet the moonlight of temporary 
faith and fonnal profession, that can make day in the soul, till the Sun 
of righteousness rise and shine upon it. And that is the first thing he 
gives, light. 

Now, the second thing he gives is, 

[2.j Repentance. Repentance is not a flower that grows in nature's 
garden. Acts v. 31, * Him hath God the Father exalted to be a Prince 
and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.' So 
in 2 Tim. ii. 25, ' The servant of the Lord must in meekness instruct 
those that oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them re- 
pentance to the acknowledging of the truth.' By these scriptures, it is 
clear that repentance is no flower that grows in nature's garden, though 
Arminians teach and print, that if men will put out their power and 
their strength they may repent, &c.'^ But several that have been of this 
opinion, have experienced the falseness of it when it hath been too late: 
* The Ethiopian cannot change his skin, nor the leopard his spots,' Jer. 
xiii. 23. And certainly, if there were such a power in man to repent, 
as some would make the world believe, man would never miscarry ever- 
lastingly for his not repenting. Oh, is it good dwelling with everlasting 
burnings, with a burning fire ? Is it good being for ever shut out from 
the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power? Certainly, if 
there were such a power in vain man to repent, no man would go to 
hell for not repenting ; and many that have boasted much of their 
abilities to repent, when they have been upon a dying bed, w^ould have 
given a thousand worlds, were there so many in their power, that they 
could but repent.^ 

Luther confesses, that before his conversion, he met not with a more dis- 
pleasing word in all the study of divinity than this word repent', but after 
the Lord had converted him, and manifested himself to him, he delighted 
in this work; then he could sorrow for his sins, and rejoice in his sorrow.* 

' When Telemachus saw a great light, that guided him and his father in a dark room, 
Surely, said he, there is some god in it. Mai, iv. 2. 

2 2 Cor. iii. 6. If there be such a power in fallen man to repent and believe, &c., to 
what purpose was the coming of Christ into the world ? 1 John ii. 9 ; iii. 8. And why 
do natural men, when their consciences are awakened, so cry out, that they are as able 
to stop the sun in his course, to raise the dead, and to make a world, as they are able of 
themselves to repent ? &c. 

^ Aiit pcenitendum aut pereundum. 

* Homo ipsius pcenitentioe pcenitere debet. — Salvian. Pcenitens de peccato dolet, et dc 
dolore gaudet. —Luther. 


Repentance strips the soul stark naked of all the garments of the old 
Adam, and leaves not so much as the shirt behind. In this rotten 
building there is not one stone left upon another. As the flood drowned 
Noah's own friends and servants, as well as strangers, so true repent- 
ance drowns all darling lusts. True repentance is the cutting off the 
right hand, and the pulling out of the right eye ; and is this such an 
easy thing ? Surely no. True repentance is a gift that is from above, 
and if the Lord doth not give it, man will eternally perish for the want 
of it. You may read much more of this in my treatise called Heaven 
on Earth} 

[3.] Thirdly, Christ gives his Spirit. Rom. v. 5, ' The love of God 
is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto 
us.' So in 1 John iii. 24, ' And hereby we know that he abideth in us.' 
How? 'By the Spirit which he hath given us.' So in chap. iv. 13. 
The Spirit that the Lord Christ gives is an enlightening Spirit, it is the 
candle of the Lord set up in the hearts of the saints, to guide them in 
the way everlasting.^ It is a sanctifying Spirit, a Spirit of burning, 
Isa. iv. 4. He is a fire to enlighten the soul, and a fire to enliven the 
soul, and a fire to warm the soul, &c. Whatsoever is of the Spirit is 
spirit.' It is nimble, and lively, and active, and full of life and motion, 
as the Spirit is. A man without the Spirit of the Lord is a dull, 
dromish* creature. As the Latins call a dull, dromish man, a fireless 
man, so we may call a man that hath not the Spirit, a spiritless man. 
The Spirit that Christ gives is a sealing Spirit, Eph. i. 13 ; and a leading 
Spirit, Rom. viii. He leads from, sin, he leads from wrath, he leads 
from the curse ; he leads to God, he leads to Christ, he leads to the 
promises, he leads to glory, &c. 

Again, this Spirit is a comforting Spirit, John iv. 16 ; and a pleading 
Spirit, Rom. viii. 26. Every Christian has three advocates pleading for 
him : the first is, that divine love that is in the bosom of the Father ; 
the second is, the Lord Jesus that is at the right hand of the Father; 
and the third is, the Holy Spirit that is one with the Father.^ 

[4.] Fourthly, He gives his blood. The blood of Christ is a gift of 
Christ to his beloved ones. Mat xx. 28, ' The Son of man came not to 
be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for 
many.' So in John x. 11, 'I am the good shepherd : the good shep- 
herd giveth his life for his sheep.' His blood was the purest blood, his 
human nature being most pure. His blood was the noblest blood, and 
therefore called in Scripture, * the blood of God," Rom. iii. 25 and Acts 
XX. 28, by reason of the conjunction of the divine nature with the human. 
It was his life-blood, his heart-blood that he gave. It was not the 
blood of his finger, but the blood of his heart ; it was precious blood. 

Three things are called precious in the Scripture. 

(1.) Faith is called precious faith, 2 Peter i. 1. 

(2.) The promises are called precious promises, ver. 4. 

(3.) The blood of Christ is called precious blood, 1 Peter i. 19. 

1 In Vol, II. p. 301, seq. — G. ^ Spiritus Sanctus est res delicata, John xiv. 26. 

^ Nil nisi sanctum a Sancto Spiritu prodire potest. 
* Query, ' dronish' ? which is found in Barrow = lazy. — G. 

5 There is no gainsaying Demosthenes's words, said one. So there is no gainsaying 
of the pleadings of the Spirit. 


All your precious mercies swim to you in precious blood, as you may 
see by comparing the scriptures in the margin together.^ 

It was an excellent saying of Luther, speaking of this blood of Christ, 
Una guttula plus valet quam coelum et terra, one little drop of this 
blood, saith he, is more worth than heaven and earth. Your pardon 
swims to you in blood ; your peace swims to you in blood ; your recon- 
ciliation is made by blood ; your acceptation is wrought by blood, &c. 
Sanguis Christi clavis coeli, Christ's blood is heaven's key ; Christ's 
blood is a preservative against the greatest evils ; Christ's blood, as 
Pliny saith oi polium, is a preservative against serpents, &c. 

[5.] Fifthly, Christ gives pardon of sin. And do you know what a 
mercy that is ? Ask the troubled soul, ask the soul that knows what it 
is to lie under the wrath of the Almighty, and he will tell you that 
pardon of sin is a gift more worth than a thousand worlds. Now that 
pardon of sin is a gift of God, you may see in Acts v. 31, * Him hath 
God exalted with his right hand, to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give 
repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.'^ So in Acts xxvi. 18. 
Ah, souls ! of all mercies pardoning mercy is the most necessary 
mercy. I may to heaven without honours, and without riches, and 
without the smiles of creatures ; but I can never to heaven without 
pardoning mercy. A man may be great and graceless, he may be rich 
and miserable, he may be honourable and damnable, &c.,^ but he cannot 
be a pardoned soul, but he must be a very blessed soul,* Ps. xxxii. 
1, 2. It entitles souls to all blessedness, it puts the royal crown upon 
their heads. Of all mercies pardoning mercy is the most sweetening 
mercy ; it is a choice jewel, and swims to the soul in blood, Heb. ix. 22. 
It is a mercy that makes all other mercies to look like mercies, and taste 
like mercies, and work like mercies ; and the want of it takes off the 
glory and beauty of all a man's mercies, and makes his life a very hell. 
Pardon of sin is a voluminous mercy, a mercy that has many, many 
precious mercies in the womb of it. You may weU call it Gad, Gen. 
XXX. 11, for it ushers in troops of mercy. When you can number the 
sands of the sea, and tell the stars of heaven, then, and not till then, 
shall you be able to recount the mercies that attend pardoning mercy. 
He that has this mercy cannot be miserable, and he that wants it cannot 
be happy : get this and get all, miss this and miss all. This is a gift 
conferred only upon Christ's favourites : * Son, be of good cheer, thy 
sins are forgiven thee,' Mat. ix. 2. No mercy will make a man ever- 
lastingly merry below pardoning mercy. He hath no reason to be sad 
that hath his pardon in his bosom, nor he hath no reason to be glad, 
who is upon the last step of the ladder, ready to be turned off without 
his pardon. And this is the fifth gift that Christ gives to his, viz. 
pardon of sin. 

[6.] Sixthly, Christ gives precious pratnises : 2 Peter i. 4, 'Whereby 
are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises,' &c. The 
promises are a precious book ; every leaf drops myrrh and mercy. The 
promises are golden vessels, that are laden with the choicest jewels that 

^ Rora. V. 9 ; Eph. i. 7 ; Col. i. 20 ; Heb. ix. 7, 26, x. 19 ; 1 Jolm i. 7 ; Rev. i. 5, &c. 
2 T^ ^iliK avTov, to his right hand ; that is, to honour and dignity, &c. 
' As Ahab, Haman, Dives, &c. 

"* '•"lEJ'N, blessednesses. In the plural, pardon of sin includes a plurality of mercies, a. 
chain of pearls, a chain of blessings. 


heaven can afford or the soul desire. All our spiritual, temporal, and 
eternal good is to be found in the belly of the promises.^ Promises are 
big-bellied mercies. There is nothing you can truly call a mercy but 
you will find it in the belly of a promise. Under all changes they are 
the comfort, support, and relief of the soul : Ps. cxix. 49, 50, ' Remember 
thy word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. 
This is my comfort in my affliction, for thy word hath quickened me.* 
If the sou] groan under the power of sin, then that promise relieves it : 
Rom. vi. 14, * For sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not 
under the law, but under grace,' If the soul groan under the guilt of 
sin, then that promise relieves it : Jer. xxxiii. 8, 'I will pardon all their 
iniquities whereby they have sinned against me,' &c. And that pro- 
mise, Isa. xliii. 25, 'I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy trans- 
gressions for my own sake, and will not remember thy sins. I, even I, 
am he, blotting out thy transgression ;' ' I, even I,' whom thou hast 
offended ; ' I, even I,' whom thou hast provoked ; ' I, even I,' whose 
glorious name thou hast profaned ; ' I, even I,' whose righteous law thou 
hast violated ; ' I, even 1/ whose holy covenant thou hast transgressed ; 
* I, even I,' whose mercies thou hast despised ; ' I, even I, whose chas- 
tisements thou hast slighted,' will blot out thy transgressions for my 
own sake.' 

* I, even I,' is a passionate and emphatical expression. God's good- 
ness runs over to sinful creatures ; and * where sin abounds, there grace 
doth superabound.' 

If the creditor himself blot out the debt, and cross the book, surely it 
shall never be remembered more.^ Our sins are debts, which God, who 
hath the power of life and death, of heaven and hell, of condemning and 
absolving, hath engaged himself to blot out as a thick cloud : Isa. xHv. 
22, ' I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions, and as a 
cloud thy sins.' An under-officer may blot out an indictment, and yet 
the offender may be never the better for it ; but if the king, who is the 
supreme judge, shall blot it out, then the offender is safe. The appli- 
cation is easy. If the soul be deserted, then that promise relieves it : 
Micah vii. 18, 19, ' He will turn again, he will have compassion upon 
us,' &c. If the soul be sliding and ready to fall, then that promise 
supports and upholds it : Ps. xxxvii. 24, 'Though he fall, he shall not 
be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand ;' or, as 
the Hebrew hath it, 'the Lord upholding him with his hand;' Deut. 
xxxiii. 26, 27. The Hebrew particle I^ID notes a continued act of God. 
God hath still his everlasting arms under his people, so that they shall 
never totally nor finally fall. And the root samach, from whence this 
word is derived, signifies to sustain or uphold, as the tender mother doth 
the little babe. The safety and security of the child lies not so much 
in the child's hanging about the mother's neck, as in the mother's holding 
it fast in her arms. So our safety and security lies not so much in our 
weak holding upon Christ, but in Christ's holding of us fast in his ever- 
lasting arms. This is our glory and our safety, that Christ's ' left hand 

1 The promises are precious beds of spices ; they are utres coelestes, bottles filled with 
those heavenly dews that will never fail, like that of Hagar's, but will cherish and nourish 
the soul to life eternal, &c. 

2 Mat. vi. 12, 14, 15, and xviii. 24, 27, 33 ; Luke vii. 41-48. 


is always under us, and his right hand does always embrace us,' Cant, 
ii. 6. If the soul be forsaken by friends, then that promise relieves it, 
Heb. xiii. 5, 6, ' I will never leave thee nor forsake thee/ 

There are five negatives in the Greek to assure God's people that he 
will never forsake them. Five times this precious promise is renewed 
in the Scripture, that we might have the stronger consolation, and that 
we may press and oppress it till we have gotten all the sweetness out of 
it. And verily many precious souls have sucked much sweetness out of 
the breasts of this promise, when their nearest relations and their dearest 
friends have forsaken them and forgotten them. God loves that his 
people should put his bonds, his promises in suit ; and he that doth 
shall find God near him, though friends should leave him, and the world 
be in arms against him, &c. If the soul be tempted, then that word of 
promise relieves it, 1 Cor. x. 13, ' But God is faithful, who will not 
suffer you to be tempted above that you are able/ &c. The promises 
are a Christian's magna charta ; they are his chief evidences for heaven. 
Men highly prize their charters and privileges, and carefully keep the 
conveyances and assurances of their lands. Oh ! how should saints 
then treasure up and keep these precious promises which the Lord hath 
given them, and which are to them, instead of all assurances, for their 
protection, maintenance, deliverance, comfort, and everlasting happiness! 
And thus much for the sixth gift the Lord gives, viz. the promises. 

[7.] Seventhly, The Lord gives grace : * Of his fulness we all have 
received grace for grace,' John i. 16. The Lord gives that grace, the 
least dram of which is more worth than heaven and earth. 

It was an excellent saying of one of the ancients [Jerome], ' I had 
rather have St Paul's coat with his heavenly graces, than the purple 
robes of kmgs with their kingdoms.' Grace is that which truly ennobles 
the soul ; it raises the soul up to converse with the highest and with 
the noblest objects, and every man is as the objects are with which he 
converses. If the objects are noble, the man is so ; if the objects are 
base with which a man converses, the man is base.^ A man may better 
know what he is by eyeing the objects with which his soul does mostly 
converse, than by observing his most glorious and pompous services : 
'The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour,' Prov. xii. 26. 
Abraham was a prince of God among the Hittites, Gen. xxiii. 6. The 
Jews say that those seventy persons that went down with Jacob into 
Egypt were more worth than the seventy nations of the world. Indeed, 
it is only grace that makes a man truly noble. 

When one heard the king of Persia styled * the Great King,' saith he, 
I acknowledge none more excellent than myself, unless more righteous ; 
nor none greater, unless better. Grace, as it is bred by the noblest 
means, so it is preserved and maintained in the soul by the choicest 
means, viz. union and communion with God, &c. ; grace is glory in the 
bud, and glory is grace at the full ; grace makes a man all glorious within 
and without ; grace is a ring of gold, and Christ is the sparkling diamond 
in that ring. 

[8.] Eighthly, He gives ])eace : John xiv. 27, 'My peace I leave with 
you, my peace I give unto you ; not as the world giveth, give I unto 

1 A good symbol was attributed to ^milian, the Roman emperor, Non gens sed mens, 
non genus sed genius, not race or place, but grace, truly sets forth a man. 

EpH. III. 8.] mCHES OF CHRIST. 109 

you.' Christ gives peace with God, and peace with conscience, and 
peace with the creatures. Dulce nomen 'pads, the very name of peace 
is sweet, Kom. v. 1, Hosea ii. 21-23, Job v. 1 9-25. 

The Hebrews, when they wished all happiness to any, used but 
this one word, ' Peace be with you ;' and the ancients were wont to paint 
peace in the form of a woman, with a horn of plenty in her hand, all 
blessings. Ask a soul that hath been under terrors of conscience, and 
he will tell you, that of all gifts, inward peace is the most princely 
gift, &c.^ 

[9.] Ninthly, He gives glory : John x. 28, ' My sheep hear my voice, 
and they follow me, and I give unto them eternal life.' Rom. vi. 23, 

* The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.' 

Now the glory that Christ gives is real glory : 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8, 

* Henceforth is laid up for me a crown of glory.' The Greek word a^ro- 
xiWai signifies two things : 1, a designation of a crown ; 2, a reserva- 
tion and safe keeping of it for him until the coronation day. 

Again, the glory he gives the soul is soul-filling glory ; glory that fills 
the understanding with the clearest and the brightest light ; glory that 
fills the will with the greatest freedom ; glory that fills the affections 
with the choicest joy and delight,^ Ps. xvi. 11, and xvii. 15, 2 Cor. 
xii. 1-6. 

Again, the glory he gives is incomparable glory : Rom. viii. 18, * I 
reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be com- 
pared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.' The Greek word \oyi- 
C,o[j^a.i, that is here rendered / reckon, is not a word of doubting, but a 
word of concluding. I conclude by arguments, that our present suifer- 
ings are not worthy to be compared to that illustrious and glorious glory 

* that is ready to be revealed on us,' as it is in the Greek.^ I have cast up 
the account, saith the apostle, as wise merchants use to cast up theirs, 
and I find in the balancing of the account, that there is nothing to be 
compared with the glory that shall be revealed. 

Again, the glory he gives is unmoveable glory. All worldly glory is 
tottering and shaking. Princes' crowns hang now but upon one side of 
their heads. * The Lord of hosts hath purposed it to stain' (or pollute) 'the 
pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honourable of the 
earth,' Isa. xxiii. 9. * The Lord hath purposed it,' or as it is in the Hebrew 
[nvy], ' The Lord hath consulted it ; and the counsel of the Lord shall 
stand.' It is agreed upon in heaven, that the pride of all glory shall be 
stained and polluted, or thrown down, as some polluted filthy thing that 
is trampled under foot. Oh ! but this glory that Christ gives is un- 
moveable glory, it is permanent glory; it is glory that cannot be 
clianged, stained, or polluted, Heb. xii. 28. 

Again, the glory he gives is suited glory. It is glory that is suited 
to the backs, hearts, hopes, desires, and capacities of his servants, John 
xiv. 1-3. 

Again, the glory he gives is never-fading glory ; it is glory that fadeth 
not away.* When a man hath been in heaven as many millions of 

^ Martinus the emperor's motto was, Pax bello potior, give me peace, and let others 
quarrel. ^ Pericula non respicit tnartyr, coronas respidt, saith Basil. 

^ fiiXXoiKTcti, ready to be lU «,£*«;, on us. 

* I Peter i. 3, 4. ufx,ci^avros is the proper name of a flower which is still fresh and 
green, Isa. xl. 6-8. 


years as there be stars in heaven, his glory shall be as fresh and as 
green as it was at his first entrance into heaven. All worldly glory is 
like the flowers of the field ; but the glory that Christ gives is lasting 
and durable like himself, &c. 

[10.] Tentltly, and lastly. He gives himself, and verily this is a gift 
of gifts indeed, John vi. 51, 63 ; so in Eph. v. 20. A saint may say, Me- 
thinks I hear Christ saying to me as JEschines said to Socrates, * Others,' 
said he, ' give thee silver and gold, and precious jewels, but I give thee 
myself.' So the soul may say. One friend gives me bread, and another 
gives me clothes, and another gives me house-room, &c. Oh ! but thoa 
givest me thyself Christ put into the balance will outweigh all other 
gifts that he bestows upon the sons of men. Christ is the richest gift. 
Oh ! there are unsearchable riches in Christ, as hereafter I shall shew 
you.^ He is the choicest and the rarest gift ; he is a gift given but to 
a few. Rich and rare jewels are not commonly, but more rarely given; 
so is Christ. Though Israel be * as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant 
only shall be saved,' Rom. ix. 17. * A garden enclosed, a spring shut 
up, a fountain sealed, is my well-beloved,' Cant. iv. 12. ' Fear not, 
little flock, it is your Father's pleasure to give you a kingdom,' Luke 
xii. 32. Christ is a drawing gift, a gift that draws all other gifts along 
with him. * If he have given us his Son, how shall he not with him 
freely give us all things ?' Rom. viii. 32. Christ is a drawing gift. 
When God the Father hath cast this incomparable jewel into a man's 
bosom, he cannot deny him anything. Such a soul may well say, Hath 
he given me a Christ ? and will he not give me a crumb ? Hath he 
given me his Son, which is the greatest mercy ? and will he stand 
with me for lesser mercies ? Surely no. In a word, Christ is of all 
gifts the sweetest gift. As the tree, Exod. xv. 25, sweetened the bitter 
waters, so this gift, the Lord Jesus, of whom that tree was a type, 
sweetens all other gifts that are bestowed upon the sons of men. He 
turns every bitter into sweet, and makes every sweet more sweet. 

And so I come to the second thing propounded, and that was, 

II. The difference between Christ's giving and the world's giving. 

And this I shall shew you in the following particulars : 

[1.] First, The world gives, but they give grudgingly ; but when 
Christ gives, he gives freely : Isa. Iv. 1, ' Ho, every one that thirsteth, 
let him come, and buy wine and milk without money, and without 
price.' So in Rev. xxi. 6, * I will give to every one that is athirst of 
the water of life freely.' To do good, and not to do it freely, hand- 
somely, is nothing. A benefit given with grudging is a stony loaf, only 
taken for necessity.^ 

[2.] Secondly, The world they give, but they give poorly, niggardly, 
hut Christ gives plenteously, richly : 1 Tim. vi. 17, ' Charge them that 
are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncer- 
tain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to 

* Austin prays : Lord, saith he, whatever thou hast given, take all away ; only give 
me thyself. [Confessions, often. — G.] 

2 2 Cor. ix. 7 ; I Peter iv. 9. No offerings to free-will offerings. 

3 Saul had but fivepence to give the seer ; the seer, after much good cheer, gives him 
no less than the kingdom, 1 Sam. ix. 8, 10. So God deals with his. 


When Caesar gave one a great reward, ' This,' saith he, 'is too great 
a gift for me to receive ;' ' But,' says Caesar, * it is not too great a gift 
for me to give."^ So, though the least gift that Christ gives, in some 
sense, is too much for us to receive, yet the greatest gifts are not 
too great for Christ to give. 

It is said of Araunah, that noble Jebusite, renowned for his bounty, 
that * he had but a subject's purse, but a king's heart.' But the Lord 
Jesus hath not only a king's heart, but he hath also a king's purse, and 
gives accordingly. 

[3.] Thirdly, The world give, hut they give tauntingly, they give 
upbraidingly ; they hit men in the teeth vAth the gifts they give. Ay, 
hut the Lord Jesus Christ gives, and he gives willingly, he uphraids 
none with the gifts he gives : James i. 5, * If any man lack wisdom, let 
him ask it of God, that gives liberally, and upbraideth no man.' Where 
Christ gives, there he won't upbraid, neither with present failings nor 
former infirmities. Christ is not wont to reproach those to whom he 
gives the best gifts ; he will not cast it in their dish, that he hath been 
thus and thus kmd to them, but will always ' rejoice over them to do 
them good.' But the world gives, and then reproaches the receiver for 
receiving, and this turns all into gall and wormwood, &c.^ 

[4.] Fourthly, The world gives, hut they give more rarely, hut Christ 
gives, and he gives frequently. He [is every) day, every hour, yea, 
every moment, a-giving of royal favours to his people. Here is peace 
for you that are in trouble, says Christ ; and here is pardon for you that 
groan under guilt, says Christ; and here is comfort for you that are 
mourners in Zion, says Christ, &c. His hand is ever in his purse, he 
is still a-scattering pearls of glory, ay, the very jewels of his crown, 
among the beloved of his soul.^ 

[5.] Fifthly, The world gives, hut they give the worst, and keep the 
best ; ay, hut Christ gives the hest, he gives the hest of the hest. He 
gives the best joy ; the best comfort, the best peace, the best love, the best 
assistance, &c., he gives adoption, remission, justification, sanctificatioD, 
acceptation, reconciliation, and glorification, &c. He gives the best ; as 
that king in Plutarch said of a groat, ' it is no kingly gift ;' and of a 
talent, * it is no base bribe.'' The world gives groats, ay, but Christ 
gives talents, 2 Cor. ix. 15, 1 Peter i. 8, Phihp. iv. 7, Ps. Ixxxviii. 
10, 11. 

[6.] Sixthly, The world gives a little, that they may give no more; 
ay, hut Christ gives that he may give. He gives a little grace that he 
may give grace upon grace. He gives a little comfort that he may give 
fulness of comfort, John i. 16. He gives some sips that he may give 
full draughts, he gives pence that he may give pounds, and he gives 
pounds that he may give hundreds. 

The third particular that I am to shew you is, 

III. The excellency of those gifts that Christ gives, ahove all other 
gifts that the world gives. 

' Query, Alexander : Plutarch ? — G. 

« Jar. xxxii. 40, 41 ; Prov. i. 20-25 ; viii 1-13 ; and ix. 1-7. 

' Augustus, in his solemn feasts, gave gold to some, and trifles to others. The Lord 
gives the gold, the hest things, to his own ; but the trifles of this world to the men of the 
world. [Suetonius, Octavius, cap. 76. — G.] 


In this I shall mind brevity, and, 

[1.] First, The gifts that Christ gives to his are spiritual and hea- 
venly gifts, as is most clear by what hath been already said, and the 
spirituality of them doth demonstrate the excellency of them. And 
doubtless the more spiritual any gift, any promise, any truth, any prayer, 
or any service is, the more excellent is that gift, &c. All Christ's gifts 
are like himself, spiritual and heavenly. 

[2.] Secondly, They are pure gifts. Christ gives wine without water, 
light without darkness, gold without dross, and sweet without bitter. 
Rev. xxii. 1, James iii. 17. There is much dross and poison in the gifts 
that the world gives, but there is none in the gifts that Christ gives. 
The streams are as the fountain is ; the fountain is pure, and so are the 
streams. The branches are as the root is ; the root is pure, and so are 
the branches. 

[3.] Thirdly, The gifts that Christ gives are soul-satisfying gifts. 
They are such as are suitable to the soul, and therefore they satisfy the 
soul. Things satisfy as they suit. There is a good, and there is a suit- 
able good. Now, it is only the suitable good that satisfies the soul of 
man. A pardon is most suitable to a condemned man, and therefore it 
best satisfies him. Health is most suitable to the sick, and therefore it 
satisfies when it is attained, &c. As bread satisfies the hungry soul, and 
drink the thirsty soul, and clothing the naked soul, so do the precious 
gifts that Christ bestows upon the soul satisfy the soul. The light, 
the love, the joy, the peace, the fellowship, &c., that Christ gives, doth 
abundantly satisfy the soul, Jer. xxxi. 15, 16 ; Ps. xc. 14, xxxvi. 8, 
Ixiii. 5, Ixv. 4. Oh, but the gifts that this world gives can never satisfy 
the soul : Eccles. v. 10, ' He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied 
with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase.' A man may 
as soon fill a chest with grace, or a quart-pot with virtue, as a heart 
with wealth. If Alexander conquer one world, he will wish for another 
to conquer.^ 

[4.] Fourthly, The gifts that Christ gives are most permanent and 
lasting gifts. The grace he gives is called ' an immortal seed,' 1 John 
iii. 9 ; and the glory he gives is called * everlasting glory,' Rom. ii. 7. 
The gifts of the world are fading, 2 Peter i. 11. A false oath, a spark 
of fire, a storm at sea, a treacherous friend, brings all to nothing in a 
moment. Sad experience doth every day confirm this. 

[5.] Fifthly, and lastly. The gifts that Christ gives are the most use- 
ful gifts. ^ They are useful to the strengthening of the soul against 
temptations, and to the supporting of the soul under afflictions, and to 
the sweetening of all changes ; health and sickness, strength and weak- 
ness, plenty and poverty, honour or disgrace, life or death. Oh, but 
worldly gifts cannot bear up the spirits of men from fainting and sink- 
ing when trials come, when troubles come. 

Our modern stories relate of Queen Mary, that she should say, ' If 
they did open her when she was dead, they should find Calais lying at 
her heart ;' the loss of which, it seems, hastened her end. 

1 The creature is all shadow and vanity ; it is filia noctis, like Jonah's gourd ; it is now 
flourishing, and now dying, &c. 

2 The golden crown cannot cure the headache, nor the chain of pearl cannot cure the 


The prior in Melancthon rolled his hands up and down in a basin 
full of angels,^ thinking to have charmed his gout, but it would not do. 
The precious gifts that Christ gives his, will bear up their heads above 
all waters, &c. Of all gifts, they are the most useful for the producing 
of the most noble effects. There are no gifts produce such effects as the 
precious gifts that Christ gives. They raise men up to much life and 
activity ; they make souls strong to do for God, to bear for God, to suffer 
for God ; to be anything, to be nothing, that God may be ' all in all.' 
They raise the strongest joy, the most lasting comfort, and the purest 
peace. There is no gifts draw out that thankfulness, and raise up to 
that fruitfulness, as the gifts that Jesus Christ gives. And so much for 
that third head, viz., the excellency of those gifts that Christ gives above 
all other gifts whatsoever. 

I come now to the fourth head, and that is, 

IV. The reasons why God gives his best gifts to his dearest ones. 

I shall only give you these six : 

[1,] First, Because he loves them with the dearest, with the choicest, 
and luith the strongest love; therefore he gives them the best gifts. 

Christ doth not love believers with a low, flat, dull, common love, 
with such a love as most men love one another with, but with a love 
that is like himself Now, men will give as they love : 1 Sam. i. 4, 5, 
' And Elkanah gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all his sons and 
daughters, portions, but unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion, for he 
loved her.' In the Hebrew it is, ' he gave her a gift of the face ;' that 
is, a great, an honourable gift. Men look upon great and honourable 
gifts with a sweet and cheerful countenance; so the gifts that Jesus 
Christ gives to believers are the gifts of the face, that is, they are the 
greatest gifts, the honourablest gifts, the choicest gifts, gifts fit for none 
but a king to give. 

Augustus, in his solemn feasts, gave trifles to some, but gold to others. 
The Lord Jesus scatters the trifles of this world up and down ; as Luther 
well speaks, ' The whole Turkish empire is but a crust that God throws 
to a dog.' God scatters giftless gifts, viz., the honours, riches, and favours 
of this world, up and down among the worst of men f but as for his gold 
— his Spirit, his grace, his Son, his favour — these are jewels that he only 
casts into the bosom of saints, and that because he dearly loves them. 

[2.] Secondly, Christ gives the best gifts to his people, because they 
are best principled and fitted to make a divine improvement of them. 

There is no men on earth that are principled and fitted for the im- 
provement of the special gifts that Christ gives but his own people.^ 
None have such principles of wisdom, love, holiness, and faithfulness to 
make an improvement of the joy, the peace, the comfort, that the Lord 
gives as his people ; ergo. . . . Abraham gave unto * the sons of the con- 

' * Coin,' so-called.— G. 

* Mundus cadaver est, et venantes eum sunt canes; the world is a carcase, and those that 
hunt after it are dogs, is an Arabic proverb, 

' "Wicked men are only principled to abuse mercy, which occasions God so often to 
rain hell out of heaven upon them, as he did once upon Sodom and Gomorrah for abusing 
of mercy, 



cubines gifts, and sent them away ; but unto Isaac he gave all that he 
had,' Gen. xxv. 5. As Isaac was better beloved than the concubines' 
sons, so Isaac was better principled to improve love than they were. 
The application is easy. 

[3.] Thirdly, He doth it upon this account, that he Tnay the more en- 
dear the hearts of his people to him. 

The greatest design of Christ in this world is mightily to endear the 
hearts of his people ; and indeed it was that which was in his eye 
and upon his heart from all eternity. It was this design that caused him 
to lay down his crown and to take up our cross, to put off his robes 
and to put on our rags, to be condemned that we might be justified, 
to undergo the wrath of the Almighty that we might for ever be in the 
arms of his mercy. He gives his Spirit, his grace, yea, and his very self, 
and all to endear the hearts of his people to himself. When Isaac 
would endear the heart of Eebekah, then the bracelets, the jewels, and 
the earrings are cast into her bosom, Gen. xxiv. 53. So the Lord Jesus 
casts his heavenly bracelets, jewels, and earrings into the bosoms, into 
the laps, of his people, oat of a design to endear himself unto them : Pro v. 
xvii. 8, ' A gift is a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it ; 
whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.' In the Hebrew it is thus, * a 
gift is as a stone of grace,' |Tp^, that is, it makes a man very acceptable 
and gracious in the eyes of others. A gift is like that precious stone 
pantarbe, that hath a marvellous conciliating property in it ; or like 
the wonder-working loadstone, that, as some writers observe, hath 
among other properties this, that it makes those that have it well-spoken 
men and well accepted of princes. Certainly the gifts that Jesus Christ 
gives to his do render him very acceptable and precious in their eyes. 
Christ to them is the crown of crowns, the heaven of heavens, the glory 
of glories ; he is the most sparkling diamond in the ring of glory: Prov. 
xviii. 16, * A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before 
great men.' The gifts that Jesus Christ gives widen the heart and en- 
large the soul of a believer to take in more of himself. Naturally we 
are narrow-mouthed heavenward and wide-mouthed earthward; but the 
Lord Jesus, by casting in his jewels, his pearls, his precious gifts, into 
the soul, doth widen the soul, and enlarge the soul, and make it more 
capacious to entertain himself. Christ by his gifts causes all doors to 
stand open, that ' the King of glory may enter in,' Ps. xxiv. 7-10. 

4. Now the fourth reason of the point is, because Christ expects m,ore 
froTfh his people, than he doth from all the world besides, therefore he 
gives them the best gifts} 

"Where the Lord expects and looks for most, there he gives most. 
Though believers are but ' a little flock/ though they are but ' a rem- 
nant,' though they are but 'a fountain sealed, a spring shut up, a 
garden enclosed,' yet Christ looks for more from them, than from all 
the world besides. He looks for more love from them, than from all 
the world besides ; and he expects more service from them, than from all 
the world besides ; and he looks for more honour from them than from 
all the world besides : Mai. i. 6, ' A son honoureth his father, and a 

* It was a good saying of Justin Martyr, Ifon in verbis, sed in factis res nostrce reli- 
gionis consistunt. God loves, saith Lutlier, ctiristas, not qucenstas, the runner, not the 
questioner, &c. 


servant his master : If I am your father, where is my honour ? and if I 
am your master, where is my fear f He looks for more fear from them 
than from all the world besides, and for more honour from them than 
from all the world besides, and for more prayers and praises from them 
than from all the world besides. 

[5.] Fifthly, The Lord Jesus gives the test gifts to his own people, 
that he may fence and strengthen them against the worst tempta- 

There are no men on earth that lie open to temptations, as saints. 
The best men have been always the most tempted. The more excellent 
any man is in grace and holiness, the more shall that man be followed 
with temptations, as you may see in David, who was tempted by Satan 
to number the people ; and Job, to curse God and die ; and Peter, to 
deny Christ ; and so Paul was buffeted, yea, and Christ himself most 
grievously assaulted. The Lord knows well enough that Satan hath a 
cruel eye, an envious eye, a malicious eye upon his beloved ones, and 
therefore he is pleased, by his precious gifts, to strengthen them against 
his assaults. What Paul once said concerning bonds and afflictions, 
that they attended him ' in every place,' that may believers say con- 
cerning temptations, that they attend them in 'every place,' in every 
calling, in every condition, in every company, in every service, &c. As 
now, that the hearts of his people and temptations may not meet, the 
Lord is pleased to give them the best and choicest gifts.^ 

Austin thanked God for this, that his heart and the temptations did 
not meet. The Lord hath on purpose given these glorious gifts into the 
hearts of his saints, that their souls and temptations may be kept 
asunder ; that though they be tempted, yet they may not be conquered ; 
though they be assaulted, yet they may not be vanquished.^ Basil, 
Luther, Vincentius, and that famous marquis Galeacius [Carraciolus], 
&c., met with very strange and strong temptations, but the precious 
gifts that the Lord had cast into their bosoms made them triumph over 
all.3 Oh that grace, that peace, that life, that love, that communion 
with which the Lord had crowned them, made them too great, too 
noble, and too glorious to yield to any temptations with which they were 
beset. It was their pleasure to overcome offered pleasure, their honour 
to overcome offered honour, their greatness to overcome offered great- 
ness. When one of them was tempted with money and preferment, he 
scorned the offers, saying, Give me money that may last for ever, and 
glory that may eternally flourish.* 

Jerome tells a story of a Christian soldier,^ whom when the prsetor 
could not by any torments remove from Christianity, he commanded to 
be laid on a bed in a pleasant garden, among the flourishing and fragrant 
flowers ; which done, all others withdrawing, a most beautiful harlot 
came to him, and used all art to destroy his soul ; but the Christian 
soldier being filled with the royal gifts of the Spirit, bit off his tongue 

* Some say that the panther will leap three times after his prey, hut if he miss it the 
third time, he will leap no more. It were well for saints if Satan would do so. &c., 1 
Chron. xxi. 1 ; Job ii. 9 ; Mat. xxvi. 41 ; 2 Cor. xii. 7 ; Mat. iv. 1-12 ; Acts xx. 23. 

2 Vigilat diaholus et tu dormis ? the devil watcheth, and dost thou sleep? 
' Effo non sum ego, said that noble convert when he met with a temptation. 

* Pecuniam da qncs permanaat ac continuo duret, gloriam quce semper for eat. — Basil. 

* Jerome in vita Pauli. 


with his teeth, and spat it in her face as she was tempting him, and so 
got victory over all her temptations. 

The precious favours God confers upon his, make them temptation- 
proof ; they make believers trample upon the most amiable baits. 
' How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God,' says Joseph. 
Joseph's sense of Potiphar's favours heaped upon him, strengthened him 
against the impudent solicitations of his wanton mistress, Gen. xxxix. 
And shall not the singular favours that God confers upon his dearest 
ones strengthen them against Satan's assaults ? Surely gracious hearts 
are wrought more upon, and bettered and strengthened more by spirit- 
uals than by temporals ; by eternals than by externals ; and if Satan 
do not find it so, I am much mistaken. 

Well, remember this, Satan's overcoming the saints gives him the 
greatest advantage to boast and triumph over Christ.^ 

Ambrose brings in the devil boasting against Christ, and challenging 
Judas as his own ; He is not thine. Lord Jesus, saith he, he is mine ; his 
thoughts beat for me ; he eats with thee, but he is fed by me ; he takes 
bread from thee, but money from me ; he drinks with thee, but sells 
thy blood to me. So when Satan prevails over the saints, look, O 
Christ, says he, are these the price of thy blood ? are these the objects of 
thy love ? are these the delight of thy soul ? what, are these thy jewels ? 
are these the apple of thy eye 1 are these thy pleasant portion ? Why, 
lo how I lead them ! lo how I triumph over them ! they seem rather to 
be mine than thine. Ah, Christians ! resist as for life, that Satan may 
never have occasion thus to insult and triumph over Christ, &c. 

[6.] Sixthly and lastly, Christ gives the best gifts to his dearest ones, 
that they may be an honour and a praise unto him in the glorious 
day of his owning of them, and marHage to them before all the world. 

Believers in this life are but betrothed to Christ : ' I will betroth thee 
unto me for ever ; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, 
and in judgment, and in loving-kindness,' Hosea ii. 19, 20. Their 
marriage-day is put off till the glorious day of Christ's appearing ; the 
great day of his glory will be the day of solemnity ; Rev. xxi. 2, 9, 10, 
compared.^ It would not be for the honour and glory of Christ, that 
his spouse in that day should be clothed with rags ; therefore he hath 
given them the bracelets, the ear-rings, and the jewels before-hand, that 
they may be a praise and an honour to him in the marriage day. Oh ! 
when the saints shall appear with all those glorious jewels about them, 
that Christ hath bequeathed to them, how will their splendid glory 
darken all other glory, and make the very sun to hide its face. This is 
our betrothing day, that will be our marriage day. 

Bishop Ridley, the night before he suffered, invited his hostess and the 
rest at table to his marriage, ' for,' said he, ' to-morrow I must be mar- 
ried.'^ so several other martyrs went as merrily to die, as to dine ; 
knowing that their dying day did but make way for their marriage day. 
The Lord doth by his rich and royal favours trick and trim up his bride 
beforehand, that she may be an honour and a praise to him in the day 

^ The devil marcheth well armed and in good array, saith Luther. 

2 The good things of eternal life are so many, that they exceed number ; so great, that 
they exceed measure ; so precious, that they are above all estimation. — Augustine, de 
Triplici habitu, cap. 4. ^ Foxe, as before. — G. 


of coronation, in the day of marriage, in the day of solemnity, when he 
will own her before devils, angels, and all reprobates ; when he will say, 
' Lo, here am I, and the bride, O Father 1 that thou hast given me." 

And thus you have a brief account of the reasons of the point, why 
the Lord gives the best gifts to his own people. 

We shall make some short but sweet uses of this point. 
And, firsty 

[1 .] Doth the Lord give the best and greatest gifts to his people ? 
Then you that are his people, sit down and wonder at this condescend- 
ing love of God. 

Oh ! what is in thy soul or in my soul, that should cause the Lord to 
give such gifts to us as he hath given ? We were all equal in sin and 
misery ; nay, doubtless, we have actually outsinned thousands, to whom 
these precious gifts are denied. Let us therefore sit down and wonder 
at this condescending love of God. Oh! we were once poor wretches 
sitting upon the dunghill, yea, wallowing in our blood, and yet behold 
the King of kings, the Lord of lords, hath so far condescended in his 
love, as to bestow himself, his Spirit, his grace, and all the jewels of his 
royal crown upon us. Oh ! what heart can conceive, what tongue can 
express, this matchless love ! I will be thine for ever, says Christ, and 
my Spirit shall be thine for ever, and my grace thine for ever, and my 
glory thine for ever, and my righteousness thine for ever ; all I am and 
all I have, shall be thine for ever. O sirs ! what condescending love 
is this. Oh ! what a Christ is this.^ 

[2.] But then, secondly, Be greatly thankful, oh he greatly thankful 
for the great gift that Christ hath bestowed upon you. 

It is not a little thankfulness that will answer and suit to the great 
gifts that the Lord Jesus hath bestowed upon you. Oh say with the 
psalmist, ' What shall I render to the Lord for all his favours, and great 
benefits. I will take the cup of salvation, and will call upon the name 
of the Lord,' Ps. cxvi. 13, 14. Yea, say again with the psalmist, 'I will 
praise thee more and more.' Or as it is in the Hebrew, * I will add to 
thy praise,' Ps. Ixxi 14. Oh when thou lookest upon the jewels, the 
pearls that Christ hath given thee, say, Lord, I will praise thee more 
and more, I will rise higher and higher in thy praises, I will be still 
a-adding to thy praise. The very law of nature bespeaks great thank- 
fulness, where great favours are given ; and the law of custom bespeaks 
it, and doth not the law of grace bespeak it m\ich more f 

When Tamerlane had taken Bajazet, among other questions he asked 
him * if ever he had given God thanks for making him so great an 
emperor V He confessed immediately, that * he never thought of that ;' 
to whom Tamerlane replied, 'It is no wonder so ungrateful a man should 
be made a spectacle of misery.^ Oh ! what do they then deserve that 
are unthankful for spiritual favours. Tell me, Christians, are not the 
gifts that Christ hath conferred upon you, peculiar gifts ? And will 
you not be thankful for them ? Were they but common gifts, you 

* Lord Jesus, saith Bernard, breaking forth into an admiration of Christ's love, I 
love thee plusquam mea, plusquam meos, plusquam me, more than all my goods, more than 
all my friends, yea, more than my very self, &c. [Sermons on Canticles, as before. — C4.] 

2 Injuries shall be writ in the dust, but our mercies on marble, that our hearts may be 
the better provoked to praise and thankfulness. 

3 Turk. Hist. 220, &c. [Knolles, as before.— G.} 


ought to be thankful for them ; how much more then for peculiar gifts, 
for right-handed favours ? Tell me, are not the gifts that Christ hath 
given thee rare gifts ? What hadst thou been if Christ had not made 
a difference between thee and others, by those glorious gifts that he 
hath conferred upon thee ? Thou lookest upon some, and seest they 
are very ignorant. Oh 1 what hadst thou been if God had not bestowed 
that grace of knowledge upon thee ? Thou lookest upon other persons 
that are unclean, profane, and filthy. Why ! such a wretch wouldst 
thou have been, if the Lord had not made a difference between thee and 
them, by bestowing himself, his grace, and Spirit upon thee.'^ 

It was long since determined in the schools, that 'penitents had more 
reason to be thankful than innocent ; sin giving an advantage to mercy 
to be doubly free in giving and in pardoning;' and so the greater 
obligation is left upon us to thankfulness. 

Luther hath a very famous story, in his writing upon the fourth 
commandment, in the time of the council of Constanca He tells you 
of two cardinals, that as they were riding to the council, they saw a 
shepherd in the field weeping. One of them being affected with his 
weeping, rode to him to comfort him ; and coming near to him he de- 
sired to know the reason of his weeping. The shepherd was unwilling 
to tell him at first, but at last he told him, saying, ' I looking upon this 
toad considered that I never praised God as I ought, for making me 
such an excellent creature as a man, comely and reasonable. I have 
not blessed him that he made me not such a deformed toad as this.' 
The cardinal hearing this, and considering that God had done far 
greater things for him than for this poor shepherd, he fell down dead 
from his mule ; his servants lifting him up, and bringing him to the 
city, he came to life again, and then cried out, 'O St Austin! how truly 
didst thou say, the unlearned rise and take heaven by force, and we 
with all our learning wallow in flesh and blood.'^ The application is 

Thirdly, The next use is, 

[3.] If the Lord hath given the best gifts to his 'people, then oh that 
his people would not give God the worst, but the best of everything.^ 

Oh ! give the Lord the best of your strength, the best of your time, 
the best of your mercies, and the best of your services, who hath given 
to your souls the best of gifts : Num. xviii. 29, ' Out of all your gifts 
ye shall offer every heave-offering of the Lord, of all the best thereof, 
even the hallowed part thereof, out of it.' So I say, of all thy offerings 
offer God the best, who hath given to thee the best and greatest gifts. 
So in Exod. xxxv. 22, ' For the service of the tabernacle they brought 
bracelets, and ear-rings, and tables, all jewels of gold : and every man 
that offered, offered an offering of gold unto the Lord.' They gave the 
best of the best, and so must we. Oh do not offer to God the worst of 
your time, the worst of your strength, the worst of your mercies, the 

' There are but few upon whom God bestoweth his love. It was always a principle in 
morality, that sweet and intimate friendship cannot be extended to many. Friends 
usually go by pairs. 

2 Augustine, Confessions, b. viii. c. 8. ' Surgunt indocti et ccelum rapiunt, et nos 
cum doctrinis nostris sine corde, ecce ubi volutamur in carne et sanguine.'— G. 

^ It is the most wicked avarice to defraud God of the oblation of ourselves, saith Chrys- 


worst of your services. That same is a very dreadful text : Mai. i. 8, 
13, 14, compared, 'And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? 
and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil ? offer it now unto thy 
governor ; will he be pleased with it, and accept thy person ? saith the 
Lord of hosts.' Saith God, Will men be put off thus ? No, I know 
they won't ; and why then should you deal worse with me than with 
men ? Thy governors will have the best, ay, the best of the best ; and 
will you deal worse with me, saith God, than with your governors V 
Will you thus requite me for all my favours, foolish people and un- 
wise ? is this your kindness to your friend ? Ver. 13, 14, * Ye said also, 
Behold, what a weariness is it ! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the 
Lord of hosts: and ye have brought that which was torn, and the lame, 
and the sick ; thus ye brought an offering : should I accept this of your 
hands ? saith the Lord.' Oh ! that God had not cause to complain thus 
of many of your souls, to whom he hath shewn much love. But mark 
what follows: ver. 14, 'But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his 
flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing : 
for I am a great King, saith the Lord of hosts, and my name is dreadful 
among the heathen.' If you have better in your hands, and yet shall 
go to put off God with the worst, the curse will follow. Think of it and 
tremble, all you that deal fraudulently and false-heartedly with God. 
Ah, Christians ! you must say, World, stand behind ; sin and Satan, get 
you behind us, for the best gifts, the choicest favours that ever were 
given, we have received from the Father of lights ; and therefore by his 
gifts he hath obliged our souls to give him the best of our time, strength, 
and services ; and therefore we will not be at your call or beck any 
longer. Oh, say, the Lord hath given us the best gifts, and ' Cursed 
be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacri- 
ficeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing.' 

[4.] Fourthly, This should bespeak the people of God to trust and 
lean upon God for lesser gifts. 

Hath God given thee a crown, and wilt thou not trust him for a 
crumb ? 2 Tim. iv. 8. Hath he given thee a house that hath ' founda- 
tions, whose builder and maker is God?' Heb. xi. 15. Hath he given 
thee ' a kingdom that shakes not' ? Heb. xii. 28. And wilt thou not 
trust him for a cottage, for a little house-room in this world ? Hath 
he given thee himself, his Son, his Spirit, his grace ; and wilt thou not 
trust him to give thee bread, and friends, and clothes^ and other 
necessary mercies that he knows thou needest ? Rom. viii. 32, Mat. vi. 
32. Hath he given thee the greater, and will he stand with thee for 
the lesser? Surely no. Wilt thou trust that man for much, that hath 
given thee but a little ? And wilt thou not trust that God for a little, 
that hath given thee much ? Wilt thou not trust him for pence, that 
hath given thee pounds ? O sirs ! hath the Lord given you himself, 
the best of favours ; and will not you trust him for the least favours ? 
Hath he given you pearls, and will not you trust him for pins ? &c. 
Doth not the apostle argue sweetly ? Rom. viii. 32, ' He that spared 

' If a man should serve the Lord a thousand years, saith Austin, it would not deserve 
an hour of the reward in heaven ; no, not a moment, much less an eternity. And there- 
fore, says he, we had need do as much as we can, and do all that we do as well as we 
can, fee. 


not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with 
him also freely give us all things ?' What ! says the apostle, hath he 
given us his Son, his only Son, his bosom Son, his beloved Son, the Son 
of his joy, the Son of his delights ? Oh how can he then but cast in. 
all other things, as paper and pack-thread, into the bargain? Oh ! that 
Christians would learn to reason themselves out of their fears, and out 
qf their distrusts, as the apostle doth. Oh ! that Christians would no 
longer rend and rack their precious souls with fears and cares, but rest 
satisfied in this, that he that hath been so kind to them in spirituals, 
will not be wanting to them in temporals,^ Prov. viii. 23-32. 

[5.] Fifthly, // the Lord hath given the best gifts to his people, this 
should then bespeak his people, not to envy the men of the world 
for those lesser favours that God hath conferred upon them. 

It was horrid wickedness in Ahab to envy poor Naboth, because of 
his vineyard ; and is it a virtue in you that are Christians to envy 
others, because their outward mercies are greater or sweeter than yours? 
Should the prince upon whose head the royal crown is set, and about 
whose neck the golden chain is put, envy those whose hands are full of 
sugar-plums, and whose laps are full of rosemary, &c. Hath not God, 
O Christians ! put a royal crown of glory upon your heads, and a golden 
chain of grace about your necks, and his Son's glorious robe upon your 
backs ? and why then should your hearts rise against others' mercies ? 
O ! reason yourselves out of this sinful temper.^ 

I would have every Christian thus to argue : Hath not the Lord given 
me himself ? Is not one dram of that grace that God hath given me, 
more worth than ten thousand worlds ? and w^hy then should I envy at 
others' mercies ? 

There was a soldier which, for breaking his rank in reaching after a 
bunch of grapes, was condemned to die by martial law, and as he went 
to execution, he went eating of his grapes ; upon which, some of his 
fellow-soldiers were somewhat troubled, saying, ' He ought then to mind 
somewhat else;' to whom he said, * I beseech you, sirs, do not envy me 
my grapes, they will cost me dear ; you would be loath to have them 
at the rate that I must pay for them.' So say I, O saints ! do not envy 
the men of this world because of their honours, riches, &c., for you 
would be loath to have them at that rate that they must pay for them. 
Oh ! there is a day of reckoning a-coming, a day wherein all the nobles 
and brave gallants in the world must be brought to the bar, and give an 
account how they have improved and employed all the favours that God 
hath conferred upon them ; therefore envy them not. Is it madness 
and folly in a great favourite at court, to envy those that feast them- 
selves with the scraps that come from the prince's table ? Oh ! then, 
what madness and folly is it that the favourites of heaven should envy 
the men of the world, who at best do but feed upon the scraps that 
come from God's table ! Spirituals are the choice meat, temporals are 
but the scraps. Temporals are the bones, spirituals are the marrow. 

Is it below a man to envy the dogs because of the bones ? And is it 

' Tantum possumus, quantum credimus. — Cyprian. 

^ David three several times gave himself this counsel, not to envy at others. Ps. 
xxxvii. 1, 7, 8, compared. So Ps. Ixxiii. 21. 


not much more below a Christian to envy others for temporals, when 
himself enjoys spirituals ? 

[6.] Sixthly, Be not troubled for the want of lesser gifts. 

It is to me a sad thing to see gracious souls, that have some comfortable 
satisfaction in their own hearts that the Lord hath given Christ and grace 
to them, John xiv. 1-3, &c., go up and down whining and weeping be- 
cause they have not health, or wealth, or child, or trade, &c., when the 
Lord hath bestowed upon them such choice, spiritual blessings, the least of 
which will outweigh all temporal blessings. Well, Christians, remem- 
ber this, you act below your spiritual birth, your holy calling, when you 
suffer your hearts to be troubled and perplexed for the want of tem- 
poral things. Can you read special love in these? Doth your happiness 
lie in the enjoyment of them ? Are not the angels happy without them? 
Was not Lazarus more happy than Dives ? Yes. Oh ! then, let not the 
want of those things trouble thee, the enjoyment of which can never 
make thee happy. Should the child be troubled for want of a rattle 
or a baby,^ that is proclaimed heir of a crown ? And why then should 
a Christian, that is heir-apparent to a heavenly crown, be troubled upon 
the want of worldly toys ? &c. 

Jerome tells us of .one Didymus, a godly preacher, who was blind ; 
Alexander, a godly man, coming to him, asked him whether he was not 
sore troubled and afflicted for want of his sight ? * Oh yes,' said Didy- 
mus, ' it is a great affliction and trouble to me." Then Alexander chid 
him, saying, Hath God given you the excellency of an angel, of an 
apostle, and are you troubled for that which rats and mice and brute 
beasts have.^ 

It is great folly, it is double iniquity for a Christian to be troubled 
for the want of those things that God ordinarily bestows upon the worst 
of men. Oh the mercies that a Christian hath in hand, oh the mer- 
cies that a Christian hath in the promises, oh the mercies that a 
Christian hath in hope, are so many, so precious, and so glorious, that 
they should bear up his head and heart from fainting and sinking under 
all outward wants. 

There goes a story amoijg scholars of ^sop's deceiving Mercury, he 
having promised him one part of his nuts, keeps all the meat to himself, 
and gives the other the shells. Ah, Christians ! God hath given you the 
meat, but the world the shells ; why then should you be troubled for 
want of the shells, when God hath given you the kernel ] &c.^ 

[7.] Seventhly, // the Lord hath given his people the best gifts, oh 
then, let not them leave off that God that hath bestowed such choice 
and noble favours on them. 

Jer. ii. 11-13, ' Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no 
gods ? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not 
profit : Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, 
be ye very desolate, saith the Lord.' Whyl * For my people have com- 
mitted two evils, they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters,' 
&c. This was that aggravated the Israelites' sin, Ps. cv. and cvi., that 

• ' Doll.'— G. 2 Socrates, H..E., lib. iv. cap. xx. 

' Cyprian, in his sermon de lapsis, reports of divers who, forsaking the Lord, were 

given over to evil spirits, and died fearfully. A backslider may say. Opera et impensa 
periit, all my pains and charge is lost. 


they forsook that God that had cooferred upon them many rich and 
royal favours. But oh ! then, what madness and folly is it in you, that 
you should forsake that God that hath done such mighty things for your 
souls ? I may say, to keep you close to God, as Saul said to his servants, 
to keep them close to him, 1 Sam. xxii. 7, ' Then Saul said unto his 
servants that stood about him, Hear now, ye Benjamites, will the son 
of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you all 
captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds V Ah, Christians ! can 
the world give you spiritual life ? Can the world give you peace of con- 
science, pardon of sin, the favour of God, the hopes of glory ? No. Oh 
then ! never leave nor forsake that God that hath given you all these 
royal favours, which none can give nor take, but himself He that for- 
sakes God forsakes his own mercies ; he forsakes his life, his joy, his 
crown, his all in all. 

No evil to this, of forsaking the greatest good. It makes a man's 
life a very hell. * Such shall be written in the dust,' Jer. xvii. 13. 

[8.] Eighthly and lastly, Be not impatient nor froward, when God 
shall take away some lesser mercies from you} 

Hath God given you the best and" the greatest gifts that your souls 
can beg or himself can give ? And will you be froward or impatient 
when he shall come to take away lesser mercies ? What ? wilt thou be 
an impatient soul, when God comes and writes death upon such a near 
mercy, and passes the sentence of death upon such and such desirable 
mercies ? Verily this is the way to provoke God to strip thee naked 
of thy choicest ornaments, and to put thee in chains, or else to turn 
thee a-grazing among the beasts of the field, as he did Nebuchadnezzar. 
God gives the best, and takes away the worst ; he gives the greatest, 
and takes away the least ; the sense of which made Job bless God when 
stripped of all. If a man should give you a pearl and take away a pin ; 
if he should give you a bag of gold and take away a bag of counters, 
would it not be a madness in you to be impatient, and froward ? Doth 
God take away a pin, and hath he not given you a pearl for it ? He 
hath given thee a pound, Christian ! for every penny that he hath 
taken from thee ; therefore be not frowar(^ nor impatient. Remem- 
ber, Christians, how many in the world there be that sit sighing and 
mourning under the want of those very favours that you do enjoy. 
* Why does the living man complain V What ! out of the grave, and 
complain ! What ! out of hell, and complain ! This is man's sin, and 
God's wonder. 

But now some poor sinners may say, Here is good news for saints, but 
what is all this to us all this while ? 

Why, I will tell you ; I have something to say for the comfort and 
encouragement of poor sinners. Ah, sinners ! Christ is willing to bestow 
the best gifts upon the worst sinners. Take one text for all ; it is a 
sweet one, and full to the point in hand: Ps. Ixviii. 18, 'Thou hast 
ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive, thou hast received 

^ Diis proximus ille est, quern ratio non ira movet, he is next to God whom reason, and 
not anger, moveth. — Seneca. \De Ira et De Animi Tranquitlitate — G.] Did an impa- 
tient soul but see himself in a glass, he would loathe himself ; for, saith Homer, his eyes 
sparkle like fire, his heart swells, his pulse beats, &c. In a word, an impatient soul is a 
bedlam, a monster, a devil, &c. 


gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell 
among them,'^ 

Christ hath received gifts, as a steward, from the hand of the Father, 
to dispense them among men, yea, among the rebellious, the worst of 
men. If there be here at this time any rebellious sinner, or rebellious 
Sabbath-breaker, or rebellious drunkard, or rebellious curser, &c., let 
such rebellious sinners know that Christ hath received gifts ' even for 
the rebellious,' 

' That the Lord God might dwell amongst them.'^ That is, that the 
Lord God might have sweet fellowship and communion with them : 
* Behold I stand at the door and knock ; if any man hear my voice, and 
open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he 
with me.' 

' Behold I stand at the door and knock.' I, that have heaven to give, 
and peace to give, and pardon to give, and grace to give, and myself to 
give ; I, that have tried gold to enrich you, and white raiment to clothe 
you, and eye-salve to anoint you, ' I stand at the door and knock ; if 
any man will open the door,' let him be never so guilty, never so filthy, 
never so unworthy, &c., ' I will come in and sup with him, and he 
with me.' 

Lord, at whose door dost thou stand knocking? Is it at the rich 
man's door, or at the righteous man's door, or at the humbled man's 
door, or at the weary and heavy-laden man's door, or at the mourner's 
door, or at the qualified or prepared man's door ? No, says Christ, it is 
at none of these doors. At whose then, O blessed Lord 1 At the luke- 
warm Laodicean's door ; at their door that are neither hot nor cold, 
that are ' wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.' 
These, says Christ, are the worst of the worst ; and yet if any of these 
wretches, these monsters of mankind, will open the door, ' I will come 
in, and will sup with them, and they with me.' 

I have read a remarkable story of a great rebel that had raised a 
mighty party against a Roman emperor. The emperor upon this being 
much provoked and stirred in spirit, made a proclamation, that who- 
soever brought in the rebel, dead or alive, should have a great sum of 
money. The rebel, hearing of this, comes and presents himself unto 
the emperor, and demanded of him the sum of money ; whereupon the 
emperor reasons thus, ' If I should now cut him off, the world would 
say I did it to save my money ;' and so he pardoned him, and gave him 
the great sum of money, notwithstanding all his former rebellion.^ 

Oh ! shall a heathen emperor do thus to a rebel that was in arms 
against him, and will not God do as much for poor rebellious sinners ? 
Surely he will. What though thou hast been in arms against God, and 
mustered up all the strength and force thou couldst, even all the mem- 
bers of thy body, and faculties of thy soul, against God, and Christ, 
and holiness, yet know that the King of Israel is a merciful king ; he 
is a God of pardons ; he delights to make his grace glorious, and there- 

' Read also Prov. i. 20-29, chap. viii. 1-8, and chap. ix. 1-7 ; Isa. xliii. 22-25 ; Jer- 
li. 6. None so faithful as Christ, Heb. iii. 5, 6. 

2 Rev. iii. 20, 2 Cor. vi. 16, ' I will dwell in them.' The words are very significant in 
the original : UoiKncru Iv eturois, I will indwell in them. There are two ins in the original, 
as if God could never have enough communion with them. 

5 Bodin relates this story. [As before. See Index, sub nomine. — G.] 


fore is very willing to shew mercy to the greatest rebels, to the worst 
of sinners. Witness Manasseh, Mary Magdalene, the thief, Paul, and 
others.^ The greatness of man's sins do but set off the riches of free 
grace. Sins are debts, and God can as easily blot out a debt of many 
thousands as he can a lesser debt ; therefore let not the greatest rebel 
despair but believe, and he shall find that ' where sin hath abounded, 
there grace shall superabound/ &c. 

And thus much for this observation. We shall now proceed to the 
next words, viz., 

* That I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches 
of Christ: — Eph. iii. 8. 

A little to open the words. 

' That I should preach' 

That is, declare good news, or the glad tidings of salvation that is 
brought by Jesus Christ to sinners. The Greek word EuayysX/ot, in the 
New Testament, answ^ers to the Hebrew word Bessorah in the Old 
Testament, both signifying good news, glad tidings, or a joyful message.^ 

' That I should preach among the Gentiles! 

The word 'i&vi6iv^ that is here rendered Gentiles, is sometimes used 
generally for all men, or all nations. So it is used in Mat. xxv. 32, and 
xxviii. 19. Sometimes this Greek word is used more especially for the 
people of the Jews ; so in John xi. 48, 50-52, and Acts x. 22 ; and 
sometimes it is used for the Gentiles, distinguished from the Jews ; so 
in Mat. vi. 32. 

By the Gentiles here you are to understand those poor heathens that 
were without God in the world, that never had heard of Christ, nor those 
unsearchable riches that be in him ; as you may clearly see by compar- 
ing this text with that. Gal. i. 15, 16, 'But when it pleased God, who 
separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to 
reveal his Son in me, that I might preach among the heathen,' saith 
he, ' immediately I consulted not with flesh and blood.' 

1. The first observation that I shall speak to, from these words thus 
opened, is this : 

That the gifts and graces that God bestows upon his people 
should be improved, employed, and exercised by his people. 

The Greek word %af'e, that is here rendered grace, we shewed you, 
hath a three-fold signification in the Scripture. Sometimes it denotes 
the favour of God, sometimes the common gifts of the Spirit, and some- 
times the saving graces of the Spirit. Now, says Paul, that singular 
favour that God hath conferred upon me, and all those common gifts and 
special graces with which he has enriched me, they are all to be em- 
ployed and exercised. * Unto me is this grace given, that I should 
preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. 

So that there is nothing more clear than this, viz. : That the gifts 
and graces that God bestows upon his people, should be employed, im- 
proved, and exercised by his people. 

' To me is this grace given.' Not that I should be idle, but active ; 

^ Rom. V. 10 ; Col. i. 21 ; Rom. vi. 13, 16, 19, 20. 

2 EvuyyiXitrxa'^eci, from 'E.va.'yyiXlZ,oii. 

EpH. III. 8.] KICHES OF CHRIST. • 125 

not that I should be negligent, but diligent ; not that I should hide 
my talents, but improve them. 

I shall touch upon a few scriptures that speak out this truth, and then 
open it to you. 2 Tim. i. 6, * Wherefore I put thee in remembrance, 
that thou stir up the gift of God that is in thee.' As the fire is in- 
creased and preserved by blowing, so are our graces. Some think that 
it is a metaphor taken from a spark kept in ashes, which, by gentle 
blowing, is stirred up, till it take a flame. Others say, it is an allusion 
to the fire in the temple, which was always to be kept burning.^ We 
get nothing by dead and useless habits. Talents hid in a napkin 
gather rust. The noblest faculties are imbased, when not improved, 
when not exercised. Philip, ii. 12, * Work out your own salvation with 
fear and trembling.' The Greek is, xaTsiydlsah, ' Work till you get 
the work through.' The reason why many men's hearts tremble, and 
are so full of fears and doubts, is because their salvation is not 
wrought out ; they do not make thorough work in their souls, they put 
not that question home, Whether they have grace or no ? an interest 
in Christ or no ? They do not rise with all their strength against sin, 
nor with all their power to serve the Lord ; and therefore fears and 
doubts do compass them round about. So in 1 Cor. xv. 58, 'Be sted- 
fast and unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, foras- 
much as you know that your labour is not in vain in the liOrd.' 

' Be stedfast.' It is a metaphor taken from a foundation, on which a 
thing stands firmly ; or a seat or chair, wherein one sits fast. 

' Unmoveable' signifies one that will not easily move his place or 

' Abounding,' or excelling ' in the work of the Lord.' 

' Knowing that your labour is not in vain.' The Greek is * labours 
unto weariness.' The apostle would have them labour unto weariness ; 
' For,' saith he, ' it is not in vain.' It will turn to a good account ; it 
will yield you much of heaven here, and make you high in heaven 

There are only two things that I shall endeavour to do, for the open- 
ing of the point. 

I. To shew you why persons must improve, employ, and exercise 
the graces and gifts that God hath bestowed upon them. And then, 

II. The end to which they are to exercise those graces and gifts. 

I. For the first, There are these twelve reasons why gracious souls 
should exercise and improve their gifts and graces. Friends, this point 
is a point of as singular use and of as great concernment to you, as 
any that I know the Scripture speaks of, and therefore I desire you to 
lend your most serious and solemn attentions. 

[1.] First, They must exercise and improve their graces, 

Because the exercise and improvement of their graces is the ready 
ivay to be rich in grace. 

As sin is increased in the soul by the frequent actings of it, so grace 
is nourished and strengthened in the soul by its frequent actings. The 
exercise of grace is always attended with the increase of grace. Prov. 

^ Calvin and others. 

'^ Grace is bettered and made more perfect by acting. Neglect of our graces is the 
ground of their decrease and decay. Wells are the sweeter for drawing. 


X. 4, * The diligent hand maketh rich ;' or, the nimble hand ; the hand 
that is active and agile, that will see nothing lost for looking after, 
that hand maketh rich. Ruth ii., how did Boaz follow the business 
himself! his eyes were in every corner, on the servants and on the 
reapers, yea, on the gleaners too.^ 

It is recorded of Severus, that his care was not to look what men said 
of him, or how they censured him, but to look what was to be done by 
him. He will rise in judgment against those professors that look more 
what this man and the other man saith of them, than what is to be 
done by them. The heart of a Christian is to be taken up with what 
is to be done by him, and not with what this man thinks, or the other 
judges of him. 

Pacunius hath an elegant saying; 'I hate,* saith he, *the men that 
are idle in deed, and philosophical in word.' God loves, saith Luther, 
curristas, not quceristas, the runner, not the questioner.^ Grace grows 
by exercise and decays by disuse. Though both arms grow, yet that 
which a man most useth is the stronger and the bigger ; so it is both 
in gifts and graces. In birds, their wings which have been used 
most are sweetest ; the application is easy. Such men as are contented 
with so much grace as will bring them to glory, with so much grace as 
will keep hell and their souls asunder, will never be rich in grace, nor 
high in comfort or assurance. Such souls usually go to heaven in a 
storm. Oh how weather-beaten are they before they can reach the 
heavenly harbour ! 

[3,] Secondly, They must exercise their gifts and graces, because it 
is the main end of God's giving gifts and graces to them. 

Grace is given to trade with ; it is given to lay out, not to lay up.^ 
Grace is a candle that must not be put under a bushel, but set upon a 
candlestick. Grace is a golden treasure that must be improved, not 
hoarded up, as men do their gold. Grace is a talent, and it is given 
for this very end, that it should be employed and improved for the 
honour and advantage of him that gave it. The slothful servant, in 
God's account, is an evil servant, and accordingly God has denoted him, 
and doomed him for his ill husbandry, to destruction, Mat. xxv. 24- 

* What a shame is it,' saith one [Jerome], ' that faith should not be 
able to do that which infidelity hath done ! What I not better fruit in 
the vineyard, in the garden of God, than in the wilderness ? What ! 
not better fruit grow upon the tree of life, than upon the root of nature? 

[3.] And then thirdly, Because grace, exercised and improved, will 
do that for us that all the means in the world can never do for us.^ 

I shall evidence this truth in some remarkable instances. 

^ Our graces are like Gideon's army, but a handful in comparison ; but our sins are 
like the Midianites, innumerable as grasshoppers. 

2 One day God will require of men, Non quid legerint, sed quid egerint, nee quid dixerint, 
sed quomodo vixerint. 

3 The reason, say some, why Christ cursed the fig tree, though the time of bearing 
fruit was not come, was because it made a glorious show with leaves, and promised much, 
biit brought forth nothing. 

* No Israelite that was bit or stung with the fiery serpent could be healed but by look- 
iiig up to the brazen serpent. Those spots a Christian finds in his own heart can only, 
by a hand of faith, be washed out in tho blood of the Lamb. 

EpH. hi. 8.J RICHES OF CHRIST. 1 27 

Suppose the guilt of sin to be upon a man's soul, even as a heavy 
mountain, there is nothing but the exercise of grace now that can re- 
move tliis guilt. The man prays, and yet guilt sticks upon him ; he 
hears, and yet guilt as a mountain lies heavy upon him ; he mourns, 
he sighs, he groans, and yet guilt sticks upon him ; he runs from ordi- 
nance to ordinance, and from ordinary service to extraordinary, and yet 
guilt follows him ; he runs from man to man, Sir, was ever any man's 
case like mine ? I have prayed thus long, I have heard thus long, I 
have mourned thus long, &c., and yet guilt lies as a mountain upon 
my soul I There is nothing now below the exercise of grace that will 
remove this. It is only faith in the promises of remission that will 
remove the guilt of sin that lies so heavy upon the soul. It is only 
faith's application of the righteousness of Christ that can take off this 
burden that sinks the soul, even as low as hell. Faith must make a 
plaster of the blood of Christ, and apply it to the soul, or the soul will 
die under its guilt. There is nothing below this can do it. Faith's 
application of the blood of Christ takes off the guilt, and turns the 
storm to a calm : Kom. v. 1, ' Being justified by faith, we have peace 
with God, through oar Lord Jesus Christ.' 

