Skip to main content

Full text of "The Jerusalem sinner saved ; The Pharisee and the publican ; The Trinity and a Christian ; The law and a Christian, &c. ; To which is appended An exhortation to peace and unity ; With life of Bunyan"

See other formats

.Ul.|.K.-..<\ >..■ 


.V lt...lH.-.M.IJ.l;, 


I »»BOR I 

Presented to the 



Hugh Anson-Cartwright 







3 y M 1 k M 

cc/ (pZf^f. 





&C. &C. 









1 Prefa.ce. 

2 Life of Bunyan. 

3 Tiie Jerusalem. Sinner Saved, ... .1 
4. The Pharisee and the Publican, ... 93 
6 The Trinity and a Christian, .... 246 
6 The La-w and a Christian, .... 251 

7. Bunyan's Last Sermon, . ... 267 

8. Bunyan 8 Dying Sayings, . . . . 267 
9 An Exhortation to Peace and TJnity, ,, . . 277 


The Editor has but little to prefix to this volume by way of 

The works of Bunyan are so well known, and so highly appre- 
ciated, as to render any commendation of them quite superfluous. 
Suffice it merely to state, that although his great fame is built on 
his genius as the allegorist of the Christian character and life, 
still, viewed more strictly as a Theologian, his works place him 
very high even among the Puritan Divines. In the works here 
printed, it is hoped that the reader will find justice done to his 
varied merits. 

The utmost attention has been paid to secure complete ac- 
curacy in the text, by collating the best editions of his Works : 
and everything has been done to render tlie present, in all other 
respects, a faultless volume. 


After the pleasant sketches of pens so graceful as Southey's 
and ]Montgomer}''s ; after the elaborate biography of Mr Philip, 
whose researches have left few desiderata for any subsequent 
devotee ; indeed, after Bunyan's own graphic and characteristic 
narrative, the task on which we are now entering is one which, 
as we would have courted it the less, so we feel that we have 
peculiar facilities for performing it. Our main object is to give 
a simple and coherent account of a most unusual man — and then 
we should like to turn to some instructive purpose the peculiar- 
ities of his singular history, and no less singular works. 

John Bunyan was born at Elstow, near Bedford, in 1628. His 
father was a brazier or tinker, and brought up his son as a crafts- 
man of like occupation. There is no evidence for the gipsy origin 
of the house of Bunyan; and though extremely poor, John's 
father gave his son such an education as poor men could then 
obtain for then* children. He was sent to school and taught to 
read and write. 

There has been some needless controversy regarding Bunyan's 
early days. Some have too readily taken for granted that he 
was in all respects a reprobate ; and others — the chief of whom 
is Dr Southey — have laboured to shew that there was httle 
in the lad which any would censure, save the righteous over- 
much. The truth is, that considering his rank of life, his 
conduct was not flagitious ; for he never was a drunkard, a 
libertine, or a lover of sanguinary sports : and tlie profanity 
and sabbath-breaking and heart-atheism which afterwards preyed 
on his awakened conscience, are unhappily too frequent to make 
their perpetrator conspicuous. The thing which gave Bunyan 



any notoriety in the days of his ungodliness, and which made him 
afterwards appear to himself such a monster of iniquity, was the 
energy which he put into all his doings. He had a zeal for idle 
play, and an enthusiasm in mischief, which were the perverse 
manifestations of a forceful character, and which may have well 
entitled him to Southey's epithet—" a blackguard." The reader 
need not go far to see young Bunyan. Perhaps thei-e is near 
your dwelling an Elstow — a quiet hamlet of some fifty houses 
sprinkled about in the picturesque confusion, and with the easy 
amplitude of space, which gives an old English village its look of 
leisure and longevity. And it is now verging to the close of the 
Bummer's day. The daws are taking short excursions from the 
steeple, and tamer fowls have gone home from the darkening and 
dewy green. But old Bunyan's donkey is still browzing there, 
and yonder is old Bunyan's self — the brawny tramper dispread 
on the settle, retailing to the more clownish residents tap-room 
wit and roadside news. However, it is yoimg Bunyan you wish 
to see. Yonder he is, the noisiest of the party, playmg pitch-and- 
toss — that one with the shaggy eyebrows, whose entire soul is 
ascending in the twirling penny — grim enough to be the black- 
smith's apprentice, but his singed garments hanging rovmd liim 
with a lank and idle freedom which scorns indentures ; his ener- 
getic movements and authoritative vociferations at once bespeak- 
ing the ragamuffin ringleader. The penny has come down with 
the wrong side uppermost, and the loud execration at once bewrays 
young Badman. You have only to remember that it is Sabbath 
evening, and you witness a scene often enacted on Elstow green 
two hundred years ago. 

Tlie strong depraving element in Bunyan's character was un- 
godliness. He walked according to the course of this world, ful- 
filling the desires of the flesh and of the mind ; and conscious of 
his own rebelhon, he said unto God, " Depart from me, for I de- 
sire not the knowledge of thy ways." The only restraining in- 
fluence of which he then felt the power, was terror. His daj-s were 
often gloomy tlirough forebodings of the ^v^ath to come ; and his 
nights were scared with visions, which the boisterous diversions 
and adventures of his waldng-day could not always dispel. He 
would dream that the last day had come, and that tlie qualdng earth 
was opening its mouth to let liim do\vn to hell ; or he would find 
himself in the grasp of fiends, who were dragging him powerless 
away. And musing over these terrors of the night, yet feeling that 


he could not abandon liis sins, in his despair of heaven his anxious 
fancy would suggest to him all sorts of strange desires. He 
would wish that tliere had been no hell at all ; or that, if he must 
needs go thither, he might be a devil, " supposing, tliey were 
only tormentors, and I would rather be a tormentor than tor- 
mented myself." 

These were the fears of his childhood. As he grew older, he 
grew harder. He experienced some remarkable providences, but 
they neither startled nor melted liim. He once fell into the sea, 
and another time out of a boat into Bedford river, and either time 
had a narrow escape from drowning. One day in the field with a 
companion, an adder glided across their path. Bunyan's ready 
switch stunned it in a moment ; but with characteristic daring, he 
forced open the creature's mouth, and plucked out the sting — ^a 
foolhardiness which, as he himself observes, might, but for God's 
mercy, have brought him to his end. In the civU war he was 
" drawn " as a soldier to go to the siege of Leicester ; but when 
ready to set out, a comrade sought leave to take his place. Bun- 
yan consented. His companion went to Leicester, and, standing 
scnti'y, was shot through the head, and died. These interpositions 
made no impression on him at the time. 

He married very early : " And my mercy was to light upon a 
wife, whose father was counted godly. This woman and I, though 
we came together as poor as poor might be — not having so much 
household stuff as a dish or spoon betwixt us, yet this she had 
for her portion, *The Plain Man's Pathway to Heaven,' and 
* The Practice of Piety,' which her father had left her when he 
died. In these two books I would sometimes read with her; 
wherein I also found some things that were somewhat pleasing to 
me. She also would be often telling of me what a godly man 
her father was, and what a strict and holy life he lived in his 
days, both in word and deeds. Wherefore these books, with the 
relation, though they did not reach my heart to awaken it about 
my soul and sinful state , yet they did beget within me some de- 
sires to reform my vicious life, and fall in very eagerly with the 
religion of the times — to wit, to go to church twice a-day, and that, 
too, with the foremost ; and there should very devoutly both say 
and sing as others did, yet retaining my wicked life. But, withal, 
I was so overrim with the spirit of superstition, that I adored, 
and that with great devotion, even all things — the high-place, 
priest, clerk, vestment, service, and what else belonging to the 


Church ; counting all things holy that were therein contained, 
and especially the priest and clerk, most happy, and, without 
doubt, greatly blessed, because they were the servants, as I then 
thought, of God, and were principal in the temple to do his work 

So strong was this superstitious feeling — one shared by the 
ignorant peasantry in many portions of England, even at the 
present day — that " had he but seen a' priest, though never so 
sordid and debauched in his life, his spirit would fall imder 
him; and he could liave lain down at their feet and been trampled 
upon by them — their name, their garb, and work, did so intoxi- 
cate and bewitch him." It little matters what form superstition 
takes — image-worship, priest-worship, or temple-worship ; notliing 
is transforming except Christ in the heart, a Saviour reaUzed, 
accepted, and enthroned. Whilst adoring the altar, and wor- 
shipping the surplice, and deifying the individual who wore it, 
Bunyan continued to curse and blaspheme, and spend his Sab- 
baths in the same riot as before. 

One day, however, he heard a sermon on the sin of Sabbath- 
breaking. It fell heavy on his conscience ; for it seemed all in- 
tended for him. It haunted him throughout the day, and when 
he went to his usual diversion in the afternoon, its cadence was 
still knellmg in his troubled ear. He was busy at a game called 
" Cat," and had already struck the ball one blow, and was about 
to deal another, when "a voice darted from heaven into his 
soul, * Wilt thou leave thy sins and go to heaven, or have thy 
sins and go to hell V " His arm was arrested, and looking up to 
heaven, it seemed as if the Lord Jesus was looking down upon 
him in remonstrance and severe displeasure ; and, at the same 
instant, the conviction flashed across him, tliat he had sinned so 
long that repentance was now too late. " My state is surely miser- 
able — miserable if I leave my sins, and but miserable if I follow 
them. I can but be damned ; and if I must be so, I bad as good 
be damned for many sins as few." In the despeimtion of tliis 
awful conclusion he resumed the game ; and so persuaded was he 
that heaver was for ever forfeited, that for some time after he 
made it his deliberate policy to enjoy the pleasures of sin as ' 
rapidly and intensely as possible. 

To understand the foregoing incident, and some which may 
follow, the reader must remember that Bimyan was made up of 
vivid fancy and vehement emotion. He seldom believed j he 


always felt and saw. And he could do nothing by halves. He 
threw a whole heart into his love and his hatred ; and when he 
rejoiced or trembled, the entire man and every movement was con- 
verted into ecstasy or horror. Many have experienced the dim 
counterpart of such processes as we are now describing ; but 
will scarcely recognise their own equivalent history in the bright 
reaUzations and agonizing vicissitudes of a mind so fervent and 

For a month or more he went on in resolute sinning, only 
grudging that he could not get such scope as the madness of de- 
spair solicited, when one day standing at a neighbom^'s window, 
cursing and swearing, and " playing the madman, after his wonted 
manner," the woman of the house protested that he made her 
tremble, and that truly he was the imgodliest feUow for swearing 
that she ever heard in all her life, and quite enough to ruin the 
youth of the whole to^vn. The woman was herself a notoriously 
worthless character ; and so severe a reproof, from so strange a 
quarter, had a singular effect on Bvmyan's mind. He was in a 
moment silenced. He blushed before the God of heaven ; and as 
he there stood with hanging head, he wished with all his heart 
that he were a little child again, that his father might teach him 
to speak without profanity ; for he thought it so inveterate now, 
that reformation was out of the question. Nevertheless, so it was, 
from that instant onward he was cured of his wicked habit, and 
people wondered at the change. 

" Quickly after this I fell into company with one poor man 
that made profession of religion ; who, as I then thought, did talk 
pleasantly of the Scriptures and of the matter of religion. Where- 
fore, falling into some love and liking of what he said, I betook 
me to my Bible, and began to take great pleasure in reading, but 
especially with the historical part thereof ; for as for Paul's Epis- 
tles, and such like Scriptures, I could not away with them, being 
as yet ignorant either of the corruption of my nature, or of the 
want and worth of Jesus Christ to save me. Wherefore I fell 
into some outward reformation, both in my words and life, and did 
set the commandments before me for my way to heaven ; 
which commandments I also did strive to keep, and, as I thought, 
did keep them pretty well sometimes, and then I should have 
comfort ; yet now and then should break one, and so afflict my 
conscience ; but then I should repent, and say I was sorry for it, 
and promise God to do better next time, and there got help 


again ; for then I thought I pleased God as well as any man in 
England. Thus I contmued a])out a year ; all which time our 
neighbours did take me to be a very godly man, a new and reli- 
gious man, and did marvel much to see such great and famoxis 
alteration in my life and manners ; and indeed so it was, though 
I knew not Christ, nor grace, nor faith, nor hope ; for, as I have 
well since seen, had I then died, my state had been most fearful. 
But, I say, my neighbours were amazed at this my great conver- 
sion, from prodigious profaneness to something like a moral life ; 
and so they well might ; for this my conversion was as great as 
for Tom of Bedlam to become a sober man. Now, therefore, 
they began to speak well of me, both befoi-e my face and behind 
my back. Now I was, as they said, become godly ; now I was 
become a right honest man. But oh ! when I understood these 
were their words and opinions of me, it pleased me mighty well. 
For though, as yet, I was nothing but a poor painted hypocrite, 
yet I loved to be talked of as one that was truly godly. . . . 
And thus I continued for about a twelvemonth or more." 

Though not acting from enlightened motives, Bunyan was now 
mider the guidance of new influences. For just as the Spirit of 
God puts forth a restraining influence on many during the days 
of their carnality, which makes the change at their conversion 
less conspicuous than if they had been lifted from the depths of a 
flagitious reprobacy ; so others he long subjects to a preparatory 
process, during which some of the old and most offensive things 
of their ungodliness pass away ; and when the revolution, effected 
by the entrance of the evangelic motive, at last takes place, it is 
rather to personal consciousness than to outward observation 
that the change is perceptible. The real and final transformation 
is rather witliin the man than upon him. So was it with John 
Bunyan. One by one he abandoned his besetting sins, and made 
many concessions to conscience, while as yet he had not yielded 
his heart to the Saviour. It was slowly and regretfully, however, 
tliat he severed the " right hand." One of his principal amuse- 
ments was one which he could not comfortably continue. It was 
hell -ringing ; by which he probably means the meiTy peals with 
which they used to desecrate their Sabbath evenings. It was only 
by degrees that he was able to abandon this favourite divei'sion. 
" What if one of the bells should fall 1" To provide against this 
contingency, he took his stand under a beam fastened across the 
tower. " But what il' the falling bell should rebomid from one of 


tlie side walls, and hit me after all ?" Tliis thought sent him do^vn 
stairs, and made Mm take his station, rope in hand, at the steeple 
door. " But what if the steeple itself should come down ? " This 
thought banished him altogether, and he bade adieu to bell-ring- 
ing. And by a similar series of concessions, eventually, but with 
longer delay, he gave up another practice, for which his con- 
science checked liim — dancing. All these improvements in his 
conduct were a source of much complacency to himself, though 
all this while he wanted the soul-emancipating and sin-subduing 
knowledge of Jesus Christ. The Son had not made him free. 

There is such a tiling as cant. It is possible for flippant pre- 
tenders to acquire a peculiar phraseology, and use it with a pain- 
ful dextei'ity ; and it is also possible for genuine Christians to 
subside into a state of mind so listless or secular, that their talk 
on I'eligious topics will have the inane and heax'tless sound of the 
tinkling cymbal. But as there is an experimental religion, so is it 
possible for those who have felt religion in its vitality to exchange 
their thoughts regarding it, and to relate what it — or rather, God in 
it — has done for them. There are few things which indicate a 
healthier state of personal piety than such a frank and full- 
hearted Christian intercourse. It was a specimen of such com- 
munings which impressed on the mind of Bunyan the need of 
something beyond an outside reformation. He had gone to Bed- 
ford in prosecution of his calling, when, passing along the street, 
he noticed a few poor women sitting in a door-way, and talking 
together. He drew near to listen to their discourse. It sur- 
prised him J for though he had by this time become a great 
talker on sacred subjects, their themes were far beyond his reach. 
God's work in their souls, the views they had obtained of their 
natural misery and of God's love in Christ Jesus, what words 
and promises had particularly refreshed them and strengthened 
tliem against the temptations of Satan ; it was of matters so per- 
sonal and vital that they spake to one another. " And methought 
they spake as if you had made them speak ; they spake with 
such pleasantness of Scripture language, and with such appear- 
ance of grace in all they said, that they were to me as if they had 
found a new world — as if they were ^ people that dwelt alone, 
and were not to be reckoned among their neighbours ! ' " 

The conversation of these poor people made a deep impression 
on Bunyan's mind. He saw that there was something in real I'eli- 
gion into which he had not yet penetrated. He sought the society 


of these humble instructors, and learned from them much that he 
had not known before. He began to read the Bible with new avi- 
dity ; and that portion which had formerly been most distasteful, 
the Epistles of Paul, now became the subject of his speci;il study. 
A sect of Antinomians, who boasted tJiat they could do wliatsoever 
they pleased without sinning, now fell in his way. Professors of 
religion were rapidly embracing their opinions, and there was 
something in their wild fervour and apparent raptures, prepos- 
sessing to the ardent mind of Bunyan. He read their books, and 
pondered their principles ; but prefaced his examination with the 
simple prayer, — " Lord, I am a fool, and not able to know the 
truth from error. Lord, leave me not to my own blindness. If 
this doctrine be of God, let me not despise it ; if it be of the devil, 
let me not embrace it. Lord, in this matter I Lay my soul only at 
thy foot : let me not be deceived, I humbly beseech tlaee." His 
prayer was heard, and he was saved from this snare of the 

The object to which the eye of ar inquiring sinner should be 
turned, is Christ — the finished work and the sufficient Saviour. 
But, in point of fact, the chief stress of the more evangeUcal in- 
struction has usually been laid on Faith — on that act of the mind 
which unites the soul to the Saviour, and makes salvation per- 
sonal ; and it is only by studj-ing faith that many have come at 
last to an indirect and circuitous acquaintance with Christ. By 
some such misdirection Bunyan was misled. In quest of faith he 
went a long and joyless journey, and was wearied with the greatness 
of his way. It was secretly urged upon his mind, that if he had 
faith he would be able to work mii*acles ; and passages of Scrip- 
tm'e were borne in upon his mind, which bespoke the omnipotence 
of faith. One day, on the road from Elstow to Bedford, it was 
suggested to his mind to try some miracle, and that miracle should 
be, " to say to the puddles wliich were in tlie horse-pads, ' Be diy ,' 
and to the dry places, ' Be you puddles.' " However, before 
doing this, he thought he should go over the hedge and pray for 
faith, and then come and speak tlie woi'd. " But what if, after 
you have prayed and tried to do it, nothing happens ?" The 
dread of this alternative made him postpone the anxious experi- 
ment, and left him still in doubt. 

Then he had a sort of waking -vision, suggested by what he had 
seen in his pious friends at Bedford. " I saw as if they were on 
the smmy side of some liigh mountain, there refreshing Uiemselves 


with the pleasant beams of the sun, while I was shivering and 
shrinking in the cold, afflicted with frost, snow, and dark clouds. 
Methought also, betwixt me and them, I saw a wall that did com- 
pass about this moimtain ; now through this wall my soul did 
greatly desire to pass, concluding that if I could, I would even 
go into the very midst of them, and there also comfort my self with 
the heat of their sun. About this wall I thought myself to go 
again and again, still prying as I went, to see if I could find 
some gap or passage to enter therein. But none could I find for 
some time. At the last I saw, as it were, a narrow gap, like a 
little doorway in the wall, tlirough which I attempted to pass. 
Now, the passage bemg very strait and narrow, I made many 
offers to get in, but all in vain, even until I was wellnigh quite 
beat out, by striving to get in. At last, with great striving, me- 
thought I at first did get in my head, and after that, by a sideling 
striving, my shoulders and my whole body.* Then was I exceed- 
ing glad ; went and sat down in the midst of them, and so was 
comforted with the light and heat of their sun. Now, this moun- 
tain and wall were thus made out to me : The moimtain signified 
the church of the living God ; the sun that shone thereon, the 
comfortable shining of his merciful face on them that were therein : 
the wall, I thought, was the world, that did make separation be- 
tween the Christians and the world ; and the gap which was in 
the wall, I thought was Jesus Christ, who is the way to God the 
Father. But forasmuch as the passage was wonderful narrow, 
even so narrow that I could not, but with great difficulty, enter in 
thereat, it shewed me that none could enter into life but those 
that were in downright earnest, and unless they left that wicked 
world behind them ; for here was only room for body and soul, 
but not for body and soul and sin." The dream did him good, 
for, though it brought him no absolute assurance, it inspirited his 
efforts after it. 

There is scarcely a fear which can assail an inquiring spirit 
which did not at some stage of his progress ai'rest the mind of 
Bunyan. At one time he was afflicted by an erroneous view 
of the doctrine of election. Looking at them from the outer and 
under side, those purposes of everlasting love which secure their 
safety who have already got within the precincts of salvation, ap- 

* Those who are interested in the historic parallels supplied by ChrisAian 
biograpliy will find a similar instructive dream in the Life of General Bum, 
vol. L pp. 127-130. 



peared bristling and forbidding — a frowning chevaux de frise, 
rather than a fence of protection and preservation. And when 
somewhat relieved from this perplexity, he fell into another. He 
feared that the day of grace was gone ; and so impressed on his 
mind was this mournful conviction, that he could do httle else 
than upbraid his own infatuation for allowing the one propitious 
season to pass for ever away. But the words, " Compel them to 
come in, that my house may be filled ;" and those others, *' And 
yet there is room," brought him rehef. Then, again, he saw that 
the call of Christ was needful to make a man a disciple; and he 
feared that he should never get that call. " But oh ! how I now 
loved those words that spake of a Christian's calling ! as when 
the Lord said to one. Follow me ; and to another, Come after 
me : and oh ! thought I, that he would say so to me too : how 
gladly would I run after him ! How lovely now was every one in 
my eyes, that I thought to be converted, whether man or woman ! 
They shone, they walked Uke a people that carried the broad seal 
of heaven upon them. Oh ! I saw the lot was fallen to them in 
pleasant places, and they had a goodly heritage. But that which 
made me sick, was that of Christ, — * He went up into a moun- 
tain, and called to him whom he would, and they came unto him.' 
This Scripture made me faint and fear, yet it kindled fire in my 
soul. That which made me fear was this : lest Christ should have 
no liking to me, for he called whom he would. But oh ! the 
glory that 1 saw in that condition did still so engage my heart, 
that I could seldom read of any that Christ did call but I pre- 
sently wished, * Would I had been in their clothes ! would I 
had been born Peter ! would I liad been bom John ! or, would I 
had been bye, and had heard him when he called them, how 
would I have cried, Lord, call me also. But oh ! I feared he 
would not call me.' " 

There was at that time a minister in Bedford whose history 
was almost as remarkable as Bunyan's own. His name was 
Gifford. He had been a staunch royalist, and concerned in the 
rising in Kent. He was aiTested, and, with eleven of liis com- 
rades, was doomed to die. The night before tlie day fixed for 
his execution his sister came to visit him. She found the guai'd 
aftleep, and, with her assistance, the prisoner'leffected his escape. 
For tliree days he was hid in a field, in the bottom of a deep 
ditch ; but at last he contrived to get away to a ^lace of safety 
in the neighbourhood of Bedford. Being there a perfect sti-anger, 


he ventured on the practice of physic ; but he was still abandoned 
to reckless habits and outrageous vice. One evening he lost a 
large sum of money at the gaming-table, and in the fierceness of 
his chagrin his mind was filled with the most desperate thoughts 
of the providence of God. In his vexation he snatched up a 
book. It was a volume of Bolton, a solemn and forceful writer 
then well known. A sentence in this book so fixed on his con- 
science that for many weeks he could get no rest in his spirit. 
When at last he found forgiveness through the blood of Christ, 
his joy was extreme, and, except for two days before his death, 
he never lost the comfortable persuasion of God's love. For some 
time the few pious individuals in that neighbourhood would not 
beheve that such a reprobate was really converted ; but, nothing 
daunted by their distrust, like his prototype of Tarsus, he began 
to preach the Word with boldness, and, endowed with a vigorous 
mind and a fervent spirit, remarkable success attended his minis- 
try. A little church was formed, and he was invited to become 
its pastor ; and there he continued till he died.* It was to this 
Mr GifFord that Bunyan was at this time introduced ; and though 
the conversations of this " Evangelist" brought him no immediate 
comfort, it was well for him to enjoy the friendship and sympa- 
thy of one whose own views were so clear and happy. 

It is instructive to find, that, amid all the depression of these 
anxious days, it was not any one sin, nor any particular class of 
sins, which made him so fearful and unhappy. He felt that he 
was a sinner, and as a sinner he wanted a perfect righteousness 
to present him faultless before God. This righteousness, he also 
Ivnew, was nowhere to be found except in the person of Jesus 
Clirist. " My original and inward pollution, — that was my plague 
and affliction. That I saw at a dreadful rate, always putting 
forth itself within me, — that I had the guilt of to amazement ; by 
reason of that I was more loathsome in mine own eyes than a toad ; 
and I thought I was so in God's eyes too. Sin and corruption, I 
siud, would as naturally bubble out of my heart as water would 
out of a fountain. I thought now that every one had a better 
heart than I had. I could have changed hearts with any body. I 
thought none but the devil liiroself could equalize me for inward 
wickedness and pollution of mind. I fell, therefore, at the sight 
of my own vileness, deeply into despair ; for I concluded that this 

* Ivimey's Life of Bunyan, pp. 51-53. 


condition that I was in could not stand with a state of grace. 
Sure, thought I, I am forsaken of God ; sure I am given up to 
the devil and a reprobate mind. And thus I continued a long 
while, even for some years together." 

During these painful apprehensions regarding his own state, it 
is no marvel that he looked on seculax things with an apathetic 
eye. " While thus afflicted with the fears of my own damnation, 
there were two things would make me wonder : the one was, when 
I saw old people hunting after the things of this life, as if they 
should live here always ; the other was, when I found professors 
much distressed and cast down when they met with outward losses, 
as of husband, wife, child, &c. Lord, thought I, what a-do is 
here about such little things as these ! What seeking after car- 
nal things by some, and what grief in others for the loss of them ! 
If they so much labour after, and shed so many tears for the 
things of this present life, how am I to be bemoaned, pitied, and 
prayed for ! My soul is dying, my soul is damning. Were my 
Boul but in a good condition, and were I but sure of it, ah ! how 
rich would I esteem myself, though blessed but with bread and 
water ! I should count those but small afflictions, and bear them 
as little burdens. A wounded spirit who can bear ?" 

This long interval of gloom was at last relieved by a brief sun- 
burst of joy. He heard a sermon on the text, " Behold, thou art 
fair, my love ;" in which the preacher said, that a ransomed sovd 
is precious to the Saviour, even when it appears very worthless to 
itself, — that Christ loves it when tempted, assaulted, afflicted, and 
mourning under the hiding of God's countenance. Bunyan went 
home musing on the words, till the truth of what the preacher 
said began to force itself upon his mind ; and half incredulous at 
first, a hesitating hope dawned in upon his spirit. " Then I be- 
gan to give place to the word, which, with power, did over and 
over make this joyful sound within my soul — " Thou art my love, 
thou art my love ; and nothing shall separate thee from my love." 
And with that my heart was filled full of comfort and hope ; and 
now I could believe that my sins should be forgiven me : yea, I 
was now so taken with the love and mercy of God, that I remem- 
ber I could not tell how to contain till I got home. I thought I 
could have spoken of his love, and have told of his mercy to me, 
even to the very crows that sat upon the ploughed lands before 
me, had they been capable to have understood me. Wherefore, 
I 6aid in my soul, with much gladness, Well, I would I had pen 


and ink here. I would write this down before I go any farther ; 
for surely I will not forget this forty years hence." 

However, as he himself remarks, in less than forty days he had 
forgotten it all. A flood of new and fierce temptations broke over 
him, and had it not been for a strong sustaining arm which un- 
seen upheld him, his soul must have sunk in the deep and angry 
waters. At one time he was almost overwhelmed in a hurricane 
of blasphemous suggestions, and at another time his faith had 
wellnigh made shipwreck on the shoals of infidelity or deliberate 
atheism. But the very reluctance and dismay of his spirit shewed 
that a new nature was in him. " I often, when these temptations 
have been with force upon me, did compare myself to the case of 
such a child whom some gipsy hath by force took up in her 
arms, and is carrying from friend and country ; kick sometimes 
I did, and also shriek and cry ; but yet I was bound in the 
wings of the temptation, and the wind would carry me away." It 
was all that he could do to refrain from articulating such words 
as he imagined would amount to the sin against the Holy Ghost ; 
and for a year together he was hatmted with such diabolical sug- 
gestions that he was weary of his life, and fain would have changed 
condition with a horse or a dog. Diu'ing this dreary term it is 
no wonder that his heart felt hard. " Though he should have 
given a thousand pounds for a tear, he could not shed one ; and 
often he had not even the desire to shed one." Every ordinance 
was an affliction. He could not listen to a sermon, or take up a 
religious book, but a crowd of wild and horrid fancies rushed in 
betwixt the subject and his bewildered mind. He could not as- 
sume the attitude of prayer but he felt impelled to break off", 
almost as if some one had been pulling him away ; or, to mar his 
devotion, some ridiculous object was sure to be presented to his 
fancy. It is not surprising that he should have concluded that 
he was possessed by the devil ; and it is scarcely possible to 
peruse his own and similar recitals without the forcible convic- 
tion that they are more than the mere workings of the mind, either 
in its sane or its disordered state. 

Only relieved by some glimpses of comfort, " which, like 
Peter's sheet, were of a sudden caught up from him into heaven 
again," this horrible darkness lasted no less than a year. The 
light which first stole in upon it, and in which it finally melted 
away, was a clear discovery of the person of Christ, more espe- 
cially a distinct perception of the dispositions which he mani- 


fested while here on earth. And one thing greatly helped him. 
He alighted on a congenial mind, and an experience almost iden- 
tical with his own. From the emancipation which this new acquain- 
tance gave to his spirit, as well as the tone which he imparted to 
Bunyan's theology, we had best relate the incident in his own words. 
" Before I had got thus far out of my temptations, I did greatly 
long to see some ancient godly man's experience, who had writ 
some htmdreds of years before I was bom ; for those who had 
writ in our days, I thought (but I desire them now to pardon me) 
that they had writ only that which others felt; or else had, 
through the strength of their wits and parts, studied to answer 
such objections as they perceived others perplexed with, without 
going down themselves into the deep. Well, after many such 
longings in my mind, the God in whose hands are all our days 
and ways, did cast into my hands one day a book of Martin 
Luther's : it was his Comment on the Galatians ; it also was so 
old that it was ready to fall piece from piece if I did but turn it 
over. Now I was pleased much that such an old book had fallen 
into my hands ; the which, when I had but a little way perused, 
I found my condition in his experience so largely and profoundly 
handled, as if his book had been written out of my heart. This 
made me marvel : for thus, thought I, this man could not know 
anything of the state of Christians now, but must needs write and 
speak the experience of former days. Besides, he doth most 
gravely also, in that book, debate of the sin of these temptations, 
namely, blasphemy, desperation, and the Uke ; shewing that the 
law of Moses, as well as the devil, death, and hell, hath a very 
great hand therein : the which, at first, was very strange to me ; 
but considering and watching, I found it so indeed. But of par- 
ticulars here I intend nothing ; only this, methinks, I must let 
fall before all men, I do prefer this book of Martin Luther upon 
the Galatians — excepting the Holy Bible — before all the books 
that ever I have seen, as most fit for a wounded conscience." 

There was one thing of which Bunyan was very conscious — 
that his extrication from the fearful pit was the work of an al- 
mighty hand. The transition was very blissful ; but just because 
his present views were so bright and assuring, he knew that flesh 
and blood had not revealed them. " Now I had an evidence, as 
I thought, of my salvation from heaven, with many golden seals 
thereon, all hanging in my sight. Now could I remember this 
manifestation and the other discovery of grace with comfort, and 



should often long and desire that the last day were come, that I 
might be for ever inflamed with the sight and joy and communion 
with him, whose head was crowned with thorns, whose face was 
spit on and body broken, and soul made an offering for my sins : 
for, whereas before -I lay continually trembling at the mouth of 
hell, now methought I was got so far therefrom, that I could not, 
when I looked back, scarce discern it* And oh ! thought I, that 
I were fourscore years old now, that I might die quickly, that 
my soul might be gone to rest." " And now I found, as I 
thought, that I loved Christ dearly. Oh ! methought that my 
soul cleaved unto him, my affections cleaved unto him. I felt 
love to him as hot as fire ; and now, as Job said, I thought I 
should die in my nest." 

Another period of fearful agony, however, awaited him, and, 
like the last, it continued for a year. In perusing his own recital 
of these terrible conflicts, the first relief to our tortured sympathy 
is in the recollection that it is all over now, and that the sufferer, 
escaped from his great tribulation, is long ago before the throne. 
But in the calmer, because remoter, contemplation of this fiery 
trial, it is easy to see " the end of the Lord." When He per- 
mitted Satan to tempt his servant Job, it was not for Job's sake 
merely, nor for the sake of the blessed contrast which surprised 
his latter days, that he allowed such thick-coming woes to gather 
roimd the patriarch ; but it was to provide in his parallel expe- 
rience a storehouse of encouragement and hope for the future 
children of sorrow. And when the Lord permitted the adversary 
so violently to assail our worthy, and when he caused so many of 
his own waves and billows to pass over him, it was not merely 
for the sake of Bunyan ; it was for the sake of Bimyan's readers 
down to the end of time. By selecting tliis strong spirit as the 
subject of these trials, the Lord provided, in his intense feelings 
and vivid realizations, a normal type — a glaring instance of those 
experiences which, in their fainter modifications, are common to 
most Christians ; and, through his graphic pen, secured a guide- 
book for Zion's pilgrims in ages yet to come. In the tempta- 
tions we are now called to record, there is something so peculiar, 
that we do not know if Christian biography supplies any exact 
counterpart ; but the time and manner of its occurrence have 
many and painful parallels. It was after he had entered into 
" rest" — when he had received joyful assurance of his admission 
into God's family, and was desiring to depart and be with Christ 


— it was then that Una assault was made on his constancy, and it 
was a fiercer assault than any. If we do not greatly eiT, it is 
not uncommon for believers to be visited after conversion with 
temptations from which they were exempt in the days of their 
ignorance ; as well as temptations which, but for their conversion, 
could not have existed. 

The temptation to which we have alluded, took this strange 
and dreadful form — to sell and part with his Saviour, to exchange 
him for the things of this Hfe — for anything. This horrid thought 
he could not shake out of his mind, day nor night, for many 
months together. It intermixed itself with every occupation, 
however sacred, or however trivial. " He could not eat his 
food, stoop for a pin, chop a stick, nor cast his eye to look on 
this or that, but still the temptation would come, * Sell Christ for 
this, sell Christ for that, sell him, sell him.' Sometimes it 
would run in my thoughts not so little as a hundred times toge- 
ther, Sell him, sell him, sell him : Against which, I may say, for 
whole hours together, I have been forced to stand as continually 
leaning and forcing my spirit against it ; lest haply, before I was 
aware, some wicked thought might arise in my heart that might 
consent thereto : and sometimes the tempter would make me be- 
lieve I had consented to it ; but then should I be as tortured on 
a rack for whole days together," — " But, to be brief, one morning 
as I did lie in my bed, I was, as at other times, most fiercely as- 
saulted with this temptation to sell and part with Clirist — the 
wicked suggestion still running in my mind. Sell him, sell him, 
sell him, sell him, as fast as a man could speak, against which I 
also, as at other times, answered, No, no; not for thousands, 
thousands, thousands, at least twenty times together. But at 
last, after much striving, even until I was almost out of breath, I 
felt this thought pass through my heart. Let him go, if he will ; 
and I thought also that I felt my heart freely consent thereto. 
Oh, the diligence of Satan I Oh, the desperateness of man's 
heart ! Now was the battle won, and down fell I, as a bird that 
is shot from the top of a tree, into great guilt and fearful de- 
spair. Thus getting out of my bed, I went moping into the 
field, but, God knows, with as heavy a heai't as mortal man, I 
think, could bear. Where, for the space of two hours, I was like 
a man bereft of life, and as now past all recovery, and bound 
over to eternal punishment. And withal, that scripture did 
seize upon my soul, ' profane person, as Esau, who, for one 


morsel of meat, sold his birth-right ; for ye know how that after- 
wards, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was re- 
jected ; for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it 
carefully with tears.' These words were to my soul like fetters 
of brass, in the continual sound of which I went for several 
months together." 

The anxious casuistry in which he sought relief, and the alter- 
nation of wistful hope and blank despair, in which for many a 
dismal day he was tossed to and fro, none but himself can pro- 
perly describe. They are deeply affecting, and to some may 
prove insti'uctive. 

" Then began I, with sad and careful heart, to consider of the 
nature and largeness of my sin, and to search into tlie word of 
God, if in any place I could espy a word of promise, or any en- 
couraging sentence by which I might take relief. Wherefore I 
began to consider that of Mark iii., ' All manner of sins and 
blasphemies shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, wherewith 
soever they shall blaspheme :' which place, raethought, at a 
blush, did contain a large and glorious promise for the pardon of 
high offences. But considering the place more fully, I thought 
it was rather to be understood as relating more chiefly to those 
who had, while in a natural state, committed such things as 
there are mentioned ; but not to me, who had not only received 
light and mercy, but that had, both after and also contrary to 
that, so slighted Christ as I had done. I feared, therefore, that 
this wicked sin of mine might be that sin unpardonable, of which 
he tliere thus speaketh, 'But he that blasphemeth against the 
Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal 

" And now was I both a burden and a terror to myself; nor 
did I ever so know as now what it was to be weary of my life and 
yet afraid to die. how gladly would I have been anybody but 
myself ! anything but a man ! and in any condition but my own ! 
for there was nothing did pass more frequently over my mind, 
than that it was impossible for rae to be forgiven my transgres- 
sion, and to be saved from wrath to come." 

He set himself to compare his sin with that of David and 
Peter, but saw that there were specialties in his guilt which made 
it far greater. The only case which he could compare to his own 
was that of Judas. 

" About this time I did light on the dreadful story of that mi- 


serable mortal, Francis Spira. Every sentence in that book, 
every groan of that man, with all the rest of his actions in his 
dolors, as his tears, his prayers, his gnashing of teeth, his wTing- 
ing of hands, his twisting, and languishing, and pining away, un- 
der the mighty hand of God that was upon him, was as knives 
and daggers to my soul ; especially that sentence of his was 
frightful to me, ' Man knows the beginning of sin, but who 
bounds the issues thereof V Then would the former sentence, as 
the conclusion of all, fall like a hot thunderbolt again upon my 
conscience, ' For you know how, that afterwards, when he would 
have inherited the blessing, he was rejected ; for he foimd no 
place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears/ 
Then should I be struck into a very great trembling, insomuch 
that at sometimes I could, for whole days together, feel my very 
body, as well as my mind, to shake and totter under the sense of 
this dreadful judgment of God. 

" Now I should find my mind to flee from God as from the 
face of a dreadful judge ; yet this was my torment, I could not 
escape his hand. ' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of 
the living God.' But blessed be his grace, that scripture in these 
flying fits would call as lomning after me, — ' I have blotted out, as 
a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and as a cloud thy sins ; return 
unto me, for I have redeemed thee.' This, I say, would come in 
upon my mind when I was fleeing from the face of God; for I 
did flee from his face, that is, my mind and spiiit fled before him: 
by reason of his highness I could not endure. Then would that 
text cry. Return unto me; it would cry aloud, with a very great 
voice. Return unto me, for I have redeemed thee. Indeed this 
would make me make a little stop, and, as it were, look over my 
shoulder behind me, to see if I could discern that the God of 
grace did follow me with a pardon in his hand. 

" Once as I was walking to and fi*o in a good man's shop, be- 
moaning of myself in my sad and doleful state, afflicting myself 
with self-abhorrence for this wicked and ungodly thought ; la- 
menting also this hard hap of mine , for that I should commit so 
great a sin, greatly fearing I should not be pardoned ; prajing 
also in my heart, that if this sin of mine did differ from that 
against the Holy Ghost, the Lord would shew it me ; and being 
now ready to sink with fear, suddenly there was as if tliere had 
rushed in at the window the noise of wind upon me, but very 
pleasant, and as if I heard a voice speaking, — ' Didst ever refuse 


to be justified by the blood of Christ ?' And withal my whole 
life of profession past was in a moment opened to me, wherein 
I was made to see that designedly I had not ; so my heart an- 
swered groaningly, No. Then fell with power that word of God 
upon me, See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. This made a 
strange seiziu-e upon my spirit : it brought light with it, and 
commanded a silence in my heart of all those tumultuous thoughts 
that before did rise, like masterless hell-hounds, to roar and bel- 
low, and make a hideous noise within me. It shewed me also 
that Jesus Christ had yet a word of grace and mercy for me ; 
tliat he had not, as I feared, quite forsaken and cast off my soul : 
Yea, this was a kind of check for my proneness to desperation ; 
a kind of threatening of me if I did not, notwithstanding my sins 
and the heinousness of them, ventui'e my salvation upon the Son 
of God. But as to my determining about this strange dispensa- 
tion, what it was, I know not. I have not yet in twenty years' 
time been able to make a judgment of it. I thought then what 
here I should be loath to speak. But verily, that sudden rushing 
wind was as if an angel had come upon me ; but both it and the 
salvation, I will leave until the day of judgment. Only tliis I say, 
it commanded a great calm in my soul. It persuaded me there 
might be hope ; it shewed me, as I thought, what the sin mipar- 
donable was, and that my soul had yet the blessed privilege to 
flee to Jesus Christ for mercy. But I say concerning this dis- 
pensation, I know not what yet to say unto it. I leave it to be 
thought on by men of sound judgment. I lay not the stress of 
my salvation thereupon, but upon the Lord Jesus in the promise ; 
yet seeing I am here unfolding of my secret things, I thought it 
might not be altogether inexpedient to let this also shew itself, 
though I cannot now relate the matter as then I did experience 
it. This lasted in the savour thereof about three or four days, 
and then I began to mistrust and despair again." 

No solid peace can enter the soul except that which is brought 
by the Comforter. It is not the word read and heard, but the 
word revealed by the Spirit, which is saving and assuring. 
There is undoubtedly a divine operation on the mind wher- 
ever any special impression is produced by the tiMths of God ; 
and whether that impression should be made with audible and vi- 
sible manifestations accompanying it— as on the day of Pente- 
cost — or should be so vivid as to convert a mental perception 
into a bodily sensation, as we are disposed to think was tlie case 


with some of tlie remarkable sights and heavenly voices which 
good men have recorded, is really of little moment. In Bunyan's 
case, so warm was his imagination, that every clear perception 
was sure to be instantaneously sounding in his ear, or standing 
out a bright vision before his admiring eyes. This feature of 
his mental conformation has been noticed already ; but this may 
be the proper place to allude to it again. 

After the short breathing time we just noticed, Bunyan began 
to sink in the deep waters again. It was in vain that he asked 
the prayers of God's people, and equally in vain that he imparted 
his grief to those who had passed through the same conflicts with 
the devil. One " ancient Christian," to whom he stated his fear 
that he had committed the sin for which there is no forgiveness* 
thought so too. " Thus was I always sinking, whatever I did 
think or do. So one day I walked to a neighbouring town, and 
sat down upon a settle in the street, and fell into a very deep 
panic about the most fearful state my sin had brought me to ; 
and after long musing, I hfted up my head ; but methought I saw 
as if the sun that shineth in the heavens did grudge to give light ; 
and as if the very stones in the street, and tiles upon the houses, 
did bend themselves against me : methought that they all com- 
bined together to banish me out of the world ; I was abhorred of 
them, and unfit to dwell among them, or be partaker of their be- 
nefits, because I had sinned against the Saviour. Then breaking 
out in the bitterness of my soul, I said to my soul, with a grievous 
sigh, ' How can God comfort such a wretch as I am V I had no 
sooner said it, but this returned upon me, as an echo doth answer 
a voice, * This sin is not unto death.* At which I was as if 
raised out of the grave, and cried out again, ' Lord, how couldst 
thou find out such a word as this ?' for I was filled with admira- 
tion at the fitness and at the unexpectedness of the sentence. The 
fitness of the word ; the rightness of the timing of it ; the power 
and sweetness and light and glory that came with it also, were 
marvellous to me to find. I was now for the time out of doubt 
as to that about which I was so much in doubt before. I seemed 
now to stand upon the same ground with other sinners, and to 
have as good right to the word and prayer as any of them.*' 

In coming to this conclusion, he had made a great step in ad- 
vance. His misery had hithex'to been occasioned by a de\'ice of 
the devil, which keeps many anxious souls from comfort. He re- 
garded his own case aa a special exception to which a gospel, otiier- 


wise general, did not apply ; but this snare was now broken, and, 
though with halting pace, he was on the way to settled rest and 
joy. Frequently he would feel that his transgressions had cut 
him off from Christ, and left him " neither foot-hold nor hand- 
hold among all the props and stays in the precious word of hfe ;" 
but presently he would find some gracious assurance — he knew 
not how — sustaining him. At one time he would appear to him- 
self like a child fallen into a mill-pond, " who thought it could 
make some shift to sprawl and scramble in the water," yet, as it 
could find nothing to which to cling, must sink at last ; but by and 
by he would perceive that an unseen power was buoying him up, 
and encouraging him to cry from the depths. At another time he 
would be so discouraged and daunted, that he scarcely dared to 
pray, and yet in a sort of desperation beginning, he found it true 
that " men ought always to pray and not to faint." On one occa- 
sion, whilst endeavouring to draw near the throne of grace, the 
tempter suggested " that neither the mercy of God, nor yet the 
blood of Christ, at all concerned him, nor could they help him by 
reason of his sin ; therefore it was vain to pray." Yet he thought 
with himself, " I will pray." " But," said the tempter, " your sin 
is unpardonable." "Well," said he, "I will pray." "It is to 
no boot," said the adversary. And still he answered, " I will 
pi'ay." And so he began his prayer, " Lord, Satan tells me that 
neither tiiy mercy, nor Christ's blood, is sufficient to save my soul. 
Lord, shall I honour thee most by believing thou wilt and canst ? 
or him, by believing thou neither wilt nor canst ? Lord, I would fain 
honour thee by believing thou canst and thou wiliest." And whilst 
he was thus speaking,"as if some one had clapped him on the back," 
that scripture fastened on his mind, " man great is thy faith." 

Relief came slowly but steadily, and was the more abiding, be- 
cause he had learned by experience to distrust any comfort which 
did not come from the word of God. Such passages as these, 
" My grace is sufficient for thee," and " Him that cometh unto me 
I will in no wise cast out," greatly lightened his burden ; but he 
derived still stronger encouragement from considering that the 
Gospel, with its benignity, is much more expressive of the mind 
and disposition of God than the law with its severity. " Mercy 
rejoiceth over judgment. How shall not the ministration of the 
Spirit be rather glorious ? For if the ministration of condemna- 
tion be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness 
exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious, had no 


glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth." Or, 
as the same truth presented itself to his mind in an aspect more 
arresting to a mind like his, " And Peter said unto Jesus, Master, 
it is good for us to be here ; and let us make three tabernacles, 
one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist 
not what to say, for he was sore afraid. And there was a cloud 
overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 
This is my beloved Son, hear him." " Then I saw that Moses 
and Elias must both vanish, and leave Christ and his saints 

We have now arrived at the happy time when these doubts and 
distractions were exchanged for songs of deliverance. We relate 
it in the words of Banyan's own narrative : — " One day as I was 
passing into the field, and that too with some dashes on my con- 
science, fearing lest yet all was not right, suddenly this sentence 
fell upon my soul, ' Thy righteousness is in heaven ;' and me- 
thought withal, I saw with the eyes of my soul, Jesus Christ at 
God's right hand ; there, I say, was my righteousness ; so that 
wherever I was, or whatever I was doing, God could not say of 
me, ' He wants my righteousness,' for that was just before him. 
I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that 
made my righteousness better, nor my bad frame that made my 
righteousness worse ; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ 
himself, * tlie same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.' Now did my 
chains fall off my legs indeed ; I was loosed from my afflictions 
and my irons ; my temptations also fled away ; so that from that 
time those dreadful scriptures of God left off to trouble me. Now 
went I also home rejoicing for the grace and love of God ; so 
when I came home I looked to see if I could find that sentence, 
' Thy righteousness is in heaven,* but could not find such a 
saying ; wherefore my heart began to sink again, only that 
was brought to my remembrance, * He is made unto us of 
God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption ;* 
by this word I saw the other sentence true. For, by this scrip- 
ture, I saw that the man Christ Jesus, as he is distinct from us 
as touching his bodily presence, so he is our righteousness and 
santification before God. Here, therefore, I lived for some time 
very sweetly at peace with God through Christ. Oh ! me- 
thonght, Christ, Christ ! There was nothing but Christ that was 
before my eyes. I was not now for looking upon this and the 
other benefits of Christ apart, as of liis blood, burial, or rcsur- 


rection, but considering him as a whole Christ, as he is when all 
these, and all other his virtues, relations, offices, and operations 
met together, and that he sat on the right hand of God in heaven. 
'Twas glorious to me to see his exaltation, and the worth and pre- 
valency of all his benefits ; and that because now I could look 
from myself to him, and would reckon that all those graces of 
God that now were green on me, were yet but like those cracked 
groats and fourpence -halfpennies that rich men carry in their 
purses, when their gold is in their trunks at home : Oh ! I saw 
my gold was in my trunk at home ! in Christ my Lord and 
Saviour. Now Christ was all ; all my righteousness, all my 
sanctification, and all my redemption. 

" Further, the Lord did also lead me into the mystery of union 
with the Son of God ; that I was joined to him, that 1 was * flesh 
of his flesh, and bone of his bone' (Eph. v. 30) ; and now was 
that word of St Paid sweet to me. By this also was my faith in him 
as my righteousness the more confirmed in me ; for if he and I 
were one, then his righteousness was mine, his merits mine, his 
victory also mine. Now could I see myself in heaven and earth 
at once : in heaven by my Clirist, by my head, by my righteous- 
ness and life ; though on earth by my body or person. Now I 
saw Christ Jesus was looked upon of God, and should also be 
looked upon by us, as that common or public person, in whom all 
the whole body of his elect are always to be considered and rec- 
koned ;■ that we fulfilled the law by him, rose from the dead by 
him, got the victory over sin, death, the devil, and hell by him ; 
when he died, we died ; and so of his resurrection, * Thy dead 
men shall live ; together with my dead body shall they arise,' 
saith he : and again, * After two days he will revive us, and the 
third day we shall live in his sight :' which is now fulfilled by the 
sitting down of the Son of Man on the right hand of the Majesty 
in the heavens, according to that to the Ephesians, ' He hath 
raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly 
places in Christ Jesus.' Ah ! these blessed considerations and 
scriptures, with many others of like nature, were in those days 
made to spangle in mine eye, so that I have cause to say, 
' Praise ye the Lord God in his sanctuary ; praise him in the fir- 
mament of his power ; praise him for his mighty acts : praise 
him according to his excellent greatness.'" 

Extricated from the Slough of Despond, Bunyan went on his 
way rejoicing ; and though sometimes interrupted by dis(juieting 


thoughts and strong temptations, his subsequent career was a path 
of growing comfort and prevailing peace. At the age of twenty- 
six he was admitted a member of tlmt Baptist cliurch of which 
Mr Gifford was the faithful pastor, — a rare man, who, in angry 
times, and in a small communion, preserved his catholicity. Hold- 
ing that " union witlj Christ," and not agreement concerning any 
ordinances or things external, is the foundation of Christian fel- 
lowship, with his dying hand he addressed a letter to his beloved 
people, in which the following sentence occm'S, the utterance of a 
heart enlarged by Christian magnanimity, and bent on those ob- 
jects which alone look important when the believer is waiting on 
the top of Pisgah: — *' Concerning separation from the Church about 
baptism, laying on of hands, anointing with oil, psalms, or any 
other externals, I charge every one of you respectively, as you 
will give an account of it to our Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge 
both quick and dead at his coming, that none of you be found guilty 
of this great evil, which some have committed, and that through 
a zeal for God, yet not according to knowledge. They have erred 
from the law of the love of Christ, and have made a rent in the 
true Church, which is but one." If our Baptist brethren are 
justly proud that the burning and shining light of Bunyan was 
set upon their candlestick, they have equal reason to boast of the 
torch at which his bland and diffussive light was Idndled. John 
Bunyan doubtless owed to John Gifford the peculiar type of his 
Christianity, its comprehensiveness, and its sect-forgetting zeal 
for the things of Jesus Christ. 

He had not long been a member of the church when he was 
called to exercise its actual ministry. Gifford was gone to his 
everlasting rest ; and as a substitute for his labours, it was put 
upon a few of the brethren to speak the word of exhortation to 
the rest. Of these Bunyan was one. At first he did not ventiure 
farther than to address his friends in their more private meetings, 
or to follow up, with a brief application, the sermons delivered by 
others in their village-preaching. But these exercises having 
afforded the utmost satisfaction to his judicious though warm- 
hearted hearers, he was urged forward to more public services. 
These he was too humble to covet, and too earnest to refuse. 
Though his education was sufficiently rude, God had given him 
from the first a strong athletic mind and a glowing heart, — that 
downright logic and teeming fancy, whose bold strokes and burn- 
ing images heat the Saxon temper to the welding point, and make 


the popular orator of our English multitude. Then his low ori- 
ginal and rough wild history, however much they might have 
subjected him to scorn had he exchanged the leathern apron for 
a silken one, or scrambled from the hedge-side into the high 
places of the church, entailed no svispicion, and awakened much 
surprise, when the Bedford townsmen sa\y their blaspheming 
neighbour a new man, and in a way so disinterested preaching 
the faith which he once destroyed. The town turned out to hear, 
and though there was some mockery, many were deeply moved. 
His own account of it is : — " At first I could not beUeve that 
God should speak by me to the heart of any man, still counting 
myself unworthy ; yet those who were thus touched, would love 
me, and have a particular respect for me ; and though I did put 
it from me, that they should be awakened by me, still they would 
confess it and affirm it before the saints of God. . . . Wherefore, 
seeing them in both their words and deeds to be so constant, and 
also in their hearts so earnestly pressing after the knowledge of 
Jesus Christ, rejoicing that ever God did send me where they 
were, then I began to conclude it might be so, that God had 
owned in his work such a foolish one as I ; and then came that 
word of God to my heart with such sweet refreshment : ' The 
blessing of them that were ready to perish is come upon me ; 
yea, I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.' At this, there- 
fore, I rejoiced ; yea, the tears of those whom God had awakened 
by my preaching would be both solace and encouragement to me. 
I thought on those sayings, ' Who is he that maketh me glad, 
but the same that is made sorry by me V And again, ' Though I 
be not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am unto you : for the 
seal of my apostleship are ye in the Lord.' " 

There was a solemnizing and subduing power in Bunyan's 
ministry, because it was heart-felt. So far as the truths he ut- 
tered were capable of becoming subjects of personal conscious- 
ness, he had experienced them ; and so far as they were subjects 
of intellectual conviction, he was not only fully persuaded of 
them, but saw them so clear and evident, that his realizations 
were continually quickening into sensations. He thus began with 
a John-Baptist ministry, to which succeeded a Pentecostal evan- 
gel ; and at last it grew into the Pauline amplitude and complete- 
ness, " the whole counsel of God." " In my preaching of the 
word, I took special notice of this one thing, namely, that the 
Lord did lead me to begin where the word begins with siimers j 


that is, to condemn all flesh, and to open and allege that the 
curse of God by the law doth belong to and lay hold on all men 
as they come into the world, because of sin. Now this part of 
ray work I fulfilled with great sense ; for the terrors of the law, and 
guilt for my transgressions, lay heavy on my conscience. I 
preached what I felt, what I smartingly did feel ; even that under 
which my poor soul did groan and tremble to astonishment. In- 
deed I have been as one sent to them from the dead ; I went my- 
self in chains to preach to them in chains ; and carried that fire in 

my own conscience that I persuaded them to be aware of 

Thus I went on for the space of two years, crying out against men's 
sins, and their fearful state because of them. After which the Lord 
came in upon my own soul with some sure peace and comfort 
through Christ ; for he did give me many sweet discoveries of 
his blessed grace through him. Wherefore now I altered in my 
preaching (for still I preached what I saw and felt). Now, there- 
fore, I did much labour to hold forth Jesus Christ in all his offices, 
relations, and benefits, unto the world, and did sti'ive also to dis- 
cover, to condemn, and remove those false supports and props 
on which the world doth both lean, and by them fall and perish. 
On these things also I staid as long as on the other. After this, 
God led me into something of the mystery of union with Christ ; 
wherefore, that I discovered and shewed to them also. And when 
I had travelled through these three chief points of the word of 
God, I was caught in my present practice, and cast into prison, 
where I have lain alone as long again to confirm the truth by 
way of suffering, as I was before in testifying of it, according to 
the scriptures, in a way of preaching." 

Bunyan's preaching was no inaoherent rant. Words of truth 
and soberness formed the staple of each sermon; and his burning 
words and startling images were only the electric scintillations 
along the chain of his scriptural eloquence. Though the com- 
mon people heard him most gladly, he had occasional hearers 
of a higher class. Once on a week-day he was expected to 
preach in a parish church near Cambridge, and a concourse of 
people had already collected in the chm'chyard. A gay student was 
riding past, when he noticed the crowd, and asked what had brought 
them together. He was told that the people liad come out to hear 
one Bunyan, a tinker, preach. He instantly dismounted, and gave 
a boy twopence to hold his horse, for he declared he was de- 
termined to hear the tinker prate. So he went into the church. 


and heard the tinker ; but so deep was the impression which that 
sennon made on the scholar, that he took every subsequent op-; 
portunity to attend Bunyan's ministry, and himself became a re- 
nowned preacher of the gospel in Cambridgeshire. Still he felt 
that his errand was to the multitude, and liis great anxiety was to 
penetrate the darkest places of the land, and preach to the most 
abandoned people. In these labours of unostentatious heroism, he 
sometimes excited the jealousy of the regular parish ministers, 
and even under the tolerant rule of the Protector, was in some 
danger of imprisonment. However, it was not till the Restoration 
that he was in serious jeopardy ; but thereafter he was among the 
first victims of the grand combination betwixt priests and rulers 
to exterminate the gospel in England. 

On the 12th of November 1660, he had promised to meet a 
little congregation in a private house at Samsell in Bedfordshire. 
Before the hour of meeting he was apprised that a warrant was 
out to seize him ; but he felt that he owed it to the gospel not to 
run away at such a time. Accordingly when the people were 
assembled with no weapons but their Bibles, the constable en- 
tered and arrested the preacher. He had only time to speak a 
few words of counsel and encouragemeut to his hearers, " You 
see we are prevented of our opportunity to speak and hear the 
word of God, and are likely to suffer for the same. But be not 
discouraged. Jt is a mercy to suffer for so good a cause. We 
might have been apprehended as thieves or murderers, or for 
other wickedness ; but blessed be God, it is not so. We suffer 
as Christians for well doing ; and better be the persecuted than the 
persecutors." After being taken before a justice, he was com- 
mitted to gaol till the ensuing sessions should be held at Bed- 
ford. There an indictment was preferred — " That John Bunyan, 
of the town of Bedford, labourer, being a person of such and such 
conditions, he hath since such a time devilishly and perniciously 
abstained from coming to church to hear divine service ; and 
is a conunon upholder of several unlawful meetings and conven- 
ticles, to the great disturbance and distraction of the good sub- 
jects of this kingdom, contrary to the laws of our sovereign lord 
the King," &c. Of course he was convicted, and sentenced to 
imprisonment, with certification, that if he did not conform within 
a given period, he would be banished out of the kingdom. 

After Bunyan ceases to be his own biographer, our materials 
become exceeding scanty. This is the less to be lamented when 


we reflect that the history of his " hidden life" is ab"eady told. 
The processes have now been related which formed and developed 
the inner man ; and the few external events that befel him, and 
the few important tilings that he did, during the remaining eight- 
and-twenty years of his mortal pilgrimage, may be recorded in a 
single page. 

His imprisonment was protracted from sessions to sessions, till 
he had measured out twelve weary years in Bedford gaol. Per- 
haps we should not call them weary. They had their alleviations. 
His wife and children were allowed to visit him. His blind and 
most beloved daughter was permitted to cheer his solitude and 
her own. He had his Bible, and his " Book of Martyrs." He 
had his imagination, and his pen. Above all, he had a good con- 
science. He felt it a blessed exchange to quit the " iron cage" 
of despair for a " den" oft visited by a celestial comforter j and 
which, however cheerless, did not lack a door to heaven. 

Whether it was the man's own humanity, or whether it was 
that God who assuaged Joseph's captivity, gave Bunyan special 
favour in the eyes of the keeper of his prison, the fact is certain, 
that he met with singular indulgence at the least likely hands. 
Not only was he allowed many a little indulgence in his cell, but 
he was suffered to go and come with a freedom which could hardly 
have been exceeded had the county gaol been his own hired 
house. For mouths together he was a constant attender of 
the church-meetings of his brethren in Bedford, and was 
aeiually chosen pastor during the period of his incarceration. 
On one occasion some of the bishops who had heard a rumour 
of the unusual liberty conceded to him, sent a messenger from 
London to Bedford to ascertain the truth. The officer was in- 
structed to call at the prison during the night. It was a night 
when Bunyan had received peiTnission to stay at home with 
his family ; but so uneasy did he feel, that he told his wife 
he must go back to his old quarters. So late was it that the 
gaoler blamed him for coming at such an untimely hour ; but a 
little afterwards the messenger arrived. " Are all the prisonei's 
safe ?" "Yes." " Is John Bunyan safe «" "Yes." « Let me see him." 
Bunyan was called, and the messenger went his way ; and when 
he was gone the gaoler told him, " Well, you may go out again 
just when you think proper ; for you know when to return better 
than I can tell you.'' 

But the best alleviations of his captivity were those wonderful 


works which he there projected or composed. Some of these 
were controversial ; but one of them was his own life, under the 
title, " Grace abounding to the Chief of Sinners," and another 
was the " Pilgrim's Progbess." 

In 1672 he obtained his liberty, and his friends immediately built 
for him a large meeting-house, where he continued to preach with 
little interruption till his death. Once a year he visited Loudon, 
and was there so popular, that twelve hundred people would gather 
together at seven in the morning of a winter's working-day to hear 
him. Amongst the admiring listeners, Dr Owen was frequently 
found ; and once when Charles the Second asked how a learned 
man like him could sit down to hear a tinker prate, the great 
theologian is said to have answered, " May it please your Majesty, 
could I possess the tinker's abilities for preaching, I would most 
gladly relinquish all my learning." But popular as he was, he 
was not fond of praise. One day after he had concluded an im- 
pressive discourse, his friends pressed round to thank him for his 
" sweet sermon." " Aye," he bluntly answered, " you need not 
remind me of that ; for the devil told me as much before I left 
the pulpit." 

He had numbered sixty years, and written as many books, 
when he was released from his abundant labours. A young 
gentleman, his neighbour, had fallen under his father's displea- 
sure, and was much concerned at his father's estrangement as 
well as at the prospect of being disinherited. He begged Mr 
Bunyan's friendly interposition to propitiate his father, and pre- 
pare the way for his return to parental favour and affection. 
The kind-hearted man undertook the task, and having success- 
fully achieved it, was returning from Reading to London on 
horseback, when he was thoroughly drenched with excessive 
rains. He arrived cold and wet at the house of Mr Strudwick, 
a grocer on Snow Hill. Here he was seized with fits of shivering, 
which passed off in violent fever, and after ten days' sickness, on 
the 31st of August 1688, his pilgrimage ended, and he went in by 
the gate into the city. 


As the most appropriate introduction to the following selec- 
tions from the practical writings of Bunyan, we would close this 
rapid liistory of the Man, with a few remarks on the Theolo- 
gian and the Author. 

I. Bunyan's tlieological merits we rank very high. No one 
can turn over his pages without noticing the abundance of his 
Scriptural quotations ; and these quotations no one can examine 
without perceiving how minutely he had studied, and how deeply 
he had pondered, the word of God. But it is possible to be very 
textual, and yet by no means very scriptural. A man may have 
an exact acquaintance with the literal Bible, and yet entirely 
miss the great Bible message. He may possess a dexterous com- 
mand of detached passages and insulated sentences, and yet be 
entirely ignorant of that peculiar scheme which forms the great 
gospel revelation. But this was Bunyan's peculiar excellence. 
He was even better acquainted with the Gospel as the scheme of 
God, than he was familiar with the Bible-text ; and the conse- 
quence is, that though he is sometimes irrelevant in his refer- 
ences, and fanciful in interpreting particular passages, his doc- 
trine is almost always according to the analogy of foith. The 
doctrine of a free and instant justification by the imputed right- 
eousness of Christ, none even of the Puritans could state with 
more Luther-like boldness, nor defend with an affection more 
worthy of Paul. In his last and best days, Coleridge WTote, " I 
know of no book, the Bible excepted, as above all comparison, 
which I, according to my judgment and experience, could so 
safely recommend as teaching and enforcing the whole saving 
truth, according to the mind that was in Christ Jesus, as the 
Pilgrim's Progress. It is in my conviction the best Summa 
Theologias Erangelicce ever produced by a writer not miracu- 
lously inspired."* Without questioning this verdict, we would 
include in the encomium some of his other writings, which pos- 
sibly Coleridge never saw. Such as the Tracts contained in this 
volume. They exhibit Gospel-truths in so clear a light, and 
state them in such a frank and happy tone, that he who runs may 
read, and he who reads in earnest will rejoice. The Pilgrim is 
a peerless guide to those who have already passed in at the 
wicket-gate ; but those who are still seeking peace to their trou- 

* Remains, vol. iiL p. 391. 


bled souls, will find the best directory in " The Jerusalem Sinner 

II. Invaluable as a theologian, Bunyan stands alone as a con- 
tributor to theological literature. In recent times no man has 
done so much to draw the world's delighted attention to the sub- 
jects of supreme solicitude. No production of a mortal pen has 
found so many readers as one work of his ; and none has 
awakened so frequently the sighing behest, " Let me die the 
death of the righteous." 

None has painted the beauty of holiness in taints more lovely, 
nor spoken in tones more thrilling to the heart of universal hu- 
manity. At first the favourite of the vulgar, he is now the won- 
der of the learned ; and from the obscurity, not inglorious, of 
smoky cupboards and cottage chimneys, he has been escorted 
up to the highest places of classical renown, and duly canonized 
by the pontiffs of taste and literature. The man, whom Cowper 
praised anonymously, 

" Lest so despised a name should move a sneer,* 
has at last extorted emulous plaudits from a larger host of writers 
than ever conspired to praise a man of genius, who was also a 
man of God. Johnson and Franklin, Scott, Coleridge, and Southey, 
Byron and Montgomery, Macintosh and Macaulay, have exerted 
their philosophical acumen and poetic feeling to analyze his va- 
rious spell, and account for his imequalled fame ; and though the 
round-cornered copies, with their diverting woodcuts, have not 
disappeared from the poor man's ingle, illustrated editions blaze 
from the shelves of every sumptuous library, new pictures, from 
its exhaustless themes, light up the walls of each annual exhibi- 
tion ; and amidst the graceful litter of the drawing-room table, 
you are sure to take up designs from the Pilgrim's Progress. So 
universal is the ascendancy of the tinker-teacher, so world-wide 
the diocese of him whom Whitefield created Bishop Bunyan, that 
probably half the ideas which the outside-world entertains re- 
garding experimental piety, they have, in some form or other, 
derived from him. One of the most popular preachers in his day, 
in his little treatises, as well as in his longer allegories, he preaches 
to countless thousands still. The cause of this unexampled popu- 
larity is a question of great practical moment. 

And, first of all, Bunyan speaks to the whole of man, — to his 


imagination, his intellect, his heart. He had in himself all these 
ingredients of full-formed humanity, and in his books he lets all 
of them out. French writers and preachers are apt to deal too exclu- 
sively in the one article — fancy ; and though you are amused for 
the moment with the rocket-shower of brilliant and many-tinted 
ideas which fall sparkling around you, when the exhibition is 
ended, you are disappointed to find that the whole was momen- 
tary, and that from all the ruby and emerald rain scarcely one gem 
of solid thought remains.* Scottish writers and preachers are apt 
to indulge the argumentative cacoiithes of their country, and 
cramming into a tract or sermon as much hard-thinking as the 
Bramah-pressure of hydrostatic intellects can condense into the 
iron paragraphs, they leave no room for such delicate materials 
as fancy or feeling, illustration, imagery, or affectionate appeal ^^ 
whilst Irish authors and pulpit-orators are so surcharged with 
their own exuberant enthusiasm, that their main hope of making 
you think as they think, is to make you feel as they feel. The 
heart is their Aristotle ; and if they cannot win you by a smile or 
melt you by a tear, they would think it labour lost to try a syllo- 
gism. Bunyan was neither French, nor Scotch, nor Irish. He 
embodied in his person, though greatly magnified, the average 
mind of England — playful, affectionate, downright. His intellec- 
tual power comes chiefly out in that homely self-commending 
sense — the brief business-like reasoning, which might be termed 
Saxon logic, and of which Swift in one century, and Cobbett in 
another, are obvious instances. His premises are not always 
true, nor his inferences always legitimate ; but there is such evi- 
dent absence of sophistry, and even of that refining and hair-split- 
ting which usually beget the suspicion of sophistry — his statements 
are so sincere, and his conclusions so direct, the language is so 
perspicuous, and the appeal is made so honestly to each reader's 
imderstanding, that his popularity as a reasoner is inevitable. We 
need not say that the author of the Pilgrim possessed imagina- 
tion ; but it is important to note the service it rendered to his 
preaching,and the charm which it still imparts to his miscellaneous 

* Pascal was an exception. D'AubignC, so far as^v^iting in French makes 
a Frenchman, is another. Their works are full of fancy, but it is the fancy 
which gives to truth its wings. The rocket is charged, not with coloured 
sparks, but burning jewels. 

t Here, again, exceptions occur, and the greatest of our Soottifih ppeach- 
ers is a contradiction to the characteristic stylo of his oountry 


works. The pictorial power he possessed in a rare degree. His 
mental eye perceived the truth most vividly. Some minds are mov- 
ing in a constant mystery. They see men like trees walking. 
The different doctrines of the Bible all wear dim outlines to them, 
jostling and jumbling ; and after a perplexing morrice of bewil- 
dering hints and half discoveries, they vanish into the misty 
back-ground of nonentity. To Bunyan's bright and broad- 
waking eye all things were clear. The men walked and the trees 
stood still. Everything was seen in sharp relief and definite out- 
line — a reality. And besides the pictorial, he possessed in highest 
perfection the illustrative faculty. Not only cid his own mind 
perceive the truth most vividly, but he saw the very way to give 
others a clear perception of it also. This is the great secret of 
successful teaching. Like a man who has clambered his diffi- 
cult way to the top of a rocky eminence, but who, once he has 
reached the summit, perceives an easier path, and directs his 
companions along its gentler slopes, and gives them a helping-hand 
to lift them over the final obstacles ; it was by giant struggles 
over the debris of crumbling hopes, and through jungles of de- 
spair, and up the cliff's of apparent impossibility, that Bunyan 
forced his way to the pinnacle of his eventual joy ; but no sooner 
was he standing there, than his eagle-eye detected the easier 
path, and he made it the business of his benevolent ministry to 
guide others into it. Though not the truth, an illustration is a 
stepping-stone towards it; an indentation in the rock which 
makes it easier to climb. No man had a happier knack in 
hewing out these notches in the cliff", and no one knew better 
where to place them, than this pilgrim's pioneer. Besides, he 
rightly judged that the value of these suggestive similies — these 
illustrative stepping-stones — depends very much on their breadth 
and frequency. But Bunyan appeals not only to the intellect and 
imagination, but to the hearts of men. There was no bitterness 
in Bunyan. He was a man of kindness and compassion. How 
sorry he is for Mr Badman ! and how he makes you sympathize 
with Christian and Mr Ready-to-halt and Mr Feeble-mind, and 
all the other interesting companions of that eventful journey ! And 
in his sermons how piteously he pleads with sinners for their own 
souls ! and how impressive is the undisguised vehemoncy of his 
yearning afi'ections ! In the same sentence Bunyan has a word 
for the man of sense, and another for the man of fancy, and a 
third for the man of feeling ; and by thus blending the intellec- 


tual, the imaginative, and tlie affectionate, lie speaks home to the 
whole of man, and has made his works a lesson-book for all man- 

Another secret of Bunyan's popularity is the felicity of his 
style. His English is vernacular, idiomatic, universal ; varying 
with the subject ; homely in the continuous narrative ; racy and 
pungent iu his lively and often rapid discourse ; and, when oc- 
casion requires, " a model of unaffected dignity and rhythmical 
flow ;" but always plain, strong, and natural. However, in 
speaking of his style, we do not so much intend his words as liis 
entire mode of expression. A thought is like a gem ; but like a 
gem it may be spoiled in the setting. A careless artist may chip 
it and grievously curtail its dimensions ; a clumsy craftsman, in 
his fear of destroying it, may not sufficiently polish it ; or in his 
solicitude to shew off its beauty, may overdo the accompanying 
ornaments. Bunyan was too skilful a workman so to mismanage 
the matter. His expression neither ciu-tails nor encumbers the 
thought, but makes the most of it ; that is, presents it to the 
reader as it is seen by the writer. Though there is a great ap- 
pearance of amplitude about his compositions, few of his words 
could be wanted. Some styles are an ill-spun thread, full of 
inequalities, and shaggy from beginning to end with projecting 
fibres which spoil its beauty, and add nothing to its strength ; but 
in its easy continuousness and trim compactness, the thread of 
Bunyan's discourse flows firm and smooth from first to last. 
Its fulness regales the ear, and its felicity aids the understanding. 






The whole verse runs thus : " And that repentance and 
remission of sins should be preached in his name among 
all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." 

The words were spoken by Christ, after he rose from the 
dead, and they are here rehearsed after an historical man- 
ner, but do contain in them a foi-mal commission, with a 
special clause therein. The commission is, as you see, for 
the preaching of the gospel, and is very distinctly inserted 
in the holy record by Matthew and Mark. " Go teach all 
nations," &c. " Go ye into all the world, and preach the 
gospel unto every creature." Matt, xxviii. 19 ; Mark 
xvi. 15. Only this clause is in special mentioned by Luke, 
who saith. That as Christ would have the doctrine of re- 
pentance and remission of sins preached in his name among 
all nations, so he would have the people of Jerusalem to have 
the first proffer thereof. Preach it, saith Christ, in all 
nations, but begin at Jerusalem. 

The apostles then, though they had a commission so 
large as to give them wan-ant to go and preach the gospel 
in all the world, yet by this clause they were limited as to 
the beginning of their ministry : they were to begin this 
work at Jerusalem. " Beginning at Jerusalem." 

Before I proceed to an observation upon the words, I 
must (but briefly) touch upon two things : namely, 


I. Show you what Jerusalem now was. 

II. Show you what it was to preach the gospel to them. 
I. For the first, Jerusalem is to be considered, either, 

1. With respect to the descent of her people : or, 

2. AVith respect to her preference and exaltation : or, 

3. With respect to her present state, as to her decays, 
Firsty As to her descent : she was from Abraham, the sons 

of Jacob, a people that God singled out fii-om the rest of the 
nations to set his love upon them. 

