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Full text of "The saints' happiness, together with the several steps leading thereunto : delivered in divers lectures on the beatitudes : being part of Christ's sermon on the mount, contained in the fifth of Matthew"




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Dh'isioit .. 

Section » J—),. jD/J.-i.. 

Number 



%kl)ds Series 0f Coiuiueiitaries. 



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BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES, 



ROGERS ON ISAIAH V, 1-7. 



COUNCIL OF PUBLICATION. 



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

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

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

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

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

Presbyterian Church, Edinburgh. 
ANDREW THOMSON, D.D., Minister of Broughton Place United Presbyterian Church, Edinburgh. 

General ^bilor. 

THOMAS SMITH, D.D., Edinbuegh. 



THE 



SAINTS' HAPPINESS, 

TOGETHER ■R'lTH THE SEVERAL STEPS LEADING THEREUXTO. 

DELIVERED IN DIVERS LECTURES ON THE BEATITUDES; 

BEING PMT OF CHEIST'S SEKMON OX THE MOUXT, CONTAINED IN THE FIETH OP MATTHEW. 



y 

JEREMIAH BURROUGHS, 

LATE PREACHER OF THE OOSPEL AT STEPNET AND CRTPPLEOATE, LONDON. 



EDINBURGH: JAMES NICHOL. 

LONDON: JAMES NISBET & CO. DUBLIN: G. HERBERT. 



M.DCCC.LXVII. 



JEREMIAH BURROUGHS, A.M. 



IT will probably by most readers be deemed sufficient, by way of introduction to one of the numerous 
works of this author, to reproduce the ' brief notice' of him which was prefixed by the late Kev- 
James Sherman to his edition of his Exposition of Hosea. — T. S. 



It is deeply to be lamented that no life was given to the church of this excellent minister of Christ ; 
concerning whom Mr Baxter says, ' If all the Episcopalians had been like Archbishop Usher, all the 
Presbyterians like Mr Stephen Marshall, and all the Independents like Mr Jeremiah Burroughs, the 
breaches of the church would soon have been healed.' From the few scattered notices of him in 
different authors, and chiefly from those of liis enemies, we learn that he was born in 1599. He 
studied and took his degree at Emmanuel College, Cambridge ; after which he became colleague 
with the Rev. Edmund Calamy, at Bury St Edmund's. In the year 1631 he became rector of 
Tivetshall, in the county of Norfolk ; but upon the publication of Bishop Wren's Articles and 
Injunctions, in 1636, he was suspended and deprived of his living. 

The Earl of Warwick, who was the friend and patron of the persecuted ministers, and one of their 
constant hearers, gave him an asylum in his house, till the fire of persecution, which raged so strongly 
against him, obliged him to fly to Holland. He was chosen assistant minister to the church at 
Rotterdam, of which the Eev. William Bridge was pastor. The violence of party strife at that 
period raised against him many accusations for leaving his country, but his \dndication of himself 
and his conduct in retiring to Rotterdam is so ample and circumstantial, and withal written in so 
meek and humble a spirit, as to raise in the reader a high estimation of his veracity and piety. 

The church at Rotterdam gave liim a most hearty welcome, and he laboured among them, in 
conjunction with Mr Bridge, with great acceptance and usefulness for several years. After the 
commencement of the civil war he returned to England : ' Not,' says Granger, ' to preach sedition, 
but peace ; for which he earnestly prayed and laboured.' The renown which he had acquired at 
Rotterdam accompanied him to his native land. His popular talents as a preacher, his peaceable 
spirit, and his exemplary character, soon excited great attention ; and as a proof of it, he was chosen 
lecturer to the congregations of Stepney and Cripplegate, then accounted the largest and wealthiest 



VI BRIEF NOTICE OF JEREMIAH BURROUGHS. 

in England. At Stepney lie preached at seven o'clock in the morning, and Mr Greenhill at three 
in the afternoon: one was called the morning sfar, and the other the evening star, of Stepney. He 
was chosen one of the Assembly of Divines, and united with his brethren, the Kevs. Thomas Good- 
win, Philip Nye, William Bridge, and Sydrach Simpson, in pubUshing their ' Apologetic Narration' 
in defence of their own distinguishing sentiments, which contain the general jirinciples by which con- 
gregational churches are governed in the present day. In the year 1645 he was elected one of 
the Committee of Accommodation, and was of great service in all their important deliberations. 

Though, after his exile, he never accepted a parochial benefice, or became pastor of a separate 
church, he laboured extensively in preaching at various and distant places, and in rendering other 
important services to the church of Christ. But his incessant labours, and grief for the distractions 
of the times, brought on consumiitiou, of which he died in the forty-seventh year of his age. 

In the spirit of union among all Christians, which he so powerfully advocated, he was far before 
the opinions of his day. Tlie following sentiment, in reply to one of his bitterest enemies, does equal 
credit to his piety and discernment: ' I profess, as in the presence of God, that upon the most serious 
examination of my heart, I find in it, that were my judgment presbyterial, yet I should plead and 
preach as much for the forbearance of brethren diffei'ing from me, not only in their judgment, but in 
their practice, as I have ever done. Therefore, if I should turn Presbyterian, I fear I should trouble 
Mr Edwards, and some others, more than I do now ; perhaps ray preaching and pleading for forbear- 
ance of dissenting brethren would be of more force than it is now.' The last subject on which he 
preached, and the last treatise he published, was his ' Irenicum,' or an attempt to heal the divisions 
among Christians. Oh that we had more of his spirit among all who take the lead in the Christian 
church ! The estimation in which he was held by unprejudiced persons who were capable of forming 
a judgment of his spirit and character, was very high. Granger says, ' He was a man of learning, 
candour, and modesty, and of an exemplary and irreproachable life.' And Fuller has classed him 
among the learned writers of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. 



TO THE CHRISTIAN READER. 



READEE, — although all meu desire happiness, 
and nothing be more needful to be laiown, yet 
great are the mistakes of men thereabout. It is not 
in sensual pleasures — if so, Dives had been happy, 
Luke xvi., and those [who] made their belhes their 
gods, Phil. iii. ; it is not in honours — for then the 
dragon and the beast should have been happy, Rev. 
xiii. 4 ; it is not in riches, James v. 1 ; it is not in 
habits or acts of moral virtues — then heathens had 
been happy, and Paul in his pharisaism, Phil. iii. G ; 
it is not in knowledge, Eccles. i. 18, nor in contem- 
plation of divine things — for then Balaam had been 
so. Num. xxiv. 3, 4, and Plato whose contemplations 
were such ; it is in none of these, but in what is laid 
down by the Lord Chiist, and held forth in this en- 
suing work. Some deny saintship and happiness to 
be in this life, but David confutes the one, Ps. xvi. 
3, and Clrrist the other. It is true, perfect happiness 
is not attainable in this life, because there is a mix- 
ture of sin, vanity, and misery with every condition 
and thing we enjoy ; the best of men having more 
wormwood than wine. Yet there is a true blessedness 
in this life, which consists in those qualifications, 
actions, and sufferings, which have a clear, certain, 
and strong tendency unto perfect happiness, and may 
be called seminalis or radicalis heatitudo. Such are 
the beatitudes here mentioned, and many elsewhere 
in holy writ, as delighting in the law of God, Ps. i. 
2 ; fearing the Lord, Ps. cxii. 1 ; being undefiled in 
the way, Ps. cxix. 1 ; and such men are blessed, but 
not simply blessed for the qualities had, things done 
or suffered, but because they lead up and issue into 
perfect blessedness at last. 

Reader, the times are perilous ; a sentence of death 
is over most, if not all thy comforts ; how soon thou 



mayest be stripped of thy seeming happiness, thou 
knowest not. If thou hast not a part in these Chris- 
tian beatitudes, thou art a miserable man, thy Ufe is 
a dream, and thy death will be di-eadful. Here is 
propounded unto thee not that the world calls blessed- 
ness, or what thou thinkest so, but what the blessed 
Son of the blessed God hath pronounced so, and wiU 
be found in life and death to be so ; reckon and make 
that therefore thy blessedness which the Lord Christ 
himself accounts and calls blessedness ; and then let 
times, troubles, and changes be what they will, thou 
art a blessed m&,n, shalt so abide, and have a blessed 
end. The reverend author of these sermons, Mr 
Jeremiah Burroughs, did so, being the subject he 
preached on before his death. 

These sermons of his have lain thirteen years com- 
plete this very day in the dark, for he died the 14th 
day of the 9th month, 1646 ; but by the help of that 
hand which took most of those sermons [that] are 
already in print, are now brought to Ught, discovering 
themselves to be the genume issue of such a parent, 
the face of whose spirit is Hvely represented in them. 
Reader, the aim of those [who] do publish them is 
that thou mayest know, desire, and attain true bless- 
edness in these unhappy times, and have thy thoughts, 
affections, and actions suitable unto such a happi- 
ness, wliich that thou mayest have, and they may be, 
is the earnest desu'e of 

WiLLiAJi Geeenhill. 

WiLLi.\M Bridge. 

Philip Nye. 

John Yates. 

William Adeklv. 

Mathew Mead. 



The lith of the 9M month. 
1659. 



SERMONS 



CHRIST'S SERMON IN THE MOUNT. 



'And seeing the multitude, he went up into a mountain : and when he was set, his disciples came unto him : and 
he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of 
hea,ven,' &c. — Mat. v. 1. 



THIS chapter, with the sixth and seventh chapters, 
are a sermon that Jesus Christ preached upon 
the mount, the largest and fullest sermon that we 
have recorded in the Scripture : the sermon of Christ 
himself. 

I heing solicitous what to pitch upon that might 
be most for your edification, this took my thoughts. 
What can be more suitable for a minister of Christ 
to preach of, than the sermon of Christ ? And 
therefore I intend, God willing, if life, and strength, 
and liberty continues, to go through this whole ser- 
mon of Christ unto you. For a minister to preach 
other men's sermons it is negligence, but for him to 
preach Christ's sermon it is faithfulness. In the 
2d Cor. V. 20, the ministers of God are the am- 
bassadors of Christ, and are to speak unto people as 
if Jesus Christ spake unto them, ' in his stead ; ' and 
so they are to look upon them as coming to them in 
Christ's stead, as if Clirist were speaking. And if we 
must preach as if Christ were preaching, what more 
suitable than to preach what Christ hath preached ? 
This sermon, in these three whole chapters, is a ser- 
mon preached by the mouth of the Son of God him- 
self, of him that is the wisdom of the Father, that 
hath all the treasures of wisdom in him, of him that 
hath been in the bosom of the Father from all eter- 
nity, and knows all his mind, his whole heart, the 
counsels of his will concerning man's eternal estate. 
And it is he that is sent by the Father into the world, 
designed to this office, to preach his mind and his 
will unto the children of men. 



Oh, what attention is called for, while you are 
hearing this sermon of Christ repeated to you, and 
opened and applied unto you ! 

Oh, we have infinite cause to bless God for the way 
of knowing his mind by Jesus Christ his Son ! The 
Lord in former times did reveal his mind to men 
several ways ; but now saith the apostle in Heb. i., 
he ' hath in these last days spoken unto us by his 
Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by 
whom also he made the worlds, who being the bright- 
ness of his glory, the express image of his j^erson,' 
&c. Oh, this is the hapj:)iness of those that live in 
the times of the gospel, that God speaks unto them 
by his Son, that Christ is come from the Father to 
make him kno\\'n unto us : for ' no man knows the 
Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son will 
reveal him.' Surely there are great things to be 
known of the mind of God, seeing the second person 
in Trinity is designed by the Father to come to 
preach his mind to the children of men. If we hear 
but of a friend that is come out of a far country to 
tell us news there; if the news be of moment, and 
nearly concerning us, and we know that this friend 
is wise and faithful, and will tell us nothing but that 
that is truth, we flock about him. Sometimes if one 
come but from the army after some notable war hath 
been done, and we know that he doth understand 
things, and is faithful, how greedy are we to be with 
him, and to know wliat news from thence ! But 
here, my brethren, we have Jesus Christ coming 
from God the Father, that knows fully all the mind 



BUEROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 1. 



of his Father, and is sent by the Father into the 
world to make known to us a*ll those counsels of 
God that were kept hid from the beginning of the 
World ; news about our eternal estates, for that is the 
gospel — the gospel signifies nothing else but good 
news that Christ is come to bring, — and therefore I 
beseech you hearken : saith God, ' This is my well- 
beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ; hear him ! ' 
I am now beginning, and intend, God willing, to 
go Qii preaching what Christ saith ; and therefore so 
long as I keep to what he saith, you are to hear him 
in it ; and that will be a very great aggravation to 
your sin if you mind not what shall be preached now, 
because it is the sermon of Jesus Christ that is to be 
opened, and the fullest sermon that we know of that 
ever he preached, that is recorded to us. In Heb. 
xii. see what weight the Holy Ghost lays upon this, 
that God hath made known himself to us by his Son : 
ver. 25, ' See that ye refuse not him that speaketh, 
for if they escaped not who refused him that spake 
on earth, much more shall not we escape if we turn 
away from him that speaketh from heaven.' Here, 
in this chapter, Christ speaks from heaven ; though 
he were himself upon earth at that time, yet we are 
to look upon him as speaking from heaven. For so 
the words that are before shews it is meant of Jesus, 
the mediator of the new covenant, that came to 
, preach. It is the sermon of Christ that is our sub- 
ject, and therefore calls for serious attention, and fear, 
and reverence. And oh that we would carry this 
thouglit with us all the while we hear him preaching 
out of these chapters ! 

All that I shall do at this time shall be but to pre- 
face this sermon. There are these six things con- 
siderable in this sermon : — 

I. First, Because we find this sermon recorded 
not only in Matthew, but also in Luke, to inquire 
whether they be the same ; yea or no : for we shall 
find it of use ; one will much enlighten the other if 
they be the same. 

II. Secondly, We shall inquire at what time Christ 
preached this sermon, and upon what occasion. 

III. Thirdly, In what place he preached it. 

IV. Fourthly, To whom he preached it. 

V. Fifthly, The manner of his preaching ; and 
VI. Sixthly, The scope of his sermon, what it did 
principally aim at. These six things will be useful 
for the making way to what shall follow. 

I. For the first, Whether it be the same sermon 
that Luke records. I find interpreters are very much 
troubled about it : and yet if yoa read the sermon 
itself, you shall find, though not recorded so largely 
as Matthew doth it, yet the substance of it is the 
same, and almost the same words. In Luke vi. 20, 
' He lift up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed 
are the poor,' and so he goes on, just as here. And 



the reason of the doubt is, because we find in Matthew 
that Christ chose his disciples in the tenth chapter 
and sent them out, but we find in Luke that Christ 
did choose his disciples before this sermon was 
preached. In this sixth chapter, ver. 13, you shall find 
that the twelve were sent out first, and then the 
sermon was preached. There is the difference. And 
then, secondly, Matthew saith that Jesus Christ went 
up to the mountain, and there taught his disciples, 
ver. L But Luke saith, he 'came down with them 
and stood in the plain, and he lift up his eyes on 
his disciples, and said,' &c. Matthew saith he sat, 
and Luke saith he stood in the plain ; so that divers 
interpreters say it was a different sermon. But yet 
these may easily be answered. 

For the first : Though Luke makes it to be after the 
sending out of the twelve, and Matthew seems to 
make it to be afore, yet it may be reconciled thus : 
that though indeed it be recorded in ^Matthew after, 
as in the tenth chapter, yet we know that many 
times the Scripture doth not set down things that 
are before in time, always before in place, as I might 
easily shew you. There be many things that are 
after in a book that yet were done before those 
things that are set down first ; it is ordinary. Here 
Matthew had occasion to speak of Christ's doctrine ; 
afterwards, in the tenth chapter, to speak of sending 
out his disciples. That is no argument, because it is 
in the tenth chapter, therefore it was not before this 
that is in the fifth chapter. 

And then for the other : That it is said in Matthew 
that he was upon the mountain, and in Luke that he 
came down to the plain. To that the answer is : 
that here it is not said that he came down to the 
plain, and preached upon the plain ; but it is said 
that after he had sent forth his disciples he came 
down to the plain, and then the company came to 
him. So, then, after he had done the work of giving 
his disciples the commission to go and preach, then 
comes abundance of people to him. He had been 
upon the mount, as we shall see by and by, all night, 
and then did the work of sending out his disciples, 
and then comes down and sees a great multitude of 
people, and did some work about them in healing of 
them, and then returns up into the mountain again, 
withdrawing himself from the tumult of the people 
to preach to his disciples, and those that came to- 
gether with him. So that, though it be said he was 
in the plain, and he stood — that is, he stood while the 
multitude was with him, but after he had done some 
work about tliem, then, according to ^Matthew, he re- 
tires into the mountain again, and there falls a-preach- 
ing. So that there is no objection of any moment, 
that I know, why it should not be the same sermon, 
but these two, and these two may easily be recon- 
ciled. Therefore, seeing that the very substance of 



Mat. V. 1.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



the sermon is the same, we will take it that it was all 
one. Now being all one sermon, you shall find 
much help by this. The one evangelist will give 
light into another. 

II. And then the second thing that is to be in- 
quired into is, The time when Christ preached it, and 
that help you must have from Luke, — for so I intend, 
that what light one evangelist will give, I will make 
use of that, — though it be not mentioned here in 
Matthew, and you will find it of very great use to in- 
quire after this. You shall find that the very night 
before he preached this sermon, that he was at prayer 
all night. Luke vi. 12, 'And it came to pass in 
those days that he went out into a mountain to 
pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.' It 
was the night before this sermon was preached. 

And this scripture will justify long prayers upon 
extraordinary occasions, though, I confess, in an or- 
dinary way in family prayer, oi'dinarily it is more 
convenient to have them short than long. But this 
scripture justifies long prayer — speaking many hours 
in prayer — upon extraordinary occasions. Jesus Christ 
speaks a whole night in prayer unto God, and you 
see how the things of the glory of God, and the good 
of his church, did take up his heart, so that he speaks 
a whole night in prayer about them. Oh consider 
this, you that spend so many nights in chambering 
and wantonness ; you that can sit up nights in drink- 
ing and playing, remember Jesus Christ sat up a whole 
night together in praying. He prays all night ; hereby 
giving an example to his ministers upon occasions to 
be praying for people when they are sleeping — to be 
seeking to God in prayer, and when they are about 
other things. Christ he was a whole night here in 
prayer. 

But you will say, What was the occasion ? why 
was he a whole night in prayer before he preached 
this sermon ? Why, the occasion seems to be the 
work that he had to do the next morning, which 
was to send forth his disciples, for so the text saith 
in ver. 13: 'When it was day, he called unto him 
his disciples, and of them he chose twelve, whom also 
he named apostles.' He had a great work to do — to 
choose twelve apostles to go up and down in the 
world to preach the gospel of God, the greatest work 
that ever men were to do since the beginning of the 
world. To go and preach the gospel, Christ looked 
upon this as a great and a weighty work. And, 
therefore, by way of preparation before he chooses 
them, he spends a whole night in prayer to God to 
prepare for that great work. 

You may see by this, that tlie work of the minis- 
try it is a great work. You may think it indeed a 
light matter, but Christ accounted it a great matter : 
he makes solemn preparation for the choosing his 
apostles, and prays to God all night before. Oh let | 



those, then, who are in the ministry, consider of this 
as a mighty and great work, as a solemn business. 
That that Christ shall spend so much time in prayer 
about, must needs be a solemn thing. They should 
so look upon the work that they are called unto. 
And for people that are at any time to choose or to 
call a minister, oh, they should look upon it as a 
solemn work, and not think it a light matter. Some 
when they hear of such a man, say, Come let us have 
him presently; when Christ was to choose his 
apostles and send them forth, he makes a prepara- 
tion by sitting up all night in prayer. And it is a 
very seemly thing for people that are at any time to 
choose a minister, that they should spend much time 
in prayer and seeking to God. Indeed, for the choice 
of civil officers, or of any that shall be but by way 
of assistance to the civil magistrate, there is not 
need of so much solemnity ; but if it be for the choice 
of those that shall exercise the power of Christ in the 
administering of ordinances, they are to be chosen and 
brought into their place with a very great solemnity : 
here it was so at first ; and so I find it continued, 
that if but a deacon was brought in. Acts vi., it was 
with prayer and imposition of hands ; and so elders 
much more, if they be for to exercise the power of 
Christ, then, as in Acts xiv., they are with prayer 
and fasting and imposition of hands brought into 
their places. It is a solemn and great business, and 
all ministers of God should consider of this prayer of 
Christ in way of preparation for the ministry ; con- 
sider of it, and exercise their faith in believing the 
blessing of it upon them. Now whereas Christ him- 
self saith in John xvii. 20, that he prayed not only 
for them that were present, but for all others after 
that should believe : so certainly Christ, when he 
spent this whole night in prayer, did not pray only 
for the twelve apostles, but for all those that should 
be in the ministry, to preach the gospel of Christ, to 
the end of the world. But now having spent all the 
night in prayer, then in the morning the first thing 
he doth is to choose his twelve apostles, and when he 
hath done, he seeing the multitude come to him, doth 
a little retire himself from them and falls a-preach- 
ing, and preaches this excellent and notable sermon 
that we are now beginning to speak of. After Christ 
had been all night up, yet next day he falls a-preach- 
ing. You see Christ is not so tender of his body ; 
those that had been tender over him, would have 
been ready to say that he should go and sleep. What! 
shall he tire and wear out his body, having sat up all 
night, and spent himself in prayer? — as there is no 
exercise that is more spending to the body than 
prayer — yet after all this, the next morning, Christ he 
takes this opportunity, and falls a-preaohing. 

Teaching thus much, that the ministers of the gos- 
pel should not be too nice and dainty of their bodies ; 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 1. 



not to be always wliining and complaining of the 
weakness of body, and spending of themselves, and 
such things ; but if there be opportunity given for 
service, they should be ready to take it, although it 
should be a weariness and spending. What if it 
should shorten their days a little while ? is it not all 
one, to do a great deal of good in a little time, or to 
do a little good in a great deal of time 1 To do a great 
deal in a little time is the more comfortable. A 
man's life is to be reckoned according to his service, 
not according to how many years he lives. Christ he 
preaches this long sermon, the longest that ever he 
did preach, for aught we know, and it was the morn- 
ing after he had been up all the night a-praying. 

Further observe from this time of the sermon of 
Christ : what a notable sermon doth Jesus Christ 
preach, after he had been thus praying. It is a most 
heavenly sermon. And that prayer that he had a 
little before he died, from John xiv. on for two or 
three chapters, they have the most of Christ in them 
that the vScripture doth record of anything that 
Christ hath done. Then let ministers pray more, and 
they will preach better. The way to be a good 
preacher it is to be a fervent prayer. Do as Christ did : 
ministers should come reeking from prayer into the 
pulpit ; and those wiU be the best sermons that are 
warmed in their own hearts by prayer. They come 
to give the milk of the word ; and you know nurses, 
when they give milk to the child, will not give it raw, 
nor cold, but they will warm the milk before they 
give it to the child. Oh, the milk of the word, that 
is warmed by the prayer of a minister in his own 
heart before he comes, that is that that is hke to be 
most nourishable unto people. 

And hence lil<ewise we may note, that the way to 
be filled with the Holy Ghost, to be filled with 
heavenly truths, with a most spiritual frame, it is 
to be much in prayer, the spending time in prayer ; 
and doing of it to purpose indeed, will help not only 
ministers but Christians to rise up full of the Holy 
Ghost, full of heavenly and divine truths. Consider 
that this sermon was preached the next morning 
after Christ had spent a whole night in prayer, and 
it will add much to the excellency of the sermon, 
and vv'ill be a special motive to your attention, and 
for the receiving of what shall be said out of this 
sermon. Certainly there must be some notable mat- 
ter in this sermon, that was preached presently after 
such a ])rayer ; and that is the second consideration 
by way of preface, The time when this sermon was 
preached. 

III. The third thing by way of preface to this 
sermon is. The place where it was preached ; for there 
is nothing in Scripture without use. My text saith 
that he went up to the mountain. He had been in 
the mountain in prayer, and came down and did 



some work among the people, and then goes up 
thither again to preach. 

Why upon the mountain ? 

Something it was to fulfil those prophecies that 
we have in divers scriptures about preaching of the 
gospel upon the mountain, in Isa. xl. 9, and Joel 
iii. 18, but these are only guessings. Others I 
find do allegorise very much, how a minister should 
be as upon the mountain, and how heavenly he 
should be when he is a-preaching : but I like it not 
to strain Scripture any further than I think to be 
the meaning of the Holy Ghost ; therefore I think 
there is nothing else to be considered than this, the 
conveniency of the mountain, because it was a re- 
tired place, and there being a clutter of people^ he 
could not be so composed among them to speak so 
freely to edification, therefore he retires unto a moun- 
tain again, where he had spent so much time in 
prayer. 

Christ doth not stay till he comes to the syna- 
gogue to preach, or the temple ; no, but takes any 
place that was a fitting place to preach unto the 
people. It is not necessary that thefe should be a 
consecrated place for the preaching of the word. 

What mountain was this ? j'ou will say. 

Some have thought it to be the mountain of Olivet, 
but that cannot possibly be, for Christ was in the 
upper Galilee at this time, and mount Olivet was near 
to Jerusalem, as near to Jerusalem as Islington is 
near the city ; but Christ was about forty miles from 
Jerusalem at this time, therefore Jerome and others 
think it to be mount Tabor. 

And certainly, this will further justify that preach- 
ing may be in any place where ministers have op- 
portunity, and may be with peace and edification. 
There is a double vanity of conceit in people. Some 
men think that some places are so profane by pro- 
fane uses, that there must not be no preaching there ; 
and others think that some places are too supersti- 
tiously used, and because of the superstition that 
hath been there, there must be no preaching there ; 
they will not go to hear a sermon because of the 
superstition of the place. Truly this may help us 
against both these. 

For profane ; Certainly there is nothing done in 
any place that doth so defile the place but that if 
occasion serve there might be preaching in that place, 
and would be acceptable to God ; though it were in 
a place that had been a playhouse, it would not de- 
file the work at all, if there can be no more con- 
venient place had. Shall so many thousand souls 
perish for want of knowing God and Christ, because 
they have not a consecrated place ? It is a very sad 
thing to consider of. This mountain — if it be mount 
Tabur, as I find both Jerome and others think it was — 
was as ill a place as a playhouse could be, where Christ 



Mat. V. 1.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



preached this sermon ; and a place that was hke to 
be abused to much superstition and idolatry. I find 
in the prophecy of Hosea mention of this place, chap. 
V. 1, ' Hear ye this, O priests ; and hearken, ye house 
of Israel ; and give ye ear, house of the king ; for 
judgment is towards you, because ye have been a snare 
on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor.' The 
meaning of it is this, that when the ten tribes had 
fallen off from the true worship of God in the temple 
at Jerusalem, and set up their calves in Dan and 
Bethel, there w-ere some that were more godly and 
strict than others, and they could not be content to 
worship there, but they must needs go to worship at 
Jerusalem. But now the laws of the king and the 
priests were against it, and no man could be suffered 
to worship at Jerusalem but it was upon his peril ; 
but yet there would many go, therefore the priests 
and others set watchers to watch those that did go up 
into Jerusalem to worship. As heretofore there have 
been men set to watch when men went from their 
parish churches, though they had no preaching at 
home; so there were watches set upon mount Tabor to 
watch those that went to Jerusalem, for they were 
to go by that place, and therefore it is said that 
there was a net spread upon Tabor. Surely this 
place was profaned as much as any place could be ; 
and yet for all that, Christ he goes and preaches 
this sermon upon mount Tabor. It was as wicked 
a work to set watchmen to spy out those that went 
to the true worship of God to Jerusalem, as it was to 
make a play ; and yet, I say, Christ comes and preaches 
here upon the mountain. 

And so for any superstition in places, the syna- 
gogues of the ten tribes, and the jolaces that they 
set up for their service, and for teaching, they were 
abused exceedingly, for they set them up in opposi- 
tion to the true worship of God in Jerusalem : and 
yet Christ would preach in every place according as 
he came into it, and we do not find that Christ re- 
fused preaching in any such place where he came, 
though it had been abused this way or that way ; 
Christ stood not upon that, but took the present 
opportunity to do his vpork, for to preach the word. 
That is the first ; and, 

Secondly, That all ministers of God should take 
what opportunities they can for doing good ; and 
that is the third consideration by way of preface. 

IV. The fourth is. Who are these auditors that 
the text speaks of ? ' And seeing the multitude, he 
went up into the mountain.' Now I confess some 
they make this sermon of Christ to be to the multitude 
that was there, that did come and clutter about him, 
and therefore think that Christ was moved with com- 
passion to preach unto them, because he saw such 
abundance of people. It is very true, it is a very 
moving object to any gracious heart, to any godly 



ministers, when they see abundance of people coming 
to hear, and especially manifesting a willingness to 
attend, it is a very moving object to draw forth 
any minister's heart in the world : and so we find at 
some other time that Christ's heart was much drawn 
forth upon the sight of a multitude of people, in 
Mat. ix. 36, 'But when he saw the multitude, he 
was moved with compassion on them, because they 
fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having 
no shepherd : then saith he unto his disciples, The 
harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few ; 
pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he 
will send forth labourers into his harvest.' When 
Jesus Christ looked upon abundance of people that 
were there, the text saith that he was moved with 
compassion, thinking with himself. Lord, what shall 
become of these many thousand souls, that know so 
little of God and the things of heaven ? And therefore, 
Oh pray, saith he to his disciples, pray ye that he would 
send forth labourers into his harvest. These people 
are -willing to hear, the regions are white unto har- 
vest ; oh pray that there might be labourers sent into 
the harvest. The very sight of a multitude is a 
moving sight, to preach and to pray that God would 
send faithful ministers to preach unto them. Indeed, 
the sight of a multitude is an object of envy to many ; 
as heretofore we know it was enough for a faithful 
minister to be silenced, such was their envy, and so 
contrary to the spirit of Jesus Christ. But I cannot 
tell how to build any point of doctrine upon this, 
because I think that at this time Christ did go up 
into the mountain, and withdrew himself from the 
most of the people, for so I find the text saith, ' And 
seeing the multitude, he went up into a mountain : 
and when he was set, his disciples came unto him : ' 
and it may be some of the rest, but not the gener- 
ality of them. And so in Luke vi., there having the 
same sermon recorded, the text saith, ' That he lift 
up his eyes upon his disciples, and said. Blessed are 
the poor,' &c. So that it is probable that rather than 
he would spend his time at this present among the 
multitude, he retires himself to speak to his disciples. 
Why ? for his chief work was about his disciples, 
about the sending out the twelve, and making them 
to be apostles ; and therefore, though the preachinn- to 
all the multitude be a very good thing, and that the 
heart of Christ was much in upon all occasions, yet 
now Christ would mind his work that he was about, 
to speak to his apostles that he was to send abroad. 

From whence we may note. That men must tend 
their present work, and not be upon thinking that 
they may do more good some other way, and so 
leave the present work that God calls them to. Let 
us look to the work that we are about for the present, 
and not be taken off to think, Ay, but another work 
may be more useful ; but. Is this my work for the 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 1. 



present ? Then let me go iipon it, and commit my 
work to the blessing of God. 

And then, secondly ; Hence we may see that 
Christ hath a special regard unto his ministers ; he 
•withdraws from the multitude to speak to them ; he 
did not forbid any of the people to come, but the thing 
that Christ intended, was to speak to them. Christ 
hath a special regard to his ministers ; he knows that 
great things doth depend upon them, as afterwards 
in this chapter he calls them the salt of the earth, as 
if all the world would rot and putrefy if it were not 
for them. And so he calls them the light of the 
world, as if all the world would be in darkness were 
it not for the light of the word ; they should be full 
of light, and so should enlighten others. Ministers 
they should be filled with the will of God, as it is said 
of Epaphras in Col. iv., he prayed for the people that 
they might be ' filled in all the will of God,' ver. 12. 
Oh ! it is an excellent thing for a minister to be filled 
with the will of God, as a sail is filled with the 
wind. 

Those who are most instructed by Christ, they 
are fittest to instruct people. Christ he falls a- 
preaching to them, that they may preach, to the 
people. Those cannot preach to the hearts of people 
that have not had Jesus Christ preaching to their 
hearts before. 

And besides, Christ saw that the work was very 
difficult. The work of the ministry is a hard work ; 
therefore Christ spends a great deal of time, as in 
praying for them before, so after he had chosen them, 
in instructing of them. They were to be set as a light 
upon an hill ; and the eyes and observations of men 
would be upon them to watch them in all their ways. 
They must bear the brunt of all, and if there be any 
hazardable work they must approach. This work of 
God is very difficult. It is a speech of Luther, 
' What is it to preach, but for a man to drive the 
envy of people that are evil upon himself?' And 
therefore it was that Christ made such a preparation 
of his apostles before they were to go abroad. And 
that is the fourth consideration about the preface to 
Christ's sermon, his auditors whom he had. 

V. And then the fifth consideration by way of 
preface is, The manner of Christ's preaching. And 
there are three things observable. I would gladly 
take up all things in Scripture, for the Scripture is 
not like a carpenter's yard, that a great deal of chips 
lies about and are of no use ; but it is like a gold- 
smith's shop, that every dust is precious. So, when 
we have to deal in Scripture, we should not neglect 
the least particle, for we shall find it of much use. 

There are three things that are recorded about the 
manner of Christ's preaching. 

First, That Christ did sit and preach. 

Secondly, That he opened his mouth and spake. 



And then the third is, That Christ fastened his 
eyes upon his disciples ; — that you have in Luke vi. 

But we have two of these in Matthew : That he 
sat and opened his mouth and spake. For the sit- 
ting : Christ when he preached he sat down ; he did 
not stand as preachers do now. And we find it was 
the ordinary way of preaching among the Jews, for 
the preacher to sit down. In Mat. xxiii. 2, the 
scribes and pharisees sit in Moses' chair : hear them, 
and do what they say, saith Christ, though do not 
what they do. And so you shall find it in Mat. xxiv. 
3, and xxvi. 55 ; you shall see in both tliese places 
that Christ when he came to preach sat down ; he 
stood up when he read the law, but when he 
preached he sat down. And so in Luke iv. 20. In 
all these scriptures you may see it was the manner 
in preaching to sit down. Now some would make 
a significancy in it ; but I take it, it was only a civil 
gesture, that Christ observing what the way was at 
that time, he would conform himself to the order 
and way of sitting, not that it had any spiritual sig- 
nification. As now, the French ministers they 
preach with their hats on, it is the custom there ; and 
no question, if any one were to go among them it 
were fit they should observe the customs that they 
have : and so here, to sit down, ajid in other churches 
to stand. 

You will say, Doth not this justify the conform- 
ing to ceremonies in churches ? Christ you see con- 
formed to this ceremony of sitting, and why had we 
such a stir about kneeling at sacrament ? And, 

Now to answer that clearly, thus : You must know 
the difference of ceremonies. Whatsoever ceremony is 
but merely natural or civil, and is but helpful to the 
worship of God in a natural and civil way, certainly 
we should conform to the customs of churches where- 
soever we come. But now when a ceremony comes 
to have a spnitual use, and to have by the institution 
of man some spiritual thing put upon it, as our cere- 
monies had, then, though they be but ceremonies, we 
must not, except we would sin against Jesus Christ 
and our consciences, we must not conform to them ; 
for then they come to have some worship in them, 
when they come to have spiritual significations, and 
there is that put upon them by way of institution. 
But if there be no more in a ceremony than what 
the nature of the thing carries with it to be helpful 
in God's worship, there is no question but the pru- 
dence of men is enough for the ordering of that in it ; 
as it is a natural help for people when they come to 
hear the word, to have convenient seats. It is a na- 
tural help so when it is but used in a natural way ; 
but now kneeling at sacrament, and such ceremonies, 
they had a spiritual efficacy put into them, and an 
institution from them. 

And so for garments : for a minister to have a con- 



Mat. V. 1.] 



BUREOUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



venient garment it is a natural thing; but now, if 
they will make an institution, that a garment must 
be therefore decent because it is appointed and not 
else, for what decency is there in the nature of the 
thing, but all is in the institution that is put upon it 
by man. Therefore observe here, whatsoever cere- 
mony is but natural and helpful in a natural way, 
there there should be no contention ; we have no such 
custom, nor the churches of God, to contend about 
these ; but if they come to have a religious use put 
upon them, for so it is said in the Common Prayer 
Book, to stir up the dull minds of men, now they come 
to be sinful, and therefore Christ he observed the 
ceremony of the Jews as a natural help. 

And secondl}', Christ opened his mouth and spake. 
Opened his mouth, you will say ; why is this men- 
tioned ? How could he speak else to them ? 

I answer, first, There is a speaking though there 
is not an opeiring of one's mouth. In Heb. xi. 4, 
there the Holy Ghost speaks of a speaking without 
opening of the mouth. ' By faith Abel offered to 
God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which 
he obtained witness that he was righteous, God 
testifying of his gifts ; and by it be, being dead, yet 
speaketh.' So there is a real speaking as well a verbal 
one, and so some think that this was a similitude, 
■whereas Christ did preach in his life ; as a minister of 
God should preach in his holy life continually before 
them, so Christ preached. 

But secondl}'. By opening the mouth, according to 
the Je'ivish expression, is to signify,- not only that he 
did speak, but that he had some weighty matter to 
speak, as in Job xxxii. 20. There Elihu, when he 
saith that he is full of matter, and hath excellent 
things to say, he saith, ' He w'ill open his mouth to 
speak.' And so our English phrase will bear it ; when 
we see an object wishly, we will say, I saw it with 
mine eyes — that is, I did mind it, and regard it ; 
and so if a man will express a serious intentness to 
hear, he will say, I heard it with mine ears — that is, 
he did diligently hear it, and mark it. And so he 
opened his mouth and spake : he did not only 
speak, but he had some great and weighty matter to 
deliver. 

Thirdly, This was to shew that the mouth of 
Christ was as a door of a rich treasury. Jesus 
Christ had in his heart a rich treasury, and his 
mouth was the door of that rich treasury ; and now 
Christ opens the door and fetches out these precious 
things that you shall hear in this sermon. And thus, 
then, opening the mouth, and setting these things 
before us, you see is of great use unto us. There 
are some that have so much evil in their hearts, that 
it doth burst out of the door of their mouths, and 
they speak without any consideration. As a man that 
hath an unclean heart, it breaks forth in his mouth. 



As a vessel that is full of filthy liquor, it will break 
forth when it hath no vent. And so that is the 
reason men speak so wickedly, in baudry, or swear- 
ing ; their hearts are full of wickedness, and it breaks 
the door open. And so the heart of Jesus Christ 
was full of heavenly and spiritual things, and Christ 
he opens the door of his mouth and speaks. It should 
be so with us. It should be so with the ministers of 
God especially; they should have their hearts full of 
heavenly treasure, and when they come to preach, it 
is but to open the door of this treasury ; their mouths 
should be but as the door to vent those treasures of 
heavenly truths that they have been trading for in 
heaven. And so all people, they should have their 
hearts as a treasure of excellent things, and so have 
command of their mouths, that when they see an 
occasion of doing good where they come, they should 
open the door of this treasury to vent what good 
things they have got in this treasury. Oh that all 
our mouths were so ! This is the meaning of this 
expression, Christ opened his mouth. It was a mercy, 
my brethren, that Christ had his mouth open to 
speak to this people. Had the scribes and pharisees 
had their wills upon Christ, his mouth had been shut 
long before this time, for they envied him, but 
through God's mercy the mouth of Christ was open 
to speak to the people the great things of God. And 
it is a mercy that ministers' mouths are open, that 
they may open their mouths to speak to people, and 
shew them what the mind of God is. We had not 
such a mercy long since. Though there were many 
ministers that had their hearts full of rich truths, 
yet the door was locked and bolted against them ; 
they could not open the door, so as the people could 
not have tliem. And I believe there was never any 
reformed church that contracted so much guilt, in 
all the world, in stopping the mouths of faithful 
ministers, as England hath done in former time. 
But blessed be God, that God hath stopped the 
mouths of the stoppers of mouths. I remember in 
Chrysostom's time, I find that the godly people then 
did profess that they had rather have the sun with- 
draw her beams than the mouth of Chrysostom 
should be stopped; there was so much excellency in 
Chrysostom's preaching : say they. Shall the door ol 
the treasury of John Chrysostom's heart be shut, 
shall that be bolted, and shall we have no benefit 1 y 
it ? It were better we had no benefit by the sun itself. 
Oh account it a great mercy that the mouths of faith- 
ful ministers may be opened to speak unto you. 
And that is the second consideration in the manner 
of his preaching. He opened his mouth. 