Again, suppose that the power and prevalency of sin hinders the soul's 
sweet communion with God, so that the soul cannot sport itself, and 
joy and delight itself in God, as in the days of old ; it cannot see God 
smiling, stroking, and speaking kindly, as in former days. Now, there 
is nothing in all the world that can ease the soul of this burden of sin 
below the exercise of grace. Oh, saith such a poor soul, I pray, sir, and 
yet I sin ; I resolve against sin, and yet I sin ; I combat against sin, 
and yet I am carried captive by sin ; I have left no outward means un- 
attempted, and yet after all, my sins are too hard for me ; after all my 
sweating, striving, and weeping, I am carried down the stream. There 
is nothing now but the actings of faith upon a crucified Christ that will 
take off this burden from the soul of man.^ Now, you must make use 
of your graces to draw virtue from Christ ; now faith must touch the 
hem of Christ's garment, or thou wilt never be healed. It is just with 
a soul in this case as it was with the poor widow, Luke viii. 43-49, that 
had the bloody issue ; she leaves no means unattempted whereby she 
might be cured ; she runs from one physician to another, till she had 
spent all she was worth, till she had brought a noble to ninepence, and 
now says she, ' If I could but touch the hem of his garment, I should 
be whole.' Hereupon she crowds through the crowd to come to Christ, 
and being got behind him, she touches the hem of his garment, ' and 
immediately she was made whole.' The cure being thus wrought, 
Christ uncrowns himself to crown her faith : ' And he said unto her. 
Daughter, be of good comfort, thy faith hath made thee whole ; go in 
peace.' He doth not say. Woman, thy trembling hath made thee whole ; 
or. Woman, thy sweating and struggling in a crowd to come to me, hath 
made thee whole ; or. Woman, thy falling down and abasing thyself, 
though she did all this ; but, ' Woman, thy faith hath made thee whole.' 
Ah, Christians ! it is not your trembling, or your falling down, or your 
sweating in this and that service, that will stop the bloody issue of your 

^ Much less, then, can the papists' pnrgratories, wntchings, whippings, &c., or Saiut 
Francis his kissing or licking of lepers' sores, cleanse the fretting leprosy of sin, &c. 


sins, but believing in Christ.^ It is sad to consider how few professors 
in these days have attained the right way of mortifying of sin. They 
usually go out against their sins in the strength of their own purposes, 
prayers, and resolutions, &c., and scarce look so high as a crucified 
Christ ; they mind not the exercise of their faith upon Christ ; and 
therefore it is a righteous thing with Christ that after all they should 
be carried captive by their sins. Nothing eats out sin like the actings 
of grace ; nothing weakens and wastes the strength of sin like the exer- 
cise of grace. Oh 1 did men believe more in Christ, sin would die 
more ; did they believe the threatenings more, sin would die more ; did 
they believe the promises more, sin would die more ; did they believe 
reigning with Christ more, sin would die more : ' He that hath this 
hope purifies himself, even as Christ is pure,' 1 John iii. 3. 

Again, Suppose that the soul be followed with black, dismal, fiery 
temptations, there is nothing now in all the world that can divinely 
strengthen and fence the soul against these temptations but the exercise 
of grace, the improvement of grace. It is true you are to hear, read, 
pray, meditate, &c. ; but all these without the exercise of grace in them, 
will never make you victorious over Satan's temptations. Nothing puts 
Satan to it like the exercise of grace.^ 

It is said of Satan, that he should say to a holy man who was much 
in the exercise of grace, Tu me seinper vincis, thou dost always over- 
come me : Eph. vi. 16. ' Above all, take the shield of faith, whereby ye 
may be able to quench the fiery darts of the devil.' Whatsoever piece 
of armour you neglect, be sure that you neglect not the shield of faith. 
The Greek word that is here rendered a shield, ^v^sog a ^v^a, comes from 
another word that signifies a door or a gate, to note that as a door or a 
gate doth secure our bodies, so will the shield of faith secure our souls 
against the fiery darts of the devil : ' Above all, take the shield of faith, 
whereby ye may be able to quench all the fiery darts of the devil' The 
apostle alludes to the custom of the Scythians, who used to dip the 
heads of their arrows or darts in the gall of asps and vipers, the venomous 
heat of w^hich, like a fire in their flesh, killed the wounded with tor- 
ments, the likest hell of any other. But the soldiers then had generally 
shields of raw neats' leather, as several writers testify,^ and when the 
fiery darts lighted upon them, they were presently quenched. So these 
fiery darts of Satan, when they light upon the shield of faith, they are 
presently quenched ; and there is no other way to do it. Till the Lord 
draw out a man's faith to act upon the promises and upon Christ, these 
fiery darts will not be quenched. 

Again, Suppose that the world, the smiling world or the frowning 
world, the tempting world or the persecuting world, should lie as a heavy 
stone or burden upon your hearts, as it doth upon the hearts of thou- 
sands in these days — ^witness their attempting anything to get the favours, 
honours and riches of this world ! Ah ! how many have turned their 

1 A toucTi of faith curetli the woman, as well as a full hold. It is the exercise of the 
graces of the Spirit by which we mortify the deeds of the flesh, Rom. viii. 13. It is not 
our strong resolutions or purposes that will be able to overmaster these enemies. A foul 
sore will run till it be indeed healed, though we say it shall not. 

'^ Luther said, I am without set upon by all the world, and within by the devil and all 
his angels ; and yet, by the exercise of grace, he became victorious over them all, &c. 

» Polybius and Vigetius, &c. 

EpU. hi 8.] KICHES OF CHRIST. 129 

backs upon God, and Christ, and truth, &c., to gain the world ! How 
will you get off this burden ? No way in the world like to the exercise 
and actings of grace. Many men hear much, and yet remain worldly ; 
and pray like angels, and yet live as if there were no heaven nor hell. 
They will talk much of heaven, and yet those that are spiritual and 
wise do smell their breath to stink strong of earth ; and all the arts, 
and parts, and gifts in the world can never cure them of this soul-killing 
disease ; but the exercise of grace, till faith break forth in its glorious 
actings. A man may hear and pray many years, and yet be as carnal, 
base, and worldly as ever. There is no way under heaven to remove 
this stone, this burden, but the exercise of faith and love, &c. : Cant, 
viii. 6, 7 ; 1 John iv. 5, ' For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the 
world ; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our 
faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that 
Jesus is the Son of God?'^ 

Not that the habit of faith overcometh the world, but faith in the 
exercise of it conquers the world, and that it does these three ways. 

(1.) First, Faith in the exercise of it presents the world to the soul 
under all those notions that the Scripture holds forth the world unto 
us by. 

The Scripture holds forth the world as an impotent thing, as a mixed 
thing, as a mutable thing, as a momentary thing.' Now faith comes 
and sets this home with power upon the soul, and this takes the soul 
off from the world. 

(2.) Secondly, Faith doth it hu causing the soul to converse with more 
glorious, soul-satisfying, soul-delighting, and soul-contenting objects. 

2 Cor. iv. 16-18, ' Though our outward man perish, yet our inward 
man is renewed day by day.' How comes this to pass ? ' While we look 
not at the things which are seen, but at the things that are not seen ; 
for the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not 
seen are eternal/^ Now when faith is busied and exercised about soul- 
ennobling, soul-greatening, soul-raising, and soul-cheering objects, a 
Christian tramples the world under his feet ; and now heavy afflictions 
are light, and long afflictions short, and bitter afflictions sweet, unto 
him, &c. Now, stand by world ! welcome Christ ! &c. 

So in Heb. xi. It was the exercise of faith and hope upon noble and 
glorious objects that carried them above the world, above the smiling 
world, and above the frowning world, above the tempting world, and 
above the persecuting world, as you may see by comparing several 
verses of that chapter together : ver. 9, 10, ' By faith he sojourned in 
the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with 
Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise : for he looked 
for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.' 
Ver. 2-fc-26, ' And by faith, Moses, when he was come to years, refused 
to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer 

J Faith is a better engineer than Bcedalvs, and yet he made wings with which he made 
an escape over the high walls within which he was imprisoned. This world is the soul's 
prison, yet faith is such an engineer that it can make wings for the soul to fly out, &c. 

2 DiviticB corporales paupertatis plence sunt, earthly riches are full of poveity, saith 
Austin. [Corifessions, b. i, xii. IQ, — G.] 

' <r»oTovvre.>K Whiles we look upon eternal things as a man looks upon the mark that 
he aims to hit. 

VOL. III. ' I 


afflictions with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for 
a season : esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the trea- 
sures of Egypt, for he had respect to the recompence of reward/ Ver. 
27, ' By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king ; for 
he endured, as seeing him who is invisible/ And in ver. 35, ' They 
refused deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection/^ 

So in Heb. x. 34, 'They took joyfully the spoiling of their goods,' 
(upon what account ?) * knowing in themselves, that they had in heaven 
a better and more enduring substance/ 

(3.) Thirdly and lastly. Faith doth it by assuring the soul of enjoy- 
ing of better things. For my part I must confess, so far as I under- 
stand anything of the things of God, I cannot see how a soul under the 
power of a well-grounded assurance can be a servant to his slave, I 
mean the world. I confess men may talk much of heaven, and of Christ, 
and religion, &c. ; but give me a man that doth really and clearly live 
under the power of divine assurance, and I cannot see how such a one 
can be carried out in an inordinate love to these poor transitory things. 
I know not one instance in all the Scripture that can be produced to 
prove that ever any precious saint that hath lived in the assurance of 
divine love, and that hath walked up and down this world with his par- 
don in his bosom, have ever been charged with an inordinate love of the 
world.'* That is a sad word, 1 John ii. 15. 

[4.] Now a. fourth reason of this point, why persons are to exercise their 
graces, is, because it is the best way to preserve their souls from apostasy 
and backsliding from God. 2 Pet. i. 5 to 11, 'Add to your faith virtue, 
and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to tempe- 
rance patience, and to patience godliness, &c. ; for if ye do these things 
ye shall never fall/ ' Add to your faith virtue.' The Greek word s'^n^o^riyri- 
ears, that is here rendered add, hath a great emphasis in it. It is taken 
from dancing round. Link them, saith the apostle, hand in hand, as 
in dancing, virgins take hands ; so we must join hand to hand in these 
measures of graces, lead up the dance of graces, as in the galliard^ every 
one takes his turn. So in chap. iii. 17, 18, * Ye therefore, beloved, seeing 
ye know these things, beware lest ye also, being led aside with the eiTor 
of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.' There are many turn 
aside, and shake hands with God, and Christ, and truth, and the words 
of righteousness ; and therefore you had need to take heed that you 
fall not as others have fallen before you.* 

But how shall we be kept from apostatising? Why, ' grow in grace, 
and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.' It is a growth 
in grace, it is the exercise of grace, that will make a man stand when 
others fall, yea, when cedars fall, &c. 

[5.] Fifthly, All other exercises without the exercise of grace will 
"profit nothing. 

Or if you will, take it thus : 

All other exercises will be loss to us, without the exercise of grace ; 
therefore we had need to improve our graces. When the house is on 

' Every man is as the objects are about which his soul is most conversant, &c. 

2 In my treatise called ' Heaven on Earth,* you may find many considerations to 
evince this, and to that I refer you, &c. [Vol. II. p. 301, seq. — G.] 

3 French dance. — G. • * Pulchrior in proelio occisus miles quam fugd salvus. 


fire, if a man should only pray, and cry, &c., he may be burnt for all 
that ; therefore he must be active and stirring; he must run from place to 
place, and call out for help, and must work even in the fire, and bestir 
himself as for life, in the use of all means, whereby the fire may be 
quenched. So if grace be not acted, it is not all a man's praying and 
crying, &c., that will profit him or better him. Grace must be exercised 
or all will be lost ; prayers lost, tears lost, time lost, strength lost, soul 
lost, &c. 1 Tim. iv. 7, 8, ' But refuse profane and old wives' fables.'^ 
Shift them off, as the word is, set them by, say thou art not at leisure 
to attend them, make a fair excuse, as the word notes,' tell them thou 
hast business of an eternal concernment to look after, and 'exercise 
thyself rather unto godliness;' or lay aside thy upper garments, as 
runners and wrestlers do, to which the apostle alludes, and bestir thyself 
lustily ; for says he, verse 8, * Bodily exercise p'rofits little, but godliness 
is profitable unto all things, and hath the promise of this life, and of 
that which is to come.'^ The Babylonians are said to make three hun- 
dred and sixty several commodities of the palm tree ; but what are 
those hundred commodities to those thousands that attend holiness, 
that attend the exercise of grace? Nothing makes a man rich in 
spirituals, like the frequent and constant actings of grace. In Heb. iv. 
2, 'The word did not profit them that heard it, because it was not 
mixed with faith.' He doth not speak there of unbelievers, but of those 
that had grace in the habit, but not in the exercise ; and therefore 
the word did not turn to their accounts ; they heard, and were never 
the better. And what was the ground of it 1 Why, it was because 
they did not exercise faith upon the word. The words that fell from 
the preacher's lips into their ears were a sweet potion, but they did 
not work kindly, because there wanted the ingredients of faith. Faith 
is one of those glorious ingredients, that must make every sermon, every 
truth, work for their souls' advantage. Nothing will work for a be- 
liever's good, for his gain, if his graces be asleep. 

[6.] Sixthly, Because it is the end of all the dignity and glory that 
God hath conferred upon his people; therefore they must exercise 
and improve their grace. In 1 Pet. ii. 9, ' But ye are a chosen generation, 
a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye may shew 
forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his 
marvellous light.' 

' Ye are a chosen generation.' That is, a picked people ; the dearly 
beloved of his soul ; such as he first chose for his love, and then loves 
for his choice. 

* A royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people.' The Greek 
is, * a people of purchase,' such as comprehendeth, as it were, all God's 
gettings, his whole stock, that he makes any reckoning of, Xai sig <jri^i- 

'That ye may shew forth,' or, as it is in the Greek, * that ye may preach 
forth,' that ye may publicly declare the virtues of him that hath 'called 

' ?ra^a<Tflt/, make a fair excuse. 

- yvfjiVKcriix. -r^os oxiyov is not to be taken in a sense wherein little signifies nothing at 
all, but as when it is set in comparison and opposition to some greater matter, as here in 
opposition to •r^a; tolvto., for all things. Let the patient take such or such a potion that 
in itself is good, yet, if it want such or such a particular ingredient, it works not ; it does 
no good. It is so here. 


you out of darkness into his marvellous light ;' that ye may so hold 
forth the virtues of him that hath conferred all this dignity and glory 
upon you, as to excite others, to ' glorify your Father which is in heaven.' 
You know the picture of a dear friend is not to be thrust in a corner, 
but in some conspicuous place of the house. Why, our graces are tTie 
very image of Christ, they are his picture ; and therefore to be held 
forth to open view. These candles must not be put under a bushel, but 
set up in a candlestick. Jewels are to wear, not to hide ; so are our 

It was a capital crime in Tiberius's days, to carry the image of Augustus 
upon a ring or coin, into any sordid place ; and shall not Christians be 
more mindful and careful, that their graces, which are Christ's image, 
be no ways obscured, but that they be kept always sparkling and shining? 
Christ's glory and thy comfort, Christian 1 lies much in the sparkling 
of thy graces. Pearls are not to be thrust in mud walls, or hung in 
s wines' snouts, but to be hung on the breasts. 

[7.] Seventhly, Graxiious souls onust exercise their grace, because the 
more grace is exercised and improved, with the more ease and delight 
tvill all religious services he 'performed, Ps. xl. 7, 8; cxix. 97-112. 
When grace is improved and exercised, gracious services are easily per- 
formed. As the more natural strength is exercised and improved, with 
the more ease and pleasure are all bodily services performed ; so the 
more grace is acted and improved, with the more ease and delight all 
Christian services are performed. Such souls find wages in their very 
work, they find not only /or keeping, but also ' in keeping of his com- 
mands there is great reward.' ' All the ways of the Lord are ways of 
pleasantness to them,' and they find ' that all his paths drop marrow 
and fatness,' Eom. vi. 22 ; Ps. xix. 11 ; Prov. iii. 17 ; Ps. Ixv. 11. Ah, 
Christians ! as ever you would have the services of God to be easy and 
delightful to your souls, look to the exercise and improvement of your 
graces, and then your work will be a joy. 

[8.] Eighthly, You must exercise and improve your gifts and graces, 
because the more grace is improved, the more God will be honoured. 
Kom. iv. 19-21, ' And being not weak in faith, he considered not his 
own body, now dead, when he was about an hundred years old ; neither 
the deadness of Sarah's womb : he staggered not at the promise of God 
through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God ; and 
being fully persuaded, that what he had promised, he was able to 

' He gave glory to God.' But how did he give glory to God ? Was 
it a dead habit of faith that set the crown of honour upon the head of 
Gud ? No ! It was the lively actings of his faith upon the promise and 
the promiser, that gave glory to God. All the honour and glory that 
God hath from believers in this life, is from the actings of their grace. 
It was Abraham's acting of faith that was his high honouring of God. 
Christians ! I would entreat this favour of you, that you would be often 
in the meditation of this truth, viz. : That all the honour that God hath 

^ God himself is wronged by the injury that is done to his image. The contempt is 
d( ne to the king himself that is done to his image or coin, as Suetonius writes. 

2 Abraham's faith made him rejoice and obey, Heb. xi. Faith is as the spring in the 
watch, that moves the wheels. Not a grace stirs till faith sets it on work, Rom. iv. 3, &c. 


from believers in this life, is from the actings and exercise of their 
graces. When thou goest to prayer, then think thus with thyself : Is 
it so, that all the honour that God shall have from my soul in prayer, 
will be from the actings of grace in prayer ? Oh then, what cause have 
I to stir up myself to lay hold on God, and to blow up all those sparks 
of grace that be in me !^ As a body without a soul, much wood without 
lire, a bullet in a gun without powder, so are words in prayer without 
the Spirit, without the exercise of the graces of the Spirit. Jonah 
acted his faith when he was in the belly of hell ; and Daniel acted faith 
when he was in the lions' den ; and the thief acted faith when be was 
on the cross; and Jeremiah acted faith when he was in the dungeon ; 
and Job acted faith when he was on the dunghill ; and David acted 
faith when he was in his greatest distress ; and so did Moses in Exod. 
xiv. And you know the issue of all was, much glory to God, and much 
good to them. His heart will never be long a stranger to joy and peace, 
who is much in the exercise and actings of grace.^ 

[9.] Ninthly, Because the more grace is improved, the more afflictions 
and tribulations will be lessened and sweetened to us : 2 Cor. iv. 16, 17, 
* Though our outward man decreases, yet our inward man is renewed day 
by day,' or day and day. [55/<^%qc xat rj/xs^cf.] 

When Peter Martyr was dying, he said, ' My body is weak, but my 
mind is well, well for the present, and will be better for ever hereafter,' 
This is the godly man's motto, * For afflictions there is glory, for light 
afflictions a weight of glory, for momentary afflictions eternal glory.' 
So in Heb. x. and xi. O friends ! if your graces were more exercised 
and improved, afflictions would be more sweet.^ This would turn the 
cross into a crown ; this would turn bitter into sweet, and long winter 
■ nights into summer days. It would make every condition to be a para- 
dise to you, &c. 

[10.] Tenthly, If grace he not exercised and improved, the soul may 
he easily surprised, conquered, and vanquished by a tempting devil 
and an enticing world. When the sword is in the scabbard, the tra- 
veller is easily surprised, and when the guard is asleep, the city is quickly 
conquered. The strongest creature, the lion, and the wisest creature, 
the serpent, if they be dormant, are as easily surprised as the weakest 
worms. So the strongest and wisest saints, if their graces be asleep, if 
they be only in the habit, and not in the exercise, they may be as easily 
surprised and vanquished as the weakest Christians in all the world, as 
you may see in David, Solomon, Samson, Peter. Every enemy insults 
over him that hath lost the use of his weapons, &c.^ 

[11.] Eleventhly, We must improve our graces, because decays in 
grace are very great losses to us. By decaying in grace, we come to 
lose our strength, our best strength, our spiritual strength ; our strength 

^ It is reported in the life of Luther, that when he prayed, it was Tanta reverentia ut 
si Deo^ et tanta fiducia ut si amico, &c. 

2 So did the publican ; he prayed much, though he spake little, oratio hrevis penetrat 
caelum; the hottest springs send forth their waters by ebullitions. Augustine cries out 
against them that did not profit by afflictions, Perdidistis utilitatem calamitatis— August. 
de Civit. lib. ii. c. xxxiii, 

» Saints should be like the seraphim, beset all over with eyes and lights, as Bassariau 
said. The fearful hare, they say, sleepeth with her eyes open. Oh, how watchful, then, 
should a Christian be ! 


to do for God ; our strength to wait on God, and walk with God ; our 
strength to bear for God ; our strength to suffer for God.^ By decaying 
in grace, we come to lose that 'joy that is unspeakable and full of 
glory/ and that comfort and ' peace that passes understanding,' and to 
lose the sense of that ' favour that is better than life.' Now our faith 
will be turned into fear, our dancing into mourning, our rejoicing into 
sighing; and when, O Christian! thou beginnest to fall, and to decay, 
who knows how far thou may est fall, how much thy graces may be im- 
paired, and how long it may be before thy sun rise when once it is set ; 
therefore you had need to exercise and improve your graces. 

[12.] Twelfthly, and lastly. You are to improve your graces, because 
souls truly gracious have a power to do good. I do not say that a man 
in his natural estate — though Arminians do — hath power in himself 
to do supernatural acts, as to believe in God, to love God, and the like, 
&c., for I think a toad may as well spit cordials as a natural man do 
supernatural actions, 1 Cor. ii. 14; Jer. xiii. 23; James i. 17; Eph. ii. 
1-3. No ; I do not say that all the grace we have is not from God, nor 
that man in his natural estate is not dead God-ward, and Christ- ward, 
and holiness- ward, and heaven-ward. But this I say, that souls truly 
gracious have a power to do good. It is sad to think how many pro- 
fessors do excuse their negligence by pretending an inability to do good, 
or by sitting down discouraged, as having in their hands no power at 
all. What can we do, say they, if the Lord do not breathe upon us, as at 
first conversion ? We can do nothing.^ I think in my very conscience, 
that this is one reason of much of that slightness, neglect, and omission 
of duties, that is among professors in these days, so that God may com- 
plain, as he doth, Isa. Txiv. 7, ' There is no man that stirreth up himself 
to take hold of me, they are as men asleep,' that sit still and do nothing. 
But certainly they that are truly united to Christ, are not acted as dead 
stocks, as if every time and moment of their acting God-wards and 
holiness-ward they received new life from the Spirit of Christ, as at first 
conversion they did. And I am confident, for want of the knowledge 
and due consideration of this truth, many professors take such liberty " 
to themselves, as to live in the neglect of many precious duties of godli- 
ness, for which, first or last, they will pay dear. But remembering that 
it is not a flood of words, but weighty arguments, that convince and per- 
suade the souls and consciences of men, I shall give you four reasons to 
demonstrate, that believers have a power to do good ; and the first is this. 

First, because they have life ; and all life is a power to act by? 
Natural life is a power to act by ; spiritual life is a power to act by ; 
eternal life is a power to act by. The philosopher saith, ' That a fly is 
more excellent than the heavens, because the fly hath life, which the 
heavens have not,' &c. 

Secondly, Else there is no just ground for Christ to charge the guilt 

1 Spiritual losses are hardly recovered. A man may easily run down the hill, but he 
cannot so easily get up. Philosophers say that the way from the habit to privation is 
easier than the way from the privation to the habit ; as a man may soon put an instru- 
ment out of tune, but not so soon put it in again. 

2 When Charles Langius had excited Lipsius to the study of true wisdom, My mind 
is to it, said Lipsius ; and then he falls to wishing. What, said Langius, art thou pur- 
posing when thou shouldst be doing ? — Just. Lip. de Constan. lib. ii. cap. v. 

3 Omnis vita est propter delectaiionem. 


of sins upon them ; as neglect of prayer, repentance, mortification ; nor 
the guilt of carelessness and slothfulness, &c., which he doth. If they can 
act no farther, nor no longer than the Holy Ghost acts them, as at their 
first conversion, notwithstanding their union with Christ, and that 
spiritual principle of life that at first they received from Christ,^ 
certainly if it be so, it will not stand with the unspotted justice of God 
to charge the guilt of sins of omission upon believing souls, if they have 
no power to act, but are as stocks and stones, &c., as some dream. 

A third ground is this : if there be not some power in believers to do 
good, then we should not have as much benefit by the second Adam 
as we had by the first. The first Adam, if he had stood, would have 
communicated a power to all his sons and daughters to have done good, 
as being corrupted he doth communicate power to sin, as all his children 
find by sad and woful experience ; and shall not Christ much more 
communicate a power to us to do good in our measure ? Surely he doth, 
though few mind it, and fewer improve it as they should.* If there be 
not such a power in believers, how have they gained more by the second 
Adam than they lost by the first ? and wherein lies the excellency of 
the second above the first ? 

Fourthly and lastly. All those exhortations are void, and of none 
effect, if there be nx)t some power in souls truly gracious to do good ; 
as all those exhortations to watchfulness, to stir up * the grace of God 
that is in us,' and to * work out our own salvation with fear and trem- 
bling,' and that also, 'give all dilligence to make your calling and 
election sure.' To what purpose are all these precious exhortations, if 
the regenerate man have no power at all to act anything that is good ? 
Nay, then, believers under the covenant of grace should be in no better 
a condition than unregenerate men that are under a covenant of works, 
who see their duties discovered, but have no power to perform ; which 
is contrary, as to other scriptures, so to that Ps. xl. 7-9, ' Then said I, 
Lo I come : in the volume of thy book it is written of me, I delight to 
do thy will, O my God \ yea, thy law is within my heart,' or, ' thy law 
is in the midst of my bowels,' as the Hebrew reads it ; and to that of 
Ezek* xxxvi. 25-27, &c. A soul truly gracious can sincerely say, ' Thy 
law, O Lord, is in the midst of my bowels, and I delight to do thy will, 

Lord.' I confess I cannot do as I should, nor I shall never do it as 

1 would, till I come to heaven ; but this I can say in much uprightness, 
that ' Thy law is in my heart, and I delight to do thy will, O Father.' 
And so Paul, ' With my mind 1 serve the law of God, though with my 
flesh the law of sin,' Rom. vii. 25. 

And we have many promises concerning divine assistance, and if we 
did but stir up the grace of God that is in us, we should find the assist- 
ance of God, and the glorious breakings forth of his power and love, 
according to his promise, and the work that he requires of us, Isa. xxvi. 12 ; 
Ixiv. 5, &c. Though no believer doth what he should do, yet doubtless 
every believer might do more than he doth do, in order to God's glory, and 
his own and others' internal and eternal good, Isa. xli. 10 ; Heb. xiii. 
5, 6, &c. Affection without endeavour is like Rachel, beautiful but 

* Omission of diet breeds diseases, so dotli omission of duty, and makes work either for 
repentance, hell, or the physician of souls. 

^ Ipse unus erit tibi omnia, quia in ipso una bono, bona sunt omnia. — Augustine. 


barren. They are blessed that do what they can, though they cannot 
but underdo.^ 

When Demosthenes was asked what was the first part of an orator, 
what the second, what the third, he answered, Action; the same may I 
say, if any should ask me what is the first, the second, the third part 
of a Christian, I must answer, Jlc^io?i. Luther saith, 'He had rather 
obey than work miracles.' * Obedience is better than sacrifice.' 

But, sir, you will say, what is the meaning of that text, that is so 
often in the mouths of professors, ' Without me you can do nothing' ? 
John XV. 5. 

I answer. All that that text holds forth is this, that if a man hath not 
union with Christ, if he be not implanted into Christ, he can do no- 
thing. ' Without me,' that is, separate from me, or apart from me, as 
the words may be read, ' you can do nothing.'^ If you are not implanted 
into me, if by the Spirit and faith you are not united unto me, you can 
do nothing. The arm may do much ; it may offend an enemy, and it 
may defend a man's life, by virtue of its union with the head ; but if 
you separate the arm from the head, from the body, what can it do ? 
Certainly the soul, by virtue of its union with Christ, may do much, 
though such as are separated from Christ can do nothing, at least as 
they should. Ah, Christians ! if you would but put out yourselves to 
the utmost, you would find the Lord both ready and willing to assist 
you, to meet with you, and to do for you above what you are able to 
ask or think.^ 

Caesar, by continual employment, overcame two constant diseases, 
the headache and the falling sickness. Oh the spiritual diseases that 
the active Christian overcomes ! Among the Egyptians, idleness was a 
capital crime. Among the Lucani,* he that lent money to an idle per- 
son was to lose it. Among the Corinthians, the slothful were delivered 
to the carnifex, saith Diphilus. Oh ! the deadly sins, the deadly temp- 
tations, the deadly judgments, that idle and slothful Christians are given 
up to. Therefore be active, be diligent, be abundant in the work of 
the Lord. Idleness is the very source of sin. Standing pools gather 
mud, and nourish and breed venomous creatures ; and so do the hearts 
of idle and slothful Christians, &c. 

2. Now the second thing that we are to do for the further opening 
of this point is, to shew you 

The special ends that the gifts and graces that God hath bestowed 
upon believers should be exercised and improved to. 

And they are these that follow : 

[].] First, They are to be improved and exercised to the honour of 
God, to the lifting up of God, and to the keeping up of his name and 
glory in the world, I Cor. x. 81. 

He that improves not his gifts and graces to this end, crosses the 
grand end of God's bestowing such royal favours on him. Graces and 
gifts are talents that God hath given you to trade with, and not to hide 
in a napkin. Mat. xxv. The idle servant, in Christ's account, was an 

^ Beati sunt qui prcecepta faciunt, etiamsi non perficiunt. — Augustine. 
2 xu^); l/^ou is seorsim a me. Vide Beza, Cameron, and Piscator. 
' Union with Christ is that wherein the strength, comfort, and happiness of the soul 
does consist. •♦ As before, ' Lucaniani. ' — G. 


evil servant. The idle soul, in Christ's account, is an evil soul, and 
accordingly Christ will deal with him. 

Seneca calls sloth ' the nurse of beggary, the mother of misery ;'^ and 
slothful Christians find it so. Christians, God hath given you grace, 
that you should give him glory. His honour should be dearer to you 
than your jewels, than your crowns, than your lives, ay, than your very 
souls. Thou livest no longer than thou livest to his praise. 

It is recorded of Epaminondas, the commander-in-chief of the The- 
bans, that he did not glory in anything but this, ' That his father, 
whom he dearly loved and honoured, was living when he won three 
famous battles against the Lacedaemonians,'^ that were then held for 
their valour to be invincible ; regarding more the honour and content 
his father should receive of it, than his own. Shall a heathen thus 
strive to honour his earthly father ? And shall not Christians strive 
more to honour their heavenly Father with all the gifts and graces that 
he hath conferred upon them. 

But you will say, How should we honour the Lord ? 

I answer, 

(L) By a free and frequent acknowledgment that all your graces 
flow from the Lord Jesus, the fountain of grace: John i. 16, ' Of his ful- 
ness we all receive grace for grace.' James i. 17, ' Every good and perfect 
gift comes down from above,' &c. Thou must say, O Christian, I have no- 
thing but what I have received ; I have no light, no life, no love, no joy, 
no peace, but from above, 1 Cor. iv. 7. The jewels that hang in my breasts, 
and the chains of pearl that be about my neck, and the golden crown 
that is upon my head, and all the sparkling diamonds in that crown, 
are all from above, Ezek. xvi. 11-15, Ps. xlv. 8, seq. All those princely 
ornaments by which I am made more beautiful and lovely than others, 
and all those beds of spices and sweet flowers, by which I am made more 
desirable and delectable, is from above. Say, I am nothing. I have 
nothing of my own ; all I am, and all I have, is from on high. * We 
have given thee of thine own,' says David, 1 Chron. xxix. 14. So do 
thou say. Lord, the love with which I love thee, is thine own ; and the 
faith by which I hang upon thee, is thine own ; and the fear by which 
I fear before thee, is thine own ; and the joy which I rejoice before thee 
with, is thine own ; and the patience with which I wait upon thee, is 
thine own.^ And therefore say, as David did, upon the receipt of mercy, 
' Blessed be thou. Lord God of Israel our Father, for ever and ever. 
Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the 
victory, and the majesty ; for all that is in the heaven and in the earth 
is thine : thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head 
above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest 
over all ; and in thine hand is power and might ; and in thine hand 
it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our 
God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.' 

(2.) You must honour him, by acknowledging the dependency of 
your graces upon the fountain of grace. And that your strength to 
stand lies not so much in your graces, as in their dependency upon the 

» Epist. 56 — G. 

2 Plutarch, in his Morals {suh nomine ; Epaminondas. — G.]. 

^ Deus nihil coronal nisi dona sica. — Augustine. 


fountain of grace, as in their conjunction with the God of grace. A 
man by his arm may do much, but it is mainly by reason of its union 
and conjunction with the head. It is so between a Christian's graces 
and Christ. The stream doth not more depend upon the fountain, nor 
the branch upon the root, nor the moon upon the' sun, nor the child 
upon the mother, nor the effect upon the cause, than our graces do 
depend upon the fountain of grace, Ps. cxxxviii. 8, Philip, iv. 12, 13. 

Now that our very graces do thus depend upon the fountain of grace, 
and that our strength to stand lies not so much in our graces as in 
Christ, is clear by this, that the graces of the saints may and do most 
fail them when they have most need of them : Mark iv. 40, ' And he 
said, Why are ye so fearful ? How is it that ye have no faith ?' When 
the wind was high, their faith was low ; when the storm was great, 
their faith was little ; so Luke viii. 25, * And he said unto them, Where 
is your faith V Are you now to seek it, when you should use it ? Peter 
denied Christ, when he had need by faith to have confessed Christ. 
Moses's faith failed him, when it should have been most serviceable to 
him, Num. xx. 12. And David's courage failed him, when it should 
have been a buckler to him, 1 Sam. xxi. 13, 14. And the disciples' 
love failed them, when it should have been most useful to them, John 
xiv. 28. And Job's wisdom and patience failed him, when they should 
have been greatest supporters to him. By all which it is most clear, 
that not only ourselves, but also our very graces, must be supported by 
the God of grace, the fountain of grace, or else they will be to seek 
when we most need them.^ Though grace is a glorious creature, it 
is but a creature, and therefore must be upheld by its Creator. Though 
grace be a beautiful child, yet it is but a child, that must be upheld by 
the Father's arms. This, Christians, you must remember, and give glory 
to God. 

(3.) You must honour him hy uncrowning your graces, to crown 
the God of your graces. By taking the crown off from your own heads, 
and putting it upon his, or by laying it down at his feet, as they did 
theirs, in Be v. iv. 10, Acts iii. 11, 12, 16, and iv. 7-10. These scrip- 
tures are wells of living waters ; they are bee-hives of living honey ; see 
and taste.2 The Lord hath often uncrowned himself, to crown his 
people's graces, as you may see in these following scriptures. Mat. ix. 22, 
and XV. 28, Mark x. 52, Luke vii. 50. And why, then, should not his 
people uncrown their graces to crown him % Cant. v. 10, seq. That which 
others attribute to your graces, do you attribute to the God of grace. 
You must say. Though our graces are precious, yet Christ is more pre- 
cious ; though they are sweet, yet Christ is most sweet ; though they 
are lovely, yet Christ is altogether lovely. Your graces are but Christ's 
picture, Christ's image ; and therefore do not you worship his image, 
and in the mean while neglect his person. Make much of his picture, 
but make more of himself Let his picture have your eye, but let him- 
self have your heart, John i. 39, seq. Your graces are but Christ's 

^ Though our graces be our best jewels, yet they are imperfect ; and as the moon 
shines by a borrowed light, so do our graces. If it were not for the Sun of righteousness 
all oiir graces would give no light. 

^ Certum est no s facer e quodfacimus, sed illefacit, ut faciamus, saith Augustine. True 
it is that we do what we do, but it is as true that Christ makes us to do what we do. 


hands, by which he works ; be you therefore careful that you do not 
more mind the workman's hands than the workman himself. Your 
graces are but Christ's servants, therefore do not smile upon the ser- 
vant, and look asquint upon the Master. Your graces are but Christ's 
favourites ; therefore do not so stare upon them, and be taken with 
them, as to forget the Prince on whom they wait, &c. All I drive at 
is this, that not your graces but Christ, may be all in all unto you, &c. 

[2.] The second end to which you must improve your gifts and graces, 
is to the good of others : Ps. Ixvi. 16, * Come and hear, all ye that fear 
God,sand I will declare what he hath done for my soul ;' Ps. xxxiv. 8, 
* Oh taste and see that the Lord is good : blessed is the man that trust- 
eth in him ;' Isa ii. 3 ; Acts v. 26-29. Bonum est communicativum. 
God hath given you gifts and grace, to that very end, that you should 
improve them for others' good. It is the very nature of grace to be 
diffusive and communicative. Grace cannot be long concealed. The 
better anything is, the more communicative it will be. Grace is as fire 
in the bones, as new wine in the bottles ; you cannot hide it, you must 
give vent to it : Acts iv. 28, ' We cannot but speak the things that we 
have heard and seen ;' as Croesus his dumb son did for his father.^ Can 
the fire cease to turn all combustible matter into fire ? can the candle, 
once thoroughly lighted, cease to spend itself for the enlightening of 
others ? Then may the precious sons of Zion cease to give light to others, 
by their examples, counsels, and communicating their experiences. No 
way to honour God, no way to win souls, nor no way to increase your 
own gifts and graces, than to exercise them for the good of others. 
Grace is not like to worldly vanities, that diminish by distribution ; nor 
like candles which keep the same light, though a thousand are lighted 
by them. Grace is like the widow's oil, which multiplied by pouring 
out, 2 Kings iv ; and like those talents which doubled by employment. 
Mat. XXV. 

It was a good saying of one, ' For insensible riches those who pay 
their money do diminish their substance, and they who receive are 
made richer,^ but these not so, but both he who numbereth doth much 
increase his substance, and doth add much to the riches of the receiver. 

Again, by how much more we pour out of these flowing spiritual 
things, by so much those spreading in abundance are greater to us ; for 
in this case it doth not happen as in money, for there they who tell out 
to their neighbour diminish their own substance, and by how much 
the more he spendeth, by so much the less money he possesseth ; but 
in spirituals it is quite otherwise.' 

No way to advance the kingdom of Christ in the world like this, of 
improving your gifts and graces to the advantage and profit of others ; 
no love nor pity to the precious souls of men like this; no way to abound 
in grace, to be rich in grace like this ; nor no way to be high in heaven 
like this.* Art thou, O Christian, bound to do good to others, by com- 
municating earthly things ? And art thou not much more bound to do 

^ As before. See Index under Croesus.— G. 

2 Chrysost. Horn. Gen. xv. ^ Chrysost. [Horn, in Gen. viii — G.] 

* Rom. i. 11, 12 ; 2 Cor. ix. 6. Suetonius tells of Augustus, that in reading all sorts 
of good authors, he skilfully picked out the prime precepts and patterns of valour and 
virtue, and sent the same to such of his servants and under-officers for tokens, as he 
thought they might do most good unto. [Historise Csesarum : Augustus. — G.] 


them good by communicating of spiritual things ? Surely thou art. 
Why are Christians so often in Scripture compared to trees, but because 
of their fruitfulness and usefulness to others ? And why are they called 
' stewards of the manifold gifts of God/ but to note to us, that their gifts 
are not to be enclosed, but employed for the good of others ? And 
why hath Christ put a box of precious ointment into every Christian's 
hand, but that it should be opened for the benefit of others ? Certainly, 
he that is good is bound to do good ; for gifts and graces are given, not 
only to make us good, and keep us good, but also to make us, yea, to 
provoke us to do good. Lilmod lelammed, ' We therefore learn that 
we may teach,' is a proverb among the rabbins. * And I do therefore 
lay in, and lay up,' saith the heathen, * that I may draw forth again, and 
lay out for the good of many.' I think they are no good Cliristians 
that shall scorn to learn this good lesson, though of a heathen. And 
oh that all that write themselves Christians, were so good as to imitate 
the good that shined in many heathens ! To me it is very sad, that 
Christians that live and act below the very heathens, should be offended 
to hear now and then of those excellencies that sparkled in the very 
heathens. I think that is a very evil spirit, that cannot endure to hear 
of those excellencies in others that he wants himself. Certainly he is 
a brave Christian, and hath much of Christ within, that accounts no- 
thing his own that he doth not communicate to others. The bee doth 
store her hive out of all sorts of flowers for the common benefit, and 
why then in this should not every Christian be like a bee ? 

Synesius speaks of some, who having a treasure of rare abilities in 
them, would as soon part with their hearts as their corruptions. I think 
they are rather monsters than real Christians, that are of such a spirit. 

[3.] The third and last thing to which you are to improve your gifts 
and graces is, to the benefit and profit of your own souls. Not to im- 
prove them to your own internal and eternal good, is with a high hand 
to cross the main end of God's conferring them upon you. Ah, Chris- 
tians ! you must improve them to the strengthening of you against 
temptations, to the supporting of you under afflictions, to the keeping 
under of strong corruptions, to the sweetening of all mutations, and to 
the preparing and fitting of you for the days of your dissolution.^ 

' I shall content myself with giving you this hint, because I have be- 
fore spoken more fully to this head. 

And thus we have done with the doctrinal part. 

We shall come now to make some use and application of this point 
to ourselves. 

If this be so, that it is the duty of Christians to improve and exercise 
the gifts and graces that the Lord hath given them. 

Then, in the ^rs^ place, this looks very sourly and wishly upon all 
lazy, idle, negligent Christians, that do not stir up themselves to lay 
hold on God, that do not stir up the grace of the Lord in them. It is 
sad to consider how many Christians can stir up themselves to lay hold 
on all opportunities to make themselves great and rich in the world, and 
yet suffer their golden gifts and graces even to grow rusty for want of 

* The good of the soul is specially to be minded : (1.) because it is the most notable 
part of man ; (2.) because the image of God is most fairly stamped upon it ; (3.) because 
it is first converted ; (4.) because it shall be first glorified. 


exercise.^ It is sad to see how busy many men are to exercise and im- 
jDrove a talent of riches, who yet bind up their talents of gifts and grace 
in a napkin. By these God loses much honour and praise, and them- 
selves lose much comfort and content, and others lose much profit and 
benefit, and the gospel loses much credit and glory. 

But the main use that I shall make of this point, shall be to exhort 
and stir you all up, to make a blessed improvement of your graces. 

And indeed it is a point of most singular use to us all our days, a 
truth that is ever}^ day of very great concernment to our souls. 

Now there are seven considerations that I shall propound by way of 
motive, to stir up your souls to make a blessed improvement of the 
grace and gifts you have received. 

[1.] And the first is this : seriously consider, that the exercise and 
improvement of grace in your souls, will be more and more the death 
and ruin of sin in your souls. 

Take it from experience ; there is not a choicer way than this for a 
man to bring under the power of his sin, than to keep up the exercise 
of his grace. Sin and grace are like two buckets at a well, when one is 
up the other is down ; they are like the two laurels at Rome, when one 
flourishes the other withers. Certainly, the readiest and the surest way 
to bring under the power of sin, is to be much in the exercise of grace : 
Rom. viii. 10, ' And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of 
sin : but the spirit is life because of righteousness.' The life and 
activity of Christ and grace in the soul, is the death and destruction of 
sin in the soul. The more grace acts in the soul, the more sin withers 
and dies in the soul. The stronger the house of David grew, 2 Sam. iii., 
the weaker the house of Saul grew. As the house of David grew every 
day stronger and stronger, so the house of Saul every day grew weaker 
and weaker. So the activity of the new man is the death of the old 
man. When Christ began to bestir himself in the temple, the money- 
changers quickly fled out. Mat. xxi. 12-14. So when grace is active 
and stirring in the soul, corruption quickly flies. A man may find out 
many ways to hide his sin, but he will never find out any way to subdue 
his sin, but by the exercise of grace. Of all Christians, none so morti- 
fied as those in whom grace is most exercised. Sin is a viper that must 
be killed, or it will kill you for ever ; and there is no way to kill it but 
by the exercise of grace. 

[2.] Secondly, Consider this by way of motive to provoke you to 
exercise and improve your graces. The exercise and improvement of 
your graces will provoke others to bless and admire the God of grace. 
' Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, 
and glorify your Father which is in heaven,'^ Mat. v. 16, — the light of 
your conversation, and the light of your graces. Oh how many thou- 

1 Cupid complained he could never fasten upon the muses, because he could never find 
them idle. No Christians so free from Satan's assaults as active Christians are, nor none 
so tempted as idle Christians. The Jewish Kabbins report, that the same night that 
Israel departed out of Egypt towards Canaan, all the idols and idolatrous temples in 
Egypt, by lightning and earthquakes, were broken down. So when grace and holiness 
is set up in the heart, all the idols of Satan, which are men's lusts, are thrown down. 

2 The exercise of virtue will draw love from a man's very enemies. Tilligny, for his 
rare virtues, was reserved from death by his greatest enemies at the massacre of Paris ; 
as you may see in the French history in the Life of Charles the Ninth. 


sand souls be there now triumphing in heaven, whose gifts and graces 
shined gloriously when they were on earth. And ah ! how many thou- 
sands are there now on earth, that bless and admire the Lord for the 
shine of their graces who are now in heaven ; that bless the Lord for 
the faith of Abraham, and the zeal of David, and the meekness of 
Moses, and the patience of Job, and the courage of Joshua, &c. Ah, 
Christians ! as you would stir up others to exalt the God of grace, look 
to the exercise and improvement of your graces. When poor servants 
shall live in a family, and see the faith of a master, and the love of a 
master, and the wisdom of a master, and the patience of a master, and 
the humility of a master, &c., shining like so many stars of heaven, oh 
how doth it draw forth their hearts to bless the Lord, that ever they 
came into such a family ! It is not a profession of religion, but the 
exercise and improvement of grace, that contributes so much to the 
lifting up the glory of the Lord, and to the greatening of his praise in 
the world. Many saints have had their hearts warmed and heated by 
sitting by other saints' fires, by eyeing and dwelling upon other saints 
graces. Ah ! when men's graces shine as Moses his face did, when their 
lives, as one speaketh of Joseph's life, is a very heaven, sparkling with 
variety of virtues, as with so many bright stars ; ah ! how are others 
stirred up to glorify God, and to cry out. These are Christians indeed ! 
These are an honour to their God, a crown to their Christ, and a credit 
to their gospel. Oh ! if they were all such, we would be Christians too. 
It is a very great stumbling-block to many poor sinners, to see men 
that make a very great and large profession of Christ, never to exercise 
and shew forth the virtues of Christ. They profess they know him, and 
yet by the non-exercise of his virtues they deny him.^ 

It was one of Machiavel's principles, that the appearance of virtue was 
only to be sought, because the use of it, saith he, is a trouble, but the 
credit of it a help. I am afraid that this cursed soul-darnning principle 
is the best flower that grows in many men's gardens in these days. 
Though there is no virtue but is as a bright stone in a dark night, it 
shines and shews its clearness and beauty ; it is as pure gold, the 
brighter for passing through the fire ; yet how do most covet rather the 
name of virtue, than to be really virtuous ! Such, I believe, shall have 
the hottest and the lowest place in hell.^ Well, Christians, remember 
this, it is not a show of grace, but the exercise of grace, that will pro- 
voke others to glorify the fountain of grace. That is a very remarkable 
scripture, 1 Thes. i. 2, 3, 8, compared, ' We give thanks to God always 
for you, making mention of you in our prayers ; remembering without 
ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in 
our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God, and our Father. For from 
you sounded out the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and 
Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad.' 
In this eighth verse you have an elegant metaphor, which signifies, 
that their faith was so lively, that with its sound, as it were, it stirred 
up other nations. The Greek word is to sound as with the sound of a 

* Those in whom virtue is extinguished are like unto painted and printed papers, which 
ignorant men honour and worship instead of Christ. — Raleigh. 

2 Hypocritis nihil est crudelius, impatientius et vindicta cupidius, there is not a more 
cruel creature, more impatient and vindictive, than an hypocrite, saith Luther, who had 
the experience of it ; therefore trust not to the Machiavels of the times. 


trumpet, to make to sound afar off. Says the apostle, your graces made a 
noise like a trumpet ; they stirred up others to be gracious and active, 
as the trumpet stirs up men to war. So in 2 Peter i. 3, 4, * We are 
bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, be- 
cause that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one 
of you all towards each other abound eth. So that we ourselves glory 
in you the churches of God, for your patience and faith, in all your per- 
secutions and tribulations that you endure.' Hoc enim angelicum, 
this is the character of the angelical nature, to rejoice in the graces and 
gracious actings of others. He that acts otherwise holds forth the 
image of the devil, and declares himself a native of hell.^ 

[3.] Thirdly, Consider that the exercise and improvement of grace, 
may he a special means to stir up the exercise of grace in others.^ 

Your improvement of grace may be a special means to stir up others 
to improve their graces also. 1 Thes. i, 7, ' So that we were ensamples 
to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.' Or as the Greek is, ' you 
were types, moulds,' ru-7:ovg, patterns of piety to them that were in 
Christ long before you. So in 2 Cor. ix. 2, ' For I know the forwardness 
of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia 
was ready a year ago, and your zeal hath provoked very many.' I knew 
you were forward, and this I boasted of ; I made it my glory to tell how 
grace shined in your souls. ' And,' saith he, ' your zeal hath provoked 
many.' When they saw how warm and lively, and active, how open- 
handed and open-hearted you were to the poor saints, their hearts were 
stirred up to acts of charity also. Stories speak of some that could not 
sleep when they thought of the trophies of other worthies that went 
before them. The highest examples are very quickening and pro- 

That this may stick upon your souls, I beseech you bed and board, 
rise and walk with this one consideration, viz., that all the good you 
provoke others to by counsel or example, shall be put down to your 
account. It shall certainly turn to your internal and eternal advantage. 
In the great day, Christ will make honourable mention of all the good 
that thou hast stirred and provoked others to, and will reward thee 
for it before angels and men. The faith, the love, the hope, the charity, 
the patience, &c., that thou hast provoked others to, shall be put down 
to thy account, as if thou hadst been the only actor of them, &c. As 
all the sins that men provoke or stir up others to by their counsel or 
example, shall be put down to their accounts, as you may see in David. 
David did but send a letter concerning the death of Uriah, and yet the 
charge cometh, ' Thou hast slain Uriah with the sword,' 2 Sam. xii. 9. 
As whatsoever is done by letter, counsel, or example, to provoke others 
to sin, shall certainly be charged upon men's accounts at last, so what- 

' Pliny tells of some in the remote parts of India, that they have no mouths. We have 
many siich monsters among us, that have no mouths to bless God for the good that shines 
in others. [The Psylli, as before. — G.] 

2 The complaint is ancient in Seneca, that commonly men live not ad rationem, but 
ad similiiudinem. — Seneca, de vita heati, cap. 1. 

3 Prcecepta docent, exempla movent, precepts may instruct, but examples do persuade. 
[A reminiscence of St Leo, ' Validiora sunt exempla, quam verba' {Ve Jejun) ; or Bernard, 
' Validior operis quam oris vox — vox oris sonat, vox operis tonat.' (Serm. on Canticles, 
as before, 5. — G.] 


soever good thou dost stir up others to, that shall be set upon thy score, 
and shall turn to thy eternal account in the day of Christ. Oh ! who 
would not then labour with all their might, even day and night, to stir up 
the grace of the Lord in themselves and others, seeing it shall turn to 
such a glorious account in that day wherein Christ shall say to his 
Father, ' Lo, here am I, and the children that thou hast given me,' &c.^ 

[4.] Fourthly, consider this, the exercise and imj^rovement of gruce, 
contributes very much both to the stopping the mouths of your enemies, 
and to the rendering of you lovely in the very eyes of your enemies. 
Oh ! there is nothing in all the world that contributes so much to the 
stopping of the mouths of your enemies, and to the rendering of your 
souls lovely in the eyes of your enemies, as the exercise and improve- 
ment of your graces. As you may see in David, David improved his 
grace to a glorious height, and says Saul, ' Thou art more righteous 
than T,' 1 Sam. xxiv. 17. John improved his grace to a glorious height, 
and was much in the exercise of it, and what follows ? why, * Herod 
feared and reverenced him, knowing that he was a just and a holy man,' 
Mark vi. 20. Oh ! how did the wisdom, faith, and holiness of Joseph, 
Daniel, and the three children silence their most enraged adversaries ! 
yea, what a deal of honour did the exercise of their graces cause those 
heathen princes to put upon them?^ 1 Peter ii. 15, ' For so is the will 
of God, that by well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish 
men/ It is not all the talking and profession in the world that can 
stop the mouths of foolish men ; it must be well-doings, grace improved, 
grace exercised and manifested in ways of holiness, that must work so 
great a wonder as to stop the mouths of wicked men. 

The Greek word that is here translated well-doing, uyadmoiovvrag is 
a participle of the present tense, and notes the continual custom of 
well-doing. And indeed, nothing but a continual course of well-doing 
will be able to stop the mouths of wicked persons. It is not a fit of 
holiness, but a course, that can produce so great a miracle as to stop the 
mouths of wicked men : ' That ye might stop the mouths of ungodly 

The Greek is, 'that ye may muzzle,' or, 'halter up,' (pifiovv, from 
(pifMou. There is no way in the world to button, muzzle, or halter up 
the mouths of wicked men, but by the exercise of your graces in ways 
of well-doing. Oh ! this will cause you to be well thought of, and well 
spoken of ; this is that that will make even wicked men to say. These 
are Christians indeed ! these are they that have not only a name to 
live, but are alive ; that have not only a form of godliness, but the 
power. A Christian's exercise of faith in times of wants, and of patience 
in times of affliction, and of courage in times of temptation, and of con- 
ten tation^ in times of opposition, &c., doth mightily silence and stop the 
mouths of the worst of men. 

Henry the Second of France, being present at the martyrdom of a 
certain tailor burnt by him for religion, was so terrified by beholding 
the wisdom, courage, faith, and constancy of the said martyr, that he 

' They shall shine as so many suns in heaven, who are much in stirring and provoking 
of others to the exercise of grace and holiness, Dan. xii. 3, vi. 1, 2. 

2 So what a deal of respect and honour did Alexander the Great put upon Judas the 
high priest, Theodosius upon Ambrose, and Constantine upon Paphnutius, kissing that 
eye of his that was bored out for the cause of Christ, &c. ^ q^^ « contestation ' ? — Ed. 

EpH. Ill 8.] BICHES OF CHRIST. 145 

swore at his going away, * that he would never be any more present at 
such a sight/ ^ 

[5.] Fifthly, Dwell much upon the sweet nature of grace, if you 
would have your souls carried out to the exercise and improvement of 

The name of grace and the nature of grace is very sweet. The 
Hebrew word that is rendered grace signifies favour and mercy ; and 
it answers to the Greek word %a^/g, that signifies favour and mercy ; 
and some derive the Greek word from a word that signifies joy,^ because 
grace begets the greatest joy and sweetness in the spirits of men that 
possibly can be.^ 

Grace is compared to the sweetest things ; to sweet spices, to wine 
and milk. Grace is a beam of the Sun of righteousness, the Lord Jesus 
Christ. Grace is a sweet flower of paradise, a spark of glory, &c. It 
is cherished and maintained by that sweet word, that is sweeter than 
the honey or the honey-comb, and by sweet union and communion with 
the Father and the Son.* It is exercised about the sweetest objects, 
viz., God, Christ, promises, and future glory. It sweetens all your ser- 
vices and duties. Your best performances are but stinking sacrifices, if 
they are not attended with the exercise of grace. Grace is that heavenly 
salt that makes all our services savoury and sweet in the nostrils of God. 
Grace is of the greatest and sweetest use to the soul ; it is an anchor at 
sea, and a shield at land ; it is a staff to uphold the soul, and a sword to 
defend the soul ; it is bread to strengthen the soul, and wine to cheer 
the soul ; it is physic to cure all diseases, and a plaster to heal all 
wounds, and a cordial to strengthen the soul under all faintings, &c. 
Grace is thy eye to see for Christ, thy ear to hear for Christ, thy head 
to contrive for Christ, thy tongue to speak for Christ, thy hand to do for 
Christ, and thy feet to walk with Christ. Grace makes men of the fro- 
wardest, sourest, crabbedest natures, to be of a sweet, lovely, amiable, 
pleasing temper, Isa. xi. 7-9. It turns lions into lambs, wolves into 
sheep, monsters into men, and men into angels, as you may see in 
Manasseh, Paul, Mary Magdalene, Zaccheus, and others. Yet sometimes 
grace, in a rugged unhewn nature, is like a gold ring on a leprous hand, 
or a diamond set in iron, or a jewel in a swine's snout, &c.^ 

[6.] Sixthly, By way of motive, consider this, that wicked men do 
exercise and improve to the uttermost, all those principles of wicked- 
ness that he in them, against the ways of God, the honour of God, and 
the comforts of the saints. 

Now shall wicked men improve all their principles to the uttermost 
against God, his truth, and saints, &c. ; and shall not saints improve 
their graces to the honour of God, the advancement of truth, and the 
joy and benefit one of another ? You may see the activity of wicked 
men's spirits in Pro v. iv. 16, * They sleep not unless they have done mis- 
chief, and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.' 

» Epit. Hist. Gal. 82. 

^ Cf. Sibbes, note e, vol. iii. p. 529, on z'^S'^ ^^^ Z"-i(^'^' — Cr* 

3 Grace is a panoply against all troubles, and a paradise of all pleasures. 

* Cant. iv. 10, 14, 16, vi. 2 ; Isa. Iv. 1, 2 ; Ps. cxix. 103 ; 1 John i. 3, 4. 

^ Latimer told the clergy and the bishops, that if they would not learn diligence and 
vigilance of the prophets and apostles, they should learn it of the devil, who goes up and 
down his diocese. 



Oh, they cannot rest ! ' The wicked are like the troubled sea,' as Isaiah 
speaks, ' when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt,' Isa. 
Ivii. 20, 21.^ So in 2 Pet. ii. 14, ' Having eyes full of adultery, that can- 
not cease from sin, beguiling unstable souls/ An heart they have, exer- 
cised with covetous practices ; cursed children,' they break all promises 
and covenants with God and man, as Samson did the new ropes. So 
in Prov. xix. 19, 'A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment, for if 
thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again.' The Hebrew word 
tosiph signifies to add. Saith he. Thou must add deliverance to deliver- 
ance, for he will still be a-adding sin to sin. So the Kadix, jasaph, is 
used, Deut. xxix. 19, and in several other scriptures. Such sinners make 
God a god of clouts, one that will not do as he saith. Ahab, after he 
was threatened with utter rooting out, begat fifty sons, as it were to 
cross God, and to try it out with him. Let God thunder in his judg- 
ments, yet he will add sin to sin, he will proceed from evil to evil, till 
he comes to the very top of evil, viz., to be hardened in sin, and to scoff 
at holiness, &c., Jer. ix. 3. 

The old Italians were wont, in time of thunder, to shoot off their 
greatest ordnance, and to ring their greatest bells, to drown the noise 
of the heavens. So let God thunder from heaven, yet wicked men will 
so improve their wicked principles, that their consciences may not hear 
the noise of the thunder-claps of divine displeasure.'^ The covetous man 
will improve his earthly principles, and.the ambitious man his ambitious 
principles, and the voluptuous man his voluptuous principles, and the 
unchaste man his unclean principles, and the erroneous man his errone- 
ous principles, and the blasphemous man his blasphemous principles, &c. 
Ah sirs ! shall wicked men thus improve their wicked principles to the 
uttermost against God, Christ, and religion, and against the prosperity, 
peace, joy, and happiness of the saints ? And shall not saints improve 
their graces to the uttermost for the honour of the Lord, the advance- 
ment of religion, and the mutual profit and benefit of each other ? 

[7.] Seventhly, The more high and excellent any man is in grace, 
the more highly he shall be exalted in glory. 

Oh ! therefore, exercise your grace, improve your grace. As you 
would be high in heaven, labour to improve your graces much while you 
are here on earth ; for glory will be given out at last according to the 
exercise and improvement of your grace. 

The more high and improved a man's graces be, the more that man will 
do for God ; and the more any man doth for God, the more at last shall 
he receive from God ; 1 Cor. xv. 58, ' Therefore, my beloved brethren, be 
ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, 
forasmuch as you know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.' 
So Gal. vi. 7, seq., ' He that sows sparingly shall reap sparingly ; but he 
that sows liberally shall reap liberally.'^ The more any man hath im- 

• The Hebrew word y'wJ'l, rashang, signifies properly ^ovn^is, a laborious sinner, a prac- 
titioner in sin. The verb rashang signifies to make a stir, to be exceeding busy, unquiet, 
or troublesome, &c. 

2 Witness Ahab, Haman, Jehu, Jeroboam, the fool in the Gospel, and those in Mat. 
xxiii. 14-16. 

3 Darius, before he came to the kingdom, received a garment for a gift of one Syloson, 
and when he became king, he rewarded him with the command of bis country, Samos, 
&c. [As before. See Index, sub nomine. — G.] 


proved his grace, the more that man will be able to bear and suffer for 
God ; and the more any man bears and suffers for God, the more glory 
shall that man have at last from God : Mat. v. 11, 12, ' Blessed are ye 
when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner 
of evil against you falsely for my sake ; rejoice and be exceeding glad,' 
or * leap and dance for joy, leap and skip for joy,' &c. Why so ? ' For 
great is your reward in heaven.' God is a liberal paymaster, and no 
small things can fall from so great and so gracious a hand as his. The 
more excellent any man is in grace, the more he is the delight of God. 
Ps. xvi. 3, 4, ' My goodness extendeth not to thee, but to the saints that 
are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight." Now 
this is spoken in the person of Christ, for the apostle applies these words 
to Christ, Acts ii. 25. Now saith Christ, ' My goodness reaches not to 
thee,' O Father ! ' but to the saints, and to the excellent, in whom is all 
my delight.' And doubtless, they that are his greatest delight on earth, 
shall be possessed of the greatest glory in heaven. If fathers give the 
greatest portions to those children in whom they delight, why should 
not Christ ? Is it equity in the one, and iniquity in the other ? Surely 
no. Christ may do with his own as he pleases.^ 

Again, the more any man improves his grace, the clearer, sweeter, 
fuller, and richer is his enjoyments of God here. There is no man in all 
the world that hath such enjoyments of God, as that man hath that 
most improves his graces. It is not he that knows most, nor him that 
hears most, nor yet he that talks most, but he that exercises grace most, 
that hath most communion with God, that hath the clearest visions of 
God, that hath the sweetest discoveries and manifestations of God. 
Now certainly if they that improve their graces most, have most of God 
here, then without controversy, they shall have most of God hereafter. 
Doubtless a man may as well plead for equal degrees of grace in this 
world, as for equal degrees of glory in the other world. 

Again, if those who are most graceless and wicked shall be most tor- 
mented, then certainly they that are most gracious shall be most exalted 
in the day of Christ. But the more wicked any man is, the more shall 
he be tormented in the day of vengeance : ' Woe to you, Scribes and 
Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye shall receive the greater damnation,' Mat. 
xxiii. 14, Luke xii 47, 48. The darkest, the lowest, the hottest place 
in hell is provided for you ; therefore it roundly follows, that those that 
are most gracious shall at last be most glorious. 

And thus much for the motives that tend to provoke all the precious 
sons of Zion, to make a thorough improvement of the gifts and graces 
that the Lord hath bestowed upon them. 

I shall now come to the resolution of a weighty question, and so con- 
clude this point, which I have been the longer upon, by reason of its 
very great usefulness in these days, wherein men strive to exercise any- 
thing, yea, everything, but grace and holiness, &c. 

Now this question is this, 

Quest. When may a soul be said to be excellent in grace, or to have 
highly imjproved grace ? 

Now to this question I shall give these following answers : 

1 The father delights in all his children, yet sometimes he delights more in one than 
in another, &c. 


[IJ First, A soul that is high and' excellent in grace, that hath 
improved his graces to a considerable height, will keep hwmble and 
unspotted under great outward enjoyr)ients. It is said of Daniel, that 
he had ' an excellent spirit ;' and herein did his excellent spirit appear, 
in that he was holy and humble in heart, though high in place and worth, 
&c., Dan. vi. 3-7. Daniel keeps humble and holy when he is lifted 
high, yea, made the second man in the kingdom. Malice itself could 
not find anything against him, but ' in the matter of his God.'^ It is 
much to be very gracious when a man is very great, and to be high in 
holiness when advanced to high places. Usually men's blood rises with 
their outward good. Certainly, they are worthy ones, and shall walk 
with Christ in white, whose garments are not defiled with greatness or 
riches, &c.. Rev. iii. 4. 

[2.] ISecondly, They that have highly improved their graces, will 
comply luith those commands of Ood that cross nature, that are con- 
trary to nature. And Tioubtless that man hath improved his graces to 
a very high rate, whose heart complies with those commands of God 
that are cross and contrary to nature ; as for a man to love them that 
loathe him, to bless them that curse him, to pray for them that perse- 
cute him, &c.. Mat. v. 44. It is nothing to love them that love us, and 
to speak well of them that speak well of us ; and to do well, and carry 
it well towards them, that carry it well towards us. Oh, but for a man 
to love those that hate him, to be courteous to them that are currish to 
him, to be sweet to them that are bitter to him, &c., this strongly 
demonstrates a high improvement of grace.^ Certainly that man is 
very, very good, who hath learned that holy lesson of * overcoming evil 
with good,' Rom. xii. 21. Such a one was Stephen, Acts vii. 55, xx. 9. 
He was a man full of the Holy Ghost, that is, of the gifts and graces of 
the Holy Ghost ; he was much in the exercise of grace, he can pray and 
sigh for them, yea, even weep tears of blood for them, who rejoiced to 
shed his blood. So did Christ weep over Jerusalem, so did Titus, so 
did Marcellus over Syracuse, so did Scipio over Carthage ; but they 
shed tears for them, whose blood they were to shed, but Christ shed 
tears for them who were to shed his blood. So Abraham * being strong 
in faith gave glory to God,' Rom. iv. 20. How ? Why, by complying 
with those commands of God that were contrary to flesh and blood, as 
the offering up of his son, his only son, his beloved son, his son of the 
promise, and by leaving his own country, and his near and dear rela- 
tions, upon a word of command. The commands of God so change the 
whole man and make him new, that you can hardly know him to be 
the same one, saith one.^ Well, sirs, remember this, it is a dangerous 
thing to neglect one of his commands, though it be never so cross to 
flesh and blood, who by another is able to command you into nothing 
or into hell. ' Let Luther hate me, and in his wrath call me a thousand 
times devil, yet I will love him, and acknowledge him to be a most 
precious servant of God,' saith Calvin.* 

^ Many are seemingly good till they come to be great, and then they prove stark 
naught, like the monk in the fable. [See Index under * monkj' — G.] 

^ They use to say, If any man would have Mr Foxe do him a good turn, let him do 
liim an injury, &c. [The Martyrologist, as before. — G.] 

* Lactant. de falsa sapient, lib. iii. cap, 27. 

* One of the precious m:morabilia of Calvin's Letters, and of every Life of him. — G. 


[3.] Thirdly, Consider this, such souls will follow the Lord fully, 
that have made an improvement of their graces. Oh, this was the 
glorious commendations of Caleb and Joshua in Numb. xiv. 24, that 
* they followed the Lord fully,' in the face of all difficulties and dis- 
couragements. ' They had another spirit in them,' says the text, they 
would go up and possess the land ; though the walls were as high as 
heaven, and the sons of Anak were there, they made no more of it than 
to go, see, and conquer.^ 

' They followed the Lord fully.' In the Hebrew it is, ' They fulfilled 
after me.' The Hebrew word is a metaphor taken from a ship under 
sail, that is carried with a strong wind, as fearing neither sands, nor 
rocks, nor shelves, &c. Such have little if anything of Christ within, 
who follow him by halves or haltingly. 

I remember Cyprian brings in the devil triumphing over Christ thus : 
' A.S for my followers, I never died for them as Christ did for his ; I 
never promised them so great reward as Christ hath done to his, and 
yet I have more followers than he, and they do more for me than his 
do for him.' Oh, where is that spirit in these days that was upon those 
worthies ? Ps. xliv. 7, * All this is come upon us, yet have we not for- 
gotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant ; our heart is 
not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way, 
though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered 
us with the shadow of death.' 

[4.] Fourthly, Such souls that have improved their graces to a con- 
siderable height, will Uess God as well when he frowns as when he 

As well when he takes as when he gives, when he strikes as when he 
strokes, as you may see by comparing the scriptures in the margin 
together.2 When the Lord had stripped Job of all, and had set him 
naked upon the dunghill, why then says Job, ' The Lord gives, and the 
Lord taketh away, and blessed be the name of the Lord.' Where grace 
is improved to a considerable height, it will work a soul to sit down 
satisfied with the naked enjoyment of God, without other things : John 
xiv. 8, ' Shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.' The sight of the 
Father, without honours, the sight of the Father, without riches, the 
sight of the Father, without men's favour, will suffice the soul. As 
Jacob said, ' It is enough that Joseph is alive ;' so says the soul that is 
high in grace. It is enough that Jesus is alive, &c.^ 

[5.] Fifthly, Souls that have improved their graces to a considerable 
height, will be good in bad times and in bad places. 

Such souls will bear up against the stream of evil examples, in the 
worst of times and in the worst of places.* Abraham was righteous in 
Chaldea ; Lot was just in Sodom ; Daniel holy in Babylon ; Job upright 
and fearing God in the land of Uz, which was a profane and most 
abominable superstitious place ; Nehemiah zealous in Damascus. Oh, 
take me a man that hath improved his grace, and the worser the times 

' Veni, vidi, vici, I came, I saw, I overcame, said that emperor. [Julius Caesar — G.] 
2 Job i. 21 ; Lev. x. 3 ; 2 Sam. xv. 25, 26 ; Isa. Ixiii. 14, 15. 

^ Ghristus est mihi pro omnibus, says a Christian ; as he said, Plato est mihi pro omni- 

* Though the fishes live in the salt sea, yet they are fresh. So though souls eminently 
racious live among the wicked, yet they retain their spiritualness, freshness, and life. 


are the better that man will be ; he will bear up bravely against the 
stream of evil examples, he will be very good when times and all round 
about him are very bad. 

Some say that roses grow the sweeter when they are planted by 
garlic. Verily, Christians that have gloriously improved their graces 
are like those roses, they grow sweeter and sweeter, holier and holier, 
by wicked men. The best diamonds shine most in the dark, and so do 
the best Christians shine most in the worst times. 

[6.] Sixthly, 8uch turn their ^principles into practice. They turn 
their speculations into power, their notions into spirit, their glorious 
inside into a golden outside, Ps. xlv. 13. 

[7.] Seventhly, Such as have made a considerable improvement of 
their gifts and graces, have hearts a^ large as their heads ; whereas 
most men's heads have outgrown their hearts, &c. 

[8.] Eighthly, Such are always most busied about the highest things, 
viz., God, Christ, heaven, kc, Philip, iii.; 2 Tim. iv. 8; 2 Cor. iv. 18; 
Rom. viii. 18. 

[9.] Ninthly, Such are always a-doing or receiving good. As Christ 
went up and down doing good. Mat. iv. 23 ; chap. ix. 35 ; Mark vi. 6. 

[] 0.] Tenthly and lastly. Such will mourn for wicked mens sins as 
well a^ their own. Oh the tears, the sighs, the groans, that others' sins 
fetch from these men's hearts 1 Pambus, in the ecclesiastical history, 
wept when he saw a harlot dressed with much care and cost, partly to 
see one take so much pains to go to hell, and partly because he had not 
been so careful to please God, as she had been to please a wanton lover, 
Jer. ix. 1, 2; 2 Pet. ii. 7-9.^ 

I have at this time only given you some short hints, whereby you 
may know whether you have made any considerable improvement of 
that grace the Lord hath given you. I do intend, by divine permission, 
in a convenient time to declare much more of this to the world, I 
shall follow all what hath been said with my prayers, that it may help 
on your internal and eternal welfare. 

* The unsearchable riches of Christ.' — Eph. iii. 8. 

Now, the next observation that we shall begin with is this: 

That the Lord Jesus Chi^t is very rich. 

And the second will be this : 

That the great business and work of the ministry is to hold forth to 
the people the riches of Christ. 

We shall begin with the first point at this time, namely, that the Lord 
Jesus Christ is very rich. 

For the opening of this point, we shall attempt these three things : 

I. To demonstrate this to be a truth, that the Lord Jesus is very rich. 

II. The grounds why he is thus held forth in the word, to be one full 
of unsearchable riches. 

III. To shew you the excellency of the riches of Christ, above all 
other riches in the world. 

IV. And then the use of the point. 

I. For the first, that the Lord Jesus Christ is very rich. 
[1.] First, Express scripture speaks out this truth. He is rich in 
> Socrates : H. E. iv. 28.— G. 


goodness: Rom. ii. 4, 'Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness,' his 
' native goodness,' &c., that is ready to be employed for thy internal and 
eternal good, &c. 

Again, He is rich in wisdom and knowledge: Col. ii. 3, *In whom,' 
speaking of Christ, ' are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.' 
Christ was content that his riches should be hid from the world ; there- 
fore do not thou be angry that thine is no more known to the world. 
What is thy one mite to Christ's many millions 1 &c.^ 

Again, He is rich in grace: Eph. i. 7, 'By whom we have redemption 
through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his 

Again, He is rich in glory: Eph. i. 18, ' That ye may know what is 
the hope of his calling, and what is the riches of the glory of his inheri- 
tance in the saints.' So in chap. iii. 16, ' That he would grant unto you, 
according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by 
his Spirit in the inner man.' So in Philip, iv. 19, * But my God shall 
supply all your need, according to his riches in glory by Jesus Christ.' 
The riches of glory are unconceivable riches. Search is made through 
all the bowels of the earth for something to shadow it by. The riches 
of this glory is fitter to be believed than to be discoursed of, as some of 
the very heathens have acknowledged.^ 

[2.] But, secondly, as express scripture speaks out this truth, that 
Christ is very rich, so there are eight things more that do with open 
mouth speak out Christ to he very rich. 