Secondly, As to her preference or exaltation, she was the 
place of God's worship, and that which had in and with her 
the special tokens and signs of God's favour and presence, 
above any other people in the world. Hence the tribes went 
up to Jerusalem to worship ; there was God's house, God's 
high-priest, God's sacrifices accepted, and God's eye, and 
God's heart perpetually ; Psalm bcxvi. 1, 2 ; Psalm cxxii. ; 
1 Kings ix. 3. But, 

Thirdly, We are to consider Jerusalem also in her decays ; 
for as she is so considered, she is the proper object of our 
text, as will be further showed by and by, 

Jerusalem, as I told you, was the place and seat of God's 
worship, but now decayed, degenerated, and apostatized. 
The word, the rule of worship, was rejected of them, and 
in its place they had put and set up their own traditions ; 
they had rejected also the most weighty ordinances, and 
put in the room thereof their o\vn little things. Matt, xv, ; 
Mark vii, Jerusalem was therefore now greatly backslid- 
ing, and become the place where truth and true religion 
were much defaced. 

It was also now become the very sink of sin and seat of 
hypocrisy, and gulf where time religion was drowned. Here 
also now reigned presumption, and groundless confidence 
in God, which is the bane of souls. Amongst its rulers, 
doctors, and leaders, envy, malice, and blasphemy vented 
itself against the power of godliness, in all places where it 
was espied ; as also against the promoters of it ; yea, their 
Lord and Maker could not escape them. 

In a word, Jerusalem was now become the shambles, 


tlie very slaughter-shop for saints. This was the place where- 
in the prophets, Christ, and his people, were most horribly 
persecuted and murdered. Yea, so hardened at this time was 
this Jerusalem in her sins, that she feared not to commit 
the biggest, and to bind herself by wish under the guilt 
and damning evil of it ; saying, when she had murdered the 
Son of God, " His blood be upon us and our children." 

And though Jesus Christ did, both by doctrine, miracles, 
and holiness of life, seek to put a stop to their villanies, 
yet they shut their eyes, stopped their ears, and rested not, 
till, as was hinted before, they had driven him out of the 
world. Yea, that they might, if possible, have extinguished 
his name, and exploded his doctrine out of the world, they, 
against all argument, and in despite of Heaven, its mighty 
hand, and undeniable proof of his resurrection, did hire 
soldiers to invent a lie, saying, his disciples stole him away 
from the grave ; on purpose that men might not count him 
the Saviour of the world, nor trust in him for the remis- 
sion of sins. 

They were, saith Paul, contrary to all men : for they did 
not only shut up the door of life against themselves, but 
forbade that it should be opened to any else. " Forbidding 
us," saith he, " to preach to the Gentiles, that they might 
be saved, to fill up their sins alway ;" Matt, xxiii. 35 ; 
chap. XV. 7-9 ; Mark vii. 6-8 ; Matt. iii. 7-9 ; John viii. 33, 
41; Matt, xxvii. 18; Mark iii. 30; Matt, xxiii. 37; Luke 
xiii. 33, 34; Matt, xxvii. 25 ; chap. xx. 11-16; 1 Thess. 
ii. 14-16. 

This is the city, and these are the people ; this is their 
character, and these are their sins : nor can there be pro- 
duced their parallel in all this world. Nay, what world, 
what people, what nation, for sin and transgression, could, 
or can be compared to Jerusalem ! especially if you join to 
the matter of fact the light they sinned against, and the 
patience which they abused. Infinite was the wickedness 
upon this account which they committed. 

After all their abusings of wise men, and prophets, God 
sent unto them John Baptist, to reduce them, and then 


his Son to redeem them ; hut they would be neither reduced 
nor redeemed, hut persecuted hoth to the death. Nor did 
they, as I said, stop here ; the holy apostles they afterwards 
persecuted also to death, even so many as they could ; the 
rest they drove from them unto the utmost comers. 

II. I come now to show you what it was to preach the 
gospel to them. It was, saith Luke, to preach to them 
" repentance and remission of sins" in Christ's name ; or, 
as Mark has it, to hid them "repent and believe the gospel," 
Mark i. 15 ; not that repentance is a cause of remission, but 
a sign of our hearty reception thereof. Repentance is there- 
fore here put to intimate, that no pretended faith of the gos- 
pel is good that is not accompanied with it : and this he doth 
on purpose, because he would not have them deceive them- 
selves : for with what faith can he expect remission of sins 
in the name of Christ, that is not heartily sony for them ? 
Or how shall a man be able to give to others a satisfactory 
account of his unfeigned subjection to the gospel, that yet 
abides in his impenitency ? 

Wherefore repentance is here joined with faith in the 
way of receiving the gospel. Faith is that without which 
it cannot be received at all ; and repentance that without 
which it cannot be received unfeignedly. When therefore 
Christ says, he would have repentance and remission of sins 
preached in his name among all nations, it is as much as 
to say, I will that all men every where be sorry for their 
sins, and accept of mercy at God's hand tlirough me, lest 
they fall under his wTath in the judgment. For as I had 
said, without repentance, what pretence soever men have 
of faith, they cannot escape the wrath to come. Wherefore 
Paul saith, God commands " all men every where to repent," 
(in order to their salvation), " because he hath appointed a 
day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness 
by that man whom he hath ordained ;" Acts xvii. 31. 

And now to come to this clause, " Beginning at Jerusa- 
lem ;" that is, that Christ would have Jerusalem have the 
first offer of the gospel. 

1. This cannot be so commanded, because they bad now 


any more right of themselves thereto than had any of the 
nations of the world ; for their sins had divested them of 
all self-deservings. 

2. Nor yet, because they stood upon the advance-ground 
with the worst of the sinners of the nations ; nay, rather, 
the sinners of the nations had the advance-ground of them : 
for Jerusalem was, long before she had added this iniquity 
to her sin, worse than the very nations that God cast out 
before the children of Israel ; 2 Chron. xxxiii. 

3. It must therefore follow, that this clause, Begin at 
Jerusalem, was put into this commission of mere grace and 
compassion, even from the overflowings of the bowels of 
mercy ; for indeed they were the worst, and so in the most 
deplorable condition of any people under the heavens. 

Whatever, therefore, their relation was to Abraham^ 
Isaac, or Jacob, however they formerly had been the people 
among whom God had placed his name and worship, they 
were now degenerated from God, more than the nations 
were from their idols, and were become guilty of the highest 
sins which the people of the world were capable of commit- 
ting. Nay, none can be capable of committing of such par- 
donable sins as they committed against their God, when 
they slew his Son, and persecuted his name and word. 

From these words, therefore, thus explained, we gain 
this observation : 

That Jesus Christ would have mercy offered in the first 
place to the biggest sinners. 

That these Jerusalem sinners were the biggest sinners 
that ever were in the world, I think none will deny, that 
believes that Christ was the best man that ever was in the 
world, and also was their Lord God. And that they were 
to have the first offer of his grace, the text is as clear as 
the sun ; for it saith, " Begin at Jerusalem." " Preach," 
saith he, " repentance and remission of sins" to the Jerusa- 
lem sinners : to the Jerusalem sinners in the first place. 

One would a-thought, since the Jerusalem sinners were 
the worst and greatest sinners, Christ's greatest enemies, 
and those that not only despised his person, doctrine, and 


miracles, but tliat a little before had liad their hands up to 
the elbows in his heart-blood, that he should rather have 
said. Go into all the world, and preach repentance and re- 
mission of sins among all nations ; and after that offer the 
same to Jerusalem ; yea, it had been infinite grace, if he 
had said so. But what grace is this, or what name shall 
we give it, when he commands that this repentance and 
remission of sins, which is designed to be preached in all 
nations, should first be offered to Jerusalem, in the first 
place to the worst of sinners ! 

Nor was this the first time that the grace which was in 
the heart of Christ thus shewed itself to the world. For 
while he was yet alive, even while he was yet in Jerusa- 
lem, and perceived even among these Jenisalem sinners, 
which was the most vile amongst them, he still in his 
preaching did signify that he had a desire that the worst 
of these worst should in the first place come unto him. 
The which he showeth, where he saith to the better sort of 
them, " The publicans and harlots enter into the kingdom 
of God before you;" Matt. xxi. 31. Also when he com- 
pared Jerusalem with the sinners of the nations, then he 
commands that the Jerusalem sinners should have the 
gospel at present confined to them. " Go not," saith he, 
" into the way of the Gentiles, and into any of the cities 
of the Samaritans enter ye not ; but go rather to the lost 
sheep of the house of Israel ;" Matt. x. 5, 6 ; chap, xxiii. 
37 ; but go rather to them, for they were in the most 
fearful plight. 

These therefore must have the cream of the gospel, 
namely, the first offer thereof in his lifetime : yea, when 
he departed out of the world, he left this as part of his last 
will with his preachers, that they also should offer it firet 
to Jerusalem. He had a mind, a careful mind, as it seems, 
to privilege the worst of sinners with the firet offer of 
mercy, and to take from among them a people to be the 
first fruits unto God and to the Lamb. 

The 15th of Luke also is famous for this, where the Lord 
Jesus takes more cai-e, as appears there by thi-ee parables^ 


for the lost sheep, lost groat, and the prodigal son, than for 
the other sheep, the other pence, or for the son that said he 
had never transgressed, yea, he shows that there is joy in 
heaven, among the angels of God, at the repentance of one 
sinner, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which 
need no repentance ; Luke xv. 

After this manner therefore the mind of Christ was set 
on the salvation of the biggest sinners in his lifetime. But 
join to this, this clause, which he carefully put into the 
apostles' commission to preach, when he departed hence to 
the Father, and then you shall see that his heart was 
vehemently set upon it ; for these were part of his last 
words with them, Preach my gospel to all nations, but see 
that you begin at Jerusalem. 

Nor did the apostles overlook this clause when their 
Lord was gone into heaven : they went first to them of 
Jerusalem, and preached Christ's gospel to them : they 
abode also there for a season and time, and preached it to 
no body else, for they had regard to the commandment of 
their Lord. 

And it is to be observed, namely, that the first sei-mon 
which they preached after the ascension of Christ, it was 
preached to the very worst of these Jerusalem sinners, even 
to these that were the murderers of Jesus Christ, Acts ii. 
23, for these are part of the sermon : " Ye took him, and 
by wicked hands have crucified and slain him." Yea, the 
next sermon, and the next, and also the next to that, w^as 
preached to the self-same murderers, to the end they might 
be saved ; Acts iii. 14-16 ; chap. iv. 10, 11 ; chap. v. 30 ; 
chap. vii. 52. 

But we will return to the first sermon that was preached 
to these Jerusalem sinners, by which will be manifest more 
than great grace, if it be duly considered. 

For after that Peter, and the rest of the apostles, had, in 
their exhortation, persuaded these wretches to believe that 
they had killed the Prince of life, and after they had duly 
fallen under the guilt of their murder, saying, " Men and 
brethren, what shall we do ?" he replies, by an universal 


tender to them all in general, considering them as Christ's 
killers, that if they were sorry for what they had done, 
and would be baptized for the remission of their sins in 
his name, they should receive the gift of the Holy Ghost ; 
Acts ii. 37, 38. 

This he said to them all, though he knew that they 
were such sinners. Yea, he said it without the least stick 
or stop, or pause of spirit, as to whether he had best to say 
so or no. Nay, so far off was Peter from making an objec- 
tion against one of them, that by a particular clause in his 
exhortation, he endeavours, that not one of them may escape 
the salvation offered. " Repent," saith he, " and be baptised 
every one of you." I shut out never a one of you ; for I 
am commanded by my Lord to deal with you, as it were, 
one by one, by the word of his salvation. But why speaks 
he so particularly 1 Oh ! there were reasons for it. The 
people with whom the apostles were now to deal, as they 
were murderers of our Lord, and to be charged in the ge- 
neral with his blood, so they had their various and parti- 
cular acts of villany in the guilt thereof, now lying upon 
their consciences. And the guilt of these their various and 
particular acts of wickedness, could not perhaps be reached 
to a removal thereof, but by this particular application. 
Repent every one of you ; be baptized every one of you, in 
his name, for the remission of sins, and you shall, every 
one of you, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

Object. But I was one of them that plotted to take 
away his life. May I be saved by liim 1 

Peter. Every one of you. 

Object. But I was one of them that bare false witness 
against him. Is there grace for me % 

Peter. For every one of you. 

Object. But I was one of them that cried out, Crucify 
him, crucify him ; and desired that Barabbas the murderer 
might live, leather than him. What will become of me, 
think you 1 

Peter. I am to preach repentance and remission of sins 
to every one of you, says Peter. 


" Object. But I was one of them that did spit in his face 
when he stood before his accusers. I also was one that 
mocked him, when in anguish he hanged bleeding on the 
tree. Is there room for me ? 

Peter. For every one of you, says Peter. 

Object. But I was one of them that in his extremity 
said, give him gall and vinegar to drink. Why may not I 
expect the same when anguish and guilt is upon me ? 

Peter. Repent of these your wickednesses, and here is 
remission of sins for every one of you. 

Object. But I railed on him, I reviled him, I hated him, 
I rejoiced to see him mocked at by others. Can there be 
hopes for me 1 

Peter. There is for every one of you. " Repent and 
be baptized ever}'- one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, 
for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of 
the Holy Ghost." Oh ! what a blessed " Every one of 
you," is here ! How willing was Peter, and the Lord 
Jesus, by his ministry, to catch these murderers with the 
word of the gospel, that they might be made monuments 
of the grace of God ! How unwilling, I say, was he, that 
any of these should escape the hand of mercy ! Yea, what 
an amazing wonder it is to think, that above all the world, 
and above every body in it, these should have the first offer 
of mercy ! " Beginning at Jerusalem." 

But was there not something of moment in this clause of 
the commission 1 Did not Peter, think you, see a great 
deal in it, that he should thus begin with these men, and 
thus offer, so particularly, this grace to each particular 
man of them ? 

But, as I told you, this is not all ; these Jerusalem sin- 
ners must have this offer again and again ; every one of 
them must be offered it over and over. Christ would not 
take their first rejection for a denial, nor their second re- 
pulse for a denial ; but he will have grace offered once, and 
twice, and thrice, to these Jerusalem sinners. Is not this 
amazing grace ! Christ will not be put off. These are the 
sinners that are sinners indeed. They are sinners of the 


biggest sort ; consequently such as Christ can, if they 
convert and be saved, best serve his ends and designs upon. 
Of which more anon. 

But wliat a pitch of grace is this ! Christ is minded to 
amaze the world, and to shew, that he acteth not like the 
children of men. This is that which he said of old. " I will 
not execute the fierceness of my wratl), I will not return to 
destroy Ephraim ; for I am God and not man ;" Hos. xi. 9. 
This is not the manner of men ; men are shorter winded ; 
men are soon moved to take vengeance, and to right them- 
selves in a way of wrath and indignation. But God is full 
of grace, full of patience, ready to forgive, and one that 
delights in mercy. All this is seen in our text. The biggest 
sinners must first be offered mercy ; they must, I say, have 
the cream of the gospel offered unto them. 

But we will a little proceed. In the third chapter we 
find, that they who escaped converting by the first sermon, 
are called upon again, to accept of grace and forgiveness, 
for their murder committed upon the Son of God. You 
have killed, yea, " you have denied, the holy one and the 
just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you ; and 
killed the Prince of life." Mark, he falls again upon the 
very men that actually were, as you have it in the chap- 
ters following, his very betrayers and murderers. Acts iii. 
14, 15 ; as being loath that they should escape the mercy 
of forgiveness ; and exhorts them again to repent, that 
their sins might " be blotted out ;" verses 19, 20. 

Again, in the fourth chapter, he charges them afresh 
with this murder, ver. 10 ; but withal tells them, salva- 
tion is in no other. Then, like a heavenly decoy, he puts 
himself also among them, to draw them the better under 
the net of the gospel ; saying, " There is none other name 
under heaven given among men, whereby we must be 
saved ;" ver. 12. 

In the fifth chapter you find them railing at him, be- 
cause he continued preaching among them salvation in the 
name of Jesus. But he tells them, that that very Jesus 
whom they had slain and hanged on a tree, him God had 


raised up, and exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, to 
give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins : ver. 
29-31. Still insinuating, that though they had killed him, 
and to this day rejected him, yet his business was to bestow 
upon them repentance and forgiveness of sins. 

'Tis tme, after they began to kill again, and when 
nothing but killing would serve their turn, then they that 
were scattered abroad went every where preaching the 
word. Yet even some of them so hankered after the con- 
version of the Jews, that they preached the gospel only to 
them. Also the apostles still made their abode at Jerusa- 
lem, in hopes that they might yet let down their net for 
another draught of these Jerusalem sinners. Neither did 
Paul and Barnabas, who were the ministers of God to the 
Gentiles, but offer the gospel, in the first place, to those 
of them that for their wickedness were scattered like vaga- 
bonds among the nations ; yea, and when they rendered re- 
bellion and blasphemy for their service and love, they 
replied, it was necessary that the word of God should first 
have been spoken to them ; Acts 1. 8 ; chap. xiii. 46, 47. 

Nor was this their preaching unsuccessful among these 
people : but the Lord Jesus so wrought with the word 
thus spoken, that thousands of them came flocking to him 
for mercy. Three thousand of them closed with him at 
the first ; and afterwards two thousand more ; for now 
they were in number about five thousand ; whereas be- 
fore sermons were preached to these murderers, the num- 
ber of the disciples was not above " a hundred and twenty ;'* 
Acts i. 15 ; chap. ii. 41 ; chap. iv. 4. 

Also among these people that thus flocked to him for 
mercy, there was a " great company of the priests ;" chap, 
vi. 7. Now the priests were they that were the greatest 
of these biggest sinners ; they were the ringleaders, they 
were the inventors and ringleaders in the mischief. It was 
they that set the people against the Lord Jesus, and that 
were the cause why the uproar increased, until Pilate had 
given sentence upon him. " The chief priests and elders," 
says the text, " persuaded (the people) the multitude," that 


they should ask Barahbas, and destroy Jesus ; Matt, xxvii. 
20. And yet behold the priests, yea, a great company of 
the priests, became obedient to the faith. 

Oh the greatness of the grace of Christ, that he should 
be thus in love with the souls of Jerusalem sinners ! that 
he should be thus delighted with the salvation of the 
Jerusalem sinners ! that he should not only will that his 
gospel should be offered them, but that it should be offer- 
ed unto them first, and before other sinners were admitted 
to a hearing of it. " Begin at Jerusalem." 

Were this doctrine well believed, where would there be 
a place for a doubt, or a fear of the damnation of the soul, 
if the sinner be penitent, how bad a life soever he has lived, 
how many soever in number are his sins ? 

But this grace is hid fi-om the eyes of men ; the devil 
hides it from them ; for he knows it is alluring, he knows 
it has an attracting virtue in it : for this is it that above 
all arguments can draw the soul to God. 

I cannot help it, but must let drop another word. The 
first church, the Jerusalem church, from whence the gos- 
pel was to be sent into all the world, was a church made 
up of Jerusalem sinners. These great sinners were here 
the most shining monuments of the exceeding grace of 

Thus you see I have proved the doctrine ; and that not 
only by showing you that this was the practice of the 
Lord Jesus Christ in his lifetime, but his last will when he 
went up to God ; saying. Begin to preach at Jerusalem. 

Yea, it is yet further manifested, in that when his mi- 
nisters first began to preach there, he joined his power 
to the word, to the converting of thousands of his betrayers 
and murderers, and also many of the ringleading priests to 
the feitli 

I shall now proceed, and shall show you, 

1. The reasons of the point : 

2. And then make some application of the whole. 

The observation, you know, is this : Jesus Christ would 
have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sin- 


ners, to tlie Jerusalem sinners : " Preach repentance, and 
remission of sins, in m j name, among all nations, begin- 
ning at Jerusalem." 

The reasons of the point are : 

First, Because the biggest sinners have most need thereof. 
He that has most need, reason says, should be helped first. 
I mean, when a helping hand is ofiFered, and now it is : for 
the gospel of the grace of God is sent to help the world ; 
Acts xvi. 9. But the biggest sinner has most need. There- 
fore, in reason, when mercy is sent doAvn from heaven to 
men, the worst of men should have the first offer of it. 
" Begin at Jerusalem." This is the reason which the Lord 
Christ himself renders, why in his lifetime he left the 
best, and turned him to the worst ; why he sat so loose 
from the righteous, and stuck so close to the wicked. 
" The whole," saith he, " have no need of the physician, 
but the sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners 
to repentance;" Mark ii. 15-17. 

Above you read, that the scribes and pharisees said to 
his disciples, " How is it that he eateth and drinketh with 
publicans and sinners ?" Alas ! they did not know the 
reason : but the Lord renders them one, and such an one 
as is both natural and cogent, saying, These have need, 
most need. Their great necessity requires that I should 
be most friendly, and show my grace first to them. 

Not that the other were sinless, and so had no need of 
a Saviour ; but the publicans and their companions were 
the biggest sinners ; they were, as to view, wo<%e than the 
scribes ; and therefore in reason should be helped first, be- 
cause they had most need of a Saviour. 

Men that are at the point to die have more need of the 
physician than they that are but now and then troubled 
with an heai-t-fainting qualm. The publicans and sinners 
were, as it were, in the mouth of death ; death was swal- 
lowing of them down : and therefore the Lord Jesus re- 
ceives them first, offers them mercy first. " The whole 
have no need of the physician, but the sick. I came not 
to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." The 
sick, as I said, is the biggest sinner, whether he sees his 


disease or not. He is stained from head to foot, from heart 
to life and conversation. This man, in every man's judg- 
ment, has the most need of mercy. There is nothing at- 
tends him from hed to hoard, and from board to bed again, 
but the visible characters, and obvious symptoms, of eternal 
damnation. This therefore is the man that has need, most 
need ; and therefore in reason should be helped in the first 
place. Thus it was with the people concerned in the text, 
they were the worst of sinners, Jerusalem sinners, sinners 
of the biggest size ; and therefore such as had the greatest 
need ; wherefore they must have mercy offered to them, 
before it be offered any where else in the world. " Begin 
at Jerusalem," offer mercy first to a Jerusalem sinner. 
This man has most need, he is farthest from God, nearest 
to hell, and so one that has most need. This man's sins 
are in number the most, in cry the loudest, in weight the 
heaviest, and consequently will sink him soonest : where- 
fore he has most need of mercy. This man is shut up in 
Satan's hand, fastest bound in the cords of his sins : one 
that justice is whetting his sword to cut off ; and therefore 
has most need, not only of mercy, but that it should be 
extended to him in the first place. 

But a little further to show you the true nature of this 
reason, to wit, That Jesus Christ would have mercy 
offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners. 

First, Mercy ariseth from the bowels and compassion, 
from pity, and from a feeling of the condition of those in 
misery. " In his love, and in his pity, he saveth us." And 
again, " The Lord is pitiful, very pitiful, and of great 
mercy ;" Isa. Ixiii. 9 ; James v. 11. 

Now, where pity and compassion is, there is yearning 
of bowels ; and where there is that, there is a readiness to 
help. And, I say again, the more deplorable and dreadful 
the condition is, the more directly doth bowels and com- 
passion turn themselves to such, and offer help and de- 
liverance. All this flows from our first scripture proof, I 
came to call them that have need ; to call them first, 
while the rest look on and murmur. 

** How shall I give thee up, Ephraim ?" Ephraim waa a 


revolter from God, a man that had given himself up to 
devilism : a company of men, the ten tribes, that worship- 
ped devils, while Judah kept with his God. " But how 
shall I give thee up, Ephraim ? How shall I deliver thee, 
Israel 1 How shall I make thee as Admah ? How shall I 
set thee as Zeboim ? (and yet thou art worse than they : 
nor has Samaria committed half thy sins) ; Ezek. xvi, 
46-51. My heart is turned within me, and my repentings 
are kindled together ;" Hos. xi. 8. 

But where do you find that ever the Lord did thus yearn 
in his bowels for and after any self-righteous man ? No, no ; 
they are the publicans and harlots, idolaters and Jerusalem 
sinners, for whom his bowels thus yearn and tumble about 
within him : for, alas ! poor worms, they have most need 
of mercy. 

Had not the good Samaritan more compassion for that 
man that fell among thieves (though that fall was oc- 
casioned by his going from the place where they worship- 
ped God, to Jericho, the cursed city) than we read he had 
for any other besides ? His wine was for him, his oil was 
for him, his beast for him ; his penny, his care, and 
his swaddling bands for him ; for alas ! wretch, he had 
most need ; Luke x. 30-35. 

Zaccheus the publican, the chief of the publicans, one 
that had made himself the richer by wronging of others ; 
the Lord at that time singled him out from all the rest of 
his brother publicans, and that in the face of many Phari- 
sees, and proclaimed in the audience of them all, that that 
day salvation was come to his house ; Luke xix. 1-8. 

The woman also that had been bound down by Satan 
for eighteen years together, his compassions putting him 
upon it, he loosed her, though those that stood by snarled 
at him for so doing ; Luke xiii. 11-13. 

And why the woman of Sarepta, and why Naaman the 
Syrian, rather than widows and lepers in Israel, but be- 
cause their conditions were more deplorable, (for that) 
they were most forlorn, and farthest from help ; Luke 
iv. 25, 27. 


But I say, why all these, thus named ? why have we 
not a catalogue of some holy men that were so in their 
own eyes, and in the judgment of the world ? Alas ! if at 
any time any of them are mentioned, how seemingly coldly 
doth the record of scripture present them to us ? Nicode- 
mus, a night professor, and Simon the pharisee, with his 
fifty pence ; and their great ignorance of the methods of 
grace, we have now and then touched upon. 

Mercy seems to he out of his proper channel, when it 
deals with self-righteous men ; hut then it runs with a full 
stream when it extends itself to the biggest sinners. As 
God's mercy is not regulated by man's goodness, nor ob- 
tained by man's worthiness ; so not much set out by saving 
of any such. But more of this anon. 

And here let me ask my reader a question : suppose that 
as thou art walking by some pond side, thou shouldst espy 
in it four or five childi-en all in danger of drowning, and 
one in more danger than all the rest, judge which has most 
need to be helped out first 1 I know thou wilt say, he that 
is nearest drowning. Why, this is the case ; the bigger 
sinner, the nearer drowning j therefore the bigger sinner 
the more need of mercy ; yea, of help by mercy in the first 
place. And to this our text agrees, when it saith, " Be- 
ginning at Jerusalem." Let the Jeioisalem sinner, says 
Christ, have the first offer, the first invitation, the first 
tender of my grace and mercy, for he is the biggest sinner, 
and so has most need thereof. 

Secondly^ Christ Jesus would have mercy offered in the 
first place to the biggest sinners, because when they, any 
of them, receive it, it redounds most to the fame of his 

Christ Jesus, as you may perceive, has put himself under 
the term of a physician, a doctor for curing of diseases : 
and you know that applause and fame, are things that 
physicians much desire. That is it that helps them to 
patients, and that also that will help their patients to com- 
mit themselves to their skill for cure, with the more confi- 
dence and repose of spirit. And the best way for a doctor 


or physician to get himself a name, is, in the first place, to 
take in hand, and cure some such as all others have given 
off for lost and dead. Physicians get neither name nor 
fame by pricking of wheals, or pricking out thistles, or by 
laying of plaisters to the scratch of a pin ; every old woman 
can do this. But if they would have a name and a fame, 
if they will have it quickly they must, as I said, do some 
great and desperate cures. Let them fetch one to life that 
was dead ; let them recover one to his wits that was mad ; 
let them make one that was bom blind to see ; or let them 
give ripe wits to a fool ; these are notable cures, and he 
that can do thus, and if he doth thus first, he shall have 
the name and fame he desires ; he may lie a-bed till noon. 

Why, Christ Jesus forgiveth sins for a name, and so 
begets of himself a good report in the hearts of the children 
of men. And therefore in reason he must be willing, as 
also he did command, that his mercy should be ofifered first 
to the biggest sinners. 

" I will forgive their sins, iniquities, and transgressions," 
says he, " and it shall tui-n to me for a name of joy, and a 
praise and an honour, before all the nations of the earth ;" 
Jer. xxxiii. 8, 9. 

And hence it is, that at his first appearing he took upon 
him to do such mighty works : he got a fame thereby, he 
got a name thereby ; Matt. iv. 23, 24. 

When Christ had cast the legion of devils out of the man 
of whom you read, Mark v., he bid him go home to his 
friends, and tell it : " Go home," saith he, " to thy friends, 
and tell them how great things God has done for thee, and 
has had compassion on thee ;" Mark v. 19. Christ Jesus seeks 
a name, and desireth a fame in the world ; and therefore, or 
the better to obtain that, he commands that mercy should 
first be proffered to the biggest sinners, because, by the 
saving of one of them he makes all men marvel. As 'tis 
said of the man last mentioned, whom Christ cured towards 
the beginning of his ministry : " And he departed," says 
the text, " and began to publish in Decapolis, how great 
things Jesus had done for him ; and all men did marvel," 
ver. 20. 


When John told Christ, that they saw one casting out 
devils in his name, and they forbade him, because he fol- 
lowed not with them, what is the answer of Christ? " For- 
bid him not : for there is no man which shall do a miracle 
in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me." ISTo ; they 
will rather cause his praise to be heard, and his name to be 
magnified, and so put glory on the head of Christ. 

But we will follow a little our metaphor : Christ, as I 
said, has put himself xmder the term of a physician ; con- 
sequently he desireth that his fame, as to the salvation of 
sinners, may spread abroad, and that the world may see 
what he can do. And to this end, he has not only com- 
manded, that the biggest sinners should have the first offer 
of his mercy, but has, as physicians do, put out his bills, 
and published his doings, that things may be read and 
talked of. Yea, he has moreover, in these his blessed bills, 
the holy scriptures I mean, inserted the very names of per- 
sons, the places of their abode, and the great cures that, 
by the means of his salvations, he has wrought upon them 
to this very end. Here is. Item, such a one, by my grace 
and redeeming blood, was made a monument of everlast- 
ing life ; and such a one, by my perfect obedience, became 
an heir of glory. And then he produceth their names. 

Item, I saved Lot fi'om the guilt and damnation that he 
had procured to himself by his incest. 

Item, I saved David from the vengeance that belonged 
to him for committing of adultery and murder. 

Here is also Solomon, Manasseh, Peter, Magdalen, and 
many others, made mention of in this book. Yea, here 
are their names, their sins, and their salvations recorded 
together, that you may read and know what a Saviour he 
is, and do him honour in the world. For why are these 
things thus recorded, but to show to sinners what he can 
do, to the praise and glory of his grace ? 

And it is observable, as I said before, we have but very 
little of the salvation of little sinners mentioned in God's 
book, because that would not have answered the design, 
to wit, to bring glory and fiime to the name of the Sou of 


What should be the reason, think you, why Christ 
should so easily take a denial of the great ones, that were 
the grandeur of the world, and struggle so hard for hedge- 
creepers and highway -men (as that parable, Luke xiv., 
seems to import he doth), but to show forth the riches of 
the glory of his grace to his praise ? This I say, is one 
reason to be sure. 

They that had their grounds, their yoke of oxen, and 
their marriage joys, were invited to come ; but they made 
their excuse, and that served the turn. But when he comes 
to deal with the worst, he saith to his servants. Go ye out 
and bring them in hither. " Go out quickly, and bring 
in hither the poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind." 
And they did so : and he said again, " Go out into the 
highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that 
my house may be filled ;" Luke xiv. 18, 19, 23. These 
poor, lame, maimed, blind, hedge-creepers and highway- 
men, must come in, must be forced in. These, if saved, will 
make his merits shine. 

When Christ was crucified, and hanged up between the 
earth and heavens, there were two thieves crucified with 
him ; and behold, he lays hold of one of them and will 
have him away with him to glory. Was not this a strange 
act, and a display of unthought of grace ? Were there 
none but thieves there, or were the rest of that company 
out of his reach ? Could he not, think you, have stooped 
fi"om the cross to the ground, and have laid hold on some 
honester man if he would ? Yes, doubtless. Oh ! but then 
he would not have displayed his grace, nor so have pur- 
sued his own designs, namely, to get to himself a praise 
and a name : but now he has done it to pui-pose. For who 
that shall read this story, but must confess, that the Son 
of God is full of grace ; for a proof of the riches thereof, 
he left behind him, when upon the cross he took the thief 
away with him to glory. Nor can this one act of his be 
buried ; it will be talked of to the end of the world to his 
praise. " Men shall speak of the might of thy terrible 
acts, and will declare thy greatness ; they shall abundantly 


utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of 
thy righteousness. They shall speak of the glory of thy 
kingdom, and talk of thy power ; to make kno^vn to the 
sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of 
his kingdom ;" Psalm cxlv. 6-12. 

When the word of God came among the conjurers and 
those soothsayers that you read of, Acts xix., and had pre- 
vailed with some of them to accept of the grace of Clirist, 
the Holy Ghost records it with a hoast, for that it would 
redound to his praise, saying, 

" And many of them that used curious arts, brought 
their books together, and burned them before all men : and 
counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces 
of silver. So mightily grew the word of God, and prevail- 
ed ;" Acts xix. 19, 20. It wrenched out of the clutehes of 
Satan some of those of whom he thought himself most sui*e. 
" So mightily grew the word of God." It grew mightily, 
it encroached upon the kingdom of the devil. It pursued 
him, and took the prey ; it forced him to let go his hold : 
it brought away captive, as prisoners taken by force of 
arms, some of the most valiant of his army : it fetehed 
back from, as it were, the confines of hell, some of those 
that were his most trusty, and that with hell had been at 
an agreement : it made them come and confess their deeds, 
and bum their books before all men : " So mightily grew 
the word of God, and prevailed." 

Thus, therefore, you see why Christ will have mercy 
offered in the first place to the biggest sinners ; they have 
most need thereof ; and this is the most ready way to extol 
his nanje that rideth upon the heavens to our help. But, 

Thirdly, Christ Jesus would have mercy offered in the 
first place to the biggest sinners, because by their forgive- 
ness and salvation, others hearing of it, will be encouraged 
the more to come to him for life. 

For the physician, by curing the most desperate at the 
first, doth not only get himself a name, but begets en- 
couragement in the minds of other diseased folk to come 
to him for help. Hence you read of our Lord, that after, 



through his tender mercy, he had cured many of great 
diseases, his fame was spread abroad, " They brought unto 
him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases 
and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, 
and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy, 
and he healed them. And there followed him great multi- 
tudes of people from Galilee, and Decapolis, and Jerusalem, 
and Judea, and fi-om beyond Jordan ;" Matt. iv. 24, 25. 

See here, he first by working gets himself a fame, a name, 
and renown, and now men take encouragement, and bring 
from all quarters their diseased to him, being helped, by 
what they had heard, to believe that their diseased should 
be healed. 

Now, as he did with those outward cures, so he does in 
the proffers of his grace and mercy : he proffers that in the 
first place to the biggest sinners, that others may take heart 
to come to him to be saved. I will give you a scripture or 
two, I mean to show you that Christ, by commanding that 
his mercy should in the first place be offered to the biggest 
of sinners, has a design thereby to encourage and provoke 
others to come also to him for mercy. 

" God," saith Paul, " who is rich in mercy, for his great 
love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in 
sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye 
are saved); and hath raised us up together, and made us sit 
together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus," But why did 
he do all this ? " That in the ages to come he might shew 
the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us 
through Christ Jesus ;" Eph. ii. 4-7. 

See, here is a design ; God lets out his mercy to Ephesus 
of design, even to shew to the ages to come the exceeding 
riches of his grace, in his kindness to them through Christ 
Jesus. And why to shew by these the exceeding riches of 
his grace to the ages to come, through Christ Jesus, but to 
allure them, and their children also, to come to him, and 
to partake of the same grace through Christ Jesus 1 

But what was Paul, and the Ephesian sinners 1 (of Paul 
we will speak anon). These Ephesian sinners, they were 


men dead in sins, men that walked according to the dictates 
and motions of the devil ; woi-shippers of Diana, that ef- 
feminate goddess ; men far off from God, aliens and strangers 
to all good things ; such as were far off fi-om that, as I said, 
and consequently in a most deplorable condition. As the 
Jerusalem sinners were of the highest sort among the Jews, 
so these Ephesian sinners were of the highest sort among 
the Gentiles ; Eph. ii. 1-3, 11, 12 ; Acts xix. 35. 

Wherefore as by the Jerusalem siimers, in saving them 
first, he had a design to provoke others to come to him for 
mercy, so the same design is here set on foot again, in his 
calling and converting the Ephesian sinners, " That in the 
ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his 
grace," says he, " in his kindness towards us through Christ 
Jesus." There is yet one hint behind. It is said that God 
saved these for his love ; that is, as I think, for the setting 
forth, for the commendations of his love, for the advance 
of his love, in the hearts and minds of them that should 
come after. As who should say, God has had mercy upon, 
and been gracious to you, that he might shew to others, 
for their encouragement, that they have gi-ound to come to 
him to be saved. When God saves one great sinner, it is 
to encourage another great sinner to come to him for mercy. 

He saved the thief, to encoui*age thieves to come to him 
for mercy ; he saved Magdalen, to encourage other Magda- 
lens to come to him for mercy ; he saved Saul, to encourage 
Sauls to come to him for mercy ; and this Paul himself 
doth say, " For this cause," saith he, " I obtained mercy, 
that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all long- 
suffering for a pattern to them which should hereafter be- 
lieve on him to life everlasting ;" 1 Tim. i. 16. 

How plain are the words ! Christ, in saving of me, has 
given to the world a pattern of his gmce, that they miglit 
see and believe, and come, and be saved ; that they that are 
to be bom hereafter might believe on Jesus Christ to life 

But what was Paul ? Why, he tells you himself ; I am, 
says he, the cliief of sinners : I was, says he, a bhvsphemer 


a persecutor, an injurious person ; but I obtained mercy ; 
1 Tim. i. 14, 15. Ay, that is well for you, Paul ; but what 
advantage have we thereby ? Oh, very much, saith he ; 
for, " for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first, 
Jesus Christ might shew all long-suffering for a pattern to 
them which shall believe on him to life everlasting.'* 

Thus, therefore, you see that this third reason is of 
strength, namely, that Jesus Chi-ist would have mercy 
offered in the first place to the biggest sinners, because, by 
their forgiveness and salvation, others, hearing of it, will 
be encouraged the more to come to him for mercy. 

It may weU therefore be said to God, Thou delightest in 
mercy, and mercy pleases thee ; Mich. vii. 18. 

But who believes that this was God's design in shewing 
mercy of old — namely, that we that come after might take 
courage to come to him for mercy ; or that Jesus Christ 
would have mercy offered in the first place to the biggest 
sinners, to stir up others to come to him for life 1 This is 
not the manner of men, God ! 

But David saw this betimes ; therefore he makes this 
one argument with God, that he would blot out his trans- 
gressions, that he would forgive his adultery, his murders, 
and horrible hypocrisy. Do it, Lord, saith he, do it, and 
" then will I teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall 
be converted unto thee;" Psalm li. 7-13. 

He knew that the conversion of sinners would be a work 
highly pleasing to God, as being that which he had de- 
signed before he made mountain or hill : wherefore he 
comes, and he saith. Save me, Lord; if thou wilt but 
save me, I will fall in with thy design ; I will help to bring 
what sinners to thee I can. And, Lord, I am willing to 
be made a preacher myself, for that I have been a horrible 
sinner : wherefore, if thou shalt forgive my great trans- 
gressions, I shall be a fit man to tell of thy wondrous grace 
to others. Yea, Lord, I dare promise, that if thou wilt 
have mercy upon me, it shall tend to the glory of thy grace, 
and also to the increase of thy kingdom ; for I will tell it, 
and sinners will hear on't. And there is nothing so suiteth 


with the hearing sinner as mercy, and to be informed that 
God is willing to bestow it upon him. " I will teach trans- 
gressors thy ways, and sinners shall be convei-ted unto 

Nor will Christ Jesus miss of his design in proflFering of 
mercy in the first place to the biggest sinners. You know 
what work the Lord, by laying hold of the woman of Sa- 
maria, made among the people there. They knew that 
she was a to^vn sinner, an adulteress, yea, one that after 
the most audacious manner lived in uncleanness with a 
man that was not her husband : but when she, from a turn 
upon her heart, went into the city, and said to her neigh- 
bours, " Come," Oh how they came ! how they flocked 
out of the city to Jesus Christ ! " Then they went out of 
the city, and came to him." " And many of the Samari- 
tans (people perhaps as bad as herself) believed on 'him, 
for the saying of the woman, which testified, saying, He 
told me all that ever I did ;" John iv. 39. 

That word, " He told me all that ever I did," was a great 
argument with them ; for by that they gathered, that 
though he knew her to be vile, yet he did not despise her, 
nor refuse to shew how willing he was to communicate 
his grace unto her ; and this fetched over, first her, then 

This woman, as I said, was a Samaritan sinner, a sinner 
of the worst complexion : for the Jews abhorred to have 
ought to do with them, ver. 9 ; wherefore none more fit 
than she to be made one of the decoys of heaven, to bring 
others of these Samaritan wild-fowls under the net of the 
grace of Christ. And she did the work to purpose. Many, 
and many more of the Samaritans believed on him ; ver. 
40-42. The heart of man, though set on sin, will, when 
it comes once to a persuasion that God is willing to have 
mercy upon us, incline to come to Jesus Christ for life. 
Witness those turn-aways from God that you also read of 
in Jeremiah ; for after they had heard tliree or four times 
over, that God had mercy for backsliders, they broke out, 
and said, " Behold, we come unto thee, for thou art the 


Lord our God." Or as those in Hosea did, " For in thee 
the fatherless find mercy ;" Jer. iii. 22 ; Hos. xiv. 1-3. 

Mercy, and the revelation thereof, is the only antidote 
against sin. It is of a thawing nature ; it will loose the 
heart that is fi'ozen up in sin ; yea, it will make the un- 
willing willing to come to Jesus Christ for life. 

Wherefore, do you think, was it that Jesus Christ told 
the adulterous woman, and that before so many sinners, 
that he had not condemned her, but to allure her, with 
them there present, to hope to find favour at his hands 1 
(As he also saith in another place, " I came not to judge, 
but to save the world.") For might they not thence most 
rationally conclude, that if Jesus Christ had rather save 
than damn an harlot, there was encouragement for them to 
come to him for mercy. 

I heard once a story from a soldier, who with his com- 
pany had laid siege against a fort, that so long as the be- 
sieged were persuaded their foes would shew them no fa- 
vour, they fought like madmen ; but when they saw one 
of their fellows taken, and received to favour, they all came 
tumbling down from their fortress, and delivered themselves 
into their enemies' hands. 

I am persuaded, did men believe that there is that grace 
and willingness in the heart of Christ to save sinners, as 
the word imports there is, they would come tmnbling into 
his arms : but Satan has blinded their minds, that they 
cannot see this thing. Howbeit, the Lord Jesus has, as I 
said, that others might take heart and come to him, given 
out a commandment, that mercy should in the first place 
be ofi^ered to the biggest sinners. " Begin," saith he, " at 
Jerusalem." And thus I end the third reason. 

Fourthly/, Jesus Christ would have mercy offered in the 
first place to the biggest sinners, because that is the way, 
if they receive it, most to weaken the kingdom of Satan, 
and to keep it lowest in every age of the world. The big- 
gest sinners, they are Satan's colonels and captains, the 
leaders of his people, and they that most stoutly make 
head against the Son of God. Wherefore let these first be 


conquered, and his kingdom will be weak. AVhen Ishbo- 
sheth had lost his Abner, his kingdom was made weak : 
nor did he sit but tottering then upon his throne. So when 
Satan loseth his strong men, them that are mighty to work 
iniquity, and dexterous to manage others in the same, then 
is his kingdom weak ; 2 Sam. iii. Therefore, I say, Christ 
doth offer mercy in the first place to such, the more to 
weaken his kingdom. Christ Jesus was glad to see Satan 
fall like lightning from heaven, that is, suddenly or head- 
long ; and it was, surely, by casting of him out of strong 
possessions, and by recovering of some notorious sinners 
out of his clutches ; Luke x. 17-19. 

Samson, when he would pull down the Philistines' 
temple, took hold of the two main pillars of it, and break- 
ing them, down came the house. Christ came to destroy 
the works of the devil, and to destroy by converting grace, 
as well as by redeeming blood. Now sin swamis, and lieth 
by legions, and whole armies, in the souls of the biggest 
sinners, as in garrisons : wherefore the way, the most di- 
rect way to destroy it, is first to deal with such sinnei-s 
by the word of his gospel, and by the merits of his pas- 

For example, though I shall give you but a homely one : 
suppose a family to be troubled with vermin, and one or 
two of the family to be in chief the breeders, the way, the 
quickest way to clear that family, or at least to weaken 
the so swarming of those vermin, is, in the first place, to 
sweeten the skin, head, and clothes of the chief breeders ; 
and then, though all the family should be apt to breed 
them, the number of them, and so the greatness of that 
plague there, will be the more impaired. 

Why, there are some people that are in chief the devil's 
sin-breeders in the towns and places where they live. The 
place, town, or family where they live, mUst needs be hor- 
ribly verminous, as it were, eaten up with vermin. Now, 
let the Lord Jesus, in the first place, cleanse these great 
breeders, and there will be given a nip to those swarms of 
sins that used to be committed in such places throughout 


the town, house, or family, where such sin-hreeding persons 
used to be. 

I speak by experience : I was one of these verminous ones, 
one of these great sin-breeders ; 1 infected all the youth 
of the town where I was bom, with all manner of youth- 
ful vanities. The neighbours counted me so ; my practice 
proved me so : wherefore Christ Jesus took me first, and 
taking me first, the contagion was much allayed all the 
town over. When God made me sigh, they would hearken, 
and enquiringly say, What is the matter with John ? They 
also gave their various opinions of me : but, as I said, sin 
cooled, and failed, as to his full career. When I went out 
to seek the bread of life, some of them would follow, and 
the rest be put into a muse at home. Yea, almost the town, 
at first, at times would go out to hear at the place where I 
found good ; yea, young and old for a while had some re- 
formation on them ; also some of them, perceiving that God 
had mercy upon me, came crying to him for mercy too. 

But what need I give you an instance of poor I ; I will 
come to Manasseh the king. So long as he was a ring- 
leading sinner, the great idolater, the chief for devilism, the 
whole land flowed with wickedness ; for he " made them 
to sin," and do worse than the heathen that dwelt round 
about them, or that was cast out from before them : but 
when God converted him, the whole land was reformed. 
Down went the groves, the idols, and altars of Baal, and up 
went true religion in much of the power and purity of it. 
You will say. The king reformed by power. I answer, 
doubtless, and by example too ; for people observe their 
leaders ; as their fathers did, so did they ; 2 Chron. xxxiii. 2. 

This, therefore, is another reason why Jesus would have 
mercy offered in the first place to the biggest sinners, be- 
cause that is the best way, if they receive it, most to 
weaken the kingdom of Satan, and to keep it poor and 

And do you not think now, that if God would but take 
hold of the hearts of some of the most notorious in your 
town, in your family, or country, that this thing would be 


verified before your faces 1 It would, it would, to the joy 
of you that are godly, to the making of hell to sigh, to the 
great suppressing of sin, the glory of Christ, and the joy of 
the angels of God. And ministers should, therefore, that 
tliis work might go on, take advantages to persuade with 
the biggest sinners to come into Christ, according to my 
text, and their commissions ; " Beginning at Jerusalem." 

Fifthly^ Jesus Christ would have mercy offered, in the 
first place, to the biggest sinners ; because such, when con- 
verted, are usually the best helps in the church against 
temptations, and fittest for the support of the feeble-minded 
there. Hence, usually, you have some such in the first 
plantation of churches, or quickly upon it. Churches 
would do but sorrily, if Christ Jesus did not put such con- 
verts among them : they are the monuments and mirrors 
of mercy. The very sight of such a sinner in God's house, 
yea, the very thought of him, where the sight of him can- 
not be had, is ofttimes greatly for the help of the faith of 
the feeble. 

" When the churches (said Paul) that were in Judea, 
heard this concerning me, that he which persecuted them 
in time past, now preached the faith which once he de- 
stroyed, they glorified God in me ;" Gal. i. 20-24. 

" Glorified God." How is that \ Why, they praised 
him, and took courage to believe the more in the mercy 
of God ; for that he had had mercy on such a great sinner 
as he. They glorified God " in me ;" they wondered that 
grace should be so rich, as to take hold of such a wretoh 
as I was ; and for my sake believed in Christ the more. 

There are two things that great sinners are acquainted 
with, when they come to divulge them to the saints, that 
are a great relief to their faith. 

1 . The contests that they usually have with the devil 
at their parting with him. 

2. Their knowledge of his secrets in his workings. 

For the first ^ The biggest sinners have usually gi'eat 
contests with the devil at their partings ; and this is an 
help to saints : for ordinary saints find afterwards what 


the vile ones find at first, but when at the opening of 
hearts, the one finds himself to be as the other, the one is a 
comfort to the other. The lesser sort of sinners find but 
little of this, till after they have been some time in pro- 
fession ; but the vile man meets with his at the beginning. 
Wherefore he, when the other is down, is ready to tell 
that he has met with the same before ; for, I say, he has 
had it before. Satan is loath to part with a great sinner. 
What my true servant (quoth he), my old servant, wilt 
thou forsake me now ? Having so often sold thyself to me 
to work wickedness, wilt thou forsake me now 1 Thou 
horrible wretch, dost not know, that thou hast sinned thy- 
self beyond the reach of grace, and dost think to find mercy 
now ? Art not thou a murderer, a thief, a harlot, a witch, 
a sinner of the greatest size, and dost thou look for mercy 
now ? Dost thou think that Christ will foul his fingers 
with thee ? 

'Tis enough to make angels blush, saith Satan, to see 
so vile a one knock at heaven-gates for mercy, and wilt 
thou be so abominably bold to do it ? Thus Satan dealt 
with me, says the great sinner, when at first I came to 
Jesus Christ. And what did you reply 1 saith the tempted. 
Why, I granted the whole charge to be time, says the 
other. And what, did you despair, or how ? No, saith 
he, I said, I am Magdalen, I am Zaccheus, I am the thief, 
I am the harlot, I am the publican, I am the prodigal, and 
one of Christ's murderers : yea, worse than any of these ; 
and yet God was so far off from rejecting of me (as I found 
afterwards), that there was music and dancing in his house 
for me, and for joy that I was come home unto him. 
blessed be God for grace, (says the other), for then I hope 
there is favour for me. Yea, as I told you, such a one is a 
continual spectacle in the church, for every one to behold 
God's grace and wonder by. 

Secondly^ And as for the secrets of Satan, such as are sug- 
gestions to question the being of God, the truth of his word, 
and to be annoyed with devilish blasphemies ; none more 
acquainted with these than the biggest sinners at their con- 


rersion ; wherefore thus also they are prepared to be helps 
in the church to relieve and comfort the other. 

I might also here tell you of the contests and battles 
that such are engaged in, wherein they find the besettings 
of Satan, above any other of the saints. At which times 
Satan assaults the soul with darkness, fears, frightful 
thoughts of apparitions ; now they sweat, pant, cry out, 
and struggle for life. 

The angels now come down to behold the sight, and re- 
joice to see a bit of dust and ashes to overcome principali- 
ties and powers, and might, and dominions. But, as I said, 
when these come a little to be settled, they are prepared for 
helping others, and are great comforts unto them. Their 
great sins give great encouragement to the devil to assault 
them ; and by these temptations Christ takes advantage to 
make them the more helpful to the churches. 

The biggest sinner, when he is converted, and comes 
into the church, says to them all, by his very coming in, 
Behold me, all you that are men and women of a low and 
timorous spirit, you whose hearts are narrow, for that you 
never had the advantage to know, because your sins are 
few, the largeness of the grace of God. Behold, I say, in 
me, the exceeding riches of his grace ! I am a pattern set 
forth before your faces, on whom you may look and take 
heart. This, I say, the great sinner can say, to the ex- 
ceeding comfort of all the rest. 

Wherefore, as I have hinted before, when God intends to 
stock a place with saints, and to make that place excel- 
lently to flourish with the riches of his grace, he usually 
begins with the conversion of some of the most notorious 
thereabouts, and lays them as an example to allure others, 
and to build up when they are converted. 

It was Paul that must go to the Gentiles, because Paul 
was the most outrageous of all the apostles, in the time of 
his unregeneracy. Yea, Peter must be he, that after his 
horrible fall, was thought fittest, when recovered again, to 
comfort and strengthen his brethren. See Luke xxii. 
31, 32. 


Some must be pillars in God's house ; and if they he 
pillars of cedar, they must stand while they are stout and 
sturdy sticks in the forest, before they are cut down, and 
planted or placed there. 

No man, when he buildeth his house, makes the prin- 
cipal parts thereof of weak or feeble timber ; for how could 
such bear up the rest ? but of great and able wood. Christ 
Jesus also goeth this way to work ; he makes of the big- 
gest sinners bearers and supporters to the rest. This then, 
may serve for another reason, why Jesus Christ gives out 
in commandment, that mercy should, in the first place, be 
offered to the biggest sinners : because such, when con- 
verted, are usually the best helps in the church against temp- 
tations, and fittest for the support of the feeble-minded there. 

Sixthly, Another reason why Jesus Christ would have 
mercy oflPered in the first place to the biggest sinners, is, 
because they, when converted, are apt to love him most. 

This agrees both with Scripture and reason. Scripture says 
so : " To whom much is forgiven, the same loveth much. 
To whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little;" Luke vii. 
47. Reason says so : for as it would be the unreasonablest 
thing in the world to render hatred for love, and contempt 
for forgiveness ; so it would be as ridiculous to think, that 
the reception of a little kindness should lay the same obli- 
gations upon the heart to love, as the reception of a great 
deal. I would not disparage the love of Christ ; I know 
the least drachm of it, when it reaches to forgiveness, is 
great above all the world ; but comparatively, there are 
greater extensions of the love of Christ to one than to 
another. He that has most sin, if forgiven, is partaker of 
the greatest love, of the greatest forgiveness. 

I know also, that there are some, that from this very 
doctrine say, " Let us do evil that good may come ;" and 
that turn the grace of our God into lasciviousness. But I 
speak not of these ; these will neither be ruled by grace nor 
reason. Grace would teach them, if they know it, to deny 
ungodly courses ; and so would reason too, if it could truly 
sense the love of God ; Titus ii. 11, 12 ; Rom. xi. 1. 


Doth it look like what hath any coherence with reason 
or mercy, for a man to abuse his friend ? Because Christ 
died for men, shall I therefore spit in his face ? The bread 
and water that was given by Elisha to his enemies, that 
came into the land of Israel to take him, had so much in- 
fluence upon their minds, though heathens, tliat they re- 
turned to their homes without hurting him : yea, it kept 
them from coming again in a hostile manner into the coasts 
of Israel ; 2 Kings vi. 19-23. 

But to forbear to illustrate till anon. One reason why 
Christ Jesus sliews mercy to sinners, is, that he might ob- 
tain their love, that he may remove their base affections 
from base objects to himself. Now, if he lov^ to be loved 
a little, he loves to be loved much ; but there is not any 
that are capable of loving much, save those that have much 
forgiven them. Hence it is said of Paul, that he laboured 
more than them all ; to wit, with a labour of love, because 
he had been by sin more vile against Christ than they all ; 
1 Cor. XV. He it was that persecuted the church of God, 
and wasted it ; Gal. i. 13. He of them all was the only 
raving bedlam against the saints : " And being exceeding 
mad," says he, " against them, I persecuted them, even to 
strange cities;" Acts xxvi. 11. 

This raving bedlam, that once was so, is he that now 
says, I laboured more than them all, more for Christ than 
them all. 

But Paul, what moved thee thus to do 1 The love of 
Christ, says he. It was not I, but the grace of God that 
was with me. As who should say, grace ! It was such 
grace to save me ! It was such marvellous grace for God 
to look down from heaven upon me, and that secured me 
from the wrath to come, that I am captivated with the 
sense of the riches of it. Hence I act, hence I labour ; for 
how can I otherwise do, since God not only separated me 
from my sins and companions, but separated all the powei-s 
of my soul and body to his service 1 I am therefore prompted 
on by this exceeding love to labour as I have done ; yet not 
I, but the grace of God with me. 


Oh ! I shall never forget his love, nor the circumstances 
under which I was, when his love laid hold upon me. I 
was going to Damascus with letters from the high-priest, 
to make havock of God's people there, as I had made havock 
of them in other places. These bloody letters were not im- 
posed upon me. I went to the high-priest and desired them 
of him ; Acts ix. 1, 2 ; and yet he saved me 1 I was one 
of the men, of the chief men, that had a hand in the blood 
of his martyr Stephen ; yet he had mercy on me ! When 
I was at Damascus, I stunk so horribly like a blood-sucker, 
that I became a teiTor to all thereabout. Yea, Ananias 
(good man) made intercession to my Lord against me ; yet 
he would have mercy upon me, yea, joined mercy to mercy, 
until he had made me a monument of grace ! He made a 
saint of me, and persuaded me tliat my transgressions were 
forj>iven me. 

When I began to preach, those that heard me were 
amazed, and said, " Is not this he that destroyed them 
that called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither 
for that intent, that he might bring them bound to the 
high-priest ?" Hell doth know that I was a sinner ; hea- 
ven doth know that I was a sinner ; the world also knows 
that I was a sinner, a sinner of the greatest size ; but I ob- 
tained mercy ; 1 Tim i. 15, 16. 

Shall not this lay obligation upon me ? Is not love of 
the greatest force to oblige ? Is it not strong as death, 
cruel as the grave, and hotter than the coals of juniper 1 
Hath it not a most vehement flame ? can the waters quench 
it ? can the floods drown it ? I am under the force of it, 
and this is my continual cry. What shall I render to the 
Lord for all the benefits which he has bestowed upon me 1 

Ay, Paul ! this is something ; thou speakest like a man, 
like a man aff"ected, and carried away with the love and 
grace of God. Now, this sense, and this affection, and this 
labour, giveth to Christ the love that he looks for. But he 
might have converted twenty little sinners, and yet not 
foimd, for grace bestowed, so much love in them all. 

I wonder how far a man might go among the converted 


sinners of the smaller size, before one could find one that so 
much as looked any thing this wayward. Where is he 
that is thus under pangs of love for the grace bestowed 
upon him by Jesus Christ? Excepting only some few, 
you may walk to the world's end, and find none. But, as 
I said, some there are, and so there has been in every age 
of the church, great sinners, that have had much forgiven 
them ; and they love much upon this account. 

Jesus Christ therefore knows what he doth, when he 
lays hold on the hearts of sinners of the biggest size. He 
knows that such an one will love more than many that 
have not sinned half their sins. 

I will tell you a story that I have read of Martha and 
Mary ; the name of the book I have forgot ; I mean of the 
book in which I foimd the relation ; but the thing was 
thus : 

Martha, saith my author, was a very holy woman, much 
like Lazarus her brother ; but Mary was a loose and wan- 
ton creature ; Martha did seldom miss good sermons and 
lectures, when she could come at them in Jerusalem ; but 
Mary would frequent the house of sports, and the company 
of the vilest of men for lust : And though Martha had 
often desired that her sister would go with her to hear her 
preachers, yea, had often entreated her with tears to do it, 
yet could she never prevail ; for still Mary would make 
her excuse, or reject her with disdain for her zeal and pre- 
ciseness in religion. 

After Martha had waited long, tried many ways to 
bring her sister to good, and all proved ineffectual, at last 
she comes upon her thus : " Sister," quoth she, " I pray 
thee go with me to the temple to-day, to hear one preach 
a sermon." " What kind of preacher is he ?" said she. 
Martha replied, " It is one Jesus of Nazareth ; he is the 
handsomest man that ever you saw with your eyes. Oh ! 
he shines in beauty, and is a most excellent preacher." 

Now, what does Mary, after a little pause, but goes 
up into her chamber, and with her pins and her clouts, 
decks up herself as fine as her fingers could make her. 


This done, away she goes, not with her sister Martha, but 
as much unobserved as she could, to the sermon, or rather 
to see the preacher. 

The hour and preacher being come, and she having ob- 
served whereabout the preacher would stand, goes and sets 
herself so in the temple, that she might be sure to have the 
full view of this excellent person. So he comes in, and she 
looks, and the first glimpse of his person pleased her. Well, 
Jesus addi-esseth himself to his sermon, and she looks ear- 
nestly on him. 

Now, at that time, saith my author, Jesus preached about 
the lost sheep, the lost groat, and the prodigal child. And 
when he came to shew what care the shepherd took for one 
lost sheep, and how the woman swept to find her piece 
which was lost, and what joy there was at their finding, 
she began to be taken by the ears, and forgot what she 
came about, musing what the preacher would make of it. 
But when he came to the application, and shewed, that by 
the lost sheep was meant a great sinner ; by the shepherd's 
care, was meant God's love for great sinners ; and that by 
the joy of the neighbours, was shewed what joy there was 
among the angels in heaven over one great sinner that re- 
penteth ; she began to be taken by the heart. And as he 
spake these last words, she thought he pitched his innocent 
eyes just upon her, and looked as if he spake what was 
now said to her : wherefore her heart began to tremble, 
being shaken with affection and fear ; then her eyes ran 
down with tears apace ; wherefore she was forced to hide 
her face with her handkerchief, and so sat sobbing and 
crying all the rest of the sermon. 

Sermon being done, up she gets, and away she goes, and 
withal inquired where this Jesus the preacher dined that 
day ? and one told her, At the house of Simon the Pharisee. 
So away goes she, first to her chamber, and there strips 
herself of her wanton attire : then falls upon her knees to 
ask God forgiveness for all her wicked life. This done, in 
a modest dress she goes to Simon's house, where she finds 
Jesus sat at dinner. So she gets behind him, and weeps, 


and drops her tears upon his feet like rain, and washes 
them, and wipes them with the hair of her head. She also 
kissed his feet with her lips, and anointed them with oint- 
ment. When Simon the Pharisee perceived what the 
woman did, and heing ignorant of what it was to he for- 
given much (for he never was forgiven more than fifty 
pence), he began to think within himself, that he had been 
mistaken about Jesus Christ, because he sufifered such a 
sinner as this woman was, to touch him. Surely, quoth 
he, this man, if he were a prophet, would not let this 
woman come near him, for she is a town-sinner (so igno- 
rant are all self-righteous men of the way of Christ with 
sinners.) But lest Mary should be discouraged with some 
clownish carriage of this Pharisee and so desert her good 
beginnings, and her new steps which she now had begun 
to take towards eternal life, Jesus began thus with Simon : 
" Simon," saith he, " I have somewhat to say unto thee. 
And he saith, Master, say on. There was," said Jesus, 
" a certain creditor had two debtors ; the one owed 
five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they 
had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell 
me therefore which of them will love him most ? Simon 
answered and said, I suppose that he to whom he forgave 
most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. 
And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest 
thou this woman 1 I entered into thy house, thou gavest 
me no water for my feet ; but she hath washed my feet 
with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 
Thou gavest me no kiss : but this woman, since the time 
I came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with 
oil thou didst not anoint, but this woman hath anointed 
my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her 
sins which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much ; 
but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. x\nd 
he said unto her. Thy sins are forgiven ;" Luke vii. 36-50. 
Thus you have the story. If I come short in any cir- 
cumstance, I beg pardon of those that can correct me. It 
Is three or foui' and twenty years since I saw the book ; 


yet I have, as far as my memory will admit, given you the 
relation of the matter. However Luke, as you see, doth 
here present you with the substance of the whole. 

Alas ! Christ Jesus has hut little thanks for the saving 
of little sinners. " To whom little is forgiven, the same 
loveth little." He gets not water for his feet, by his sav- 
ing of such sinners. There are abundance of dry-eyed 
Christians in the world, and abundance of dry-eyed duties 
too ; duties that never were wetted with the tears of con- 
trition and repentance, nor ever sweetened with the great 
sinner's box of ointment. And the reason is, such sinners 
have not great sins to be saved from ; or if they have, they 
look upon them in the diminishing glass of the holy law 
of God. But I rather believe, that the professors of our 
days want a due sense of what they are ; for, verily, for the 
generality of them, both before and since conversion, they 
have been sinners of a lusty size. But if their eyes be 
holden, if convictions are not shewn, if their knowledge of 
their sins is but like to the eye-sight in twilight ; the heart 
cannot be affected with that grace that has laid hold on 
the man ; and so Christ Jesus sows much, and has little 
coming in. 

"Wherefore his way is ofttimes to step out of the way, to 
Jericho, to Samaria, to the country of the Gadarenes, to 
the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, and also to Mount Calvary, 
that he may lay hold of such kind of sinnei-s as will love 
him to his liking ; Luke xix. 1-11 ; John iv. 3-11 ; Mark 
V. 1-21 ; Matt. xv. 21-29 ; Luke xxiii. 33-44. 

But thus much for the sixth reason, why Christ Jesus 
would have mercy offered in the first place to the biggest 
sinners, to wit, because such sinners, when converted, are 
apt to love him most. The Jerusalem sinners were they 
that outstripped, when they were converted, in some things, 
all the churches of the Gentiles. " They were of one heart, 
and of one soul, neither said any of them, that aught of 
the things that they possessed was their own." " Neither 
was there any among them that lacked : for as many as 
were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought 


the price of the things that were sold, and laid them down 
at the apostles' feet," &c ; Acts iv.32-35. Now, shew me such 
another pattern if you can. But why did these do thus ? 
Oh ! they were Jerusalem sinners. These were the men 
that but a little before had killed the Prince of Life ; and 
those to whom he did, that notmthstanding, send the first 
offer of grace and mercy. And the sense of this took them 
up betwixt the earth and the heaven, and carried them on 
in such ways and methods as could never be trodden by 
any since. They talk of the church of Rome, and set her 
in her primitive state, as a pattern and mother of churches ; 
when the truth is, they were the Jerusalem sinners, when 
converts, that out-did all the churches that ever were. 

Seventhly y Christ Jesus would have mercy offered, in 
the first place, to the biggest sinners ; because grace when 
it is received by such, finds matter to kindle upon more 
freely than it finds in other sinners. Great sinners are 
like the dry wood, or like great candles, which bum best 
and shine with biggest light. I lay not this down, as I 
did those reasons before, to shew, that when great sinners 
are converted, they will be encouragement to others, though 
that is true ; but to shew that Chi-ist has a delight to see 
grace, the grace we receive, to shine. We love to see things 
that bear a good gloss ; yea, we choose to buy such kind 
of matter to work upon, as will, if ^vrought up to what 
we intend, cast that lustre that we desire. 

Candles that bum not bright, we like not : wood that is 
green will rather smother, and sputter, and smoke, and 
crack, and flounce, than cast a brave light and a pleasant 
heat : w^herefore great folks care not much, not so much 
for such kind of things, as for them that will better answer 
their ends. 

Hence Christ desires the biggest sinner ; in him there is 
matter to work by, to wit, a great deal of sin ; for as by 
the tallow of the candle, the fire takes occasion to bum the 
brighter ; so by the sin of the soul, grace takes occasion to 
shine the clearer. Little candles shine but little, for there 
wanteth matter for the fire to work upon ; but in the 


great sinner, here is more matter for grace to work, by. 
Faith shines, when it worketh towards Christ, through the 
sides of many and great transgressors, and so does love, for 
that much is forgiven. And what matter can he found in 
the soul for humility to work by so well, as by a sight 
that I have been and am an abominable sinner 1 And the 
same is to be said of patience, meekness, gentleness, self- 
denial, or of any other grace. Grace takes occasion by the 
vileness of the man to shine the more ; even as by the rug- 
gedness of a very strong distemper or disease, the virtue of 
the medicine is best made manifest. Where sin abounds, 
grace much more abounds ; Rom. v. 20. A black string 
makes the neck look whiter ; great sins make grace burn 
clear. Some say, when grace and a good nature meet to- 
gether, they do make shining Christians : but I say, when 
grace and a great sinner meet, and when grace shall sub- 
due that great sinner to itself, and shall operate after its 
kind in the soul of that great sinner, then we have a shining 
Christian ; witness all those of whom mention was made 

Abraham was among the idolaters when in the land of 
Assyria, and served idols with his kindred on the other 
side of the flood ; Jos. xxiv. 2 ; Gen. xi. 31. But who, 
when called, was there in the world, in whom grace shone 
so bright as in him ? 

The Thessalonians were idolaters before the word of God 
came to them ; but when they had received it, they became 
examples to all that did believe in Macedonia and Achaia ; 
1 Thess. i. 6-10. 

God the Father, and Jesus Christ his Son, are for hav- 
ing things seen, for having the word of life held forth. 
They light not a candle that it might be put under a 
bushel, or under a bed, but on a candlestick, that all that 
come in may see the light ; Matt. v. 15 ; Mark iv. 21 ; 
Luke viii. 16 ; chap. xi. 33. 

And, I say, as I said before, in whom is light like so to 
shine, as in the souls of great sinners 1 

When the Jewish Pharisees dallied with the gospel, 
Christ threatened to take it from them, and to give it to 


the barbarous heathens and idolaters. Why so ? For they, 
saith he, will bring forth the fruits thereof in their season : 
" Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be 
taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the 
fruits thereof ;" Matt. xxi. 41-43. 

I have often marvelled at our youth, and said m my 
heart. What should be the reason that they should be so 
generally at this day debauched as they are ? For they 
are now profane to amazement ; and sometimes I have 
thought one thing, and sometimes another ; that is, why 
God should suffer it so to be. At last I have thought of 
this : How if the God, whose ways are past finding out, 
should suffer it so to be now, that he might make of some 
of them the more glorious saints hereafter. I know sin is of 
the devil, but it cannot work in the world without per- 
mission : and if it happens to be as I have thought, it will 
not be the first time that God the Lord hath caught Satan 
in his own design. For my part, I believe that the time 
is at hand, that we shall see better saints in the world than 
has been seen in it this many a day. And this vileness, 
that at present does so much swallow up our youth, is one 
cause of my thinking so : for out of them, for from among 
them, when God sets to his hand, as of old, you shall see 
what penitent ones, what trembling ones, and what ad- 
mirers of grace, will be found to profess the gospel to the 
glory of God by Christ. 

Alas ! we are a company of worn-out Christians, our 
moon is in the wane ; we are much more black than white, 
more dark than light ; we shine but a little ; grace in the 
most of us is decayed. But I say, when they of these de- 
bauched ones that are to be saved shall be brought in, 
when these that look more like devils than men shall be 
converted to Christ (and I believe several of them will), 
then will Christ be exalted, grace adored, the word prized, 
Zion's path better trodden, and men in the pursuit of their 
own salvation, to the amazement of them that are left 

Just before Christ came into the flesh, the world was 
degenerated as it is now : tlie generality of the men in 


Jerusalem, were become either high and famous for hypo- 
crisy, or filthy base in their lives. The devil also was broke 
loose in a hideous manner, and had taken possession of 
many : yea, I believe that there was never generation be- 
fore nor since, that could produce so many possessed with 
devils, deformed, lame, blind, and infected with monstrous 
diseases, as that generation could. But what was the reason 
thereof, I mean the reason from God ? Why one (and we 
may sum up more in that answer that Christ gave to his 
disciples concerning him that was bom blind) was, that 
the works of God might be made manifest in them, and 
that the Son of God might be glorified thereby, John ix, 
2, 3 ; chap. xi. 4. 

Now if these devils and diseases, as they possessed men 
then, were to make way and work for an approaching 
Christ in person, and for the declaring of his power, why 
may we not think that now, even now also, he is ready to 
come by his Spirit in the gospel to heal many of the de- 
baucheries of our age 1 I cannot believe that grace will 
take them all, for there are but few that are saved ; but 
yet it will take some, even some of the worst of men, and 
make blessed ones of them. But, how these ringleaders 
in vice will then shine in virtue ! They will be the very 
pillars in churches, they will be as an ensign in the land. 
" The Lord their God shall save them in that day as the 
flock of his people : for they shall be as the stones of a 
ci'own, lifted up as an ensign upon his land ;" Zech. ix. 16. 
But who are these ? Even idolatrous Ephraim, and back- 
sliding Judah ; ver. 13. 

I know there is ground to fear, that the iniquity of this 
generation will be pursued with heavy judgments : but 
that will not hinder what we have supposed. God took him 
a glorious church out of bloody Jerusalem, yea, out of the 
chief of the sinners there, and left the rest to be taken and 
spoiled, and sold, thirty for a penny, in the nations where 
they were captives. The gospel working gloriously in a 
place, to the seizing upon many of the ringleading sinners 
thereof, promiseth no security to the rest, but rather 


threateneth them with the heaviest and smartest judgments ; 
as in the instance now given, we have a full demonstration ; 
but in defending, the Lord will defend his people ; and in 
saving, he will save his inheritance. 

Nor does this speak any great comf6rt to a decayed and 
backsliding sort of Christians ; for the next time God rides 
post with his gospel, he will leave such Christians behind 
him. But I say, Christ is resolved to set up his light in 
the world ; yea, he is delighted to see his graces shine ; 
and therefore he commands that his gospel should to that 
end be offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners ; for 
by great sins it shineth most ; therefore he saith, " Begin 
at Jerusalem." 

Eighthly, and lastly, Christ Jesus will have mercy to be 
offered in the first place to the biggest sinners ; for that by 
that means the impenitent that are left behind will be at 
the judgment the more left without excuse. 

God's word has two edges ; it can cut back-stroke and 
fore-stroke : if it doth thee no good, it will do thee hurt ; 
it is the savour of life unto life to those that receive it, 
but of death unto death to them that refuse it ; 2 Cor. ii. 
15, 16. But this is not all ; the tender of grace to the big- 
gest sinners in the first place, will not only leave the rest, 
or those that refuse it, in a deplorable condition, but will 
also stop their mouths, and cut oflF all pretence to excuse 
at that day. " If I had not come and spoken unto them," 
saith Christ, " they had not had sin ; but now they have 
no cloak for their sin," for their sin of persevering in im- 
penitence ; Job XV. 22. 

But what did he speak to them ? "Why, even that 
which I have told you ; to wit. That he has in special a 
delight in saving the biggest sinners. He spake this in the 
way of his doctrine ; he spake this in the way of his prac- 
tice, even to the pouring out of his last breatli before them ; 
Luke xxiii. 34. 

Now, since this is so, what can the condemned at the 
judgment say for themselves, why sentence of death should 
not be passed upon them 1 I say, what excuse can they 


make for themselves, when they shall be asked why they 
did not in the day of salvation come to Clirist to be saved ? 
Will they have ground to say to the Lord, Thou wast only 
for saving of little sinners ; and therefore because they were 
great ones, they durst not come unto him 1 or that thou 
hadst not compassion for the biggest sinners, therefore I 
died in despair ? AVill these be excuses for them, as the 
case now standeth with them 1 Is there not every where 
in God's book a flat contradiction to this, in multitudes of 
promises, of invitations, of examples, and the like ? Alas, 
alas ! there will then be there millions of souls to confute 
this plea ; ready, I say, to stand up, and say, ! deceived 
world, heaven swarms with such, as were, when they were 
in the world, to the full as bad as you. 

Now, this will kill all plea or excuse, why they should 
perish in their sins ; yea, the text says, they shall see them 
there. " There shall be weeping, when you shall see Abra- 
ham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the king- 
dom of heaven, and you yourselves thrust out. And they 
shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the 
north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the king- 
dom of God ;" Luke xiii. 28, 29. Out of which company 
it is easy to pick such as sometimes were as bad people as 
any that now breathe on the face of the earth. What think 
you of the first man, by whose sins there are millions now 
in heU 1 And so I may say. What think you of ten thou- 
sand more besides 1 

But if the world will not stifle and gag them up (I speak 
now for amplification's sake), the view of those who are 
saved shall. 