And then the third is, He set his eyes upon those 
he spake unto. So the Holy Ghost doth note in 
Luke vi. 20, ' He lifted up his eyes upon his disciples.' 
Certainly, my beloved, the eyes of Christ did sparkle 



BUEEOUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 2. 



with very mucli wisdom, and there was mucli of the 
glory of God sparkling in the very eyes of Jesus 
Christ. In Rev. i. 14, we find that ' the eyes of Christ 
were as a flaming lire.' Wisdom makes a man's face 
to shine. And many times there appears a great 
majesty in the very countenance of a minister; and a 
great deal of use is made by the minister's looking 
upon the people, and the people's looking upon the 
minister. Therefore because Christ would have his 
vs'ord effect the more, the te.xt saith, he lifted up his 
eyes upon his disciples, and looked upon them. 
And it hath a great deal of power in way of repre- 
hension and threatening ; and many times a guilty 
conscience is not able to bear the fastening of the 
eyes of a minister upon them. Therefore in Acts 
xiii. 9, we read of Paul, whenas Elymas the sorcerer 
would have taken off Sergius Paulus, that was the 
deputy of the place, and would have hindered the 
work of the ministry upon his heart, Paul was a- 
preaching, and the deputy began to be stirred up, 
and to hearken to what Paul should say, and there 
comes one Elymas and would have taken off the 
deputy ; now when Paul, having hopes to have 
gained such a man that might be a public instru- 
ment in the place where God had set him, the text 
saith that Paul set his eyes upon Elymas, and spake 
to him in a terrible manner, as if he should say, O 
wretch ; for so he saith, O child «f the devil, and full 
of all subtlety ! What ! wilt thou seek to hinder the 
word upon such an eminent man, thou child of 
the devil ? There is a great deal of power sometimes 
in the eyes of a minister of the word. And we find 
that when Peter had denied Christ, the text saith that 
Christ looked upon him, and then Peter went forth 
and wept bitterly. There was much darted through 
the eyes of Jesus Christ ; and there is much many 
times darted thorugh the eyes of a minister of God. 

Now then, my brethren, this is the close of this 
sermon for the present. I beseech you, while we are 
preaching over this large sermon of Jesus Christ, do 
you apprehend that the eyes of Jesus Christ are upon 
you all. Why should we not apprehend it so now as 
well as then, when Christ saith. He that heareth you 
hears me? It is the sermon that Christ preached 
himself ; and as he lift up his eyes upon his auditors 
at that time, so do you know that Jesus Christ lifts 
up his eyes upon you all, and his eyes will be upon 
every heart all the while his sermon shall be 
preached. Oh, Christ comes into the congregation 
to look upon this man and the other man, to see 
how they will entertain his word ; and if you will but 
remember this one note all along as we go, it will be 
of very great use to you — remember the eyes of Jesus 
Christ will be upon you, and looks upon your be- 
haviour all the while. And that is the fifth thing 
by way of preface. 



Sermon II. Ver. 2. 

VI. The sixth thing is to shew what the scope of 
this sermon was ; and that consists especially in these 
three things : — 

First, To discover wherein true blessedness doth 
consist ; who they are that are truly blessed. 

Secondly, To open the spiritualness of the law, or 
that spiritual light that hj the light of the gospel 
we come to understand. Christ undertakes to shew 
the duties of the law, how they were by the gospel 
raised to a higher height. 'The gospel doth not 
abolish them, but shews us a more spiritual life to live 
than those generally under the law did understand. 
Our Saviour aims at taking of men oft' from satisfy- 
ing of themselves in external duties of righteousness, 
of prayers, or any other way, or keeping from exter- 
nal sins. 

And then thirdly, A forewarning of false teachers. 
These are the three principal heads of the sermon. 
There are many other things interwoven in. But for 
the first thing. It is to shew wherein true blessed- 
ness consists. He begins with blessedness in his 
mouth, — Blessed are the poor, Blessed, Blessed, again 
and again. From this we have these notes briefly — 

First, That it is Jesus Christ that teaches wherein 
true blessedness doth consist. If we would know 
how to be ha2:)py and blessed, it must be by Christ ; 
the natural wisdom of man can never reach it. 
There were among philosophers a hundred and four- 
score opinions of man's happiness, and some reckon 
more. They did but beat the bush ; it is the Chi'is- 
tian that catches the bird. It is only by Christ that 
we may know how to be happy ; Christ is come from 
the bosom of the Father to reveal unto mankind 
those eternal counsels of the Father about man's last 
end. Man since the fall would never have come to 
have known wherein his last end consists, and what 
good it is that he is capable of and God intends 
towards him, had not Christ come from the bosom 
of the Father to declare it. Oh the poor and low 
things wherein the children of men place their happi- 
ness in, that know not Jesus Christ, but are strangers 
to Jesus Christ ! When Christ comes to be revealed, 
the thoughts and hearts of men are raised and en- 
larged ; they look after happiness in another manner 
then than formerly they did. Oh let us bless God 
for Jesus Christ, by whom we come to know how we 
may be happy — that is, wherein our last end consists, 
that high good that man's nature is made capable of 
by God. 

Secondly, It is the end and scope of the ministry 
to shew to people how they may come to be blessed. 
For this sermon was preached especially to the apos- 
tles when they had their commission, as I opened the 



Mat. V. 2.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



last day. Now in that Christ speaks so much of 
blessedness to them, it was to prepare them to go 
and preach it to the world. Oh, it is the ministry of 
the word that shews to men how they may come to 
be happy ! This is all the hurt it will do you, to 
shew you how you may be blessed for ever. How 
poor and miserable are those people that live without 
the ministry of the word ! What poor things do 
they plant their happiness in ! When you come to 
attend the ministry of the gospel, you must come to 
attend it as a message from God, to shew you how 
you may be happy for ever. It is called the gospel 
that they preach ; good tidings. It brings tidings to 
you from heaven, how those souls and bodies of yours 
may come to be eternally happy. Come with such a 
disposition to the ministry of the word. Those, 
therefore, who forsake the ministry of the word, for- 
sake their own mercy — the way that might shew them 
to be happy. Oh how vile are men's hearts, to prize 
it at no higher a rate than most do, so as ye cannot 
think it Avorth the enduring a little cold in a morning 
to come to attend upon the ministry that is appointed 
by God to shew happiness to those that God intends 
eternal good to ! 

Oh, the convictions that many have had in the 
ministry of the gospel ! what a turn sometimes hath 
the word given to their hearts in one half-quarter of 
an hour ! Their hearts have been seeking after vain 
and drossy things for their happiness, and would rest 
in them as the only good that they would think 
themselves happy in. And the ministry of the gospel 
hath darted in tlaose truths unto them that have given 
a turn to their hearts ; and they would not have lost 
what they have found in the ministry of the word, some- 
times in one sermon, for ten thousand worlds — that 
that you prize at so low a rate, they find such good 
in, as, I say, they would not have lost for ten thousand 
■worlds. They have come sometimes to hear the word 
with carnal, drossy, vain, sensual hearts, looking only 
to things that are here, base and vile ; but in attend- 
ing upon the word, there hath been those flashes of 
light let out unto them that hath made them to see 
wherein the true good of a rational creature consists — 
to see what was the end God made man for, and the 
infinite good that man's soul is capable of; and upon 
this they have gone away with their hearts scorning 
and contemning all those sensual delights and vanities 
that they placed their happiness in before. There- 
fore, learn to know what the scope of the ministry of 
the gospel is ; that is the second general note. 

The third note from the design of Christ in general 
is this, By what we hear Christ telling us blessedness 
doth consist in, we may learn that there is a great 
deal of difference between the thoughts and judgment 
cf God about true happiness, and the thoughts and 
jvdgment of the world. For if so be that you look 



into all those eight beatitudes that we have here, you 
will see them in such a quite cross way to the judg- 
ment of the world as nothing can be more. 

For, in the first place. Suppose the judgment of the 
world should be asked, who are those that are blessed ; 
certainly they would never have said the poor was 
blessed. They would think them to be miserable 
men that are poor. Ay, but Christ is of another judg- 
ment, ' Blessed are the poor, poor in spirit, theirs is 
the kingdom of heaven.' Blessed are the rich, would 
the world say ; they are happy indeed. We call the 
proud happy in Mai. iii. ; but here it is ' Blessed are 
the poor.' 

Then, secondly, Ask the world again, who are 
blessed men ; they would never tell you that those 
that mourn are blessed. Certainly, if there be any 
blest in this world, they must be those that live brave, 
jolly lives ; there is a happy man that Uves a brave, 
merry life. No, saith Christ ; it is quite contrary. 
Blessed are they that mourn. Quite cross the 
judgment of Christ goes to the judgment of the 
world. 

Then, thirdly, If you would ask, who are the 
happy men ; why, those that will take no wrong, 
and those that are able to right themselves ; and if 
any man wrong them, they shall know it; the world 
would think them to be happy men. No, saith 
Christ ; ' Blessed are the meek' — those that are willing 
to put up wrongs, and carry themselves meekly to- 
wards those that do abuse them. The world thinks 
he is a fool that puts up wrongs, but in the judgment 
of Christ he is a blessed man. 

And then, fourthly. If you would ask the world, 
who are the blessed ; surely they would say, Those 
that are full of all kind of delicacies— that can fill 
themselves. No, saith Christ ; ' Blessed are those that 
hunger, and those that thirst ;' hungry and thirsty souls 
are the blessed souls. 

And then, fifthly, If you would ask the world, who 
are the blessed men ; why, they are those that keep 
their estates to themselves. They think it is wisdom 
for a man to keep what he hath, and not let it go. 
No, saith Christ; 'Blessed are the merciful.' If a man 
hath an estate and great means, and lets it go for 
good uses, blessed is he. 

Again, sixthly, Ask the world, who are blessed ; 
they would never have pitched upon the pure in 
heart. Blessed are they that follow their lusts, and 
satisfy them to the full. No, saith Christ ; ' Blessed 
are the Puritans — those that are pure in heart.' 

And then, ' Blessed are the peace-makers.' The 
men of the world think it a happiness for those that 
stand out and defend their right. No ; ' Blessed are 
the peace-makers ' — that will rather part with that 
which is their right than that there should not be 
peace. 



10 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 2. 



But, above all, tlie world would never have thought 
that those were blessed that are persecuted. No; 
saith Christ ; now I appeal to your consciences whe- 
ther ever you would have thought that blessedness 
had consisted in these things, had not we had it from 
Christ. Thus have we seen that there is a great 
deal of difference between the judgment of Christ 
and the judgment of the world about true happi- 
ness. 

It is of great concernment for the ministers and 
the young disciples of Christ to have their hearts 
taken off from all earthly blessedness, and to con- 
sider wherein true heavenly blessedness doth consist ; 
for this is the sermon, as I told you, that Christ 
preaches to ministers when he sends them to preach 
to others, and likewise to other disciples that were 
newly converted, for Christ had been in his public 
ministry for two years before this sermon, and many 
were turned to the profession of Christ. But now, 
though they were turned to be the disciples of Christ, 
yet nothing but troubles and afflictions did befall them 
in this world. Upon that, Christ saw that it was 
like they might be offended through their weakness ; 
therefore Christ takes care fully to inform and in- 
struct them, that, though they did continue in a poor 
and mean and low condition for the world, and per- 
secuted and reviled, yet there was a blessedness that 
was beyond all these ; yea, in the suffering of all 
these they might be most happy. Why, this is that 
that Christ would have ministers and young disciples 
to know, because that their hearts may be taken off 
from outward things. They are like to meet with 
afflictions and troubles, and therefore Christ would 
have them to be spiritual ; and if they be not so, they 
are not like to do much good to those they preach 
to. If their hearts be entangled with the world and 
with sensual things and the pleasures of the flesh, 
they are never like to do good ; but they that see a 
happiness higher than these things, they are like to 
do the greatest good in their way. And then for 
you that are young ones, if yOu are not fully informed 
in this when you first give up your names to Christ, 
that whatsoever afflictions and miseries you endure 
in the world, yet there is a happiness wherein you 
may be blessed, you will never hold on in the profes- 
sion of Christian religion, but you will be offended, 
and in a small time cast it all off. 

Christ doth not say, you ought to be poor in 
spirit ; it is your duty to hunger and thirst, and to be 
meek. No, he doth not come that way, but ' Blessed 
are the poor in spirit, and Blessed are they that 
hunger and thirst;' he goes by way of commenda- 
tions of what should be in them, rather than by way 
of exhortation, or threatening the contrary. From 
whence we may learn this note : that it is a very 
useful and profitable way for the ministers of the 



gospel to seek to gain people to the love of what is 
their duty, by shewing them what is the excellency 
and glory of it, and what good and happiness they 
shall come to enjoy by it ; that is the way, not alto- 
gether to be merely in laying the burden of a duty, 
in exhorting or threatening for want of the duty, 
though these things are seasonable in then- times, 
but a main thing that ministers of the gospel should 
aim at, should be to convince people that in what is 
required of them there is a blessedness ; for if we 
should get people to set upon duty merely upon 
necessity, because they must be done, this would do 
but little good, and they would be ready to fall off 
from what they do. But now if we can gain people 
not only to do what God requires, but to be in love 
with what God requires, that they may see there is 
an excellency in it, that they may see they are 
blessed by it, we then gain their hearts to the duty 
and to Christ for ever. 

And yet there is one note more from this scope of 
Christ in his blessedness : that Christ doth not here 
begin his sermon thus. Blessed are those that do be- 
lieve in me, and that are godly and righteous. Why 
doth not Christ speak of blessedness that way in 
general of righteous men, of believers, of saints ; 
but those that are poor, those that hunger and thirst, 
those that mourn, they are the blessed ones ? Why, 
this is because Christ would suit himself to his present 
auditory, to those that he was now preaching to ; 
this was a doctrine that was more suitable to Ms 
disciples, because they were like to be most offended 
witli poverty and with their afflicted conditions, in 
which they were like to be put into, and therefore 
Christ he labours to help them in that thing wherein 
their chief temptation was like to he, and pitches 
rather upon this, ' Blessed are the poor, and those 
that mourn,' than blessed are those that believe, and 
that are righteous. It is a great part of the skill of 
a minister of the gospel not only to preach things 
that are truths, but to labour to suit himself what 
possibly he can to those that he speaks unto — that he 
may speak a word in due season to their hearts, 
fitted for their condition ; and therefore not so much 
to labour to preach what he might, perhaps, wherein 
he might shew more depth and excellency of his own 
parts, but wliat it is that may be most suitable for 
the condition of the people that he is speaking to. 
These are the notes briefly from the general, that 
Christ begins here with this kind of blessedness, 
'Blessed are the poor.' It is good to take Christ's 
judgment rather than our own about blessedness. 
Rather follow what the blessed God saith blessedness 
consists in, than what a wretched, miserable man 
saith. 

' The poor, they are the blessed." 

That is, if you would know what is meant by 



Mat. V. 2.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



11 



blessedness here, it is this : they are such as are par- 
takers of the chief good that it was made for, and 
shall certainly be tilled with all good that their 
natures are capable of, for in this blessedness con- 
sists. 

Now the poor in spirit, whatever they may want 
for the present in the creature, yet they are now 
made partakers of that wherein the highest good of 
man doth consist, and shall certainly be filled with 
all good whatsoever, that their souls and bodies are 
capable of, these are blessed. 

The poor ; ' Blessed are the poor.' The Greeks 
had two words to signify a poor man ; first, 'tttu-^/Ic, 
such a poor man as is destitute of necessaries such 
as he cannot live without; the other tsv));, which 
signfies a man that indeed hath nothing but bare 
necessaries, that can maintain life and soul, as we 
say, and keep them together. 

The word that we have here in the text, it is not 
a poor man that hath but just enough to maintain 
him, but it is the poor that are destitute of that that 
is necessary. They want that without which they 
are Hke to perish, they apprehend such a want to 
themselves ; that is the property of the word, ' Blessed 
are the poor.' 

The poor, but not all poor. ' Blessed are the poor 
in spirit.' There are some poor that are cursed, that 
are miserable poor, that are every way poor ; that 
bring poverty upon themselves by their idleness, by 
their wickedness, by their prodigality, by misspending 
what they have when they are young and have time 
to lay up something against charge come upon them, 
spend it all presently, and so they and their families 
are like to perish through poverty. Christ doth not 
pronounce them blessed that bring poverty upon 
themselves by abuse of the creatures, or by idleness, 
or by committing such wickedness as they should by 
the stroke of justice be deprived of the comforts of 
this world, and so be made poor ; nor those that are 
through bare necessity poor, outwardly poor, or 
through any secret curse of God upon their estates, 
as sometimes it is, he doth not pronounce such to be 
blessed, as these are. Oh no, there are many poor 
people that are outwardly poor, yet are far enough 
from being poor in spirit ; they are outwardly poor, 
and yet proud, stubborn, profane, and ungodly, 
scorning at godliness and religion; certainly these are 
cursed poor. Therefore in Luke vi., about the 20th 
verse, saith Christ, ' Blessed are the poor ; ' when he 
looked upon his disciples, ' Blessed are the poor.' A 
man may be poor in this world, and yet be a very 
cursed man, be miserable in reference to God, as he 
is in reference to men, yea, more miserable a thousand 
times in reference to God than he is unto men. Oh 
vi'hat a multitude of the poorest of people do we find 
living without God in the world — swearing poor, un- 



clean poor, most profane and ungodly as any kind of 
people that lives upon the earth. Oh, these are dreadful 
objects to took upon, like to be miserable here, and 
to be miserable to all eternity hereafter ; such poor as 
these, you must not think that because you are 
miserable here, therefore you have your hell here, 
and shall not be miserable hereafter ; oh no. If you 
can read, you may read in the Epistle of Jude, where 
the apostle speaks of some that were consumed with 
fire from lieaven, and yet were sent down to eternal 
fire afterwards ; so there are some that the Lord hath 
forsaken in this world, and are like to be forsaken to 
all eternity in the world to come. 

But, you will say, this is little comfort to the poor. 
Little comfort ! are there any here that would 
have comfort ? Is it the word that you do expect 
comfort from ? If there be any poor that doth but 
desire to have comfort from the word, I would be 
loath to let this pass without adding something ; 
therefore, that you may not be discouraged in your 
poverty, 

You may have this comfort from the word, ' Blessed 
are the poor ; ' for, first. You poor ones have as precious 
souls as the greatest monarchs of the earth. Your 
souls are as much worth, and capable of as much 
glory, as the great emperors', kings', and queens' of 
the world ; and that is somewhat. 

Secondly, You poor may have as free access to 
God, and heaven is as open to you as to any of the 
greatest potentates of the world. There is as great a 
possibility, if you have hearts to look after it, for 
you to have a crown of glory in the highest heavens, 
as for the greatest monarch that lives upon the earth ; 
and that is somewhat to you. 

Thirdly, Let me say, that not only you are as near, 
but in some respects nearer, to eternal blessedness 
— if you be not wicked and ungodly, and have but 
hearts to look after blessedness, you may more likely 
attain to blessedness — than the great ones of the 
world ; for your temptations are not so great as theirs. 
Indeed, the temptations of poverty are great, but the 
evils that other temptations would draw the heart 
to, are things more pleasing to nature than the 
temptations of poverty. Poverty tempts to despair 
and to shifting courses, but there is a more hardness 
in these temptations to a man's nature than the sins 
that riches tempts to, which is to satisfy our lusts, 
and be proud and haughty and scornful, and there 
is more danger in that. 

Fourthly, You that are poor, you have not so 
great an account to give as the rich men of the world 
have. 

Fifthly, The Lord hath revealed in the Scriptures 
that he hath chosen the poor of the world ; though he 
hath chosen some rich, yet of both the Lord hath 
pitched his thoughts to all eternity upon the poor of 



]2 



BURllOUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 2. 



the world to choose them. In James ii. 6, 'Hearken, 
my brethren,' — it is a matter to be hearkened after, — 
' the Lord hath chosen the poor of the world to be rich 
in faith.' Oh hearken to this, you poor ones, that 
you may be encouraged to hearken after true blessed- 
ness ! 

Sixthly, As God hath put his choice upon the 
poor of the world, so he hath appointed his gospel 
especially to be preached to them. In Luke xiv. 21, 
Christ sends forth his servants to call in the poor, 
the maimed, the halt, and the blind ; Christ invites 
them : and in Mat. xi. 5, ' To the poor is the gospel 
preached.' Now if the gospel be appointed to be 
preached to the poor, then surely it is appointed to 
be preached to this congregation ; and oh that God 
■would but give those that are such miserable poor 
people in regard of outwards, but hearts to come to 
hear the preaching of the gospel, and not to make 
any excuses for want of clothes, or this or the other 
thing, but to come to hear the preaching of the gos- 
pel ! For you are invited, you alms-people, and poor 
people that have not bread to satisfy your hunger 
■withal, you are invited to come to partake of the 
bread of life : you that are not invited to rich men's 
tables, yet God hath invited you to his table, to the 
supper of the Lamb, he hath invited even you poor 
to come. 

Seventhly, We find in Scripture, for an inward call, 
there are very few but poor people have it, 1 Cor. i. 
26, 'You see your calling, brethren, how that not many 
■wise men after the flesh, nut many mighty, not many 
noble are called : but God hath chosen the foolish 
things of the world to confound the wise, and God 
hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound 
the things which are mighty, and base things of the 
■v\'orld, and things which are despised, hath God 
chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to 
nought things that are.' And the poor, they have 
the gospel preached to them. 

Eighthly, If so be that you do come in upon the 
call of the gospel, the Lord will not disregard you 
ever a whit the less because you are poor, but the 
Lord will have as high thoughts of you, and tender 
you as much as his soul shall cleave to you, and 
you shall enjoy communion with him, and as ranch 
as the greatest emperors shall do, though they be 
godly. You will say, As much as great emperors 
and kings that are wicked; that is true: pray, although 
they be godly ? Sujipose there be a godly king, and 
a poor godly alms-body : this poor alms-body may 
have as much communion with God, and God may 
accept as much of the services of this poor creature 
as of a prince, though he be godly ; for God doth not 
so much regard the greatness of the ■work that is 
done, as the faithfulness and the uprightness of our 
hearts in doing of our work. Oh that God now 



would sanctify your poverty to you, so as to bethink 
yourselves after this manner — Why, I am in this 
world, a poor miserable creature, and there is little 
hopes that ever I should come to any great matters 
in this world ; oh let me look after spiritual riches 
then ! I am like ever to be miserable here, as to 
outwards ; oh but why may not my soul, yea, and 
body too, be blessed at the last ? why may not I be 
blessed with God and his Christ for ever ? If I could 
be able to preach to this congregation, and to all the 
poor in this congregation ; if it might be but pro- 
claimed, that such a day there should be a sermon to 
shew how all the poor in this parish should come to 
be made rich men and women, and so as to live 
richly all their days, I make no question there 
would be an auditory full enough then of poor 
people. But we can say, as in the name of God, and 
we can pawn our souls upon it, that if you would come 
and hear, or get those that you know to come and 
hear, we can shew you ways how it is possible for 
you to be blessed to all eternity, for you to have 
greater riches than if God should make you 
kings and queens — so that it might be said, not 
only for the general, ' Blessed are the poor,' but blessed 
is this poor man that dwells in this street, or in such 
a poor smoky hole. The very angels of God may 
look upon you as a blessed creature, if you have 
but a heart to attend upon the gospel, that reveals 
the way of blessedness to you. ' Blessed are the 
poor.' 

Ay, but blessed are the poor in spirit. What ! every 
poor ; no, nor every poverty of spirit is not blessed 
neither. There is a poverty of spirit that is an evil, 
and an accursed poverty of sj^irit. A man may be a 
man of a poor sjDirit, and of a cursed spirit, because, 
indeed, he is a poor spirit. By that, therefore, I 
mean this, such a man as is of a low, base, sordid 
spirit, that hath his spirit sunk down to low, earthly, 
sensual things as his highest and chiefest good ; he 
minds no higher good than to eat and drink, and 
satisfy his flesh. Here is a man of a poor spirit ; he 
is of a low spirit indeed. But this poor, low spirit is 
sordid, is base and accursed. You see many times 
poor people ; they mind those mean things that they 
are exercised in, as their adequate object. You shall 
see sometimes a poor woman be scraping in a dust-, 
heap or dunghill for an hour together. Now she is 
not miserable because of that ; but when that is her 
adequate object, that if she can but get sixpence or a 
shilling a day she thinks herself blessed, and minds 
no higher things than this, you will say, this is a 
poor spirit indeed. Why, truly, such kind of poor 
spirits have the men of this world, yea, the princes 
and great ones of the world. For many of them 
they mind only the satisfying of their flesh, to eat 
and drink and be unclean, as that that is the most 



Mat. V. 2] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



13 



suitable thing to tlieir spirits. Why, these are men 
of poor, low, base spirits. The Lord would have his 
saints to be of low spirits in a godly sense — that is, to 
be humble. But the Lord would have his servants 
again, in another sense, to be of high and lofty spirits — 
that is, that nothing in the world should satisfy their 
spirits for their portion but God himself. Here is a 
man of a high spirit indeed, that though indeed he 
knows he is unworthy of the least crumb of bread, 
yet, saith such an one, though I be unworthy, yet if 
God should give me all the world, it would not 
satisfy me for my portion. I must have him- 
self ; I must have heaven, and eternity, and glory. 
This is a man of a true raised spirit ; and all men 
in the world are of poor, base, low spirits in com- 
parison of this man, whose spirit godliness hath 
thus elevated in this gracious way. Therefore it 
is not every one that is poor in spirit which is thus 
blessed. 

Well, but who then ? what povery of spirit is that 
that makes a man blessed ? 

For that you must know, first, thus. Blessed are 
those that are poor in s]3irit notes thus much, when 
a man or woman — so I find some carry it — is willing 
in their spirits to be in a low and poor condition, if 
God shall so please ; so as to be willing, though he 
hath never so much of the world, yet if God shall 
please to call for all his estate, he is willing in his 
spirit to give it up to God and to live poorly. Now 
God doth give a man a comfortable estate ; he hath 
comings in, he hath all things well about him in his 
family. Ay, but now saith this soul, It is true, 
I have received these good mercies from God ; but 
yet God knows this is in my spirit, that God that 
searches the hearts of all, and converses with men's 
spirits, knows that this is in my spirit, that if the 
Lord will call for all these to give witness to his truth, 
I am here ready to part with all these outward accom- 
modations, and to live upon bread and water all my 
days ; to live in as poor a condition as ever poor 
creature lived in in this world ; to lay aside all my 
pomp and riches and glory that I have in this 
world, and willing to be in the lowest condition that 
any poor alms-body is, so be it that the Lord 
may have any glory by me, and I may further wit- 
ness to himself. Here is one that is truly poor in 
spirit ; it may be he is not poor in his estate. I 
confess the papists make a great deal of do about this 
poor in spirit — that is, say they, one that is willing 
to vow poverty ; but God doth not call for this, but 
whenever he calls for your estates, or any comforts 
you have, that you should be willing to lay them 
down at his feet. . So much God requires of every 
man. And now examine as I go along, you that 
have estates, and do enjoy them, do you find such a 
disposition in your hearts — indeed if it were put to it. 



that rather than you would deny the least truth of 
God, all your estate should go ? Eather than you 
would commit the least sin any way against your con- 
sciences, your estates should all go ; and you will 
prize rather the witnessing to anj' truth, than to live 
in all the jollity in this world '? Could you bring 
your hearts to this ? Why, this is to be poor in spirit, 
in the midst of all your abundance. It is not grace 
to cast away our estates and riches willingly ; but 
grace consists in the well-managing of our estates 
while we have them, and in the wilhngness to part 
with them when God calls for them. 

But secondly. Blessed are the poor in spirit — that 
is, a spirit willing to lie down under God in a low 
condition, when I am put into such a one. First, 
Such as are willing to be poor if God will ; and 
secondly. Such as are already poor for their outward 
estate : and suitable to that poverty of their outward 
estate, they find a poverty in spirit — that is, their 
spirits do lie down under God's hand, and are will- 
ing to glorify God in this way that God hath set 
them. They do not envy at others that are in a 
higher condition, they do not murmur and repine 
against God. Why doth God dispense his gifts so 
diversely, that such and such men shall have so much, 
and other men shall have so little ? No, God hath 
by his providence brought me to this condition ; and, 
Lord, here I am, and submit to thy hand. I am con- 
tent to glorify thee in this mean condition that thou 
hast set me ; I am content to apply myself to those 
duties that thou requirest of me in such a poor and 
low estate. Many poor people think. Oh if I were rich 
as others are, then indeed I could glorif}' God ; but 
in the way that they are in, they vex and fret, and 
seek after shifting ways to provide for themselves, 
and cannot bring their souls to glorify God in such 
a low way wherein they are. But now if you can 
find your hearts submissive to God in that low way 
wherein you are, blessed are the poor in spirit. And 
this disposition of your spirits to be wilUng thus to 
glorify God, it is a greater excellency than if God 
made you the chief of a parish or the chief of a 
kingdom. 

Thirdly, ' Blessed are they that are poor in sphit ' — 
not those that seem to be poor in their words, in 
their expressions, in their carriages. You shall have 
many that will be complaining of themselves, and 
say that they are thus weak, and poor, and vile, and 
have nothing in them ; and yet God knows their 
hearts are haughty enough, and proud enough, that 
if other men should but think of them, and say of 
them as they speak of themselves, they would not 
bear it. Therefore though they be poor in words, 
yet not in spirit. There be some that will carry 
themselves in a very poor way, and live very meanly in 
the world. Ay, but in spirit they are not so ; they go 



14 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 2. 



very poorly, and seem to be very luimble, as if there 
were no other pride but in clothes and gay things. 
But the main pride is the pride of men's spirits. 
Therefore blessed are those that are poor in spirit — 
that is, those that have their wills and affections and 
understandings bowed down to God ; blessed are 
those that are so sincerely poor. 

In the fourth place, and more especially and prin- 
cipally, ' Blessed are those that are poor in spirit ' — 
that is, such as are truly apprehensive and sensible 
of their spiritual poverty. Now this is a great point, 
I am now indeed come unto the point itself, that 
Christ promises blessedness too. 

Now for this, there are these three things that I 
shall do about it : — 

First, To shew you what is that spiritual poverty, 
that these that are poor in spirit do see and are sensi- 
ble of. 

Secondly, What the behaviour of the heart is that 
is thus poor in spirit ; how it doth behave itself, or 
what are the several workings of such a heart that is 
thus poor in spirit. 

Thirdly, Why it is that such a heart is so blessed 
in the esteem of Jesus Christ. 

But now wherein the blessedness consists, that 
especially will appear in the promise, ' For theirs is 
the kingdom of heaven.' 

I will but briefly open a little the first unto you, 
What the spiritual poverty is that such a soul doth 
see and is sensible of. 

In respect of its spiritual estate, such a soul appre- 
hends itself as a very poor creature. 

First, It sees that it is deprived, as it is in itself, of 
all true spiritual good that should do it good in refer- 
ence to God, and in reference to its own happiness ; 
this it is that it sees clearly. As a poor man sees 
himself poor ; what is that? — that is, I want all those 
outward comforts that others have, I am destitute of 
such and such comfortable things, the necessary 
things that others have ; so one that is poor in spirit 
sees his condition to be thus, Lord, though indeed 
at first when thou didst make man, thou didst make 
him rich, thou puttest him into paradise, and madest 
him according to thine own image, by which he was 
the king and the great heir of all the world ; but. 
Lord, now I am deprived of all good whatsoever, of 
all spiritual good, deprived of thine image — I have 
nothing of thine image now in me that is spiritual, 
not any part of spiritual life whereby I should come 
to have union with thee, or communion with thee, 
that in any way may work in order to eternal life — 
I am wholly destitute of every good thing that may 
make me any way acceptable to God. Now here is 
a poor man : when I can see it, and be convinced of 
this, that whatever good thing that should make me 
acceptable to God, that am I wholly deprived of, I 



have not one whit of it. I have, it may be, an estate 
in the world, and outward comforts in my family ; 
ay, but what have I in reference to God ? How are 
things with me in reference to the infinite glorious 
first being of all things ? Why, as I am in myself 
naturally, I am deprived of all ; never was there a 
man so poor, that had not a rag to cover him, as I am 
poor in regard of my spiritual condition. Oh, for a 
man that hath the riches of the world, yet to see 
himself a miserable, poor, undone man ! This is not 
ordinary, and therefore, indeed, you shall find that 
Christ in Luke vi. doth oppose that poor here to the 
rich of the world ; that is, because there are so few 
of the rich of the world that can be brought to be 
convinced of this, their spiritual poverty. 

A poor man, you know, is put upon many straits 
that others are not put upon, and many miseries a 
poor man doth endure that others do not ; and so a 
second thing in this spiritual poverty is, for the soul 
to apprehend and be sensible of those spu'itual evils 
that are upon it. As I do not only want the image 
of God and spiritual life, but I have that that is con- 
trary, oh the misery that is upon me in my mind, 
the darkness of that ! the crossness of my will and 
heart to God, those many corruptions that are in my 
soul ! Oh the vermin that creeps about me continu- 
ally ! There is no misery that poor people do endure, 
but those that are spiritually poor do see that misery 
upon themselves, as they are in themselves. 

And then a third thmg that makes one poor is 
this : suppose I have many miseries upon me, yet if 
I am able to work for myself, I cannot be extremely 
poor ; but when the man hath many miseries upon 
him, and is not able to work for his livelihood, then 
is he poor indeed. So it is, though we have lost the 
image of God, yet if we were able to do anything to 
help ourselves we were not so poor ; but now, when 
a man sees himself thus miserable, and can do no- 
thing for himself to get any good for the enriching of 
his soul, he is poor. A man or woman that hath 
lost all, and then falls lame, so that they cannot work 
nor do anything for their maintenance, this now is a 
poor man or woman, when their labour is lost as well 
as their estate ; so now when we have lost all and are 
lame, and can do nothing that may help us in any 
spiritual good, then must we needs be poor indeed. 

Fourth!}', But if I be not able to labour, yet if I 
have friends that may help me, I am not miserably 
poor ; thus it is in regard of our spiritual estate. 
What friend hast thou to relieve or help thee ? is it 
God or Christ that should help thee ? Why, God he 
is a stranger, Christ thou hast no interest in ; as thou 
art in thyself, thou must not look upon God as he is 
in himself — thou art an enemy to God ; for so the 
Scripture saith, ' We are enemies to God, and strangers 
to the covenant of grace ; ' and thou art a poor crea- 



Mat. V. 2.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



15 



ture indeed that hast no whither to go for thy help. 
All the angels in heaven cannot help thee, all the 
men in the world cannot help thee in this thy poor 
condition in which thou art. 

Fifthly, But suppose a man hath no friend to 
help him, and he is not able to work, yet if he hath 
any excellency at all in him, there is some hope that 
some will regard him for the worth that is in him ; 
perhaps he is a man of excellent parts, though 
through weakness he is able to do little now. This is 
our spiritual poverty ; we are thus miserable, we 
have no friends, we can do nothing, and then we 
have no worth at all in us whereby God should have 
any respect to us — whereby his angels should have 
respect to us, if they could do us good ; we are na- 
turally worthless creatures, we still aggravate our 
poverty. 

Sixthly, If a man were so poor as that he should 
not be able to do something now, yet if it can be 
conceived that hereafter he might do something, 
there were hope ; but I am so in debt, that as soon as 
I can get anything my creditors may come upon me 
and take away all. This is our spiritual poverty; 
suppose God should put abilities in us to enable us 
to do something that is good, why, all that we are 
able to do cannot satisfy for what is past. If we were 
able to obey now the law of God perfectly, Avhat be- 
comes of all the old arrears ? Tlie justice of God will 
have satisfaction ; God is resolved that no soul shall 
ever be accepted but his infinite justice shall be satis- 
fied. Now the soul sees itself poor indeed, as it is in 
itself, when it sees that the debt must be paid to 
every farthing. If a man now hatli broke, and lost his 
estate, yet he thinks he may agree with his creditors 
and get up again, and so is not so miserably poor ; 



but if he knows this, that certainly the debt must be 
paid now, and tliere will be no compounding with 
his creditors, he will conclude his hfe is like to be 
poor indeed. This doth those that are spiritually poor 
see in themselves ; they are in debt, and all that they 
can do can never be able to satisfy for what is past. 

Seventhly, Suppose a man or woman should receive 
something to help them for the present, yet they 
must hve upon continual alms ; this is poverty. So a 
soul that is spiritually poor, it sees it must live in a 
continual dependence — that though God doth give me 
some power to act, yet there must be a new influence 
of his grace to help me to make use of what I have. 
That is a poor creature indeed that hath nothing of 
itself, and if anything be given him; knows not how 
to make use of it without help of another ; so doth 
the soul see itself in such a condition, that whatso- 
ever God should bestow upon me, I know not how 
to make use of it, without new supply of grace, and 
that continued to me every moment. Now if we put 
these seven particulars together, we shall see that 
here is a poor man indeed : first, I am destitute of 
all spiritual good; I have woeful spiritual miseries 
upon me, and I am not able to work at all ; I have 
no friend, and I have no worth to commend me to 
another ; and I am in debt, and if anything be given 
me, I must have new supplies for using it and for 
continuing of it. Oh, what a poor creature am I 
then ! Now for a man to see this, and to be made 
sensible of it, here is a man or woman that is poor in 
spirit ; but now this is not all. 

But in the next place, there must be that be- 
haviour in a man that is suitable to this to make 
him poor in spirit ; but of that we shall speak fur- 
ther afterwards. 



16 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 3. 



SERMON III. 



A DESCRIPTION OF A POOR-SPIRITED MAN. 



Blessed are the poor in spirit,' dx. — Mat. v. 3. 



Divers things have been spoken by way of pre- 
face to this excellent sermon of Christ : you have' 
heard the scope of it. First, to shew unto the 
world wherein true blessedness doth consist. That 
that men arc so much deceived in, that there is so 
great a mistake about. And there is nothing more 
contrary unto blessedness in the world's esteem, than 
what Christ pronounces to be blessed. Blessedness 
is the enjoyment of the last end, and so of the chief 
good that the rational creature is capable of ; for it 
is proper to the rational creature. ' Blessed are the 
poor in spirit.' 

There are men of poor base spirits that are far 
from blessedness ; as. 

First, Such men as have their designs, ends, and 
aims only in money, and base and unworthy things ; 
that mind no higher things but to eat and drink, 
and to have pleasure to the flesh. But as for God, 
and Christ, and heaven, and eternity, the gospel and 
the word, they are notions to them ; but give them 
money, and meat, and drink, and in that they ac- 
count themselves happy. Why, here is a poor, sordid, 
base-spirited man ; when such things are adequate to 
a man's spirit, then he hath a base and poor spirit. 
The spirits of the saints are all raised spirits high ; 
though they look upon themselves as unworthy of 
any crumb of bread, yet they account heaven and 
earth not sufficient to be their portion. 

But secondly, — to add two or three particulars, to 
shew you a base, poor-spirited man, — A man that 
when he sets about any e.xcellent work, he is pre- 
sently discouraged with every little difficulty ; here 
is a poor-spirited man. 

The first was so base as they mind no excellent 
work at all ; they have no excellent thing in their 
aims, in their thoughts. But suppose by seeing of 
others they do begin to set upon some work that 
hath an excellency in it, but as soon as ever they 
meet with any difficulty in it, they are dead in the 
nest presently — they are quite discouraged, and fall 
down and leave all ; he is a poor, base-spirited man 
that, that is hindered either from a work by foreseeing 



of difficulty, or when he meets with a difficulty he is 
discouraged, when he meets with any opposition, yea, 
if it be but a mere fancy that he meets with, he is 
discouraged. Some that have begun to set upon re- 
ligion, a mock, a scorn, every little opposition presently 
discourages them, and they turn off. And others in 
any public business that concerns church or com- 
monwealth, though being put upon by others, they 
set upon it a little, but if they be opposed, or find it 
difficult and hard, their hearts are down ; oh, these 
are poor-spirited men ! 

And then, further. Men that are selfish, that are 
narrow-spirited men, that are only for themselves, 
and let the publis go which way it will, they 
regard not that ; but if they can provide for them- 
selves, there is all they look at. Oh, these are poor, 
base-spirited men likewise, and come not to the 
height and excellency of spirit that many heathens 
have come. 