(1.) First, You may judge of his riches, hy the dowry and portion 
that his Father hath given him. In Ps. ii. 7, ' Thou art my Son, this 
day have I begotten thee ; ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen 
for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy pos- 
session.' He is the heir of all things ; all things above and below, in 
heaven and earth, are his. Heb. i. 2, * God hath in these last days 
spoken to us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things.' 
Christ is the richest heir in heaven and earth. Men cry up this man 
to be a good match and that ; and why so, but because they are great 
heirs ? Ah ! but what are all the great heirs of the world to this heir, 
the Lord Jesus ? Joseph gave portions to all his brethren, but to Ben- 
jamin a portion five times as good as what he gave the residue. So the 
Lord scatters portions among the sons of men. He gives brass to some, 
gold to others ; temporals to some, spirituals to others ; but the great- 
est portion of all he hath given into the hands of Christ, whom he hath 
made the heir of all things : Rev. xi. 15, ' And 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.' So in chap. xix. 11, 12, 'And I saw 
heaven opened, and behold a white horse, and he that sat upon him was 
called faithful and true, and in righteousness he doth judge and make 
war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many 
crowns.' Mark that ! What are princes' single crowns, and the pope's 

* As man is an epitome of the whole world, so is Christ of all wisdom and knowledge 

2 Nee Christus nee caelum patitur hyperholem, neither Christ nor heaven can be hyper- 
bolised. [^Augmtine. — G."] 


triple crown, to Christ's many crowns ? Certainly he must be very rich, 
that hath so many kingdoms and crowns. Wait but a while, and you 
shall see these scriptures made good, &c. 

(2.) Secondly, You may judge of his riches, hy his keeping open house 
for the relief and supply of all created creatures, both in heaven and 
in earth. 

You look upon those as very rich that keep open house for all comers 
and goers; why, such a one is the Lord Jesus Christ ; he keeps open 
house for all comers and goers, for all created creatures both in heaven 
and earth. Ps. civ. 24, ' The earth is full of thy riches, so is the great 
and wide sea, where are things creeping innumerable, both small and 
great/ 'He opens his hand, and he satisfies every living creature,' 
says the Psalmist, Ps. cxlv. 16. So Isa. Iv. 1, 'Ho, every one that 
thirsteth, let him come and buy wine and milk, without money and 
without price. Wherefore dost thou lay out thy money for that which 
is not bread, and thy strength for that which doth not profit ?'i All 
creatures, high and low, honourable and base, noble and ignoble, blessed 
and cursed, are fed at tbe cost and charge of the Lord Jesus Christ. 
They are all fed at his table, and maintained by what comes out of 
his treasury, his purse. All angels and saints above, and all saints and 
sinners below, are beholden to Christ for what they enjoy. Oh ! the 
multitudes, the numberless number of those that live upon the cost and 
charge of Christ. Can you number the stars of heaven ? can you num- 
ber the sands upon the sea-shore ? then may you number the multitudes, 
the millions of angels and men that are maintained upon the cost and 
charge of the Lord Jesus. In Col. i. 16, 17, * For by him were all things 
created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, 
whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers, all 
things were created by him, and for him. And he is before all things, 
and by him all things consist.' 

(3.) Thirdly, You may judge of the riches of Christ hy the time that 
he hath fed and clothed, cherished and maintained, so many innu- 
merable millions of angels and men. 

He hath maintained his court above and below, upon his own cost 
and charge, for almost six thousand years. Oh, to keep such a multi- 
tude, if it were but for a day, would speak him out to be richer than 
all the princes in the world ; but to keep so many millions, and to keep 
them so long, what doth this speak out, but that Christ is infinitely 
rich, rich in goodness and mercy ? It would beggar all the princes on 
earth, to keep but one day the least part of those that Christ maintains 
every day, &c. 

(4.) But, fourthly, you may judge of the riches of Christ by this, that 
he doth not only enrich all the saints, but all of the saints. 

That is, he enriches all the faculties of their souls ; he enriches their 
understandings with glorious light ; their consciences with quickness, 
pureness, tenderness and quietness; and their wills with holy intentions 
and heavenly resolutions ; and their affections of love, joy, fear, &c., with 
life,^ heat, and warmth, and with the beauty and glory of the most soul- 
enriching, soul-delighting, soul-ravishing, and soul-contenting objects 

^ Crassus was so rich, that he maintained a whole army with his own revenues. But 
what is this to what Jesus doth ? &c. [As before. See Index, sub nomine.— G.] 


&c. All saints' experiences seal to this truth, and therefore a touch shall 
suffice, &c. 

(5.) Fifthly, Judge of the riches of Christ by this, that notwith- 
standing all the vast expense and charge that he is at, and hath been 
at for so many millions of thousands, and that for near six thousand 
years, yet he is never the poorer ; his purse is never the emptier. 

There is still in Christ a fulness of abundance, and a fulness of redun- 
dance, notwithstanding all that he hath expended. It were blasphemy 
to think that Christ should be a penny the poorer by all that he hath 
laid out for the relief of all those that have their dependence upon him. 
Col. i. 19, ' It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.' 
Not stay or abide a night or a day and away, but should dwell. The sun 
hath not the less light for filling the stars with light. A fountain hath 
not the less for filling the lesser vessels. There is in Christ plenitudo 
fontis, the fulness of a fountain. The overflowing fountain pours out 
water abundantly, and yet remains full. Why, the Lord Jesus is such 
an overflowing fountain ; he fills all, and yet remains full. Christ hath 
the greatest worth and wealth in him. As the worth and value of 
many pieces of silver is in one piece of gold, so all the petty excellencies 
scattered abroad in the creature are united to Christ ; yea, all the whole 
volume of perfections which is spread through heaven and earth, is 
epitomised in him, &c.^ 

(6.) Sixthly, The Lord Jesus is generally rich, and that speaks him 
out to be rich indeed. He is generally rich. You have few per- 
sons that are generally rich. That is a rich man indeed, that is 
generally rich ; that is, that is rich in money and rich in land, and 
lich in commodities, and rich in jewels, &c. Now the Lord Jesus 
Christ is one that is generally rich ; he is rich in all spirituals ; 
he is rich in goodness, rich in wisdom and knowledge ; he is rich in 
grace, and rich in glory.^ Yea, he is generally rich in respect of tem- 
porals. ' He is the heir of all things.' He is the heir of all the gold in 
the world, and of all the silver, and of all the jewels, and of all the land, 
and of all the cattle in the world, as you may see by comparing some 
scriptures together. Hos. ii. 5, 8, 9, ' For their mother hath played the 
harlot, she that conceived them hath done shamefully ; for she said, I 
will go after my lovers that gave me my bread and my water, and my 
wool, and my flax, and my oil, and my drink.' But mark what follows : 
verses 8, 9, * For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and 
oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal; 
therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and 
my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and ray flax, 
given to cover her nakedness.' So in Ps. xxiv. 1, ' The earth is the 
Lord's, and the fulness thereof, the round world, and all that dwell 
therein.' All others are either usurpers or stewards ; it is the Lord 
Jesus that is the great landlord of heaven and earth. So in Ps. I. 8-10, 
* I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices, or thy burnt-offerings ; I will 
take no bullock out of thy house, nor he-goats out of thy folds : for every 

* They say it is true of the oil at Rhemes that, though it be continually spent in the 
inauguration of their kings of France, yet it never wastes. I am sure, though all creatures 
spend continually, on Christ's stock, yet it never wasteth. 

2 The philosopher once said, Solus sapiens dives, only the wise man is the rich man, &c. 


beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I 
know all the fowls of the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field 
are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee; for the world is mine, 
and the fulness thereof It is all mine, saith the Lord. 

Thus you see that the Lord is generally rich, rich in houses, in lands, 
in gold, in silver, in cattle, &c., in all temporals as well as in spirituals ; 
but where will you find a man that is generally rich either in spirituals 
or temporals ? It is true, you may find one Christian rich in one 
grace, and another Christian rich in another ; but where will you find a 
Christian that is generally rich, that is rich in every grace : that is 
rich in knowledge, in faith, in love, in wisdom, in humility, in meek- 
ness, in patience, in self-denial ? Abraham was rich in faith, and 
Moses was rich in meekness, and Job was rich in patience, and Joshua 
was rich in courage, and David was rich in uprightness, &c. But where 
will you find a saint that is rich in all these graces ? Or where will 
you find a man that is generally rich, in respect of temporals, as to be 
rich in lands, and rich in moneys, and rich in wares, and rich in jewels, 
&c. But now the Lord Jesus Christ is generally rich, both in respect 
of spirituals and temporals. * In having nothing I have all things,' saith 
one, * because I have Christ ; having therefore all things in him, I seek 
no other reward, for he is the universal reward,'^ &c. 

(7.) Seventhly, You may judge of the riches of Christ, hy the tribute 
and rent that is due to him. 

He is the great landlord and owner of all that angels and men pos- 
sess above and below.^ All created creatures are but tenants-at-will to 
this rich landlord, the Lord Jesus. He puts out and puts in as he 
pleases ; he lifts up one, and casts down another ; he throws down the 
mighty, and sets up the needy, according to the pleasure of his own 
will. ' Whom he will he destroys, and whom he will he saves alive,' 
Ps. cxiii. 7 ; cxlviii. 14 ; Luke i. 52. Whom he will he binds, and 
whom he will he sets at liberty ; whom he will he exalts, and whom he 
will he abases ; whom he will he makes happy, and whom he will he 
makes miserable, &c. The psalmist, Ps. cxlviii., upon this account, calls 
upon all celestial and terrestrial creatures, to pay their tribute of praise 
to the Lord. He hath given them all their beings, and he maintains 
them all in the beings that he hath given them. 

The ancient Hebrews, as Josephus relates, set marks and tokens some- 
times on their arms, sometimes at their gates, to declare to all the world 
the tribute and praise that was due to the Lord, for all his benefits and 
favours shewed unto them. Bernard saith, ' We must imitate the birds, 
who morning and evening, at the rising and setting of the sun, omit 
not to pay the debt of praise that is due to their creator.'^ 

(8.) Eighthly and lastly, judge of the riches of Christ hy, the multi- 
plicity and variety of temporal and spiritual gifts and rewards that 
he scatters among the children of men} 

* Gregory the Great was wont to say that he was poor whose soul was void of grace, 
not whose coffers were empty of money. 

^ Quicquid es, debes creanti, quicquid petis, debes redimenti. — Bernard. 
3 Serm. on Cantic. — G. 

* Christ saith to the believer, as the king of Israel said to the king of Syria, ' I am 
thine, and all that I have,' 1 Kings xx. 4. This is aluearium divini meliis, an hive full of 
divine comfort. 


He gives honours to thousands, and riches to thousands, and peace 
to thousands, and pardon to thousands, and the joys and comforts of 
the Holy Ghost to thousands. There is not a moment that passes 
over our head, but he is a-scattering of jewels up and down the 
world ; he throws some into one bosom, and others into others, 
but the best into the bosom of his saints. Oh, the abundance of 
peace, the abundance of joy and comfort ! Oh, the fear, the faith, the 
love, the kindness, the goodness and sweetness, that the Lord Jesus 
Christ scatters up and down among the precious sons and daughters of 
Zion, besides all temporal favours. There is not a saint that receives 
so much as a cup of cold water, but Christ rewards it abundantly into 
the bosom of the giver, Mat. x. 42. By all which you may well judge, 
that certainly the Lord Jesus is very rich, for if he were not, he could 
never hold out in scattering of rich rewards among so many millions, 
and for so many thousand years, as he hath done.^ 

And so much for the proof of the point, viz., that the Lord Jesus is 
very rich. 

We come now in the second place to discover to you, 

II. The grounds and reasons why the Lord Jesus Christ is held forth 
in the word to be so very rich. 

And they are these that follow : 

[].] First, To encourage poor sinners to look after, and to be willing 
to match, with him.'^ 

Poverty hinders many a match. The Lord did foresee from eternity, 
that fallen man would never look after Christ, if there were not some- 
thing to be gotten by Christ. The Lord hath therefore in his wisdom 
and goodness to fallen man, thus presented him as one exceeding rich, 
that so poor sinners might fall in love with him, and be willing to give 
up themselves to him: Prov. viii. 34, 35, 'Blessed is the man that 
heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my 
doors ;' as princes' guards do at princes' gates and doors. Now, the 
arguments to draw out the soul thus to wait upon the Lord, lie in the 
next words, * For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour 
of the Lord.' The Hebrew runs thus, ' For finding me he shall find 
lives, and shall draw forth the favour of the Lord.' Divine favour is 
as it were a jewel locked up; ay, but by finding Christ, by getting 
Christ, the soul gets this jewel, that is more worth than a world ; yea, 
by gaining him, the soul gains lives ; to wit, a life of grace, and a life 
of glory, and what would the soul have more ? 

A second ground of this is, 

[2.] Because he is ordained by the Father to convey all riches of 
grace to his chosen and beloved ones. 

John i. 16, 'Of his fulness we all receive grace for grace;' and this 
we receive by divine ordination. John vi. 27, * Labour not,' saith 

* The Duke of Burgundy gave a poor man a great reward for offering him a rape root, 
being the best present the poor man had. And surely so will God bountifully reward the 
least favours shewed to his. 

2 Abraham's servant, to win over the heart of Rebekah to Isaac, brings forth jewels of 
silver and jewels of gold, and acquaints her what a rich match she should have by match- 
ing with Isaac, and so overcame her, Gen. xxiv. And so does God deal with poor sinners, 


Christ, ' for the meat that perisheth, but for that which endureth to 
everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you : for him 
hath God the Father sealed.' God the Father hath sealed Christ ;^ he 
hath designed Christ, he hath set Christ apart for this very work, that 
he might give grace unto us. God hath ordained to convey all fulness 
of light to the air by the sun, and therefore hath put a greater fulness 
of light into the sun. God hath ordained all fulness of nourishment to 
the branches by the roots, and therefore hath put a fulness of juice into 
the roots. So the Lord hath ordained that all the riches of grace, of 
peace, of glory, &c., that believers shall enjoy here and in heaven, they 
shall have from the Sun of righteousness, from this blessed root the 
Lord Jesus Christ ; and therefore the Father hath filled this Sun with 
light, this root with heavenly juice, because he is by divine ordination 
to convey all spiritual and glorious riches into the hearts of his chosen 
and beloved ones, John xv. 21, 22. 

A third ground is, 

[8.] To take away all excuse from ungodly and wicked men, and 
that they m.ay be found speechless in the day of vengeance, when the 
Lord shall come to reckon with them.^ . 

Ah, sinners ! how will you that have turned your backs upon Christ, 
who is thus rich, be able to answer it in the day when God shall 
reason the case with you ? When God shall say. Sinners, hath it not 
been often told you that Christ is rich in mercy, and rich in goodness, 
and rich in grace, rich in pardons, rich in loves, and rich in glory, rich 
in spirituals, rich in temporals, and rich in eternals, and yet you have 
slighted this Christ, you have turned your backs upon this Christ, you 
have preferred your lusts, and the world, and the service of the devil, 
above this Christ. Oh ! how dumb, how speechless will sinners be, 
when the Lord shall thus plead with them. Oh ! how will their 
countenances be changed, their thoughts troubled, and their joints 
loosed, their consciences enraged, and their souls terrified, when they 
shall see what a rich match they have refused, and thereupon how 
justly they are for ever accursed, &c. 

[4.] Lastly, It is upon this account. 

That he may be a complete Redeemer to us, and that nothing onay 
hinder our souls closing with the Lord Jesus Christ. 

We stand in need of one that is rich ; rich in grace to pardon us, 
rich in power to support us, and rich in goodness to relieve us, and rich 
in glory to crown us. There is none but such a Christ can serve our 
turns. We stand in need of one that is rich, that is generally rich, 
one that is rich in money to pay all our debts. We have run much 
upon the score with God, and none can pay this score but Christ. Our 
sins are debts that none can pay but Christ. It is not our tears but 
his blood, it is not our sighs but his sufferings, that can satisfy for our 
sins. We are much in debt to God for the ground we tread on, the air 
we breathe in, the beds we lie on, the bread we eat, the clothes we 
wear, &c. ; and none can pay this debt but Christ. Angels and saints 

' Sealed, that is, made his commission authentical, as men do their deeds by their seal. 

2 Sirens are said to sing curiously while they live, but to roar horribly when they die. 
So will all those that have rejected so rich a Jesus as hath been tendered to them, when 
the Lord Jesus shall plead with them, &c. 


may pity us, but they cannot discharge the least debt for us, &c. 
Christ must pay all, or we are prisoners for ever, &c.^ We stand in 
need of one that is rich in goodness. We are a needy people, and are 
still in want. Christ must be still a-giving, or we shall be still a-lan- 
guishing. If he shut his hand, we perish and ^return to dust. Our 
temporal wants are many, our spiritual wants are more, and if Christ 
do not supply them, who will ? who can ? Nay, our wants are so many 
and so great, that Christ himself could not supply them, were he not 
very, very rich. 

And thus I have given you a brief account of the reasons of the point, 
why the Lord Jesus is held forth by the Scripture to be so very rich. 

We shall now come to the third thing proposed, and that is, 

III. The excellency of the riches of Christ above all other riches in 
the world. 

I shall briefly run over this third branch, and so come to the applica- 
tion, which is most in my eye, and upon my heart. 

[1.] First, The riches of Christ are incomparable riches : Pro v. iii. 
13-15, 'Happy is the man that findeth Wisdom,' that is, the Lord Jesus 
Christ, 'and the man that getteth understanding; for the merchandise of 
it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine 
gold. She is more precious than rubies : and all the things thou canst 
desire are not to be compared unto her.' One grain of grace is far be- 
yond all the gold of Ophir and all the silver of the Indies, which are 
but the guts and garbage of the earth. We may say of the riches of 
this world, compared with the riches of Christ, as Gideon sometime 
said of the vintage of Abiezer, ' The gleanings of Ephraim are better 
than the vintage of Abiezer,' So the gleanings, the smallest gatherings 
of the riches of Christ, are far better, more excellent, more satisfying, 
more contenting, more ravishing than all the riches of this world.^ 

* The whole Turkish empire,' saith Luther, * is but a crust that God 
throws to a dog.' The wise merchant. Mat. xiii. 44, 45, parts with all 
to gain this pearl of price ; the truth is, other riches are but a burden. 
Gen. xiii. 2, ' Abraham was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. 
The Hebrew word chabbedh is, ' He was very heavy in cattle, in silver, 
and in gold ' ; to signify, that riches are but heavy burdens. A little 
will serve nature, less will serve grace, but nothing will serve men's 

Pheraulus, a poor man, on whom Cyrus bestowed so much, that he 
knew not what to do with his riches, being wearied out with care in 
keeping of them, he desired rather to live quietly, though poor, as he 
had done before, than to possess all those riches with discontent ; there- 
fore he gave away all his wealth, desiring only to enjoy so much as 
might supply his necessities.' Let worldly professors think seriously 
of this story and blush, &c. 

[2 ] Secondly, The riches of Christ are inexhaustible riches. As I 
have shewed you, Christ can never be drawn dry.* 

1 We may say of Christ, as writers say of the jasper, it is easier to admire than declare 
it, and far more easier to say what he is not than what he is. 

2 Riches are called thick clay, Hab. ii. 6, which will sooner break the back than 
lighten the heart, &c. ^ Xenophon, Cyrop. ii. 8, sec. 7, and viii. 3.— G. 

* Earthly riches are true gardens of Adonis, where we can gather nothing but trivial 


The Spanish ambassador coming to see the treasury of St Mark, in 
Venice, which is cried up throughout the world, fell a-groping whether 
it had any bottom, and being asked why, answered, ' In this among 
other things,, my gi-eat master's treasure differs from yours, in that his 
hath no bottom, as I find yours to have,' alluding to the mines of Mexico 
and Potosi, &c. Certainly Christ's treasures have no bottom, all his 
bags are bottomless ; but Scripture, history, and experience, do abund- 
antly testify that men's bags, purses, coffers, and mines, may be ex- 
hausted or drawn dry, but Christ's can never. Millions of thousands 
live upon Christ, and he feels it not ; his purse is always full, though 
he be always giving,. &c. 

[3.] Thirdly, The riches of Christ are soul-satisfying riches. Oh 
those riches of grace ^d goodness that be in Christ, how do they satisfy 
the souls of sinners ! A pardon doth not more satisfy a condemned 
man, nor bread the hungry man, nor drink the thirsty man, nor clothes 
the naked man, nor health the sick man, than the riches of Christ do 
satisfy the gracious man. John iv. 13, 14, 'Whosoever drinketh of 
this water shall thirst again : but whosoever drinketh of the water that 
I shall give him shall never thirst ; but the water that I shall give him 
shall be in him a well of living water springing up to everlasting 
life.' Grace is a perpetual -flowing fountain. Grace is compared to 
water. Water serves to cool men when they are in a burning heat, so 
grace cools the soul when it hath been scorched and burned up under 
the sense of divine wrath and displeasure. Water is cleansing, so is 
grace ; water is fructifying,^ so is grace ; and water is satisfying, it 
satisfies the thirsty, and so doth grace. ' Shew us the Father, and it 
sufficeth us,' John xiv. 8. But now earthly riches can never satisfy 
the soul ; but as they said once of Alexander, ' that had he a body 
suitable to his mind, he would set one foot upon sea, and the other upon 
land ; ' he would reach the east with one hand,^ and the west with the 
other. And doubtless the same frame of spirit is to be found in all the 
sons of Adam. In Eccles. v. 10, ' He that loves silver shall not be 
satisfied with silver ; nor he that loveth abundance with increase. This 
is also vanity.' If a man be hungry, silver cannot feed him ; if naked, 
it cannot clothe him ; if cold, it cannot warm him ; if sick, it cannot 
recover him, much less then is it able to satisfy him. Oh ! but the 
riches of Christ are soul-satisfying riches. A soul rich in spirituals, rich 
in eternals, says, I have enough, though I have not this and that tem- 
poral good, &c.^ 

[4.] Fourthly, The riches of Christ aite harmless riches. They are 
riches that will not hurt the soul, that wjll not harm the soul. Where 
is there a soul to be found in all the world that was ever made worse by 
spiritual riches ? Oh but earthly riches have cast down many, they have 
slain many. If poverty, with Saul, hath killed her thousands, riches, with 

flowers Burrounded with many briars, &c. ' Hast thou entered into the treasures of the 
snow ?' saith God to Job. Now, Gregory [of Nyssa] saith that the treasures of the snow 
are worldly riches, which men rake together as children do snow, which the next shower 
washeth away, and leaves nothing in the room but dirt ; and can dirt satisfy ? Surely 
no. No more can worldly riches. 

* Anima raiionalis cceteris omnibus occupari potest, impleri nan potest, the reasonable soul 
may be busied about other things, but it cannot be filled with them, &c. — Bernard. 
[Sermons on Canticles, as before. — G.] 

EpH. hi. 8.] RICHES OF CHRIST. 159 

David, hath killed her ten thousands.^ Eccles. v. 13, 'There is a sore 
evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the 
owners thereof to their hurt.' Earthly riches are called thorns, and well 
they may ; for as thorns, they pierce both head and heart ; the head 
with cares in getting them, and the heart with grief in parting with 
them. Oh the souls that riches have pierced through and through with 
many sorrows ! Oh the minds that riches have blinded ! Oh the hearts 
that riches have hardened ! Oh the consciences that riches have be- 
numbed ! Oh the wills that riches have perverted ! Oh the afifections 
that riches have disordered and destroyed ! Earthly riches are very vex- 
ing, very defiling, very dividing, and to multitudes prove very ruining.^ 
It was a wise and Christian speech of Charles the Fifth to the Duke 
of Venice, who, when he had shewed him the glory of his princely 
palace and earthly paradise, instead of admiring it, or him for it, only 
returned him this grave and serious memento, Hcec sunt qaoe faciunt 
invHos mori, these are the things which make us unwilling to die, &c.^ 
[5.] Fifthly^ The riches of Christ are unsearchable riches. This is 
plain in the text, ' Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is 
this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearch- 
able riches of Christ.' There are riches of justification, riches of sancti- 
fication, riches of consolation, and riches erf glorification in Christ. All 
the riches of Christ are unsearchable riches. A saint with all the light 
that he hath from the Spirit of Christ, is not able to search to the 
bottom of these riches. Nay, suppose that all the perfections of angels 
and saints in a glorified estate should meet in one noble breast, yet all 
those perfections could not enable that glorious glorified creature for to 
search to the bottom of Christ's unsearchable riches. Doubtless when 
believers come to heaven, when they shall see God face to face, when 
they shall know as they are known, when they shall be filled with the 
fulness of God, even then they will sweetly sing this soug, * Oh the 
height, the depth, the length, the breadth of the unsearchable riches of 
Christ ! ' As there is no Christ to this Christ, so there are no riches to 
his riches, &c. Oh but such are not the riches of this world, they may 
be reckoned, they may be fathomed, &c.* 

[6.] Sixthly, The riches of the Lord Jesus Christ are permanent and 
abiding riches ; they are lasting, they are durable riches. That is a 
choice scripture. Pro v. viii. 18, 'Riches and honour are with me, yea, 
durable riches and righteousness.' The Hebrew word that is rendered 
* durable riches ' signifies old riches. All other riches are but new, 
they are but of yesterday as it were. Oh ! but with me are old riches, 
durable riches. All other riches, in respect of their fickleness, are as a 
shadow, a bird, a ship, an arrow, a dream, a post, &c.* This Valerian, 

* Da Domine ut sic possideamus temporalia ui non perdamus cetema. — Bernard. 

* Some say where gold grows, no plant will prosper ; so no truth, no good, &c., will 
have any heart-room where the love of money bears the bell, &c. 

3 By a long time thus anticipating a saying ascribed to Dr Johnson and many others. 
— G. 

< The philosophers seeing to the very bottom of earthly riches, contemned them, and 
preferred a contemplative life above them. Omnia mea mecum porta, said Bias, one of the 
seven wise men of Greece, &c. 

5 It is reported of one Myrogenes, when great gifts were sent him, he sent them back, 
saying, I only desire this one thing at your master's hands, to pray for me, that I may 
be saved for eternity, &c. 


Valens, and Bajazet, three proud emperors, found by experience, and so 
have many kings, and generals, and nobles, as Scripture and history do 
abundantly evidence. Earthly riches are very uncertain, 1 Tim. vi. 17. 
They are ever upon the wing ; they are like tennis balls, which are 
banded^ up and down from one to another. As the bird hops from twig 
to twig, so do riches from man to man. This age can furnish us with 
multitudes of instances of this nature, &c. 

[7.] Seventhly and lastly. They are the most useful riches, to sweeten 
all other riches, mercies, and changes, &c., which speaks out the 
excellency of these riches above all other riches. The more useful any- 
thing is, the more excellent it is. Now the riches of Christ are of all 
things the most useful to poor souls. When the soul is under the guilt 
of sin, nothing relieves it like the riches of Christ. When the soul is sur- 
rounded with temptations, nothing strengthens it like the riches of 
Christ. When the soul is mourning under afflictions, nothing comforts 
it like the riches of Christ. When state, friends, and trading fails, 
nothing makes a Christian sing care away like the riches of Christ, &c. 
The riches of Christ sweeten all other riches that men enjoy.'^ If a man 
be rich in parts, or rich in grace, rich in faith, rich in knowledge, rich 
in wisdom, rich in joy, rich in peace, &c, ; or if a man be rich in tem- 
porals, rich in money, rich in- wares, rich in jewels, rich in lands, &c., 
the glorious and unsearchable riches of Christ sweeten all his riches, 
and the want of these riches embitters all the riches that men enjoy. 
When men's consciences are enlightened and awakened, then they cry 
out, what are all these worldly riches to us, except we had an interest 
in the riches of Christ? As Absalom once said, * What are all these to 
me, except I see the king's face ? ' 

I have read of one that, upon his dying bed, called for his bags, and 
laid a bag of gold to his heart, and then cried out, ' Take it away, it 
will not do, it will not do.' There are things that earthly riches can 
never do. 

They can never satisfy divine justice ; 

They can never pacify divine wrath ; 

Nor they can never quiet a guilty conscience. 

And till these things are done, man is undone. The crown of gold 
cannot cure the headache, nor the honourable garter cannot cure the 
gout, nor the chain of pearls about the neck cannot take away the pain 
of the teeth. Oh but the unsearchable riches of Christ give ease under 
all pains and torments. 

Nugas, the Scythian king, despising the rich presents and ornaments 
that were sent unto him by the emperor of Constantinople (Michael 
Paleolagus), asked him that brought them, ' Whether those things could 
drive away calamities, diseases, or deaths V looking upon all those pre- 
sents as no presents, that could not keep off calamities from him. 
Verily, all the riches and glories of this world cannot keep off the least 
calamity, neither can they make up the want of the least mercy. But 
the riches of Christ do both keep off calamities, and make up the want 
of all mercies that the soul craves or needs. All which speak out the 

• ' Bandied,' = tossed. — G. 

2 Earthly riches cannot enrich the soul, nor better the soul. Oftentimes under silk 
and satin apparel there is a threadbare soul. 


excellency of the riches of Christ above all other riches. We come now 

IV. The uses of this point 

And the first use that we shall make, is a use of exhortation, to ex- 
hort you all, seeing Christ is so rich, to labour to be spiritually rich. 
Oh labour to be rich in grace. In the handling of this use I shall pro- 
pound this method. 

[1.] I shall lay down some considerations that may provoke your 
souls to labour to be rich in grace. 

[2.] I shaJl propound some directions or helps, to help you to be rich 
in grace, which is as much a mercy as a duty, &c. 

[3.] I shall lay down some propositions concerning the soul's being 
rich in grace. 

[4.] I shall shew you how you may know whether you are the per- 
sons that are rich in grace, or no. 

I shall begin with the first, and be a little the more large upon it, 
because it is a point of mighty weight and concernment ; and then be 
the more brief in the three following particulars. 

For the first, by way of motive, I shall only propound these following 
considerations, to provoke your souls to labour to be rich in grace. La- 
borandumwsiS one of the emperors' motto, and must be every Christian's. 

[1.] First, Consider that the more rich the soul is in grace, the 
higher the soul will be in joy and cotnfort. ^ 

It is the greatest measures of grace that usher in the greatest mea- 
sure of joy and comfort into a believing heart. Christians, have you 
tasted of the consolations of God ? Have you at times sat down and 
drank of these wells of salvation 1 Are your hearts carried out for more 
of those waters of life ? Then labour to be rich in grace. A little star 
yields but a little light, and a little grace will yield but a little comfort, 
but great measures of grace will yield a man not only a heaven here- 
after, but also a heaven of joy here. Divine comfort is a choice flower, 
a precious jewel, and only to be found in their bosoms that are rich in 
grace. Spiritual comforts are such strong waters, that weak Christians 
are not able to bear them. Great measures of grace carry with them 
the greatest evidence of the truth of grace ; and the clearer evidence 
there is in the soul of the truth of grace, the higher will joy and com- 
fort spring. The soul is apt to hang her comforts on every hedge, to 
shift and shark in every by-corner for comfort ; but as air lights not 
without the sun, and as fuel heats not without fire, so neither can any- 
thing soundly comfort a Christian without the God of grace, without 
his being rich in grace. Great measures of grace carry with them the 
greatest evidence of a man's union and communion with God, and the 
more a man's union and communion with God is evidenced, the more 
will the soul be filled with that joy that is unspeakable and full of 
glory, and with that comfort and peace that passes understanding.^ In 
great measures of grace a man may read most of the love and favour 
of God ; and the more a man sees of the love and favour of God to 
him, the more high the springs of comfort rise in him. In great mea- 

' Oh the joys, the joys, the unconceivable joys ! ciied out Mistress Katharine Bretterofe, 
who had attained to a great measure of grace, &c. [As before : see Index, sub nomine. 
— G.] 2 j^terna erit exulCatio, qucn bono Icetaiur cetcrno, &c. 



sures of grace, as in a crystal glass, the soul sees the glorious face of 
God shining and sparkling, and this fills the soul with joy : Acts ix. 31, 
'Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea, and Galilee, and 
Samaria, and were edified ; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and 
in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.' The more their 
graces were increased, the more their comforts were augmented. 

* If one drop of the joy of the Holy Ghost should fall into hell, it 
would swallow up all the torments of hell,' saith Austin. Oh ! who 
would not then labour to increase in grace, that he may abound in joy ? 
The promise lies most fair before their eyes that are rich in grace. Their 
interest in it is most clear, and rarely that they go without it, unless it 
is by taking part sometimes with Satan against their interest in Christ, 
or sometimes through the power of unbelief, which indeed cuts off all 
the comfort of the soul, or by looking after other lovers, or by not 
hearkening to the voice of the Comforter, &c. Christians, you often 
complain of the want of joy and comfort. Oh ! do but abound in grace, 
and you won't complain of the want of comfort. ' Without delight the 
soul cannot live,' saith one ; ' take away all delight, and the soul dies.' 
Let this that hath been spoken, provoke every Christian to labour to be 
rich in grace. 

[2.] But, secondly, consider this, you have singular opportunities 
and choice advantages to be rich in grace. 

There is a price put into your hands, but where are your hearts ? In 
former times God gave our grace by drops, but now by flagons, Cant, 
ii. 6. Opportunities, if not improved, will, as that sword that Hector 
gave Ajax, be turned into your own bowels. This will be a sword in 
thy bowels, that there hath been soul-enriching opportunities, and thou 
hast neglected them, and turned thy back upon them. The thoughts 
of this will one day be the scorpions that will vex thee, the rod that 
will lash thee, the thorns that will prick thee, and the worm that will 
gnaw thee. ' The stork,' saith the prophet, ' knows his appointed times ; 
and the turtle, and the crane, and the swallow, observe the time of their 
coming ; but my people know not the judgment of the Lord,' Jer. viii. 7. 
The market for your souls is open ; slip not your season, lest with the 
foolish virgins you go to buy when it is too late. Mat. xxv. The mer- 
chant will not slip his opportunity of buying, nor the sailor his of sail- 
iflg, nor the husbandman his of sowing, and why should you slip 
yours of growing rich in grace ? Many men lose their souls, as Saul 
lost his kingdom, by not discerning their time to be spiritually rich. 

Tamerlane at first hung out a white flag, but if they slipped that oppor- 
tunity, then a red, and so death and destruction followed, &c. The Lord 
Jesus hangs out the white flag of mercy in these days, to entice souls 
to come in, and to share with him in his glorious and unsearchable 
riches, in the riches of his grace and mercy ; but if you stand out, 
Christ hath a red flag, and if that be once put out, you are lost for ever. 
Thrice happy are those that take the first opportunity of closing with 
Christ, and of subjecting themselves to Christ.^ 

Plutarch writes of Hannibal, ' That when he could have taken Rome 

* Sucli there have been who, by giving a glass of water opportunely, have obtained a 
kingdom, as you may see in the story of Thaumastus and king Agrippa, &c. [Cf. Index 
s. «.— G.] 


he would not, but when he would have taken Rome he could not/^ 
When many men may have mercy, they won't, and when they would 
have mercy, they shan't, Prov. i. 24, seq. Mercy and grace are some- 
times upon the bare knee. Christ stands knocking at sinners' doors ; 
he is willing to come in and make sinners rich and happy for ever; he 
calls upon souls to open to him, E,ev. iii. 20, seq. ' Lift up your heads, 
O ye gates ; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors ; and the King of glory 
shall come in. Who is the King of glory ? The Lord strong and 
mighty, the Lord mighty in battle,' Ps. xxiv. 7, 8. The King of glory 
comes not vacuis manibus, empty-handed ; no, he comes with his 
hands and heart full of rich and royal presents, and blessed and enriched 
for ever are those that open to this King of glory, &c. 

[3.] Thirdly, Consider this, souls rich in grace shall have their names 

Every man naturally would have, if it were possible, his name im- 
mortal. Now there is no way in the world to have your names immor- 
tal, like this of growing rich in grace. A man that is spiritually rich 
shall live, and his name shall live when he is dead. In Neh. vii. 2, it 
is said of Hananiah, that * he was a faithful man, and feared God above 
many ;' or, ' he feared God above multitudes,' as the Hebrew hath it : 
merabbim, from rahab. His name lives, though his body for many 
hundred years hath been turned to dust. So in Acts vii. 55, ' Stephen 
was a man full of the Holy Ghost.' Though Stephen was stoned, yet 
his name lives, his memorial is precious among the saints to this very 
day. So in Heb. xi. 38, they were such ' of whom this world was 
not worthy.' And in the third Epistle of John, the six first verses, 
compared with ver. 1 2, Gains and Demetrius, who were rich in grace, 
have crowns of honour set upon their heads, their names live, and are 
a sweet savour to this very day, &c. So in Ps. cxii. 6, * The righteous 
shall be had in everlasting remembrance, but the name of the wicked 
ghall rot.' The great man's name, and the rich man's name, shall rot, 
saith he, but * the name of the righteous shall be had in everlasting 

The Persians use to write their kings' names in golden characters ; 
so the Lord writes the names of souls rich in grace in golden characters. 
Their names are always heirs to their lives. Believe it, there is no such 
way in the world to have immortal names, like this of growing rich in 
grace. One man thinks to make his name immortal, by making him- 
self great ; another by heaping up silver and gold as the dust of the 
earth or the stones of the street, and another by doing some strange 
exploits, &c. But for all this the Lord will make good his word, * the 
name of the wicked shall rot.' If God be God, his name must rot ; but 
' the righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance ;' they leave 
their names behind for a blessing, Isa. Ixv. 1 5. It is sad to consider 
what many poor carnal creatures have done and suffered to make their 
names immortal. The Romans' desires of praise and a name, made 
them bountiful of their purses, and prodigal of their lives,'' 

' In ' Lives' of Fabius Maximus and T. Quinctius Flaminius. — G. 
* JEgo si bonam jamam servasso, sat dives ergo, if 1 may but keep a good name, I liave 
wealth enough, said Plautus. 

3 A good name yields a fragrant smell over town and country ; it puts a shining lustre 


Erostratus set the temple of Diana on fire, on that night that Alex- 
ander was born, only that he might be talked of when he was dead.^ 

Calvin observes, that Servetus in Geneva, in the year J 555, gave all 
his goods to the poor, and his body to be burned, and all for a name, 
for a little glory among men. But these poor creatures have all missed 
the mark. There is no way. Christians, to have your names immortal, 
like this, of growing rich in grace. Satan nor the world shall never be 
able to bury such men's names, who are rich in grace ; their names 
shall rise in glory here, as well as their bodies hereafter. 

[4.] But then, fourthly and mainly, consider, that spiritual riches 
will enable you to live up to your principles. 

That man that hath but so much grace as will keep hell and his soul 
asunder, will never live up to his principles. Souls weak in grace are 
too apt to deny, and in their practices to contradict, their own prin- 
ciples ; and oh that this age could not furnish us with too many instances 
of this nature ! Oh ! what is that that is the reproach of religion, and 
the dishonour of God and the gospel, but this, that professors live below 
their principles, that they live not up to their principles ? And let me 
tell you. Christians, there is nothing but a rich measure of grace that 
will enable a soul to live up to his principles. A man that is not rich 
in grace will never be able to live up to his own principles, but will 
upon every occasion and temptation be ready to wound two at once ; 
the honour of God and his own soul. Yea, men that are not rich in 
grace, will be ready to deny their own principles, as many weak Chris- 
tians did in persecuting times. 

But you will say to me. What are those gracious and holy principles, 
tliat a rich measure of grace will enable a man to live up to .? 

I will instance only in those that have most worth and weight in 
them, and they are worthy of all your thoughts. 

(1.) First, It is your principle, that you m^ust rather suffer than sin. 
It is your principle rather to undergo the greatest calamities, than 
willingly to commit the least iniquity. Now, pray tell me, what will 
enable a Christian to live up to this principle? Will a little grace, a 
little knowledge of God, a little faith in God, a little love to God, a 
little zeal for God, a little communion with ,God ? Will this do it ? 
Surely no. It must be much grace that must enable the soul to live 
up to this principle.^ When sin and suffering have stood in competi- 
tion, many weak Christians have chosen rather to sin, than to suffer, 
which hath opened many a mouth, and sadded many a heart, and 
wounded many a conscience. Yea, such by their not suffering, have 
suffered more than ever they could have suffered from the wrath and 
rage of man. Oh ! but now spiritual riches will enable a man to live 
up to this principle, as you may see in Daniel, who had an excellent 
spirit in him, who was rich in grace, and filled with the Holy Ghost ; 
he lives up to his principles ; he lives out his principles, when he 
was put hard to it ; when he must either neglect the worship of his 
God and make a god of his king, or to the lions' den. Now, Daniel 
upon the countenance ; it fitteth to any public employment, in ministry or magistracy ; 
it stops many a foul mouth, and it makes men live when they aro dead. 
* As before : Index, sub nomine — G. 

2 It is better for me to be a martyr than a monarch, said Ignatius when he was to 
suffer, &c. 


chooses rather to be cast into the lions' den than not to do homage to 
his God ; he had rather suffer much, than that God should lose a dram 
of his glory. Of the same spirit and metal were those worthies, Heb. 
xi., who, when they were put ip it, did rather choose to suffer the very 
worst of miseries, than they would in the least dishonour the Lord, 
wound their own consciences, and make work for repentance, &c. And 
so did Jovinian, Eusebius, Galeacius [Carraciolus], Basil, Vincentius, 
Bolilas, &c. By all which you see, that Christians that are spiritually 
rich, live up to this principle, viz., to suffer rather than sin, when sin 
and suffering stand in competition; which babes in grace cannot do.^ 

(2.) Secondly, It is your principle, that grace and virtue are to he 
pursued after, for their own worth, beauty, and excellency. 

But pray, tell me, what will carry a Christian out to this principle ? 
Will a little grace carry a man out to pursue after grace, for the beauty, 
holiness, excellency, and spirituality that is in it ? Alas ! we see by 
daily experience that it will not do it. All other considerations put 
together, are little enough to draw men on to pursue after grace for its 
native beauty and excellency. Many seek Christ, but it is for loaves 
more than for love, John vi. 26 ; and they pursue after the means of 
grace, not for the beauty, excellency, and glory that is stamped upon 
the means, but one to maintain his honour, and another to keep up his 
name, and another to bring in credit or custom, and another to please 
his friends, and another to silence his conscience, &c., but few there be, 
if any, but those that are rich in grace, that are true to this principle, 
that pursue after grace for its own beauty and excellency. It was a 
notable expression of David, who was a man rich in grace, Ps. cxix. 
140, ' Thy word is very pure, therefore thy servant loveth it.' Oh ! for 
a soul to love grace, and the word of grace, for its own interest, for the 
holiness, purity, and glory of it. This speaks out the soul to be rich in 
grace. So Paul, a man rich in grace, pursues after grace for its own 
interest, for the beauty and excellency of it. He forgets ' what is be- 
hind, and presses forward after the mark for the prize of the high 
calling of God in Christ Jesus, that if by any means he might attain to 
the resurrection of the dead,' Philip, iii. 13, 14. That is, to that perfec- 
tion that the dead shall reach to in the morning of the resurrection, &c. 
The young philosophers were very forward to get the precepts of 
their sect, and the rules of severity, that they might discourse with 
kings and nobles, not that they might reform their own manners. 
Many professors in this age are like those philosophers; they are very 
industrious to get knowledge, that they may be able to discourse, and 
that they may be eyed, owned, and honoured among others, for their 
knowledge and understanding.^ But now souls that are rich in grace, 
they labour after greater measures of grace, out of love to grace, and 
because of an excellency that they see in grace. Grace is a very spark- 
ling jewel, and he that loves it, and pursues after it for its own native 
beauty, hath much of it within him, &c. 

(3.) Thirdly, It is your principle, that men must subject themselves, 
and square all their actions by the word of God. 

^ Of the very same spirit were the primitive Christians; they chose rather to he thrown 
to lions without than left to lusts within. Ad leonem viagis quam lenonem, saith Ter- 
tullian. * There may be malum opus in bona materia, as iu Jehu's zeal, &c. 


Now, what will make a man live up to this principle ? "Will a little 
grace ? Surely no, Isa. viii. 10. But great measures of grace will. 
Zacharias and Elizabeth were rich in grace, and they lived up to this 
principle: Luke i. 5, 'They walked in^all the commandments of the 
Lord blameless.' The apostles were rich in grace, and they lived up to 
this principle : 2 Cor. i. 12, 'This is our rejoicing, the testimony of our 
conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, we have had our 
conversation in the world.' So in 1 Thes. ii. 10, 'Ye are witnesses, and 
God also, how holily, justly, and unblameably, we have behaved our- 
selves among you that believe.' Oh ! here are souls that live up to 
their principles. A Christian that is rich in grace is excellent all 

George, prince of Anhalt his family is said to have been ecclesia, 
academia, curia, a church, a university, and a court. A Christian that 
is rich in grace hath a heart as large as his head, yea, a heart that is as 
large as the whole will of God : Acts xiii. 22, ' I have found David the 
son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, which shall fulfil all my will' 
In the Greek it is, all ony wills, ^sX^J.^ara, to note the universality and 
sincerity of his obedience. Souls rich in grace practise that themselves 
which they prescribe to others. Lessons of miisic and copies must not 
be read only, but acted also. Souls rich in grace are good at this, and 
they will be good in all places and cases. They are as good at the 
particular duties of religion, as at those that are more general ; they 
are good fathers, and good masters, and good husbands, as well as good 
Christians, in a more general sense. But now souls that have but a little 
grace, they are much in the general duties of religion^ but very defective 
in the particular duties of religion, as sad experience doth abundantly 
evidence. Those that have a blemish in their eye, think the sky to be 
ever cloudy ; and nothing is more common to weak spirits, than to be 
criticising and contending about other duties, and to neglect their own. 
But such that are rich in grace, make it their glory to subject them- 
selves to the rule of righteausness ; as Baldasser, a German minister, 
cried out. Let the word of the Lord come, let it come, saith he, and we 
will submit to it, if we had many hundred necks to put under. It 
must be much grace that must enable a man freely, fully, and sweetly 
to subject himself and his actions to the word of the Lord. 

(4.) FouHhly^ It is your principle, that you must deny yourselves, 
your own profit, ease, pleasure, &c., for a public good. 

And this the Scripture requires. It is your principle to deny your- 
selves, your own honour, pleasure, profit, &c., for a public advantage, 
when your particular advantages stand in competition with the public. 
Now self must be laid by, and the public must carry the day. Oh, but 
will a little grace enable a man to live up to this principle ! Woful 
experience shews the contrary. Ay, but now, take me a man that is 
rich in grace, and he will live up to this golden principle, as you may 
see in Nehem. v, 14-18. Nehemiah was a man eminent in grace, and 
he chose rather to live upon his own purse than upon the public 
purse : ' Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their 
governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even unto the 
thirty-second year of Artaxerxes the kinsf, that is, twelve years, I and 
my brethren have not eaten the bread of the governor. Behold the 

EpH. hi. 8.] RICHES OF CHRIST. 107 

former governors that had been before me, were chargeable unto the 
people, and had taken of them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of 
silver ; yea, even their servants did bear rule over the- people : but so 
did not I, because of the fear of God. Yea, also I continued in the 
work of this wall, neither bought we any land : and all my servants 
were gathered thither unto the work. Moreover, there were at my 
table an hundred and fifty of the Jews and rulers, besides those that 
came in to us from among the heathen. And yet for all this,' saith he, 
' I required not the bread of the governor, because the bondage was 
heavy upon the people.' Oh, here was a brave spirit indeed ; he was far 
from enriching himself by others' ruins, from emptying others' purses to 
till his own. But he is dead, and it seems this brave spirit is buried 
with him. There are few of his name, and fewer of his spirit, if any in 
this world, and therefore well might he pray, ' Think upon me, my 
God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.' And 
accordingly God did think upon him for good, and made him very- 
famous and glorious in his generation.^ And that is a remarkable 
passage concerning Moses : Num. xiv. 12-21, *I will smite them with 
the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a great 
nation, and mightier than they,' saith God to Moses. ' Therefore let me 
alone to destroy them and cut them off, for they are a rebellious genera- 
tion. And I will make thee a mightier nation for honour, riches, and 
power, than they. Nay,' saith Moses, ' this may not be. Lord.' Oh, the 
people must be spared, the people must be pardoned, and the people 
must have thy presence with them, and rather than it should be other- 
wise, let my name. Lord, be blotted out of the book of life. Lord ! I 
care not how ill it goes with my particular, so they may live. Can the 
self-seekers of our age think seriously of this and not blush ? 

So Mordecai was a man of a brave public spirit : Esther x. 3, ' Mor- 
decai the Jew was next unto King Ahasuerus, and great among the 
Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth 
of his people.' Or as the Hebrew hath it, ' Seeking good for his peo- ' 
pie ;' that is, he made it his business to seek their good. Christ also 
was full of grace, and had a brave public spirit ; he laid out himself 
and laid down himself for a public good ; and so did Paul, &c. Few in 
our days are of his opinion and mind, who was rather willing to beautify 
Italy than his own house.^ ' That pilot dies nobly,' saith Seneca, ' who 
perisheth in the storm with the helm in his hand.' Such that seek 
themselves more than the public good must be served as ^sop did his 
fellow-servant ; he gave him warm water to drink, by which means he 
vomited up the stolen figs. Friends, it is not a little grace that will 
make- a man prefer the public good, above his own particular good, but 
much grace will ; therefore labour to be rich in grace.^ 

(5.) Fifthly, It is your principle, that you are to do the duties that 
God requires of you, and quietly leave the issues and events of all to 
the wise dispose of God. 

Mt is a base and unworthy spiiit for a man to make himself the centre of all his 
actions. The very heathen man could say, A man's country and his friends, and others, 
challenge a great part of him. 

2 Lorenzo the Magnificent. — G. 

•' Christ healed others, but was hurt himself; he fed and filled others, but was hungry 
himself, &c. 


But pray tell me, will a little grace enable a mau to live up to this 
principle, to do his duty, and to leave issues and events to him to whom 
they belong ? Surely no. Eccles. ix. 10, ' Whatsoever thy hand lindeth 
to do, do it with all thy might, for there is no work, nor device, nor 
knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest. Mark, he 
doth not say, what thy head finds to do, for that may find a thousand 
things ; nor what thy heart finds to do, for that may find ten thousand 
things ; but what thy hand finds to do ; that is, look what work God cuts 
out to thy hand to do, that do with all thy might, for there is no work- 
ing in the grave. We are to do much good in a little time ; we are 
made here, and set to be a-doing something that may do us good a' 
thousand years hence, yea, that may stand us in stead to eternity. Our 
time is short, our task is great, the devil knows that his time is but 
short, and that is the reason why he is so active and stirring, why he 
does outwork the children of light, in a quick despatch of the deeds of 
darkness. Christians, do not deceive yourselves ; it is not shows of 
grace, nor little measures of grace, that will enable a man to live up to 
this principle, but great measures of grace will, as you may see in the 
three children, * We are not careful to answer thee, O king, in this matter; 
if it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning 
fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hands, king. But if 
not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor 
worship the golden image which thou hast set up.' We know our duty, 
and that we will keep to, whatever the issue and event be. So those 
worthies, Ps. xliv. 19, 'Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of 
dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death, yet have we not 
forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant.' Here 
was much of Christ and grace within. So in Acts xxi., when Paul was 
to go up to Jerusalem to suffer, his friends, by many tears and arguments, 
laboured to dissuade him, for fear of some sad issue and event that would 
follow. But Paul, rich in grace, answered, * What mean ye to weep, and 
break ray heart, for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at 
Jerusalem, for the name of the Lord Jesus.' I will go up to Jerusalem, 
and I am willing to go up, though I die for it. Ay, here is a soul that 
lives up to his principle, Ay, but now souls that are weak in grace, as 
we have had large experience of it in our times, they are more taken 
up and busied about the events and issues of things, than they are with 
their o^vn duties.^ When they should be a-praying, a-believing, a-waiting, 
and acting for God, they have been a-questioning and fearing what the 
issue and event of this, and that, and the other thing would be. And 
indeed they have been high and low, as secondary causes have wrought, 
which hath made many of their lives a very hell. But now those that 
are rich in grace, they say as once he did, 'Let us 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. 10-12. Let us do our 
duties, and let. the Lord do as pleaseth him, &c. 

(6.) Sixthly, It is your principle, that men are to he prepared, and 
to standfast against all sadden assaidts and invasions that may be 
made vpon them. 

Many a valiant person dares fight in a battle or a duel, who yet w^ill 
' Many of the English have in this been like the Israelites, &c. 



be timorous and fearful if suddenly surprised in a midnight alarm. 
Many precious souls, when they have time to consider of the evil of sin, 
the holiness of God, the eye of God, the honour of God, the glory of the 
gospel, the joys of the saints, and the stopping of the mouths of sinners, 
will rather die than sin ; they will rather suffer anything than do the 
least thing that may be a reproach to Christ. Oh ! but when a sudden 
occasion or temptation is presented, why, then they often fall ; as David, 
by chance, spied Bathsheba washing herself, and falls before tlie tempta- 
tion ; he is conquered and carried captive by that sudden occasion. 
But that is a more comfortable and considerable passage that you have 
concerning Joseph, in Gen. xlix 23, 24, * The archers sorely grieved 
him,' saith the text, ' and shot at him, and hated him : but his bow 
abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the 
hands of the mighty God of Jacob.' Joseph never wanted counsel nor 
courage when he was at the worst. Souls rich in grace usually stand 
firm under the greatest and sudden est pressures, assaults, and invasions, 
as you may see in Paul, 2 Cor. i. 9-12 ; and so the three children ; and 
so Daniel ; and so those worthies, Heb. xi. 35, * They would not accept 
of deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.' Many 
sudden assaults and attempts were made upon them ; their enemies 
would fain have stormed them, and overcome them ; sometimes by 
golden offers, sometimes by terrible threats, but they are invincible ; 
nothing stirs them, nothing takes them. Really, friends, it must be 
much grace that will make a man live up to this principle ; and there 
is nothing that speaks out more the strength of grace in a man, than 
his standing against sudden assaults and invasions that by the devil and 
the world are made upon him. You may talk of this, but without much 
grace you will never be able to do it, &c. 

(7.) Seventhly and lastly. It is your principle, that your hearts are 
to he ready for every work that God shall impose upon you. 

You are not to choose your employment, neither are you to refuse any 
employment that God shall put upon you. You are always to have an 
open ear, a ready hand, an obedient heart, and a willing cheerful soul 
to fall in with what work or service soever it is that God shall put upon 
you ; this is your principle. Ay, but tell me. Christians, will a little 
grace enable a man to live up to this principle ? I judge not. You 
are to stand ready to change your employment from better to worse, if 
the Lord shall be pleased to order it so. You are to be ready to change 
your crown for a cross • to change that employment that is honourable, 
for that that is mean and low ; and that which is more profitable, for 
that which is less profitable : as it were from the ruling of a province, 
to the keeping of a herd ; from being a lord, to be a servant ; from 
being a servant to great men ; to be a servant to the meanest servant, 
yea, to the poorest beast. Certainly a little grace will never enable a 
man bravely and sweetly to live up to this principle. Their hearts that 
are poor in grace, are like a wounded hand or arm, which being but 
imperfectly cured, can only move one way, and cannot turn to all postures 
and all natural uses. 

Weak Christians are very apt to three things, to choase their mercies, 
to choose their crosses, and to choose their employments. 

They are often unwilling that God himself should choose out their way 


or their work. But now souls that are rich in grace, they are at God's 
beck and check ; they are willing that God shall choose their work and 
their way ; they are willing to be at his dispose ; to be high or low ; to 
serve or to be served ; to be something or to be nothing, &c. Now I 
beseech you, Christians, that you would seriously and frequently re- 
member this, that there is nothing in all the world that is such an 
honour to God, and a glory to the gospel, as for Christians to live up to 
their principles ; nor nothing such a reproach to God and his ways, as 
this, for men to live below their principles, and to act contrary to their 
principles. And you will never be able to live up to your principles, 
nor to live out your principles, except you grow rich in grace ; therefore 
labour, I say, labour as for life, to abound in grace, &c. 

[5.J Now the fifth motive is this, consider that souls rich in grace 
are a mighty blessing to the land and place where they live. 

There are no such blessings in the world to parishes, cities, and 
nations, as those souls are, that are rich in grace. Oh they are great 
blessings to all places where they come ; they are persons that are fit 
for the highest and noblest employments. There is not the highest 
work that is too high for a man that is rich in grace ; nor the hottest 
work that is too hot for a man rich in grace ; nor the lowest work be- 
low a man rich in grace. Such a man will not say, I would do it, but 
that it is below my place, my blood, my parts, my education. May 
Christ have honour ? may others have good ? If so, I will do it, saith 
the soul that is rich in grace, whatever comes of it, and bless God for 
the opportunity : Dan. vi. 3, ^ Then this Daniel was preferred above 
the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him ; 
and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.' Why was 
Daniel set upon the throne, but because there was a glorious excellent 
spirit in him, that fitted him for the highest employment ? So Joseph 
was a blessing to his master's family, and the people among whom he 
lived. No such blessings to people and places, as souls rich in grace. 
So in Neh. vii. 2, ' I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler 
of the palace, charge over Jerusalem ;' and why he ? 'for he was a faith- 
ful man, and feared God above many.' Oh the wisdom, the prudence, 
the zeal, the courage, the compassion, the patience, the self denial, that 
should be in magistrates ! There is a truth in that old maxim, magi- 
stratus virum indicat, magistracy will try a man. None fit to rule, 
but such that are rich in grace ; such a one will be pater patrice, father 
of his country. What a world of good may a man do with worldly 
riches, in a parish, in a city, in a nation ! but that is nothing to the 
good that a man may do that is rich in grace. Oh the sins that he may 
prevent ! Oh the judgments that he may divert ! Oh the favours and 
blessings that he may draw down upon the heads and hearts of 
people ! I presume you forget not what a blessing Moses, Joseph, Job, 
Nehemiah, Mordecai, and Daniel, proved to the people among whom they 
lived ; and these were all rich in grace. A man rich in wisdom, rich in 
faith, rich in goodness, &c., oh what a blessing may he prove to 
ignorant souls, to staggering souls, to wandering souls, to tempted souls, 
to deserted souls, &c. Look, what the sun is to us, that may a soul rich 
in grace be to others, &c. O friends ! would you be blessings to your 
families ? would you be blessings to the city, to the nation ? Oh then 


labour to be rich in grace, and do not think it enough that you have so 
much grace as will keep you from dropping into hell, and that will bring 
you to heaven ; but labour to be rich in grace, and then you will prove 
indeed a blessing to the place and nation where you live. 

The Romans, when they did perceive any natural excellency to be in 
any persons, though they were never so poor and mean, they would take 
them from their dinners of turnips and water-cresses, to lead the Roman 
army.^ It is true, that natural and moral endowments will enable men 
to do much ; but grace will enable men to do ten thousand times more. 
There is no work too high nor too hard for souls rich in grace ; and 
therefore, as you would be choice instruments in the Lord's hand, and 
eminently serviceable in your generations, oh labour to be rich in grace 1 
It is not he that hath most wit in his head, but he that hath most grace 
in his heart, that is most fit for generation-work. 

[6.] Sixthly, A rich measure of grace will bear out your souls in 
several cases, therefore labour to be rich in grace. 

A rich measure of grace will bear out the soul under great means of 
grace. When a soul is spiritually rich, this will bear him out under 
great means. Such a one will be able to look God in the face with joy 
and comfort ; he can say. It is true, Lord, I have had more means than 
others, and lo ! I am grown richer than others. Thou hast taken more 
pains with me than with others, and lo ! I bring forth more fruit than 
others : my live talents are become ten. But a little grace will not 
bear men out under much means of grace.^ 

Again, A great measure of grace will bear the soul out und-er a great 
name, as well as under great means. For a man to have a great name 
to live, and yet to have but a little life, is a stroke of strokes ; to be 
high in name and little in worth, is a very sad and sore judgment.^ To 
have a name to be an eminent Christian, and yet to be poor in faith, 
in love, in wisdom, in knowledge, &c., is the greatest unhappiness in the 
world. This stroke is upon many in these days. But that which is 
saddest of all is this, they feel it not, they observe it not. But now he 
that is rich in grace, hath something within that will bear him out un- 
der a great name in the world. 

Again, a great measure of grace will bear you out under great desires, 
as well as under a great name. A man that is rich in grace may ask 
what he pleases ; he is one much in with God, and God will deny him 
nothing. The best of the best is for this man; he may have anything; 
he may have everything that heaven affordeth. He is able to improve 
much, and therefore he may ask much, and have it. 

It was a sweet saying of one, * Lord, I never come to thee but by 
thee, I never go from thee without thee.'* 

8ozomen saith of ApoUonius, that he never asked anything of God, 
but he had it. 

And another, speaking of Luther, saith. Hie homo potuit apud Deum 
quod voluit, He could have what he would of God. Rich men may 

• As those that were called among the Romans the Curii [Curiatii ? — G.] and Fabiicii, 

'^ The golden name of Christians is but as an ornament to swine, saith Salvian. He 
means such as content tliemselves with an empty name. 

3 Quid libi prodest nomm, ubi res non invcnitur ? what will the name avail, whore the 
thing is wanting ? saith Augustine. * Ambrose, as htfore. — G. 


long for this and that, and have it ; they have something that will fetch 
it, but poor men may not. Oh ! now, who would not labour as for life, 
to be rich in grace ? Oh ! this will bear you out under great means, and 
under great names, and under great desires ; therefore, rest not satis- 
fied with a little grace. 

But then, seventhly and lastly, 

[7.] Souls rich in grace are the honour of Christ, and the glory of 

As it is the glory of the stock, when the grafts grow and thrive in it, 
even so it is the glory of Christ when those that are ingrafted into him 
thrive and grow. This declares to all the world that Christ keeps a 
good house, and that he doth not feed his children with trash, but with 
the choicest delicates ; that he is open-handed and free-hearted. It is 
the glory of the father when the child grows rich under him, and the 
glory of the master when the servant grows rich under him ; and so it 
is the glory of Christ when poor souls grow rich under him. The name 
of Christ, and the honour of Christ, is kept up in the world by souls 
that are rich in grace. They are the persons that make others think 
well and speak well of Christ. You may at your leisure read the first 
and second epistles to the Thessalonians, and there you shall see what 
an honour they were to the Lord Jesus and the gospel who abounded 
in spiritual riches. Such Christians that are like to Pharaoh's lean kine 
reproach three at once, God, the gospel, and their teachers : and this 
age is full of such Christians. It is your greatest work in this world to 
keep up the honour and the glory of the Lord, and this you can never, 
you will never do, except you labour to be rich in grace. Let others 
* labour for the meat that perisheth,' do you * labour for that which en- 
dureth to everlasting life.' When you come to die, and when you come 
to make up your accounts, it will never be a giief, but a joy unto you, 
that you have made it your greatest business and work in this world to 
be rich in grace. 

But here you may say, 

What means must we use that we may grow rich in grace ? 

1 answer : 

[] .] First, Let no discouragements take you off from labouring to 
be enriched with spiritual riches. 

A soul that would be spiritually rich must be divinely resolved, that 
come what can come, he will hold on in the use of means, that he 
may be rich with the riches of Christ. Joshua was resolute in this 
point : ' Choose you whom ye will serve, whether the Lord, or those other 
gods that your fathers served ; as for my part, I and my house will serve 
the Lord,' Josh. xxiv. 15 ; Luke xiii. 24?, ' Strive to enter in at the strait 
gate."* The Greek word signifies, ' to strive with all your might,' with 
all j^our strength, to strive even to an agony, to strive as they did for 
the garlands in the Olympic games. The word here used seemeth to 
allude to their striving for the garland, where they put out themselves 
to the utmost. So in John vi. 27, * Labour not for the meat that perish- 
eth, but for that which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of 
man shall give unto you, for him hath God the Father sealed.'^ 

' Many men are like Cicero, not thoroughly resolved in themselves whether to follow 


I have read of one that did not fear what he did, nor what he suffered, 
so he might get riches : ' For,' saith he, * men do not ask how good one 
is, or how gracious one is, but how rich one is.' Oh, sirs ! the day is 
a-coming when God will ask how rich your souls are ; how rich you are, 
in faith, in wisdom, in knowledge, in fear, &c. ; and not how rich 
you are in money, or in jewels, or in land, or in goods, but how rich are 
you in grace ; which should provoke your souls to strive in the face of 
all discouragements to be rich in grace. What will not the merchant 
do, and the mariner do, for these temporal riches ? Oh the dangers, the 
hazards, the tempests, the storms, the deaths that they run through for 
earthly riches, which are never without their sting ! And shall not 
Christians labour in the face of all oppositions after spiritual riches ? 

It is reported of Nevessan the lawyer, that he should say, ' He that 
will not venture his body can never be valiant ; and he that will not 
venture his soul will never be rich.' I am sure that man that will 
not venture, and venture hard, in the face of all discouragements, to 
be spiritually rich, will never be rich. He may be good in the main, and 
may go to heaven in a storm ; but he will never be rich in spirituals, that 
will not venture himself to the uttermost for the gain of spiritual riches. 

[2.] Secondly, Be fixed under a Christ-exalting and a soul-enrich- 
ing ministry. 

Under that man's ministry that makes it his business ; not a thing 
by the by but his business, his work ; not to tickle the ear, to please 
the fancy, but to enrich the soul, to win the soul, and to build up the 
soul. 2 Tim. iv. 3, * For the time will come when they will not endure 
sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap up to them- 
selves teachers, having itching ears.' This age, yea, this city is full of 
such slight, light, mad souls, that love nor like nothing but what is 
empty and airy. 

Jimius confesses, ' that in his time there was one confessed that he had 
spent above twenty years in trying religions,' pretending that scripture, 
* Try all things, and hold fast that which is good.' It is sad to see how 
many in our days, under pretences of angelical attainments, make it 
their business to enrich men's heads with high, empty, airy notions, 
instead of enriching their souls with saving truths. If these are not 
strangers to that wisdom that is from above, I know nothing. Prov. xi. 
30, ' He that winneth souls is wise.' The Hebrew word signifies to 
catch souls, by using all art and industry, as fowlers do to take birds.^ 
No wisdom to that which wins souls from sin and the world, and that 
wins souls to Christ and holiness ; no teaching to this. Remember this, 
you will never be rich in grace if you care not who you hear, nor what 
you hear. That Christ that commands you to take heed how you hear, 
commands you also to take heed who you hear. And every soul won 
to God is a new pearl added to a minister's crown, &c. 

But you will say to me. 

How should we know which is a soul-enriching ministry, that so 
we may luait on it ? 

Potnpey or Csesar ; the riches of this world, or the riches of another world : such men 
will still be poor. 

' np?"!. He is the best preacher, not that tickles the ear, but that breaks the 
heart. iVon qui aurcs Utigerit, std qui cor pupugerit. 


Take these three rules: 

(1.) First, Judge not of the soul-enrichiug ministry by the voice of 
the minister, nor by the multitude of hearers that follow him, nor by his 
affected tone, nor by his rhetoric and flashes of wit, but by the holiness, 
heavenliness, and spiritualness of the matter.* 

Some preachers affect rhetorical strains ; they seek abstrusities, and 
love to hover and soar aloft in dark and cloudy expressions, and so shoot 
their arrows over their hearers' heads, instead of bettering their hearers' 
hearts. Gay things in a sermon are only for men to gaze upon and 
admire. What are high strains and flashes of wit, new-minted words 
and phrases, but like gay weeds and blue bottles to the good corn. 
Truth is like Solomon's spouse, 'all glorious within.'^ She is most 
beautiful when most naked, as Adam was in innocency. 

The oracle would have Philip of Macedon use silver lances in winning 
an impregnable fort, &c., but ministers must not use golden sentences, 
strong lines, froth of wit. It is iron, and not gold, that killeth in the 
encounter. It is the steel sword, not the golden, that winneth the 
field, &c' 

(2.) Secondly, Judge of it by its revealing the whole counsel of God, 
the whole will of God, revealed in his word.* 

In Acts XX. 27, ' For I have not shunned to declare unto you the 
whole counsel of God.' Some there be that make it their business only 
to advance the glory of Christ, and to darken the glory of the Father ; 
and some cry up the glory of the Father, and yet cast clouds and dark- 
ness upon the glory of the Son. And what dirt and scorn is cast upon the 
Spirit by many vain, blasphemous persons in these times is notoriously 
known ; and if these men are not far from declaring the whole counsel 
and will of God, I know nothing. Christ must be held out in all his 
offices, for they all tend to the enriching of poor souls, to the adding of 
pearls to a Christian's crown. And clearly it is sad to consider how 
many there be that cry up one office and cry down another. Some cry 
up the kingly office of Christ, but mind not his prophetical office ; and 
some cry up his prophetical office, but trample upon his kingly office ; 
and some cry up both his kingly and prophetical office, and yet make < 
slight of his priestly office. Christians, fix yourselves under his ministry 
that gives the Father his due, the Son his due, and the Spirit his due ; 
that makes it his business to open the treasures and the riches both of 
the one and the other, and to declare to you the whole will of God ; 
for many there be that 'withhold the word in unrighteousness,' Rom.i. ] 8, 
and that will only acquaint you with some parts of the will of God, and 
keep you ignorant of other parts, whose condemnation will be great as 
well as just, &c.^ 

(3.) Thirdly and lastly. You may judge of it by its coming nearest 
to the ministry of Christ and his apostles.* 

• Many ministers are like empty orators, that have a flood of words and a drop of 
matter. Malta loquuntur et nihil dicunl. 

2 Rather The Spouse, the Church: Ps. xlv. 13.— G. 

3 Non quaiiia eloquentia sed quanta evidentia. — Augustine. 

* Optimvs texfuarius est optimus theologus. 

•■* Aglutaidas never relished any dish better than what was distasted by others. So do 
serious experienced saints relish those very truths best that such corrupt teachers dis- 
taste most, &c. 

fi Melius est ut nos rqtrehendant grammatici quam ut non intelligant populi. — Augustine in 


There was no ministry so soul-enriching and soul-winning as the 
ministry of Christ and his apostles. Oh ! the thousands that were 
brought in by one exercise ! Let men of frothy wits say what they 
will, there are no preachers to these that come nearest in their ministry 
to Christ and his apostles. Loquamur verba Scripturce, &c., said that 
incomparable man, Peter Hamus : ' Let us speak the very words of 
Scripture, for so did Christ, the prophets, and apostles ; let us make use 
of the language of the Holy Ghost, and for ever abominate those that 
profanely disdain at the stately plainness of God's blessed book, and 
that think to correct the divine wisdom and eloquence with their own 
infancy^ and sophistry.' God's holy things ought to be handled with 
fear and reverence, rather than with wit and dalliance. Spiritual nice- 
ness is tlie next degree to unfaithfulness. No ministry to that which 
comes nearest to Christ, &c. 

[3.] The third direction is this. If ever you would he rich in grace, 
be rich in spirituals, then keep humble. 

Ps. XXV. 9, ' The humble he will teach his way, and the meek he will 
guide in judgment ; James iv. 6, * He resists the proud, but gives grace 
to the humble.' ' He sets himself in battle-array against the proud,' 
as the Greek hath it, * but he gives grace to the humble.' He pours 
grace into an humble soul, as men do water or wine into an empty ves- 
sel. Of all souls, humble souls do most prize spiritual riches ; of all 
souls they most improve spiritual riches ; of all souls they are most fear- 
ful of losing spiritual riches. In Isa. Ivii. 15, 'Thus saith the high 
and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, With him will I dwell that is of 
an humble and contrite spirit, and that trembles at my word.' The 
word there rendered dwell is an Hebrew participle, and signifies dwell- 
ing. * Thus saith the high and lofty One, dwelling with him that is of 
an humble and a contrite spirit.' Humility, as the violet, though the 
lowest, yet is the sweetest of flowers. The word notes to us thus much : 
that God will not dwell with an humble man as a wayfaring man 
dwells with his relations, a few nights and away. Dwelling notes a 
constant and hot a transient act of God. God will for ever keep house 
with the humble soul ; when once they meet, they never part. There 
is no such way to be rich as to be poor and low in our own eyes. This 
is the way to enjoy his company in whom all treasures are. 

[4.] Fourthly, Improve the riches that you have. 

Improve that knowledge, that faith, that light, that love that you 
have. Those that had two talents did, by the improvement of them, 
gain other two ; and those that had five did, by the improvement of 
them, gain ten : Prov. x. 4, * The diligent hand maketh rich.' Take 
hold of all opportunities to enrich your souls with spiritual riches. Men 
will easily, readily, greedily, and unweariedly close with all opportunities 
wherein they may get earthly riches ; and why should not you be as 
diligent in taking hold of all opportunities to enrich your precious 
souls 1^ Is not the soul more than raiment, more than friends, more 

Psalm cxxxviii. Christ and his apostles laboured to make men^ Christians, and not 
critics. ^ = ' Childishness': another Shakesperean word: Titus Andron., v. 8. — G. 