There comes an incestuous person to the bar, and pleads, 
That the bigness of his sins was a bar to his receiving the 
promise. But will not his mouth be stopped as to that, 
when Lot and the incestuous Corinthian shall be set before 
him ; Gen. xix. 33-37 ; 1 Cor. v. 1, 2. 

There comes a thief, and says, Lord, my sin of theft, 
I thought, was such as could not be pardoned by thee ! 
But when he shall see the thief that was saved on the cross 


stand by, as clothed with beauteous glory, what further 
can he be able to object ? Yea, the Lord will produce ten 
thousand of his saints at his coming, who shall after this 
manner execute judgment upon all, and so convince all 
that are ungodly among them, of all their hard speeches 
which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. And 
these are hard speeches against him, to say that he was 
not able or willing to save men, because of the great- 
ness of their sins, or to say that they were discouraged 
by his word from repentance, because of the heinous- 
ness of their offences. 

These things, I say, shall then be confuted : he comes 
with ten thousand of his saints to confute them, and to 
stop their mouths from making objections against their own 
eternal damnation. 

Here is Adam, the destroyer of the world ; here is Lot, 
that lay with both his daughters ; here is Abraham, that 
was sometime an idolater, and Jacob, that was a supplanter, 
and Reuben, that lay with his father's concubine, and 
Judah that lay with his daughter-in-law, and Levi and 
Simeon that wickedly slew the Shechemites, and Aaron 
that made an idol to be worshipped, and that proclaimed a 
religious feast unto it. Here is also Rachab the harlot, and 
Bathsheba that bare a bastard to David. Here is Solomon 
that great backslider, and Manasseh that man of blood and 
a witch. Time would fail me to tell you of the woman of 
Canaan's daughter, of Mary Magdalen, of Matthew the 
publican, and of Gideon and Sampson, and many thousands 

Alas ! alas ! I say, what will these sinners do, that have, 
through their unbelief, eclipsed the glorious largeness of 
the mercy of God, and gave way to despair of salvation, 
because of the bigness of their sins 1 

For all these, though now glorious saints in light, were 
sometimes sinners of the biggest size, who had sins that 
were of a notorious hue ; yet now, I say, they are in their 
shining and heavenly robes before the throne of God and 
of the Lamb, blessins: for ever and ever that Son of God for 


their salvation, who died for them upon the tree ; admiring 
that ever it should come into their hearts once to think of 
coming to God by Christ ; but above all, blessing God for 
granting of them light to see those encouragements in his 
testament ; without which, without doubt, they had been 
daunted and sunk dowTi under guilt of sin and despair, as 
their fellow-sinners have done. 

But now they also are witnesses for God, and for his 
grace against an unbelieving world ; for, as I said, they 
shall come to convince the world of their speeches, their 
hard and unbelieving words, that they have spoken con- 
cerning the mercy of God, and the merits of the passion of 
his blessed Son Jesus Christ. 

But will it not, think you, strangely put to silence all 
such thoughts, and words, and reasonings of the ungodly 
before the bar of God 1 Doubtless it will ; yea and will 
send them away from his presence also, with the greatest 
guilt that possibly can fasten upon the consciences of men. 

For what will sting like this 1 — I have, through mine 
own foolish, narrow, unworthy, imdervaluing thoughts, of 
the love and ability of Christ to save me, brought myself 
to everlasting ruin. It is true, I was a horrible sinner ; 
not one in a hundred did live so vile a life as I : but this 
should not have kept me from closing with Jesus Christ : 
I see now that there are abundance in glory that once were 
as bad as I have been : but they were saved by faith, and 
I am damned by unbelief. 

Wretch that I am ! why did not I give glory to the re- 
deeming blood of Jesus ? Why did I not humbly cast my 
soul at his blessed footstool for mercy ? Why did I judge 
of his ability to save me by the voice of my shallow reason, 
and the voice of a guilty conscience ? Why betook not I 
myself to the holy word of God "? Why did I not read 
and pray that I might understand, since now I perceive 
that God said then, he giveth liberally to them that pray, 
and upbraideth not; Jam. i. 5. 

It is rational to think, that by such cogitations as these 
the unbelieving world will be torn in pieces before the 


judgment of Christ ; especially those that have lived where 
they did or might have heard the gospel of the grace 
of God. Oh ! that saying, " It shall be more tolerable for 
Sodom at the judgment than for them," will be better un- 
derstood. See Luke x. 8-12. 

This reason, therefore, standeth fast ; namely, that Christ, 
by offering mercy in the first place to the biggest sinners 
now, will stop all mouths of the impenitent at the day of 
judgment, and cut off all excuse that shall be attempted to 
be made (fi-om the thoughts of the greatness of their sins) 
why they came not to him. 

I have often thought of the day of judgment, and how 
God will deal with sinners at that day ; and I believe it 
will be managed with that sweetness, with that equitable- 
ness, with that excellent righteousness, as to every sin, and 
circumstance, and aggravation thereof, that men that are 
damned, before the judgment is over shall receive such con- 
viction of the righteous judgment of God upon them^ and of 
their deserts of hell-fire, that they shall in themselves con- 
clude that there is all the reason in the world that they 
should be shut out of heaven, and go to hell-fire : " These 
shall go away into everlasting punishment ;" Matt. xxv. 46. 

Only this will tear them, that they have missed of mercy 
and glory, and obtained everlasting damnation tlu'ough 
their unbelief ; but it will tear but themselves, but their 
own souls ; they will gnash upon themselves ; for in that 
mercy was offered to the chief of them in the first place, 
and yet they were damned for rejecting of it ; they were 
damned for forsaking what they had a sort of propriety in ; 
for forsaking their own mercy. 

And thus much for the reasons. I will conclude with a 
word of application. 


First, Would Jesus Christ have mercy offered in the first 
place to the biggest sinners ? then this shews us how to 
make a right judgment of the heai-t of Christ to men. In- 


deed we have advantage to guess at the goodness of his 
heart, by many things ; as by his taking our nature upon 
him, his dying for us, his sending his word and ministers 
to us, and all that we might be saved. But this of be- 
ginning to oifer mercy to Jerusalem, is that which heightens 
all the rest ; for this doth not only confirm to us, that love 
was the cause of his dying for us, but it shews us yet more 
the depth of that love. He might have died for us, and yet 
have extended the benefit of his death to a few, as one 
might call them, of the best conditioned sinners, to those 
who, though they were weak, and could not but sin, yet 
made not a trade of sinning ; to those that sinned not lavish- 
ingly. There are in the world, as one may call them, the 
moderate sinners ; the sinners that mix righteousness with 
their pollutions ; the sinners that though they be sinners, 
do what on their part lies (some that are blind would think 
so) that they might be saved. I say, it had been love, great 
love, if he had died for none but such, and sent his love to 
such : but that he should send out conditions of peace to 
the biggest of sinners ; yea, that they should be offered to 
them first of all ; (for so he means when he says, " Begin 
at Jerusalem ;") this is wonderful ! this shews his heart 
to purpose, as also the heart of God his Father, who sent 
him to do thus. 

There is nothing more incident to men that are awake 
in their souls, than to have wrong thoughts of God ; 
thoughts that are narrow, and that pinch and pen up his 
mercy to scanty and beggarly conclusions, and rigid legal 
conditions ; supposing that it is rude, and an intrenching 
upon his majesty, to come ourselves, or to invite others, 
until we have scraped and washed, and rubbed off as much 
of our dirt from us as we think is convenient, to make us 
somewhat orderly and handsome in his sight. Such never 
knew what these words meant, " Begin at Jerusalem :" 
yea, such in their hearts have compared the Father and 
his Son to niggardly rich men, whose money comes from 
them like drops of blood. True, says such, God has mercy, 
but he is loath to part with it ; you must please him well, 


if you get any from him ; he is not so free as many sup- 
pose, nor is he so willing to save as some pretended gos- 
pellers imagine. But I ask such, if the Father and Son 
be not unspeakably free to shew mercy, why was this 
clause put into our commission to preach the gospel ? 
Yea, why did he say, " Begin at Jerusalem :" for when 
men, through the weakness of their wits, have attempted 
to shew other reasons why they should have the first 
proffer of mercy ; yet I can prove (by many undeniable 
reasons) that they of Jerusalem (to whom the apostles 
made the first offer, according as they were commanded) 
were the biggest sinners that ever did breathe upon the 
face of God's earth, (set the unpardonable sin aside), upon 
which my doctrine stands like a rock, that Jesus the Son 
of God would have mercy in the first place offered to the 
biggest sinners : and if this doth not shew the heart of the 
Father and the Son to be infinitely free in bestowing for- 
giveness of sins, I confess myself mistaken. 

Neither is there, set this aside, another argument like it, 
to shew us the willingness of Christ to save sinners ; for, 
as was said before, all the rest of the signs of Christ's mer- 
cifulness might have been limited to sinners that are so 
and so qualified ; but when he says, " Begin at Jerusalem," 
the line is stretched out to the utmost : no man can ima- 
gine beyond it ; and it is folly here to pinch and pare, to 
narrow, and seek to bring it within scanty bounds ; for 
he plainly saith, " Begin at Jerusalem," the biggest sinner 
is the biggest sinner ; the biggest is the Jerusalem sinner. 

It is true, he saith, that repentance and remission of sins 
must go together, but yet remission is sent to the chief, the 
Jerusalem sinner ; nor doth repentance lessen at all the 
Jerusalem sinner's crimes ; it diminisheth none of his sins, 
nor causes that there should be so much as half a one the 
fewer : it only puts a stop to the Jerusalem sinner's course, 
and makes him willing to be saved freely by grace ; and 
for time to come to be governed by that blessed word that 
has brought the tidings of good things to him. 

Besides, no man shews himself willing to be saved that 


repenteth not of his deeds ; for he that goes on still in his 
trespasses, declares that he is resolved to pursue his own 
damnation farther. 

Learn then to judge of the largeness of God's heart, and 
of the heart of his Son Jesus Christ, hy the word ; judge 
not thereof by feeling, nor by the reports of thy conscience ; 
conscience is oftentimes here befooled and made to go 
quite beside the word. It was judging without the word 
that made David say, I am cast off from God's eyes, and 
shall perish one day by the hand of Saul ; Psalm xxxi. 22 ; 
1 Sam. xxvii. 1. 

The word had told him another thing ; namely, that he 
should be king in his stead. Our text says also, that Jesus 
Christ bids preachers, in their preaching repentance and 
remission of sins, begin first at Jerusalem, thereby de- 
claring most truly the infinite largeness of the merciful 
heart of God and his Son, to the sinful children of men. 

Judge thou, I say, therefore, of the goodness of the heart 
of God and his Son, by this text, and by others of the 
same import ; so shalt thou not dishonour the grace of God, 
nor needlessly fright thyself, nor give away thy faith, nor 
gratify the devil, nor lose the benefit of his word. I speak 
now to weak believers. 

Secondly, Would Jesus Christ have mercy offered in the 
first place to the biggest sinners, to the Jerusalem sinners 1 
then, by this also, you must learn to judge of the sufficiency 
of the merits of Christ ; not that the merits of Christ can 
be comprehended, for that they are beyond the conceptions 
of the w^hole world, being called the unsearchable riches of 
Christ ; but yet they may be apprehended to a considerable 
degree. Now, the way to apprehend them most, is, to con- 
sider what offers, after his resurrection, he makes of his 
grace to sinners ; for to be sure he will not off^er beyond 
the virtue of his merits ; because, as grace is the cause of 
his merits, so his merits are the basis and bounds upon and 
by which his grace stands good, and is let out to sinners. 
Doth he then command that his mercy should be offered 
in the first place to the biggest sinners ] It declares, that 


there is sufficiency in his blood to save the biggest sinners. 
The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin. And 
again, " Be it known unto you therefore, men and breth- 
ren, that through this man (this man's merits) is preached 
unto you the forgiveness of sins : and by him all that be- 
lieve are justified from all things, from which ye could not 
be justified by the law of Moses;" Acts xiii. 38. 

Observe then thy rule to make judgment of the suffi- 
ciency of the blessed merits of thy Saviour. If he had not 
been able to have reconciled the biggest sinners to his Fa- 
ther by his blood, he would not have sent to them, have 
sent to them in the first place, the doctrine of remission of 
sins ; for remission of sins is through faith in his blood. 
We are justified freely by the grace of God, through the 
redemption that is in the blood of Christ. Upon the square, 
as I may call it, of the worthiness of the blood of Christ, 
grace acts, and offers forgiveness of sin to men ; Eph. i. 7 ; 
chap. ii. 13, 14 ; Col. i. 20-22. 

Hence, therefore, we must gather, that the blood of 
Christ is of infinite value, for that he offereth mercy to 
the biggest of sinners. Nay, further, since he offereth mercy 
in the first place to the biggest sinners, considering also, 
that this first act of his is that which the world will take 
notice of, and expect it should be continued unto the end. 
Also it is a disparagement to a man that seeks his own 
glory in what he undertakes, to do that for a sport, which 
he cannot continue and hold out in. This is our Lord's 
own argument, " He began to build," saith he, " but was 
not able to finish ;" Luke xiv. 28. 

Shouldst thou hear a man say, I am resolved to be kind 
to the poor, and should begin with giving handfiils of 
guineas, you would conclude, that either he is wonderful 
rich, or must straiten his hand, or will soon be at the bot- 
tom of his riches. Why, this is the case : Christ, at his 
resurrection, gave it out that he would be good to the 
world ; and first sends to the biggest sinners, with an in- 
tent to have mercy on them. Now, the biggest sinners 
caimot bo saved but by abundance of grace ; it is not a 


little that will save great sinners ; Rom. v. 17. And I say 
again, since the Lord Jesus mounts thus high at the first, 
and sends to the Jerusalem sinners, that they may come 
first to partake of his mercy, it follows, that either he has 
unsearchable riches of grace and worth in himself, or else 
he must straiten his hand, or his grace and merits will be 
spent before the world is at an end. But let it be believed, 
as surely as spoken, he is still as full as ever. He is not a 
jot the poorer for all the forgivenesses that he has given 
away to great sinners. Also he is still as free as at first ; 
for he never yet called back this word, Begin at the Jeru- 
salem sinners. And, as I said before, since his grace is 
extended according to the worth of his merits, I conclude, 
that there is the same virtue in his merits to save now, as 
there was at the very beginning. 

Oh ! the riches of the grace of Christ ! Oh ! the riches 
of the blood of Christ ! 

Thirdly, Would Jesus Christ have mercy offered in the 
first place to the biggest sinners, then here is encourage- 
ment for you that think, for wicked hearts and lives, you 
have not your fellows in the world, yet to come to him. 

There is a people that therefore fear lest they should be 
rejected of Jesus Christ, because of the greatness of their 
sins ; when, as you see here, such are sent to, sent to by 
Jesus Christ to come to him for mercy, " Begin at Jeru- 
salem." Never did one thing answer another more fitly in 
this world, than this text fitteth such kind of sinners. As 
face answereth face in a glass, so this text answereth the 
necessities of such sinners. What can a man say more, but 
that he stands in the rank of the biggest sinners % let him 
stretch himself whither he can, and think of himself to 
the utmost, he can but conclude himself to be one of the 
biggest sinners. And what then ] Why the text meets him 
in the very face, and saith, Christ offereth mercy to the 
biggest sinners, to the very Jerusalem sinners. What more 
can be objected ? Nay, he doth not only offer to such his 
mercy, but to them it is commanded to be offered in the 
first place ; " Begin at Jerusalem." Preach repentance and 


remission of sins among all nations. " Begin at Jerusalem." 
Is not here encouragement for those that think, for wicked 
hearts and lives, they have not their fellows in the world ? 

Object. But I have a heart as hard as a rock. 

Answ. Well, but this doth but prove thee a bigger 

Object. But my heart continually frets against the Lord. 

Answ. Well, this doth but prove thee a bigger sinner. 

Object. But I have been desperate in sinful courses. 

Answ. Well, stand thou with the number of the biggest 

But my grey head is found in the way of wick- 

An^w. Well, thou art in the rank of the biggest sinners. 

Object. But I have not only a base heart, but I have 
lived a debauched life. 

Answ. Stand thou also among those that are called the 
biggest sinners. And what then ? Why the text swoops 
you all ; you cannot object yourselves beyond the text. It 
has a particular message to the biggest sinners. I say, it 
swoops you all. 

Object. But I am a reprobate. 

Answ. Now thou talkest like a fool, and of that thou 
understandest not : no sin, but the sin of final impenitence, 
can prove a man a reprobate ; and I am sure thou hast not 
arrived as yet unto that ; therefore thou understandest not 
what thou sayest, and makest groundless conclusions against 
thyself. Say thou art a sinner, and I will hold with thee ; 
say thou art a great sinner, and I will say so too ; yea, say 
thou art one of the biggest sinners, and spare not ; for the 
text yet is beyond thee, is yet betwixt hell and thee ; " Be- 
gin at Jerusalem," has yet a smile upon thee ; and thou 
talkest as if thou wast a reprobate, and that the greatness 
of thy sins do prove thee so to be, when yet they of Jeru- 
salem were not such, whose sins, I dare say, were such, 
botli for bigness and heinousness, as thou art incapable of 
committing beyond them ; unless now, after thou hast re- 
ceived, conviction that the Lord Jesus is the only Saviour 


of the world, thou shouldst wickedly and despitefuUy turn 
thyself from him, and conclude he is not to be trusted to 
for life, and so crucify him for a cheat afresh. This, I 
must confess, will bring a man under the black rod, and 
set him in danger of eternal damnation ; Heb. vi. 6 : chap. x. 
29. This is trampling under foot the Son of God, and count- 
ing his blood an unholy thing. This did they of Jerusalem ; 
but they did it ignorantly in unbelief, and so were yet ca- 
pable of mercy : but to do this against professed light, and 
to stand to it, puts a man beyond the text indeed ; Acts iii. 
14-17; ITim. i. 13. 

But I say, what is this to him that would fain be saved 
by Christ 1 His sins did, as to greatness, never yet reach 
to the nature of the sins that the sinners intended by the 
text, had made themselves guilty of. He that would be 
saved by Christ, has an honourable esteem of him ; but they 
of Jerusalem preferred a murderer before him ; but as for 
him, they cried. Away, away with him, it is not fit that 
he should live. Perhaps thou wilt object. That thyself hast 
a thousand times preferred a stinking lust before him : I 
answer. Be it so ; it is but what is common to men to 
do ; nor doth the Lord Jesus make such a foolish life a bar 
to thee, to forbid thy coming to him, or a bond to his grace, 
that it might be kept from thee ; but admits of thy repent- 
ance, and ofFereth himself unto thee freely, as thou stand- 
est among the Jerusalem sinners. 

Take therefore encouragement, man, mercy is, by the 
text, held forth to the biggest sinners ; yea, put thyself in- 
to the number of the worst, by reckoning that thou mayst 
be one of the first, and mayst not be put off till the biggest 
sinners are served ; for the biggest sinners are first invited ; 
consequently, if they come, they are like to be the first that 
shall be served. It was so with Jerusalem ; Jerusalem sin- 
ners were they that were first invited, and those of them 
that came first (and there came three thousand of them the 
first day they were invited ; how many came afterwards 
none can tell), they were first served. 

Put in thy name, man, among the biggest, lest thou art 


made to wait till they are served. You have some men that 
think themselves very cunning, because they put up their 
names in their prayers among them that feign it, saying, 
God, I thank thee I am not so bad as the worst. But be- 
lieve it, if they be saved at all, they shall be saved in the 
last place. The first in their own eyes shall be served last ; 
and the last or worst shall be first. The text insinuates it, 
" Begin at Jerusalem ;" and reason backs it, for they have 
most need. Behold ye, therefore, how God's ways are above 
ours ; we are for serving the worst last, God is for serving 
the worst first. The man at the pod, that to my thinking 
was longest in his disease, and most helpless as to his cure, 
was first healed ; yea, he only was healed ; for we read that 
Christ healed him, but we read not then that he healed one 
more there ! John v. 1-10. 

Wherefore, if thou wouldst soonest be served, put in thy 
name among the very worst of sinners. Say, when thou 
art upon thy knees. Lord, here is a Jerusalem sinner ! a 
sinner of the biggest size ! one whose burden is of the great- 
est bulk and heaviest weight ! one that cannot stand long 
without sinking into hell, without thy supporting hand ! 
" Be not thou far from me, Lord ! my strength, haste 
thou to help me !" 

I say, put in thy name with Magdalen, with Manasseh, 
that thou mayst fare as the Magdalen and the Manasseh 
sinners do. The man in the gospel made the desperate con- 
dition of his child an argument with Christ to haste his 
cure : " Sir, come down," saith he, " ere my child die ;" John 
iv. 49, and Christ regarded his haste, saying, " Go thy way ; 
thy son liveth ;" ver. 50. Haste requires haste. David 
w^as for speed ; "Deliver me speedily ;" " Hear me speedily ;" 
"Answer me speedily ;" Psalm xxxi. 2 ; Ixix. 17 ; cii. 2. But 
why speedily ? I am in " the net ;" "I am in trouble ;" 
" My days are consumed like smoke ;" Psalm xxxi. 4 ; 
Ixix. 17 ; cii. 3. Deep calleth unto deep, necessity calls for 
help ; great necessity for present help. 

Wherefore, I say, be ruled by me in tliis matter ; feign 
not thyself another man, if thou hast been a filthy sinner, 


but go in thy colours to Jesus Christ, and put thyself among 
the most vile, and let him alone to put thee among the 
children ; Jer. iii. 19. Confess all that thou knowest of thy- 
self ; I know thou wilt find it hard work to do thus ; espe- 
cially if thy mind be legal ; but do it, lest thou stay and 
be deferred witli the little sinners, until the great ones have 
had their alms. What do you think David intended when 
he said, his wounds stunk and were corrupted, but to hasten 
God to have mercy upon him, and not to defer his cure ? 
*• Lord," says he, " I am troubled ; I am bowed dowTi greatly ; 
I go mourning all the day long," " I am feeble and sore 
broken, by reason of the disquietness of my heart ;" Psalm 
xxxviii. 3-8. 

David knew what he did by all this ; he knew that his 
making the worst of his case, was the way to speedy help, 
and that a feigning and dissembling the matter with God, 
was the next way to a demur as to his forgiveness. 

I have one thing more to offer for thy encouragement, 
who deemest thyself one of the biggest sinners ; and that 
is, thou art as it were called by thy name, in the first place, 
to come in for mercy. Thou man of Jerusalem, hearken to 
thy call ; men do so in courts of judicature, and presently 
cry out. Here, Sir ; and then they shoulder and crowd, and 
say, Pray give way, I am called into the court. Why, this 
is thy case, thou great, thou Jerusalem sinner ; be of good 
cheer, he calleth thee ; Mark x, 46-49. Why sitttest thou 
still ? arise : why standest thou still 1 come man, thy call 
should give thee authority to come. "Begin at Jerusalem," 
is thy call and authority to come ; wherefore up and shoul- 
der it, man ; say. Stand away, devil, Christ calls me ; stand 
away unbelief, Christ calls me ; stand away all ye my dis- 
couraging apprehensions, for my Saviour calls me to him 
to receive of his mercy. Men will do thus, as I said, in 
courts below ; and why shouldst not thou approach thus to 
the court above 1 The Jerusalem sinner is first in thought, 
fii-st in commission, fii-st in the record of names ; and there- 
fore should give attendance with expectation, that he is 
first to receive mercy of God. 



Is not this an encouragement to the biggest sinners to 
make their application to Christ for mercy ] " Come unto 
me all ye that labour and are heavy laden," doth also con- 
firm this thing ; that is, that the biggest sinner, and he that 
has the biggest burden, is he who is first invited. Christ 
pointeth over the heads of thousands, as he sits on the 
throne of grace, directly to such a man ; and says. Bring 
in hither the maimed, the halt, and the blind ; let the Je- 
rusalem sinner that stands there behind come to me. 
Wherefore, since Christ says, Come, to thee, let the angels 
make a lane, and let all men give place, that the Jerusalem 
sinner may come to Jesus Christ for mercy. 

Fourthly^ Would Jesus Christ have mercy offered, in 
the first place, to the biggest sinners ? Then come thou 
profane wretch, and let me a little enter into an argument 
with thee. Why wilt thou not come to Jesus Christ, since 
thou art a Jerasalem sinner % How canst thou find in thy 
heart to set thyself against grace, against such grace as 
offereth mercy to thee ? What spirit possesseth thee, and 
holds thee back from a sincere closure with thy Saviour ? 
Behold God groaningly complains of thee, saying, " But 
Israel would none of me." " When I called, none did 
answer ;" Psl. Ixxxi. 11 ; Isa. Ixvi. 4. 

Shall God enter this complaint against thee ? Why 
dost thou put him off ? Why dost thou stop thine ear ? 
Canst thou defend thyself ? When thou art called to an 
account for thy neglects of so great salvation, what canst 
thou answer ? or doest thou think thou shalt escape the 
judgment ? Heb. ii. 3. 

No more such Christs ! There will be no more such 
Christs, sinner ! Oh, put not the day, the day of grace, 
away from thee ! if it be once gone, it will never come 
again, sinner. 

But what is it that has got thy heart, and that keeps 
it from thy Saviour ? " Who in the heaven can be com- 
pared unto the Lord ? who among the sons of the mighty 
can be likened unto the Lord ?" Psl. Ixxxix. 6. Hast thou, 
tliinkest thou, found anything so good as Jesus Christ \ 


Is there any among tliy sins, tliy companions, and foolish 
delights, that like Christ can help thee in the day of thy 
distress ? Behold, the greatness of thy sins cannot hinder ; 
let not the stubbornness of thy heart hinder thee, sinner. 

Object. But I am ashamed. 

Answ, Oh ! Do not be ashamed to be saved, sinner. 

Object. But my old companions will mock me. 

Atisw. Oh ! Do not be mocked out of eternal life, sinner. 

Thy stubbornness affects, afflicts the heart of thy Sa- 
viour. Carest thou not for this 1 Of old he beheld the 
city, and wept over it. Canst thou hear this, and not be 
concerned 1 Luke xix. 41, 42. Shall Christ weep to see 
thy soul going on to destruction, and wilt thou sport thy- 
self in that way ? Yea, shall Christ, that can be eternally 
happy without thee, be more afflicted at the thoughts of 
the loss of thy soul, than thyself, who art certainly eter- 
nally miserable if thou negiectest to come to him. 

Those things that keep thee and thy Saviour, on thy ' 
part asunder, are but bubbles ; the least prick of an af- 
fliction will let out, as to thee, what now thou thinkest 
is worth the venture of heaven to enjoy. 

Hast thou not reason ? Canst thou not so much as once 
soberly think of thy dying hour, or of whither thy sinful 
life will drive thee then 1 Hast thou no conscience 1 or hav- 
ing one, is it rocked so fast asleep by sin, or made so weary 
with an unsuccessful calling upon thee, that it is laid down, 
and cares for thee no more ? Poor man ! thy state is to 
be lamented. Hast no judgment ? Art not al)le to con- 
clude, that to be saved is better than to bum in hell ? and 
that eternal life, with God's favour, is better than a tem- 
poral life in God's displeasure ? Hast no affection but 
what is brutish ? what, none at all 1 no affection for the 
God that made thee 1 what ! none for his loving Son that 
has shewed his love, and died for thee 1 Is not heaven 
worth thy affection ? poor man ! which is strongest 
thinkest thou, God or thee 1 If thou art not able to over- 
come him, thou art a fool for standing out against him ; 
Matt. V. 25, 26. " It is a fearful tiling to fall into the 


hands of the living God." He will gripe hard ; his fist is 
stronger than a lion's paw ; take heed of him, he will be 
angry if you despise his Son ; and will you stand guilty 
in your trespasses, when he offereth you his grace and 
favour ? Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7 ; Heb. x. 29-31. 

Now we come to the text, " Beginning at Jerusalem." 
This text, though it be now one of the brightest stars that 
shineth in the Bible, because there is in it, as full, if not 
the fullest offer of grace that can be imagined, to the sons 
of men ; yet to them that shall perish from under this 
word, even this text will be to such, one of the hottest 
coals in hell. 

This text, therefore, will save thee or sink thee : there 
is no shifting of it : if it saves thee, it will set thee high ; 
if it sinks thee, it will set thee low. 

But, I say, why so unconcerned ? Hast no soul ? or 
dost think thou mayst lose thy soul, and save thyself? 
Is it not pity, had it otherwise been the will of God, that 
ever thou wast made a man, for that thou settest so little 
by thy soul 1 

Sinner, take the invitation ; thou art called upon to 
come to Christ : nor art thou caUed upon but by order 
from the Son of God though thou shouldst happen to 
come of the biggest sinners ; for he has bid us offer mercy, 
as to all the world in general, so, in the first place, to the 
sinners of Jerusalem, or to the biggest sinners. 

Fifthly, Would Jesus Christ have mercy offered in the 
first place, to the biggest sinners ? then this shews how 
unreasonable a thing it is for men to despair of mercy : for 
those that presume, I shall say something to them after- 

I now speak to them that despair. 

There are four sorts of despair. There is the despair of 
devils ; there is the despair of souls in hell ; there is the 
despair that is grounded upon men's deficiency ; and there 
is the despair that they are perplexed with that are willing 
to be saved, but are too strongly borne do\^^l with the bur- 
then of their sins. 


The despair of devils, the damned's despair, and that 
despair that a man has of attaining of life because of his 
own deficiency, are all unreasonable. Why should not devils 
and damned souls despair 1 yea, why should not man des- 
pair of getting to heaven by his own abilities ? I there- 
fore am concerned only with the fourth sort of despair, to 
wit, with the despair of those that would be saved, but are 
too strongly home do\\Ti with the burden of their sins. 

I say, therefore, to thee that art thus, And why despair ? 
Thy despair, if it were reasonable, should flow from thee, 
because found in the land that is beyond the grave, or be- 
cause thou certainly knowest that Christ will not, or can- 
not save thee. 

But for the first, thou art yet in the land of the living ; 
and for the second, thou hast groimd to believe the quite 
contrary ; Christ is able to save to the uttermost them that 
come to God by him ; and if he were not willing, he would 
not have commanded that mercy, in the first place, should 
be offered to the biggest sinners. Besides, he hath said, 
" And let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will, let 
him take the water of life freely ;" that is, with all my 
heart. What ground now is here for despair 1 If thou 
sayst. The number and burden of my sins ; I answer, 
Nay ; that is rather a ground for faith : because such an 
one, above all others, is invited by Christ to come unto 
him, yea, promised rest and forgiveness if they come ; 
Matt. xi. 28. What ground then to despair ? Verily none 
at all. Thy despair then is a thing unreasonable and 
without footing in the word. 

But I have no experience of God's love ; God hath given 
me no comfort, or ground of hope, though I have waited 
upon him for it many a day. 

Thou hast experience of God's love, for that he has 
opened thine eyes to see thy sins : and for that he has 
given thee desires to be saved by Jesus Christ. For by 
thy sense of sin thou art made to see thy poverty of spirit, 
and that has laid thee under a sure ground to hope that 
heaven shall be thine hereafter. 


Also thy desires to be saved by Christ, has put thee 
under another promise, so there is two to hold thee up 
in them, though thy present burden be never so heavy, 
Matt. V. 3, 6. As for what thou sayst, as to God's silence 
to thee, perhaps he has spoken to thee once or twice al- 
ready, but thou hast not perceived it ; Job xxxiii. 14, 15. 

However, thou hast Christ crucified, set forth before thine 
eyes in the Bible, and an invitation to come unto him, 
though thou be a Jerusalem sinner, though thou be the 
biggest sinner ; and so no ground to despair. What, if 
God w^ill be silent to thee, is that ground of despair ? Not 
at all, so long as there is a promise in the Bible that God 
will in no wise cast away the coming sinner, and so long 
as he invites the Jerusalem sinner to come unto him ; 
John vi. 37. 

Build not therefore despair upon these things ; they are 
no sufficient foundations for it, such plenty of promises 
being in the Bible, and such a discovery of his mercy to 
great sinners of old ; especially since we have withal a 
clause in the commission given to ministers to preach, 
that they should begin with the Jenisalem sinners in their 
offering of mercy to the world. 

Besides, God says. They that wait upon the Lord shall 
renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings 
like eagles ; but perhaps it may be long first. " I waited 
long," saith David, " and did seek the Lord ;" and at length 
his cry was heard : wherefore he bids his soul wait on 
God, and says. For it is good so to do before thy saints ; 
Psalm xl. 1 ; Ixii. 5 ; lii. 9. 

And what if thou waitest upon God all thy days '? Is it 
below thee ] And what if God will cross his book, and 
blot out the hand- writing that is against thee, and not let 
thee know it as yet 1 Is it fit to say unto God, Thou art 
hard-hearted 1 Despair not ; thou hast no ground to 
despair, so long as thou livest in this world. It is a sin 
to begin to despair before one sets his foot over the thres- 
hold of hell-gates. For them that are there, let them 
despair and spare not ; but as for thee, thou hast no 



ground to do it. What ! despair of liread in a land that 
is full of com ! despair of mercy when our God is fall of 
mercy ! despair of mercy, ■when God goes ahout by his 
ministers, beseeching of sinners to be reconciled unto him ! 
2 Cor. V. 18-20. 

Thou scrupulous fool, where canst thou find that God 
was ever false to his promise, or that he ever deceived the 
soul that ventured itself upon him ? He often calls upon 
sinners to trust him, though they walk in darkness, and 
have no light ; Isa. 1. 10. 

They have his promise and oath for their salvation, that 
flee for refuge to the hope set before them ; Heb. vi. 17, 18. 
Despair ! when we have a God of mercy, and a re- 
deeming Christ alive ! For shame, forbear : let them 
despair that dwell where there is no God, and that are 
confined to those chambers of death which can be reached 
by no redemption. 

A living man despair when he is chid for mumiuring 
and complaining ! Lam. iii. 39. Oh ! so long as we are 
where promises swarm, where mercy is proclaimed, where 
grace reigns, and where Jerusalem sinners are privileged 
with the first offer of mercy, it is a base thing to despair. 

Despair undervalues the promise, undervalues the invi- 
tation, undervalues the proffer of grace. Despair under- 
values the ability of God the Father, and the redeeming 
blood of Christ his Son. Oh unreasonable despair ! 

Despair makes man God's judge ; it is a controller of 
the promise, a contradicter of Christ in his large offere of 
mercy : and one that undertakes to make unbelief the 
gi-eat manager of our reason and judgment, in determining 
about what God can and will do for sinners. 

Despair ! It is the devil's fellow, the devil's master ; yea, 
the chains with which he is captivated and held imder 
darkness for ever : and to give way thereto in a land, in 
a state and time that flows with milk and honey, is an 
uncomely thing, 

I would say to my soul, my soul ! this is not the 
place of despair ; this is not the time to despair in : as 


long as mine eyes can find a promise in the Bible^ as long 
as there is the least mention of grace, as long as there is 
a moment left me of breath or life in this world ; so long 
will I wait or look for mercy, so long will I fight against 
unbelief and despair. 

This is the way to honour God and Christ ; this is the 
way to set the crown on the promise ; this is the way to 
welcome the invitation and inviter ; and this is the way to 
thrust thyself under the shelter and protection of the word 
of grace. Never despair so long as our text is alive, for 
that doth sound it out, — that mercy by Christ is offered, 
in the first place, to the biggest sinner. 

Despair is an unprofitable thing ; it will make a man 
Aveary of waiting upon God ; 2 Kings vi. 33 ; it will make 
a man forsake God, and seek his heaven in the good things 
of this world ; Gen. iv. 13-1^ It will make a man liis 
own tormentor, and flounce and fling like a wild bull in 
a net ; Isa, li. 20. 

Despau* ! it drives a man to the study of his own ruin, 
and brings him at last to be his o\vn executioner ; 2 
Sam. xvii. 23 ; Matt, xxvii. 3-5. 

Besides, I am persuaded also, that despair is the cause 
tliat there are so many that would fain be Atheists in the 
world : For because they have entertained a conceit 
that God will never be merciful to them ; therefore they 
labour to persuade themselves that there is no God at all, 
as if their misbelief would kill God, or cause him to cease 
to be. A poor shift for an immortal soul, for a soul who 
liketh not to retain God in its knowledge ! If this be the 
best that despair can do, let it go, man, and betake thy- 
self to faith, to prayer, to wait for God, and to hope, in 
despite of ten thousand doubts. And for thy encourage- 
ment, take yet (as an addition to what has already been 
said) the following scripture ; " The Lord taketh plea- 
sure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his 
mercy;" Psal. cxlvii. 11. 

Whence note. They fear not God, that hope not in his 
mercy : also God is angry with them that hope not in his 


mercy : for he only taketh pleasure in them that hope. He 
that believeth, or hath received his testimony, " hath set to 
his seal that God is true," John iii. 33 ; but he that receiveth 
it not hath made him a liar, and that is a very unworthy 
thing; 1 John v. 10, 11. "Let the wicked forsake his 
ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts ; and let him 
return to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him ; and 
to our God, for he will abundantly multiply pardons." Per- 
haps thou art weary of thy ways, but art not weary of thy 
thoughts, of thy unbelieving and despairing thoughts ; now, 
God also would have thee cast away these thoughts, as such 
which he deserveth not at thy hands ; for he will have 
mercy upon thee, and he will abundantly pardon. 

" fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the pro- 
phets have spoken !" Luke xxiv. 25. Mark you here, slow- 
ness to believe is a piece of folly. Ay ! but sayst thou, I do 
l)elieve some, and I believe what can make against me. Ay, 
but sinner, Christ Jesus here calls thee fool for not believing 
all. Believe all, and despair if thou canst. He that believes 
all, believes that text that saith, Christ would have mercy 
preached first to the Jerusalem sinners. He that believeth 
all, believeth all the promises and consolations of the word ; 
and the promises and consolations of the word weigh 
heavier than do all the curses and threatenings of the law ; 
and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. Wherefore believe 
all, and mercy will to thy conscience weigh judgment 
down, and so minister comfort to thy soul. The Lord take 
the yoke from off thy jaws, since he has set meat before 
thee ; Hos. xi. 4 ; and help thee to remember that he is 
pleased in the first place to offer mercy to the biggest 

Sixthly, Since Jesus Christ would have mercy offered in 
the first place to the biggest sinners, let souls see that they 
lay right hold thereof, lest they, notwithstanding, indeed 
come short thereof. Faith only knows how to deal with 
mercy ; wherefore put not in the place thereof presumption. 
I have observed, that as there are herbs and flowers in our 
gardens, so there are their counterfeits in the field ; only 


they are distinguished from the other hy the name of wild 
ones. Why, there is faith, and wild faith ; and wild faith 
is this presumption. I call it wild faith, hecause God never 
placed it in his garden, his church ; it is only to be found 
in the field, the world. I also call it wild faith, because it 
only grows up and is nourished where other wild notions 
abound. Wherefore take heed of this, and all may be well ; 
for this presumptuousness is a very heinous thing in the 
eyes of God : " The soul," saith he, " that doeth ought pre- 
sumptuously (whether he be bom in the land, or a 
stranger), the same rcproacheth the Lord ; and tliat soul 
shall be cut off from among his people ;" Numb. xv. 30. 

The thoughts of this made David tremble, and pray that 
God would hold him back from presumptuous sins, and not 
suffer them to have dominion over him ; Psal. xix. 13. 

Now this presumption, then, puts itself in the place of 
faith, when it tampereth with the promise for life, while 
the soul is a stranger to repenta,nce. Wherefore you have 
in the text, to prevent doing thus, both repentance and re- 
mission of sins to be offered to Jerusalem ; not remission 
without repentance : for all that repent not shall perish, 
let them presume on gi-ace and the promise while they 
will ; Luke xiii. 1-3. 

Presumption, then, is that which severeth faith and re- 
pentance, concluding, that the soul shall be saved by grace, 
though the man was never made sony for his sins, nor the 
love of the heart turned therefrom. This is to be self- 
willed, as Peter has it ; and this is a despising the word of 
the Lord,, for that has put repentance and faith together ; 
Mark i. 15. And " because he hath despised the word of 
the Lord, and hath broken his commandment, that soul 
shall utterly be cut off : his iniquity shall be upon him." 
Numb. XV. 31. 

Let such therefore look to it, who yet are, and abide 
in their sins ; for such, if they hope, as they are, to be 
saved, presume upon the grace <5f God. Wherefore pre- 
sumption and not hearkening to God's word are put to- 
gether ; Deut. xvii. 12. 


Again, Then men presume when they are resolved to 
abide in their sins, and yet expect to be saved by God's 
grace through Christ. This is as much as to say, God liketh 
Bin as well as I do, and careth not how men live, if so 
be they lean upon his Son. Of this sort are they that 
build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity ; 
that judge for reward, and teach for hire, and divine for 
money, and lean upon the Lord ; Mic. iii. 10, 11. This is 
doing things with an high hand against the Lord our God, 
and a taking him, as it were, at the catch. This is, as we 
say among men, to seek to put a trick upon God, as if he had 
not sufficiently fortified his proposals of grace by his holy 
word, against all such kind of fools as these. But look to it. 
Such will be found at the day of God, not among that 
great company of Jerusalem sinners that shall be saved 
by grace, but among those that have been the great abu- 
sers of the grace of God in the world. Those that say. Let 
us sin that grace may abound, and let us do evil that good 
may come, their damnation is just. And if so, they are a 
great way off of that salvation that is by Jesus Christ pre- 
sented to the Jerusalem sinners. 

I have therefore these things to propound to that Jeru- 
salem sinner that would know, if he may be so bold as 
to venture himself upon this grace. 
Firsts Dost thou see thy sins ] 
Secondly, Art thou weary of them ? 
Thirdly, Wouldst thou with all thy heart be saved by 
Jesus Christ 1 I dare say no less, I dare say no more. 
But if it be truly thus with thee, how great soever thy sins 
have been, how bad soever thou feelest thy heart, how far 
soever thou art from thinking that God has mercy for thee : 
thou art the man, the Jemsalem sinner, that the Word of 
God has conquered, and to whom it offereth free remission 
of sins, by the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. 

When the jailor cried out, " Sirs, What must I do to be 
saved % " The answer was, " Believe on the Lord Jesus 
Christ, and thou shalt be saved." He that sees his sins 
aright, is brought to his wit's end by them ; and he that is 


SO, is willing to part from them, and to be saved by the 
grace of God. 

If this be thy case, fear not, give no way to despair ; 
thou presumcst not, if thou believest to life everlasting in 
Jesus Christ : yea, Christ is prepared for such as thou art. 

Therefore take good courage and believe. The design of 
Satan is to tell the presumptuous, that their presuming on 
mercy is good ; but to persuade the believer, that his be- 
lieving is impudent bold dealing with God. I never heard 
a presumptuous man in my life say that he was afraid that 
he presumed ; but I have heard many an honest humble 
soul say, that they have been afraid that their faith has 
been presumption. Why should Satan molest those whose 
ways he knows will bring them to him ? And who can 
think that he should be quiet when men take the right 
course to escape his hellish snares ? This, therefore, is the 
reason why the truly humbled is opposed, w^hile the pre- 
sumptuous goes on by wind and tide. The truly himible 
Satan hates, but he laughs to see the foolery of the other. 

Does thy hand and heart tremble ? Upon thee the pro- 
mise smiles. " To this man will I look," says God, " even 
to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and trembles 
at my word ;" Isa. Ixvi. 2. 

What, therefore, I have said of presumption concerns not 
the humble in spirit at all. I therefore am for gathering 
up the stones, and for taking the stumbling-blocks out of 
the way of God's people : and forewarning of them that 
lay the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their faces, 
and that are for presuming upon God's mercy ; and let 
them look to themselves ; Ezek. xiv. 6-8. 

Also our text stands firm as ever it did, and our obser- 
vation is still of force, that Jesus Christ would have mercy 
oflPered in the first place to the biggest sinners. So then, 
let none despair, let none presume ; let none despair that 
are sorry for their sins, and would be saved by Jesus Christ ; 
let none presume that abide in the liking of their sins, though 
they seem to know the exceeding grace of Christ ; for though 
tlie door stands wide open for the reception of the penitent, 


yet it is fast enough ban-ed and bolted against the presump- 
tuous sinner. Be not deceived, God is not mocked, what- 
soever a man sows, that he shall reap. It cannot be that 
God should be wheedled out of his mercy, or prevailed 
upon by lips of dissimulation ; he knows them that trust 
in him, and that sincerely come to him by Christ for 
mercy ; Nahum i. 7. 

It is then not the abundance of sins committed, but tlie 
not coming heartily to God by Christ for mercy, that shuts 
men out of doors. And though their not coming heartily 
may be said to be but a sin, yet it is such a sin as causeth 
that all thy other sins abide upon thee unforgiven. 

God complains of this. " They have not cried unto me 
with their heart ; they turned, but not to the most High. 
They turned feignedly ;" Jer. iii. 10 ; Hos. vii. 14, 16. 

Thus doing, his soul hates ; but the penitent, humble, 
brokenhearted sinner, be his transgressions red as scarlet, 
red like crimson, in number as the sand ; though his trans- 
gressions cry to heaven against him for vengeance, and 
seem there to cry louder than do his prayers, or tears, or 
groans for mercy, yet he is safe. To this man God will 
look ; Isa. i. 18 ; chap Ixvi. 2. 

Seventhly, Would Jesus Christ have mercy offered in the 
first place to the biggest sinners ? Then here is ground for 
those that, as to practice, have not been such, to come to 
him for mercy. 

Although there is no sin little of itself, because it is a 
contradiction of the nature and majesty of God ; yet we 
must admit of divers numbers, and also of aggravations. 
Two sins are not so many as three ; nor are three that are 
done in ignorance so big as one that is done against light, 
against knowledge and conscience. Also there is the child 
in sin, and a man in sin that has his hairs gray, and his 
skin wrinkled for very age. And we must put a difference 
betwixt these sinners also. For can it be that a child of 
seven, or ten, or sixteen years old, should be such a sinner — 
a sinner so vile in the eye of the law as he is who has 


walked according to the course of this world, forty, fifty, 
sixty, or seventy years ? Now the youth, this stripling, 
though he is a sinner, is but a little sinner, when compared 
with such. 

Now, I say, if there be room for the first sort, for those 
of the biggest size, certainly there is room for the lesser 
size ? If there be a door wide enough for a giant to go in 
at, there is certainly room for a dwarf. If Christ Jesus 
has grace enough to save great sinners, he has surely grace 
enough to save little ones. If he can forgive five hundred 
pence, for certain he can forgive fifty ; Luke vii. 41, 42. 

But you said before, that the little sinners must stand by 
until the great ones have received their grace, and that is 
discouraging ! 

I answer, there are two sorts of little sinners, such as are 
so, and such as feign themselves so. They are those that 
feign themselves so, that I intended there, and not those 
that are indeed comparatively so. Such as feign them- 
selves so may wait long enough before they obtain for- 

But again, a sinner may be comparatively a little sinner, 
and sensibly a great one. There are then two sorts of 
greatness in sin ; greatness by reason of number ; great- 
ness by reason of thoroughness of conviction of the horrible 
nature of sin. In this last sense, he that has but one sin, 
if such a one could be found, may in his own eyes find 
himself the biggest sinner in the world. Let this man or 
this child therefore put himself among the great sinners, 
and plead with God as great sinners do, and expect to be 
saved with the gTeat sinners, and as soon and as heartily 
as they. 

Yea, a little sinner, that comparatively is truly so, if he 
shall graciously give way to conviction, and shall in God's 
light diligently weigh tlie horrible nature of his own sins, 
may yet sooner obtain forgiveness for them at the hands of 
the heavenly Father, than he that has ten times his sins, 
and so cause to cry ten times harder to God for mercy. 


For the gi-ievousness of the cry is a great thing with God ; 
for if he will hear the widow, if she cries at all, how much 
more if she cries most grievously ? Exod. xxii, 22, 23. 

It is not the number, but the true sense of the abomi- 
nable nature of sin, that makes the cry for pardon lament- 
able. He, as I said, that has many sins, may not cry so 
loud in the ears of God as he that has far fewer ; he, in our 
present sense, that is in his own eyes the biggest sinner, is 
he that soonest findeth mercy. 

The offer then is to tlie biggest sinner ; to the biggest 
sinner first, and the mercy is first obtained by him that 
first confesseth himself to be such an one. 

There are men that strive at the throne of grace for mercy, 
by pleading the greatness of their necessity. Now their 
plea, as to the prevalency of it, lieth not in the counting 
up of the number, but in the sense of the greatness of their 
sins, and in the vehemency of their cry for pardon. And 
it is observable, that though the birthright was Ruben's, 
and, for his foolishness, given to the sons of Joseph, yet 
Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the 
Messias ; 1 Chron. v. 1, 2. 

There is a heavenly subtilty to be managed in this mat- 
ter. " Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken 
away thy blessing," The blessing belonged to Esau, but 
Jacob by his diligence made it his own ; Gen. xxvii. 33. 
The offer is to the biggest sinner, to the biggest sinner first ; 
but if he forbear to cry, the sinner that is a sinner less by 
far than he, both as to number and the nature of trans- 
gression, may get the blessing first, if he shall have grace 
to bestir himself well ; for the loudest cry is heard furthest, 
and the most lamentable pierces soonest. 

I therefore urge this head, not because I would have 
little sinners go and tell God that they are little sinnera, 
thereby to think to obtain mercy ; for, verily, so they are 
never like to have it : for such words declare, tliat such a 
one hath no true sense at all of the nature of his sins. 

Sin, as I said, in the nature of it, is horrible, though it 
be but one single sin as to act ; yea, 


ful thought ; and so worthily calls for the damnation of the 

The comparison, then, of little and great sinners, is to go 
for good sense among men. But to plead the fewness of 
thy sins, or the comparative harmlessness of their quantity 
before God, argueth no sound knowledge of the nature of 
thy sin, and so no true sense of the nature or need of 

Little sinner, when therefore thou goest to God, thougli 
thou knowest in thy conscience that thou, as to acts, art 
no thief, no murderer, no whore, no liar, no false swearer, 
or the like, and in reason must needs understand that thus 
thou art not so profanely vile as others ; yet when thou 
goest to God for mercy, know no man's sins but thine own, 
make mention of no man's sins but thine own. Also labour 
not to lessen thy own, but magnify and greaten them by 
all just circumstances, and be as if there was never a sin- 
ner in the world but thyself. Also cry out, as if thou wast 
the only undone man ; and that is the way to obtain God's 

It is one of the comeliest sights in the world to see a little 
sinner commenting upon the greatness of his sins, multi- 
plying and multiplying them to himself, till he makes 
them in his own eyes bigger and higher than he seeth any 
other man's sins to be in the world ; and as base a thing 
it is to see a man do otherwise, and as basely will come 
on it ; Luke xviii. 10-14. 

As, therefore, I said to the great sinner before, let him 
take heed lest he presume ; I say now to the little sinner, 
let him take heed that he do not dissemble : for there is as 
great an aptness in the little sinner to dissemble, as there 
is in the great one. " He that hideth his sins shall not 
prosper," be he a sinner little or great ; Prov. xxviii. KJ. 

Eighthly, Would Jesus Christ have mercy offered, in the 
first place, to the biggest sinners ? Then this shews the true 
cause why Satan makes such head as he doth against him. 

Tlie Father and the Holy Spirit are well spoken of by 
all deluders and deceived persons j Christ only is the rock 


of offence. " Behold I lay in Zion a stumbling-stone and 
a rock of offence ;" Rom. ix. 33. Not that Satan careth for 
the Father or the Spirit more than he careth for the Son, 
but he can let men alone with their notions of the Father 
and the Spirit, for he knows they shall never enjoy the Father 
nor the Spirit, if indeed they receive not the merits of the 
Son. " He that hath the Son, hath life ; he that hath not 
the Son of God hath not life," however they may boast 
themselves of the Father and the Spirit ; 1 John v, 12. 
Again, " "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the 
doctrine of Christ, hath not God : he that abideth in the 
doctrine of Christ, hath both the Father and the Son ;" 2 
John i. 9. 

Christ, and Christ only, is he that can make us capable 
to enjoy God with life and joy to all eternity. Hence 
he calls himself the way to the Father, the true and 
living way ; John xiv. 6 ; Heb. x. 19, 20 ; for we can- 
not come to the Father but by him. Satan knows this, 
therefore he hates him. Deluded persons are ignorant of 
this, and, therefore, they are so led up and down by Satan 
by the nose as they are. 

There are many things by which Satan has taken occa- 
sion to greaten his rage against Jesus Christ. 

As, first, his love to man, and then the many expressions 
of that love. He hath taken man's nature upon him ; he 
hath in that nature fulfilled the law to bring in righteous- 
ness for man ; and hath spilt his blood for the reconciling 
of men to God ; he hath broke the neck of death, put away 
sin, destroyed the works of the devil, and got into his o^vn 
hands the keys of death : and all these are heinous things 
to Satan. He cannot abide Christ for this. Besides, he 
hath eternal life in himself, and that to bestow upon us; 
and we in all likelihood are to possess the very places from 
which the Satans by transgression fell, if not places more 
glorious. Wherefore he must needs be angry. And is it 
not a vexatious thing to him, that we should be admitted 
to the throne of grace by Christ, while he stands bound 
over in chains of darkness, to answer for his rebellions 


against God and his Son, at the terrible day of judgment. 
Yea, we poor dust and ashes must become his judges, and 
triumph over him for ever : and all this long of Jesus 
Christ ; for he is the meritorious cause of all this. 

Now though Satan seeks to be revenged for tliis, yet he 
knows it is in vain to attack the person of Christ ; lie has 
overcome him : therefore he tampers with a company of 
silly men, that he may vilify him by them. And they, 
bold fools as they are, will not spare to spit in his face. 
They will rail at his person, and deny the very being of 
it ; they will rail at his blood, and deny the merit and 
worth of it. They will deny the very end why he accom- 
plished the law, and by jiggs, and tricks, and quirks, 
which he helpeth them to, they set up fond names and 
images in i his place, and give the glory of a Saviour to 
them. Thus Satan worketh under the name of Christ ; 
and his ministers under the name of the ministers of 

And by his wiles and stratagems he undoes a world of 
men ; but there is a seed, and they shall serve him, and it 
shall be counted to the Lord for a generation. These shall 
see their sins, and that Christ is the way to happiness. 
These shall venture themselves, both body and soul, upon 
his worthiness. 

All this Satan knows, and therefore his rage is kindled 
the more. Wherefore, according to his ability and allow- 
ance, he assaulteth, tempteth, abuseth, and stirs up what 
he can to be hurtful to these poor people, that he may, 
while his time shall last, make it as hard and difficult for 
them to go to eternal glory as he can. Oftentimes he 
abuses them with wTong apprehensions of God, and with 
wrong apprehensions of Christ. He also casts them into 
the mire, to the reproach of religion, tlie shame of their 
brethren, the derision of the world, and dishonour of God. 
He holds our hands while the world buffets us ; he puts bear- 
skins upon us, and then sets the dogs at us. He bedaubeth 
us with his own foam, and then tempts us to beheve that 
that bedaubing comes from ourselves. 


Oh ! the rage and the roaring of this lion, and the hatred 
that he manifests against the Lord Jesus, and against them 
that are purchased with his blood ! But yet, in the midst 
of all this, the Lord Jesus sends forth his herald to pro- 
claim in the nations his love to the world, and to invite 
them to come in to him for life. Yea, his invitation is so 
large, that it offereth his mercy in the first place to the 
biggest sinners of every age, which augments the devil's 
rage the more. 

Wherefore, as I said before, fret he, fume he, the Lord 
Jesus will divide the spoil with this great one ; yea, he 
shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he hath 
poured out his soul unto death, and he was nmnbered with 
the transgressors, and he bare the sin of many, and made 
intercession for the transgressors ; Isa. liii. 12. 

Ninthly^ Would Jesus Christ have mercy offered in the 
fii-st place to the biggest sinners ? Let the tempted harp 
upon this string for their help and consolation. The 
tempted wherever he dwells, always thinks himself the 
biggest sinner, one most unworthy of eternal life. 

This is Satan's master-argument : thou art a horrible 
sinner, a hypocrite, one that has a profane heart, and one 
that is an utter stranger to a work of grace. I say this is 
his maul, his club, his master-piece ; he doth with this as 
some do with their most enchanting songs, sings them every- 
where. I believe there are but few saints in the world 
that have not had this temptation sounding in their ears. 
But were they but aware, Satan l)y all this does but drive 
them to the gap out at which they should go, and so escape 
his roaring. 

Saith he, thou art a great sinner, a horrible sinner, a 
profane hearted wi-etch, one that cannot be matched for a 
vile one in the country. 

And all this while Christ says to his ministers, offer 
mercy, in the first place, to the biggest sinners. So that 
this temptation drives thee directly into the arais of Jesus 

Were therefore the tempted but aware, he might say, Ay, 


Satan, so I am, lam a sinner of the biggest size, and there- 
fore have most need of Jesus Christ ; yea, because I am 
such a wretch, therefore Jesus Christ calls me ; yea, he 
calls me first : the first proffer of the Gospel is to be made 
to the Jerusalem sinner : I am he, wherefore stand back 
Satan ; make a lane, my right is first to come to Jesus 

This now will be like for like. This would foil the 
devil : this would make him say, I must not deal with this 
man thus ; for then I put a sword into his hand to cut off 
my head. 

And this is the meaning of Peter, when he saith, " Re- 
sist him stedfast in the faith ; " 1 Pet. v. 9. And of Paul, 
when he saith, " Take the shield of faith, wherewith ye 
shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked ;" 
Eph. vi. 16. 

"Wherefore is it said, " Begin at Jerusalem," if the Jerusa- 
lem sinner is not to have the benefit of it ? And if I am 
to have the benefit of it, let me call it to mind when 
Satan haunts me with the continual remembrance of my 
sins, of my Jerusalem sins. Satan and my conscience 
say I am the biggest sinner, — Christ offereth mercy, in 
the first place, to the biggest sinners. Nor is the manner 
of the offer other but such as suiteth with my mind. I 
am sorry for my sin ; yea, sorry at my heart that ever 
sinful thought did enter, or find the least entertainment in 
my wicked mind ; and might I obtain my wish, I would 
never more that my heart should be a place for ought but 
the gi-ace, and spirit, and faith of the Lord Jesus, 

I speak not this to lessen my wickedness ; I would not 
for all the world but be placed by mine ovm conscience in 
the very front of the biggest sinnei-s, that I might be one 
of the first that are beckoned by the gracious hand of Je- 
sus the Saviour, to come to him for mercy. 

Well, sinner, thou now speakest like a Christian, but 
say thus in a strong spirit in the hour of temptation, and 
then thou wilt, to thy commendation and comfort, quit 
tliyself well. 


This improving of Christ in dark hours, is the life, 
though the hardest part of our Christianit^^ We should 
neither stop at darkness, nor at the raging of our lusts, hut 
go on in a way of venturing and casting the whole of our 
affairs for the next world at the foot of Jesus Christ. This 
is the way to make the darkness light, and also to allay 
the raging of our corruption. 

The first time the Passover was eaten, was in the night ; 
and when Israel took courage to go forward, though the 
sea stood in their \A-ay like a devouring gulf, and the host 
of the Egyptians follow them at the heels ; yet the sea 
gives place, and their enemies were as still as a stone till 
they were gone over ; Exod. xii. 8 ; chap. xiv. 13, 14, 21, 
22 ; chap. xv. 16. 

There is nothing like faith to help at a pinch ; faith 
dissolves douhts as the sun drives away the mists. And 
that you may not he put out, know your time, as I said, 
of believing it always. There are times when some graces 
may be out of use, hut there is no time wherein faith can 
be said to be so. Wherefore faith must be always in exer- 

Faith is the eye, is the mouth, is the hand, and one of 
these is of use all day long. Faith is to see, to receive, to 
work, or to eat ; and a Christian should be seeing or re- 
ceiving, or working, or feeding all day long. Let it rain, 
let it blow, let it thunder, let it lighten, a Christian must 
still believe : " At what time," said the good man, " I 
am afi'aid, I will trust in thee ;" Psal. Ivi. 2, 3. 

Nor can we have a better encouragement to do this, than 
is by the text set before us, even an open heart for a Jeru- 
salem sinner. And if for a Jerusalem sinner to come, then 
for such an one when come. If for such a one to be saved, 
then for such a one that is saved. If for such a one to be 
pardoned his gi*cat transgressions, then for such a one who 
is pardoned these, to come daily to Jesus Christ, too, to be 
cleansed and set free from his common infirmities, and 
from the iniquities of his holy things. 

Therefore let the poor sinner that would be saved labour 


for skill to make the best improvement of the grace of 
Christ to help him against the temptations of the devil and 
his sins. 

Tenthhj, Would Jesus Christ have mercy offered in the 
first place to the biggest sinners ? Let those men consider 
this, that (have, or) may in a day of trial have spoken or 
done what their profession or conscience told them they 
should not, and that have the guilt and burden thereof 
upon their consciences. 

Whether a thing be wi-ong or right, guilt may pursue 
him that doth contrary to his conscience. But suppose a 
man should deny his God, or his Christ, or relinquish a 
good profession, and be under the real guilt thereof, shall 
he therefore conclude he /is gone for ever ? Let him 
come again with Peter's tears, and no doubt he shall obtain 
Peter's forgiveness. For the text includes the biggest 

And it is observable, that before this clause was put into 
this commission, Peter was pardoned his horrible revolt 
from his Master. He that revolteth in the day of trial, if 
he is not shot quite dead upon the place, but is sensible of 
his wound, and calls out for a surgeon, shall find his Lord 
at hand to pour wine and oil into his wounds, that he may 
again be healed, and to encourage him to think that 
there may be mercy for him : besides what we find re- 
corded of Peter, you read in the Acts, some were, through 
the violence of their trials, compelled to blaspheme, and 
yet are called saints ; Acts xxvi. 9-11. 

Hence you have a promise or two that speak concern- 
ing such kind of men, to encourage us to think that at 
least some of them shall come back to the Lord their God. 
" Shall they fall," saith he, " and not arise ? Shall they turn 
away, and not return ?" Jer. viii. 4. " And in that day I 
will assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that 
was driven out, and her that I have afflicted. And I \\\\\ 
make her that halteth a remnant, and her that was cast off 
a strong nation ; and the Lord shall reign over them in 
Mount Zion for ever." What we are to understand by 


her that halteth, is best expressed by the Prophet Elijah ; 
Mic. iv. 6, 7 ; Zeph. iii. 19 ; 1 Kings xviii. 21. 

I will conclude, then, that for them that have halted, 
or may halt, the Lord has mercy in the bank, and is will- 
ing to accept them if they return to him again. 

Perhaps they may never be after that of any great es- 
teem in the house of God, but if the Lord will admit them 
to favour and forgiveness : exceeding and undeserved 
mercy ! See Ezekiel xliv. 10-14. 

Thou, then, that mayst be the man, remember this, 
that there is mercy also for thee. Return therefore to God, 
and to his Son, who hath yet in store for thee, and who 
will do thee good. 

But perhaps thou wilt say, he doth not save all revolt- 
ers, and, therefore, perhaps not me. 

Ansiver. Art thou returning to God ? If thou art re- 
turning, thou art the man ; " Return ye backsliding chil- 
dren, and I will heal your backslidings ;" Jer. iii, 22. 

Some, as I said, that revolt, are shot dead upon the place, 
and for them, who can help them 1 But for them that cry 
out of their wounds, it is a sign they are yet alive, and if 
they use the means in time, doubtless they may be healed. 

Christ Jesus has bags of mercy that were never yet broken 
up or unsealed. Hence it is said, he has goodness laid up ; 
things reserved in heaven for his. And if he breaks up 
one of these bags, who can tell what he can do ! 

Hence his love is said to be such as passeth knowledge, 
and that his riches are unsearchable. He has, no body 
knows what ; for no body knows whom : he has by him in 
store for such as seem in the view of all men to be gone 
beyond recovery. For this the text is plain. What man 
or angel could have thought that the Jerusalem sinners had 
been yet on this side of an impossibility of enjoying life 
and mercy 1 Hadst thou seen their actions, and what hor- 
rible things they did to the Son of God ; yea, how stoutly 
they backed what they did with resolves and endeavours to 
persevere, when they had killed his person, against his 
name and doctrine ; and that there was not found among 


them all that while, as we read of, the least remorse or re- 
gret for these their doings ; couldst thou have imagined 
that mercy would ever have took hold of them, at least so 
soon ! Nay, that they should, of all the world, be counted 
those only meet to have it offered to them in the very first 
place ! For so my text commands, saying, " Preach re- 
pentance and remission of sins among all nations, begimiing 
at Jerusalem." 

I tell you the thing is a wonder, and must for ever stand 
for a wonder among the sons of men. It stands also for an 
everlasting invitation and allurement to the biggest sinners 
to come to Christ for mercy. 

Now since, in the opinion of all men, the revolter is such 
a one ; if he has, as I said before, any life in him, let him 
take encouragement to come again, that he may live by 

Eleventhly, Would Jesus Christ have mercy offered in 
the first place to the biggest sinners 1 Then let God's mi- 
nisters tell them so. There is an incidence in us, I know 
not how it doth come about, when we are converted, to 
contemn them that are left behind. Poor fools as we are, 
we forget that we ourselves were so ; Tit. iii. 2, 3. 

But would it not become us better, since we have tasted 
that the Lord is gracious, to carry it towards them so, that 
we may give them convincing ground to believe, that we 
have found that mercy which also sets open the door for 
them to come and partake witli us. 

Ministers, I say, should do thus, both by their doctrine, 
and in all other respects. 

Austerity doth not become us, neither in doctrine nor in 
conversation. We ourselves live by grace ; let us give as 
we receive, and labour to persuade our fellow-sinners which 
God has left behind us, to follow after, that they may par- 
take with us of grace. We are saved by grace, let us live 
like them that are gracious. Let all our things (to the 
world) be done in charity towards them ; pity them, pray 
for them, be familiar with them for their good. Let us lay 
aside our foolish, worldly, carnal graudeui* j let us not walk 


the streets, and have such behaviours as signify we are 
scarce for touching of the poor ones that are left behind, 
no not with a pair of tongs. It becomes us not thus to do. 

Remember your Lord, he was familiar with publicans 
and sinners to a proverb ; " Behold a gluttonous man, and 
a wine-bibber, a fi-iend of publicans and sinners ;" Matt. 
xi. 19. The first part, concerning his gluttonous eating 
and drinking, to be sure, was an horrible slander ; but for 
the other, nothing was ever spoke truer of him by the 
world. Kow, why should w^e lay hands cross on this text : 
that is, choose good victuals, and love the sweet wine better 
than the salvation of the poor publican ? Why not fami- 
liar with sinners, provided we hate their spots and blemishes, 
and seek that they may be healed of them ? 

Why not fellowly with our carnal neighbours 1 If we 
do take occasion to do so, that we may drop, and be yet 
distilling some good doctrine upon their souls ? Why not 
go to the poor man's house, and give him a penny, and a 
Scripture to think upon 1 Why not send for the poor to 
fetch away at least the fragments of thy table, that the 
bowels of thy fellow-sinner may be refreshed as well as 
thine ? 

Ministers should be exemplary ; but I am an inferior 
man, and must take heed of too much meddling. But might 
I, I would meddle with them, with their wives, and with 
their children too. I mean not this of all, but of them 
that deserve it, though I may not name them. 

But, I say, let ministers follow the steps of their blessed 
Lord, who by word and deed shewed his love to the salva- 
tion of the world, in such a carriage as declared him t,o 
prefer their salvation before his own private concern. For 
we are commanded to follow his steps, " who did no sin, 
neither was guile found in liis mouth." 

And as I have said concerning ministers, so I say to all 
the brethren, carry it so, that all the world may see, that 
indeed you are tlie sons of love. 

Love your Saviour ; yea, shew one to another that you 
love him, not only by a seeming love of affection, but with 


the lore of duty. Practical love is best. Many love Christ 
w^ith nothing but the lick of the tongue. Alas ! Christ Je- 
sus the Lord must not be put off thus : " He that hath my 
commandments, and keepeth them," saith he, " he it is that 
loveth me ;" John xiv. 21. 

Practical love, which stands in self-denial, in charity to 
my neighbour, and a patient enduring of affliction for his 
name ; this is counted love. 

Right love to Christ is that which carries in it a pro- 
voking argument to others of the brethren ;" Heb. x. 24. 

Should a man ask me how he should know that he loveth 
the children of God 1 The best answer I could give him, 
would be in the words of the Apostle John ; " By this," 
saith he, " we know we love the children of God, when we 
love God, and keep his commandments ;" 1 John, v. 2. 

Love to God and Christ is then shewn when we are ten- 
der 5f his name ; and then we shew ourselves tender of his 
name when we are afraid to break any the least of his com- 
mandments. And when w^e are here, then do we shew our 
love to our brother also. 

Now, we have obligation sufficient thus to do, for that 
our Lord loved us, and gave himself for us, to deliver us 
from death, that we might live through him. 

The world, when they hear the doctrine that I have as- 
serted and handled in this little book ; to wit, that Jesus 
Christ would have mercy offered in the first place to the 
biggest sinners, will be apt, because themselves are unbe- 
lievers, to think that this is a doctrine that leads to loose- 
ness, and that gives liberty to the flesh ; but if you that 
believe love your brethren and your neighbours truly, and 
as you should, you will put to silence the ignorance of such 
foolish men, and stop their mouths from speaking evil of 

And, I say, let the love of Christ constrain us to this. 
Who deserveth our heart, our mouth, our life, our goods, 
so much as Jesus Christ, who has bought us to himself by 
his blood, to this very end, that we should be a peculiar 
people, zealous of good works ? 


There is nothing more seemly in the world, than to see 
a Christian walk as becomes the Gospel ; nor any thing 
more unbecoming a reasonable creature, than to hear a man 
say, I believe in Christ, and yet see in his life debauchery 
and profaneness. Might I, such men should be counted the 
basest of men ; such men should be counted by all un- 
worthy of the name of a Christian, and should be shunned 
by every good man, as such who are the very plague of 

For so it is written, we should carry it towards them. 
Whoso have a form of godliness, and deny the power there- 
of, from such we must turn away. 

It has ofttimes come into my mind to ask, by what 
means it is that the gospel profession should be so tainted 
with loose and carnal gospellers ? and I could never arrive 
to better satisfaction in the matter than this, — such men are 
made professors by the devil, and so by him put among the 
rest of the godly, A certain man had a fruitless fig-tree 
planted in his vineyard ; but by whom was it planted 
there ? Even by him that sowed the tares, his own chil- 
dren, among the wheat ; Luke xiii. 6 ; Matth, xiii. 37-40. 
And that was the devil. But why doth the devil do thus ? 
Not of love to them, but to make of them offences and 
stumblingblocks to others. For he knows that a loose 
professor in the church does more mischief to religion than 
ten can do to it that are in the world. 

Was it not, think you, the devil that stirred up the dam- 
sel that you read of in Acts xvi., to cry out, " These are 
the servants of the most high God, that shew unto us the 
way of salvation !" Yes it was, as is evident, for Paul was 
grieved to hear it. But why did the devil stir up her to 
cry so ? but because that was the way to blemish the Gos- 
pel, and to make the world think that it came fi'om the 
same hand as did her soothsaying and witchery ; verse 16- 
18 ; " Holiness, Lord, becomes thy house for ever." 

Let, therefore, whoever they be that profess the name of 
Christ, take heed that they scandal not that profession which 
they make of him, since he has so graciously offered us, as 


we are sinners of the biggest size, in the first place, his 
grace to save us. 

Having thus far spoken of the riches of the grace of 
Christ, and of the freeness of his heart to embrace the Je- 
rusalem sinners, it may not be amiss to give you yet, as a 
caution, an intimation of one thing, namely, that this grace 
and freeness of his heart is limited to time and day ; the 
which, whoso overstandeth, shall perish notwithstanding. 

For as a king, who, of grace, sendeth out to his rebel- 
lious people an offer of pardon, if they accept thereof by 
such a day, yet beheadeth or hangeth those that come not 
in for mercy until the day or time be past ; so Christ Jesus 
has set the sinner a day, a day of salvation, an acceptable 
time ; but he who standeth out, or goeth on in rebellion 
beyond that time, is like to come off with the loss of his 
soul ; 2 Cor. vi. 2 ; Heb. iii. 13, 16, 17, 18, 19 ; chap. iv. 7 ; 
Luke xix. 41, 42. 

Since, tlierefore, things are thus, it may be convenient 
here to touch a little upon these particulars. 

First, That this day, or time thus limited, when it is con- 
sidered with reference to this or that man, is ofttimes un- 
discerned by the person concerned therein, and always is 
kept secret as to the shutting up thereof. 

And this, in the wisdom of God, is thus to the end ; no 
man, when called upon, should put off turning to God to 
another time. Now, and to-day, is that and only that 
which is revealed in holy writ ; Psal. 1. 22 ; Eccles. xii, 
1 ; Heb. iii. 13, 16. 

And this shews us the desperate hazards which those 
men run, who when invitation or conviction attends them, 
put off turning to God to be saved till another, and, as they 
think, a more fit season and time. For many, by so doing, 
defer this to do till the day of God's patience and long-suf- 
fering is ended ; and then, for their prayers and cries after 
mercy, they receive nothing but mocks, and are laughed at 
by the God of heaven ; Pro v. i. 20-30 ; Isaiah Ixv. 12-16 ; 
chap. Ixvi. 4 ; Zech. vii. 11-13. 

Secondly, Another thing to be considered is this, \\z. 


that the day of God's grace with some men begms sooner, 
and also sooner ends than it doth with others. Those at 
the first hour of the day, had their call sooner than they 
who were called upon to turn to God at the sixth hour of 
the day ; yea, and they who were hired at the third horn-, 
had their call sooner than they who were called at the 
eleventh ; Matt. xx. 1-6. 

1. The day of God's patience began with Ishmael, and 
also ended before he was twenty years old. At thirteen 
years of age he was circumcised ; the next year after Isaac 
was born ; and then Ishmael was fourteen years old. Now 
that day that Isaac was weaned, that day was Ishmael re- 
jected ; and suppose that Isaac was three years old before 
he was weaned, that was but the seventeenth year of Ish- 
mael ; wherefore the day of God's grace was ended with 
him betimes ; Gen. xvii. 24, 25 ; chap. xxi. 2-11 ; Gal.iv. 

2. Cain's day ended with him betimes ; for after God had 
rejected him, he lived to beget many children, and build a 
city, and to do many other things. But alas ! all that 
while he was a fugitive and a vagabond. Nor carried he 
any thing with him after the day of his rejection was come, 
but this doleful language in liis conscience, " From God's 
face shall I be hid ;" Gen. iv. 10-15. 

3. Esau, through his extravagancies would needs go %o 
sell his birth-right, not fearing (as other confident fools) but 
that yet the blessing would still be his, after which he lived 
many years ; but all of them under the wrath of God, as was, 
when time came, made appear to his destruction ; for "When 
he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected, for 
he found no place of repentance, though he sought it care- 
fully with tears ;" Heb. xii. 14-16. 

Many instances might be given as to such tokens of the 
displeasure of God against such as fool av/ay, as the wise 
man has it, the prize which is put into their hand ; Prov. 
xvii. 16. 

Let these things, therefore, be a further caution to those 


that sit under the glorious sound of tlie Gospel, and hear 
of the riches of the grace of God in Christ to poor sinners. 