And then, lastly, Such as are led aside like fools by 
every temptation, every little temptation can lead 
them aside like fools to their own slaughter. For 
a man though he is convinced in his conscience that 
such and such things he should not do, yet he is not 
able to resist the temptation ; let but his com- 
panions come and call him to an alehouse or tavern, 
he cannot resist it. For a man not to be able to 
stand against a temptation, but to be led by every 
poor temptation like a fool to his own destruction, 
here is a base, poor-spirited man — a man that hath 
no excellency, no natural excellency of spirit in him. 
And yet how ordinary is this in those that look full 
highly; they are men of poor and mean spirits. 
This poverty of spirit that is in many, it is a curse of 
God that is upon them ; and it is a heavy curse when 
such men are in public place — they are causes of 
hindering a great deal of good, and doing a great 
deal of mischief. It is a miserable curse, either upon 
kingdoms or countries, when the Lord by his provi- 
dence shall so order things that men that have no 
excellency of spirit in them, but are poor, base- 
spirited men, should sit at the stern and have no 



Mat. V. 3.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



17 



power to manage things. Oli this, wherever it is, is 
a grievous affliction ! and therefore we have cause to 
pray, that those that are in place of power that they 
should have spirits suitable to the places wherein they 
are, not men of sordid and low spirits. Well, these 
are not the poor spirits that are here blessed. 

Who then ? I the last day shewed you three or 
four several poor-spirited men that are blessed ; but 
to let that pass, and to proceed to that that further 
remains — and that, indeed, is of great concernment, 
and is more close to the words. The poverty of the 
saints, even godly men, though they have grace in 
them, yet still they are spirituaUy poor. Now this 
poor in spirit is one that doth apprehend and is sen- 
sible of his spiritual poverty, together with several 
other things that were mentioned before. But now, 
I say, suppose God hath given grace, yet still there 
is a great deal of poverty. 

As, in the first place. That grace thou hast, it hath 
need of continual supply. There is no Christian can 
live upon the grace he hath without new supply. It 
is not with a Cliristian now as it was with Adam — to 
live upon the stock that was given him, and so able 
to act by it now. God will not trust thee with the 
stock of grace ; it is not in thy hand, but in the hand 
of Christ : and this is the condition of the strongest 
godly man in the world ; he must go daily and con- 
tinually to Christ to fetch new supply, or he cannot 
subsist. The poor condition that we are now in, in 
respect of what Adam was in, may be set out in this 
similitude : a man that is set up to trade with a stock, 
and so is able to go on in his trade, and hath skill 
in it, his father lets him go on till such time as he 
proves an ill husband, and breaks and loses all, anel 
runs into debt. Yet his father afterwards takes pity 
on him, will set him up again, but so as he will not 
trust him with the stock any more; he will give the 
stock into some trusty friend's hand, and his son 
shall go every day to give an account to his friend, 
and to fetch money from him, and to return to him 
every day, because his father will not trust him any 
more. This is just our condition. In Adam we did 
receive a stock of grace, and God enabled us to go on 
and trade with it for himself ; but all mankind fell in 
him ; we turned bankrupts — we lost that stock. 
Xow the Lord is pleased to set up again those that 
lie hath chosen for himself, to trade again in a way 
of godUness, but so as God will not trust his stock in 
their hands. The stock, therefore, of God's grace, it 
is now in Christ, in our head, and we must have 
supply daily from him. And this is the poor condi- 
tion that we are in — this spiritual poverty even of 
the saints. 

Secondly, The poverty of the saints consists in 
this : the gi-aces that they have are but small. Godly 
men and women, though they have grace bestowed 



upon them, yet for the most part it is so small as 
they can scarce know whether they have grace or not 
— I say, for the most part it is so. Now that is a 
poor condition ; thou art a very poor creature, for 
though thou hast grace, yet it is so little as you can- 
not tell whether you have any or no. Though God 
hath given thee grace, yet how often art thou at 
a stand in thy thoughts about thy grace, ^vhethe^ 
there be any or no in thy heart. Thy grace is like a 
little spark wrapped up in a heap of embers, so that 
the maid is raking a good while before she can see it. 
Oh, how long art thou a-raking many times in thy 
heart, in the examination of thy heart, before thou 
canst see one spark of grace, so as thou canst say, 
This is a spark of true grace I Surely thou art but 
poor, then. 

Thirdly, Even those that are godly they are very 
poor, for they are always needy. We use to say of a 
man or woman that is always in want, and always 
complaining, surely they are poor people. Why now, 
all godly people they are always needy people, al- 
ways in want, always complaining; though indeed 
they have cause to be thankful too, yet they have 
cause of complaint in themselves, and therefore poor. 
Fourthly, Their services are very poor services that 
they do perform. All their duties and services that 
they do, when they do but look over them, what 
poor things do they see they are ! how unworthy to 
be tendered up unto such an infinite great and 
glorious God as the Lord is ! They are ashamed of 
the best of their services, they are so poor, when they 
consider how unbeseeming they are for such a God 
as they are to tender them up unto : they are poor 
in their duties, in their services. 

Fifthly, Take them at the best, and they are very 
poor and weak ; but ordinarily, yea, alwa3's, there is 
such mixture in what they do, as it doth deserve to 
be rejected. Considering how mingled both graces and 
duties are with corruption and evil, their services are 
a poor thing indeed — so poor, as were it not for the 
convenant of grace, the righteousness of Christ and 
his merits, it were impossible but that the Lord 
should cast all that comes, from the best man in the 
world, as filth and dung back again in his face. 

Sixthly, Again, poor are the very saints, the 
godly, for little temptations doth overcome them, 
at least unsettle them and put them out of frame. 
Though they have not such poor spirits as we spake 
of before, to be led like fools by every evil tempta- 
tion to that which would ruin them, yet thus far 
they are poor in spirit, that little temptations do 
unsettle them and put them out of frame. Oh how 
often hath it been so ! You cannot but be conscious of 
this, that when God through his grace hath put you 
into frame, yet a little temptation hath put you out 
of temper again. It may be thou hast been with God, 



IS 



BUKROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



IIIat. V. 3. 



and hast had some comfortable communion with 
him, and thou comest out of thy closet, or chamber, 
and seest but something amiss iu the family, and it 
puts thee quite out of frame again. Oh, what! is 
this the soul that was with God, and enjoyed such 
communion with God, but it may be an hour ago, 
and yet at every little thing in the family is presently 
out of frame ? What a poor spirit is this ! Even 
the saints are very poor, fur they are quickly put out 
of frame, and unsettled by small temptations. 

Seventhly, Poor they are, further, for they have 
but little ability to help others. There are very few 
godly people have ability to do any more but even 
to keep life and soul together, as we use to say. It is 
even as much as ever they can do to live and to hold 
their own, to maintain their peace with God ; but to 
be able to be useful to others among whom they live, 
that very few are. What a deal of do have many 
godly people to live themselves, to maintain what 
once they have had ; they are ever and anon afraid 
that they shall one day even perish. As poor people 
that have evett but from hand to mouth they thinlc. 
Why, though I can get bread now, yet I know not 
where I shall have it to-morrow, or next week: 
.surely we shall come to beggary one day. Godly 
jieopie live at such a poor rate for the most part, as 
they are little useful unto others, and have much ado 
to provide for themselves. Now here you see the 
poverty of spirit : first, what our spiritual poverty is 
naturally — that hath been opened the last time ; and 
now even what the spiritual poverty of the saints is. 

But you will say. This dath not make them 
blessed that they are thus poor ; this is jsart of their 
misery. 

That is true; it is jiart of their misery that they 
are poor : but yet blessed are tlwy that are throughly 
apprehensive and sensible of this spiritual poverty of 
theirs — that come to know this their poverty, and 
come to be throughly affected with this their poverty, 
they are blessed. There be few iu the world who 
come to understaiid what their poverty is. Wh«'e is 
the man or -woman that laiows the poverty that we 
are in by nature ? And then for poverty in respect 
of weakness of grace, or otherwise, this is taken little 
notice of : but now blessed are they that do appre- 
hend this, and are sensible of it. Therefore, that 
you may understand who the blessed one is that 
Christ speaks of, we must wow turn our thoughts to 
consider of the behaviour of the soul, or the worlvimgs 
of the heart iu the sight and in the sense of this 
spiritual jioverty, which makes him to be thus 
blessed. Now for that there are many particulars, 
which I shall go over brielly. 

As, in the firet place, A man that is poor in spirit 
truly, so as to be blessed, is such a one as looks upon 
himself as vile and mean : whatsoever outward excel- 



lency he hath, yet I am a vile and mean, wretched 
creature in myself, in respect of this poverty of mine. 
God hath given me indeed an estate above my brethren, 
to live comfortably in the world ; oh, but wliat am I in 
respect of my spiritual stat« ! I that am richer, and 
have more comings in than others, how many poor 
servants of God that live in a m^ean condition out- 
wardly, yet do honour God more in one day than I 
do in a month, it may be in a year ! God hath more 
service from them in a month perhaps, than he hath 
from me in a year, or seven years ! He looks upon 
himself as mean and vile, notwithstanding any out- 
ward excellency ; whatsoever parts of nature that he 
hath, why, yet he looks upon himself as mean iu com- 
parison of others. Oh, this is an excellent thing indeed 
for a man that hath excellent parts, and yet sees 
another to have more grace 3 Perhaps there is some 
poor man or woman that hath more humility, and . 
more faith, and more sweetness, and more savouriness 
in their conversation, and more lioliness, and more 
heavenly-mindedness, now he looks ujjou himself as 
mean in comparison of that other; though j>erhaps ho 
is learned, and of esteem in the world, yet because he 
sees others to excel in grace, he looks upon himself 
meaner and lower than they. Why, here is a man 
poor in spirit that is pronounced blessed. Some men 
are proud of their vices, but the poor in spirit is 
humble at the sight of his graces. Carnal hej^rts are 
puffed up with that that should make them ashamed ; 
but a gracious heart sees enough in his graces to 
make him humble — in his love, knowledge, faith. In 
that that is his best parts, he sees enough to make 
him humble-, and blessed are such poor. 

Secondly, Heiwe he thinks it not much if he 
receive not such res[x»t and hoiiour as others do. 
Why, though God by his providence order things so 
that others have respect and honour, and many 
encouragements in the world, I have no cause to envy, 
nor to be troubled ; I have rather cause to wonder at 
what I have; it is not for me to expect such encourage- 
ments as others have, for I am a poor creature. Thus, 
you know, poor people whose hearts are subdued by 
their poverty, when they see othet-s that are brave in the 
world, Ay, they may do thus, but it is not so for us ; 
so those that are poor in spirit, when they see others 
that God blesses, and have I'espect and honour, he 
then thinks thus with himself. But it is not for me 
to expect this, I am a poor vile creature. 

Thirdly, One that is poor in spirit, is one that doth 
admire at every little good that he doth receive, that 
it is so much ; he wonders at every affliction that it is 
no move; every mercy he thinks it very great, and is 
veiy thankful ; and every affliction he wondei's it is 
so little. Quite contrary to the world : they are 
troubled their afflictions are so much, and that their 
mercies are so little ; but a poor-spirited man, he 



Mat. V. 3.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



19 



wondera that his mercies are so much, and that his 
afflictions are so little ; and therefore is thankful for 
every little. Poor people whose spirits are subdued 
>Yitli their poverty, give them but a halfpenny, they 
are thankful ; so a poor-spirited man or woman, he 
admires at mercy, and is thankful at everytliing that 
God affords to him ; and if there be an affliction, he 
doth not murmur and repine, but wonders that God 
doth lay his hand so tenderly upon him as he doth. 

Fourthly, A poor-spirited man is one that is often 
craving ; he is a praying man, a beggar, that is often 
begging for an alms. There is none that are truly 
poor in spirit, but are great praying Christians ; God 
always hears from them, and God is not weary of 
such beggars. In Prov. xviii. 23, ' The poor useth 
entreaties ;' and so in Prov. x. 14. Now such kind 
of men as can live without prayer, and can go day 
after day without seeking of God in prayer, God 
hears but little of them ; they are grown high and 
rich — as a company of the wantons of our age, that 
scorn and contemn duty, and think that they are 
grown so rich, and have so much comfort, and so 
much assurance and grace, that they have no such 
need as others have. Well, but when they are so 
flush and high, blessed are the poor. Those that are 
needy, and see themselves thus, so as to be begging 
at the throne of grace ; those that God hears much 
from at his throne of grace, these are the blessed 
ones. 

Fifthly, The poor, they are the admirers of free 
grace, and the great extollers of free grace ; whatever 
they have they look upon it as free grace, and over- 
look themselves, overlook their duties when they 
have done ; they are as much in duties as any, but 
when they have done they overlook all; they stand 
not upon anything, but it is free grace only that is 
admired by them. Certainly these are the honourers 
of free grace. 

And from hence, in the sixth place. The poor in 
spirit, this is his behaviour — he is emptied of himself; 
whatsoever he hath in himself, or whatsoever he doth, 
he dares not rest upon it, not for his spiritual and 
eternal good, but is delivered as it were from himself, 
looking upon himself as undone, utterly undone in 
respect of what he is, of what he hath, or of what he 
can do. One that is emptied, I say, of himself, and 
of every creature, and is in a preparation now for to 
trust only in the grace that is without him, in the 
grace of God that is tendered in the gospel, he dares 
not lay the weight of his eternal estate upon any- 
thing that is in himself, or what comes from himself, 
but merely upon the grace of God revealed in Christ 
in the gospel. This is the poor-spirited man that is 
thus blessed. One that commits himself to God, and 
trusts in God ; so do the poor. Thus you have it in 
Ps. X. 14, ' The poor committeth himself unto thee; ' 



he is emptied of himself, and commits himself to God ; 
commits his soul to him, and all his ways ; he dares 
not trust to his own wisdom for the guiding of him, 
not in any of his affairs, bat especially for the guiding 
of him in the great affairs that concern his eternal 
good. And in Zeph. iii. 12, the Scripture saith 
that the Lord would leave in the midst of them an 
afflicted and a poor people, and they should trust in 
the name of the Lord. It is the poor that commit 
themselves to God, and that trust in the name of 
the Lord. Now blessed are these poor, that is, such 
poor as from a sight of their own emptiness, vileness, 
wickedness, and inability to help themselves, shall 
give up themselves to the grace of God revealed in 
the gospel, and commit themselves and all their ways 
to be guided by God, and are willing to live upon 
alms for his present and for his eternal estate. It is 
in the nature of man ever to be seeking to hare some 
righteousness of his own ; and that is the reason that 
men can have no comfort. Those that have their 
consciences awakened, can have no comfort till they 
be able to do thus and thus, and be able to perform 
duties after such a manner,and overcome corruptions 
thus and thus. Thou wilt not come, as it were, a 
mere beggar to God, as one that hath nothing, but 
thou wouldst fain bring something to God. But the 
Lord will have thee come as a mere beggar, as one 
that hath nothing at all, and to lie down flat before 
him, stripped of all, even of thy rags ; for, you know, 
many poor people they are proud of their very rags. 
And so it is with the hearts of men ; though they have 
nothing but their civil righteousness, yet that they 
will be proud of. Now the Lord will strip thee of all, 
and make thee come naked before him, and be will- 
ing to live upon alms for eternity. Now it is hard 
for a man to live upon alms for a little time, but to 
live upon alms all the days of one's life is harder : 
but now to hve upon alms for eternity ! And yet this 
poor spirit is such an one, as is so sensible of his own 
poverty, as can commit itseK to God in such a way 
as to be content to live \ipon alms, even for eternity; 
and blessed are these poor. 

Seventhly, A poor-spirited man is one that is will- 
ing that God should choose his condition. We use 
to say that beggars must be no choosers, but now I 
am speaking of one whose spirit is suitable to his 
spiritual poverty. Now if thou be so spnitually poor, 
then do not think that thou must be a chooser ; no, 
thou must not choose what thy comforts shall be, or 
thy ability shall be, or what thy worth shall be, or 
any wages shall be, or at what time or means God 
shall come in unto thee, thus or thus. No, thou must 
leave that wholly to God ; only this, thou must look 
up to God for mercy. Lord, let me have mercy. 
But how, and when, or at what time, and what 
degree and measure, that I leave wholly to God ; 



20 



BUEROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 3. 



only my soul's desire is, that the Lord would have 
mercy upon me. Many do discover that there is not 
poverty of spirit in them by this thing, for when 
they seek to God for mercy, if they have not comfort 
coming in as they would, their spirits are froward, 
even with God himself : such a spirit is not down. 
But blessed is the poor in spirit, that is, those that 
shall lie down flat before the Lord, and be willing to 
be at God's finding. Here I am, and let God do with 
me whatsover he will ; I lie absolutely at his mercy, 
and I do not expect to have myself to be chooser of 
anything that I do desire. 

Eighthly, Those that are truly poor in spirit, they 
look upon others that God hath blessed with eminency 
of grace, and bless them in their souls ; they think 
their condition high. Oh, such and such do I see ex- 
cellency of grace in ; oh how happy is their condi- 
tion, saith a poor-spirited man or woman. As those 
people that are poor, when they come by those that 
have great houses and great comings in, say they are 
happy men indeed. So those that are poor in spirit, 
when they see others that have eminency of grace, 
they look upon those as such as have obtained ex- 
cellency indeed ; they look not upon the rich and 
honourable in the world as the most excellent, but 
those that have the greatest eminency of grace, they 
look upon them and bless them. Oh how happy 
were it if I could walk so with God as such do, if I 
could overcome my corruptions as such, if I could 
prize and profit by the word as such ! oh how happy 
should I think myself to be ! This is a good poverty 
of spirit indeed. 

Ninthly, And further, blessed are the poor. The 
poor in spirit are such as are willing to wait. Though 
God doth not come according to their desires, yet 
still they are content to wait upon God. God shall 
choose what the thing is that shall be given them, and 
the}' are willing to wait. So you have it in Zech. 
xi. IL Those two are put together: 'And it was 
broken in that day ' — that is, the staff of beauty and 
of bands was broken — ' and the poor of the flock that 
waited upon me knew that it was the word of the 
Lord.' Men that are men of estates, and rich men, 
when they come to a door for business, if so be that 
they cannot have presently what they desire, away 
they will go ; they will not stand waiting. Why ? be- 
cause they are rich, and so proud in a suitable way 
to their riches. But now, one that is poor and comes 
for an alms is content to wait, especially if he knows 
that there is no other door for him to go to at that 
time ; if, indeed, he thinks he may have it at some 
other door, he will not wait, but if he comes for an 
alms, and lie must have it here or nowhere, he is con- 
tent then to wait. So those that are truly poor in 
spirit, they are content to wait at God's gates, know- 
ing that there is no other door that they can have 



their alms at but only at the gates of God. Thou 
hast been seeking God, it may be a month or longer, 
half -a year or a year, and yet canst find nothing ; oh, 
but if thou canst have mercy at last, thy condition 
is happy. Thus a poor-spirited creature will say, 
and so will be content to be waiting all the days of 
his life. 

Tenthly, One that is poor hath an awful respect 
to God and his word ; he is one that is struck 
with an awful reverence of the greatness of God and 
the authority of his word. This you have in Isa. 
Ixvi. 2, ' To this man will I look, even to him that 
is poor and of a contrite spirit, and that trembleth at 
my word.' You have those put together, the con- 
trite and poor, and that trembles at God's word ; 
when he comes to the word and hears it opened, he 
looks upon it as having a dreadful authority in it; 
he looks upon the word as a thing to be above him, 
and his heart trembles lest he should not give that 
due respect to the word that he ought to do ; and 
when a promise is revealed, he trembles for fear that 
it should not belong to him, and the divine lustre 
that he sees in the word to be so much above him, 
causes his heart to fear and tremble before the Lord ; 
this is a poor-spirited man. It is opposite to that 
boldness of spirit that is in man, which is from hence, 
that he thinks he hath something to bear him out. 
But now one that is poor in spirit looks upon no- 
thing in himself that can bear him out against any- 
thing that is in the word ; no, it is the word that 
must prevail, whatsoever becomes of me either for 
my present or eternal estate. It is the word that 
must prevail, and therefore he gives an awful rever- 
ential respect to the word when he hears it. 

Eleventhly, One that is poor in spirit is such a 
one that hath a melting heart likewise at the w-ord. 
A little thing in God's word strikes him presentl)', 
and will cause liis heart to melt ; as you shall see 
men and women that are truly poor indeed — not your 
ordinary vagrants and rogues, that will make them- 
selves so in idleness, but those that are truly poor — 
you shall find if you do but speak to them, a melting 
spirit presently in them ; anything you say almost 
will make their hearts to melt within them. So one 
that is poor in spirit hath a melting spirit at the 
word ; a little thing from God works upon him, and 
he doth not stand out against the word so as others 
do ; he hath not a heart to give the word a rebound 
so as others have, but when the word comes, there is 
a yielding of spirit unto the word. Now all these 
put together that have been named, will plainl}"- de- 
monstrate who that man or woman is that is pro- 
nounced thus blessed here by our Saviour Christ. 

Now if you would ask and demand why it is that 
God hath such a respect and regard to such as are 
thus poor in spirit, only a word or two. 



Mat. V. 3.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



21 



The great reason why the Lord hath such regard 
unto such, it is because this disposition doth best 
serve the great design that God hath of glorifying 
himself in the world, namely, the lifting up of his 
free grace. God would have his glory from the chil- 
dren of men. But what glory ? The lifting up of free 
grace, that is the glory that God would have above 
all other. God would have the glory of his power, 
the glory of his wisdom, the glory of his bounty, of 
his patience ; ay, but that is not the glory that God 
doth look at most ; but that he might magnify his free 
grace in his Son, that is the glory that God doth most 
delight in. Now of all dispositions in the world, this 
disposition of poverty of spirit is that that serves 
God's end and God's design best ; and therefore no 
marvel though God doth so much accept of it. 

Secondly, Such a disposition makes the soul to be 
comformable even unto Jesus Christ. We know that 
Christ was willing to be poor, and the Scripture tells 
us that Christ did empty himself ; he was willing to 
lay aside that glory that he had, and to come and 
empty himself and be in the form of a servant. 
Now when Christ shall see a spirit that hath a con- 
formity to his, Christ looks upon it and saith. Here 
is one that is conformable to my spirit. I was 
willing to be poor ; and so is such a one. I was 
■willing to empty myself, and to be anything for the 
furtherance of the glory of my Father ; and so do I 
see here such a poor creature that is willing to empty 
itself of anything that it hath, and is willing to give 
up itself for the glory of my Father and me. Oh, 
blessed are these poor ! But how few of such as these 
shall we find in the world ! We tell you who they are 
if we could find them ; that they are such as are thus 
and thus qualified, and whose hearts do work after 
such a manner as this is; but, Lord, where are they'? 
Ordinarily we find that men's spirits are jolly, high, 
proud, stately, surly, stiff, stubborn, rebellious, and 
bold in the ways of wickedness, this is the juice of 
men's spirits ; they scorn this kind of poverty of 
spirit ; their hearts are up, and they stand upon 
themselves, and stiff they are in their own way. 
It is true in Isa. Ixvi., ' That the Lord that dwells 
on high, in heaven, he doth look upon the poor 
and the contrite : ' he looks upon them. Oh, but 
where shall God have objects, such objects to be- 
hold ? How few such objects are there in the world ! 
Now cursed are the proud, cursed are the haughty 
in spirit, the stubborn and the stout-hearted : the 
Scripture speaks most dreadful tilings against them ; 
but we are not now to speak to them, neither am 
I willing to defer what comfort Christ hath for those 
that are poor in spirit, by turning aside to speak to 
those of haughty and proud spirits. Therefore I am 
to address myself to the opening of that that Christ 
means when he saith that they are blessed. 'Ma.nj 



things might be said for the opening of their blessed- 
ness, but for the present there is only one scripture 
that I will apply to those that are poor in spirit. 
Those tliat are such, whosoever they are that are in 
the presence of God this day, whose consciences can 
tell them that, though in much weakness, yet they 
can find such workings of spirit, I will give you but 
one text to uphold your spirits till the next day, and 
then we shall come to open what Christ saith of you, 
that yours is the kingdom of heaven. The text is in 
Luke iv. 18 : ' The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, be- 
cause he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to 
the poor ; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, 
to preach deliverance to the cajytives, and recovering 
of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are 
bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 
And he closed the book.' Christ comes to the syna- 
gogue, and, a book bein^ opened, he doth find this 
place of Scripture out of Isaiah, which was a pro- 
phecy concerning himself. The meaning of it is this 
— that God the Father hath anointed Jesus Christ 
his Son, appointed him solemnly to that office, to 
come himself into the world, and to preach good 
tidings to the poor in spirit. As if God should say to 
his Son, Son, I have many of my poor servants in 
the world who are poor in spirit, who are sensible of 
their own wretchedness and poverty ; now I appoint 
thee and anoint thee to go and preach unto them the 
glad tidings of salvation ; and be you sure to comfort 
them, be you sure to speak peace to them; pour oil 
into their wounds, and relieve and refresh them. I 
see that they are ready to be discouraged, but do you 
encourage them. I appoint you to this. You will 
say then presently these are blessed, whenas God 
the Father from all eternity hath set Jesus Christ, as 
it were, apart, appointed him to this office to preach 
comfort to thy soul. This one scripture to one that 
is truly poor in spirit is worth a thousand worlds. 
For, what ! saith such a one, doth God regard me ? 
Yes, such a regard he hath, as lie hath appointed his 
Son to that office to take care of thee, to comfort 
thee and to help thee; and Christ must be unfaith- 
ful in his work if he doth not preach comfort to 
thee. This care hath God of the poor ; whenas he 
doth, as it were, slight, neglect, contemn, and scorn 
the rich ones of the world. Them he sends empty 
away ; but for these that are poor in spirit he hath 
given Christ a charge over them. Now were there 
nothing else said but this, that thou hast such a pro- 
mise as this is, that Christ, when he comes into the 
world, must come and preach glad tidings to thee, it 
were abundant mercy ; and so in effect the very scope 
of the gospel is to preach glad tidings to the poor. 
And indeed we shall shew that that is a special thing 
that is meant by ' theirs is the kingdom of heaven ; ' 
not only that they shall go to heaven when they die, 



22 



BURROUGHS OX THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 3. 



but by ' kingdom of heaven ' is often meant the min- 
istry of the gospel, and that is one especial thing in- 
tended here, that the riches of the gospel, the state of 



the gospel, the doctrine of the gospel, all the good of 
the gospel, doth belong to those that are poor in 
spirit. 



SERMON IV. 



PEOMISES TO THE POOR IN SPIRIT. 



'Blessed are the poor in spirit,' iC'C. — ]Mat. V. 3. 



I SHALL now briefly give yon a few promises that are 
made in Scripture to such as are God's poor, and 
then proceed to the blessedness that Christ pro- 
nounces of them — namely, that ' theirs is the king- 
dom of heaven.' Kow for the jjromises to those that 
are poor. 

First, God thinks upon these. It may be thy 
friends think not of thee. Thou art a poor man or 
woman, and yet godly ; thou hast rich friends that 
perhaps have their full dishes and want nothing, but 
have all coming in according to their liearts' desires, 
and they think not of thee ; ay, but if you be one of 
God's poor, as hath been described, God thinks of 
you, Ps. xl. 17. 

Secondly, The Lord looks towards the poor as an 
object that he takes content in ; he doth not only 
think of you, but ' his eye is upon you.' Poor men 
when they pass by others, they scarce have a look 
from them, but God's eye is continually upon them 
for good ; so you have it in Isa. Ixvi. 2, ' He looks to 
the contrite and poor.' 

Thirdly, He so looks as he would not have his 
dreadfulness to daunt thy heart ; so in Isa. xlvi. he 
begins it thus : ' The heaven is my throne, and the 
earth is my footstool ; ' he raises up his glory to shew 
what a God he is. Alas ! now may a poor soul say, 
oh, how glorious is God ! his glory will daunt my 
heart. How shall I be able to stand before him ! 
Nay, though lieaven be his throne, and earth be his 
footstool, yet ' he will look to him that is of a poor 
spirit, and that trembles at his word.' As if he 
should say, Let no poor soul be daunted with my 
glory, for it is for their good, and no hurt at all to 
them. 

The fourth is this : The Lord he prepares his good- 



ness for the poor, Ps. Ixviii. 10. Perhaps thou hast 
not mercy for the present as thou desirest ; but God 
is preparing all this while mercy for thee, and pre- 
paring thee for mercy. 

Fifthly, The Lord hears the poor. It may be poor 
people may petition to others and they cannot be 
heard, but if the rich petition they can be heard ; but 
the Lord he hears the poor. You have many scrip- 
tures for that, Ps. Ixix. 33 ; and we find the 
psalmist makes it a rise of his prayer, because he is 
so poor and needy, Ps. cix. 22 — ' For I am poor and 
needy' — that God should hear him the rather ; and 
so Ps. Ixxxvir the rise of his petition is, that God 
should hear him because he is so poor. 

Sixthly, The Lord will not have the expectations 
of the poor to be frustrated. Poor men may wait 
and wait long enough, and yet may fail at the last. 
But now if thou beest one of this poor spirit, the Lord 
will not have thy expectation to be frustrated, but 
there shall come good of it at last, Ps. ix. 18. 

Seventhly, The Lord will not forget the poor, Ps. 
ix. 12. Others may forget them, it may be, even 
when they have granted their petitions ; but the Lord 
will not forget the poor. Many such kind of pro- 
mises doth the Lord make to those that are of poor 
spirits. But what do we speak to particular pro- 
mises ? we have one in the text instead of all, 'Theirs 
is the kingdom of heaven.' This hath all promises 
joined together in one. Now from the words before, 
we come to search into the bowels of them ; from 
that that doth appear at present view, you have these 
three or four notes : ' Blessed are the poor in spirit, 
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' 

Ohserv. 1. The first is this. That God loves to 
honour those that are willing to debase themselves. 



Mat. V. 3.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



23 



God doth not say here, Blessed are the poor, for their 
sins are pardoned ; Blessed are the poor, for the pro- 
mises of the gospel belong to them ; but ' Blessed are 
the poor, for tlieirs is the kingdom of heaven.' It is 
a kingdom that is theirs. God puts an honour upon 
the poor. That which seems to be the most con- 
trary, that Christ doth assume. If one that is poor 
should come to have such a promise made him. Well, 
you are poor, you shall be provided for, you shall 
never want as long as yoii live; that were well. But 
that is not all, they shall have a kingdom : so Christ 
saith himself to poor broken hearts that think them- 
selves not worthy of the least crumb of bread, 'theirs 
is the kingdom.' It is no less than a kingdom that is 
prepared for them ; and therefore do not have such a 
poor spirit as to have low designs ; though thou beest 
poor in respect of thyself, yet lift up thy heart, and 
aim at no less than a kingdom. Many poor people 
would think they should be happy men and women 
if they might have a hundred pound a year land 
given them. But those that are poor in spirit, as 
here is spoken of, it is not a hundred pound land a 
year, nor the possession of the world, but it is no less 
than the kingdom, and the kingdom of heaven, that 
will satisfy their souls. That is the first note ; the 
Lord loves to put honour upon those that are willing 
to debase themselves. I hnd likewise other scrip- 
tures that are suitable : Luke xxii. 28, ' Ye are they 
which have continued with me in my temptations, 
and I appoint unto you a kingdom ;' you are content 
to endure iu my cause, and to suffer the loss of all, 
and therefore have I appointed a kingdom unto you. 
But I intend not to stand upon these notes ; that we 
only observe by way of connexion. 

(Jbserv. 2. That blessedness doth not consist in any 
worldly thing : 'Blessed are the poor.' Why? be- 
cause they shall have the riches of the world, they 
shall be brought into honour, they shall be brought 
to have preferment in the world ? no, but ' Blessed 
are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' 
There is nothing in this world can make them 
blessed ; it is the kingdom of heaven that must make 
them blessed. If you would be happy, you must look 
beyond the world. Thou dost not know what the 
true happiness of an immortal soul is capable of, if 
thou dost expect it here in this world. 

Observ. 3. In that it is said in the present tense, 
theirs is the kingdom of heaven. From whence the 
note is this, that the saints of God live not only 
upon comforts that they shall have hereafter, upon 
the assurance of what they shall have, but ujion 
present comforts. They have enough for the present 
to uphold their hearts, in all their poor and mean 
condition in which they are in respect of the world. 
You will say. Indeed for good people that are mean in 
the world, whatsoever they suffer, God will reward 



them hereafter. Ay, but, poor souls, what have they to 
comfort themselves withal for the present? Yea, saith 
Christ, theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Take all 
together now, and thou hast enough not only to up- 
hold thy soul ill this thy poor condition, but to coui- 
fort it, and to make the angels in heaven to look 
upon thee as a blessed creature. It is said of the 
pure in heart that they fhall see God ; but the poor 
in spirit, theirs is the khigdom of heaven. And the 
reason why Christ puts it in the present tense is, 
because he saw that those that were poor in spirit had 
need of present comfort. 

Observ. 4. That heaven is now to the saints. There 
is comfort indeed ! Ay, but heaven they must look 
for afterwards. No, they shall have it now ; heaven 
shall come down to them before they go up to heaven. 
In Luke xvii. 21 you have a notable scripture for 
that: 'The kingdom of heaven is within you.' It is 
within the saints now for the ]3resent. This that I 
now say may seem to be a paradox, yet it is a certain 
truth; no soul shall ever go to heaven that hath not 
heaven first come down to it. There is certainly no 
man or woman upon the earth shall ever go to 
heaven, but such as hath heaven come down to them. 
There is none shall ever be glorified among saints and 
angels in heaven, but such as it may be said of them, 
that the kingdom of heaven is within them. 

You will say, What is that ? Why, that I shall 
further open in coming to the main promise, ' theirs is 
the kmgdom of heaven.' Now the great thing that 
we are to do, it is in these two particulars : — 

First, To open to you what is the meaning of this ; 
what doth Christ mean by the kingdom of heaven. 

And then, secondly, To apply the kingdom of 
heaven to such as are poor in spirit. I shall not 
speak of it, perhaps, as some of you may think, to 
open the glory of God in the general, but only so far 
as it is applicable to the poor in spirit. Christ means 
some special thing here, that is more peculiarly appli- 
cable to the poor in spirit — viz., three sorts of poor 
who are to have the treasury of comfort in the king- 
dom of heaven, which will ajipear further, both in the 
opening of the Jvingdom of heaven, what it is, and 
then the apphcation of it unto these three sorts of 
poor people. 

For the first then, The kingdom of heaven. 

By the kingdom of heaven is understood not, firstly, 
the glory of the saints that they shall have to all 
eternity, but the state of the Messias, that is, the 
king of heaven; the state, I say, of the Messias 
after his coming into the world, and all the good 
things that he brings with him. That is the kingdom 
of heaven which is here meant. There is the kingdom 
of God's power whereby he rules over the world ; and 
then there is the kingdom that he hath given to his 
Son the Mediator. It is the second kingdom that is 



24 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 3. 



here meant. When God had made this world, he 
himself reigned over it, and was the king of it. But 
the world that he made was spoiled with sin, and so 
God could not have that glory from the world that 
he made it for. Therefore, the Lord he was pleased 
to erect a new world, another spiritual, heavenly- 
world, to glorify himself in in another manner, more 
spiritual and heavenly than in the former world ; and 
he makes his Son to be the king of that spiritual 
world — that new world which the Scripture speaks of 
when it saith, ' All old things are done away, and all 
things are become new ' — which new world is begun in 
the work of grace in the hearts of the saints, and so 
carried on till it comes to eternal glory. Jesus Christ 
he is the king of that world. As for the other, it is 
spoiled, and must come to confusion. Now before 
Christ's coming, actually in taking flesh upon him, 
there were some rays of his glory that did shine unto 
the forefathers ; but in comparison of what was to be 
done after the Messias came, this kingdom was not 
set up. For the administration of things in the times 
of the law, it is not called the kingdom of heaven. 
The Jews they waited for the kingdom of the IMessias ; 
and the kingdom of the ]\Iessias that they waited for, 
it is this kingdom of heaven that is here spoken of in 
this text. When Christ was near coming into the 
world, this great king he sends his harbinger before — 
John the Baptist — to proclaim that he was coming, 
and that there was a new kingdom to come into the 
world. Therefore, saith John, ' Repent, for the king- 
dom of heaven is at hand.' He did not mean thereby, 
Repent, repent because you must go to heaven, go 
and be glorified with God in heaven ; but as if he 
should say, Oh, now is the kingdom of the Messias 
at hand. Within a few months Jesus Christ is coming, 
and will appear to be king, and the gospel will be 
made more clear to you ; within a small time the 
kingdom of the Messias shall be set u)"). Repent, 
therefore, and turn from your wickedness, that you 
may have the benefit of the kingdom of the Messiah 
when it comes to be set up. And it is said, therefore, 
that 'from the time of John the Baptist, the kingdom 
of heaven sufl'ered violence.' It may appear then that 
the kingdom of heaven was in the time of John the 
Baptist. The meaning of it was this, that John 
Baptist being the harbinger of this kingdom, when 
people did but hear that the kingdom of the Messiah 
was at hand, their hearts were set on fire after it, 
and there was a kind of holy violence to bear 
down all kind of difficulty and opposition. They 
were resolved with themselves, whatsoever becomes 
of us, we will endeavour to the uttermost, at 
least that we might have our part in the good 
things of the kingdom of the Messiah ; it suft'ered 
violence for that time. John Baptist did but speak 
a little of that kingdom though not set up, yet the 



hearts of the people were set on fire after it. 
Lord, where are our hearts then, when a minister of 
the gospel shall not only say that the kingdom of 
heaven is at hand, but it is come, and this king hath 
come and ascended and triumphed in heaven, and set 
at the right hand of the Father, and governs and 
rules his church ! Now, when we call upon men, 
' Repent, repent, for the kingdom of heaven is come,' 
it doth not suffer violence. But it is a blessed thing 
when it can be said, that since the time of such a 
minister, even heaven hath suffered violence. Whereas 
the hearts of people were loose before, and they 
minded nothing but the world, and gathering a little 
together, and that they might eat and drink and 
sport, that is all they minded ; but since they came 
to hear of the preaching of the kingdom of heaven, 
this kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the 
violent take it by force. This kingdom of heaven it 
is therefore the state of the gospel. And in this 
sense I take it that that is meant, when they brought 
little children to Christ : saith Christ, ' Suffer little 
children to come unto me, for to them belongs the 
kingdom of heaven.' He doth not mean that some of 
them shall go to heaven ; but thus, as if Christ should 
say. In the times of the law, I there did not only 
take believers, but their seed, to have the privileges of 
that state under that administration, of the good 
things that were in the law. Therefore do not now 
think that when I am come to set up another king- 
dom, that I will take believers now and reject their 
seed. No ! ' SuiTer them to come unto me, for unto 
them belongs the kingdom of heaven ; ' and they are 
members of this kingdom that I am now setting up, 
as well as they were members of the Jewish church, 
and had the benefit of that administration ; so shall 
they be members and partakers of the state that now 
I am setting up, together with the privileges of it ; 
and therefore sufl'er them to come to me ; I will own 
them to be such to whom belongs the kingdom of 
heaven ; and therefore let them not be excluded any 
more from this state of the gospel than they were 
before excluded from the state of the law, and the 
good things therein. That is the meaning of that 
text, and a special scripture for the encouraging of 
believing parents in respect of their children, and the 
bringing of them to that ordinance of baptism. 

Sometimes this kingdom of heaven is taken for 
some particular thing in the state of the gospel, as 
for the preaching of the gospel it is called the king- 
dom of heaven : as the kingdom of heaven is like a 
man going out to sow his seed, that is, this adminis- 
tration of the gospel in the preaching of it is like a 
man that sows his seed, and some fell upon the high- 
way, li'c. The preaching of the gospel, that is one 
thing in the kingdom of heaven that bath the name 
of the whole. And sometimes it is taken for the 



Mat. V. 3.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



25 



work and efficacy of the gospel in the heart of a 
moil : as ' the kingdom of heaven is Hke to a grain 
CI mustard-seed ; ' what is that ? That is the work of 
the gospel that is now preached in the state of the 
^Messiah ; it hath that effect upon the heart, as a grain 
of mustard-seed. Though it be little at the first, yet 
it grows up to a mighty tree ; this is the substance 
of this kingdom of heaven, it is the state of the 
Messiah. So, then, the meaning of Christ is this : 
Blessed are the poor in spirit ; you that are thus poor, 
oh, blessed are you ; for look, what good or benefits 
are come by the Messiah's coming into the world — 
look, what blessedness there is in the state of the 
^Messiah, that belongs to you, you shall certainly have 
that blessedness. 

Again, Sometimes the kingdom of heaven is taken 
for the church, and the privileges thereof, as, I wiU 
give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven ; 
and that is one gTcat part indeed of the kingdom of 
heaven, the privileges of the Christian church. The 
privileges and administrations and ordinances that 
there are in the Christian church are a great blessing 
of the kingdom of heaven, and you shall have all 
these, you that are poor in spirit. 

Why is it called the kingdom of heaven ? 

First, It is called the kingdom of heaven because 
Christ is from heaven, who is the king thereof. 

Secondly, In distinction and opposition from or 
unto the kingdoms of the world. It is not of this 
■world, saith Christ. 

Thirdly, Because that Christ his seat is now at the 
present in heaven. 