2 The Radix, Harats, is to dig in the ground for gold, whence Harats, fine precious 
gold, Prov. xvi. 16 [}*1"inD]. The neglect of golden, soul-enriching opportunities, hath 
made many a man's life a hell, yea, many a courtier s life a hell, as all know that know 
anything of history, &c. 


than relations, more than life, yea, more than all ? And why, then, do 
you not labour to enrich your souls ? Thou wert better have a rich 
soul under a thread-bare coat, than a thread-bare soul under a silk or 
golden coat. If he be a monster among men, that makes liberal pro- 
vision for his servant, his slave, and starves his wife, what a monster is 
he that makes much provision for his baser part, but none for his noble 
part ! A slothful heart in the things of God is a heavy judgment : 
Prov. iv. 31, ' I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of 
the man void of understanding,' or, as the Hebrew hath it, ' the man 
that had no heart,' that is, to make use of his vineyard, ' and lo, it was 
all grown over with thorns and nettles,' &c. Oh the lusts, the wicked- 
nesses that will overgrow slothful, sluggish souls ! Spiritual sluggards 
are subject to the saddest strokes. Oh the deadly sins, the deadly 
temptations, the deadly judgments that spiritual sluggards will unavoid- 
ably fall under ! None such an enemy to himself, none such a friend 
to Satan, as the spiritual sluggard. It is sad to think how the riches of 
Christ, the riches of consolation, the riches of justification, the riches of 
glorification, are brought to many men's doors, and yet they have no 
hearts to embrace them : no judgment to this. ' Wherefore is there a 
price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to 
it ?' Prov, xvii. 16. Well, spiritual sluggards, remember this, when 
your consciences are awakened, this will be a sword in your souls, that 
you might have been saved, you might have been spiritually and 
eternally enriched, but that you have trifled and fooled away golden 
opportunities and your own salvation. Wealth without wit is ill be- 
stowed, &c. 

[5.] Fiftlily, Walk uprightly, holily, and obedientiaUy. 

If ever you would be spiritually rich, look to your walking. It is 
not the knowing soul, nor the talking soul, but the close-walking soul, 
the obediential soul, that is in spirituals the richest soul. Others may be 
rich in notions, but none so rich in spiritual experiences, and in all holy 
and heavenly grace, as close-walking Christians : Ps. Ixxxiv. 11, ' The 
Lord will give grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from 
them that walk uprightly.' The upright walker shall be both of his 
court and council ; he shall know anything, and have anything. In 
John xiv. 21, 23, compared, ' If any man love me, he will keep my com- 
mandments, and I will love him, and my Father will love him.' What 
then ? * We will make our abode with him, and will manifest ourselves 
to him.' Certainly they cannot be poor that enjoy such guests as these; 
they must needs be full who enjoy them that are fulness itself. God 
and Christ are overflowing fountains, and holy souls find it so.^ 

[6.] Sixthly, Be most in with those souls that are spiritually 

Let them be thy choicest companions, that have made Christ their 
chiefest companion. Do not so much eye the outsides of men, as their 
inside ; look most to their internal worth. Many persons have an eye 
upon the external garb of this and that professor, but give me a Chris- 
tian that minds the internal worth of persons, that makes such as are 

' When my heart is coldest and highest, I present God to my soul under the notions 
of his gi eatness ; but when my heart is loose and fearing, then I present God to my soul 
under the notion of his goodness, saith Luther. 


most filled with the fulness of God, to be his choicest and his chiefest 

In Ps. xvi. 2, ' My goodness extends not to thee,' says Dtivid, — now 
David speaks in the person of Christ, — ' but to the saints that are in the 
earth, in whom is all my delight/ There are saints, and there are ex- 
cellent saints. Now those are the excellent ones, that are most rich in 
heavenly treasures ; and these you should make your bosom friends, 
your choicest companions : Prov. xiii. 20, ' He that walketh with wise 
men shall be wise ;' that is, he shall be more wise, more humble, more 
holy, and more abounding in all spiritual riches. The word ll^n that is 
rendered walk, is an Hebrew participle, and signifies walking ; to note 
to us, that it is not he that talks with the wise, nor he that commends 
the wise, nor he that takes a step or two or three with the wise, that 
shall be wise, but he that gives up himself to the society and company 
of the wise, that shall be more and more wise, more and more gracious, 
more and more holy. He that cometh where sweet spices or ointments 
are stirring, doth carry away some of the sweet savour, though himself 
think not of it. The spouse's lips drop as the honeycomb : Cant. iv. 
10, 'The tongue of the just is as choice silver,' he scatters pearls, he 
throws abroad treasures where he comes : Prov. xv. 7, * The lips of the 
wise disperse knowledge.' The Hebrew word, ^1^'', from zarah, is 
a metaphor from scattering abroad with a fan, or from seedsmen 
scattering abroad of their seed in the furrows of the field. They scatter 
their light, their love, their experiences, among those with whom they 
converse, as seedsmen scatter their seed in the field. Christ says his 
spouse's lips are like a thread of scarlet, with talking of nothing but a 
crucified Christ ; and thin like a thread, not swelled with other vain 
and wicked discourses. 

The old zealous primitive Christians did so frequently, and so effect- 
ually mind and talk of the kingdom of heaven, and of the riches and 
glory of that state, that the Ethnicks^ began to be a little jealous that 
they affected the Roman empire ; when, alas,^ their ambition was of an- 
other and a nobler nature : Ps. xxxvii. 30, ' The mouth of the righteous 
speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh judgment ; for the law of the 
Lord is in his heart.' Prov. xii. 28, ' The tongue of the wise is health, 
his tongue is a tree of life, whose leaves are medicinable.' No way 
to be rich in spirituals, like being much in with precious souls, whose 
tongues drop marrow and fatness.^ 

Utterance is a gift ; and dumb Christians are blameworthy, as well 
as dumb ministers. We should all strive to a holy ability and dexterity of 
savoury discourse. If Christ should come to many of us, as he did to 
his two disciples, in that last of Luke, on Sabbath days and other times, 
and say to us, as to them, ' What manner of communication had ye,' 
or have ye ? oh ! with what paleness of face and sadness of counte- 
nance should we look ! The story of Loquere ut videam is common. 
* Speak that I may see thee,' said Socrates to a fair boy. When the 

» ' Heathen.'— G. 

' See Index, sub voce, for other similar uses of this interjection. — G. 

3 The very heathen man could say, Quando sapiens loquitur aurea animi aperit, when 
a wise man speaketh, he openeth the rich treasures and wardrobe of his mind, &c. 
[Seneca often in the Epistolcs. — G.] 



heart is full, it ot^erfloweth in speech. We know metals by their tink- 
ling, and men by their talking. Happy was that tongue in the primi- 
tive time, that could sound out Aliquid Davidicum, anything of David's 
doing ; but much more happy is he that speaks out Aliquid Christi, 
anything of Christ from experience. 

[7.] Seventhly, If ever you would be spiritually rich, then take heed 
of eating or tasting of forbidden fruit. 

This stripped Adam of his crown, of his jewels, and of all his rich 
ornaments in a moment, and of the richest and greatest prince that 
ever breathed, made him the miserablest beggar that ever lived. Oh 
take heed of tasting of poison, of eating of poison. A person that hath 
ate poison will not thrive, let him take never such wholesome food. 
The choicest cordials will not increase blood, and spirits, and strength, 
but the man will throw up all. Poor souls that have been tasting of 
poison, are apt to find fault with the minister, and sometimes with this 
and that, as the cause of their not growing rich in spirituals ; when, 
alas ! the only cause is their eating of poison. These are like him in 
Seneca, that having a thorn in his foot, complained of the roughness of 
the way as the cause of his limping. Sirs, it is not the minister, nor 
this, nor that, but your eating of forbidden fruit, that is the cause of 
your non-thriving in spirituals. Sin is the soul's sickness, and nothing 
more prejudices growth than sickness. Christians, if ever you would 
be trees, not only having the leaves of honour, but the fruits of righteous- 
ness, then take heed of sin, abhor it more than hell, and fly from it as 
from your deadliest enemy, &c.^ 

[8.] Eighthly and lastly. Be sure to maintain a secret trade with God. 

You know many men come to be very rich in the world by a secret 
trade. Though many have not such an open trade as others, yet they 
have a more secret trade, and by that they gain very great estates, as 
many of you here in London know by experience.^ Take it, friends, as 
an experienced truth, there is no such way under heaven, to be rich in 
spirituals, as by driving of a secret trade heaven-wards. It is true, it is 
good for men to attend upon this, and that, and the other public ad- 
ministration ; for in all divine administrations God shews his beauty 
and glory. Ay, but such that delight to be more upon the public stage 
than in the closet, will never be rich in spirituals. They may grow rich 
in notions, but they will never grow rich in gracious experiences, Ps. 
Ixiii. '2, 3 ; xxvii, 4 ; Ixxxiv. 10. Oh ! God loves to see a poor Chris- 
tian shut his closet door, Mat. vi. 6, and then to open his bosom, and 
pour out his soul before him. God hath very choice discoveries for 
souls that drive a secret trade ; the best wine, the best dainties and 
delicates are for such. And I never knew any man or woman in my 
life, that was richer in grace, than those that were much in closet com- 
munion with God. Much of a Christian's spiritual strength lies in 
secret prayer, as Samson's did in his hair. Nothing charms Satan^ and 
weakens sin, like this. Secret prayers are the pillars of smoke wherein 
the soul ascendeth to God, out of the wilderness of this world. Secret 

^ Becanns tells tis that the tree of knowledge was ficus indica, and that it bears many 
leaves and little fruit ; and so it with those that taste and eat of forbidden fruit, &c. 

2 Acts X. 3, 9 ; Gen. xxi. 33 ; Exod. xiv. 15 ; 1 Sam. i. 13. 

3 ♦ Charms away? — G. 


prayer is Jacob's ladder, where you have God descending down into the 
soul, and the soul sweetl}^ ascending up to God. No way to be rich 
in spirituals like this. Therefore be sure to maintain and keep up a 
secret trade between God and your own souls. Oh let God hear often 
of you in secret. In Cant. vii. 5, ' The king is held in the galleries.' 
Oh ! in the secret walks, the soul meets with the King of glory. Oh ! 
there the soul hangs upon Christ ; there the soul sucks and draws 
virtue from Christ ; and there the soul is made rich with the riches of 
Christ. Christ is much delighted and taken with secret prayer : Cant, 
ii. 14, ' my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places 
of the stairs,' that art got into a hole, * let me hear thy voice, let me 
see thy countenance ; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is 
lovely.' Secret meals are very fattening, and secret duties are very soul- 
enriching. Christians! set more close to this work, and if you don't 
thrive by it, trust me no more. And thus you see by what means you 
may grow rich in grace. 

3. The third thing I propounded to speak to was, 

Some propositions concerning spiritual riche&. 

And the first proposition is this r 

[1.] All that do grow rich in grace, they grow rich gradually. 

The sun ascends by degrees; children, plants, and trees they grow by de- 
grees; so do saints in spirituals It is true, many men as to temporals, 
by the death of some friend, or this and that providence, grow rich in a 
sudden ; but no soul that is rich in grace, but grows rich gradually. In 
Prov. iv. 18, 'But the path of the just is like the shining light, that shin- 
eth more and more unto the perfect day.' He proceeds from virtue to 
virtue, until at length he shines like the sun in its strength. And so 
in Mai. iv. 2, ' Unto you that fear my name, shall the Sun of righteous- 
ness arise with healing under his wings, and you shall go forth and grow 
up as calves of the stall.' Hosea xiv. 5-7, ' I will be as the dew unto 
Israel, he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon, 
His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and 
his smell as Lebanan. They that dwell under his shadow shall return, 
they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine ; the scent thereof 
shall be as the wine of Lebanon.' I shall but hint at this now, because 
I have spoken more fully to it already, &c. 

The second proposition is this : 

[2.] Few or none are rich in all graces. 

There are some men in the world that are generally rich, that are 
rich in money, and rich in land, and rich in goods, but where you have 
one man that is a general rich man in this sense, you have ten thou- 
sand that are only rich in some one thing, as money, goods, or land, &c. ; 
so it is here. It is a hard thing, if possible, to find a soul that is gene- 
rally rich ; that is rich in every grace, that is rich in faith, and rich 
in wisdom, and rich in love, and rich in patience, &c. Abraham was 
rich in faith, and Job was rich in patience, and Moses was rich in meek- 
ness, and David was rich in zeal, &c ; bat none of these were rich in 
every grace. And so in these days you may find one Christian rich in 
one grace, and another Christian rich in another grace ; but where will 
you find a Christian that is rich in every grace ? Such that are rich in 
some graces, are yet very defective and lame in other graces. The saints 


once at Rome were richer in wisdom and knowledge than the saints 
at Thessalonica, Rom. xv. 14; and the saints at Thessalonica were 
richer in faith, love, patience, and charity than the saints at Rome, 1 
Thes. i. 4, ii. 8, compared with 2 Epistle i. 3, 4. It is with saints as 
with sinners, one sinner excels in one vice, another in another vice ; so 
one saint excels in one virtue, and another in another virtue. One is 
rich in joy, in comfort ; another is rich in humility, in fear ; another in 
faith and hope ; and another in love,^ &c. And mark how this arises. 

It arises sometimes from hence, that every saint doth endeavour to 
excel in that particular grace that is most opposite to his bosom sin. 
Now every saint's bosom sin is not alike. It may be pride is one man's 
bosom sin, and hypocrisy another man's bosom sin, &c. Now it is the 
very nature of grace to make a man strive to be most eminent in that 
particular grace that is most opposite to his bosom sin, and upon this 
account it comes to pass that one is rich in one grace, and another in 

Again, some saints have frequent occasions to act and exercise such and 
such graces. Others are called forth to act such and such graces. Now 
the more any particular grace is acted, the more that particular grace is 
increased. Frequent acts cause a stronger habit both in graces and in 
sins. If all Christians should be rich in all graces, what difference 
would there be between heaven and earth ? What need would there 
be of ordinances ? And when would Christians long to be dissolved, 
and to be with Christ ? &c. 

The third proposition is this : 

[3.] Sovls TYiay he rich in grace, and yet not know it, and yet not 
perceive it. 

The child is heir to a crown, to a great estate, but knows it not. 
Moses his face did shine, and others saw it, but he perceived it not. 
So many a precious soul is rich in grace, and others see it, and know it, 
and bless God for it, and yet the poor soul perceives it not. Now 
because a right understanding of this may be of much use to some 
sadded, dejected souls, I will shew you how this comes to pass. 

First, Sometimes it arises from the soul's strong desires of spiri- 
tual riches. The strength of the souFs desires after spiritual riches, 
doth often take away the very sense of growing spiritually rich. Many 
covetous men's desires are so strongly carried forth after earthly riches, 
that though they do grow rich, yet they cannot perceive it, they cannot 
believe it. It is just so with many a precious Christian ; his desires 
after spiritual riches are so strong, that they take away the very sense 
of his growing rich in spirituals,^ Many Christians have much worth 
within them, but they see it not. It was a good man that said, * The 
Lord was in this place, and I knew it not,' &c. Gen. xxviii. 

Again, This ariseth sometimes from mens neglecting the casting up 
of their accounts. Many men thrive and grow rich, and yet by neglect- 
ing the casting up of their accounts, they cannot tell whether they go 

^ No grace grows alike in all saints. In the parable some brought forth thirty, some 
sixty, some a hundred, &c. 

' The sun ascends without perception ; and so it is often in this supernatural motion, 
&c. The Greeks derive their word for desire from a root that signifies to burn. Now, if 
one should heap never so much fuel upon a fire, it would not quench it, but kindle it the 
more. The application is easy. 


backward or forward. It is so with many precious souls ; they grow 
in grace and are spiritually rich, and yet by neglecting the casting up of 
their accounts, they do not know it, they do not perceive it, &c.^ 

Again, sometimes it ariseth from the soul's too frequent casting up 
of its accounts. If a man should cast up his accounts once a week 
or once a month, he may not be able to discern that he doth grow rich, 
and yet he may grow rich ; but let him compare one year with another, 
and he shall clearly see that he doth grow rich. Though most are to 
blame for neglecting the casting up of their accounts, yet some are to 
blame for casting up their accounts too often ; for by this means they 
are not able to perceive their spiritual growth, and so can neither be so 
thankful nor so cheerful as otherwise they might. Let there be some 
considerable time between your casting up of your accounts, and you 
will find that your souls are grown rich, though for the present you 
perceive it not. 

But then again, sometimes it ariseth from the souVs mistake in cast- 
ing up of its accounts. The soul many times mistakes ; it is in a 
hurry ; and there the soul puts down ten for a hundred, and a hundred 
for a thousand ; as sometimes men in hurrying over their books, they 
slip and make mistakes, and so they think there is nothing got, whereas 
indeed there is much got, and in the close they shall find it so. Many 
a gracious soul many times takes a great deal of grace for a little, and 
little grace for no grace. Look, as hypocrites put down their counters 
for gold, their pence for pounds, and always prize themselves above the 
market ; so sincere souls do often put down their pounds for pence, their 
thousands for hundreds, and still prize themselves below the market, &c. 

The fourth proposition is this : 

[4.] That saints "must endeavour to grow rich in every grace. 

It is the duty and the glory of saints to endeavour to grow rich in 
every grace. So the apostle, 2 Pet. i. 5 to 12, 'Add to your faith virtue, 
and to virtue knowledge,' &c. It is the work, the duty, the glory of 
a Christian, to be still adding one grace to another. So in chap. iii. 18, 
' Grow in grace,' that is, in every grace, but more particularly and 
specially, ' in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ' 

' Grow in grace.' That is, grow in love, in faith, in humility, in meek- 
ness, &c., but especially ' in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour,' 
because there was a special remedy against the error of those times, 
&c. All the graces that be in you are weak ; and therefore you had 
need to strengthen them all. 

Again, You have the seeds of all corruptions in you ; and is there 
any way to be rid of every sin, but by thriving in every grace ? 

Again, You have opportunities as well to thrive in one grace as in 

Again, Will not Satan labour might and main to keep your graces low 
and poor ? You never hurt him less, you never honour Christ less, you 
never mind your work less, than when grace is weak and low. This he 
knows, and therefore labours to keep your graces down. 

^ Seneca reports of one Sextiu3, that he would every night ask himself these three ques- 
tions : (1). What evil hast thou healed this day? (2). What vice hast thoa stood against 
this day? (3). In what part art thou bettered this day? &c. [Quintus Sextius : in Seneca, 
Epist. lix. 6 ; Ixiii. 11, 13 ; Ixiv. 2 ; xcviii. 13 ; cviii. 17 ; and De Ira, ii. 36 ; iii. 36. — G.] 


Again, are not you liable to several changes in this world ? As, to 
be rich and poor, exalted and abased ; now to relieve, and anon to be 
relieved ; now well, and anon sick ; now strong, and anon weak ; now 
in storms, and anon in calms ; now tempted, and anon delivered ; now 
in one condition, and anon in another condition ; now up, now down ; 
now forward, now backward, &c. Now pray tell me, doth not the 
several changes and variety of providences that we meet with in this 
world bespeak us to be rich, not in some, but in every grace ? Don't 
a state of prosperity bespeak a man to be rich in wisdom, rich in 
humility, rich in love, and rich in compassion, that his heart may be 
kept close to God in that state, and that he may do nothing unworthy 
of God, who hath done so much for him ? And now, when God shall 
change the manner of his administrations towards such a man, when 
God shall put out his candle, pull off his robes, and clothe him with 
rags, and set him with Job upon the dunghill, don't this condition be- 
speak much patience, much contentation, much self-denial, much faith ? 
How else will this man bravely bear up, when God shall write such 
bitter things against him, and pass the sentence of death upon his 
nearest and his dearest comforts ? If a man be not rich in one grace 
as well as in another, when God shall bring changes upon him, and 
pour him from vessel to vessel, his life will be a burden, a hell to him, 

Again, consider this : growing rich in every grace renders a Christian 
most lovely and beautiful in grace ; as a growth in all the members of 
the body renders the body most lovely and beautiful. The peifect 
beauty and comeliness of the body rises from the symmetry and fitness 
of the parts unto one another. Rare and excellent beauty ariseth from 
the comeliness of all parts. If one part be comely, and another de- 
formed, then there is no perfect beauty. Well, remember this, there 
is no such beautiful Christians as those that grow rich in every grace. 
Oh ! they are the beauty of Christ, the honour of the gospel, and the 
glory of Christianity. 

And so much for the fourth proposition, viz. that we must labour to 
be rich in every grace. 

The fifth proposition that I shall lay down is this, 

[5.] Saints should labour mnore particularly and more especially 
to be rich in faith. 

Though it is of concernment to believers to be rich in every grace, 
yet it is of special concernment to them to labour to be rich in this 
particular grace of faith. In Jude, ver. 20, ' Building up yourselves in 
your most holy faith.' It is not enough to have faith, but they must 
build up themselves and build up one another * in their most holy 

There are three things that the Scripture calls precious : 

First, The blood of Christ : in 1 Peter i, 19, 'Ye are not redeemed 
with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb 
without blemish, and without spot.' 

^ Whilst Pompey prospered, and Rome flourished, Cato stoutly held and defended a 
divine providence ; but when he saw Pompey overthrown by Caesar, his body cast upon 
the shore without honour of burial, and himself exposed to the danger of Caesar's army, 
he changed his opinion, denying that there was a divine providence, but that all things 
fell out by chance, &c. 

EpH. hi. 8.] EICHES OF CHRIST. 183 

Secondly, The promises are called precious promises : 2 Peter i. 4, 
* Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises.' 

Thirdly, Faith is called precious faith : ver. 1, ' Unto them that have 
obtained like precious faith with us.' Now, though it be of concern- 
ment for every saint to labour to be rich in every grace, yet more 
especially and more particularly to be rich in this grace of faith ; and 
that upon this account that follows : 

(1.) First, Because that faith is the souV 8 greatest and choicest fence, 
against her worst enemies. 

In Eph. vi. 16, * Above all, take the shield of faith, whereby ye may 
be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.' 

' Above all, take the shield of faith.' Neglect no part of your armour, 
but above all, look to the shield of faith. Look, what the shield is to 
the body, that is faith to a believer's soul, to secure him against all the 
fierce and fiery darts of Satan. 

It is reported of Satan that he should say of a learned man, Tu me 
semper vincis, ' Thou dost always overcome me. When I would exalt 
and promote thee, thou keepest thyself in humility ; and when I would 
throw thee down, thou liftest thyself up in assurance of faith.' Faith 
makes the soul invincible ; it makes the soul victorious ; it leads cap- 
tivity captive ; it binds Satan in chains ; it foils him at every weapon ; 
and therefore, above all, labour to be rich in faith. 

(2.) Secondly, Growth in faith will advance the growth of all other 

All other graces thrive in the soul as faith thrives, and no otherwise. 
Be rich in this, and be rich in all ; be weak in this, and be weak in all. 
Faith hath an influence upon all other graces ; it is like a silver thread 
that runs through a chain of pearls ; it puts strength and vivacity into 
all other graces. You never knew a man rich in any grace that hath 
not been rich in faith. Every man's hope, joy, fear, love, humility, 
patience, &c., is as his faith is. In Heb. xi. 1, ' Faith is the evidence 
of things not seen, and the substance of things hoped for ;' or, as the 
Greek hath it, I'rroaractg, ' the substance of things hoped for.' All other 
graces live upon faith's cost and charge. Look, what the breast is to 
the child, wings to the bird, oil to the wheels, and the soul to the body, 
that is faith to all other graces in the soul of man. 

It is reported of the crystal, that it hath such a virtue in it, that the 
very touching of it quickens other stones, and puts a lustre and a 
beauty upon them. I am sure it is true of faith. There is such a 
divine virtue and power in faith, that it will quicken and cast a lustre 
and a beauty upon all other graces in the soul of man ; and therefore 
you should labour as for life to be rich in this particular grace of faith. 

(3.) Thirdly, consider this. Of all graces that be in the soul of man, 
faith is the most useful grace ; and therefore you should, above all, 
labour to be rich in faith. 

It is a Christian's right eye, without which he cannot see for Christ ; 
it is his right hand, without which he cannot do for Christ ; it is his 
tongue, without which he cannot speak for Christ ; it is his very vital 
spirits, without which he cannot act for Christ. 

Some say that king Midas bad obtained of the gods, that whatsoever 
he touched should be turned into gold. I am sure that whatever faith 

184j the unsearchable [Eph. III. 8. 

toucheth, it turneth into gold, that is, into our good. If our faith 
touches the promises, it turns them into our good ; whatsoever faith lays 
its hand upon, it appropriates to itself, and turns it into the soul's good. 
If faith looks upon God, it saith, ' This God is my God for ever and 
ever, and he shall be my guide unto death,' Ps. Ixiii. 1 ; Ixxxix. 26. 
When it looks upon Christ, it saith with Thomas, ' My Lord, and my 
God,' John xx. 28. When it looks upon the crown of righteousness, it 
saith, ' This crown is laid up for me,' &c. Faith is bread to nourish us, 
and wine to cheer us, and a cordial to strengthen us. Faith is a sword 
to defend us, a guide to direct us, a staff to support us, a plaster to heal 
us, a friend to comfort us, and a golden key to open heaven unto us. 
Faith, of all graces, is the most useful grace to the soul of man. ' With- 
out faith it is impossible to please God,' Heb. xi. 6 ; iv. 2. All those 
services are lost, wherein faith hath not a hand. You may write loss 
upon all the prayers you make, and upon all the sermons you hear, and 
upon all the tears you shed, and upon all the alms you give, if all be 
not managed by a hand of faith. 

(4.) Fourthly, You should labour above all to be rich in faith, he- 
cause faith is that pHncely grace that Christ is most taken with. 

Cant. iv. -9, ' Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse, thou 
hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes,' — that is, with that piercing 
eye of faith that looks up to my mercy-seat — ' with one chain of thy neck.' 

There are two things that with open mouth speak out Christ to be 
most taken with the faith of his people. 

And the first is, his uncrowning himself to crown his people's faith. 
Christ doth often take the crown off his own head, and put it upon the 
head of faith. Witness such passages as these, which are frequent in 
Scripture, ' Thy faith hath healed thee,' ' Thy faith hath saved thee,' 
' Thy faith hath made thee whole,' &c. Christ takes the crown off his 
own head, and puts it upon the head of faith ; and no wonder ; for of all 
graces, faith takes the crown off a man's own head, and puts it on the 
head of Christ. Man naturally is apt to crown anything but Christ. 
He is apt to crown his prayers, and crown his desires, and crown his 
endeavours, &c. Oh but now faith acts like a king of kings, and un- 
crowns all, and sets the crown upon the head of Christ. 

And then a second thing that speaks out Christ to be most taken 
with the grace of faith is this, that he overlooks all other graces in 
comparison of faith, as you may see in the Canaanite woman. Mat. xv. 
21-29. The poor woman shews a great deal of compassion, a great deal 
of wisdom, a great deal of humility, a great deal of love, and a great 
deal of self-denial ; but in the close saith Christ, * O woman, great is 
thy faith, be it unto thee even as thou wilt.' He doth not say, O woman, 
great is thy love ; nor, O woman, great is thy wisdom ; nor, woman, 
great is thy humility and self-denial ; nor, O woman, great is thy 
patience, &c. ; but, ' O woman, great is thy faith ! He overlooks, as it 
were, all other graces, and sets the crown upon the head of faith : ' O 
woman, great is thy faith.' So in Mark v., the woman that had a bloody 
issue twelve years comes to Christ for cure, and in the close of the story 
saith Christ to her, ' Woman, thy faith hath made thee whole.' He 
doth not say. Woman, thy pressing hard to come to me hath made thee 
whole, but ' Thj faith hath made thee whole.' He doth not say. Woman, 


thy earnest desires and endeavours to be made whole hath made thee 
whole, but 'Thy faith hath made thee whole.' He doth not say, 
Woman, thy fear and trembling hath made thee whole, but ' Thy faith 
hath made thee whole,' &c. So in Luke vii. 50, ' Thy faith hath saved 
thee, go in peace.' Though she wept much, and loved much, yet Christ 
doth not say, Thy tears have saved thee, thy sorrow hath saved thee. 
He doth not say. Thy humility, thy charity hath saved thee ; but ' O 
woman, thy faith hath saved thee.' Christ overlooks all other graces, 
as it were, and casts a lovely^ eye upon the grace of faith, &c. 

(5.) And then again, in the fifth place, you should above all labour 
to be rich in faith, because of all graces in the soul of man, faith makes 
him most lively and active. 

There is no grace, I say, no grace in the soul of man, that makes him 
so full of life and action, as the grace of faith. Faith is the primum, 
mobile, the first pin, the first wheel that moves all the golden wheels 
of obedience. In Heb. xi., you read what those worthies did ; they left 
their country, their kindred, upon a bare command of God. Faith hath 
Eachel's eye, but Leah's womb ; it makes souls very fruitful in ways of 
well-doing. Faith is as the spring in the watch, that moves the wheels. 
Not a grace stirs till faith sets it on work. Faith is like Solomon's 
virtuous woman, that sets all her maidens on w^ork. Faith sets joy on 
work. 'Abraham desired to see my day, and saw it, and rejoiced.' 
Faith sets love on work ; it works by love ; Gal. v. 6, it sets hope on 
work, Rom. viii. 24, 25 ; it sets godly sorrow at work, Zech. xii. 10 ; it 
sets patience at work. I believe that God is wise and loving, and what 
he doth is out of some noble design to do my soul good ; this spins out 
patience. Faith fits a man to do, to suffer, to wait, to walk, &c., there- 
fore labour above all to be rich in faith. ^ 

(6.) And then, sixthly, of all graces, faith renders the soul most in- 
vincible ; and therefore you should labour above all to be rich in faith. 

It renders the soul invincible and unconquerable under all the hard- 
ships and trials it meets with in this world. Faith makes a man 
triumph in all the changes and conditions of this life. It was their 
faith that made them invincible in Dan. iii. 16-18, ' O Nebuchadnezzar, 
we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God, 
whom we serve, is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace ; 
and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it 
known unto thee, king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship 
thy golden image which thou hast set up.' And so Daniel's f^iith stopped 
the lion's mouth ; it made him too strong for the strongest beasts of 
prey, as you may see in Dan. vi. Though the enemies of a believer 
are very subtle, strong, and experienced, and though the battle be hot 
and long, yet a soul rich in faith shall have the day. Faith will render 
a believer victorious in the close : ' He may suffer death,' as Cyprian 
said to Cornelius, ' but never conquest.'^* Faith renders the soul a lion, 

^ ' Loving.' — Ed. 

2 True faith puts forth itself into vital operations. Ferdinand of Arragon believed the 
story told liim by Columbus, and therefore he furnished him with ships, and got the 
West Indies by his faith in the undertaking. But Henry the 7th of England believed him 
not, and therefore trusted him not with shipping, and so lost all the purchase of that 
faith ; which purchase may yet be recovered, if the Lord shall please to own and crown 
the just and noble design of General Pen, &c. ^ Mori posse, vinci non posse. — Cyprian. 


a rock, &c. It is reported of some of the Roman and Grecian captains, 
that they proved always victorious, and were never beaten by any. 
Such is the nature of faith ; it renders a soul victorious in all engage- 
ments. In all engagements faith brings a man bravely off, and enables 
him to keep his ground, and triumph.^ Ps. Ix. 6-10, ' God hath spoken 
in his holiness ; I will rejoice : I will divide Shechem, and mete out the 
valley of Succoth. Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine ; Ephraim 
also is the strength of my head ; Judah is my lawgiver ; Moab is my 
wash-pot ; over Edom will I cast out my shoe : Philistia, triumph thou 
because of me,' &a It is not great resolutions, nor big words, nor high 
looks, but faith, that will make a man stand fast in shaking times. No 
hand can put the garland upon a Christian, but the hand of faith, &c. 
Faith alters the tenses, it puts the future into the present ; Gilead is 
mine, &c. 

(7.) And then, seventhly, above all labour to be rich in faith, because 
Satan will labour might and Tuiain to weaken your faith. 

Oh ! the great design of Satan is not so much to weaken you in ex- 
ternals, as it is to weaken you in internals. Satan can be contented 
that men should have their heads full of notions, and their mouths full 
of religion, and their bags full of gold, and their chests full of silver, 
and their shops full of wares, so their souls be either void of faith, or but 
poor and low in faith. Satan's greatest plot is to weaken the faith of 
Christians. Luke xxii. 31, 32, ' And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, be- 
hold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat : 
but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.' Satan hath an 
aching tooth at thy faith ; his design is upon that ; he will labour might 
and main to weaken that, to frustrate that, and therefore ' I have prayed 
that thy faith fail not.' Satan knows that nihil retinet qui jidem 

(8.) And then, eighthly, consider this, of all graces, faith contributes 
most to the bringing down of mercies and blessings upon yourselves 
and friends; and therefore you should above all labour to be rich in 
this particular grace of faith. 

Faith contributes to the bringing down of blessings upon ourselves. 
In Dan. vi. 23, ' Daniel was delivered/ saith the text, ' because he be- 
lieved in his God.' It was his faith, and not his prayers ; it was his 
faith, and not his tears ; it was his faith, and not his sighs that stopt 
the lion's mouths, and wrought deliverance for him. So in Ps. xxvii. 13, 
*I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in 
the land of the living.' So in 2 Chron. xx. 20, ' Believe in the Lord 
your God, so shall ye be established ; believe his prophets, so shall ye 
prosper,' and so they did. That is a very famous scripture to this pur- 
pose, 2 Chron. xiii. 15-17, ' Then the men of Judah gave a shout : and 
as the men of Judah shouted, it came to pass, that God smote Jeroboam, 
and all Israel, before Abijah and Judah. And the children of Israel fled 
before Judah, and God delivered them into their hands. And Abijah 
and his people slew with a great slaughter : so there fell down slain of 
Israel five hundred thousand chosen men.' Here was a great slaughter ; 
no wars, no slaughters comparable to those the Scripture speaks of 

^ As may be fully seen in the Book of Martyrs, and in Heb. xi. [Foxe and Clarke, as 
before — G.] 


And the reason is rendered, verse 18, 'Because they relied upon the 
Lord God of their fathers.' Were men more rich in faith, they would 
be more rich in other blessings, &c. And as faith is the only way to 
bring down a blessing upon ourselves, so faith is the only way to bring 
down blessings upon our friends and relations. Though another man 
cannot be saved by my faith, yet he may be blessed with many blessings, 
upon the account of my faith. In Mat. xv. 22-29, it was the Canaan- 
itish woman's faith that brought a blessing of healing upon her daughter. 
And so in Mat. viii. 6-14, the centurion's faith healed his servant that 
was sick of a palsy, ' and from that very hour he was healed.' The 
servant got well by his master's faith. And so likewise in Mark ix., the 
faith of the father prevailed for the dispossessing of his son, ' If thou 
canst believe,' saith Christ, ' all things are possible.' And the poor man 
said with tears, 'Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.' And presently Christ 
charged the foul spirit to come out of him, &c- A believing husband, 
a believing wife, a believing child, or a believing servant, may bring 
down, by the actings of faith, many a blessing upon their relations. 
Faith hath a happy hand, and never but speeds in one kind or another. 
It hath what it would, either in money or money's worth. 

Apollonius, saith Sozomen, never asked anything of God, either for 
himself or his friends, but he had it. And one pointing to Luther said, 
* There is a man can have anything of God that he will ask.' Faith 
hath a kind of omnipotency in it, it is able to do all things, &c. 

And as faith brings down blessings upon our own heads and the heads 
of our friends, so it often brings down wrath upon our enemies. There 
is nothing contributes so much to our enemies' ruin as faith doth. I am 
confident it hath neither been armies, nor navies, nor parliaments, that 
have had the chief hand in bringing down the proud and stout enemies 
of Christ and Zion, in this and other nations, but the faith of his de- 
spised people. One enemy may stand before the face of another, but 
what enemy can stand before the face and power of faith '? That is a 
remarkable scripture, Heb. xi. 33, ' Who through faith subdued king- 
doms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of 
lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out 
of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight 
the armies of aliens.' Other means were used, but that which did the 
work, and struck all dead, was faith. Faith engages God in every en- 
counter, and who can stand before a consuming fire ?^ 

Polybius, speaking of Horatius his keeping of the field against his 
enemies' forces, saith, ' That his enemies were more afraid of his faith 
than of his warlike strength.' And truly there is nothing that renders 
men more dreadful to an understanding enemy than their faith. Oh ! 
it is brave for men to believe down the power of darkness, to believe 
down those that war against the Lamb, &c. No way to get an enemy 
down like this ; nor no way to keep an enemy down like this ; no way 
to save a kingdom like this ; nor no Avay to keep a kingdom like this. 
The nation is beholden to none so much as to believing souls. O Eng- 
land ! England ! thou hadst long before this been a prey to men that 

1 Mary Queen of Scots, that was mother to king James, was wont to say that she feared 
Master Knox's prayers, who was a man of much faith, more than an army of ten thou- 
sand men. 


delight in blood, had it not been for the faith of the worm Jacob, &c. 
Christians ! as you would have Christ, go on and do more and more 
for England; as you would be crowned with the choicest and the chiefest 
blessings, and as you would have vengeance executed upon all that hate, 
that wage war against and persecute Christ and the saints, be mighty 
in believing. 

(9.) Ninthly and lastly. Faith is a root grace; and will the branches 
flourish if the root ivither ? 

Oh ! therefore, water this root, have an eye to this root. If you have 
a choice root in any of your gardens, oh how careful are you of it ! 
you will mind it and water it and look to it, &c. Well, of all graces 
faith is the root grace, and if this die you will find your graces to lan- 
guish. Your hope, love, fear, patience, humility, joy, &c., can never out- 
live your faith. These live together and they die together ; therefore, 
above all, labour to be rich in faith, for this is a root grace, and if this 
flourish all other graces will flourish ; but if this decay, all other graces 
will lose their strength, beauty, glory, &c. 

And thus much for the fifth proposition. We come now to the sixth 
proposition, and that is this : 

[().] That no gracious souls do at all times alike grow and thrive 
in spiritual riches. 

A child sometimes shoots up more in a month than he doth at other 
times in many months, and sometimes more in a year than he does after- 
wards in many years. And do not plants and trees sometimes shoot up 
more in a week than in many, &c. So, many a Christian thrives more, 
and gets more spiritual riches in one month than in many, in one year 
than in many. I appeal to your experiences, Christians ! don't you find 
it so ? I know you do. To cite Scripture to prove this would be to cast 
water into the sea, and to light candles to see the sun at noon. Sin and 
Satan do sometimes work more violently and more strongly in the souls 
of saints than at other times. Now, when sin and Satan work most, 
and prevail most, then grace thrives least. As the life of grace is the 
death of sin, and the growth of grace the decay of sin, so the increase 
of sin is the decay of grace, and the strengthening of sin is the weaken- 
ing of grace. 

Again, No saints have at all times alike gales of the Spirit of God, 
and therefore they do not grow in spiritual riches at all times alike. 
No ships have at all times the same gales of wind, &c. A man thrives 
in spiritual riches as the gales of the Spirit of God are upon him, and no 
otherwise. When the Spirit of the Lord doth blow most sweetly and 
strongly upon his heart, then his graces thrive and flourish most, then 
those beds of spices do yield the most fragrant smell ; but when the 
Spirit of the Lord doth withdraw and withhold his influences, how doth 
the strength and glory of grace wither and decay ! Latimer said of the 
Spirit, that it is coming and going, &c. 

The herb heliotropium doth turn about, and open and shut, accord- 
ing to the motion of the sun ; so do the graces of the saints according 
to the internal gales, motions, and operations of the Spirit, &c. 

Again, no saints have at all times the like external advantages and 
opportunities of growing rich in spirituals. They have not the word, 
it may be, in that power and life as formerly; or it may be they enjoy 


not the communion of saints as formerly ; or if they do, yet perhaps 
those that have formerly been as fire to warm and inflame them, are 
now become water to cool them, and deaden them ; or it may be they 
have not those advantages for closet duties as formerly ; or it may be, 
the course of nature is changed ; and if so, it is no wonder that they 
thrive not in spirituals as formerly. When children have not as good 
food, and as good lodging, and as good looking after as at other times, 
no wonder if they thrive not as at other times. When men have not 
the same advantages and opportunities to grow rich in the world as for- 
merly, do we wonder that they thrive not as before ? Surely no. 

And sometimes this arises from the breaking of some bone by sin. 
David found it so. Many a man, by breaking a bone, is much hindered 
from thriving in the world. Oh ! this broken arm, this broken leg, hath 
cost me many a fair pound which otherwise I might have got. Oh 
friends ! sin is the breaking of the bones, the breaking of a man's peace 
and communion with God ; it is the breaking of his hope and confidence 
in God ; it is the disjoining of a man from God ; and so it hinders a 
man's spiritual growth : Isa. lix. 1, 2 ; chap. Ixiv. 7 ; Gal. vi. 1. Believe 
it. Christians ! if you play and dally with sin, if you fall in with sin, if 
you make one with sin, you will never grow rich in spirituals. Sin will 
cause such a breaking of bones, as will undoubtedly hinder the pros- 
perity of your souls. And so much for the sixth proposition. 

[7.] The seventh and last proposition that I. shall propound is this : 
A man may grow rich in those graces that are Tnore remote from 
Christ, that are less conversant about Christ, when he doth not grow 
rich in those graces, that, as special favourites, stand always at the 
elbow of Christ, and are most busied and conversant about Christ. 
Let me open it thus to you : 

You know at court there are some that have the honour to attend 
always at the prince's elbow, and there are others that appertain to the 
same prince, but are more remote in their employments for him, &c. 
So in the soul, there are some graces that are more remote, and not so 
conversant about the person of Christ, as now humility, self-denial, 
patience, meekness, temperance, sobriety, and the like. Now, though 
these graces do appertain to the same prince, though they are all ser- 
vants of the Lord Jesus, yet notwithstanding tljey are more remote, and 
busied about other objects and things. Oh ! but now faith and love are 
choice favourites, that always stand at the elbow of Christ. Faith and 
love are Christ's greatest favourites in heaven. Now I say, a Christian 
may grow rich in those graces that are more remote from Christ, that 
are less conversant about the person of ChriwSt, when he doth not grow 
rich in those particular graces that are most active about the person of 
Christ. He may grow rich in humility, in self-denial, in meekness, 
in temperance, &c., when he doth not grow up in joy and delight and 
comfort, &c. The tree grows downward, when it doth not grow upward ; 
so a soul may grow rich in some particular graces, when he doth not 
grow rich in other graces. He may grow rich in those graces that are 
more remote from Christ, when he doth not grow rich in those graces 
that are more conversant about the person of Christ. Some limbs and 
branches of a tree grow more than others. 

And so I have done with .these propositions ; the serious minding of 


them may prevent many objections, and to many give satisfaction in 
several cases, &c. 

The fourth and last thing propounded was, to give you, 

4. Some notes of a person that is spiritually rich. 

Clearly, as there are few worldly rich men to those that are poor, so 
there are few in this professing age, that will be found to be spiritually 
rich, compared with the multitude of Laodiceans that swarm in these 
times. We have many that say they are rich, and that think they are 
rich, when the truth is they have either no grace, or but a very little 
grace ; and these five following things do clearly evidence it, &c. 

[1.] First, Rich men have more variety of objects to delight them- 
selves with, thoM poor m,en have. 

They have houses and gardens, and lands and cattle, and silver and 
gold, and jewels and pearls, and what not, to delight themselves with. 
Oh! but poor men have not such variety of objects to delight themselves 
with, as ridi men have. It is just thus in spiritual riches. A man 
that is rich in grace hath more variety of spiritual objects, about which 
his soul is most conversant,, than a man that is poor in grace. He hath 
more objects of love, of joy, of delight, of content, to busy and exercise 
his soul about, than others that are weak in grace: 2 Cor. vi. 10, 
' Enjoying nothing, and yet possessing all things.' A soul rich in grace 
possesses and enjoys all things in Christ, and Christ in all things. 
They enjoy all good in him who is the chiefest good, who is the spring 
and fountain of good. Joseph, in Pharaoh's court, had more variety of 
objects to delight him, than his brethren had to delight themselves in 
their father's house, &c. 

I have spoken largely to this already, and therefore shall content 
myself in giving you this hint. It stands upon you to inquire what 
variety of objects you have to delight your souls in. But, 

[2.] Secondly, Rich men can reach to those things that poor m,en 
cannot reach to. 

I would have such and such things,, saith the poor man, as the rich 
man hath ; I would fare as he fares, and wear as he wears, and do as 
he doth, but my stock will not reach it. So a soul that is spiritually 
rich can reach to those things that one that is poor in grace cannot 
reach unto. He can reach to those joys, to those comforts, and to those 
contents, to those heights of communion with God, and to those visions 
and apprehensions of God, that a soul that is not rich in grace cannot 
reach to. Oh ! I would fain have that comfort, and that joy, and that 
peace, and that communion with God, and those visions of God, that 
such and such souls have, saith a poor Christian ; but I cannot ; my 
stock will not reach to it. It is an argument a man is grown higher, 
when he can reach higher than he could before, whether it be a beam 
or a pin, &c. So it is an argument, that a soul is grown rich in grace, 
when he can reach beyond what formerly he could reach unto ; when 
he can reach beyond his enlargements, beyond his in-comes, beyond his 
comforts, to a Christ ; when in duty, he can reach above duty ; when 
in an ordinance, he can reach to Christ, above the ordinance ; when 
under enlargements, he can reach above enlargements, to Jesus Christ. 
Oh ! but now a man that hath but a little grace, he can rarely reach 
above his duties, above ordinances, above enlargements, to Christ. He 


is very apt to sit down and warm himself with the sparks of his own 
fire, and to feed upon ashes, as the prophet speaks, Isa. 1. 11, xliv. 20, 
&c. But now, a soul that is rich in grace, says, Well ! these ordinances 
are not Christ, these refreshings are not Christ, these meltings are not 
Christ, these enlargements are not Christ ; these are sweet, but he is 
more sweet ; these are very precious, but he is most precious. And 
thus those that are spiritually rich do out-reach all others, &c.^ 

[3.] Thirdly, Rich men can loith more ease and pleasure hear 
burdens, than poor men can. 

When taxes and burdens are laid upon poor men, they sigh, and 
shrug, and complain that they are not able to bear them, when rich 
men make nothing of them. So souls that are rich in grace can bear 
burdens Avithout a burden ; they can bear crosses, afflictions, and per- 
secutions, with abundance of ease, cheerfulness, and eontentedness of 
spirit ; they da not shrug, nor grumble, but bear the greatest trials with 
greatest sweetness, as you may see in Acts v., ' They went out rejoicing 
that they were counted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus.' So 
Paul, 2 Cor. xii. 10, 'I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in ne- 
cessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake.' 'I take pleasure.' 
The Greek word is an emphatical word, euSoxw ; it is the same word 
that God the Father uses to express his infinite delight in his Son : 
Mat. iii. 17, ' This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ;' or, 
' in whom I am infinitely delighted.' The same word the apostle uses 
to express the wonderful delight that he took under all his sufferings ; 
he rejoices and leaps under all his burdens. Oh \ but now a soul that 
is poor in grace, he cannot bear a burden without a burden ; every light 
affliction turns him, and sinks him ; every molehill is a mountain ; 
every scratch on the hand is a stab at the heart ; every wave is a sea, 
and the poor Christian sighs and groans, and cries out. Oh ! no sorrow 
to my sorrow ! no loss to my loss ! no cross to my cross ! but souls 
rich in grace act quite contrary, as hath been hinted and proved, &c. 

[4.] Fourthly, Rich men are most envied. 

History and Scripture speak out this, as well as our own experience. 
The rich man above all others is the greatest object of envy, and it is 
as true that such that are most rich in spirituals are of all men the 
most envied. Moses and Aaron Vere rich in spirituals, and oh, how 
were they envied by Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and other wicked 
wretches ! Ezra, Nehemiah, and Mordecai, were rich in spirituals, and 
who more envied ? Among all the prophets and apostles, those have 
been most envied, that have most abounded in spiritual worth ; and to 
this very day, none are such objects of scorn and envy, as those that 
have most of Christ within. Men that have more leaves than fruit, 
that have a golden outside, but a threadbare inside, are less envied 
than those that are 'all glorious within.'^ Men of greatest excellencies, 
are the main objects upon which the eye of envy is placed, Ps. xlv. 13. 
Saul's envious eye was placed upon David, and Cain's upon Abel, and 
Esau's upon Jacob, and Herod's upon John, and the Pharisees' upon 

• A tree that is well grown stands it out in the worst storms ; it bends not, it breaks 
nof, &c. 

* It was said of Caesar and Pompey, that the one could not endure a superior, nor the 
other an equal. [Plutarch : Julius Caesar. — G.] 


Christ. Envious souls are like the ravens, that fly over the sweet 
garden, and light upon the stinking carrion. Envy doth ever ascend ; 
It never descends. An envious man can with more ease die miserably, 
than see another live happily. An envious heart weeps to see others' 
mercies, and joys to see others' miseries. An envious heart is like the 
mermaid,^ which never sings hut in a storm, and never mourns but in 
a calm. An envious man cannot endure those excellencies in others 
that he wants in himself; he loves not any light that outshines his 
own, any crown that outweighs his own, &c. Socrates calls envy Serram 
animce, the soul's saw, &c. 

Cimon, the famous general of the Athenian commonwealth, hearing 
a friend of his highly commending his martial achievements, answered, 
* That they were not worthy of commendations, because they were not 
envied,' &c. 

[5.] Fifthly, Rich men are most temfted and assaulted. 

Pirates do not use to set upon empty vessels, but those that are most 
richly laden ; and beggars need not fear the thief, though the rich man 
do. Those that have been most rich in spirituals, have been most 
assaulted and tempted by Satan. Witness Abraham, Job, Joshua, 
Peter, Paul, yea, Christ himself. The best men have always been most 
and worst tempted. None so much in the school of temptation, as 
those that are most rich in grace. There are none that are such blocks, 
such mountains in Satan's ways, as these ; none do him that mischief 
as these ; none are so active and so resolute in their oppositions against 
him as they, &c. ; and therefore none so assaulted and tempted as they.^ 
And thus by these five things you may know whether you are rich in 
grace or no. 

Use 2. The next use is this : 

If the Lord Jesus Christ be so rich, then do not join anything with 
him, in the great work of your redemption and salvation. 

There are riches enough in Christ to pay all your debts, and to satisfy 
divine justice to the utmost farthing, without being beholden to your 
prayers, tears, or humiliations. Christ will be Alexander or Nemo on 
earth. Kings love no consorts ; power is impatient of participation. 

When Augustus Caesar desired the senate to join two consuls with 
him, for the carrying on the goveAment of the state, the senators 
answered, ' That they held it a diminution to his dignity to join any 
with so incomparable a man as Augustus Caesar was.' [Suetonius]. 

Was it a diminution to his dignity to join others with him in the 
government of the state ? And is it not a diminution of the dignity 
and glory of Christ, to join your actions and your endeavours with his 
blood, in the business of your redemption ? In Isa. Ixiii. 3, ' I have 
trodden the wine-press alone ; and of the people there was none with 
me.' And in Isa. xliv. 24, ' Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, and 
he that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that maketh all 
things ; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone, that spreadeth abroad 
the earth by myself.' It is a sad reproach to Christ to join anything 
with him in the great business of your salvation ; therefore abhor it 

^ Spelled ' mearmaid.' — G. 

2 God and Satan will try to the utmost those particular graces wherein any Christian 
does excel, &c. 


more than hell itself : let Christ be all in all. We must say of Christ 
as it was once said of Caesar, Socium habet neminem, He may have 
a companion, but he must not have a competitor, &c. 

Again, Thirdly, 

Use 3. If Christ be so rich, then take heed of three things. 

(1.) First, Take heed of sitting down dejected and discouraged under 
any losses or troubles that do befall you, or that have or shall befall 
you for the name of Christ 

Christ is generally rich ; he is able to make up all your losses and 
wants : Philip, iv. 1 9, ' But my God shall supply all your need, accord- 
ing to his riches in glory by Jesus Christ,' as he did the widow's vessel. 
The fountain hath not the less water for the vessel it fills, nor the sun 
the less light for that it gives forth to the stars ; so the Lord Jesus 
Christ hath never a whit the less for what he gives forth unto his saints. 

When Zedislaus, the king of Poland's general, had lost his hand in 
his service, the king sent him a golden hand. Ah, Christians ! when 
you lose this or that for him, he will send you a golden hand ; if you 
lose a penny for him, he will give you a pearl, Christ will not live 
long in any man's debt ; if he should, he would lose his glory, &c. 

(2.) Secondly, If the Lord Jesus be ver}'- rich, Oh then take heed of 
despairing by reason of your sins. 

I confess, the least sin should humble the soul, but certainly the 
greatest sin should never discourage the soul, much less should it work 
the soul to despair. Read 1 Tim. i. 13-15, and despair, I had almost 
said, if thou can'st. Despairing Judas perished. Acts ii., whenas the 
murderers of Christ, believing on Christ, were saved. Despair is a sin ex- 
ceeding vile and contemptible; it is a word of eternal reproach, dishonour, 
and confusion; it declares the devil a conqueror ; and what greater dishon- 
our can be done to Christ, than for a soul to proclaim before all the world 
the devil a crowned conqueror ? A despairing soul is magor missabib, a 
terror to himself; his heart a hell of horror; his conscience an aceldama, 
a field of black blood. He hath no rest at home nor abroad, at bed nor 
board, but is as if infernal devils followed him in fearful shapes, terrify- 
ing and tormenting his perplexed soul. Eternity of misery, feared or 
felt, begets that monster which, like Medusa's head, astonisheth with 
its very aspect, and strangles hope, which is the breath of the soul. 
As it is said, dum spiro, spero, so it may be inverted, dum spero, spiro ; 
other miseries may wound the spirit, but despair kills it dead, &c.^ 

(3.) Thirdly, If Christ be so rich, then take heed of presuming. 

Take heed of taking encouragement to sin upon this account, that 
Christ is rich in grace and mercy. Christ is a lion as well as a lamb ; 
he hath a sword as well as a sceptre. To argue from the riches of 
mercy to sinful liberty is the devil's logic. A soul that thus reasons is 
a soul left of God, a soul that is upon the last step of the ladder, a soul 
that Satan hath by the hand ; and the eternal God knows whither he 
will lead him. What the women sung of Saul and David, that ' Saul 
had slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands,' 1 Sam. xviii. 

* ' My sin is greater than can be forgiven,' saith Cain. Thou liest, Cain, saith Augus- 
tine ; for God's mercy is greater than the sins of all men, and it is a great injury to God 
to distrust of his mercy. \In loco. — G.] 

VOL. III. ' N 


6, 7, that I may say of despair and presumption, * Despair hath slain 
her thousand, but presumption hath slain her ten thousand/ ' Shall 
we sin that grace may abound 1 God forbid. How shall we that are 
dead to sin, live any longer therein ?' Rom. vi. 1, 2. As the beams of 
the sun, shining on the fire, put out the fire, so the shinings of God's 
mercy on us should extinguish sin in us, as the apostle argues, 2 Peter 
iii. 15, from Paul, Rom. ii. 4. Christ seems to say to souls, as Theseus 
said once, ' Go,' says he, ' and tell Creon, Theseus offers thee a gracious 
offer, yet I am pleased to be friends, if thou wilt submit. This is my 
first message, but if this offer prevail not, look for me to be up in arms.' 
Ah souls 1 if you shall abuse the riches of grace to a presumptuous sin- 
ning against Christ, Christ will take up arms, and you shall die for it. 

The next use is this : 

Use 4. If Christ be so rich. Oh ! then, open to Christ when he knocks. 

Christ knocks by his word, and he knocks by his rod ; he knocks by 
his Spirit, and he knocks by his messengers, and he knocks by con- 
science. Oh, open to him ! for he is very rich. Though you shut the 
door against a poor man, yet you will open it to one that is rich ; and 
why not then to Christ, who would fain have entrance ? Rev. iii. 20, 
' Behold, I stand at the door, and knock : if any man hear my voice, 
and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and 
he with me.' 

' Behold, I stand.' I that am the King of glory, I that am ' King of 
kings, and Lord of lords,' Ps. xxiv. 7-9, Rev. xvii. 14. T that am rich in 
mercy, rich in goodness, rich in grace, rich in glory, *I stand at the door 
and knock.' I that have gold to enrich you, I that have eye-salve to 
enlighten you, I that have glorious apparel to clothe you, I that have 
mercy to pardon you, I that have power to save you, I that have wisdom 
to counsel you, I that have happiness to crown you, *I stand at the door 
and knock/ 

* If any man open.' If the master will not, yet if the servant will ; 
if the mistress will not, yet if the maid will ; if the parent will not, yet 
if the child will ; if the rich man will not, yet if the poor man will ; if 
the pharisee won't, yet if the publican will ; 

* I will come in, and sup with him, and he with me.' Jesus Christ 
hath the greatest worth and wealth in him. As the worth and value 
of many pieces of silver is in one piece of gold, so all the heavenly ex- 
cellencies that are scattered abroad in angels and men, are united in 
Christ ; yea, all the whole volume of perfection which is spread through 
heaven and earth is epitomised in Christ. 

They say it is true of the oil at Rheems, that though it be continually 
spent in the inauguration of their kings of France, yet it never wastes. 
Christ is a pot of manna, a cruse of oil, a bottomless ocean of all com- 
forts and contents that never fail. A saint may say, ' In having no- 
thing, I have all things, because I have Christ. Having therefore all 
things in him, I seek no other reward, for he is the universal reward.' 

And then again. 

Use 5. If Christ be so rich, then sit down and wonder at his con- 
descending love. 

That one so rich should fall in love with such that are poor, wretched, 
miserable, blind, and naked, Rev. iii. 17-21, &c. ; that one so high 


should look so low as poor we ; that one so great, that one who is the 
Lord and heir of all, should match with us that have nothing at all. 
' O the breadth, the length, the depth, the height' of Christ's 
love to unlovely souls ! to such that had neither portion nor propor- 
tion ; that had neither external nor internal worth tliat might in the 
least draw his love towards them, Heb. i. 2-4, Philip, iii. 1 7-19, &c., Ezek. 
vi. 16. You were indebted to God for the clothes you wear, for the 
bread you eat, for the houses you live in, the air you breathe in, the 
beds you lie on, the ground you tread on, &c. Now for Christ to love 
such, and to be willing to bestow himself upon such nothings, oh ! how 
should this work them to spend their days in admiring and contem- 
plating upon his kindness and goodness ! 

1 have read a story of an elephant, who being fallen down, and 
unable to help himself or get up again, by reason of the inflexibleness 
of his legs, a forester coming by helped him up, wherewith the ele- 
phant, by the very instinct of nature, was so affected, that he followed 
this man, would do anything for him, and never left him till his dying 
day.^ The application is easy. 

The next use that we shall make of this point is this. 

Use 6. If Christ be so rich as hath been discovered to you, then prize 
Christ above all. 

As the people prized David above themselves, saying, * Thou art worth 
ten thousand of us,' 2 Sam. xviii. 3, so should saints lift up Jesus Christ 
above themselves, and above everything below himself He that lifts 
not Christ up above all hath no interest in Christ at all ; he that sets 
not Christ above all is not a disciple of Christ : Luke xiv. 26, * If any man 
come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, 
and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my 
disciple.' Surely they do not truly love Christ who love anything more 
than Christ.^ 

It was a notable saying of Jerome, * If my father should hang upon 
me, my brethren should press round about me, and my mother should 
stand before me, I would throw down my father, I would break through 
my brethren, and I would trample upon my mother, to come to Christ.' 

Other saints have lifted up Christ above all their lands, relations, and 
lives, as you may see in Heb. xi. ; and so did a multitude of the martyrs 
imder the ten persecutions, &c. As Pharoah set up Joseph above all, 
and made him governor of the land, and as Darius set up Daniel over 
all, so you must prize Christ, and set up Christ above all. 

Remember a few things, that this may the better stick upon your 

[1.] First, A Christ highly prized will be a Christ greatly delighted in. 

Every soul delights in Christ as he prizes Christ, and no otherwise. 
The reason of reasons why Christ is no more delighted in, is because he 
is no more prized among the sons of men : Cant. ii. 5, * As the apple- 
tree among the trees of the wood, so is my well-beloved among the sons. 
I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was plea- 
sant to my taste.' The seeing of this object delights the eye of a believer, 

^ Love is like fire, very operative. Si non operatur, non est. 

2 Austin saith he would willingly go through hell to Christ. . . . Certe non amant illi 
Christum, qui aliquidplus quam Christum amant. 


the hearing of this object delights the ear of a believer, the enjoying, 
the possessing of this object delights the heart of a believer : * 1 sat 
down under his shadow with great delight' 

The apple-tree is delightful for shadow, so is Christ ; he is a shadow 
to poor souls when they are scorched with troubles within and terrors 
without : Isa. xxxii. 2, ' And a man,' that is, Christ, ' shall be as an 
hiding-place from the wind, and as a covert from the tempest, as rivers 
of waters in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land/ 

The apple-tree is delightful for pleasantness of fruit, so is the Lord 
Jesus for those pleasant fruits of righteousness and holiness that grow 
upon him. 

And the apple-tree is delightful for varieties, so is Christ ; for there 
are all varieties of excellencies in himself: Col. i. 19, 'It pleased the 
Father that in him should all fulness dwell.' We delight in persons 
and things as we prize them, and no otherwise. Jonathan highly prized 
David, and delighted in him accordingly. Jacob highly prized Rachel, 
and delighted in her answerably. You will delight in Christ as you 
prize him ; if you prize him but a little, you will delight in him but a 

[2.] Secondly, Remember this, a Christ Jiighly prized will be a Christ 
gloriously obeyed. 

Every man obeys Christ as he prizeth Christ, and no otherwise. The 
higher price any soul sets upon Christ, the more noble will that soul be 
in his obedience to Christ. If Christ were more prized in the world, he 
would be more obeyed in the world. A soul that highly prizeth Christ 
is better at obeying than at disputing any command of Christ. If 
Christ will command such a soul to step over the world's crown to take 
up his cross, the soul will do it, as you may see in Moses, Heb. xi. 24- 
26. He sets a higher price upon Christ's cross than upon Pharoah's 
crown. When Christ's cross and the world's crown stood in competi- 
tion, upon a bare command of God Moses steps over the world's crown 
to take up Christ's cross : ' He chose rather to suffer affliction with the 
people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.' And so 
Abraham, upon a bare command of God, leaves his country, and his 
near and dear relations. He wholly resigns up himself to God ; lie puts 
his hand into God's, and is willing that God should lead him whither he 
pleases, and do with him what he pleases.^ 

I remember an excellent saying of Luther, Mallem mere cum 
Christo, quam regnare cum Ccesare, ' I had rather,' saith he, ' fall with 
Christ than stand with Caesar.' And indeed every gracious soul that 
highly prizes Christ will rather choose to fall with Christ than to neglect 
his obedience to Christ. By obeying Christ we gain more honour than 
we can give ; by kissing the Son we even command him, and make him 
ours, &c. 

[3.] Thirdly, Christians, remember this, all the causes of prizing 
persons and things are eminently and only in Christ ; which bespeaks 
you all to set a very, very high price upon the Lord Jesus. Christ's 
beauty needs no letters of commendation. You prize some for their 
beauty ; why, the Lord Jesus Christ is the fairest among the children 

' Non parentum aid majorum authoritas, sed Dei dicentis imperium. The command of 
God must outweigh all authority and example of men. — Jerome. 


of men, Ps. xlv. 1, 2 ; Cant. v. 10, 'My beloved is white and ruddy; the 
chiefest,' or, the standard-bearer, 'among ten thousand.' You prize 
others for their strength; why, the Lord Jesus Christ hath in him ever- 
lasting strength : Isa. xxvi. 4, ' Trust in the Lord for ever, for in the 
Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength ; he is the rock of ages.' You 
prize others for bearing their father's image ; why the Lord Jesus bears 
the image of his Father : Heb. i. 3, ' He is the brightness of his Father's 
glory, and the express image of his person.'^ You prize others for their 
wisdom and knowledge ; such a one is a very wise man, you say, and 
therefore you prize him ; and such a one is a very knowing man, and 
therefore you prize him ; why, all the treasures of wisdom and know- 
ledge are in Christ : Col. ii. 3, ' In whom,' saith he, speaking of Christ, 
' are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.' The truth is, all 
those perfections and excellencies that are in all angels and men, they 
all centre in Christ, they are all epitomised in Christ. All the angels 
in heaven have but some of those perfections that be in Christ. All 
wisdom, and all power, and all goodness, and all mercy, and all love, &c., 
is in no glorified creature, no, not in all glorified creatures put together. 
But now in Christ all these perfections and excellencies meet, as all 
water meets in the sea, and as all light meets in the sun. Others you 
prize for their usefulness ; the more useful persons and things are, the 
more you prize and value them. The Lord Jesus Christ is of universal 
use to his people ; why, he is the right eye of his people, without which 
they cannot see ; and the right hand of his people, without which they 
cannot do, &c. He is of singular use to all his people. He is of use to 
weak saints, to strengthen them ; and he is of use to doubting saints, 
to resolve them ; and he is of use to dull saints, to quicken them ; and 
he is of use to falling saints, to support them ; and he is of use to wan- 
dering saints, to recover them. In prosperity he is of use to keep his 
saints humble and watchful, spotless and fruitful ; and in adversity he 
is of use to keep them contented and cheerful. All which should very 
much engage our hearts to prize this Christ.^ 

Again, we prize things as they suit us; why, Christ is not only a good, 
but a suitable good. Christ is light to enlighten us, John i. 8, 9 ; and 
he is life to enliven us, Philip, v. 14. He is riches to supply us, and he 
is raiment to clothe us ; he is a staff to support us, and he is a sword to 
defend us; he is bread to nourish us, and he is water to refresh us, and 
wine to cheer us ; and what would we have more ? 

[4.] Fourthly, Yet once more, that this may stick upon us, let us con- 
sider, that where we are highly prized there we highly jprize? 

Why, the Lord Jesus Christ doth exceedingly prize every believing 
soul ; yea, even such poor weak saints, that many swelled souls slight 
and despise as persons of no worth, because they want that light and 
knowledge, and those parts and gifts, that others have. Well, Chris- 
tians, remember this, Christ prizes you as the apple of his eye, Zech. 
ii. 8 ; he prizes you as his jewels, Mai. iii. 17 ; he prizes you as his por- 

' The character of his subsistence. A comparison from the seal of a ring, the form of 
which is imprinted in the wax. 

2 Christ is quicquid appetibile, as Origen speaks, whatever we can desire. If we hunger 
and thirst, he is pabulum animce, the food of the soul. 

' Christ may well be compared to the trees of the sanctuary, Ezek. xlvii. 12, which 
were both for meat and for medicine. 


tion, Deut. xxxii. 9, ' The Lord's portion is his people;' he prizes you as 
his glory, Isa. xlvi. 13 ; he prizes you as his ornaments, Ezek. vii. 20 ; 
he prizes you as his throne, Jer. xl. 21 ; he prizes you as his diadem, 
Isa. Ixii. 3 ; he prizes you as his friends, John xiv. ; he prizes you as his 
brethren, Heb. ii. 11, 12; he prizes you as his bride, Isa. Ixii. 5 ; he 
prizes you above his Father's bosom, for he leaves that to do you ser- 
vice, John xvi. 28 ; yea, he prizes you above his very life, he lays down 
his life to save your souls, John x. Now, oh who would not highly 
prize such a Christ, that sets such an invaluable price upon such worth- 
less souls ! 

[5.] Fifthly and lastly, consider, That your high prizing of Christ 
will work you to value the least things of Christ above the greatest 
worldly good. 

It will make you value the least nod of Christ, the least love-token 
from Christ, the least good look from Christ, the least good word from 
Christ, the least truth of Christ, &c., above all the honours, treasures, 
pleasures, and glories of this world : Ps. cxix. 72, ' The law of thy mouth 
is better than thousands of gold and silver.' Luther would not take 
all the world for one leaf of the Bible. And oh that a serious considera- 
tion of these things might work all your hearts to a high prizing of the 
Lord Jesus ! 

Use. 7. The next use that we shall make of this point, is this. 

If Christ be so rich, then trust to Christ. 

Who will not trust a rich man ? Every one strives to trust a rich 
man : * The rich hath many friends,' Prov. xiv. 20. Why, the Lord 
Jesus Christ is very rich ; will you be persuaded to trust him ? Oh trust 
him with your best treasures, with your choicest jewels, with your names, 
souls, estates, relations ! The apostle was excellent at this : 2 Tim. i. 12, 
' I know him,' saith he, ' in whom I have believed, that he is able to 
keep that which I have committed unto him, until that day.'^ I have 
committed my soul to him, and my life to him, and my name to him, 
and all my mercies and enjoyments to him. The child cannot better 
secure any precious thing it hath, than by putting it into the father's 
hands to keep. Our mercies are always safest and surest when they 
are out of our hands, when they are in the hands of God. We trust as 
we love, and we trust where we We ; where we love much, we trust 
much. Much trust speaks out much love ; if you love Christ much, 
surely you will trust him much. 

That was a notable bold expression of Luther, ' Let him that died 
for my soul, see to the salvation of it.' I have committed my soul to 
him, I have given it up into his hands, who is my life, who is my love, 
and let him look after it, let him take care of it. In securing of that, 
he secures his own glory. Oh that Christians would trust in this rich 
Christ for a supply of necessaries ! Is Christ so rich, and will you not 
take his word that he will not see you want ? Will you trust a rich 
man upon his word, and will you not trust a rich Christ upon his word ? 
Do you believe he will give you a crown, and will you not trust him for 

* Interpreters differ about the pawn or pledge which the apostle committed to God's 
custody. One saith it was his soul ; a second saith it was himself, which is all one ; a 
third saith it was his works ; a fourth saith it was his sufferings ; a fifth saith it was his 
salvation. Without doubt, it was all that was near and dear to him. 


a crust ? Do you believe he will give you a kingdom, and do you 
doubt whether he will give you a cottage to rest in ? Has he given you 
his blood, and do you think that he will deny you anything that is 
really for your good ? Surely he will not, he cannot.' ^ 

Again, Trust him for power against all the remainders of sin in 

Hath Christ freed you from the damnatory power of sin, and from the 
dominion of sin, and will not you trust him for deliverance from the 
remainders of sin ? Ps. Ixv. 3, ' Iniquities prevail against me : as for our 
transgressions, thou shalt purge them away.' Oh excellent faith ! Rom. 
viii. 1, vi. 14. 

Again, Tru^t him to bring you into the land of rest. 

Do you think that this Joshua is not able to carry you through all 
difficulties, dangers, and deaths ? Do you think that he will leave you 
to die in the wilderness, who have already had some glimpses of heaven's 
glory ? Oh trust to this Christ for the bringing your souls into the 
promised land ! Christ would lose his glory should you fall short of 
glory, &c. 

Use 8. Again, If Christ be so rich, then do not forsake him, do not 
leave, do not turn your hacks upon hiyn. 

Is there riches of justification, and riches of sanctification, and riches 
of consolation, and riches of glorification in Christ ? Yes, why then do 
not depart from him, do not shake hands with him.'* That is a sad com- 
plaint of God in Jer. ii. 12, 13, 'Be ye astonished, O ye heavens, at 
this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the Lord. For 
my people have committed two evils ; they have forsaken me, the 
fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, 
that can hold no water.' It is madness and folly to fly from the fountain 
to the stream, from the light of the sun to the light of a candle. And 
is it not greater madness and folly to forsake the Creator to run after 
the creature ? Oh say as Peter, ' Whither should we go, thou hast the 
words of eternal life,' John vi. 68. To run from Christ, is to run from 
all life, peace, and joy ; it is to run from our strength, our shelter, our 
security, our safety, our crown, our glory. Crabs, that go backward, 
are reckoned among unclean creatures. Lev. xi. 10. The application is 

Origen coming to Jerusalem, after that he had shamefully turned his 
back upon Christ and his truth, and being exceedingly pressed to preach, 
at last he yields, and as he opened the book, he happened to cast his 
eye upon that place of the psalmist, * What hast thou to do to declare 
my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth, 
seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my word behind thee V Ps. 1. 
16, 17. Now the remembrance of his own folly so reflected upon 
his conscience, that it made him close the book and sit down and 
weep. Such as forsake a rich, a full Christ, shall have weeping work 

That is a very dreadful scripture, Jer. xvii. 13, ' All you that forsake 
the Lord, shall come to be ashamed, and they that depart from him, 

' (1.) Christ's promises are ever performed, 2 Cor. i. 20. (2.) His promises aro over- 
performed, 1 Cor. ii, 9, &c. 
2 You read of no arms for the back, though you do for the breast, Eph. vi. 11. 


shall be written in the dust/ Can you read this text, backsliding souls, 
and not tremble ? &c. 