To slight grace, to despise mercy, and to stop the ear 
when God speaks, when he speaks such great things, so 
much to our profit, is a great provocation. 

He ofFereth, he calls, he woos, he invites, he prays, he 
beseeches us in this day of his grace to be reconciled to him ; 
yea, and has provided for us the means of reconciliation 
himself. Now, this despised must needs be provoking; 
and it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living 

But some man may say unto me. Fain I would be saved, 
fain I would be saved by Christ; but I fear this day of 
grace is past, and that I shall perish, notwithstanding the 
exceeding riches of the grace of God. 

Answer. To this doubt I would answer several things. 

First, With respect to this day. 

Secondly, With respect to thy desires. 

Thirdly, With respect to thy fears. 

First, With respect to the day ; that is, Vhether it be 
ended with a man or no. 

1. Ai't thou jogged, and shaken, and molested at the 
liearing of the Word ] Is thy conscience awakened and 
convinced then that thou art at present in a perishing 
state, and that thou hast need to cry to God for mercy ? 
This is a hopeful sign that this day of grace is not past 
with thee. For usually they that are past grace, are also, 
in their conscience, past feeling, being " seared with an hot 
iron ;" Eph. iv. 18, 19 ; 1 Tim. iv. 1, 2. 

Consequently, those past grace must be such as are denied 
the awakening fi-uits of the Word preached. " The dead 
that hear," says Christ, " shall live;" at least while Christ 
has not quite done with them ; the day of God's patience 
is not at an end with them ; John v. 25. 

2. Is there in thy more retired condition, arguings, 
Btrugglings, and strivings with thy spirit to pei-suade thee of 
tlie vanity of what vain things thou lovest, and to win 


thee in thy soul to a choice of Christ Jesus and his 
heavenly things 1 Take heed and rebel not, for the day of 
God's grace and patience will not be past with thee till he 
saith his " Spirit shall strive no more" with thee ; for then 
the woe comes, when " he shall depart from them ;" and 
when he says to the means of grace, " Let them alone ;" 
Hos. iv. 17 ; chap. ix. 12. 

3. Art thou visited in the night-seasons with dreams 
about thy state, and that thou art in danger of being lost ? 
Hast thou heart-shaken apprehensions when deep sleep is 
upon thee, of hell, death, and judgment to come 1 These 
are signs that God has not wliolly left thee, or cast thee 
behind his back for ever. " For God speaketh once, yea 
twice, yet manperceiveth it not ; in a dream, in a vision of the 
night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, inslumberingsupon 
the bed ; then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their 
instruction, that he may withdraw man from his pui-pose 
(his sinful purposes) and hide pride from man;" Job 
xxxiii. 14-17. 

All this while God has not left the sinner, nor is come to 
the end of his patience towards him, but stands at least 
with the door of grace a-jar in his hand, as being loth as 
yet to bolt it against him. 

4. Art thou followed with affliction, and dost thou hear 
God's angry voice in thy afflictions 1 Doth he send with 
thy affliction an interpreter to shew thee thy vileness ; and 
why, or wherefore, the hand of God is upon thee, and upon, 
what thou hast ; to wit, that it is for tliy sinning against 
him, and that thou mightest be turned to him 1 If so, thy 
summer is not quite ended ; thy harvest is not quite over 
and gone. Take heed, stand out no longer, lest he cause 
darkness, and lest thy feet stumble upon the dark moun- 
tains ; and lest, while you look for light, he turn it into 
the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness ; Jer. viii. 
20; chap. xiii. 15-17. 

5. Art thou crossed, disappointed, and waj-'-laid, and 
overthrown in all thy foolish ways and doings ? This is a 
sign God has not quite left thee, but that he still waits 


upon thee to turn thee. Consider, I say, has he made a 
hedge and a wall to stop thee ] Has he crossed thee in all 
thou puttest thy hand unto 1 Take it as a call to turn to 
him, for, by his thus doing, he shews he has a mind to 
give thee a better portion. For usually when God gives 
up men, and resolves to let them alone in the broad way, 
he gives them rope, and lets them have their desires in all 
hurtful things; Hos. ii. 6-15; Psalm Ixxiii. 3-13; 
Rom. xi. 9. 

Therefore take heed to this also, that thou strive not 
against this hand of God ; but betake thyself to a serious 
inquiry into the causes of this hand of God upon thee, and 
incline to think, it is because the Lord would have thee look 
to that, which is better than what thou wouldst satisfy 
thyself withal. When God had a mind to make the pro- 
digal go home to his father, he sent a famine upon him, 
and denied him a bellyfiil of the husks which the swine 
did eat. And observe it, now he was in a strait, he be- 
took him to consideration of the good that there was in his 
father's house ; yea, he resolved to go home to his father, 
and his father dealt well with him ; he received him with 
music and dancing, because he had received him safe and 
sound ; Luke xv. 14-32. 

6. Hast thou any enticing thoughts of the word of God 
upon thy mind ? Doth, as it were, some holy word of 
God give a glance upon thee, cast a smile upon thee, let 
fall, though it be but one drop of its savour upon thy spi- 
rit ; yea, though it stays but one moment with thee ? 
then the day of grace is not past ! The gate of heaven is 
not shut ! nor God's heart and bowels withdrawn from 
thee as yet. Take heed, therefore, and beware that thou 
make much of the heavenly gift, and of that good word of 
God of the which he has made thee taste. Beware, I say, 
and take heed ; there may be a falling away for all this ; 
but, I say, as yet God has not left thee, as yet he has not 
cast thee off ; Heb. vi, 1-9. 

Secondly, "With respect to thy desires, what are they ? 
Wouldst thou be saved ! Wouldst thou be saved with a 


thorough salvation ? Wouldst thou be saved from guilt 
and filth too ? Wouldst thou be the servant of thy Sa- 
viour 1 Art thou indeed weary of the service of thy old 
master the devil, sin, and the world 1 And have these 
desires put thy soul to flight ? Hast thou through de- 
sires betaken thyself to thy heels ? Dost fly to him that 
is a Saviour from the wrath to come, for life 1 If these be 
thy desires, and if they be unfeigned, fear not. Thou art 
one of those runaways which God has commanded our 
Lord to receive, and not to send thee back to the devil thy 
master again, but to give thee a place in his house, even 
the place which liketh thee best. " Thou shalt not de- 
liver to his master," says he, " the servant which is es- 
caped from his master unto thee. He shall dwell with 
thee, even among you in that place which he shall choose, 
in one of thy gates where it liketh him best ; thou shalt 
not oppress him;" Deut. xxiii. 15, 16. 

This is a command to the church, consequently to the 
Head of the church ; for all commands from God come to 
her through her Head. Whence I conclude, that as 
Israel of old was to receive the runaway servant who es- 
caped from a heathen master to them, and should not dare 
to send him back to his master again, so Christ's church 
now, and consequently Christ himself, may not, will not, 
refuse that soul that has made his escape from sin, Satan, 
the world, and hell, unto him, but will certainly let him 
dwell in his house, among his saints, in that place which 
he shall choose, even where it liketh him best. For he 
says in another place, " And him that cometh to me, I 
will in no wise cast out." In no wise, let his crimes be 
what they will, either for natiire, multitude, or the attend- 
ance of aggravating circumstances. 

Wherefore, if thy desires be Ann, sound, and unfeigned 
to become the saved of Christ, and his servant, fear not, he 
will not, he will in no wise put thee away, or turn thee 
over to thy old master again. 

Thirdly, As to thy fears, whatever they are, let that be 


supposed which is supposed before, and they are ground- 
less, and so of no weight. 

Object. But I am afraid I am not elected, or chosen to sal- 
vation, though you called me fool a little before for so 

Ans. Though election is, in order, before calling, as to 
God, yet the knowledge of calling must go before the be- 
lief of my election as to myself. Wherefore, souls that 
doubt of the truth of their effectual calling, do but plunge 
themselves into a deeper labyrinth of confusion that concern 
themselves with their election ; I mean, while they labour 
to know it before they prove their calling. " Make your 
calling, and so your election, sure ;" 2 Pet. i. 4-11. 

Wherefore, at present, lay the thoughts of thy election 
by, and ask thyself these questions : Do I see my lost con- 
dition 1 Do I see salvation is nowhere but in Clirist ? 
Would I share in this salvation by faith in him ? And 
would I, as was said before, be thoroughly saved, to wit, 
from the filth as from the guilt 1 Do I love Christ, his 
Father, his saints, his words, and w^ays 1 This is the way 
to prove we are elect. Wherefore, sinner, when Satan, or 
thine o-svn heart seeks to puzzle thee with election, say 
thou, I cannot attend to talk of this point now, but stay till 
I know that I am called of God to the fellowship of his 
Son, and then I will shew you that I am elect, and that 
my name is written in the book of life. 

If poor distressed souls would observe this order, they 
might save themselves the trouble of an unprofitable la- 
bour under these unreasonable and soul-sinking doubts. 

Let us therefore, upon the sight of our wretcliedness, fly 
and venturously leap into the anns of Christ, which are 
now as open to receive us into his bosom, as they were 
when nailed to the cross. This is coming to Christ for 
life aright ; this is right i-unning away from thy master to 
him, as was said before. And for this we have multitudes 
of scriptures to support, encourage, and comfort us in our 
80 doing. 


But now, let liim that doth thus be sure to look for it, 
for Satan will be with him to-morrow, to see if he can get 
him again to his old service ; and if he cannot do that, 
then will he enter into dispute with him, to wit, about 
whether he be elect to life, and called indeed to partake of 
this Christ, to whom he is fled for succour, or whether he 
comes to him of his own presumptuous mind. Therefore 
we are bid, as to come, so to arm ourselves with that ar- 
mour which God has provided ; that we may resist, 
quench, stand against, and withstand all the fiery darts of 
the devil; Eph. vi. 11-18. 

If, therefore, thou findest Satan in this order to march 
against thee, remember then thou hadst this item about it ; 
and betake thyself to faith and good courage ; and be 
sober, and hope to the end. 

Object. But how if I should have sinned the sin unpar- 
donable, or that called the sin against the Holy Ghost ? 

Answer. If thou hast, thou art lost for ever ; but yet 
before it is concluded by thee that thou hast so sinned, 
know that they that would be saved by Jesus Christ 
through faith in his blood, cannot be counted for such. 

1. Because of the promise, for that must not be frus- 
trated : and that says, " And him that cometh to Christ, he 
will in no wise cast out." And again, " "Whoso will, let 
him take of the water of life fi'eely ;" John vi. 37 ; Rev. 
xxi. 6 ; chap. xxii. 17. 

But I say, how can these scriptures be fulfilled, if he 
that would indeed be saved, as before, has sinned the sin 
unpardonable ? The scriptures must not be made void, 
nor their truth be cast to the ground. Here is a promise, 
and here is a sinner ; a promise that says he shall not be 
cast out that comes ; and the sinner comes, wherefore he 
must be received : consequently he that comes to Clu'ist 
for life, has not, cannot have sinned that sin for which there 
is no forgiveness. 

And this might suffice for an answer to any coming 
soul, that fears, though he comes, that he has sinned the 
sin against the Holy Ghost. 


2. But again, he that has sinned the sin against the 
Holy Ghost cannot come, has no heart to come, can by no 
means be made willing to come to Jesus Christ for life ; 
for that he has received such an opinion of him, and of his 
things, as deters and holds him back. 

1. He counteth this blessed person, the Son of God, a 
magician, a conjuror, a witch, or one that did, when he 
was in the* world, what he did by the power and spirit of 
the devil ; Matt. ix. 34 ; chap. xii. 24, 25, &c. ; Mark iii. 
22-30. Now he that has this opinion of this Jesus, can- 
not be willing to cast himself at his feet for life, or to 
come to him as the only way to God and to salvation. 
And hence it is said again, that such an one puts him to 
open shame, and treadeth him under foot, that is, by con- 
temning, reproaching, vilifying, and despising of him, as if 
he were the vilest one, or the greatest cheat in the world : 
and has therefore, as to his esteem of him, called him ac- 
cursed, crucified him to himself, or counted him one hang- 
ed, as one of the worst of malefactors ; Heb. vi. 6 ; chap. 
X. 29 ; 1 Cor. xii. 3. 

2. His blood, which is the meritorious cause of man's re- 
demption, even the blood of the everlasting covenant, he 
counteth an unholy thing, or that which has no more vir- 
tue in it to save a soul from sin than has the blood of a 
dog ; Heb. x. 29. For when the Apostle says, " he coimts 
it an unholy thing," he means, he makes it of less value 
than that of a sheep or cow, which were clean according to 
the law ; and therefore must mean, that his blood was of 
no more worth to him in his account than was the blood 
of a dog, an ass, or a swine, which always was, as to sacri- 
fices, rejected by the God of heaven, as unholy or unclean. 

Now he who has no better esteem of Jesus Christ, and 
of his death and blood, will not be persuaded to come to 
him for life, or to trust in him for salvation. 

3. But further, all this must be done against manifest 
tokens to prove the contrary, or after the sliining of gospel 
light upon the soul, or some considerable j)rofession of him 
as the Messias, or that he was the Saviour of the world. 


1. It must be done against manifest tokens to prove the 
contrary ; and thus the reprobate Jews committed it when 
they saw tlie works of God, which put forth themselves in 
him, and called them the works of the devil and Beelzebub. 

2. It must be done against some shining light of the gos- 
pel upon them. And thus it was with Judas, and with 
those who, after they were enlightened, and had tasted, and 
had felt something of the powers of the world to come, fell 
away from the faith of him, and put him to open shame 
and disgrace ; Heb. vi. 5, 6. 

3. It must also be done after, and in opposition to one's 
own open profession of him. " For if after they have escaped 
the pollution of the world, through the knowledge of our 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled 
therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them 
than the beginning ; for it had been better for them not to 
liave known the way of righteousness, than after they have 
known it, to turn from the holy commandment (which is 
the word of faith) delivered unto them." 

4. All this must be done openly, before witnesses, in the 
face, sight, and view of the world, by word and act. This 
is the sin that is unpardonable ; and he that hath thus 
done, can never, it is impossible he ever should be renewed 
again to repentance, and that for a double reason ; for such 
an one doth say, he will not ; and of him God says, he shall 
not have the benefit of salvation by him. 

Object. But if this be the sin unpardonable, why is it 
called the sin against the Holy Ghost, and not rather the 
sin against the Son of God ? 

Answ. It is called " the sin against the Holy Ghost," be- 
cause such count the works he did, which were done by the 
Spirit of God, the works of the spirit of the devil. Also be- 
cause all such as so reject Christ Jesus the Lord, they do 
it in despite of that testimony which the Holy Ghost has 
given of him in the holy scriptures ; for the scriptures are 
the breathings of the Holy Ghost, as in all other things, so 
in that testimony they bear of the person, of the works, 
sufferings, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. 


Sinner, this is the sin against the Holy Ghost. What 
Bayst thou ? Hast thou committed it 1 Nay, I know thou 
hast not, if thou wouldst be saved by Christ. Yea, it is 
impossible that thou shouldst have done it, if indeed thou 
wouldst be saved by him. 

No man can desire to be saved by him, whom he yet 
judgeth to be an impostor, a magician, a witch. No man 
can hope for redemption by that blood which he yet count- 
eth an unholy thing. Nor will God ever suffer such an one 
to repent, who has, after light and profession of him, thus 
horribly and devil-like contemned and trampled upon him. 

True, words and wars and blasphemies against this Son 
of man are pardonable ; but then they must be done igno- 
rantly and in unbelief. Also all blasphemous thoughts are 
likewise such as may be passed by, if the soul afflicted with 
them indeed is sorry for them ; 1 Tim. i. 13-15 ; Mar. 
iii. 28. 

All but this, sinner, all but this ! If God had said, he will 
forgive one sin, it had been undeserved grace ; but when he 
says he will pardon all but one, this is grace to the height. 
Nor is that one unpardonable otherwise, but because the 
Saviour that should save them is rejected and put away. 

We read of Jacob's ladder ; Christ is Jacob's ladder that 
reacheth up to heaven, and he that refuseth to go by this 
ladder thither, will scarce by other means get up so high. 
There is none other name given under heaven among men 
whereby we must be saved. There is none other sacrifice 
for sin than this ; he also, and he only, is the Mediator that 
reconcileth men to God. And, sinner, if thou wouldst be 
saved by him, his benefits are thine ; yea, though thou art 
a great and Jerusalem transgressor. 



Two men went up into the temple to pray ; the one a Pharisee, and the other 
a Publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself: God, I 
thank tliee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, 
or even as this Publican, I fast twice in tlie week, I give tithes of all that I 
possess. And the Publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as 
his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to 
me a sinner. — Luke, xviii. 10-13. 

In the beginning of this chapter you read of the reason of 
the parable of the unjust judge and the poor widow ; namely, 
to encourage men to pray. " He spake a parable to this 
end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint ;" and 
a most sweet parable for that purpose it is : for if through 
importunity, a poor widow woman may prevail with an un- 
just judge, and so consequently with an unmerciful and 
hard-hearted tyrant, how much more shall the poor, afflicted, 
distressed, and tempted people of God, prevail with, and 
obtain mercy at the hands of, a loving, just, and merciful 
God 1 The unjust judge would not hearken to, nor regard 
the cry of, the poor widow, for a while : " But afterward 
he said within himself. Though I fear not God, nor regard 
man ; yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge 
her, lest by her continual coming she weary me." " Hark," 
saith Christ, " what the unjust judge saith." " And shall 


not God avenge his o^^^l elect, which cry day and night 
unto him ? — I tell you that he will avenge them speedily." 

This is therefore a very comfortable parable to such of 
the saints as are under hard usage by reason of evil men, 
their might and tyranny : for by it we are taught to be- 
lieve and expect, that God, though for a while he seemeth 
not to regard, yet will, in due time and season, arise and 
set such in safety from them that pufF at them ; Psalm 
xii. 4. 

Let the good Cliristian pray always ; let him pray, and 
not faint at seeming delays ; for if the widow by impor- 
tunity prevailed with the unjust judge, how much more 
shall he with his heavenly Father. " I tell you," says 
Chi-ist, " that he will avenge them speedily." 

But now, forasmuch as this parable reacheth not (so di- 
rectly) the poor Publican in the text, therefore our Lord 
begins again, and adds to that other parable, this parable 
which I have chosen for my text ; by which he designeth 
two things : First, The conviction of the proud and self- 
conceited Pharisee : Secondly, The raising up and healing 
of the cast down and dejected Publican. And observe it, 
as by the first parable he chiefly designeth the relief of 
those that are under the hands of cruel tyrants, so by this 
he designeth the relief of those that lie under the load and 
burden of a guilty and disquieted conscience. 

This therefore is a parable that is full of singular com- 
fort to such of the sinners in the world that are clogged 
with guilt and sense of sin ; and that lie under the appre- 
hensions of, and that are driven to God by the sense of the 
judgment that for sin is due unto them. 

In my handling of this text, I shall have respect to these 
things — 

1. To the persons in the text. 

2. To the condition of the persons in the text. 

3. To the conclusion that Christ makes upon them both. 
First, For the persons. They were, as you see, far one 

from another in their own apprehension of themselves ; 
one good, the other bad ; but yet in tlie judgment of the 


law, both alike, both the same, both sinners ; for they both 
stood in need of mercy. True, the first mentioned did not 
see it, as the other poor sinner did ; but that altereth not 
the case : he that is in the judgment of the law a sinner, is 
in the judgment of the law for sin condemned, though in 
his own judgment he be ever so righteous. 

Men must not be judged, or justified, according to what 
themselves do think, but according to the verdict and sen- 
tence that Cometh out of the mouth of God about them. 
Now, the sentence of God is, " All have sinned :" " There 
is none righteous, no, not one ;" Rom. iii. It is no matter, 
then, what the Pharisee did think of himself j God by his 
word hath proclaimed him a sinner : a sinner, by reason of 
original sin ; a sinner, by reason of actual transgression. 
Personally, therefore, with reference to the true nature of 
their state, they both were sinners, and both by the law 
under condemnation. True, the Publican's leprosy was 
outward ; but the Pharisee's leprosy was inward : his heart, 
his soul, his spirit, was as foul, and had as much the plague 
of sin, as had the other in his life or conversation. 

Secondly, As to their conditions (I do not mean by con- 
dition, so much a habit of mind, as the state that they had 
each of them put themselves into by that mind.) " The 
one," says the text, " was a Pharisee, the other a Publican." 
A Pharisee : that is, one that hath chosen to himself such 
a course of life. A Publican : that is, one that hath chosen 
to himself such a course of life. These tei-ms, therefore, shew 
the divers courses of life that they had put themselves into. 
The Pharisee, as he thought, had put himself into a condition 
for heaven and glory ; but the Publican was for this world 
and his lusts. Wherefore when the Pharisee stands in the 
temple, he boasteth of himself and good condition, but con- 
demneth the Publican, and bitterly inveigheth against him. 
But, as I said, their personal state, by the law, was not at 
all changed. The Pharisee made himself never the better ; 
the Publican also abode in his place. 

Indeed the Publican is here found to recant, and repent 
of his condition, and of the condition that he had put him- 


self into ; and the Pharisee to boast of his. But the Pub- 
lican's repentance was not of himself, but of God, who can 
also, yea, and sometimes it is evident (Acts ix.) he doth, 
make Pharisees also repent of that condition that they have 
chosen to be in themselves ; Phil. iii. 3-8. The Pharisee, 
therefore, in commending of himself, makes himself never 
the better ; the Publican also, in condemning of himself, 
makes himself never the worse. Nay, contrariwise, the 
Pharisee, by commending of himself, makes himself much 
the worse, ver. 14 ; and the Publican, by condemning of 
himself, makes himself much the better. " I tell you (says 
Christ) this man went down to his house justified rather 
than the other ; for every one that exalteth himself shall 
be abased : and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." 

But, I say, as to men's commending of themselves, yea, 
though others should commend them also, that availeth, 
to God- ward, nothing at all. " For not he that commendeth 
himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth." 
So then, men in " measuring themselves by themselves, 
and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise ;" 
2 Cor. X. 12. 

Now, this was the way of the Pharisee ; I am not, saith 
he, as other men : I am no extortioner, nor unjust, no adul- 
terer, nor yet as this Publican. 

" Two men went up into the temple to pray ;" and they 
two, as I said, as opposite one to the other, as any two 
men that ever went thither to pray. One of them was 
over righteous, and the other wicked over much. Some 
would liave thought, had they not by the word of Christ 
been otherwise described, that they had been both of the 
same religion ; for they both went up into the temple to 
pray ; yea, both to pray, and that at the same time, as if 
they did it by appointment, by agi-eement ; but there was 
no such thing. The one was a Pharisee, the other a Pub- 
lican : for so saith the after words : and therefore persons 
as opposite as light and darkness, as fire and water ; I mean, 
as to their apprehensions one of another. The Pharisee 
could not abide the Publican, nor could the Publican brook 


the Pharisee ; and yet both went up into the temple to 
pray. It is strange to see, and yet it is seen, that men cross 
in their minds, cross in their principles, cross in their ap- 
prehensions ; yea, and cross in their prayers too, should yet 
meet together in the temple to pray. 

" Two men ;" men not of the middle sort, and them too 
picked out of the best and worst that was : two men, a 
Pharisee, and a Publican. 

To be a Pharisee was in those days counted honourable 
for religion, and for holiness of life. A Pharisee was a 
man of esteem and repute among the Jews, though it is a 
term of reproach with us ; else Paul would not at such a 
time as he did it, have said, " Men and brethren, I am a 
Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee ;" Acts xxiii, 6 ; Phil. iii. 5. 
For now he stood upon his purgation and justification, es- 
pecially it appears so by the place first named. And far be 
it from any to think, that Paul would make use of a colour 
of wickedness, to save thereby himself from the fury of the 

A Publican was in those days counted one of the vilest 
of men, as is manifest ; because when they are in the word, 
by way of discrimination, made mention of, they are ranked 
with the most vile and base ; therefore they are joined with 
sinners — " He eateth with publicans and sinners," and 
" with harlots." " Publicans and harlots enter into the 
kingdom of heaven." Yea, when our Lord Christ would 
have the rebellious professor stigmatized to purpose, he 
saith, " Let him be to thee as an heathen man and a pub- 

We therefore can make no judgment of men upon the 
outward appearance of them. Who would have thought, 
but that the Pharisee had been a good man ? for he was 
righteous ; for he prayed. And who could have thought, 
that tlie other had been a good man ? for he was a Publican ; 
a man, by good men and bad men, joined with the worst of 
men, to wit, with sinners, harlots, heathens. 

The Pliarisee was a sectarian ; the Publican was an 
officer. The Pharisee, even because he was a sectarian. 


was had the more in esteem j and the Publican, because he 
was an officer, was had the more in reproach. To speak a 
little to both tliese : 

1. The Pharisee was a sectarian ; one that deviated, that 
turned aside in his worshipping from the way of God, both 
in matter and manner of worship ; for such an one I count 
a sectarian. That he turned aside from the matter, which 
is the rule of worship, to wit, the written word, it is evi- 
dent ; for Christ saith, that they rejected the command- 
ments of God, and made them of no effect, that they might 
keep their own traditions. That they turned aside also as 
to their manner of worship, and became sectarians, there 
is less authority asserted — "For all their works 
they do for to be seen of men ;" Acts xxvi. 5 ; Mark vii. 
9-13 ; Matt, xxiii. 5. 

Now this being none of the order or ordinance of Christ, 
and yet being chosen by, and stuck to of these soi-t of men, 
and also made a singular and necessary part of worship, 
became a sect, or bottom for those hypocritical factious men 
to adhere unto, and to make of others disciples to them- 
selves. And that they might be admired, and rendered 
venerable by the simple people to their fellows, they loved 
to go in long robes ; they loved to pray in markets, and in 
the corners of the streets ; they shewed great zeal for the 
small things of the law, but had onl}^ great words for tilings 
that were substantial — "They made broad their phylacteries, 
and enlarged the borders of their garments ;" Matt, xxiii. 

When I say the Pharisee was a sectarian, I do not mean 
that every sectarian is a Pharisee. There were the sects of 
the Ilerodians, of the Alexandrians, and of the Sadducees, 
with many others ; but to be a Pharisee, was to be of the 
straitest sect : " After the most straitest sect of our religion, 
I lived a Pharisee." That, therefore, of all the sects, was the 
most strait and strict. Therefore, saith he, in another 
place, " I was taught according to the perfect manner of 
the law of the fathers." And again, " Touching the law, a 
Pharisee ;" Acts xxii. 3 ; xxvi. 4-6 ; Phil. iii. 5. The 
Pharisee, therefore, did caiTy the bell, and wear the garland 


for religion ; for lie outdid, he went beyond all other secta- 
rians in his day. He was strictest, he was the most zea- 
lous ; therefore Christ, in his making of this parable, waived 
all other sects then in being, and pitched upon the Pliarisee 
as the man most meet, by whose rejection lie might shew 
forth and demonstrate the riches of his mercy in its exten- 
sion to sinners : " Two men went up into the temple to 
pray ; the one a Pharisee :" such a brave man as you have 

2. The Publican also went up thither to pray. The 
Publican, I told you before, was an officer : an officer 
that served the Romans and himself too ; for the Romans 
at that time were possessors of the land of Jewry (the lot 
of Israel's inheritance), and the emperor Tiberius Caesar 
placed over that land four governors, to wit, Pilate, Herod, 
Philip, and Lysanias ; all these were Gentiles, heathens, in- 
fidels ; and the publicans were a sort of inferior men, to 
whom was let out to farm, and so men that were employed 
by these to gather up the taxes and customs that the 
heathens had laid upon the Jews to be paid to the emperor ; 
Luke ii. 1 ; iii. 1, 2, 12, 13. 

But they were a generation of men that were very inju- 
rious in the execution of their office. They would exact 
and demand more than was due of the people ; yea, and if 
their demands were denied, they would falsely accuse those 
that so denied them to the governor, and by false accusation 
obtain the money of the people, and so wickedly enrich 
themselves, Luke iii. 13, 14 ; xix. 2, 8. This was there- 
fore grievous to the Jews, who always counted themselves 
a free people, and could never abide to be in bondage to 
any. And this was something of the reason, that they 
were so generally by all the Jews counted so vile and base, 
and reckoned among the worst of men, even as our in- 
formers and bum-bailiffs are with us at this day. 

But that which heightened the spirit of the people against 
them, and that made them so odious and filthy in their eyes, 
was for that (at least so I think) these publicans were not, 
as the other officers, aliens, heathens, and Gentiles, but men 


of their own nation, Jews, and so the brethren of those that 
they so abused. Had they been Gentiles, it had not been 
wondered at. 

The Publican then was a Jew, a kind of a renegade Jew, 
that through the love that he had to unjust gains, fell off 
in his affections from his brethren, adhered to the Romans, 
and became a kind of servant to them against their breth- 
ren, farming the heathenish taxations at the hand of 
strangers, and exacting of them upon their brethren with 
much cruelty, falsehood, and extortion. And hence, as I 
said, it was, that to be a publican, was to be so odious a 
thing, so vile a sinner, and so grievous a man in the eyes 
of the Jews, Why, this was the Publican ! he was a Jew, 
and so should have abode with them, and have been con- 
tent to share with his brethren in their calamities; but 
contrary to nature, to law, to religion, reason, and honesty, 
he fell in with the heathen, and took the advantage of 
their tyranny to poll, to rob, and impoverish his brethren. 

But for proof that the Publican was a Jew. 

1. Publicans are, even then, when compared with, yet 
distinguished from, the heathen ; " Let him be to thee as an 
heathen man and a publican," Matt, xviii. ; which two 
terms, I think, must not here be applied to one and the 
self-same man, as if the heathen was a publican, or the 
publican a heathen ; but to men of two distinct nations, as 
that publican and harlot is to be understood of sinners of 
both sexes. The Publican is not an harlot, for he is a man, 
&c., and such a man as has been described before. So by 
publicans and sinners, is meant publicans and such sinners 
as the Gentiles were ; or such as, })y tlie text, the Publican 
is distinguished from : where the Pharisee saith he was not 
an extortioner, unjust, adulterer, or even as tliis Publican. 
Nor can he by " heathen man" intend the person, and by 
the term publican, the office or place, of the heathen man ; 
but by publican is meant the renegade Jew, in such a 
place, &c., as is yet further manifested by tliat which fol- 
lows. For — 

2. Those publicans, even every one of them that by name 


are made mention of in the Kew Testament, have such names 
put upon them ; yea, and other circumstances thereunto 
annexed, as doth demonstrate them to be Jews. I remem- 
ber the names of no more but three, to wit, Matthew, Levi, 
and Zaccheus, and they were all Jews. 

(1.) Matthew was a Jew, and the same Matthew was a 
publican ; yea, and also afterwards an apostle. He was a 
Jew, and wrote his gospel in Hebrew : he was an apostle, 
and is therefore found among the twelve. That he was a 
publican too, is as evident by his own words ] for though 
Mark and Luke, in their mentioning of his name and apos- 
tleship, do forbear to call him a publican (Mark iii. 18 ; 
Luke vi. 15) ; yet when this Matthew comes to speak of 
himself, he calls himself Matthew the publican (Matth. x. 
3) ; for I count this the self-same Matthew that Mark and 
Luke make mention of, because I find no other Matthew 
among the apostles but he : Matthew the publican, Mat- 
thew the man so deep in apostacy, Matthew the man of 
that ill fame among his brethren. Love, in Mark and 
Luke, when they counted him among the apostles, did cover 
with silence this his publican state (and it is meet for Pe- 
ter to call Paul his beloved brother, when Paul himself shall 
call himself the chief of sinners) ; but faithfulness to the 
world, and a desire to be abased, that Christ thereby, and 
grace by him, might be advanced, made Matthew, in his 
evangelical writings, call himself by the name of Matthew 
the publican. Nor has he lost thereby ; for Christ again 
to exalt him (as he hath also done by the apostle Paul), 
hath set, by his special providence, the testimony that this 
Matthew hath given of his birth, life, death, doctrine, and 
miracles, in the front of all the New Testament. 

(2.) The next publican that I find by the Testament of 
Clirist, made mention of by name, is Levi, another of the 
apostles of Jesus Christ. This Levi also, by the Holy Ghost 
in holy writ, is called by the name of James : not James 
the brother of John, for Zebedee was his father ; but James 
the son of Alpheus. Now I take this Levi also to be an- 
other than Matthew : First, because Matthew is not called 


the son of Alpheus ; and because Matthew and Levi, or 
James the son of Alpheus, are distinctly counted where the 
names of the apostles are mentioned (Matt. x. 3) for two 
distinct persons : and that this Levi, or James the apostle, 
was a publican, as was the apostle Matthew, whom we 
mentioned before, is evident ; for both Mark and Luke do 
count him such. First, Mark saith, Christ found him when 
he called him, as he also found Matthew, sitting at the re- 
ceipt of custom ; yea, Luke words it thus : " He went forth, 
and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of 
custom, and he said unto him. Follow me ;" Mark ii. 14 ; 
Luke V. 27. 

Now, that this Levi, or James the son of Alpheus, was a 
Jew, his name doth well make manifest. Besides, had there 
been among the apostles any more Gentiles save Simon the 
Canaanite, or if this Levi James had been here, I think the 
Holy Ghost would, to distinguish him, have included him 
in the same discriminating character as he did the other, 
when he called him " Simon the Canaanite ;" Matt. x. 4. 

Matthew, therefore, and Levi or James, were both pub- 
licans, and, as I think, called both at the same time ; were 
both publican Jews, and made by grace the apostles of 
Jesus Christ. 

(3.) The next publican that I find by name made men- 
tion of in the Testament of Christ, is one Zaccheus. And 
he was a publican ; yea, for ought I know, the master of 
them all. " There was a man," saith Luke, " named Zac- 
cheus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he 
was rich," Luke xix. 2. This man, Christ saith, was a son 
of Abraham, that is, as other Jews were ; for he spake to 
stop the mouths of their Pharisaical cavillations. Besides, 
the Publican shewed himself to be such an one, when un- 
der a supposition of wronging any man, he had respect to 
the Jewish law of restoring foui--fold ; Exod. xxii. 1 ; 2 
Sam. xii. 6. 

It is fui-ther manifest that he was a Jew, because Christ 
puts him among the lost ; to wit, among the lost sheep of 


the house of Israel, ver. 10 ; and Matt. xv. 24 ; for Zaccheus 
was one that might properly be said to be lost, and that in 
the Jews' account : lost, I say, and that not only in the most 
common sense, by reason of transgression against the law, 
but for that he was an apostate Jew, not with reference to 
heathenish religion, but as to heathenish, cruel, and bar- 
barous actions ; and therefore he was, as the other, by his 
brethren, counted as bad as heathens, Gentiles, and harlots. 
But salvation is come to this house, saith Christ, and that 
notwithstanding his publican practice, forasmuch as he also 
is the son of Abraham. 

3. Again, Christ, by the parable of the lost sheep, doth 
plainly intimate, that the Publican was a Jew. " Then 
drew near all the publicans and sinners for to hear him, and 
the Pharisees and Scribes murmured, saying. This man re- 
ceiveth sinners, and eateth with them." 

But by what answer doth Christ repel their objections 1 
Why, he saith, " What man of you having an hundred 
sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and 
nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost until 
he find it ?" Doth he not here, by the lost sheep, mean 
the poor publican 1 plenty of whom, while he preached 
this sermon, were there, as objects of the Pharisees' scorn, 
but of the pity and compassion of Jesus Christ : he did 
without doubt mean them. For, pray, what was the flock, 
and who Christ's sheep under the law, but the house and 
people of Israel 1 Ezek. xxxiv. 11. So then, who could be 
the lost sheep of the house of Israel, but such as were Mat- 
thew, James, Zaccheus, and their companions in their and 
such like transgressions ? 

4. Besides, had not the publicans been of the Jews, how 
easy had it been for the Pharisees to have objected, that an 
impertinency was couched in that most excellent parable 
of the lost sheep ? They might have said. We are offended, 
because thou receivest the publicans, and thou for vindica- 
tion of thy practice propoundest a parable of lost sheep ; 
but they are the sinners of the house of Israel, and the 
publicans are aliens and Gentiles. I say, how easily 


might they thus have ohjected ? but they knew full well, 
that the parable was pertinent, for that the publicans were 
of the Jews, and not of the aliens. Yea, had they not been 
Jews, it cannot, it must not be thought, that Christ (in 
sum) should call them so ; and yet he did do so, when he 
called them " lost sheep." 

Now, that these publicans were Jews, what follows but 
that for this they were a great deal the more abominated 
by their brethren ; and (as I have also hinted before) it is 
no marvel that they were ; for a treacherous brother is 
worse than an open enemy, Psalm Iv. 12, 13 ; for, if to be 
debauched in an open and common transgression is odious, 
how odious is it for a brother to be so ; for a brother in 
nature and religion to be so. I say again, all this they 
did, as both John insinuates, and Zaccheus confesses. 

The Pharisee, therefore, was not so good, but the Publi- 
can was as bad. Indeed the Publican was a notorious 
wretch, one that had a way of transgressing by himself ; 
one that could not be sufficiently condemned by the Jews, 
nor coupled with a viler than himself. It is true, you find 
him here in the temple at prayer ; not because he retained, 
in his apostacy, conscience of the true religion ; but God 
had awakened him, shewed him his sin, and bestowed upon 
him the grace of repentance, by which he was not only 
fetched back to the temple and prayer, but to his God, and 
to the salvation of his soul. 

The Pharisee, then, was a man of another complexion, 
and good as to his own thoughts of himself ; yea, and in 
the thoughts of others also, upon the highest and better 
ground by far. The Publican was a notorious sinner : •the 
Pharisee was a reputed righteous man. The Publican was 
a sinner out of the ordinary way of sinning ; and the Pha- 
risee was a man for righteousness in a singular way also. 
The Publican pursued his villanies, and the Pharisee pur- 
sued his righteousness ; and yet they both met in the 
temple to pray : yea, the Pharisee stuck to, and boasted in, 
the law of God: but the Publican did forsake it, and hard- 
ejjied his heart against his way. 


Thus diverse were they in their appearances : the Phari- 
see very good, the Publican very bad : but as to the law of 
God, which looked upon them with reference to the state 
of their spirits, and the nature of their actions, by that they 
were both found sinners ; the Publican an open, outside 
one, and the Pharisee a filth}'-, inside one. This is evident, 
because the best of them was rejected, and the worst of 
them was received to mercy. Mercy standeth not at the 
Publican's badness, nor is it enamoured with the Pharisee's 
goodness : it sufFereth not the law to take place on both, 
though it findeth them both in sin, but graciously embraceth 
the most unworthy, and leaveth the best to shift for him^ 
self. And good reason that both should be dealt with 
after this manner ; to wit, that the word of grace should be 
justified upon the soul of the penitent, and that the other 
should stand or fall to that which he had chosen to be his 

There are three things that follow upon this discourse. 

1. That the righteousness of man is not of any esteem 
with God, as to justification. It is passed by as a thing of 
naughtiness, a thing not worth the taking notice of. There 
was not so much as notice taken of the Pharisee's person or 
prayer, because he came into the temple mantled up in his 
own good tilings. 

2. That the man that has nothing to commend him to 
God, but his own good doings, shall never be in favour with 
Mm. This also is evident from the text : the Pharisee had 
his own righteousness, but had nothing else to commend 
him to God ; and therefore could not by that obtain favour 
with God, but abode still a rejected one, and in a state of 

3. Wherefore, though we are bound by the law of 
charity to judge of men according as in appearance they 
present themselves unto us ; yet withal, to wit, though 
we do so judge, we must leave room for the judgment of 
God. Mercy may receive him that we have doomed to 
hell, and justice may take hold on him, whom we have 
judged to be bound up in the bundle of life. And both 


these things are apparent by the persons under considera- 

We, like Joseph, are for setting of Manasseh' before 
Ephraim ; but God, like Jacob, puts his hands across, and 
Jays his right liand upon the worst man's head, and his left 
hand upon the best (Gen. xlviii.), to the amazement and 
wonderment even of the best of men. 

" Two men went up into the temple to pray ; the one a 
Pharisee, and the other a Publican. The Pharisee stood 
and prayed thus with himself ; God, I thank thee, that I 
am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, 
or even as this Publican. I fast twice in the week, I give 
tithes of all that I possess." 

In these words many things are worth the noting. As, 

First, The Pharisee's definition of righteousness ; the 
which standeth in two things : 1. In negatives ; 2. In 

1. In negatives ; to wit, what a man that is righteous 
must not be : "I am no extortioner, no unjust man, no 
adulterer, nor yet as this Publican." 

2. In positives ; to wit, what a man that is righteous 
must be : "I fast twice a- week, I give tithes of all that I 
possess," &o. 

That righteousness standeth in negative and positive 
holiness is true ; but that the Pharisee's definition is, not- 
withstanding, false, will be manifest by and by. But I 
will first treat of righteousness in the general, because the 
text leadeth me to it. 

First, then, a man that is righteous, must have negative 
holiness ; that is, he must not live in actual transgressions ; 
he must not be an extortioner, unjust, an adulterer, or as 
the Publican was. And this the apostle intends, when he 
saith, " Flee fornication," " Flee youthful lusts," " Flee 
from idolatry ;" and, " Little children keep yourselves from 
idols ;" 1 Cor. vi. 18 ; x. 14 ; 2 Tim. ii. 22 ; 1 John v. 21. 
For it is a vain thing to talk of righteousness, and that 
ourselves are righteous, when every observer shall find us 
in actual transgression. Yea, though a man sliall mix his 


want of negative holiness with some good actions, that will 
not make him a righteous man. As suppose, a man that 
is a swearer, a drunkard, an adulterer, or the like, should, 
notwithstanding this, be open-handed to the poor, be a 
great executor of justice in his place, be exact in his buy- 
ing, selling, keeping his promise with his friend, or the 
like ; these things, yea, many more such, cannot make him 
a righteous man ; for the beginning of righteousness is yet 
wanting in him, which is this negative holiness : for ex- 
cept a man leave off to do evil, he cannot be a righteous 
man. Negative holiness is therefore of absolute necessity 
to make one in one's self a righteous man. This therefore 
condemns them, that count it sufficient if a man have some 
actions that in themselves, and by virtue of the command, 
are good, to make him a righteous man, though negative 
holiness is wanting. This is as saying to the wicked, Thou 
art righteous, and a perverting of the right way of the 
Lord : negative holiness, therefore, must be in a man before 
he can be accounted righteous. 

2. As negative holiness is required to declare one a 
righteous man ; so also positive holiness must be joined 
therewith, or the man is unrighteous still. For it is not 
what a man is not, but what a man does, that declares 
him a righteous man. Suppose a man be no thief, no liar, 
no unjust man ; or, as the Pharisee saith, no extortioner, 
nor adulterer, &c,, this will not make a righteous man ; but 
there must be joined to these, holy and good actions, before 
he can be declared a righteous man. Wherefore, as the 
apostle, when he pressed the Christians to righteousness, 
did put them first upon negative holiness, so he joineth 
thereto an exhortation to positive holiness ; knowing, that 
where positive holiness' is wanting, all the negative holiness 
in the whole world cannot declare a man a righteous man. 
When therefore he had said, " But thou, man of God, 
flee these things" (sin and wickedness), he adds, " and fol- 
low after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, 
meekness," &c. ; 1 Tim. vi. 11. Here Timothy is exhorted 
to negative holiness, when he is bid to flee sin. Here al^o 


he is exhorted to positive holiness, when he is hid to follow 
after righteousness, &c. ; for righteousness can neither 
stand in negative nor positive holiness, as severed one from 
another. That man then, and that man only, is, as to ac- 
tions, a righteous man, that hath left off to do evil, and hath 
learned to do well, Isa. i. 16, 17 ; that hath cast off the 
works of darkness, and put on the armour of light. " Flee 
youthful lusts (said Paul), but follow righteousness, faith, 
charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a 
pure heart ;" 2 Tim. ii. 22. 

The Pharisee, therefore, as to the general description of 
righteousness, made his definition right ; hut as to his 
person and personal righteousness, he made his definition 
wrong. I do not mean he defined his own righteousness 
wrong ; but I mean his definition of true righteousness, 
which standeth in negative and positive holiness, he made 
to stoop to justify his own righteousness, and therein he 
played the hypocrite in' his prayer : for although it is true 
righteousness that standeth in negative and positive holi- 
ness ; yet that this is not true righteousness that standeth, 
but in some pieces and ragged remnants of negative and 
positive righteousness. If then the Pharisee would, in his 
definition of personal righteousness, have proved his OAvn 
righteousness to be good, he must have proved, that both 
his negative and positive holiness had been universal ; to 
wit, that he had left off to act in any wickedness, and that 
he had given up himself to the duty enjoined in every 
commandment : for so the righteous man is described ; 
Job i. 8 ; ii. 3. As it is said of Zacharias and Elisabeth 
his wife, " They were both righteous before God, walking 
in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blame- 
less ;" Luke i. 5, 6. Here the perfection, that is, the uni- 
versality, of their negative holiness is implied, and the 
universality of their positive holiness is expressed ; they 
walked in all the commandments of the Lord ; but that 
they could not do, if they had lived in any unrighteous 
thing or way. They walked in all blamelessly, that 
is, sincerely, with upright hearts. The Pharisee's right- 


eousness, therefore, even by his own implied definition 
of righteousness, was not good, as is manifest these two 
ways — 

1. His negative holiness was not universal. 

2. His positive holiness was rather ceremonial than 

1. His negative holiness was not universal. He saith 
indeed, he was not an extortioner, nor unjust, no adulterer, 
nor yet as this Publican : but none of these expressions 
apart, nor all, if put together, do prove him to be perfect as 
to negative holiness ; that is, they do not prove him, should 
it be granted, that he was as holy with this kind of holiness, 
as himself of himself had testified. For, 

(1.) What though he was no extortioner, he might yet 
be a covetous man ; Luke xvi. 14. 

(2.) What though, as to dealing, he was not unjust to 
others, yet he wanted honesty to do justice to his own 
soul ; Luke xvi. 15. 

(3.) What though he was free from the act of adultery, 
he might yet be made guilty by an adulterous eye, against 
which the Pharisee did not watch (Matt. v. 28), of which 
the Pharisee did not take cognizance. 

(4.) What though he was not like the Publican, yet he 
was like, yea was, a downright hypocrite ; he wanted in 
those things wherein he boasted himself, sincerity ; but 
without sincerity no action can be good, or accounted of 
God as righteous. The Pharisee, therefore, notwithstand- 
ing his boast, was deficient in his righteousness, though he 
would fain have shrouded it under the right definition 

(5.) Nor doth his positive holiness help him at all, for- 
asmuch as it is grounded mostly, if not altogether, in cere- 
monial holiness : nay, I will recollect myself, it was 
grounded partly in ceremonial and partly in superstitious 
holiness, if there be such a thing as superstitious holiness 
in the world ; this paying of tithes was ceremonial, such as 
came in and went out with the typical priesthood. But 
what is that to positive holiness, when it was but a small 


pittance hy the by. Had the Pharisee argued plainly and 
honestly ; I mean, had he so dealt with that law, by which 
now he sought to be justified, he should have brought forth 
positive righteousness in morals, and should have said and 
proved it too, that as he was no wicked man with reference 
to the act of wickedness, he was indeed a righteous man in 
acts of moral virtues. He should, I say, have proved him- 
self a true lover of God, no superstitious one, but a sincere 
worshipper of him ; for this is contained in the first table 
(Exod. XX.), and is so in sum expounded by the Lord 
Christ himself (Mark xii. 30). He should also, in the next 
place, have proved himself truly kind, compassionate, libe- 
ral, and full of love and charity to his neighbour ; for that 
is the sum of the second table, as our Lord doth expound it, 
saying, " Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself;" Mark 
xii. 31. 

True, he says, he did them no hurt ; but did he do them 
good ? To do no hurt, is one thing ; and to do good, is an- 
other ; and it is possible for a man to do neither hurt nor 
good to his neighbour. What then, is he a righteous man 
because he hath done him no hurt 1 No, verily ; unless, to 
his power, he hath also done him good. 

It is therefore a very fallacious and deceitful arguing of 
the Pharisee, thus to speak before God in his prayers : I am 
righteous, because I have not hurt my neighbour, and be- 
cause I have acted in ceremonial duties. Nor will that help 
him at all to say, he gave tithes of all that he possessed. It 
had been more modest to say, that he had paid them ; for 
they, being commanded, were a due debt ; nor could they 
go before God for a free gift, because, by the commandment, 
they were made a payment ; but proud men and hypocrites 
love so to word it both with God and man, as at least to 
imply, that they are more forward to do, than God's com- 
mand is to require them to do. 

The second part of his positive holiness was supersti- 
tious ; for God had appointed no such set fasts, neither 
more nor less but just twice a- week : " I fast twice a- week." 
Ay, but who did command thee to do so, other than by 


thy being put upon it by a superstitious and eiToneous 
conscience, doth not, nor canst thou make to appear. This 
part, therefore, of this positive righteousness, was positive 
superstition, and abuse of God's law, and a gratification of 
thy own erroneous conscience. Hitherto, therefore, thou 
art defective in thy so seemingly brave and glorious right- 

Yet this let me say, in commendation of the Pharisee, in 
my conscience he was better than many of our English 
Christians ; for many of them are so far off from being at 
all partakers of positive righteousness, that neither all their 
ministers. Bibles, and good books, good sermons, nor yet 
God's judgments, can persuade them to become so much as 
negatively holy, that is, to leave off evil. 

The second thing that I take notice of in this prayer of 
the Pharisee, is his manner of delivery, as he stood praying 
in the temple : " God, I thank thee," said he, " that I am 
not as other men are." He seemed to be at this time in 
more than an ordinary frame, while now he stood in the 
presence of the divine Majesty: for a prayer made up of 
praise, is a prayer made up of the highest order, and is most 
like the way of them that are now in a state beyond prayer. 
Praise is the work of heaven ; but we see here, that an hy- 
pocrite may get into that vein, even while an hypocrite, 
and while on earth below. Nor do I think that this prayer 
of his was a premeditated stinted form, but a prayer extem- 
pore, made on a sudden according to what he felt, thought, 
or understood of himself. 

Here therefore we may see, that even prayer, as well as 
other acts of religious worship, may be performed in great 
hypocrisy; although I think, that to perform prayer in 
hypocrisy, is one of the most daring sins that are commit- 
ted by the sons of men. For by prayer, above all duties, is 
our most direct and immediate personal approach into the 
presence of God ; as there is an uttering of things before 
him, especially a giving to him of thanks for things received_j 
or a begging that such and such things might be bestowed 
upon me. But now, to do these things in hypocrisy (and it 


is easy to do them so, when we go up into the temple to 
pray), must needs be intolerable wickedness, and it argueth 
infinite patience in God, that he should let such as do so 
arise alive from their knees, or that he should suffer them to 
go away from the place where they stand, without some 
token or mark of his wrath upon them. 

I also observe, that this extempore prayer of the Pharisee 
was performed by himself, or in the strength of his own 
natural pai-ts ; for so the text implieth. " The Pharisee," 
saitli the text, " stood and prayed thus with himself," or 
" by himself," and may signify, either that he spoke softly, 
or that he made this prayer by reason of his natural parts. 
" I will pray with the Spirit," said Paul ; 1 Cor. xiv. 15. 
" The Pharisee prayed with himself," said Christ. It is at 
this day wonderfully common for men to pray extempore 
also ; to pray by a book, by a premeditated set form, is 
now out of fashion. He is counted nobody now, that can- 
not at any time, at a minute's warning, make a prayer of 
half an hour long. I am not against extempore prayer, for 
I believe it to be the best kind of praying ; but yet I am 
jealous, that there are a great many such prayers made, 
especially in pulpits and public meetings, svithout the 
breathing of the Holy Ghost in them ; for if a Pharisee of 
old could do so, why not a Pharisee do the same now ? Wit 
and reason, and notion, are not screwed up to a very great 
height ; nor do men want words, or fancies, or pride, to 
make them do this thing. Great is the formality of religion 
this day, and little the power thereof. Now, where there 
is a great form, and little power (and such there was among 
the Jews, in the time of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ), 
there men are most strangely under the temptation to be 
hypocrites ; for nothing doth so properly and directly op- 
pose hypocrisy, as the power and glory of the things we 
profess. And so, on the contrary, nothing is a greater 
temptation to hypocrisy, than a form of knowledge of 
things without the savour thereof. Nor can much of the 
power and savour of the things of the gospel be seen at this 
day upon professors (I speak not now of all), if their no- 


tions and conversations be compared together. How proud, 
how covetous, how like the world in garb and guise, in 
words and actions, are most of the great professors of this 
our day ! But when they come to divine worship, espe- 
cially to pray, by their words and carriage there, one would 
almost judge them to be angels in heaven. But such things 
must be done in hypocrisy, as also the Pharisee's was. 
" The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself." 
And in that it is said he prayed with himself, it may 
signify, that he went in his prayer no further than his 
sense and reason, feeling and carnal apprehensions went. 
True Christian prayer ofttimes leaves sense and reason, 
feeling and carnal apprehensions, behind it ; and it goeth 
forth with faith, hope, and desires to know what at present 
we are ignorant of, and that unto which our sense, feeling, 
reason, &c., are strangers. The apostle indeed doth say, 
"I. will pray with the understanding;" 1 Cor. xiv. 15; 
but then it must be taken for an understanding spiritually 
enlightened. I say, it must be so understood, because the 
natural understanding, as such, receiveth not the things of 
God, therefore cannot pray for them ; for they to such are 
foolish things ; 1 Cor. ii. 14. 

Now, a spiritually enlightened understanding may be 
officious in prayer these ways — 

1. As it has received conviction of the truth of the being 
of the Spirit of God ; for to receive conviction of the truth 
and being of such things, comes from the Spirit of God, not 
from the law, sense, or reason ; 1 Cor. ii. 10-12. Now the 
understanding having, by the Holy Ghost, received convic- 
tion of the truth of things, draweth out the heart to cry in 
prayer to God for them. Therefore he saith, he would pray 
with the understanding. 

2. The spiritually enlightened understanding hath also 
received, by the Holy Ghost, conviction of the excellency 
and glory of the things that are of the Spirit of God, and so 
inflameth the heart with more fervent desires in this duty 
of prayer ; for there is a supernatural excellency in the 
things that are of the Spirit : " For if the ministration of 


death (to which the Pharisee adhered), written and en- 
graven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel 
could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory 
of his countenance, which glory was to be done away ; how 
shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious ? 
For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much 
more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory : 
for even that which was made glorious hath no glory in 
this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth ;" 2 Cor. 
iii. 7-10. And the Spirit of God sheweth, at least, some 
things of that excellent glory of them to the understanding 
that it enlighteneth ; Eph. i. 17-19. 

3. The spiritually enlightened understanding hath also 
thereby received knowledge, that these excellent superna- 
tural things of the Spirit are given by covenant in Christ 
to those that love God, and are beloved of him. " Now we 
have received," says Paul, "not the spirit of the world 
(that the Pharisee had), but the Spirit which is of God, 
that we may know the things that are freely given to us of 
God ;" 1 Cor. ii. 12. And this knowledge, that the things 
of the Spirit of God are freely given to us of God, puts yet 
a greater edge, more vigour, and yet further confidence, into 
the heart to ask for what is mine by gift, by a free gift of 
God in his Son. But all these things the poor Pharisee 
was an utter stranger to ; he knew not the Spirit, nor the 
things of the Spirit, and therefore must neglect faith, judg- 
ment, and the love of God, Matt, xxiii. 23 ; Luke xi. 42, 
and follow himself only, as to his sense, feeling, reason, and 
carnal imagination in prayer. 

He stood and prayed thus " with himself." He prayed 
thus, talking to himself ; for so also it may (I think) be 
understood. It is said of the unjust judge, " He said within 
himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man," Sec, 
Luke xviii. 4 ; that is, he said it to himself. So the 
Pharisee is said to pray with himself : God and the 
Pharisee were not together, there was only the Pharisee 
and himself. Paul knew not what to pray for without 
the Holy Ghost joined himself with him, and helping him 


with groans unutterable ; but the Pharisee had no need 
of that ; it was enough that he and himself were together 
at this work ; for he thought without doubting that he and 
himself together could do. How many times have I heard 
ancient men, and ancient women at it with themselves, 
when all alone in some private room, or in some solitary 
path ; and in their chat they have been sometimes reason- 
ing, sometimes chiding, sometimes pleading, sometimes 
praying, and sometimes singing ; but yet all has been 
done by themselves when all alone ; but yet so done, as 
one that has not seen them must needs have concluded 
that they were talking, singing, and praying with com- 
pany, when all that they had said, they did it with them- 
selves, and had neither auditor nor regarder. 

So the Pharisee was at it with himself ; he and himself 
performed, at this time, the duty of prayer. Now I ob- 
serve, that usually when men do speak to or with them- 
selves, they greatly strive to please themselves : therefore 
it is said, there is a man " that flattereth himself in his 
own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful ;" Psalm 
xxxvi. 2. He flattereth himself in his own way, according 
as his sense and carnal reason dictate to him ; and he might 
do it as well in prayer as in any other way. Some men 
wUl so hear sermons and apply them that they may please 
themselves ; and some men will pray, but will refuse such 
words and thoughts in prayer as will not please them- 

how many men speak all that they speak in prayer, 
rather to themselves, or to their auditory, than to God that 
dwelleth in heaven. And this I take to be the manner, I 
mean something of the manner, of the Pharisee's praying. 
Indeed, he made mention of God, as also others do ; but he 
prayed with himself to himself, in his own spirit, and to 
his own pleasing, as the matter of his prayer doth mani- 
fest. For was it not pleasant to this hypocrite, think you, 
to speak thus well of himself at this time 1 Doubtless it 
was. Also children and fools are of the same temper with 
hypocrites, as to this : they also love, without gi-ound, as 


the Pharisee, to flatter themselves in their own eyes ; " But 
not he that commendeth himself is approved." 

" God, I thank thee, I am not as other men are, extor- 
tioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this Publican," &c. 

Thus he begins his prayer ; and it is, as was hinted be- 
fore, a prayer of the highest strain. For to make a prayer 
all of thanksgiving, and to urge in that prayer the cause 
of that thanksgiving, is the highest manner of praying, 
and seems to be done in the strongest faith, &c., in the 
greatest sense of things. And such was the Pharisee's 
prayer, only he wanted substantial ground for his thanks- 
giving ; to wit, he wanted proof of that he said. He was 
not as other men were, except he had meant, as he did 
not, that he was even of the worst sort of men : For even 
the best of men by nature, and the worst, are all alike. 
" What, then, are we better than they ? (saith Paul), No, 
in nowise ;" Rom. iii. .9. So then he failed in the ground 
of his thankfulness, and therefore his thankfulness was 
grounded on untruth, and so became feigned and self- 
flattering, and could not be acceptable with the God of 

Besides, in this high prayer of the Pharisee, he fathered 
that upon God which he could by no means ovvm ; to wit, 
that he being so good as he thought himself to be, was 
through distinguishing love and favour of God — " God, I 
thank thee, that I am not as other men are." I thank 
thee, that thou hast made me better than others ; I thank 
thee that my condition is so good, and that I am so far ad- 
vanced above my neighbour. 

There are several things flow from this prayer of the 
Pharisee that are worth our observation : as — 

1. That the Pharisees and hypocrites do not love to 
count themselves sinners, when they stand before God. 
They choose rather to commend themselves before him for 
virtuous and holy persons, sometimes saying, and oftener 
thinking, that they are more righteous than otliers. Yea, 
it seems by the word to be natural, hereditary, and so com- 
mon for hypocrites to trust to themselves that they are 


righteous, and then to condemn others : this is the founda- 
tion upon which this very parahle is built : " He spake 
this parable (saith Luke) unto certain which trusted in 
themselves as being righteous/' or " that they were " so, 
" and despised others," ver. 9. 

I say, liypocrites love not to think of their sins, when 
they stand in the presence of God ; but rather to muster 
up, and to present him with their several good deeds, and 
to venture a standing or falling by them. 

2. This carriage of the Pharisee before God informs us, 
that moral virtues, and the ground of them, which is the 
law, if trusted to, blinds the mind of man that he cannot 
for them perceive the way to happiness. While Moses is 
read (and his law and the righteousness thereof trusted to), 
the vail is upon their heart ; and even unto this day (said 
Paul) the vail remaineth " untaken away in the reading 
of the Old Testament, which vail is done away in Christ. 
But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is up- 
on their heart ;" 2 Cor. iii. 14, 15. And this is the reason 
so many moral men, that are adorned with civil and moral 
righteousness, are yet so ignorant of themselves, and the 
way of life by Christ. 

The law of works, and the righteousness of the flesh, 
which is the righteousness of the law, blinds their minds, 
shuts up their eyes, and causeth them to miss of the righteous- 
ness that they are so hotly in the pursuit of. Their minds 
were blinded, saith the text. Whose minds 1 Why those 
that adhered to, that stood by, and that sought righteoi^- 
ness of the \3.y. Now, 

The Pharisee was such an one ; he rested in the law, he 
made his boast of God, and trusted to himself that he was 
righteous ; all this proceeded of that blindness and ignor- 
ance that the law had possessed his mind withal ; for it is 
not granted to the law to be the ministration of life and 
light, but to be the ministration of death, when it speaks ; 
and of darkness, when trusted unto, that the Son of God 
might have the pre-eminence in all things : therefore' it is 


said when the heart " shall turn to him, the vail shall be 
taken away ;" 2 Cor. iii. 16. 

3. We may see by this prayer, the strength of vain con- 
fidence ; it will embolden a man to stand in a lie before 
God ; it will embolden a man to trust to himself, and to 
what he hath done; yea, to plead his own goodness, instead 
of God's mercy, before him. For the Pharisee was not 
only a man that justified himself before men, but that jus- 
tified himself before God ; and what was the cause of his so 
justifying himself before God, but that vain confidence that 
he had in himself and his works, which were both a cheat 
and a lie to himself ? But I say, the boldness of the man 
was wonderful, for he stood to the lie that was in his right 
hand, and pleaded the goodness of it before him. 

But besides these things, there are four things more that 
are couched in this prayer of the Pharisee. 

1. By this prayer the Pharisee doth appropriate to him- 
self conversion ; he challengeth it to himself and to his fel- 
lows. " I am not," saith he, " as other men ;" that is, in 
imconversion, in a state of sin, wrath, and death : and this 
must be his meaning, for the religion of the Pharisee was 
not grounded upon any particular natural privilege : I mean 
not singly, not only upon that, but upon a falling in with 
those principles, notions, opinions, decrees, traditions, and 
doctrines that they taught distinct from the true and holy 
doctrines of the prophets. And they made to themselves 
disciples by such doctrine, men that they could captivate 
by those principles, laws, doctrines, and traditions : and 
therefore such are said to be of the sect of the Pharisees : 
that is, the scholars and disciples of them, converted to them 
and to their doctrine. ! it is easy for souls to appro- 
priate conversion to themselves, that know not what con* 
version is. It is easy, I say, for men to lay conversion to 
God, on a legal, or ceremonial, or delusive bottom, on such 
a bottom that will sink under the burden that is laid upon 
it ; on such a bottom that will not stand when it is brought 
under the touchstone of God, nor against the rain, wind, 



and floods that are ordained to put it to the trial, whether 
it is true or false. The Pharisee here stands upon a sup- 
posed conversion to God ; " I am not as other men ;" but 
both he and his conversion are rejected by the sequel of the 
parable : " That which is highly esteemed among men" 
(Luke xvi. 15) " is abomination in the sight of God." That 
is, that conversion, that men, as men, flatter themselves 
that they have, is such. But the Pharisee will be a con- 
verted man, he will have more to shew for heaven than his 
neighbour — " I am not as other men are ;" to wit, in a 
state of sin and condemnation, but in a state of conversion 
and salvation. But see how grievously this sect, this reli- 
gion, beguiled men. It made them twofold worse the chil- 
dren of hell than they were before, and than their teachers 
were, Matth. xxiii. 15 ; that is, their doctrine begat such 
blindness, such vain confidence, and groundless boldness in 
their disciples, as to involve them in that conceit of conver- 
sion that was false, and so if trusted to, damnable. 

2. By these words, we find the Pharisee, not only ap- 
propriating conversion to himself, but rejoicing in that con- 
version : " God, I thank thee," saith he, " that I am not 
as other men ;" which saying of his gives us to see that he 
gloried in his conversion ; he made no doubt at all of his 
state, but lived in the joy of the safety that he supposed his 
soul, by his conversion, to be in. Oh ! thanks to God, says 
he, I am not in the state of sin, death, and damnation, as 
the unjust, and this Publican is. "What a strange delusion, 
to trust to the spider's web, and to think that a few, or the 
most fine of the works of the flesh, would be sufficient to 
"bear up the soul in, at, and under the judgment of God ! 
" There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and 
yet are not washed from their filthiness." This text can be 
so fitly applied to none as the Pharisee, and to those that 
tread in the Pharisee's steps, and that are swallowed up 
with his conceits, and with the glory of their own right- 

So again, " There is a way" (a way to heaven) " which 
seemeth right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways 


of death ;" Prov.rxxx. 12 ; xiv. 12. This also is fulfilled 
in these kind of men ; at the end of their way is death and 
hell, notwithstanding tlieir confidence in the goodness of 
their 8tat«. 

Again, " There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath 
nothing ;" Prov. xiii. 7. What can he more plain from all 
these texts, than that some men that are out of the way 
think themselves in it ; and that some men think them- 
selves clean, that are yet in their filthiness, and that think 
themselves rich for the next world, and yet are poor, and 
miserable, and wretched, and blind, and naked. Thus the 
p(5or, blind, naked, hypocritical Pharisee thought of him- 
self, when God threatened to abase him : yea, he thought 
himself thus, and joyed therein, when indeed he was going 
down to the chambers of death. 

3. By these words, the Pharisee seems to put the good- 
ness of his condition upon the goodness of God. I am not 
as other men are, and I thank God for it. " God (saith 
he), I thank thee, that I am -not as other men are." He 
thanked God, when God had done nothing for him. He 
thanked God, when the way that he was in was not of God's 
prescribing, but of his own inventing. So the persecutor 
thanks God that he was put into that way of roguery that 
the devil had put him into, when he fell to rending and 
tearing of the church of God ; " Their possessors slay them 
(saith the prophet), and hold themselves not guilty : and 
they that sell them say. Blessed be the Lord, for I am rich ;" 
Zech. xi. 5. I remember that Luther used to say, " In the 
name of God begins all mischief." All must be fathered 
upon God : the Pharisee's conversion must be fathered upon 
God ; the right, or rather the villany of the outrageous per- 
secution against God's people, must be fathered upon God. 
" God, I thank thee," and, " Blessed be God," must be the 
burden of the heretic's song. So again, the free-wilier, he 
will ascribe all to God ; the Quaker, the Ranter, the Soci- 
nian, &c., will ascribe all to God. " God, I thank thee," is 
in every man's mouth, and must be entailed to every error, 
delusion, and damnable doctrine that is in the world : but 


the name of God, and their doctrine, worship, and way, 
hangeth together, as the Pharisee's doctrine ; that is to say, 
by nothing at all : for God hath not proposed their prin- 
ciples, nor doth he own them, nor hath he commanded them, 
nor doth he convey by them the least grace or mercy to 
them ; but rather rejecteth them, and holdeth them for his 
enemies, and for the destroyers of the world. 

4. We come, in the next place, to the ground of all this, 
and that is, to what the Pharisee had attained ; to wit, that 
he was no extortioner, no unjust man, no adulterer, nor 
even as this Publican, and for that he fasted twice a-week, 
and paid tithes of all that he possessed. So that you see he 
pretended to a double foundation for his salvation, a moral 
and a ceremonial one ; but both very lean, weak, and feeble : 
for the first of his foundation, what is it more, if all be true 
that he saith, but a being removed a few inches from 
the vilest men in their vilest actions 1 a very slender matter 
to build my confidence for heaven upon. 

And for the second part of his ground for life, what is it 
but a couple of ceremonies, if so good 1 the first is ques- 
tioned as a thing not founded in God's law ; and the se- 
cond is such, as is of the remotest sort of ceremonies, that 
teach and preach the Lord Jesus. But suppose them to be 
the best, and his confonnity to them the thoroughest, they 
never were ordained to get to heaven by, and so are become 
but a sandy foundation. But any thing will serve some 
men for a foundation and support for their souls, and to 
build their hopes of heaven upon. I am not a drunkard, 
says one, nor a liar, nor a swearer, nor a thief, and there- 
fore I thank God, I have hopes of heaven and glory. I am 
not an extortioner, nor an adulterer ; not unjust, nor yet 
as this Publican ; and therefore do hope I shall go to hea- 
ven. Alas, poor men ! will your being furnished with 
these things save you from the thundering claps and vehe- 
ment batteries that the wrath of God will make upon sin 
and sinners in the day that shall bum like an oven 1 No, 
no ; nothing at that day can shroud a man from the hot 
rebukes of that vengeance, but the very righteousness of 


God, which is not the righteousness of the law, however 
christened, named, or garnished with all the righteousness 
of man. 

But, thou blind Pharisee ! since thou art so confident 
that thy state is good, and thy righteousness is that that 
will stand when it shall be tried with fire (1 Cor. iii. 13), • 
let me now reason with thee of righteousness. My terror 
shall not make thee afraid ; I am not God, but a man as 
thou art ; we both are formed out of the clay. 

Firstj Prithee, when didst thou begin to be righteous ? 
Was it before or after thou hadst been a sinner ? Not be- 
fore, I dare say ; but if after, then the sins that thou pol- 
lutedst thyself withal before, have made thee incapable of 
acting legal righteousness : for sin, where it is, pollutes, 
defiles, and makes vile the whole man ; therefore thou canst 
not by after acts of obedience make thyself just in the sight 
of that God thou pretendest now to stand praying unto. 
Indeed thou mayst cover thy dirt, and paint thy sepulchre ; 
for that acts of after obedience will do, though sin has gone 
before. But, Pharisee, God can see through the white of 
this wall, even to the dirt that is within : God can also see 
through the paint and garnish of thy beauteous sepulchre, 
to the dead men's bones that are within ; nor can any of 
thy most holy duties, nor all when put together, blind the 
eye of the all-seeing Majesty from beholding all the im- 
cleanness of thy soul (Matt, xxiii. 27.) Stand not there- 
fore so stoutly to it, now thou art before God ; sin is with 
thee, and judgment and justice is before him. It becomes 
thee, therefore, rather to despise and abhor this life, and to 
count all thy doings but dross and dung, and to be content 
to be justified with another's righteousness instead of thy 
own. This is the way to be secured. I say, blind Phari- 
see, this is the way to be secured from the wrath which is 
to come. 

There is nothing more certain than this, that as to justi- 
fication from the curse of the law, God has rejected man's 
righteousness, for the weakness and unprofitableness there- 
of, and hath accepted in the room of that the glorious right- 


eousness of his Son ; because indeed that, and that only, is 
universal, perfect, and equal with his justice and holiness. 
This is in a manner the contents of the whole Bible, and 
therefore must needs be more certainly true. Now then, 
Mr Pharisee, methinks, what if thou didst this, and that 
while thou art at thy prayers, to wit, cast in thy mind 
what doth God love most ? and the resolve will be at hand. 
The best righteousness, surely the best righteousness ; for 
that thy reason will tell thee : This done, even while thou 
art at thy devotion, ask thyself again. But who has the best 
righteousness 1 and that resolve will be at hand also ; to 
wit, he that in person is equal with God, and that is his 
Son Jesus Christ ; he that is separate from sinners, and 
made higher than the heavens, and that is his Son Jesus 
Christ ; he that did no sin, nor had any guile found iii his 
mouth ; and there never was any such he in all the world 
but the Son of God, Jesus Christ. 

Now, Pharisee, when thou hast done this, then, as thou 
art at thy devotion, ask again. But what is this best right- 
eousness, the righteousness of Christ, to do? and the answer 
will be ready. It is to be made by an act of the sovereign 
grace of God over to the sinner that shall dare to trust 
thereto for justification from the curse of the law. " He is 
made unto us of God, righteousness." " He hath made him 
to be sin for us, who knew no sin ; that we might be made 
the righteousness of God in him." " For Christ is the end 
of the law for righteousness to every one that belie veth ;" 
1 Cor. i. 30 ; 2 Cor. v. 21 ; Rom. x. 4. 

This done, and concluded on, then turn again, Pharisee, 
and say thus with thyself — Is it most safe for me to trust 
in this righteousness of God, this righteousness of God-man, 
this righteousness of Christ ? Certainly it is ; since, by the 
text, it is counted the best, and that which is best pleaseth 
God ; since it is that which God hath appointed, that sin- 
ners shall be justified withal. For " in the Lord have we 
righteousness " if we believe : and, " in the Lord we are 
justified, and do glory ;" Isa. xlv. 24, 25. 

Nay, Pharisee, suppose thine own righteousness should 


be as long, as broad, as high, as deep, as perfect, as good, 
even every way as good, as the righteousness of Christ ; 
yet since God has chosen, by Christ, to reconcile us to him- 
self, canst thou attempt to seek by thy own righteousness 
to reconcile thyself to God, and not attempt (at least) to 
confront this righteousness of Christ before God ; yea, to 
challenge it by acceptance of thy person contrary to God's 
design ? 

Suppose, that when the king has chosen one to be judge 
in the land, and has detennined that he shall be judge in 
all cases, and that by his verdict every man's judgment 
shall stand ; I say, suppose, after this, another should arise, 
and of his own head resolve to do his o^vn business himself. 
Now, though he should be every whit as able, yea, and sup- 
pose he should do it as justly and righteously too, yet his 
making of himself a judge, would be an affront to the king, 
and an act of rebellion, and so a transgression worthy of 

Why, Pharisee, God hath appointed, that by the right- 
eousness of his Son, and by that righteousness only, men 
shall be justified in his sight from the curse of the law. 
Wherefore, take heed, and at thy peril, whatever thy 
righteousnesss is, confront not the righteousness of Christ 
therewith. I say, bring it not in, let it not plead for thee 
at the bar of God, nor do thou plead for that in his court 
of justice ; for thou canst not do this and be innocent. If 
he trust to his righteousness, he hath sinned, says Ezekiel. 
Mark the text, " When I shall say to the righteous, that he 
shall surely live ; if he trust to his own righteousness, and 
commit iniquity, all his righteousness shall not be remem- 
bered : but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he 
shall die for it ;" Ezek. xxxiii. 13. 

Observe a few things from this text ; and they are these 
that follow. 

1. Here is a righteous man ; a man with whom we do 
not hear that the God of heaven finds fault. 

2. Here is a promise made to this man, that he shall 
surely live ; but on this condition, that he trust not to his 


ovm righteousness. Whence it is manifest, that the promise 
of life to this righteous man, is not for the sake of his 
righteousness, but for the sake of something else ; to wit, 
the righteousness of Christ. 

1. Not for the sake of his own righteousness. This is 
evident, because we are permitted, yea, commanded, to trust 
in the righteousness that saveth us. The righteousness of 
God is unto us all, and upon all that believe ; that is, trust 
in it, and trust to it for justification. Now therefore, if 
thy righteousness, when most perfect, could save thee, thou 
mightst, yea oughtst, most boldly to trust therein. But 
since thou art forbidden to trust to it, it is evident it cannot 
save ; nor is it for the sake of that, that the righteous man 
is saved; Rom. iii. 21, 22. 