Fourthly, Because that the way of his government 
it is spiritual and heavenly, not in an outward way. 
And then, 

Fifthly, Because it will certainly bring both soul 
and body to heaven at last. Therefore the whole 
administration of the Messiah in his way and govern- 
ment is called the kingdom of heaven. 

Christ is the king, and the blessing of this it would 
be very large to open in the particulars ; there is in- 
finite blessedness in this kingdom of heaven. 

For, first. It is Christ the Mediator that gives the 
laws. If thou beest brought under the state of the 
gospel to be a subject of Christ by being a believer, I 
say, Christ he gives thee thy laws ; now thou hast 
them from the hand of a mediator. The Jews had 
their laws — the ten commandments — from the hand of 
a mediator, from Moses. But thou hast the law for 
the guiding and ordering of thee from the hand of 
Jesus Christ. It is true, the same thing that Moses 
did require men then, was that that Jesus Christ 
gave to them, and Moses likewise he was a kind of 
type of Christ even in that ; but thou hast them more 
fully from the hand of a mediator, from the hand of 
Christ, — the law, — for the guiding and ordering of thy 



life. And that is a great dispute about the law now, 
which truly hath little in it to edification, — viz., 
whether we have our law now from Moses or from 
Christ ; and so many that speak against the law, 
when it comes to a dispute, the uttermost that they 
can give is this, that we are dehvered from the law 
as it was given by Moses. Why, what is that to pur- 
pose, if we be bound to the same thing that Moses 
did command, and by as strong bonds as those were 
that lived in the time of the law ? What great matter 
whether we liave it from Moses or no ? We have it, 
and are bound to it by as strong bonds if it comes 
from the hands of Christ. And we may satisfy our- 
selves enough in this, for we have the laws that are 
the rules of justice and equity, that are moral, Ave 
have them in this kingdom of heaven. Indeed, we 
have them given in another way in the hand of this 
mediator, with more strictness, with more spiritual- 
ness and enlargement rather. For this our king 
tells us afterwards in this chapter, that he came not 
to destroy the law, but to fulfil it; he comes to open 
it ; saith he, ' Ye have heard it said by them of old 
time, Thou shaft not commit adultery : but I say unto 
you. That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust 
after her hath committed adultery with her already 
in his heart' Christ exjjounds the law, and seems to 
put it in a higher pitch than the Jews had. There 
is a great deal of comfort now I confess in that, that 
thou hast thy law now from Jesus Christ. And in 
this, indeed, thou mayst have this comfort, having 
thy law from him, that he will not be so exact as to 
require all forfeitures from the breach of the law, as 
was required of the Jews. In the administration of 
Moses there was such and such forfeitures upon 
breach of the law ; but God is pleased to manifest 
more grace now, so that he doth not now stand so 
exactly upon breaches as to pronounce a curse upon 
every one that doth offend in that way. Moses de- 
livered his law that the people should look upon 
themselves as accursed if so be that they did ofi'end 
in any part of it. It is true, there was something of 
Christ revealed to help believers indeed, but for the 
most part it was little known, so as for the gener- 
ality of the people they looked upon themselves, or 
should do so, as accursed, if they did break any part 
of the law. 

But in this kingdom of heaven, that is a blessed- 
ness that thou hast a law from him that loves thee 
more than his life ; he was willing to lay down his 
life for thee that gives thee thy law. Now when one 
hath a law from one that we know loves him dearly, 
it is comfortable. And he is the judge of the law, and 
he is to take all the forfeitures of the law that loves 
me dearly, even more than his own life ; why, this is 
a great comfort. 

The second thing in the blessedness of this king- 



26 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 3. 



dom of heaven is this, That Jesus Christ he now rules 
in the hearts of his saints, by his -ivord and Spirit, a 
great deal more fully than he did in the times of the 
law, or in any way can be conceived. It is true, 
there was a general work of God upon the hearts 
of heathens, in those moral virtues of theirs, but 
there was not a ruling in their hearts by the sceptre 
and Spirit of Jesus Christ the Mediator ; and though 
believers in the time of the law had the sanctifying 
spirit — some of them — in some high degree, yet 
generally it was very poor and low in the hearts of 
believers in the times of the Messiah. The Spirit of 
God is shed abroad in this his kingdom with more 
fulness, with more clearness, with more power, with 
more excellency abundantly, and it was reserved for 
the coming of this king the Messiah to set up that 
spiritual government of his in the hearts of his 
people, which is a thing that we little understand. 
We think there is such a duty requiretl of us, and 
we fall upon it ; ay, but we do not look upon Jesus 
Christ swaying his sceptre in our hearts for the 
enabling of us to do what be requires of us in his 
Avord. And then, 

Thirdly, All transactions between God and them 
are in this kingdom, and not to go out of this king- 
dom. By that I mean thus : when thou hast offended 
God at any time, and God hath anything to say to 
thee for thine offence, thou shalt not come to have 
this business of thine tried in the court of exact jus- 
tice. No ; it must not go out of this kingdom, but it 
must all be within the kingdom of the Messiah. As 
this is the privilege of one that lives in one kingdom, 
he cannot be called to another kingdom to answer for 
his fault. If he were in another kingdom he might 
die for it ; but here the laws do help him more, and 
that is a comfort to him. So now, wert thou in the 
kingdom of God's power, as he is Creator of heaven 
and earth, and so rules the world, certainly any 
ofl'ence of thine would be eternal death to thee ; and 
it is so with all those men and women that are, I 
say, only under the kingdom of God's power — that 
is, they are God's creatures, and God is their Creator, 
and so they have to deal with God as under the 
kingdom of his power ; if they offend as creatures, 
God in that kingdom deals in a way of exact justice, 
so as to punish with death upon every oft'ence. But 
now a behever brought into another kingdom, the 
kingdom of the Messiah, there he comes to have 
other privileges ; so that when a believer offends he 
doth not go to answer in that court of his — to wit, 
the kingdom of his power — but he is to answer be- 
fore the court of Jesus Christ, and Christ is to be 
the judge, and Christ he is to deal with them in 
that administration of his that he hath received from 
the Father, and so comes a believer to stand with 
comfort before God, notwithstanding all his offences 



and weaknesses, for the transaction is between God 
and him within this kingdom, and not without it. 
Oh, this is a great comfort for one' that is poor in 
spirit: 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is 
the kingdom of heaven.' Tli.e kingdom of heaven, of 
the gospel, it is theirs, and this is the blessedness that 
they have by this kingdom of the gospel, tliat, I say, 
all the transactions between God and them are in 
this kingdom. So likewise all God's dealings with 
them every way it is through a Messiah, and all 
that they tender up to God it is through the Messiah, 
so as indeed they have nothing, as I may so speak, 
to do in their reference to God, but only through 
this their king ; their king doth undertake all busi- 
ness between God and them. Thou that art brought 
to this kingdom, he that is thy king, the Lord Jesus 
Christ, God and man, hath undertaken all things 
that concern thee in thy reference to God. There- 
fore, ' Blessed art thou, for thine is the kingdom of 
heaven.' 

So that all the mercies that come from God, they 
came from God through Christ to thee : by the means 
of this king he brings them, and it is through his 
right that thou hast them. As now, when there is 
anything to do between two kingdoms, why, the 
transactions are between the two kings ; every private 
man doth not meddle in transacting of business be- 
tween kingdoms. So I may say there are, as it were, 
two kingdoms — the kingdom of God as he is a Creator, 
and then the kingdom of the Messiah. Now all those 
things that we are to receive from the kingdom of 
God's power as Creator, Jesus Christ he deals with 
God for them, and we come to receive them all 
through the right of this our king's all-mercy. And if 
there be any alflictions comes, if we have offended the 
Father, and sin again.st the work of creation, and so 
have deserved evil, God as Creator doth not take 
believers so as to bring afflictions upon them, but he 
gives them up to Christ ; it is Christ thy king that 
doth correct him ; and the afflictions being within 
this kingdom, they are of another nature than the 
evils that are inflicted upon those that are under the 
kingdom of God's power. Now the evils that are 
inflicted upon such for their sin, they come from re- 
venging wrath ; but the evils that are inflicted upon 
those that are brought into this kingdom, they are 
inflicted upon them by Christ the mediator, and so 
come to them in another way, so that there is abun- 
dance of blessedness in being within this king- 
dom. 

Thirdly, and then further. From hence thou bast 
protection. Though thou beest poor and mean in thy- 
self, thou hast Jesus Christ the Son of God that 
undertakes to protect thee, to deliver thee from evil, 
and to supply thee in all thy wants ; that is the work 
of a king. And those that are subjects in a kingdom, 



Mat. V. 3.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



27 



they have a great deal of benefit in the protection of 
the governor of that kingdom ; and for any man to be 
in a kingdom and to be denied the protection, is a 
great misery. Now tliere are none in tlie kingdom 
of Cln-ist that Christ will deny the benefit of protec- 
tion, but protects them all, and provides for all within 
his kingdom. Indeed, kings of the earth may leave 
the protection of their subjects, and if they should 
deny protection to their subjects, there is some other 
help for them to protect themselves some other way; 
but there is no protection to the saints but only by 
this their king. 

Fourthly, And all provisions necessary. A king 
doth not take cognisance of every family; but Christ 
doth take cognisance to provide for every particular 
soul. 

Fifthly, In this kingdom Christ undertakes to 
subdue all the enemies that are against thy spiritual 
and eternal good. Christ is thy king, and either he 
must lose his power or faithfulness, either of which 
lie will not do ; therefore he must subdue thy enemies : 
he will subdue sin, and death, and the devil, yea, and 
all the enemies of the church shall at length be sub- 
dued. 

Sixthly, He, as a king, gives ordinances and gifts 
and administrations. All the ordinances, gifts, and 
administrations of the church they are given by Jesus 
Christ as the king of it, and thou that art poor in 
spirit thou liast right to them. It is not such a one 
as hath such a high degree of grace that hath right 
to the ordinances, but where there is any that are 
but sensible of their poverty, thou hast right to all 
ordinances upon that. But though there be right to 
them, yet you must be exercised in them, in a way 
suitable to the ordinances. All the gifts of the saints 
are thine, and all administrations are thine; thou hast 
the benefit of them all in this kingdom. 

vSeventhly, further. All the world is brought into 
subjection to this kingdom. The kingdom of the 
Father, the kingdom of power, whereby the Lord 
doth rule the created workl, and so by providence is 
continued, all this is in order to this kingdom of the 
Messiah. Certainly there is a great deal in this, for 
one to know that all the administrations of God in 
the ordering of heaven and earth, it is for the 
furtherance of the kingdom of the Messiah, and of 
the spiritual good of all those that are within this 
kingdom. ' Blessed therefore art thou, for thine is 
the kingdom of heaven.' 

Eighthly and lastly. For this will bring thee at 
length to reign with Christ. Thou dost in some degree 
reign with Christ already ; all the subjects of Christ's 
kingdom are made kings and pi'iests to God, and they 
must be in a further glorious manner made to reign 
with Christ : so you have it in Rev. iii. 21, ' To him 
that overcometh ■will I grant to sit with me in my 



throne, even as I also overcame, and am sat down 
with my Father in his throne.' It is a text that hath 
a great deal of difficulty in it ; but here clearly you 
see there are two thrones that Christ mentions — his 
Father's and his own. Now, saith Christ, ' I overcame, 
and am set down with my father in his throne,' so 
that Christ doth sit with the Father, and rules alto- 
gether with his Father. But, saith Christ, ' I will give 
you to sit down upon my throne, as I sit upon my 
Father's.' There is a throne that is more particularly 
the throne of Jesus Christ, and all the saints shall sit 
with Jesus Christ thereupon. Nowfor this throne: It is 
that that we have mentioned in divers other scriptures. 
In Mat. xiv. and Luke xxii. Christ tells his disciples 
that had endured with him in his temptations, ' That 
they should sit with him and judge the twelve tribes of 
Israel, and they should eat and drink with him in his 
kingdom when he did come.' Now these scriptures 
seem to hold out some special and glorious condition 
that the saints must ha^'e at length before they come 
to that full possession of that glory that shall be in 
the highest heavens. They shall sit upon the Lord. 
Christ's throne, judging. Surely in the highest heavens 
there is no judging throne. But there is a time of 
judging the wicked and the ungodly ; and the saints 
shall reign with Christ in a glorious manner, and at 
length they shall he brought to heaven itself, to the 
possession of all that glory that Christ hath pur- 
chased by his blood. And therefore, though now 
for the present you deny yourselves so much, as to be 
willing to sufl'er poverty, to suffer the hardship of 
poverty, the contempt of poverty, the trouble that 
there is in a poor estate, it is in my cause that you 
are wilUng to be poor. It may be you could get 
riches in the world as much as other men, but be 
content to be in a low condition for the things of this 
world ; be content to be mean, to trust me ; for 
there is a kingdom for you — the kingdom of heaven. 
This kingdom seeins to be poor now. As you are poor 
in spirit, so this kingdom seems to be a poor con- 
temptible thing ; the glory of it, it is spnitual, and 
only can be seen with a spiritual eye. It cannot be 
seen with a carnal eye, but yet you who are mine, 
and have received my Spirit, you can understand the 
excellency of this kingdom, and the many privileges 
that are in this kingdom ; and therefore do you 
labour quietly to bear your low condition, and though 
you be low in parts, yet go on ; though you have 
many weaknesses in you, yet still comfort yourselves 
in this, for you are those that sit with the Messias, 
and the good of the gospel is yours, and the glorious 
kingdom that both Father, Son, and Spirit doth 
intend to raise up to a mighty height. It is begun 
for the present in your souls, and you shall .cer- 
tainly come to the accomplishment of it in the 
fulness of all the glory of it. This kingdom Christ 



28 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 3. 



speaks of in Dan. vii. 2-i, and there calls it the king- 
dom of the saints that shall prevail in the world. 
Certainly there is such a kingdom of Christ as will 
prevail in the world, let men oppose it what they can. 
The kings of the earth they rage, and the heathens 
they imagine hut vain things, for the Lord will set 
his king upon his holy hill, and the saints that are 
in this kingdom of Christ they shall prevail in the 
"vvorld at last. This kingdom must certainly go on. 
My brethren, we read in Scripture of the good tidings 
of the kingdom. These few things that I have spoken 
of are some of the good tidings of the kingdom ; and 
in Acts i. 30, wlien Christ was risen again, we find 
that the great things that Christ did, it was to tell 
his disciples of the good things of this kingdom of 
heaven. You know Christ after his resurrection did 
continue with his disciples forty days. Now you will 
say, What did Christ do in those forty days ? We 
read of many things that Christ did before his death, 
hut what have we of what he did in those forty days ? 
The Scripture tells you that he did speak to them 
about the kingdom of heaven. Christ then did dis- 
course about this point that I am now speaking of, 
telling of them what a blessed and glorious kingdom 
of the Messias they were to come to ; and though 
they were like to be poor in the world and despised, 
and be as nobody, yet they were members of that 
kingdom, and had the privileges of it, and Christ 
would make them instrumental for the furtherance 
of that glorious kingdom, and so told tliem what 
belongs to the kingdom, the ordinances of the king- 
dom, the laws of it, and the privileges of it ; ajid 
therefore we find it that the disciples before the 



resurrection of Christ, and the shedding abroad of 
the Spirit, they dreamed of a mere earthly kingdom 
— When wilt thou restore the kingdom to Israel ? — 
but when Christ had told them of this kingdom, and 
the Spirit was shed abroad in their hearts, they 
never minded an earthly kingdom more. No ; they 
had done with that, now they came to understand 
what was the meaning of the kingdom of the 
Messiah that Christ did preach unto them in the forty 
days that he was with them before his ascension. 
Now these are some brief things that I have endea- 
voured to present unto you about this kingdom of 
heaven that here is said to he the portion of those 
that are poor in spirit. You will say. Oh, these are 
blessed things indeed ! But for the applying of them, 
that is the thing we have now to do ; only at present 
remember what hath been said. And now know what 
the meaning of that scripture is, ' First seek the 
kingdom of heaven, and the righteousness thereof, 
and all these things shall be added to you.' I have 
here briefly set out a little of the glory of the king- 
dom of heaven, though all this while I have not 
spoken of the felicity of the saints after the day of 
judgment, but what shall be between this and their 
going up to heaven. You see enough to set your 
hearts on work, in the first place to seek the king- 
dom of heaven. Oh, you that have sought after the 
world, and have thought yourselves blessed if you 
might live bravely and have a little coming in, now 
know that there is a kingdom concerns you, and, for 
aught we know, every soul in this place, and there- 
fore above all things seek after that kingdom, that 
you may have your portion in it. 



Mat. V. 3.] 



BCEROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



29 



SERMON V. 



on, 



COMFOET TO THE POOR IN SPIRIT. 



'Blessed are the j^oor in spirit,' d:c. — Mat. v. 3. 



We are, as you may remember, upon the first blessed- 
ness here that is attributed to the poor in spirit. 
The subject of this blessedness we have spoken to 
at large ; who those poor in Scripture are, and, in 
general, that they are blessed. 

But we came the last day to make entrance into 
the blessedness that Christ pronounces upon them : 
' Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' There were 
divers observations taken notice of from the con- 
nexion : ' Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the king- 
dom of heaven.' He doth not say, Blessed are the 
poor, for God will be merciful unto them, but ' theirs 
is the kingdom of heaven ' — a suitable blessing unto 
that grace that is most eminent in them — that po- 
verty of spirit. Therefore Christ would raise them up 
■with the glory of a kingdom : ' theirs is the kingdom.' 
But it is no kingdom but the kingdom of heaven. 
There we shewed that it is not anything of the world 
that can make us blessed, but it must be somewhat 
of the kingdom of heaven. And that is observable, 
he doth not say, theirs shall be the kingdom of 
heaven, as he saith of others : ' Blessed are the pure 
in heart, for they shall see God.' He doth not say. 
Blessed are the poor, for they shall have the kingdom 
of heaven, but 'theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' 

Poor people cannot stay, they have present need ; 
saith Christ, I will not only promise you what you 
shall have when you die, but you shall have a king- 
dom now, for the present. ' Theirs is the kingdom of 
heaven.' 

We came to the opening of this kingdom of hea- 
ven — what it is — and shewed you the several accep- 
tations of the words, ' the kingdom,' — what it is taken 
for in Scripture. But this is that that was conceived 
to be the scope of Christ here, the kingdom of 
heaven — that is, the estate of the Messiah, the good 
things that the Messiah was to bring into the world 
in his administration ; that is the kingdom of heaven 
that is here meant. I do not think that Christ did 
aim at this, that they should go to heaven when they 
die and be in glory there, as the only thing ; that is 
indeed among other things that will follow. But 



that which Christ aims at here, those that are poor 
in spirit they are blessed, for they are partakers for 
the present of the blessed estate of the people of 
God, that is, in the time of the Messiah's coming into 
the world. And therefore I do not intend here to 
speak about the glory of heaven ; for anything 
that may be spoken about that will rather fall into 
the tenth verse, ' Blessed are they which are perse- 
cuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the king- 
dom of heaven.' But all that I shall speak of here 
is, the blessed estate of those that are poor in spirit — 
viz., the enjoyment of the good things in the state of 
the Messiah ; and that is the meaning of that scrip- 
ture, ' Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at 
hand ; ' that is, repent and turn from your evil ways, 
and follow not your lusts as you were wont, but 
repent, for Jesus Christ is come into the world, that 
brings a great deal of glory with him. Because I 
would gladly finish at this time, I will pass by what 
we spake to, and come to what remains, and the 
rather because in that that doth remain we shall 
make use of somewhat that we spake to the last 
time, about the opening of the point of the kingdom 
of heaven. And that is this : — 

What comfort there is in the consideration of the 
estate of the Messiah's coming into the world ; what 
encouragement there is in this to those that are poor 
in spii'it ; and how they in particular come to be made 
happy — that is the scope of this sermon, and the 
scope of Christ. Now, then, for the opening of this 
I shall cast it into these three heads : — 

First, What comfort those that are outwardly poor, 
poor people that have spirits suitable to their outward 
conditions, that are godly poor, whose spirits are 
willing to submit to God in that poor condition that 
they are in, what encouragement they can have from 
the state of the Messias, from this kingdom of heaven. 
And I rather think that Christ intended this, because 
I find in Luke vi. that Christ doth oppose the rich 
in this world to poor in spirit. Therefore Christ in- 
tended certainly in this scripture to speak comfort- 
able words to godly poor people. 



so 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 3. 



And then, secondly, To those that are poor in 
parts, poor men and women tliat have mean gifts 
and abiHties, and yet are godly, and their spirits are 
low in consideration of the poor [larts that they have, 
that they cannot be useful for God as others are ; 
to shew what good they have, or what comfort they 
may have from this kingdom of lieaven. 

Thirdly, Those that are poor in grace, that are 
sensible of their spiritual poverty, what blessedness 
they have from this kingdom of lieaven. 

First, then. Those that are outwardly poor, all 
godly poor people, I am speaking to them ; and I 
verily think Christ speaks to them, and so would 
have his ministers to speak to them, such as are for 
the outward estate kept low and mean ; and yet God 
gives them spirits to submit to his hand in that, and ' 
are willing to honour God as they are able in that 
poor condition without murmuring. Christ Jesus doth 
pronounce you blessed this day, and tells you that 
yours is the kingdom of heaven. As if he should 
say, Be not you discouraged because you are mean in 
this world, for your spirits being suitable to that con- 
dition God hsXh put you in, the Lord hath appointed 
a kingdom for you, even the kingdom of heaven. 
You cannot be great in this world, but you have very 
much in the kingdom of heaven. 

Now for that there are these several things to be 
considered of in poor people, that are poor in this 
world, yet godly, Luke .xii. 2I3-3L See what 
Christ saith to them that are so outwardly poor, in 
reference to this kingdom : ' And seek not ye what 
ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink ; neither be ye of 
doubtful minds.' What are the thoughts of poor 
people, even of poor godly i>eople many times? ' AVliat 
shall we eat, what shall we drink ? ' Hoav sliall I pro- 
vide for my family ? But be not of doubtful minds. 
Those that Christ spake to were in as hard a 
condition I believe as almost any godly poor are 
that hear me this day ; yet be not troubled. Why 
should we not seek for what we should eat and 
drink, &c. '? ' For all these things do the nations of 
the world seek after ; and your Father knoweth that 
you have need of these things. But rather seek ye 
the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be 
added unto you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your 
Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.' 
Look after the kingdom of Jesus Christ ; if you have 
that, you have enough, and though you be a little 
little Hock, yet it is your Father's pleasure to give yon 
a kingdom. As if Christ should say, The considera- 
tion of this, that your Father hath appointed a king- 
dom for you, and doth give you a kingdom, should 
quiet your hearts in all those straits that yon are 
in, in respect of your poor condition. But now for 
the particulars — that for the general, that the con- 
sideration of the kingdom of heaven should support 



all godly people who are in a poor estate, and whose 
spirits are humbled in respect of their poverty ; but 
particularly — 

First, Consider he that is the king of this kingdom 
of heaven, he was poor himself ; your king was poor. 
You tell us of a kingdom of heaven, but we sufi'er 
hard things in the meantime in this world. But you 
sulfer not harder things in this world than the king 
of this kingdom did, even Jesus Christ himself, that 
was the great prince. The king of this kingdom that 
you are translated into, he was poor in this world. 
Now the consideration that the king himself is in a 
poor condition, and hath no better supplies and com- 
fort than we have, it is a very great supportment. 
As now in an army, if the general should say to his 
soldiers to encourage them. Go on, you have nothing 
to drink but water; ay, but you have as good to drink 
as your general. So Christ may well say. You that 
are poor in spirit, what ! are you dejected because of 
your poverty ? Why, are you poorer than I was ? It 
may be you have a poor house ; you know what is 
said of Christ : ' The foxes have holes, and the birds 
have nests, but the Son of man hath not whereon to 
hide his head.' Christ had no house at all ; Christ 
had not so good a house as you have, that was the 
great king of heaven and earth. For your diet, that 
seems to be poor and mean ; you have not those full 
dishes that others have. In John xxi. 5, Christ 
comes to his disciples and saith, ' Children, have ye 
any meat ? ' He doth not say, have you such and such 
kind of dishes, but have you anything : yea, and this 
was after his resurrection, after he had made an end 
of suffering for sin. Oh remember that scripture ! 
Christ was content with anything ; ' Have you any 
meat,' saith Christ. 2 Cor. viii. 9, ' He was made 
poor,' saith the text, ' that he might make us rich.' 
There was never a godly man that we read of was in 
a poorer condition than Christ was, in many respects. 
Now he that was your king, and is your king, he 
subjected himself into such a poor condition. Be 
comforted in this, ' yours is the kingdom of heaven.' 
If you iniderstood what the kingdom of heaven 
means, who is the king of this kingdom, and con- 
sidered that his estate was so poor, it should take 
awayyour murmuring thoughts against a poor estate. 
' My kingdom is not of this world,' saith Christ ; 
therefore, what though you have not the riches of 
this world ; Christ himself had them not. 

But, secondly, Consider this, Christ's poverty it 
was to sanctify your poverty. Merely to consider that 
our captain or king suffers as well as we, that is 
somewhat ; but no poverty or suffering of a king or 
captain can take away the curse of the sulTerings of 
his subjects. Ay, but the poverty of Jesus Christ, the 
heir of this kingdom, it was to take away the curse of 
thy poverty, and to sanctify thy poverty. When thou 



Mat. V. 3.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



31 



heai'est thcat he was poor in this world, why, thou 
mayest exercise thy faith : Lord, this was to sanctify 
my poverty. Whenas indeed, otherwise, poverty in it- 
self it is a curse, but those that are godly have the 
curse taken away iu the poverty of Jesus Christ. As 
the death of Jesus Christ did sanctify the death of 
the godly. The sting of death is taken away by his 
death ; so their poverty and all their afflictions are 
sanctified by what poverty and afflictions that Christ 
himself did endure; and therefore in this kingdom 
you see what comfort and good there is to you. 

Thirdly, This kingdom of heaven it is so ordered 
out for the most part, that the poor in the world are 
the subjects of this kingdom. The very consideration 
of this is a mighty help to those that are outwardly 
poor. I confess sometimes there are some rich mem 
that are subjects : as in Mark xv. 43 ; ' An honourable 
counsellor,' tliei'e it is said, 'waited for the kingdom of 
God.' Great men sometimes are, but ordinarily it is 
the poor that are the subjects of this kingdom. 

Then, fourthly, The Lord hath so ordered things 
that the great transactions of this kingdom of heaven 
— that hath been opened unto you — hath been carried 
on by those that are mean and ])oor, not by the great 
ones of the world. The Lord Christ hath been very 
little beholden to the great ones of the world for the 
furthering of his kingdom. 

Hence follows therefore, in the fifth place, That 
poverty it is no hindrance to the highest degree in 
this kingdom of heaven. Indeed, poverty it is a hin- 
drauee to degrees in the honours of a worldly kingdom. 
A poor man cannot expect to bear great offices in 
the kingdoms of the world; but for the kingdom of 
heaven the poor may, the poorest that is may, come 
to as high degree as the richest that is. So that the 
truth is, when you come to choose any officers that 
concern the church, there should be no consider- 
ation of men's estates. I confess when you come to 
choose officers for the_ Ftat«, though perhaps a poor 
man may be a wiser man than a man of estate, yet a 
man of estate should be chosen rather than another 
that is poor, because it is not so fit for a man that 
hath no estate to have the dispose of all other men's 
estates. But now when you come to the kingdom 
of heaven, where there is nothing but spiritual power, 
nothing but in a sjjiritual way wherein men are to 
deal with consciences, and no way to deal with men's 
estates nor outward liberty — the kingdom of heaven 
concerns not the business of outward liberty or 
estate, but merely to deal with men's consciences in 
regard of their spiritual estates in reference tinto 
heaven— I say now, whatever offices thei-e are in the 
church, there should be no consideration of the 
estates of men so as to downweigh the least grain ; 
but if the poorest man have more godliness and un- 
derstanding in the things of the kingdom of heaven, 



he should rather be an officer there than any man 
whatsoever that hath less understanding in the things 
of the kingdom of heaven ; and therefore it is a car- 
nal way to go after that manner when they come to 
choose church-officers, then to tliink of the chief of 
the parish whether he be godly or no. It is true, if 
he were as godly and understanding as any other, 
then for him as well as another ; but to make that to 
be the sway of business, though there be not that 
godliness nor understanding, I say this is to suit the 
state of the kingdom of heaven to the world, whereas 
those that are poor in that kingdom, they are capa- 
ble of as high dignity thei'e as any whatsoever. And 
that is a great help and comfort to godly poor people 
that are partakers of the kingdom of heaven, they 
have all the privileges of this kingdom ; they cannot 
enjoy the privileges of a worldly kingdom so as 
others do, but they may enjoy to the full the privi- 
leges of this kingdom. 

Sixthly, Even those that are outwardly poor, if 
godly, they have right to all things in this world so 
far as may be good for them. It is said of Abraham, 
Esm. iv. 13, that he was 'theheii- of the world.' It is 
spoken of Abraham as he was a behever. Now every 
believer is a child of Abraham, and eveiy child of 
Abraham doth inherit Abraham's blessing, and there- 
fore every believer is heir of the woi'ld : ' All is yours, 
and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.' You will 
say, Why have they not the world then in posses- 
sion ? There may be right to all tilings, and yet not 
possession, because they are not in a fit condition for 
them ; all things are to work for their good, one 
way or other. As ail the kingdoms of the world are 
subject to Jesus Christ, — they are given up to him 
for the furtherance of his kingdom, — so all the 
things in the world are given up to the saints for the 
furthering of their good, whose is the kingdom of 
heaven. 

Seventhlj', In this Idugdom ar-e spu'itual riches 
that may countei-vail to the full, and are infinitely 
good beyond all outward riches. Thou thinkest if 
the state would give thee so much, thou wouldst be a 
happy man. Oh, that were a carnal heart, to prize 
more the riches of the world than the things of the 
kingdom of heaven ! The things of the kingdom of 
heaven make thee rich in faith, rich in holmess, rich 
in the promises, rich in thy reference to God and 
Christ, and rich in the enjoyments of the Holy 
Ghost and his gifts and graces. Now these things 
are in an alxmdant manner communicated in the 
kingakm of the Messias, more than they were in the 
times of the law. Indeed it was a greater evil to be a 
poor man then than now. Why? Because then there 
was not such a plentiful measure of spiritual riches 
communicated from God ; but it was reserved to the 
coming of the Messias that there should be suck 



32 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 3. 



spiritual riches let forth and communicated. God 
indeed to some few did communicate his spiritual 
riches then, and there -were some eminent godly 
people in the times of the law, such as Abraham and 
David ; but ordinarily they were very scanty in regard 
of the communications of spiritual things now ; and 
the reason was, the Lord reserved those spiritual 
riches to the Messias' coming into the world, and 
hence it was that God was more indulgent in the 
times of the law for their outward estates. We read 
there, that if they did but wallv in ways of obedience to 
God, they were for the most part abundantly blessed 
in outward tilings more than he doth now, because 
that now is the time of communication of spiritual 
riches. If thou hadst lived in the times of the law, 
it is very like that thou wouldst not have been so 
poor ; but then, on the other side, it is not like that 
thou wouldst have had such grace as now thou hast, 
such manifestations of God to thy soul as now thou 
hast ; and therefore it is well with thee that thou art 
in the kingdom of heaven, where there is such com- 
munications of such spiritual riches. 

And then from all these, in the eighth place, follows. 
That hence the great temptations that those that are 
poor people are troubled withal, may from the con- 
sideration of the blessing of the kingdom be taken 
away. What are they? you will say. There are three 
great temptations which those that are poor people 
and are godly have ; the devil comes against them with 
very sore temptations, that such as have estates are 
not so much troubled withal. 

As, first, I am afraid that God goes out against 
me, and doth not bless me in anything that I go 
about ; and so they are afraid, and under great bond- 
age. But that hath been answered already. 

The second is, I am in a poor condition, and there- 
fore despised. No ; thou art a king, thou art translated 
into the kingdom of his dear Son ; thou hast part fn 
liis kingdom, and art a king together with himself. 
And therefore listen not to that temptation that rises 
from contempt and being despised. Doth not the 
world regard thee ? the Lord God hath a high respect 
to thee, for he hath given thee a kingdom. 

And then a third temptation is, They are useless 
in tlie world. Nay, this text will answer this tempta- 
tion, Thine is the kingdom. And as you heard, the 
Lord Christ doth carry on the great design of his 
kingdom by those that are poor ; and therefore be not 
troubled because of thy uselessness in the world. And 
that is the eighth support of those that are outwardly 
poor, and poor in spirit suitable to their outward 
poverty. 

The ninth is this, That at last those that are poor 
and godly, yet they shall possess all things ; and I 
find scripture for it, Eev. xxi. 7. Let men think 
what they will of such an assertion as this, yet by 



comparing one thing with another, it cannot speak of 
the glory that there shall be in the highest heaven, 
but of another glory : ' He that overcometh shall in- 
herit all things ; and I will be his God, and he shall 
be my son.' There is a time that he shall have all, 
and honour certainly he shall have enough. In Zech. 
ix. 16, he speaks there of the kingdom of Christ; 
and we have there an excellent expression of the 
honour that God will put upon his saints — 'And 
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 crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land.' It 
is a promise that respects all the saints. That there 
is a time a-coming that they shall be as the precious 
stones in a king's crown, that are lifted up — that is, 
that they shall be honoured among all people how- 
soever they are despised now. And in Mat. xiii. 43, 
there Christ tells what his saints shall be in his 
kingdom : ' Then shall the righteous,' speaking of 
the time of his kingdom, ' shine forth as the sun in 
the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to 
hear, let him hear.' There is a time coming when 
poor people that are clothed with rags, and are very 
despicable in the eyes of the world, shall shine then 
as bright as the sun. Dost thou see the sun in the 
firmament ? That poor body of thine that wants food 
and raiment shall within a while shine as bright as 
the sun in the firmament. And for possession of the 
things that are in the world, compare those two 
scriptures together : in Mat. xix. 29, ' And every 
one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, 
or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, 
for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and 
shall inherit everlasting life.' So that he doth not 
speak of being rewarded in heaven for it ; for that is 
beside, besides his everlasting life he shall receive an 
hundredfold. But, you will say, I find in another 
gospel that the hundredfold it is spoken of with the 
addition of persecution — in !Mark x. 30. Though 
there be the addition of persecution, you shall find 
the promise more large, for ' He shall receive an 
hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, 
and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands.' 
You will say, He shall receive an hundredfold — that 
is, he shall have grace, that is as much worth as a 
hundred times his lands. Nay, you see the Holy 
Ghost doth mention the particulars, of liouses, and 
lands, &c. But, you will say, there is one pas- 
sage that seems to spoil all — he shall in this time re- 
ceive houses and lands, and the like, but with perse- 
cution, and in the world to come eternal life. It 
shall be with persecution, so that this speaks of a 
time when they shall be persecuted. Now how can 
these two stand together ? Therefore, for the answer 
to that, I do verily think that this is a true answer 
to it, that this that is translated in your book ivith 



Mat. V. 3.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



33 



persecution, those that understand the original 
know that it is ^sra, it doth not always signify with, 
but afte): I could give you divers places where the 
word /j-iTo. signifies after as well as with ; as in Mark 
viii. 31, ' And he began to teach them, that the Son 
of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the 
elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be 
killed, and after three days rise again.' There it is .aera, 
the very same word, and it must of necessity be trans- 
lated after. So that you may by the same warrant 
that here it is translated after three days he shall rise 
again, so translate the other, that he shall receive 
houses and lauds, &c., a hundredfold cfter he hath 
endured persecution. Now to determine in what 
way, or how, or when the Lord will fulfil this, it is 
very hard to do. You know the fulfiUing of pro- 
phecies is the best interpretation of them ; but to me 
it seems to be very clear that the Scripture doth hold 
forth this, that it is part of the kingdom of Jesus 
Christ, that he will bring his people in time to enjoy 
whatsoever good things there are to be enjoyed here ; 
for the reward of God stands in a spiritual way — not 
in a sensual way, as some have dreamed of, but in a 
spiritual and holy way. And this is the blessing of 
those that are poor in respect of theu' outward estates, 
and have spirits suitable. 

Now there are many that are troubled in respect 
of the mean parts that they have ; yet they having 
spirits suitable to their mean parts, and willing to 
honour God in them, theirs is the kingdom of heaven 
also. But now I will for the present leave them, 
and speak to the third, and that is those that are 
poor in grace. 

As, first. Thou hast but a little grace, and art very 
poor and mean, and this troubles thee, yet blessed art 
thou. For, 

Fh'st, Thou art translated from the power of dark- 
ness by that little grace thou hast, and so art trans- 
lated into the kingdom of heaven: Col. i. 13, 'Who 
hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and 
hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.' 
Though there be a great deal of darkness in thy 
mind, yet the power of darkness is taken away, and 
so thou art brought into the kingdom of his dear Son. 
And in Mat. xii. 28, where Christ makes that a fruit 
of casting out the devU- The devils were cast out 
Why ? Because the kingdom of God is come : ' But 
if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the 
kingdom of God is come unto you.' When the king- 
dom of the IMessias came, then the devils were cast 
out of possession. You never read concerning the 
casting out of devils till the Messias came into the 
world ; which was to shew us that it was reserved to 
Jesus Christ for to manifest his power over the king- 
dom of Satan ; and it was a sign that the kingdom 
of God was come, because the devils were cast out. 



So then the kingdom of heaven is come to thy soul, 
if the devil can reign no more. Certainly the devils 
had their reign in thy soul before thou wert translated 
into the kingdom of his dear Son ; and thou mayest 
be sure now that thou shalt never be under the power 
of darkness — that the devil shall never reign in thee 
— because the kingdom of God is come to thee. Thou 
art one under the kingdom of Jesus Christ. The 
devil is the king of tliis world. The devil rules in the 
air, and in the children of disobedience, but the devils 
have nothing to do to rule in the children of the king- 
dom ; those that have got out of the kingdom of the 
world into the kingdom of Jesus Christ the devils 
have no further power. It may be, when thou art 
melancholy or in the dark, thou mayest have appre- 
hension of devils ; but certainly all those that have in 
them but the least drachm of grace, though they are 
never so poor, yet theirs is the kingdom of heaven — • 
that is, the kingdom of God is come to them that 
hath cast out all the power of the devil. Thou wert 
a captive slave to the devil before thou camest into 
this kingdom, but now thou art delivered from aU the 
power of the devil. 

Secondly, The meanness of any one's parts cannot 
hinder them from understanding the highest things 
in the kingdom of heaven, for it doth not depend 
upon parts at all. Nay, we know that usually those 
are chosen that have mean parts, to confound the 
wisdom of the world ; and such as have very mean 
parts may have more understanding in the things of 
the kingdom of heaven than the gi'eatest Eabbis in the 
world. 

And then, thirdly, which is an admirable help to 
them that are sensible of their little grace. Why, 
thou art not now to answer for any of thy miscar- 
riages in the court of divine justice, for thou art got 
into the kingdom of heaven. If thou wert in the 
kingdom of God's power only as he is Creator, there 
thou art to answer for all thy offences in the court of 
God's justice. But now being translated into the 
kingdom of his dear Son, thou art to answer for all 
thy miscarriages there, and not to be hauled before 
the court of divine justice ; and that is a mighty help 
to those that are poor in grace, to consider of this 
thing ; and this is the privilege of one in this king- 
dom. 

Fourthly, Christ himself, thy king, he is thy judge 
and thy advocate. Oh, it is a blessed thing to be in 
such a kingdom, especially if a man knows that he 
is obnoxious many ways. thou that art poor in 
grace, and yet art in the kingdom of heaven, know 
that Jesus Christ, thy king, is to be thy judge, to cast 
thee for thy eternal estate. He is likewise to be 
thine advocate, to plead for thee ; and therefore it is 
not the poverty of thy grace that should daunt thy 
heart, or cause thee to sink. 



34 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 3. 



Fifthly, The righteousness of this thy king is thy 
righteousness, if thou comest into tliis kingdom. In 
1 Cor. i. 30, ' He is made of God to us wisdom and 
righteousness, sanctification and redemption.' When 
- thou comest into the kingdom of the Messiah, here 
thou liait a privilege that no subject can have in any 
kingdom in the world. There may be subjects in 
other kingdoms that may have good kings, but the 
goodness of their king is not their goodness. But 
thou art in that kingdom that hath a perfect right- 
eous king, and the righteousness of that king is thy 
righteousness. Thou art poor, and thy corruptions 
doth overcome thee. Oh, but blessed art thou for 
all that, being poor in spirit, for thou art come into 
that kingdom wherein thou hast the righteousness 
of the king to be thy righteousness. That is the 
fifth comfort of being in this kingdom. 