Use 9. Again, If the Lord Jesus Christ be so rich, Oh ! then all you 
that have an interest in him,, labour mightily to clear up your interest, 
and to be more and more confident of your interest in so rich a Jesus. 

My brethren, it is one thing for a man to have an interest in Christ, 
and another thing to have his interest cleared up to him. I do speak 
it with grief of heart, that even among such Christians that I hope to 
meet in heaven, there is scarce one of forty, nay, one of a hundred, that 
is groundedly able to make out his interest in the Lord Jesus. Most 
Christians live between fear and hope, between doubting and believing. 
One day they hope that all is well, and that all shall be well for ever ; 
the next day they are ready to say that they shall one day perish by 
the hand of such a corruption, or else by the hand of such or such a 
temptation ; and thus they are up and down, saved and lost, many times 
in a day. 

But you will say unto me. What means should we use to clear up 
our interest in Christ ? 

I will tell you. 

There are six singular^ means that you should labour after, for the 
evidencing more and more your interest in Christ. And take it from 
experience, you will find that they will contribute very much for the 
evidencing your interest in Christ. 

[] .] And the first is this. Faithfully and constantly fall in ivith the 
interest of Christ. 

Holiness is the interest of Christ, the gospel is the interest of Christ, 
the precious ordinances are the interest of Christ, &c. Now the more 
sincerely and roundly you fall in with the interest of Christ, the more 
abundantly you will be confirmed and persuaded of your interest in 
Christ. Such souls as fall in with strange interests, or with base and 
carnal interests, may justly question whether ever they had any real 
interest in Christ. Christians ! did you more sincerely and fully fall in 
with Christ's interest, you would less question your interest in Christ ; 
this would scatter many a cloud.^ 

[2.] Secondly, Be kind to the Spirit of Christ ^ 

Do not grieve him, do not slight him. If you should set this Spirit 
a-mourning, that alone can evidence your interest, that alone can seal up 
your interest in Christ, by whom shall your interest in Christ be sealed 
up ? Oh do not grieve the Spirit by acting against light, against con- 
science, against engagements ; do not grieve him by casting his cordials 
and comforts behind your backs ; do not grieve him by slighting and 
despising his gracious actings in others ; do not cast water upon the 
Spirit, but wisely attend the hints, the items, and motions of the Spirit, 
and he will clear up thy interest in Christ, he will make thee say, ' My 
beloved is mine, and I am his,' Cant. ii. 1 6. 

[3.] Thirdly, Labour more and more after a full and universal 
conformity to Jesus Chmst. 

1 Distinct.— G. 

2 The primitive Christians did generally fall in with the interest of Christ, and they 
generally, had an assurance of their interest in Christ. 

^ Lam. i. 16, Philip, iv. 30, Isa. Ixiii. 10. Spiritus sanctus est res delicata, Ps. Ixxvii, 2, 
1 Thes. V. 19. 


The more the soul is conformable to Christ, the more confident it will 
be of its interest in Christ : 1 John iv. 17, ' Herein is our love made 
perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as 
he is, so are we in this world/ * As he, so are we.' The child is not 
more like the father than we are like our Saviour. The child is the 
father multiplied, the father of a second edition. Our suTnmum honum 
consists in our full communion with Christ, and in our full conformity 
to Christ. Oh ! if men were more universally conformable to Christ in 
their affections, ends, designs, and actings, &c., they would have abun- 
dantly more clear, full, and glorious evidences of their interest in Christ. 
A more full conformity to Christ in heart and life will make your lives 
a very heaven, &c. As all good orators endeavour to be like Demos- 
thenes, so all good Christians should endeavour to be like Jesus Christ ; 
for therein lies their glory and perfection. 

[4.] Fourthly, Interest Christ in the glory of all you enjoy, and in 
the glory of all you do. 

This is a precious way to have your interest in Christ more and more 
evidenced to your own souls, 1 Cor. x. 31. Such as are good at this, 
as are much in this, will find Christ every day a-clearing up more and 
more their interest in himself It is not usually long night with such 
souls. Oh Christians ! interest Christ more and more in the glory of 
all your graces, interest him in the glory of all your duties, interest him 
in the glory of all your abilities, as Christ doth interest you in himself, 
in his Spirit, in his graces, in his riches, in his titles, in his dignities, in 
his offices. Ah Christians ! did you interest Christ more in all you 
have, in all you are, and in all you do, you would never be so full 
of fears, and doubts, and questions about your interest in Christ as you 
are, John i. 16, Eev. i. 5, 6, 1 Peter ii. 9. Your interesting of Christ 
in all you have and do, will speak out not only the truth of your love, 
but also the strength and greatness of your love ; and where men love 
much, where they love strongly, there they do not question the truth of 
their love.^ 

The heathen gods were contented to divide their honours amongst 
themselves, and hence the senate of Rome rejected Christ, from taking 
him to be a god, after that they had consulted about it ; for, said they, 
if Christ come to be acknowledged a god, he will not share with the 
rest, he will have all himself; and so upon this reason they refused him.* 
Christians ! Christ will not have any competitor ; he will rather part 
with anything than with his glory : Isa, xlii. 8, *I am the Lord, that is my 
name, and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to 
graven images.' Christ will rather part with his life than with his 
honour ; therefore, let every Christian say as David does : 1 Chron. xxix. 
11-13, ' Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, 
and the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heaven and in 
the earth is thine ; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted 
as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reign- 
est over all ; and in thine hand is power and might, and in thine hand 
it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now, therefore, our 
God we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.' And clearly, friends, 

' The mother that strongly loves her child does not question the truth of her love to 
her child. 2 TertuUian, Apolog., c. v. ; and cf. Lardner. — G. 


the more your hearts are led forth to interest Christ in all you enjoy, 
and in all you do, the more clear and glorious evidence you will have 
of your interest in Christ. Let his honour and glory lie nearer and 
nearer to your hearts, and you shall see that he has set you as a seal 
upon his arm, as a seal upon his heart. 

[5.] The fifth means to gain the knowledge of your interest in Christ 
is, By cleaving to Christ, and whatsoever is dear to Christ, in the face 
of all miseries, difficulties, and dangers. 

It is nothing to cleave to Christ in fair weather, when every one cleaves 
to Christ, when every one professes Christ ; but to cleave to him in a 
storm, when every one runs from him, this speaks out a child-like dis- 
position ; it speaks out a Jacob's spirit : Ps. xliv. ; Acts v. ; Heb. xi. ; 
Dan. iii. ; Acts xxi. 13. Surely he must needs have much of Christ, 
that nothing can take off from cleaving to Christ. When the soul says 
to Christ, as Ruth said to Naomi, ' Whither thou goest I will go ; and 
where thou lodgest I will lodge : thy people shall be my people, and thy 
God shall be my God. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught 
but death part thee and me,' Euth i. 15-18. When neither the frowns 
of men, nor the reproach of men, nor the contempt of men, nor opposi- 
tions from men, can take the soul off from cleaving to Christ, it will not 
be long before Christ speaks peace to such a soul : Ps. Ixiii. 8, ' My soul 
foUoweth hard after thee, thy right hand upholds me.' In the Hebrew 
it is, ' My soul cleaveth to thee,' or ' is glued to thee,' as Jonathan's 
soul cleaved to David, and as Jacob's soul cleaved to Rachel, in the face 
of all difficulties and troubles. Doubtless, when the soul cleaves to 
Christ in the face of all afflictions and difficulties, this carries with it very 
much evidence of its interest in Christ. In temporals men cleave to 
persons and things, as their interest is in them ; and so it is in spirituals 
also. Christ cannot, Christ will not, throw such to hell that hang about 
him, that cleave to him.^ 

[6.] Sixthly and lastly, If you would know vjhether you have an in- 
terest in Christ, then he very much in observing what interest Christ 
has in you. 

Observe whether he has the interest of a head, a husband, a father, 
or no. Christ has a general interest in all creatures, as he is the Crea- 
tor and preserver of them ; and he has a head's interest, a husband's 
interest, a father's interest, only in them that have a saving interest in 
him. The interest of the head, the husband, the father, is the greatest 
interest ; it is the sweetest interest, it is a commanding interest, it is 
a growing interest, it is a peculiar interest, it is a lasting interest ; and 
really, if the Lord Jesus hath such an interest in you, you may be as 
confident that you have a real and glorious interest in him, as you are 
confident that you live. And thus much for the means whereby you 
may come to know your interest in rich Jesus. 

Before I close up this discourse, give me leave to speak a few words 
to poor sinners who, to this very day, are afar off from this Jesus, who 
is so rich in all excellencies and glories. Ah poor hearts ! you have 
heard much of the riches of the Lord Jesus, and oh that I could per- 
suade with you to get an interest in this Christ ! Get this Christ, and 
you get all ; miss him, and you miss all. It is a matter of eternal con- 

' Shamma, one of David's worthies, stood and defended the field when all the rest fled.. 

EpH. hi. a] RICHES OF CHRIST. 203 

cernment to your souls. Nothing can make that man miserable that 
hath this rich Christ ; nothing can make that man happy that wants 
this rich Christ. In Pro v. iv. 5-7, * Get wisdom (that is Christ), get 
understanding, forget it not. Wisdom is the principal thing, there- 
fore get wisdom, and with all thy getting get understanding.' And 
so in Prov. xvi. ] 6, ' How much better is it to get wisdom than gold ? 
and to get understanding, rather to be chosen than silver ?' Hadst thou 
all the power of the world, without an interest in Christ, thou wouldst 
be but weak, 1 Cor. i. 25-29. Hadst thou all the wit and learning 
in the world, without an interest in Christ, thou wilt be but a fool. 
Hadst thou all the honours in the world, yet without an interest in 
Christ, thou wouldst be but base. Hadst thou all the wealth in the 
world, yet without an interest in Christ, thou wouldst be but a beggar, 
Dan. iv. 17; Luke xvi. 22-26, &c. Oh, therefore, labour for an in- 
terest in Christ ! Oh, turn the wise merchant at last ! The wise mer- 
chant in the Gospel parts with all to buy the pearl, to get an interest 
in Christ, Mat. xiii. 45-47. Oh it is your greatest wisdom, it is of an 
eternal concernment to your souls, to sell all, to part with all, for an in- 
terest in the Lord Jesus ! Oh do not deal with your own souls, when 
Christ is tendered and offered to you, as sometimes simple people do 
when they go to market ; they might have a good pennyworth, but that 
they are loath to part with some old piece of gold that has been given 
them by a father or a friend ; somewhat willing they are to have a good 
pennyworth, but unwilling they are to part with their gold. It is so 
with many poor sinners, when the Lord Jesus Christ is presented to 
their souls as a very glorious pennyworth, somewhat willing they are to 
have him, but unwilling they are to part with their old good, with some 
old sweet darling lust. But, sinners, don't you deceive your own souls ; 
sin and your souls must part, or Christ and your souls can never meet. 
Sin and your souls must be two, or Christ and your souls can never be 
one. Christ is a most precious commodity ; he is better than rubies, 
Prov. viii. 11, or the most costly pearls ; and you must part with your 
old gold, with your shining gold, your old sins, your most shining sins, 
or you must perish for ever. Christ is to be sought and bought with 
any pains, at any price. We cannot buy this gold too dear. He is a 
jewel more worth than a thousand worlds, as all know that have him. 
Get him, and get all ; miss him and miss all. 

Now if ever you would get an interest in Christ, and so by gaining 
an interest in him, be possessed of all the riches and glory that come 
by him, then be sure to get your hearts possessed with these nine prin- 
ciples that follow. 

[1.] And the first principle is this, That the great end and, 
design of Christ's coming ' into the world was the salvation of 

Get this principle rooted in your spirits. ' I came not to call the 
righteous,' saith he, ' but sinners to repentance,' Mat. ix. 13, Mark ii. 17. 
And in 1 Tim. i. [5,' This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all accep- 
tation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.' Christ 
lays aside his royal crown ; he puts off his glorious robe ; he leaves his 
Father's bosom ; he takes a journey from heaven to earth ; and all to 
save poor lost sinners. That which Christ had most in his eye, and 


upon his heart, in his coming into the world, was the salvation of sinners. 
Lay up this truth, feed upon this honey-comb. 

[2.] Secondly, Get this principle rooted upon your hearts, viz.. 
That none ever yet obtained an interest in Christ hut unworthy 

When you are pressed to get an interest in Christ, you are ready 
to say. Oh ' I am unworthy,' will Christ ever look after such a one as 
I am? 

I answer, yes ; for this is a most certain principle, that none ever 
attained an interest in Christ but unworthy creatures. Was Paul 
worthy before he had an interest in Christ ? What worthiness was in 
Matthew when Christ called him from the receipt of custom ? And 
what worthiness was in Zaccheus when Christ called him down from 
the sycamore tree, and told him that this day salvation was come to his 
house ? Was Manasseh or Mary Magdalene worthy before they had an 
interest in Christ ? Surely no. Though you are unworthy, yet Christ 
is worthy ; though you have no merit, yet God has mercy ; though 
there is no salvation for you by the law, yet there is salvation for you 
by the gospel. 

Again, Christ requires no worthiness in any man before he believes ; 
and he that won't believe before he is worthy will never believe.^ If 
you look upon God with an evangelical eye, you shall see that he that 
is most unworthy is most capable of mercy. A real sense of our own 
unworthiness renders us most fit for divine mercy. This objection, I 
am unworthy, is an unworthy objection, and speaks out much pride 
and ignorance of the gospel, and of the freeness and riches of God's 
grace, &c. 

[3.] Thirdly, Let this principle dwell in you, viz., That Christ 
hath lost none of his affections to poor sinners by going to 

Oh how did his bowels work toward sinners when he was on earth ! 
And certainly they work as strongly towards them now he is in heaven. 
His love, his heart, his good-will, is as much towards them as ever. 
Christ is Alpha and Omega ; the phrase is taken from the Greek let- 
ters, whereof Alpha is the first, and Omega the last, Rev. i. 8. I am 
before all, and I am after all. ' Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to- 
day, and for ever,' Heb. xiii. 8. [Vide Grotius.] Christ is the same 
before time, in time, and after time. Christ is unchangeable in his 
essence, in his promises, and in his love to poor sinners. 

[4.] Fourthly, Get this principle riveted in your hearts, That 
he is able to save to the uttermost all those that come unto God by 

Heb. vii. 25, ' He is able to save to the uttermost ;'^ that is, to all 
ends and purposes, perfectly and perpetually. He needs none to help 
him in the great business of redemption ; he is thorough Saviour ; ' he 
has trod the wine-press alone,' Isa. Ixiii. 3. 

[5.] Fifthly, Get this principle riveted in your hearts. That the 
want of such preparations or qualifications that many men lay 
a great stress upon, shall be no impediment to hinder your souVs 

> Sucli as shall go to prove he does, imist make a new gospel, a new Bible. 
* tli 70 iravTsXf;. The original word signifies all manner of perfection. 


interest in Christ, if you will hut open to Christ, and close with Jesus 

Kev. iii. 20, ' Behold, I stand at the door, and knock : if any man 
hear my voice, and open to me, I will come in to him, and will sup with 
him, and he with me.' Pray tell me at whose door was this that Christ 
stood and knocked ? Was it not at the Laodiceans' door ? Was it not 
at their door that thought their penny as good silver as any ? that 
said they were rich, and had need of nothing, when Christ tells them 
to their very faces, * that they were poor, and miserable, and blind, and 
naked.' None more unprepared, unqualified, and unfitted for union 
and communion with Christ than these lukewarm Laodicean s ; and yet 
the Lord Jesus is very ready and willing that such should have inti- 
mate communion and fellowship with him. 

* If any man will open, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, 
and he with me.' The truth of this you have further evidenced, Prov. 
i. 20-24, and viii. 1-6, and ix. 1-6. All these scriptures with open 
mouth speak out the truth asserted, viz.. That the want of preparations 
or qualifications shall not hinder the soul's interest in Christ, if the 
soul will adventure itself by faith upon Christ. I pray, what qualifica- 
tions and preparations had they in Ezek. xvi., when God saw them in 
their blood, and yet that was a time of love, and God even then spread 
his skirt over them, and made a covenant with them, and they became 
his. What qualifications or preparations had Paul, Mary Magdalene, 
Zaccheus, and Lydia, &c. ? And yet these believed in Christ, these had 
a blessed and glorious interest in Christ, &c. 

Ay, but some may object, and say, 

Obj. What is the meaning of that text. Mat. xi. 28, ' Come unto me, 
all you that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest ' ? 

Ans. Ihere is a threefold answer to be given to this objection. 

First, Though the invitation be to those that are weary and heavy 
laden, yet the promise is made to coming, to believing.^ 

Secondly, This text shews only this, that those that are burdened 
and bowed down under sin, and under the sense of divine wrath, are 
to come to Christ, and that there is no way for them to obtain ease 
and rest but by coming to Christ. But this text doth not shew that 
only these must come to Christ, or that only these may come to Christ. 

Thirdly, and lastly. No one scripture speaks out the whole mind of 
God f and therefore you must compare and consult this scripture with 
the scriptures, and instances lately cited, and then you will clearly see 
that souls may believe in Christ, and come to obtain an interest in 
Christ, though they are not so and so prepared, nor so and so qualified, 
as some would have them. 

[6.] Sixthly, Get this principle rooted in your hearts, That Christ is 

' Some men there be that would have men better Christians before they come to 
Christ, before they believe in Christ, than usually they prove after they are come to 
Christ. Surely, did legal preachers seriously weigh the following scriptures, they would 
not so vehemently, I say not nngerly, press the absolute necessity of such and such 
qualifications before faith in Christ, as they do : Mark xvi. 16 ; John iii. 34 ; Heb. xi. 6 ; 
Rom. xiv. 28 ; John v. 12 ; Mat. vii. 17, 18, xii. 33 ; Rom. viii. 2 ; Gal. v. 6. 

2 The dove found no rest till she returned to the ark. No more will the troubled soul 
till it returns to Christ. 

^ Adoro plinitudinem Scripturarum. — Tertullian, 


appointed and anointed by the Father to this very offi.ce of receiv- 
ing and saving poor sinners} 

Turn to Isa. Ixi. 1-4, John vi. 28, and Ps. Ixviii. 18, ' Thou hast 
ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive ; thou hast received 
gifts for men ; yea, for the rebellious also (what for ?), that the Lord 
God might dwell among them.' Christ has received gifts for rebellious 
sinners, for rebellious Sabbath breakers, for rebellious swearers, for 
rebellious drunkards, &c. 

* That the Lord God might dwell among them.' That is, that he 
might have near communion and fellowship with them. 

[7.] Seventhly, Get this principle rooted in you. That it is the de- 
light of Christ to give poor sinners an interest in himself. 

He is not only able to do it, but it is his delight to do it. Christ's 
soul is in nothing more. Witness his leaving his Father's bosom ; wit- 
ness his laying down his crown ; witness those many sufferings and 
deaths that he went through in this world ; witness those gospel accla- 
mations, Mark xvi. 16, Rev. xxii. 17 ; witness those persuasive exhorta- 
tions and gracious impetrations and entreaties, Ezek. liii. 11, Mat. xi. 28, 
2 Cor. V. 20 ; witness divine injunctions and comminations, 1 John. 
V. 23, Mat. xi. 21 ; witness those pathetical lamentations. Mat. xxiii. 87, 
Luke xix. 42, Ps. Ixxxi. 13 ; and witness the inward motions and secret 
excitations of his blessed Spirit, Gen. vi. 3, all which speak out his 
great willingness and delight to save poor sinners ; so in Ps. xl. 7, 8, 
' I delight to do thy will, O my God ; thy law is in my heart ;' or, as the 
Hebrew hath it, '•y» linn, ' It is in the midst of my bowels.' Now 
mark, the will of the Father was the salvation of sinners. This was 
the will of the Father, ' That Jesus Christ should seek and save them 
that are lost,' Mat. xviii. 1 1 . Now, saith Christ, ' I delight to do thy 
will, O my God ;' it is the joy and rejoicing of my heart to be a-seeking 
and a-saving lost sinners. When Christ was a.n hungry, he went not 
into a victualling house, but into the temple, and taught the people 
most part of the day, to shew how much he delighted in the salvation 
of sinners, &c.^ 

[8.] Eighthly, Get this principle riveted in your hearts. That as there 
is nothing in Christ to discourage you from looking after an interest 
in him, so there is everything in Christ that m,ay encourage you to 
get an interest in hinfi. 

Look upon his name :^ ' Thy name is an ointment poured out, and 
therefore do the virgins love thee,' Cant, i. 3. The name of Jesus hath 
a thousand treasures of joy and comfort in it, saith Chrysostom ; and so 
hath all his other names. If you look upon Christ in his natures, in 
his offices, in his graces, in his beauties, in his gifts, and in his works, 
you will find nothing but what may encourage you to believe in him, 
and to resign up yourselves to him. Ah, poor sinners, what would you 
have ? Is there not power in Christ to support you, and mercy in 

1 Moses was faithful in his office as a servant, but Christ as a Son, Heb. iii. 2-6. 
Christ had never entered into glory had he not been faithful in his offices, &c. 

'^ Christ did so much delight, and his heart was so much set upon the conversion and 
salvation of the Samaritans, that he neglected his own body to save their souls, as you 
may clearly see in John iv. 

3 The name of a Saviour is honey in the mouth, and music in the ear, and a jubilee 
in the heart, saith one. [Bernard, as before. — G.] 


Christ to pardon you, and grace in Christ to heal you, and goodness in 
Christ to reheve you, and happiness in Christ to crown you, and what 
would you have more ? Oh that you would believe ! 

[9.] Ninthly, Let this principle be rooted in you, That the surest way, 
and the shortest cut to mercy, and to get an interest in Christ, is by 
a peremptory casting of the soul by faith on Christ 

There is no way under heaven to be interested in Christ but by be- 
lieving. There is no way to get an interest in the riches of Christ but 
this, ' he that believes shall be saved,' let his sins be never so great; 
' and he that believes not, shall be damned,' let his sins be never so 
little.^ And so much shall suffice to have spoken concerning this great 
and weighty point. I shall follow what hath been said with my 
prayers, that what has been said may work for your internal and eternal 
welfare, &c. 

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, 
that I should preach among the Gentiles, the unsearchable riches of 
Christ, Eph. iii. 8. 

There are other two observations that arise from these words. I shall, 
by divine assistance, speak something to them, and so finish this text. 
And the first is this, viz., 

Doct. That it is the great duty of preachers to preach Jesus Christ 
to the people. 

* To me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, 
that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of 

It is the great duty of ministers to preach the Lord Christ to the 

I shall prove it, and then open it to you. 

I. In Acts V. 42, ' And daily in the temple, and in every house, they 
ceased not to teach and preach.' What? Jesus Christ. So in Acts 
iii. 20, ' And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached 
unto you/ So in 1 Cor. i. 23, 24, and 2 Cor. iv. 5, ' We preach not 
ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord ; and ourselves your servants for 
Jesus' sake.' So in Acts iv. 2, and ii. 85, and ix. 20. As soon as Paul 
was converted, straightway he preached Christ in the synagogue, that 
he was the Son of God. 

Now for the opening of the point, I shall only attempt two things. 

(1.) Give you the reasons why it is the great duty of ministers to 
preach Christ to the people. 

(2.) Which will be the main, to shew you how they are to preach 
Christ to the people. 

I confess this a very useful point in these days, wherein many men 
preach anything, yea, everything but a crucified Jesus. Well, Christians, 
remember this, as it is your duty to take heed how you hear, so it is as 
much your duty to take heed who you hear. Many there are that count 
and call themselves the ministers of Christ, and yet have neither skill 
nor will to preach Jesas Christ, to exalt and lift up Jesus Christ in lip 

• John iii. 16-18, 36, and viii. 24, and xvi. 9, and iv. 50, 53, and v. 24, and vi. 35, 40, 
and vii. 38, and xi. 25, 26, and xii. 46 ; Acts x. 43 ; Rom. iii. 26 ; 1 John v. 10-12. 


or life, in word or work. A sad reckoning these will have to make up 
at last. 

II. But to come to the reasons of the point, why it is the great work 
and duty of ministers to preach Jesus Christ to the people.^ 

[1.] First, Because that is the only way to save and to win souls to 
Jesus Christ 

There is no other way of winning and saving souls, but by the preach- 
ing of Christ to the people. In Acts iv. 10-12 compared, 'Neither is 
there salvation in any other : for there is none other name under 
heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.' You may 
preach this and that, and a thousand things to the people, and yet 
never better them, never win them. It is only preaching of Christ, 
that allures and draws souls to Christ : John xvii. 3, ' This is life eternal, 
to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.' 
Ah, nothing melts the hearts of sinners, nor wins upon the hearts of 
sinners, like the preaching of the Lord Jesus. It is true, the teaching 
of this and that opinion, may please many a man's fancy, but it is only 
the preaching of Christ that changes the heart, that conquers the heart, 
that turns the heart, &c. Peter, by preaching of a crucified Christ, con- 
verts three thousand souls at once. Acts ii. 14-42. Were Christ more 
preached, men would be more enamoured with him. He is only pre- 
cious to them that hear of him, and that believe in him. Christ is in 
all respects incomparable ; and therefore, as you would honour him, and 
win upon others, make him more and more known to the world, 
1 Peter ii. 7, &c. 

[2.] Secondly, They are to preach Christ to the people, because it is 
the choicest and the chiefest way to ingratiate Christ with poor 

This brings Christ and the soul together, and this keeps Christ and 
the soul together. Nothing endears Christ to the soul like this. We 
see, by woful experience, Christ neglected, despised, scorned, and 
trampled upon by most ; and no wonder, for many preach themselves 
more than Christ, and they preach men more than Christ, and their 
own notions and impressions more than Christ. Surely Christ is but 
little beholding to such ministers, and, I think, the souls of men as little ; 
and oh that they were so wise as to consider of it, and lay it to heart ! 
Surely a real Christian cares not for anything that hath not aliquid 
Christi, something of Christ in it. There is a strange and strong energy 
or forcibleness in hearing Christ and his beauties and excellencies dis- 
played and discovered.^ 

The daughters of Jerusalem, by hearing the church presenting Christ 
in so high a character, and by describing and painting him out in such 
lively colours, are so enchanted and inflamed that, might they but know 
where to find him, they would be at any pains to seek him. When 
Christ is set forth in his glories, with much affection and admiration, 
others fall in love with him, as you may see by comparing Cant. v. 10, 
seq., with chap. vi. 1. 

1 Jewel, Cowper, and others, had no such pleasure or joy as they had in preaching 
Christ unto the people. [The * Bishops ' of these names.— G.] 

2 Martian, archbishop of Constantinople, said once of Sabbatius, a wretched and un- 
worthy man, whom he had ordained to be a presbyter, We wish we had rather laid our 
hands on the briars than on such heads. 


[3.] Thirdly, It is their great duty to preach Jesus Christ to the 
people, because the preaching up of Christ is the only way to preach 
down antichrist, or whatever makes against Christ. 

Some would have antichrist dowD, yea, they would have him down 
root and branch, but there is no such way for his total and final over- 
throw as the preaching of Christ; for the more the glory, fulness, perfec- 
tion, and excellency of Christ is discovered, the more the horrid vileness 
and matchless wickedness of the man of sin will be discovered and ab- 
horred, &c. : 2 Thes. ii. 3, 4, 7-10, * And then shall that wicked one be 
revealed/ The Greek word properly signifies a lawless, yokeless, 
masterless monster ; one that holdeth himself subject to no law/ 

Pope Nicholas the First said * that he was above law,' because Con- 
stantino styled the pope God ; and of the same opinion were most of 
the popes. 

' Whom he shall consume.' The Greek word signifies to consume by 
little and little, till a thing come to nothing. 

* With the spirit of his mouth.' That is, with the evidence and glory 
of his word in the mouths of his messengers. The ministers of the 
word are as a mouth whereby the Lord breatheth out that glorious, 
mighty, and everlasting gospel which shall by degrees bruise anti- 
christ and all his adherents, and break them in sunder like a rod of 
iron, &c. 

When Christ was born, all the idols that were set up in the world, 
as historians write, fell down. When Jesus Christ comes to be lifted 
up in a nation, in a city, in a town, in a family, yea, in any heart, then 
all idols without and within will fall before the power, presence, and 
glory of Jesus. Since Luther began to lift up Christ in the gospel, 
what a deal of ground has antichrist lost ! and he does and will lose 
more and more, as Christ comes to be more and more manifested and 
lifted up in the chariot of his word. Many in these days that speak 
much against antichrist, have much of antichrist within them. And 
certainly there is no such way to cast him out of men's hearts, and out 
of the world, as the preaching and making known of Christ, as the ex- 
alting or lifting up of Christ in the gospel of grace.^ 

[4.] A fourth reason why they are to preach Christ to the people is 
this, because else they controxit upon themselves the blood of souls. 

There is no other way for them to avoid the contracting of the blood 
of men and women's souls upon them, but the preaching of Christ 
unto them/ Now, a man were better to have all the blood of the world 
upon him than the blood of one soul. The blood of souls, of all blood, 
cries loudest and wounds deepest. The lowest, the darkest, and the 
hottest place in hell will be the sad and dreadful portion of such upon 
whose skirts the blood of souls shall be found at last. Hence that pas- 

' In the canon law the pope is said to he solutus omni lege humana, 

* Bellarmine confesseth, to his great grief, that ever since the Lutherans have declared 
the pope to be antichrist, his kingdom hath not only not increased, but every day more 
and more decreased and decayed. — Lib. iii. de Papa Rom., cap. 31. 

' The Germans have this proverb : say they, The pavement of hell is made of the bare 
skulls of priests and the glorious crests of gallants. Their meaning is, that the more 
eminent any one is in church or state, and doth not employ his eminency accordingly, 
the more low shall they lie in hell, Rev. xviii. 11-14. 



sage of Paul in 1 Cor. ix. 16, *Woe unto me if I preach not the gospel.' 
The motto that should be writ upon preachers' study-doors, and on their 
walls, and on all the books they look on, on the beds they lie on, and 
on the seats they sit on, &c., should be this, ' The blood of souls, the 
blood of souls/ The soul is the better, the noble part of man ; it bears 
most of the image of God ; it is capable of union and communion with 
God. Christ sweat for it, and bled for it ; and therefore woe to those 
merchants that make merchandise of the souls of men. This was a 
comfort and an honour to Paul, that he kept himself from the blood of 
souls. Acts XX. 25-27. He appeals to them that they were witnesses 
that * he was free from the blood of all men.' Paul had held out Jesus 
Christ in his natures, in his names, in his oflSces, and in all his excel- 
lencies and perfections, and so frees himself from the blood of all men. 
And ministers can no way secure themselves from the blood of souls, 
but by preaching up and living out a crucified Jesus. 

[5.] The last reason is this, because the ]pTeacliing of Christ con- 
tributes most to their comfort here, and to their reward hereafter ; 
therefore they are to preach the Lord Christ to the people. 

When Luther was upon a dying bed, this was no small joy and com- 
fort to his spirit. * Thee, Lord,' saith he, ' have I known, thee have I 
loved, thee have I taught, thee have I trusted, and now into thy hand 
I commend my spirit.' There can be no greater joy to a minister than, 
by preaching Christ, to win souls to Christ : 1 Thes. ii. 19, 20, ' For 
what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in 
the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming. Ye are our glory 
and joy.' They that by preaching Christ win souls to Christ shall shine 
as the stars in the firmament, Dan. xii. 3. Every soul won to Christ is 
a glorious pearl added to a preacher's crown : 1 Peter v. 4, ' And when 
the chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive a crown of glory.' 
A crown imports perpetuity, plenty, and dignity, the height of human 

It is the opinion of some that there are three places of exaltation in 
heaven : 

The first and highest is for converting ministers. 

The second is for suffering martyrs. 

The third is for persevering Christians. 

Without doubt, those ministers shall be high in heaven who make it 
their heaven to hold forth Christ, and to win souls to Christ ; who are 
willing to be anything, to be nothing, that Christ may be all in all to 
poor souls. And thus I have given you the reasons of the point. 

I shall now come to the second thing, which is the main, and that is, 
to shew you, 

II. How ministers are to preach Christ to the people. 

Many weak and slight spirits in these days think that it is as easy to 
preach as to play, and so they hop from one thing to another, and those 
that are not qualified nor fit for the least and lowest employment, yet 
judge themselves fit enough for the greatest and the weightiest em- 
ployment in the world, and that which would certainly break the backs, 
not only of the best and strongest men, but even of the very angels, 

' Bernard comfortably observes that ministers have their reward secundum labor em, 
not tecundum proventum. 


should not God put under his * everlasting arms.' No labour to that 
of the mind, no travail to that of the soul, and those that are faithful 
in the Lord's vineyard find it so. Luther was wont to say that if he 
were again to choose his calling, he would dig, or do anything, rather 
than take upon him the office of a minister.^ And many other eminent 
lights have been of the same opinion with him.^ 

But what are those rules that every preacher is to observe in his 
preaching of Christ to the people f 
I answer. These eleven : 

[1.] First, Jesus Christ must be preached pZami^i/, perspicuously, so 
as the meanest capacity may understand whai they say concerning 
Christ. They must preach Christ for edification, and not to work 
admiration, as too many do in these days. Paul was excellent at this 
kind of preaching, 1 Cor. xiv. 18, 19. He had rather speak five words 
to edification than ten thousand words to work admiration in ignorant 
people. So in 1 Cor. ii. 4, 5, * And my speech and my preaching was 
not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the 
Spirit and of power ; that your faith should not stand in the wisdom 
of men, but in the power of God ;'^ as if he should say, such preach with 
little power who come with the excellency of speech, or with the en- 
ticing words of man's wisdam. Ah ! many there are, — I speak it 
with grief, and to their shame, — that delight to soar aloft in obscure dis- 
courses, and to express themselves in new-minted words and phrases, 
and to shew high strains and flashes of wit, and all ta work admiration 
in the ignorant. Such kind of preachers are as clouds, and painted 
glass windows, that hinder the light from shining in upon souls, that 
hinder the sun of righteousness from breaking forth in his beauty and 
glory upon the spirits of poor creatures. Woe unto these men in the 
day when such souls shall plead against them, when they shall say. 
Lord, here are the persons whose office and work was to make dark 
things plain, and they have made plain things dark and obscure, that 
Ave might rather wonder at them than any ways profit by them.* 
Aaron's bells were of pure gold. Our whole preaching must be Scripture 
proof, or we and our works must burn together. The profoundest pro- 
phets accommodated themselves to their hearers' capacities.* Holy 
Moses covers his glistering face with a veil when he was to speak to the 
people. Yea, it is very observable that the evangelists spake vulgarly 
many times for their hearers' sake, even to manifest incongruity, as you 
may see in John xvii. 2, Kev. i. 4. But above all, it is most observable 
concerning God the Father, who is the great Master of speech, when he 
spake from heaven, he makes use of three several texts of Scripture in 
one breath : Mat. xvii. 5, ' This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well 

^ Cf. Sibbes, vol. iv. 309, 485.— G. 

' 2 Cot. ii. 16, * Who is sufficient for these things?' Almost every upstart in these 
days thinks himself sufficient. ' Who am I ?' says Moses. Who am I not? saith every 
green-head in tliese days. 

3 Preaching is not a matter of parts, words, or wit ; it is Scripture demonstration that 
works upon the conscience, and that God owns and crowns. 

* It was a saying of Luther : From a vain-glorious doctor, from a contentious pastor, 
and from unprofitable questions, good Lord deliver his church ! [' Table Talk,' as 
before. — G.] 

* Si vis fieri bonus concionator, da operam ut sis bonus Biblicus. If you will be a good 
preacher, study to be well acquainted with the Scripture, said one in the monastery. 


pleased, hear him ;' 'This is my beloved Son,' that scripture you 
have in Ps. ii. 7 ; ' In whom I am well pleased,' this you have in Isa. 
xlii. 1 ; ' Hear him,' this you have in Deut. xviii. 15 ; all which may 
bespeak them to blush, who through curious wiseness disdain at the 
stately plainness of the Scripture ! Oh how unlike to God are such 
preachers, that think to correct the divine wisdom and eloquence with 
their own infancy, vanity, novelty, and sophistry ! Yea, Jesus Christ 
himself, the great doctor of the church, teaches this lesson : Mark iv. 
83, ' And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as 
they were able to hear it ;' not as he was able to have spoken. He 
could have expressed himself at a higher rate than all mortals can ! 
he could have been in the clouds. He knew how to knit such knots 
that they could never untie, but he would not. He delights to speak 
to his hearers' shallow capacities. So in John xvi. 12, * I have many 
things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now.' He that speaks 
not to the hearers' capacities is as a barbarian to them, and they to him. 

' He is the best teacher,' saith Luther, ' that preaches vulgarly, that 
preaches most plainly.' He is not the best preacher that tickles the 
ear, or that works upon the fancy, &c., but he that breaks the heart 
and awakens the conscience. It is sad to consider how many preachers 
in these days are like Heraclitus, wbo was called ' the dark doctor,' 
because he affected dark speeches. Oh how do many in these days 
affect sublime notions, uncouth phrases, making plain truths difficult, 
and easy truths hard ! * They darken counsel by words without know- 
ledge,' Job xxxviii. 2. But how unlike to Christ, the prophets, and 
apostles these dark doctors are, I will leave you to judge ; nor would I 
have their accounts to make up for all the world ; I will leave them to 
stand or fall to their own Master. God loves, owns, and crowns plain 
preaching. Though some account it foolishness, yet ' to them that are 
saved, it is the power of God and the wisdom of God,' 1 Cor. i. 20-80. 
I have stayed the longer upon this first direction, because of its great 
usefulness in these deluding days. 

[2.] Secondly, As they must preach Christ plainly, so they must 
preach Christ faithfully, Prov. xiii. 17, xxv. 1 8, Job xxxiii. 28. Ministers 
are stewards, 1 Cor. iv. 2 ; and you know it is the duty of a steward to be 
faithful in his stewardship, to give to every man the portion that is due 
to him, cheering up those hearts that God would have cheered, and 
weakening those wicked hands that God would have weakened, and 
strengthening those feeble knees that God would have strengthened. 
Ministers are ambassadors ; and you know it is the great concernment 
of ambassadors to be very faithful in their master's messages. God 
looks more, and is affected and taken more, with a minister's faithful- 
ness than with anything else. A great voice, an affected tone, studied 
notions, and silken expressions, may affect and take poor weak souls ; 
but it is only the faithfulness of a minister in his ministerial work that 
takes God, that wins upon God : Mat. xxv. 21-28, ' Well done, good and 
faithful servant ; enter thou into the joy of the Lord :' a joy too big to 
enter into thee, and therefore thou must enter into it. This was Paul's 
glory, Acts xx. 27, that he ' had not shunned to declare unto them the 
whole counsel of God.' Neither fear nor favour swayed him one way 
or another, but he was faithful in his Master's work, and usually God 


crowns him and his labours most, and sends most fish into his net, that 
is most faithful, though he be less skilful ; that hath more of the heart 
in the work, though he hath less of the brain. ^ 

The maid in Plutarch being to be sold in the market, when a chap- 
man asked her, ' Wilt thou be faithful if I buy thee f ' Ay/ said she, 
etiamsi non emeris, * that I will though you do not buy me.' So minis- 
ters must be faithful, though God should not buy them, though he 
should not thus and thus encourage them in their work. Their very 
feet are beautiful who are faithful, and their message most comfortable 
to those that sigh and mourn, that labour and languish under the sense 
of sin and fear of wrath, Isa. Hi. 7. 

[3.] Thirdly, They must preach Christ humbly as well as faithfully :^ 
2 Cor. iv. 5, ' We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and our- 
selves your servants for Jesus' sake.' Paul doth not compliment as the men 
of the world do, * Your servants, sir,' but he spake as it was, for there 
are no greater servants than those that are servants to the souls of men 
for Jesus' sake. So John was very humble in the exercise of his ministry : 
John iii. 30, 31, ' He must increase, but I must decrease/ &c. 

Luther used to say, ' that a minister must take heed of bringing three 
dogs into the pulpit, viz., pride, covetousness, and envy.' The friends of 
the bridegroom must not woo and sue for themselves, but for the bride- 
groom. Dispensers of the gospel are the bridegroom's friends, and they 
must not speak one word for the bridegroom and two for themselves, as 
hath been the trade of many weak and worthless men. It is the greatest 
glory of a minister in this world to be high in spiritual work and humble 
in heart. Vain-glory is a pleasant thief ; it is the sweet spoiler of 
spiritual excellencies. Paul was very humble in the exercise of his 
ministry : none so high in worth as he, nor none so low nor humble in 
heart as he. Though he was the greatest among the apostles, yet he 
accounts himself ' less than the least of all saints / yea, he counted it 
not only his duty but his glory, to be a servant to the weakest saints : 
* To the weak I became as weak / ' Who is weak, and I am not weak ? 
who is offended, and I burn not,' 1 Cor. ix. 22, 2 Cor. xi. 29. 

[4.] Fourthly, As they are to preach the Lord Jesus Christ humbly, 
so they are to preach him wisely. In Prov. xi. 30, ' He that winneth 
souls is wise / and indeed the greatest wisdom in the world is requisite 
to the winning of souls to Christ. He that wins souls, or he that 
catcheth souls, as the fowler doth birds, as the Hebrew word imports 
[ Velokeach, taketh, from Lakach, to take], or fishermen fishes, ' he is 
wise.' There is a holy and a heavenly craft required in the winning of 
souls to Christ: 2 Cor. xii. 16, 'Nevertheless being crafty,' saith the 
apostle, * I caught you with guile.' He speaks of a holy and heavenly 

It is written of the fox, that when he is very hungry after prey, and 
can find none, that he lies down and feigneth himself dead, and so the 

1 The office of a minister is the highest office ; and if his office be highest, his faith- 
fulness must be answerable, or he will be doubly miserable. 

2 Gregory Nazianzen, that famous preacher, setteth no other price upon all his Athen- 
ian learning, wherein he excelled, than this, that he had something of worth to esteem 
as nothing in comparison of Christ. [Homil. in Humil. — G.] 

3 If one soul is more worth than a world, as he hath told us, who only went to the 
price of it. Mat. xvi. 26, then they must needs be wise who win souls to Christ. 


fowls light upon him, and then he catcheth them. Paul, hungering after 
the welfare of the Corinthians' souls, makes use of his heavenly craft to 
catch them. There is a great deal of wisdom required to hold out 
Christ unto the people, not only as a good, but as the greatest good, as 
the choicest good, as the chiefest good, as the most suitable good, as an 
immutable good, as an independent good, as a total good, and as an 
eternal good. Christ must thus be held forth to draw souls to fall in 
love with him, and to work their hearts to run out after him. There 
is wisdom required to answer all cavils and objections that keep Christ 
and poor souls asunder. There is wisdom required to take souls off from 
all false bottoms that they are apt to build upon ; there is wisdom 
required to present Christ freely to souls, in opposition to all unright- 
eousness, and to all unworthiness in man ; there is wisdom required 
to suit things to the capacities and conditions of poor souls, to make 
dark things plain, and hard things easy. Ministers must not be like 
him in the emblem^ that gave straw to the dog and a bone to the ass ; 
but they must suit all their discourses to the conditions and capacities 
of poor creatures, or else all will be lost : time lost, pains lost, God lost, 
heaven lost, and souls lost for ever. 

[5.] Fifthly, They must preach Christ, i^ealoudy, boldly, as well as 
wisely, Acts iv. 20. When they had charged them that they should 
preach no more in tho name of Christ, Why, say they ! what do you 
tell us of the whip, or of prisons, or of this and that ? * We cannot but 
speak the things we have seen and heard.' So in Jer. xx. 9, * Thy word 
was in my heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was 
weary with forbearing, and I could not stay;' Isa. Iviii. J, 'Cry aloud, 
spare not ; lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their 
transgression, and the house of Israel their sins.'^ And Isaiah had his 
tongue touched with a coal of fire from the altar, chap. vi. 6, 7. And 
when the disciples were to go and preach the gospel, the fire sat upon 
their tongues. Acts ii. 34' The worst of men are in a dead sleep, and 
the best of men are too often in a sinful slumber, as the spouse in Cant. 
V. 2, and the wise virgins in Mat. xxv. ; and therefore faithful ministers 
liad need cry aloud ; they had need to be courageous and zealous, to 
awaken both sinners and saints, that none may go sleeping to hell. 
Every coward is a murderer, as the philosopher well observed,* The 
cowardice of the minister is cruelty ; if he fear the faces of men he is a 
murderer of the souls of men. Ministers must say, as Hector in Homer, 
' I will combat with him, though his hands were as fire, and his 
strength as iron.' Let men's hands be as fire and their strength as iron, 
yet ministers must deal with them, and strive to make a conquest on 
them, Ezek. ii. 3, seq. 

Luther professed that he had rather be accounted anything than be 
accused of wicked silence in Christ's cause. ' Let me be accounted,' 
says he, ' proud, let me be accounted covetous, let me be accounted a 
murderer, yea, guilty of all vices, so I be not proved guilty of wicked 
silence for the Lord Jesus Christ.^ 

' The Emblemata, as before, one of Brooks's favourite volumes.— G. 
2 As Croesus his dumb son did for his father. ^ Heads, not tongues. — G. 

* Basil, Luther, Latimer, Bering, and multitudes of others, have been very zealous 
and courageous in their ministry, &c. 
^ They that write the story of the travels of the apostles report that Simon Zelotea 



Themistocles being about to speak to the general of the Greek's 
army, against Xerxes, he held up his staff, as if he had been about to 
strike him, ' Strike/ said Themistocles, ' but yet hear.'^ So should 
ministers say, strike, but yet hear ; rail, but yet hear ; despise, but yet 
hear ; censure, but yet hear ; oppose, but yet hear ; do what you will, 
but yet hear. Non amat, qui non zelat, saith Augustine, * He is no 
friend to God that is not zealous for him." 

When one desired to know what kind of man Basil was, there was, 
saith the history, presented to him in a dream, a pillar of fire with this 
motto. Talis est Basilius, Basil is such a one, all on a-light fire for God. 
So every minister should be all on a-fire for God. 

[6.] Sixthly, They are to preach Christ laboriously, painfully,"^ fre- 
quently.^ A minister must be like the bee, that is still a-flying from 
one flower to another to suck out honey for the good of others. Should 
not that dreadful word naake every idle shepherd tremble : Jer. xlviii 
10, * Cursed be he that doth the work of the Lord negligently ;' 1 Cor. 
XV, ult., ' Be ye stedfast and unmoveable, always abounding in the work 
of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.' Oh 
the dreadful woes that are pronounced in Scripture against idle shep- 
herds! Jer. xxiii. 1; Ezek. xiii. 3, xxxiv. 2; Zech. xi. 17 ; Mat. xxiii. 13- 
16, 23, 25, 27. The great Shepherd of our souls, the Lord Jesus, 
■was still a-feeding of his flock, and much in provoking others to the 
same work : John xxi. 15, * Feed my lambs, feed my sheep ;' 2 Tim. iv. 
2, * Preach the word in season, and out of season.' Christ wept for 
souls, and bled for souls, and prayed for souls ; and shall not ministers 
sweat much for souls, and work much for the good of souls ? Doubtless 
they will give but a sad account to Christ that make anything serve to 
fill up the hour ; that spend two or three hours at the end of a week to 
fit themselves for Sabbath exercises. Idleness is hateful in any, but 
most abominable and intolerable in ministers ; and sooner or later none 
shall pay so dear for it as such. Witness the frequent woes that are 
denounced in Scripture against them. Where should a soldier die but 
in the field ? And where should a minister die but in the pulpit ?* 

Pompey, in a great dearth at Home, having provided store of pro- 
visions for his citizens that were ready to perish, and being ready to 
put to sea, he commanded the pilot to hoist sail and be gone. The 
pilot told him that the sea was tempestuous, and that the voyage was 
like to be dangerous. * It matters not,' said Pompey, ' hoist up sail ; it is 
not necessary that we should live, it is necessary that they should be 
preserved from ruin and famine.'* So should ministers say, it is not 
necessary that we should live, but it is necessary that poor souls should 
live and be happy for ever; it is necessary that they should be acquainted 
with the things of their peace ; it is necessary that they should be de- 
preached here in England, If ever there needed some Zelotes it is now ; such, as Epi- 
phanius speaks of Elijah, that he sucked fire out of his mother's breast. 

' Plutarch : Themistocles vi., et alibi.— G. ' Painstakingly.'— G. 

3 The father pays the nurse though the child dies, the doctor has his fee though the 
patient dies, and the vine-dresser has his reward though the vine wither ; so will God 
deal with faithful ministers, 2 Cor. ii. 16 ; Isa. xlix. 2-4. 

* If a minister had as many eyes as Argus to watch, and as many hands as Briareus 
to labour, he might find employment enough for them all. [Cf. Vol. I. p. 3, footnote 1. 
_G.] "^ Plutarch : Pompey — G. 


livered from the power of Satan and from wrath to come ; and therefore 
it is necessary that we should be frequent and ' abundant in the work 
of the Lord/ and not plead storms and tempests, or that a lion is in 
the way.^ 

It was Vespasian the emperor's speech, and may well be applied to 
ministers, Oportet imperatorem stantem mori, an emperor ought to 
die standing.^ 

[7.] Seventhly, As they are to preach Chi-ist painfully, so they are to 
preach Christ exemplarily :^ 1 Peter v. 8, 'Be thou an example to the 
flock/ They must preach Christ as well in life as in doctrine. Ministers 
must not be like the drugs, that physicians say are hot in the mouth 
and cold in operation ; hot in the pulpit, and cold and careless in their 
lives and conversations. They must say, as Gideon said to his soldiers : 
Judges xvii. 17, ' Look on me and do likewise ;' Mat. v. 16, 'Let your 
light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and 
glorify your Father which is in heaven.' They are called angels, and 
they are called stars, because they should shine in righteousness and 

What Csesar once said of his wife, 'that it was not enough for her to 
be without fault, but she should be without all suspicion of fault,' may 
well be applied to ministers, who, of all men in the world, should be 
most free from the very appearances of evil. The lives of ministers 
oftentimes do convince more strongly than their words ; their tongues 
may persuade, but their lives command.* 

Tace lingua, loquere vita, * Talk not of a good life,' said the heathen, 
'but let thy life speak.' God appointed that both the weights and 
measures of the sanctuary should be twice as large as those of the 
commonwealth, to shew, that he expects much more of those that wait 
upon him in the sanctuary than he doth of others. Ministers should 
be like musk among linen, which casts a fragrant smell, or like that 
box of spikenard, which being broken open, filled the house with its 

Gregory saith of Athanasius, that his life was a continual sermon 
and wooing men to Christ. Aristotle requires this in an orator, that 
he be a good man ; how much more then should God's orators be good 
and gracious ? "When Eli's sons were wicked, the people abhorred the 
offering of the Lord, 1 Sam. ii. 17 ; and what is that that renders the 
things of God so contemptuous and odious in the eyes of many people in 
this nation, but the ignorance, looseness, profaneness, and baseness of 
those that are the dispensers of them. Unholy ministers pull down 
instead of building up. Oh the souls that their lives destroy ! These, 
by their loose lives, lead their flocks to hell, where theirselves must 
lie lowermost.^ 

A painter being blamed by a cardinal for putting too much red upon 

^ The angels on Jacob's ladder were some ascending, others descending, none standing 
or sitting still. Ministers must be like them. 

2 Suetonius. [Vesp. — G.] 

' A preacher, as Quintilian saith of an orator, should be vir bonus, dicendi peritus, a 
well-spoken and well-deeded person. 

* John the abbot professeth that he had never taught others anything which he had 
not first practised himself. 

^ The souls of priests, I may say of ministers, must be purer than the sunbeams, saith 
Chrysostom. Jewel, Bucer, and Bradford, were famous examples for holiness. 


the visages of Peter and Paul, tartly replied, that he painted them so, 
as blushing at the lives of those men who styled themselves their 
successors. Ah how do the lewd and wicked lives of many that are 
called and accounted ministers, make others to blush ! 

Salvian relates how the heathen did reproach some Christians, who 
by their ungodly lives, made the gospel of Christ to be a reproach : 
* Where,' said they, ' is that good law which they do believe ? Where 
are those rules of godliness which they do learn ? They read the holy 
Gospel, and yet are unclean ; they hear the apostle's writings, and yet 
are drunk ; they follow Christ, and yet disobey Christ ; they possess a holy 
law, and yet do lead impure lives.'^ As this is very applicable to many 
professors in those days, so it is applicable to many preachers also. 

I have read of a scandalous minister that was struck at the heart, and 
converted in reading those words : Rom. ii. 21, * Thou which teachest 
another, teachest thou not thyself?' If this treatise should fall into 
any such hand, oh that it might have the same operation ! Wicked 
ministers do more hurt by their lives than they do good by their 

I have read of a gentlewoman that turned athiest because she lived 
under a great learned doctor that preached excellently but lived very 

The heathen brings in a young man, who hearing of the adulteries and 
wickedness of the gods, said, * What ! do they so, and shall I stick at it ?' 
So say most, when their teachers and leaders are lewd and wicked, what ! 
do they such and such abominations, and shall we stick at it ? 

When one deboist^ in life among the Lacedemonians stept up and 
gave good counsel, they would not receive it ; but when another of a 
better life stept up and gave the same counsel, they presently followed 
it. The application is easy. Every minister's life should be a com- 
mentary upon Christ's life ; nothing wins and builds like this.^ 

[8.] Eighthly, Ministers must preach feelingly, experimentally, as 
well as exemplarily. They must speak from the heart to the heart ; 
they must feel the worth, the weight, the sweet of those things upon 
their own souls that they give out to others : 1 John i. 1-3, ' That which 
was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with 
our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of 
the word of life (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and 
bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life which was with the 
Father, and was manifested unto us) ; that which we have seen and 
heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us : 
and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus 
Christ.' The highest mystery in the divine rhetoric, is to feel what a 
man speaks, and then speak what a man feels. 

Praxiteles exquisitely drew love, taking the pattern from that passion 
which he felt in his own heart. 

It was said of Luther, that he spake as if he had been within a man. 
Ministers must so speak to the people, as if they lived in the very hearts 
of the people ; as if they had been told all their wants, and all their 

1 Salvianus de Q. D. lib. iv. 2 Debauched.— G. 

3 Chrysosiom preached so feelingly and so affectionately that his hearers thought they 
had as good be without the sun in the firmament as Chrysostom in the pulpit. 


ways, all their sins, and all their doubts. No preaching to this, no 
preachers to these. 

Ministers should not be like Caesar's soldier, that digged a fountain 
for Caesar, and himself perished for want of water. Yet many such there 
be in these days, that dig and draw water out of the wells of salvation 
for others, and yet themselves eternally perish, by their non-drinking of 
the waters of life. If they are monsters, and not to be named among 
men, that feed and feast their servants, but starve their wives, then 
what monsters are they that feed and feast other men's souls, with the 
dainties and delicates of heaven, but starve their own 1 No misery, no 
hell to this ! 

[9.] Ninthly, As ministers must preach the word feelingly, experi- 
mentally, so they must preach the word rightly. They must divide and 
distribute the word according to every one's spiritual estate and con- 
dition. They must give comfort to whom comfort belongs, and counsel 
to whom counsel belongs, and reproof to whom reproof belongs, and 
terror to whom terror belongs : 2 Tim. ii. 15, ' Study to shew thyself 
approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly 
dividing the word of truth ;' or, word for word, 'Rightly cutting into 
parts the word of truth/ Isa. xl. 1, 2, 1. 4 ; 2 Cor. v. 10-12. Some 
say [Gerhard, Perkins, &c.] the metaphor is taken from the priests of 
the Old Testament, who having slain the beasts that were to be sacri- 
ficed, did joint and divide the same in an accurate manner. Others say 
[Chrysostom, BuUinger, Theophylact, &;c.] it is a metaphor taken from 
a cutter of leather, who cutteth off that which is superfluous, when he 
cutteth out reins and thongs. So in the handling of the word, questions 
that are superfluous and unprofitable, ought to be cut off ; and that 
only is to be held forth that makes for the hearer's instruction, edification 
and consolation. Others say the metaphor is taken from the cutting 
and squaring out of the streets and highways, and setting out the 
bounds of men's lands and possessions. Others by cutting the word of 
truth aright, understand the raising of right instructions, by following 
the rule of the word, only as a ploughman that draweth or cutteth a 
right furrow in the ground.^ 

To divide the word aright, is to cut out, saith Calvin and others, to 
every one his portion, as a parent cutteth out bread to his children, or 
a cook meat to his guests. A general doctrine not applied, is as a sword 
without an edge, not in itself, but to the people, who by reason of their 
own singular senselessness and weakness, are not able to apply it to their 
own estates and conditions ; or as a whole loaf set before children, 
that will do them no good. A garment fitted for all bodies, is fit for 
nobody ; and that which is spoken to all is taken as spoken to none. 
Doctrine is but the drawing of the bow, application is the hitting of the 
mark. How many are wise in generals, but vain in their practical in- 
ferences ! Such preachers are fitter for Rome than England. Souls 
may go sleeping and dreaming to hell before such preaching, ere such 
preachers will awaken them and shew them their danger. Oh that 
therefore the people were so wise as, that when sin is reproved, judg- 

' And if Galen could say that in anatomising a man's brain, physicians must carry 
themselves as men do in the temple, how much more must ministers do so in dividing 
the word of life ! 


meots threatened, miseries promised, and Christ freely and fully offered, 
they would apply all to their own souls ! This is the misery of many 
in our days ; they come to sermons as beggars come to banquets, carry- 
ing nothing but the scraps away with them. 

[10.] Tenthly, They must preach the word acceptably, as well as 
rightly : Eccles. xii. 10, ' The preacher sought to find out acceptable 
words ;' or words of delight, as the Hebrew has it, ' and that which was 
WTitten was upright, even words of truth. '^ Ministers' words should be 
divinely delectable and desirable ; they should divinely please, and 
divinely profit ; they should divinely tickle, and divinely take both ear 
and heart. A minister should be a weighty speaker ; he should clothe 
his doctrine in such a comely, lovely dress, as that he may by it slide in- 
sensibly into his hearers' hearts. Ministers should clothe their matter 
with decent words. The leaves give some beauty to the tree. Good 
matter in an unseemly language, is like a bright taper in a sluttish 
candlestick, or like a fair body in unhandsome clothes, or like a gold 
ring on a leprous hand. * Truth,' saith one, ' loves to be plain, but not 
sluttish.' As she loves not to be clad in gay colours, like a wanton 
strumpet, so not in lousy rags like a nasty creature. Aaron's bells were 
golden bells, dulce sonantes, sounding pleasantly, and not as sounding 
brass, or tinkling cymbals. Holy eloquence is a gift of the Holy Ghost, 
Acts xviii. 24, and may doubtless, as well as other gifts of the Spirit, be 
made- prudently useful to the setting forth of divine truth, and the 
catching of souls by craft, as the apostle speaks, 2 Cor. xii. ] 6. Surely 
where it is, it may be made use of as an Egyptian jewel to adorn the 

Lactantius [De falsa Sap. lib. v. cap. 1] hath well observed, that philoso- 
phers, orators, and poets, were therefore very pernicious, in that they easily 
ensnared incautious minds with sweetness of speech ; therefore his 
advice is, even in delivering the truth of Christ, to sweeten the speech 
for the winning of them to Christ, who will neither hear, nor read, nor 
value, nor regard the truth, except it be polished and trimmed up in a 
lovely dress.^ 

[11.] In the last place, and so to add no more, as they must preach 
the word acceptably, so they must preach the word constantly^ They 
must not lay down the Bible, to take up the sword, as some have done 
for worldly advantages, 1 Cor. vii. 10, 24 ; they must not leave the word 
to serve tables. Acts vi. 1, as others have done upon the same account ; 
they must not change their black cloaks, for scarlet cloaks ; they must 
abide and continue in their places and employments ; they must neither 
change their work nor their master : Acts vi. 4, 'But we will give our- 
selves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.' They 
would not assign their charge to some surrogates or deputies, that 
themselves might live at ease. No ! they were peremptorily resolved to 
hold on, to continue in these two choice duties, prayer and ministry of 

* ^p2 in Pihil, from Bakash, signifies an earnest, vehement seeking, &c. 

2 It was a fine commendation given by Quintiiian of Thucydides : Thucydides writes 
thick and quick, close and clear ; he is solid and succinct, sententious and judicious. 

3 Basil and Bucer were curt and concise, full and clear, in their discourses. 

* The shew-bread stood all the week before the Lord, to shew that preaching is not 
out of season on any day. 


the word. So in chap. xxvi. 22, * Having therefore obtained help of 
God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, say- 
ing no other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say 
should come.' 1 Tim. iv. 15, 16, * Meditate upon these things ; give thy- 
self wholly to them, [sv rovroig 'fo9i, spend thy time in them], that thy pro- 
fiting may appear to all, or in all things. Take heed unto thyself, and 
unto thy doctrine ; continue in them : for in doing this thou shalt both 
save thyself, and them that hear thee;' 2 Tim. iii. 14, 'But [Mhs, 
abide, keep thy station, thou wilt be put to it, thou wilt meet with 
earthquakes] continue thou in the things which thou hast learned, 
and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them ;' 
Eccles. xii. 9, ' And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still 
taught the people knowledge ; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, 
and set in order many proverbs.' 

Hosea was fourscore years a prophet in Israel, and yet did not con- 
vert them ; yet notwithstanding all discouragements he continued con- 
stant, and that with abundance of freshness and liveliness. 

Chrysostom compares good pastors to fountains that ever send forth 
waters, or conduits that are always running, though no pail be put 
under. [Chrysost. in Mat. Horn, xv.] 

Erasmus saith of Jerome, Minima 'pars nodis dabatur somno, 
minor cibo, nulla otio, He allowed least time for sleep, little for food, 
none for idleness. It best becomes a minister to die preaching in a 

Now if this be so, then by way of use let me say. That this truth 
looks very sourly and wistly upon all those that preach anything 
rather than Ghmst. 

The Lord be merciful to them ! How have they forgotten the great 
work about which their heads and hearts should be most exercised, to 
wit, the bringing in of souls to Christ, and the building up of souls in 
Christ. Where do we find in all the Scripture, that Christ, his prophets 
or apostles, did ever in their preaching meddle with businesses of state, 
or things of a mere civil concernment ? * My kingdom is not of this 
world. Who has made me a judge ? ' says Christ. 

I hope it will not be counted presumption in me if I shall propound 
a few rules for such to observe that are willing to preach Christ to 
poor souls. I will only propound three. 

[1.] And the first is this. If you would preach Christ to the people, 
according to the rules last mentioned, then you must get a Christ 
within you. 

There is nothing that makes a man indeed so able to preach Christ 
to the people, as the getting a Christ within him ; and it is very ob- 
servable, that the great rabbles and doctors that want a Christ within, 
they do but bungle in the work of the Lord, in the preaching of a 
crucified Jesus ; and were it not for the help of Austin, Chrysostom, 
Ambrose, and Tertullian, &c., what sad, dead, and pitiful work would 
they make ! Yea, for want of a Christ within, how little of Christ do 
they understand ! How little of Christ do they make known, notwith- 
standing all their borrowed helps ! Paul was a man that had got a Christ 
within him: Gal. ii. 20, ' I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me : and 
the life that I live is by the faith of the Son of God,' &c. Compare 


this with Gal. iv. 1 9, ' My little children, of whom I travail in birth till 
Christ be formed in you.' A Christ within, makes him travail in birth. 
The Greek word translated, * I travail in birth,' signifies not only the 
travail of the woman at the birth of the child, but also the painful bear- 
ing thereof before the birth. The pains of travail breed not a greater 
desire to see a man-child born into the world, than Paul's love bred in 
him, till Christ were anew formed in them, 2 Cor. xi. 23. No man did 
so much for the winning of souls to Christ as Paul, nor no man had so 
much of a Christ within him as Paul. Nothing will naturalise a 
minister's heart to his work like a Christ within ; nothing will make 
him so wise, so painful, so watchful, so careful to win souls, as a Christ 
within ; nothing will make him hold out and hold on in the work of 
the Lord, in the face of all oppositions, persecutions, dangers, and deaths, 
as a Christ within ; nothing will make a man strive with sinners, and 
weep over sinners, and wait upon sinners for their return, as a Christ 
within.^ Such ministers as have not a Christ within them, will find no 
comfort, and as little success, in their preaching of Christ. Above all 
gettings, get a Christ within, or else after all thy preaching, thyself will 
be a cast-away. 

[2.] Secondly, They that would preach Christ to the people, must 
study more Sci^pture truths, Scripture mysteHes^ than human 

They must study God's book more than all other books. The truth 
and antiquity of the book of God finds no companion, either in age or 
authority. No histories are comparable to the histories of the scriptures, 
for, 1, antiquity ; 2 2, rariety;^ 3, variety ; 4, brevity; 5, perspicuity ; 6, 
harmony ; 7, verity. 

'Gregory' calls the Scripture, cor et animam dei, the heart and 
soul of God ; for in the Scriptures, as in a glass, we may see how the 
heart and soul of God stands towards his poor creatures. It was the 
glory of Apollos that he was mighty in the Scripture, Acts xviii. 24 ; 
John V. 39, * Search the Scriptures,' saith Christ. The Greek word 
signifies to search as men search for gold in mines, l^swars. You must 
search the Scriptures, not superficially but narrowly. The Scriptures 
are a great depth, wherein the choicest treasures are hid ; therefore you 
must dig deep if you will find : Col. iii. 16, ' Let the word of Christ 
dwell richly in you ;' or as the Greek hath it, svotxihu Iv v/u^Tv. ' Let the 
word of Christ indwell in you, as an engrafted word, incorporated into 
your souls.' Let the word be so concocted and digested by you, as that 
you turn it into a part of yourselves. You must be familiarly acquainted 
with the word ; you must not let it pass by you as a stranger, or lodge 
and sojourn with you as a wa3rfaring man ; it must continually abide 
with you, and dwell richly in you : 2 Tim. iii. 16, 17, * All scripture is 
given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, 
for correction, for instruction in righteousness ; that the man of God 

1 As nurses to princes' children are fed with the most delicate fare, but not for their 
own sakes, but for the children's sake to whom they give nurse, so it is with many 
ministers that want a Christ within, 2 Tim. ii. 24, 25. 

2 Moses is found more ancient than all those whom the Grecians make most ancient ; 
as Homer, Hesiod, and Jupiter himself, whom the Greeks have seated in the top of their 
divinity. [Theophilus Gale, as before.— G.] ^ Rarity, = preciousness.— G. 


may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.' All books 
and helps are not comparable to the Bible, for the completing and per- 
fecting of a man for the work of the ministry. 

That which a papist reports of their sacrament of the mass, that there 
are as many mysteries in it as there are drops in the sea, dust on the 
earth, angels in heaven, stars in the sky, atoms in the sunbeams, or 
sands on the sea-shore, &c., may be truly asserted of the word of God ; 
no study to the study of the Scripture for profit and comfort. Count 
Anhalt, that princely preacher, was wont to say, 'That the whole 
Scriptures were the swaddling bands of the child Jesus,' he being to be 
found almost in every page, in every verse, in every line.^ 

Luther would often say, * That he had rather that all his books should 
be burned, than that they should be a means to hinder persons from 
studying of the Scripture.' 

[3.] The third and last rule I shall lay down, is this> Siich as would 
preach Christ aright to the people had need dwell much upon the 
vanity of human doctrines. 

The vanity of which doctrines may be thus discovered : 
First, They do not discover sin in its ugliness and filthiness as the 
Scriptures do. They search but to the skin, they reach not to the heart ; 
they do not do as the master did in Jonah's ship, when they were in a 

Secondly, Human doctrines have no humbling power in them. They 
may a little tickle you, but they can never humble you ; they cannot 
cast down Satan's strongholds ; they cannot melt nor break the heart 
of a sinner ; they cannot make him cry out with the leper, ' Unclean, 
unclean.' ^ 

Thirdly, Human doctrines nourish not the noble part, the soul of 
man. The prodigal was like to starve before he returned to his father's 
house. A man may study much, and labour much, and lay out much 
of his time and spirits about human doctrines, and yet after all be like 
to Pharoah's lean kine. A man that studies human doctrines doth but 
feed upon ashes. 

Fomihly, Human doctrines cannot cure a wound in the conscience. 
The diseased woman spent all she had upon physicians, but was not a 
penny the better. The remedy is too weak for the disease. Conscience, 
like Prometheus' vulture, will still lie gnawing notwithstanding all that 
such doctrines can do. 

Fifthly, Human doctrines are so far from enriching the soul, that 
they usually impoverish the soul. They weaken the soul ; they expose 
the soul to the greatest wants and to the greatest weaknesses ; they 
play the harlot with the soul ; they impoverish it, and bring it to 'a 
morsel of bread.' Who so poor in spiritual experiences and heavenly 
enjoyments as such that sit under the droppings of human doctrines ? 

Sixthly, Human doctrines make men servants to the humours and 
corruptions of men ; they make men-pleasers of men rather than 
pleasers of God ; yea, they make men set up themselves and others, 
sometimes in the room of Christ, and sometimes above Christ. I hope 

1 Whiles they burned ns, said reverend Du Moulin, for reading the Scriptures, we 
burned with zeal to be reading of them. But where is this brave spirit now ? 

2 These things had need be seriously minded in these days, wherein human doctrines 
are so much exalted and admired. 


these few short hints may prevail with some to fall in with this counsel, 
that so they may the better preach the Lord Jesus to the people. 
And so much for this doctrine. 

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, 
that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of 
Christ, Eph. iii. 8. 

Having spoken much concerning ministers' duty, I shall now speak 
a little concerning their dignity, and so finish this text. 

' Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace 
given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches 
of Christ.' This grace, this favour, this honour is given to me, that I 
should preach, &c. I look not upon it as a poor, low, mean, contemptible 
thing, but as a very great honour, ' that I should preach among the 
Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.' 

The observation that I shall speak to is this : 

Obs. That the office of a minister or preacher is honourable. 

For the understanding of this point, premise with me two things : 

First, That by a minister, I understand one that is qualified ac- 
cording to gospel rules, and that is internally called by God, and exter- 
nally called by the people of God, to the ministerial office. 

The second thing that I would have you premise with me for the 
understanding of the point is this, that the common appellation of those 
that are set apart for the preaching of the gospel in the New Testa- 
ment is 5/ax&vo/, ministers. So in 1 Cor. iii. 5; 2 Cor. iii. 6, and 
chap. vi. 4, and chap; xi. 15, 23; 1 Tim. iv. 16, and in divers other 
places, the word minister is a title of office, service, or administration 
given frequently to the preachers of the gospel. As for the names of 
ambassadors, stewards, and the like, wherewith they are often honoured, 
they are figurative, and given to them by allusion only. 

These two things being premised, we shall now proceed to the open- 
ing of the point. 

1. And, in the first place, I shall prove that the office of a minister 
is an honourable office. 

2. And then, in the second place, I shall shew you what honour is 
due to them. 

3. And then, in the third place, I shall shew you how you are to 
honour them. 

4. And then, in the last place, we shall bring home all by a word of 

Christians, give me leave to tell you this by the way, that since the 
gospel hath shined in England, a godly, faithful, painful ministry was 
never more subtilly and vehemently struck at by men that make a fair 
show, and by men of corrupt opinions and wicked lives. This age 
affords many church-levellers as well as state-levellers. Some there be, 
that under that notion of plucking up corrupt ministers, would pluck 
up by the very roots the true ministry. But God has and will be still 
too hard for such men. If they will be monsters, God will be sure to 
be master. His faithful ministers are stars that he holds in his right 
hand, Rev. ii. 1 ; and men shall as soon pull the sun out of the firma- 
ment, as pull them out of the hand of God. 


Now, considering that there is such a spirit abroad in the world, I 
hope no sober, serious Christians will be offended at my standing up to 
vindicate the honour of a godly, faithful ministry. In order to which, 
I shall first prove that the ofi&ce of a minister is honourable; and to me 
these following things speak it out : 

[1.] First, The several names and titles that are given to them in 
Scripture, doth speak them out to be honourable. They are called 
fathers, stewards, ambassadors, overseers, and angels, as you all know 
that know anything of Scripture. To spend time to prove this, would 
be to light candles to see the sun at noon. 

[2.] Secondly, Their work is honourable. Their whole work is 
about souls, about winning souls to Christ, and about building souls up 
in Christ ; and to these two heads the main work of the ministry may 
be reduced. The more noble the soul is, the more honour it is to be 
busied and exercised about it : James v. 20, * Let him know, that he 
which converteth the sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul 
from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.'^ 

' Let him know,' that is, let him take notice that an honourable and 
glorious work is done by him. The soul is the immediate work of 
God ; the soul is the image of God ; the soul is capable of union and 
communion with God ; the soul is worth more than a world, yea, than 
a thousand worlds. Christ prayed for souls, and wrought miracles for 
souls, and wept for souls, and left his Father's bosom for souls, and bled 
out his heart's blood for souls, and is gone to heaven to make provision 
for souls, yea, he is now a-making intercession for souls. All which 
speaks out the excellency of their office whose whole work is about 

The Jews say of Moses his soul, that it was sucked out of his mouth 
with a kiss. Souls are dear and sweet to Christ. 