2. But for the sake of something else, to wit, for the sake 
of the righteousness of Christ, " Whom God hath set forth 
to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare 
his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, 
through the forbearance of God ; to declare, I say, at this 
time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the jus- 
tifier of him that believeth in Jesus ;" Rom. iii. 25, 26 ; 
see Phil. iii. 6-8. 

" If he ti-ust to his own righteousness, and commit ini- 
quity, all his righteousness shall not be remembered ; but 
for his iniquity that he hath committed (in trusting to his 
own righteousness), he shall die for it." 

Note hence further. 

1. That there is more virtue in one sin to destroy, than 
in all thy righteousness to save thee alive. If he trust, if 
he trust ever so little, if he do at all trust to his own right- 
eousness, all his righteousness shall be forgotten ; and by, 
and for, and in, the sin that he hath committed, in trusting 
to it, he shall die. 

2. Take notice also, that there are more damnable sins 
than those that are against the moral law. By which of 
the ten commandments is trusting to our own righteous- 
ness forbidden 1 Yet it is a sin : it is a sin therefore for- 
bidden by the gospel, and is included, lurketh close in, yea, 


is the very root of, unbelief itself ; " He that believes not 
shall be damned." But he that trusteth in his own right- 
eousness doth not believe, neither in the truth, nor suffi- 
ciency of the righteousness of Christ to save him, therefore 
he shall be damned. 

But how is it manifest, that he that trusteth to his own 
righteousness, doth it through a doubt, or unbelief of the 
truth or sufficiency of the righteousness of Christ ? 

I answer, because he trusteth to his o^^^l. A man will 
never willingly choose to trust to the worst of helps, when 
he believes there is a better as near, and to be had as soon, 
and that too, upon as easy, if not more easy terms. If he 
that trusteth to his owti righteousness for life, did believe 
that there is indeed such a thing as the righteousness of 
Christ to justify, and that this righteousness of Christ has 
in it all-sufficiency to do that blessed work, be sure he 
would choose that, thereon to lay, lean, and venture his 
soul, that he saw was the best, and most sufficient to save ; 
especially when he saw also (and see that he must, when he 
sees the righteousness of Christ), to wit, that that is to be 
obtained as soon, because as near, and to be had on as easy 
terms : nay, upon easier than man's own righteousness. I 
say, he would sooner choose it, because of the weight of 
salvation, of the worth of salvation, and of the fearful sor- 
row that to eternity will overtake him that in this thing 
shall miscarry. It is for heaven, it is to escape hell, ^\Tath, 
and damnation, saith the soul ; and therefore I will, I 
must, I dare not but choose that, and that only, that I be- 
lieve to be the best and most sufficient help in so great a 
concern as soul-concern is. So then he that trusteth to 
his own righteousness, does it of unbelief of the sufficiency 
of the righteousness of Chi-ist to save him. 

Wlierefore this sin of trusting to his own righteousness 
is a most high transgression ; because it contemneth the 
righteousness of Christ, which is the only righteousness 
that is sufficient to save ftt>m the curse of the law. It also 
disalloweth the design of heaven, and the excellency of the 
mystery of the wisdom of God, in designing this way of 


salvation for man. What shall I say, It also seeketh to 
rob God of the honour of the salvation of man. It seeketh 
to take the crown from the head of Christ, and to set it 
upon the hypocrite's head ; therefore, no marvel that this 
one sin he of that weight, virtue, and power, as to sink 
that man and his righteousness into hell, that leaneth thereon, 
or trusteth unto it. 

But, Pharisee, I need not talk thus unto thee ; for thou 
art not the man that hath that righteousness that God 
findeth not fault withal ; nor is it to be found, but with 
him that is ordained to be the Saviour of mankind ; nor is 
there any such one besides Jesus, who is called Christ. 
What madness then has brought thee into the temple, there 
in an audacious manner to stand and vaunt before God, 
saying, " God, I thank thee, I am not as other men are ?" 

Dost thou not know, that he that breaks one, breaks all 
the commandments of God ; and consequently, that he that 
keeps not all, keeps none at all of the commandments of 
God 1 Saith not the scripture the same 1 " For whosoever 
shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he 
is guilty of all ;" Jam. ii. 10. Be confounded then, be con- 

Dost thou know the God with whom now thou hast to 
do 1 He is a God that cannot (as he is just) accept of an 
half righteousness for a whole ; of a lame righteousness for 
a sound ; of a sick righteousness for a well and healthy 
one ; Mai. i. 7, 8. And if so, how should he then accept 
of that which is no righteousness ? I say, how should he 
accept of that which is none at all, for thine is only such ? 
And if Christ said, " When you have done all, say. We 
are unprofitable," how camest thou to say, before thou 
hadst done one thing well, I am better, more righteous than 
other men 1 

Didst thou believe, when thou saidst it, that God knew 
thy heart ? Hadst thou said this to the Publican, it had 
been a high and rampant expression ; but to say this be- 
fore God, to the face of God, when he knew that thou wert 
vile, and a sinner from the womb, and from the conception, 


spoils all. It was spoken to put a check to thy arrogancy, 
when Christ said, " Ye are they that justify yourselves be- 
fore men ; but God knoweth your hearts ;" Luke xvi. 15. 

Hast thou taken notice of this, that God judgeth the fruit 
by the heart from whence it comes ? "A good man, out 
of the good treasm-e of his heai-t, bringeth forth that which 
is good ; and an evil man, out of the evil treasure of his 
heart, bringeth forth that which is evil ;" Luke vi. 45. 
Nor can it be otherwise concluded, but that thou art an 
evil man, and so that all thy supposed good is nought but 
badness ; for that thou hast made it to stand in the room 
of Jesus, and hast dared to commend thyself to the living 
God thereby : for thou hast trusted in thy shadow of right- 
eousness, and committed iniquity. Tliy sin hath melted 
away thy righteousness, and turned it to nothing but dross ; 
or, if you will, to the early dew, like to which it goeth 
away, and so can by no means do thee good, when thou 
shalt stand in need of salvation and eternal life of God. 

But, fui-ther, thou sayst thou art righteous ; but they are 
but vain words. Knowest thou not that thy zeal, which is 
the life of thy righteousness, is preposterous in many 
things 1 What else means thy madness, and the rage thereof, 
against men as good as thyself. True, thy being ignorant 
that they are good, may save thee from the commission of 
the sin that is unpardonable ; but it will never keep thee 
from spot in God's sight, but will make both thee and thy 
righteousness culpable. 

Paul, who was once as brave a Pharisee as thou canst be, 
calleth much of that zeal which he in that estate was pos- 
sessed with, and lived in the exercise of, madness ; yea, ex- 
ceeding madness (Acts xxvi. 9-11 ; Phil. iii. 5, 6) ; and of 
the same sort is much of thine, and it must be so ; for a 
lawyer, a man for the law, and that resteth in it, must be 
a persecutor ; yea, a persecutor of righteous men, and that 
of zeal to God ; because by the law is begotten, thi-ough the 
weakness that it meeteth with in thee, sourness, bitterness 
of spirit, and anger against him that rightfully condenmeth 
thee of folly, for choosing to ti-ust to thy own righteous- 


ness when a better is provided of God to save us ; Gal. 
iv. 28-31. Thy righteousness therefore is deficient ; yea, 
thy zeal for the law, and the men of the law, has joined 
madness with thy moral virtues, and made thy righteous- 
ness unrigliteousness : how then canst thou be upright be- 
fore the Lord 1 

Further, has not the pride of thy spirit in this hot- 
headed zeal for thy Pharisaical notions run thee upon think- 
ing that thou art able to do more than God hath enjoined 
thee, and so able to make thyself more righteous than God 
requireth thou shouldst be ? What else is the cause of thy 
adding laws to God's laws, precepts to God's precepts, and 
traditions to God's appointment ? Mark vii. Nay, hast thou 
not, by thus doing, condemned the law of want of perfec- 
tion, and so the God that gave it, of want of wisdom and 
faithfulness to himself and thee ? 

Nay, I say again, hath not thy thus doing charged God 
with being ignorant of knowing what rules there needed to 
be imposed on his creatures to make their obedience com- 
plete ? And doth not this madness of thine intimate, more- 
over, that if thou hadst not stepped in with the bundle of 
thy traditions, righteousness had been imperfect, not through 
man's weakness, but through impediment in God, or in his 
ministering rules of righteousness unto us 1 

Now, when thou liast thought on these things, fairly 
answer thyself these few questions. Is not this arrogancy 1 
Is not this blasphemy ? Is not this to condemn God, that 
thou mightst be righteous 1 And dost thou think, this is 
indeed the way to be righteous 1 

But again, what means thy preferring of thine own 
rules, laws, statutes, ordinances, and appointments, before 
the rules, laws, statutes, and appointments of God ? 
THinkest thou this to be right ? Whither will thy zeal, 
thy pride, and thy folly caiTy thee ? Is there more reason, 
more equity, more holiness in thy tradition, than in the 
holy, and just, and good commandments of God ? Rom. vii. 
12. Why then, I say, dost thou reject the commandment 
of God, to keep thine own tradition ? Yea, why dost thou 


rage, and rail, and cry out, when men keep not thy law, or 
the rule of thine order, and tradition of thine elders, and 
yet shut thine eyes, or wink with them, when thou thyself 
shalt live in the breach of the law of God ? Yea, why wilt 
thou condemn men, when they keep not thy law, but study 
for an excuse, yea, plead for them that live in the breach 
of God's? Mark vii. 10-13. Will this go for righteous- 
ness in the day of God Almighty 1 Nay, rather, will 
not this, like a mill-stone about thy neck, drown thee in 
the deeps of hell ? the blindness, the madness, the 
pride, that dwells in the hearts of these pretended righteous 
men ! 

Again, What kind of righteousness of thine is this that 
standeth in a mis-esteeming of God's commands 1 Some 
thou settest too high, and some too low ; as in the text, 
thou hast set a ceremony above faith, above love, and above 
hope in the mercy of God ; when as it is evident, the things 
last mentioned, are the things of the first rate, the weightier 
matters ; Matt, xxiii. 17. 

Again, Thou hast preferred the gold above the temple 
that sanctifieth the gold ; and the gift above the altar that 
sanctifieth the gift ; Matt, xxiii. 17. 

I say again, What kind of righteousness shall this be 
called ? What back will such a suit of apparel fit, that is 
set together to what it should be 1 Nor can other righteous- 
ness proceed, where a wrong judgment precedeth it. 

This misplacing of God's laws cannot, I say, but produce 
misplaced obedience. It indeed produceth a monster, an 
ill-shaped thing, unclean, and an abomination to the Lord. 
For " see," saith he (if thou wilt be making), " that thou 
make all things according to the pattern shewn thee in the 
mount." Set faith, where faith should stand ; a moral, 
where a moral should stand ; and a ceremony, where a cere- 
mony should stand : for this turning of things upside down 
shall be esteemed as the potter's clay. And wilt thou call 
this thy righteousness ? yea, wilt thou stand in this ? wilt 
thou plead for this 1 and venture an eternal concern in such 
a piece of linsey-woolsey as this ? fools, and blind ! 


But, further, let us come a little closer to the point. 
blind Pharisee, thou standest to thy righteousness : what 
dost thou mean ] Wouldst thou have mercy for thy right- 
eousness, or justice for thy righteousness. 

If mercy, what mercy ? Temporal things God giveth to 
the unthankful and unholy : nor doth he use to sell the 
world to man for righteousness. The earth hath he given 
to the children of men. But this is not the thing : thou 
wouldst have eternal mercy for thy righteousness ; thou 
wouldst have God tliink upon what an holy, what a good, 
what a righteous man thou art and hast been. But Christ 
died not for the good and righteous, nor did he come to 
call such to the banquet that grace hath prepared for the 
world. " I came not, — I am not come (saith Christ) to call 
the righteous, but sinners to repentance ;" Mark ii. ; Rom. v. 
Yet this is thy plea ; Lord, God, I am a righteous man ; 
therefore grant me mercy, and a share in thy heavenly 
kingdom. What else dost thou mean when thou sayst, 
" God I thank thee, that I am not as other men are ?" 
Why dost thou rejoice, why art thou glad that thou art 
more righteous (if indeed thou art) than thy neighbour, if 
it is not because thou thinkest that thou hast got the start 
of thy neighbour, with reference to mercy ; and that by 
thy righteousness thou hast insinuated thyself into God's 
affections, and procured an interest in his eternal favour ] 

What, what hast thou done by thy righteousness ? I say, 
What hast thou given to God thereby 1 And what hath he 
received of thy hand 1 Perhaps thou wilt say, righteous- 
ness pleaseth God : but I answer no, not thine, with respect 
to justification from the curse of the law, unless it be as 
perfect as the justice it is yielded to, and as the law that 
doth command it. But thine is not such a righteousness : 
no, thine is speckled, thine is spotted, thine makes thee to 
look like a speckled bird in his eye-sight. 

Thy righteousness has added iniquity, because it has kept 
thee from a belief of thy need of repentance, and because it 
has emboldened thee to thrust thyself audaciously into the 


presence of God, and made thee even before his holy eyes, 
which are so pure, that they cannot look on iniquity (Hab. 
i. 13), to vaunt, boast, and brag of thyself, and of thy tot- 
tering, ragged, stinking uncleanness ; for all our righteous- 
nesses are as menstruous rags, because they flow from a thing, 
a heart, a man, that is unclean. But, 

Again, Wouldst thou have mercy for thy righteous- 
ness ? For whom wouldst thou have it : for another, or for 
thyself ? If for another (and it is most proper that a right- 
eous man should intercede for another by his righteousness, 
rather than for himself), then thou thrustest Christ out of 
his place and office, and makest thyself to be a saviour in 
his stead ; for a mediator there is already, even a mediator 
between God and man, and he is the man Christ Jesus. 

But dost thou plead by thy righteousness for mercy for 
thyself ? Why, in doing so, thou impliest — 

1. That thy righteousness can prevail with God more 
than can thy sins ; I say, that thy righteousness can prevail 
with God to preserve thee from death more than thy sins 
can prevail with him to condemn thee to it. And if so, 
what follows, but that thy righteousness is more, and has 
been done in a fuller spirit than ever were thy sins ? But 
thus to insinuate, is to insinuate a lie ; for there is no man 
but, while he is a sinner, sinneth with a more full spirit 
than a good man can act righteousness withal. 

A sinner, when he sinneth, he doth it with all his heart, 
and with all his mind, and with all his soul, and with all 
his strength ; nor hath he in his ordinary course any thing 
that bindeth. But with a good man it is not so ; all and 
every whit of himself, neither is, nor can be, in every good 
duty that he doth. For when he would do good, evil is 
present with him. And again, " The flesh lusteth against 
the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are 
contrary one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things 
that ye would ;" Gal. v. 17. 

Now, if a good man cannot do good things with that 
oneness and universalness of mind, as a wicked man doth 
sin with, then is his sin heavier to weigh him down to hell 
than is his righteousness to buoy him up to the heavens. 


And again, I say, if the righteousness of a good man 
comes short of his sin, both in number, weight, and mea- 
sure, as it doth (for a good man shrinks and quakes at the 
thoughts of God's entering into judgment with him. Psalm 
cxliii. 2) ; then is his iniquity more than his righteousness. 
And I say again, if the sin of one that is truly gracious, 
and so of one that hath the best of principles, is heavier 
and mightier to destroy him than is his righteousness to 
save him, how can it be that the Pharisee, that is not gra- 
cious, but a mere carnal man (somewhat reformed and 
painted over with a few lean and low formalities), should 
with his empty, partial, hypocritical righteousness counter- 
poise his great, mighty, and weighty sins, that have cleaved 
to him in every state and condition of his, to make him 
odious in the sight of God ? 

2. Dost thou plead by thy righteousness for mercy for 
thyself ? Why in so doing thou impliest, that mercy thou 
deservest ; and that is next door to, or almost as much as 
to say, God oweth me what I ask for. The best that can 
be put upon it is, thou seekest security from the direful 
curse of God, as it were by the works of the law, Rom. ix. 
31-33 ; and to be sure, betwixt Christ and the law, thou 
wilt drop into hell. For he that seeks for mercy, as it 
were, and but as it were, by the works of the law, doth not 
altogether trust thereto. Nor doth he that seeks for that 
righteousness that should save him as it were by the works 
of the law, seek it only wholly and solely at the hands of 

So then, to seek for that that should save thee, neither at 
the'hands of the law, nor at the hands of mercy, is to be 
sure to seek it where it is not to be found ; for there is no 
medium betwixt the righteousness of the law and the 
mercy of God. Thou must have it either at the door of the 
law, or at the door of grace. But sayst thou, I am for 
having of it at the hands of both. I will trust solely to 
neither. I love to have two strings to my bow. If one of 
them, as you thinkj can help me by itself, my reason tells 
me that both can help me better. Therefore will I be 



righteous and good, and will seek by my goodness to be 
commended to the mercy of God : for surely he that hath 
something of his own to ingi-atiate himself into the fa- 
vour of his prince withal, shall sooner obtain his mercy 
and favour, than one that comes to him stripped of all 

I answer. But there are not two ways to heaven : there 
is but one new and living way which Christ hath conse- 
crated for us tlirough the vail, that is to say, his flesh ; and 
besides that one, there is no more ; Heb. x. 19-24. Why 
then dost thou talk of two strings to thy bow 1 What be- 
came of him that had, and would have two stools to sit on ? 
yea, the text says plainly, that therefore they obtained not 
righteousness, because they sought it not by faith, but as 
it were by the works of the law. See here, they are dis- 
owned by the gospel, because they sought it not by faith, 
that is, by faith only. Again, the law, and the righteous- 
ness thereof, flies from them (nor could they attain it, 
though they follow after it), because they sought it not by 

Mercy then is to be found alone in Jesus Christ. Again, 
the righteousness of the law is to be obtained only by faith 
of Jesus Christ ; that is, in the Son of God is the righteous- 
ness of the law to be found ; for he, by his obedience to his 
Father, is become the end of the law for righteousness. 
And for the sake of his legal righteousness (which is also 
called the righteousness of God, because it was God in the 
flesh of the Lord Jesus that did accomplish it), is mercy 
and grace from God extended to whoever dependeth by faith 
upon God by this Jesus his righteousness for it. And 
hence it is, that we so often read, that this Jesus is the way 
to the Father ; that God, for Christ's sake, forgiveth us ; 
that by the obedience of one many are made righteous, or 
justified ; and that through this man is preached to us the 
forgiveness of sins ; and that by liim all that believe are 
justified from all things from which they could not be jus- 
tified by the law of Moses. 

Now, though I here do make mention of righteousness 


and mercy, yet I hold there is hut one way, to wit, to eter- 
nal life ; which way, as I said, is Jesus Christ ; for he is 
the new, the only new dnd living, way to the Father of 
mercies, for mercy to make me capable of abiding with him 
in the heavens for ever and ever. 

But sayst thou, I will he righteous in myself that I may 
have wherewith to commend me to God, when I go to him 
for mercy ? 

I answer. But thou blind Pharisee, I tell thee thou hast 
no understanding of God's design by the gospel, which is, 
not to advance man's righteousness, as thou dreamest, but 
to advance the righteousness of his Son, and his grace by 
him. Indeed, if God's design by the gospel was to exalt 
and advance man's righteousness, then that which thou 
hast said would be to the purpose ; for what greater dig- 
nity can be put upon man's righteousness, than to admit 
it? ' 

I say then, for God to admit it, to be ah advocate, an in- 
tercessor, a mediator ; for all these are they which prevail 
with God to shew me mercy. But this God never thought 
of, much less could he thus design by the gospel ; for the 
text runs flat against it. Not of works, not of Avorks of 
righteousness, which we have done ; " Not of works, lest 
any man should boast," saying. Well, I may thank my 
own good life for mercy. It was partly for the sake of my 
oviTi good deeds that I obtained mercy to be in heaven and 
glory. Shall this be the burden of tlie song of heaven ? or 
is this that which is composed by that glittering heavenly 
host, and which we have read of in the holy book of God ? 
No, no ; that song runs upon other feet — standeth in far 
better strains, being composed of far higher and truly hea- 
venly matter : for God has " predestinated us unto the 
adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according 
to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory 
of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Be- 
loved : in whom we have redemption through his blood, 
the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace ;" 
Eph. i. And it is requisite that the song be framed accord- 


ingly ; wherefore he saith, that the heavenly song runs 
thus — " Thou art worthy to take the hook, and to open the 
seals thereof ; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to 
God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and 
people, and nation ; and hast made us unto our God kings 
and priests ; and we shall reign on the earth ;" Rev. v. 

He saith not that they have redeemed, or helped to re- 
deem and deliver themselves ; but that the Lamb, the 
Lamb that was slain ; the Lamb only was he that re- 
deemed them. Nor, saith he, that they had made them- 
selves kings and priests unto God to offer any oblation, 
sacrifice, or offering whatsoever, but that the same Lamb 
had made them such : for they, as is insinuated by the 
text, were in, among, one with, and no better than the 
kindreds, tongues, nations, and people of the earth. Bet- 
ter ! " No, in no wise," saith Paul (Rom. iii. 9) ; there- 
fore their separation from them was of mere mercy, free 
grace, good will, and distinguishing love ; not for, or 
because of works of righteousness which any of them have 
done ; no, they were all alike. But these, because beloved 
when in their blood (according to Ezek. xvi.), were sepa- 
rated by free grace ; and as another scripture hath it, 
" redeemed from the earth," and from among men by blood ; 
Rev. xiv. 3, 4. Wherefore deliverance from the ireful 
wrath of God must not, neither in whole nor in part, be 
ascribed to the whole law, or to all the righteousness that 
comes by it, but to this Lamb of God, Jesus, the Saviour 
of the world ; for it is he that delivered us fi-om the wrath 
to come, and that according to God's appointment ; " for 
God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation 
by (or through) our Lord Jesus Christ ;" 1 Thess. i. 10 ; 
V. 9. Let every man, therefore, take heed what he doth, 
and whereon he layeth the stress of his salvation ; " For 
other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which 
is Jesus Christ;" 1 Cor. iii. 11. 

But dost thou plead still as thou didst before, and wilt 
thou stand thereto ? Why then, thy design must over- 


come God, or God's design must overcome thee. Thy de- 
sign is to give thy good life, thy good deeds, a part of the 
glory of thy justification from the curse. And God's design 
is to throw all thy righteousness out into the street, into 
the dirt and dunghill, as to that thou art for glory, and 
for glorying here before God ; yea, thou art sharing in the 
glory of justification when that alone belongeth to God. 
And he hath said, " My glory will I not give to another." 
Thou wilt not trust wholly to God's grace in Christ for jus- 
tification ; and God will not take thy stinking righteous- 
ness in as a partner in thy acquitment from sin, death, 
wrath, and hell. Now the question is. Who shall prevail 1 
God, or the Pharisee ? and whose word shall stand ? his, 
or the Pharisee's ? 

Alas ! the Pharisee here must needs come down, for God 
is greater than all. Also, he hath said, that no flesh shall 
glory in his presence ; and that he will have mercy, and 
not sacrifice. And again, that it is not (or shall be) in him 
that wills, nor in him that runs, but in God that sheweth 
mercy. What hope, help, stay, or relief, then is there left 
for the merit-monger ? What twig, or straw, or twined 
thread, is left to be a stay for his soul 1 This besom will 
sweep away his cobweb : the house that this spider doth so 
lean upon, will now be overturned, and he in it, to hell- 
fire ; for nothing less than everlasting damnation is de- 
signed by God, and that for this fearful and unbelieving 
Pharisee : God will prevail against him for ever. 

3. But wilt thou yet plead thy righteousness for mercy ? 
Why, in so doing thou takest away from God the power of 
giving mercy. For if it be thine as wages, it is no longer 
his to dispose of at pleasure ; for that which another man 
oweth me, is in equity not at his, but at my disposal. Did 
I say that by this thy plea thou takest away from God the 
power of giving mercy ? I will add, yea, and also of dis- 
posing of heaven and life eternal. And then, I pray you, 
what is left unto God, and what can he call his own 1 Not 
mercy, for that by thy good deeds thou hast purchased : 
not heaven, for that by thy good deeds thou hast purchased : 


not eternal life, for that by thy good deeds thou hast pur- 
chased. Thus, Pharisee (0 thou self-righteous man), hast 
thou set up thyself above gi-ace, mercy, heaven, glory ; yea, 
above even God himself, for the purchaser should in reason 
be esteemed above the purchase. 

Awake, man I What hast thou done 1 Thou hast blas- 
phemed God ; thou has undervalued the glory of his grace ; 
thou hast, what in thee lieth, opposed the glorious design of 
heaven ; thou hast sought to make thy filthy rags to share 
in thy justification. 

Now, all these are mighty sins ; these have made thine 
iniquity infinite. What wilt thou do ] Thou hast created 
to thyself a world of needless miseries. I call them need- 
less, because thou hadst more than enough before. Thou 
hast set thyself against God in a way of contending, thou 
standest upon thy points and pantables ; thou wilt not 
bate God an ace of what thy righteousness is worth, and 
wilt also make it worth what thyself shalt list : thou wilt 
be thine own judge, as to the worth of thy righteousness ; 
thou wilt neither hear what verdict the word has passed 
about it, nor wilt thou endure that God should throw it 
out in the matter of thy justification, but quarrelest with 
the doctrine of free grace, or else dost wrest it out of its 
place to serve thy Pharisaical designs ; saying, " God I 
thank thee, I am not as other men ;" fathering upon thy- 
self, yea, upon God and thyself a stark lie ; for thou art as 
other men are, though not in this, yet in that ; yea, in a 
far worse condition than the most of men are. Nor will 
it help thee anything to attribute this thy goodness to the 
God of heaven ; for that is but a mere toying ; the truth 
is, the God that thou intendest is nothing but thy right- 
eousness ; and the grace that thou supposest is nothing but 
thine o\vn good and honest intentions. So that, 

4. In all that thou sayst thou dost but play the doviTi- 
right hypocrite : thou pretendest indeed to mercy, but 
thou intendest nothing but merit : thou seemest to give 
the glory to God, but at the same time takest it all to thy- 
self : thou despisest others, and criest up thyself, and in con- 


elusion, fatherest all upon God by word, and upon thyself 
in truth. Nor is there anything more common among this 
sort of men, than to make God, his grace, and kindness, 
the stalking-horse to their own praise, saying, " God, I 
thank thee," when they trust to themselves that they are 
righteous, and have not need of any repentance ; when the 
truth is, they are the worst sort of men in the world, be- 
cause they put themselves into such a state as God hath 
not put them into, and then impute it to God, saying, God, 
I thank thee, that thou hast done it ; for what greater sin 
than to make God a liar, or than to father that upon God 
which he never meant, intended, or did : and all this under 
a colour to glorify God, when there is nothing else designed, 
but to take all glory from him, and to wear it on thine own 
head as a crown, and a diadem, in the face of the whole 

A self-righteous man, therefore, can come to God for 
mercy no otherwise than fawningly : for what need of 
mercy hath a righteous man ? Let him then talk of mercy, 
of grace, and goodness, and come in an hundred times with 
his, " God, I thank thee," in his mouth, all is but words ; 
there is no sense, nor savour, nor relish, of mercy and 
favour ; nor doth he in truth, from his very heart, under- 
stand the nature of mercy, nor what is an object thereof ; 
but when he thanks God, he praises himself: when he 
pleads for mercy, he means his own merit ; and all this is 
manifest from what doth follow ; for, saith he, I am not 
as this Publican : thence clearly insinuating, that not the 
good, but the bad, should be rejected of the God of heaven : 
that not the bad but the good, not the sinner, but the self- 
righteous, are the most proper objects of God's favour. 
The same thing is done by others in this our day : favour, 
mercy, grace, and, " God, I thank thee," is in their mouths, 
but their own strength, sufficiency, free-will, and the like, 
they are the things they mean by all such high and glorious 

But, secondly, If thy plea be not for mercy, but for jus- 
tice, then to speak a little to that. 1. Justice has mea- 


sures and rules to go by ; unto which measures and rules, 
if thou com est not up, justice can do thee no good. Come 
then, thou blind Pharisee, let us pass away a few mi- 
nutes in some discourse about this. Thou demandest jus- 
tice, because God hath said, that the man that doth these 
things shall live in and by them. And again, the doers of 
the law shall be justified, not in a way of mercy, but in a 
way of justice : " He shall live by them." But what hast 
thou done, blind Pharisee 1 What hast thou done, that 
thou art emboldened to venture to stand and fall to the 
most perfect justice of God 1 Hast thou fulfilled the whole 
law, and not offended in one point ? Hast thou purged 
thyself from the pollutions and motions of sin that dwell 
in thy flesh, and work in thy own members ? Is the very 
being of sin rooted out of thy tabernacle ? And art thou now 
as perfectly innocent as ever was Jesus Christ 1 Hast thou, 
by suffering the uttermost punishment that justice could 
justly lay upon thee for thy sins, made fair and full satis- 
faction to God, according to the tenor of his law, for thy 
transgressions ? If thou hast done all these things, then 
thou mayst plead something, and yet but something, for 
thyself, in a way of justice. Nay, in this I will assert no- 
thing, but will rather inquire : What hast thou gained by 
all this thy righteousness ? (We will now suppose what 
must not be granted :) Was not this thy state when thou 
wast in thy first parents ? Wast thou not innocent, per- 
fectly innocent and righteous ? And if thou shouldst be so 
now, what hast thou gained thereby 1 Suppose that the 
man that had, forty years ago, forty pounds of his own, and 
had spent it all since, should yet be able now to shew his 
forty pounds again ; what has he got thereby, or how much 
richer is he at last than he was when he first set up for 
himself 1 Nay, doth not the blot of his ill living betwixt 
his first and his last, lie as a blemish upon him, unless he 
should redeem himself also, by works of supererogation, 
from the scandal that justice may lay at his door for that. 
But, I say, suppose, Pharisee, this should be thy case, 
yet God is not bound to give thee in justice that eternal 


life whicli by his grace he bestoweth upon those that have 
redemption from sin, by the blood of his Son. In justice, 
therefore, when all comes to all, thou canst require no more 
than an endless life in an earthly paradise ; for there thou 
wast set up at first ; nor doth it appear fi'om what hath 
been said, touching all that thou hast done or canst do, that 
thou deservest a better place. 

Did I say, that thou mayst require justly an endless 
life in an earthly paradise ? Why, I must add to that say- 
ing this proviso. If thou continuest in the law, and in the 
righteousness thereof ; else not. 

But how dost thou know that thou shalt continue there- 
in ? Thou hast no promise from God's mouth for that ; 
nor is grace or strength ministered to mankind by the co- 
venant that thou art under. So that still thou standest 
bound to thy good behaviour; and in the day that thou 
dost give the first, though ever so little a trip, or stumble 
in thy obedience, thou forfeitest thine interest in paradise 
(and in justice), as to any benefit there. 

But alas ! what need is there that we should thus talk 
of things, when it is manifest that thou hast sinned, not 
only before thou wast a Pharisee, but when after the most 
strictest sect of thy religion thou livest also a Pharisee ; 
yea, and now in the temple, in thy prayer there, thou 
shewest thyself to be full of ignorance, pride, self-conceit, 
and horrible arrogancy, and desire of vain glory, &c., 
which are none of them the seat or fruits of righteousness, 
but the seat of the devil, and the fruit of his dwelling, 
even at this time in thy heart. 

Could it ever have been imagined, that such audacious 
impudence could have put itself forth in any mortal man, 
in his approach unto God by prayer, as has shewed itself in 
thee ? " I am not as other men," sayst thou ! But is this 
the way to go to God in prayer ? " The prayer of the up- 
right is God's delight." But the upright man glorifies 
God's justice, by confessing to God the yileness and pollu- 
tion of his state and condition : he glorifies God's mercy, 
by acknowledging, that that, and that only, as communi- 


cated of God by Christ to sinners, can save and deliver from 
the curse of the law. 

This, I say, is the sum of the prayer of the just and 
upright man, Job, i. 8 ; xl. 4 ; Acts xiii. 22 ; Psalm xxxviii. ; 
li. ; 2 Sam. vi. 21, 22 ; and not as thou most vain-gloriously 
vauntest with thy, " God, I thank thee, I am not as other 
men are." 

True, when a man is accused by his neighbours, by a 
brother, by an enemy, and the like, if he be clear (and he 
may be so, as to what they shall lay to his charge), then 
let him vindicate, justify, and acquit himself, to the utmost 
that in justice and truth he can ; for his name, the preser- 
vation whereof is more to be chosen than silver and gold ; 
also his profession, yea, the name of God too, and reli^^-ion 
may now lie at stake, by reason of such false accusations, 
and perhaps can by no means (as to this man) be covered 
and vindicated from reproach and scandal, but by his jus- 
tifying of himself. Wherefore, in such a work, a man 
serveth God, and saves religion from hurt ; yea, as he that 
is a professor, and has his profession attended with a scan- 
dalous life, hurteth religion thereby, so he that has his pro- 
fession attended with a good life, and shall suffer it not- 
withstanding to lie under blame by false accusations, when 
it is in the power of his hand to justify himself, hurteth 
religion also. But the case of the Pharisee is otherwise. 
He is not here a-dealing with men, but God ; not seeking 
to stand clear in the sight of the world, but in the sight of 
heaven itself; and that too, not with respect to what men 
or angels, but with respect to what God and his law could 
charge him with, and justly lay at his door. 

This therefore mainly altereth the case ; for a man here 
to stand thus upon his point, it is death ; for he affronteth 
God, he giveth him the lie, he reproveth the law ; and, in 
Bum, accuseth it of bearing false witness against him ; he 
doth this, I say, even by saying, " God, I thank thee, I am 
not as other men are ;" for God hath made none of this 
difference. The law condemneth all man as sinners ; testi- 
fieth that every imagination of the thought of the heart of 


the sons of men is only evil, and that continually ; where- 
fore they that do as the Pharisee did, to wit, seek to justify 
themselves before God from the curse of tlie law by their 
own good doings, though they also, as the Pharisee did, 
seem to give God the thanks for all ; yet do most horribly 
sin, even by their so doing, and shall receive a Pharisee's 
reward at last. Wherefore, thou Pharisee, it is a vain 
thing for thee either to think of, or to ask for, at God's 
hand, either mercy or justice. Because mercy thou canst 
not ask for, from sense of want of mercy, because thy right- 
eousness, which is by the law, hath utterly blinded thine 
eyes ; and complimenting with God doth nothing : and as 
for justice, that can do thee no good ; but the more just 
God is, and the more by that he acteth towards thee, the 
more miserable and fearful will be thy condition, because 
of the deficiency of thy so much, by thee, esteemed right- 

What a deplorable condition then is a poor Pharisee in ! 
For mercy he cannot pray ; he cannot pray for it with all 
his heart, for he seeth indeed no need thereof. True, the 
Pharisee, though he was impudent enough, yet would not 
take all from God ; he would still count, that there was 
due to him a tribute of thanks : " God, I thank thee," saith 
he : but yet not a bit of this for mercy ; but for that he had 
let him live (for I know not for what he did thank him- 
self), till he had made himself better than other men. But 
that bettennent was a betterment in none other's judgment 
than that of his own ; and that was none other but such 
an one as was false. So then the Pharisee is by this time 
quite out of doors : his righteousness is worth nothing, his 
prayer is worth nothing, his thanks to God are worth no- 
thing ; for that what he had was scanty and imperfect, and it 
was his pride that made him offer it to God for acceptance ; 
nor could his fawning thanksgiving better his case, or 
make his matter at all good before God. 

But I will warrant you, the Pharisee was so far off from 
thinking thus of himself, and of his righteousness, that he 
thought of nothing so much as of this, that he was a happy 


man : yea, happier by far than other his fellow rationals : 
yea, he plainly declares it, when he saith, " God, I thank 
thee, I am not as other men are." 

what a fool's paradise was the heart of the Pharisee 
now in, while he stood in the temple praying to God ! God, 
I thank thee, said he ; for I am good and holy ; I am a 
righteous man ; I have been full of good works ; I am no 
extortioner, unjust, nor adulterer, nor yet as this wretched 
Publican. I have kept myself strictly to the rule of mine 
order, and my order is the most strict of all orders now in 
being : I fast, I pray, I give tithes of all that I possess. 
Yea, so forward am I to be a religious man, so ready have 
I been to listen after my duty, that I have asked both of 
God and man the ordinances of judgment and justice ; I 
take delight in approaching to God. What less now can be 
mine than the heavenly kingdom and glory ? 

Now the Pharisee, like Haman, saith in his heart, To 
whom would the king delight to do honour more than to 
myself ? Where is the man that so pleaseth God, and, con- 
sequently, that in equity and reason should be beloved of 
God like me 1 Thus like the prodigal's brother, he pleadeth, 
saying, " Lo, these many yeai-s do I serve thee ; neither 
transgressed I at any time thy commandments," Luke xv. 
29. — brave Pharisee ! but go on in thine oration — " Nor 
yet as this Publican." 

Poor wretch, quoth the Pharisee to the Publican, What 
comest thou for ? Dost think that such a sinner as thou 
art shall be heard of God 1 God heareth not sinners ; but 
if any man be a worshipper of God (as I am, as I thank 
God I am), him he heareth. Thou, for thy part, hast been 
a rebel all thy days : I abhor to come nigh thee, or to touch 
thy garments. Stand by thyself, come not near me, for I 
am more holy than thou ; Isa. Ixv. 5. 

Hold, stop there, go no further : fie, Pharisee, fie ! dost 
thou know before whom thou standest, to whom thou 
speakest, and of what the matter of thy silly oration is 
made 1 Thou art now before God, thou speakest now to 
God, and therefore in justice and honesty thou shouldst 


make mention of his righteousness, not of thine ; of his 
righteousness, and of his only. 

I am sure Abraham, of whom thou sayst he is thy fa- 
ther, never had the face to do as thou hast done, though, it 
is to be presumed, he had more cause so to do than thou 
hast, or canst have. Abraham had whereof to glory, but 
not before God ; yea, he was called God's friend, and yet 
would not glory before him ; but humbleth himself, was 
ajfraid, and trembled in himself, when he stood before him 
acknowledging of himself to be but dust and ashes ; Gen. 
xviii. 27, 30, 22 ; Rom. iv. 1, 2 ; but thou, as thou hadst 
quite forgot that thou wast framed of that matter, and after 
the manner of other men, standest and pleadest thy good- 
ness before him. Be ashamed, Pharisee ! dost thou think 
that God hath eyes of flesh, or that he seeth as man sees 1 
Are not the secrets of thy heart open unto him ? Thinkest 
thou with thyself that thou, with a few of thy defiled ways, 
canst cover thy rotten wall, that thou has daubed with un- 
tempered mortar, and so hide the dirt thereof from his eyes ; 
or that these fine, smooth, and oily words, that come out 
of thy mouth, will make him forget that thy throat is an 
open sepulchre, and that thou within art full of dead men's 
bones, and all uncleanness ? Thy thus cleansing of the 
outside of the cup and platter, and thy garnishing of the 
sepulchres of the righteous, is nothing at all in God's eyes, 
but things that manifest that thou art an hypocrite and 
blind, because thou takest no notice of that which is within, 
which yet is that which is most abominable to God. For 
the fruit, alas ! what is the fruit of the tree, or what are the 
streams of the fountain ? Thy fountain is defiled ; yea, a 
defiler, and so that which maketh the whole self, with thy 
works, unclean in God's sight. 

But, Pharisee, how comes it to pass that the poor Publi- 
can is now so much a mote in thine eye, that thou canst 
not forbear, but must accuse him before the judgment-seat 
of God — for in that thou sayst, that thou art not even as 
this Publican, thou bringest in an accusation, a charge, a 
bill, against him 1 What has he done ? Has he concealed 


any of thy righteousness ? or has he secretly informed against 
thee, that thou art an hypocrite and superstitious ? I dare 
say, the poor wretch has neither meddled nor made with 
thee in these matters. 

But what aileth thee, Pharisee ? Doth the poor Publican 
stand to vex thee ? Doth he touch thee with his dii-ty gar- 
ments ? or doth he annoy thee with his stinking breath 1 
Doth his posture of standing so like a man condemned of- 
fend thee ? True, he now standeth with his hand held 
up at God's bar ; he pleads guilty to all that is laid to his 

He cannot strut, vapour, and swagger as thou dost ; but 
why offended at this ? Oh, but he has been a naughty man, 
and I have been righteous ! sayst thou. Well, Pharisee, 
well, his naughtiness shall not be laid to thy charge, if thou 
hast chosen none of his ways. But since thou wilt yet bear 
me dowTi that thou art righteous, shew now, even now, while 
thou standest before God with the Publican, some, though 
they be but small, yea, though but very small, fruits of thy 
righteousness. Let the Publican alone, since he is speaking 
for his life before God. Or, if thou canst not let him alone, 
yet do not speak against him ; for thy so doing will but 
prove that thou rememberest the evil that the man has 
done unto thee ; yea, and that thou bearest him a grudge 
for it too, and while you stand before God. 

But, Pharisee, the righteous man is a merciful man, and 
while he standeth praying, he forgiveth ; yea, and also crieth 
to God that he will forgive him too ; Mark xi. 25, 26 ; 
Acts vii. 60. Hitherto then thou hast shewed none of the 
fruits of thy righteousness. Pharisee, righteousness would 
teach thee to love this Publican, but thou shewest that thou 
hatest him. Love covereth the multitude of sins ; but ha- 
tred and imfaithfulness revealeth secrets. 

Pharisee, thou shouldst have remembered this thy brother 
in this his day of adversity, and shouldst have shewed that 
thou hadst compassion on thy brother in this his deplorable 
condition ; but thou, like the proud, the cniel, and the ar- 
rogant man, hast taken thy ncighboui- at tho advantage, 



and that when he is even between the straits, and standing 
upon the pinnacle of difficulty, betwixt the heavens and the 
hells, and hast done what thou couldst, what on thy part 
lay, to thrust him down to the deep, saying, " I am not 
even as this Publican." 

What cruelty can be greater, what rage more furious, 
and what spite and hatred more damnable and implacable, 
than to follow, or take a man while he is asking of mercy 
at God's hands, and to put in a caveat against his obtaining 
of it, by exclaiming against him that he is a sinner ] The 
master of righteousness doth not so : " Do not think (saith 
he) that I will accuse you to the Father." The scholars of 
righteousness do not do so. " But as for me (said David), 
when they (mine enemies) were sick (and the Publican 
here was sick of the most malignant disease), my clothing 
was of sackcloth, I humbled my soul with fasting, and my 
prayer (to wit, that I made for them) returned into mine 
own bosom. I behaved myself as though he had been my 
fi-iend or brother : I bowed down heavily, as one that 
moumeth for his mother ;" John v. 45 ; Psalm xxxv. 
13, 14. 

Pharisee, dost thou see here how contrary thou art to 
righteous men ? Now then, where shall we find out one to 
parallel thee, but by finding him out that is called " the 
dragon ;" for he it is that accuseth the poor sinners before 
God 1 Zech. iii. ; Rev. xii. 

" I am not as this Publican." Modesty should have com- 
manded thee to have bit thy tongue as to this. What could 
the angels think, but that revenge was now in thine heart, 
and but that thou comest up into the temple rather to boast 
of thyself and accuse thy neighbour, than to pray to the 
God of heaven ; for what petition is there in all thy prayer, 
that gives the least intimation that thou hast the know- 
ledge of God or thyself 1 Nay, what petition of any kind 
is there in tliy vain-glorious oration from first to last ? Only 
an accusation drawn up, and that against one helpless and 
forlorn ; against a poor man, because he is a sinner ; drawn 
up, I say, against him by thee, who canst not make proof 


of thyself that thou art righteous ; but come to proofs of 
righteousness, and thou art wanting also. What, though 
thy raiment is better than his, thy skin may be full as 
black ; yea, what if tliy skin be whiter than his, thy heart 
may be yet far blacker. Yea, it is so, for the truth hath 
spoken it ; for within, you are full of excess and all un- 
cleanness ; Matt, xxiii. 

Pharisee, there are transgressions against the second table, 
and the Publican shall be guilty of them ; but there are 
sins also against the first table, and thou thyself art guilty 
of them. 

The Publican, in that he was an extortioner, unjust and 
an adulterer, made it thereby manifest that he did not love 
his neighbour ; and thou by making a god, a saviour, a 
deliverer, of thy filthy righteousness, dost make it appear, 
that thou dost not love thy God ; for as he that taketh, or 
that derogateth fi-om his neighbour in that which is his 
neighbour's due, sinneth against his neighbour ; so he that 
taketh or derogateth fi-om God, sinneth against God. 

Now, then, though thou hast not, as thou dost imagine, 
played at that low game as to derogate from thy neigh- 
bour ; yet thou hast played at tliat high game as to dero- 
gate from thy God ; for thou hast robbed God of the glory 
of salvation ; yea, declared, that as to that there is no trust 
to. be put in him. " Lo, this is the man that made not God 
his strength ; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, 
and strengthened himself in his wickedness ;" Psalm lii. 7. 

What else means this great bundle of thy owti righteous- 
ness, which thou hast brought with thee into the temple ? 
yea, what means else thy commending of thyself because 
of that, and so thy implicit prayer, that thou for that 
mightst find acceptance with God ? 

All this, what does it argue, I say, but thy diffidence of 
God ? and that thou countest salvation safer in thine own 
righteousness than in the righteousness of God 1 and that 
thy own love to, and care of thy own soul, is far greater, 
and so much better, than is the care and love of God ? And 
is this to keep the first table ; yea, the first branch of that 



table, which saith, " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God ?" 
for thy thus doing cannot stand with love to God 1 

How can that man say, I love God, who from his very 
heart shrinketh to trust in him ? Or, how can that man 
say, I would glorify God, who in his very heart refuseth to 
stand and fall by his mercy 1 

Suppose a great man should bid all the poor of the parish 
to his house to dinner, and should moreover send by the 
mouth of his servant, saying. My lord hath killed his fat- 
lings, hath furnished his table, and prepared his wine, nor 
is there want of anything ; come to the banquet : Would 
it not be counted as an high affront to, great contempt of, 
and much distrust in, the goodness of the man of the house, 
if some of these guests should take with them, out of their 
own poor store, some of their mouldy crusts, and carry 
them with them, lay them on their trenchers upon the table 
before the lord of the feast and the rest of his guests, out 
of fear that he yet would not provide sufficiently for those 
he had bidden to the dinner that he had made ? 

Why, Pharisee, this is the very case; thou hast been 
called to a banquet, even to the banquet of God's grace, 
and thou hast been disposed to go ; but behold, thou hast 
not believed that he would of his own cost make thee a 
feast when thou comest : wherefore of thy own store thou 
hast brought with thee, and hast laid upon thy trencher on 
his table thy mouldy crusts in the presence of the angels, 
and of this poor Publican ; yea, and hast vauntingly said 
upon the whole, " God, I thank thee, I am not as other 
men are," I am no such needy man; Luke xviii. 11. "I 
am no extortioner, nor unjust, nor adulterer, nor even as 
this Publican." I am come indeed to thy feast, for of civi- 
lity I could do no less ; but for thy dainties, I need them 
not, I have of such things enough of mine own; Luke 
xviii. 12, I thank thee therefore for thy offer of kindness, 
but I am not as those that have, and stand in need thereof, 
" nor yet as this Publican." And thus feeding upon thine 
own fkre, or by making a composition of his and thine to- 
gether, thou contemnest God, thou countest him insuffi- 



cient or unfaithful ; that is, either one that has not enough, 
or having it, will not bestow it upon the poor and needy ; 
and, therefore, of mere pretence thou goest to his banquet, 
but yet trustest to thy o^vn, and to that only. 

This is to break the first table ; and so to make thyself a 
sinner of the highest form: for the sins against the first 
table are sins of an higher nature than are the sins against 
the second. True, the sins of the second table are also sins 
against God, because they are sins against the command- 
ments of God : but the sins that are against the first table, 
are sins not only against the command, but against the very 
love, strength, holiness, and faithfulness of God : and herein 
stands thy condition ; thou hast not, thou sayst, thou hast 
not done injury to thy neighbour ; but what of that, if thou 
hast reproached thy maker 1 

Pharisee, I will assure thee, thou art beside the saddle ; 
thy state is not good, thy righteousness is so far off from 
doing any good, that it maketh thee to be a greater sinner, 
because it signifieth more immediately against the mercy, 
the love, the grace, and goodness of God, than the sins of 
other sinners, as to degree, do. 

And as they are more odious and abominable in the sight 
of God (as they needs must, if what is said be true, as it is), 
so they are more dangerous to the life and soul of man ; for 
that they always appear unto him in whom they dwell, 
and to him that trusteth in them, not to be sins and trans- 
gressions, but virtues and excellent things ; not things that 
set a man further off, but the things that bring a man 
nearer God, than those that want them are or can be. 

This therefore is the dangerous estate of those that go 
about to establish their own righteousness, that neither 
have, nor can, while they are so doing, submit themselves 
to the righteousness of God ; Rom. x. 3. It is far more 
easy to persuade a poor -wTetch, whose life is debauched, 
and sins are written in his forehead, to submit to the right- 
eousness of God (that is, to the righteousness that is of 
God's providing and giving), than it is to persuade a self- 
righteous man to do it ; for the profane is sooner convinced 


of the necessity of righteousness to save him, as that he has 
none of his own, and acceptetli of, and submitteth himself 
to the help and salvation that is in the righteousness and 
obedience of another. 

And upon this accoimt it is that Christ saith the publi- 
cans and harlots enter into the kingdom of heaven before 
the scribes and Pharisees ; Matt. xxi. 31. Poor Pharisee, 
what a loss art thou at ? thou art not only a sinner, but a 
sinner of the highest form. Not a sinner by such sins (by 
such sins chiefly) as the second table doth make manifest ; 
but a sinner chiefly in that way as no self-righteous man 
did ever dream of. For when the righteous man or Phari- 
see shall hear that he is a sinner, he replieth, " I am not as 
other men are." 

And because the common and more ordinary description 
of sin is the transgression against the second table, he pre- 
sently replieth again, " I am not as this Publican is ;" and 
so shroudeth himself under his own lame endeavours and 
ragged partial patches of moral or civil righteousness. 
Wherefore, when he heareth that his righteousness is con- 
demned, slighted, and accounted nothing worth, then he 
fretteth and fumeth, and would kill the man that so slighteth 
and disdaineth his goodly righteousness ; but Christ, and 
the tnie gospel-teacher still go on, and condemn all his 
righteousness as menstruous rags, as an abomination to God, 
and nothing but loss and dung. 

Now menstruous rags, things that are an abomination 
and dung, are not fit matter to make a garment of to wear 
when I come to God for life, much less to be made my 
Mend, my advocate, my mediator and spokesman, when I 
stand betwixt heaven and hell ; Isa. Ixiv. 6 ; Luke xvi. 15 ; 
Phil. iii. 6-8, to plead for me that I might be saved. 

Perhaps some will blame me, and count me also worthy 
thereof, because I do not distinguish betwixt the matter 
and the manner of the Pharisee's righteousness. And let 
them condemn me still for saving the holy law, which is 
neither the matter nor manner of the Pharisee's righteous- 
ness, but rather the rules (if he will live thereby) up to 


which he should completely come in every thing that he 
doth. And I say again, that the whole of the Pharisee's 
righteousness is sinful, though not with and to men, yet 
with and before the God of heaven. Sinful, I say it is, and 
abominable, both in itself, and also in its effects. 

1. In itself; for that it is imperfect, scanty, and short of 
the rule by which righteousness is enjoined, and even with 
which every act should be ; for shortness here, even every 
shortness in these duties, is sin and sinful weakness ; where- 
fore the curse taketh hold of the man for coming short ; 
but that it could not justly do, if his coming short was not 
his sin : Cursed is every one that doth not, and that conti- 
nueth not to do all things written in the law ; Deut. xxvii. 
26 ; Gal. iii. 10. 

2. It is sinful ; because it is wrought by sinful flesh ; for 
all legal righteousness is a work of the flesh ; Rom. iv. ], 
&c. ; Phil. iii. 3-8. 

A work, I say, of the flesh ; even of that flesh, who, or 
which also committeth the greatest enormities ; for the flesh 
is but one, though its workings are divers : sometimes in a 
way most notoriously sensual and devilish, causing the soul 
to wallow in the mire. 

But these are not all the works of the flesh ; the flesh 
sometimes will attempt to be righteous, and set upon doing 
actions that in their perfection would be very glorious and 
beautiful to behold. But because the law is only command- 
ing words, and yieldeth no help to the man that attempts 
to perform it ; and because the flesh is weak, and cannot 
do of itself that, therefore this most glorious work of the 
flesh faileth. 

But, I say, as it is a work of the flesh it cannot be good, 
forasmuch as the hand that worketh it is defiled with sin ; 
for in a good man, one spiritually good, that is " in his flesh, 
there dwells no good thing," but consequently that which 
is bad ; how then can the flesh of a carnal, graceless man 
(and such a one is every Pharisee and self-righteous man 
in the world), produce, though it joineth itself to the law, 
to the righteous law of God, that which is good in his sight. 


If any shall think that I pinch too hard, because I call 
man's righteousness which is of the law, of the righteous 
law of God, flesh, let them consider that which follows : 
to wit, That though man by sin is said " to be dead in sin 
and trespasses," yet not so dead but that he can act still 
in his o^\-n sphere ; that is, to do, and choose to do, either 
that which by all men is counted base, or that which by 
some is counted good, though he is not, nor can all the 
world make him, capable of doing any thing that may 
please his God. 

Man, by nature, as dead as he is, can, and that with the 
will of his flesh, will his own salvation. ]\Ian, by nature, 
can, and that by the power of the flesh, pursue and follow 
after his own salvation ; but then he wills it, and pursues 
or follows after it, not in God's way, but his own ; not by 
faith in Clirist, but by the law of Moses. See Rom. ix. 16, 
31 ; X. 3, 7. 

Wherefore it is no eiTor to say, that a man naturally has 
will, and a power to pursue his will, and that as to his own 
salvation. But it is a damnable error to say, that he hath 
will and power to pursue it, and that in God's way : for 
then we must hold that the mysteries of the gospel are na- 
tural ; for that natural men, or men by nature, may appre- 
hend and know them, yea, and know them to be the only 
means by which they must obtain eternal life ; for the un- 
derstanding must act before the will ; yea, a man must ap- 
prove of the way to life by Jesus Christ, before his mind 
wiU budge, or stir, or move, that way : " But the natural 
man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God (of the 
gospel) ; for they are foolishness to him ; neither can he 
know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 

He receiveth not these things; that is, his mind and 
will lie cross unto them, for he counts them foolishness ; 
nor can all the natural wisdom in the world cause that 
his will should fall in with them, because it cannot discern 

Nature discemeth the law, and the righteousness there- 
of; yea, it discemeth it, and approvetli thereof; that is, that 


the righteousness of it is the best and only way to life, and 
therefore the natural will and power of the flesh, as here 
you see in the Pharisee, do steer their coui-se by that to 
eternal life ; 1 Cor. ii. 14. 

The righteousness of the law, therefore, is a work of the 
flesh, a work of sinful flesh, and therefore must needs be 
as filth, and dung, and abominable as to that for which this 
man hath produced it and presented it in the temple before 

Nor is the Pharisee alone entangled in this mischief; 
many souls are by these works of the flesh flattered, as 
also the Pharisee was, into an opinion, that their state is 
good, when there is nothing in it. The most that their 
conversion amounteth to is, the Publican is become a 
Pharisee ; the open sinner is become a self-righteous man. 
Of the black side of the flesh he hath had enough, now 
therefore with the white side of the flesh he will recreate 
himself. And now, most wicked must he needs be that 
questioneth the goodness of the state of such a man. He, 
of a drunkard, a swearer, an unclean person, a Sabbath- 
breaker, a liar, and the like, is become reformed, a lover of 
righteousness, a strict observer, doer, and trader in the 
formalities of the law, and a herder with men of his com- 
plexion. And now he is become a great exclaimer against 
sin and sinners, denying to be acquaint with those that 
once were his companions, saying, " I am not even as tliis 

To turn therefore from sin to man's righteousness, yea, 
to rejoice in confidence, that thy state is better than is 
that of the Publican (I mean, better in the eyes of divine 
justice, and in the judgment of the law) ; and yet to be 
found by tlie law, not in the spirit, but in the flesh ; not 
in Christ, but under the law ; not in a state of salvation, 
but of damnation, is common among men : for they, 
and they only, are the right men, " who worship God 
in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no 
confidence in the flesh." Where, by " flesh," must not be 
meant the horrible ti-ansgressions against the law (though 


they are also called " the works of the flesh," Gal. iv. 29) ; 
for they minister no occasion unto men to have confidence 
in them towards God : but that is that which is insinuated 
by Paul, where he saith, he had no " confidence in the 
flesh," though he might have had it ; as he said, " though 
I might also have confidence in the flesh." " If any other 
man," saith he, " thinketh that he hath whereof he might 
trust in the flesh, I more," Phil. iii. 3, 4 ; and then he re- 
peats a twofold privilege that he had by the flesh. 

1. That he was one of the seed of Abraham, and of the 
tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews, &c. 

2. That he had fallen in with the strictest men of that 
religion, which was such after the flesh, to wit, to be a 
Pharisee, and was the son of a Pharisee, had much fleshly 
zeal for God, and " touching the righteousness which is of 
the law, blameless," Phil. iii. 3, 5, 6. 

But I say still, there is nothing but flesh ; fleshly privi- 
leges and fleshly righteousness, and so, consequently, a fleshly 
confidence, and trust for heaven. This is manifest ; when 
the man had his eyes enlightened, he counted all loss and 
dung that he might be found in Christ, not having his own 
righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through 
the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by 

And this leads me to another thing, and that is, to tell 
thee, thou blind Pharisee, that thou canst not be in a 
safe condition, because thou hast thy confidence in the 
flesh, that is, in the righteousness of the flesh. " For all 
flesh is grass, and all the glory of it as the flower of the 
field ;" and the flesh, and the glory of that being as weak 
as the grass, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into 
the oven, is but a weak business for a man to venture his 
eternal salvation upon. Wherefore, as I also hinted before, 
the godly-wise have been afraid to be found in their right- 
eousness, I mean their own personal righteousness, though 
that is far better than can be the righteousness of any 
carnal man : for the godly man's righteousness is wrought 
by the Spirit and faith of Christ, but the ungodly man's 


righteousness is of the flesh, and of the law. Yet I say, this 
godly man is afraid to stand by his righteousness before the 
tribunal of God, as is manifest in these following particulars. 

1. He sees sin in his righteousness ; for so the prophet 
intimates, when he saith, " All our righteousnesses are as 
filthy rags" (Isa. Ixiv.); but there is nothing can make one's 
righteousness filthy but sin. It is not the poor, the low, 
the mean, the sickly, the beggarly state of man, nor yet 
his being hated of devils, persecuted of men, broken imder 
necessities, reproaches, distresses, or any kind of troubles 
of this nature that can make the godly man's righteous- 
ness filthy ; nothing but sin can do it, and that can, doth, 
hath, and will do it. Nor can any man, be he who he 
will, and though he watches, prays, strives, denies himself, 
and puts his body under what chastisement or hardships he 
can ; yea, though he also get his spirit and soul hoisted up 
to the highest peg or pin of sanctity and holy contemplation, 
and so his lusts to the greatest degree of mortification ; 
but sin will be with him in the best of his performances : 
with him, I say, to pollute and defile his duties, and to 
make his righteousness speckled and spotted, filthy and 

I will give you two or three instances for this. 

(1.) Nehemiah was a man (in his day), one that was 
zealous, very zealous, for God, for his house, for his 
people, and for his ways ; and so continued, and that from 
first to last, as they may see that please to read the rela- 
tion of his actions ; • yet when he comes seriously to be con- 
cerned with God about his duties, he relinquisheth a stand- 
ing by them. True, he mentioneth them to God, but con- 
fesseth that there are imperfections in them, and prayeth 
that God will not wipe them away. " Wipe not out my 
good deeds, my God, that I have done for the house of 
my God, and for the offices thereof." And again, " Re- 
member me, my God, concerning this also (another good 
deed), and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy ; 
and remember me, my God, for good ;" Neh. xiii. 

I do not think that by these prayers he pleadeth for an 


acceptance of his person, as toucliing justification from the 
curse of the law (as the poor blind Pharisee doth), but that 
God would accept of his service, as he was a son, and not 
deny to give him a reward of grace for what he had done, 
since he was pleased to declare in his testament, that he 
would reward the labour of love of his saints with an ex- 
ceeding weight of glory ; and therefore prayeth, that God 
would not wipe away his good deeds, but remember him 
for good, according to the greatness of his mercy. 

(2.) A second instance is that of David, where he saith, 
" Enter not into judgment with thy servant, Lord ; for 
in thy sight shall no man living be justified ;" Psalm clxiii. 
2. David, as I have hinted before, is said to be a man 
" after God's own heart," Acts xiii. ; and as here by the 
Spirit he acknowledges him for his servant ; yet behold 
how he shrinketh, how he draweth back, how he prayeth, 
and petitioneth, that God would vouchsafe so much as not 
to enter into judgment with him. Lord, saith he, if thou 
enterest into judgment with me, I die, because I shall be 
condemned ; for in thy sight I cannot be justified ; to wit, 
by my own good deeds. Lord, at the beginning of thy 
dealing with me, by the law and my works, I die : there- 
fore do not so much as enter into judgment with me, Lord. 
Nor is this my case only, but it is the condition of all the 
world : " For in thy sight shall no man living be justified." 

(3.) A third instance is that general conclusion of the 
apostle, "But that no man is justified by the law in the sight 
of God is evident ; for the just shall live by faith." By this 
saying of St Paul, as he taketh up the sentence of the pro- 
phet Habakkuk, chap. ii. 4, so he taketh up this sentence, 
yea, and the personal justice of David also. No man, saith 
he, is justified by the law in the sight of God : no, no just 
man, no holy man, not the strictest and most righteous 
man. But why not 1 Why, because " the just shall live 
by faith." 

The just man, therefore, must die, if he has not faith in 
another righteousness than that which is of the law, called 
his own : I say, he must die, if he has none other right- 


eousness tlian that which is his own by the law. Thus 
also Paul confesses of himself : " I (saith he) know nothing 
by myself," either before conversion or after ; that is, I 
knew not that I did any thing before conversion, either 
against the law, or against my conscience ; for I was then, 
touching the righteousness which is of the law, blameless. 
Also, since my conversion, I know nothing by myself ; for 
" I have walked in all good conscience before God unto 
this day." 

A great saying, I promise you. Well, but yet " I am 
not hereby justified ;" Phil. iii. 7 ; Acts xxiii. 1 ; 1 Cor. iv. 
4. Nor will I dare to venture the eternal salvation of my 
soul upon mine own justice ; " for he that judgeth me is the 
Lord ;" that is, though I, through my dim-sightedness, can- 
not see the imperfections of my righteousness, yet the Lord, 
who is my judge, and before whose tribunal I must shortly 
stand, can and will; and if in his sight there shall be 
found no more but one spot in my righteousness, I must, if* 
I plead my righteousness, fall for that. 

2. That the best of men are afraid to stand before God's 
tribunal, there to be judged by the law as to life and death, 
according to the sufficiency or non-sufficiency of their 
righteousness, is evident ; because by casting away their 
own (in this matter), they make all the means they can for 
this ; that is, that his mercy, by an act of grace, be made 
over to them, and that they in it may stand before God to 
be judged. 

Hence David cries out so often, " Lead me in thy right- 
eousness." "Deliver me in thy righteousness." "Judge 
me according to thy righteousness." " Quicken me in thy 
righteousness." " Lord (says he), give ear to my sup- 
plications : in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy 
righteousness." " And enter not into judgment with thy 
servant, Lord : for in thy siglit shall no flesh living be 
justified." And David, what if God doth thus 1 Why, 
then, saith he, " My tongue shall speak of his righteous- 
ness." " My tongue shall sing of thy righteousness." " My 
mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness." " Yea, I will 


make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only ;" 
Psalm Iviii. ; xxxi. 1 ; xxxv. 24 ; cxix. 40 ; xxxv. 28 ; li. 
14 ; Ixxi. 15, 16. 

Paniel also, when he comes to plead for himself and his 
people, he first casts away his and their righteousness, say- 
ing, " For we do not present our supplications unto thee 
for our righteousness:" And he pleads God's righteous- 
ness, and that he might have a share and interest in that 
saying, " Lord, righteousness belongeth to thee ;" to wit, 
that righteousness, for the sake of which, mercy and for- 
giveness, and so heaven and happiness, is extended to us. 

Righteousness belongeth to thee, and is thine, as nearly 
as sin, shame, and confusion, are ours, and belongeth to us. 
Read the 16th and 17th verses of the 9th of Daniel. " 
Lord (saith he), according to all thy righteousness, I be- 
seech thee, let thine anger, and thy fury, be turned away 
£i-om thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain ; because for 
our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem, 
and thy people, are become a reproach to all that are about 
us. Now, therefore, our God, hear the prayer of thy 
servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine 
upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake :" 
For the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ ; for on him Daniel 
now had his eye, and through him to the Father he made 
his supplication ; yea, and the answer was according to his 
prayer, to wit, that God would have mercy on Jerusalem ; 
and that he would in his time send the Lord, the Messias, 
to bring them in everlasting righteousness for them. 

Paul also, as I have hinted before, disclaims his own 
righteousness, and layeth fast hold on the righteousness of 
God ; seeking to be found in that, not having his own 
righteousness, for he knew that when the rain descends, the 
winds blow, and the floods come down on all men, they 
that have but their own righteousness, must fall ; Phil. iii. 

Now, the earnest desire of the righteous to be found in 
God's righteousness, ariseth from strong conviction of the 
imperfections of their own, and the knowledge that was 
given them of the terror that will attend men at the day of 


the fiery trial ; to wit, the day of judgment. For although 
men can now flatter themselves into a fool's paradise, and 
persuade themselves that all shall he well with them then, 
for the sake of their own silly and vain-glorious perfor- 
mances, yet when the day comes that shall bum like an 
oven, and when all that have done wickedly shall he as 
«tuhble (and so will all appear to be that are not found in 
Christ), then will their righteousness vanish like smoke, or 
be like fuel for that burning flame. And hence the right- 
eousness that the godly seek to be found in, is called. The 
name of the Lord, a strong tower, a rock, a shield, a for- 
tress, a buckler, a rock of defence, unto which they resort, 
and into which they run and are safe. 

The godly therefore do not, as this Pharisee, bring their 
own righteousness into the temple, and there buoy up them- 
selves and spirits by that into a conceit, that for the sake 
of that God will be merciful and good unto them ; but 
throwing away their own, they make to God for his, be- 
cause they certainly know, even by the word of God, that 
in the judgment none can stand the trial but those that are 
found in the righteousness of God. 

3. That the best of men are afraid to stand before God's 
tribunal by the law, there to be judged to life and death, ac- 
cording to the sufficiency or non-sufficiency of their right- 
eousness, is evident ; for they know, that it is a vain thing 
to seek, by acts of righteousness, to make themselves right- 
eous men, as is the way of all them that seek to be justified 
by the deeds of the law. 

And herein lieth the great difflerence between the Phari- 
see and the true Christian man. The Pharisee thinks, by 
acts of righteousness, he shall make himself a righteous 
man : therefore he cometh into the presence of God well 
furnished, as he thinks, with his negative and positive 

Grace suftereth not a man to boast before God, whatever 
he saitli before men. His soul that is lifted up, is not up- 
right in him ; and better is the poor in spirit than the 
proud in spirit. The Pharisee was a very proud man ; a 


proud, ignorant man ; proud of his own righteousness, and 
ignorant of God's : for had he not, he could not, as he did, 
have so condemned the Publican, and justified himself. 

And I say again, that all this pride and vain-glorious 
show of the Pharisee did arise from his not being acquainted 
with this, that a man must be good before he can do good ; 
he must be righteous, before he can do righteousness. This 
is evident from Paul, who insinuateth this as the reason 
why none do good, even because " There is none that is 
righteous, no, not one." " There is none righteous," saith 
he, and then follows, " There is none that doeth good ;" 
Rom. iii. 10, 11, 12. For it is not possible for a man that 
is not first made righteous by the God of heaven, to do any 
thing that in a gospel-sense may be called righteousness. 
To make himself a righteous man, by his so meddling with 
them, he may design ; but work righteousness, and so by 
such works of righteousness make himself a righteous man, 
he cannot. 

The righteousness of a carnal man is indeed by God 
called righteousness ; but it must be understood as spoken 
in the dialect of the world. The w^orld indeed calls it right- 
eousness, and it will do no harm, if it bear that term with 
reference to worldly matters. Hence worldly civilians are 
called good and righteous men, and so, such as Christ, un- 
der that notion, neither died for, nor giveth his grace unto ; 
Rom. V. 7, 8. But we are not now discoursing about any 
other righteousness, than that which is so accounted either 
in a law or in a gospel-sense ; and therefore let us a little 
more touch upon that. 

A man then must be righteous in a law-sense, before he 
can do acts of righteousness, I mean, that are such in a 
gospel-sense. Hence, first, you have true gospel-righteous- 
ness made the fruit of a second birth. " If ye know that 
Christ is righteous, know ye that every one that doeth 
righteousness is bom of him ;" 1 John ii. 29. Not bom of 
him by virtue of his own righteous actions, but born of him 
by virtue of Christ's mighty working with his work upon 


the soul, who afterwards, from a principle of life, acteth 
and worketh righteousness. 

And he saith again, " Little children, let no man deceive 
you : he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is 
righteous." Upon this scripture I will a little comment, 
for the proof of what is urged before : namely, that a man 
must be righteous in a law-sense, before he can do such 
things that may be called acts of righteousness in a gospel- 
sense. And for this, this scripture, 1 John iii. 7, ministereth 
to us two things to be considered by us. 

The first is, That he that doth righteousness is righteous. 

The second is. That he that doth righteousness is right- 
eous, as Christ is righteous. 

First, He that doth righteousness ; that is, righteousness 
which the gospel calleth so, is righteous j that is, precedent 
to, or before he doth that righteousness. For he doth not 
say, he shall make his person righteous by acts of right- 
eousness that he shall do ; for then an evil tree may bear 
good fruit, yea, and may make itself good by doing so ; but 
he saith. He that doth righteousness is righteous; as he 
saith, He that doth righteousness is born of him. 

So then, a man must be righteous before he can do 
righteousness, before he can do righteousness in a gospel- 

Our second thing then is to inquire, with what righteous- 
ness a man must be righteous, before he can do that which 
in a gospel-sense is called righteousness. 

And, first, I answer. He must be righteous in a law-sense : 
that is, he must be righteous in the judgment of the law. 
This is evident : because he saith, " He that doeth righteous- 
ness is righteous, as he is righteous." That is, in a law^ 
sense : for Christ in no sense is righteous in the judgment 
of charity only ; but in his meanest acts, if it be laAvful to 
make such comparison, he was righteous in a law-sense, or 
in the judgment of the law. Now the apostle saith, that 
" He that doeth righteousness is righteous, as he is right- 
eous." They are tlie words of God, and therefore I cannot 


en* in qnoting of them, though I may not so fully as I would 
make the glory of them shine in speaking to them. 

But what righteousness is that, with which a man must 
stand righteous in the judgment of the law, before he shall 
or can he found to do acts of righteousness, that by the gos- 
pel are so called 1 

1. I answer, first. It is none of his own which is. of the 
law, you may be sure : for he hath his righteousness before 
he doth any that can be called his oa\ti. " He that doeth 
righteousness is righteous" already, precedent to, or before 
he doth that righteousness ; yea, he " is righteous, even as 
he is righteous." 

2. It cannot be his own which is of the gospel ; that is, 
that which floweth from a principle of grace in the soul : for 
he is righteous before he doth this righteousness. " He that 
doeth righteousness is righteous." He doth not say, he that 
hath done it, but he that doth it ; respecting the act while 
it is in doing, he is righteous. He is righteous even then 
when he is a-doing of the very first act of righteousness ; 
but an act, while it is doing, cannot, until it is done, be 
called an act of righteousness ; yet, saith the text, " he is 

But again, if an act, while it is doing, cannot be 
called an act of righteousness, to be sure, it cannot have 
such influences as to make the actor righteous — to make 
him righteous, as the Son of God is righteous ; and yet the 
righteousness with which this doer is made righteous, and 
that before he doth righteousness, is such ; for so saith the 
text, that makes him righteous, as he is righteous. 

Besides, it cannot be his own, which is gospel-righteous- 
ness, flowing from a principle of grace in the soul ; for 
that in its greatest perfection in us, while we live in this 
world, is accompanied with some impei-fections ; to wit, 
our faith, love, and whole course of holiness is wanting, or 
hath something lacking in it. They neither are apart, nor 
when put all together, perfect, as to the degree, the utter- 
most degree of perfection. 

But the righteousness under consideration, with which 


the man, in that of John, is made righteous, is a perfect 
righteousness ; not only with respect to the nature of it, 
as a penny is as perfect silver as a shilling ; nor yet with 
respect to a comparative degree, for so a shilling arriveth 
more toward the perfection of the number twenty, than 
doth a twopenny or a threepenny piece ; hut it is a right- 
eousness so perfect, that nothing can be added to, nor can 
any thing be taken from it ; for so implieth the words of 
the text, he is righteous as Christ is righteous ; yea, thus 
righteous before, and in order to his doing of righteousness. 

And in this he is like unto the Son of God, who was also 
righteous before he did acts of righteousness referring to a 
law of commandment ; wherefore it is said, that as he is, so 
are we in this world. As he is or was righteous, before he 
did acts of righteousness among men by a law ; so are his 
righteous, before they act righteousness among men by 
a law. " He that doeth righteousness is righteous, as he 
is righteous." 

Christ was righteous before he did righteousness, with a 
twofold righteousness. He had a righteousness as he was 
God ; his Godhead was perfectly righteous : yea, it was 
righteousness itself. His human nature was perfectly 
righteous, it was naturally spotless and undefiled. Thus 
his person was righteous, and so qualified to do that right- 
eousness, that because he was born of woman, and made 
under the law, he was bound by the law to perform. 

Now, as he is, so are we ; not by way of natural right- 
eousness, but by way of resemblance thereunto. Had 
Christ, in order to his working of righteousness, a two- 
fold righteousness inherent in himself? — the Christian, in 
order to his working of righteousness, had belonging to 
him a twofold righteousness. Did Christ's twofold right- 
eousness qualify him for that work of righteousness that 
was of God designed for him to do 1 — why, the Christian's 
twofold righteousness doth qualify him for that work of 
righteousness that God hath ordained that he should do 
and walk in this world. 

But you may ask, What is that righteousness with 


which a Christian is made righteous before he doth right- 
eousness ? 

I answer, It is a twofold righteousness. 

1. It is a righteousness put upon him. 

2. It is a rigliteousness put into him. 

For the first, It is a righteousness put upon him, with 
which also he is clothed as with a coat or mantle, Rom. 
iii. 22, and this is called " the robe of righteousness ;" and 
this is called " the garment of salvation ;" Isa. Ixi. 10. 