Sixthly, The wisdom likewise of thy king it is 
thine. Jesus Christ thy king he hath all the treasures 
of wisdom and knowledge in him. He is made unto 
us wisdom ; therefore let not the meanness of thy 
parts discourage thee. 

The seventh is this, If thou beest come into this 
kingdom, then that little grace that thou hast, be it 
never so little, yet thou shalt be sure that that grace 
shall be upheld to eternity. For it is a special part 
of the glory of the kingly power of Jesus Christ to 
uphold the graces that are in the hearts of his people ; 
and this doth make them to be of more certain durance 
than all the grace that Adam had in innocenoy. 
Adam had perfection in his state of innocenoy. Now 
thou art weak and poor, and art ready to think, if he 
fell, thou shalt fall much more. It is true, if thou 
wert left to that kingdom that Adam was in, it might 
be so ; but thou being brought into this kingdom of 
heaven, the power of Christ, thy king, it is to be 
exercised in upholding that little little grace thou 
hast. In 2 Tim. you have a place that is very 
sweet that way: chap. iv. 18, 'And the Lord,' saith 
the text, ' shall deliver me from every evil work, and 
will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom : to whom 
be glory for ever and ever.' As if he should say. The 
Lord hath already brought me into the possession of 
the kingdom of heaven, and certainly he must pre- 
serve me till I come to the full enjoyment of it. 
Thou art afraid of such and such temptations, that 
they will prevail over thee ; but be of good comfort, 
it concerns the kingly power of Christ to preserve 
that little grace thou hast to his heavenly kingdom. 
It is in thy case here just as it was with David ; you 
know after David was anointed, oh how he was 
persecuted by Saul ! insomuch as he saith, I shall 
perish one day by the hand of Saul. But if he had 
had faith to have believed the promise that was made 
him, he would never have so reasoned. Just thus 
do many poor souls say which are anointed to this 



heavenly kingdom — they say. Certainly I shall perish 
by the hand of this corruption. Know thou art an 
anointed one, and it concerns the power of Jesus 
Christ to uphold that little grace thou hast. And this 
is another benefit and fruit of this kingdom. 

And then, in the eighth place. Know that being 
brought under this kingdom, though thy grace be 
poor, yet thou art as perfectly justified before God as 
ever was Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob ; as ever was 
David, Paul, or Peter, or the strongest saints in the 
world. Thy grace in respect of thy sanctification is 
poor, but thy grace in thy justification it is as rich 
and glorious in this kingdom, as the grace in the jus- 
tification of any saint that ever lived upon the face of 
the earth. And indeed this may be said to be the 
fruit of this kingdom of heaven. In the times of the 
law this was very little manifested ; it being such a 
great treasury of the goodness of God, it was reserved 
to be opened when the Jlessias was to come into the 
world. There was this treasury before ; but this 
treasury of justification that now I am speaking of, I 
say, the opening of it, it was reserved to the coming 
of the Messiah. And the Messiah he is come to open 
this rich treasury of justification, and to tell all poor 
in spirit, that are troubled for the poverty of grace 
that they have, that howsoever they are poor in re- 
spect of their sanctification, yet they are as perfectly 
justified as ever any godly man was. Now is not here 
a blessedness, to be a member of the kingdom of 
heaven ? Oh, methinks this should mightily set the 
hearts of men and women a- work in seeking after the 
kingdom of heaven ! 

Ninthly, Know that the right of thine inheritance 
in this kingdom, yea, the very peace and joy of this 
kingdom, it is not forfeited by thy failings. In 
Rom. xiv. 1 7, ' The kingdom of God it is righteous- 
ness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.' So long as 
thou art in this kingdom, thou hast righteousness 
and peace, and thou hast matter of joy. 

And then, in the tenth place, Certainly thou shalt 
be perfect ere long. Judgment shall return unto 
victory. There will be a treading down Satan under 
thy feet shortly, and all imperfections shall be swal- 
lowed up with perfection ; thou hast the seeds in thee 
now which shall come to perfection. Thou art weak 
now, and dost not love God as thou wouldst. Why, 
thou shalt love, and dehght in, and glorify and fear 
God ere long as much as thou wilt. 

Yet further, in the eleventh place, There is this for 
the support of such as are poor in grace, that all the 
ordinances in this kingdom do belong to them, and 
whatever good is in them, and they ought not to be 
deprived of them, if there be anything of the grace of 
Christ in them. Indeed, let men take heed how they 
come into this kingdom. If I had time I should 
have spoken a word or two to that, for any man to 



Mat. V. 3.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



35 



challenge the benefit of this kingdom that hath no 
grace at all ; but one that is poor in grace must not 
say, Because I am poor in grace I am afraid to come 
to the ordinances, or afraid to pray. Oh no ; thou 
sbouldst the rather come, for all the ordinances are 
thine, thine is the kingdom of heaven. And there- 
fore, whensoever thou lookest upon any ordinance of 
the word and sacrament, thou mayest think, Well, 
this is that ordinance that Jesus Christ hath ap- 
pointed for the building up of my soul, and for the 
strengthening of ray grace. And therefore come to 
it in such a way as that that is appointed for the 
strengthening of thy grace. 

Twelfthly, By coming into this kingdom thou 
comest to have free-trading to heaven. Men now 
that live in the city, they have free-trading to divers 
parts of the world that others have not : so those 
that remain in the world, and are yet in their natural 
estates, they are such as are banished from the pre- 
sence of the Lord ; they have not the free-trading to 
heaven for grace, comfort, happiness, and glory, as 
the saints now when they are come into this king- 
dom. Thou through Jesus Christ mayest trade to 
heaven every day, and hast a privilege and right 
unto it, and so to enrich thyself in heaven. What 
though thou beest poor ; when the trade is open for 
heaven, why shouklst thou be discouraged with the 
little grace that thou hast ? Oh blessed art thou, 
thou hast that privilege of this kingdom. 

The last thing that I shall speak of now is, That 
in this kingdom the Spirit is shed abroad in a great 
deal more abundance than it was heretofore. Be 
not discouraged, thou dost not find yet such a work 
of grace in thy heart but thou art in such a condition 
wherein the Spirit of God is to be communicated in 
a far more abundant manner than in the time of the 
law. Indeed, in the time of the law David and such 
as were to be employed in public work might 
expect it ; but though thou beest not employed in any 
pubKe work, yet thou mayest expect to come to be 
glorious in grace here in this world. So we have the 
promise, ' That the feeble shall be as David, and 
those of the house of David should be as the angel 
of the Lord.' There is a time when the gifts of the 
saints shall be raised, and they shall have clearer and 
further understanding in the mysteries of godliness 
than ever formerly. And one great thing that doth 
hinder the growth of grace in those that are thus 
poor in spuit, it is because they have not faith to act 
upon the promises that are made for the shedding 
abroad of the Spirit m the times of the Messiah : ' If 



evil men know how to give good things to them that 
ask them, much more will the Lord give his Spirit to 
those that ask him.' And the consideration of these 
things is a mighty help to such as are poor in spirit, 
to shew their blessedness. And that that will bind 
up all these is this, that in this kingdom of heaven 
the Lord would have his people delivered from the 
spirit of bondage. As there is a spirit of bondage, so 
there is a spirit of adoption, a free spirit to come 
into God's presence. The Lord would not have his 
people to be afraid of his presence, but would have 
them all to look upon themselves — I mean all such 
as are apprehensive of their spiritual poverty — yet to 
look upon themselves as 'the children of this king- 
dom, and to come with freedom of spirit before their 
Father. And now, my brethren, I have been shew- 
ing you the blessedness of those that are poor in 
spirit. I would to God I had spoken to none 
but such as are poor in spirit. I confess such 
points as these would make one fear and tremble 
to treat of, especially in these wanton times ; how- 
soever, children must not lose their bread. But now 
if there be but one poor in spirit that should have 
benefit by it, though there should be a thousand 
hardened, yet God will accept of that ; and in the 
meantime, therefore, you that are of poor spirits and 
truly humbled before God, do but consider what your 
comfort cost. It may be they cost the hardening of 
many hundreds in this congregation to speak of such 
a thing : saith God, let it cost the hardening of them, 
yet your comfort is so dear to me that I would have 
it notwithstanding. Oh, therefore take these things 
and make use of them for the furtherance of your 
sanctification. We have a very notable scripture for 
that, to make men to take heed of the abuse of these 
things, in Heb. xii., 'We receiving a kingdom which 
cannot be moved.' What then ? Shall we take liberty 
andjive loosely ? No, saith he, ' Therefore let us have 
grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with 
reverence and godly fear.' He makes this use of it, 
therefore what ? — therefore let us be wanton ? No ; 
but let us ' serve him with reverence and godly fear, 
for even our God is a consuming fire.' And in 1 
Thes. ii. 12, 'That ye would walk worthy of God, 
who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.' 
Walk as those that are partakers of the king- 
dom of heaven, walk above the world ; let there 
not appear to be sueh base and low spmts in you 
as there are in the men of the world, but walk 
worthy of that kingdom which the Lord hath called 
you to. 



36 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 4. 



SERMON VI. 



GODLY MOURNEES SHALL BE COMFORTED. 



' Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall he comforted.' — Mat. v. 4. 



The last day, you may remember, we spake of the 
first beatitude, the blessedness of the poor in spirit ; 
and that wherein Christ saith their blessedness con- 
sists, 'theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' We have 
opened what the meaning of the kingdom of heaven 
is, not vmderstanding it to be meant only that when 
they die they shall go to heaven, though it is true 
that they shall do so, yet the main scope of Christ 
here is to shew that even the poor in spirit shall have 
the good things of the state of the Messias. The 
Messias being come into the world, and erecting a 
new kingdom here in the world different from what 
Vi'as before, the poor in spirit shall be made partakers 
of that kingdom with all the privileges of it. I shall 
not look back to open further the privileges of that 
kingdom, only the main scope of the last sermon was 
to apply this to the poor in spirit, and to shew what 
blessedness those that are poor in spirit have 
from this kingdom. The Lord hath chosen the 
poor in this world that they might be partakers of 
the kingdom of heaven. And therefore it is a great 
encouragement to the ministers of the gospel to preach 
the kingdom of heaven to congregations that have 
many poor ; and I would to God that the poor of 
this congregation might be got to hear of the blessings 
of the kingdom of heaven. I should have as great 
hopes to do good to this place as in any jjlace in the 
kingdom, if the poor in this place might be brought 
to hear the gospel ; for the very gospel itself is called 
the kingdom of heaven, because it doth reveal the 
great tilings of the kingdom of the Messias. Therefore, 
you that are poor and do come, be encouraged to 
come, and do you encourage all your poor neighbours 
and friends, and tell them that though they be never 
so poor, yet if their spirits be poor and humble 
according to their poverty, the kingdom of heaven is 
open for them like\Yise; and tell them what you have 
lieard of the kingdom of heaven out of the gospel, 
what blessed things there are there ; and then there 
may be a great deal of hope that God intends to 
bring many in this congregation to this his blessed 
kingdom. 



The preaching of the gospel is compared to the 
casting of a net, and it is compared to it under this 
title, the kingdom of heaven. We have a great sea 
here to cast in, but those people that I would most 
gladly cast the net upon, I am afraid seldom do come 
within the comjoass of the net — I mean the poorest 
and meanest. Oh you that are rich, and are men in 
place, take some course to bring in the poor that they 
may come into this net, that when we come to cast 
the net — that is, the preaching of the gospel — that 
that may be as the kingdom of heaven to them. 

And you that are young ones, do you hearken after 
the things of the kingdom of heaven, and ask ques- 
tions about it ; when you come home, ask your 
parents and governors what is the meaning of that 
of the kingdom of heaven, that poor people may come 
to be made kings and priests unto God. And the 
rather have we encouragement to speak to young 
ones that they should be inquiring, because we find 
that as soon as ever the kingdom of heaven began to 
be known, young ones were very earnest about it, 
and were very much affected with this kingdom of 
heaven. Compare those two places of Scripture, 
Mark xi. 9, 10 with Mat. xxi. 15, and there you shall 
find that the children and young ones were crying 
' Hosanna to the Son of David.' ' And when the 
chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things 
that he did, and the children crying in the temple, 
and saying, ' Hosanna to the Son of David, they 
were sore displeased.' Compare this now with 
Mark xi. 9, 10, ' And they that went before, and 
they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna ; Blessed 
is he that cometh in the name of the Lord : blessed 
be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh 
in the name of the Lord : Hosanna to the highest.' 
They cried Hosanna to the highest, because of 
the kingdom of the Messias that was coming. Now 
it is said that the chief priests and scribes were 
troubled at it. Carnal hearts may be troubled to see 
young ones so forward in the way of the kingdom ; but 
the Lord stirred up these to be affected with the 
kingdom of the Messias, and Chiist doth justify them. 



Mat. V. 4.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



37 



And Jesus said unto them, ' Have ye never read, Out 
of the mouths of babes and suckhngs thou hast per- 
fected praise ? ' This is for the honour of Jesus Christ 
that young ones shall cry Hosanna, &c. And all that 
hath been said about the blessedness of the poor 
should teach us to have high esteem of those that are 
poor in spirit ; though they are contemned by the 
world, yet do not you contemn them. Blessed is he 
that considereth of these poor. And in James ii. 5 
it is said, ' That God hath chosen the poor in this 
vporld to be rich in faith. Hearken, my beloved 
brethren,' as a thing of admiration, ' Hath not God 
chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs 
of the kingdom which he hath promised to them 
that love him. But ye have despised the poor.' 
Take heed that this charge be not upon you to despise 
any of Christ's httle ones. Those that are poor in 
spirit, they are liighly esteemed by Jesus Christ, 
therefore let them not be slighted by you. There are 
many things further about this, but we wiU leave 
what further may be said about that that is promised 
to the poor, namely, the kingdom of heaven. 

We come now to the second beatitude. 

'Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be 
comforted.' 

We find that Luke cites it in another way, and divers 
copies have it different. You shall find two or three 
blessednesses set in a different order there. But for 
the thing itself, it is one of the strangest paradoxes in 
the world ; ' Blessed are those that mourn.' Of all 
affections, the affection of sorrow nature is least be- 
holding to ; it doth the least good to nature. Nature 
gets something by the affection of love, and the 
affection of joy, and the affection of desire, and of 
hope, and somewhat by fear ; but sorrow is that that 
weakens nature, and yet Christ doth fall upon this ; 
saith he, ' Blessed are they that mourn.' It is more 
than blessed are they that are sorrowful : so Chrysos- 
tom upon this place. He doth not say. Blessed are 
those that grieve, but ' Blessed are those that mourn.' 
For the word that is here translated mourn, signifies 
an exceeding great mourning. The mourning that 
there is at the death of friends, when any buries an 
intimate friend, a dear child, or a dear kinsman, what 
mourning is there in the view of the world ! But, 
saith Christ, Blessed are you then ; if you be godly 
and my disciples, you are blessed in that mourning, 
though your mourning be the greatest mourning in 
the world. And it is in the present tense, ' you that 
mourn,' noting the continuance of it. Though you 
mourn constantly, though you be brought into a 
mournful condition, and so do live in it all the days 
of your lives, yet blessed are you that mourn. The 
world is altogether for jollity and bravery. Oh, 
blessed are they that are merry, that can jdiink wine 
in bowls, and crown themselves with rosebuds, and 



chant to the viol, and invent instruments of music 
like David ! They are accounted the blessed men in 
the world. But we see the judgment of Christ is 
quite contrary, ' Blessed are they that mourn.' They 
that mourn ; surely not all they that mourn are 
blessed. 

First, There is a foolish mourning, in which men 
and women are not blessed — that is, they mourn 
they know not for what. This is no blessedness, but 
folly. 

Secondly, A natural mourning ; when there is a 
mourning merely because nature is pinched, and some 
evil hath befallen it, and you go no further. This 
hath not a blessedness in it. 

Thirdly, A worldly mourning ; worldly sorrow 
causes death ; to mourn for the loss of worldly 
things, as the great and the chief loss of all. This ia 
not blessed, it causeth death ; and, 

Fourthly, An envious mourning ; when men mourn 
and are grieved for the good of others. Surely this 
is not blessed, but cursed. 

And there is, further, a devilish mourning ; when 
men and women mourn tliat they cannot have oppor- 
tunity to satisfy their lusts. 

And lastly. There is a hellish, desperate mourning ; 
when men and women mourn in despair. This is 
hellish, and not blessed. These mourners are not 
blessed. 

But who then ? Tliose that mourn — that is, such 
as being by the providence of God brought into a 
mournful condition, either by way of testimony to 
any truth of God, that they are deprived of many 
comforts in this world that others have, or by any 
afflicting hand of God are brought into a sad condi- 
tion, and their hearts are brought under to yield to 
God's hand, and to sanctify his name in those his 
dealings with them ; these are blessed. For so you 
must clear that expression that we have in the verse 
before, ' Blessed are the poor ;' not all poor, but the 
poor in spirit. So, ' Blessed are they that mourn ' — 
that is, they that mourn in spirit likewise ; whose 
spirits are brought in subjection to God, to honour 
God in that mournful condition in which they are ; 
whose condition cannot be so low, but their hearts 
are lower than their condition. These are blessed, 
but especially these who set the object of their mourn- 
ing right ; who mourn for sin as the greatest evil ; 
who mourn not only for their own sins, but for the 
sins of others, that God is so little honoured in the 
world ; yea, who take to heart the afflictions of the 
church, mourning not only for their own afflictions, 
but for the afflictions of the church. Blessed are these 
that mourn. 

And then all those that mourn in a gracious way. 

You will say. When doth one mourn in a gracious 
way and manner ? 



R8 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 4. 



First, When any evil is upon one the heart doth 
freely yield itself up to God, to honour God in such 
a condition as God hath put it into ; not to do it by 
force, but freely. 

And then, secondly. Those whose mourning hath 
the exercise of grace, in order to regulate their 
mourning ; when the mournings of men and women 
are under the command of grace, of faith, of love, and 
of hope, not mourning as those without hope ; when 
grace can command mourning, and can say to those 
waves of sorrow, hitherto shall ye go, and no further. 

Thirdly, When in mourning the heart mourns 
after God; there is such a comfort that is taken 
away from me, either in way of testimony to God's 
truth, or in way of providential afflicting of me ; but 
the thing that I mourn for, it is not so much be- 
cause the comfort is gone, but because I am deprived 
of some good that might help me forward towards 
God, wherein I might be some way furthered in the 
way of God. And so the soul mourns after God, in 
the mourning for any affliction that is upon it. 

Fourthly, When those that mourn have great care 
to do the work of their mourning condition ; that is 
a special thing to be considered of in the blessedness 
of mourning. One that mourns so as he hath care 
to do the work of that mourning condition ; to con- 
sider, God hath put me into this mourning condition, 
and what is the duty that God requires of me in 
this mourning condition in which God hath set me ? 
Men and women ordinarily are solicitous about their 
afflictions, and their thoughts are altogether poring 
upon their afflictions. But now a gracious mourning 
causes the soul to be solicitous about the work. 
What is the work of this condition that God hath 
put me now to ? It is not a sullen mourning, but 
a mourning that hath much activeness in it and stir- 
ring. The heart is travailing; for so in John xvi., about 
the middle, it is comjxared to a woman in travail. 
' You shall mourn,' saith Christ ; but there is promise 
of comfort : ' Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye shall 
weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice ; and ye 
shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned 
into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath 
sorrow, because her hour is come ; but as soon as she 
is delivered of the child, then she remembereth no 
more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into 
the world : ' hereby intimating that the mourning of 
the saints should be like the sorrow of a woman in 
travail ; but some good should come of it. And this 
is a very useful meditation for us, when at any time 
we find our hearts much pressed with sorrow, we 
should consider. But what am I travailing about ; I 
■ can never have comfort in my mourning, except I 
bring forth something in my sorrow. And though 
the Lord should keep them mourning thus all days 
of their lives, yet they are blessed. 



For they shall be comforted ; comfort will come. 
Now the ground of the blessedness ariseth, first, from ' 
the mourning itself; secondly, from the promise. 
Surely it is a blessed thing to be such a mourner. 

First, Because that the lower our hearts are in our 
subjection to God in this mournful condition, the 
higher are our respects to God that brings us into 
this condition. The Lord brings his people into a 
mournful condition. Now the lower their hearts are 
in their subjection to God, the higher are their re- 
spects that they do shew unto God. There is a 
great deal of grace exercised in a gracious mourn- 
ing. 

Secondly, A mourning condition, when it is ordered 
by grace, it is a means of much good in the soul ; it 
is that that takes away the rankness in the hearts of 
men. There is a rankness in all men's hearts naturally ; 
especially if they enjoy contentment to the flesh, their 
lusts will grow very rank. As weeds grow very rank 
in summer time, now in the winter the frost nips the 
weeds and keeps them under ; but if it be a long frost 
it kills them. And so doth a mournful condition ; if 
it be sanctified, it kills the vermin, it kills our lusts, 
and is a special means of mortification in the soul ; 
and therefore blessed are they that do mourn, and 
carry themselves graciously in a mourning condition. 

Thirdly, It is that that delivers from many tempta- 
tions. You think tliat jollity and bravery is the 
only luippy life, but know there are a great many 
more temptations in that life than in a mournful 
condition. It is true, there are temptations in a 
mournful co]idition : there are temptations to despair, 
— but that is grievous to nature, — or to shift for 
themselves in some unlawful way. But now the 
temptations in a jolly condition : it is very suitable 
to a man's nature, and therefore more dangerous ; 
and therefore blessed are they that are kept in a 
mournful condition, if God gives them hearts to sanc- 
tify his name in it. 

Fourthly, They are blessed that are in a mournful 
condition, because God hath chosen for them that 
mourning condition in the most seasonable time. 
You know when a man is sick, then bitter things 
are more seasonable than sweet. Now we are all 
sickly poor creatures, and it is a great mercy of God 
in this time of our lives to choose for us a mournful 
condition — bitter things rather than sweet and 
luscious things. And if God doth subdue thy heart, 
so that thou canst be willing to take this, blessed art 
thou ; for thou dost now mourn when it is most 
seasonable to mourn. A mournful state it is a 
seasonable state for men, considering what conditions 
we are here in, in this world. Thou wouldst be 
choosing of jollity, just like a poor sick man that 
would be choosing of sweetmeats ; but blessed art 
thou that art willing to be under the choice of God. 



]\Iat. V. 4.] 



BUKROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



39 



FLftUy, And then especially liere in tliis text, be- 
cause they shall be comforted ; it is but to make the 
comforts sweeter unto thee when they do come. The 
Lord is but working of thy soul to his own will, and 
working thee to a greater comfort. You loiow that 
when a man would build a structure, a stately build- 
ing, the stones that he intends principally to build 
withal are hacked and hewn, that so they may be 
comely and fit for his building; but as for other 
stones, they are not regarded as those that are thus 
polished which he intends to lay. So it is an argu- 
ment that the Lord hath great things for thee, great 
comforts for thee ; he is now preparing thee in this 
thy mournful condition for great comforts. Thou 
shalt be comforted. 

For, first. There is a time coming when all tears 
shall be wiped from thine eyes. Do but read Eev. vii., 
from the 14th verse to the eud, and there you shall 
find what is said to the people of God that are 
brought up in a mournful condition in this world. 

And as all tears shall be wiped from thine eyes, so 
thou shalt have the fruit of all the promises. It is 
hard to look over the many promises, Isa. xxxv. 10, 
and li. 3, with many others which we must not 
stand to read unto you, but these, and as you read 
along the book of God you shall find many the like : 
and among many other promises that promise of 
Christ's coming again, in John xvi. 20, that is made 
as the great comfort, when Christ tells them that 
thougli they did weep and lament now, yet they 
should be comforted. Vfhj, I will come again saith 
Christ. They should have the enjoyment of Jesus 
Christ, and all the good things that Christ hath pur- 
chased by his blood shall be theirs ; sui'ely thou shalt 
then be comforted. Jesus Christ pleads, Lord, what- 
soever good all my sufferings hath purchased, let this 
soul be made partaker of. Surely if thou comest ever 
to be made partaker of all that good that Jesus 
Christ hath purchased by his blood thou shalt want 
no comfort. 

And all thy comfort shall be proportionable to thy 
sorrow ; as it is said of the whore of Babylon, so much 
as her pleasure hath been, so much torment give her. 
So, on the contrary, so much sorrow as thou hast had 
for my name's sake, so much joy and comfort shalt 
thou have, and that in a proportionable way. Christ 
hath many mansions in his Father's house. And he 
hath comforts in a proportionable way to all thy 
sorrow and mourning. It may be if thou hadst a 
more comfortable life in this world thou mightst 
have less comfort reserved for thee hereafter. 
They shall be comforted. 
But when, when shall they be comforted ? 
When ? Why, they shall be comforted when the 
wicked shall be sorrowful In Isa. Ixv. 1 3, where there 
is set forth the different condition of the saints, and 



the wicked and ungodly, ' Therefore thus saith the 
Lord God, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall 
be hungry : behold, my servants shall drink, but ye 
shall be thirsty : behold, my servants shall rejoice, 
but ye shall be ashamed : behold, my servants shall 
sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of 
heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.' Then 
shall you have comfort when the ungodly shall be 
ashamed. 

And then, secondly, You shaU be comforted ; there 
is a time when the Lord will communicate unto you 
the choicest of his mercies. Now the Lord com- 
municates himself, but in a very small and little way 
in comparison to what he doth intend. This time 
of a man's life is not the time of comfort. You 
know what Abraham said to Dives : Son, remember 
that in thy lifetime thou hadst thy good things, thy 
joys, thy comforts, and Lazarus had his evil things, 
he had sorrow and grief. It is not best, my brethren, 
for us to seek to have our comforts and portions in 
this lifetime, because this is not the time for God to 
communicate the choice of his mercy, but it is a great 
deal better that our comforts should be reserved to 
that time when God shall open the rich treasury of 
his mercy. All the things of this ^vorld are but the 
giving a few crumbs. I remember Luther saith 
to the whole Turkish empire, ' It is only a crumb of 
bread that the great Master of the house doth cast 
unto dogs.' They have but their crumbs here ; but 
there is a time when God will deal out the choice of 
his mercies ; he will open all the treasures of his 
grace, and communicate them unto his saints. ' They 
shall be comforted.' 

And then we shall be comforted when we shall be 
more capable of comfort than now we are, and then 
to be comforted it is the best. ' Blessed are they that 
mourn, they shall be comforted.' And this comfort 
that the mourners shall have. 

Shall be, first, a pure comfort. We have something 
that is s\yeet, but there is a great deal of mixtui'e 
with our sweet. There is little sweet that we have 
but there is some poison or other ; but this will be a 
pure comfort, free from danger, free from the mix- 
ture of trouble or danger. 

And then they are spiritual comforts. Spiritual — by 
that I mean, not only that it shall be a soul comfort 
and not a carnal sensual comfort, as the comforts of 
most men in the world are ; but that is not that I 
mean, especially when I say spiritual comforts, but 
by that I mean this : that their comforts shall come 
more firstly in their souls, and so they shall have 
comfort to their bodies by way of the eradiation, as 
I may so say, of the comfort that they shall have to 
their souls. The comforts that we now have comes 
first to the outward man, and so our hearts are com- 
forted by the sympathy with the body ; but now the 



40 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 4. 



comforts of the saints shall be firstly in their souls, 
and come from the soul to the body. 

Secondly, Divine comforts they are that they shall 
have — that is, all comfort is from God one way or 
other, but from God more immediately. Here we 
have our comforts at second or third or fourth hand, 
but now there shall be comfort that shali be from 
God more immediately. And such comforts as are 
from the very nature of God himself — that is, such 
comfort as God is comforted in, such joy as God 
joys in, and God joys with them in it. It may be 
thou hast money, and canst go into a tavern, and 
drink and play, and thou rejoicest in it ; but doth 
God rejoice in this ? Is it any joy to God to have 
wine, good cheer, laughing and playing ? But now 
the consolations that Christ promises here are the 
consolations of the Almighty. None of the saints 
that have true comfort even now in this world in 
some degree, but if their comfort be holy and gra- 
cious, the Lord rejoices in their rejoicing ; there is joy 
in heaven, even in tlie heart of God, that joins with 
the joy that is in thy heart. And there is no com- 
fort should satisfy a heart that hath communion with 
God, but such comfort wherein I may have some 
evidence that when my heart rejoices I know the 
heart of God rejoices in this my joy. Ask this ques- 
tion of your souls in the midst of your joy : I have 
a great deal of joy, but doth the heart of God re- 
joice in this my joy ? Such are the comforts of the 
saints. 

Thirdly, It is a full comfort, 'Ask and you shall 
have, that your joy may be full.' What a low kind 
of expression would this be, Blessed is a man that is 
sick, for he shall have health : this were a poor kind 
of expression, because health is but by taking away 
the evil of the sickness. But now Christ when he 
saith, ' Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be 
comforted,' he means they shall have that fulness of 
comfort that would be abundantly more good unto 
them than all their sorrow could be evil unto them ; 
they shall enter into their master's joy, the joy not 
enter into them. 

Fourthly, And then it shall be a strong comfort, 
Ileb. vi. 18; such comfort as shall bear down any 
afflictions or oppositions. 

Fifthly, An eternal consolation ; so you have it in 
2 Thes. ii._ 16 ; in 2 Tim. ii. 11, ' It is a faithful say- 
ing : For if we be dead with him, we shall also live 
with him.' Mark with what an emphasis the Holy 
Ghost speaks when he speaks of the certainty of tlie 
comfort of the saints—' It is a faithful saying : For if 
we be dead with him, we shall also live with him ; if 
we sufl'er, we shall also reign with him.' Mourning, 
it is as the seed that shall certainly have a harvest. 
In Ps. xcvii. 11, there it is called a seed, ' Those that 
sow in tears shall reap in joy ; ' and so iu Ps. cxxvi. 



you have the same expression. The mourning of 
the saints it is their seed-time, and therefore there 
will come a harvest. 

And then, further. The Lord doth delight to com- 
municate himself unto his saints, and therefore they 
must be comforted. God rejoices in that title. The 
God of all comfort, and that God that comforts us in 
all our tribulations. 

They must needs be comforted, because God hath 
so engaged himself in his promises. 

And because God the Father hath anointed Jesus 
Christ to be a comforter to you, as in Isa. Ixi. As 
I told you of those that were poor in spirit, Jesus 
Christ was designed by God the Father to preach 
glad tidings to the poor ; so in the same place we 
have Jesus Christ anointed to comfort those that 
mourn. As if God should say, I appoint thee, Son, 
to this work ; and certainly Christ will be faithful in 
his office. 

Lastly, They shall be comforted, because the 
Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost, hath his denomina- 
tion from hence — the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, 
that is equal with the Father and with the Son ; and 
very glorious in his work. Now the work that he 
hath to do, it is to comfort the poor mourning saints 
of God, to be a comfort unto them. If the Holy 
Ghost be equal with the Father and the Son, his 
work must be glorious as well as the work of the 
Father and the Son. How glorious is the work of 
the Father in creating all things by his own word ! 
How glorious is the work of the Son in the work of 
man's redemption ! Now the work of the Holy 
Ghost must have some kind of proportionable glory. 
It is impossible therefore but that thou must be com- 
forted ; so long as there is a Holy Ghost, so long 
thou must needs have comfort. 

Oh the difference from hence between the comforts 
of carnal hearts and the saints ! Thou hast comfort. 
How ? By pouring forth drink into thy throat, or 
by thy cards or dice, here is thy comfort. What 
difference is there between a man's having comfort 
by a little beer or wine or play, and a man that hath 
comfort by the Holy Ghost, designed by God the 
Father and the Son to be the comforter of him to all 
eternity ! And thou that dost slight the comforts of 
the saints, and rather hast thy carnal heart to choose 
unto thee comfort and joy by eating and drinking 
and playing, what is the language of thy soul in this, 
but thus : Lord, let me rather have comfort from 
meat and drink than from any work of the Holy 
Ghost. We hear in thy word that the Holy Ghost is 
designed by thyself and thy Son to be the comforter 
of the saints, but those are the comforts I have no 
skill in ; I had rather have meat and drink and satisfy 
my lusts, and for the comforts of the Holy Ghost I 
will venture them whether I have any part in them ; 



Mat. V. 4.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



41 



yea, or no. Well, but whatever they do, ye that are 
of mournful spirits, and God keeps you under, and 
you go on mourning, and through the grace of God 
you can deny yourselves those sensual comforts that 
others let out their hearts unto, be not discouraged, 
but go on and bless thyself in thy God, bless thyself 
in this that Christ hath said concerning thee, that 
certainly thou shalt be comforted. Thus I have but 
run through the very heads of those things that 
may give a little light to the opening of these words. 

But that which I had thought to have settled on 
all should have been the application of it, for to have 
spoken to the people of God, and to be some help to 
their comfort that Jesus Christ would have com- 
forted ; for if Jesus Christ hath said that they shall 
be comfoi'ted, it doth concern all men to comfort 
them, and especially the ministers of Christ. I 
shall only speak a word or two for the present 
to that which concerns us all from what hath been 
delivered. 

First, You may see that there is a great deal of 
excellency in religion and godliness. Why, it is that 
that will make the mournfullest condition in the 
world to be comfortable. Suppose a man or woman 
had lost all that ever they had, if they be godly, re- 
ligion will shew how they shall be blessed in this con- 
dition, for they are blessed before their comfort comes, 
so that those that are godly, their saddest condition 
cannot hinder their blessedness. When others in the 
world shall wring their hands for their losses, and be 
very sad, thou mayest be satisfied in this : I have not 
lost my happiness. Thou mayest say, I have lost my 
estate, and lost all outward comforts wherein I took 
so much delight ; yet thou canst not say that thou 
hast lost thy blessedness. Thy blessedness is not in 
any creature comfort, but it is in thy God. Be not 



shy, therefore, and afraid of godly sorrow because it 
brings trouble and affliction unto thee. Be not de- 
luded with this temptation — for it is a temptation of 
Satan, whereby many souls are kept in bondage, and 
kept off from the ways of God — that therefore when 
once they come into the ways of God, they think 
they shall never have a merry day after it ; but yet 
we see that there is comfort, abundance of comfort 
pronounced by Christ himself even unto that duty 
which seems to be the most contrary to mirth. 
' Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be com- 
forted.' If the enemies should prevail against you, 
and you were under their power, yet, being godly, 
that doth not take away your blessedness. If your 
bodies be sick and in grievous pains, yet still you 
may be blessed, being godly. If you have lost your 
friends, yet blessed still. Be not shy, therefore, and 
afraid of godliness, because it perhaps brings some 
trouble to you, and sorrow to you. Many men and 
women they are afraid to be godly. Why ? Be- 
cause they fear it will take away their joy. But be 
not gulled with this temptation. It is true, religion 
may bring some other sorrows than thou hadst be- 
fore ; it may be thou mayest suffer more in the cause 
of God than before, and thou comest to be more 
afflicted for thy sin than before. It is true, religion 
may bring some outward sorrows and afflictions more, 
but there is abundantly more comforts than sorrows ; 
therefore be not afraid to be one of Christ's mourners, 
for Christ hath engaged himself unto thee, that thou 
shalt be comforted. As we read concerning Egypt, 
as there were more venomous creatures there than in 
other countries, so there was in no country more anti- 
dotes to cure them than in theirs. So, though reli- 
gion may bring sorrow and trouble, yet there is no- 
thing brings more cure and more help. 



42 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 4. 



SERMON VII. 



THE FOLLY OF MEN EEBUKED WHO AKE ALL FOR MIRTH. 



' Blessed are they that mourn : for they shall he comforted' — Mat. v. 4. 



2.* Here is rebuked the vanity and the folly of 
the spirita of most men and women among us who 
are altogether for mirth and jollity. They are, as it 
were, a fish out of the water if they are not in worldly 
joy and mirth, who place their happiness in this. 
How contrary is thy judgment unto Jesus Christ ! 
Christ saith here, ' Blessed are those that mourn.' 
Why so ? ' For they shall be comforted.' Thou 
sayest, Blessed are those that are merry, that have 
abundance of the creature ; but the Spirit of God saith 
in Eccles. vii. 2, ' It is better to go to the house of 
mourning, than to the house of laughter.' Now 
which of these two shall be believed ? Shall thy Ijase, 
carnal heart be believed who placest all thy happiness 
in joviality ; or the wisdom of God, who saith, ' It is 
better to go to the house of mourning, than to the 
house of laughter ' ? If man had said this, you would 
have thought him a fool for his pains. Which of you 
would have made such a choice had it been put to 
you — Whether you would take delight in the 
abundance of the creature, company, and the hke ? 
Whether you would take content in that or in the 
house of mourning ? Now the Holy Ghost he decides 
the case : he saith, ' The house of mourning is better 
than the house of laughter,' for the heart is made 
better by sadness. There is much good comes unto 
the soul out of the house of mourning which doth 
not come from the house of laughter. The lieart for 
the most part is made worse by laughter, but often 
better by sorrow. What if this dreadful woe should 
prove to be thy portion pronounced by Christ himself ? 
Luke vi. 25, ' Woe unto you that laugh now ! for ye 
shall mourn and weep.' The time of your sorrow is 
to come. When you see men live bravely and 
merrily in the world, and do no service for Jesus 
Christ, are not useful in their places, you may thus 
say of them, Alas ! here are men that now rejoice, 
but they shall mourn and weep ; their time of 
mourning is a-hastening. How much better were 
it to mourn now, than to have an eternity to mourn 
in ! If thou givest thyself to pleasure, and to let 
thy heart run out after vanity now in thy youth, 
* Continued from preceding sermon. — Ed. 



then all thy sorrow it shall come together and sink 
thee to despair. Thou in thy youth, and in the 
strength of thy days, lettest out thy strength to 
vanity, and know that thy sorrow is but a heaping 
np, to come upon thee all at once, and to sink thee 
into everlasting despair. How canst thou think but 
that God shonld loolv upon thee with indignation, who 
art so full of sin and wickedness as thou art ? Can it 
be well with thee in the end, when there are so many 
precious saints in the world that would not for a 
world sin against God knowingly ; who make it their 
great care and their study how to honour God in 
their generation ? ' And if at any time they are over- . 
come through weakness, they go mourning all the day 
long.' And are such as these kept down ? Have 
they their time now to mourn and weep, and 
dost thou rejoice ? Dost thou take pleasure, and 
give up thy heart to take its full satisfaction in 
the creature? Know thou must mourn sadly. The 
mirth that these men have, it is from ignorance ; 
the mirth thou hast, it is because thou art ignorant 
of thy condition, because thou art in darkness. 
Thou art in darkness ; and woe to that mirth that 
hath no other foundation but ignorance ! Nay, these 
men they must take the advantage of conscience 
when that is asleep and benumbed ; it were impos- 
sible for such as these are to be so merry and 
frolic, did they not take the advantage of their con- 
sciences when they are deaded and benumbed; for 
were conscience awake it would fly in their faces, 
and would say, Thou art a-doing that thou hast no 
right unto. Now cursed be that comfort that can- 
not stand with a sound conscience, and that joy of 
yours which cannot stand with the thoughts of 
death and judgment — that mirth cannot be good. 
Oh that you would consider of this ! when at any 
time you have serious thoughts of God, of death and 
eternity, this damps your joy, when you are in the 
full career of your pleasures, yet if conscience then 
hint into you the thoughts of an eternal condition, 
you have secret qualms come over you. Now thou 
hast cause, whosoever thou art, to suspect that joy 
and mirth to be sinful that cannot stand with the 



Mat. V. 4.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



43 



thoughts of God and eternity ; therefore take heed 
lest thou be in the number with him who took his 
pleasure, and satisfied his soul to the full in the 
creature, and when he came to die had nothing to 
satisfy himself withal ; oh have a care, lest that be 
thy portion ! Son, remember that in thy lifetime 
thou hadst thy good things, but now thou art 
gone ; so God may say to thee, who art such a one 
as makest thy heaven to be here. Thou hadst thy 
pleasures, thou hadst thy comforts in the world, and 
there is all that thou art like to have, but now thou 
art tormented. 

The main thing here in this text that I am to in- 
sist upon is the third use, which is for comfort and 
consolation, that I may come up fully to the mind of 
Christ in this thing, and to do as he did, who made 
it his work here to comfort those that mourn ; and 
that shall be my work now for the rest of the time. 
Blessed are ye of the Lord that do thus truly mourn ! 
And here I shall speak, 

First, Comfort to those that do truly mourn. 

Secondly, Answer an objection that may be made. 

Thirdly, Give some directions how mourners 
should carry themselves in their mourning estate, 
that they may be comforted. 