[3.] A third thing that speaks out this truth is this, they are fellow- 
lahourers with God ; they are co-workers with God in the salvation of 
sinners. And this is a mighty honour, to be a fellow-labourer with 
God, to be a co-worker with God : 1 Cor. iii. 9, * For we are labourers 
together with God.' Who would not work hard with such sweet com- 
pany ? Who would not affect, prize, love, and honour such service ? 
Ministers are called the light and salt of the world, because they en- 
lighten blind souls, and season unsavoury souls, and so save them from 
corruption and perdition. Mat. v. 14 ; John v. 35 ; Mat. v. 13; Mark 
ix. 59, 60. Oh, to be joined in any work with God, is an honour beyond 
what I am able to express 1 

The senate of Rome accounted it a diminution of Augustus Caesar's 
dignity to join any consuls with him for the better carrying on the 
affairs of the state. Oh, but our God doth not think it a diminution of 
his dignity, that even his poor despised servants should be fellow- 
labourers and co-workers with him in the salvation of souls. 

[4.] Fourthly, The honourable account that the Lord hath of them 
in this employment, speaks out this truth, that their office is honourable. 
In Mat. X. 41, 42, compared, ' He that receiveth you, receiveth me ; he 

J anima Dei insignita imagine, desponsata fide, donata Spiritu, &c., divine soul, 
invested with the image of God, espoused to him by faith, &c. — Bernard. [Sermons on 
Canticles, as before. — Q.] 


that receivetli a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive a pro- 
phet's reward ',' and Luke x. 16, ' He that receiveth you, receiveth me ; 
and he that despises you, despises me.' This honourable account God 
hath of all his faithful servants in this employment. Kings and princes 
have their ambassadors in very high account : so has God his. 

[5.] The fifth thing that speaks out this truth is this, they serve an 
honourable master. They serve him that is all ear to hear, all hand 
to punish, all power to protect, all wisdom to direct, all goodness to 
relieve, and all mercy to pardon. They serve that God that is optimum, 
tnaximum,, the best and greatest. God hath within himself all the 
good of angels, men, and universal nature ; he hath all dignity, all 
glory, all riches, all treasure, all pleasure, all delight, all joy, all beati- 
tudes. Mark, abstracts do better express God than concretes and 
adjectives.^ God is being, bonity,^ beauty, power, wisdom, justice, 
mercy, and love itself. ' God is love,' saith the apostle, in the very 
abstract. God is one infinite perfection in himself, which is eminently and 
virtually all perfections of the creatures. And oh then, what an honour 
must it be to those that are employed under so honourable a master !^ 

[6.] Sixthly, Their very work and service is honourable. Why else 
did the apostle cry out, ' Who is sufficient for these things X There is 
no such embassage in the world as this is in which they are employed : 
Eph. vi. 19, 20, 'Pray for me, that I may make known the mystery of 
the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds.'* Faithful ministers 
do represent the person of the King of kings and Lord of lords ; their 
work is to treat of peace between God and man, or of open hostility 
between the Creator and the creature, 2 Cor. v. 19, 20. 

[7.] Seventhly, and lastly. Their reward from God is honourable. 
Though the world crown them with thorns, as it did their Lord and 
master before them, yet God will crown them with honour : Dan. xii. 3, 
' They shall shine as the stars in the firmament.' You know ambas- 
sadors have not preferments while they are abroad, but when they come 
home into their own country, then their princes prefer them, and put 
much honour upon them. So will God deal with his ambassadors : 
2 Tim. iv. 7, 8, ' I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, 
I have kept the faith : henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of 
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at 
that day ; and not to me only, but unto all them also tl'iat love his 
appearing.' So in Isa. xlix. 4, 5. 'I have laboured in vain, I have spent 
my strength for nought, and in vain ; yet surely my judgment is with 
the Lord, and my reward with my God. Though Israel be not gathered, 
yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be 
my strength.' So in 2 Cor. ii. 15, 'For we are unto God a sweet savour 
of Christ in them that are saved, and in them that perish.'^ Ministers 
shall be rewarded according to their faithfulness and diligence, though 
some perish. It shall be with them as with vine-dressers. You know 
vine-dressers are rewarded according to their diligence and faithfulness, 

^ Hahet omnia qui habet habeniem omnia, He hath all that hath the haver of all. — Augus- 
tine. 2 Goodness.— G. 
^ It is truly said of God that he is omnia super omnia. 
* Their main work is to treat with sinners about eternity, &c. 
^ God will at last highly reward those very services that men don't regard, &c. 


though some vines never bear, nor bring forth fruit at all. As ministers 
are diligent and faithful, so the reward, the crown, shall be given forth 
at last. You know the barber is as much rewarded for trimming a 
blackamore, though all his pains in rubbing him can never make him 
white, as he is for trimming and rubbing another man that is white, 
and by a little pains is made more white. This is many a faithful 
minister's grief, that he takes a great deal of pains in rubbing and 
washing, as it were, to make souls white and clean, pure and holy, and 
yet they remain after all as black as hell ; but surely their reward shall 
be never the less with God.^ The nurse looks not for her wages from 
the child, but from the parent. If ministers, like clouds, sweat them- 
selves to death that souls may be brought to life, great will be their 
reward, though their souls should perish for ever, for whom they have 
wept, sweat, and bled. 

God won't deal by faithful ministers, as Xerxes did by his steerman, 
who crowned him in the morning, and beheaded him in the evening of 
the same day. No ; God will set an everlasting crown upon their heads 
who remain laborious and faithful to the death. The world for all their 
pains will crown them with thorns, but God at last will crow^n them 
with glory ; he will set a crown of pure gold upon their heads for ever. 
And thus you have the point proved. 

The second thing that I am to do is to shew you, 

2. What honour that is which is justly due to faithful "ministers. 

Now, this I shall shew you in three things. There is a threefold 
honour that is due unto them. 

[1.] First, Honourable countenance is due unto them that are in so 
honourable a place and office as they are in: 1 Cor. iv. 1, *Let a man 
so account of us as of the ministers^ of Christ, and stewards of the 
mysteries of God ;' 1 Thes. v. 12, 13, 'And we beseech you, brethren, to 
know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and 
admonish you ; and to esteem them very high in love for their work's 
sake;' or, 'to esteem them more than exceedingly," or, more than abund- 
antly, as the Greek will bear, v'TrsPzy.'rs^iaGou. And so in 1 Tim. v. 17, 
* Let the elders that rule well be accounted worthy of double honour, 
especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.' The Greek 
word xoTT/wiTs^, that is here rendered labour, signifies not simply to 
labour, but to labour with much travail and toil, to labour even to lassi- 
tude, as he doth that cleaveth wood, or that toileth in harvest, or that 
goeth a warfare. Preaching is a most painful work, and enfeebleth a 
man exceedingly ; whence the prophet cries out, * My leanness, my 
leanness,' Isa. xxiv. 16.^ No pains, no labour, no work to that of the 
brain, to that of the mind, nor none so worthy of praise as those that 
are most in that labour, in that work. No men's work is so holy 
and heavenly as theirs, nor no men's work is so high and honour- 
able as theirs, and therefore none deserve to be more honoured 

1 Latimer, in one of his sermons, speaking of a minister who gave this answer why he 
left off preaching, Because he saw he did no good. This, saith Latimer, is a very 
naughty naughty answer. 

2 vv*i^irecs. Under-rowers to Christ, the master-pilot, helping forward the ship of the 
church to the haven of heaven. 

3 Our Saviour, at little past thirty, was reckoned by the Jews to be towards fifty, John 
viii. 57, he had so spent himself in preaching. Preaching is a spending, painful work. 


than they, though not for their own sakes, yet their work's sake. 
Shall Turks and papists so highly esteem and honour every hedge- 
priest of theirs above their merits, and shall not Christians much 
more honour their faithful ministers ? Faithful ministers must have 
countenance as well as maintenance, they must have reverence as well 
as recompense. You are not to nod the head and put out the lip, to 
scoff, and mock, and jeer at them : Gal. iv. 14, 'And my temptation 
which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected ; but received me 
as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.' When Ehud told the king 
of Moab, * I have a message to thee from God, king,' he arose from his 
throne and bowed himself, Judges iii. 20. Isa. lii. 7, ' How beautiful 
upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, 
that publisheth peace ; that bringeth good tidings of good, that pub- 
lisheth salvation ; that saith unto Zion, thy God reigneth.' 

' How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet !' What is their 
face then ? What is their doctrine then ? Their very feet, when dirty, 
sweaty, and dusty, are yet very beautiful and lovely. 

It was a common saying at Constantinople, that it was better the 
sun should not shine than that Chrysostom should not preach. 

1 have read of one that said, * if he should meet a preacher and an 
angel together, he would first salute the preacher, and then the angel 
afterward.' If you do not give them honourable countenance, Jews 
and Turks, papists, and pagans, will in the great day of account rise up 
against you, and condemn you. I could say much of what I have 
observed in other nations and countries concerning this thing, but I 
shall forbear. Should I speak what I have seen, many professors 
might well blush. 

The Grecians used to give far greater respect and honour to their 
philosophers than to their orators, because that their orators did only 
teach them to speak well, but their philosophers did teach them to live 
well. Oh what honour then is due to them that do teach you both to 
speak well and to live well ! both how to be happy here and how to be 
blessed hereafter. And thus you see that honourable countenance is 
due to faithful ministers. 

[2.] Secondly, There is an honour of maintenance, as well as an 
honour of countenance that is due to them: 1 Tim. v. 17, 18, 'Let the 
elders that rule well be accounted worthy of double honour, especially 
they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the Scripture saith, 
Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn, and the labourer 
is worthy of his reward.'^ It was not the manner in the Eastern countries 
to thrash out corn as we do, but their oxen trod it out, to which the 
apostle allege rically compares laborious pastors, who after a sort crush 
out that corn of which the bread of life is made : Gal. vi. 6, * Let him 
that is taught in the word, communicate to him that teacheth in all good 
things. Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for what a man soweth, 

^ Harvest -labourers have meat and drink, and double wages. Same think that the 
apostle hath respect to the law of the first-born, Deut. xxi. 17, in which a two-fold por- 
tion is commanded to be given him. The ancient Christians, as appears by TertuUian, 
were wont, in their Agapce, or love-feasts, to give their ministers a double portion. Surely 
ministers should have such a liberal, honourable, and ingenuous maintenance, as might 
8et them above the vulgar, as the first-born by their double portion were set up above the 
rest of their brethren. 


that shall he also reap.' So in 1 Cor. ix. 7-11, * Who goeth a warfare 
any time at his own charges ? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not 
of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock and eateth not of the 
milk of the flock ? Say I these things as a man ? or saith not the law 
the same also ? For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not 
muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God 
take care for oxen ? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes ? For our 
sakes, no doubt, this is written : that he that ploweth should plow in 
hope ; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his 
hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing 
if we shall reap your carnal things X Mat. x. 9, 10, * Provide neither 
gold nor silver, nor brass, in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, 
neither two coats, neither shoes, nor staves, for the workman is worthy 
of his meat.' God's appointment in all these texts bespeak it. 

Again, you may consider the, necessity of it How shall they go on 
in their warfare if they be troubled with the things of this life ? Again, 
they are to give themselves vjholly to the work of the ministry, 1 Tim. 
iv. 5. And again, the equity and justice of the duty Christ and the 
apostle shews in the forenamed scriptures. Mat. x. 10, 1 Cor. ix. 10. 
The maintenance of the minister should be so free, and so liberal, as 
may testify that you honour him in your hearts, and as may keep him 
from contempt and scorn in the world. There are multitudes that 
grumble at the expense of a penny for the maintenance of those divine 
candles that waste themselves to give light to them ; that will rather 
die to save charges than spend a little money to save their lives, yea, 
their souls. They like well of religion without expense, in Basil ; and 
a gospel without charge, but if it grow costly, it is none of their money. 
The scripture says, ' Buy the truth, sell it not.' You can never over- 
buy it, whatsoever you give for it ; you can never sufficiently sell it, if 
you had all the world in exchange for it. 

It is said of Caesar that he had greater care of his books than of his 
royal robes ; for swimming through the water to escape his enemies, he 
carried his books in his hand above the water, but lost his robes. But 
alas ! what are Caesar's books to God's book ? The word is the field, 
and Christ is the treasure that is hid in that field. The word is a ring 
of gold, and Christ is the pearl in that ring of gold, and is it then worth 
nothing ? Many deal with faithful, painful ministers, as carriers do with 
their horses, they lay heavy burdens upon them, and exact work enough, 
and give them but easy commons ; and then to recompense this, they hang- 
bells at their ears and necks. They shall be commended and applauded 
for brave excellent preachers, and for great painstakers, &c.' That main- 
tenance that is justly due to the ministers of the gospel is honourable ; 
it ought to be suitable to their condition andMignity. The maintenance 
that is due to them, is of the same nature with that which is given to 
princes and magistrates, by those who are under them, and not a 
common maintenance which superiors give to their inferiors or servants. 

[3."| Thirdly, There is an honour of obedience and service that is 
due to them. And indeed, of all honours, this is the greatest honour 
that can be cast upon a faithful minister, the honour of obedience : Heb. 

* The minister's maintenance is not to be esteemed of the nature of alms, as some 
would have it ; but is a tribute of honour, sucti as is given by an inferior to his auperio r. 


xiii. 7, ' Remember them that have the rule over you, who have spoken 
to you in the word of God ;' and verse ] 7, ' Obey them that rule over 
you.' Oh, submit yourselves, for they ' watch for your souls as they 
that must give an account, that they may do it with joy, and not with 
grief, for that is unprofitable for you.' 

' Obey them that have the rule over you.' The word vyov/ismc, 
that is rendered ' Rule over you,' in the seventh and seventeenth 
verses, signifies captains, guides. Faithful ministers are your captains, 
they are your guides, they are your chieftains, they are your champions 
that bear the brunt of the battle, the heat of the day ; and therefore 
you must obey them, even as soldiers do their captains. So in 2 Thes. 
iii. 14, 'And if any man obey not our words, note that man, and 
have no company with him.' Brand him as infamous, beware of him, 
let him see a strangeness in you towards him, that all may avoid him 
as one whose company is dangerous and infectious. Ah Christians ! by 
your submission to their doctrine, you highly honour them, and you 
make their heavy task to be easy and sweet unto them. Christians ! it 
will be your honour and happiness in the day of Christ, that you have 
lived out what they have made out to you. I suppose you remember 
that happiness is not entailed to hearing, or knowing, or talking, but to 
doing. ' If ye know these things, blessed and happy are you, if you 
do them,' John xiii. 17. There are some diseases that are called oppro- 
bria medicorum, the reproaches of physicians ; and there are some 
people that may be truly called opprobria ministrorum, the reproach 
of ministers, and those are they that are great hearers, and talkers, and 
admirers of ministers, but never obey the doctrines delivered by them.^ 
The Corinthians were Paul's honour, they were his living epistles, they 
were his walking certificates, they were his letters-testimonial, 2 Cor. 
111. 2, 3. The obedience and fruitful ness of the people is the minister's 
testimonial, as the profiting of the scholar is the master's commenda- 
tion. Oh what an honour is it to a minister, when it shall be said of 
him, as one said once of Octavius, 'When he came into Rome he found 
the walls all of base materials, but left them walls of marble !' So liere 
is a minister that found the people dark and blind, but left them en- 
lightened ; he found them dead, but left them alive ; he found them a 
proud people, but hath left them humble ; a profane people, but hath 
left them holy ; a carnal people, but hath left them spiritual ; a worldly 
people, but hath left them heavenly ; a wavering people, but hath left 
them settled and rooted, &c. No honour to a faithful minister Hke this. 
And thus you see what honour is due unto them, &c. 

Use. And now let me make a word of use. Christians ! if their office 
be so honourable, then honour them. Oh, give them the honour that 
is due unto them. Will you make conscience to give others their due, 
and will you make no conscience of giving ministers their due ? Are 
there any that are greater blessings to a nation than faithful ministers? 
Who have stood more in the gap to turn away wrath than they ? Who 
have begotten you to Christ through the gospel but they 1 Who have 

There is no fear of knowing too much, but there is much fear and danger of practis- 
ing too little. I fear, with Saint Augustine, that many grieve more for the barrenness 
of their lands than for the barrenness of their lives. The more the cypress is watered, 
the more it is withered. Oh that it were not so with many in these days! 


turned you from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto 
God but them ? Who have built you up in the light and love of Jesus 
but them ? &c. Oh, do not cast scorn and reproach upon them, but give 
them that honour that is due unto them ! 

But you will say to me, How shall we honour them ? 

I answer, you must honour them these five ways : 

[1.] First, You must honour them hy hearing them, and giving 
credit to their message. The want of this honour troubled Jonah too 
nuich ; * Who hath believed our report V Not to believe the report that 
they make concerning God and Christ, &c., is to cast the greatest dis- 
honour that can be upon them.^ The wise men, Mat. ii., went many 
weary hundred miles to find Christ at Jerusalem ; some think near a 
thousand miles. The Queen of Sheba, some say, went 964 miles to 
hear the wisdom of Solomon ; and what was Solomon's wisdom to that 
wisdom of Christ that is held forth to souls in the ministry of the 
gospel.^ The holy martyrs thought no weather too hot, no winter too 
cold, no journey too long, nor no torment too great, to enjoy the preaching 
of the gospel, though darkly. The heathen priests began with hoc age ; 
they thought it a very irreligious thing to be remiss and vain, though 
in a vain religion. Oh that vain professors would remember this, and 
blush ! 

[2.] Secondly, You may honour them, hy standing fast in the 
doctrine of the Lord delivered hy them : 1 Thes. iii. 8, ' Ye are our 
joy, our crown, if ye stand fast in the Lord ; ' else, saith the apostle, ye 
kill our very hearts.^ If after all our studying, wrestling, sweating, and 
preaching, ye shall play apostates, and leave the precious ways of God, 
and run after notions and vain opinions which cannot pr(^fit you, nor 
better you, you will kill many at once: your own souls and our hearts. 

[3.] Thirdly, You should honour them, hy heing followers of them, 
so far as they are followers of Christ. So in 1 Cor. iv. 16, 'Be ye 
followers of me, even as I am of Christ.' Chap. xi. 11 ; Heb. xiii. 7; 2 
Thes. iii. 7; Phil. iii. 7. All these scriptures bespeak you to be 
followers of them as they are followers of Christ.* 

Alexander had somewhat a wry neck, and his soldiers thought it an 
honour to be like him. Oh, it is an honour to ministers, when their 
people are like them in knowledge, wisdom, love, humility, holiness ! 

Plutarch said of Demosthenes that he was excellent at praising the 
worthy acts of his ancestors, but not so at imitating them. Ah, many 
in these days are excellent at praising and commending the holy and 
gracious actings of their ministers, but not so at imitating them 1 

[4.] Fourthly, You must honour them hy hearing them upon your 
hearts when you appear hefore the Lord in the Tnount: ^ Eph. vi. 13 

^ Antisthenes, a philosopher, went every day six miles to hear Socrates. [As before: see 
Index, sub nomine. — G.] 

^ Nunquam nimis dicitur, quod nunquam satis discitur, We can never hear that too often 
that we can never learn too well. 

3 If I forsake my profession, I am sure of a worse death than judge Hailes had, said 
that martyr. • [Foxe, sub nomine. — G.] 

* Bonus dux, bonus comes, A good leader makes a good follower. 

^ Prayer is porta cceli, clavis paradisi, The gate of heaven, a key to let us into paradise. 
The Jews fable, that our Saviour, by finding out the right pronunciation of the name 
of God, did all his miracles ; but certainly the right invocation of the name of God would 
even make ministers work miracles indeed. 

EpH. hi. 8.] RICHES OF CHRIST. 231 

19 ; 2 Thes. iii. 1, 2 ; 1 Thes. v. 25 ; Col. i. 2, 4 ; Heb. xiii. 8 ; Acts xii. 5. 
All these scriptures do bespeak Christians to bear their faithful minis- 
ters upon their hearts when they are a-wrestling with God. None 
usually are opposed as they. Their wants are many, their weaknesses 
are more, their work is great, their strength is small. Oh pray, pray 
more and more for them ; yea, pray believingly, pray affectionately, pray 
fervently, pray unweariedly, that they may speak from the heart to the 
heart, that they may speak things that are seasonable and suitable to 
the capacities and conditions of his people. They can tell when they 
want your prayers, and when they enjoy your prayers ; did you pray 
more for them, they might do more for your internal and eternal good, 
than now they do. 

[5.] Lastly, You must honour them hy adhering to them, and 
abiding with them in all their trials, afflictions, and tribulations that 
do or shall attend them. It is brave to own them in a storm, to own 
them when others disown them, when others oppose them, and act 
highly against them. Paul looked upon himself as much honoured by 
Onesiphorus owning of him in his chains : 2 Tim. i. 16, ' The Lord give 
mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus ; for he oft refreshed me, and was 
not ashamed of my chain : but, when he was in Rome, he sought me 
out very diligently, and found me. The Lord grant unto him that he 
may find mercy of the Lord in that day : and in how many things he 
ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.' Chrysostom, 
in an oration, says of Christians, * That they would not be kept from 
visiting the confessors in prison, although it was forbidden with many 
threatening terrors, and it was great danger to them.' ^ 

But to draw to a close, you have heard that the office of a faithful 
minister is honourable, and you have heard what honour is due unto 
them. Let me therefore desire you all to take heed of scorning, con- 
temning, and despising of those that are faithful, that are qualified 
according to gospel rules. That is a sad word, 2 Chron. xxxvi. 15-18. 
God sent his messengers early and late to reclaim them, but they 
mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused 
his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till 
there was no remedy, nor no healing. David never played such a harsh 
part all his days, as he did to the Ammonites that despitefuUy used his 
ambassadors, as you may see at large in 2 Sam. x. 

The Romans sacked the famous city of Corinth, and razed it to the 
ground, for a httle discourtesy they oiTered to their ambassadors.^ And 
they slew many of the Illyrians and the Tarentines for misusing of 
their ambassadors. And do you think that the Lord is not as tender 
of the credit and honour of his faithful ministers, and that he will not 
avenge the affronts, wrongs, and injuries that are done unto them ? 
Surely he will : Jer. xxix. 17-19, 'Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Be- 
hold, I will send unto them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, 
and will make them like vile figs, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil. 

' The saints in the primitive times did so stick and cleave to those that were in bonds, 
that the very heathen admiringly cried out, ' Look how the Christians love one another.' 

^ Ambassadors are inviolable by the law of nations, and the least indignity oifered to 
them is to be as severely punished as if it had been offered to the person of that prince 
whom they represent. [Corinth: 'razed' by L. Mummius— Strabo, viii. ; Cicero, Pro 
Leg. Man., 5, &c,, &c.— G.] 


And I will persecute them with the sword, with the famine, and with 
the pestilence, and I will deliver them to be removed to all the king- 
doms of the earth, to be a curse, and astonishment, and an hissing, and 
a reproach among all nations, whither I have driven them.' But why- 
will God do this ? * Because they have not hearkened to my word, 
saith the Lord, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, 
rising up early and sending them ; but ye would not hear, saith the Lord,' 
See 2 Kings xvii. 18-15. Now mark, though these temporal judg- 
ments are not visible among us, yet spiritual judgments, Avhich are the 
worst of judgments, are very visible. Though there be no sword, no 
famine, no pestilence, yet there is spiritual madness, spiritual drunken- 
ness, spiritual giddiness/ Oh the blind minds, the corrupt judgments, 
the hard hearts, the seared consciences, that are to be found among the 
professors of this age ! As there are no mercies to spiritual mercies, 
so there are no judgments to spiritual judgments. Jer. xiii. 12 ; Ezek. 
xxiii. 33 ; 1 Tim. iv. 2 ; Titus i. 15. Oh the slightness, the coldness, 
the deadness, the barrenness that is abroad in the world ! God suits 
his judgments to men's sins ; the greatest sins are always attended 
with the greatest judgments. In these days men sin against more 
glorious means, more great love, more clear light, more tender bowels 
of mercy, &c., than formerly ; and therefore God gives men up to more 
sad and dreadful spiritual judgments than formerly. 

They say when Hercules drew up Cerberus from hell, he led him in 
a chain, and he went quietly till he came to the horizon and saw the 
peeping of the light, but then he pulled so strongly that he had like 
to have pulled the conqueror and all back again. Ah it is sad when 
men had rather live in darkness, and die in darkness, and to hell in 
darkness, than they will see the light, enjoy the light, and walk in the 
light ! Many fret at the light, and at those that bring it, as the 
Ethiopians once a year solemnly curse the sun. Such souls stand in 
much need of pity and prayer. 

And thus, according to my weak measure, I have given out what God 
has given in from this scripture, and shall follow it with my prayers, 
that it may be a word of life and power both to writer, reader, and 
hearer. Amen. 

Soli Leo Gloria in Sternum. 

^ The lamps went out, and Leander was drowned, said he in the history. 



By a strange whim of public opinion, the 'Cabinet of Jewels' passed through only 
one edition in the outset— 1669 (4to). Its title-pai^e is given below.* See oirr Preface for 
remarks on a modern reprint. The Scottish edition of 1762 (Glasgow, 8vo) had an 
enormous circulation among the peasantry, as shewn by the long list of Subscribers. — G. 

* A 



Box of precious Ointment. 

Being a plain Discovery of, or, what men are worth for 
Eternity, and how 'tis like to go with them in another 
world. Here is also a clear and large Discovery of the several 
rounds in JacoVs Ladder, that no Hypocrite under Heaven can 
climb up to. Here are also such closs, piercing, distinguishing and 
discovering evidences as will reach and suit those Christians who 
are highest in Grace and spiritual Enjoyments ; and here are ma- 
ny Evidences, which are suited to the Capacities and Experiences 
of the weakest Christians in Christ's School : And here Christiana 
may see as in a Glass, what a sober Use and Improvement they ought 
to make of their evidences for Heaven ; and how in the use of 
their gracious evidences they ought to live. First, upon the free 
grace of God. Secondly, upon the Mediatory righteousness of 
Christ. Thirdly, upon the Covenant of Grace : With several 
other Points of grand Importance, &c. 

By Thomas Brooks, formerly Preacher of the Gospel at 
St. Margarets, New-Fishstreet. 

Brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure, 2 Pet. i. 10. 

Examine your selves whether ye be in the faith ; prove your own selves, know 
ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you except ye be repro- 
bates ? Or, 'A^oxtfioi, unapproved or rejected. 

Omnis anima est aut sponsa Christi, aut adultera Diaboli. Austin. 

London, Printed and are to be sold by John Hancock at the first Shop in 

Popes-Head- Alley in Cornhil, at the sign of the three Bibles, or at 

his Shop in Bishops- Gate-Street, near great St. Hellins, 1669. 


To the Right Worshipful Sir John Frederick, Knight, and the Lady 
Mary Frederick, his pious consort. To Mr Nathaniel Heme, and 
Mrs Judith his virtuous wife ; 

All confluence of blessings, both for this life and for that which is to come, 
from the Father of mercies and God of all consolations. 

Honoured and beloved in our Lord Jesus, 

Though I crowd your names together, yet I owe more than an epistle 
to each of your names ; but the Lord having made you near and dear 
one to another more ways than one, I take the boldness to present this 
treatise to you jointly. Here is nothing in this book that relates to 
government of church or state. The design of this treatise is to shew 
what men are worth for eternity, and how it is like to go with them 
in another world. There are none of the sons of men but bear about 
with them precious and immortal souls, that are more worth than 
ten thousand thousand worlds. If the soul be safe, all is safe ; if that 
be well, all is well ; if that be lost, all is lost. The first great work that 
men are to attend in this world is the eternal safety and security of 
their souls ; the next great work is to know, to be assured, that it shall 
go well with their souls for ever.^ And these are the main things 
that are aimed at in this discourse. The soul is the better and more 
noble part of man. Upon the soul the image of God is most fairly 
stamped. The soul is first converted, and the soul shall be first and 
most glorified. The soul is that spiritual and immortal substance that 
is capable of union with God, and of communion with God, and of an 
eternal fruition of God. Plato, though a heathen, could say that he 
thought the soul to be made all of eternity, and that the putting the 
soul into the body was a sign of great wrath from God. 

* Granctensis tells of a woman that was so affected with souls' miscarryings, that sh© 
besought God to stop up the passage into hell with her soul and body, that none might 

have entrance. O anima ! Dei insignita imagine^ desponsata fide, donata Spiritu, &c. 

Bernard. divine soul! invested with the image of God, espoused to him by faith, &c. 
[Serm. in Cant. — G.] 


' Each living corpse must yield at last to death, 
And every life must lose his vital breath. 
The soul of man, that only lives on high, 
And is an image of eternity.' ^ 

The Komans, when their emperors and great ones died, and their 
bodies were buried, they caused an eagle to mount on high, thereby to 
signify the soul's immortality and ascent. He gave good counsel who 
said, ' Play not the courtier with your soul ; the courtier doth all things 
late, he rises late, and dines late, and sups late, and repents late.' A 
Scythian captain, having for a draught of water delivered up his city, 
cried out. Quid per didi, quid prodidi ? What have I lost, what have 
I betrayed ? So many at last will cry out, what have I lost, what have 
I betrayed ? I have lost God, and Christ, and heaven, and have be- 
trayed my precious and immortal soul into the hands of divine justice, 
and into the hands of Satan I Who these men are that will at last thus 
cry out, this treatise doth discover. I have read that there was a time 
when the Romans did wear jewels on their shoes. Most men in this 
day do worse, for they trample that matchless jewel of their souls under 
feet ; and who these are this treatise does discover. One well observes, 
[Chrysostom] ' That whereas God hath given many other things double ; 
two eyes to see with, two ears to hear with, two hands to work with, 
and two feet to walk with, to the intent that the failing of the one 
might be supplied by the other; but he hath given us but one soul, and if 
that be lost, hast thou, saith he, another soul to give in recompense for 
it V Now, who those are whose souls are in a safe estate, and who those 
are whose souls are in danger of being lost for ever, this treatise does 
plainly and fully discover. To describe to the life who that man is 
that is truly happy in this world, and that shall be blest for ever in the 
other world, is the work of this ensuing treatise, Ps. xv., cxliv. 15. The 
grace of the covenant in us is a sure evidence of God's entering into the 
covenant of grace with us. To be in a gracious state is true happiness, 
but to know ourselves to be in such a state is the top of our happiness 
in this world. A man may have grace, and yet, for a time,, not know it, 
1 John V. 13. The child lives in the womb, but does not know it. A 
man may be in a gracious state, and yet not see it ; he may have a 
saving work of God upon his soul, and yet not discern it ; he may have 
the root of the matter in him, and yet not be able to evidence it, Ps. 
Ixxvii. 6, Ixxxviii. Nowto help such poor hearts to a right understanding 
of their spiritual condition, and that they may see and know what they 
are worth for another world, and so go to their graves in joy and peace, 
I have sent this treatise abroad into the world. Will you give me leave 
to say, 

(1.) First, Some men of name in their day have laid down such 
things for evidences or characters of grace, which, being Aveighed in the 
balance of the sanctuary, will be found too light. But here a mantle 
of love may be of more use than a lamp ; and therefore, 

(2.) Secondly, Many, yea, very many there are, whose graces are very 
weak, and much buried under the earth and ashes of many fears, doubts, 
scruples, strong passions, prevailing corruptions, and diabolical sugges- 
tions, who would give as many worlds as there be men in the world, 

1 Pindar. 


had they so many in their hands to give, to know that they have grace, 
and that their spiritual estate is good, and that they shall be happy for 
ever. Now this treatise is fitted up for the service of these poor hearts ; 
for the weakest Christians may turn to many clear and well-bottomed 
evidences in this treatise, and throw the gauntlet to Satan, and bid him 
prove if he can, that ever any profane person or cunning hypocrite under 
heaven, had such evidences, or such fair certificates to shew for heaven, 
which he has to shew. The generality of Christians are weak ; they 
are rather dwarfs than giants ; they are rather bruised reeds than tall 
cedars ; they are rather babes than men, lambs than sheep,^ &c. Now, 
for the service of their souls, I have been willmg to send this treatise 
into the world ; for this treatise may speak to them when I may not ; 
yea, when I cannot ; yea, which is more, when I am not. Famous Mr 
Dod would frequently say, he cared not where he was if he could but 
answer these two questions : 1, who am I ? and 2, what do I hear ? 
am I a child of God ? and am I in my way ? But, 

(3.) Thivdly, Some there are who are so excessively and immoderately 
taken up with their signs, marks, and evidences of grace, and of their 
gracious state, &c., that Christ is too much neglected, and more rarely 
minded by them. Their hearts do not run out so freely, so fully, so 
strongly, so frequently, so delightfully towards Christ as they should do, 
nor as they would do, if they were not too inordinately taken up with 
their marks and signs. Now, for the rectifying of these mistakes, and 
the cure of these spiritual maladies, this treatise is sent into the world. 
We may and ought to make a sober use of characters and evidences of 
our gracious estates, to support, comfort, and encourage us on our way 
to heaven, but still in subordination to Christ, and to the fresh and 
frequent exercises of faith upon the person, blood, and righteousness of 
Jesus. But oh how few Christians are there that are skilled in this 
work of works, this art of arts, this mystery of mysteries.^ But, 

(4.) Fourthly, Some there are who in those days are given up to en- 
thusiastical fancies, strange raptures, revelations, and to the sad delusions 
of their own hearts ; crying down with all their might ail discoveries of 
believers' spiritual estates by Scripture characters, marks, and signs of 
sanctifications, 2 Thes. ii. 9-11, as carnal and low; and all this under 
fair pretences of exalting Christ, and maintaining the honour of his 
righteousness and free grace, and of denying ourselves and our own 
righteousness. Though sanctifi cation be a branch of the covenant of 
grace as well as justification, yet there are a sort of men in the world that 
would not have Christians to rejoice in their sanctification, under a 
pretence of reflecting dishonour upon their free justification by Christ, 
Jer. xxxiii. 8, Ezek. xxxvi. 25-27. There are many who place all 
their religion in opinions, in brain-sick notions, in airy speculations, in 
quaint disputations, in immediate revelations, and in their warm zeal 
for this or that form of worship. Now, that these may be recovered, 
and healed, and prevented from doing further mischief in the world, I 
have at this time put to a helping hand. But, 

» 1 Teter ii. 2, 3 ; 1 John ii. 12-14 ; Isa. xl. 11. 

2 Where Christ was born, they were all so taken up with their guests, that he was not 
minded nor regarded ; wheu othe rs lay in stately rooms, he must be laid in a manger, 
Luke ii. 7. 


(5.) Fifthly, No man can tell what is in the breasts, in the womb, of 
divine Providence. No man can tell what a day, a night, an hour, may 
bring forth.^ Who can sum up the many possible deaths that are still 
lurking in his own bowels, or the innumerable hosts of external dangers 
which beleaguer him on every side, or how many invisible arrows fly 
about his ears continually ; and how soon he may have his mortal wound 
given him by one or other of them, who can tell ? Now, how sad would 
it be for a man to have a summons to appear before God in that other 
world before his heart and life are changed, and his evidences for heaven 
cleared up to him ! The life of a man is but a shadow, a post, a span, 
a vapour, a flower, &c. Though there is but one way to come into the 
world, yet there are many thousand ways to be sent out of the world ; 
and this should bespeak every Christian to have his evidences for heaven 
always ready and at hand, yea, in his hand as well as in his heart, and 
then he will find it an easy thing to die. The king of terrors will then 
be the king of desires to him, and he will then travel to glory under a 
spirit of joy and triumph. We carry about in our bodies the matter of 
a thousand deaths, and may die a thousand several ways several hours. 
As many senses, as many members, nay, as many pores as there are in 
the body, so many windows there are for death to enter in at. Death 
needs not spend all his arrows upon us ; a worm, a gnat, a fly, a hair, a 
stone of a raisin, a kernel of a grape, the fall of a horse, the stumble of 
a foot, the prick of a pin, the paring of a nail, the cutting out of a corn ; 
all these have been to others, and any of them may be to us, the means 
of our death within the space of a few days, nay, of a few hours. Does 
not it therefore highly concern us to have our evidences for heaven 
cleared, sealed, shining, and at hand ? Naturalists tell us that if a man 
sees a cockatrice first, the cockatrice dieth ; but if the cockatrice sees a 
man first, the man dies. Certainly if we so see death first as to prepare 
for it, as to get our evidences for heaven ready, we shall kill it ; but if 
death sees us first, and arrests us first before we are prepared, and before 
our evidences for heaven are cleared, it will kill us everlastingly, it will 
kill us eternally. Time travaileth with God's decrees, and in their season 
brings them forth ; but little doth any man know what is in the womb of 
to-morrow till God hath signified his will by the event: * Boast not thyself 
of to-morrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth,' Prov. 
xxvii. 1. That man that knows what himself intends to bring forth, does 
not know what the day will bring forth ; the next day is not so near the 
former in time as it may be remote from it in the effects of it. Seneca 
could ssij, Nihil estmiserius duhitationevenientium^quo evadant,T]iQYQ 
is nothing more miserable than the doubtfulness of things to come, to 
what they will come.^ Providence in this life is the map of changes, the 
picture of mutability. Who can sum up the strange circumferences, and 
rare circuits, and labyrinths of providence ? Providence is as a wheel in 
the midst of a wheel, whose motion, and work, and end in turning is not 
discerned by every common eye, Ezek. i. 16. Three dreadful judgments 

* The Brachmanni had their graves before their doors. The Sybarites at banquets had 
a death's head delivered from hand to hand by every guest at the table. The Egyptians, 
in the midst of their feasts, used to have the anatomy of a dead man set before them, as 
a memorandum to the guests of their mortality. The poor heathen could say that the 
v?hole life of man should be meditatio mortis, a meditation of death. Dwell upon that. 
Deut. xxxii. 29, Trov. xxvii. 1. * Seneca, epist. cii. 


God hath lately visited us with, viz., sword, pestilence, and fire. But who 
repents; who smites upon his thigh ; who finds out the plague of his own 
heart ; who says, What have I done ? who ceases from doing evil ; who 
learns to do well ; who turns to the Most High ; who lays hold on ever- 
lasting strength ; who makes peace with God ; who throws himself into 
the gap ? &c., Isa. i. 16, 17, Ps. cvi. 23. Are not multitudes grown much 
worse after judgments than they were before ? Do not they bid higher 
defiance to heaven than ever ? And, therefore, who can tell what further 
controversy God may have with such a people, especially considering 
that terrible scripture. Lev. xxvi. 14th to the 34th verse, with scores of 
others that sound that way ? Were our forefathers alive, how sadly 
would they blush to see such a horrid, degenerate posterity as is to be 
found in the midst of us ! How is our forefathers' hospitality converted 
into riot and luxury, their frugality into pride and prodigality, their 
simplicity into subtilty, their sincerity into hypocrisy, their charity into 
cruelty, their chastity into chambering and wantonness, their sobriety 
into drunkenness^ their plain-dealing into dissembling, and their works 
of compassion into works of oppression, &c. And may we not fear that 
even for these things God may once more visit us ? The nations are 
angry, and we are low in their eyes ; our enemies are not asleep abroad, 
and are not we too secure at home ? And what further confusions may 
be in the world, who can divine ? I point at these things only to pro- 
voke all those into whose hands this treatise may fall to make sure 
work for another world, to make sure their evidences for heaven, and 
to keep their evidences for life and glory always sparkling and shining ; 
and then I am sure the worst of calamities, the sorest of judgments, 
shall but translate them from earth to heaven, from a wilderness to a 
paradise, from misery to glory, and from mixed and mutable enjoyments 
to the pure and everlasting enjoyments of God, Christ, the angels, and 
' the spirits of just men made perfect,' Heb. xii. 22-24. But, 

(6.) Sixthly and lastly. In this treatise, as in a glass, all sorts of pro- 
fane persons, and all sorts of self-flatterers, and all sorts of hypocrites, 
may see [1.] that their present state and condition is not so safe, nor yet 
so happy, as they judge it to be. Again, in this treatise, as in a glass, 
all sorts of profane persons, and all sorts of self-flatterers, and all sorts 
of hypocrites, may see [2.] the happy and blessed state of the people of 
God, against whom their spirits . rise and swell, &c. Again, in this 
treatise, as in a glass, all sorts of profane persons, and all sorts of self- 
flatterers, and all sorts of hypocrites, may see [3.] what those things are 
that they need, and that they ought to beg of God. Again, in this 
treatise, as in a glass, all sorts of profane persons, and all sorts of self- 
flatterers, and all sorts of hypocrites, may see [4.] what those things are 
without which they can neither be happy here nor hereafter. Now, 
were there no other reasons for my sending forth this treatise into the 
world, this alone might justify me. 

But, honoured and beloved, before I close up this epistle, give me 
leave to say, that there are two sorts of men that myself and all the 
world are bound (1.) highly to prize, (2.) cordially to love, and (3.) 
greatly to honour above all other men in the world ; and they are these : 
First, men of public spirits ; secondly, men of charitable spirits, men of 
merciful spirits, men of tender and compassionate spirits. 


(1.) First, Men of public spirits, myself and all others are bound, 1, 
highly to prize ; 2, cordially to love ; and, 3, greatly to honour above all 
other men in the world ; and that, 

1. First, because a public-spirited man is a common good, a common 
blessing. All in the family, all in the court, all in the city, all in the 
country, fare the better for that Christian's sake that is of a public 
spirit. All in Laban's family did fare the better for Jacob's sake ; and 
all in the city of Zoar did fare the better for Lot's sake ; and all Pharaoh's 
court and the whole country of Egypt did fare the better for Joseph's 
sake, Gen. xxx. 27, and xix. 21-24, and xli., &c. Sodom was safe while 
Lot was in it. Elijah was a man of public spirit, and he was ' the 
chariots and horsemen of Israel,* 2 Kings ii. 12. Moses was a man of 
public spirit, and he often diverted ruining judgments from falling upon 
Israel, Ps. cvi. 23. Phinehas was a man of public spirit, and he takes 
up his censer, and stands between the living and the dead, and the 
plague was stayed, Num. xvi. 46, 49. Men of public spirits are public 
mercies, public blessings. A man of a public spirit is, mivov ayadov, a 
public diffusive blessing in the place where he lives. Men of public 
spirits are the true Atlases both of church and state ; they are th^ pillars 
on whom all do rest, the props on whom all do lean.^ l)o but overturn 
these pillars and all will fall about your ears, as the house did about the 
Philistines when Samson shook it. Rack but these, and kingdoms and 
commonwealths shall be quickly racked themselves. When Metellus 
heard of the death of Scipio Africanus, a man of a public spirit, he ran 
out into the market place and cried out, ' citizens, come forth and 
consult what is to be done, for the walls of your city are fallen down.' 

2. Secondly, Because public-spirited Christians are most like to 
Christ, and to the choicest and most excellent saints.^ Christ left his 
Father's bosom for a public good ; he assumed our nature for a public 
good ; he trode the wine-press of his Father's wrath for a public good ; 
he died for a public good, and he rose for a public good; he 
ascended to heaven for a public good, and he continues in heaven 
for a public good. When he w^as in this world he went up and 
down doing good. He healed others, but was hurt himself; he fed 
and filled others, but was hungry himself. Christ was all for a public 
good : * Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on 
the things of others ;' ' Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ 
Jesus,' Philip, ii. 4, 5. Though self be a great stickler, yet he that will 
write after Christ's copy must neglect himself to serve others. That 
Christian acts most like Christ, who prefers the public interest before 
his own private interest. The stars have their brightness, not for them- 
selves, but for the use of others ; and the sun hath her shining light, 
but not for herself, but for others. In the natural body every member 
is diffusive ; the eye conveys the light, the head spirits, the liver blood, 
&c. And why should it not be so in the politic body also ? And as Christ, 
so Moses was a man of a public spirit, when God made a very fair 

1 Though I do not, I dare not, say, that every public spirit is a gracious spirit ; yet 
this I must say, that every gracious spirit is a public spirit. 

2 John i. 7, Heb. ii., Isa. Ixiii. 3, Rom. viii. 30-33 ; Heb. vii. 25 ; John xiv. 1-4 ; 
Acts X. 38 ; Philip, ii. 4, 5. Christ made himself poor to make others rich, but men of 
narrow souls make others poor to make themselves rich, 2 Cor. vi. 8, viii. 9. 


proffer to him that he would make him a great nation if he would but 
stand neuter till he had revenged himself upon a rebellious people. 
But Moses had no mind to preferment upon those terms ; he preferred 
the public good before his own honour, profit, and advancement, and 
therefore follows God close, and never gives over pleading for them till 
he had procured their pardon, and turned away the wrath of God from 
them, Exod. xxxii. 10-12 ; so Num. xiv. 4, 10, 13, 14. So Joshua was 
a man of a public spirit : ' When they had made an end of dividing the 
land for inheritance by their coasts, the children of Israel gave an inheri- 
tance to Joshua the son of Nun among them,' Joshua xix. 49. Joshua 
might have served himself first, and he might have taken as large an 
inheritance as he had pleased, but he preferred the good of the people 
before his own. He who had divided the land to others, was himself 
contented with very mean preferment, for his inheritance was among the 
barren mountains, as some observe [Jerome]. So Jehoiada was a man 
of a public spirit. You read that they ' buried him in the city of David 
among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, both towards God 
and towards his house,' 2 Chron. xxiv. 16. Men of public spirits shall 
be honoured both living and dying. So Nehemiah was a man of a 
brave public spirit. He holds on twelve years together in public work 
upon his own cost and charge, Neh. v. 14, 15. So Esther was one of a 
public spirit, and therefore she takes her life in her hand, and goes in 
to the king Avith an If I perish, I perish, Esther iv. 16. And so Mor- 
decai was a man of public spirit. Mordecai the Jew was ' next unto king 
Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude 
of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to 
all his seed,' Esther x. 3. Mordecai was more mindful and careful of 
his people's peace, prosperity, and welfare, than he was of his own con- 
cernments. And so David was a man of a public spirit, for ' after he 
had served his own generation, he fell asleep,' Acts xiii. 36. The Spirit 
of the Lord has put this upon record for David's honour and our imita- 
tion. David's soul did not live in a narrow bowling-alley. He was not 
a man of so poor, low, and narrow a spirit as to make himself the centre 
of his designs and actions. David was a man of a generous, noble 
spirit. The public good lay nearest his heart, and to serve his genera- 
tion he was willing to spend and be spent. The public-spirited man, of 
all men, is most like to Christ, and to those worthies who were once 
glorious on earth, and are now triumphing in heaven. The apostle 
speaks of some who are lovers of themselves, 2 Tim. iii. 2, and who are 
'seekers of themselves,' Philip, ii. 21, and who are 'minders of them- 
selves,' Philip, iii. 19. 'They mind earthly things.' Of all these we 
may say, as God speaks of Israel, ' Israel is an empty vine ; he brings 
forth fruit unto himself,' Hosea x. ] ; yea, of all these we may say that 
light is not more contrary to darkness, heaven to hell, glory to shame, 
than these are contrary to Christ, and to those precious servants of his 
who are crowned and chronicled in the blessed Scriptures for their 
public spiritedness and public usefulness in the world. But, 

3. Thirdly, Men of public spirits are rare men, excellent men ; of all 
men they most resemble God, who does good to all. Mat. v. 45 ; there are 
none so excellent and truly honourable as these.^ All the instances 
1 Vir bonus magis aliis prodest quam sibi. 

VOL. m. Q 


cited to make good the second particular evidences this : to which I may 
add that of Daniel, who was a man of a public spirit, and of that excel- 
lent spirit, as that he carried the bell from all the presidents and princes 
of Darius's court, Dan. vi. 3. Then this Daniel was preferred above 
the presidents and princes, because ' an excellent spirit was in him,' and 
the king thought to set him over the whole realm. I might give you 
many other instances from the patriarchs and apostles, but what need 
that, w^hen blind nature speaks so loud in the case. Men of public 
spirits have been very excellent and honourable in the very eyes of all 
the heathen. Take a few instances among the many hundreds that 
might be produced. M. Attilius Regulus was a man of that public 
spirit, that he valued neither state nor life to serve his country and 
preserve his own honour ; he got very much for his country, but little for 
himself; seven acres of land being all that ever he had. He was a man 
highly honoured among the Romans.^ 

Titus Vespasian was a man of a public spirit. He governed so sweetly, 
moderately, and prudently, that he was generally termed delicice huTnani 
generis, the delight of mankind. He was greatly honoured whilst he 
lived, and when he died the people wept so bitterly for him as if they 
had been resolved to have wept out their eyes. 

Curius Dentatus was a man of public spirit, and very victorious. When 
his country was settled, he was found at dinner feeding hard on a few 
pkrched pease, when the ambassadors were sent to tender him a great 
sum of gold, which he refused, saying, ' He had rather be at his pease, 
while they whom he ruled over had the gold, than he to have the gold 
and they the pease.' When some unworthy persons once accused him 
for keeping back somewhat from the public, he brought forth a wooden 
platter, and did swear, that it was all he had reserved to himself of the 
spoils. He was had in great honour and reputation among the people. 

* That pilot dies nobly,' saith Seneca, ' who perisheth in the storm 
with the helm in his hand.' 

Aristides was a man of a public spirit. After the overthrow of the 
Persians, when there was a mass of treasure, gold, silver, and rich 
apparel, he would not touch it, nor take so much as one farthing of it 
to himself. He was in high esteem among the people. 

Tully in his book of Scipio's dream, brings in a dead father, now in 
heaven as he supposed, encouraging his son to do service for his country, 
wherein himself had given him a most noble and notable example. Upon 
a very high consideration, viz.. There is a most sure and certain place in 
heaven for every man that shall procure the weal of his country, either 
by freeing it from peril, or increasing the happiness of it any way. To 
hear a Gentile tell of heaven as of a thing certain ; to hear him tell of 
certain places provided there for those that should do virtuously ; to 
have the service of one's country pressed on his soul with so celestial an 
argument, what matter of wonder and admiration is it ! 

Another [Cicero], speaking of men of public spirits, saith, ' Such ennobl- 
ed spirits, they are the dear offspring, the delight and care of God ; a divine 
race it is ; from the heavens they comedown tous,and totheheavens again, 
whenever they take their leaves of us, shall they triumphantly return.' 

^ In Austin's account he was the gallantest of all the old Romans. [More exactly M. 
Atilius, M. F. L. N. Regulus : Livj, JEpii. 18 ; Val. Max. iv. 4, sec. 6.— G.] 


A Catiline, says the satirist, a trouble of mankind, grows as the 
weed, almost everywhere ; but a Brutus, a worthy patriot, that bears 
the welfare of others, the true prosperity of his native land, upon his 
heart, and sets his eyes perpetually thereon for good ; such an one is a 
rare jewel, worthy of all honour and embraces wherever he is found.^ 

Men of public spirits, of all men, do most exalt the Lord, and honour the 
Lord; and therefore the Lord, first or last, will most exalt them and hon- 
our them, 1 Sam. ii. 30. In all the ages of the world, and in all the nations 
of the world, men of most public spirits have been best beloved, and most 
highly honoured. A man of narrow spirit is like the hedge-hog, that 
never goes abroad but to gather what he can for himself, whoever suffers 
by it ; but a man of a public spirit is like the pelican, that draws out 
her own blood for the good of others ; and therefore the light of nature, 
as well as the law of grace, will lead men by the hand to honour such. 

4. Fourthly, Men of public spirits do most and best answer to one of 
the noblest and highest ends of their creation.^ By the law of creation 
every man is bound to serve the public, to serve his generation, A nar- 
row, a private-spirited man is a shame to his creation, because he walks 
so contrary to the great intendment of God in it. It is a base and 
imworthy spirit for a man to make himself the centre of all his actions. 
The very heathen man could say, ' That a man's country, and his friends, 
and others, challenge a great part of him.' That man sins against the 
very law of his being who is swallowed up in his own private interests. 
Men of public spirits should not bear the sword of justice in vain, for by 
the law of creation they are bound so to handle it as to be 'a terror to 
evil-doers and a praise to them that do well,' Bom. xiii. 3, 4. It is 
cruelty to the good to spare the bad ; it is wrong to the sheep to let the 
wolves alone ; it is the death of the lambs to spare the lions. ' If you 
will pity Cataline,' says one, * pity Bome much more ;' let the whole 
have a share in your pity rather than a part. Fereat unus magis 
quam unitas, Better have one injurious person sit mourning than a 
whole nation languishing, &c. Men of public spirits should be for the 
ease of all, and the peace of all, and the comfort of all, and the encourage- 
ment of all, and the safety of all. But this age is full of drones and 
ciphers, and of spiritless, lifeless men, who look at nothing, who design no- 
thing, who aim at nothing, and who endeavour nothing, but how to raise 
themselves, and greaten themselves, and enrich themselves, and build 
up themselves, though it be upon other's ruins. How many are there 
who are so swallowed up in their own interests and private concernments, 
that Gallio-like, Acts xviii. 17, they care not whether the public sink 
or swim. These put me in mind of Jotham's parable, Judg. ix. 8-11, 
&c. The trees went forth to anoint a king over them. They go to the 
olive, to the fig tree, and to the vine. But shall I leave my fatness ? saith 
the olive ; shall I leave my sweetness ? saith the fig-tree ; and shall 
I leave my wine ? saith the vine, and go up and down for other trees ? 
This is the very temper, spirit, and carriage of many in our day. If 
you go to them and desire them to lay out themselves for the public 

* Juvenal. 

2 Doth the hee gather honey for itself? Doth the sheep yield wool for itself? Doth 
not all creatures serve the community? Nonnohis solum nati, said the heathen. — [Seneca. 


good, What, say some, shall we leave our ease, our pleasure, our profits ? 
and, say others, shall we run this and that hazard ? shall we lose such 
and such friends, and create to ourselves such and such enemies, to 
serve other men, to save other men, to advantage other men ? We 
cannot do it, we will never do it. Learned Tully was a zealous patriot 
and lover of his country ; he wished two wishes, though he never saw 
either of them effected. One was, that he ' might see Rome settled in 
its just liberties ;' and the other was, that he 'might see every man's 
estate proportionable to his affection and love to the public' Doubtless 
if Tully 's wish might take place in our times, the purses of many would 
be more empty, and the public coffers would be more full. But, 

5. Fifthly, Of all men on earth, there are none that have such a 
stock of prayers going for them as men of public spirits. Men of public 
spirits are not only highly prized, and cordially loved, and greatly hon- 
oured, but they are also most upon the hearts of all sober and serious 
Christians, when they are in the mount with God. The lives of such 
are most desirable, and the deaths of such will be most lamented, who 
make it their business to serve their generation. Men of public spirits 
shall never die, as Jehoram did, undesired and unlamented, 2 Chron. xxi. 
20. Men of public spirits lie most open to snares, temptations, and oppo- 
iiitions, &c. This all sober Christians well understand, and therefore 
they cannot but pray hard for such. The names, the lives, the liberties, 
the estates, and all the ooncernments of men of public spirits, always 
lie nearest their hearts, who lie nearest to the heart of Christ. Men 
of the greatest name, and of the gxeatest renown, and that have had the 
greatest stock of prayers going for them all the world over, have been 
men of public spirits. But, 

6. Sixthly and lastly, When Christians of public spirits come to die, their 
public spirited ness and general usefulness will be no small comfort and 
cordial to them. Nehemiah was a man of a public spirit, and accord- 
ingly he pleads it with God. ' Think upon me, oh my God, for good, 
according to all that I have done for this people,' Neh. v. 19. [See 
chap. xiii. 22.] This was that which sw-eetened death to Hezekiah, * I 
beseech thee, O Lord, to remember now how I have walked before thee 
in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in 
thy sight,' 2 Kings xx. 3. And when David had * served his generation, 
he fell asleep,' Acts xiii. 36. Sleep is not more welcome and sweet to a 
labouring man than death is to him who ha-s made it his business, his 
work, sincerely and faithfully to serve his generation. Such magis- 
trates, ministers, and Christians who have made it their business, accord- 
ing to their different measures, faithfully to serve their generation, have 
found the king of terrors to be but the king of desires to them, 2 Tim. 
iv. 7-9 ; when death to men of narrow, selfish spirits, hath been like 
the handwriting upon the wall, very terrible, Dan. v. 5, 6. Many score 
instances might be produced out of history to evidence this. Take one 
for all. Henry Beaufort, that rich and wretched cardinal, bishop of 
Winchester, and chancellor of England, — a man swallowed up in self- 
interest, — in the reign of Henry the Sixth, when he perceived that he 
must die, and that there was no remedy, oh, how terrible was death to 
him ! and oh, how did he murmur and fret, and vex at death, that his 
riches could not reprieve him till a further time I For, saith he, ' where- 


fore should I die, being so rich ? if the whole realm would save my life, 
I am able either by policy to get it, or by riches to buy it/ * Fie upon 
death,' saith he, ' will not death be hired ? will money do nothing V^ I 
might instance in men of a higher rank, but then I should exceed the 
bounds of an epistle. 

(2.) The second sort of men, that myself and all others are bound, 
(1.) highly to prize, (2.) cordially to love, and (3.) greatly to honour, 
are men of charitable spirits, men of merciful spirits, men of tender 
and compassionate spirits. The Hebrew woixl for godly (non) signifies 
merciful, to note that the godly man is the merciful man, and the 
merciful man is the godly man. Loving-kindness is an ingredient unto 
godliness. The godly man is frequently called chasid, gracious or mer- 
ciful. It notes one that hath obtained mercy, goodness, grace, piety, 
and benignity from the Lord, and that is pious, kind, gracious, and mer- 
ciful to others. Though charity, bounty, is the most compendious way 
to plenty, and giving to getting, and scattering to increasing, and lay- 
ings out to layings up : — Prov. xi. 24, ' There is that scattereth, and yet 
increaseth.' Ver. 25, 'The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that 
watereth shall be watered also himself,'^ — yet how few in our days do 
honour the Lord with their substance ! How few look at this as a duty, 
to consecrate any part of their gain unto the Lord, or of their substance 
to the Lord of the whole earth ! Prov. iii. 9, Micah iv. 13. Most men 
now carry it as if God himself had lost his propriety, and as if there 
were no rent-penny due to his poor. But yet some there are who have 
liberal hearts and open hands ; some there are who do open their hands 
wide to the poor and needy, Deut. xv. 11. Now, here give me leave to say 
that these, [1.] Discharge their consciences in the duty of charity, Mat. 
XXV. 25, seq., Prov. xxxi. 8, 9. [2.] These rightly improve the talents of 
mercy, with which they are intrusted. Job xxix. 13, 2 Tim. i. 16. [3.] 
These treasure up a stock of prayers, both for themselves and theirs ; 
the blessing and the prayers of them that were ready to perish will 
come upon them and theirs. [4.] These evidence the liveliness of their 
faith : James ii. 17, ' Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being- 
alone.' Ver. 18, ' Yea, a man may say thou hast faith, and I have works ; 
shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by 
my works.' Ver. 26, * For as the body without the spirit is dead, so 
faith without works is dead also.' [5.] These take the surest way, the 
readiest course, to assure their own souls of God's eternal favours and 
mercies to them : 1 Tim. vi. 17, 18, * Charge them that be rich in this 
world, that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to 
distribute, willing to communicate.' Ver. 19, * Laying up in store for 
themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may 
lay hold on eternal life.'-* Charitable Christians are as wise merchants, 
happy usurers, parting with that which they cannot keep, that they may 
gain that which they cannot lose. [6.] These take surest way to draw 
down more outward mercies upon themselves.* The fountain is not 
diminished, but augmented by giving water to the thirsty. The widow's 
oil did increase by running. We do not lose, but increase our mercies 

» [Foxe.] Acts and Mon., fol. 925. 

2 The Italian form of begging is, ' Do good to yourselves.' 

^ jEUrna vita, vtra vila. — Augustine. * Clemens Alex., Pedagog. lib. iii cap. 7. 


by imparting of them for God's honour, and the comfort and benefit of 
others. * Give,' saith Christ, ' and it shall be given to yon ; good mea- 
sure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men 
give into your bosom,' Luke vi. 38. The Jews wore large and loose 
garments, so that they could bear away much in their bosoms. Hence 
this expression, ' into your bosom.' The meaning is, that the Lord 
will largely reward the beneficence of his people ; yea, that he will so 
reward them that they shall perceive that they are rewarded. ' Honour 
the Lord with thy substance, so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, 
and thy presses shall burst out with new wine,' Prov, iii. 9, 10. God 
will certainly bless their substance who honour him with their sub- 
stance. The Jews at this day, though they are not in their own 
country, and though they have not a Levitical priesthood, yet those 
who will be reputed religious amongst them, do distribute the tenth 
of their increase to the poor, being persuaded that God doth bless 
their increase the more ; for they have among them a very elegant 
proverb to that purpose, decima ut dives fias, Pay thy tithes that thou 
may est be rich.^ The poor man's hand is Christ's treasury, and he 
shall not lose his reward that casts his mites into that treasury.^ It 
it fabled of Midas, that whatever he touched he turned it into gold. 
But this is most sure, that whatever the hand of charity toucheth, it 
turneth it into gold, — be it but a cup of cold water, — nay, into heaven 
itself: Mat. x. 42, ' And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these 
little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, verily I 
say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.' Cold water, having 
not fuel to heat it, cold water which cost not the charge of fire to warm 
it. A sea of pleasures, a heaven of blessings attends men of charitable 
minds, though their charity can extend no further than to a cup of cold 
Avater ; for God measures men's deeds by their minds, and not their 
minds by their deeds. The Kenites in Saul's time, that were born many 
ages after Jethro's death, received life from his dust, and favour from his 
hospitality f nay, the very Egyptians, for harbouring and at first dealing 
kindly with the Israelites, though without any respect to their right- 
eousness, were preserved by Joseph in that sore famine, and kindly 
dealt with ever after by God's special command. I have read a story 
of one Evagrius, a rich man, who lying upon his deathbed, and being 
importuned by Synesius, a pious bishop, to give something to charitable 
uses, he yielded at last to give three hundred pounds, but fii'st took 
bond of the bishop that it should be repaid in another world ; but be- 
fore he had been one day dead, he is said to have appeared to the bishop, 
delivering in the bond cancelled, as thereby acknowledging that what 
was promised was made good. Whether the relation be fabulous or 
not, I shall not now stand to determine ; but this is certain, that all 
acts of charity shall be certainly and signally rewarded. Several writers 
observe that the'ground is most barren nearest the golden mines ; and 
experience tell us that many who are enriched with fair estates, are 
most barren in good works; but this will be bitterness in the end. He 

' Godwin, Heb. Antiq., 277 [4to., 1616, and often since.— G.]. 

■^ The safest chest is the poor man's box. God will never forget your charity to his, 
Heb. vi. 10. Cicero could say, that to be rich is not to possess mucli, but to use much. 
And Seneca could rebuke them that so studied to increase their wealth that they forgot 
to use it. 3 See 1 Samuel xv. 6.— G. 


that shall consult two scriptures, among many others, will conclude that 
he that hath a withered hand has no honest heart, 2 Chron. xxxL 10, 
1 John iii. 17- The wealth that such men have is but as Aristotle calls 
it, foelix amentia, a happy madness, because they are so taken up with 
their wealth, that they neither know what they are, nor what they do.* 
Josephus, writing of the waters of Egypt, saith, that ' they were blood 
in the hands of an Egyptian, but water in the hand of an Israelite/ 
Wealth in the hand of a worldling is like blood in the hand, which is 
good for nothing ; but wealth in the hand of a charitable Christian is 
like water in the hand, which may be of use both to a man's self and 
others. By what has been said, there is nothing more evident than 
this, viz., that men of public spirits, and men of charitable spirits, of all 
men on earth are, (1.) to be most highly prized ; (2.) most cordially 
loved ; and (3.) most greatly honoured, &c. 

Gentlemen, Those that shall read what I have writ in this epistle, 
concerning public spiritedness and charitableness, and know you well, 
they know how to make the application without any further direction 
from me. Sir John, I must crave leave to say, that it is and will be 
your honour and comfort, both in life and death, and in the day of 
your account, that in all the great places, offices, and employments 
unto which divine providence has called you for divers years together, 
you have laid out your time, your strength, your estate, for the public 
good. When others have been serving themselves upon the public, 
you have been a-serving of the public. Sir, it is your great mercy and 
happiness that you can stand forth and say, as once Samuel did, ' Be- 
hold, here I am, witness against me, whose ox have I taken 1 or whose 
ass have I taken ? or whom have I defrauded ? whom have I oppressed ? 
or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes there- 
with V 1 Sam. xii. 3. Your prudence and moderation before your 
mayoralty, and in it, when you had many a narrow bridge to go over, 
and after it, to this day, will never be forgotten by all sober citizens. 
Sir, the French history tells us, that when an old courtier would needs de- 
part from' the court, and retire himself to a private life, the king desired 
him to leave his advice in some general rules, about the government of 
his kingdom. Upon this motion of the king, the old courtier took a 
sheet of white paper, and writ upon the top of the leaf. Moderation, and 
in the middle of the leaf, Moderation, and at the bottom of the leaf, 
Moderation, intimating to the king, that the only way to keep his king- 
dom in peace and prosperity, was to manage his government throughout 
with a spirit of moderation. When Vespasian asked Apollonius what 
was the cause of Nero's ruin, he answered, that Nero could tune the 
harp well, but in government he did always wind up the strings too 
high, or let them down too low. Both of your staying in London in the 
time of the last great plague, when death peeped in at every window, 
and when most magistrates, ministers, and people were fled from their 
habitations, — the terror of the Lord and of his judgments being very 
great in that day, upon all sorts and ranks of men, — and that chiefly, 
mainly, if not only, upon the account of public service, and that no- 
thing might be wanting on your side to preserve poor creatures from 
perishing. The old Romans, for lesser services than you did in these 
' Arist. Rhetor., lib. ii. cap. 6. 


dismal days, have set up many a statue of brass ; but the Lord is faith- 
ful, and will not forget to reward your work, your great work, your 
hazardous work, and that matchless love and bowels that you shewed 
to very many that were impoverished for want of trade, and to very 
many that lay in a sick, languishing, and dying condition. How free, 
how full, how seasonable, how suitable, how impartial, how constant, 
and well regulated your charity then was, and since hath been, is very 
well known to God above, and to some faithful friends still alive ; but 
all will out in the great day, Mat. xxv. 35, seq. I know you don't love 
that your left hand should know what your right hand doth. Mat. vi. 3, 
and therefore I shall not provoke you by sounding a trumpet. The 
angels have their hands under their wings ; they do much good, 
and yet make no noise, Ezek. i. 8, and x. 8. There are some in the 
world that are like to them. The violet grows low, and covers itself 
with its own leaves, and yet of all flowers yields the most fragrant 
smell to others. There are some charitable Christians that resemble 
this sweet flower. 

Gentlemen and ladies, your respects and undeserved favours, that 
have been many ways manifested unto me, hath emboldened me to 
dedicate and present to you this treatise, as a real testimony of my un- 
feigned love, service, gratitude, and desires to promote the internal and 
eternal welfare of all your precious and immortal souls. And wherein 
could I, or any body else, be more truly serviceable to you than in en- 
deavouring to promote your assurance of eternal salvation, which is the 
grand design and project of this book. ' Now, the God of all grace fill 
all your hearts with all the fruits of righteousness and holiness, imto all 
riches of the full assurance of understanding, and of faith and hope in 
this life,' 1 Peter v. 10 ; and at last crown you all, and all yours, with 
ineffable glory in the life to come,' Gal. v. 22, 2^, Heb. x. 22, 23. To 
the everlasting arms of his protection, and to the perpetual influences 
of his grace and mercy in Christ, he commends you all, who is to 
you all, 

Your much obliged and affectionate friend and soul's servant in 
our dear Lord Jesus, 

Tho. Brooks. 



Containing eighteen special Maxims, Considerations, Rules, o.nd Direc- 
tions that are seriously to hs minded and observed, in order to 
the clearing up of a mans interest in Christ : the saving work 
of God upon his own soul; and his title to all the glory of 
another world. 

The first maxim or consideration. 

I. First, Some have made the witness of the Spirit to be the only mark 
or evidence of our interest in Christ, and deny all signs front the 
fruit of the Spirit ; ^ but this is to deny the fruit growing upon the 
tree to be a sign that the tree is alive, whereas our Saviour expressly 
tells us, that ' the tree is known by his fruit,' Mat. xii 33. Certainly 
it is one thing to judge by our graces, and another thing to rest on our 
graces, or to put trust in our graces, or to make a Saviour of our graces. 
There is agreatdeal of difference betweendeclaring and deserving. Doubt- 
less, Christians may look to their graces as evidences of their interest in 
Christ, justification and salvation, though not as causes of their interest in 
Christ, justification and salvation. O sirs ! we must always carefully dis- 
tinguish betwixt the root and ground of our comfort, and between the testi- 
monies or evidences of our interest in the root of our comfort. Now it 
must be readily granted that Jesus Christ is the only root and ground of a 
Christian's comfort and triumph ; and, therefore, saith Paul, ' God forbid 
that I should rejoice in anythiag, but in the cross of Christ,' Gal. vi. 14 ; 
and so in that, 2 Cor. ii. 14, ' Now thanks be unto God, w^hich always 
causes us to triumph in Christ.' So that, if at any time we behold this 
or that saving grace, or this or that part of holiness shining in our 
hearts or lives, we take comfort in it, not as the cause, or root, or ground 
of our comfort or triumph, but as in a testimony or evidence, because 
it doth manifest our interest in him, who is our comfort, our peace, our 
joy, our salvation, our ' all in all,' Luke ii. 25 ; Col. iii. 11. Look, as the 

* But this opinion being well laid asleep in thes© days, I shall not put myself to the 
trouble of awakening of it afresh, but leave it to sleep with the authors, who are now in 
their graves. 


rainbow is not a cause why God will not drown the world, but a sign 
that God will not drown the world ; and as it is a sign that God will not 
drown the world, we may and ought to rejoice in it, and to take com- 
fort from it, Gen. ix. 1 3, 14, 16. So here, &c. It is agreed on all hands, that 
sanctification is a precious benefit of the covenant of grace, as well as 
justification ; and what crime can it then be to evidence one benefit of 
the covenant of grace, by another benefit of the same covenant ? Jer. 
xxxiii. 8, 9 ; Ezek. xxxvi. 25, 26 ; Heb. viii. 10, 12, &c. That he that 
is justified, is also sanctified, and that he that is sanctified is also 
justified, is so clear, so bright, so sparkling, and so full a truth contained 
m the covenant of grace, that no man or devil can deny. Now what 
evil or error can it be for a man to assert, that he that is certainly 
sanctified, is certainly justified — it being the very language of the cove- 
nant of grace — and that therefore be that knows himself to be sanctified, 
may also know thereby that he is justified. Certainly, those persons 
that shall deny sanctification to be a most sure, sweet, and comfortable 
evidence of man's justification, they must not only blot out, and abolish 
the epistles of James and John, but must also raze out and abolish all 
those evangelical promises of grace and mercy, of happiness and blessed- 
ness, that are made to such persons as are invested, enriched, and be- 
spangled with the several graces of the Holy Spirit. This might be 
made evident by many hundred scriptures, but take that one for all, 
Mat. V. where our Saviour himself, who was the most evangelical preacher 
that ever was in the world, makes eight or nine promises of mercy and 
blessedness to those very persons that had the graces of the Spirit in- 
herent in them, as poverty of spirit, mourning, meekness, hungering 
and thirsting after righteousness, &c. O sirs ! why should we be so 
frequently and earnestly called upon to try and examine ourselves, 
whether we be in the faith or no, 2 Cor. xiii. 5, if we were not to come 
to the knowledge of our faith, in a discursive way, arguing from the 
effect to the cause? Have not the saints of old come to assurance, and 
the knowledge of the goodness of their estates, this way ? Ponder 
seriously on that : 2 Cor. i. 12, ' For our rejoicing is this, the testimony 
of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, we have had 
our conversation in the world.' Mark, their joy was founded on the 
testimony of their conscience, and their conscience gave in this testi- 
mony from the sincerity of their conversation in this world. So Paul 
in that, 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8, ' I have fought a good fight, I have finished my 
course, I have kept the faith : henceforth is laid up for me a crown 
of righteousness.' ^ How plainly, how fully, how with open mouth, as I 
may say, does he conclude his right to the crown of righteousness, — so 
called, partly because it is purchased by the righteousness of Christ, and 
partly because he is righteous that hath promised it, and partly because 
it is a just and righteous thing with God to crown them with glory at 
last, who have for the gospel sake, and his glory sake, been, crowned 
with shame and reproach in this world, and partly, if not mainly, be- 
cause it is a crown that can only be had or obtained in a way of right- 
eousness and holiness, — from his graces and gracious actings in this world : 

' Tov (kyava rav kuXov hyuiviiTfixt. Certamen illud prceclarum certavi. — Beza. I have fought 
that excellent fight, by wrestling. The apostle useth the same metaphor also in that 1 
Cor. ix. 25. 