This righteousness is none other but the obedience of 
Christ ; the which he performed in the days of his flesh, 
and can properly be called no man's righteousness, but the 
righteousness of Christ ; because no man had a hand 
therein, bat he completed it himself. And hence it is said, 
that "by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous ;" 
Rom. V. 19. By the obedience of one, of one man Jesus 
Christ (as you have it in verse 15) ; for he came down into 
the world, to this very end ; that is, to make a generation 
righteous, not by making of them laws, and prescribing 
unto them rules (for this was the work of Moses, who said, 
" And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all 
tliese commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath 
commanded us;" Deut. vi. 25; xxiv. 13) ; nor yet by 
taking away by his grace the imperfections of their right- 
eousness, and so making of that perfect by additions of his 
o\^Ti ; but he makes them righteous by his obedience, not 
in them, but for them, while he personally subjected him- 
self to his Father's law on our behalf, that he might have 
a righteousness to bestow upon us. And hence we are said 
to be made righteous, while we work not ; and to be jus- 
tified, while ungodly (Rom. iv. 5), which can be done 
by no other righteousness than that which is the righteous- 
ness of Christ by performance, the righteousness of God by 
donation, and our righteousness by imputation. For, I 
say, the person that wrought this righteousness for us, is 
Jesus Christ ; the person that giveth it to us, is the Father ; 
who hath made Christ to be unto us righteousness, and 
hath given him to us for this very end, that we might be 


made the righteousness of God in him ; 1 Cor. i. 4 ; 2 Cor. 
V. 21, And hence it is often said, " One shall say, Surely 
in the Lord have I righteousness and strength." And 
again, " In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be jiistified, 
and shall glory." " This is the heritage of the servants of 
the Lord ; and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord ;" 
Isa. xlv. 24, 25; liv. 17. 

This righteousness is that which justifieth, and which 
secureth the soul from the curse of the law ; by hiding, 
through its perfection, all the sins and imperfections of 
the soul. Hence it follows, " Even as David also describ- 
eth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth 
righteousness without works, saying. Blessed are they 
whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin ;" 
Rom. iv. 

And this it doth, even while the person, that by grace is 
made a partaker, is without good works, and so imgodly. 
This is the righteousness of Christ, Clirist's personal per- 
formances, which he did when he was in this world ; that 
is that by which the soul, while naked, is covered, and so 
hid as to its nakedness, from the divine sentence of the law : 
" I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness," 
Ezek. xvi. 4-9. 

Now this obediential righteousness of Christ consisteth 
of two parts. 1. In a doing of that which the law com- 
manded us to do. 2. In a paying that price for the trans- 
gression thereof, which justice hath said shall be required 
at the hand of man ; and that is the cursed death. " In the 
day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die the 
death ;" to wit, the death that comes by the curse of the 
law. So then, Christ having brought in that part of obe- 
dience for us, which consisteth in a doing of such obediential 
acts of righteousness which the law commands, he adds 
thereto the spilling of his blood, to be the price of our re- 
demption from that cursed death, that by sin we had 
brought upon our bodies and souls. And thus are the 
Chrifitians perfectly righteous j they have the whole obe- 


dience of Christ made over to them ; to wit, that obedience 
that standeth in doing the law, and that obedience that 
standeth in paying of a price for our transgressions. So, then, 
doth the law call for righteousness 1 Here it is. Doth the 
law call for satisfaction for our sins ? Here it is. And 
what can the law say any more to the sinner but that 
which is good, when he iindeth in the personal obedience 
of Christ for him, that which answereth to what it can 
command, that which it can demand of us ? 

Herein, then, standeth a Christian's safety, not in a bun- 
dle of actions of his own, but in a righteousness which 
cometh to him by grace and gift ; for this righteousness is 
such as comes by gift, by the gift of God. Hence it is 
called the gift of righteousness, the gift by grace, the gift of 
righteousness by grace, which is the righteousness of one, 
to wit, the obedience of Jesus Christ, Rom. v. 15-19. 

And this is the righteousness by which he that doth 
righteousness is righteous as he is righteous ; because it is 
the very self-same righteousness that the Son of God hath 
accomplished by himself. Nor has he any other or more 
excellent righteousness, of which the law taketh notice, or 
that it requireth, than this : for as for the righteousness of 
his Godhead, the law is not concerned with that ; for as he 
is such, the law is his creature, and servant, and may not 
meddle with him. 

The righteousness also of his human nature, the law hath 
nothing to do with that ; for that is the workmanship of 
God, and is as good, as pure, as holy, and undefiled, as is 
the law itself. All then that the law hath to do with, is to 
exact complete obedience of him that is made under it, and 
a due satisfaction for the breach thereof ; the which, if it 
hath, then Moses is content. 

Now, this is the righteousness with which the Christian, 
as to justification, is made righteous; to wit, a righteous- 
ness that is neither essential to his Godhead, nor to his 
manhood ; but such as standeth in that glorious person 
(who was such) his obedience to the law. Which right- 


eousness himself had, with reference to himself, no need of 
at all, for his Godhead, yea, his manhood, was perfectly 
righteous without it. This righteousness therefore was 
there, and there only necessary, where Christ was considered 
as God's servant (and our surety) to bring to God Jacob 
again, and to restore the preserved of Israel. For though 
Christ was a Son, yet he became a servant to do, not for 
himself, for he had no need, but for us, the whole law, and 
so bring in everlasting righteousness for us. 

And hence it is said, that Christ did what he did for us. 
He became the end of the law for righteousness for us ; he 
suffered for us, he died for us, he laid down his life for us, 
and he gave himself for us. The righteousness then that 
Christ did fulfil, when he was in the world, was not for 
himself simply considered, nor for himself personally con- 
sidered, for he had no need thereof; but it was for the 
elect, the members of his body. 

. Christ then did not fulfil the law for himself, for he had 
no need thereof Christ again did fulfil the law for him- 
self, for he had need of the righteousness thereof ; he had 
need thereof for the covering of his body, and the several 
members thereof ; for they, in a good sense, are himself, 
members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones ; and he 
owns them as parts of himself in many places of the holy 
scriptures ; Eph. v. 30 ; Acts ix. 4, 5 ; Matt. xxv. 45 ; x. 
40 ; Mark ix. 37 ; Luke x. 16 ; 1 Cor. xii. 12, 27. This 
righteousness then, even the whole of what Clirist did in 
answer to the law, it was for his ; and God hath put it up- 
on them, and they were righteous in it, even righteous as 
he is righteous. And this they have before they do acta of 

Secondly, There is righteousness put into them, before 
they act righteous things. A righteousness, I say, put into 
them ; or I had rather that you should call it a principle of 
righteousness ; for it is a principle of life to righteousness. 
Before man's conversion, there is in him a principle of deatli 
to sin J but when he is converted to Christ, there is put in 


him a principle of righteousness, that he may bring forth 
fruit unto God ; Rom. vii. 4-6. 

Hence they are said to be quickened, to be made alive, 
to be risen from death to life, to have the Spirit of God 
dwelling in them ; not only to make their souls alive, but 
to quicken their mortal bodies to that which is good ; Rom. 
yiii. 11. 

Here, as I hinted before, they that do righteousness are 
said to be born of him, that is, antecedent to their doing of 
righteousness, 1 John ii. 29 ; " born of him," that is, made 
alive with new, spiritual, and heavenly life. Wherefore the 
exhortation to them is, " Neither yield ye your members 
as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin ; but yield your- 
selves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and 
your members as instruments of righteousness unto God ;" 
Rom. vi. 13. 

Now this principle must also be in men, before they can 
do that which is spiritual : for whatever seeming good thing 
any man doth, before he has bestowed upon him this heavenly 
principle from God, it is accounted nothing, it is accounted 
sin and abomination in the sight of God; for an evil 
tree cannot bring forth good fruit : " Men do not gather 
gi-apes of thorns ; neither of a bramble gather figs." It is 
not the fruit that makes the tree, but the tree that makes 
the fruit. A man must be good, before he can do good ; 
and evil before he can do evil. 

This is that which is asserted by the Son of God himself ; 
and it lieth so level with reason and the nature of things, 
that it cannot be contradicted : Matth. vii. 16-18; Lukevi. 
43-45. " A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, 
bringeth forth that which is good : and an evil man, out of 
the evil treasure of his heart, bringeth forth that which is 
evil." But notwithstanding all that can be said, it seemeth 
very strange to the carnal world ; for they will not be other- 
wise persuaded, but that they be good deeds that make good 
men, and evil ones that make evil men. And so, by such 
dotish apprehensions, do what in them lieth to foi-tify their 


hearts with the mists of darkness against the clear shining 
of the word, and conviction of the truth. 

And thus it was from the beginning. Abel's first ser- 
vices to God were from this principle of righteousness ; but 
Cain would have been made righteous by his deeds ; but his 
deeds not flowing from the same root of goodness, as did 
Abel's, notwithstanding he did it with the very best he had, 
is yet called evil : for he wanted, I say, the principles, to 
wit, of grace and faith, without which no action can be 
counted good in a gospel-sense. 

These two things, then, that man must have that will 
do righteousness. He must have put upon him the perfect 
righteousness of Christ : and he must have that dwelling 
in him, as a fruit of the new birth, a principle of right- 
eousness. Then indeed he is a tree of righteousness, and 
God is like to be glorified in and by him ; but this the 
Pharisee was utterly ignorant of, and at the remotest dis- 
tance from. 

You may ask me next. But which of these are first be- 
stowed upon the Christian — the perfect righteousness of 
Christ unto justification, or this gospel-principle of right- 
eousness unto sanctification ? 

Answ. The perfect righteousness of Christ imto justifica- 
tion must first be made over to him by an act of grace. 
This is evident, 

1. Because he is justified as ungodly ; that is, whilst he 
is ungodly : but it must not be said of them that have this 
principle of grace in them, that they are ungodly ; for they 
are saints and holy. But this righteousness, by it God 
justifieth the ungodly, by imputing it to them, when and 
while they, as to a principle of grace, are graceless. 

This is further manifested thus : The person must be ac- 
cepted before his performance can ; " And the Lord had re- 
spect unto Abel, and to his offering ;" Gen. iv. If he had 
respect to Abel's person first, yet he must have respect unto 
it for the sake of some righteousness ; but Abel as yet had 
no righteousness ; for that he acted, after God had a respect 


unto his person. " And the Lord had respect unto Ahel, 
and to his oflfering : but unto Cain, and to his offering, he 
had no respect." 

The prophet Ezekiel also shews us this, where, by the 
similitude of the wretched infant, and of the manner of 
God's receiving it to mercy, he shews how he received the 
Jews to favour. First, saith he, " I spread my skirt over 
thee, and covered thy nakedness." There is justifica- 
tion ; " I covered thy nakedness." But what manner of 
nakedness was it ? Yes, it was then as liaked as naked 
could be, even as naked as in the day that it was born ; 
Ezek. xvi. 4-9. And as thus naked, it was covered, not 
with any thing but with the skirt of Christ ; that is, with 
his robe of righteousness, with his obedience, that he per- 
formed of himself for that very purpose ; for by the obe- 
dience of one, many are made righteous. 

2. Righteousness unto justification must be first ; be- 
cause the first duty that a Christian performeth to God, 
must be accepted, not for the sake of the principle from 
which in the heart it flows, nor yet for the sake of the 
person that acts it, but for the sake of Christ, whose right- 
eousness it is by which the sinner stands just before God. 
And hence it is said, " By faith Abel offered unto God a 
more excellent sacrifice than Cain," Heb. xi. By faith 
he did it ; but faith in respect to the righteousness that 
justifies ; for we are justified by faith ; not by faith as it is 
an acting grace, but the righteousness of faith, that is, by 
that righteousness that faith embraceth, layeth hold of, and 
helpeth the soul to rest and trust to, for justification of life, 
which is the obedience of Christ. Besides, it is said, by 
faith he offered ; faith then in Christ was precedent to his 

NiDw, since faith was in act before his offer, and since 
before his offer he had no personal goodness of his own, 
faith must look out from home ; I say to another for right- 
eousness ; and finding the righteousness of Christ to be 
the righteousness which by God was designed to be per- 
formed for the justification of a sinner, it embraces it, and 


through it offereth to God a more excellent sacrifice than 

Hence it follows, " By which he obtained witness that 
he was righteous ;" by which, not by his offering, but by 
his faith ; for his offering, simply as an offering, could not 
have made him righteous if he had not been righteous be- 
fore ; for " an evil tree cannot bring forth good fi-uit." Be- 
sides, if this be granted, why had not God respect to Cain's 
offering as well as to Abel's ? For did Abel offer ? So 
did Cain. Bid Abel offer his best ? So did Cain his. And 
if with this we shall take notice of the order of their offer- 
ing, Cain seemed to offer first, and so with the frankest 
will and forwardest mind ; but yet, saith the text, " The 
Lord had respect to Abel and to his offering." But why to 
Abel ? Why, because his person was made righteous before 
he offered his gift : " By which he obtained witness that 
he was righteous ;" God testifying of his gifts, that they 
were good and acceptable because they declared Abel's ac- 
ceptation of the righteousness of Christ, through the riches 
of the grace of God. 

By faith, then, Abel offered to God a more excellent 
sacrifice than Cain. He shrouded himself under the right- 
eousness of Christ, and so, of that righteousness, he offered 
to God. God also looking and finding him there (where he 
could not have been, as to his own apprehension, no other- 
wise than by faith), accepted of his gift ; by which accep- 
tation (for so you may understand it also) God testifieth 
that he was righteous ; for God receiveth not the gifts and 
offerings of those that are not righteous, for their sacrifices 
are an abomination unto him, Prov. xxi. 27. 

Abel then was, I say, made righteous, first, as he stood 
ungodly in himself ; God justifieth the ungodly, Rom. iv. 
Now, being justified, he was righteous ; and being right- 
eous, he offered his sacrifice of praise to God, or other 
offerings which God accepted, because he believed in his 
Son. But this our Pharisee understandeth not. 

3. Righteousness by imputation must be first, because 
we are made so, to wit, by another — " By the obedience of 


one shall many be made righteous." Kow to be made 
righteous, implies a passiveness in him that is so made, 
and the activity of the work to lie in some body else ; ex- 
cept he had said, they had made themselves righteous ; 
but that it doth not, nor doth the text leave to any the 
least countenance so to insinuate ; nay, it plainly affirms 
the contrary, for it saith, by the obedience of one, of one 
man, Jesus Christ, many are made righteous ; by the 
righteousness of one, Rom. v. So then, if they be made 
righteous by the righteousness of one ; I say if many be 
made righteous by the righteousness of one, then are they 
that are so, as to themselves, passive and not active, with 
reference to the working out of this righteousness. They 
have no hand in that ; for that is the act of one, the right- 
eousness of one, the obedience of one, the workmanship of 
one, even of Christ Jesus. 

Again, If they are made righteous by this righteousness, 
then also they are passive as to their first privilege by it ; 
for they are made righteous by it ; they do not make them- 
selves righteous by it. 

Imputation is also the act of God. " Even as David also 
describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God im- 
puteth righteousness," The righteousness then is a work 
of Christ, his owti obedience to his Father's law ; the mak- 
ing of it ours is the act of the Father, and of his infinite 
grace : " For of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is 
made unto us wisdom and righteousness." " For God hath 
made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might 
be made the righteousness of God in him." And both these 
things God shewed to our first parents, when he acted in 
grace towards them after the fall. 

There it is said, the Lord God made unto Adam, and 
unto his wife, coats of skins, and clothed them ; Gen. 
iii. 21. 

Whence note, 

(1.) That Adam and his wife were naked, both in God's 
eye and in their own, verses 10, 11. 

(2.) That the Lord God made coats of skina. 


(3.) That in his making of them, he had respect to Adam 
and to his wife, that is, he made them. 

(4.) That when he had made them, he also clothed them 

They made not the coats, nor did God bid them make 
them ; but God did make them himself to cover their 
nakedness with. Yea, when he had made them, he did 
not bid them put them on, but he himself did clothe them 
with them : for thus nms the text ; " Unto Adam also, 
and to his wife, did the Lord God make coats of skins, and 
clothed them." ! it was the Lord God that made this 
coat with which a poor sinner is made righteous ! And it 
is also the Lord God that putteth it upon us. But this our 
Pharisee understandeth not. 

But now, if a man is not righteous before he is made so, 
before the Lord God has by the righteousness of another 
made him so ; then whether this righteousness comes first 
or last, the man is not righteous until it cometh ; and if he 
be not righteous until it cometh, then what works soever 
are done before it comes, they are not the works of a right- 
eous man, nor the fruits of a good tree, but of a bad. And so 
again, this righteousness must first come before a man be 
righteous, and before a man does righteousness. Make the 
tree good, and its fruit will be good. 

Now, since a man must be made righteous before he can 
do righteousness, it is manifest his works of righteousness 
do not make him righteous, no more than the fig makes its 
own tree a fig-tree, or than the grape doth make its own 
vine a vine. Hence those acts of righteousness that Chris- 
tian men do perform, are called the fruits of righteousness, 
which are bv Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God ; 
Phil. i. 11. " 

The fruits of righteousness they are by Jesus Clirist, as 
the fruits of the tree are by the tree itself ; for the truth is, 
that principle of righteousness, of which mention has been 
made before, and concerning which I have said it tomes in 
in the second place ; it is also originally to be found for 
us nowhere but in Christ. 


Hence it is said to be by Jesus Christ ; and again, " Of 
his fidness have we all received, and grace for grace ;" John 
i. 16. A man must then be united to Christ first, and so 
being united, he partaketh of this benefit, to wit, a princi- 
ple that is supernatural, spiritual, and heavenly. Now, his 
being united to Christ, is not of or from himself, but of and 
from the Father, who, as to this work, is the husbandman ; 
even as the twig that is grafted into the tree officiateth not, 
that is, grafteth not itself thereunto, but is grafted in by 
some other, itself being utterly passive as to that. Now, 
being united unto Christ, the soul is first made partaker of 
justification, or of justifying righteousness, and now no 
longer beareth the name of an ungodly man ; for he is 
made righteous by the obedience of Christ ; he being also 
united to Chiist, partaketh of the root and fatness of Christ ; 
the root, that is, his divine nature ; the fatness, that is, the 
fulness of grace that is laid up in him to be communicated 
imto us, even as the branch that is grafted into the olive- 
tree partaketh of the root and fatness of the olive-tree. 
Now partaking thereof, it quickeneth, it groweth, it bud- 
deth, and yieldeth fruit to the praise and glory of God ; 
Rom. xi. 17. 

But these things, as I have often said, the poor Pharisee 
was ignorant of, when so swaggeringly he, with his " God, 
I thank thee," came into the temple to pray. And, indeed, 
in that which hath been said is something of the mystery 
of God's will in his way with his elect ; and such a mys- 
tery it is, that it lieth hid for ever to nature and na- 
tural men ; for they think of nothing less than of this, nor 
of nothing more, when they think of their souls and of sal- 
vation, than that something must be done by themselves to 
reconcile them to God. Yea, if through some common con- 
victions their understandings should be swayed to a con- 
senting to that, that justification is of grace by Christ, and 
not of works by men ; yet conscience, reason, and the law 
of nature, not being as yet subdued by the power and glory 
of grace unto the obedience of Christ, will rise up in rebellion 


against this doctrine, and will over-rule and bow down the 
soul again to the law and works thereof, for life. 

4. Righteousness by imputation must be first, because, 
else faith, which is a part, yea, a greater part of that which 
ifi called a principle of grace in the soul, will have nothing 
to fix itself upon, nor a motive to work by. Let this 
therefore be considered by those that are on the contrary 

1. Faith, so soon as it has a being in the soul, is like 
the child that has a being in the mother's lap ; it must 
have something to feed upon ; not something at a distance, 
afar off, to be purchased (I speak now as to justification 
from the curse), but something by promise made over of 
grace to the soul ; something to feed upon to support from 
the fears of perishing by the curse for sin. Nor can it rest 
content with all duties and performances that other graces 
shall put the soul upon ; nor wdth any of its owm works, 
imtil it reaches and takes hold of the righteousness of 
Christ. Faith is like the dove, which found no rest any 
where until it returned to Noah into the ark. But this our 
Pharisee understandeth not. 

Perhaps some may object, that from this way of reason- 
ing it is apparent, that sanctification is first ; since the soul 
may have faith, and so a principle of grace in it, and yet, 
as yet it cannot find Clu'ist to feed and refresh the soul 

Answ. From this way of reasoning it is not at all appa- 
rent that sanctification, or a principle of grace, is in the 
soul before righteousness is imputed and the soul made 
perfectly righteous thereby. And for the clearing up of 
this, let me propose a few things. 

1. Justifying righteousness, to wit, the obedience of that 
one man, Clnist, is imputed to the sinner, to justify him in 
God's sight ; for his law calls for perfect righteousness, and 
before tliat be come to, and put upon the poor smner, 
God cannot bestow other spiritual blessings upon him ; be- 
cause by the law he has pronounced him accursed ; by the 


which curse he is also so holden, until a righteousness shall 
be found upon the sinner, that the law and divine justice 
can approve of, and he contented with. So then, as to the 
justification of the sinner, there must be a righteousness 
for God ; I say, for the sinner, and for God : for the sinner 
to be clothed with, and for God to look upon, that he may, 
for the sake thereof in a way of justice, bless the sinner 
with forgiveness of sins : for forgiveness of sins is the next 
thing that followeth upon the appearance of the sinner be- 
fore God in the righteousness of Christ ; Rom. iv. 6, 7. 

Now, upon this forgiveness follows the second blessing. 
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being 
made a curse for us ; and so, consequently, hath obtained 
for us the forgiveness of sins : for he that is delivered from 
the curse hath received forgiveness of sins, or rather is 
made partaker thereof. Now, being made a partaker 
thereof, the second blessing immediately follows, to wit, 
the blessing of Abraham, that is, the promise of the Spirit 
through faith ; Gal. iii. 13. 14. But this our Pharisee un- 
derstandeth not. 

But now, although it be of absolute necessity that im- 
puted righteousness be first, to the soul ; that is, that per- 
fect righteousness be found upon the sinner first by God, 
that he may bestow other blessings in a way of justice : 

Let God then put the righteousness of his Son upon me ; 
and by virtue of that, let the second blessing of God come 
into me ; and by virtue of that, let me be made to see my- 
self a sinner, and Christ's righteousness, and my need of it, 
in the doctrine of it, as it is revealed in the scriptures of 
truth. Let me then believe this doctrine to be true, and be 
brought by my belief to repentance for my sins, to hunger- 
ing and thirsting vehemently after this righteousness : for 
this is the kingdom of God, and his righteousness. Yea, 
let me pray, and cry, and sigh, and groan, day and night, 
to the God of this righteousness, that he will of grace make 
me a partaker. And let me thus be prostrate before my God, 
all the time that in wisdom he shall think fit ; and in his 
own time he shall shew me that I am a justified person, a 


pardoned person, a person in whom the Spirit of God hath 
dwelt for some time, though I knew it not. 

So then, justification before God is one thing, and justi- 
fication in mine o^vn eyes is another ; not that these are 
two justifications, but the same righteousness by which I 
stand justified before God, may be seen of God, when I am 
ignorant of it : yea, for the sake of it I may be received, 
pardoned, and accounted righteous of him, and yet I may 
not understand it. Yea, further, he may proceed in the 
way of blessing to bless me with additional blessings, and 
yet I be ignorant of it. 

So that the question is not, Do I find that I am righteous ? 
but. Am I so ? Doth God find me so, when he seeth that 
the righteousness of his Son is upon me, being made over 
to me by an act of his grace ? For I am justified freely by 
liis grace, through the redemption which is in Jesus Christ, 
whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith 
in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission 
of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God ; Rom. 
iii. 24. But this our Pharisee understandeth not. 

I am then made righteous first by the righteousness of 
another ; and because I am thus righteous, God accepteth 
of my person as such, and bestoweth upon me his grace ; 
the which, at first, for want of skill and experience in the 
word of righteousness, I make use of but poorly, and have 
need to be certified that I am made righteous, and that I 
have eternal life ; not by faith first and immediately, but 
by the written word which is called " the word of faith ;" 
which word declareth unto me (to whom grace, and so 
faith in the seed of it, is given), that I have eternal life, 
and that I should with boldness, in peace and joy, believe 
on the Son of God ; Heb. v. 13 ; Rom. xv. 13 ; 1 John v. 
13. But, 

Again, I, in the first acts of my faith, when I come at 
Girist, do not accept of him, because I know I am righteous, 
either with imputed righteousness, or with that which is 
inherent. Both these, as to my present privilege in them, 
may be hidden from mine eyes, and I only put upon taking 


of encouragement to close with Christ for life and right- 
eousness, as he is set forth to be a propitiation before mine 
eyes, in the word of the truth of the gospel ; to which word 
I adhere as, or because I find, I want peace with God in 
my soul, and because I am convinced that the means of 
peace is not to be found any where but in Jesus Christ. 
Now, by my thus adhering to him, I find stay for my soul, 
and peace to my conscience, because the word doth ascer- 
tain to me, that he that believeth on him hath remission 
of sins, hath eternal life, and shall be saved from the 
wi'ath to come. 

But, alas ! who knows (the many straits, and as I may 
say, the stress of weather, I mean) the cold blasts of hell, 
with which the poor soul is assaulted, betwixt its receiving 
of grace, and its sensible closing with Jesus Christ ? 
None, I dare say, but it and its fellows. " The heart knows 
its own bitterness ; and a stranger intermeddleth not with 
his joy ;" Prov. xiv. 10. No sooner doth Satan perceive 
what God is doing with the soul, in a way of grace and 
mercy, but he endeavoureth what he may to make the re- 
newing thereof bitter and wearisome work to the sinner. 
what mists, what mountains, what clouds, what dark- 
ness, what objections, what false apprehensions of God, of 
Christ, of grace, of the word, and of the soul's condition, . 
doth he now lay before it, and haunt it with ; whereby he 
dejecteth, casteth down, daunteth, distresseth, and almost 
driveth it quite into despah* ! Now, by the reason of these 
things, faith (and all the grace that is in the soul) is hard 
put to it to come at the promise, and by the promise of 
Christ ; as it is said, when the tempest and great danger of 
shipwreck lay upon the vessel in which Paul was, they 
had " much work to come by the boat ;" Acts xxvii. 16. 
For Satan's design is, if he cannot keep the soul from 
Christ, to make his coming to him, and closing with him, 
as hard, as difficult and troublesome, as he by his devices 
can. But faith, ti-ue justifying faith, is a grace, is not 
weary by all that Satan can do ; but meditateth upon the 
word, and taketh stomach, and courage, fighteth and crieth, 


and by crying and fighting, by help from heaven, its way 
is made through all the oppositions that appear so mighty, 
and draweth up at last to Jesus Christ, into whose bosom 
it putteth the soul, where, for the time, it sweetly resteth, 
after its marvellous tossings to and fro. 

And besides what hath been said, let me yet illustrate 
this truth unto you by this familiar similitude. 

Suppose a man, a traitor, that by the law should die for 
his sin, is yet such an one that the king has exceeding 
kindness for ; may not the king pardon this man of his 
clemency ; yea, order that his pardon should be drawn up 
and sealed, and so in every sense be made sure ; and yet, for 
the present, keep all this close enough from the ears or the 
knowledge of the person therein concerned 1 Yea, may 
not the king after all leave this person, with others under 
the same transgression, to sue for and obtain this pardon 
with great expense and difficulty, with many tears and 
heart-achings, with many fears and dubious cogitations ? 

Why, this is the case between God and the soul that 
he saveth ; he saveth him, pardoneth him, and secureth 
him from the curse and death that is due unto sin, but yet 
doth not tell him so ; but he ascends in his great suit unto 
God for it. Only this difference we must make between 
God and the potentates of this world ; God cannot pardon 
before the sinner stands before him righteous by the right- 
eousness of Christ ; because he has in judgment, and jus- 
tice, and righteousness, threatened and concluded, that he 
that wants righteousness shall die. 

And I say again, because this righteousness is God's 
and at God's disposal only, it is God that must make a 
man righteous before he can forgive him his sins, or bestow 
upon him of his secondary blessings ; to wit, his Spirit, and 
the graces thereof. And I say again, it must be this right- 
eousness ; for it can be no other that justifies a sinner from 
sin in the sight of God, and from the sentence of the law. 

Secondly, This is, and must be the way of God with the 
sinner, that faith may not only have an object to work upon, 
but a motive to work by. 


(1.) Here, as I said, faith hath an object to work upon, 
and that in the person of Christ, and that personal righte- 
ousness of his, which he in the days of his flesh did finish 
to justify sinners withal. This is, I say, the object of faith 
for justification, whereunto the soul by it doth continually 
resort. Hence David saith to Christ, " Be thou my strong 
habitation (or as you have it in the margin. Be thou to me 
a rock of habitation) whereunto I may continually resort ;" 
Psalm Ixxi. 3. And two things he infers by so saying. 

The first is, That the Christian is a man under continual 
exercises, sometimes one way, and sometimes another ; but 
all his exercises have a tendency in them more or less to 
spoil him ; therefore he is rather for flying to Christ than 
for grappling with them in and by his own power. 

The second is, that Christ is of God our shelter as to this 
very thing. Hence his name is said to be " a strong tower," 
and that the righteous run into it, and are safe, Prov. xviii. 
10. That also of David in the fifty-sixth Psalm is very 
pregnant to this purpose ; " Mine enemies," saith he, " would 
daily swallow me up ; for they be many that fight against 
me, thou Most High." And what then ? Why, saith he, 
" I will trust in thee." Thus you see, faith hath an object 
to work upon to carry the soul unto, and to secure the soul 
in times of difficulty, and that object is Jesus Christ and 
his righteousness. But, 

(2.) Again, as faith hath an object to work upon, so it 
hath a motive to work by ; and that is the love of God in 
giving of Christ to the soul for righteousness. Nor is there 
any profession, religion, or duty and performance, that is at 
all regarded, where this faith, which by such means can 
work, is wanting. " For in Jesus Christ neither circumci- 
sion availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but faith which 
worketh by love" (so Gal. v. 6) acteth lovely ; or, by faith 
whose fruit is love (though true faith hath love for its ofi^- 
spring) ; but faith which worketh by love, that is true, 
saving, justifying faith, as it beholdeth the righteousness of 
Christ as made over to the soul for justification ; so it be- 
holdeth love, love to be the cause of its so being made over. 


It beholdeth love in the Father, in giving of his Son, and 
love in the Son, in giving of himself to be made soul-saving 
righteousness for me. And seeing it worketh by it, that is, 
it is stirred up to an holy boldness of venturing all eternal 
concerns upon Christ, and also to an holy, endeared, affect- 
ing love of him, for his sweet and blessed redeeming love. 
Hence tlie apostle saith, " The love of Christ constraineth 
us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were 
all dead : and that he died for all, that they which live, 
should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him 
which died for them and rose again," 2 Cor. v. 14, 15. 

Thus then is the heart united in affection and love to the 
Father and the Son, for the love that they have shewed to 
the poor sinner in their thus delivering him from the wrath 
to come. For by this love faith worketh, in sweet passions 
and pangs of love, to all that are thus reconciled, as this 
sinner seeth he is. The motive then, whereby faith worketh, 
both as to justification and sanctification, the great motive 
to them, I say, is love, the love of God, and the love of 
Christ : " We love him, because he first loved us." That 
is, when our faith hath told us so ; for so are the words 
above, " We have kno^vn and believed the love that God 
hath to us." And then, " We love him, because he first 
loved us." And then, " This commandment have we from 
him, that he that loveth God, loveth his brother also," 1 
John iv. 16-21. But this our poor Pharisee understandeth 
not. But, 

5. Righteousness by imputation must be first, to cut oflF 
boasting from the heart, conceit, and lips of men. Where- 
fore he saith, as before, that we are justified freely by the 
grace of God, not through, or for the sake of an holy gospel- 
principle in us ; but " through the redemption that is in 
Jesus Christ," &c. " Where is boasting then 1 It is ex- 
cluded. By what law ? Of works 1 Nay, but by the law 
of faith." And this is the law of faith, by whicli we are 
justified as before ; Rom. iii. 27, 28. 

Nor can any man propound such an essential way to cut 
off boasting as this, which is of God's providing : For what 


has man here to toast of 1 No rigliteousness, nor yet of the 
application of it to his soul. The righteousness is Christ's, 
not the sinner's. The imputation is God's, not the sinner's. 
The cause of imputation is God's grace and love, not the 
sinner's works of righteousness. The time of God's im- 
puting righteousness is when the sinner was a sinner, 
wrapped up in ignorance, and wallowing in his vanity ; 
not when he was good, or when he was seeking of it ; for 
his inward gospel-goodness is a fi-uit of the imputation of 
justifying righteousness. Where is boasting then ? Where 
is our Pharisee then, with his brags of not being as other 
men are ? It is excluded, and he with it, and the poor 
Publican taken into favour, that boasting might be cut off. 
" Not of works, lest any man should boast." There is no 
trust to be put in men ; those that seem most humble, and 
that to appearance, and farthest off from pride, it is natural 
to them to boast ; yea, now they have no cause to boast ; 
for by grace are we saved through faith, and that not of 
ourselves, it is the gift of God. " Not of works, lest any 
man should boast." 

But if man is so prone to boast, when yet there is no 
ground of boasting in him, nor yet in what he doth ; how 
would he have boasted had he been permitted by the God 
of heaven to have done something, though that something 
had been but a very little something, towards his justifica- 
tion 1 But God has prevented boasting by doing as he 
has done ; Eph. ii. 8, 9. Nay, the apostle addeth further 
(lest any man should boast), that as to good works, " We 
are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good 
works, which God hath before ordained that we should 
walk in them ; ver. 10. Can the tree boast, since it was 
God that made it such 1 Where is boasting then ? " But 
of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us 
wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemp- 
tion : that, according as it is written, he that glorieth, let 
him glory in the Lord ;" ] Cor. i. 30, 31. Where is boast- 
ing then ? Where is our Pharisee then, with all his works 


of righteousness, and with his boasts of being better than 
his neighbours ? 

It may be said, If we should be justified for the sake of 
our inherent righteousness, since that righteousness is the 
gift of God, will it not follow that boasting is, in the occa- 
sion thereof, cut off ? 

Atisw. No ; for although the principle of inherent right- 
eousness be the gift of God, yet it bringeth forth fruits by 
man, and through man ; and so man having a hand therein, 
though he should have ever so little, he has an occasion 
offered him to boast. Yea, if a man should be justified be- 
fore God by the grace, or the working of the grace of faith 
in him, he would have ground of occasion to boast ; because 
faith, though it be the gift of God, yet as it acteth in man, 
takes man along with it in its so acting ; yea, the acting of 
faith is as often attributed to the man by whom it is acted, 
and oftener, than to the grace itself. How then can it be, 
but that man must have a hand therein, and so a ground 
therein, or thereof to boast ? 

But now, since justification from the curse of the law be- 
fore God lieth only and wholly in God's imputing of 
Christ's righteousness to a man, and that too, while the 
man to whom it is imputed is in himself wicked and un- 
godly, there is no room left for boasting before God, for 
that is the boasting intended ; but rather an occasion given 
to shame and confusion of face, and to stop the mouth for 
ever, since justification comes in a way so far above him, 
so vastly without him, his skill, help, or what else soever ; 
Ezek. xvi. 61-63. 

6. Righteousness by imputation must be firet, that jus- 
tification may not be of debt, but of mercy and grace. This 
is evident from reason. It is meet that God should there- 
fore justify us by a righteousness of his own, not of his 
own prescribing ; for that he may do, and yet the right- 
eousness be ours ; but of his owti providing, that the right- 
eousness may be his. " Now to him that worketh is the 
reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt ;" Rom. iv. 2-4. 


If I work for justifying righteousness, and that way get 
righteousness, my justification is not of grace, but of debt. 
God giveth it not unto me, but he oweth it unto me ; so 
then it is no longer his, but mine : mine, not of grace, but 
of debt. And if so, then I thank him not for his remission 
of sins, nor for the kingdom of heaven, nor for eternal life ; 
for if justifying righteousness is of debt, then when I have 
it, and what dependeth thereon, I have but mine own ; that 
which God oweth to me. 

Nor will it help at all to say. But I obtain it by God's 
grace in me ; because that doth not cut off my works, nor 
prevent my having of a hand in my justifying righteous- 

Suppose I give a man materials, even all materials that 
are necessary to the completing of such or such a thing ; 
yet if he worketh, though the materials be mine, I am to 
him a debtor, and he deserveth a reward. Thou sayst, 
God has given thee his Spirit, his grace, and all other 
things that are necessary for the working up of a complete 
righteousness. Well, but is thy work required to the 
finishing of this righteousness ? If so, this is not the right- 
eousness that justifieth ; because it is such as has thy hand, 
thy workmanship therein, and so obtains a reward. And 
observe it, righteousness, justifying righteousness, consist- 
eth not in a principle of righteousness, but in works of 
righteousness ; that is, in good duties, in obedience, in a 
walking in the law to the pleasing of the law, and the con- 
tent of the justice of God. 

I suppose again, that thou shalt conclude with me, that 
justifying righteousness, I mean that which justifies from 
the curse of the law, resideth only in the obedience of the 
Son of God ; and that the principle of grace that is in thee 
is none of that righteousness, no, not then when thou hast 
to the utmost walked with God according to thy gift and 
grace ; yet if thou concludest that this principle must be in 
thee, and these works done by thee, before this justifying 
righteousness is imputed to thee for justification, thou lay- 
est in a caveat against justification by grace ; and also con- 


cludest, that though thou art not justified by thy right- 
eousness, but by Christ, yet thou art justified by Christ's 
righteousness for the sake of thine own, and so makest 
justification to be still a debt. But here the scripture doth 
also cut thee off : " Not for thy righteousness, or for the 
uprightness of thine heai-t, dost thou go to possess the 
land" (which wasbuta typeof heaven) ; and if our righteous- 
ness cannot give us, by its excellency, a share in the type, 
be sure that for it we shall never be sharers in the anti- 
type itself. " Understand, therefore, that the Lord thy 
God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy 
righteousness ; for thou ai-t a stiff-necked people ;" Deut. 
ix. 5, 6. 

Gospel-performances, therefore, are not first ; that was 
first, for the sake of which God did receive these people into 
favour with himself, and that was a covenant-righteous- 
ness ; and where could that covenant-righteousness be 
found, but in the Prince, Mediator, and High Priest of the 
covenant 1 For it was he, and he only, that was appointed 
of God, nor could any but himself bring in everlasting 
righteousness ; Dan. ix. 24, 25. This is evident from these 
texts last mentioned ; it was not for their righteousness 
that they possessed the land. 

Again, As it was not for their righteousness that they 
were made possessors of the land, so it was not for the 
sake of their righteousness that they were made partakers 
of such a righteousness that did make them possess the 
land. This is plain to reason ; for personal righteousness, 
•when by us performed, is of no worth to obtain of God a 
justifying righteousness. But if it be of no worth to 
obtain a justifying righteousness, then, it seems, it is more 
commodious to both parties than justifying righteousness. 
First, it is more commodious to him that worketh it ; 
and, secondly, it is more commodious unto him that re- 
ceiveth it, else why doth he for it give us a due debt, 
and so put upon us the everlasting justify mg righteous- 
ness 1 

Perhaps it will be objected, That God doth all this of 


grace ; but I answer, That these are but fallacious words, 
spoken by the tongue of the crafty. For we are not now 
discoursing of what rewards God can give to the operations 
of his own grace in us, but whether he can in a way of jus- 
tice (or how he will) bestow any spiritual blessing upon 
sinful creatures, against whom, for sin, he has pronounced 
the curse of tlie law, before he liath found them in a right- 
eousness, that is proved to be as good justice and righteous- 
ness, as is the justice and righteousness of the law, with 
which we have to do. 

I assert he cannot, because he cannot lie, because he 
cannot deny himself : for if he should first threaten the 
transgression of the law with death, and yet afterwards 
receive the transgressor to grace, without a plenary satis- 
faction, what is this but to lie, and to diminish his truth, 
righteousness, and faithfulness ; yea, and also to overthrow 
the sanction and perfect holiness of his law ? His mercy, 
therefore, must act so towards the sinner that justice may 
be satisfied, and that can never be without a justifying 

Now what this justifying righteousness should be, and 
when imputed, that is the question. I say, it is the right- 
eousness, or obedience of the Son of God in the flesh, which 
he assumed, and so his own, and the righteousness of no 
body else otherwise than by imputation. 

I say again, that this righteousness must be imputed 
first, that the sinner may stand just in God's sight fi-om 
the curse, that God might deal with him both in a way of 
justice as well as mercy, and yet do the sinner no harm. 

But you may ask, How did God deal with sinners before 
his righteousness was actually in being ? 

I answer. He did then deal with sinners even as he 
dealeth with them now ; he justified them by it, by virtue 
of the suretyship of him that was to bring it in. Christ 
became surety for us, and by his suretyship laid himself 
under an obligation for those for whom he became a surety 
to bring in this everlasting and justifying righteousness, 
and by virtue of this, those of his elect that came into and 


went out of the world before he came to perfonn his work 
were saved through the forbearance of God. Wherefore, 
before the Lord came, they were saved for the Lord's sake, 
and for the sake of his name. And they that were spiri- 
tually wise understood it, and pleaded it as their necessities 
required, and the Lord accepted them ; Heb. vii. 22 ; Rom. 
iv. 24; Dan. ix. 17; Psalm xxv. 11. 

7. Righteousness by imputation must be first, that justi- 
fication may be certain ; " Therefore it is of faith (of the 
righteousness that faith layeth hold on), that it might be 
by grace ; to the end the promise might be sure to all the 
seed ;" Rom. iv. 16. " That the promise," — What promise 1 
The promise of remission of sins, &c., might be sure. 

Now a promise of remission of sins supposeth a right- 
eousness going before ; for there is no forgiveness of sins, 
nor promise of forgiveness, for the sake of righteousness 
that shall be by us, but that already found in Christ as 
head, and so imputed to the elect for their remission. " God 
for Christ's sake hath forgiven you," Eph. iv. 32 ; For 
Christ's sake ; that this, for the sake of the righteousness 
of Christ. Imputed righteousness must be first; yea, it 
must be before forgiveness, and forgiveness is extended by 
God then when we lie in our blood, though to us it is ma- 
nifested afterwards. Therefore it is of faith ; he saith not 
hy it, respecting the act of faith, but o/, respecting the doc- 
trine or word which presenteth me with this blessed im- 
puted righteousness : they that are of faith are the children 
of faithful Abraham. They that are of the doctrine of 
faith, for all the elect are the sons of that doctrine in which 
is this righteousness of Christ contained ; yea, they are be- 
gotten by it of God to this inheritance, to their comfortable 
enjoyment of the comfort of it by faith. 

That the promise might be sure to all the seed, to aU 
them wrapped up in the promise, and so begotten and bom. 
That it might be sure, implying that there is no certain 
way of salvation for the elect but this ; because God can 
never by other means reconcile us to himself, for his hea- 
venly eyes perceive, yea, they spy faults in the best of our 


gospel performances ; yea, our faith is faulty, and also im- 
perfect : how then should remission be extended to us for 
the sake of that ? But now the righteousness of Christ is 
perfect, perpetual and stable as the great mountains ; where- 
fore he is called the rock of our salvation, because a man 
may as soon tumble the mountains before him, as sin can 
make invalid the righteousness of Christ, when, and unto 
whom, God shall impute it for justice ; Psalm xxxvi. In 
the margin it is said to be like the mountain of God ; to 
wit, called Mount Zion, or that Moriah on which the tem- 
ple was built, and upon which it stood ; all other bottoms 
are fickle, all other righteousnesses are so feeble, short, 
narrow, yea, so full of imperfections ; for what the law 
could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, Christ 
did for us in the similitude of sinful flesh. But what could 
not the law do ? Why, it could not give us righteousness, 
nor strengthen us to perfoi-m it. It could not give us any 
certain, solid, well-grounded hope of remission of sin and 

Wherefore this righteousness being imputed, justice findeth 
no fault therewith, but consenteth to the extending to the 
sinner those blessings that tend to perfect his happiness in 
the heavens. 

8. Righteousness by imputation must be first, that in all 
things Christ may have the pre-eminence. Christ is head 
of the church, and therefore let him have the highest ho- 
nour in the soul ; but how can he have that, if any precede 
as to justification before his perfect righteousness be im- 
puted 1 If it be said, grace may be in the soul, though the 
soul doth not act it until the moment that justifying right- 
eousness shall be imputed : 

I ask, What should it do there before, or to what pur- 
pose is it there, if it be not acted ? And again, how came 
it thither, how got the soul possession of it while it was 
unjustified 1 or. How could God in justice give it to a per- 
son, that by the law stood condemned, before they were ac- 
quitted from that condemnation ? And I say, nothing can 
set the soul fi'ce from that curse but the perfect obedience 


of Christ ; nor that either, if it be not imputed for that end 
to the sinner by tlie grace of God. 

Imputed, that is, reckoned or accounted to him. And 
why should it not be accounted to him for righteousness ? 
What did Clirist bring it into the world for ? for the 
righteous or for sinners 1 No doubt for sinners. And 
how must it be reckoned to them ? Not in circumcision, 
but in uncircumcision ; not as righteous, but as sinners. 
And how are they to consider of themselves, even then 
when they first are apprehensive of their need of this right- 
eousness 1 Are they to think that they are righteous, or 
sinners ? 

And again. How are they to believe concerning them- 
selves, then when they put forth the first act of faith to- 
w^ards this righteousness for justification 1 Are they to 
think that they are righteous, or sinners ? Sinners, doubt- 
less, they are to reckon themselves, and as such to reckon 
themselves justified by this righteousness. And this is 
according to the sentence of God, as appeareth by such 

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

" But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while 
we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." 

" For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to 
God by the death of his Son," &c., Rom. v. 

Out of these words I gather these three things. 

1. That Christ by God's appointment died for us. 

2. That by his death he reconciled us to God, 

3. That even then, when the very act of reconciliation 
was in performing, and also when performed, we were un- 
godly, sinners, enemies. 

Now, the act by which we are said to be reconciled to 
God, while ungodly, while sinners, and while enemies, was 
Christ's offering himself a sacrifice for us, which is, in the 
words above mentioned, called his death . Christ died for 
the ungodly ; Christ died for us while sinners ; Christ re- 
conciled us to God by his death . And as Christ is said to 


die for us, so the Father is said to impute righteousness to 
us ; to wit, as we are without works, as we are ungodly. 
" Now to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that 
justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteous- 
ness." He worketh not, but is ungodly, when this gracious 
act of God, in imputing the righteousness of Christ to him, 
is extended ; when he shall believe, his faith is counted 
to him for righteousness. And why should we not have 
the benefit of the righteousness, since it was completed for 
us while we were yet ungodly 1 Yea, we have the benefit 
of it : " For when we were enemies, we were reconciled to 
God by the death of his Son." 

When I say the benefit, I mean that benefit that we are 
capable of, and that is justification before God ; for that a 
man may be capable of while he is in himself ungodly, be- 
cause this comes to him by the righteousness of another. 
True, were it to be his own righteousness by which he was 
to be justified, he could not : but the righteousness is 
Christ's, and that imputed by God, not as a reward for 
work, or of debt, but freely by his grace ; and therefore 
may be, and is so, while the person concerned is without 
works, ungodly, and a sinner. 

And he that denieth that we are capable of this benefit 
while we are sinners and ungodly, may with the like reason 
deny that we are created beings : for that which is done for 
a man without him, may be done for him at any time 
which they that do it shall appoint. While a man is a 
beggar, may not I make him worth ten thousand a-year, if 
I can and will : and yet he may not know thereof in that 
moment that I make him so 1 yet the revenue of that estate 
shall really be his from the moment that I make him so, 
and he shall know it too at the rent-day. 

This is the case : we are sinners and ungodly ; there is a 
righteousness wrought out by Jesus Christ which God 
hath designed we shall be made righteous by : and by it, if 
he wdll impute it to us, we shall be righteous in his sight ; 
even then when we are yet ungodly in ourselves : for he 
justifies the ungodly. 


Now, though it is irregular and blameworthy in man to 
justify the wicked, because he cannot provide and clothe 
him with a justifying righteousness, yet it is glorious, and 
for ever worthy of praise, for God to do it : because it is in 
his power, not only to forgive, but to make a man right- 
eous, even then when he is a sinner, and to justify him 
while he is ungodly. 

But it may be yet objected, that though God has re- 
ceived satisfaction for sin, and so sufficient tenns of recon- 
ciliation by the obedience and death of his Son, yet he im- 
puteth it not unto us, but upon condition of our becoming 

Ans. This must not be admitted : For, 

1. The scripture saith not so ; but that we are reconciled 
to God by the death of his Son, and justified too, and that 
while or when we are sinners and ungodly. 

2. If this objection carrieth truth in it, then it follows 
that the Holy Ghost, faith, and so all grace, may be given 
to us, and we may have it dwelling in us, yea, acting in us, 
before we stand righteous in the judgment of the law be- 
fore God (for nothing can make us stand just before God in 
the judgment of the law, but the obedience of the Son of 
God without us.) And if the Holy Ghost, faith, and so, 
consequently, the habit of every grace, may be in us, act- 
ing in us, before Christ's righteousness be by God imputed 
to us, then we are not justified as sinners and ungodly, but 
as persons inherently holy and righteous before. 

But I have shewed you that this cannot be, therefore 
righteousness for justification must be imputed first. And 
here let me present the reader with two or three things. 

1. That justification before God is one thing, and justifi- 
cation to the understanding and conscience is another. 
Now, I am treating of justification before God, not of it as 
to man's understanding and conscience : and I say, a man 
may be justified before God, even then when liimself know- 
eth nothing thereof ; Isa. xl. 2 ; Mark ii. 5 ; and while he 
hath not faith about it, but is ungodly. 
, 2. There is justification by faith, l)y faith's applying of 


that righteousness to the understanding and conscience, 
which God hath of his grace imputed for righteousness to 
the soul for justification in his sight. And this is that by 
wliich we, as to sense and feeling, have peace with God : 
" Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through 
our Lord Jesus Christ ;" Rom. v. 1. And these two the 
apostle keepeth distinct in the 10th verse : that " while we 
were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of 
his Son." He addeth, " And not only so, but we joy in 
God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have 
now received the atonement," verse 11. Here you see, that 
to be reconciled to God by the death of his Son is one 
thing, and for us actually to receive by faith this reconcilia- 
tion is another : and not only so, but we have " received 
the atonement." 

3. Men do not gather their justification from God's 
single act of imputing of righteousness, that we might 
stand clear in his sight from the curse and judgment of the 
law ; but fi-om the word of God, which they understand 
not till it is brought to their understanding by the light 
and glory of the Holy Ghost. 

We are not, therefore, in the ministry of the word to pro- 
nounce any man justified, from a supposition that God has 
imputed righteousness to him (since that act is not known 
to us), until the fruits that follow thereupon do break out 
before our eyes ; to wit, the signs and effects of the Holy 
Ghost indwelling in our souls. And then we may con- 
clude it, that is, that such a one stands justified before 
God, yet not for the sake of his inherent righteousness, nor 
yet for the fi'uits thereof, and so not for the sake of the act 
of faith, but for the sake of Jesus Christ his doing and suf- 
fering for us. 

Nor will it avail to object, that if at first we stand justi- 
fied before God by his imputing of Christ's rigliteousness 
unto us, though faith be not in us to act, we may always 
stand justified so ; and so what need of faith 1 for therefore 
are we justified, fii-st, by the imputation of God, as we are 
ungodly, that thereby we may be made capable of receiving 


the Holy Ghost and his graces in a way of righteousness 
and justice. Besides, God will have those that he shall jus- 
tify by his grace through the redemption that is in Jesus 
Christ to have the Holy Ghost, and so faith, that they may 
know and believe the things not only that shall be, but 
that already are, freely given to us of God. " Now," says 
Paul, " we have received, not the spirit of the world but 
the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things 
that are fi-eely given to us of God ;" 1 Cor. ii. 12. To know, 
that is, to believe : it is given to you to believe, who believe 
according to the working of his mighty power ; " And we 
have known and believed the love that God hath to us," 
preceding to our believing; John iv. IG. He then that is 
justified by God's imputation, shall believe by the power of 
the Holy Ghost ; for that must come, and work faith, and 
strengthen the soul to act it, because imputed righteousness 
has gone before. He then that believeth shall be saved ; for 
his believing is a sign, not a cause, of his being made right- 
eous before God by imputation ; and he that believeth not 
shall be damned. 

And thus much for the Pharisee, and for his infor- 
mation. And now i come to that part of the text 
which remains, and which respecteth the Publican. 

" And the Publican, standing afar off, would not lift up 
so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, 
saying, God be merciful to me a sinner." 

What this Publican was, I have shewed you, both with 
respect to nation, office, and disposition. Wherefore I shall 
not here trouble the reader as to that. We now, therefore, 
come to his repentance in the whole and in the parts of it ; 
concerning which I shall take notice of several things, 
some more remote, and some more near to the matter and 
life of it. 

But, first, let us see how cross the Pharisee and the Pub- 
lican did lie in the temple one to another, while they both 
were presenting of their prayers to God. 

1. The Pharisee he goes in boldly, fears nothing, but 
trusteth in himself that his state is good, that God loves him, 


and that there was no doubt to be made but of his good 
speed in this his religious enterprise. But, alas ! poor Pub- 
lican, he sneaks, crawls into the temple, and when he comes 
there, stands behind, aloof, off, as one not worthy to ap- 
proach the divine presence. 

2. The Pharisee at his approach hath his mouth full of 
many fine things, whereby he strokes himself over the 
head, and in effect calls himself one of God's dear sens, 
that always kept close to his will, abode with him, or, as 
the prodigal's brother said, " Lo, these many years do I 
serve thee ; neither transgressed I at any time thy com- 
mandment ;" Luke xv. 29. But alas ! poor Publican, thy 
guilt, as to these pleas, stops thy mouth ; thou hast not one 
good thing to say of thyself, not one rag of righteousness ; 
thy conscience tells thee so ; yea, and if thou sliouldst now 
attempt to set a good face on it, and for thy credit say 
something after the Pharisee in way of thine own com- 
mendations, yet here is God on the one side, the Pharisee 
on the other, together with thine own heart, to give thee a 
check, to rebuke thee, to condemn thee, and to lay thee 
even to the ground for thy insolence. 

3. The Pharisee in his approach to God, wipes his fingers 
of the Publican's enormities, will not come nigh him, lest 
he should defile himself with his beastly rags : " I am not 
as other men are, nor yet as this Publican." But the poor 
Publican, alas for him ! his fingers are not clean, nor can 
he tell how to make them so ; besides, he meekly and 
quietly puts up with this reflection of the Pharisee upon 
him, and by silent behaviour justifies the severe sentence of 
tliat self-righteous man, concluding with him, that for his 
part he is wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, 
and naked, and not worthy to come nigh, or to stand by, 
so good, so virtuous, so holy, and so deserving a man as 
our sparkling Pharisee is. 

4. The Pharisee, as at feasts and synagogues, chose the 
chief and first place for his person, and for his prayer, 
counting that the Publican was not meet, ought not to pre- 
sume to let his foul breath once come out of his pol- 


luted lips in the temple, till he had made his holy prayer. 
And, poor Publican, how dost thou hear and put up this 
with all other affronts, counting even as the Pharisee 
counted of thee, that thou wast but a dog in comparison of 
him, and therefore not fit to go before, but to come as 
in chains, behind, and forbear to present thy mournful 
supplication to the holy God, till he had presented his, in 
his own conceit, brave, gay, and fine oration ? 

5. The Pharisee, as he is numerous in his repeating his 
good deeds, so is he stiff in standing to them, bearing up 
himself, that he hath now suflficient foundation on which to 
bear up his soul against all the attempts of the law, the 
devil, sin, and hell. But, alas, poor Publican ! thou stand- 
est naked, nay, worse than naked ; for thou art clothed 
with filthy garments, thy sins cover thy face with shame : 
nor hast thou in, or of thyself, any defence from, or shelter 
against, the attempts, assaults, and censures of thy spiritual 
enemies, but art now in thine own eyes (though in the tem- 
ple) cast forth into the open field stark-naked, to the loath- 
ing of thy person, as in the day that thou wast bom, and 
there ready to be devoured and torn in pieces for thy ti^ans- 
gressions against thy God. 

What wilt thou do. Publican ? What wilt thou do 1 
Come, let us see ; which way wilt thou begin to address 
thyself to God ? Bethink thyself : hast thou any thing 
to say ? speak out, man : the Pharisee by this time has 
done, and received his sentence : make an " yes ;" let all 
the world be silent ; yea, let the angels of heaven draw near 
and listen ; for the Publican is come to have to do with 
God ! yea, is come from the receipt of custom into the 
temple to pray to him. 

" And the Publican, standing afar off, would not lift up 
so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, 
saying, God be merciful to me a sinner." And is this thy 
way, poor Publican ! cunning sinner ! crafty Pub- 
lican ! thy wisdom has outdone the Pharisee ; for it is bet- 
ter to apply ourselves to God's mercy than to trust to our- 
selves that we are righteous. But that the Publican did 


hit the mark, yea, get nearer unto, and more in the heart 
of God and his Son than the Pharisee, the sequel will make 

Take notice then of this profound speech of the Publi- 
can, " God he merciful to me a sinner." Yea, the Son 
of God was so delighted with this prayer, that for the sake 
of it, he even as a limner draweth out the Publican in liis 
manner of standing, behaviour, gestures, &c., while he makes 
this prayer to God : wherefore we will take notice both of 
tlie one and of the other ; for surely his gestm-es put lustre 
into his prayer and repentance. 

1. His prayer you see is tliis, " God be merciful to me a 

His gestures in his prayer were in general three. 

1. He " stood afar off." 

2. He " would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven." 

3. He " smote upon his breast," with his fist, sajdng, 
" God be merciful to me a sinner." 

To begin first with his prayer. In this prayer we have 
two things to consider of. 

1. His confession : I am a sinner. 

2. His imploring of help against this malady : " God be 
merciful to me a sinner." 

In his confession divers things are to be taken notice of. 

1. The fairness and simplicity of his confession ; " A 
sinner :" I am a sinner ; " God be merciful to me a sinner." 
This indeed he was, and this indeed he confesses ; and this, I 
say, he doth of godly simplicity. For a man to confess him- 
self a sinner, it is to speak all against himself that can be 
spoken. And man, as degenerate, is too much an hypocrite, 
and too much a self-fiatterer, thus to confess against him- 
self, unless made simple and honest through the power of 
conviction upon his heart. And it is worth your noting, 
that he doth not say he was, or had been, but tiiat at that 
time his state was such, to wit, a sinner. " God be merci- 
ful to me a sinner," or who am, and now stand before thee 
& sinner, in my sins. 



Now, a little to shew you what it is to be a sinner ; for 
every one that sinneth may not in a proper sense be called 
a sinner. Saints, the sanctified in Christ Jesus, do often 
sin, but it is not proper to call them sinners : but here the 
Publican calls himself a sinner ; and therefore in effect calls 
himself an evil tree, one that beareth no good fruit ; one 
whose body and soul is polluted, whose mind and conscience 
is defiled ; one who hath walked according to the course of 
this world, and after the spirit that now worketh in the 
children of disobedience : they having their minds at en- 
mity against God, and are taken captive by the devil at liis 
will ; a sinner, one whose trade hath been in sin, and the 
works of Satan all his days. 

Thus he waives all pleas, and stoops his neck imme- 
diately to the block. Though he was a base man, yet he 
might have had pleas ; pleas, I say, as well as the Phari- 
see, though not so many, yet as good. He was of the stock 
of Abraham, a Jew, an Israelite of the Israelites, and so a 
privileged man in the religion of the Jews, else what doth 
he do in the temple ? Yea, why did not the Pharisee, if 
he was a heathen, lay that to his charge while he stood be- 
fore God 1 But the truth is, he could not ; for the Publi- 
can was a Jew as well as the Pharisee, and consequently 
might, had he been so disposed, have pleaded that before 
God. But he would not, he could not, for his conscience 
was under convictions, the awakenings of God were upon 
him ; wherefore his privileges melt away like grease, and 
fly from him like the chaff of the summer threshing-floor, 
which the wind taketh up and scattereth as the dust ; he 
therefore lets all privileges fall, and pleads only that he is 
a sinner. 

2. In this confession he judges and condemns himself: 
For a man to say, I am a sinner, is as much as to say, I 
am contrary to the holiness of God, a transgressor of the 
law, and consequently an object of the curse, and an heir 
of hell. The Publican, therefore, goeth very far in this liia 
confession ; For, 

3. In the third place, To confess that there is nothing in 


him, done or can be done by him, that should allure, or 
prevail with God to do any thing for him : for a sinner 
cannot do good ; no, not work up his heart unto one good 
thought : no, though he should have heaven itself if he 
could, or was sure to bum in hell-fire for ever and ever if 
he could not. For sin, where it is in possession, and bears 
rule, as it doth in every one that we may properly call a 
sinner, there it hath the mastery of the man, hath bound 
up his senses in cords and chains, and made nothing so 
odious to the soul as the things that are of the Spirit of 
Grod. Wherefore it is said of such, that they are " Enemies 
in their minds ;" that " The carnal mind is enmity against 
God," and that " Wickedness proceedeth of the wicked ;" 
and that the Ethiopian may as well change his skin, or 
the leopard his spots, as they that are accustomed to do 
evil may leam to do well ; Col. i. ; Rom. viii. ; 1 Sam. 
xxiv. 13 ; Jer. xiii. 23. 

4. In this confession he implicitly acknowledgeth that 
sin is the worst of things, forasmuch as it layeth the soul 
out of the reach of all remedy that can be found under 
heaven. Nothing below or short of the mercy of God can 
deliver a poor soul from this fearful malady. This the 
Pharisee did not see. Doubtless he did conclude, that at 
some time or other he had sinned ; but he never in all his 
life did arrive to a sight of what sin was : his knowledge of 
it was but false and counterfeit, as is manifest by his cure ; 
to wit, his own righteousness. For take this for a truth 
undeniable, that he that thinks himself better before God, be- 
cause of his refoiTaations, never yet had the true knowledge 
of his sin : But the poor Publican he had it, he had it in 
truth, as is manifest, because it drives him to the only so- 
vereign remedy. For indeed, the right knowledge of sin, 
in the filth, and guilt, and damning power thereof, makes a 
man to understand, that not any thing but grace and mercy 
by Christ can secure him fi'om the hellish ruins thereof. 

Suppose a man sick of an apoplexy unto death, and 
should for his remedy make use only of those things that 
are good against the second ague, would not tliis demon- 


strate that tliis man -vvas not sensible of the nature and 
danger of tliis disease ? The same may be said of every 
sinner that shall make use only of those means to justify 
him before God, that can hardly make him go for a good 
Christian before judicious men. But the poor Publican, he 
knew the nature and the danger of his disease ; and knew 
also, that nothing but mercy, infinite mercy, could cure 
him thereof. 

5. This confession of the Publican declareth, that he him- 
self was borne up now by an almighty though invisible 
hand. For sin, when seen in its colours, and when ap- 
pearing in its monstrous shape, frighteth all away from 
God. This is manifest by Cain, Judas, Saul, and others, 
who could not stand up before God imder the sense and 
appearance of their sin, but fled before him, one to one fruit 
of despair, and one to another. But now this Publican, 
though he apprehends his sin, that himself was one that 
was a sinner, yet he beareth up, cometh into the temple, 
approaches the presence of an holy and sin- revenging God, 
stands before him, and confesses that he is that man that 
sin had defiled, and that had brought him into the danger 
of damnation thereby. 

This therefore was a mighty act of the Publican. lie 
went against the voice of conscience, against sense and feel- 
ing, against the curse and condemning verdict of the law : 
he went, as I may say, upon hot burning coals to one tliat 
to sin and sinners is a consuming fire. 

Now then, did the Publican this of his own head, or 
from his own mind ? No, verily ; there was some super- 
natural power within that did secretly prompt him on, 
and strengthen him to this more noble venture. True, 
there is nothing more common among wicked men, than 
to trick and toy, and play with this saying of the Publican, 
" God be merciful to me a sinner :" not at all being sensible 
either what sin is, or of their need of mercy. And such 
sinners shall find their speed in the Publican's prayer far 
otherwise than the Publican sped himself; it will happen 
unto them much as it happened unto the vagabond Jews, 


exorcists, who took upon them to call over them that had 
evil spirits, the name of the Lord Jesus ; that were beaten 
by that spirit, and made fly out of that house naked and 
wounded. Acts xix. 13. Poor sinner, thou wilt say the 
Publican's prayer, and make the Publican's confession, and 
say, " God be merciful to me a sinner." But hold ; dost 
thou do it with the Publican's heart, sense, dread, and 
simplicity 1 If not, thou dost but abuse the Publican and 
his prayer, and thyself and his God ; and shalt find God 
rejecting of thee and thy prayers, saying. The Publican I 
know ; his prayers and godly tears I know ; but who or 
what art thou 1 and will send thee away naked. They 
are the hungry that he filleth with good things, but the 
rich (and the senseless) he sendeth empty away. 

For my part, I find it one of the hardest things that I 
can put my soul upon, even to come to God, when warmly 
sensible that I am a sinner, for a share in grace and mercy. 
Oh ! methinks it seems to me as if the whole face of the 
heavens were set against me. Yea, the very thought of 
God strikes me through ; I cannot bear up, I cannot stand 
before him ; I cannot but with a thousand tears say, " God 
be merciful to me a sinner;" Ezra ix. 15. 

At another time, when my heart is more hard and stupid, 
and when his terror doth not make me afraid, then I can 
come before him, and ask mercy at his hand, and scarce be 
sensible of sin or grace, or that indeed I am before God. 
But above all, they are the rare times, when I can go to 
God as the Publican, sensible of his glorious majesty, sen- 
sible of my misery, and bear up, and afi^ectionately cry, 
" God me merciful to me a sinner." 

But again, the Publican, by his confession, sheweth a 
piece of the highest wisdom that a mortal man can shew ; 
because, by so doing, he engageth as well as imploreth 
the grace and mercy of God to save him. You see by the 
text he imploreth it ; and now I will shew you that he 
engageth it, and makes himself a sharer in it. 

" He that covereth his sins shall not prosper ; but whoso 
confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." And 


again, " If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to 
forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteous- 
ness ;" Prov. xxviii. 13 ; 1 John. i. 9. 

First, In the promise of pardon, " he shall have mercy ;" 
he shall have his sins forgiven. As also Solomon prays, 
that God will forgive them that know their own sores ; and 
they are indeed such as are sensible of the plague of their 
own heart, 2 Chron. vi. 29, 30 ; 1 Kings viii. 37, 38. And 
the reason is, because the sinner is now driven to the farthest 
point, for confession is the farthest point, and the utmost 
bound unto which God has appointed the Publican to go, 
with reference to his work ; as it is said of Saul to David, 
when he was about to give him Michal his daughter to 
wife, " I desire not any dowry, but an hundred foreskins 
of the Philistines, to be avenged of the king's enemies." 

So says God in this matter, I desire no sacrifices, nor 
legal righteousness to make thee acceptable to me : " Only 
acknowledge and confess thine iniquity, that thou hast 
transgressed against me," 1 Sam. xviii. 25 ; Jer. iii. 12, 13. 
And though this by some may be thought to be a very 
easy way to come at, and partake of the mercy of God ; 
yet let the sensible sinner try it, and he shall find it one of 
the hardest things in the world. And there are two things 
to which is prone, that makes confession hard : 

First, There is a great proneness in us to be partial, and 
not thorough and plain in our confessions. We are apt to 
make half confessions ; to confess some, and hide some ; or 
else to make feigned confessions, flattering both ourselves, 
and also God, while we make confession unto him ; or else to 
confess sin, as our own fancies apprehend, and not as the word 
descries them. These things we are very prone to do ; men 
can confess little sins, while they hide great ones. ]\Ien 
can feign themselves sorry for sin when they are not, or 
else in their confessions forget to judge of sin by the word. 
Hence it is said. They turned to God, "not with their 
whole hearts, but as it were feignedly." " They spake not 
aright, saying, What have I done ?" " They flatter him 
with their mouth, and lie unto him with their tongues," 


and do their wickedness in the dark, and sin against him 
with a high hand, and then come to him and " cover the 
altar with their tears." These things therefore demonstrate 
the difficulty of sincere confession of sin ; and that to do it 
as it should, is no such easy thing. 

To right confession of sin, several things must go : as, 

1. There must he sound conviction for sin upon the 
spirit : for before a man shall be convinced of the nature, 
aggravation, and evil of sin, how shall he make godly con- 
fession of it 1 Now, to convince the soul of sin, the law 
must be set home upon the conscience by the Spirit of 
God : " For by the law is the knowledge of sin." And 
again, "I had not known lust, unless the law had said. 
Thou shalt not covet ;" Rom. vii. 7. This law, now when 
it effectually ministereth conviction of sin to the con- 
science, doth it by putting of life, and strength, and ter- 
ror into sin. By its working on the conscience, it makes 
sin revive, "and the strength of sin is the law;" Rom. 
vii. ; 1 Cor. xv. It also increaseth and multiplieth sin, 
both by the revelation of God's anger against the soul, 
and also by mustering up and calling to view sins com- 
mitted and forgotten time out of mind. Sin seen in the 
glass of the law is a terrible thing ; no man can behold 
it and live. " When the commandment came, sin revived, 
and I died ;" when it came from God to my conscience, as 
managed by an almighty arm, then it slew me. And now 
is the time to confess sin, because now a soul knows what 
it is, and sees what it is, both in the nature and consequence 
of it. 

2. To a right confession of sin, there must be sound 
knowledge of God, especially as to his justice, holiness, 
righteousness, and purity ; wherefore the Publican here 
begins his confession by calling upon or by the acknow- 
ledgement of his Majesty : " God be merciful to me a 
sinner :" As if he should say, God, God, great God, 
sin-revenging God, I have sinned against thee, I have 
broken thy law, I have opposed thy holiness, thy justice, 
thy law, and thy righteous will. consuming fire ("for 


our God is a consuming fire"), I have justly provoked thee 
to wrath, and to take vengeance on me for my transgres- 
sions. But alas ! how few that make confession of sin have 
right apprehension of God, unto whom confession of sin 
doth belong. Alas ! it is easy for men to entertain such 
apprehensions of God as shall please their own humours, 
to bear up under the sense of sin, and that shall make their 
confession rather facile and fantastical, than solid and heart- 
breaking. The sight and knowledge of the great God is, 
to sinful man, the most dreadful thing in the world ; which 
makes confession of sin so rare. Most men confess their 
sins behind God's back, but few to his face ; and you know 
there is ofttimes a vast difference in thus doing among men. 

3. To the right confession of sin, there must be a deep 
conviction of the terribleness of the day of judgment. This 
John the Baptist inserts, where he insinuates, that the Pha- 
risees' want of (sense of, and) the true confession of sin, was 
because they had not been warned (or had not taken the 
alarm) to flee from the wrath to come. What dread, teiTor, 
or frightful apprehension can there be, where there is no 
sense of a day of judgment, and of our giving unto God an 
account for it ? Matth. iii. 7 ; Luke iii. 7. 

I say, therefore, to confession of sin, there must be, 

(1.) A deep conviction of the certainty of the day of 
judgment ; namely, that such a day is coming, that such a 
day shall be. This the apostle insinuates, where he saith, 
" God commandeth all men, every where, to repent : be- 
cause he hath appointed a day in the which he will judge 
the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath or- 
dained, whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in 
that he hath raised him from the dead ;" Acts xvii. 30, 31. 

This will give a sense of what the soul must expect at 
that day for sin, and so will drive to an hearty acknow- 
ledgement of it, and strong cries for a deliverance fi'om it. 
For thus will the soul argue that expecteth the judgment- 
day, and that believes that it must count for all. my 
heart ! it is in vain now to dissemble, or to hide, or to lessen 
transgressions ; for there is a judgment to come, a day in 


whicli God will judge the secrets of men by his Son ; and 
at that day he will bring to light the hidden things of dark- 
ness, and will manifest the counsels of the heart. If it must 
be so then, to what end will it be now to seek to dissemble ] 
1 Cor. iv. 5. This also is in the Old Testament urged as an 
argument to cause youth, and persons of all sizes, to recall 
themselves to sobriety, and so to confession of their sin to 
God; where the Holy Ghost saith ironically, " Rejoice, 
young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in 
the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, 
and in the sight of thine eyes : but know thou that for all 
these things God will bring thee into judgment." So again, 
" God shall bring every work into judgment, with every 
secret thing, whether it 
Eccles. xi. 9 ; xii. 12, 14. 

The certainty of this, I say, must go to the producing of 
a sincere confession of sin ; and this is intimated by the 
Publican, who with his confession, addeth, " God be merci- 
ful to me a sinner." As if he should say. If thou art not 
merciful to me, thy judgment shall swallow me up : with- 
out thy mercy I shall not stand, but fall by the judgment 
which thou hast appointed. 

(2.) As there must be, for the producing of sincere con- 
fession of sin, a deep conviction of the certainty, so of the 
terribleness, of the day of judgment : wherefore the apostle, 
to put men on repentance, which is sincere confession of sin, 
saith, " For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of 
Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his 
body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good 
or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we per- 
suade men;" 2 Cor. v. 10, 11. The terror of the Lord, as 
we see here, he makes use of, to persuade men to confession 
of sin, and repentance to God for mercy. 

And I am persuaded, that one reason that this day doth 
80 swarm with wanton professors, is, because they have 
not sound conviction for, nor go to God with sincere con- 
fession of, sin : and one cause of that has been, that they 


did never seriously fall in with, nor yet sink under either 
the certainty or teri'ibleness, of the day of judgment. 

the teiTors of the Lord ! the amazing face that will be 
put upon all things before the tribunal of God ! Yea, the 
ten-or that will then be read in the face of God, of Christ, 
of saints and angels, against the ungodly ! Whoso believes 
and understands it, cannot live without confession of sin to 
God, and a coming to him for mercy. 

" Mountains, fall upon us, and cover us, and hide us from 
the face of him that sits upon the throne, and from the 
wi-ath of the Lamb ; for the great day of his WTath is come, 
and who is able to stand ?" This ten-or is also signified, 
where it is said, " And I saw a great Avhite throne, and 
him that sat on it, from whose face the (very) earth and 
the heaven fled away : and there was found no place for 
them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before 
God : and the books were opened ; and another book was 
opened, which is the book of life : and the dead were 
judged out of those things which were written in the 
books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the 
dead which were in it ; and death and hell delivered up the 
dead which were in them : and they were judged every 
man according to his works. And death and hell were 
cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And 
whosoever was not found written in the book of life, was 
cast into the lake of fire ;" Rev. xx. Here is terror ; and 
this is revealed in the word of God, that sinners might 
hear and consider it, and so come and confess, and implore 
God's mercy. 

The terror of the Lord, how will it appear, when he 
" shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in 
flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, 
and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ !" 2 
Thess. i. 7-9. 

The ten-or of the Lord, how will it appear, when his 
wi-ath shall bum and flame out like an oven or a fiery fur- 
nace before him, while the wicked stand in his sight ! 
Matt. xiii. 60. 


The terror of the Lord, how will it appear, while the 
angels at his command shall gather the wicked to burn 
them ! " As the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, 
so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man 
shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather together 
out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them that do 
iniquity, and shall cast them into a fui-nace of fire, where 
there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth ;" Matt. xiii. 
40-42. Who can conceive this terror ! much more unable 
are men to express it with tongue or pen ; yet the truly 
penitent and sin-confessing Publican hath apprehension 
so far thereof, by the word of the testimony, that it driveth 
him to God with a confession of sin for an interest in God's 
mercy. But, 

4. To right and sincere confession of sin there must be a 
conviction of a probability of mercy. This also is intimated 
by the Publican in his confession ; " God (saith he) be mer- 
ciful to me a sinner." He had some glimmerings of mercy, 
some conviction of a probability of mercy, or that he 
might obtain mercy for his pardon, if he went and with 
unfeigned lips did confess his sins to God. 