It is an excellent thing to comfort mourners ; and 
in Job xxxiii. he is made there to be one of a thousand 
that can speak a word in season to the heavy laden. 
This is part of the office of Jesus Christ and of the 
Spirit of Christ, and it is the glory of men. Now 
certainly that must needs be a gi-eat work, and full of 
glory, that is part of the office of Jesus Christ and 
the Spirit — for the Spirit he is a comforter as well as a 
convincer, John xvi. 7 — and it is the glory of men. 
Many men rejoice in bringing others into sorrow; this 
is a cursed thing to bring any into sorrow, and by so 
much the more wicked it is, by how much harder it 
is to comfort those that do mourn. To rejoice in 
the exercises of the saints' graces in sorrow is no 
cursed thing ; we may rejoice in the exercise of a 
saint's grace in humiliation ; but to bring them into 
sorrow and mourning, and then to rejoice in it, this 
is a cursed thing. Perides being upon his death-bed, 
his friends came about him, and began to speak of 
his virtues, and of the great authority he had borne, 
and accounting the number of his victories he had 
won : he hearing of them, said, That all tliis while 
they had forgotten to speak of the best and most 
noble thing that was in him, which was, that no 
Athenian had ever worn a black gown through his 
occasion.'" This he accounted his glory; and we 
should take heed of bi'inging men into a mourning 
condition, that we may be able to say there is not 
any that were ever made sad or heavy by anything 
that I did to them. 

* Plut. vita Perides. 



AVe should be humbled for it if we have done it ; 
and it should be that which we should confess to 
God, desiring him to pardon it. God glories to com- 
fort men, and not to grieve them that mourn ; and if 
God will not grieve them, certainly we should not. 
They cannot so much wrong us, whereby we should 
be incensed against them to grieve them, as we daily 
wrong God ; but yet God saith, Lam. iii. 33, ' He doth 
not delight to grieve the children of men.' Now that 
I may come more close to speak to you that are 
spiritual mourners, take your comfort in these parti- 
culars : 

First, If thy mourning be gracious, thy very tears 
and sorrows is a great deal better than the wine of 
the men of the world ; thy tears are more sweet and 
pleasing to God than the mirth of wicked men can 
be to them. It is better to be in thy condition than 
in other men's ; thy tears are precious unto God, if 
they come from a principle of godly sorrow ; there is 
nothing more precious unto him, next unto the blood 
of Jesus Christ, if they come from a right principle 
of godly sorrow. 

Secondly, Consider this for thy comfort, it may be, 
if thou hadst not been a-mourning thou wouldst have 
been a-sinning, thou wouldst have been a-doing that 
whereby thou wouldst have darkened the glory of 
God. Now which is the best of these ? — judge you. 
The curse of all thy afflictions is now taken away ; 
that which is the bitterness of sorrow it is taken 
away from thee by Jesus Christ, and thy mourning 
is rather upon mistake than otherwise. "Thou hast a 
right to comfort, though thou dost not see it, and 
thou mournest because thou dost not apprehend thy 
right to it ; for what is there, or what can there be, 
to discourage thee or to keep thee off from comfort, 
seeing the curse of every aflliction and the evil of sin 
is done away ? 

Thirdly, Consider that all thy sorrows are mea- 
sured out by God, who is thy Father ; thou dost not 
lie at the dispose of wicked men to mourn how much 
they will, or when they will, but thou art at the dis- 
pose of God, who is thy Father. Now do you think 
that you who are parents, if it were in your power to 
dehver your children from anything that did tend to 
hurt them, would you not do it if it were for your 
children's good ? Now you are at God's dispose, and 
you shall not sorrow nor weep one tear more than 
your Father sees is for your good. God he takes 
notice of all thy sorrows, he bottles up all thy tears, 
and himself is afflicted in all thy afflictions : Isa. Ixiii. 
9, ' In all their afflictions he was afflicted.' God is 
sensible of all our miseries though other men should 
not mind them : as it is too, too often seen when any 
of the saints are under the clouds, that they are in 
an afflicted condition, though they were in favour be- 
fore, they are frowned upon then. But now God he 



44 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 4. 



doth not do so ; thou canst not be so sensible, but 
God is more — God is more sensible of thy sufferings 
and takes care of thee. 

Fourthly, Consider for thy comfort that Christ was 
a man of sorrows, and in thy sorrowing thou art but 
conformable unto him ; and why shouldst thou think 
that to be a burden wherein thou art made like to 
Jesus Christ ? Nay, Christ's sorrows were to sanctity 
thine, therefore did Christ sorrow that thy sorrows 
might be sanctified. Now if God order Christ, who 
was the Son of his dearest love, to be a man of sor- 
rows, thy condition is not so sad as thou takest it to 
be, seeing Christ was so, and thou art conformable 
unto him in this. Now why should we think much 
to be like unto Christ ? Did God not think it too 
much to make Christ to be a man of sorrows for 
thee, and wilt thou think it much to be a man of 
sorrows that thou mayest be conformable unto him ? 

Fifthly, Let this be for thy comfort, to consider 
thou hast an interest in him tliat is the God of all 
consolation ; the darkness of thy condition it cannot 
hinder thine interest in God. Thou hast comfort in 
the promise now as certain and as sure as if thou 
hadst it in real possession ; and thou shalt have it 
most certainly hereafter, and the time is coming that 
thou shalt have full consolation, and God will reckon 
with the wicked for all their mirth. He will both 
reckon with them for causing them to be sad, and 
they must give an account for all their merry hours. 
Their mirth will be a bitter portion unto them, when 
God shall come to charge the guilt of all upon their 
spirits. Oh what a difference will there then be between 
thee and them at that day ! when thou for a few days 
hast mourned and shalt be comforted in the end, and 
they for a few days have rejoiced, and in the end 
shall have an eternity of sorrow. 

Sixthly, But it may be poor souls may here say, 
It is true, here is great comfort, here are precious con- 
solations indeed, but my afflictions are great ; they 
are greater than others. Were I so and so afflicted I 
could bear them ; had I the burden that such a one 
bears I could be contented, and submit under it. 

Now for thy comfort here, know that perhaps this 
comes from the distemper of thy spirit, rather than 
from the burden of the affliction ; the distemper of 
thy spirit may be great, and that causes the burden 
to be heavy. The affliction is not so great, but thy 
heart is not willing to yield to the affliction ; were 
thy heart willing to submit to the hand of God the 
affliction would be easy. 

And then thou hast many mercies mingled with 
thy afflictions ; there is none of you can say that 
your afflictions are pure, but they are mingled. God 
might have brought upon thee pure afflictions, pure 
miseries upon you, and you might have been deprived 
of all the very glimpses of mercies; but in your 



saddest hours you have some cordials — more mercy 
than affliction. I am confident that there is none 
here in this assembly whose afflictions are the great- 
est, but his mercies are greater. 

And then consider that God suffers more by thy 
sins, than thou canst suffer from God's hand in thy 
afflictions. The darkening of his glory in the least 
degree is a greater evil than any affliction that thou 
canst endure ; and this should support thy spirit, to 
consider that God suffers more ; and therefore thou 
shouldst not be unwilling to suffer something, seeing 
God suffers more than thou canst. 

Seventhly, If thou wouldst be comforted, consider 
this : the way that God takes to comfort his saints, 
though thou hast it not in sense, thou mayest have it 
in faith ; and therefore exercise faith, and fetch it in 
that way. Set faith on work in the promise, and let 
that bring out the comfort of the promise. Sense is 
not the way by which God comforts his people, and 
if we look for comfort in a sensual way we mistake 
ourselves ; therefore let us labour to fetch in comfort 
from the exercise of faith. And indeed we should 
more prize those comforts that come from the exer- 
cise of our graces than from any sensible apprehen- 
sions. When thou canst not see comfort in the 
creature, know it is God that thou hast to deal 
withal, and that is thy comfort. God hath not 
placed the creature to be the object of thy comfort, 
but himself; and therefore when thou seekest that 
in the creature, when he hath appointed himself to 
be thy comfort, thou dost undervalue God, and goest 
the wrong way to find comfort. In Isa. li., ' I, even 
I, am he that comforteth thee : who art thou, that 
thou shouldst be afraid of a man ? ' Consider that 
God saith to thee after this manner, I am he that 
comforteth thee. Ai't thou disquieted ? Look upon 
God thus saying to thee. Why art thou cast down, 
poor soul? Is there not more comfort in my word, 
in my power, than in anything which thou makest 
the object of thy disquiet ? In Isa. Ivii., ' I create 
the fruit of the lips, peace,' &c. Thou canst not see 
which way thou shouldst be comforted, and therefore 
because thou canst not thou thinkest it is impossible; 
but when thou canst not see comfort thou shouldst 
consider that God can create comfort for thee; thou 
shouldst look upon God as a creator of comfort, and 
not lie down in discouragement. God will rather go 
about his first work again of creation than that thou 
who art a true mourner shalt want comfort ; he will 
fall a-creating comfort for thee. And this should 
strengthen your faith, and stay up your souls in the 
saddest times of darkness. Why, there is nothing too 
hard for God ; as he made all things of nothing, by 
the bare word of his power, at the first, dost thou 
think that he is not able to create comfort for thee 
now ? If God go to work do not fear thy comfort. 



Mat. V. 4.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



45 



Eighthty and lastly, Suppose thy condition Avere 
such as there was never any in the 'world in the like 
case, yet thou mayest be comforted notwithstanding. 
I suppose there is not any here in this congregation 
that are in that trouble of spirit or body, but that 
there hath some of the saints been in the same, if 
not worse. But grant that there were never any 
that ever were in the conchtion that thou art in, yet 
there is comfort for thee from this scripture : in Isa. 
Ixiv. 4, ' Since the beginning of the world men have 
not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the 
eye seen, God, besides thee, what he hath prepared 
for him that waiteth for him.' Hast thou but a 
heart to wait upon God in thy mourning condition, 
God hath mercy and comfort for thee that none 
knows of. Oh, this should be an encouragement for 
thee to wait upon God. What though we know not 
the comfort ; God doth. And thus I have endea- 
voured to open this box of consolation under this 
head, which is the first particular in this use. 

The second is to answer a question that may here 
be propounded. But you will sa_y, the promise here 
saith, ' They shall be comforted ; ' but I fear this 
don't belong to me. I have mourned a long time, and 
yet cannot be comforted ; I have been in sadness of 
spirit, and I cannot find the promise made good to 
me ; how should I support myself in this case ? 

First of all, Hast thou mourned ? Perhaps thou 
hast sinned more than sorrowed. Examine there- 
fore thy heart well ; hath not thy sins been more 
than thy sorrows ? Therefore be not di.scouraged. 
And what is this sorrow to eternal sorrow ? what is 
this inch of sorrow and mourning to an eternity of 
misery ? But thou art delivered from the hazard of 
miscarrying to all eternity, and therefore this con- 
sideration should sweeten all thy sorrows ; though 
thy condition be sad, yet thou art delivered from 
eternal perishing. 

Secondly, Consider, that faith makes comforts 
future as present to thee ; and it is the glory of faith, 
and that wherein the excellency of it doth consist, to 
make a mercy in a promise that seems a great way 
off to be present. As Abraham by faith saw the day 
of Christ afar off, so faith will represent a mercy to the 
soul in the promise that seems to be at a great dis- 
tance as present. As despair- makes hell and the wrath 
to come present unto the wicked who have enlightened 
consciences, who have the sense of their sin set home 
upon their consciences, it makes the wrath to come 
as present that they cry out many times they are in 
hell while they are upon the earth ; so faith it makes 
a mercy to be certain though not in possession. 
Hast thou no comfort, no glimpse of love in thy holy 
converse with God ? Look into thy spirit and see 
whether thou hast no bunches of Canaan's grapes in 
thy soul ; this is a sign thou shalt have more if thou 



hast any. If thou hast but a spark of divine love, 
gather from thence thou shalt have more; but if thou 
canst not discern any gUmpse of God, yet we have 
the word and ordinances now. Why have we these, 
but that we may support our spirits with them ? 
This was that which David did support his heart 
withal, in Ps. cxix. 49, 50, ' I had fainted in mine 
affliction, had not thy word comforted me.' The 
word of God is sufficient to support the soul in the 
darkest of times of sorrow, and when thou findest 
the least comfort in thy soul in sense, then fly to the 
word and fetch it out by faith. 

Thirdly, Consider, though it be long before comfort 
come, yet this is no strange thing that thou art kept 
without comfort for a while. The most precious saints 
that ever God had have been kept a long time with- 
out comfort ; though they have done Gad much ser- 
vice, and have been very faithful with him, yet they 
have walked in darkness for all this, and their hearts 
have been at a distance from God in point of com- 
fort, as we may see in Heman : Ps. Ixxxviii. 7, 14, 15. 
See how he speaks there, ' Thy wrath lietli hard 
upon me, I am pressed down even unto hell, and 
thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves ; the terrors 
of the Almighty they stick fast upon my spirits ; 
Lord, why castest thou off my soul, why hidest thou 
thy face from me? Shall I never be remembered 
any more ? I am afflicted and ready to die from my 
youth up ; while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.' 
He was even a man of sorrows ; here is the con- 
dition of a godly and wise man : so David in Ps. 
cxix. 81, 82, 'My soul fainteth for thy salvation; 
mine eyes fail for thy word, saying. When wilt thou 
comfort me ? ' When I read thy word I read that 
which may comfort me ; but I cannot be comforted. I 
read those scriptures that have comforted others, but, 
alas ! I cannot find any comfort for me ; they speak 
no peace to me. Lord, when wilt thou comfort me ? 
So that this is no strange thing ; thou hast com- 
panions in this thy sorrow, in this heavy affliction of 
thine, do not say God never did the like to any. 
No ; there are records in Scripture you see of other- 
guess men than you are who have been in the clouds. 

Fourthly, Consider, all this while though comfort 
play, yet thy sorrow is a working comfort for thee ; 
thine afflictions are but working greater consolations, 
and when comfort comes thou wilt see cause to bless 
God that comfort came no sooner. Thou wilt not 
have any cause to repine, but to bless God that com- 
fort was so long delayed ; thou wilt say then, I had 
been undone had I been delivered sooner. It was the 
speech of Mr Bates in prison, I bless God I am not 
in my own or in my enemies' hands in point of 
sorrow or affliction ; for were I in mine own hands, 
I should come out of trouble too soon, were I in 
mine enemies' hands, they would keep me too long ; 



46 



BURROTTGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 4. 



but I am in the hand of God, who knows when it is 
best for to deliver me. So tlion wait on God pa- 
tiently ; though comfort may stay, yet when it doth 
come, thou shalt see that it was worth the waiting 
for. What though it be till death, what thongh thou 
hast not comfort till the last hour, yet eternity will 
make amends for thy staying. 

Fifthly and lastly. Consider, that this is the time of 
mourning, and we know things are seasonable and 
best in their time. This is a Christian's seed-time. 
In the world we must have trouble, and through 
many tribulations we must enter into heaven. We 
know the husbandman ; he is contented to endure 
storms and hardships in seed-time, with this consid- 
eration — the harvest is a-coming. So, though thou 
now sowest in tears, there is a time of reaping in 

But here is that which troubles me, saith many a 
soul : I would be contented to wait till God come, 
were I assured that this promise did belong to me 
— this were that would stay up my heart indeed. I 
would be contented to do God service to the utter- 
most of my power, and to endure any affliction, and 
account myself happy, if he would employ me in any 
thing. Were I but assured of this, that the promise 
were mine, then it would support me. But I fear 
that this promise belongs to others, and that I have 
nothing to do with it. 

For answer to this : we should labour to get our 
mourning into a gracious frame, and tlien we may be 
sure we shall have comfort ; which brings me into tlie 
third thing which I propounded to you concerning 
the rules. 

The third thing propounded in this use is this : 
how we may so order our mourning that it may com- 
fort us. How may I so order my sorrow that I may 
comfort myself with this — tliat the promise belongs 
to me, and that our consciences may tell us we are 
blessed from this word of'promise ? Though others 
see us sad and heavy, yet how may we so carry our- 
selves that they may say, these are blessed, though in 
a sad condition ? Now for this I would entreat you 
to take notice of these rules. 

First of all, (which I desire you would principally 
mind,) In your mourning be sure that you keep good 
thoughts of God. Whatsoever your troubles be, let 
them not raise tumults and hard thoughts of God. 
Let not the devil prevail so far over you as to cause 
your hearts to rise against God. This hath been the 
great care of the saints, to keep down their hearts 
from this distemper. In Ps. xliii. 5, see how David 
there chides his own heart, and rebukes it ; he gives 
it a secret check and a curb. ' Why art thou cast 
down ? ' My soul, thou wouldst be a-rising against 
God now, but come down. Why art thou cast down ? 
I will go unto God, my exceeduig joy. It is a good 



thing when we have any reasonings in our hearts 
about the sadness of our states to lay this conclusion 
in the bottom. 'Yet God is good to Israel;' yet 
God is good, though I am under misery and sorrow ; 
yet God is good to the saints — those that are in a sad 
condition. Those that are in a sad condition love to 
be musing and meditating on their sorrows and afflic- 
tions in their thoughts. But when thou doest thus, 
be sure j'ou lay this foundation first before ever you 
think of your sorrows. ' Yet the Lord is good ; ' 
whatsoever becomes of me, the Lord is good, and his 
counsels are sure and steadfast. David was much 
cast down in his spirit in Ps. Ixxiii. 1, yet see how 
he lays this for a conclusion : ' Y''et God is good to 
Israel.' So say thou thus : Yet the Lord is good to 
my soul; whatsoever sense saitli, and whatsoever temp- 
tations say, or Satan would make me believe, ' yat God 
is good to Israel,' yet God is good to my soul. So in 
Jer. xii. 1, 'Eighteous art thou, Lord, when I plead 
with thee, yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments.' 
Mark how he lays this before he would go to reason 
the case. He justifies God. ' Thou art righteous, 
Lord, yet let mc reason with thee.' So when thoughts 
arise in our hearts about our sad conditions — when we 
ponder and muse upon them in our hearts, yet let 
us be sure to say, ' Thou art righteous, Lord,' and 
then we may consider of our afflictions, and weigh 
them in the balance when this principle is laid at 
the bottom. vSo that good man in Ps. Ixxxix. 38-52 
— there we have a sad story, yet he begins with the 
mercy of God, and exalts the mercy of God in the 
first place. And having raised faith to the very 
heavens in the exaltation of God, then he expatiates 
himself in his sorrows and in the sorrows of the 
church. When the heart is stablished in God's love, 
in the covenant, and in the mercy of God, then we 
may expatiate our sorrows ; but before ever thou let- 
test out thy heart into sorrow, be sure thou viewest 
the love of God in the first place. And in the close 
of the psalm, after that sad story there reckoned up, 
he concludes, ' Blessed be God for evermore,' and he 
puts two asseverations to it, ' Amen, and amen.' As 
if so be he would have it taken notice of, God is 
good in the beginning ; and though there be a bitter 
piece in the middle, yet he concludes, ' Blessed be 
the Lord,' and would have it taken notice of by this 
asseveration, ' Amen, and amen.' So let us reason 
thus : My condition is very sad, and I know not 
almost what to think of myself, but God forbid that 
I should think hard thoughts of God. No ; I will say, 
' yet the Lord is righteous.' Perhaps you have seen 
the saints suffer hard things for God and his cause, 
and your spirits begin to rise perhaps, and you begin 
to question the faithfulness of God, and the love of 
God towards his people. Oh, God forbid that this 
should be in any of you ! Eemember these/ scrip- 



Mat. V. 4.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



47 



tares, and let it be the conclusion of your hearts in 
the saddest state you can be in, ' Blessed be the 
Lord for ever, Amen, and amen.' 

Secondly, Be sure to take notice of all the mercy 
thou hast from God in the afflictions thou art in. 
Let not any affliction drown the mei'cy thou hast. 
It is very sad many times to see how one or two 
afflictions hinders the sight of many mercies that the 
saints do enjoy. A little thing will hinder the sight 
of the eye ; a penny laid upon the eye will keep it 
from beholding the sun or the element above ; so a 
httle affliction, it darkens and hinders the soul from 
seeing a multitude of mercies ; every little trouble 
darkens God's mercies. We should take heed of 
this ; be sure to bring in our mercies with our afflic- 
tions ; whenever we reckon up our sorrows, number 
our mercies with them. In Ps. ciii. 2, David was 
there flying for his life, and yet we see what a won- 
derful sweet frame his spirit was in, how full of 
praises was he : ' Praise the Lord, my soul, and 
forget not all his benefits.' Praising of God in a 
sad condition is sweet melody in the ears of the most 
High. 

Thirdly, Take heed of a sullen, dogged disposition, 
eitber towards God or man in thy sorrows. It is 
very usual for men in a troubled condition, when 
they are in sorrow, to add frowardness to mourning ; 
but we should labour to take heed of this as a great 
evil. Labour for a quiet and meek spirit. Men when 
they are pleased then they are merry and cheerful, 
and of a very good disposition ; but when they are in 
affliction, when they are in pain or sorrow, then they 



are rugged and dogged, so that no man knows how 
to speak to them almost, they are so froward and 
touchy. This is a very ill disposition, and God doth 
not allow of it in troulale of sin. 

Fourthly, Take heed of determining against a com- 
fortable condition in sorrow, that it will never come. 
Say not that comfort will never come, because thou 
bast it not for the present. And therefore when 
comfort doth come, many are so untoward that they 
will not receive it, because they will make their de- 
termination good. God saith to such a soul, ' Peace 
be to thee ; ' but saith the soul. This is too good 
news to be true, I will not receive it because I will 
make my determination good. As Rachel, who re- 
fused to be comforted, so many in their trouble of 
spirit refuse comfort from the word — this is unkind 
deaUng with God. In Job xv. 11, ' Seemeth the 
consolations of the Almighty a small thing to thee ? ' 
know that the Lord expects that thou shouldst 
thankfully fall down and accept of a crumb of mercy 
that he tenders to thee. Look upon thy unworthi- 
ness, that thou art unworthy that God should speak 
a word of comfort to thee ; but if the Lord shall come 
in with his consolations of free grace, welcome them. 
Bless God thou mayest have mercy upon any terms. 
As the woman of Canaan said, ' The dogs have 
crumbs,' so say thou, I am but a dog, yet. Lord, let 
me have a dog's portion. I will thankfully accept of 
it at thy hands. Oh be thankful for the least 
mercy, and it is the ready way to have more, and 
the Lord in his time will give out more mercy to 
thee. 



48 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 4. 



SERMON VII I. 



OR, 



HOW MOURNERS SHOULD ORDER THEIR MOURNING. 



' Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall he comforted.' — Mat. v. 4. 



6.* When tliou art in a mourning condition thyself, 
take heed of envying at otliers that are not in sucli a 
sad condition as thou art in. Though thou wantest 
many comforts tliat thou dost desire, yet bless God 
that others have them. That heart is in a very good 
temper, and a good way of preparation for comfort 
that can heartily bless God for the comforts that 
others have. But this is usual when the heart is 
distempered with sorrow, if so be that they are in an 
under condition and affliction, they are ready to envy 
at others that are more prosperous ; but take heed 
of such a distemper, for it will keep thee under sor- 
row more, and make it more bitter to thee. 

Lastly, According to thy mourning condition, let 
there be much praying. Be sure to add much prayer 
to much sorrow. Never give way to thy heart to much 
sorrow that cannot stand with much prayer ; for 
let thy state be what it will, thou wilt say thou art 
brought into such a state as thou canst not but 
mourn. I will grant it ; but know this is an ever- 
lasting rule to be observed in such as will mourn in 
a Christian way — there must be a proportion of prayer 
to their sorrow. If there be but little prayer, let 
there be but little sorrow ; if much sorrow much 
prayer. I find in Scripture that mourning and 
prayer are joined much together. ' If any man -be 
afflicted, let him pray,' saith the apostle James ; and 
in that of Hosea xii., about the third or fourth verse, 
the text saith concerning Jacob, that ' he wept and 
made supplication.' Weeping and supplication are 
joined together, and afflicted and praying are joined 
together ; and so you read in Judges ii. that the 
people of God did so mourn and weep that the very 
place had its denomination from their weeping. ' It 
was called Bochim, and they sacrificed there unto 
the Lord ; ' but that is added to it, and they sacri- 
ficed there unto the Lord. For one to be in such a 
mourning estate as makes them unfit for sacrifice, 
makes them unfit for prayer — certainly that mourn- 
ing it is not a godly sorrow. Thou hast gone beyond 
the mourning of true gracious sorrow if so be that 
* Continued from previous sermon. — Ed. 



it doth hinder thee from prayer. That thou canst 
not pour forth thy soul with that freedom before 
God as at other times, take heed of any such mourn- 
ing. There is a notable scripture in Ezra ix., where 
you shall find that holy man Ezra in much aflliction, 
with much sorrow and trouble, so that he sat astonied, 
ver. 4 ; but in ver. 5, ' At the evening sacrifice I 
arose up from my heaviness.' At the evening sac- 
rifice, when the time came for him to ofl'er sacrifice, 
then he did arise from his heaviness, his mourning 
did not hinder him in duty. When thy heart is so 
straitened in thy mourning, pretend what thou 
wilt for thy mourning, thy unworthiness, or sinful- 
ness, or anything else, yet if it straitens thy heart 
in prayer it is no godly sorrow. Add much prayer 
to much mourning ; when any comes unto you, you 
are always complaining of your afflictions, and you 
mourn more than your neighbours ; but do you pray 
more than your neighbours do? do you pray asrpucli 
as you do complain ? is there a proportion between 
your praying and complaining ? — certainly if there be 
not a proportion between praying and complaining, 
hold your peace, complain no further, but pray more. 
Many other rules might be given, but we leave them 
and proceed unto that which yet raises the text in a 
more spiritual sense. 

' Blessed are those that mourn.' 

I have spoken now hitherto about those that have 
been in a mourning condition, and behaved them- 
selves graciously in that mourning conchtion, and 
have shewn how they were blessed, and how they 
shall be comforted ; but now that that is yet more 
spiritual in the text is. 

That if those that are in any mourning condition 
behaving themselves graciously are blessed, and shall 
be comforted, then certainly those that mourn for sin, 
that make that to be the object of their mourning, 
their own sins, and the sins of others, and the afflic- 
tions of the church, those that make these to be the 
objects of their mourning, they are blessed indeed, 
and they shall be comforted. 

In speaking of these I do not intend to launch out 



Mat. V. 4.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



49 



into that argument or commonplace of godly sorrow, 
to handle it at large, but I shall only open to you 
something about spiritual mourners that mourn for 
their sins and the sins of others. Therefore I shall 
first shew you what true mourning for sin is ; when 
a man or woman may be said to mourn for sin in a 
gracious manner. 

Secondly, Wherein they may be accounted to be 
blessed. 

Thirdly, What are comforts that belong to such 
mourners for sin ? For the first, then, the true 
mourning for sin is in this manner : 

Firstly, When a soul mourns for sin because it is 
against God. In Ps. li. 4, ' Against thee, thee only, 
have I sinned,' saith David. David had sinned 
against Uriah and his kingdom, and against his own 
soul ; but, above all, he had sinned against God, and 
this went nearest to his heart, that it was against 
thee, and he repeats it again, ' Thee, thee only, have 
I sinned.' As if he should say, Lord, as for any 
evil fruits that may come of my sin, I stand not so 
much upon that, but this goes most to my heart, that 
I have sinned against such a blessed God as thou 
art. I have gone cross to that blessed will of thine 
in that which I have done. This is godly sorrow ; 
not so much to mourn because that sin is against 
thyself, as because it is against the blessed God whom 
thy soul doth love. 

Secondly, The right mourning for sin, it is to 
mourn for sin as the greatest evil. ' Oh wretched 
man that I am ! who shall deliver me from this body 
of death ?' Eom. vii. 24. You never find Paul cry- 
ing out of himself, ' wretched man that I am ! 
that I suffer so much affliction in the world ; that I 
am so despised ; that I have such losses in the world ; 
or have not ways of outward subsistence.' He never 
cries out for his suffering, but for his sin. ' 
wretched man that I am 1 who shall deliver me ? ' 
His greatest sorrow it was for sin. 

Thirdly, Yet bo as approving of the law that forbids 
that sin : I find my heart afflicted for my sin, and in 
the midst of the affliction of my spirit for sin, I 
approve the law of God to be holy, to be just and 
good, though I be wretched and vile, Rom. vii. 12 ; 
where Paul had a great conflict in his own spirit, 
much troubled for the corruption that was in him, 
and yet then did he approve the law to be holy and 
righteous. Many men are afflicted for sin, and their 
spirits are against the holiness of the law that forbids 
the sin. They could wish that there were no such 
law. Indeed, they cannot but be troubled for their 
sin. But in the meantime they could wish that 
there were no such law that did forbid their sin, or 
did reveal any threatenings of God against their sin. 
But a gracious mourning heart that mourns for sin 
is apprehensive and sensible of all the evil that comes 



by sin, and that through the law ; and, saith the soul, 
' I would not but that there were such a law ! I 
bless God that ever I knew the law ; and I approve 
of the law, not only to be a righteous law, but to be 
a good law ! ' and that is the third thing in true 
mourning for sin. 

The fourth thing is this. That it carries the heart 
to Jesus Christ. If so be that you are troubled for sin, 
and mourn, and think thereby to satisfy God by your 
mourning, this mourning it is but carnal and natural. 
Many men and women, when they are troubled for 
their sin, they think God will be satisfied ; no, all the 
mourning that possibly can be, if thou shouldst mourn 
thine heart out, and be mourning thousands of years 
for thy sin, it could never satisfy the justice of God ; 
all thy mourning will come to nothing except it drives 
thee to Jesus Christ for satisfaction unto God's justice. 
The mounnng for sin that drives the soul to Christ, 
that is the blessed mourning ; but when any man or 
woman satisfies themselves in their mourning, and 
thinks that because they mourn for sin God will 
accept of them without having their hearts carried 
unto Christ, this mourning will vanish and come to 
nothing. 

Fiftlily, It must be such a mourning as whereby 
the heart comes to be set against sin, not mourn for 
sin and live in sin, not mourn for sin and yet con- 
tinue in the practice of it, but true gracious mourning 
for sin makes an everlasting separation between that 
league that there was in the soul and sin before. 
Every man and woman naturally hath a league 
between sin and their souls, but when God comes to 
afflict the soul for sin that it mourns in a gracious way, 
the soul is made so sensible of the evil of sin, as that 
it breaks the league between sin and the soul for 
ever. If God hath made sin to be thus bitter to me, 
then for ever adieu ; through the grace of God, though 
I may be overcome through weakness, yet I will re- 
nounce it ; it sets the soul for ever against it. 

Sixthly, The true gracious mourning for sin ; it is 
a free work in the soul ; the soul is active — that is, it 
is not forced upon the soul whether it will or no, but 
such a soul as doth in a gracious way mourn for sin, 
it doth -willingly and Ircely apply unto itself those 
scriptures that may make sin to be burdensome to 
it ; it doth not turn away from those scriptures and 
those truths, but if so be it hear of any truths, or read 
any scripture that may make sin to be heavy to it, it 
applies those freely and willingly ; it is glad that it 
comes to hear any truth of God that shall discover 
the evil of its own sin unto it ; so it is a free mourning. 
Such as mourn desperately, they are forced to it 
whether they will or no, but when the heart can ajiply 
itself to the word freely, and can bless God that God 
did ever open the eyes of it to understand the evil 
of sin, and that ever the Lord did apply those truths 



60 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 4. 



to it that hath made sin to be burdensome, here is a 
gracious mourning. Many men are troubled for sin in 
spite of their hearts, and they wriggle and Iveep a stir, 
and do what they can to get the truths of God out of 
their hearts, and therefore they go into carnal com- 
pany, r.r.d fall a-playing or drinking, that so thereby 
they may get truths out of their hearts ; but now a 
gracious man or woman, when any truth comes into 
its heart that troubles it for the sin it hath been 
guilty of, it goes alone and blesseth God for this 
truth. Blessed be the time that the Lord hath dis- 
covered the evil of sin to my soul, and the Lord sent 
home these truths upon my soul more and more ; he 
accounts it to be a great mercy, that is the sixth. 

Then seventhly and lastly, A gracious mourner 
for sin can be satisfied with nothing else but in the 
removing of the guilt and uncleanness of sin. Another 
that mourns for sin, but in a natural way, or forced 
way, if so be that God would Ijut give unto him any 
peace, or take away the anguish that is in his con- 
science, take away the fears that are upon him, that 
will satisfy him ; but now a gracious mourner for sin 
is such a one as can be satisfied with nothing else but 
the blood of Christ cleansing it from the guilt of sin, 
and the spirit of sin, and the spirit of Jesus Christ 
coming in to sanctify the soul, and this is that that 
will comfort the heart only ; and thus briefly I have 
shewn you, what a gracious mourning is. If I would 
handle this point at large, these seven things might 
very well have taken up our time, but I only give 
you a hint of them. Now, then, such as mourn thus 
for sin are blessed ; for, 

First, By this they do much honour God. The 
sovereignty of God is honoured, and the holiness of 
God is honoured, and the justice of God is honoured. 
Whenas a poor creature that hath offended the 
sovereign, holy, and righteous God comes to be afflicted 
for that sin that it hath committed, God looks upon 
himself as honoured ; whenas a sinner goes on in a 
proud, stubborn, stiff way in his sin, he goes in away 
of defiance against the great God, and doth deny the 
honour that is due to the great God ; but now when 
the word of God comes and beats down this sinner, 
and afflicts it for the sin it hath committed, and it lies 
down flat before the Lord, mourning and lamenting 
that ever it hath sinned against the Lord, here the 
name of the great, holy, and just God is advanced, and 
blessed are they that shall advance the name of God 
thus ; thou shouldst have advanced the name of God 
by thine obedience, but thou hast not done so, but 
hast dishonoured it by thy disobedience ; now if thy 
heart be wiUing to advance it by thy mourning, there 
is a blessedness. 

Secondly, It is a blessed thing to mourn for sin, 
because it is an evangelical grace. It is that that is 
promised in the gospel, when Christ saith, ' I will 



send the Comforter.' What shall the Comforter do ? 
The first work that the Comforter shall do, it shall 
be to convince the world of sin. You will say, here 
is a comforter indeed. What! to come and comfort 
us by convincing us of sin ! It is the way of tlie 
Comforter, and therefore it is a blessed thing. There 
is nothing more evangelical than faith and repent- 
ance ; mourning for sin in this way that I have 
spoken it is no legal thing, it is not a work of the 
law — the law takes no notice of mourning for sin — 
but it is a work of the Spirit of God, of the comfort- 
ing Spirit, to convince the world of sin. And there- 
fore, by the w'ay, whenas you come to hear such 
preaching of the word as gets into your bosoms and 
convinces you of sin, be not vexed and troubled at it, 
for now comes the Holy Ghost that is the Comforter. 
It is the first work of the Holy Ghost, that is the . 
Comforter of those souls that shall be saved, to con- 
vince the world of their sin ; and therefore embrace 
it, and bless God for it. Now comes the Holy Ghost, 
and comes to make way for comfort unto my soul. 
In Zech. xii. 10, 'I will pour out the spirit of grace 
and supplication;' — and what then? — 'and tliey 
shall look upon him Avhom they have pierced,' — with 
their sins, — 'and mourn and lament as one that 
laments for his only son.' It is a fruit of the spirit 
of grace and supplication that was promised to be 
poured forth in the times of the gospel. The first 
sermon that we hear of Christ preaching, it is, 'Ee- 
pent ; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand ; ' and he 
appoints his disciples to preach in that manner : 
' Kepent ; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.' 
Preaching mourning for sin is an evangelical preach- 
ing—a fruit of the spirit of grace that is promised in 
the times of the gospel. And where there is a con- 
gregation upon whom the Lord pours this spirit of 
grace, to look up to Christ whom they have pierced 
by sin, and to mourn over him, such a congregation 
is blessed, for the fruit of the gospel is mightily upon 
them. 

Thirdly, Surely they are in a blessed condition, 
for it appears that they come now to have a right 
judgment. Theii' judgment is enlightened to under- 
stand what is truly good and truly evil, and to have 
a right temper of spirit. Before, they went on in 
blindness, they knew not God, nor themselves, nor 
those things that concerned their eternal good ; but 
now tliey come to understand wherein good and evil 
doth consist. Before, their hearts were hardened, so 
that whatsoever was spoken to them did not take 
with their hearts ; but now their hearts are in a 
gracious softness, and so in a right temper, and 
therefore they are blessed. 

Fourthly, in the fourth place. This mourning for 
sin, it helps against all other mourning, it lielpa 
against other sorrows. Certainly while we are here 



Mat. V. i.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



51 



in this world there ■will be many sorrows ; we mnst 
sorrow for something. Now the sorrowing for sin 
will help against other sorrows ; those that are 
affected with the evil of their sins will not be much 
affected with any other evil, it will eat out the evil of 
other sorrows. 

Fifthly, further, It is a means to prevent eternal 
sorrows. Certainly God will have every soul to 
know what sin means at one time or other. There 
is no sinner upon the face of the earth but at some 
time or other must come to understand what sin 
means. You must have sorrow for sin, that is a 
certain rule ; as it is determined in heaven that all 
men must once die, so it is determined in heaven 
that all men must once sorrow. If they must repent 
they must needs sorrow ; now how much better is it 
to sorrow for sin while it may be pardoned, than to 
sorrow for sin when there can be no help, if so be 
that thou shalt pass thy days away in mirth and 
jollity here, and never come to feel the weight of sin 
upon thy spirit, thou art reserved to have eternal 
sorrows to be thy portion, and to have the load of 
thy sin to lie upon thee to all eternity. ' But blessed 
are they that mourn now,' that feel what the burden 
of their sin means ; for by feeling the burden of it 
now, they feel it in such a time wherein they may 
have hope of being delivered from that evil of sin to 
all eternity, and therefore certainly they are blessed. 
Surely blessed they are, for how many thousands of 
creatures, of men and women, that have lived securely, 
and have gone on all their lives in the hardness of 
their hearts, and never have been made sensible of 
their sin, yet upon their sick and death-beds, then 
they have cried out of their sin, and the Lord hath 
withch'awn himself from them. Now, 1 would appeal 
to such an one. Would you have thought it a blessed 
thing if you had had the weight of sin upon your 
souls before, in the time of your health and strength ? 
You shall hear them upon their sick and death-beds 
cry, Oh happy had it been for me that I had known 
the evil of sin before ! How happy had it been for 
me that those times that I spent in jollity, in mirth, 
in taverns, with such and such company, had I but 
spent those times in mourning for my sin ; had I been 
but alone, and only God and my soul together, and 
there lamenting for my sin, how happy had it been for 
me. I should now have had comfort and peace, now 
I am laid upon my sick-bed ; but I was led by sense, 
and by the flesh, and so sought to satisfy the lusts of 
the flesh ; and I must live merrily and bravely here 
for a while ; and now the weight of sin comes upon 
me. Now I feel it a load. The Lord be merciful to 
me ! Now comes into my mind all the sins of my 
merry meetings ; all my oaths and Sabbath-break- 
ings ; all my drunkenness and whoring ; all my 
lying ; all my neglect of God and his worship. It 



had been better for me that I had been a mourner 
before. Therefore, ' Blessed are they that mourn.' 

Sixthly, and then lastly. It is that that fits for the 
grace of God. There is none that taste the sweetness 
of the gi-ace of God in Christ more than those that 
are mourners for sin. Now one drop of mercy, how 
sweet is it ; now it is worth more than ten thousand 
thousand worlds ! Any one drop of tlie blood of 
Jesus Christ now applied to the soul, how sweet is it. 
Well, blessed is that disposition that shall make that 
blood of Christ to be sweet ! We preach Jesus Christ 
and the glorious mysteries of grace and salvation to 
you from time to time ; and how lightly are those 
precious truths regarded by many thousands. You 
can come and hear them and go away, and your 
hearts not at all taken with them. But now were 
you among those mourners you would prize the 
crumbs that fall from the table. A few of those 
truths that are disregarded now would be highly 
esteemed then, and more worth than thousand of 
thousands of worlds unto you. And therefore 
' Blessed are those that mourn,' for they are in a 
disposition to set a high price upon Jesus Christ, 
upon the great work that Jesus Christ hath done in 
the world, and upon the great work of God the Father ; 
that is the chief work of his, and the great design 
that he hath had from all eternity to magnify himself 
in. Blessed are they that are in such a disposition 
to prize the glory of God in Jesus Christ. 