Chap. I.] a cabinet of jewels. 251 

' I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the 
faith ;' yea, it is further observable, that in the blessed Scripture, we are 
strongly pressed to do good works, that by them we may make our 
calling, election, and salvation sure : 2 Peter i. 10, ' Wherefore the rather, 
brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure, by 
good works.' So say all the Latin copies, and so say some Greek copies, 
though not those that our English translators have been pleased to 
follow, and that is the reason why those words, ' by good works,' are 
not in our English Bibles ; but he that shall seriously weigh the scope 
of the apostle in this place, he must of necessity grant, that good works 
are to be understood, though they are not expressed in the text ; and 
that of the apostle in 1 Tim. vi. 16-18, seems plainly and strongly to 
sound the same way. 

The second maxim or consideration. 

II. Secondly, consider, that true, sound, solid ma.rJcs, signs, and 
evidences, are the best way to prevent delusions. There is no such 
deceit in sound and solid evidences, as there is in flashy joys, and in 
hjgh and strange raptures, by which many glistering professors have 
been sadly deceived and deluded. Young Samuel, being not acquainted 
with any extraordinary manifestations of the presence and power of God, 
took the voice of God from heaven to be the voice of old Eli, 1 Sam. iii. 
5. Ah ! how many have there been in our days, that have taken the 
irregular motions of their own hearts, and the violent workings of their 
own distempered fancies, and imaginations, and Satanical delusions, to 
be the visions of God, celestial raptures, divine breathings, and the 
powerful impulses of the Spirit of God ; and so have been stirred up to 
speak, write, and act such things that have been, not only contrary to 
the holy word of God, but also contrary to the very laws of nature and 
nations. Satan, by transforming of himself into an angel of light, hath 
seduced and ruined many professors, against whom, as an angel of dark- 
ness, he could never prevail, 2 Cor. xi. ] 4. Gerson^ tells a remarkable 
story of Satan's appearing to a holy man, in a most glorious and beauti- 
ful manner, professing himself to be Christ ; and because he, for his 
exemplary holiness was worthy to be honoured above others, therefore 
he appeared unto him ; but the good old* man readily answered him, 
that he desired not to see his Saviour in this wilderness ; it should suffice 
him to see him hereafter in heaven ; and withal added this pithy 
prayer, ' Oh let thy sight be my reward, Lord, in another life, and 
not in this ;' and so he became victorious over Satan, though he had 
transformed himself into a glorious angel of light. But such a victorious 
crown has not been set upon every one's head to whom Satan hath ap- 
peared as angel of glory.^ Certainly, they that stand so much, so 
mightily, for an immediate testimony, seem to open such a gap to 
enthusiasm, as will not be easily shut ; yea, how will they be ever able 
to secure to purpose, poor souls from sad delusions ? for how easy a 
thing it is for Satan, — who is the father of lies, John viii. 44 ; who is an 
old deceiver, Gen. iii. 12 ; 1 Tim. ii. 14 ; who is the grand deceiver, 
Kev. xii. 9 ; xiii. 14 ; xix. 20 ; xx. 10 ; who has his devices, 2 Cor. ii. 
11 ; his wiles, Ephes. vi. 11 ; his snares, 1 Tim. iii. 7 ; his depths, Rev. 

2 Gerson in his book, De probatione spirituum, Of the trial of spirits, 

^ See Dr Casaubon, and Dr Moore concerning Enthusiasm. [More? — G.] 



ii. 24^, — to find various artifices to counterfeit this immediate testimony, 
and bear witness in the Spirit's stead ; so that, when poor souls think 
that they have the spirit of grace and truth to assure them that all is 
well, and shall be for ever well with them, they have none but ' the 
father of lies' to deceive them, they have none but the devil in Samuel's 
mantle, to put a soul-murdering cheat upon them. I am not fond of 
advising any poor souls to lay the stress of their hopes in heaven and 
salvation merely upon immediate impressions, lest they should subject 
themselves to infinite delusions. O sirs ! the way of immediate revela- 
tion is more fleeting and inconstant. Such actings of the Spirit are like 
those outward motions that came upon Samson, Judges xiii. 25. The 
Spirit came upon him at times. And so upon every withdrawment, 
new doubts and scruples arise ; but the trial of a man's estate by grace 
is more constant and durable, saving grace being a continual pledge of 
God's love to us. Flashes of joy and comfort are only sweet and de- 
lightsome whilst they are felt, but grace is that immortal seed that 
abideth for ever, 1 John iii. 9. But, 

The third wiaxinn or consideration. 

III. Thirdly, consider. In jproiiounding of evidences for men to try 
their spiritual and eternal estates by, there are' two special rules for 
ever to he minded and remembered ; and the first is this. That he that 
propounds evidences of grace, which are oiily proper to eminent 
Christians, as belonging to all true Christians, he will certainly grieve 
and sad those precious lambs of Christ that He would not have grieved 
and sadded. Look, as there is a strong faith and a weak faith, so there 
are evidences that are proper to a strong faith, and evidences that are 
proper to a weak faith. Now, he that cannot find in himself the evi- 
dences of a strong faith, he must not conclude that he has no faith ; for 
he may have in him the evidences of a weak faith when he has not the 
evidences of a strong faith in him.^ In Christ's school, house, church, 
there are several sorts and ranks of Christians, as babes, children, young 
men, and old men ; and accordingly ministers, in their preaching and 
writing, should sort their evidences that so babes and children may not 
be found bleeding, grieving, and weeping, when they should be found 
joying and rejoicing. 

Secondly, No man must make such characters, vnarks, or evidences 
of a child of God which may be found in an hypocrite, a formalist, 
&c. For this were to lay a stumbling-block before the blind, this were 
to delude poor souls, and to make them glad whom God would not have 
made glad ; yea, this is the highway, the ready way, to make them 
miserable in both worlds, Ezek. xiii. 22. The rule or evidence that 
every Christian is to measure himself by must be neither too long nor 
too short, but adequate to the state of a Christian ; that is, it must not 
be so long, on the one hand, as that all Christians cannot reach it, nor 
yet so short, on the other hand, as that it will not reach a true Chris- 
tian ; but the rule or evidence must be such as will suit and fit every 
sincere believer, and none else. Some Christians are apt to judge of 
themselves, and to try themselves, by such rules or evidences as are 

1 Mat. XV. 28, and chap. viii. 26. It is one thing to shew you the properties of a man. 
and another thing to shew you the properties of a strong man, 1 Peter ii. 3, 1 John ii. I, 

Chap. I] a cabinet of jewels. 253 

competent only to those that are strong men in Christ, and that are 
grown to a high pitch of grace, of holiness, of communion with God, of 
spiritual enjoyments and heavenly attainments, and sweet and blessed 
ravishments of soul ; and by this means they come to conclude against 
the works of the blessed Spirit in them, and to perplex and disquiet 
their own souls with needless fears, doubts, and jealousies. Others, on 
the other hand, are apt to judge of themselves, and to try themselves, 
bj'^ such things, rules, or evidences that are too short, and will certainly 
leave them short of heaven ; as a fair, civil deportment among all sorts 
and ranks of men ; a good nature, paying every man their due ; charity 
to the poor ; a good name or fame among men, yea, happily among 
good men ; outward exercises of religion, as hearing, praying, reading, 
fasting .; or that they are good negative Christians, that is to say, that 
they are no drunkards, swearers, liars, adulterers, extortioners, oppress- 
ors, Sabbath-breakers, persecutors, &c., Mat. xxiii. 4, seq., Luke xviii. 
9-12, Isa. i. 2-5. Thus far Paul attained before his conversion, but if 
he had gone no further he had been a lost man for ever, Philip, iii. 
4—6, Gal. vi. 3, Isa. xxxiii. 14 ; and by this means they flatter them- 
selves into misery, and are still a-dreaming of going to heaven till 
they drop into hell, and awake with everlasting flames about their 
ears. And oh that all that preach or print, read or write, would 
seriously lay this to heart ! Some, in describing the state of a Chris- 
tian, shew rather what of right it should be than what indeed it is ; 
they sh-ew what Christians ought to be rather than what they find 
themselves to be, and so they become a double-edged sword to many 
Christians. But, 

The fourth maxitn or consideration. 

IV. Fourthly, consider. Where there is any one grace in truth, there 
is every grace in truth, though every grace cannot he seen. Look, as a 
man may certainly know a wicked man by his living under the reign 
and dominion of any one sin, though he does not live under the power 
of other sins, because there is not any one sin mortified in that man that 
hath any one sin reigning in him, and that does not set himself in good 
earnest against it as his greatest enemy ; so when a Christian can but 
find any one grace in him, as love to the saints for grace sake, for god- 
liness sake, he may safely conclude that there is in him all other graces. 
Where there is but one link of this golden chain, there are all the links 
of this golden chain : John xiii. 35, * By this shall all men know ye are 
my disciples, if ye love one another.' He doth not say if ye work 
miracles, if ye raise the dead, if ye give eyes to the blind, or ears to the 
deaf, or tongues to the dumb, or feet to the lame, but 'if ye love one 
another."' There have been many, yea, very many, precious Christians 
who have lived and died with a great deal of comfort and peace from 
the application of that text to their own souls : 1 John iii. 14, * We 
know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the 
brethren.' Sincere love to the brethren is a most evident sign of a Chris- 
tian's being already passed or translated from death to life. Observe, 

» As they say of the cardinal virtues, Virtutes stmt inter se connexce. The virtues are 
chained together ; so we may say of the graces of the Spirit, &c. Mark, saith Chrysos- 
tom, it is rwt working of miracles, casting out of devils, but love to our brethren, that is 
the infallible proof of being a disciple. [On Luke ii. 20, Homil. — G.] 


the apostle doth not say, we thinh we have passed from death to life, 
but we know we have passed from death to life ; nor he does not say, 
we conjecture we have passed from death to life, but we know we have 
passed from death to life ; nor he does not say, we hope we are passed 
from death to life, but we are assured that we are passed from death 
to life, that is, from a state of nature into a state of grace, 'because we 
love the brethren.' For ever remember this, when all other evidences 
have failed many gracious Christians, and all other texts of Scripture 
have afforded them no comfort, here they have anchored, here they have 
found rest for their distressed souls ; and upon this one single plank, 
this one evidence, they have swam safely and comfortably unto the 
haven of eternal happiness. Every real Christian hath in some measure 
every sanctifying grace in him. As a child so soon as it is born is a per- 
fect man for integrity of parts and entireness of limbs, though not for 
bigness and bulk of body, so every regenerate person, at the very first 
hour of his conversion, he is in part renewed in all parts ; all the habits 
of grace are infused into the soul by the Spirit at once. At first con- 
version the soul is bespangled with every grace, though every grace is 
not then grown up to its full proportion or perfection ; so that where 
there is one grace in truth, there is every grace in truth. That soul 
that can truly and seriously conclude that he has any one grace in him, 
that soul ought to conclude that there is every grace in him.^ Such as 
diligently search the Scripture shall find that true blessedness, happi- 
ness, and salvation is attributed to several signs : sometimes to the 
fear of God, sometimes to faith, sometimes to repentance, sometimes to 
love, sometimes to meekness, sometimes to humility, sometimes to 
patience, sometimes to poverty of spirit, sometimes to holy mourning, 
sometimes to hungering and thirsting after righteousness ; so that if a 
godly man can find any one of these in himself, he may safely and 
groundedly conclude of his salvation and justification, though he cannot 
see all those signs in him.* There is no saint but may perceive one sign 
in him, when he cannot another. Now, he that can groundedly be per- 
suaded of any one sign of grace, he may safely conclude he hath all the 
rest, though for the present he can neither see them nor feel them in 
himself But, 

The fifth maxim or consideration. 

V. Fifthly, consider. That the promises of God are a Christian's 
magna charta, his chiefest evidences for heaven. Divine promises are 
God's deed of gift ; they are the only assurance which the saints have to 
shew for their right and title to Christ, to his blood, and to all the happi- 
ness and blessedness that comes by him. Look, as Judali^ by pleading and 
bringing forth the signet, the bracelets, and the staff, saved her life, Gen. 
xxxviii. 18-27; so we by believing, pleading, and bringing forth the pro- 
mises, must save our own souls. The promises are not only the food of faith, 
but also the very life and soul of faith ; they are a mine of rich treasures, 
a garden full of the choicest and sweetest flowers ; in them are wrapt 

^ 1 Tlies. V. 23 ; John iii. 5-8, and chap. i. 16 ; Ps. xlv. 13. The new creature hath 
all the parts and lineaments, as in the body there is a composition of all the elements, 
and a mixture of all the humours. 

2 Mat. V. 3-6, &c. Every child of God hath all the graces of the Spirit in him radi- 
cally, though not gradually. ^ Qu. ' Tamar'?— Ed. 

Chap. I.] a cabinet of jewels. 255 

up all celestial contentments and delights. And this is most certain, 
that all a Christian's conclusions of interest in any of those choice and 
precious privileges which flow from the blood of Jesus Christ ought to 
be bottomed, grounded, and founded upon the rich and free promises of 
grace and mercy. 

Quest. But how may a person come to know whether he has a real 
and saving interest in the promises, or no ? Now, to this great ques- 
tion, I shall give these nine following answers : 

[1.] First, A holy reliance, a holy resting, a holy staying of thy soul 
upon the promises, 'inakes the promises thine own ; yea, it makes all 
the good, and all the sweet, and all the happiness and blessedness that 
is wrapped up in the promises thine. Even as thy staying, relying, 
and resting on Christ makes Christ thine, and all that is in him, and 
that comes by him, thine, so thy staying and resting upon the pro- 
mises makes them thine. 

[2.] Secondly, If thy heart ordinarily, habitually, lies under the 
word of command, then the word of promise does assuredly belaag 
to thy soul, Ps. cxix. 6 ; Acts xiii. 22 ; Luke i. 5, 6.^ There is no soul 
under heaven that commonly lies under the commanding power of the 
word, but that soul that has an interest in the word of promise. Men 
that have no interest in the word of promise, commonly live in the 
neglect of the word of command. If the word of command commonly 
carries thy soul, then the word of promise, without all peradventure, 
belongs to thy soul. Many deal with the commands of God as the 
heathens dealt with the commands of their gods ; when their gods 
called for a man, they offered a candle ; or as Hercules offered up a 
painted man, instead of a living man. Such as deal thus. with the 
commands of God, they have no interest in the promises of God. Flesh 
and blood looks upon the commands of God as impossible to be obeyed, 
like the unbelieving spies ; * Oh we cannot conquer the land ;' but faith 
and love, like Caleb and Joshua, conclude the land may be conquered, 
the commands may be evangelically obeyed; and accordingly they 
readily undertake it. Now, to such a frame of heart the promises are 
entailed. But, 

[3.] Thirdly, If in the face of all objections, discouragements, and 
difficulties, thy soul be kept up in a waiting frame, for the fulfilling 
of the promises, as Abraham's was, Rom. iv., then certainly the pro- 
mises belong to thee? There are some promises that relate to the 
subduing of sin, as that, Jer. xxxiii. 8 ; Ezek. xxxvi. 25-27 ; Micah vii. 
19 ; Ps. Ixv. 3. And there are other precious promises that relate to 
a growth in grace, as that, Malachi iv. 2 ; Job xvii. 9 ; Ps. xcii. 12-14 ; 
Prov. iv. 18 ; Hosea xiv. 5-7. Now, if thy heart be kept up in a wait- 
ing frame for the accomplishment of these promises, then they do cer- 
tainly belong to thee. The same I may say of all other promises ; 

' It was a good saying of Augustine, Da quod juhes, et juhe quod vis, give what thou 
commandest, and command what thou wilt. To such a frame the promises belong, 
Num. xiii. 28 to the end. 

2 The longer, said the emperor's son, the cooks are preparing the meat, the better 
cheer I shall have. His meaning was, that the longer he staid for the empire, the 
better and greater it would be ; so the longer the soul waits for a mercy, the better and 
greater it will be when it comes, &c. 


the waiting soul shall be sure to speed, Ps. xl. 1-3; Isa. xl. 29-31, 
XXX. 18 ; Heb. vi. 12, &c. God never did, nor never will, frustrate the 
expectations of the patient waiter, &c. But, 

[4] Fourthly, He that hath those divine qualities or supernatural 
graces in him, to which the promises are made, as faith, repentance, 
love, /ear, hope, uprightness, patience, a waiting frame, d&c, he has 
an undoubted interest in the promises. He may lay his hand upon 
any promise, and say, this promise is mine ; and all the blessings, the 
benefits, the heavenly treasure that is laid up in it, is mine. But, 

[5.] Fifthly, He that lives upon the promises as his daily food, he 
has an unquestionable interest in the promises. Wicked men may 
make use of promises as of physic, in some cases, as when they are 
under anguish of spirit, or gripes of conscience, or in fear of hell ; or 
else when they are under some outward wants or straits, &c., but he 
that lives upon them as his daily food, he has a most assured interest 
in them. Our outward man lives not upon kickshaws, though now and 
then we may taste of them, but we live upon wholesome food ; so here, 
no man lives upon the blessed promises as his appointed food, but he 
that has a real interest in the promises. Look, as there is a nourishment 
proper to every animal, — spiders feed on flies, moles on worms, the horse 
on grass, the lion on flesh, &c., — so there is food, nourishment, that is 
proper for men's souls, viz., the precious promises and Christ's ' flesh,' 
which is meat indeed, and his blood, which is drink indeed, John vi. 
53, seq. ; and he that daily feeds on this food will be happy for ever. 

[6.] Six-thly, If you are united and married to Christ by faith, then 
you have a real, a saving interest in the promises : Gal. iii. 29, ' And 
if you be Christ's, then are you Abraham's seed, and heirs according to 
the promise.' The promise is the jointure, and there is no way under 
heaven to enjoy the jointure but by matching with the person of 
Christ, Col. iv. 28 .; Heb. i, 2 ; Kev. xxi. 7. And faith is the grace of 
graces, by which the soul gives both its assent and consent to take the 
Lord Jesus Christ, as he is tendered and offered in the gospel, and is 
therefore called sometimes a receiving of Christ, John i. 12. The only 
way to enjoy a lady's jointure, is to marry her person; and so the only 
way to enjoy the promise of Christ, is to be willing to marry the person 
of Christ. It is our marriage union with Christ that gives us a right 
and title to all the promises of Christ : 2 Cor. i. 20, ' For all the pro- 
mises of God in him are yea, and in him, Amen.' All absolute and 
conditional promises, either of grace or unto grace, are made to us in 
Christ, and only enjoyed by our enjoying of Christ. 

[7.] Seventhly, He that can clear his right to any one promise, he 
may safely and boldly conclude his interest in every promise. The 
promises are a golden chain, and he that has a right in one link of the 
chain, has a right in every link of the chain, 2 Peter i. 5-7; Eph. v. 
22, 23 ; 2 Peter i. 4. As there is a chain of graces, so there is a chain 
of promises. He that can lay his hand upon any one promise, and 
truly say, This is mine, he may safely lay his hand upon every 
promise, and say. These are mine ; he that is an heir to any one 
promise, he is an heir to every promise. Hence it is they are called 
' heirs of promise,' Heb. vi. 17 ; not heirs of this promise or that, but 

Chap. I.] a cabinet of jewels. 257 

of promise ; that is, of every promise, or the covenant which com- 
prehends all the precious promises of the gospel in it. Though the 
promises may be distinguished one from another, yet they may not be 
severed one from another ; he that has a right to any one promise, he 
may safely infer his right to every promise. The whole covenant, 
which is a bundle of promises, is certainly thine, if any one promise be 
thine. The promises by a divine hand are mutually tied and linked 
together; and those whom God has joined together no man may put 
asunder. The promises can be no more divided than Christ can be 
divided, or than heaven can be divided. The promises are not like loose 
and unstringed pearls, but as pearls made into one entire chain. He 
that can lay his hand upon that promise, Mat. v. 6, ' Blessed are they 
which hunger and thirst after righteousness : for they shall be satisfied,' 
and truly say. This promise is mine, he may safely lay his hand upon 
that promise, ver. 8, * Blessed are the pure in heart : for they shall see 
God,' and say. This promise is mine ; and the same he may say of the 
rest of the precious promises that are specified in vers. 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 
11 of that chapter. He that can lay his hand upon any one promise that 
God has made to them that love him, and truly say. This promise is 
mine, he may safely lay his hand upon every promise that God has 
made to them that love him, and say. These are all mine. He that can 
lay his hand upon any one promise that God has made to them that 
fear him, and truly say. This promise is mine, he may assuredly lay his 
hand upon every promise that God has made to them that fear him, and 
say, These are all mine. He that can lay his hand upon any one pro- 
mise that God has made to faith in Christ, to believing in Christ, and 
truly say. This promise is mine, he may safely lay his hand upon every 
promise that God has made to faith in Christ, to believing in Christ, 
and say, All these promises are mine. He that can lay his hand upon 
any one promise that God has made to the returning sinner, and truly 
say. This promise is mine, he may securely lay his hand upon every 
promise that God has made to the returning sinner, the repenting 
sinner, and say, All these are mine. He that can lay his hand upon any 
one promise that God has made to the waiting soul, and truly say. This 
promise is mine, he may without all peradventure lay his hand upon 
every promise that God has made to the waiting soul, and say. All these 
are mine. Prove but your right in one, and you may safely infer your 
right to all. But, 

[8.] Eighthly, If in the times of your greatest outward and inward 
straits and trials, when you are most sadly and sorely put to it, you 
fly to the precious promises, as to your surest and choicest city of refuge, 
then certainly you have an interest in them. Thus Abraham did, Rom. 
iv. 17-22 ; and thus Jacob did. Gen. xxxii. 6-12 compared ; and thus 
Sarah did, Heb. xi. 11 ; and thus Moses did. Num. x. 29 ; and thus 
Jehoshaphat did, 2 Chron. xx. 1, 10 compared with the 7th, 8th, and 9th 
verses of that chapter ; and this was David's common practice : Ps. 
xxvii. 12, 13, and Ps. Ix. 1-10, compared, and Ps. cxix. 49, 50. Turn to 
these scriptures, and ponder upon them. And so when a man is under 
the guilt of sin, he flies to promises of pardon and forgiveness, as to his 
surest and choicest city of refuge, Num. xiv. 19, Isa. Iv. 7 ; Jer. xxxiii. 



8 ; Isa. xl. 1, 2 ; chap, xliii. 25 ; Micah vii. 18 ; Jer. xxxi. 34 ; Exod. 
xxxiv. 7 ; Dan. ix. 9. And so when a man is under the strength, power, 
and prevalency of sin, he runs to such promises wherein God has engaged 
himself to subdue the sins of his people, and to purge and cleanse away 
the sins of his people, Micah vii. 19 ; Horn. vi. 14 ; Ps. Ixv. 3 ; Isa. i. 25 ; 
Mai. iii. 3 ; Zech. xiii. 9; Isa. xxvii. 9; Mat. iii. 12 ; Ezek. xxxvi. 25, 33 ; 
Jer. xxxiii. 8, as to his surest and choicest city of refuge. And so when 
a man is deserted, he runs to such promises as are proper to that state, 
as to his surest and choicest city of refuge, Micah vii. 19 ; Isa. liv. 7-10 ; 
Ps. V. 12; Ps. Ixxxiv. 10; Ps. xcvii. 11 ; Ps. cxii. 4 ; Isa. xlix. 14-16. 
And so when a man is tempted, he runs to such supporting, succouring, 
and encouraging promises as are most suitable to that state, as to his 
surest and choicest city of refuge, 1 Cor. x. 13; Heb. ii. 18 ; Eom. xvi. 
20 ; James iv. 7. Now certainly, such as in all their inward and out- 
ward straits run thus to the promises, as to their surest and choicest 
city of refuge, they have an unquestionable interest in the promises. 
The rich man's wealth is his strong city. Pro v. x. 15. Wealthy world- 
lings, in times of distress and danger, do run to their hoards and heaps 
of riches, as to a strong city that is able to outstand all sieges and 
assaults, and to be safety and security to them ; so when once a man 
makes the precious promises to be his strong city, and runs to them in 
the day of his distress and dangers, as his only safety and security, then 
he has doubtless an interest in them. But, 

[9.] Ninthly and lastly. If you daily present a greater and a 
choicer good in the promises to your souls than any this world affords, 
then certainly you have an interest in the promises. If when honours, 
or riches, or pleasures, or the applause of men do present themselves 
unto you, you can readily present to your own souls higher honours in 
the promise, 1 Sam. ii. 30 ; Luke xii. 32 ; Rev. ii. 17, 26, 27 ; chap. iii. 
5, 12, 21 ; chap. v. 10 ; and more durable riches in the promise, Prov. 
viii. 18 ; 1 Pet. iii. 4 ; and sweeter and choicer pleasures in the promise, 
Ps. xvi. 11 ; Isa. xii. 3, chap. xxxv. 2, 10 ; Jer. xxxiii, 9, 11 ; Ps. cxxxiL 
1 6 ; and greater applause in the promise. Mat. x. 32, ' Whosoever, there- 
fore, shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my 
Father which is in heaven ;' ay, and before the angels too, Luke xii. 8 ; 
Mat. XXV. 31-41 ; 1 Cor. vi. 2, 3; 2 Thes. i. 6-10 ; Rev. iii. 9 ; Isa. Ix. 
12-14 ; then certainly you have an interest in the promise. When a 
man can shew his own heart daily, in the glass of the promises, a greater 
worth, excellency, and glory, than all this world affords, without all 
controversy he has an interest in the promises. Thus those worthies, of 
whom this world was not worthy, Heb. xi., and the martyrs in all ages, 
did commonly present better, higher, and greater things to their own 
souls in the promises, than any their adversaries were able to propose to 
draw^ them off from Christ, their profession or principles, &c., and by 
this means they did very courageously and honourably maintain their 
ground in the face of all the gay and golden temptations that they met 
withal. Grudelitas vestra, gloria nostra, your cruelty is our glory, 
said they in Tertullian ;^ and the harder we are put to it, the greater 
shall be our reward in heaven. Basil will tell you, that the most cruel 
martyrdom is but a crafty trick to escape death, to pass from life to 

' Apolog. — G. 

Chap. I.] A cabinet of jewels. 259 

life, as he speaks.^ It can be but a day's journey between the cross and 
paradise. Though the cross be bitter, yet it is but short. 'A little storm,' as 
one said of Julian's persecution, 'and an eternal calm follows.' Adrianus, 
seeing the martyrs suffer cheerfully such grievous and dreadful things, 
asked, Why they would endure such misery, when they might, by retract- 
ing, free themselves ; upon which one of them alleged that text, ' Eye 
hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, 
the things which God hath prepared for them that love him,' 1 Cor. ii. 9. 
The naming of the text, and seeing them suffer such hard things cheer- 
fully, did, by a blessing from on high, so really and effectually convert 
him, that afterwards he- became a martyr too.^ When we see poor, 
weak, feeble Christians defying their torments, conquering in the midst 
of sufferings, singing in prison, as Paul and Silas did. Acts xvi. 25 ; kissing 
the stake, as Henry Voes did ;^ clapping their hands when they were 
half consumed with fire, as Hawkes did ;* blessing God that ever they 
were born to see that day, as John Noyes did f calling their execution 
day their wedding day, as Bishop Ridley did, f we cannot but conclude 
that they had an eye to ' the recompence of reward,' and they saw such 
great, and sweet, and glorious things in the promises, that did so refresh, 
delight, and ravish their hearts, and transport their souls, that all their 
heavy afflictions seemed light, and their long afflictions short, and their 
most bitter afflictions sweet and easy to them. But, 

The sixth maxim of consideration. 

VI. Sixthly, Consider, that it is granted on all hands, that the least 
degree of grace, if true, is sufficient to salvation ; for the promises of 
life and glory, of remission and salvation, of everlasting happiness and 
blessedness, are not made over to degrees of grace, but to the truth of 
grace ; not to faith in triumph, but to faith in truth ; and therefore the 
sense and evidence of the least grace, yea, of the least degree of the least 
grace, may afford some measure of assurance. Grace is the fruit of the 
Spirit, Gal. v. 22 ; and the tree is known by his fruit. Mat. xii. 33 ; Mark 
xvi. 16 ; John iii. 16, 36 ; Mat. v. 1, seq.-, John vi. 40. I do not say, 
that weak grace will afford a strong assurance, or a full assurance, for 
that rather arises from strength of grace than from truth of grace, but 
I say, weak grace may afford some assurance.^ And oh, that all weak 
Christians would seriously lay this to heart, for it may serve to relieve 
them against many fears, doubts, discouragements, and jealousies, which 
do much disturb the peace and comfort of their precious souls. Though 
the least measures of grace cannot satisfy a sincere Christian, yet they 
ought to quiet his conscience, and cheer his heart, and confirm his judg- 
ment of his interest in Christ. The least measure of grace is like a 
diamond, very little in bulk, but of high price and mighty value, and 
accordingly we are to improve it for our comfort and encouragement. 
A goldsmith makes reckoning of the least filings of gold, and so should 

' Mat. V. 10-12. Burn my foot if you will, said that noble martyr S. Basil, that it may 
dance everlastingly with the angels in heaven. 

2 See Index for other references to Adrianus. — G. 

3 Clark's ' Marty rologie,' as before, p. 194.— G. * Ibid., p. 443.— G. «* Ibid., p. 493.— G. 
^ Ibid., pp. 442, 465, and Foxe sub nomine.— O^. 

^ An eminent minister, who was a famous instrument of converting many to God, was 
wont to say, that for his own part, he had no other evidence in himself of being in the state 
of grace, than that he was sensible of his deadness. 


we of the least measures of grace. A man may read the king's image 
upon a silver penny, as well as upon a larger piece of coin. The least 
dram of grace bears the image of God upon it ; and why then should it 
not evidence the goodness and happiness of a Christian's estate ?^ It is 
a true saying, that the assurance of an eternal life is the life of this 
temporal life. I have read that Mr Jordain, one of the aldermen of the 
city of Exeter, would use to ask grown professors, whether they had any 
assurance ; which if they denied, he would tell them, that he was even 
ashamed of them ; * In good earnest,' saith he, I would study the pro- 
mises, and go into my closet, and lock the door, and there plead them 
to God, and say, that I would not go forth till he gave me some sense 
of his love.' He would often mention and try himself by these three 
marks : first, a sincere desire to fear the name of God, which he 
grounded upon that Neh. i. 11 ; secondly, a sincere desire to do the 
will of God in all things required, which he grounded upon Ps. cxix. 6 ; 
thirdly, a full purpose of heart to cleave to the Lord, which he grounded 
upon Acts xi. 23. These he would often press upon others, and these he 
frequently tried himself by, and from these he had much assurance and 
comfort.^ Mr Stephen Marshal, in a sermon of his on Isa. ix. 2, saith, 
* Look and examine, whether thou dost not loathe thyself as a base crea- 
ture ; and dost thou make this nothing ? Secondly, Dost thou not in 
thy heart value and prize the meanest child of God more than the 
greatest man in the world, that have not the image of God, the image 
of grace and holiness stamped upon them ? I pray God,' saith Mr 
Marshal, ' that many of God's people do not want these evidences.' ' If 
our souls,' saith another, ' shall like of Christ for a suitor, when we find 
no other jointure but the cross, we may be sure we are Christians. A 
man may want the feeling of his faith, and cry and call again and again 
for it, and feel nothing all this while, and yet nevertheless have true 
and sound faith ; for the feeling of and mourning for the want of faith, 
and the earnest and constant desire of it, is an infallible sign of faith. 
For this is a sure rule, that so long as one feeleth himself sick he is 
not dead ; and the high estimation of faith, joined with a vehement 
desire of it, is a singular evidence that there is a sound and lively 
root of faith in our hearts.'^ 'All the elect of God,' saith another,* 
'shall have the sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and the 
sprinkling of the blood of Christ upon their hearts, sooner or later. 
I do not press the having of these things perfectly, but sincerely ; an 
elect person may want many a degree of grace, but if he have them 
in sincerity, though in the least measure, it is a sufficient evidence 
of his election.' 'An earnest," saith Dr Sibbes,^ 'is little in regard of 
the whole ; perhaps we have but a shilling to secure us of many pounds ; 
80 then the point is this, that howsoever we may be assured of our 
estate in grace, and likewise that we shall hold out, yet the ground of 

' ' Slight not the lowest, the meanest evidences of grace. God may put thee to make 
use of the lowest as thou thinkest, even that, 1 John iii. 14, that may be worth a thousand 
worlds to thee.' — Page 33 of a little piece called ' A Choice Drop of Honey.' 

2 The discovery of grace in thy heart, though but one grain, and that of mustard-seed, 
will assure thee of thy election and final salvation. Ford's ' Spirit of Adoption/ p. 248. 

' Mr Dod on the commandments, pp. 313, 314. 

* 1 Pet. i. 2. Mr Love his ' Zealous Christian,' p. 29, last part. 

^ Dr Sibbes his commentary on the First Chapter of the Second Epistle of Paul to the 
Corinthians, y. 22, pp 491, 492. 

Chap. I.] a cabinet of jewels. 261 

this assurance is not from any great measure of grace ; but though it 
be little in quantity, it may be great in assurance and security. As we 
value an earnest, not for the worth that is in itself, but because it assures 
us of a great bargain ; we have an eye more to the consummation of the 
bargain, than to the quantity of the earnest ; so it is here, grace is but 
an earnest ; yet notwithstanding, though it be little, as an earnest is, 
yet it is great in assurance and validity, answerable to the relation of 
that it hath to assure us. Though grace be little, yet as little as it is, 
seeing it is an earnest, and ' the first fruits,' as the apostle saith, — which 
were but little in regard of the whole harvest, — yet it is of the nature of 
the whole, and thereupon it comes to secure. A spark of fire is but 
little, yet it is fire as well as the whole element of fire ; and a drop of 
water is but little, yet it is water as well as the whole ocean. When a 
man is in a dark place, put the case it be in a dungeon, if he have but 
a little light shining in to him from a little crevice, that little light dis- 
covers that the day is broke, that the sun is risen. Put the case there 
be but one grape on a vine, it shews that it is a vine, and that the vine 
is not dead ; so put the case that there be but the appearance of a little 
grace in a Christian, perhaps the Spirit of God appears but in one grace 
in him at that time, yet that one grace sheweth that we are vines, and 
not thistles, or thorns, or base plants, and it shews that there is life in 
the root.' Thus you see how fully this reverend doctor speaks to the 
case. That friend that writes the life and death of Mr John Murcot, 
once preacher of the gospel at Dublin, saith,^ ' That in preparation for 
the supper ordinance, he would bring himself unto the test, and to say 
the truth, was very clear in the discovering and making out his own 
condition, being well acquainted with the way of God's dealing with the 
soul, and with the way of the soul's closing with Christ. Instance, 
April 3, 1653. Upon search I find, 1. Myself an undone creature. 

2. That the Lord Jesus sufficiently satisfied as mediator the law for sin. 

3. That he is freely offered in the gospel. 4. So far as I know my own 
heart, I do through mercy heartily consent that he only shall be my 
Saviour ; not my works or duties, which I do only in obedience to him. 
5. If I know my heart, I would be ruled by his word and Spirit.' ' Be- 
hold, in a few words," saith he that writes his life and death, * the sum 
and substance of the gospel.' By these instances we may see that some 
of the precious servants of God have found a great deal of comfort, sup- 
port, rest, content, and some measure of assurance, from a lower rank 
of evidences, than those that many strong Christians do reach unto, &c. 

The seventh maxim or consideration. 

VII. Seventhly, Consider, that all men and women that are desirous 
to know how it will go with them in another world, they must jperemp- 
torily resolve to he determined by Scri'pture in the great matters of 
their interest in Christ^ This blessed scripture is the great uncontro- 
verted rule, and therefore if a person can prove from Scripture that his 
graces are true, or that he is in a gracious estate, or that he has an in- 

^ See his Treatises published by Mr Winter, Mr Chambers, Mr Eaton, Mr Caryl, and 
Mr Manton, pp. 36, 37. 

2 This we believe, when we first begin to believe, that we ought not to believe anything 
beyond Scripture. — Tertullian. 



terest in Christ, or that he has savingly, graciously stricken covenant 
with God, then he must resolutely and peremptorily resolve to grant so 
much as unchangeably to acquiesce in it, to stick fast to it, and to hear 
nothing against it from the world, the flesh, or the devil. God hath 
plainly told us in his blessed word who shall be saved, and who shall be 
damned ; though not by name, yet by the qualifications by which they 
are described in the Bible. There are the statute laws of heaven, and 
the standing rule by which all must be tried. Every man must stand 
or fall, be eternally blessed or eternally miserable, as his condition is con- 
sonant to or various from the infallible characters of saving grace con- J 
tained in the holy Scripture. Witness that Isa. viii. 20, ' To^the law and to 1 
the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there I 
is no light (or no morning) in them.' So John xii. 48, * He that reject- 1 
eth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him ; the 
word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.' 
Mat. V. 18, 'For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one 
jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled.' 
So John X. 35, ' And the Scripture cannot be broken,' or violated, or 
made void. But though this be an indispensable duty, yet certainly 
there is, especially in times of great afflictions, temptations, desertions, 
fears, and doubts, a very great aptness and proneness in Christians to 
expect strange means rather than right means, and new means rather 
than old means, and invented means rather than appointed means, and 
to build their faith upon something beside the word, or that is without 
the compass of the word, rather than upon the plain and naked word 
itself ; being in this very like to many weak, crazy, distempered, and 
diseased patients, that are more ready to fancy every new medicine and 
new doctor they hear of, and to be tampering with them, than to expect 
a recovery, by going through a course of physic prescribed by the 
physician that best understands their diseases, and the most proper and 
effectual means for their recoveries. You know when Naaman the 
Assyrian came to the prophet Elisha to be cured of his leprosy, he only 
sent out a messenger to him, who bid him go and wash seven times in 
Jordan, and his flesh should come again unto him, and he should be 
clean, 2 Kings v. 10 ; but Naaman's blood rises, and his heart swells, 
and he grows very wroth, and all because he did not like the means 
prescribed by the prophet, and because he thought in his own heart 
that the prophet would have used more likely means to have wrought 
the cure, verses 11, 12. So many Christians, when they lie under great 
agonies and sore perplexities of soul, and are encouraged to act faith 
upon the promises, and to rest their weary souls upon the word of grace, 
they are ready to think and say that these things, these means, will 
never heal them, nor comfort them, nor be a relief or support unto them, 
unless the Lord does from heaven, by extraordinary revelations, visions, 
signs, and miracles, confirm his promises to them ; and hereupon they 
make light of the blessed scriptures, which are the springs of life, and 
the only bottom upon which all our comforts, peace, and happiness is 
to be built ; yea, they relinquish that more sure word of prophecy, which 
shines as a light in a dark place, 2 Peter i. 19. Certainly the acting of 
faith ou the precious promises, and the cleaving of the soul unto those 
blessed truths declared in the gospel of grace, is the most sure, ready, 

Chap. I.] A cabinet of jewels. 263 

and compendious way of obtaining a blessed assurance, and a full estab- 
lishment of heart, in all sound, solid, and abiding joy and peace, Eph. 
i. 13 ; and therefore Luther,^ though, as he confesseth, he was often 
tempted to ask for signs, apparitions, and revelations from heaven to 
confirm him in his way, yet tells us how strongly he did withstand them, 
pactum feci domino Leo meo, &c. I have, saith he, indented with the 
Lord my God, that he would never send me dreams, visions, angels, for 
I am well contented with this gift, that I have the holy Scripture, which 
doth abundantly teach and supply all necessaries for this life, and that 
also which is to come. Certainly Austin hit the mark, when he prayed, 
' Lord, let thy holy Scriptures be my pure delights, in which I can 
neither deceive, or ever be deceived.' Certainly the balance of the 
sanctuary should weigh all the oracles of God, decide all, and the rule 
of God's word be the square and judge of all. O sirs ! dare you ven- 
ture your souls upon it, that the blessed Scriptures are false, that they 
are but a fable ? dare you stand forth and say. If the Scriptures be not 
a lie, let us be damned for ever and ever 1 dare you stand up and say. 
We are freely contented that the everlasting worm shall gnaw on our 
hearts for ever, and that our bodies and souls shall for ever and ever lie 
burning in infernal flames, if the scriptures prove not at last a cheat, a 
deceit, a mere forgery and imposture ? Now, if you dare not thus to 
say, and thus to venture, then peremptorily resolve to be determined by 
Scripture, in the great concernments of your precious souls. They that 
would take their parts in promised comforts, they must follow the voice 
of the word, and subscribe to the sentence of conscience, following that 
word. If the word approve of thee, as sound and sincere with God, 
assuredly thou art so, for that rule cannot err. If the word saith that 
thy heart is right with God, thou must maintain that testimony against 
all disputes whatever. Never enter into dispute with Satan, or thine 
own self, about thy estate, but by taking and making the Scripture the 
judge of the controversy. When fears rise high, you say you shall never 
have mercy ! But doth the word say so ? The Lord never gave himself 
to me ! But doth the word say so ? Never was any as I am ! But doth 
the word say so ? I cannot see, nor conceive, nor think, that the Lord 
hath any love for me ! But doth the word say so ? yea, doth not the 
word say, that his ' thoughts are not as your thoughts, nor his ways as 
your ways' ? But as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are his 
ways higher than your ways ; and his thoughts than your thoughts/ 
Isa. Iv.' 8, 9. I have not that peace and joy that others have, therefore 
the Lord intends no good towards me ! But doth the word say so ? Oh ! 
but if my inside were but turned outward, good men would loathe me, 
and wicked men would laugh at me ! But doth the word say so ? Oh ! 
but my heart was never right with God ! But doth the word say so ? 
Oh ! but that which I have taken all this while for saving grace is but 
common grace ! But doth the word say so ? Oh ! but the face of God 
is hid from me, my sun is set in a cloud, and will never rise more ! But 
doth the word say so ? Oh ! but Satan is let loose upon me, and there- 
fore God hates me ! But doth the word say so ? yea, doth not the word 
tell you, that those who have been most beloved of God, have been most 

1 Cora, on Gen., cap. 38. 


tempted by Satan ? Witness Christ, David, Job, Joshua, Peter, Paul, 
&c. Oh ! but I am afflicted, so as never was any before me ! But doth 
the word say so ? Oh ! let the word have the casting voice, and not 
thine own frail distempered reason. Oh ! do not only hear what sin, and 
Satan, and thine own heart can say against thee, but hear also what 
the word of the Lord Jesus can say for thee. Let the word of the Lord 
be judge on both sides, and then all will be well. 

I know that the impenitent and unbelieving person, that lives and 
dies without grace in his heart, and an interest in Christ, shall as cer- 
tainly be damned, as if I saw him this very moment under everlasting 
burnings ; because God in the Scripture has said it, Mark xvi. 16 ; 
John iil 38-36 ; Rev. xxi. 8 ; Eom. ii. 4, 5 ; 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10 ; Gal. v. 
19-2] ; Heb. xii. 14. And 1 know that the holy, humble, true, peni- 
tent, believing, self-denying, and sin -mortifying Christian, shall be as 
certainly saved, as if at this very time I saw him in actual possession of 
glory ; because God in the Scripture has said it, Mat. v. 3-12 ; Rom. 
viii. 1-13 ; Acts x. 43 ; John iii. 15, 16, 36 ; vi. 37-40, &c. O sirs ! no 
man in his wits dares dispute against the authority of Scripture, or deny 
it, as false and erroneous ; and therefore if the Scripture say a man has 
grace, he ought in conscience to subscribe to it against all objections or 
temptations to the contrary. For ever remember this, till a man comes 
to be willing to have his spiritual and eternal estate to be determined 
by Scripture, he will never enjoy any settled rest or quiet in his spirit. 
When once the goodness of a man's estate is cleared up to him by the 
word, he is never to regard what Satan or carnal reason objects against 
him. Satan is a liar and a deceiver of near six thousand years' stand- 
ing ; he is full of envy, and full of malice, and full of wiles, devices and 
fetches,^ and therefore give no credit to any of his reports against the 
report of the word, but stand by the testimony of the word, and the 
witness of your own consciences, against all Satan's cavils, temptations, 
objections and suggestions ; and then, and not till then, will you find 
rest to your souls. He that would hold on cheerfully and resolutely in 
a Christian course, and go merrily to his grave, and singing to heaven, 
he must maintain the testimony of the word against all the gainsayings 
of sense or carnal reason ; he must hear nothing, nor believe nothing 
against the word, nor against the goodness and happiness of his own 
estate or condition, which has been evidenced to him from the word. 
Men will not be easily baffled out of their estates. If some great man 
should come and lay claim to your estates, you will not presently give 
them up, though your evidences are not at hand, or though they are 
blotted, or though perhaps you cannot clearly make out your title, yet 
you will not tamely and quietly give up your estates ; and yet how 
ready are many Christians, upon every clamour of Satan against their 
souls and spiritual estates, to give up all, and to conclude that they 
are hypocrites, and have no true grace and spiritual life in them ! &c. 

The eighth maxim or consideration. 

VIII. Eighthly, Consider, that a godly man may not only come to 
a sure knowledge of his gracious estate, hut it is also Trior e easily attain- 

^ * Tricks or expedients.' — G. 

Chap. I.] A cabinet of jewels. 265 

able than many, — may I not say, than most, — do apprehend or believe ; 
for if a gracious man will but argue rationally from Scripture, he shall 
be forced to conclude that he has grace, and that he has an interest in 
Christ, and that he shall be saved, unless he be resolved beforehand 
boldly to deny Scripture truths. Sirs ! look in what way the spirit of 
bondage doth ordinarily work fear, terror, and horror in the hearts of 
unconverted persons, in the same way the Spirit of adoption doth ordi- 
narily work hope and assurance in the hearts of the saints, Rom, viii. 
15 ; John xvi. 8. Now, the spirit of bondage commonly awakens secure 
sinners, and fills the heart and consciences of poor sinners with fear, 
horror, and amazement, by setting home upon their souls such practical 
syllogisms as these : 

* Every liar shall have his portion in the lake that burneth with fire 
and brimstone,' Rev. xxi. 8. 

But I am a liar ; 

Therefore I shall have my portion in that lake that bumeth with fire 
and brimstone. 
Or thus : 

' He that believeth not is condemned already," John iii. 1 8. 
I believe not ; 

Therefore I am condemned already. 
Or thus : 

* He that hateth his brother is a murderer, and hath not eternal life 
abiding in him,' 1 John iii. 15. 

I hate ray brother ; 

Therefore I am a murderer, and have not eternal life abiding in me. 

Or thus : 

* Christ shall be revealed from heaven in flaming fire, to take ven- 
geance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of 
his Son,' 2 Thes. i. 7, 8. 

I know not God, I obey not the gospel of his Son ; 

Therefore Christ shall be revealed from heaven in flaming fire, to 
take vengeance on me. 

Or thus : 

' The wicked shall be turned into hell/ Ps. ix. 17. 

I am wicked ; 

Therefore I shall be turned into hell. 

Now in like manner the Spirit of adoption brings the * heirs of the 
promise,' Heb. vi. 17, to the assurance of hope, by setting home such 
practical syllogisms as these ; — 

[1.] First, Whosoever truly and heartily receives the Lord Jesus 
Christ, are truly and justly reputed to be the sons of God, John i. 12. 
But I have received Christ all the ways that the word there can im- 
port ; I am heartily willing to receive the Lord Jesus Christ in all his 
oflices, viz., as a king to rule me, a prophet to teach and instruct me, 
and a priest to offer and intercede for me ; I am willing to receive him 
as a sanctifier, as well as a Saviour, and to receive him as my Lord, as 
well as to receive him as my Redeemer, and to receive him upon his own 
terms, viz., of taking up his cross, denying myself and following of him ; 
therefore I may safely, boldly, plainly and warrantably conclude that I 
am a son of God, and that I have an interest in God, according to the 


scripture last cited : which scripture cannot be broken, nor cannot fail, 
nor cannot be unbound or loosed, as the Greek word in that John x. 
35 imports, &c/ 

[2.] Secondly, A gracious soul may argue thus : All the great and 
precious promises concerning everlasting happiness and blessedness, are 
made over to faith and repentance, as the Scriptures do abundantly 
evidence. Now, he that really finds faith and repentance wrought in his 
soul, so that he is able to say I am a repenting and a believing sinner, 
he may truly and safely conclude that he shall be saved ; for all the 
promises of eternal happiness and blessedness do run out with a full 
stream to faith and repentance. I readily grant that a strong hope 
results from the clear evidence it hath of both these. We read in Scrip- 
ture of a threefold assurance : as, first, an assurance of understanding. 
Col. ii. 2 ; secondly, an assurance of faith, Heb. x. 22 ; thirdly, an as- 
surance of hope, Heb. vi. 11. And it is a very choice note that acute 
D. A.^ hath upon it, viz., * that these three make up one practical 
syllogism, wherein knowledge forms the proportion,^ faith makes the 
assumption, and hope draws the conclusion.' I do, saith the Christian, 
assuredly know from the word that cannot deceive me, that the believing 
and repenting sinner shall be saved ; my conscience also tells me that 
I do unfeignedly believe and repent, therefore I do firmly hope that I 
shall, however vile and unworthy otherwise, be saved. Now mark, 
answerable to the evidence that a man hath in his own soul, that 
faith and repentance is wrought in him, so will his hope and assurance 
be weaker or stronger, more or less. If a man's evidence for the truth 
of his faith and repentance be dark, and weak, and low, and uncertain, 
his hope and assurance, that is born of these parents, as I may say, must 
needs partake of its parent's weakness and infirmities, and be itself weak, 
and dark, and low, and wavering, and uncertain, as they are from which 
it results. Hope and assurance ebbs and flows, as the evidence of a 
man's faith and repentance ebbs and flows. 

Assurance cannot be ordinarily had without a serious examination of 
our hearts ; for assurance is the certain knowledge of the conclusion 
drawn from the premises, one out of scripture, the other by a reflect 
act of the understanding or conscience, thus : He that believes and re- 
pents shall certainly be saved, that is the voice of the word of God ; then 
by the search of a man's own heart, he must be able to say. But I be- 
lieve and repent ; and from these two doth result this assurance, that 
he may safely conclude, Therefore I shall be saved. And oh that all 
Christians were so wise, as seriously to ponder upon these things ! 

[3.] Thirdly, A godly man may argue thus : He that hath respect 
unto all God's commands shall never be ashamed. Ps. cxix. 6, ' Then 
shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy command- 
ments.''* He that is so honest and faithful with God, as to do his best, 
shall find that God will be so gracious as to pardon his worst. And 
this gospel indulgence David does more than hint at in those words, 

^ '£|«£/o-/«v signifies authority. Such as receive the Lord Jesus, have authority to be 
called the sons of God. Others may call God Father, and themselves sons, but they have 
not that right and authority to do it as believers have, Mark xvi. 16 ; John iii. 16, 18, 36 ; 
Mat. iii. 2, 8 ; Luke xxiv. 47 ; Acts v. 31, iii. 19 ; Luke xiii. 3. 

2 Qu. ' Dr Ames ' ?— G. 3 q^. * proposition ' ?— Ed. 

* Shame is both the temporal and eternal fruit of sin, Rom. vi. 21 ; Dan. xii. 2. 

Chap. I.] a cabinet of jewels. 267 

* Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy com- 
mandments, or, as the Hebrew hath it, * Then shall I not blush when 
my eye is to all thy commandments/ The traveller, you know, hath 
his eye towards the place where he is going ; and though he be yet 
short of it, yet he is putting on and pressing forward all he can to 
reach it ; so when the eye of a saint is to all the commands of God, and 
he is still a-pressing forwards toward full obedience, such a soul shall 
never be put to shame ; it shall never be put to the blush, but it shall 
be able, living and dying, boldly to appear in the presence of the Lord. 
Mark, the psalmist doth not say, when I obey all thy commandments, 
but * when I have respect to all thy commandments ;' and that implies 
an inward awe and reverential eye towards every duty God requires. 
You know, to have respect unto a thing is this, when that of all others 
sways most with us, as when a master commands such a business, the 
servant will do it, because he respects him ; and at his command he 
will go and come, though he will not at the command of any other. 
But 1 have respect unto all his commandments, therefore I shall never 
be ashamed. 

[4.] Fourthly, A godly man may argue thus : He that loveth the 
brethren is passed from death to life, and consequently is in Christ, 1 
John iii 18, 19. But I love the brethren, therefore I am passed from 
death to life, and so consequently am in Christ. 

[5.] Fifthly, A godly man may argue thus : He that confesseth and 
forsaketh his sin shall certainly find mercy. Pro v. xxviii. 13. But I 
confess and forsake my sins, 1, in respect of my sincere desires ; 2, 
in respect of my gracious purposes ; 3, in respect of my fixed resolu- 
tions ; 4, in respect of my faithful and constant endeavours ; therefore 
I shall certainly find mercy. 

[6.] Sixthly, A godly man may argue thus : He that hath the testi- 
mony of a good conscience, he may rejoice in that testimony, 2 Cor. i. 
12 ; Isa. xxxviii. 3. But I have the testimony of a good conscience, 
therefore I may rejoice in that testimony. 

[7.] Seventhly, A godly man may argue thus, He over whom pre- 
sumptuous sins has not dominion is upright : Ps. xix. 13, ' Keep back 
thy servant from presumptuous sins ; let them not have dominion over 
me ; then shall I be upright.' But presumptuous sins has not dominion 
over me ; therefore I am upright. Mark, unfeigned willingness to part 
with every sin, and to mortify every sin, is a sure sign of uprightness, 
a sure sign of saving grace. When a man is sincerely willing to leave 
every sin, and to indulge himself in none, no, not his darling sin, it is a 
most certain sign of his integrity and sincerity, as you may evidently 
see by comparing of these scriptures together, Ps. xvii. 1, 3, 4 ; cxix. 1, 
2, 3, 6 ; Job i. 8, ii. 3 ; Ps. xviii. 23. I was upright before him. Oh ! 
but how do you know that ? how do you prove that ? how are you 
assured of that ? Why, by this, that ' I have kept myself from mine 
iniquity.' Doubtless there is as much of the power of God required, 
and as much strength of grace required, and as much of the presence 
and assistance of the Spirit required, to work a man off from his bosom 
sins, from his darling sins, from his beloved sins, as there is required to 
work him off from all other sins. A conquest here clearly speaks out 
uprightness of heart. 


[8.] Eighthly, A godly man may argue thus : He whose heart doth 
not condemn him, 1, of giving himself over to a voluntary serving of 
sin ; or, 2, of making a trade of sin ; or, 3, of allowing of himself in any 
course or way of sin ; or, 4, of sinning, as wicked men sin, who sin 
studiously, resolutely, affectionately, delightfully, customarily, wilfully, 
or with their whole will, or with the full consent and sway of their 
souls ; or, 5, of indulging, conniving or winking at any known sin ; or, 6, 
of living in the daily neglect of any known positive duty against light 
and conscience, or of an ordinary shifting off of any known service that 
God requires of him in that place or station wherein God has set him, 
may have confidence, <rago»jff/ai/, boldness, liberty of speech towards God, 
1 John iii. 21. But my heart does not condemn me, 1, of giving 
myself over to a voluntary serving of sin ; nor, 2, of making a trade of 
sin ; nor, 3, of allowing myself in any course or way of sin ; nor, 4, of 
sinning as wicked men sin, viz., studiously, resolutely, affectionately, 
delightfully, customarily, wilfully ; nor, 5, of indulging, conniving, or 
winking at any known sin ; nor, 6, of living in the daily neglect of any 
known duty against light and conscience ; therefore I may have con- 
fidence or boldness towards God ; I may use liberty of speech with God ; 
I may use the liberty and freedom of a favourite of heaven ; I may 
open my heart to God, as favourites do to their prince, viz., freely, 
familiarly, boldly. When Austin was converted, and his heart sincere 
with God, he could bless God that he could think of his former evil 
ways, which were very bad, without fear. Oh to what a height of holy 
boldness and familiarity with God had this man of God arrived to ! 

[9.] Ninthly y A godly man may argue thus. To such who are ' poor 
in spirit, the kingdom of heaven belongs,' Mat. v. 3. By jpoor in spiHt 
is not meant poor in substance, that not being a thing praiseworthy in 
itself, but the broken and humble in heart, who hath no high thoughts 
or conceits of himself, but is lowly in his own eyes, as a young child.^ 
* Blessed are the poor in spirit ; ' that is, non hahentes inflantem 
spirituTYi, who hath no lofty or puffed up spirit. The poor in spirit 
are those that are lowly, being truly conscious of their own unworthi- 
ness. Nulli pauperes spiritu nisi humiles; none are poor in spirit 
but the humble. ' Blessed are the poor in spirit ; ' that is, blessed are 
they whose spirits are brought into such an humble gracious frame, as 
willingly, quietly, and contentedly to lie down in a poor low condition, 
when it is the pleasure of the Lord to bring them into such a condition.^ 
Blessed are the poor in spirit ; that is, blessed are they who are truly 
and kindly apprehensive and sensible of their spiritual wants, poverty, 
and misery ;^ that see their need of God's free grace to pardon them ; 
that see their need of Christ's righteousness to clothe them ; that see 
their need of the Spirit of Christ to purge, change, and sanctify them ; 

1 Chrysostom in he. ^ Augustine, Hilary, Tertullian. 

3 There are some that are poor in estate, and others that are poor in spirit ; and there 
are some that are poor-spirited in the cause of God, Christ, the gospel, and their own 
souls ; and there are others that are poor in spirit. There are some that are spiritually 
poor, as all are that are destitute of grace, and others that are poor in spirit ; there are 
some that are evangelically poor, and others that are superstitiously poor ; as those papists 
who renounce their estates, and vow a voluntary poverty. The poverty that hath blessed- 
ness annexed to it is only an evangelical poverty. 

Chap. I.] a cabinet of jewels. 2G9 

that see their need of more heavenly wisdom to counsel them ; that see 
their need of more of the power of God to support them, and of the 
goodness of God to supply them, and of the mercy of God to comfort 
them, and of the presence of God to refresh them, and of the patience 
of God to bear with them, &c. ; that see their need of greater measures 
of faith to conquer their fears, and of greater measures of wisdom to walk 
holily, harmlessly, blamelessly, and exemplarily in the midst of temp- 
tations, snares, and dangers ; and that see their need of greater mea- 
sures of patience to bear their burdens without fretting or fainting ; 
and that see their need of greater measures of zeal and courage to bear 
up bravely against all sorts of opposition, both from within and from 
without ; and that see their need of greater measures of love to cleave 
to the Lamb, and to follow the Lamb whither ever he goes ; and that 
see their need of living in a continual dependence upon God and Christ, 
for fresh influences, incomes, and supplies of gi'ace, of comfort, of 
strength, whereby they may be enabled to act for God, and walk with 
God, and glorify God, and bring forth fruit to God, and withstand all 
temptations that tend to lead the heart from God ; and that see nothing 
in themselves upon which they dare venture their everlasting estates, 
and therefore fly to the free, rich, sovereign, and glorious grace of God 
in Christ, as to their sure and only sanctuary : Luke xviii. 13, Philip, 
iii. 9, 'Blessed are the poor in spirit ;' that is, blessed are they that are 
truly apprehensive and sensible of their spiritual poverty, that see 
themselves fallen in the first Adam from all their primitive purity, ex- 
cellency, and glory. There are five things we lost in our fall : 1, our 
holy image, and became vile ; 2, our sonship, and became slaves ; 3, our 
friendship, and became enemies ; 4, our communion, and became 
strangers ; 5, our glory, and became miserable. And that see an utter 
inability and insufficiency in themselves, and in all other creatures, to 
deliver them out of their fallen estate. But I am poor in spirit, there- 
fore the kingdom of heaven belongs to me. 

[10.] Tenthly, A godly man may argue thus, Such as are true mourn- 
ers are blessed, and shall be comforted, Mat. v. 4 ; that is, such as mourn 
for sin with an exceeding great mourning ; that mourn for sin with a 
funeral sorrow, as the word 'TrsvkvvTsg signifies ; that mourn for sin as a 
man mourneth for the loss of his only son, Zech. xii. 10, or as Jacob 
mourned for Joseph, or as David mourned for Absalom, or as the people 
mourned for the loss of good Josiah, 2 Chron. xxxv. 24, 25;^ that 
mourn for secret sins as well as open, for sins against grace as well as 
for sins against the law ; that mourn for sin as the greatest evil in the 
world, that mourn for his own sins, Ezek. vii. 16 ; as David did, Ps. li. ; 
or as Ephraim did, Jer. xxxi. 18, 19 ; or as Peter did, Mat. xxvi. 75; or 
as Mary Magdalene did, Luke vii. 38 ; and that mourns for the sins 
of others as well as for his own, as David did, Ps. cxix. 136, 158 ; or as 
Jeremiah did, Jer. xiii. 17 ; or as Lot did, 2 Peter ii. 7, 8 ; or as they 
did in that Ezek. ix. 4 ; that mourns under the sense of his spiritual 
wants ; that mourns under the sense of his spiritual losses, as loss of 
communion with God, loss of the favour of God, loss of the presence of 

' M«x«g/»/ el ^ivhuvTts, heati lugentes, blessed are they that mourn. The way to para- 
dise is through the valley of tears. Some report of Mary Magdalene, that she spent 
thirty years in Qalba, weeping for her sins. 


God, loss of the exercise of grace, loss of the joys of the Spirit, loss of 
inward peace, &c. ; or that mourn not only for their own afflictions and 
miseries, but also for the afflictions and miseries of Joseph, as Nehe- 
miah did, Neh. i. 2-4 ; or as Jeremiah did, Jer. ix. 1, 2 ; or as Christ 
did when he wept over Jerusalem, Luke xix. 41, 42 ; or that mourns 
because he cannot mourn for these things, or that mourns because he 
can mourn no more, or that mourns because God has so little honour 
in his heart, in his house, in his life, in the world, in the churches. 
But I am a true mourner, therefore I am blessed, and shall be com- 

[11.] Eleventhly, A godly man may argue thus: They which truly 
* hunger and thirst after righteousness are blessed, and shall be filled,' 
Mat. V. 6 ; or they that are hungering and thirsting, as the Greek runs, 
being the participle of the present tense, intimating, that wherever this 
is the present disposition of men's souls, they are blessed.^ He that 
sees an absolute necessity of the righteousness of Christ to justify him, 
and to enable him to stand boldly before the throne of God ; he that 
sees his own righteousness to be but as filthy rags, Isa. Ixiv. 4 ; to be 
but as dross and dung, Philip, iii. 7, 8 ; he that sees the Lord Jesus 
Christ, with all his riches and righteousness, clearly and freely offered 
to poor sinners in the everlasting gospel ; he that in the gospel-glass 
sees Christ to be made sin for them, that knew no sin, that they may 
be made the righteousness of God in him, 2 Cor. v. 21 ; he that in the 
same glass sees Christ to be made wisdom, and righteousness, and sanc- 
tification, and redemption, to all those that are sincerely willing to 
make a venture of their immortal souls and eternal estates, upon him 
and his righteousness ; and he that sees the righteousness of Christ to 
be a most perfect, pure, complete, spotless, matchless, infinite righteous- 
ness ; and under these apprehensions and persuasions is carried out in 
earnest and unsatisfied hungerings and thirstings, to be made a partaker 
of this righteousness, and to be assured of this righteousness, and to 
put on this righteousness- as a royal robe, Isa. Ixi. 10, he is the blessed 
soul ; and he that hungers and thirsts after the righteousness of Christ 
imparted, as well as after the righteousness of Christ imputed, after the 
righteousness of sanctifi cation, as well as after the righteousness of justifi- 
cation, he is a blessed soul, and shall at last be filled.^ The righteousness 
of sanctification, or inherent righteousness, lies in the Spirit's infusing 
into the soul those holy principles, divine qualities, or supernatural 
graces, that the apostle mentions in that Gal. v. 22, 23. These habits 
of grace, which are severally distinguished by the names of faith, love, 
hope, meekness, &c., are nothing else but the new nature or new man, 
which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness, Eph. 
iv. 24. He that hungers and thirsts after the righteousness of sancti- 
fication, out of a deep serious sense of his own unrighteousness ; he that 

1 They are not therefore blessed because they hunger and thirst, but because they shall 
be filled ; blessedness will be in fulness, not in hunger ; but hunger must go before 
filling, that we may not loathe the loaves. — Augustine, De verbis Domini, Serm. v. 

2 Some take hungering and thirsting here literally, comparing of it with Luke vi. 21. 
Others understand the words morally ; by hungering and thirsting they understand a 
moral hunger and thirst, which is, when men hunger and thirst for justice and judg- 
ment to be rightly executed. Ps. cxix. 5, 10, 20, 131 ; Judges xv. 18 ; 1 Chron. xi, 18 
Ps. xlii. 1, 2. 

Chap. I.] A cabinet of jewels. 271 

hungers and thirsts after the righteousness of sanctification, as earnestly 
as hungry men do for meat, or as thirsty men do for drink, or as the 
innocent person that is falsely charged or accused longs to be cleared 
and righted, or as Rachel did for children, or as David did after the 
water of the well of Bethlehem, or as the hunted hart doth after the 
water brooks; he that hungers and thirsts not after some righteousness 
only, but he that hungers and thirsts after all righteousness ; he that 
hungers and thirsts not only after some grace, but all grace ; not only 
after some holiness, but all holiness ; he that hungers and thirsts after 
righteousness, out of love to righteousness ; he that hungers and thirsts 
after righteousness, from a sight and sense of the loveliness and excel- 
lency that there is in righteousness, Philip, iii. 10-15 ; he that hungers 
and thirsts after the highest degrees and measures of righteousness and 
holiness, Ps. Ixiii. 1, 8 ; he that primarily, chiefly, hungers and thirsts 
after righteousness and holiness, Jer. xv. 16 ; he that industriously 
hangers and thirsts after righteousness and holiness; he that ordinarily, 
habitually, constantly, hungers and thirsts after righteousness and holi- 
ness : Ps. cxix. 20, * My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto 
thy judgments at all times.' By judgments we are to understand 
the statutes and commandments of God. Mark that word, 'at all 
times.' Bad men have their good moods, as good men have their bad 
moods. A bad man may, under gripes of conscience, a smarting rod, 
the approaches of death, or the fears of hell, or when he is sermon-sick, 
cry out to the Lord for grace, for righteousness, for holiness ; but he is 
the only blessed man that hungers and thirsts after righteousness at 
all times, and that hungers and thirsts after righteousness, according 
to the other fore-mentioned short hints. He is certainly a blessed man, 
heaven is for that man, and that man is for heaven, that hungers 
and thirsts in a right manner after the righteousness of justification, 
and after the righteousness of sanctification. But I do truly hunger 
and thirst after righteousness ; therefore I am blessed, and shall be 
filled, &c. 

[12.] Twelfthly, A godly man may argue thus: Such as are truly and 
graciously 'merciful, are blessed, and shall obtain mercy,' Mat. v. 7. 
Mercy is a commiserating of another man's misery in our hearts, or a 
sorrow for another man's distress, or a heart-grieving for another man's 
grief, arising out of an unfeigned love unto the party afilicted.' Or 
more plainly thus : mercy is a pitying of another man's misery, with a 
desire and endeavour to help him to the uttermost of our ability. The 
Hebrew for godly, non, chasid, signifies gracious, merciful. The more 
godly any man is, the more merciful that man will be. ' Blessed are 
the merciful,' that is, blessed are they that shew mercy to others, out 
of a deep sense of the mercy of God to them in Christ. Blessed are 
such who shew mercy out of love to mercy, out of a delight in mercy ; 
blessed are such as shew mercy out of love and obedience to the God 
of mercy ; blessed are such as shew mercy to men in misery, upon the 
account of the image of God, the glory of God that is stamped upon 
them ; blessed are such as extend their piety and mercy, not only to 
men's bodies, but also to their precious and immortal souls. Soul- 
mercy is the chief of mercies. The soul is the most precious jewel in 
J Micah vi. 8 ; Luke vi- ZQ.— Augustine, Be Civit. Dei, ix. 13. 


all the world ; it is a vessel of honour, it is a spark of glory, it is a bud 
of eternity, it is the price of blood, it is beautified with the image of 
God, it is adorned with the grace of God, and it is clothed with the 
righteousness of God. Such are blessed as shew mercy to others, from 
gracious motives and considerations, viz., it is free mercy that every day 
keeps hell and my soul asunder ; it is mercy that daily pardons my 
sins ; it is mercy that supplies all my inward and outward wants ; it 
is mercy that preserves, and feeds, and clothes my outward man ; and 
it is mercy that renews, strengthens, and prospers my inward man ; it 
is mercy that has kept me many times from committing such and 
such sins ; it is mercy that has kept me many a time from falling be- 
fore such and such temptations ; it is mercy that has many a time pre- 
served me from being swallowed up by such and such inward and outward 
afflictions. Such as shew mercy out of a design to exalt and glorify 
the God of mercy ; such who shew most mercy to them to whom God 
shews most mercy : these are blessed, and shall obtain mercy. Now 
mark, to such who are thus graciously, thus spiritually, thus divinely 
merciful, do these precious promises belong : Ps. xli. 1, * Blessed is the 
man that considereth the poor and needy.' Prov. xxii. 9, 'He that 
hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed ; for he giveth of his bread to the 
poor.' Prov. xiv. 2J, * He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth : but 
he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.' Prov. xi. 25, * The liberal 
soul shall be made fat ; and he that watereth shall be watered also him- 
self.' That 2 Cor. ix. 8 is very remarkable : * And God is able to make 
all grace abound towards you ; that ye, always having all-sufficiency in 
all things, may abound to every good work.' Behold, how words are 
here heaped up to make grace, and all grace, to abound ; and who is 
it to ? Unto 'the liberal man, the merciful man : Job xxix. 1 3, ' The 
blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me : and I caused 
the widow's heart to sing for joy.' Luke vi. 38, ' Give, and it shall be 
given unto you, good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and 
running over, shall men give into your bosom.' Behold and wonder at 
the height of these expressions that you have in this text. We account 
it good measure when it is heaped up; but when it is heaped up 
and pressed down, that is more ; but when it is heaped up and 
pressed down, and then heaped up and running over again, this is as 
much as possible can be made, this is as much as heart can wish. O 
sirs ! those that are of merciful spirits, they shall have mercy heaped up, 
pressed down, and running over. Certainly that man must needs be in 
a happy and blessed condition, that can be in no condition wherein he 
shall not have mercy, yea, mercy heaped up and running over, to sup- 
ply all his necessities : Mat. xxv. 35, * Come, ye blessed of my Father, 
receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world.' 
Come, ye blessed, that is their estate ; receive the kingdom, that is the 
issue and reward ; and why so ? * I was hungry, and you gave me 
meat ; I was thirsty, and you gave me drink,' &c. But I am truly 
and graciously merciful ; therefore I am blessed, and shall obtain 
mercy, &c. But, 

[13.] Thirteenthly, A godly man may argue thus : They that are 'pure 
in heart are blessed, and shall see God,' that is, enjoy him, and live for 
ever with him, Mat. v. 8. But I am pure in heart ; therefore I am blessed. 