Despair of mercy shuts up the mouth, makes the heart 
hard, and drives a man away from God ; as is manifest in 
the case of Adam and the fallen angels. But the least in- 
timation of mercy, if the heart can but touch, feel, taste, or 
have the least probability of it, that will open the mouth, 
tend to soften the heart, and to make a very publican come 
up to God into the temple, and say, " God be merciful to 
me a sinner." 

There must then be this holy mixture of things in the 
heart of a truly confessing publican. There must be sound 
sense of sin, sound knowledge of God, deep conviction of the 
certainty and ten-ibleness of the day of judgment, as also 
of the probability of obtaining mercy. But to come to 
that which remains ; I told you that there were two things 
that did make unfeigned confession hard. The first I have 
touched upon. 

Secondly f And now the second follows : and that is, some 


private leaning to some goodness a man shall conceit that 
he hath done before, or is doing now, or that he purposeth 
to prevail with God for the pardon of sins. This man, to 
be sure, knows not sin in the nature and evil of it, only he 
has some false apprehensions about it. For where the 
right knowledge of sin is in the heart, that man sees so 
much evil in the least transgressions, as that it would 
break the back of all the angels of heaven should the 
great God impute it to them. And he that sees this is far 
enough off from thinking of doing to mitigate or assuage 
the rigour of the law, or to make pardonable his o^\^l trans- 
gressions thereby. But he that sees not this, cannot con- 
fess his transgressions aright ; for true confession consisteth 
in the general, in a man's taking to himself his transgres- 
sions, with the acknowledgment of them to be his, and that 
he cannot stir from under them, nor do anything to make 
amends for them, or to palliate the rigoui- of justice against 
the soul. And this the Publican did when he cried, " God 
be merciful to me a sinner." 

He made his sins his own ; he stood before God in them, 
accounting that he was surely undone for ever, if God did 
not extend forgiveness unto him. And this is to do as the 
prophet Jeremiah bids ; to wit, only to acknowledge our 
iniquities, to acknowledge them at the terrible bar of God's 
justice, until mercy takes them out of the way ; not by do- 
ing, or promising to do, either this or that good work. 
And the reason of this kind of confession is, 

(1.) Because this carrieth in it the true nature of confss- 
eion ; to confess, and plead for mercy under the crimes con- 
fessed, without shifts and evasions, is the only real simple 
way of confession. " I said, I will confess my transgres- 
sions to the Lord ;" and what then 1 " and thou forgavest 
the iniquity of my sin." Mark, nothing comes in betwixt 
confession and forgiveness of sin, Psalm xxxii. 6 ; nothing 
of works of righteousness, nothing of legal amendments, 
nothing but an outcry for mercy ; and that act is so far off 
from lessening the offence, that it greatly heightens and 
aggravates it. That is the first reason. 


(2.) A second reason is, Because God doth expect that 
the penitent confessors should not only confess, but bear 
their shame on them : yea, saith God, " Be thou confounded 
also, and bear thine own shame :" when God takes away 
thine iniquity, thou shalt " be confounded, and never open 
thy mouth more, because of thy shame ;" Ezek. xvi. 52, 54, 
62, 63. We count it convenient that men, when their 
crimes and ti-ansgressions are to be manifested, that they be 
set in some open place with a piece paper, wherein their 
transgressions are inserted, that they may not only confess, 
but bear their own shame. At the penitential confession of 
sinners God has something to do ; if not before men, yet 
before angels, that they may behold, and be affected, and 
rejoice when they shall see, after the revelation of sin, the 
sinner taken into the favour and abundant mercy of God ; 
Luke XV. 

(3.) A third reason is, for that God will, in the forgive- 
ness of sin, magnify the riches of his mercy ; but this can-, 
not be, if God shall suffer, or accept of such confession of 
sin, as is yet intermixed with those things that will darken 
the heinousness of the offence. 

That God, in the salvation, and so in the confession, of 
the sinner, designs the magnifying of his mercy, is appa-- 
rent enough from the whole current of scripture ; and that, 
any of the things now mentioned will, if suffered to be 
done, darken and eclipse this thing, is evident to reason 

Suppose a man stand indicted for treason, yet shall so 
order the matter that it shall ring in the country that, 
his offenc"« are but petty crimes ; though the king shall 
forgive thu man, much glory shall not thereby redound 
to the riches and greatness of his mercy. But let all 
things lie naked, let nothing lie hid or covered, let sin be 
seen, shewn, and confessed, as it is in the sinner himself, 
and then there will be in his forgiveness a magnifying of 

(4.) A foui-th reason is, for else God cannot be justified 
in his sayings, nor overcome when he is judged ; Psalm 


li. ; Rom. iii. God's word hath told us what sin is, both 
as to its natui-e and evil effects ; God's word hath told us, 
that the best of our righteousness is no better than filthy 
rags. God's word has also told us, that sin is forgiven us 
freely by grace, and not for the sake of our amendments : 
and all this God shews, not only in the acts of his mercy 
toward, but even in the humiliations and confessions of, the 
penitent ; for God will have his mercy to be displayed even 
there where the sinner hath taken his first step toward 
him : " That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so grace 
might reign through righteousness unto eternal life by 
Jesus Christ our Lord ;" Rom. v. 21. 

(5.) A fifth reason is, because God would have by the 
Publican's conversion others affected with the displays and 
discoveries of wonderful grace, but not to cloud and cover 
it with lessening of sin. 

For what will such say when sin begins to appear to 
conscience, and when the law shall follow it with a voice 
of words, each one like a clap of thunder ? I say, what 
will such say, when they shall read that the Publican did 
only acknowledge his iniquity, and found grace and favour 
of God ? That God is infinitely merciful to those or to 
such as in truth stand in need of mercy. Also, that he 
sheweth mercy of his own good pleasui-e, nothing moving 
him thereto. 

I say, this is the way to make others be affected with 
mercy, as he saith, by the apostle Paul, " But God, who 
is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved 
us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us to- 
gether with Christ (by grace ye are saved) ; and hath 
raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly 
places in Christ Jesus ; that in the ages to come he might 
shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness to 
US-ward (or toward us) through Christ Jesus ;" Eph. ii. 
4r-7. You may also see that 1 Tim. i. 15, 16. 

(6.) Another reason of this is, because this is the way to 
lieighten the comfort and consolation of the soul, and that 
both here and hereafter. What tendeth more to this, than 


for sinners to see, and with guilt and amazement to confess, 
wliat sin is, and so to have pardon extended from God to 
the sinner as such 1 This fills the heart ; it ravishes the 
soul ; puts joy into the thoughts of salvation from sin, and 
deliverance from wrath to come. Now they " return, and 
come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their 
heads : they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and 
sighing shall flee away;" Isa. xxxv. 10. Indeed, the be- 
lief of this makes joy and gladness endless. 

(7.) Besides, it layeth upon the soul the greatest obliga- 
tions to holiness. What like the apprehension of free for- 
giveness (and that apprehension must come in through a 
sight of the greatness of sin, and of inability to do any 
thing towards satisfaction), to engage the heart of a rebel 
to love his prince, and to submit to his laws 1 

When Elisha had taken the Syrian captives, some were 
for using severities towards them ; but he said, " Set bread 
and water before them, that they may eat and drink and 
go to their master ;" and they did so. And what follows ? 
"So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of 
Israel," — he conquered their malice with his compassion. 
And it is the love of Christ that constraineth to live to 
Mm ; 2 Kings vi. 13-23 ; 2 Cor. v. 14. 

Many other things might possibly be urged, but at pre- 
sent let these be sufficient. 

The SECOND thing that we made mention of in the 
Publican's prayer, was an imploring of help against this 
malady : " God be merciful to me a sinner." In which 
petition I shall take notice of several things. 

Firsts That a man's help against sin doth not so abso- 
lutely lie in his personal conquest as in the pardon of 
them. I suppose a conquest, though there can indeed by 
man be none so long as he liveth in this world, I mean, 
a complete conquest and annihilation of sin. 

The Publican, and so every graciously awakened sinner, 
is doubtless for the subduing of sin ; but yet he looketh 
that the chief help against it doth lie in the pardon of 
it. Suppose a man should stab his neighbour with his 


knife, and afterwards bum his knife to nothing in the fire, 
would this give him help against his murder 1 No, verily, 
nothwithstanding this, his neck is obnoxious to the halter, 
yea, and his soul to hell-fire. But a pardon gives him ab- 
solute help : It is God that justifies ; w^ho shall condemn % 
Rom. viii. Suppose a man should live many days in re- 
bellion against God, and after that leave off to live any 
longer so rebelliously, would this help him against the 
guilt which he had contracted before ? No, verily ; without 
remission there is no help, but the rebel is undone. Where- 
fore the first blessedness, yea, and that w^ithout which all 
other things cannot make one blessed, it lies in pardon. 
" Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is 
covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord will not 
impute sin ;" Psalm xxxii. ; Rom. iv. 

Suppose a man greatly sanctified and made holy ; I say, 
suppose it : yet if the sins before committed by him be not 
pardoned, he cannot be a blessed man. 

Yet again, suppose a man should be caught up to heaven, 
not having his sins pardoned ; heaven itself cannot make 
him a blessed man. I suppose these things — not that they 
can be — to illustrate my matter. There can be no blessed- 
ness upon any man who yet remaineth unforgiven. You 
see therefore here, that there was much of tlie wisdom of 
the Holy Ghost in this prayer of the Publican. He was 
directed the right, the only, the next way to shelter, where 
blessedness begins, even to mercy for the pardon of his sins. 
Alas ! what would it advantage a traitor to be taken up 
into the king's coach, to be clothed with tlie king's royal 
robe, to have put upon his finger the king's gold ring, and 
to be made to wear, for the present, a chain of gold about 
his neck, if after all this the king should say unto him, 
But I will not pardon thy rebellion ; thou shalt die for thy 
treason ? Pardon, then, to him that loves life, is better, and 
more to be preferred and sought after, than all other things ; 
yea, it is the highest wisdom in any sinner to seek after 
that first. 

This therefore confuteth the blindness of some, and the 


hypocrisy of others. Some are so silly and so blind as 
quite to forget and look over the pardon of sin, and to lay 
their happiness in some external amendments, when, alas ! 
poor wretches as they are, they abide under the wrath of 
God. Or if they be not quite so foolish as utterly to forget 
the forgiveness of sin, yet they think of it but in the second 
place ; they are for setting of sanctification before justifi- 
cation, and so seek to confound the order of God ; and 
that which is worse unto them, they by so doing do what 
they can to keep themselves indeed from being sharers in 
that great blessing of forgiveness of sins by grace. 

But the Publican here was guided by the wisdom of hea- 
ven. He comes into the temple, he confesseth himself a 
sinner, and forthwith, without any delay, before he re- 
moveth his foot from where he stands, craves help of par- 
don ; for he knew that all other things, if he remained in 
guilt, would not help him against that damnation that be- 
longed to a vile and unforgiven sinner. 

This also confateth the hypocrites, such as is our Pha- 
risee here in the text, that glory in nothing so much as 
that they are not as other men, not unjust, no adulterer, 
no extortioner, nor even as this Publican ; and thus miss 
of the forgiveness of sin ; and if they have missed of tha 
beginning good, they shall never, as so standing, receive 
the second or the third. Justification, sanctification, glo- 
rification, they are the three things, but the order of God 
must not be perverted. Justification must be first, because 
that comes to man while he is ungodly and a sinner. 

Justification cannot be where God has not passed a par- 
don. A pardon, then, is the first thing to be looked after 
by the sinner. This the Pharisee did not ; therefore he went 
down to his house unjustified ; he set the stumbling-block 
of his iniquity before his face when he went to inquire of 
the Lord ; and as he neglected, slighted, scorned, because 
he thought that he had no need of pardon, therefore it was 
given to the poor, needy, and miserable Publican, and he 
went away with the blessing. 

Publicans, since tliis is so weighty a point, let me ex- 



hort you that you do not forget this prayer of your wise 
and elder brother, to wit, the Publican that went up into 
the temple to pray. I say, forget it not, neither suffer any 
vain-glorious or self-conceited hypocrites with arguments 
to allure you with their silly and deceitful tongues from 
this wholecome doctrine. Remember that you are sinners 
as abominable as the Publican, wherefore do you, as 
you have him for your pattern, go to God, confess, in all 
simple, honest, and self-abasing, your numerous and abo- 
minable sins ; and be sure that in the very next place you 
forget not to ask for pardon, saying, " God be merciful to 
me a sinner." And remember that none but God can help 
you against, nor keep you from, the damnation and misery 
that comes by sin. 

Secondly, As the Publican imploreth help, so notmth- 
standing the sentence of the law that is gone out against 
him, he saith to God, Be m3rciful to me : and also in that 
he concludes himself a sinner. I say, he justifieth, he 
approveth of the sentence of the law, that was now gone 
out against him, and by which he now stood condemned 
in his own conscience before the tribunal of God's justice. 
He saith not as the hypocrite. Because I am innocent, 
surely his anger shall turn from me ; or. What have we 
spoken so much against thee ? No, he is none of these 
murmurers or complainers, but fairly falls before the law, 
witnesses, judge, and jury, and consenteth to the verdict, 
sentence, and testimony of each of them ; Jer. ii. 36 ; Mai. 
ii. 13. 

To illustrate this a little, suppose a malefactor should 
be arraigned before a judge, and that after the witnesses, 
jury, and judge, have all condemned him to death for his 
fact, the judge again should ask him what he can say for 
himself why sentence of death should not pass upon him ? 
Now, if he saith. Nothing, but good my lord, mercy ; he 
confesseth the indictment, approveth of the verdict of the 
jury, and consenteth to the judgment of the judge. 

The Publican therefore in crying, Mercy, justifieth the 
sentence of'the law that was gone out against hia sins. He 


wrangletli not with the law, saying, that was too severe ; 
though many men do thus, saying, " God forbid ; for then 
woe be to us." He wrangleth not with the witness, which 
was his own conscience ; though some will buffet, smite, 
and stop its mouth, or command it to be silent. He 
wi-angleth not with the jury, which were the prophets and 
apostles ; though some men cannot abide to hear all that 
they say. He wrangleth not with the judge, nor sheweth 
himself irreverently before him ; but in all humble ges- 
tures that could bespeak him acquiescing with the sen- 
tence, he llieth to mercy for relief. 

Nor is tliis alone the way of the Publican ; but of other 
godly men before his time. When David was condemned, 
he justified the sentence and the judge, out of whose mouth 
it proceeded, and so fled for succour to the mercy of God ; 
Psalm li. When Shemaiah the prophet pronounced God's 
judgments against the princes of Judah for their sin, they 
said, " The Lord is righteous." When the church in the 
Lamentations had reckoned up several of her grievous afflic- 
tions wherewith she had been chastised, she, instead of com- 
plaining, doth justify the Lord, and approve of the sentence 
that was passed upon her, saying, " The Lord is righteous ; 
for I have rebelled against his commandment." So Daniel, 
after he had enumerated the evils that befel the church in 
his day, addeth, " Therefore hath the Lord brought it upon 
us ; for the Lord our God is righteous in all his works which 
he doth : for we obeyed not his voice ;" 2 Chi'on. xii. 6 ; 
Lam. i. 18 ; Dan. ix. 14. 

And this is the case with our Publican. He has trans- 
gressed a law that is holy, just, and good : the witness that 
accuseth him of this is God and his conscience ; he ia 
also cast by the verdict of holy men ; and all this he 
knows, and implicitly confesses, even in that he directs his 
prayer unto his judge for pardon. And it is one of the ex- 
cellentest sights in the world, to see or understand a sinner 
thus honestly receiving the sentence of the law that ia 
gone out against him ; to see and hoar a Publican tlius 
to justify God. And this God would have men do for these 


1. That it might be conspicuous to all that the Publican 
has need of mercy. This is for the glory of the justice of 
God, because it vindicates it in its goings out against the 
Publican. God loveth to do things in justice and right- 
eousness, when he goeth out against men, though it be but 
such a going out against them as only tendeth to their 
conviction and conversion. When he dealt with our father 
Abraham in this matter, he called him to his foot, as here he 
doth the Publican. And, sinner, if God counts thee worthy to 
inherit the throne of glory, he will bring thee hither. But, 

2. The Publican, by the power of conviction, stoops to, 
and falleth under, the righteous sentence gone forth against 
him, that it might be also manifest, that what afterward he 
shall receive is of the mere grace and sovereign goodness of 
God. And indeed there is no way that doth more naturally 
tend to make this manifest than this. For thus ; there is 
a man proceeded against for life by the law, and the sen- 
tence of death is, in conclusion, most justly and righteously 
passed upon him by the judge. Suppose now, that after 
this, this man lives, and is exalted to honour, enjoys great 
things, and is put into place of trust and power, and that by 
him that he has offended, even by him that did pass the 
sentence upon him. 

What will all say, or what will they conclude, even upon 
the very first hearing of this story ] Will they not say. 
Well, whoever he was that found himself wrapped up 
in this strange providence, must thank the mercy of a 
gracious prince ; for all these things bespeak grace and 
favour. But, 

3. As the Publican falleth willingly under the sentence, 
and justifieth the passing of it upon him ; so by his flying 
to mercy for help, he declareth to all that he cannot deliver 
himself: he putteth help away from himself, or saith, It 
is not in me. 

This, I say, is another thing included in this prayer, and 
it is a thing distinct fi-om that. For it is possible for a man 
to justify, and fall under, the sentence of the judge, and yet 
retain that with himself that will certainly deliver him 


from that sentence when it has done its worst. Many have 
held up their hand, and cried Guilty, at the bar, and yet 
have fetched themselves off for all that ; but then they have 
not pleaded mercy -(for he that doth so, puts his life alto- 
gether into the hands of another), but privilege or good 
deeds, either done or to be done by them. But the Publi- 
can in our text puts all out of his own hand ; and in effect 
saith to that God before whom he went up into the tem- 
ple to pray. Lord, I stand here condemned at the bar of 
thy justice, and that worthily, for the sentence is good, 
and hath in righteousness gone out against me : nor can I 
deliver myself : I heartily and freely confess I cannot ; 
wherefore I betake myself only to thy mercy, and do pray 
thee to forgive the transgressions of me a sinner. how 
few be there of such kind of publicans, I mean of publicans 
thus made sensible, that come unto God for mercy I 

Mercy, with most, is rather a compliment, I mean while 
they plead it with God, than a matter of absolute necessity ; 
they have not awfully, and in judgment and conscience, fal- 
len under the sentence, nor put themselves out of all plea 
but the plea of mercy ; indeed, thus to do is the effect of the 
proof of the vanity and emptiness of all experiments made 
use of before. 

Now, there is a twofold proof of experiments ; the one is 
the result of practice, the other is the result of faith. 

The woman with her bloody issue made her proof by 
practice, when she had spent all that she had upon physi- 
cians, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse ; 
Mark v. But our Publican here proves the emptiness and 
vanity of any other helps, by one cast of faith upon the 
contents of the Bible, and by another look upon his present 
state of condemnation ; wherefore he presently, without 
any more ado, condemneth all other helps, ways, modes, or 
means of deliverance, and betakes himself only to the mercy 
of God : saying, " God be merciful to me a sinner." 

And herein he sheweth wonderful wisdom. For, 

1. By this he thrusts himself under the shelter and 
blessing of the promise ; and I am sure it is better and safer 


to do SO, than to rely upon the best of excellencies that this 
world can afford : Hos. xiv. 1-3. 

2. He takes the ready way to please God : for God 
takes more delight in shewing of mercy than in any thing 
that we can do ; Hos. vi. 6 ; Matt. ix. 13 ; xii. 7. Yea, 
and that also is the man that pleaseth him, even he that 
hopes in his mercy; Psalm cxlvii. 11. The Publican, 
therefore, whatever the Pharisee might think, stood all 
this while upon sure ground, and had by far the start of 
him for heaven. Alas ! his dull head could look no fur- 
tlier than to the conceit of the pitiful beauty and splendour 
of his own filthy righteousness. Nor durst he leave 
that to ti-ust wholly to the mercy of God ; but the Pub- 
lican conies out, though in his sins, yet like an awakened, 
enlightened, resolved man, and first abases himself, then 
gives God the glory of his justice, and after that the glory 
of his mercy, by saying, " God be merciful to me a sinner ;" 
and thus in the ears of the angels he did ring the changes 
of heaven. And, 

3. The Publican, in his thus putting himself upon 
mercy, sheweth, that in his opinion there is more virtue 
in mercy to save, than there is in the law and sin to con- 
demn. And although this is not counted a great matter 
to do, while men are far from the law, and while their 
conscience is asleep within them ; j^et wh?n the law comes 
near, and conscience is awake, who so tries it will find it 
a laborious work. Cain could not do thus for his heart, 
no, nor Saul ; nor Judas either. This is another kind of 
thing than most men think it to be, or shall find it, when- 
ever they shall behold God's angry face, and when they 
shall hear the words of his law. 

However, our Publican did it, and ventured his body, 
soul, and future condition for ever on this bottom with 
other the saints and servants of God, leaving the world to 
swim over the sea of God's wrath (if they will) in their 
weak and simple vessels of bulrushes, or to lean upon their 
cobweb-hold, when he shall arise to the judgment that he 
hath appointed. 


In the mean time, pray God awaken us as he did the 
Publican ; pray God enlighten us as he did the Publican ; 
pray God grant us boldness to come to him as the Publi- 
can did ; and also in that trembling spirit as he did, when 
he cried in the temple before him, " God be merciful to me 
a sinner." 

Thus liaving passed over his prayer, we come in the next 
place to his gestuiies ; for in my judgment the right under- 
standing of them will give us yet more conviction of the 
Publican's sense and awakening of spirit under this present 
action of his. 

And I have observed many a poor wretch that hath 
readily had recourse to the Publican's prayer, that never 
knew what the Publican's gestures, in the presence of God, 
while in prayer before him, did mean. I^or must any man 
be admitted to think, that those gestures of his were a cus- 
tom, and a formality among the Jews in those days ; for 
it is evident enough by the carriage of the Pharisee, that it 
was below them and their mode, when they came into the 
temple, or when they prayed any where else ; and they 
in those days were counted for the best of men ; and 
in religious matters men were to imitate and take their 
examples at the hands of the best, not at the hands of the 

The Publican's gestures then were properly his own ; 
caused by the guilt of sin, and by that dread of the ma- 
jesty of God that was upon his spirit. And a comely 
posture it was, else Christ Jesus, the Son of God, would 
never have taken that particular notice thereof as he did, 
nor have smiled upon it so much as to take, and distinctly 
repeat it, as that which made his prayer the more weighty, 
also to be taken notice of. Yea, in my opinion, the Lord 
Jesus committed it to record, for that he liked it, and for 
that it will pass for some kind of touchstone of prayer that 
is made in good sense of sin and of God, and of need of his 
goodness and mercy. For verily, all these postures signify 
sense, sight of a lost condition, and a heart in good earnest 
for mercy. 


I know that tliey may be counterfeited, and Christ Jesus 
knows who doth so too ; but that will not liinder, or make 
weak or invalid what hath already been spoken about it. 
But to forbear to make a further prologue, and to come to 
the handling of particulars : 

" And the Publican standing afar off, would not lift 
up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his 
breast," &c. 

Three things, as I told you already, we may perceive in 
these words, by which his publican posture or gestures are 
set forth. 

1. He stands " afar off." 

2. He " would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven." 
■ 3. He " smote upon his breast," &c. 

For the first of these. He stood afar off. " And the 
Publican standing afar off." This is, I say, the first thing, 
the first posture of his with which we are acquainted, and 
it infonueth us of several things. 

First, That he came not with senselessness of the ma- 
jesty of God when he came to pray, as the Pharisee did, 
and as sinners commonly do. For this standing back, or 
afar off, declares, that the majesty of God had an awe upon 
his spirit ; he saw whither, to whom, and for what, he was 
now approaching the temple. It is said in the 20th of 
Exodus, that when the people saw the thunderings and 
lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain 
smoking (and all these were signs of God's terrible presence 
and dreadful majesty), they removed themselves, and " stood 
afar off ;" Exod. xx. 18. This behaviour, therefore, of the 
Publican did well become his present action, especially since, 
in his own eyes, he was yet an unforgiven sinner. Alas. ! 
what is God's majesty to a sinful man but a consuming 
fire ? And what is a sinful man in himself, or in his ap- 
proach to God, but as stubble fully dry ? 

How then could the Publican do otherwise (than what 
he did) than stand afar off, if he either thought of God or 
himself 1 Indeed the people afore named, before they saw 
God in his terrible majesty, could scarcely be kept off from 


the mount with words and bounds, as it is now the case of 
many : their blindness gives them boldness ; their rudeness 
gives them confidence ; but when they shall see what the 
Publican saw, and felt, and understood, as he, they will 
pray and stand afar off, even as these people did. They re- 
moved and stood afar off, and then fell to praying of Moses, 
that this dreadful sight and sound might be taken from 
them. And what if I should say, he stood afar off for fear 
of a blow, though he came for mercy, as it is said of them, 
" They stood afar off for fear of her torments;" Rev. xviii. 
10, 18. 

I know what it is to go to God for mercy, and stand all 
that while through fear afar off ; being possessed with this, 
will not God now smite me at once to the ground for my 
sins 1 David thought something when he said as he prayed, 
" Cast me not away from thy presence ; and take not thy 
Holy Spirit from me ;" Psalm li. 11. 

There is none knows, but those that have them, what 
turns and returns, what coming on and going off, there is in 
the spirit of a man that indeed is awakened, and that stands 
awakened before the glorious Majesty in prayer. The pro- 
digal also made his prayer to his Father intentionally, while 
he was yet a great way off. And so did the lepers too : 
" And as he entered into a certain village there met him ten 
men that were lepers, which stood afar off : and they lifted 
up their voices and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us ;" 
Luke xvii. 12, 13. 

See here, it has been the custom of praying men to 
keep their distance, and not to be rudely bold in rushing 
into the presence of the holy and heavenly Majesty, espe- 
cially if they have been sensible of their own vileness and 
sins, as the prodigal, the lepers, and our poor Publican 
was. Yea, Peter himself, when upon a time he perceived 
more than commonly he did of the majesty of Jesus his 
Lord, what doth he do ? " When Simon Peter saw it 
(says the text), he fell do\\Ti at Jesus' knees, saying. De- 
part from me, for I am a sinful man, Lord ;" Luke v. 
3-8. Oh ! when men see God and themselves, it fills them 


with holy fear of the greatness of the majesty of God, as 
well as with love to, and desire after, his mercy. 

Besides, hy his standing afar off, it might he to intimate 
that he now had in mind, and with great weight upon his 
conscience, the infinite distance that was betwixt God and 
him. Men should know tliat, and tremble in the thoughts 
of it, when they are about to approach the omnipotent 

What is poor sorry man, poor dust and ashes, that he 
should crowd it up, and go jostlingly into the presence of 
the great God — especially since it is apparent the dispro- 
portion that is betwixt God and him ] Esther, when she 
went to supplicate the king her husband for her people, 
made us3 neither of her beauty nor relation, nor the pri- 
vileges of which she might have had temptation to make 
use of, especially at such a time, and in such exigencies, as 
then did compass her about ; but, I say, she made not use 
of them to thrust herself into his presence, but knew, and 
kept her distance, standing in the inward court of his 
palace until he held out the golden sceptre to her ; then 
Esther drew near, and touched the top thereof; Esth. 
V. 1, 2. 

Men, also, when they come into tlie presence of God, 
should know their distance ; yea, and shew that they know 
it too, by such gestures, and carriages, and behaviour, that 
are seemly. A remarkable saying is that of Solomon, 
" Keep thy foot," saith he, " when thou goest into the house 
of God, and be more ready to hear than to give the sacri- 
fice of fools ; for they consider not that they do evil." And 
as they should keep their foot, so also he adds, " Be not 
rash with tliy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to 
utter any thing before God ; for God is in heaven, and thou 
upon eartli, therefore let thy words be few ;" Eccles. v. 1, 2. 

Three things the Holy Ghost exhorteth to in this text. 

The one is. That we look to our feet, and not be forward 
to crowd into God's presence. 

Another is, That we should also look well to our tongues, 
that they be not rash in uttering any thing before God. 


And the third is, Because of the infinite distance that is 
betwixt God and us, which is intimated by these words, 
" For God is in heaven, and thou upon earth." 

The Publican therefore shewed great wisdom, holy shame, 
and humility, in this brave gesture of his, namely, in his 
standing afar off when he went up into the temple to pray. 
But this is not all. 

Secondly, The Publican, in standing afar off, left room 
for an Advocate and Iligh-priest, a Day's-man, to come 
betwixt, to make peace between God and his poor crea- 
ture. Moses, the great mediator of the Old Testament, was 
to go nigher to God than the rest of the elders, or those of 
the people ; Exod. xx. 21. Yea, the rest of the people w'ere 
expressly commanded to worship, " standing afar off." 
Ko man of the sons of Aaron that had a blemish was to 
come nigh. " No man that hath a blemish of the seed 
of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings 
of the Lord made by fire. He shall not come nigh to 
offer the bread of his God ;" Lev. xxi. 21. 

The Publican durst not be his own mediator ; he knew 
he had a blemish, and was infinn, and therefore he stands 
back ; for he knew that it was none of him that his God 
had chosen to come near unto him, to offer " the fat and 
the blood ;" Ezsk. xliv. 13-15. The Publican, therefore, 
was thus far right ; he took not up the room himself, neither 
with his person nor his performances, but stood back, 
and gave place to the High-priest that was to be inter- 

We read, that Avhen Zacharias w^ent into the temple to 
bum incense, as at the time his lot was, " The whole multi- 
tude of the people were praying without ;" Luke i. 9, 10. 
They left him where he was, near to God, between God and 
them, mediating for them ; for the offering of incense by 
the chief-priest was a figurative making of intercession for 
the people, and they maintained their distance. 

It is a great matter in praying to God, not to go too far, nor 
come too short, in that duty, I mean in the duty of prayer; 
and a man is very apt to do one or the other. The Pharisee 


went so far ; he was too bold ; he came into the temple 
making such a ruffle with his owti excellencies, that there 
was in his thouglits no need of a Mediator. He also went 
up so nigh to God, that he took up the room and place of 
the Mediator himself ; but this poor Publican, he knows 
his distance, and keeps it, and leaves room for the High- 
priest to come and intercede for him with God. He stood 
afar off : not too far off ; for that is the room and place of 
unbelievers ; and in that sense this saying is true, " For, 
lo, they that are far from thee shall perish ;" Psalm Ixxiii. 
27 ; that is, they whose unbelief hath set their hearts and 
affections more upon their idols, and that have been made 
to cast God behind their backs, to follow and go a-whoring 
after them. 

Hitherto, therefore, it appears, that though the Pharisee 
had more righteousness than the Publican, yet the Publican 
had more spiritual righteousness than the Pharisee ; and 
that though the Publican had a baser and more ugly out- 
side than the Pharisee, yet the Publican knew how to 
prevail with God for mercy better than he. 

As for the Publican's posture of standing in prayer, it is 
excusable, and that by the very Father of the faithful 
himself : for Abraham stood praying when he made inter- 
cession for Sodom ; Gen. xviii. 22, 23. Christ also alloweth 
it, where he saith, " And when ye stand praying, forgive, 
if ye have ought against any ; that your Father also which 
is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses ;" Mark xi. 25. 
Indeed there is no stinted order prescribed for our thus 
behaving of ourselves in prayer, whether kneeling, or stand- 
ing, or walking, or lying, or sitting ; for all these postures 
have been used by the godly. Paul " kneeled down and 
prayed ;" Acts xx. 36. Abraham and the Publican stood 
and prayed. David prayed as he walked ; 2 Sam. xv. 30, 
31. Abraham prayed lying upon his face ; Gen. xvii. 17, 18. 
Moses prayed sitting ; Exod. xvii. 12. And indeed prayer, 
effectual fervent prayer, may be, and often is, made unto 
God under all these circumstances of behaviour : for God 
has not tied us up to any of them ; and he that shall tie 


himself, or his people, to any of these, doth more than he 
hath warrant for from God : and let such take care of 
innovating ; it is the next way to make men hypocrites 
and dissemblers in those duties in which they should be 

True, which of those soever a man shall choose to him- 
self for the present, to perform this solemn duty in, it is 
required of him, and Gods expects it, that he should pray 
to him in ti-uth, and with desire, affection, and hunger, 
after those things that with his tongue he maketh men- 
tion of before the throne of God. And indeed without 
this, all is nothing. But alas ! how few be there in the 
world whose heart and mouth in prayer shall go together ? 
Dost thou, when thou askest for the Spirit, or faith, or 
love to God, to holiness, to saints, to the word, and the 
like, ask for them with love to them, desire of them, 
hungering after them ? Oh ! this is a mighty thing ! and 
yet prayer is no more before God, than as it is seasoned 
with these blessed qualifications. Wherefore it is said, that 
while men are praying, God is searching of the heart, to 
see what is the meaning of the Spirit (or whether there be 
the Spirit and his meaning in all that the mouth hath ut- 
tered, either by words, sighs, or groans), because it is by 
him, and through his help only, that any make prayers 
according to the will of God ; Rom. viii. 26, 27. Whatever 
thy posture therefore shall be, see that thy prayers be per- 
tinent and fervent, not mocking of thine own soul with 
words, while thou wantest, and art an utter stranger to, the 
very vital and living spirit of prayer. 

Now, our Publican had and did exercise the very spirit 
of prayer in prayer. He prayed sensibly, seriously, affec- 
tionately, hungering, thirsting, and with longing after that 
for which with his mouth he implored the God of heaven ; 
his heai-t and soul was in his words, and it was that which 
made his prayer prater ; even because he prayed in 
PRAYER ; he prayed inwardly as well as outwardly. 

David tells us, that God heard the voice of his supplica- 
tion, the voice of his cry, the voice of his tears, and the 


voice of his roaiing. For indeed are all these acceptahle. 
Affection and fervent desire make them sound well in the 
ears of God. Tears, supplications, prayers, cries, may be 
all of them done in formality, hypocrisy, and from other 
causes, and to other ends, than that which is honest and 
right in God's sight : for God would search and look after 
the voice of his tears, supplications, roarings, prayers, and 

And if men had less care to please men, and more to 
please God, in the matter and manner of praying, the world 
w^ould he at a better pass than it is. But this is not in 
man's power to help and to amend. When the Holy Ghost 
comes upon men with great conviction of their state and 
condition, and of the use and excellency of the grace of 
sincerity and humility in prayer, then, and not till then, 
will the grace of prayer be more prized, and the specious, 
flounting, complimentary lips of flatterers, be more laid 
aside. I have said it already, and will say it again, that 
there is now-a-days a great deal of wickedness committed 
in the very duty of prayer ; by words of which men have 
no sense by reaching after such conclusion and clenshes 
therein, as make their persons be admired ; by studying for, 
and labouring after, such enlargements as the spirit accom- 
panieth not the heart in. Lord God, make our hearts 
upright in us, as in all points and parts of our profession, 
so in this solemn appointment of God ! " If I regard ini- 
quity in my heart," said David, " the Lord will not hear 
my prayer." But if I be truly sincere, he will ; and then 
it is no matter whether I kneel, or stand, or sit, or lie, or 
walk ; for I shall do none of these, nor put up my prayers 
under any of these circumstances, lightly, foolishly, and 
idly, but to beautify this gesture with the inward working 
of my mind and spirit in prayer ; that whether I stand or 
sit, walk or lie down, grace and gravity, humility and sin- 
cerity, shall make my prayer profitable, and my outward 
behaviour comely in his eyes, with whom (in prayer) I 
now have to do. 

And had not our Publican been inwardly seasoned with 


ttese, Christ would have taken but little pleasure in his 
modes and outward behaviour: but being so honest in- 
wardly, and in the matter of his prayer, his gestures by 
that were made beauteous also ; and therefore it is that our 
Lord so delightfully delateth upon them, and draweth them 
out at length before the eyes of others. 

I have often observed, that which is natural and so 
comely in one, looks odiously when imitated by another. 
I speak as to gestures and actions in preaching and prayer. 
Many, I doubt not, but will imitate the Publican, and 
that both in the prayer and gestures of the Publican, 
whose persons and actions will yet stink in the nostrils of 
him that is holy and just, and that searcheth the heart and 
the reins. 

Well, the Publican stood and prayed ; he stood afar 
off, and prayed, and his prayers came even to the ears of 

" And the Publican standing afar off, would not lift up 
80 much as his eyes to heaven," &c. 

We are now come to another of his postures. He would 
not, says the text, so much as lift up his eyes to heaven. 
Here, therefore, was another gesture added to that which 
went before ; and a gesture that a great while before had 
been condemned by the Holy Ghost himself. " Is it such 
a fast that I have chosen, a day for a man to afflict his 
soul ? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush ?" Isa. 
Iviii. 6. 

But wh}^ condemned then, and smiled upon now ? Why ? 
Because done in hypocrisy then, and in sincerity now. 
Hypocrisy, and a spirit of error, that he shall take no plea- 
sure in them ; but sincerity, and honesty in duties, will make 
even them comely in the sight of men — may I not say be- 
fore God ? The Rechabites were not commanded of God, 
but of their father, to do as they did ; but, because they 
were sincere in their obedience thereto, even God himself 
maketh use of what they did, to condemn the disobedience 
of the Jews ; and, moreover, doth tell the Rechabites at last, 
that they should not want a man to stand before hun for 


ever. " And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechab- 
ites, Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, be- 
cause ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your 
father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto 
all that he hath commanded you ; therefore, thus saith the 
Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, Jonadab, the son of Rechab, 
shall not want a man to stand before me for ever." 

He would not lift up his eyes to heaven. Why 1 Surely 
because shame had covered his face. Shame will make a 
man blush and hang his head like a bulrush ; shame for 
sin is a virtue, a comely thing ; yea, a beauty-spot in the 
face of a sinner that cometh to God for mercy. 

God complains of the house of Israel, that they could sin, 
and that without shame ; yea, and threateneth them too 
with sore repeated judgments, because they were not 
ashamed ; it is in Jer. viii. Their crimes in general were, 
they turned every one to his course, as the horse runneth 
into the battle. In particular, they were such as rejected 
God's word ; they loved this world, and set themselves 
against the prophets, crying, " Peace, peace," when they 
cried, " Judgment, judgment !" And were not ashamed 
when they had committed abomination ; " Nay, they were 
not at all ashamed, neither could they blush ; therefore shall 
they fall among them that fall : in the time of their visita- 
tion they shall be cast down, saith the Lord ;" ver. 12. Oh ! 
to stand, or sit, or lie, or kneel, or walk before God in prayer, 
with blushing cheeks for sin, is one of the most excellent 
sights that can be seen in the world. 

Wherefore the church taketh some kind of heart to her- 
self in that she could lie down in her shame ; yea, and makes 
that a kind of an argument with God to prove that her 
prayers did come from her heart, and also that he would 
hear them ; Jer. iii. 22-25. 

Shame for sin argueth sense of sin, yea, a right sense 
of sin, a godly sense of sin. Ephraim pleads this when 
under the hand of God : I was (saith he) " ashamed, 
yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of 
my youth." But what follows ? " Is Ephraim my dear 



son 1 is he a pleasant child ? for since I spake against him, 
I do earnestly remember him still : therefore my bowels 
are troubled for him : I will surely have mercy upon him, 
saiththe Lord;" Jer. xxxi. 19, 20. 

I know that there is a shame that is not the spirit of an 
honest heart, but that rather floweth from sudden surprisal, 
when the sinner is unawares taken in the act — in the very 
manner. And thus sometimes the house of Israel were 
taken : and then, when they blushed, their shame is com- 
pared to the shame of a thief. " As the thief is ashamed 
when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed ; they, 
their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their 

But where were they taken, or about what were they 
found ? Why, they were found " saying to a stock. Thou 
art my father, and to a stone, thou hast brought me forth." 
God catched them thus doing ; and this made tliem ashamed, 
even as the thief is ashamed when the owaier doth catch 
him stealing his horse. 

But this was not the Publican's shame. This shame 
brings not a man into the temple to pray, to stand will- 
ingly, and to take shame before God in prayer. This 
shame makes one rather to fly from his face, and to count 
one's self most at ease when farthest off from God ; Jer. 
ii. 26, 27. 

The Publican's shame, therefore, which he demonstrated 
by hanging down his head, was godly and holy, and 
much like that of the prodigal, when he said, " Father, I 
have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no 
more woi-thy to be called thy son;" Luke xv. 21. I sup- 
,pose that his postures were much the same with the Pub- 
lican's, as were his prayers, for the substance of them. 
however grace did work in both to the same end ! they were 
both of them, after a godly manner, ashamed of their sins. 

" He would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven." 

He could not, he would not : which yet more fully makes 
it appear, that it was shame, not guilt only, or chiefly, 
though it is manifest enough that he had guilt ; by his 


crying, " God be merciful to me a sinner." I say, guilt 
was not the chief cause of hanging down his head, because 
it saith, he would not j for when guilt is the cause of stoop- 
ing, it lieth not in the will, or in the power thereof, to help 
one up. 

David tells us, that when he was under guilt, his ini- 
quities were gone over his head : as an heavy burden, 
they were too heavy for him ; and that with them he was 
bowed down greatly. Or, as he says in another place, 
" Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am 
not able to look up ;" Psalm xxxviii. ; xl. I am not able 
to do it : guilt disableth the understanding and conscience ; 
shame makes all willingly fall at the feet of Christ. 

He would not. He knew what he was, what he had 
been, and should be, if God had not mercy upon him ; 
yea, he knew also that God knew what he was, had been, 
and would be, if mercy prevented not ; wherefore, thought 
he, Wherefore should I lift up the head ? I am no right- 
eous man, no godly man, I have not served God, but Satan ; 
this I know, this God knows, this angels know, wherefore 
I will not lift up the head. It is as much as to say, I will 
not be an hypocrite, like the Pharisee : for lifting up of the 
head signifies innocency and harmlessness of life, or good 
conscience, and the testimony thereof, under and in the 
midst of all accusations. Wherefore this was the counsel 
of Zophar to Job — " If, " saith he, " thou prepare thine 
heart, and stretch out thine hand towards him ; if iniquity 
be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness 
dwell in thy tabernacles. For then shalt thou lift up thy 
face without spot ; yea, thou shalt be steadfast, and shalt not 
fear ;" Job xi. 13-15. 

This was not the Publican's state : he had lived in lewd- 
ness and villany all his days ; nor had he prepared his heart 
to seek the Lord God of his fathers ; he had not cleansed 
his heart nor hands from violence, nor done that wliich was 
lawful and right. He only had been convinced of his evil 
ways, and was come into the temple as he was, all foul, and 
in his filthy garments, and amidst his pollutions ; how then 


could he be innocent, holy, or without spot ? and, conse- 
quently, how could he lift up his face to God ? I remem- 
ber what Abner said to Asahel, " Turn thee aside (said he) 
from following me, wherefore should I smite thee to the 
ground 1 how then should I hold up my face to Joab, thy 
brother ?" 2 Sam. ii. 22. 

As if he had said. If I kill thee, I shall blush, be ashamed, 
and hang my head like a bulrush the next time I come into 
the company of thy brother. 

This was the Publican's case : he was guilty, he had 
sinned, he had committed a trespass ; and now being come 
into the temple, into the presence of that God whose laws 
he had broken, and against whom he had sinned, how 
could he lift up his head 1 how could he do it 1 No, it bet- 
ter became him to take his shame, and to hang his head in 
token of guilt ; and indeed he did, and did it to purpose 
too, for he would not lift up, no not so much as his eyes to 

True, some would have done it ; the Pharisee did it ; 
though if he had considered that hypocrisy and the lean- 
ing to his own righteousness had been a sin, he would 
have found as little cause to have done it as did the Pub- 
lican himself. But, I say he did it, and sped therein ; 
lie went down to his house, as he came up into the temple, 
a poor unjustified Pharisee, whose person and prayer were 
both rejected ; because, like the whore of whom we read in 
the Proverbs, after he had practised all manner of hypo- 
crisy, he comes into the temple and wipes his mouth, and 
saith, " I have done no wickedness ;" Prov. xxx. 20. He 
lifts up his head, his face, his eyes, to heaven ; he struts, 
he vaunts himself ; he swaggers, he vapours, and cries up 
himself, saying, " God I thank thee that I am not as other 
men are." 

True, had he come and stood before a stock or stone, he 
might have said thus, and not have been reprehended ; for 
such are gods that see not, nor hear, neither do they under- 
stand. But to come before the true God, the living God, 
the God that fills heaven and earth by his presence, and 


that knows the things that come into the mind of man, 
even every one of them ; I say, to come into his house, to 
stand hefore him, and thus to lift up his head and eyes 
in such hypocrisy before him, this was ahominahle, this 
was to tempt God, and to prove him, yea, to challenge 
him to know what was in man, if he could, even as those 
who said, " How doth God (see) know 1 can he judge 
through the dark cloud ?" Job xxii. 13; Psalm Ixxiii. 11. 

But the Publican — no — he would not do this ; he would 
not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven. As who should 
say, Lord, I have been against thee a traitor and a rebel, 
and like a traitor and a rebel before thee will I stand. I 
will bear my shame before thee in the presence of the holy 
angels ; yea, I will prevent thy judging of me by judging 
myself in thy sight, and will stand as condemned before 
thee before thou passest sentence upon me. 

This is now for a sinner to go to the end of things. 
For what is God's design in the work of conviction for 
sin, and in his awakening of the conscience about it 1 What 
is his end, I say, but to make the sinner sensible of what 
he hath done, and that he miglit unfeignedly judge himself 
for the same. Now this our Publican doth ; his will there- 
fore is now subjected to the word of God, and he justifies 
him in all his ways and works towards him. Blessed be 
God for any experience of these things. 

" He would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven." 
He knew by his deeds and deservings that he had no por- 
tion there ; nor would he divert his mind from the remem-» 
bering, and from being affected with the evil of his ways. ' 

Some men, when they are under the guilt and convic- 
tion of their evil life, will do what they can to look any 
way, and that on purpose to divert their minds, and to call 
them off from thinking on what they have done ; and by 
their thus doing, they bring many evils more upon their 
souls ; for this is a kind of striving with God, and a shew- 
ing a dislike to his ways. Would not you think, if when 
you are shewing your son or your servant his faults, if he 
should do what he could to divert and take oflP his mind 



from what you are saying, that he striveth against you, 
and sheweth dislike of your doings 1 What else mean the 
complaints of masters and of fathers in this matter ? " I 
have a servant, I have a son, that doth contrary to my 
will." " but why do you not chide them for it ?" The 
answer is, " So I do ; but they do not regard my words ; 
they do what they can, even while I am speaking, to divert 
their minds from my words and counsels." Why, all men 
will cry out, " This is base ; this is worthy of great rebuke ; 
such a son, such a servant, deserveth to be shut out of doors, 
and so made to learn better breeding by want and hard- 

But the Publican would not divert his mind from what 
at present God was about to make him sensible of, no, not 
by a look on the choicest object ; he would not lift up so 
much as his eyes to heaven. They are but bad scholars 
whose eyes, Avhen their master is teaching of them, are 
wandering off their books. 

God saith unto men, when he is teaching tliem to know 
the evil of their ways, as the angel said to the prophet 
when he came to shew him the pattern of the temple, 
" Son of man," says he, " behold with thine eyes, and hear 
with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew 
thee ; for to the intent that I might shew them unto thee 
art thou brought hither ;" Ezek. xl. 4. So to the intent 
that God might shew to \\\e Publican the evil of his ways, 
therefore was he brought under the power of convictions, 
and the terrors of the law ; and he also, like a good learner, 
gave good heed unto that lesson that now he was learning 
of God ; for he would not lift up so much as his eyes to 

Looking downwards doth ofttimes bespeak men very pon- 
derous and deep in their cogitations ; also that the matter 
about which in their minds they are now concerned hath 
taken great hold of their spirits. The Publican hath now 
new things, great things, and long-lived things, to concern 
himself about : his sins, the cui-se, with death, and hell, be- 
gan now to stare him in the face : wherefore it was no time 


now to let his heart, or his eyes, or his cogitations, wander, 
but to be fixed, and to be vehemently applying of himself 
(as a sinner) to the God of heaven for mercy. 

Few know the weight of sin. When the guilt thereof 
takes hold of the conscience, it commands homewards all 
the faculties of the soul. JSTo man can go out or off 
now : now he is wind-bound, or, as Paul says, " caught :" 
now he is made to possess bitter days, bitter nights, bitter 
hours, bitter thoughts ; nor can he shift them, for his sin 
is ever before him. As David said, " For I acknowledge 
my transgressions : and my sin is ever before me," — in 
my eye, and sticketh fast in every one of my thoughts ; 
Psalm li. 3. 

" He would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, 
but smote upon his breast." This was the third and last 
of his gestures ; he " Smote upon his breast," to wit, with 
his hand, or with his fist. I read of several gestures with 
the hand and foot, according to the working and passions 
of the mind. It is said, " Balak smote his hands together," 
being angry because that Balaam had blessed and not cui-sed 
for him the children of Israel. 

God says also, that he had smitten his hands together 
at the sins of the children of Israel. God also bids the 
prophet stamp with his feet, and smite with his hand upon 
his thigh (Num. xxiv. 10 ; Ezek. xxii. 13 ; vi. 11 ; xxi. 
12), upon sundry occasions, and at several enormitiis ; but 
the Publican here is said to smite upon his breast. And, 

1. Smiting upon the breast betokeneth sorrow for some- 
thing done. This is an experiment common among men ; 
and indeed, therefore (as I take it), doth our Lord Jesus 
put him under this gesture in the act and exercise of his 
repentance, because it is that which doth most lively set 
it forth. 

Suppose a man comes to great damage for some folly 
that he has wrought, and he be made sorrowful for (being 
and) doing such folly, there is nothing more common than 
for such a man (if he may) to Avalk to and fro in tlie room 
where he is, with head hung down, fetching ever and anon 


a bitter sigh, and smiting himself upon the breast in his 
dejected condition : " But smote upon his breast, saying, 
God be merciful to me a sinner." 

2. Smiting upon the breast is sometimes a token of in- 
dignation and abhorrence of something thought upon. I 
read in Luke, that when Christ was cmcified, those spec- 
tators that stood to behold the barbarous usage that he 
endured at the hands of his enemies, smote their breasts 
and returned. " And all the people (says Luke) that came 
together to that sight, beholding the things which were 
done, smote their breasts and returned ;" Luke xxiii. 48. 
Smote their breasts ; that is, in token of indignation 
against, and abhorrence of, the cruelty that was used to 
the Son of God. 

Here also we have our Publican smiting upon his breast 
in token of indignation against, and abhorrence of, his for- 
mer life ; and indeed, without indignation against, and ab- 
horrence of, his foimer life, his repentance had not been 
good. Wherefore the apostle doth make indignation against 
sin, and against oui'selves, one of the signs of true repent- 
ance ; 2 Cor. vii. 1 1 ; and his indignation against sin in 
general, and against his former life in particular, was ma- 
nifested by his smiting upon the breast, even as Eph- 
raim's smiting upon the thigh was a sign and token of his : 
" Surely (says he), after that I was turned, I repented : and 
after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh : I was 
ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the re- 
proach of my youth ;" Jer. xxxi. 19. Man, when he ve- 
hemently dislikes a thing, is very apt to shew a dislike to 
that thing by this or another outward gesture ; as in snuf- 
fing or snorting at it, or in deriding ; or, as some say, in 
blowing of their noses at it ; Ezek. viii. 17 ; Mai. i. 13. 
But the Publican here chooseth rather to use this most 
solemn posture ; for smiting upon the breast seems to im- 
ply a more serious, solemn, gi*ave way or manner of dislike, 
than any of those last mentioned do. 

3. Smiting upon the breast seems to intimate a quarrel 
with the heart, for beguiling, deluding, flattering, seducing, 


and enticing of him to sin ; for as conviction for sin begets 
in man (I mean if it be thorough) a sense of the sore and 
plague of the heart, so repentance (if it be right) begets in 
man an outcry against the heart ; forasmuch as by that 
light, by wliicii repentance takes occasion, the sinner is 
made to see that the heart is the fountain and -well-spring 
of sin. " For from "svithin, out of the heart of men, proceed 
evil thoughts, adulteries, covetousness," &c. ; Mark vii. 
21-23. And hence it is that commonly young converts do 
complain so of their hearts, calling them wicked, treacher- 
ous, deceitful, desperate ones. 

Indeed, one difference between true and false repentance 
lieth in this. The man that truly repents crieth out of his 
heart ; but the other, as Eve, upon the serpent, or some- 
thing else. And that the Publican perceived his heart to be 
naught, I conclude, by his smiting upon his breast. 

4. Smiting upon the breast seems to intimate one appre- 
hensive of some new, sudden, strange, and amazing thing ; 
as when a man sees some strange sight in the air, or hear- 
eth some sudden or dismal sound in the clouds ; why, as 
he is struck into a deep damp in his mind, so it is a won- 
der if he can keep or hold back from smiting upon his 

Now, oftentimes a sight of God and sense of sin comes 
to the sinner like a flash of lightning (not for short conti- 
nuance, but) for suddeness, and so for surprisal ; so that 
the sinner is struck, taken and captivated to his own 
amazement, with what so unexpectedly is come upon him. 
It is said of Paul at his conversion, that when conviction 
of his bad life took fast hold of his conscience, he ti-embled, 
and was astonished (Acts ix. 6) ; and although we read not 
of any particular circumstance of his behaviour under his 
conviction outwardly, yet it is almost impossible but he must 
have had some, and those of the most solid sort. For there 
is such a sympathy betwixt the soul and the body, that the 
one cannot be in distress or comfort, but the other must 
partake of and also signify the same. If it be comfort, then 
it is shewn by leaping, skipping, cheerfulness of the coun- 



tenance, or some other outward gesture. If it be sorrow or 
heaviness of spirit, then that is shewed by the body, in 
weeping, sighing, groaning, shaking of the head, a louring 
countenance, stamping, smiting upon the thigh or breast, 
as here the Publican did. 

We must not, therefore, look upon these outward actions 
or gestures of the Publican to be empty, insignificant things ; 
but to be such, that in truth did express and shew the 
temper, frame, and complexion of his soul. For Christ, the 
wisdom of God, hath mentioned them to that very end, that 
in and by them might be held foi-th, and that men might 
see as in a glass, the very emblem of a converted and truly 
penitent sinner. He " smote upon his breast." 

5. Smiting upon the breast is sometimes to signify a 
mixture of distrust, joined Avith hope. And, indeed, in 
young converts, hope and distrust, or a degree of despair, 
do work and answer one another, as doth the noise of the 
balance of the watch in the pocket. Life and death is 
always the motion of the mind then, and this noiss con- 
tinues until faith is stronger grown, and until the soul is 
better acquainted with the methods and ways of God with 
a sinner. Yea, were but a carnal man in a convert's heart, 
and could see, he could discern these two, to wit, hope and 
fear, to have continual motion in the soul ; wrestling and 
opposing one another, as doth light and darkness in striving 
for the victory. 

And hence it is that you find such people so fickle and 
uncertain in their spirits ; now on the mount, tlien in the 
valleys ; now in the sunshine, then in the shade ; now 
warm, then frozen ; now bonny and blithe, then in a mo- 
ment pensive and sad, as tliinking of a portion nowhere 
but in hell. This will cause smiting on tlie breast ; nor can 
I imagine that the Publican was as yet farther than thus 
fe,r in the Christian's progress. 

6. Smiting upon the breast seems to intimate, that the 
party so doing is very apprehensive of some great loss that 
he has sustained, either by negligence, carelessness, foolish- 
ness, or the like. And this is the way in which men do 


lose tlieir souls. Now, to lose a thing, a great thing, the 
only choice thing that a man has, ne§:ligently, carelessly, 
foolishly, or the like, why, it puts aggravations into the 
thoughts of the loss that the man has sustained, and aggra- 
vations into the thoughts of them go out of the soul, and come 
in upon a sudden, even as the hailifF, or the king's serjeant- 
at-arms, and at every appearance of them, makes the soul 
start ; and starting, it smites upon the breast. 

I might multiply particulars ; hut to be brief, we have 
before us a sensible soul, a sorrowful soul, a penitent soul ; 
one that prays indeed, that prays sensibly, affectionately, 
effectually ; one that sees his loss, that fears and trembles 
before God in consideration of it, and one that knows no 
way but the right way, to secure himself from perishing, 
to wit, by having humble and hearty recourse to the God 
of heaven for mercy. 

I should now come to speak something by way of use 
and application : but before I do that, I will briefly draw 
up, and present you with a few conclusions that in my 
judgment do naturally flow from the text ; therefore in this 
place I will read over the text again. 

" Two men went up into the temple to pray ; the one a 
Pharisee, the other a Publican. The Pharisee stood and 
prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not 
as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even 
as this Publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of 
all that I possess. And the Publican standing afar off, 
w^ould not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but 
smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a 

From these words I gather these several conclusions, with 
these inferences. 

1. It doth not always follow, that they that pray do 
know God, or love him, or trust in him. This conclusion 
is evident by the Pharisee in the text ; he prayed, but he 
knew not God, he loved not God, he trusted not in God ; 
that is, he knew him not in his Son, nor loved, nor trusted 
in him. He was, though a praying man, far off from this. 


Whence it may be inferred, that those that pray not at all 
cannot be good, cannot know, love, or trust in God. For if 
the star, though it shine, is not the sun, then surely a clod 
of dirt cannot be the sun. Why, a praying man doth as 
far outstrip a non-praying man as a star outstrips a clod of 
earth. A non-praying man lives like a beast. " The ox 
knows his owner, and the ass his master's crib ; but this 
man doth not know, but this man doth not consider ;" Isa. 
i. 3. The prayerless man is therefore of no religion, ex- 
cept he be an Atheist, or an Epicui-ean. Therefore the non- 
praying man is numbered among the heathens, and among 
those that know not God, and is appointed and designed by 
the sentence of the word to the fearful wrath of God ; Psal. 
Ixxix. 6 ; Jer. x. 25. 

2. A second conclusion is, That the man that prays, if in 
his prayer he pleads for acceptance, either in whole or in 
part, for his own good deeds, is in a miserable state. This 
also is gathered from the Pharisee here ; he prayed, but in 
this prayer he pleaded his owti good deeds for acceptance, 
that is, of his person, and therefore went down to his house 
unjustified. And he is in this condition that doth thus. 
The conclusion is true, forasmuch as the Pharisee men- 
tioned in the parable is not so spoken of for the sake of 
that sect of men, but to caution, forewarn, and bid all men 
take heed, that they by doing as he, procure not their re- 
jection of God, and be sent away from his presence un- 
justified. I do therefore infer from hence, that if he that 
pleadeth his own good doing for personal acceptance with 
God be thus miserable, then he that teacheth men so to do 
is much more miserable. 

We always conclude, that a ring-leader in an evil way is 
more blame-worthy than those that are led of him. This 
falls hard upon the leading Socinians and othei-s, who teach 
that men's works make their persons accepted of God. 

True, they say, through Christ ; but that is brought in 
merely to delude the simple with, and is an horrible lie ; 
for we read not in all the word of God as to personal jus- 
tification in the sight of God from the curse (and that is th© 


question under consideration), that it must he hy man*8 
righteousness as made prevalent by Christ's, hut contrari- 
■\vise, hy his and his only, without the deeds, works, or 
rigliteousness of the law, which is our righteousness. Where- 
fore, I say, the teachers and leaders of this doctrine have 
the greater sin. 

3. A third conclusion is. They that use high and flaunt- 
ing language in prayer, their simplicity and godly sin- 
cerity is to be questioned as to the doing of that duty sin- 
cerely. This still flows from our text ; the Pharisee 
greatly used this : for higher and more flaunting language 
can hardly be found than in the Pharisee's mouth ; nor 
will ascribing to God by the same mouth laud and praise 
help the business at all : for to be sure, where the effect 
is base and rotten, the cause cannot be good. 

The Pharisee would hold himself that he was not as 
other men, and then gives thanks to God for this : but 
the conclusion was most vilely false, and therefore the 
praise for it could not but be foolish, vain, and frivolous. 
Whence I infer, that if to use such language in prayer is 
dangerous, then to affect the use thereof is yet more dan- 
gerous. Prayer must be made with humble hearts and 
sensible words, and of that we have treated before ; where- 
fore high, flaunting, swelling words of vanity, become not 
a sinner's mouth ; no, not at any time ; much less when he 
comes to, and presents himself before God in that solemn 
duty of prayer. But, I say, there are some that so affect 
the Pharisee's mode, that they cannot be well if in some 
soi-t or other they be not in the practice of it, not knowing 
what they say, nor whereof they affirm ; but these are 
gi-eatly addicted to hypocrisy and desire of vain-glory, 
especially if the sound of their words be within the reach 
of other men's ears. 

4. A fourth conclusion is. That reformation and amend- 
ment, though good, and before men, are nothing as to justi- 
fication with God. This is manifest by the condition of our 
Pharisee: he was a reformed man, a man beyond others 
for personal righteousness, yet he went out of the temple 


from God unjustified ; liis works came to nothing with God. 
Hence I infer, that the man that hath nothing to commend 
him to God of his own, yet stands as fair before God for 
justification, and so acceptance, as any other man in the 

5. A fifth conclusion is, It is the sensible sinner, the self- 
bemoaning sinner, the self-judging sinner, the self-abhor- 
ring sinner, and the self-condemning sinner, whose prayers 
prevail with God for mercy. Hence I infer, that one rea- 
son why men make so many prayers, and prevail no more 
with God is, because their prayers are rather the floatings 
of Pharisaical fancies than the fruits of sound sense of sin, 
and sincere desires of enjoying God in mercy, and in the 
fruits of the Holy Ghost. 






How a young or shaken Christian should demean himself under the 

weighty thoughts of the Doctrine of the Trinity, or Plurality 

of Persons in the eternal Godhead. 

The reason why I say a young or shaken Christian, 
is, because some that are not young, but of an ancient 
standing, may not only be assaulted with violent tempta- 
tions concerning gospel-principles, but a second time may 
become a child, a babe, a shallow man, in the things of 
God : especially, either when by backsliding he hath pro- 
voked God to leave him, or when some new, unexpected, 
and (as to present strength) over weighty objection doth 
fall upon the spirit, by means of which great shakings of 
mind do commonly attend such a soul in the most weighty 
matters of the concerns of faith, of which this is one that 
I have supposed in the above-mentioned question : Where- 
fore passing other things, I will come directly to that, and 
briefly propose some helps to a soul in such a case. 

I, The first preparative. 

First, Then, be sure thou keep close to the Word of God ; 
for that is the revelation of the mind and will of God, both 
as to the truth of what is either in himself or ways, and 
also as to what he requireth and expecteth of thee, either 
concerning faith in, or obedience to, what he hath so re- 
vealed. Now for thy better performing of this, I. shall give 
thee in brief these following directions. 

1. Suffer thyself, by the authority of the Word, to be 
persuaded that the Scripture indeed is the Word of God, 


the Scriptures of truth, the words of the Holy One ; and 
that they therefore must be every one true, pure, and for 
ever settled in heaven. 

2. Conclude therefore fi-om the former doctrine, that 
that God whose words they are, is able to make a reconci- 
liation and most sweet and harmonious agreement with all 
the sayings therein, how obscure, cross, dark, and contra- 
dictory soever they seem to thee. To understand all 
mysteries, to have all knowledge, to be able to compre- 
hend with all saints, is a great work ; enough to crush the 
spirit, and to stretch the strings of the most capacious, 
widened soul that breatheth on this side glory, be they not- 
withstanding exceedingly enlarged by revelation, Paul, 
when he was caught up to heaven, saw that which was 
unlawful, because impossible, for man to utter. And saith 
Christ to the reasoning Pharisee, " If I have told you 
earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall you be- 
lieve if I tell you of heavenly things?" It is great 
lewdness, and also insufferable arrogancy, to come to the 
Word of God, as conceiting already that whatever thou 
readest must either by thee be understood, or of itself fall 
to the ground as a senseless error. But God is wiser than 
man, wherefore fear thou him, and tremble at his word, 
saying still, with godly suspicion of thine own infirmity. 
What I see not, teach thou me ; and. Thou art God only 
wise ; but as for me, I am as a beast before thee. 

3. Take heed of taking a part of the Word only, lest 
thou thereby go away with the truth as mangled in pieces. 
For instance, where thou readest, " The Lord our God is 
one Lord," there take heed that thou dost not thence con- 
clude, then there are not three persons in the Godhead : or 
when thou readest of " the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Spirit," then take heed of concluding there must there- 
fore either be three Gods, or else that Jesus Christ and the 
Holy Ghost are not true God, but the Father only. Where- 
fore to help thee here, observe, 

II. The second preparative. 

1. That the Christian religion requireth credit concerning 


every doctrine contained in the Word ; credit, I say, ac- 
cording to the true relation of every sentence that the Holy 
Ghost hath revealed for the asserting, maintaining, or vin- 
dicating that same truth. 

2. And therefore, hence it is that a Christian is not 
called a doer, a reasoner, an objector, and perverse dis- 
puter, hut a believer. Be thou an example to "the be- 
lievers ;" and, " believers" were " added to the church," &c. 

3. Therefore, know again, that the Word, if it saith and 
expresseth that this or that is so and so, as to the matter 
in hand, thou art bound and obliged, both by the name, 
profession, and the truth, imto which thou hast joined 
thyself, to assent to, confess, and acknowledge the same, 
even then when thy carnal reason will not stoop thereto. 
" Righteous art thou, God," saith Jeremiah, " yet let 
me plead with thee; Wherefore do the wicked live?" 
Mark, first he acknowledgeth that God's way with the 
wicked is just and right, even then when yet he could not 
see the reason of his actings and dispensations towards 
them. The same reason is good as to our present case : 
and hence it is that the apostle saith, the spiritual ar- 
mour of Christians should be much exercised against those 
high towering and self-exalting imaginations, that within 
our owa. bosoms do exalt themselves against the know- 
ledge of God ; that every thought or carnal reasoning 
may be not only taken, but brought a captive into obe- 
dience to Christ ; that is, be made to stoop to the Word of 
God, and to give way and place to the doctrine therein 
contained, how cross soever our thoughts and the Word lie 
to each other. And it is observable that he here saith, 
they exalt themselves against the knowledge of God;" 
which cannot be understood, that our carnal, natural 
reason doth exalt itself against an eternal deity, simply 
considered ; for that nature itself doth gather from the 
very things that are made, even his eternal power and 
Godhead : it must be then that they exalt themselves 
against that God as thus and thus revealed in the Word, to 
wit, against the knowledge of one God, consisting of three 


persons, Father, Son, and Spirit ; for this is the doctrine of 
the Scriptures of truth : and therefore it is observable these 
thoughts must be brought captive, and be made subject in 
particular to the Lord Jesus Christ, as to the second person 
in the Godhead : for the Father is ever acknowledged by 
all that profess the least of religion ; but the Son is that 
stumbling-stone and rock of offence, against which thou- 
sands dash themselves in pieces ; though in him are hid all 
the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and in him dwells 
the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 






The law was given twice upon Mount Sinai, but the 
appearance of the Lord, when he gave it the second time, 
was wonderfully different from that of his, when at the 
first he delivered it to Israel. 

1. When he gave it the first time, he caused his terror 
and severity to appear before Moses, to the shaking of his 
soul and the dismaying of Israel ; but when he gave it the 
second time, he caused all his goodness to pass before Moses, 
to the comfort of his conscience and the bowing of his 

2. When he gave it the first time, it was with thunder- 
ings and lightnings, with blackness and darkness, with 
flame and smoke, and a tearing sound of the trumpet ; but 
when he gave it the second time, it was wi^i a proclama- 
tion of his name to be merciful, gracious, long-suffering, 
and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for 
thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgressions, and sins. 

3. When he gave it the first time, Moses was called to 
go up to receive it through the fire, which made him ex- 
ceedingly fear and quake : but when he went to receive it 
the second time, he was laid in a clift of the rock. 

4. From all which I gather, that, though as to the mat- 
ter of the law, both as to its being given the first time and 
the second, it binds the unbeliever under the pains of eter- 
nal damnation (if he close not with Christ by faith) ; yet 
as to the manner of its giving at these two times, I think 
the first doth more principally intend its force as a cove- 


nant of works, not at all respecting the Lord Jesus ; but 
this second time not (at least in the manner of its being 
given) respecting such a covenant, but rather as a rule or 
directory to those who already are found in the clift of the 
rock Christ ; for the saint himself, though he be without 
law to God, as it is considered the ifirst or old covenant, yet 
even he is not without law to him as considered under 
grace ; not without law to God, but under the law to Christ. 

6. Though, therefore, it be sad with the unbeliever, be- 
cause he only and wholly standeth under the law as it is 
given in fire, in smoke, in blackness, and darkness, and 
thunder ; all which threaten him with eternal ruin if he 
fulfil not the utmost tittle thereof ; yet the believer stands 
to the law under no such consideration, neither is he so at 
all to hear or regard it, for he is now removed from thence 
to the blessed mountain of Zion — ^to grace and forgiveness 
of sins ; he is now, I say, by faith in the Lord Jesus, 
shrouded under so perfect and blessed a righteousness, that 
this thundering law of Mount Sinai cannot find the least 
fiault or diminution therein, but rather approveth and al- 
loweth thereof, either when or wherever it find it. This 
is called the righteousness of God without the law, and is 
also said to be witnessed by both the law and the prophets ; 
even the righteousness of God, which is by faith in Jesus 
Christ unto al^ and upon all them that believe ; for there is 
no difference. 

6. Wherefore, whenever thou who believest in Jesus, dost 
hear the law in its thundering and lightning fits, as if it 
would bum up heaven and earth, then say thou, I am freed 
from this law, these thunderings have nothing to do with 
my soul ; nay, even this law, while it thus thunders and 
roars, it doth both allow and approve of my righteous- 
ness. I know that Hagar would sometimes be domineer- 
ing and high, even in Sarah's house, and against her ; but 
this she is not to be suffered to do, nay, though Sarah her- 
self be barren ; wherefore, serve it also as Sarah served her, 
and expel her out from thy house. My meaning is, when 
this law with its thundering threatenings doth attempt to 


lay hold on thy conscience, shut it out with a promise of 
grace ; cry, The inn is taken up already ; the Lord Jesus is 
here entertained, and here is no room for the law. Indeed, 
if it will be content with being my informer, and so lovingly 
leave off to judge me, I will be content, it shall be in my 
sight, I will also delight therein ; but otherwise, I being 
now made upright without it, and that too with that right- 
eousness which this law speaks well of and approveth, I 
may not, will not, cannot dare not make it my Saviour 
and judge, nor suffer it to set up its government in my 
conscience ; for by so doing, I fall from grace, and Christ 
Jesus doth profit me nothing. 

7. Thus, therefore, the soul that is married to him that 
is raised up from the dead, both may and ought to deal with 
this law of God ; yea, it doth greatly dishonour its Lord 
and refuse its gospel privileges, if it at any time otherwise 
doth, whatever it seeth or feels. " The law hath power over 
the wife so long as her husband liveth, but if her husband 
be dead she is freed from that law ; so that she is no 
adulteress though she be married to another man." In- 
deed, so long as thou art alive to sin, and to thy right- 
eousness which is of the law, so long thou hast them 
for thy husband, and they must reign over thee ; but when 
once they are become dead imto thee — as they then most 
certainly will when thou closest with the Lord Jesus Christ 
— ^then, I say, thy former husbands have no more to meddle 
with thee ; thou art freed fi-om their law. Set the case : A 
woman be cast into prison for a debt of hundreds of pounds ; 
if after this she marry, yea, though while she is in the 
jailor's hand, in the same day that she is joined to her 
husband, her debt is all become his ; yea, and the law also 
that arrested and imprisoned this woman, as freely tells her, 
go : she is freed, saith Paul, from that ; and so saith the 
law of this land. 

The sum, then, of what hath been said is this — The 
Christian hath now nothing to do with the law, as it thun- 
dereth and bumeth on Sinai, or as it bindeth the conscience 
to wrath and the displeasure of God for sin ; for from its 


thus appearing, it is freed by faith in Christ. Yet it is to 
have regard thereto, and is to count it holy, just, and good ; 
which, that it may do, it is always, whenever it seeth or 
regards it, to remember that he who giveth it to us " is mer- 
ciful, gracious, long-suflPering, and abundant in goodness 
and truth," &c. 




•♦ Which were bom, not of blood, nor qf the will of the flesh, nor of the 
will of man, but of God;" John i. 13. 

The words have a dependence on what goes before, and 
therefore I must direct yon to them for the right under- 
standing of it. You have it thus, — " He came to his own, 
but his own received him not ; but as many as received 
him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, 
even to them which believe on his name ; which were bom, 
not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God." In 
the words before, you have two things — 

First, Some of his own rejecting him when he offered 
himself to them. 

Secondly, Othei-s of his own receiving him, and making 
him welcome. Those that reject him he also passes by ; 
but those that receive him, he gives them power to become 
the sons of God. Now, lest any one should look upon it 
as good luck or fortune, says he, " They were born, not of 
blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, 
but of God." They that did not receive him, they were 
only bom of flesh and blood ; but those that receive him, 
they have God to their father, they receive the doctrine of 
Christ with a vehement desire. 

First, I will shew you what he means by " blood." They 
that believe are bom to it, as an heir is to an inheritance ; 
they are born of God ; not of flesh, nor of the will of man, 
but of God ; not of blood — that is, not by generation ; not 
born to the kingdom of heaven by the flesh ; not because 
I am the son of a godly man or woman. That is meant 
by blood, Acts xvii. 26, " He has made of one blood all 


nations." But when he says here, " not of blood," he re- 
jects all carnal privileges they did boast of. They boasted 
they were Abraham's seed. Ko, no, says he, it is not of 
blood ; think not to say you have Abraham to your father, 
you must be born of God if you go to the kingdom of 

Secondly, " N'or of the will of the flesh." What must 
we understand by that 1 

It is taken for those vehement inclinations that are in 
man to all manner of looseness, fulfilling the desires of the 
flesh. That must not be understood here ; men are not 
made the children of God by fulfilling their lustful desires ; 
it must be imderstood here in the best sense. There is not 
only in carnal men a will to be vile, but there is in them 
a will to be saved also — ^a will to go to heaven also. But 
this it will not do, it will not privilege a man in the things 
of the kingdom of God. Natural desires after the things 
of another world, they are not an argument to prove a man 
shall go to heaven whenever he dies. I am not a free- 
wilier, I do abhor it ; yet there is not the wickedest man 
but he desires some time or other to be saved. He will 
read some time or other, or, it may be, pray ; but this will 
not do — " It is not in him that wills, nor in him that runs, 
but in God that shews mercy ;" there is willing and run- 
ning, and yet to no purpose ; Rom. ix. 16, " Israel, which 
followed after the law of righteousness, have not obtained 
it." Here I do not understand as if the apostle had denied 
a virtuous course of life to be the way to heaven, but that 
a man without grace, though he have natural gifts, yet he 
shall not obtain privilege to go to heaven, and be the son 
of God. Though a man without grace may have a will to 
be saved, yet he cannot have that will God's way. Kature, 
it cannot know anything but the things of nature ; the 
things of God knows no man but by the Spirit of God ; unless 
the Spirit of God be in you, it will leave you on this side 
the gates of heaven — " Not of blood, nor of the will of the 
flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." It may be some 
may have a wiU, a desire that Ishmael may be saved ; 

bunyan's last sermon. 261 

know this, it will not save thy child. If it were our will, 
I would have you all go to heaven. How many are there 
in the world that pray for their children, and cry for them, 
and ready to die ; and this will not do 1 God's will is the 
rule of all ; it is only through Jesus Christ, " which were 
bom, not of flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." 
Now I come to the doctrine. 