Seventhly, There is one more, and that is. They 
are blessed ; why '? because there are many promises 
that are made to those that mourn — this is one, and 
this is a comprehensive promise. I might mention you 
abundance of others, and we might spend all the 
remainder of the time in the very naming of the pro- 
mises that are made in Scripture to those that mourn. 
Let but the mourners read Ps. xxxiv. 18, and Isa. 
Ivii. 15, and it will be enough to speak comfort to 
those that mourn. They are in a blessed condition ! 
why blessed ? ' Because they shall be comforted ' — 
that is, 

First, They shall be discharged of all those sins for 
which they mourn ; yea, thou art dischjirged, and 
thou shalt one day come to know that thou art dis- 
charged of all those sins. Those sins that thy heart 
mourns for shall never be charged upon thy soul : 
thou art blessed in this thing, be assured of it. It 
may be yet the Holy Ghost hath not come upon thee 
to seal this to thy soul, but thou art one that the 
Holy Ghost will come upon, and will make it clear and 
sure to thy soul. Thy pardon is sealed in heaven 
already ; and it shall be sealed in thy own conscience. 
Though there be a man which is a malefactor and 
condemned to die, yet if I know that his pardon is 
sealed, I can look upon him as a blessed man. So, 
though thou thyself dost not yet understand this thy 



52 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 4. 



blessedness, yet those who do understand tlie word 
of God, and understand the mind of God as it is 
revealed in the word, such know that thou art a 
blessed man, and thou shalt know it one day. 

Secondly, Further, not only thou shalt be assured 
of thy discharge ; but, in the second place, this 
mourning of thine for thy sin will cause God to pity 
thee in any mourning for thy affliction, and the 
Lord will sweeten the afflictions of such unto them. 
The reason why our afflictions are so bitter unto us, 
it is because sin is not bitter enough ; but those that 
take their sin as a burden, they feel that the Lord 
will pity them in all their afflictions. 

Third!}', They shall be comforted in this, that thy 
very mourning for sin shall be blessed unto thee to 
help thee against that very sin that thou mournest 
for. That is certain — either a man's sin will make an 
end of his mourning, or a man's mourning will make 
an end of his sin, one of the two. If so be a man 
goes on in sin, he will leave off mourning, but if he 
doth not leave off mourning, he will leave off sinning ; 
for certainly mourning for sin hath a special efficacy 
in it, it helps against the sin that thou dost mourn 
for. This bitter aloes that now thou hast is a special 
means for the helping against those craAvling worms 
that are in thy soul. 

Fourthly, But afiove all, thou art blessed that 
mournest for sin, for thou shalt be one day wholly 
delivered from thy sin, when thou shalt never sin 
more against God ; and will not that be a blessed 
time, will not that comfort thee ? certainly, there is 
such a time. Now to open these particulars with 
scriptures, and to enlarge them, would ask a great 
deal of time, which I am not willing to do here, but 
shall go on in the opening of this sermon of Christ. 
Use. Now then by way of application for this. 
Hence, in the first place, the use might be very 
large, what shall become of those that rejoice in sin ? 
those that can be merry in sin ? those that can sin 
and laugh in their sin ? those that are frolic in their 
wickedness, that make their sin to be their May- 
game, and the chiefest delight that they have in the 
world ? There are many men that have no greater 
delight here in this world than the satisfying them- 
selves in their sinful ways and in their lusts. Oh, 
di-eadful, dreadful condition that thou art in, and 
dreadful is the wickedness of thy soul ! hast thou 
nothing else to make the joy of thy soul, but only 
that that strikes at the blessed God himself, only 
that that caused Jesus Christ to be heavy to the 
death, and to sweat dodders of blood, and to cry 
out, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken 
me ? ' Is there nothing else to make thee merry ? 
Here is a black brand of a man that is reserved to 
eternal sorrow's, that shall in this world make his 
chief joy to be in sinning against the blessed and 



eternal God in the satisfying of his lusts, those lusts 
of thine jthat thou findest so much pleasure in now, 
they will be bitter one day : remember this in all thy 
jollity; and if thou dost go on in a way of jollity 
through thy sin, remember what is said against thee 
this day, let it come into thy mind upon thy sick- 
bed and death-bed, thy sin will be a burden. Cer- 
tainly this is a truth ; every man must know and 
feel sin to be a burden or^e day. I remember it was 
a speech once that I have heard of a very jovial man, 
that ((being in company, and his very life lay in 
joviality, drinking and playing; and iiaving some 
enlightenings in his conscience, on a sudden, in the 
midst 'of his company, he claps his hand on his 
breast, and saith, ' Well, one day I must know what 
a wounded conscience means.' And I fear many 
many have cause to say so. Well, one day this 
breast of mine must know what a wounded con- 
science means. Oh, take heed of rejoicing in sin ! 
Surely if Jesus Christ doth pronounce him blessed 
that mourns for sin, then that man, that woman, is 
cursed that can rejoice in sin. 

And then surely mourning for sin is not melancholy ; 
for one to mourn and be troubled for their sin is 
not to grow heavy and melancholy. It is the work 
of the Spirit of God that lays that weight of sin now 
upon the soul, because the Lord intends that this 
soul shall be blessed to all eternity. And do not 
think it a foolish thing for people to be troubled for 
their sin. I will give you but two instances : first, 
against melancholy ; and then, against folly. For 
melancholy : Who do we read had more sorrow for 
sin than David had ? Read his penitential psalms, 
Ps. xxxviii., li., and vi. What a grievous burden he 
found sin I and how he mourned for it ! And yet 
the text saith concerning David, ' That he was of 
a ruddy complexion, and of an active spirit.' And 
then, for folly. There is Ps. Ixxxviii. I do do not 
find'any psalm wherein we may see an example of a 
godly man more under sorrow and affliction than 
the penman of that psalm was — namely, Heman. 
Read but 1 Kings iv. 31, and you shall find that the 
Holy Ghost doth set out Heman as one of the wisest 
men upon earth ; and yet in Ps. Ixxxviii., which this 
Heman did pen, we find him a man under as much 
sorrow and aiBiction as any, and especially for sin : 
therefore it is not folly but blessedness ; it is a work 
of the Spirit of Christ. But the main thing is that 
that I have to speak to such as are mourners. And, 

First, To tell them what their comforts are, that 
are in Scripture, which we find in the word of God. 

And then, secondly, To give unto them some di- 
rections and rules how to seek for the applying of 
those comforts to their own souls. 

And then, thirdly. To shew whether our comforts 
that we have are right comforts or no. But for the 



Mat. V. 4.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



53 



first, not letting such mourners go away without 
some portion ; — 

Is there any here whose hearts are down and low 
before God in a mourning condition ? certainly 
there is comfort for thy soul, there is comfort many 
ways. 

First, Know for thy comfort thou hast to deal with 
a God of infinite grace and mercy, thou lookest upon 
God as a God full of wrath and justice ; but thou 
hast to deal with a God of infinite mercy, that de- 
lights in mercy, with a God whose mercy is his chief 
glory, and the greatest design that ever God had was 
to magnify his free grace, and therefore thou mayest 
be upheld in thy mourning for thy sin. If a child 
have a loving and merciful father and mother, and 
the child should get alone in a room and fall a wring- 
ing of its hands, mourning and lamenting, Oh that I 
could do more to please my father and mother, oh 
that I could do more to give them content, oh that 
I should do anything that should be a grief to my 
father and mother — this is that that goes to my heart. 
Suppose thou shouldest look through a key-hole 
and see thy child thus mourning and lamenting, 
and wringing of its hands for this, that there should 
be any grief to your hearts ; and you should know 
that they did it in truth ; that it were not a mere 
hypocritical thing, but in the very truth of the heart 
of the child there was this sorrow and mourning, would 
you, that have but any compassions in you — would 
you not have your hearts yearn towards this child ? 
Now from whence is it that you have any yearning 
in your hearts towards it ? Is it not from a drop of 
that compassion that the Lord, who is an infinite 
ocean of mercy, hath let out unto you? Take all 
the compassions of all the parents that ever were in 
the world, and they are unto God but as a drop to the 
infinite ocean ; and therefore the Lord looks upon 
the bewaihng of thy sin, and that thou canst do no 
more to please him, but dost that which is a grief to 
him, he looks upon thee in thy mourning, and he 
holds his bottle, and every tear in thy mourning thus 
for sin drops into the bottle of God. 

Secondly, Know thou hast to deal with God in a 
covenant of grace, Hadst thou to deal with God, as 
he is Creator now, and thou a creature, in the way of 
the covenant of works, thou wert undone, and all 
thy mourning would be to little purpose ; if thou 
shouldst howl out all thy days for thy sin, God 



would never regard it. Thou mightest mourn to 
eternity, and yet be tormented to eternity, but thou 
hast to deal with God in the way of the covenant of 
grace that he hath made with poor sinners in Jesus 
Christ, and their mourning for sin is accepted. If 
thou goest into the presence of God with the guilt of 
thy sin upon thee, considering how holy and righteous 
the Lord is, little comfort there can be to thee; but now 
when thou goest to God in the mediation of his Son, 
and in the way of the covenant of grace, didst thou but 
understand what the covenant of grace means, that 
the Lord now hath set apart some people, not to 
deal with them as in themselves, but hath sent his 
Son to come and make satisfaction, and all the ways 
of God towards them shall be through his Son, and 
all their ways towards God shall be accepted through 
his Son ; this would be a great help and comfort to 
them. Upon the fall of Adam our condition was such 
as God might have for ever rejected us, so as not to 
have had any regard to any mourning for sin ; but it 
is through the purchase of the blood of Christ that 
mourning for sin is regarded by God. Thou hast not 
to deal with God as thou art in thyself, but as 
through his Son, who hath tendered up to the Father 
his sorrows for thy soul. 

Thirdly, Know that Jesus Christ hath made a 
sufficient atonement for sin ; that is, the Lord Jesus 
Christ hath made up all the wrongs that ever sin 
hath done to God. The Lord hath not suffered 
more prejudice by thy sin than he hath had honour 
through^the sufferings of Christ for sin ; thy sin hath 
been very vile, and hath wronged God exceeding 
much, but the Lord Jesus hath satisfied for all that 
wrong. Now when there is such a way of atone- 
ment, that when I go to God for the pardon of my 
sin, and for help against it, that I know that God 
shall never have any wrong through my sin, but 
what is made up through the blood of his Son ; if I 
had to deal with God in himself only, then I might 
think that the Lord would one day or other be 
avenged on mo though he doth forbear me for the 
present ; but now when I come to understand what 
the atonement doth mean that Jesus Christ hath 
made, what the price is that Jesus Christ hath paid, 
I now come to see a way wherein all the wrong 
that ever my sm hath done to God to be made 
up — now this cannot but raise up the heart very 
much. 



54 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 4 



SERMON IX. 



OR, 



THE COMFORTS OF MOURNERS FOR SIN. 



'Blessed are they that mourn: for thitj shall be comforted.' — Mat. v. 4. 



To proceed ; fourthly, Know it is the very way of God 
in bringing sinners to eternal life, to bring them in a 
way of mourning for sin. The bringing from the 
captivity of Babylon was as a type of God's bringing 
sinners from the captivity of sin ; ' With supplica- 
tions and weeping will I lead them,' saith God. It is 
the way that God uses to bring sinners to himself, 
the way to Jerusalem which signifies the vision of 
peace, it is Bethany the house of sorrows; Christ went 
that way when he went to Jerusalem ; and certainly 
the way that God hath brought all his servants in all 
ages to true comfort it hath been by sorrow ; the way 
to the valley of Beracho, of blessing, is by the way 
of Bacah, the valley of tears. In these wanton 
times there are some that think they have gotten a 
new way to comfort ; much good may do them with 
their new way for comfort. Some think that there is 
a speedier way to comfort than that which Christ 
hath set here in the word ; he professed that those 
are the blessed ones that are the mourners. They 
shall have comfort, and if thou thinkest that that is 
but a legal thing, even that that Christ preached in 
this sermon of his, if thou thinkest him a legal 
preacher for preaching that the way of comfort is by 
mourning, thou mayest enjoy thy thoughts ; and if thou 
durst venture that comfort which thou hast otherways, 
go on with thy boldness ; but Christ he propounds 
this way, and saith. Those that are mourners, they are 
they that I take care to comfort, Christ is anointed 
to preach glad tidings to the mourners. 

Fifthly, Know this for thy comfort, that it is the 
work of the Spirit, that is sent into the world to be 
the Comforter, to convince of sin, John xvi. 8. You 
find that Christ promising the Comforter to come, 
what shall the Comforter do ? The first thing that the 
Comforter shall do shall be to convince of sin, to 
convince souls of their sinful estate, what their state 
is out of Jesus Christ, what their wretched estate is, 
the Spirit, even the comforting Spirit, shall convince, 
saith the text. Now one would rather have thought, 
according to the ways of men, that it had rather been 
the spirit of the law, a legal spirit to convince of sin ; 



but it is the Spirit that is the comforting Spirit that 
doth convince of sin, and therefore if so be thou hast 
not this conviction of sin, whatever thou mayest 
speak of the comforts of^ the Holy Ghost, certainly 
there is a mistake in thee, for the Holy Ghost when 
he comes to comfort, he comes that way into the 
heart, first, to convince of sin ; therefore thou who 
hast thy spirit convinced of sin, of that unbelief that 
is in thy heart, and convinced powerfully so as to be 
affected, for that is the convincing of the Holy Ghost 
to set home things so as to affect the heart with it, 
let this be a comfort to thee. Lord I through thy 
mercy, I am not only in the way that thou leadest on 
those that thou hast a purpose to save, but I have a 
work of the Comforter ; I hope he is come to my soul, 
he hath convinced me of my sin, and I find my heart 
affected for my sin in sorrow in another way than 
formerly I have done. 

Sixthly, Another way of comfort to the mourners 
for sin is this, that the Lord prizeth this thy mourn- 
ing. Thou thinkest thou canst do but little for God, 
thou hast a wretched sinful soul, and thou art weak 
and unable to do much, but canst thou mourn ; know 
that mourning, being such mourning as hath been 
opened, it is a sacrifice unto God as acceptable as any 
sacrifice thou canst tender up unto him, so in Ps. U., 
' The sacrifices of God are a broken heart : a broken 
and a contrite spirit, God, thou wilt not despise.' 
They are instead of all sacrifices, therefore when thou 
hast no sacrifice to tender up to God, yet hast thou 
not a broken spirit for thy sin ? God highly esteems 
of that, yea, let me tell thee this, there is nothing 
that God esteems more than the tears of a broken 
heart, than that that comes from a broken spirit ; and 
that is a blessing, for godly sorrow comes from faith 
as well as from sense of sin'; — I say nothing next to 
the blood of Jesus Christ, that is in higher esteem by 
God than this, and therefore thou mayest have com- 
fort for the present. 

Seventhly, Know that however the difference of 
sin is a great matter in our eyes, and it should be so, 
we should labour to look upon our sin in the great- 



Mat. V. 4.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



55 



ness of it, witli all its aggravations, yet when it comes 
into the hand of Jesus Christ to satisfy for, great 
and small sins make no such difference with him in 
the work of his mediation. If you spill water in a 
house out of a pail it makes a great show, but there 
is no great difference seen if you pour it into the 
Thames ; so though in our consciences the difference 
of sin is much, yet when it comes to the infinite sea 
of the mediation and satisfaction of Jesus Christ, 
and the grace that is there, the ditference is not so 
much. Oh that only such as are mourners for sin 
might hear this, except that the hearing of it might 
be a means to break the hearts of others 1 

Eighthly, Further, know this for thy comfort, that 
so long as receiving comfort from the word makes 
thee sensible of thine unworthiness, that sense of 
thine unworthiness should not hinder thee from 
taking comfort. This is a certain rule, when the 
taking comfort makes me more sensible of mine un- 
worthiness, then the sense of mine unworthiness 
should not hinder me from taking comfort. For 
this is the great matter that troubles those that are 
mourners — they are afraid that they should presume 
in taking comfort; but take this rule, If the taking 
comfort makes thee more sensible of thine unworthi- 
ness, that sense of thine unworthiness should not 
hinder thee from taking hold of comfort. And that 
might be the first rule of direction, as well as a rule 
of encouragement, to those that mourn for sin. 

But yet further, There are divers rules to help 
those that are mourners how to order their spirits in 
seeking comfort. 

And the first rule is. Labour for a quiet, patient 
heart, for sorrow is tedious to flesh and blood ; but 
now the sorrow that is for sin hath a mixture of the 
grace of God with it. And therefore if mourning 
for sin comes to make the heart to be impatient, to 
fret and vex, it is not right. But mourning for sin 
it hath a sweetness in it, and therefore it should make 
thee patient under God's hand, waiting for the time 
when God will speak comfort to thy soul. Lord, 
here I lie, and am sensible of so great an evil that is 
upon me, that I know all the creatures in heaven and 
earth cannot comfort me in this condition wherein I 
am ; and therefore I am waiting for the good day, 
for the time of love, when thou shalt speak peace to 
my soul. And here I resolve to be waiting upon 
thee in the use of all means as I am able, till my 
last breath, whatever becomes of me. Let that be a 
rule for direction how to order thy heart when thou 
art in a mourning condition. 

And then a second rule is this. Do not only lie por- 
ing upon the dungeon that thou art in, as it were ; but 
while thou art mourning for sin, though yet thou 
hast not assurance that thy sins be forgiven thee, yet 
look up to the promise. It may be thou thinkest it 



doth not belong to thee, but let thine eye be upon it. 
Look up to the brazen serpent if sin hath stung thee, 
as those that were stung in the wilderness looked up 
to the brazen serpent : present the covenant of grace 
to thy soul. As the presenting of the law hath a 
power to terrify the heart, so the presenting of the 
gospel it hath a power to draw the heart to it. There 
is a quickening in the grace of the gospel when it is 
beheld. It is not as a mere object for the eye or un- 
derstanding, but there is a virtue in it. It comes 
into the heart, to work upon the heart ; many that 
are mourners they sufter their hearts to sink down, 
only to consider of the blackness of their souls, but 
look not up to the graciousness of the promise. We 
have a most excellent scripture for that in Ps. Ixxxvi. 
4, 6, ' Eejoice the soul of thy servant,' saith David. 
It seems David was in a mournful state ; now mark 
what he saith, ' Eejoice the soul of thy servant : for 
unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul ; ' that is the 
way for joy. Thou prayest unto the Lord, Oh that 
thou wouldst rejoice my soul ; and yet thou lettest 
thy soul fall grovelling upon the ground. ' But re- 
joice the soul of thy servant : for, Lord, to thee do 
I lift up my soul.' This scriptur&is of exceeding use 
to mourners, for there is nothing that mourners for 
sin are more faulty in than when they desire joy to 
their hearts, yet they sufter their hearts to lie grovel- 
ling below ; they do not stir up themselves, and strive 
to lift up their souls. ' For unto thee do I lift up 
my soul,' saith David. And in verse 5, ' For thou. 
Lord, art good, and ready to forgive, and plenteous 
in mercy to all them that call upon thee.' The Lord 
is ready, if thou canst but lift up thy soul and be 
ready. Therefore take heed that the anguish and 
trouble of thy soul doth not hinder thee from looking 
upon the promise, from listening unto the promise 
that is made unto thee. We find in Exod. vi. 9, 
that when Moses spake to the children of Israel, the 
text saith, ' They hearken not to Moses.' W''hy, 
what did Moses come for ? He came to bring a mes- 
sage to them for their comfort, but they hearkened 
not to him. Why, ' For anguish of spirit, and for 
cruel bondage.' The anguish of their spirits and the 
cruel bondage was such as made them not to hearken 
to Moses. Take heed that this be not thy condition, 
thou that art a mourner for sin, that when the time 
shall come that I should ajjply the promise unto 
thee, that for anguish of spirit and for cruel bondage 
thou dost not hearken to what I said to thee. It is 
not good for a man that is going over a narrow bridge, 
and under which there is a gTeat stream and a deep 
river, for him, especially being weak in his head, to 
be looking upon the river and considering of the 
depth of it, and what a gulf it is that he should be 
swallowed up unto if he should fall ; this very look- 
ing were enough to make him fall. But let him 



56 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 4 



look right on to the shore, and go as carefully as 
he can, and when he is got upon the shore, then 
he may look back safely, and bless God for his de- 
Uverance. So it should he with the heart that is 
afflicted for sin. Thou art mourning, and lookest 
iipon it as a dreadful gulf that thou art ready to be 
swallowed up of; thou art poring upon that now 
that may endanger thee to be swallowed up of it. 
But the truth is, when thou art upon this brink, 
(for the work of repentance it is a kind of brink,) 
thou art to look on to the promise, to the grace of 
God in the gospel that is tendered unto thee ; and 
when thou art got upon shore, and art enabled to 
apply the promise of grace, then thou mayest look 
back to that dreadful gulf which thou wast ready to 
be swallowed up of, and then bless God for it. 

And then a third rule in seeking after comfort is 
this, Be not more solicitous about getting comfort to 
thyself than about the glory of God ; even when 
thou art mourning for sin, labour to get thy heart to 
this frame, to be as sohcitous and careful about the 
glory of God as about comfort to thyself. We find 
this by experience, that many which are afflicted 
much for their sin they are altogether for comfort. 
Oh that one would s^jeak comfort to them ; and no 
word is acceptable unto them except it bring comfort, 
and that immediately, to them. But now, in the 
meantime, they are little sensible of the dishonour 
that God hath had, .or how God should have honour. 
Whereas the heart that is rightly wrought upon, 
when it apprehends the evil of sin, it is as well taken 
up thus : Oh the dishonour that my sin hath brought 
to God, and how can that dishonour be made up ! 
Oh, if I should Uve any further to the dishonour of 
this blessed God, what should become of me ! how 
much better had it been I had never been born, than 
to live to the dishonour of that God that now I see to 
be so blessed in himself, and so infinitely worthy of all 
honour from his creatures. Ay, this is good, when the 
honour of God takes up thy heart, and thou art 
solicitous about that; and because thou canst not 
make up that breach, therefore thou listenest after 
that that thou hearest of in the gospel of Christ. And 
yet thou art further careful of this, that whatsoever 
rule may be propounded to make against thy sin, or 
to further thee in any way of obedience to God, thy 
heart doth as greedily embrace those rules as those 
rules that make more immediately for thy comfort. 
I would express myself in this similitude, that you 
may more fully understand what I mean : Many who 
have weak stomachs, and their nature almost spent, 
they would fain have some spirits to refresh them, 
and they are altogether for hot waters; they find 
themselves cold, and want strength, and they think 
to take such cordials, and to take hot waters, because 
they have more spirits and heat in them, and are 



more suitable to their condition ; whereas the truth 
is, hot waters do but burn them up and spoil them, 
and makes them still weaker and weaker, and doth 
but consume that natural heat that they have. 
Whereas a wise physician when he comes and asks 
them what such a one took ; why, every day he drunk 
such hot waters. Why, saith he, he hath spoiled him- 
self ; he should rather have purged out the ill-humours 
in the body, then take broth and other things ; and 
though they be not so hot, yet by degrees they will 
strengthen nature, and then begin to nourish, and so 
there will be good blood, and from good blood there 
will be good spirits raised, and they are the best 
spirits. When one drinks hot waters they may be in 
a flame and heat for a while; ay, but that will not hold. 
But if one can come to have heat from good blood, 
that will hold, and so the man lives and comes to be 
strong. Thus it is for all the world in Christians ; 
there are some that are very sensible of their sin, and 
they would have all comfort — they would have that 
which is altogether spirits preached to them, nothing 
else but the very name of Christ, and free grace to 
them ; well, it may be that may heat thee a little 
while, but the truth is, this heat vanisheth and 
comes to nothing. Whereas the other, if he be a wise 
physician for the soul, he will apply that word that 
may purge out the evil from their hearts ; that word 
that carries the life of sanctification, and walking 
v/ith God in the ways of holiness, that should put 
them upon those things. Together with the free grace 
of the gospel, he will present Christ as a king to 
rule in the heart, as well as a priest to offer sacrifice; 
and this will breed good blood. Therefore be solicitous 
about the glory of God — how thou shouldst live to his 
praise^ as how thou shouldst come to get comfort to 
thyself; for otherwise the greedy seeking of comfort 
to thyself may come to be thy undoing. 

Fourthly, And then further thou must seek for 
comfort in order unto grace, rather than grace in 
order unto comfort. You shall have those that vanish 
and come to nothing in their seeking for grace ; they 
only seek for grace that .they may have comfort, and 
have no loye to grace any otherways but because it 
may bring them comfort and ease to their consciences. 
But now a godly soul it rather seeks for comfort for 
the furtherance of grace, than grace for the further- 
ance of comfort. Why, why wouldst thou have com- 
fort ? Why, by that means I hope my heart will be 
more enlarged for God ; and the more peace I give 
to my soul, the greater furtherance will this be to the 
grace that is in my soul, and therefore would I have 
comfort. But a hypocrite he would have grace because 
he can have, no comfort without it ; but the other 
would have comfort because else grace would not so 
much thrive in him. 

Fifthly, And then the last rule that I would give 



Mat. V. 4.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



57 



to mourners is this — If thou canst not be able to 
exercise a faith of assurance, try what tliou canst do 
to exercise a faith of adherence ; and that thou mayest 
do at any time, that every one hath hberty to do. 
You will say it is only believers can do this ; but thou 
dost not know whether there be some seed of faith 
that is begotten in thy heart already, yea or no ; and 
therefore let thy contUtion be the saddest that pos- 
sibly can be conceived. Thou sayest that thou hast 
been such and such a wretched sinner ; well, we will 
grant it. Yet I say this very instant, when thou lookest 
upon thyself as such a vile sinner, there is nothing to 
the contrary but that there may be a putting forth of 
the faith of adherence — that is, the casting of thy 
soul upon the free grace and the full grace of God in 
Christ, and cleaving to it. You will say, But I may 
presume ; have I any right to it ? I say this. There 
is never any soul had any other right to the promise 
of grace but by casting itself upon it ; that gave it 
right. Now it may be thou hast not the faith of 
assurance — that is, to conclude thus : Well, Christ is 
mine, and because I know he is so, therefore I will 
trust and believe in him. But thou mayest do thus : 
I see the promise that is tendered to \Yretched, sinful 
creatures, and therefore, though I do not know that 
he is mine, yet I will venture luy soul and eternal 
estate upon it ; I will lie here and roll ray soul upon 
this free grace of God in Christ for pardon, and like- 
wise for sanctification and salvation, and for all good. 
This is the way of getting comfort, I say, to endea- 
vour what you may to put forth an act of the faith 
of adherence in cleaving, though thou canst not put 
forth an act of assurance. Thus I have endeavoured 
to speak to those that are. mourners to comfort them; 
for Christ saith, ' They shall have comfort.' If I 
could but now bring the promise that Christ hath 
made here to any one soul, though it may fall out so 
that some may be hardened and abuse what is said, 
yet it will be enough, and Christ will accept of it. 
If the comfort promised may be brought by this ser- 
mon home to any one soul, Christ saith, ' Thou shalt 
be comforted;' but how shall this be effected but by 
the word, and therefore thou dost well to come and 
attend upon the word. It may be thou hast come 
oftentimes to hear the word. Ay, but it hath not com- 
forted thy soul ; there hath not been a union between 
the word and thy soul, and so thou hast gone away 
comfortless. Well, yet come again ; do not say that 
it is in vain for me to attend the word, for I have 
heard, I am sure, as precious truths deHvered as ever 
can be heard by any, and I liave not found them to 
comfort me. Well, though they have not at that 
time, there hath not been a close between thy heart 
and those truths ; yet still come again and again, and 
at length there will be a close between the word and 
thy soul ; and that may be darted into thy soul by 



the Spirit of God in one sentence that thou hadst 
not before in all thy life. Oh, sailh one, I find my 
heart troubled for sin, and mourning for sin ; I would 
have comfort, and God knows I read the word, and 
there I find precious and excellent truths ; ay, but they 
do not get to my heart. Well, I come to hear the 
word, and I find that I get nothing thereby ; ay, but I 
will come again, and wait at the pool to see when the 
angel will come and stir in my heart. Well, now 
though it come not yet, yet at length thou shalt be 
able to say, as Mr Glover, that spake to his friend 
Austen, though he could have no comfort for a long 
time, yet at length when he came in sight of the 
stake he cries to his friend, ' he is come, he is 
come.' So in the use of means wait while the word 
shall come and close with thy heart, that thou mayest 
have comfort. Well, I cannot say but that God 
hath comforted my soul in my mourning condition. 
Oh that I did but know whether it were the comfort 
of Jesus Christ, yea or no ! Well, I will give you two 
or three notes to know whether it be the comfort of 
Jesus Christ or no. 

In the first place. If thy joy and comfort be the 
joy of the Lord, why then it is thy strength : so 
Nehemiah, chap. viii. 10, saith to the people. You 
find joy brings strength, comfort brings strength to 
your souls. As thus, canst thou say. Well, through 
God's mercy, though I were weak heretofore, and could 
not overcome such and such corruptions, since God 
hath spoken peace to my soul I have found more 
strength to come into my heart to overcome my cor- 
ruptions than ever I did before. Why, is this thy 
comfort ? doth it work thus ? Peace to thee, it is 
from God ; that that carries unto God it comes from 
him, it is* a delusion or a fancy. Hypocrites are 
discovered in this as much as in anything ; though 
when they are in terrors, then they will take heed of 
sin, and set upon duty ; but when they have peace, 
then they grow more loose. But it is otherwise in 
such whose hearts are sincere with God. 

Secondly, That that is the true comfort of Chris- 
tians, is fed by that that at first wrought it. Look, 
what begets a thing doth nourish it, so the philoso- 
phers say; it is so in nature, and it is so in the heart 
of man. Look, what nourishes thy comfort, that 
did beget thy comfort ; and what begets it, that will 
nourish it, and nothing else. Now then, if thy com- 
fort be truly spiritual, be from the Spirit of Jesus 
Christ in thy heart, then there is nothing that will 
nourish thy comfort more than Jesus Christ in thy 
heart; and it makes thee therefore long after more 
communion with Jesus Clirist. Hypocrites have 
comfort; but what doth nourish andmaintain their 
comfort ? ■ Outward things that they enjoy, the 
esteem of the world, their gifts and parts and en- 
* Qu. ' otherwise it is' ?— Ed. 



68 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 4. 



largements maintain their comfort. But now the 
comforts of the saints are such as are maintained by 
higher principles. As you know, the Scripture com- 
pares joy to light ; now we know in nature there is a 
light that is maintained and fed by mean things, as 
the light of a candle. But then there is the light of 
the sun. Now that light is of another nature; that 
is not fed by such low and base things as the light of 
candles are. Now in Scripture the joy of the wiclced 
is compared to the light of a candle ; but the joy of 
the saints is compared to the light of tlie sun : Prov. 
iv. 18, 'The righteous is as the sun, that shineth more 
and more unto the perfect day.' Now if thou findest 
this, that tlie light that thou hast in thy soul is main- 
tained from principles that are above, from the Sun 
of righteousness shining into thy heart, surely it is a 
right comfort. 

And then thirdly. If thy comfort be such as doth 
rule all other comforts in thy heart — I mean the 
comfort in hope of the pardon of thy sin. The com- 
forts of a hypocrite are such, that though they are 
much affected with joy, yet it is not able to overrule the 
natural comfort they have, neither can it eat out the 
corrupt joy that was in their souls. But now the joy 
of the saints, I say it is such as overrules natural joy, 
and eats out corrupt and sinful joy. As the light of 
the sun, you know, it will put out the light of the 
kitchen fire, and darken the light of the candle, so 
the light and heat of true comfort in the soul will 
eat out that carnal joy that was before : saith Austin, 
How sweet is it to want such sweetnesses. There 
was a time that I thought I could not tell how in 
the world to be without the sweetness of such and 
such lusts. But now, oh how sweet is it to be with- 
out them! So many of you must live jollily; ay, 
but the joy that you have, what is it but joy in base 
and low things ? it is nothing but corrupt joy which 
you have. But now, if you had the comforts of the 
Holy Ghost, it would eat out that joy, so that there 
would be no place for such corrupt joy as now your 
hearts take such content in : and thus much for the 
speaking to those that are mourners. We have yet 
a word or two to speak, 

First, To those that have rot yet been such 
mourners, and then to speak to the saints to put 
them on to mourn yet further, seeing Christ jsro- 
mises such comfort. 

For those who are shy of mourning. There are a 
generation of men that are so shy of mourning, they 
think it will bring them to despair if they should 
give but any way in their mourning for their sin ; 
and therefore, though sometimes they think their 
hearts begin to be touched by the word, they labour 
with all their might to put off that word, and they 
will come no more to hear if they meet with a word 
thatcouics to their consciences and cuts to the quick. 



They will come no more ; they cannot sleep so quietly 
that niglit as they did formerly ; they look upon 
mourning for their sin with such a shy eye, as if it 
were the most wickedest thing in the world. Oh, 
poor deluded soul, thou art infinitely mistaken ! Ee- 
member this text, and know that by this text thou 
mayest — if thou well acknowledge this to be the 
book of God, and these to be the words of Christ — 
know that thou art mistaken. Christ saith that they 
are blessed — ' Blessed are those that mourn ; ' if thou 
wouldst come to be a blessed man, entertain even 
a spirit of mourning. Doth the Spirit of God begin 
to come to thy soul through the word 1 be willing to 
open thy heart to him, and entertain it, and make 
much of that word. Eemember that text — I speak 
of it but by way of allusion — in Dan. vii. 28, saith 
Daniel there, ' My cogitations much troubled me, and 
my countenance changed in me : but I kept the 
matter in my heart.' It is a very observable place; 
Daniel had something revealed by God unto him. It 
is true, the case is dififerent, Daniel's and yours ; but 
there was a message of God revealed unto him, and 
the text saith, ' That the thoughts of his heart did 
trouble him, and his countenance was even changed.' 
Well, would he cast it off now? No; but I kept 
the matter in my heart for all that. I verily believe 
that some of you coming to hear the word, there is 
sometime darted into your spirits that doth trouble 
your thoughts when you lie upon your beds and 
awake in the night season ; there is something that 
troubles your hearts, and you will go into company 
to put it off. Oh no, but you should keep it rather. 
How dost thou know but that now the Lord is in a 
way to make thee blessed ? Thou didst go on before 
in a way that tended to wrath and misery, in a cursed 
way. Now the Lord Christ is coming to thee to 
make thee blessed, for aught thou knowest, and thou 
hast an opportunity for blessedness that, perhaps, if 
thou shalt reject, thou shalt never have again. Thou 
wilt now put off the word that doth now begin to 
work with thee. It may be, if thou shouklst, the 
Lord may say. Let the word never strike thy heart 
more, let the Spirit never accompany this word more ; 
and then upon thy sickbed, when thou wouldst have 
comfort, this scripture may be brought against thee, 
' Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be com- 
forted;' and thou hadst a wretched heart, that didst 
reject the ways of the Spirit, that would have made 
thee mourn. Oh, as e^'er any of you would have 
comfort upon your sickbeds and deathbeds, be willing 
to mourn, and follow on the work of the Holy Ghost, 
when it doth begin to stir your hearts in a mourn- 
ing way for your sin ! and be not put off by any con- 
ceit whatsoever ; though some perhaps have taught a 
new way to make people wholly abandon moiu'iiing, 
yet know that it is the old way which the saints of God 



Mat. V. 4.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



59 



have gone on heretofore in ; and therefore embrace 
this, and to the end that thou mayest embrace it, 
take these few directions. 

In the first place, It is a good way for men that 
find their hearts begin to be troubled for their sin, 
for them to get alone, to get out of the way from 
other company, and to retire themselves. At any 
time when thou findest thy heart begin to be troubled, 
retire thyself, get alone, be musing of thy sin, and 
lay the rule to thy heart all alone between God and 
thy soul. It is a very excellent observation that we 
may have from that of Peter when he had committed 
that great sin, and Christ did look upon him ; you 
know the text saith, ' He went out and wept bitterly.' 
But I find, in one of the Gospels, it is said more than 
'he went out ; ' — though that would serve our turn, that 
he would not stay among the company, but when he 
vi'ould fall a-mourning he gets alone — but I find in 
Mark's Gospel, chap. xiv. 72, it is said, ' And when 
he thought thereon, he wept.' Now the word that 
is translated ' He thought thereon,' sct/Skaws, those 
that understand the original know it is a word that 
signifies any kind of violence that a man uses upon 
himself, and so by some translated, ' The casting out 
himself — a using a violence upon himself in casting 
himself out from the company ; he had enough of 
them. Oh do thou so when thou feelest the Spirit 
of God begin to stir and work in thy heart ! even cast 
out thyself, as it were, from company, and labour to 
work upon thy thoughts those things that may affect 
thy heart further. 

Secondly, Present God to thy soul to the uttermost 
that thou art able. Consider that thou hast to deal 
with an infinite God in all thy ways ; present God 
and Christ to thy soul. You will say, I dare not. 
Ay, but be not afraid of tliis ; you must one day see 
the Lord in his glory, and therefore present the Lord 
to thy soul now in his glory. 

Thirdly, And then do not satisfy your hearts in any 
duty till you find your hearts beginning to break ; do 
thou call thyself to account, I am now praying to 
God, and I can pray, ' Forgive us our trespasses as 
we forgive them.' But now do I find my heart mourn- 
ing for them, I speak of my sins, do I acknowledge 
them in the bitterness and trouble of my soul ? Oh, 
this were an excellent frame, not to leave off till thou 
findest thy heart somewhat to stir. Ay, but you Avill 
say. Oh, but I cannot get my heart to ■ stir ; God 
knows I would give a great deal if every time I went 
into the presence of God I could get my heart to 
lament and mourn for my sin ; oh, but I cannot. It 
is well that thou sayest that thou wouldst do it, 
whereas you have some that think if once they be 
believers, why, then, should they mourn ? Now for 
the convincing of this vain opinion, know but thus 
much, that the truth is, there is rather more mourn- 



ing that is required and used to be preached by the 
saints after the assurance of the pardon of sin than 
before it. I say more, and I will give you that notable 
example of David. You find that when David had 
sinned, and the prophet came to convince him of his 
sin, David said he had sinned ; the prophet, in the 
name of God, saith to him, ' The Lord hath done 
away thy sin.' But now a long time after, when 
David made the 51st Psalm, you shall find he fell a- 
mourning afresh; and yet his sin was forgiven before, 
and he knew it was forgiven, and yet do but observe 
the 5Ist Psalm, what the title is that David gives to 
the psalm, ' To the chief musician, a psalm of David, 
when Nathan the prophet came unto him after he 
had gone in to Bathsheba.' So that Nathan had 
come to him before he makes this psalm, and Nathan, 
when he came to him, he told him his sin was for- 
given, and yet he makes this psalm, and laments his 
sin in bitterness, and cries to God to restore the joy 
of his salvation, that the bones that he had broken 
might rejoice. His very bones were broken, notwith- 
standing he had that message from God that his sin 
was forgiven. If the Lord should send a messenger 
from heaven to tell any one of you, man, woman, all the 
sins that ever thou hast committed in all thy hfe are 
freely forgiven, what wouldst thou do now ? Truly 
thou hast much cause upon this, this evening to get 
into thy closet and to lament thy sin, and this night, 
if it were possible, to water thy couch with thy tears 
— as David saith, he made it swim ; tlierefore the 
assurance of the pardon of our sin is no hindrance 
to mourning for sin, only it makes our mourning 
more sweet and evangelical than it was before. And 
therefore for thy help, that thou mayest get thy heart 
thus to mourn, look up for the spirit of mourning : 
Zech. xii. 10, ' I will pour the spirit of grace and sup- 
plication, and they shall look upon me whom they 
have pierced; and they shall mourn for him as one 
mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness 
for him, as one is in bitterness for his first-born.' 
Mark, God hath not only promised comfort to the 
mourners, but he hath promised mourning to the 
sinners too. Why, thou art not excluded, the promise 
is infinite : ' I vyill pour out the spirit of grace and 
supplication, and they shall mourn.' Why, Lord 
God, I have a hard heart, yet if thou wilt pour that 
Spirit of thine upon me, I shall mourn ; therefore 
look up to God and plead the promise. And then 
that other promise, ' I will take away the heart of 
stone, and give them a heart of flesh ; ' why. Lord, 
this promise of thine is not to such and such upon 
such and such conditions, but a free and absolute 
promise. 

And then it is a good way to converse with 
mourners, to go into the company of such as are 
broken-hearted Christians. It will make a man 



60 



BUEROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 4. 



think thus : Why, Lord God, such a one that walks 
so moft'ensively, so graciously, yet what a broken 
heart hath such a one. I have a wretched heart, 
and yet I cannot find my heart break ; thus the very 
society of poor broken hearts will be a mighty help 
to thee. 

And then, fourthly. If you cannot mourn, then 
mourn that you cannot mourn. Oh this will be 
acceptable unto God. You will say, I cannot have 
command over my heart to mourn for sin as I desire. 
Ay, but canst not thou go to God and make thy 
moan, and complain of this as the greatest evil that 
is upon thee : Lord, I account this dull, hard heart of 
mine as a most fearful evil upon me ? 