Chap. I.] A cabinet of jewels. 273 

and shall see God. By the pure in heart, here in the text, we may safely 
understand the sincere and single-hearted Christian, in opposition to 
the double-minded Christian, as you may easily perceive by comparing 
the scriptures in the margin together.^ Mark, purity is twofold : First, 
simple and absolute ; and in this sense no man is pure in this life, no 
not one. Secondly, respective and in part, and that is the purity here 
meant. A pure heart is a plain, simple heart, without fraud or guile, 
like Nathanael, in whom there was no guile ; it is a heart that is evan- 
gelically blameless and sincere. But, secondly, purity is opposed to 
mixture ; purity consists in the immixedness of anything inferior. That 
metal we account pure metal, which hath not any baser than itself mixed 
with it. If you mix gold with silver, the silver is not made impure by 
tlje mixture of gold ; but if you mix lead or tin with it, it is made impure. 
Remember once for all, viz., that a pure heart is such a one a,s hath cast 
off and cast out the love and allowance of every known sin, and mingles 
not with it, though never so small ; such a heart as hath renounced every 
known way of sin. Though there is corruption remaining in it, &c., yet 
it can solemnly and seriously appeal to God, that there is no known way 
of sin, but it hates, and abhors, and strives against, and will upon no 
terms allow of. This heart, in the language of the gospel, is a pure heart ; 
yea, it is such a heart as dares venture upon the trial of God himself. 
Ps. cxxxix. 23, 24, ' Search me, O God, and know my heart ; try me, and 
know my thoughts ; and see if there be any wicked way in me,' or any 
way of pain, or of grief, or of provocation, as the Hebrew hath it, or any 
course of sin that is grievous to God or man. A gracious heart, a pure 
heart, can neither allow of any way of wickedness, nor wallow in any 
way of wickedness, nor make a trade of any way of wickedness, nor give 
up itself to any way of wickedness. Though sin may cleave to a pure 
heart, as dross doth to silver, yet a pure heart will not mix nor mingle 
with sin. 'And lead me in the way everlasting,' or in the way of eternity, 
or in the way of antiquity, as the Hebrew hath it ; that is, that good 
old way that leads to peace and rest, to heaven and happiness, Jer. vi. 16. 
Evangelical purity of heart lies in this, that it will not admit any known 
sin to mingle with the frame and purpose of the heart. A pure heart, like 
a pure fountain, will still be a-working and a-casting outthe mud and filth 
that is in it. Though sin may cleave to a regenerate man, as dross doth 
to the silver, yet it mingles not with the regenerate part, nor the rege- 
nerate part mingles not with it, no more than oil mingles with the water, 
or water mingles with the oil. Now you know, though the water and 
the oil touch one another, yet they do not mingle one with another; 
so though grace and sin, in a regenerate man, may as it were touch one 
another, yet they do not mingle one with another. Dear hearts ! look, 
as we truly say, that gold is pure gold that is digged out of the mineral, 
though much dross may hang about it ; and as we truly say, that such 
and such an air is pure air, though at times there be many fogs and mists 
within it ; and as we truly say, that such and such springs are pure 
springs, though mud, and dirt, and filth may be lying at the bottom of 
those springs ; and as we truly say, that face is a fair face, though it 

» 1 Tim. i.5; James i. 8; 1 Peter 1-22; Prov. xx. 6; Eccles. ii 21; 1 Johni.8; Jolmiii. 2; 
Luke i. 5, 6. 



hath some freckles in it ; so we may as truly say, that such and such a 
heart is a pure heart, though there may be much sinful dross and filth 
cleaving to it. The Jews report, that when Noah sent forth his sons to 
people the world, he delivered to every one of them some relics of old 
Adam. It may be fabulous for the history, but it is true in the morality ; 
the relics of his sinful corruptions cleaves close to us all. Beloved ! the 
best, the wisest, the holiest, and the most mortified Christians on earth, 
do carry about with them a body of sin and death, Eom. vii. 22, 23 ; 
they have in them a fountain of original corruption, and from this foun- 
tain sin will still be arising, bubbling and a-boiling up as the scum in a 
pot over the fire. But mark, as in wine, or honey, or water, though 
scum and filth may arise, yet the wine, the honey, the water, will be still 
a-purging and purifying itself, and a-working and casting it out; so though 
sin, though corruption, though spiritual filth may, and too often doth, 
arise in a gracious heart, yet there is a spring of grace, a spring of living 
water in him, there is a holy cleansing and purifying disposition in a 
regenerate person, that will still be a-working and casting it out. But 
now mark, in men of impure hearts and lives, the scum doth not only 
arise, but it seethes and boils in. Ezek. xxiv. 12, * She wearied herself 
with lies, and her great scum went not forth out of her ;' notwithstanding 
all the threatenings of God, and all the judgments of God upon her, yet 
her scum and filthiness boiled in. Though God boiled Jerusalem in the 
pot of his judgments, yet her scum and filth stuck to every side of her. 
Wicked men's scum and filth doth not only arise, but it also seethes and 
boils in, and mingles together with their spirits ; but so doth not the 
scum and filth that rises in a gracious heart. A sheep may fall into the 
mire, but a swine delights to wallow in the mire.^ But, 

[14.] Fourteenthly, ^A godly man may argue thus : Such as sin hath 
not a dominion over, are not under the law, but under grace. Kom. vi. 
14, 'But sin hath not a dominion over me, therefore I am not under the 
law, but under grace.' Sin may rebel in a saint, but it shall never reign 
in a saint. Look, as those beasts, in that Dan. vii. 12, had their dominion 
taken away, though their lives were spared and prolonged for a season 
and a time ; so when Christ and grace enters into the soul, they take 
away the dominion of sin, though they do for a time spare the life of 
sin. To prevent mistakes, premise with me briefly these few things : 
First, that in every regenerate man there are two men, an old man and 
a new man ; or if you please, flesh and spirit, Kom. vii. Secondly, The 
old man, the fleshly part, will incline the soul, and bias the soul, as well 
to sins against the gospel, as to sins against the law, and to great sins 
as well as small sins; witness Noah's drunkenness, Lot's incest, Asa's ^ 
oppression, David's murder and adultery, Solomon's idolatry, and Peter'^' 
blasphemy. Thirdly, The old man, the fleshly part, is as much in tl 
will as in any other part of the regenerate man ; and therefore, whe 
he falls into heinous sins, he may fall into them with consent, delight 
and willingness, so far as his will is unrenewed. Though a real Christian, 
be changed in every part, 1 Thes. v. 23, yet it is but in part and imperfect. . 
Fourthly, The old man, the fleshly part, is in a regenerate man's members, \ 

' John iv. 14. All resistance of sin in a Scripture phrase is called conquest ; for in the I 
resistance of it, there is as much love shewed to God as in the conquest of it, though there # 

Chap. I.] a cabinet of jewels. 27r> 

as well as in his will, and therefore they may be exercised and employed 
in and about those sins they have consented unto. Fifthly, High sinnings 
do waste and wound the conscience of a regenerate man, and lay him 
open to the sore rebukes of God, and call for great repentance, and fresh 
and frequent applications of the blood of Christ. These things being 
premised, a question may be propounded, viz. : 

Quest. What does the dominion of sin import, and wherein does it 
consist ? Now to this considerable question, I shall give these eight 
following answers : 

[1.] First, Sin is in jiominion, when it hath the absolute and sove- 
reign command of the soul, when it hath an uncontradicted power, 
when it hath such an authority in the soul to command it as a king 
doth his subjects, or as the centurion did his servants : Mat. viii. 9, 
'For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me ; and I say 
to this man. Go, and he goeth ; and to another. Come, and he cometh ; 
and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.' Now when sin has such a 
universal and easy authority and command over the whole man, body 
and soul, as that it can use them in the service of sin, when and where 
and how it pleaseth, then sin is in dominion. Where there is a peaceable, 
uncontrolled, willing, universal subjection of the whole man unto the 
commands of sin, there sin reigns, Eph. il 2, 3. But, 

[2.] Secondly, Sin is in dominion, when in a course, when ordi- 
narily, there is a quiet, free, willing, a,nd total yielding of subjection 
to the authority, laiv, and command of sin. Mark, it is a full posses- 
sion, a plenary delight, and a constant content in sin, that speaks out 
the reign and dominion of sin, Rom. vi. 13-16. Dominion of sin im- 
ports a complete and universal resignation of the whole will and man 
to the obedience of it. That man that is wholly addicted and devoted 
to the ways of sin, that man is under the reign of sin ; that man whose 
whole heart is universally married to his lusts, that man is under the 
dominion of his lusts. When a man does as freely, cheerfully, univer- 
sally, and readily obey his lusts, as a child does his .father, or a wife her 
husband, or a servant his master, or a subject his prince, then sin is in 
dominion. When a man sins with greediness, when with Ahab he * sells 
himself to work wickedness,' 1 Kings xxi. 25, when he commits ' wicked- 
ness with both hands,' Micah vii. 3, when he gives himself up or over 
' to all uncleanness and filthiness,' Eph. ii. 3, when he freely and volun- 
tarily resigns and surrenders up his body and soul to the obedience of 
sin, then sin reigns, then it keeps the throne. Where the dominion of 
sin is erected, there it sits in the heart, as a king in his throne, and 
gives forth its laws and commands to the soul and body, and those com- 
mands are listened and consented to, approved and delighted in, &c.^ 
A subject cannot in a course more freely, willingly, universally, and 
cheerfully obey the commands of his prince, than a sinner doth in 
a course freely, willingly, universally, and cheerfully obey the commands 
of his lusts ; and wherever this sad temper of spirit is, there is sin in 
dominion. But now mark, a regenerate man's will riseth against his 

' A man may be subject, as a captive, in this or that particular tyranny of sin, who is 
not obedient as a servant to all the government of sin ; for that takes in the whole will, 
and an adequate submission thereof to the peaceable and uncontrolled power of sin, 
Kom. vii. 16, 19. 23. 


sin, even then when he is worsted by sin and led captive by sin. A 
tyrant is obeyed unwillingly ; the wills of his subjects rise up against 
his commands, and if his power were not superior to their wills, they 
would never obey him. Sin is no king, but a tyrant in the souls of the 
saints, and therefore their wills, so far as they are renewed, cannot but 
rise against it.^ O sirs ! remember this for ever, that the molesting, 
vexing, and tempting power of sin, does not speak out its dominion ; 
for sin may mol-est, and vex, and tempt as an enemy, where it doth not 
rule and reign as a king ; as you see this day in many nations of the 
earth, there are many enemies that do molest, v^x, and tempt the sub- 
jects of those nations, who yet are far enough off from having any rule 
or dominion over them ; but then sin is in dominion, when it commands 
in the heart as a king in his throne, or as a lord in his house, or as a 
general in his army, freely, boldly, universally, cheerfully ; and when 
the soul doth as freely, boldly, universally, and cheerfully subject itself 
to sin's commands. Where men commonly yield up their wills and 
affections to the commands of sin, there sin reigns ; and this is the case 
of every unregenerate man ; but where the will does commonly make a 
stout opposition to sin, there it reigns not ; now this is the case of every 
regenerate man. That prince cannot truly be said to reign in that king- 
dom, where commonly he meets with stout opposition ; so it is here. A 
sincere Christian makes it the great business and work of his life, above 
all other things in this world, to make all the opposition he can against 
his lusts, and is thoroughly resolved to die fighting against his sins, as 
Pietro Oandiano, one of the Dukes of Venice, died fighting against the 
Nauritines, with the weapons in his hand. As Csesar said in a battle 
he fought against one of Pompey's sons, ' At other times I fought for 
honour, but now I fight for my life ;' so a sincere Christian fights against 
his sins, as for his life. Castellio's opinion was vain, viz., that men 
were of three sorts, some unregenerate, some regenerating, and others 
regenerated, and that these last have no combat betwixt flesh and spirit, 
which is quite cross to Scripture, Rom. vii. 14-24, Gal. v. 17, &c., and 
contrary to the experience of all saints, in all the ages of the world,^ &c. 

[3.] Thirdly, When a man is visually peremptory in his sinnings, 
in the face of all reprehensions and arguments thai tend to dissuade 
him from sin, then sin is in dominion, Prov. xxix. 1 ; Jer. v. 3, 4 ; 
and xliv. 15-17. When the constant bent of the heart is inflamed to- 
wards sin, and when the desires of the soul are insatiably carried after 
sin, and when the resolutions of the soul are strongly and habitually set 
upon sin, then' sin is in the throne, and then it reigns as a king. When 
God hedges up the sinner's way with thorns, yet the sinner will break 
through all to his sin, Hosea ii. 6, 7 ; when life and death, heaven and 
liell, glory and misery, are set before the sinner, yet the sinner will be 
peremptory in his sinnings, though he lose his life, his soul, and all the 

' The apostle, as Chrysostom and Tlieodoret observes, on Kom. vi. 12, dofh not say, 
Let not sin tyrannize, for that is sin's own work, and not ours ; but he says, Let it not 
reign in you ; for when a king reigns, the subjects do, as it were, actively obey and em- 
brace his command, whereas they are rather patients than agents in a tyranny. 

2 It is a harder thing to fight with a man's lusts, than to fight with the .cross. — Augus- 
tine [Confessions. — G.]. 

Chap. I.] a cabinet of jewels. 277 

glory of another world, then sin reigns, Deut. xxx. 15-19, and xi. 26-29. 

[4.] Fourthly, When men ordinarily, habitually, commonly are very 
careful, studious, and laborious to make jprovision for sin, then sin 
reigns: Rom. xiii. 14, 'Make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the 
lusts thereof ;' or, as the Greek has it, ' Make no projects for the flesh,' 
or ' cater not for the flesh.' When a man's head and heart is full of 
projects how to gratify this lust, and how to satisfy that lust, and how 
to fulfil the other lust, then sin reigns, then it is in its throne: James iv. 
3, ' Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume 
it upon your lusts.'^ Both the law of God and nature requires me to 
make provision of raiment, food, and physic for my body, and for theirs 
that are under my charge; but it may cost me my life, my estate, yea, my 
very soul, to make provision for my lusts. Such as ask amiss shall be 
sure to ask and miss. He that would make God a bawd to his lusts, 
may ask long enough before God will answer. Of all affronts there is 
none to this of making God a servant to our lusts ; and where this frame 
of spirit is, there sin is in dominion, Hosea ii. 8. He that abuses mer- 
cies to serve his lusts, fights against God with his own weapons, as 
David did against Goliath, and as Benhadad did against Ahab, with that 
very life that he had newly given him ; such a soul, like the waters of 
Jordan, will at last certainly drop into the dead lake. But, 

[p.] Fifthly, When sin is commonly, habitually sweet, and the soul 
takes a daily pleasure and delight in it, then it reigns ; as you may 
see by comparing the scriptures in the margin together.^ When a man 
daily takes as joyful contentation and satisfaction in his lusts, and in 
walking after the ways of his own heart, as he does in his highest out- 
ward enjoyments, or in his nearest and dearest relations, then certainly 
sin is in dominion. Such men as can go constantly on in a way of 
wickedness, merely to delight and content the flesh, such men are cer- 
tainly under the power and reign of sin. Many of the heathens, who 
knew what rational delights were, scorned sensual delights as inferior 
to them. These will one day rise in judgment against many of the 
professors in our days. I know there is no real pleasure or delight 
in sin. If intemperance could afford more pleasure than temperance, 
then Heliogabalus should have been more happy than Adam in para- 
dise ; yea, if there were the least real delight in sin, there could be 
no perfect hell, where men shall most perfectly sin, and most per- 
fectly be tormented with their sins. * Hark, scholar,' said the harlot to 
Apuleius, 'it is but a bitter sweet that you are so fond of.'^ When an 
asp stings a man, it doth at first tickle him, and make him laugh till 
the poison by little and little gets to his heart, and then it pains him 
more than before it delighted him. It is so with sin, it may tickle the 
soul at first, but it will pain it at last with a witness. I have read of a 
gallant addicted to uncleauness, who at last meeting with a beautiful 
dame, and having enjoyed his fleshly desires of her, he found her in the 
morning to be the dead body of one that he had formerly been naught 

^ David, in an hour of temptation, once made provision for his lusts, 2 Sam. xi. 14, 15; 
but this was not his course, his trade, &c. 

2 Job XX. 12, 13; Prov. ii. 14; Amos vi. 13; Zeph. iii. 11; 2 Thes. ii. 12. 

3 Plutarch. 


with, which had been acted by the devil all night, and left dead again 
in the morning ; so that the gallant's pleasure ended in no small terror. 
And thus it is doubtless with all sinful pleasures. What sin is there so 
sweet or profitable that is worth burning in hell for, or worth shutting 
out of heaven for ? &c. But, 

[6.] Sixthly, When men commonly take part with sin, when they 
take up arms in the defence of sin, and in defiance of the comimands 
of God, the Tnotions of the Spirit, and the checks of conscience, then sin 
is in dominion. He that readily, resolvedly, and habitually fights sin's 
battles is sin's servant, and without all peradventure under the reign 
and dominion of sin. Look, as we groundedly conclude, that such men 
are under the reign and dominion of that king, that they readily, 
resolvedly, and habitually take up arms to fight for; so when the 
inward faculties of the soul, and the outward members of the body, do 
readily resolve, and habitually take up arms to fight for sin, then and 
there sin is in dominion, as you may plainly see by consulting the scrip- 
tures in the margin ;^ but where the soul readily, resolvedly, and habi- 
tually strives against it, conflicts with it, and makes war against it, there 
it is not in dominion, there it reigns not, as you may see by comparing 
the scriptures in the margin together.^ That man that can truly appeal 
to God, and say, Lord ! thou that knowest all hearts and things, thou 
knowest that there is nothing under the whole heavens that I am so 
desirous and ambitious of as this, that my sins may be subdued, that 
my strongest lusts may be mortified, and that those very corruptions 
that my nature, constitution, and complexion is most inclined to, may 
be brought to an under ; — that man that can appeal to God, and say, 

Lord ! whatever becomes of me, I will never be reconciled to any 
known sin ; yea, Lord, though I should perish for ever, yet I am resolved 
to fight against my sins for ever ; let God do what he will against me, 

1 will do all I can against my sins, and to honour my God ; — that man 
is not under the reign and dominion of sin. But, 

[7] Seventhly, When sin coonmonly rises by opposition, then it 
reigns. Look, as grace, when it is in the throne, it rises by opposition: 

2 Sam. vi. 22, * I will yet be more vile ;' Mark x. 47, 48, ' And many 
charged him that he should hold his peace : but he cried the more a 
great deal. Thou Son of David, have mercy on me' f so when sin is in 
the throne, it rises higher and higher by opposition. As the more 
water you cast upon lime, the more fiercely it burns ; so when sin is in 
its reign and dominion, it flames out the more by opposition. Witness 
the Jews' malice and envy against Christ, which, when it received but 
a little easy, gentle check by Pilate, they cried out so much the more, 
' Crucify him, crucify him,' Mark xv. 12-14, A man that is under the 
reign and dominion of sin, is like the rainbow ; the rainbow is never 
on that side of the world that the sun is, but wheresoever it appears, it 
is in opposition against the sun : if the sun be in the east, the rainbow 
is in the west, &c. Where sin has the throne, it will still rise higher 
and higher by opposition. Reprove a swearer for swearing, and he 
will swear so much the more ; yea, many times he will swear that he 
did not swear, when indeed he did ; and so it holds in all other vices 

1 Rom. vi. 19, 20; Eph. ii. 2, 3; Titus iii. 3. 

2 Rom. vii. 23, 24; Gal. v. 17 Rom. viii. la. ^ ^^ts iv. 6-34, v. 40-42. 

Chap. I.] a cabinet of jewels. 279 

that the sinner is given up to. It is said of Catih'ne, that he was a 
compound and bundle of warring lusts and vices ; the same may be said 
of all others, where sin is in dominion. But, 

[8.] Eighthly, and lastly, If the Lord Jesus Christ hath not 
dominion over you, then sin has certainly dominion over you, Eom. 
vi. 17, 18. Christ hath no dominion over that soul that sin hath 
dominion over, and sin hath no dominion over that soul that Christ 
hath dominion over. Christ and sin cannot have dominion over the 
same soul at one and the same time; Christ's dominion is destructive, 
and inconsistent with sin s dominion, &;c. 

Quest. But how shall I know ivhether the Lord Jesus Christ hath 
dominion over my soul or no ? How shall I know tvhether the Lord 
Jesus Christ be my Lord or no ? For if I can but groundedly con- 
clude that Christ is my Lord, then I may very boldly, safely, and 
undoubtedly conclude, that sin is not my Lord ; but if Christ be not 
my Lord, 1 may more than fear that sin is certainly my Lord. 

Ans. Sol. Canst thou truly say, in the presence of the great and 
glorious God, that is the trier and searcher of all hearts, that thou 
hast given up thy heaH aii,d life to the rule, authority, and govern- 
ment of Jesus Christ ; and that thou hast chosen him to be thy 
sovereign Lord and King, and art truly willing to submit to his 
dominion, as the only precious and righteous, holy and heavenly, 
sweet and pleasant, 'profitable and comfortable, safe and best dominion 
in all the world; and to resign up thy heart, thy will, thy affections, 
thy life, thy all, really to Christ, wholly to Christ, and only to Christ?^ 
Canst thou truly say, O dear Lord Jesus ! other lords, viz., the world, 
the flesh, and the devil, have had dominion too long over me ; but now 
these lords I utterly renounce, I for ever renounce, and do give up my- 
self to thee, as my only Lord, beseeching thee to rule and reign over 
me for ever and ever, Isa. xxvi. 13 ; O Lord, though sin rages, and 
Satan roars, and the world sometimes frowns, and sometimes fawns, 
yet I am resolved to own thee as my only Lord, and to serve thee as 
my only Lord, Joshua xxiv. 5 ; my greatest fear is of offending thee, 
and my chiefest care shall be to please thee, and my only joy shall be 
to be a praise, a name, and an honour to thee. O Lord, I can appeal 
to thee in the sincerity of my heart, that though I have many invincible 
weaknesses and infirmities that hang upon me, and though I am often 
worsted by my sins and overcome in an hour of temptation, yet thou 
that knowest all thoughts and hearts, thou dost know that I have given 
up my heart to the obedience of Jesus Christ, and do daily give it up 
to his rule and government ; and it is the earnest desire of my soul, 
above all things in this world, that Jesus Christ "may still set up his 
laws in my heart, and exercise his dominion over me. Now, doubtless 
there is not the weakest Christian in the world, but can venture him- 
self upon such an appeal to God as this is ; and without all peradventure, 
where such a frame and temper of spirit is, there the dominion of Jesus 
Christ is set up ; and where the dominion of Christ is set up, there sin 
has no dominion ; but where the dominion of Christ is not set up, 
there sin is in full dominion. Christ's dominion cannot consist with 
sin's dominion, nor sin's dominion cannot consist with Christ's domi- 
' Ps. cxxxix. 23, 24, xxvi. 2; Jer. xi. 20, xvii. 10; Prov. xvii. 3; 1 Thes. ii. 4. 


nion, Mat. vi. 24. Now by these eight things, if men are not resolved 
beforehand to put a cheat upon their own souls, they may know 
whether their sins have dominion over them or no, and so accordingly 
conclude for or against themselves. But, 

[15.] Fifteenthly, and lastly, A godly man may argue thus : There 
is no condemnation to them who walk not after the flesh, but after the 
Spirit, Rom. viii. 1 ; but I walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit ; 
therefore there is no condemnation to me.^ Walking after the flesh 
notes a course of sin, and walking after the Spirit notes a course of 
godUness. Now, to such as keep off from a course of sin, and that 
keep on in a course of godliness, there is no condemnation, there is not 
one condemnation ; for God the Father won't condemn such a person, 
nor Jesus Christ won't condemn such a person, nor the Holy Spirit 
won't condemn such a person, nor the word of grace won't condemn 
such a person, nor no commandment or threatenings will condemn 
such a person, no, nor such a man's own heart nor conscience, if it be 
rightly informed, won't condemn him ; and therefore well may the 
Holy Ghost say to such a one, There is no condemnation to such a 
one ; there is not one condemnation, &c. 

Now thus you see, * by comparing spiritual things with spiritual 
things,' and by a rational arguing from Scripture, a man may attain 
unto a comfortable certainty of his gracious state, and safely and 
groundedly conclude his interest in Christ. Now this assurance of 
God's favour, ' by the witnessing of our own spirits,' which assurance 
is deduced by way of argument syllogistically, is more easily attained 
than many — may I not say than most? — Christians imagine ; for let 
a gracious man but clear himself of heart-condemning sins, and 
rationally argue as before has been hinted, and he will speedily reach 
to some comfortable, supporting, soul -satisfying and soul-quieting 
assurance, there being an infallible connection between the fore-men- 
tioned graces and future glory, 1 John iii. 20, 21. These fifteen argu- 
ments may well be looked upon as fifteen sure and infallible evidences 
of the goodness and happiness of a Christian's estate. 

Oh that you would often, every day, think on this, viz. that the un- 
doubted verity of God's promises proveth an inseparable connection 
between true faith and eternal glory : John iii. 14-16, ' And as Moses 
lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man 
be lifted up ; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but 
have eternal life. God so loved the world, that he gave his only 
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but 
have everlasting life.' John v. 24, ' Verily, verily' — these serious 
asseverations or protestations amount almost to an oath — ' I say unto 
you, He that heareth my words, and believeth on him that sent me, 
hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation ; but is 
passed from death to life.' John iii. 36, ' He that believeth on the Son 
hath everlasting life.' He hath it in the promise, he hath it in the 
first-fruits, Kom. viii. 23 ; he hath it in the earnest, Eph. i. 13, 14 ; 
and he hath it in Christ his head, Eph. ii. 6. Mark xvi. 16, 'He that 
believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved ; he that believeth not shall 
be damned.' 1 Peter ii. 6, ' Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner-stone, 
' Walking, in Scripture, signifies to hold on a course of life, Gen. v. 22, and xvii. 1. 

Chap. I.] a cabinet of jewels. 281 

elect, precious : and he that believeth on hira shall not be confounded.' 
John vi. 40, ' And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one 
which seeth tlie Son, and believeth on him, may have everlastmg life : 
and f will raise him up at the last day.' Ver. 47, * Verily, verily, I 
say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.' John xi. 
25, ' Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life : he that 
believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." Ver. 26, 
' And whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die.' John 
XX. 31, ' But these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the 
Christ, the Son of God ; and that believing ye might have life through 
his name.' Look, as certainly as the unbeliever shall be cast into outer 
darkness, so certainly shall the believer be partaker of the glorious in- 
heritance of the saints in light ; for certainly the promises are as true 
as the threatenings : Acts xvi. 30, 31, ' Believe on the Lord Jesus 
Christ, and thou shalt be saved.' The apostle speaks not doubtingly, 
Perhaps thou shalt be saved ; nor they do not say, Believe on the Lord 
Jesus Christ, and it may be thou mayest go to heaven ; but they speak 
boldly, confidently, peremptorily, ' Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and 
thou shalt be saved.' Joshua xxiii. 14, xxi. 45. O my soul ! what 
greater certainty and security can any man have than the infallible 
promise of that God that is truth itself, who will not, who cannot, deny 
his word ? But the same love and free grace that moved him to infuse 
grace into his children's souls, will move him also to keep the word 
that is gone out of his mouth, and to make good whatever he hath 
promised. Thus you evidently see that the promises prove an in- 
separable connection between grace and glory, between faith and ever- 
lasting life ; so that, let me but prove that I have a saving faith, and 
the scriptures last cited prove infallibly that I shall be saved. 

Oh labour as for life, daily to give a firm and fixed assent to the truth 
of those blessed promises last cited, and hold it as an indisputable and 
inviolable principle, that whosoever believeth on the Lord Jesus Christ, 
or whosoever hath received Christ as his Lord and Saviour, shall be 
certainly saved. ^ This is the person that hath the word, the promise, 
the covenant, the oath of that God that cannot possibly lie, or die, for 
the pardon of his sin, and for the salvation of his soul. Now, O my 
soul, what security couldst thou ask more of a deceitful man, than that 
which the great Jehovah, the faithful God, of his own accord, hath given 
to thee, viz., his word and his oath 1 Now not to believe God upon his 
promise and oath, is to make him a liar^ yea, the worst of liars ; yea, it is 
to do worse than the devils, for they * believe and tremble.' Though 
the word of the Lord deserves the greatest credit that any mortals can 
give unto it, he being truth itself that hath said it, though it hath no oath 
nor no asseverations to be its surety, yet God, in his infinite condescending 
love to poor sinners, that he may sink the truth of what he saith deeper 
into the hearts and minds of his people, and leave the fairer and fuller 
print in our assents to the same, he sets on the word of promise with 
the weight of asseverations and oaths ; yea, and to all these he hath 
annexed his broad seal, the Lord's supper, and the privy seal of his 
Spirit. Oh unreasonable unbelief ! shall not the oath of God silence all 

1 1 Tim. i. 15 ; 1 John i. Q ; Heb. vi. 17, 18 ; Ezek. xxxii. 11, xviii. 32 ; 1 John v. 
10-14 ; James ii. 19. 


disputes ? A man would never desire of any honest man, so much as 
God hath condescended to, for the confirmation of our faith. Witness 
his promises, his covenant, his oath, and his seals ; and therefore let us 
give glory to him by believing, and quietly rest upon his faithfulness. 

O sirs ! that soul that dares not take his sanctification as an evidence, 
yea, as a choice and sure evidence of his interest in Christ, and of the 
Lord's precious love to him, according to the promises of his favour and 
grace, several of which hath been but now under consideration, that 
soul ought to acknowledge it as his sin, yea, as his great sin, for which 
he deserves to be smartly rebuked, as making God a loud liar. O my 
friends ! it is a spiritual peevishness and sinful crossness that keeps 
many good men and women long in a sad, dark, doubting, perplexed, 
and disconsolate condition ; and certainly it is no small sin to set light 
by any work of the blesssd Spirit, and the joy, comfort, and peace that 
we might have by it. Ah, how many are there that fear the Lord, who 
quench, grieve, vex, and provoke the Holy Spirit, by denying his work, 
and by quarrelling against themselves, and the blessed work of the 
Spirit in them ! Certainly it is the duty of every Christian to hear as 
well what can be said for him, as what can be said against him. Many 
poor, weak, and yet sincere Christians, are often apt to be too sour, rigid 
and bitter against their own souls ; they love to practise a merciless 
severity against themselves ; they do not indifferently, impartially con- 
sider how the case stands between God and their own souls.^ It is in 
this case, as Solomon speaks in another : ' There is that maketh him- 
self rich, and yet hath nothing ; and there is that maketh himself 
poor, and yet hath great riches,' Prov. xiii. 7. That is, there be those 
in the world that pretend they are rich, and make a show before men 
as if they were men of great estates, whereas indeed they are exceeding 
poor and needy .^ 

There are not a few that stretch their wing beyond their nest ; that 
bear a port beyond their estates ; that trick up themselves with other 
men's plumes, laying it on above measure in clothes, in high entertain- 
ments, in stately buildings, in great attendance, &c., when not worth 
one groat in all the world, but either they die in prison, or lay the key 
under the door,^ or compound for twelve pence in the pound, &c. And 
there are others again that are exceeding rich and wealthy, and yet 
feign themselves and look upon themselves to be very poor and needy. 
To apply this spiritually, it is the damning sin of the self-flattering 
hypocrite, to make himself rich, to make himself significant, to make 
his condition better than it is. Rev. iii. 17 ; and it is the vanity, the folly 
of some sincere Christians to make their condition worse than indeed it is, 
to make themselves more miserable and unhappy than indeed they are. 
Ah, Christians ! it is sad with you, it is night with you, when you read 
over the evidences of God's love to your souls, as a man does a book 
which he intends to confute. Is it not sad when Christians sliall study 
hard to find evasions to wheel off all those comforts, refreshings, cheer- 
iags, and supports, that are tendered to them, that are due to them, and 

^ Ps. Ixxii. 2, Ixxxviii ; Job. xv. 11, xvi. 8, 9. 

'^ Ever since man ceased to be what be should be, he striveth to seem to be what he is 
not. It is not the outward show that shews what things are. 
3 * Take flight.'— G. 

Chap. I.] A cabinet of jewels. 283 

that they may upon gospel grounds justly claim as their portion, as 
their inheritance ? And oh that all such Christians would seriously 
and frequently lay to heart these eight things. 

[1.] First, Tliat they highly dishonour the blessed God, and the work 
of his grace, hy denying that which he hath done for them and 
wrought in them. 

[2.] Secondly, They are spiritual murderers, they are self-murderers, 
they are soul-murderers ; for by this means they stab and wound their 
own precious souls and consciences through and through with many a 
deadly dart. Now is there any murder like to spiritual murder, to self- 
murder, to soul-murder ? Surely no. But, 

[3.] Thirdly, They are thieves; for hy this means they rob their own 
precious souls of that joy, peace, comfort, rest, content, assurance, and 
satisfaction which otherwise they might enjoy. Now there is no theft 
to spiritual theft ; and of all spiritual theft, there is none to that which 
reaches the precious and immortal soul. Mark all prevalent disputes 
about our personal integrity, they do hold off the application and tastes 
of comfort, though they do not disannul the title and right. Even the 
good man will walk uncomfortably so long as he concludes and strongly 
fears that his estate is sinful ; for sensible comfort riseth or falleth, 
Cometh on or goeth off, acccording to the strength of our judgment and 
present apprehensions. Observe, it is not what indeed our estate is, but 
what we judge of it, which breeds in us sensible comfort or discomfort. 
A false heart may even break with a timpany^ of foolish joy upon an 
erring persuasion of his estate, and so may a sound sincere heart be very 
heavy and disconsolate upon an unsound misconstruction and judging 
of its true condition. But, 

[4.] Fourthly, They bear false witness against Christ, his Spirit, 
their own souls, and the work of grace that is wrought in them. Oh 
how many dark, doubting, drooping Christians are there, who, if you 
would give them ten thousand worlds, yet would never be brought to 
bear false witness against their poorest neighbour, brother, or friend, 
and that out of conscience, because of that command, ' Thou shalt not 
bear false witness,' &c., who yet make no conscience, no bones of it, fre- 
quently to bear witness against the Lord Jesus Christ, and his gracious 
works upon their own hearts ! But, 

[5.] Fifthly, They join with Satan and his work and his sugges- 
tions, and with that strong party he has in them, against the Lord 
Jesus Christ and his work, and his weak party in them. Sin is 
Satan's work, and grace is Christ's work. Now, how sad is it to see a 
Christian fall in with Satan's work in him, against the work of Christ 
that is in him.^ Satan has a strong party in their souls, and Christ has 
but a weak party. Now, how unjust is it for them to help the strong 
against the weak, when they should upon many accounts be a-helping 
the weak against the strong, a-helping the Lord against the mighty, a- 
helping weak grace against strong and mighty corruptions. Ah, how 
skilful and careful are many weak Christians to make head against the 
work of Christ in their own souls, and to plead hard for Satan and his 

' ' Swelling,' = up-rising. — Gr. 

2 See Mr Dod on the Commandments, pp. 310, 311 ; and pp. 321-324. [1606 and 1622, 
4to, partly by Cleaver. — G.] 


works in them, as if they had received a fee from him to plead against 
Christ and their own souls. O Christians ! that you would be wise at 
last, and let Baal plead for Baal, let Satan plead for himself, but do you 
plead for Christ and that seed of God that is in you. Well, remember 
this, that as fire is often hid under the embers, so grace is often hid 
under many foul distempers ; and as a little fire is fire, though it be 
even smothered under the embers, so a little grace is grace, though it 
be even smothered under much corruption, 1 John iii. 9. 

Now, by these short hints you may easily perceive how many royal 
commands these poor Christians transgress who deny and belie the 
blessed wo^k of the Lord in them. But, 

[6.] Sixthly, They rob the Spirit of all the honour and glory that is 
due unto him for that blessed work of grace and holiness that he has 
formed wp in their hearts. Oh what a grief and dishonour must it be 
to the Holy Spirit, that when he hath put forth a power in men's hearts 
equivalent to that by which the world was created, and by which Christ 
was raised from the dead, we find it overlooked, and not at all acknow- 
ledged, Rom. viii. 11. Spiritus Sanctus est res delicata, the Holy 
Spirit is a very tender thing. But do these poor doubting souls carry 
it tenderly to him I Surely no. Dear Christians, the standing law of 
heaven is, 'Quench not the Spirit,' 1 Thes. v. J 9. Now, if the word 
Spirit is not here taken essentially for the three persons in Trinity, nor 
yet metonymically for the fruits of the Spirit, but hypostatically for the 
third person in Trinity, as some conceive, then you must remember that 
you may grieve and quench the Spirit (1.) not only by your enormities, 
Isa. Ixiii. 10; (2.) not only by refusing the cordials and comforts that 
he brings to your doors, yea, that he puts to your mouths, Ps. Ixxvii. 2 ; 
(3.) not only slighting and despising his gracious actings in others, Acts 
ii. 13 ; (4.) nor only by fathering those sins and vanities upon him that 
are only the brats and fruits of Satan and your own hearts ; but also, 
(5.) in the fifth place, by misjudging and miscalling the precious grace 
that he has wrought in your souls, as by judging and calling your faith 
fancy, your sincerity hypocrisy, your wisdom folly, your light darkness, 
your zeal wild-fire, &c.^ Now, O sirs ! will you make conscience, yea, 
much conscience, of quenching the Spirit in the four first respects, and 
will you make no conscience of quenching the Spirit in this fifth and 
last respect ? Oh, how can this be ? Oh, why should this be ? But, 

[7.] Seventhly, They keep grace at a very great under; for how can 
grace spring, and thrive, and flourish, and increase in the soul, when 
the soul is full of daily fears and doubts that the root of the matter is 
not in it, Job xix. 28 ; or that the root i^ still unsound; or that the 
work that is passed upon it is not a tuork in power, 1 Thes. i. 5 ; or 
that it is not a special and peculiar work, but soTYie common work of 
the Spirit, which a man may have and go to hell ? But, 

[8.] Eighthly, and lastly. They very much discourage, dishearten, and 
disanimate many poor, vjeak Christians, who observing of them, of 
whom they have had very high and honourable thoughts for the grace 
of God that they have judged to be in them, to be still a-questioning of 
their integrity, and still a-doubting of the graciousness and goodness of 

^ Mark, you cannot despise the gifts or graces of any that are sincere, but by interpreta- 
tion you judge the Spirit, and despise the Spirit, as it is said of the poor in Prov. xvii. 6. 

Chap. I.] a cabinet of jewels. 285 

their conditions, do begin to question their own estates and conditions ; 
yea, and many times peremptorily to conclude that surely they have no 
grace, they have no interest in Christ, and that all this while they have 
but put a cheat upon their own souls. 

Now, oh that all poor, weak, dark, doubting Christians would never 
leave praying over these eight things, and pondering upon these eight 
things, till they are perfectly cured of that spiritual malady that they 
have been long labouring under, and which has been very prejudicial to 
the peace and €omfort of their own souls. 

Dear hearts, a gracious soul may safely, boldly, constantly, and 
groundedly say that which the word of the Lord saith. Now, the word 
of the Lord saith, that 'the poor in spirit are blessed, and that they that 
mourn are blessed, and that they that hunger and thirst after righteous- 
ness are blessed, and that they that are pure in heart are blessed,' Mat. 
V. 3, 4, 6, 8, and therefore he is blessed. And assuredly he that cannot 
embrace and seal to these as true and blessed evidences of a safe and 
happy condition, is greatly to lament and mourn over his unbelief, and 
earnestly to seek the Lord to persuade his heart and to satisfy and over- 
power his soul in this thing, as the poor man in the Gospel did : Mark 
ix. 24, ' And straightway the father of the child cried out with tears, 
Lord, I believe ; help my unbelief.' 

sirs ! the condition of the promises last cited being fulfilled, the 
promises themselves must certainly and infallibly be fulfilled, else the 
great and blessed God should lie, be unrighteous, unfaithful, and deny 
himself ;i which is as impossible as for God to die, or to send another 
Saviour, or to give his glory to graven images. Assuredly the too hard, 
the too harsh, the too severe, the too jealous thoughts and conjectures, 
and the too humble, if I may so speak, censures and surmises that many 
weak, doubting Christians have of themselves, or of the goodness or 
graciousness of their estates, by reason of the weakness of their graces, 
or depth of melancholy, or the present prevalency of some unmortified 
lusts, or the subtilty of Satan, shall never make void the faithfulness of 
God, or the promises of God, which in Christ Jesus are all yea and amen, 
2 Cor. i. 20. Doubtless God will never shut any poor, weak, doubting 
Christian out of heaven, because through bashfulness, or an excess of 
modesty, or the present darkness that is upon his understanding, or 
through the ungroundedness of some strong fears of an eternal mis- 
carriage, he cannot entertain such good thoughts, such honest thoughts, 
such gracious thoughts of himself, or of the goodness or happiness of his 
condition, as he should entertain, and as he would entertain, if once he 
could but be too hard for the world, the flesh, and the devil. 

Oh that you would remember this for ever, viz., that the Lord never 
makes any promises to support, comfort, cheer, and encourage his people 
against their sadness, darkness, doubts, and droopings, but they shall 
support, comfort, cheer, and encourage his poor people in that condition ; 
for otherwise the Lord should provide means for an end, out of his 
infinite wisdom, love, and tender care and compassion towards his people, 
and yet they should never attain that end. But thus to imagine is no 
small folly ; yea, it is little less than blasphemy. Well, sirs ! this is to 
be for ever remembered, viz., that whatsoever gift or grace of God in 
' Josliua xxi. 45, xxiii. 14, 15 ; 1 John v. 10-12. 


man brinpfs liim within tl)c compa.ss of God's promises of otxinial favours 
an(J mcrciuH, that ^ii\ that graco, must needs bo an infallil)le sign or 
ovidenco of salvation. But such arc the gifts and graces specified in 
the fifteen particuhirs but now cited, and therefore that soul tliat really 
finds th()S(! gifts and graces in himself, or any of them, shall certainly be 
saved, liut, 

The nhith maxvm, or consideration. 

IX. Ninthly, Consider this, That in divers men there are divers de- 
grees of asuwratice, and in one and the same gracious soul there are 
differeMt degrees of assurance oi d/lvers tknes, but there is in no man 
ai any time in this life perfection of degrees ; for our understanding 
and knowledge in this life is im'perfect both, as to the faculty arid its 
acts. 1 Cor. xiii. 12, ' For now wo see through a glass darkly (Gr., in 
a riddle), but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then shall I 
know even' as also I am known.' A clear, distinct, immediate, full, 
and perj'ect knowledge of God is desirable on earth, but we shall never 
attain to it till wo come to heaven. This well is deep, and for the most 
part we want a bucket to draw withal. The best of men can bettor toll 
what God is not than what he is; the most acute and judicious in divine 
knowledge have and must acknowhnlge their ignorance. Witness tlwit 
great apostle Paul, who learned his divinity among the angels, and had 
the Holy Ghost for his immediate tutor, yet he confesses that he knew 
but in pjirt. Certainly there is no man under heaven that hath such a 
perfect, complete, and full assurance of his salvation, in an ordinary way, 
as that one degree cannot bo added to the former. Neither is there 
any repugnancy in asserting an infallible assurance and denying a per- 
fect assurance; for I infallibly know that there is a God, and that this 
God is holy, just, and true, and yet I have no perfect knowledge of a 
deity, nor of the holiness, justice, and truth of God, for in this life the 
most knowing man knows but in part. Dear friends ! in the church of 
Christ there are believers of several growths : there are fathers, young 
men, children, and babes, 1 John i. 13, 14 ; 1 Peter ii. 2. And as in 
most families there are commonly more children and babes than grown 
men, so in the church of Christ there are conmionly more weak, stag- 
gering, doubting Christians than there are strong ones, grown up to a 
Full assurance. Some think that as soon as they be assured, they must 
needs be void of all fears, and filled with all joy in believing, but this is 
a real mistake ; for glorious and ravishing joy is a separable accident 
from assurance ; nor yet doth assurance exclude all d()ul)ts and fears, 
but only such doubts and fears as ariseth from infidelity and reigning 
hypocrisy. But, 

The tenth maxim or consideration, 

X. Tenthly, Consider, We have no ground froTYi Scripture to expect 
that Ood, should, either by a voice from heaven, or by sending an 
angel froiri about his throne, or by any glorious apparitio7is or strong 
impressions, or by any extraordinary way of revelations, assure ua 
that we do believe, or that our grace is true, or that our interest in 
God and Christ is certain, or that our pardon is sealed in heaven, or 

* As 18 not a note of equality, but likonoss ; so that tho sense may be tin's : Look, as 
God knowotli mo after a iiiannor agro(!ablo to liis infinite exeollcnoy, so sliall 1 know God 
uccordiug to my capacity, not obscurely, but perfectly, as it were face to face. 

Chap. L] a caiunet of jewels. 287 

thxit we are in a jyMifwd date, and thai we sltall he at lad uridouht- 
edly fiaved. Oh no ! But wo are to ii.so all thoHO blossod liclpH and 
means tliat arc appointed by Cod, and common to all believers, for the 
obtaining of a particular assurance that we are believers, and that our 
state is good, and tliat we have a special propriety in Christ and in all 
the fun(Ja,rn(!ntal good that comes by him. Mark, he that will receive 
no establishment, no comfort, no peace, no assurance, except it be ad- 
ministered by the hand of an angel, and witnessed to by some voice 
from heaven, &c., will certainly live and die without establishment, 
comfort, peace, or assurance. Gregory^ tells us of a religious lady of 
the empress's bed-chamber, whose name was Gregoria, that, being much 
troubled about her salvation, did write unto him, that she ' shoidd 
never cease importuning of him till lie had sent her word that he had 
received a revelation from heaven that her sins were pardoned, and that 
she was saved.' To whom he returned this answer, * That it was a hard 
and altogether a useless matter which she required of him ; it was diffi- 
cult for him to obtain, as being unworthy to have the secret counsels of 
God to be imparted to him, and it was as unprofitable for her to know: 
and that, first, because such a revelation might make her too secure; 
and secondly, because it was impossible for him to demonstrate and 
make known unto her or any other the truth and infallibility of the 
revelation which he had received to be from God, so that, should she 
afterwards call into question the truth of it, as well she might, her 
troubles and doubtings concerning her salvation would have been as 
great as they were before.' Oh therefore, let all believers that would 
have sure establishment, sound comfort, lasting peace, and true and 
sweet assurance of the love of God, and of their interest in Christ, &c., 
take heed of flying unto revelations, visions or voices from heaven, to 
assure them of their salvation, and of the love of God, and of their in- 
terest in Christ, &c. If you who are advantaged to consult history, 
please to do it, you will find upon record that where one hath been mis- 
taken about searching his own heart, and trying his ways, and observ- 
ing the frame and temper of his own spirit, many hundreds have been 
eternally deceived and deluded by voices, visions, apparitions, revela- 
tions, and strange impulses and strong impressions, especially among 
the Romanists, 2 Thes. ii. 9-12 ; and within these few years, have not 
many hundreds in this nation fallen under the same woful delusions, 
who are all for crying up a light within, and a Christ within? &c. And 
this you are seriously and conscientiously to observe in opposition to 
the papists, who boldly and stoutly affirm that assurance of a man's sal- 
vation can be had by no other means than by extraordinary revelation. 
Witness the council of Trent, who have long since said, * That if any 
man say that he knoweth he shall certainly persevere, or infallibly be 
assured of his election, except he have this by special revelation, let 
him be Anathema.' Without all perad venture, God will one day cross 
and curse such a wicked council, that curseth, that anathematizeth his 
people for asserting and maintaining that that may certainly be obtained 
in this life, as I have sufficiently proved by ten arguments in my treatise 
called Ileaven on Earth, from page 1 to page 2G.^ I think there is a 

* Vide GreKorii Epistolas ; 4 Lapido in Kom. viii. 16. 
» Bee Vol. 11, p. 300, seg—G. 


great truth in that Confession of Faith, that saith that ' infallible assur- 
ance doth not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true believer 
may wait long and conflict with many difificulties before he be partaker 
of it ; yet, being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are 
freely given him of God, he may without any extraordinary revelation, 
in the right use of ordinary means, attain thereunto ; and therefore it 
is the duty of every one to give all diligence to make his calling and 
election sure.'' But, 

The eleventh maxhn or consideration. 

XL Eleventhly, Consider that probabilities of grace, of sincerity, of 
an interest in Christ, and of salvation, may be a very great stay, and 
a singular support, and a special cordial and comfort to abundance 
of precious Christians that want that siveet and blessed assurance that 
their souls do earnestly breathe and long after. There are doubtless 
many thousands of 'the precious sons and daughters of Zion comparable 
to fine gold,' Lam. iv. 2, that have not a clear and full assurance of their 
interest in Christ, nor of the saving work of God upon their souls, who 
yet are able to plead many probabilities of grace, and of an interest in 
Christ. Now doubtless probabilities of grace and of an interest in 
Christ may serve to keep off fears and doubts, and darkness and sadness, 
and all rash and peremptory conclusions against a man's own soul, and 
his everlasting welfare, and may contribute very much to the keeping 
up of a great deal of peace, comfort, and quietness in his soul. The 
probable grounds that thou hast grace, and that God has begun to work 
powerfully and savingly upon thee, are mercies more worth than ten 
thousand worlds. Will you please seriously and frequently to dwell 
upon these ten particulars. 

[L] First, That though many weak gracious souls do not enjoy 
communion with God in joy and delight, yet they do enjoy commu- 
nion with God in sorrow and tears, Hos. xii. 4 ; Isa. xxxviii. 3 ; Ps. li. 
17. A man may have communion with God in a heart-humbling, a 
heart-melting, and a heart-abasing way, when he hath not communion 
with God in a heart-reviving, a heart-cheering, and a heart-comforting 
way. It is a very great mistake among many weak, tender-spirited 
Christians, to think that they have no communion with God in duties, 
except they meet with God embracing and kissing, cheering and com- 
forting up their souls. And oh that all Christians would remember this 
once for all, viz., that a Christian may have as real communion with 
God in a heart-humbling way, as he can have in a heart-comforting way, 
John XX. 11-L9. A Christian may have as choice communion with 
God when his eyes are full of tears, as he can have when his heart is 
full of joy. When a godly man upon his dying bed was asked which 
were his most joyful days, either those before his .conversion or those 
since his conversion, upon which he cried out, ' Oh give me my mourn- 
ing days again, give me my mourning days again, for they were my 
joyfullest days.' Many times a poor Christian has never more joy in 
his heart than wdien his eyes are full of tears. But, 

[2.] Secondly, Though many pioor, weak, doubting, trembling Chris- 
tians dare not say that they do love the Lord Jesus Christ, yet they dare 

1 1 John V. 13 ; Isa. 1. 10 ; Mark ix. 24 ; 1 Cor. ii. 12 ; 1 John iv. 13, 14 ; Heb. vi. 11 
12 ; Eph. iii. 17-19 ; 2 Peter i. 10. 

Chap. I.] a cabinet of jewels. 289 

say that they would love the Lord Jesus Christ with all their hearts, and 
ivith all their souls, and they dare say, that if it were in their j^ower, 
they would even shed tears of blood because they cannot love Christ both 
as they would and as they should} Blessed Bradford would sit and 
weepat dinner till the tearsfell on his trencher, because hecould love God 
no more. So the poor, doubting, trembling Christian mourns and laments 
because he can love Christ no more. ' A man may love gold, and yet 
not have it, but no man loveth God but he is sure to have God,' saith 
Augustine. A good man once cried out, ' I had rather have one Christ, 
than a thousand worlds.' 

[3.] Thirdly, Though many poor, weak, doubting, trembling Chris- 
tians dare not say that they have grace, yet they dare say that they prize 
the least dram of grace above all the gold and silver of the Indies. Were 
all the world a lump of gold, and in their hands to dispose of it, they 
would give it for grace, yea, for a little grace. Now certainly no man can 
thus highly prize grace but he that has grace. No man sees the worth 
and lustre of grace, no man sees a beauty and excellency in grace, nor 
no man can value grace above the gold of Ophir, but he whose heart has 
been changed, and whose eyes has been opened by the spirit of grace.^ 

[4.] Fourthly, Though many poor, doubting, trembling Christians 
dare not say that their condition is good, that their condition is safe 
and happy, yet they dare say that they would not for ten thousand 
worlds change their conditions with the vain and debauched men of 
the world, who delight in sin, who wallow in sin, who make a sport 
of sin, and who live under the reign and dominion of sin. They 
had rather, with Lazarus, be full of sores and full of wants, and live and 
die in rags, and after all be carried by angels into Abraham's bosom, 
than with Dives, every day to fare sumptuously, and be clothed glo- 
riously, and perish eternally, Luke xvi. Though they are poor, and 
wicked men .rich ; though they are debased, and wicked men exalted ; 
though they are empty, and wicked men full ; though they are low, and 
wicked men high ; though they enjoy nothing, and wicked men enjoy 
everything ; yet they would not for as many worlds as there be men in 
the world change conditions with them. But, 

[5.] Fifthly, Though poor, doubting, staggering, trembling Christians 
dare not say that they do not sin, because there is not a just man upon 
the earth, that doeth good and sinneth not : Eccles, vii. 20, 'And because 
no man can say I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin ;' 
Prov. XX. 9, * And because in many things we offend all ;' James iii. 2, 
* And because if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the 
truth is not in us ;' 1 John i. 8, chap. iii. 6, 8, 9, 10 ; yet they dare say 
that they tvould not willingly, luilfully, wickedly, resolutely, maliciously, 
and habitually sin against the Lord to gain the whole world. Though 
they dare not say they do not sin, yet they dare say, if they might have 
their choice, they would never dishonour God more, nor crucify the Lord 
of glory more, nor grieve the Spirit of grace more, nor wound conscience 

^ It was a famous saying of Austin's, he loves not Christ at all that loves not Christ 
above all. [Confessions, and Be Civitile Dei, often, — G.] 

2 Cardan saith, that every precious stone hath an egregious virtue in it. The same we 
may say of every saving grace. 



more, nor cloud the face of God more, nor darken their evidences for 
heaven more, nor interrupt their communion with God more, &c. But, 

[6.] Sixthly, Though poor, doubting, staggering, trembling Christians 
dare not say that God is their God, or that Christ is their Redeemer, 
or that the Spirit is their Comforter; yet they da/re say, that if God, and 
Christ, and the Spirit, and grace and glory, and holiness amd happi- 
ness, were offered to them on the one hand, and all the honours, plea- 
sures, profits, delights, and carnal contents of the luorld were offered 
them on the other hand, they had ten thousand times rather, they had 
infinitely rather, choose God, and Christ, and the Spirit, and grace and 
holiness, and everlasting happiness, than the contrary : Cant. v. JO ; 
Deut. xxvi. 17 ; Ps. Ixxiii. 25 ; Philip, iii. 6-8. Look, as Rachel cried 
out, ' Give me children, or I die,' Gen. xxx. 1 ; so these poor hearts are 
still crying out, 'O Lord, give me thyself, or I die; give me thy Christ, or 
I die ; give me thy Spirit and grace, or I die ; give me pardon of sin, or 
I die ; lift up the light of thy countenance upon me, or I die ; bring me 
under the bond of the covenant, or I die. O Lord, let all these things 
be done, or I am undone, and that for ever ; Lord, let the men of this 
world take the world, and divide it among themselves ; let me but enjoy 
thyself, thy Christ, thy love, and I shall say, ' My lot is fallen to me in a 
pleasant place, and verily I have a goodly heritage,' Ps. xvi. 5, 6. But, 

[7.] Seventhly, Though poor, doubting, staggering, trembling Chris- 
tians dare not say that they have grace in their own hearts, yet they 
dare say that they dearly love, and highly honour, and greatly prize 
the graces of the Spirit which they see sparkling and shining in the 
hearts and lives and lips of other saints} And they dare say that 
there are no men in all the world that are so precious, so lovely, so 
worthy, and so honourable in their eyes, or so high in their esteems, as 
those who have the image of God, of Christ, of holiness, most clearly, 
fairly and fully stamped upon them. But, 

[8.] Eighthly, Though poor, doubting, trembling Christians dare 
not say that they have such strength and power against their sins as 
they would have, or as they should have, or as many of the dear saints 
of God have, ivho often lead captivity captive ; yet they dare say, that 
when the Lord is pleased, now and then, by his Spirit, power, word, 
grace, &c., to help than, though it be but a little, against their sins, to 
help them in any measure to subdue their sins, or to assist them to 
bring any one sin or another to an under, or to arm them against any 
temptations, occasions, or provocations to sin, there are no such times 
or seasons of joy, comfort, delight, refreshing, and content to their souls 
as these are: Ps. Ixv. 3, Gal. v. 14. The language of their souls in such 
a day as this is, is this : Oh that it might be always thus with us ! Oh 
that every day we might lead captivity captive ! Oh that every day 
we might have our lusts at an under ! Oh that every day we might 
triumph over the old man ! Oh that every day one lust or another 
might fall before the power, the Spirit, the presence, the grace of our 
Lord Jesus Christ. But, 

[9.] Ninthly, Though poor, doubting, staggering, trembling Chris- 
tians dare not say that they make so much advantage, so much earn- 
ings of the sermons they hear, or of the prayers they make, or of the 
1 Acts xi. 23 ; Ps. xv. 4 ; Ps. xvi. 3 ; Lam. iv. 2 ; 1 Thes. i. 2, 3 ; Heb. xi. 38. 

Chap. L] a cabinet of jewels. 291 

scriptures they read, or of the communion of saints that they enjoy, as 
others do ; yet they dare say that they would not for all the world cast 
off praying, or hearing, or reading, or the communion of saints, and 
give up themselves to the ways of sin and Satan, and the world. Ps. 
iv. 3; Ixvi. 19, 20; cxxxviii. 8; Lam. iii. 55-58. But, 

[10.] Tenthly and lastly, Though poor, doubting, staggeHng, trembling 
Christians dare not say that Christ is their Saviour, yet they dare say 
that they desire and end^eavour to honour Christ as their Lord, though 
they cannot see Christ bestowing himself on them as their Redeemer, 
John XX. 28, yet they are willing to make a resignation of themselves 
up to him as their king ; they are willing to resign up their hearts 
and lives to the government of Jesus Christ. Though they cannot find 
comfort, yet they will oppose sin; though they cannot comprehend Christ, 
yet they will not willingly offend Christ ; though they cannot see their 
own propriety in Christ, yet they desire nothing more than that Christ 
may claim a propriety in them ; though they cannot see Christ as a 
friend, yet they can look upon sin as an enemy ; though they cannot 
close with the promises, yet they will close with the precepts ; though 
they cannot close with the privileges of a Christian, yet they will close 
with the services of a Christian ; though they cannot share in the com- 
forts of a Christian, yet they will side with the duties of a Christian ; 
though they cannot clear up their interest in Christ, yet they are willing^ 
to yield subjection to Christ; though they want strength to throw them- 
selves into the arms of Christ to save them, yet they will cast themselves 
at the feet of Christ to serve him ; though they want the light of comfort 
and consolation, yet they will walk in the light of commands and direc- 
tions, Isa. 1. 10. 

All men will grant that these ten things are strong probabilities of 
grace ; but give me leave to say that they are, without all controversy, 
most sure, sound, solid, and infallible evidences of true grace, and of an 
interest in Christ and salvation ; and therefore all those poor doubting, 
staggering, and trembling Christians that find all these, or any of these 
ten things in their own souls, they ought for ever to bless the Lord, and 
speak well of his name upon these accounts. And therefore, O my soul! 
be thou much in adoring and admiring of free and infinite grace, that 
hath wrought all these things in thee and for thee. 

But now, dear hearts, that this eleventh particular concerning pro- 
babilities of grace may the better stick upon you, and be the more 
seriously minded and weighed by you, I beseech you often to ponder 
upon these six following things : 

[L] First, That you have deserved hell, and therefore for you to have 
but a probability of going to heaven, is infinite grace and mercy. 
You have deserved to be shut up in chains of darkness with devils and 
damned spirits to all eternity, Jude 6, and therefore for you to have 
a probability of enjoying for ever the presence of God, Christ, the glorious 
angels, and * the spirits of just men made perfect in heaven,' Heb. xii. 
22-24, is a mercy more worth than ten thousand worlds. You have 
deserved to dwell with a ' devouring fire,' Isa. xxxiii. ] 4, and to lie for 
ever under those flames and torments that are easeless, endless, and 
remediless ; and therefore for you to have a probability of satiating and 
delighting your souls in that fulness of joy, and in those ' everlasting 


pleasures that be at God's right hand/ Ps. xvi. 11, is gi-ace, yea, glorious 
grace upon the throne, &c. But, 

[2.] Secondly, Consider that if you cast up a true and faithful ac- 
count, you will certainly find that the comfort, the peace, the joy, 
the quiet, the rest, the satisfaction, the content that the generality of 
saints do enjoy, is more from probabilities of grace, than it is from 
any certainty or assurance that they have of grace being in their 
souls ; it is more from probabilities of an interest in Christ, than from 
any assurance of an interest in Christ ; it is more from probabilities of 
being saved, than it is from any special persuasions that they shall be 
saved ; it is more from probabilities of going to heaven, than it is from 
any raised fixed confidence that they shall go to heaven ; and therefore 
the people of God have very great cause to bow before the Lord, and to 
adore his grace, and for ever to speak well of his name, for the very 
probabilities of grace, and of an interest in Christ, and of being saved 
and glorified. 

[3.] Thirdly, Consider that there have been very many under suck 
dreadful horrors and terrors of conscience, and under such wrath 
and displeasure of an angry God, and tliat have lain trembling upon 
their dying beds, and that have been even ready to be swallowed up 
in the gulf of despair, who would have given all the world, had it been 
in their power, for the very probabilities of grace. Spira, being in a 
deep despair for renouncing of those doctrines of the gospel which he 
had once stoutly professed, said, ' That he would willingly suffer the 
most exquisite tortures of hell-fire for the space of ten thousand years, 
upon condition he might be well assured to be released afterward.'^ He 
further added, in that hellish and horrible fit, that his dear wife and 
children, for whose sake principally he turned away from the gospel, to 
embrace this present world, appeared now to him as hangmen, hags, 
and torturers. A despairing soul is Magor Missabib, a terror to him- 
self; his heart a hell of horror, his conscience an Aceldama, a field of 
black blood. So that as Augustine describes such a one flying from the 
field to the city, from the city to his house, from his house to his cham- 
ber, from his chamber to his bed, &c., so that he can rest nowhere, but 
is as if infernal devils in fearful shapes were still following of him, and 
still terrifying and tormenting his distressed and perplexed soul. Now, 
doubtless such poor souls would have given ten thousand worlds, had 
they so many in their hands to give, and that for the very probabilities 
of grace ; and how many tempted, deserted, clouded, wounded, and be- 
nighted souls are there, who would think it a heaven on this side heaven, 
if they could but see probabilities of grace in their souls ! Oh, there- 
fore, let not the probabilities of grace be a small thing in your eyes, but 
bow the knee, and let the high praises of God be found in your mouths, 
even for probabilities of grace ! But, 

[4.] FourtJdy, Consider that Satan is a very deadly enemy to the 
least probabilities of gi^ce, and will do all he can to cloud, darken, 
and obscure probabilities of grace, since divine vengeance has cut him 

^ He died desperately, who died with this desperate saying in his mouth, Spes ei for- 
tuna valete, Farewell, life and hope together. Despair is Satan's masterpiece; it carries 
men headlong to hell, as the devils did the herd of swine into the deep. [Spira: of. 
Sibbes, vol. iii., note qq, p. 588. — G.] 

Chap. T.] a cabinet of jewels. 293 

of from the least hopes, from the least prohahilities of ever obtaining 
the least dram of grace or mercy. ^ Oh how does he storm and take 
on against every probability of grace and mercy that God vouchsafes to 
his people for their comfort and encouragement ! Satan is an old experi- 
enced enemy, almost of six thousand years' standing, and he very well 
knows that probabilities of grace will certainly arm a Christian against 
many temptations, and sweetly support him under many afflictions, and 
exceedingly heighten and raise his resolutions. He knows that proba- 
bilities of grace will turn crosses into crowns, storms into calms, and 
winter nights into summer days. Satan knows that probabilities of 
grace will make every bitter sweet, and every sweet seven times more 
sweet ; and therefore his spirit rises and swells against every probability 
of grace. Now the greater Satan's rage is against the probabilities of 
grace, the more thankful we should be for the probabilities [of] grace. It 
is good to move and act cross to him, who in all his actings loves to act 
cross to the glory of God and the good of our souls. But, 

[5.] Fifthly, Consider that from probabilities in outward things, 
men commonly gather a great deal of comfort, support, quietness, 
and satisfaction. When the physician tells the patient that it is pro- 
bable, yea, very probable that he will recover, live and do well, oh what 
a support, comfort, and refreshing is this to the languishing patient ! 
When there is but a probability of a good market, how does the market- 
man smile ; when there is but a probability of good trading, how does 
the tradesman cheer up ; when there is but a probability of a good voy- 
age, how does the merchants' and the mariners' spirits rise ; when thei-e 
is but a probability of a good harvest, how does the husbandman sing ; 
when there is but some hopes, some probability of a pardon for a con- 
demned man, how does his spirits revive, and how does his heart even 
leap and dance for joy ; and so when a Christian has but some hopes, 
some probabilities of grace, of an interest in Christ, and of being saved, 
he may well cheer up and maintain his ground against all fears and 
doubts, objections and temptations. But, 

[6.] Sixthly and lastly. Consider there is a great deal of grace and 
mercy in Scripture peradventures, as you muy easily see by compar- 
ing the scriptures in the margin together."^ Scripture peradventures 
ought to keep down despair, and raise our hopes and our hearts. To 
know that God is favourable, and that sin is pardonable, and that mercy 
is attainable, and that hell is avoidable, is no small comfort to a poor 
doubting trembling Christian. And as there is a great deal of grace and 
mercy in Scripture peradventures, so there is a great deal of grace and 
favour in Scripture may-bes, as you may see by comparing these scrip- 
tures in the margin together.^ Now, if Scripture peradventures and Scrip- 
ture may-bes afford so much support, relief, and comfort to your souls, 
as indeed they do, then doubtless probabilities of grace, of an interest in 
Christ, of going to heaven, and of being saved, ought very much to sup- 
port, reUeve, cheer, and comfort the hearts of all those that have such 
probabilities. A gracious soul may say when he is lowest and weakest, 

^ Let not any think, saith Luther, the devil is now dead, no nor yet asleep; for as he 
that ' keepeth Israel,' so he that hateth Israel ' never slumbereth or sleepeth.' 

2 Exod. xxxii. 30; I Sam. ix. 6; 1 Kings xx. 21 ; 2 Tim. ii. 25. 

" I Sam. xiv. 6 ; 2 Sam. xvi. 12 ; 2 Kings xix. 4 ; Isa. xxxvii. 4 ; Ezek. xiv. 11 ; Amos 
V. 15 ; Zeph. ii- 3 ; Dan. iv. 27- 


Well, though I dare not say that I have grace, yet I have a peradven- 
ture for it ; and though I dare not, I cannot say I have an interest in 
Christ, yet if I have a may-be for it, I ought to bear up bravely and 
comfortably against all fears and doubts ; yea, and to take the comfort 
and the sweet of all those blessed probabilities of grace, of an interest 
in Christ, and of being sav^d, and of all the perad ventures and may-bes 
that are scattered up and down in the book of God, and with Hannah to 
walk up and down without a sad countenance, 1 Sam. i. 18. 

The twelfth vnawim or consideration. 

XII. Twelfth ly, Consider that it is a Christian's greatest wisdom 
und highest concernment, to take the most <;ommodious tiTue for the 
casting up of his spiritual accounts. If I would know what I am 
worth for another world, and what I have to shew for ' the inheritance 
of the saints in light,' then I am to take my heart when it is at best, 
and when I am most divinely prepared and fitted for this great service, 
then to enter upon it. It is no wisdom for a man to go to see his face 
in troubled waters, or to look for a pearl in a puddle. There are some 
particular times and seasons in which it is no way safe nor convenient 
for a Christian to enter upon the trial of his spiritual estate. As, first. 
When the body is greatly distempered ; 2, When the soul is greatly 
tempted by Satan, or sadly deserted by God ; 3, When the conscience 
is so deeply wounded by some great falls, as that the soul is filled 
with exceeding great fear, terror, and horror.^ It is with many poor 
Christians in this case, as it hath been with some who have been so 
struck with the fear and horror of death before the judge, that though 
they were good scholars, and able to read anything, yet fear and horror 
hath so surprised them, that when their lives have been at stake, and 
the book hath been given them to read, they have not been able to read 
one line, one word.^ So many of the precious servants of Christ, when 
they have been under wounds of conscience, and when they have been 
filled with fears, terrors, and horrors, they have not been able to look 
up to heaven, nor read their evidences, nor turn to the breasts of the 
promises, nor call to mind their former experiences, nor behold the least 
glimpse of heaven's glories, Ps. xl. 12, Ixxvii., Ixxxviii. ; Job xxiii. 8, 9. 
No man in his wits, if he were to weigh gold, would weigh it in the 
midst of high winds, great stoi-ms, and horrible tempests, which would 
so hurry the balance up and down, this way and that, that it would be 
impossible for him to weigh his gold exactly. Now the trial of our 
spiritual estates is like the weighing of gold, for we are all to weigh our- 
selves by the balance of the sanctuary, Job. xxxi. 6 ; Dan. v. 27. God 
himself will one day weigh us by that balance, and if we hold weight 
when he comes to weigh us, we are safe and happy for ever. But when 
he comes to weigh us in the balance of the sanctuary, if we shall then be 
found too light, it had been good for us we had never been born. When 
Belshazzar saw the handwriting upon the wall, his countenance was 
changed, and his thoughts troubled, and the joints of his loins were 
loosed, and his knees smote one against another, verses 5, 6 ; but what 
was all this to an everlasting separation from God, and to those endless, 

' Times of desertion and temptation are rather times and seasons for mourning, 
watching, resting, and seeking of God, than forjudging and determining of our conditions. 
2 Cf. Sibbes, vol. v. p. 408.— G. 

Chap. I.] a cabinet of jewels. 295 

ceaseless, and remediless torments that such must endure, who, when 
they are weighed in the balance, shall be found too light ? 2 Thes. i. 
7-10. A man that would weigh gold to a grain, must weigh it in a 
quiet still place ; and so a man that would make an exact trial of his 
spiritual estate, he must take his soul when it is most serious, quiet, 
still, and composed ; he must take his heart when it is in the best frame, 
and most disposed to solemn and weighty work. There are some times 
which are very unapt for a gracious person to sit as judge upon his 
spiritual estate, and to pass sentence upon his own soul.^ The best 
Christians under heaven do meet with divers inward and outward 
changes ; sometimes the light shines so clear that they can see things 
as they are, but at other times all is dark and cloudy, and tempestuous, 
and then they are apt to judge themselves by feeling and new re- 
presentations, and not accordmg to the truth. O sirs ! remember this 
once for all, that times of inward or outward distresses are best for 
praying, and worst for judging. If a man will at such times pass sen- 
tence on himself or his estate as a judge, he will certainly judge un- 
righteous judgment, for then the soul is not itself, and is very apt and 
prone to take Satan's work for his own, and to side with him against it- 
self, yea, and then usually it will see nothing, it will think of nothing, it 
will dwell upon nothing but what makes against itself. 4. When God 
exercises a man with some exceedingsevere and unusual providences, when 
God steps out of his ordinary way of dispensations in his dealings with a 
man ; when God sets a man up before all the world as a mark to shoot at, 
as he did Job, Job vii. 20,xvi. 12. Now a poor Christian is ready to doubt 
and conclude. Surely the Lord has no regard of me, he has no entire love 
for me, his heart is certainly not towards me, seeing all these sore trials 
make so much against me ; but here the poor Christian is mistaken, as 
Jacob once was : Gen. xlii. 36, * And Jacob their father said unto them. 
Me have ye bereaved of my children : Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, 
and ye will take Benjamin away. All these things are against me.' 
But Jacob was out, for all those things made for him, and for the pre- 
servation of the visible church of God in the world, Gen. xlv. 5-9. 
Certainly all the afflictions that befall the people of God, are but his 
love-tokens. ' As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten,' Kev. iii. 19, 
Heb. xii. 5, 6, and therefore those Christians are miserably mistaken 
that take them for testimonies of his wrath, and effects of his disfavour. 
O sirs ! what can be more absurd, displeasing, and provoking, than for a 
Christian to make that an argument of God's hatred, that he intends 
for an instance of his love ? and yet Christians are apt thus to act. It 
is observable the apostle reckons affliction amongst God's honoraries and 
tokens of respect, ' For to you it is given,' saith he, ' not only to believe, 
but also to suffer,' Philip, i. 29, 'which,' saith father Latimer, 'is the 
greatest promotion that God gives in this world.' Job, when he was 
himself, could not but admire at it, Job vii. 17, 18, that God should 
make such an account of man, and that he should so magnify him, and 
dignify him, as to think him worthy of a rod, a whipping ; as to think 

^ The candle will never burn clear whilst there is a thief in it. Sin indulged in the 
conscience, is like Jonah in the ship, which causeth such a tempest, that the conscience is 
like a troubled sea, whose waters cannot rest, or it is like a mole in the eye, which causeth 
a perpetual trouble while it is there. [' Thief. ' Cf. Sibbes, vol. iv., note/, p. 486 — O.] 


him worth a melting and trying every morning, yea, every moment. 
It is certain that great prosperity and worldly glory are no sure tokens 
of God's love, Prov. i. 32, Ps. Ixxiii. 5, Eccles. ix. 1, 2 ; and it is certain 
that great troul^les and afflictions are no sure marks of God's hatred ; 
and yet many poor Christians, when the waters of affliction rise high, 
and are ready to overflow them, oh how apt are they to conclude that 
God hates them, and will revenge himself upon them, and that they 
have nothing of God or Christ, or the Spirit, or grace in them ! Or, 5, 
when the Spirit, the Comforter, stands afar off, Lam. i. 16, and withholds 
those special influences, without which, in a common ordinary way, a 
Christian cannot divinely, candidly, clearly and impartially transact with 
God in order to his own peace, comfort and settlement. Or, 6, when 
either a Christian's evidences are not at hand, or else they are so soiled, 
darkened, blotted and obscured, as that he is not able to read them. Or 
7, when a Christian is extremely oppressed with melancholy. Melan- 
choly is a dark and dusky humour, which disturbs both soul and body, 
and the cure of it belongs rather to the physician than to the divine. 
It is a most pestilent humour where it abounds ; one calls it balneum 
diaboli, the dev