Men that believe in Jesus Christ to the effectual receiv- 
ing of Jesus Clu-ist, they are bom to it. He does not say 
they shall be born to it, but they are born to it ; born of 
God, unto God, and the things of God, before they receive 
God to etemal salvation. " Except a man be born again, 
he cannot see the kingdom of God." Now unless he be 
bom of God, he cannot see it. Suppose the kingdom of 
God be what it will, he cannot see it before he be begotten 
of God ; suppose it be the Gospel, he cannot see it before 
he be brought into a state of regeneration ; believing is 
the consequence of the new birth, " not of blood, nor of 
the will of man, but of God." 

First, I will give you a clear description of it under one 
similitude or two. A child, before it be born into the world, 
is in the dark dungeon of its mother's womb ; so a child of 
God, before he be born again, is in the dark dungeon of sin, 
sees nothing of the kingdom of God, therefore it is called a 
new birth ; the same soul has love one way in its carnal 
condition, another way when it is bom again. 

Secondly, As it is compared to a birth, resembling a 
child in his mother's womb, so it is compared to a man 
being raised out of the grave ; and to be bom again is to be 
raised out of the grave of sin — " Awake, thou that sleepest, 
and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee life." 
To be raised from the grave of sin is to be begotten and 
bom ; Rev. i. 5. There is a famous instance of Christ — 
" He is the first-begotten from the dead, he is the first-bom 
from the dead ;" unto which our regeneration alludeth,— 
that is, if you be bom again by seeking those things that 
are above, then there is a similitude betwixt Christ's resur- 
rection and the new birth ; which were bora, which were 

262 jbunyan's last sermon. 

restored out of this dark world, and translated out of the 
kingdom of this dark world into the kingdom of his dear 
Son, and made us live a new life ; this is to he bom again ; 
and he that is delivered from the mother's womb, it is the 
help of the mother ; so he that is born of God, it is by the 
Spirit of God. I must give you a few consequences of a 
new birth. 

First of all, a child, you know, is incident to cry as soon 
as it comes into the world ; for if there be no noise, they 
say it is dead. You that are bom of God, and Christians, 
if you be not criers, there is no spiritual life in you ; if you 
be bom of God, you are crying ones ; as soon as he has raised 
you out of the dark dungeon of sin, you cannot but cry to 
God, What must I do to be saved ] As soon as ever God 
had touched the jailor, he cries out, " Men and brethren, 
what must I do to be saved ?" Oh ! how many prayerless 
professors are there in London that never pray 1 CoflFee- 
houses will not let you pray, trades will not let you pray, 
looking-glasses will not let you pray ; but if you were born 
of God, you would. 

/Secondly, It is not only natural for a child to cry, but it 
must crave the breast, it cannot live without the breast ; 
therefore Peter makes it the true trial of a new-bom babe ; 
the new-bom babe desires the sincere milk of the Word, that 
he may grow thereby. If you be born of God, make it 
manifest by desiring the breast of God. Do you long for 
the milk of promises ? A man lives one way when he is in 
the world, another way when he is brought unto Jesus 
Ohrist ; Isa. Ixvi., " They shall suck, and be satisfied." If 
you be bom again, there is no satisfaction till you get the 
milk of God's word into your souls ; Isa. Ixvi. 1 1, " To 
suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of consolation." 
what is a promise to a carnal man ; a whorehouse, it may 
be, is more sweet to him ; but if you be bom again, you 
cannot live without the milk of God's word. What is a 
woman's breast to a horse 1 But what is it to a child ? 
There is its comfort night and day, there is its succour night 
and day. how loath is he it should be taken from him. 

buntan's last sermon. 263 

Minding heavenly tilings, says a carnal man, is but vanity ; 
but to a child of God, there is his comfort. 

Thirdly^ A child that is newly born, if it have not other 
comforts to keep it warm than it had in its mother's womb, 
it dies. It must have something got for its succour ; so 
Chiist had swaddling clothes prepared for him j so those 
that are born again, they must have some promise of Christ 
to keep them alive. Those that are in a carnal state, they 
warm themselves with other things ; but those that are 
bom again, they cannot live without some promise of 
Christ to keep them alive, as he did to the poor infant in 
Ezekiel xvii., " I covered thee with embroidered gold." 
And when women are with child, what fine things will they 
prepare for their child ! but what fine things has Christ 
prepared to wrap all in that are bom again ! what WTap- 
pings of gold has Christ prepared for all that are born again ! 
Women will dress their children, that every one may see 
them how fine they are ; so he in Ezekiel xvi. 11 — " I 
decked thee also with ornaments, and I also put bracelets 
upon thine hands, and a chain on thy neck. And I put a 
jewel on thy forehead, and ear-rings in thine ears, and a 
beautiful cro^vn upon thine head ;" and, says he in the 13th 
verse, " thou didst prosper to a kingdom." This is to set 
out nothing in the world but the righteousness of Christ, 
and the graces of the Spirit, without which a new-born babe 
cannot live, unless he have the golden righteousness of 

Fouxthly^ A child when it is in its mother's lap, the 
mother takes great delight to have that which will be for 
its comfort ; so it is with God's children, they shall be kept 
on his knee ; Isaiah Ixvi. 11, " They shall suck and be 
satisfied with the breasts of her consolation." Ver. 13, "As 
one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you." 
There is a similitude in these things that nobody knows of 
but those that are bom again. 

Fifthly^ There is usually some similitude betwixt the 
father and the child \ it may be the child looks like its fa- 
ther; BO those that are bom again, they have a new simili- 


264 buntan's last sermon. 

tude, they have the image of Jesus Christ (Gal. iv.), every 
one that is bom of God has something of the features of 
heaven upon him. Men love those children that are likest 
them most usually ; so does God his children ; therefore 
they are called the children of God. But others do not look 
like him, therefore they are called Sodomites. Christ de- 
scribes children of the devil by their features ; the children 
of the devil, his works they will do ; all works of unright- 
eousness, they are the devil's works. If you are earthly, 
you have borne the image of the earthly ; if heavenly, you 
have borne the image of the heavenly. 

Sixthly, When a man has a child, he trains him up to his 
own liking, he learns the custom of his father's house ; so 
are those that are bom of God ; they have learned the 
custom of the true church of God, there they learn to cry, 
My Father and my God ; they are brought up in God's 
house, they learn the method and form of God's house for 
regulating their lives in this world. 

Seventhly, Children, it is natural for them to depend 
upon their father for what they want. If they want a pair 
of shoes, they go and tell him ; if they want bread, they go 
and tell him ; so should the childi-en of God do. Do you 
want spiritual bread ? go tell God of it. Do you want 
strength of grace ? ask it of God. Do you want strength 
against Satan's temptations ? go and tell God of it. When the 
devil tempts you, nin home and tell your heavenly Father ; 
go pour out your complaints to God. This is natural to 
children ; if any wrong them, they go and tell their fa- 
ther ; so do those that are bom of God, when they meet 
with temptations, go and tell God of them. 

The first use is this, to make a strict inquiry whether you 
be bom of God or not. Examine by those things I laid 
down before of a child of nature and a child of grace. Are 
you brought out of the dark dungeon of this world into 
Christ ? Have you learned to cry. My Father ? Jer. iii. 16, 
" And I said, Thou shalt call me thy Father." All God's 
children are criers. Can you be quiet without you have 
a bellyful of the milk of God's word? Can you be 


satisfied without you have peace with God ? Pray you con- 
sider it, and be serious with yourselves. If you have not 
these marks, you will fall short of the kingdom of God, you 
shall never have an interest there ; there is no intruding. 
They will say, " Lord, Lord, open to us ; and he wiU say, 
I know you not." No child of God, no heavenly inheri- 
tance. We sometimes give something to those that are not 
our children, but not our lands. do not flatter yourselves 
with a portion among the sons, unless you live like sons. 
When we see a king's son play with a beggar, this is unbe- 
coming ; so if you be the king's children, live like the 
king's children. If you be risen with Christ, set your af- 
fections on things above, and not on things below. When 
you come together, talk of what your Father promised you ; 
you should all love your Father's will, and be content and 
pleased with the exercises you meet with in the world. If 
you are the children of God, live together lovingly. If the 
world quarrel with you, it is no matter ; but it is sad if you 
quarrel together. If this be amongst you, it is a sign of 
ill-breeding, it is not according to rules you have in the 
Word of God. Dost thou see a soul that has the image of 
God in him 1 Love him, love him ; say. This man and I 
must go to heaven one day. Serve one another, do good for 
one another ; and if any wrong you, pray to God to right 
you, and love the brotherhood. 

Lastlyj If you be the children of God, learn that lesson: 
" Gird up the loins of your mind as obedient children, not 
fashioning yourselves according to your former conversa- 
tion ; but be ye holy in all manner of conversation." Con- 
sider that the holy God is your father, and let this oblige 
you to live like the children of God, that you may look 
your Father in the fiace with comfort another day. 




Sin is the great block and bar to our happiness, the 
procurer of all miseries to man, both here and hereafter ; 
take away sin, and nothing can hurt us ; for death temporal, 
spiritual, and eternal, is the wages of it. 

Sin, and man for sin, is the object of the wrath of God. 
How dreadful therefore must his case be who continues in 
sin ; for who can bear and grapple with the wrath of God ? 

No sin against God Can be little, because it is against the 
great God of heaven and earth ; but if the sinner can find 
out a little God, it may be easy to find out little sins. 

Sin turns all God's grace into wantonness : it is the dare 
of his justice ; the rape of his mercy ; the jeer of his patience ; 
the slight of his power ; and the contempt of his love. 

Take heed of giving thyself liberty of committing one 
sin, for that will lead thee to another ; till by an ill custom 
it become natural. 

To begin sin is to lay a foundation for a continuance ; 
this continuance is the mother of custom, and impudence 
at last the issue. 

The death of Christ giveth us the best discovery of our- 
selves ; in what condition we were, so that nothing could 
help us but that ; and the most clear discovery of the 
dreadful nature of our sins. For if sin be such a dreadful 
thing as to wring the heart of the Son of God, how shall a 
poor wretched sinner be able to bear it % 


Nothing can render affliction so heavy as the load of 
sin J would you therefore be fitted for afflictions, be sure 

270 buntan's dying sayings. 

to get the burden of your sins laid aside, and then what 
afflictions soever you meet with will be very easy to 

If thou canst hear and bear the rod of affliction which 
God shall lay upon thee, remember this lesson, thou art 
beaten that thou mayst be better. 

The Lord useth his Jlail of tribulation to separate the 
chaff fi-om the wheat. 

The school of the cross is the school of light ; it dis- 
covers the world's vanity, baseness, and w^ickedness, and lets 
us see more of God's mind. Out of dark affliction comes a 
spiritual light. 

In times of affliction we commonly meet with the sweet- 
est experiences of the love of God. 

Did we heartily renounce the pleasures of this world, we 
should be very little troubled for our afflictions ; that 
which renders an afflicted state so insupportable to many, 
is because they are too much addicted to the pleasures of 
this life ; and so cannot endure that which makes a separa- 
tion between them. 


The end of affliction is the discovery of sin ; and of that 
to bring us to the Saviour ; let us therefore, with the prodi- 
gal, return unto him, and we shall find ease and rest. 

A returning penitent, though formerly bad as the woi-st 
of men, may by grace become as good as the best. 

To be truly sensible of sin, is to sorrow for displeasing of 
God : to be afflicted, that he is displeased It/ us more than 
that he is displeased with us. 

Your intentions to repentance, and the neglect of that 
soul-saving duty, will rise up in judgment against you. 

Repentance carries with it a diviiie rhetoric, and per- 
suades Christ to forgive multitudes of sins committed 
against him. 

Say not to thyself, to-morrow I will repent ; for it is thy 
duty to do it daily. 

The gospel of grace and salvation is above all doctrines 


the most dangerous, if it be received in word only by grace- 
less men ; if it be not attended with a sensible need of a 
Saviour, and bring them to him ; for such men only as 
have the notion of it, are of all men most miserable ; for by 
reason of their knowing more than heathens, this shall only 
be their final portion, that they shall have greater stripes. 


Before you enter into prayer, ask thy soul these ques- 
tions, 1. To what end, my soul ! art thou retired into 
this place ? Art thou come to converse with the Lord in 
prayer 1 Is he present, will he hear thee 1 Is he merciful, 
will he help thee ? Is thy business slight, is it not concern- 
ing the welfare of thy soul 1 What words wilt thou use to 
move him to compassion ? 

To make thy preparation complete, consider that thou 
art but dust and ashes ; and he the great God, Father of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, that clothes himself with light as with a 
garment ; that thou art a vile sinner, and he a holy God ; 
that thou art but a poor crawling worm, and he the om- 
nipotent Creator. 

In aU your prayers, forget not to thank the Lord for his 

When thou prayest, rather let thy heart be without 
words than thy words without heart. 

Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will en- 
tice a man to cease from prayer. 

The spirit of prayer is more precious than thousands of 
gold and silver. 

Pray often, for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice 
to God, and a scourge for Satan. 


Have a special care to sanctify the Lord's-day ; for as 
thou keepest it, so will it be with thee all the week long. 

Make the Lord's-day the market for thy soul ; let the 
whole day be spent in prayer, repetitions, or meditations ; 

272 bunyan's dying sayings. 

lay aside the affairs of the other parts of the week ; let the 
sermon thou hast heard be converted into 'prayer : shall 
God allow thee six days, and wilt thou not afford him one ? 

In the church, be careful to serve God ; for thou art in 
his eyes, and not in man's. 

Thou mayst hear sermons often, and do well in practis- 
ing what thou hearest ; but thou must not expect to be told 
in a pulpit all that thou oughtest to do, but be studious in 
reading the Scriptures, and other good books ; what thou 
hearest may be forgotten, but what thou readest may better 
be retained. 

Forsake not the public worship of God, lest God forsake 
thee ; not only in public, but in private. 

On the week-day, when thou risest in the morning, con- 
sider, 1. Thou must die ; 2. Thou mayst die that minute ; 
3. What will become of thy soul. Pray often. At night 
consider, 1. What sins thou hast committed ; 2. How often 
thou hast prayed ; 3. What hath thy mind been bent 
upon ; 4. What hath been thy dealing ; 5. What thy 
conversation ; 6. If thou callest to mind the errors of the 
day, sleep not without a confession to God, and a hope of 
pardon. Thus, every morning and evening make up thy 
account with Almighty God, and thy reckoning will be 
the less at last. 


Nothing more hinders a soul from coming to Christ than 
a vain love of the world; and till a soul is freed from it, it 
can never have a true love for God. 

What are the honours and riches of this world, when 
compared to the glories of a crown of life 1 

Love not the world, for it is a moth in a Christian's life. 

To despise the world is the way to enjoy heaven ; and 
blessed are they who delight to converse with God by prayer. 

What folly can be greater than to labour for the meat 
that perisheth, and neglect the food of eternal life ? 

God or the world must be neglected at paHing time, for 
then is the time of trial. 

bunyan's dying sayinqs. 273 

To seek yourself in this life is to be lost ; and to be 
humble is to be exalted. 

The epicure that delighteth in the dainties of this world, 
little thinketh that those very creatures will one day wit- 
ness against him. 


It is not every suffering that makes a man a martyr ; 
but sufiFering for the Word of God after a right manner ; 
that is, not only for righteousness, but for righteousness' 
sake ; not only for truth, but out of love to truth ; not only 
for God's "Word, but according to it : to wit, in that holy, 
humble, meek manner, as the Word of God requireth. 

It is a rare thing to suffer aright, and to have my 
spirit in suffering bent against God's enemy, sin. Sin in 
doctrine, sin in worship, sin in life, and sin in conversation. 

Neither the devil, nor men of the world, can kill thy right- 
eousness, or love to it, but by thy own hand ; or separate 
that and thee asunder, without thy own act. Nor will he 
that doth indeed suffer for the sake of it, or out of love he 
bears thereto, be tempted to exchange it for the good will 
of the whole world. 

I have often thought that the best of Christians are 
found in the worst times : and I have thought again, that 
one reason why we are not better is, because God purges 
us no more. Noah and Lot, who so holy as they in the 
time of their afflictions ! and yet, who so idle as they in 
the time of their prosperity % 


As the devil labours by all means to keep out other 
things that are good, so to keep out of the heart as much 
as in him lies, the thoughts of passing out of this life into 
another world ; for he knows if he can but keep them from 
the serious thoughts of deathy he shall the more easily keep 
them in their sins. 

Nothing will make us more earnest in working out the 
work of our salvation than a frequent meditation of mor- 

274 buntan's dying sayings. 

tality ; nothing hath a greater influence for the taking off cm- 
hearts from vanities, and for the hegetting in us desires 
for holiness. 

! sinner, what a condition wilt thou fall into when thou 
departest this world ; if thou depart unconverted, thou 
hadst better have been smothered the first hour thou wast 
bom ; thou hadst better have been plucked one limb from 
the other ; thou hadst better have been made a dog, a toad, a 
serpent, than to die unconverted j and this thou wilt find 
true if thou repent not. 

A man would be counted a fool to slight a judge before 
whom he is to have a trial of his whole estate. The trial 
we are to have before God is of otherguise importance ; it 
concerns our eternal happiness or misery, and yet dare we 
affront him. 

The only way for us to escape that terrible judgment is 
to be often passing a sentence of condemnation upon our- 
selves here. 

When the sound of the trumpet shall be heard, which 
shall summon the dead to appear before the tribunal of 
God, the righteous shall hasten out of their graves with 
joy to meet their Redeemer in the clouds ; others shall call 
to the mountains and hills to fall upon them, to cover them 
from the sight of their judge ; let us, therefore, in time be 
posing ourselves which of the two we shall be. 


There is no good in this life but what is mingled with 
some evil : honours perplex, riches disquiet, and pleasures 
ruin health. But in heaven we shall find blessings in their 
purity, without any ingredient to imbitter ; with every- 
thing to sweeten it. 

! who is able to conceive the inexpressible, incon- 
ceivable joys that are there ! None but they who have 
tasted of them. Lord, help us to put such a value upon 
them here, that in order to prepare ourselves for tliem, we 
may be willing to forego the loss of all those deluding plea- 
sures here. 

buntan's dying sayings. 275 

How will the heavens echo for joy, when the bride, the 
Lamb's wife, shall come to dwell with her husband for 

Christ is the desire of nations, the joy of angels, the de- 
light of the Father ; what solace then must the soul be 
fiUed with, that hath the possession of him to all eternity ! 

! what acclamations of joy will there be, when all the 
children of God shall meet together, without fear of being 
disturbed by the anti-Christian and Cainish brood. 

Is there not a time coming when the godly may ask the 
wicked, what profit they have in their pleasure ? what 
comfort in their greatness ? and what fruit in all their 
labour ? 

If you would be better satisfied what the beatifical vision 
means, my request is, that you would live Tiolily and go 
and see. 


Heaven and salvation is not surely more promised to 
the godly, than hell and damnation is threatened to, and 
shall be executed on, the wicked. 

Oh ! who knows the power of God's wrath ? None but 
damned ones. 

Sinners' company are the devil and his angels, tormented 
in everlasting fire with a curse. 

Hell would be a kind of paradise, if it were no worse 
than the worst of this world. 

As different as grief is fi-om joy, as torment from rest, as 
terror from peace ; so different is the state of sinners from 
that of saints in the world to come. 



We deem it proper to state, that, though the following Treatise on 
Christian Union appears in nearly all the collected editions of Buntan's 
"Works, yet its genuineness has been called in question by the Rev. Mr 
Philip in his admirable work, " The Life and Times of Bunyan." Without 
here entering into this question, we have separately appended it to the 
works of Bunyan in this volume, and trust that it will not prove unaccept- 
able to our readers, especially considering the efforts that are now being 
made to promote the living union of all true Christians who hold the 
one Lord, the one faith, and the one baptism. 




Endeavouring to keep (lie unity of the Spirit in the bond of 
peace. — Ephesians iv. 3. 

Beloved, religion is the great bond of human society ; and 
it were well if itself were kept within the bond of unity ; 
and that it may so be, let us, according to the text, use our 
utmost endeavours " to keep the unity of the Spirit in the 
bond of peace." 

These words contain a counsel and a caution : the coun- 
sel is, That we endeavour the unity of the Spirit ; the cau- 
tion is. That we do it in the bond of peace ; as if I should 
say, I would have you live in unity, but yet I would have 
you to be careful that you do not purchase unity with the 
breach of charity. 

Let us therefore be cautious that we do not so press after 
unity in practice and opinion as to break the bond of peace 
and affection. 

In the handling of these words, I shall observe this me- 

I. I shall open the sense of the text. 

II. I shall shew wherein this unity and peace consist. 

III. I shall shew you the fruits and benefits of it, to- 
gether with nine inconveniences and mischiefs that attend 
those churches where unity and peace is wanting. 

IV. And, lastly, I shall give you twelve directions and 
motives for the obtaining of it. 



1. As touching the sense of the text, when we are coun- 
selled to keep the unity of the Spirit, we are not to under- 
stand the Spirit of God, as personally so considered ; because 
the Spirit of God, in that sense, is not capable of being di- 
vided, and so there would be no need for us to endeavour to 
keep the unity of it. 

By the unity of the spirit then, we are to understand 
that unity of mind which the Spirit of God calls for, and 
requires Christians to endeavour after ; hence it is that we 
are exhorted, by one spirit, with one mind, to strive to- 
gether for the faith of the gospel ; Phil. i. 27. 

But farther, the apostle in these words alludes to the 
state and composition of a natural body, and doth thereby 
inform us, that the mystical body of Christ holds an ana- 
logy with the natural body of man : as, 1. In the natural 
body there must be a spirit to animate it ; for the body 
without the spirit is dead ; James ii. 26. So it is in the 
mystical body of Christ ; the apostle no sooner tells of 
that one body, but he minds us of that one Spirit ; Eph. 
iv. 4. 

2. The body hath joints and bands to unite all the parts ; 
so hath the mystical body of Christ ; Col. ii. 19, This is 
that bond of peace mentioned in the text, as also in the 1 6th 
verse of the same chapter, where the whole body is said to 
be fitly joined together, and compacted, by that which every 
joint supplieth. 

3. The natural body receives counsel and nourishment 
from the head ; so doth the mystical body of Christ ; he is 
their counsellor, and him they must hear ; he is their head, 
and him they must hold : hence it is that the apostle com- 
plaineth. Col. ii. 19, of some that did not hold the head 
from which the whole body by joints and bands hath nou- 

4. The natural body, cannot well subsist, if either the 
spirit be wounded or the joints broken or dislocated ; the 
body cannot bear a wounded or broken spirit — " A broken 
spirit drieth the bones ;" Prov. xvii. 22, and " A wounded 
apirit who can bear V Prov. xviii. 14. And, on the other 


hand, how often have the disjointing of the body, and the 
breakings thereof, occasioned the expiration of tlie spirit ? 
In like manner it fares with the mystical body of Christ ; 
how do divided spirits break the bonds of peace, which 
are the joints of this body ? And how do the breakings 
of the body and church of Christ wound the spirit of 
Christians, and oftentimes occasion the spirit and life of 
Christianity to languish, if not to expire. How needful is 
it then that we endeavour the unity of the spirit in the bond 
of peace ! 

II. I now come to shew you wherein this unity and 
peace consists ; and this I shall demonstrate in five particu- 

1. This unity and peace may consist with the ignorance 
of many truths, and in the holding of some errors ; or 
else this duty of peace and unity could not be practicable 
by any on this side perfection : but we must now endea- 
vour the unity of the spirit, till we come to the unity of 
the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God ; Eph. 
iv. 13. Because now, as the apostle saith, " We know in 
part, and we prophesy in part," and " Now we see through 
a glass darkly ;" 1 Cor. xiii. 9, 12. And as this is true in 
general, so we may find it true if we descend to particu- 
lar instances. The disciples seem to be ignorant of that 
great truth which they had often, and in much plainness, 
been taught by their Master once and again, viz., that his 
kingdom was not of this world, and that in the world they 
should suffer and be persecuted ; yet in the 1st of the Acts, 
ver. 6, we read, that they asked of him if he would at 
this time restore the kingdom to Israel ? thereby discover- 
ing that Christ's kingdom (as they thought) should con- 
sist in his temporal jurisdiction over Israel, which they 
expected should now commence and take place amongst 
them. Again, our Lord tells them, that he had many 
things to say (and these were many important truths) 
which they could not now bear ; John xvi. 12. And that 
these were important truths, appear by the 10th and lltli 
verses, where he is discoursing of righteousness and judg- 


ment, and then adds, that he had yet many things to say 
which they could not bear ; and thereupon promises the 
Comforter to lead them into all truth ; which implies, 
that they were yet ignorant of many truths, and conse- 
quently held divers errors ; and yet for all this, he prays 
for, and presses them to, their great duty of peace and 
imity ; John xiv. 27 ; xvii. 21. To this may be added 
that of Heb. v. 11, where the author saith, he had many 
things to say of the priestly office of Christ, which by rea- 
son of their dulness they were not capable to receive ; as 
also that in the 10th of the Acts, where Peter seems to be 
ignorant of the truth, viz., that the gospel was to be 
preached to all nations ; and contrary hereunto, he erred 
in thinking it unlawful to preach amongst the Gentiles. 
I shall add two texts more, one in Acts xix,, where we 
read that those disciples which had been discipled and 
baptized by John were yet ignorant of the Holy Ghost, 
and knew not (as the text tells us) whether there were 
any Holy Ghost or no ; though John did teach constantly, 
that he that should come after him should baptize with 
the Holy Ghost and fire. From hence we may easily and 
plainly infer, that Christians may be ignorant of many 
truths, by reason of weak and dull capacities, and other 
such like impediments, even while those truths are ^vith 
much plainness delivered to them. Again, we read, Heb. 
V. 13, of some that were unskilful in the word of right- 
eousness, who nevertheless are called babes in Christ, and 
with whom unity and peace is to be inviolably kept and 

2. As this unity and peace may consist with the ignor- 
ance of many truths, and with the holding some errors, 
so it must consist with (and it cannot consist without) the 
believing and practising those things which are necessary 
to salvation and church-communion ; and they are, 1st, 
Believing that Christ the Son of God died for the sins of 
men. 2d, That whoever believeth ought to be baptized. 
The third thing essential to this communion, is a holy and 
a blameless conversation. 



(1.) That believing that the Son of God died for the sins 
of men is necessary to salvation, I prove by these texts, 
which tell us, that he that doth not believe shall be damned, 
Mark xvi. 16 ; John iii. 36 ; Rom. x. 9. 

That it is also necessary to church-communion appears 
from Matt. xvi. 16-18. Peter having confessed that 
Christ was the Son of the living God, Christ thereupon 
assures Peter, that upon this rock, viz., this profession of 
faith, or this Christ which Peter had confessed, he would 
build his church, and the gates of hell should not prevail 
against it. And, 1 Cor. iii. 11, the apostle having told the 
Corinthians that they were God's building, presently adds, 
that they could not be built upon any foundation but upon 
that which was laid, which was Jesus Christ. All which 
proves, that Christian society is founded upon the profes- 
sion of Christ ; and not only scripture, but the laws of 
right reason, dictate this, that some rules and orders must 
be observed for the founding all society, which must be 
consented to by all that will be of it. Hence it comes to 
pass, that to own Christ as the Lord and head of Chris- 
tians is essential to the founding of Christian society. 

(2.) The Scriptures have declared, that this faith gives 
the professors of it a right to baptism, as in the case of the 
eunuch. Acts viii. When he demanded why he might not 
be baptized, Philip answered, that if he believed with all 
his heart, he might. The eunuch thereupon confessing 
Christ, was baptized. 

Kow, that baptism is essential to church-communion, I 
prove from 1 Cor. xii., where we shall find the apostle 
labouring to prevent an evil use that might be made of 
spiritual gifts, as thereby to be puffed up, and to think 
that such as wanted them were not of the body, or to be 
esteemed members : he thereupon resolves, that whoever 
did confess Christ, and owti him for his head, did it by the 
Spirit, ver. 3, though they might not have such a visible 
manifestation of it as others had, and therefore they ought 
to be owned as members, as appears, ver. 23. And not only 
because they have called him Lord by the Spirit, but be- 


cause they have, hy the guidance and direction of the 
Spirit, been baptized, ver. 13, " For by one Spirit we are 
all baptized into one body," &c. I need not go about to 
confute that notion that some of late have had of this text, 
viz., that the baptism here spoken of is the baptism of the 
Spirit, because you have not owned and declared that 
notion as your judgment, but on the contrary, all of you 
that I have ever conversed with, have declared it to be 
understood of baptism with water, by the direction of the 
Spirit : If so, then it follows, that men and women are 
declared members of Christ's body by baptism, and cannot 
be by scripture reputed and esteemed so without it ; which 
farther appears from Rom. vi. 5, where men by baptism 
are said to be "planted" into the likeness of his death ; 
and Col. ii. 12, we are said to be "buried with him" by 
baptism. All whicb, together with the consent of all 
Christians (some few in these later times excepted), do 
prove that baptism is necessary to the initiating persons 
into the Church of Christ. 

(3.) Holiness of life is essential to church-commimion, 
because it seems to be the reason why Christ founded a 
church in the world, viz., that men might thereby be 
watched over, and kept fi-om falling ; and that if any be 
overtaken with a fault, he that is spiritual might restore 
him, that by this means men and women might be preserved 
without blame to the coming of Christ ; and the grace of 
God teacheth us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, 
and to live soberl}' and uprightly in this present evil world ; 
Tit. ii. 11, 12. " And let every one that nameth the name 
of Christ, depart from iniquity ;" 2 Tim. ii. 19. And James 
tells us (speaking of the Christian religion), that " pure re- 
ligion, and undehled before God, is this, To visit the father- 
less and widows in their affliction, and to keep ourselves 
unspotted from the world ;" James i. 27. From all which 
(together with many more texts that might be produced) 
it appears, that an unholy and profane life is inconsistent 
with Christian religion and society ; and that holiness is 
essential to salvation and church-communion. So that 


these three things, faith, baptism, and a holy life, as I said 
before, all churches must agree and unite in, as those things 
which, when wanting, will destroy their being. And let 
not any think, that when I say, believing the Son of God 
died for the sins of men is essential to salvation and 
church-communion, that I hereby would exclude all other 
articles of the Christian creed as not necessary ; as the belief 
of the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment, &c., 
which, for want of time, I omit to speak particularly to, 
and the rather, because I understand this great article of be- 
lieving the Son of God died for the sins of men is compre- 
hensive of all others, and is that from whence all other 
articles may easily be inferred. 

And here I would not be mistaken, as though I held 
there was nothing else for Christians to practise, when I 
say this is all that is requisite to church-communion ; for 
I very well know, that Christ requires many other things 
of us, after we are members of his body, which, if we 
knowingly or maliciously refuse, may be the cause, not 
only of excommunication, but damnation. But yet these 
are such things as relate to the well-being and not to the 
being of churches ; as laying on of hands in the primitive 
times upon believers, by v^'hich they did receive the gifts 
of the Spirit : This, I say, was for the increase and edify- 
ing of the body, and not that thereby they might become 
of the body of Christ, for that they were before. And do 
not think that I believe laying on of hands was no apos- 
tolical institution, because I say men are not thereby made 
members of Christ's body, or because I say that it is not 
essential to church-connnunion. Why should I be thought 
to be against a fire in the chimney, because I say it must 
not be in the thatch of the house 1 Consider, then, how 
pernicious a thing it is to make every doctrine (though 
true) the bond of communion ; this is that which destroys 
unity, and by this rule all men must be perfect before 
they can be in peace : for do we not see daily, that as 
soon as men come to a clearer understanding of the mind 
of God (to say the best of what they hold), that presently 



all men are excommunicable, if not damnable, that do not 
agree with them. Do not some believe and see that to be 
pride and covetousness, which others do not, because (it 
may be) they have more narrowly and diligently searched 
into their duty of these things than others have ? What 
then ? Must all men that have not so large acquaintance 
of their duty herein be excommunicated ? Indeed it were 
to be wished that more moderation in apparel and secular con- 
cernments were found among churches : but God forbid, that 
if they should come short herein, that we should say, as one 
lately said, that he could not communicate with such a people, 
because they were proud and superfluous in their apparel. 

Let me appeal to such, and demand of them, if there was 
not a time, since they believed and were baptized, wherein 
they did not believe laying on of hands a duty ? and did 
they not then believe, and do they not still believe, they 
were members of the body of Christ ? And was not there 
a time when you did not so well understand the natui-e and 
extent of pride and covetousness as now you do 1 And did 
you not then believe, and do you not still believe, that you 
were true members of Christ, though less perfect ? Why then 
should you not judge of those that differ from you herein, 
as you judged of yourselves when you were as they now 
are ? How needful then is it for Christians to distinguish 
(if ever they would be at peace and unity) between those 
truths which are essential to church-communion, and those 
that are not ? 

3. Unity and peace consists in all as with one shoulder 
practising and putting in execution the things we do know ; 
Phil. iii. 16. " Nevertheless, whereto we have already at- 
tained, let us walk by the same rule, and mind the same 
thing." How sad is it to see our zeal consume us and our 
precious time in things doubtful and disputable, while we 
are not concerned nor affected with the practice of those 
indisputable things we all agree in ! We all know charity 
to be the great command, and yet how few agree to prac- 
tise it 1 We all know they that labour in the Avord and 
doctrine are worthy of double honour; and that God 



hath ordained, that they which preach the gospel should 
live of the gospel. These duties, however others have cavil- 
led at them, I know you agree in them, and are persuaded 
of your duty therein : but where is your zeal to practise ? 
how well would it be with churches, if they were but half 
as zealous for the great, and plain, and indisputable things, 
and the more chargeable and costly things of religion, as they 
are for things doubtful or less necessary, or for things that 
are no charge to them, and cost them nothing but the 
breath of contention, though that may be too great a price 
for the small things they purchase with it ! 

But further. Do we not all agree, that men that preach 
the gospel should do it like workmen that need not be 
ashamed ? and yet how little is this considered by many 
preachers, who never consider before they speak of what 
they say, or whereof they affirm ! How few give themselves 
to study that they may be approved ! How few meditate 
and give themselves to these things, that their profiting may 
appear to all ! 

For the Lord's sake let us unite to practise those things 
we know ; and if we would have more talents, let us all 
agTee to improve those we have. 

See the spirit that was among the primitive professors, 
that knowing and believing how much it concerned them in 
the propagating of Christianity, to shew forth love to one 
another (that so all might know them to be Christ's dis- 
ciples), rather than there should be any complainings among 
them, they sold all they had. how zealous were these to 
practise, and as with one shoulder to do that that was upon 
their hearts for God ! I might further add, how often have 
we agreed in our judgment 1 and hath it not been upon our 
hearts, that this and the other thing is good to be done, to 
enlighten the dark world, and to repair the breaches of 
churches, and to raise up those churches that now lie gasp- 
ing, and among whom the soul of religion is expiring ? But 
what do we more than talk of them ? Do not most decline 
these things, when they either call for their purses or their 
persons to help in this and such like works as these 1 Let 


US then, in what we know, unite, that we may put it in 

practice, remembering-, that if we know these things, we 
shall be happy if we do them. 

4. This unity and peace consists in our joining and agree- 
ing to pray for, and to press after, those truths we do not 
know. The disciples in the primitive times were conscious 
of their imperfections, and therefore they with one accord 
continued in prayer and supplications. If we were more in 
the sense of our ignorance and imperfections, we should 
carry it better towards those that differ from us : then we 
should abound more in the spirit of meekness and forbear- 
ance, that thereby we might bring others (or be brought by 
others) to the knowledge of the truth : this would make us 
go to God, and say with Elihu, Job xxxiv. 32, " That 
which we know not, teach thou us." Brethren, did we but 
all agree that we were erring in many things, we should 
soon agree to go to God, and pray for more wisdom and re- 
velation of his mind and will concerning us. 

But here is our misery, that we no sooner receive any 
thing for truth, but we presently ascend the chair of infa- 
libiiity with it, as though in this we could not err : hence 
it is we are impatient of contradiction, and become unchari- 
table to those that are not of the same mind ; but now a 
consciousness that we may mistake, or that if my brother 
err in one thing, I may err in another ; this will unite us 
in affection, and engage us to press after perfection, accord- 
ing to that of the apostle ; Phil. iii. 13-15, " Brethren, I 
count not myself to have apprehended : But this one 
thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, 
and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 
I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high cal- 
ling of God in Clirist Jesus. And if in any thing ye be 
otherwise minded, God sliall reveal even this unto you." 
then that we could but unite and agree to go to God 
for one another, in confidence that he will teach us ; and 
that if any one of us want wisdom (as who of us does not), 
we might agree to ask of God, who giveth to all men liber- 
ally, and upbraideth no man ! Let us, like those people 


spoken of in the 2d of Isaiah, say to one another, " Come, 
let us go to the Lord, for he will teach us of his ways, and 
we will walk in his paths." 

5. This unity and peace mainly consists in unity of love 
and affection : this is the great and indispensable duty of 
all Christians ; by this they are declared Christ's disciples : 
And hence it is that love is called " the great command- 
ment," " the old commandment," and " the new command- 
ment ;" that which was commanded in the beginning, and 
will remain to the end, yea, and after the end. 1 Cor. xiii. 
8, " Charity never faileth ; but whether there be tongues, 
they shall cease ; or whether there be knowledge, it shall 
vanish away." And ver. 13, " And now abideth faith, 
hope, charity ; but the greatest of tliese is charity." And 
Col. iii. 14, " Above all these things, put on charity, which 
is the bond of perfectness ;" because charity is the end of 
the commandment, 1 Tim. i. 5. Charity is therefore called 
" the royal law ;" as though it had a superintendency over 
other laws, and doubtless is a law to which other laws 
must give place, when they come in competition with it ; 
*' above all things, therefore, have fervent charity among 
yourselves ; for charity shall cover the multitude of sins ;" 
1 Pet. iv. 8. Let us therefore live in unity and peace, and 
the God of love and peace will be with us. 

That you may so do, let me remind you (in the words of 
a learned man), that the unity of the church is a unity of 
love and affection, and not a bare uniformity of practice 
and opinion. 

III. Having shewn you wherein this unity consists, I 
now come to the third general thing propounded : and that 
is, to shew you the fi-uits and benefits of unity and peace, 
together with the mischiefs and inconveniences that attend 
those churches where unity and peace are wanting. 

1. Unity and peace is a duty well-pleasing to God, who 
is styled the author of peace and not of cohl'usion. In all 
the churches God's Spirit rcjoicetli in the unity of our 
spirits ; but on the other hand, where strife and divisions 
are, there the Spirit of God is grieved. Hence it is that the 


apostle no sooner calls upon the Ephesians not to grieve the 
Spirit of God, but he presently subjoins us a remedy against 
that evil, that they put away bitterness and evil-speaking, 
and be kind one to another, and tender-hearted, forgiving 
one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven 
them ; Eph. iv. 30, 32. 

2. As unity and peace is pleasing to God, and rejoiceth 
his Spirit, so it rejoiceth the hearts and spirits of God's 
people. Unity and peace brings heaven down upon earth 
among us : hence it is that the apostle tells us, Rom. iv. 
17, that "the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but 
righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost." 
Where unity and peace is, there is heaven upon earth ; by 
this we taste the first fruits of that blessed estate we shall 
one day live in the fruition of ; when we shall come " to 
the general assembly and church of the first-born, whose 
names are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, 
and to the spirits of just men made perfect ;" Heb. xii. 23. 

This outward peace of the church (as a learned man 
observes) distils into peace of conscience, and turns wiit- 
ings and readings of controversy into treatises of mortifica- 
tion and devotion. 

And the Psalmist tells us, that it is not only good, but 
pleasant for brethren to dwell together in unity. Psalm 
cxxxiii. But where unity and peace is wanting, there are 
stonns and troubles ; " where envy and strife is, there is 
confusion and every evil work;" James iii. 16. It is the 
outward peace of the church that increaseth our inward 
joy ; and the peace of God's house gives us occasion to eat 
our meat with gladness in our own houses. Acts ii. 46. 

3. The unity and peace of the church makes communion 
of saints desirable. What is it that embittei-s church-com- 
munion, and makes it burdensome, but divisions? Have 
you not heard many complain, tliat they are \veary of 
church-communion, because of church-contention ? but now 
where unity and peace is, there Christians long for com- 

David saith, that he was glad when they said unto hun, 


** Let US go to the house of God ; " Psalm cxxii. 1 . Why 
was this, but because (as the third verse tells us) Jerusalem 
was a city compact together, where the tribes went up, the 
tribes of the Lord, to give thanks to his name ? And David, 
speaking of the man that was once his friend, doth thereby 
let us know the benefit of peace and unity ; Psalm Iv. 14. 
" We," saith he, " took sweet counsel together, and walked 
to the house of God in company." Where unity is strongest, 
communion is sweetest and most desirable. You see then 
that peace and union fills the people of God with desires 
after communion : but, on the other hand, hear how David 
complains, Psalm cxx., " Wo is me, that I sojourn in Me- 
sech, and that I dwell in the tents of Kedar." The Psalmist 
here is thought to allude to a sort of men that dwelt in the 
deserts of Arabia, that got their livings by contention ; and 
therefore he adds, ver. 6, that his soul had long dwelt with 
them that hated peace. This was that which made him 
long for the courts of God, and esteem one day in his house 
better than a thousand. This made his soul even faint for 
the house of God, because of the peace of it ; " Blessed are 
they," saith he, " that dwell in thy house, they will be still 
praising thee." There is a certain note of concord, as ap- 
pears. Acts ii., where we read of primitive Christians, meet- 
ing with one accord, praising God. 

4. Where unity and peace is, there many mischiefs and 
inconveniences are prevented, which attend those people 
where peace and unity are wanting : and of those many 
that might be mentioned, I shall briefly insist upon these 

1. Where unity and peace is wanting, there is much 
precious time spent to no purpose. How many days are 
spent, and how many fruitless journeys made to no profit, 
where the people are not in peace 1 How often have many 
redeemed time (even in seed-time and harvest) when they 
could scarce afford it, to go to church, and, by reason of 
their divisions, come home worse than they went, repenting 
they have spent so much precious time to so little benefit ? 
How sad is it to see men spend their precious time, in which 


they should work out their salvation, in labouring, as in 
the fire, to prove an uncertain and doubtful proposition, 
and to trifle away their time, in which they should make 
their calling and election sure, to make sure of an opinion, 
which, when they have done all, they are not infiallibly 
sure whether it be true or no, because all things necessary 
to salvation and church-communion are plainly laid down 
in scripture, in which we may be infallibly sure of the 
truth of them ; but for other things that we have no plain 
texts for, but the truth of them depends upon our interpre- 
tations, here we must be cautioned, that we do not spend 
much time in imposing those upon others, or venting those 
among others, unless we can assume infallibility, otherwise 
we spend time upon uncoj'tainty. And whoever casts their 
eyes abroad, and do open their ears to intelligence, shall 
both see, and to their sorrow hear, that many churches 
spend most of their time in jangling and contending about 
those things which are neither essential to salvation nor 
church-communion ; and that which is worse, about such 
doubtful questions which they are never able to give an in- 
fallible solution of. But now where unity and peace is, 
there our time is spent in praising God ; and in tliose great 
questions. What we should do to be saved ? and. How we 
may be more holy and more humble towards God, and more 
charitable and more serviceable to one another ? 

2. Where unity and })eace is wanting, there is evil sur- 
mising and evil speaking, to the damage and disgrace, if 
not to the ruining, of one another ; Gal. v. 14, 15. The 
whole law is fulfilled in one word, " Thou shalt love thy 
neighbour as thyself. But if you bite and devour one an- 
other, take heed you be not consumed one of another," 
No sooner the bond of charity is broken, which is as a 
wall about Christians, but soon they begin to make havock 
and spoil of one another ; then there is raising evil reports, 
and taking up evil reports, against each other. Hence it is 
that whispering and l)ackbitlng proceeds, and going from 
house to liousc to blazon the faults and infirmities of others: 
hence it is that we watch for the baitings of one another, and 


do inwardly rejoice at the miscarriages of others, saying in 
our hearts, " Ha ! ha ! so we woukl have it :" but now where 
unity and peace is, there is charity ; and where charity is, 
there we are willing to hide the faults, and cover the naked- 
ness, of our brethren. " Charity thinketh no evil ;" 1 Cor. 
xiii. 5 ; and therefore it cannot surmise, neither will it 
speak evil. 

3. Where unity and peace is wanting, there can be no 
great matters enterpris3d — we cannot do much for God, 
nor much for one another ; when the devil would hinder 
the bringing to pass of good in nations and churches, he di- 
vides their counsels (and as one well observes), he divides 
their heads, that he may divide their hands ; when Jacob 
had prophesied of the cruelty of Simon and Levi, who 
were brethren, he threatens them with the consequent of 
it ; Gen. xlix. 7, " I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter 
them in Israel." The devil is not to learn that maxim he 
hath taught the Machiavellians of the world. Divide et im- 
pera; divide and rule. It is an united force that is formi- 
dable. Hence the spouse in the Canticles is said to be but 
one, and the only one of her mother ; Cant. vi. 9. Here • 
upon it is said of her, ver. 10, " That she is terrible as an 
army M^ith banners." What can a divided army do, or a 
disordered army that have lost their banners, or for fear or 
shame thrown them away 1 In like manner, what can 
Christians do for Christ, and the enlarging of his dominions 
in the world, in bringing men from darkness to light, while 
themselves are divided and disordered ? Peace is to Chris- 
tians as great rivers are to some cities, which (besides other 
benefits and conmiodities) are natural fortifications by 
reason whereof those places are made impregnable ; but 
when, by the subtil ty of an adversary or the folly of the 
citizens, these waters come to be divided into little petty 
rivulets, how soon are they assailed and taken ? Thus it 
fares with church^'s, when once the devil or their own folly 
divides them, they will be so far from resisting of him, that 
they will be soon subjected by him. 

Peace is to churches as walls to a city ; nay, unity hath 


defended cities that had no walls. It was once demanded 
of AgesilauSj why Lacedemon had no walls ; he answers 
(pointing back to the city), That the concord of the citizens 
was the strength of the city. In like manner, Christians 
are strong when united ; then they are more capable to re- 
sist temptation, and to succour such as are tempted. When 
unity and peace is among the churches, then are they like 
a walled town ; and when peace is the church's walls, sal- 
vation will be her bulwarks. 

Plutarch tells us of one Silurus that had eighty sons, 
whom he calls to him as he lay upon his death-bed, and 
gave them a sheaf of arrows, thereby to signify, that if 
they lived in unity, they might do much, but if they di- 
vided, they would come to nothing. If Clu-istians were 
all of one piece, if they were all but one lump, or but one 
sheaf or bundle, how great are the things they might do 
for Christ and his people in the world, whereas otherwise 
they can do little but dishonour him, and offend his ! 

It is reported of the leviathan, that his strength is in his 
scales ; Job xli. 15-17, " His scales are his pride, shut up 
together as with a close seal ; one is so near to another, that 
no air can come between them : they are joined together, 
they stick together, they cannot be sundered." If the 
chm'ch of God were united like the scales of the leviathan, 
it would not be every brain-sick notion, nor angry specu- 
lation, that would cause its separation. 

Solomon saith, " Two are better than one," because, if 
one fall, the other may raise him ; then surely twenty are 
better than two, and an hundred are better than twenty, 
for the same reason ; because they are more capable to 
help one another. If ever Christians would do any thing 
to raise up the fallen tabernacles of Jacob, and to strengthen 
the weak, and comfort the feeble, and to fetch back those 
that have gone astray, it must be by unity. 

We read of the men of Babel, Gen xi. 6, " The Lord 
said. Behold, the people are one, &c., and now nothing will 
be restrained from them that they have imagined to do." 

We learn by reason, what great things may be done in 


worldly achievements where unity is ; and shall not rea- 
son (assisted with the motives of religion) leach us, that 
unity among Christians may enable them to enterprise 
greater things for Christ ] Would not this make Satan 
fall from heaven like lightning ? For as unity built literal 
Babel, it is unity that must pull down mystical Babel. 
And, on the other hand, where divisions are, there is con- 
fusion ; by this means a Babel hath been built in every 
age. It hath been observed by a learned man — and I wish 
I could not say truly observed — that there is most of Babel 
and confusion among those that cry out most against it. 

Would we have a hand to destroy Babylon ? let us have 
a heart to unite one among another. 

Our English histories tell us, that after Austin the monk 
had been some time in England, he heard of some of the 
remains of the British Christians, which he convened to 
a place which Cambden in his Britannia calls " Austin's 
Oak." Here they met to consult about matters of religion ; 
but such was their division, by reason of Austin's imposing 
spirit, that our stories tell us that synod wfis only famous 
for this, that they only met and did nothing. This is the 
mischief of divisions — they hinder the doing of much good ; 
and if Christians that are divided be ever famous for any 
thing, it will be, that they have often met together, and 
talked of this and the other thing, but they did nothing. 

4, Where unity and peace is wanting, there the weak 
are wounded, and the wicked are hardened. Unity may 
well be compared to precious oil. Psalm cxxxiii. 2. It is 
the nature of oil to heal that which is wounded, and to 
soften that which is hard. Those men that have hardened 
themselves against God and his people, when they shall 
behold unity and peace among them, will say, God is in 
them indeed : and on the other hand, are they not ready to 
say, when they see you divided, That the devil is in you 
that you cannot agree ! 

5. Divisions and want of peace keep those out of the 
church tliat would come in ; and cause many to go out 
that arc in. 


" The divisions of Christians (as a learned man observes) 
are a scandal to the Jews, an opprobrium to the Gentiles, 
and an inlet to atheism and infidelity :" insomuch that our 
controversies about religion (especially as they have been 
of late managed) have made religion itself become a con- 
troversy. then, how good and pleasant a thing is it for 
brethren to dwell together in unity ! The peace and unity 
that was among the primitive Christians drew others to 
them. What hinders the conversion of the Jews, but the 
divisions of Christians ? Must I be a Christian ? says the 
Jew. What Christian must I be ? what sect must I be of ? 
The Jews (as one observes), glossing upon that text in Isa. 
xi. 6, where it is prophesied. That the lion and the lamb 
shall lie down together, and that there shall be none left to 
hurt nor destroy in all God's holy mountain : they inter- 
preting these sayings to signify the concord and peace that 
shall be among the people that shall own the Messiah, do 
from hence conclude, that the Messiah is not yet come, 
because of the contentions and divisions that are among 
those that profess him. And the apostle saith, 1 Cor. 
xiv. 23, that if an unbeliever should see their disorders, 
he would say they were mad ; but where unity and peace is, 
there the churches are multiplied. We read. Acts ix., that 
when the churches had rest, they multiplied ; and Acts ii. 
46, 47, when the church was servii^g God with one accord, 
" the Lord added to them daily such as shoi^ld be saved." 

It is unity brings men into the church, and divisions 
keep them out. It is reported of an Indian, passing by the 
house of a Christian, and hearing them contending, being 
desired to turn in, he refused, saying, " Habamach dwells 
there," meaning that the devil dwelt there : but where unity 
and peace is, there God is ; and he that dwells in love, 
dwells in God. The apostle tells the Corinthians, that if 
they walked orderly, even the unbelievers would hereby be 
enforced to come and worship, and say, God was in them in- 
deed. And we read, Zech. viii. 23, of a time when ten men 
shall take hold of a Jew, and say, " We will go with you, 
for we have heard that God is with you." 


And hence it is that Christ prays, John xvii. 21, that his 
disciples might be one, as the Father and he were one, that 
the world might believe the Father sent him : as if he 
should say, you may preach me as long as you will, and 
to little purpose, if you are not at peace and unity among 
yourselves. Such was the unity of Christians in former 
days, that the intelligent heathen would say of them, that 
though they had many bodies, yet they had but one soul. 
And we read the same of them. Acts iv. 32, that " the multi- 
tude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul." 

And as the learned Stillingfleet observes in his Ireni- 
cum : " The unity and peace that was then among Chris- 
tians made religion amiable in the judgment of impartial 
heathens : Christians were then known by the benignity 
and sweetness of their dispositions, by the candour and 
ingenuity of their spirits, by their mutual love, forbear- 
ance, and condescension to one another. But either this 
is not the practice of Christianity (viz., a duty that Chris- 
tians are now bound to observe), or else it is not calcu- 
lated for our meridian, where the spirits of men are of 
too high an elevation for it ; for if pride and uncharita- 
bleness, if divisions and strifes, if wrath and envy, if 
animosities and contentions, were but the marks of true 
Christians, Diogenes need never light his lamp at noon to 
find out such among us ; but if a spirit of meekness, 
gentleness, and condescension, if a stooping to the weaknesses 
and infirmities of one another, if pursuit after peace, when 
it flies from us, be the indispensable duties, and characteris- 
tical notes of Christians, it may possibly prove a difl&cult 
inquest to find out such among the crowds of those that 
shelter themselves under that glorious name." 

It is the unity and peace of churches that brings others 
to them, and makes Christianity amiable. What is pro- 
phesied of the church of the Jews may in this case be ap- 
plied to the Gentile church, Isa. Ixvi. 12, that when once 
God extends peace to her like a river, the Gentiles shall 
come in like a flowing stream; then (and not till then) the 
glory of the Lord sliall arise upon his churches, and hi* 


glory shall be seen among them ; then shall their hearts fear 
and be enlarged, because the abundance of the nations shall 
be converted to them. 

6. As want of unity and peace keeps those out of the 
church that would come in, so it hinders the growth of 
those that are in. Jars and divisions, wranglings and pre- 
judices, eat out the growth, if not the life of religion. These 
are those waters of Marah, that embitter our spirits, and 
quench the Spirit of God. Unity and peace is said to be 
like the dew of Hermon, and as a dew that descended 
upon Sion, where the Lord commanded his blessing ; Psalm 
cxxxiii. 3. 

Divisions run religion into briars and thorns, contentions 
and parties. Divisions are to churches like wars in coun- 
tries : where wars are, the ground lieth waste and untilled, 
none takes care of it. It is love that edifieth, but division 
pulleth do^vn. Divisions are as the north-east wind to the 
fruits, which causeth them to dwindle away to nothing ; 
but when the storms are over, every thing begins to grow. 
When men are divided, they seldom speak the truth in 
love ; and then no marvel they grow not up to him in all 
things, Avho is the head. 

It is a sad presage of an approaching famine (as one 
well observes), not of bread nor water, but of hearing 
the word of God, when the thin ears of corn devour the 
plump full ones ; when the lean kine devour the fat ones ; 
when our controversies about doubtful things, and things 
of less moment, eat up our zeal for the more indisputable 
and practical things in religion : which may give us cause 
to fear, that this will be the character by which our age 
will be known to posterity — that it was the age that talked 
of religion most, and loved it L^ast. 

Look upon those churches where peace is, and there you 
shall find prosperity. When the churches had rest, they 
were not only multiplied, but, walking in the fear of the 
Lord and the comforts of the Holy Ghost, they were edi- 
fied ; it is when the Avhole body is knit together, as with 
joints and bands, that they increase with the increase of God. 


We are at a stand sometimes, why there is so little growth 
among churches, why men have been so long in learning, 
and are yet so far from attaining the knowledge of the 
truth ; some have given one reason, and some another ; 
some say pride is the cause, and others say covetousness is 
the cause. I wish I could say these were no causes ; but I 
observe, that when God entered his controversy with his 
people of old, he mainly insisted upon some one sin, as 
idolatry, and shedding innocent blood, &c., as comprehen- 
sive of the rest ; not but that they were guilty of other 
sins, biit those that were the most capital are particularly 
insisted on : in like manner, whoever would but take a 
review of churches that live in contentions and divisions, 
may easily find that breach of unity and charity is their 
capital sin, and the occasion of all other sins. No marvel 
then, that the Scripture saith, the whole law is fulfilled in 
love : and if so, then where love is wanting, it needs must 
follow the whole law is broken. It is where love grows 
cold that sin abounds ; and therefore the want of unity and 
peace is the cause of that leanness and barrenness that is 
among us ; it is true in spirituals as well as temporals, that 
peace brings plenty. 

7. Where unity and peace is wanting, our prayers are 
hindered ; the promise is, that what we shall agree to ask 
shall be given us of our heavenly Father : no marvel we 
pray and pray, and yet are not answered ; it is because we 
are not agreed what to have. 

It is reported that the people in Lacedemonia, coming to 
make supplication to their idol god, some of them asked for 
rain, and others of them asked for fair weather : the oracle 
returns them this answer. That they should go first and 
agree among themselves. Would a heathen god refuse to 
ansv/er such prayers in which the supplicants were not 
agreed, and shall we think the true God will answer them 1 

We see then that divisions hinder our prayers, and lay 
a prohibition on our sacrifice : " If thou bring thy gift to 
the altar," saith Clirist, " and there remember that thy 
brother hath aught against thee, leave thy gift, and go, and 


fii-st be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer 
it." So that want of unity and charity hinders even our 
particular prayers and devotions. 

This hindered the prayers and fastings of the people 
of old fi-om finding acceptance ; Isa. Iviii. 3. The people 
ask the reason wherefore they fasted, and God did not see 
nor take notice of them. He gives this reason, Because 
they fasted for strife and debate, and hid their face from 
their own flesh. Again, Isa. lix., the Lord saith, his hand 
was not shortened, that he could not save; nor his ear 
heavy, that he could not hear : but their sins had separated 
between their God and them. And among those many sins 
they stood chargeable with, this was none of the least, viz., 
that the way of peace they had not known. You see 
where peace was wanting, prayers were hindered, both un- 
der the Old and New Testaments. 

The sacrifice of the people, in the 65th of Isaiah, that said, 
*' Stand by thyself, I am holier than thou," was a smoke in 
the nostrils of the Lord. On the other hand, w^e read how 
acceptable those prayers were that were made with one ac- 
cord. Acts iv. 24, compared with verse 31. They prayed 
with one accord, and they were all of one heart, and of one 
soul : And see the benefit of it, " They were all filled with 
the Holy Ghost, and spoke the word with all boldness ;" 
which was the very thing they prayed for, as appears verse 
29. And the apostle exhorts the husband to dwell with his 
wife, that their prayers might not be hindered ; 1 Pet. iii. 
7. We see then want of unity and peace, either in families 
or churches, is a hinderance of prayers. 

8. It is a dishonour and disparagement to Christ that his 
family should be divided. When an army falls into mu- 
tiny and division, it reflects disparagement on him that 
hath the conduct of it. In like manner, the divisions of 
families are a dishonour to the heads, and those that govern 
them. And if so, then how greatly do we dishonour our 
Lord and governor, who gave his body to be broken to 
keep his church from breaking, who prayed for their peace 
and unity, and left peace at his departing from them for a 


legacy, even a peace which the world could not bestow upon 

9. Where there is peace and unity, there is a sympathy 
with each other ; that which is the want of one will be 
the want of all. "Who is afflicted," saith the apostle, 
" and I burn not ?" We should then " remember them that 
are in bonds, as bound with them ; and them which suffer 
adversity, as being ourselves also of the body ; " Heb. xiii. 
3. But where the body is broken, or men are not reck- 
oned or esteemed of the body, no marvel we are so little af- 
fected with such as are afflicted. Where divisions are, 
that which is the joy of the one is the grief of another ; 
but where unity and peace and charity abound, there we 
shall find Christians in mourning with them that mourn, and 
rejoicing with them that rejoice ; then they will not envy 
the prosperity of others, nor secretly rejoice at the miseries 
or miscarriages of any. 

IV. Last of all, I now come to give you twelve directions 
and motives for the obtaining peace and unity. 

1 . If ever we would live in peace and unity, we must 
pray for it. We are required to seek peace : of whom then 
can we seek it with expectation to find it, but of him who 
is a God of peace, and hath promised to bless his people 
with peace ? It is God that hath promised to give his 
people one heart, and one way ; yet for all these things he 
will be sought unto : then let us seek peace, and pray 
for peace, because God shall prosper them that love it. 

The peace of churches is that which the apostle prays for 
in all his epistles ; in which his desire is, that grace and 
peace may be multiplied and increased among them. 

2. They that would endeavour the peace of the churches, 
must be careful who they commit the care and oversight 
of the churches to ; as (1.) — Over and besides those quali- 
fications that should be in all Christians, they that rule the 
church of God should be men of counsel and understand- 
ing. Where there is an ignorant ministry, there is com- 
monly an ignorant people, according as it was of old — Like 
priest like people. 


How sad is it to see the cliiircli of God committed to the 
care of such that pretend to he teachers of others, that under- 
stand not what they say, or whereof they affirm. No marvel 
the peace of churches is hroken, when their watchmen want 
skill to preserve their unity, which of all other things is as 
the church's walls ; when they are divided, no wohder they 
crumble to atoms, if there is no skilful physician to heal 
them. It is sad when there is no halm in Gilead, and 
when there is no physician there. Hence it is, that the 
wounds of churches become incurable, like the wounds of 
God's people of old, either not healed at all, or else slightly 
healed, and to no purpose. May it not be said of many 
churches at this day, as God said of the church of Israel, 
That he sought for a man among them that should stand 
in the gap, and make up the breach ; but he found none ? 

Remember what was said of old, Mai. ii. 7, The priest's 
lips preserve knowledge : and the people should seek the 
law at his mouth. But when this is wanting, the people 
will be stumbling, and departing from God and one another ; 
therefore God complains, Hos. iv. 6, That his people were 
destroyed for want of knowledge ; that is, for want of 
knowing guides ; for if the light that is in them that teach 
be darkness, how great is that darkness ! and if the blind 
lead the blind, no marvel both fall into the ditch. 

How many are there that take upon them to teach others, 
that had need be taught in the beginning of religion ; that 
instead of multiplying knowledge, multiply words without 
knowledge ; and instead of making known God's counsel, 
darken counsel by Avords without knowledge ? The apostle 
speaks of some that did more than darken counsel ; for 
they wrested the counsel of God ; 2 Pet. iii. IG. In Paul's 
epistles, saith he, " are some things hard to be underetood, 
which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they 
do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction." 
Some things in the Scriptures are hard to be known, and 
they are made harder by such unlearned teachers as utter 
their own notions by words without knowledge. 

None are more bold and adventm-ous to take upon 


them to expound the dark mysteries and sayings of the 
prophets and Revelations, and the 9th of the Romans, 
which I believe contains some of those many things which, 
in Paul's epistles, Peter saith, were " hard to be under- 
stood ;" I say none are more forward to dig in these mines 
than those that can hardly give a sound reason for the first 
principles of religion ; and such as are ignorant of many 
more weighty things that are easily to he seen in the face 
and superficies of the Scripture ; nothing will serve these 
but swimming in the deeps, when they have not yet learned 
to wade through the shallows of the Scriptures : like the 
Gnosticks of old, who thought they knew all things, though 
they knew nothing as they ought to know. And as those 
Gnosticks did of old, so do such teachers of late break the 
unity and peace of churches. 

How needful then is it, that if we desire the peace of 
churches, that we choose out men of knowledge, Avho may 
be able to keep them from being shattered and scattered 
with every wind of doctrine : and who may be able to con- 
vince and stop the mouths of gainsayers. 

(2.) You must not only choose men of counsel, but if 
you would design the unity and peace of the churches, you 
must choose men of courage to govern them ; for as there 
must be wisdom to bear with some, so there must be courage 
to correct others : as some must be instructed meekly, so 
others must be rebuked sharply, that they may be sound 
in the faith ; there must be wisdom to rebuke some with 
long-suffering, and there must be courage to suppress and 
stop the mouths of others. The apostle tells Titus of some 
whose mouths must be stopped, or else they would subvert 
whole houses, Titus i. 11. Where this courage hath been 
wanting, not only whole houses, but whole churches have 
been subverted. And Paul tells the Galatians, that when 
he saw some endeavour to bring the churches into bondage, 
that he did not give place to them, no not for an hour, &c., 
Gal. ii. 5. If this course had been taken by the rulers of 
churches, their peace had not been so often invaded by 
unruly and vain talkers. 


3. In choosing men to rule (if you would endeavour to 
keep the unity of the Spirit, and the bond of peace there- 
by), be careful you choose men of peaceable dispositions. 
That which hath much annoyed the peace of churches 
hath been the froward and perverse spirits of the rulers 
thereof. Solomon therefore adviseth, That with a furious 
man we should not go, lest we learn his ways, and get a 
snare to our souls, Prov. xxii. 24, 25, and with the fro- 
ward we learn frowardness. How do some men% words 
eat like a canker ; who instead of lifting up their voices like 
a trumpet to sound a parley for peace, have rather sounded 
an alarm to war and contention. If ever we would live in 
peace, let us reverence the feet of them that bring the glad 
tidings of it. 

how have some men made it their business to preach 
contentions, and upon their entertainment of every novel 
opinion to preach separation ! How hath God's word 
been stretched and torn to furnish these men with argu- 
ments to tear churches ! Have not our ears heard those 
texts that say, " Come out from among them, and be se- 
parate," &c., and "Withdraw from every brother that walks 
disorderly ?" I say, have we not heard these texts that 
were written to prevent disorder brought to comite- 
nance the greatest disorder that ever was in the church of 
God, even schism and division 1 whereas one of these ex- 
hortations was written to the church of Corinth, to sepa- 
rate themselves from the idol's temple, and the idol's table, 
in which many of them lived in the participation of, not- 
withstanding their profession of the true God ; as appears, 
2 Cor. vi. 16, 17, compared with 1 Cor. viii. 7, and as 1 
Cor. x. 14, 20, 22, recites ; and not for some few or more 
members, who shall make themselves both judges and par- 
ties to make separation, when and as often as they please, 
from the whole congregation and church of God, where 
they stood related ; for by the same rule, and upon the 
same ground, may others start some new question among 
these new separatists, and become their own judges of the 
communicableness of them, and thereupon make another 


separation from these, till at last two be not left to walk 
together. And for that other text mentioned, 2 Thess. iii, 
6, where Paul exhorts the church of Thessalonica to with- 
draw themselves from every brother that walks disorderly ; 
I cannot but wonder that any should bring this to justify 
their separation or withdrawal from the communion of a 
true (though a disorderly) church. For, 

(1.) Consider, that this was not writ for a few members 
to withdraw from the church, but for the church to with- 
draw from disorderly members. 

(2.) Consider, that if any offended members, upon pre- 
tence of en-or, either in doctrine or practice, should by this 
text become judges (as well as parties) of the grounds and 
lawfulness of their separation ; then it will follow, that 
half a score notorious heretics, or scandalous livers (when 
they have walked so as they forsee the church are ready to 
deal with them, and withdraw from them), shall anticipate 
the church, and pretend somewhat against them, of which 
themselves must be judges, and so withdraw from the 
church, pretending either heresy or disorder ; and so con- 
demn the church, to prevent the disgrace of being con- 
demned by the church. How needful then is it, that men 
of peaceable dispositions, and not of froward and fractious 
and dividing spirits, be chosen to rule the church of God, 
for fear lest the whole church be leavened and soured by 
them ! 

4. As there must be care used in choosing men to rule 
the church of God, so there must be a consideration had, 
that there are many things darkly laid down in scripture ; 
this will temper our spirits, and make us live in peace and 
unity the more firmly in things in which we agree ; this 
will help us to bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the 
law of Christ, inasmuch as all things necessary to salvation 
and church communion are plainly laid down in scripture. 
And where things are more darkly laid down, we should 
consider that God intended hereby to stir up our diligence, 
that thereby we might increase our knowledge, and not 
our divisions, for it may be said of all discoveries of truth 


we have made in the Scriptures, as it is said of the globe 
of the earth, that though men have made great searclies, 
and thereupon great discoveries, yet there is still a terra 
incognita, an unknown land ; so there is in the Scrip- 
tures : for after men have travelled over them, one age after 
another, yet still there is, as it were, a terra incognita, an 
unknown track to put us upon farther search and inquiry, 
and to keep us from censuring and falling out with those 
who have not yet made the same discoveries ; that so we 
may say with the Psalmist, when we reflect upon our short 
apprehensions of the mind of God, that we have seen an 
end of all perfection, hut God's commands are exceeding 
broad ; and as one observes, speaking of the Scriptures, that 
there is a path in them leading to the mind of God, which 
lieth a great distance from the thoughts and apprehensions 
of men. And on the other hand, in many other places, 
God sits, as it were, on the superficies, and the face of the 
letter, where he that runs may discern him speaking plainly, 
and no ])arable at all. Hoav should the consideration of 
this induce us to a peaceable deportment towards those that 
diff-er ! 

5. If we would endeavour peace and unity, we must 
consider how God hath tempered the body, that so the 
comely parts should not separate from the uncomely, as 
having no need of them ; 1 Cor. xii. 23-25. There is 
in Christ's body and house some members and vessels less 
honourable ; 2 Tim. ii. 20. And therefore we should not, 
as some now-a-days do, pour the more abundant disgrace, 
instead of putting the more abundant honour upon them. 
Did we but consider this, we should be covering the weak- 
ness, and hiding the miscarriages of one another, because 
we are all members one of another, and the most useless 
member in his place is useful. 

6. If we would live in peace, let us remember our rela- 
tions to God, as children to a father, and to each other as 
brethren. Will not the thoughts tliat we have one Father, 
quiet us ; and the thoughts tliat we are brethren, unite us ? 
It was this that made Abraham propose terms of peace to 


Lot ; Gen. xiii., " Let there be no strife," saith he, " between 
us, for we are brethren." And we read of Moses, in Acts 
vii. 26, using this argument to reconcile those that strove 
together, and to set them at one again : " Sirs," saith he, 
" you are brethren, why do you wrong one another ?" A 
tieep sense of this relation, that we are brethren, would keep 
us from dividing. 

7. If we would preserve peace, let us mind the gifts and 
graces and virtues that are in each other; let these be 
more in our eye than their failings and imperfections. 
When the apostle exhorted the Pliilippians to peace, as a 
means hereunto, that so the peace of God might rule in 
their hearts, he tells them, iv. 8, " That if there were any 
virtue, or any praise, they should think of these things," 
While we are always talking and blazoning the faults of 
one another, and spreading their infirmities, no marvel we 
are so little in peace and charity ; for as charity covereth a 
multitude of sins, so malice covereth a multitude of virtues, 
and makes us deal by one another, as the heathen persecu- 
tors dealt with Christians, viz., put them in bears' skins, that 
they might the more readily become a prey to those dogs 
that were designed to devour them. 

8. If we would keep unity and peace, let us lay aside 
provoking and dividing language, and forgive those that use 
it. Remember that old saying, " Evil words corrupt 
good manners." When men think to carry all before them, 
with speaking uncharitably and disgracefully of their 
brethren or their opinions, may not such be answered as 
Job answered his unfriendly visitants. Job vi. 25, " How 
forcible are right, words ; but what doth your arguing re- 
prove ?" How healing are words fitly spoken 1 A word 
in season, how good is it ? If we would seek peace, let us 
clothe all our treaties for peace with acceptable words ; and 
where one word may better accommodate than another, let 
that be used to express persons or things by ; and let us 
not, as some do, call the different practices of our brethren, 
will-worship, and their different opinions, doctrines of 
devils, and the doctrine of Balaam, who taught fornication, 


Sec, unless we can plainly, and in expressness of terms, 
prove it so. Such language as this hath strangely divid- 
ed our spirits, and hardened our hearts one towards an- 

9. If we would live in peace, let us make the best con- 
structions of one another's words and actions. Charity 
judgeth the best, and it thinks no evil; if words and ac- 
tions may be construed to a good sense, let us never put a 
bad construction upon them. How much hath the peace 
of Christians been broken by an uncharitable interpreta- 
tion of words and actions ? As some lay to the charge of 
others that which they never said, so, by straining men's 
words, others lay to their charge that they never thought. 

10. Be willing to hear, and learn, and obey those that 
God by his providence hath set over you ; this is a great 
means to preserve the unity and peace of churches : but 
when men (yea, and sometimes women) shall usurp autho- 
rity, and think themselves wiser than their teachers, no 
wonder if these people run into contentions and parties, 
when any shall say they are not free to hear those whom 
the church thinks fit to speak to them. This is the first 
step to schism, and is usually attended, if not timely pre- 
vented, with a sinful separation. 

11. If you would keep the unity of the spirit in the 
bond of peace, be mindful, that the God whom you serve is 
a God of peace, and your Saviour is a Prince of peace, and 
that " his ways are ways of pleasantness, and all his paths 
are peace ;" and that Christ was sent into the world " to 
give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow 
of death, and to guide our feet in the way of peace." 

12. Consider the oneness of spirit that is among the ene- 
mies of religion ; though they differ about other things, yet 
to persecute religion, and extirpate religion out of the earth, 
here they will agree ; the devils in the air, and the devils 
in the earth, all the devils in hell, and in the world, make 
one at this turn. Shall the devil's kingdom be imited ; and 
shall Christ's be divided? Shall the devils make one 


slioulder to drive on the design of damning men, and shall 
not Christians unite to carry on the great design of saving 
of them 1 Shall the papists agree and unite to carry on 
their interest, notwithstanding the multitudes of orders, de- 
grees, and differences, that are among them ; and shall not 
those that call themselves reformed churches, unite to carry 
on the common interest of Christ in the v^^orld, notwith- 
standing some petty and disputable differences that are 
among them 1 Quarrels about religion (as one observes) 
were sins not named among the Gentiles, What a shame 
is it then for Christians to abound in them, especially con- 
sidering the nature of the Christian religion, and what large 
provisions the Author of it hath made, to keep the profes- 
sors of it in peace ! insomuch (as one well observes), it is 
next to a miracle that ever any (especially the professors of 
it) should fall out about it. 

13. Consider and remember, that the Judge stands at the 
door. Let this moderate your spirits, that the Lord is at 
hand. What a sad account will they have to make when 
he conies, that shall be found to smite their fellow-servants, 
and to make the way to his kingdom more narrow than 
ever he made it ! Let me close all in the words of that great 
apostle, 2 Cor. xiii. 11, "Finally, brethren, farewell. Be 
perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace, 
and the God of love and peace shall be with you." 

Postscript. — Reader, I thought good to advertise thee, 
that I have delivered this to thy hand in the same order 
and method in which it was preached, and almost in the 
same words, without any diminishings or considerable en- 
largings, unless it be in the thirteen last particulars ; upon 
some of which I have made some enlargements, which I 
could not then do for want of time ; but the substance of 
every one of them was then laid down in the same particu- 
lar order as here thou hast them. And now I have done, I 
make no other account (to use the words of a moderate man 
upon the like occasion) but it will fall out with me, as doth 
commonly with him that parts a fray, both parties may 


perhaps drive at me for wishing them no worse than peace. 
My ambition of the public tranquillity of the church of 
God, I hope, will carry me through these hazards; let both 
heat me, so their quarrels may cease, I shall rejoice in those 
blows and scars I shall take for the church's safety.