And then, fifthly. Do not give way to yourselves 
to take any joy or comfort in anything in this world 
till you get your hearts broken for your sin. Will 
not my heart yieUl in way of mourning for sin, it 
shall not rejoice then ; I will not let it out to any 
vain mirth and joy until I can get it to break, and 



although heretofore I took content in such and such 
company, and in the use of the creature. It is true, 
it is lawful for a man to take comfort, but is it con- 
venient for such a man as I that can never mourn for 
my sin ? Nay, I will charge this upon my heart, first 
to labour to be affected for sin, and to mourn for sin, 
and then I hope I shall take more comfort both in 
God and his creatures than heretofore. 

And then, Lastly, Oh take heed of sinning after 
mourning, thou that wouldst have such a mourning 
heart as is here spoken of in this my text for thy sin. 
Take heed that if ever God begins to break thy heart 
and help thee to mourn, that thou do not sin wilfully 
after mourning. If God begins to wound thy heart 
for tliy sin, above all times thou hadst need now to 
be watchful and careful over thyself. Oh let me lay 
a deep charge upon thy soul to look to itself, that now 
being troubled for such and such a sin, thou do not 
after this give way and liberty to thy soul to commit 
the same sin again. 



SERMON X. 

OR, 

AN EXHORTATION TO MOURNERS FOR SIN. 



' Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall he comforted,' — Mat. v. 4. 



I HAVE hut a word or two for exhortation further 
about this argument of mourning for sin. 

It is an exhortation even to those that have 
mourned for sin, to mourn still, to make it a con- 
tinued work. I told you that the assurance of the 
pardon of sin is no hindrance to mourning for it, but 
should rather be a furtherance, as it was in David ; 
and therefore you who are the people of God, God 
expects that you should mourn for sin, for you know 
how sin is against the holiness of God, the blessed 
will of God, more than others do ; you know what 
price was paid for the purchase of the pardon of it 
more than others do, and therefore do you mourn. 
Your sins they grieve the Spirit of God more than 
others' do. The sins of other men may provoke God's 
Spirit, but yours grieve God's Spirit, Eph. iv. 30 ; 
your sins do more hurt than others' do, therefore do 
you mourn. You know what the great mischief is 
that sin doth iu the world, Rom. viii. 21, 22 ; sin 
makes the whole cre^ition to groan under the burden 



of it, and shall not you be sensible of so much evil of 
sin as remains in your hearts ? You know that sin is a 
greater evil than all afflictions whatsoever, and there- 
fore do you mourn ; go under the burden of sin with 
a heavy heart as long as you live. It is not long 
that God hath to glorify himself in your sorrow, it 
will not be long but you shall be delivered from your 
sin ; but so long as you have this body of sin about 
you, God expects mourning from you. God expects 
from you not only to mourn for your own sin, but to 
mourn for the sins of others, ' and blessed are they 
that do so, they shall be comforted.' 

First, We are to mourn for the sins of others. We 
have very remarkable scripture for this, Ezra ix. 3. 
Oh the lamentable condition that Ezra was in for 
the sins of his people ! he doth rend his garments, 
and sits down astonished for their sins. And David 
in Ps. cxix. 63, ' Horror takes hold upon me,' saith 
David. What! wasthcreanygreat judgment near him? 
No ; ' Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the 



Mat. V. 4.] 



BURROUGHS OM THE BEATITUDES. 



61 



wicked thcat forsake thy law.' When he behekl the 
\Yickedness of men, his heart Was struck with horror, 
because they forsoolc God's law; and ver. 136, ' Rivers 
of water run down mine eyes, because they keep not 
thy law;' and ver. 158, ' I beheld the transgressors, 
and was grieved ; because they kept not thy word.' 
David's spirit was in a very blessed frame when lie 
penned this psalm, and see how he is atl'ected with 
the sins of others ; and in that famous place, the 9th 
of Ezekiel, there you find how God marks those that 
mourn for the sius of the places where they live. And 
if we look into the New Testament, there is nothing 
more full ; the example of Paul, 2 Cor. xii., ' When 
I come God shall humble me, and I shall bewail those 
that have sinned ;' and that place is famous, 2 Pet. 
ii. 7 — it is said of righteous Lot that his soul was 
vexed ; and then in ver. 8, it is said, ' He vexed his 
righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful 
deeds.' The word in the Greek is different from what 
it is in your books ; m the 7th verse is a word, -/.(ira- 
Tototj/j.itov, that signifies opjiressed; as much as op- 
pressed the soul ; it was a burden to his soul, as an 
oppression is a burden to a man ; he accounted him- 
self wronged by the sins of others, and he went under 
it as a great oppressing burden. That is the mean- 
ing of the word. I find the same word in Acts vii. 
24, where it is spoken of ]\Ioses that helped the man 
that was oppressed. The word that is there, him 
that was oppressed, is xararroiov/iieui ; it is the same 
that is here, for Lot's soul was vexed. And I find 
sometimes the word signifies to be weakened by sick- 
ness in other authors; so it is said of Lot, righteous Lot, 
the wickedness that he saw in others did so trouble 
his righteous soul, as it was as grievous to him as a 
sickness is to you. That is the meaning of the first 
word in ver. 7. Then the second word that is in 
ver. 8, there it is vexed again ; but the word is in the 
original, f/Saurai'/^si', he did cruciate. It is a word 
that is used to signify the tormenting of a man upon 
a rack, as if the Holy Ghost should say the wicked- 
ness of those he lived among did put that gracious 
soul of his upon the rack. He was as a man upon 
the rack, with the sins of those among whom he lived ; 
and you that are wicked and ungodly, you must not 
think that you shall only suffer for your own sins, 
you shall suffer for the grief that you put the godly 
to. You must not think that your sins concern not 
them at all ; oh yes. You do wrong them by the sins 
you commit. Why, if you should see a man strike 
your father in the street, and you should come to him 
and ask him why he did it ; and he should answer. 
What is that to you ? I did not strike you. But you 
strike my father. So when you sin you strike their 
Father, you dishonour their God, and this is a crucia- 
ting unto them. 

The reasons therefore why we must mourn for the 



sins of others as well as our own, that is the first, 
because the blessed God is so much dishonoured. Oh 
how must it needs go to the heart of a godly man to 
see that God, whom his soul loves — that God who is 
so infinitely blessed and glorious, so infinitely worthy 
of all honour from all creatures, to be so dishonoured 
by base, wretched worms ! There is a report of 
Crcesus' son, that was dumb all his days, until he saw 
a soldier striking at his father to kill him, and then 
the afl'ection that he bore to his father did break the 
bars of his speech, and he cries out. Why do you kill 
Croesus ? So when we see God, that blessed God, so 
dishonoured, whom our souls do so love, it must of 
necessity piiBrce our hearts. 

And then, secondly, Our love to others should 
cause grief. Why? when we see others sin against God, 
we see them do mischief to themselves. Doth it not 
grieve you when you see men wound and destroy 
themselves ? when j'ou hear of men's houses on fire, 
and of the grievous pains they are in ? Why, you 
mourn for it, and it would make, you say, the hard- 
est heart in the world to melt. You can never see a 
man so miserable by anything as he is by sin ; sin 
makes him the most miserable creature in the world, 
and therefore, if you have any love to your brother, 
mourn for his sin. 

And then, thirdly. Because the sins of others doth 
bring a great deal of evil to the world. What is the 
cause of the evils that are in the world but the sins 
that are committed in the world ? and while thou 
dost live in the world, thou canst not but partake of 
the miseries that do come by sin. In Eccles. ix. 18, 
' One sinner destroys much good ;' what doth many 
sinners then ? As the vapours, they ascend in- 
sensibly up, but they come down sensibly ; so the sins 
of the world they may ascend up, and men not regard 
them, but they will come down in grievous storms 
and tempests. 

And then, fourthly, There is cause of mourning 
for the sins of others, because thou canst never see 
any man commit any sin but thou hast cause to con- 
sider that the root of that sin is in thy heart. It is 
reported of Bradford that he never saw a man commit 
a sin, never heard a man swear an oath, or the like, 
but he would use to say, ' God be merciful to me a 
sinner.' God be merciful to me — that is, he saw the 
root of that sin in his heart. It is true, the Lord hath 
restrained thee from such cross sins, but thou hast 
the root of them in thy heart ; and therefore thou 
hast cause to mourn when thou seest sin in others. 
And blessed are they that do thus mourn. 

For, first, This argues sincerity ; this argues much 
of the Spirit of God. It doth not argue so much sin- 
cerity to mourn for our own sins as for the sins of 
others ; though indeed there is more cause why we 
should mourn for our own sins than for others', yet 



G2 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 4. 



there is more sincerity in monrning for others' sins 
than for our own. 

And then, secondly, By mourning for other men's 
sins thou dost free thyself from the guilt of them. 
How canst thou that livest in a nation or family be 
free from the sins of those that thou dost converse 
withal, if thou dost not mourn for them ? But now 
when thou canst mourn for the sins of others, thou 
dost free thyself from the guilt of them, and especially 
when thou mournest for the sins of such as are in 
relation to thee, then thou dost free thyself from the 
guilt of those ; as it may be there is such a godly 
child whose eyes God hath opened to see his own 
sins, and he mourns for them. Oh, but he thinks 
with himself, will ever God be merciful to me that 
came of such a stock ? I have such a father or mother 
that is so profane, a drunkard, a swearer, a scorner, 
and I am afraid that the Lord will visit the sin of 
my father upon me. Now, thou that art a child hast 
no way to be delivered from the guilt of the wicked- 
ness of thy father and mother, or thy forefathers, 
but by mourning for them. Hath God pulled thee out 
of a wicked stock, now God doth expect that thou 
shouldst mourn and lament for the sins of that stock ; 
and so thou livest in a wicked family, and the judg- 
ments of God may come upon the family for its sin, 
why, thou canst not free thyself but by mourning for 
their sins as well as thy own ; and blessed art thou 
if thou dost so. If thou dost mourn for their sins, the 
Lord will not visit their sins upon thee. 

And then, thirdly. Blessed are they that do mourn 
for the sins of others, because by this means they 
make themselves fit instruments of God to be used 
by God to help against the sins of others. No men 
are such fit instruments of God, to do God service, to 
stop the course of the sins of others, as those that 
take them to heart ; and therefore above all men, 
men in public place, that God makes use of to stop 
the course of wickedness, they should be men that 
should be much exercised with this grace of mourning 
for the sins of others. You that God makes to be 
chief in parishes, and towns or cities, and puts into 
your hands to stop the course of sin in the place 
where you live, now if your hearts be not touched 
with the sins of the places where you live, how unfit 
instruments will you be for the honour of God, for 
the stopping of sin. No marvel though men in place 
care little what becomes of things ; let things go 
which way they will, if they may get any gain. Why, to 
this day they never knew what it was to be in a closet 
alone, between God and their souls, lamenting for the 
sins of the places where they live; but blessed are they 
that do so, for they are the instruments that God doth 
use, and that he delights to employ in much service. 

And then they shall be comforted, these that do 
thus mourn. 



For, first. In public calamity they shall be hid. As 
we know Jeremiah, he was a great mourner for the 
sins of others ; and in Jer. xv. 1 1 the Lord makes a 
promise to him in the time of public calamity to be 
hid. Kead Jer. ix., beginning, and so on, and you shall 
find him bitterly lamenting, oh that his head were 
waters, and his eyes a fountain of tears, and that he 
had a cottage in the wilderness ; indeed, it is in part 
for the slain of his people, but it is for their sins like- 
wise. And in Jer. xv. 1 1 God promises that he shall 
be hid : and that place in Ezek. ix. is famous ; the 
Lord would have one with a pen and iukhorn go and 
mark all them that mourn for the sins of others. 
Take notice of them, saith God ; whatsoever calamity 
doth befall the place where they live, I will be mer- 
ciful to them — one way or other I will provide for 
them. 

And then, secondly, Thou shaltbe comforted. Know 
thou that art a mourner for the sins where thou 
livest, that within a little while all the wickedness of 
men shall be subdued — all shall be brought under, so 
as God shall not be dishonoured by the sins of men 
as now he is, all the refuse shall be cast upon the 
dunghill ; there shall be nothing but rejoicing at the 
righteous judgments of God upon wicked men. In- 
deed, now when we see God dishonoured by wicked 
men that live among us, we are to mourn, but there 
is a time coming that there shall be no more mourn- 
ing for their sin, but rejoicing at the righteous judg- 
ments of God executed upon their sin : ' Blessed are 
you that mourn, for you shall be comforted.' 

And for this, by way of use, briefly, thus : 

Oh, let us learn then to lay to heart the sins of 
those where we live, not only in our parishes, fami- 
lies, those that belong to us, but the sins of the 
nation. 

I will instance but in some few particulars, and 
you that are the most barren in meditation you may 
easily reckon up abundance more. 

As, first, Let us mourn for the great injustice that 
is among us at this day ; there is cause of mourning 
for that, the oppression and injustice. In Isa. lix. 
11, 14, 15, 'We roar all like bears, and mourn sore 
like doves.' Why ? ' We look for judgment, but 
there is none ; for salvation, but it is far oti' from us ; ' 
and so he goes on in the 14tli verse : ' And judgment 
is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar 
off, for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot 
enter : yea, truth faileth, and he that departeth from 
evil maketh himself a prey; and the Lord saw it, and 
it displeased him that there was no judgment.' What 
an aggravation is this to this sin of injustice, that it 
should be at such a time as now it is, that when the 
Lord by such an outstretched arm delivered us from 
our oppressors, that now we should oppress one an- 
other. I believe there was never a greater cry for the 



Mat. V. 4.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



63 



sin of injustice to Heaven than there is at this day, 
however it may be some may complain that have no 
such cause ; but woe to us, there is a great deal of 
cause, for there is woeful injustice among us. 

And then, secondly, Oh mourn that Christ is no 
more embraced among us, that when we have as fair 
opportunities to bring in Jesus Christ among us as 
ever people had since the world began ! Jesus Christ 
is ofi'ering himself to us in as fair a way as ever he 
did otTer himself to any people, and yet what a spirit 
of malignity is risen among us, as we are ready to 
say, ' We will not have this man to reign over us.' 
Oh mourn for the ignorance, for the profaneness of 
the people of the land ! even now when there is such 
a uberty of the gospel, (for never was the like,) yet 
they turn away from it, and judge themselves un- 
worthy of eternal life, and even do despite to the 
Spirit of grace. In Eom. ix. 2, mark how Paul was 
atfected for his countrymen's sake, that he could even 
have wished himself to have been cut off from Jesus 
Christ, he was so troubled for then- ignorance and 
rejection of Christ ; one would tliink that, seeing God 
hath so wonderfully wrought to bring us to the enjoy- 
ment of the liberty of the gospel, that this should be 
a time that generally people should come in to em- 
brace it. Oh, but we find it otherwise ; there is a vile 
spirit risen among men against the ways of godliness. 

And then, thii-dly. Mourn we that there are such 
divisions now among us. The devil sees that he cannot 
get many to that profaneness and popery as he was 
wont to do, and therefore now he comes to spoil reli- 
gion, and that by divisions, yea, and among the godly; 
and there the pohcy of Satan is as much seen as in 
anytliing. Yea, and the rather let us take this to 
heart, when we consider that almost every time men 
meddle with divisions, and cry out against them, they 
make them wider, and many they are affected indeed 
because of the divisions that are in the land. Ay, 
but it is because every one will not be of their mind, 
and therefore they mourn; but it is a selfish mourn- 
ing, fur the most part, when men cry out of divi- 
sions because they may carry away all the esteem, 
and honour, and dignities, and preferments, with- 
out any control whatsoever ; therefore they cry 
out of divisions, but there is not a spiritual mourn- 
ing of heart for the sins of the divisions that are 
among us. 

And then, fifthly. Oh mourn we for the abuse of 
our liberty, the wantonness that is among us now. 
The Lord grants unto us times of liberty more than 
ever our forefathers had, or could have thought to 
liave had, and ]iow, O Lord, what an abuse of this 
liberty is there ! How do men run out to all kind of 
licentiousness because of liberty ; out of tliat pleadmg 
for that true liberty of conscience that Christ would 
have us to tender one another in, they run out to all 



kind of licentiousness, blasphemy, and wickedness 
whatsoever. 

Sixthly, Oh mourn we for this, that there is so 
much unthankfulness among us ; that is, because we 
have not everything as we would have, therefore we 
are ready to say, there is nothing done. Oh it is a 
vile speech that comes from any mouth to say, "What 
hath God done for us ? The Lord hath done that 
for this kingdom that is more worth than thy hfe, or 
the lives of ten thousand more than thou art, and 
therefore to say there is nothing done because all is 
not done that thou wouldst have done, it is a most 
wretched unthankfulness, and you should bleed in 
the consideration of it. 

And then, seventhly, Jlourn we for the scandals 
that are among us, the many stumbUng-blocks that 
lie in the way, the evils of men that are professors 
of religion ; how do they cast stumbling-blocks in 
the ways of such as are coming on, and make the 
ways of godliness to be abhorred because of theii- 
wicked lives ! 

And then, lastly, Mourn we that good men when 
they are put upon the trial do so much miscarry. 
This is a sore evil that we may see under the sun at 
this time. There was never a time in any kingdom 
wherein so many godly men had so much power in 
their hands, either in place of magistracy or ministry, 
but yet, oh the miscarriages of them ! How do many 
of them go by the same principle that others went 
before, but in another way ! And we come to see 
plainly the truth of that speech, Put men into place, 
into power, that they may have power over others, 
and we see what strange spirits they have ; even such 
as we thought were broken-hearted, and did hereto- 
fore mourn for the sins of other men that were in 
place, and, together with their brethren, were fasting 
and praying and crying to Heaven against the evils 
of those that were in place but a few years ago, now 
they come to hope to enjoy the same power, we find 
that they go apace towards the same way that others 
were in. Oh my brethren, I speak these things out of 
conscience, as a duty that we owe to God, to lay them 
to heart, and to bewail them in the bitterness of our 
souls. I do not speak this to upbraid any, for there 
is upbraiding enough abroad, but that we should 
mourn for them. God forbid that we should speak in 
way of reproach; no, but in way of lamentation, 
because these evils have been so much against God 
and against the public good. Oh if we could lay 
aside our wrangling a while, and fall a-mourning in 
one another's bosoms, reformation would go on in 
another manner than now it doth. 

And here is yet a further evil, we have some cause 
to mourn for men's mourning — that is, men mourn 
because they cannot have their wills, and they mourn 
merely out of a kind of spirit of revenge, and make 



64 



BUBROtTGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 4. 



many times their very fasts to be fasts for strife ; we 
should mourn, I say, for our mourning. And thus 
much for this that lies so full in my text, ' Blessed 
are they that mourn;' such as can thus mourn are 
blessed. Oh that this spirit of mourning were upon 
us ! 

And then the next, that is, the last point in my 
text. It is those that mourn for the afflictions of the 
church, as well as otherwise : Blessed are those that 
mourn for them ; and we find it in Scripture to 
be the way of the saints likewise to mourn much 
for the afflictions of God's people, as in Neh. i. 
Though Nehemiah were at the court himself, and had 
a great place, and was at ease, and had abundance 
of riches, yet he looks sad, and would not have the 
king to wonder at it, when it was so ill with the 
church, and a notable scripture we have in Luke 
xix., even in our Saviour, Christ. It is a very 
remarkable scripture. When Christ came near to 
Jerusalem he wept, both because of their sin, and 
the misery that was coming upon them, and said, 
' Oh if thou hadst known, at least in this thy day, 
the things that concern thy peace ; but now they are 
hid from thine eyes.' Mark this, at what time Christ 
did this, it was not in a time that Christ was in any 
great affliction himself, for you shall find that when 
he did thus lament, ver. 36, 37, it was when they cut 
down boughs and strewed them in the way, and cried 
Hosanna to him ; it was at that time when they 
honoured Jesus Christ most; and yet that did not 
take up his heart so as not to be affected with the 
miseries of others. ' And,' saitb the text, ' as he 
went, they spread their garments in the way ; others 
cut down branches from the trees, and strewed them 
in the way. And the multitude that went before, 
and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Sou 
of David ; blessed ia he that cometh in the name of 
the Lord : Hosanna in the highest.' The people went 
before Christ magnifying of him, and they took off 
their garments and strewed them all along in the 
streets, and would have Christ go upon them, as not 
thinking it fit that such an honourable person as 
Jesus Christ was should go upon the ground, but go 
upon their garments : and they cried out before him, 
' Blesse'd is the king that cometh in the name of the 
Lord : Hosanna in the highest.' What honour had 
Jesus Christ here I But now mark, Christ was not 
much taken with the honour that was done to his 
person ; that you shall find almost in the very next 
words, ' And when he drew near, he beheld the city, 
and wept.' He falls a-weoping at that time when he 
is so much honoured. Oh this should for ever teach 
us, that how good soever our own condition be, 
though our tables be furnished, and we have honour 
and respect from others, yet this should not at all 
hinder our affections towards the miseries of our 



brethren : we should be in our weeping and mourn- 
ing condition even at those times when we have the 
greatest abundance of the comforts of the world. I 
beseech 3-ou, think of this you that are lifted up in 
places, and you that have means commg in, and have 
as great a fulness as ever you had, and it may be 
more tlian ever you had, yet at this time, if you 
liave the Spirit of Jesus Christ in you, that that you 
enjoy in the fulness of it will not take away your 
affections unto the sorrows of your brethren. It 
is a command in Rom. xii. that we ' must weep 
with them that weep, and mourn with them that 
mourn ; ' and in Heb. xiii. 3, we must be ' even in 
bonds with them that are in bonds ; ' we must be 
affected with their bonds as if we ourselves -were in 
bonds. This God requires of us. Now what shall I say 
of the examples of Jeremiah and David, and others 
of the propliets that did thus mourn, of Paul, &c. 
It were endless to name all examples that we might 
have in Scripture for this, but blessed are they ; 
there is a great deal of cause that we should do so. 

Why, first, Those that are in afflictions, they are 
men, mourn for them as they are men. Oh but they 
are our brethren, they are those that are near to us, 
they are the saints of God. 

And consider, secondly, we have the root of the 
matter in ourselves. Why canst thou think in thy 
conscience that such men should be in such an 
afflicted estate and thou shouldst feel nothing thy- 
self — thou shouldst have all things about thee as 
ever ? Is there any reason why such excellent saints 
of God, that have done God so much service in their 
generation, should be cast out of house and home, 
and thou shouldst sit at thy table so full, and have 
thy wife and children about thee, and thy house so 
furnished, and all at peace, what reason can there be 
given ? is there not as much in thee to provoke God 
as in them ? hast thou done more service for God 
than they ? Oh, if thou hadst not the heart of an 
adamant it would break thee ! 

But there is another that is yet more. Consider 
the dishonour that God hath by the afflictions of his 
people. The truth is, tlie Lord suffers in their suffer- 
ing, 'in all their afflictions he is afflicted;' the more 
the churches go down, the more do the wicked insult 
and triumph, the more doth wickedness prevail. Oh 
this should go to thy heart : God goes down, as I 
may say, and his cause goes down in the saints' go- 
ing down ; the glory of God is inwrapt in the good of 
the saints, and he suffers in it. 

You will say now, If God suffers, why will he let 
the saints be so afflicted ? 

To that I answer. The Lord will let them be 
afflicted for the discovery of those who are true and 
false. And indeed he doth raise to liimself a glori- 
ous name many ways ; but yet though the Lord doth 



Mat. V. 4.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



6,5 



raise to himself a name of praise by the sufferings of 
the saints, yet we must mourn and lament, because in 
the meantime God doth sufler, and they tend much 
to his dishonour, although he by his infinite power 
can fetch honour out of them. 

And, besides, if you consider only this, the great- 
ness of the evils that is in these days. If ever there 
were a time to mourn for the afflictions of others, 
now is the time ; and those that are the witnesses for 
the truth have cause to jjrophesy even in sackcloth 
now. Oh if we did but understand the woeful evil 
and miseries of vrar ! It is an evil that hath abundance 
of evils, as it were, in the belly of it. It is the cup 
of God's anger, and the wine thereof is red — it is as 
red even as blood — and it is a mixed wine. The in- 
gredients in the cup are murder, and robbery, and 
rape, and deflowering, and cruelty, and torment, and 
famine, and pestilence — these are the ingredients in 
the cup ; and therefore, though we sit here in our 
houses quietly, and find not the woeful evils of this 
civil wars, yet others can tell us, Did you but see 
those doleful miseries that they see — men that were 
of good rank and fashion, that lived comfortably, and 
were of public use and eminent saints, how they are 
driven from their house and home like brute beasts ! 
Oh should we but see what hath been done in Ire- 
land ! They cry to us, you that pass by, is 
it nothing to you all that we have suffered ? was 
there ever sorrow like our sorrow ? It might be of 
very great use to lay open the woeful misery of 
others ; but I will shew you how blessed are those 
that do mourn for the afflictions of others. They are 
blessed. 

First, Because they have much of the spirit of 
Christ in them. Theirs is such a kind of spirit as 
Jesus Christ had when he lived upon the earth, and 
this was a blessed spirit. 

Secondly, They do evidence that they are mem- 
bers of the same body. Thou that canst hear of the 
woeful evils that the churches suffer, and not mourn, 
thou dost evidently declare to all the world, and God 
tells thee to thy conscience, that thou art but a dead 
member, and not a living member of the body of 
Jesus Christ ; but when your hearts can be affected 
with the miseries of the churches, you have evidence 
to your souls that you are living members of Jesus 
Christ. 

And then blessed are you, because in this j^ou do 
walk with God — that is, you observe God's way. 
When God comes in mercy to his clnjrch, then you 
can rejoice ; and when God is in a way of afflicting, 
then you mourn. I say this is to walk with God, to 
have our hearts affected according to the several ad- 
ministrations of God's providence ; and blessed are 
they that walk with God. 

' You shall be comforted ' — that is. 



First, Know there is a time that God's people shall 
be delivered from all their sorrows, that all tears shall 
be wiped away from their eyes, that ' there shall be 
no more pricking brier nor grieving thorn,' Ezek. 
xxviii. 24. This is promised to the saints ; and I 
hope that this time must be even in this world, that 
the saints shall be as much honoured as ever they 
have been dishonoured, and that wicked men shall 
no more persecute them, but sliall be brought under 
them. And there is a morning wherein the saints 
shall have dominion over the wicked and ungodly ; 
you shall have comfort in this, you that do mourn for 
the affliction of the saints: '0 thou afflicted and 
tossed with tempests,' now thou art afflicted and 
tossed, but thy foundations shall be laid with sap- 
phires and with precious stones, Isa. liv. 11. The 
foundation of the church shall be so ; the church 
shall be a burdensome stone to all that do persecute 
them : ' Arise, shine, shine, for the glory of God is 
risen upon thee,' Isa. Ix. 1, saith theLord unto ths 
churches ; ' Comfort ye, comfort ye my people. 
Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto 
her, that her warfare is. accomplished, that her in- 
iquity is pardoned,' Isa. xl. 1, 2. There is such a 
time that the people of God shall be so comforted, 
and when the saints shall triumph in the salvation 
of God, and shall say, ' Lo, this is our God, we have 
waited for him; this is the God of our salvation.' 
There is, I say, such a time. 

And then there are many promises to you who do 
mourn for the affliction of the saints. In Ps. xli., 
' Blessed is he that considereth the poor '— those that 
consider such as are afflicted are blessed ; and in Isa. 
Ivii. 18, there the Lord promises unto his church 
that he will 'restore comforts to her and to her ' 
mourners ' — to them both, they shall be comforted ; 
those that now mourn with the saints, they shall re- 
joice with them; in Isa. Ixvi. 10, there you have a 
promise to them. Those that mourn with the people 
of God they shall rejoice; and then in Zeph. iii. 18 
there is a promise that those that did ' account the 
reproach of the solemn assembly to be a burden, God 
would gather them/ The saints of God are re- 
proached, they are persecuted; others can rejoice 
now, but there were those that accounted it a bur- 
den to them, and to them the Lord makes a gracious 
promise. 

Again, You that mourn for the affliction of the 
saints are blessed ; for when God shall bring you 
into affliction, God will own your souls in the day of 
affliction. If at any time your children should be 
afflicted, your dear wives, &c., you may with comfort 
go to God and pray, Lord, comfort me in mine 
affliction, and comfort me in the affliction of my 
wife, my children, my father, my mother ! You may 
have comfort, I say. Why ? Because you did mourn 



fi6 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 4. 



for the afflictions of his children. Nay, saith God, here 
is one indeed that is afflicted. What, is the man's 
child or wife under any affliction ? "Why, I remember 
when my children were afflicted, they mourned for 
my children ; why, now their children are afflicted, 
I will take that to heart, and have compassion 
upon them in their affliction ; and therefore blessed 
are they that mourn. Now for the application 
of it. 

First, It should have been to rebuke the jollity of 
men's spirits in these sad times. Oh, it is a wicked 
thing in these sad times to have a carnal, jolly spirit. 
God indeed gives you liberty to have comfort, and to 
rejoice in himself ; for so you will say we are bidden 
to rejoice always. Ay, but know spiritual joy and this 
mourning may stand both together — know that God 
expects that you should abate of your carnal joy. 
I will give you but two scriptures for this, which are 
very terrible against those that are so jolly and merry 
in sad times. The first is in Isa. xxii. 13, 'And in 
that day did the Lord God of hosts call to weeping, 
and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding 
with sackcloth ; and behold joy and gladness, slaying 
oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking 
wine : let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we shall 
die. And it was revealed in mine ears by the Lord 
of hosts. Surely this iniquity shall not be purged 
from you till you die, saith the Lord of hosts.' Oh, 
it is a daunting scripture to those that in these times 
take liberty to the flesh. I beseech you, if you do 
believe that this scripture is the Svord of God, when 
you come home lay it upon your hearts and con- 
sciences. Saith God, When I called to mourning 
and weeping, behold there was joy and gladness, and 
mirth, and drinking of wine. This iniquity shall 



not be purged till you die, saith God ; I will never 
pardon it. It is spoken, as in the New Testament 
it is said of the sin against the Holy Ghost, that it 
should never be forgiven. And so this is made a 
kind of an unpardonable sin, though I think that it 
is not so unpardonable as that ; but though God 
should give you a heart to see the evil of it never so 
much, yet you may smart for it in this world, even 
as the Lord did concerning Ikloses. He would not 
hear him, but bid him speak no more of that matter, 
but be must die in the wilderness. Oh, the Lord can- 
not but look with indignation upon such as these 
are. What ! saith God, shall I chastise my own 
dear children, and shall this wretch, that is good for 
nothing but to eat and drink and get money here, 
shall he not take it at all to heart ? I will never bear 
this, saith God ; it shall never be purged from him 
till he die. my brethren, if ever God calls to 
weeping and mourning, it is now ; and therefore not 
to have a heart in these mourning times it is a sign 
that thy heart is hardened from the fear of God. If 
ever this text of Christ were suitable it is in these 
mourning times, wherein those are held forth to be 
blessed that do mourn ; and on the other side, those 
that do not mourn they will certainly prove to be 
accursed by Christ when they shall come to stand 
before him. 

And then the other scripture is in Amos vi., where 
the Lord complains, ' that they drank wine in bowls, 
and had their music, and all kinds of joUity,' &c. 
Oh but, saith he, ' there was none that did remember 
the afflictions of Joseph;' Joseph might be imprisoned, 
might be sold, might endure any afflictions, what was 
it to them ? They would not so much as remember. 
Oh woe to them ! 



Mat. V. 4.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



67 



SERMON XL 



HOW TO MOUEN FOR THE AFFLICTIONS OF SAINTS. 



' Blessed are they that maurn : for they shall be comforted^ — Mat. v. 4. 



But now, my brethren, the thing I shall speak a 
little to is this, to shew unto you how we should 
mourn for the afflictions of the saints, that so you 
might mourn kindly for their afflictions.- 

For some will say, We are affected ; and God for- 
bid but that we should be gi'ieved when we hear 
that the church is so afflicted. It doth grieve our 
hearts when we hear of the plundering of so many 
good people, and how they are put out of their houses 
and homes. But now, 

First, There may be a natural mourning for the 
afflictions of others, which is not this blessed mourn- 
ing ; and therefore if you would know the differauoe 
between the natural and spiritual mourning for the 
afflictions of the church, take it biiefly in these three 
or four particulars, which I shall but name : — 

The first is. Those that mourn for the afflictions 
of the church in a spiritual way, they mourn 
upon spiritual grounds ,• and a natural man is upon 
natural grounds. You mourn to hear such woeful 
bloodshed, desolations of countries. As you are men 
you cannot but be affected ; but now are you most 
affected upon spiritual grounds, because the saints 
do suffer, because the liberties of the ordinances a»e 
taken from them, because the adversaries of God's 
people do most prevail, because religion is trampled 
under- foot? Do you mourn therefore '? It is true 
these are mourning times. Most people they mourn 
because of fear of outward danger, or for their great 
taxes, and they have not things as they were wont 
to have ; but a spiiritual mourning is upon spiritual 
grounds. 

And then, secondly, Spiritual mourning will put 
much upon prayer. That we spake to in the general, 
when we shewed how those that are in a mournful 
condition themselves they should pray much ; so 
here, those that do mourn for the churches, if they 
mourn in a spiritual way, they will pray much for 
the churches. I appeal to your consciences in this 
thing. You hear many times sad news concerning the 
sufferings of your brethren abroad : it may be you 
will say, the Lord have mercy upon them, or so ; but 



when did you get alone between God and your souls, 
and pour forth your souls before God in secret, on 
the behalf of the churches of God — or it may be you 
have done so sometimes ; but is this in your hearts 
to do so in an ordinary way ? If your children be 
afflicted, perhaps you will go to prayer then, and 
wring your hands ; but you have heard of the afflic- 
tions of the churches, and have your hearts been so 
affected as to go and break your spirits before the 
Lord in prayer ? Now that is a spiritual mourning. 
For to have a sadness upon your spirits, upon the 
hearing of ill news, that may be but in a natural way ; 
but for your hearts to break before God in prayer for 
the church, that is in a spiritual way. Now the 
churches suffer more than they have done ; and are 
your prayers enlarged more than formerly for them ? 
This is spiritual, and blessed are they that so mourn, 
as that they are put upon prayer, and enlarged in 
prayer by their mourning. 

And thirdly. If your hearts be spiritual in your 
mourning, why then, look what God doth spare you 
in. In that you do not spend your strength in suffer- 
ing as others do, it will cause you to be so much the 
more earnest and willing to spend your strength in 
service and doing for God. If your hearts were affected 
as they ought to be for the churches, you would con- 
sider thus : How do they suffer in their estates, and 
in their bodies and liberties ! They are forced to 
spend their strength and estates in a way of suffering. 
Why now. Lord, thou dost not call me to spend my 
strength and estate in that way of suffering as thou 
callest my brethren to ; why. Lord, thou shalt have it 
spent for thee in a way of doing, in a way of service. 
Oh it is good for us to have our strength and estates 
to be spent for God in the exercise of our graces, 
rather than to be spent for him in the suffering for 
our sin ; and it were a very good meditation when you 
hear of any that suffer by any accident whatsoever : 
They suffer so much for God in a passive way; Oh 
then let me be willing to spend in an active way for 
God ; and this will be a good argument that your 
hearts are spiritual. 



6S 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 4 



Fourthly, Yea, further, when the thankfuhiess that 
you have for your behig deUvered from those heavy 
afflictions that are upon others shall humble your 
hearts as much as if you were under the same afflic- 
tions that others are under, this were a good sign of 
a spu'itual frame. You hear of the afflictions of other 
men ; why, now when you can be so sensible of those 
afflictions, so as to make you to be as much humbled 
in a way of thankfulness as you should be if you were 
under the same afflictions, now your hearts are in a 
spiritual way sensible of their condition. And so 
much for tliat of the spiritualness of our hearts in 
being sensible of the afflictions of others. 

But now, in the second place, What duties doth the 
consideration of the afflictions of others call for from 
us? "When we hear that others are in affliction, and we 
are delivered, I say, what duties doth this call for at 
our hands ? Now to that I answer, it calls for these 
three : — 

First, An abatement of our outward comforts in 
this world. We should be willing, when we hear how 
the churches suffer, to abate of a great part of our 
outward comforts that we had before for the flesh, to 
be willing to be cut short ourselves, so far as we may 
do it in a way of service for God. Certainly it is not 
lawful for men in such times as these are, when there 
is such a darkness upon the face of the land, and 
upon so many thousands of their brethren, it is not 
lawful for to give that full liberty to the satisfying of 
the flesh as in other times you may do. I might shew 
it out of divers scriptures, but that I hasten to that 
remains. 

But secondly. The second duty is to be ready to 
help them in their afflictions, to let out ourselves for 
their comfort. Seeing that Christ hath said, ' Those 
that mourn shall be comforted,' every one of us 
should endeavour to make good what Christ hath 
said — that is, to comfort them by our estates, to com- 
fort them by all the means that possibly we can ; 
and never to think it much that you are frequently 
sent unto to pity them that are in an afflicted condi- 
tion, though you liave often contributions, yet to do 
it freely and cheerfully. You cannot perform the 
duties that God requires of you in your being sensible 
of their mournful condition, except you will put to 
your hand to comfort them. You cannot pray to 
God to comfort them, but you take God's name in 
vain, except you likewise are willing to do what you 
are able. 

And then the third duty is this. We should pvit 
ourselves into the same condition that they are in, in 
our meditations, and consider what we would do if 
God should put us really into the same condition 
that they are put into. When you hear of those 
that have lost their estates, and are banished and 
driven up and down to seek bread, that were wont to 



live comfortably, you should put yourselves into such 
a condition — Lord, what would become of me if I 
were so ? Suppose I were under the enemy's mercy 
as they are, what would become of me ! in what a 
sad condition should I be in ! But you will say. 
Why should we so trouble ourselves, seeing God de- 
livers us, to put ourselves into the same condition in 
our meditation as our brethren are in ? 

To that I answer, That God requires this. You 
cannot be so thoroughly sensible of their estates as 
you should, nor make that use of that afflicted con- 
dition that they are in, except you do put yourselves 
sometimes into their conditions, and think with your- 
selves. What should I do if I were in their estate ? 
And for that I will give you this scripture, Heb. xiii. 
3, ' Eemember them that are in bonds, as bound with 
them ; and them that sufl'er adversity, as being your- 
selves also in the body.' ' Bemember them that are in 
bonds, as bound with them.' Here the apostle writes 
to those that were at liberty, and yet he requires of 
them to ' Remember those that were in bonds, as if 
they were bound with them.' So that those that are 
in prison now by the enemy, why, consider as if you 
were in prison with them, those that have lost all, as 
if you had lost all with them ; so that you must re- 
member them. Otherwise it is a very slight kind of 
affection that you find your hearts touched withal, if 
so re that you can but only say, Oh how cruelly are 
they^used ! The Lord pity them, and have mercy upon 
them ! Ay, but lay this to heart. What if I were so ? 
what if it were really my condition ? 

But you will say. Suppose we should put that to 
ourselves, what good use would there come of this ? 

To that I answer. Many ways,' if you would but put 
yourselves into their condition, and consider What if I 
were so, then consider from hence what duties you 
would be further put upon in this. 

As, first. If I were in their condition, certainly I 
could not but then be sensible of the vanity of the 
creature ; what a vain thing it is to rest upon any 
outward comforts in this world. There was a time, it 
may be, that not long ago they enjoyed as much of 
the outward comforts of this world as I do ; but in 
one night they are stripped of all, and have nothing 
in theii' houses, and are under woeful afflictions. 
Why, certainly, they cainiot but think thus with 
themselves : Oh, the creature is a vain thing. It is 
a vain thing to trust in any creature comfort ; it may 
soon be taken away from me, beyond all expectation 
of mine. Oh I could not, if I were in their condition, 
but judge of the vanity of the creature. Let me do 
so now then. 

And then, secondly. If I were in their condition, 
why, my conscience would be freely telling of me and 
charging of me for the abuse of the mercy that I 
have had. Suppose that all my comforts were taken 



Mat. V. 4.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



69 



away from me, as from them, do not I think my 
conscience would presently fly in my face, and tell 
me how I have abused those mercies that I did 
enjoy ? how I did not make use of my estate for God 
as I might have done ? You who have comfortable 
estates now, and you think because they are your 
own that therefore you may do with them as you 
list ; but if God should, by some accident, come and 
take your estates from you, the first tiling that your 
consciences would do would be this, to charge upon 
you the abuse of your estates ; and then, secondly, 
to tell you that you did not make that use of your 
estates for the honour of God's name as you might 
have done. Suppose God should come upon you 
by the adversary, or fii'e, or any other way, and 
sweep away all in one night, do not you think that 
your consciences would then tell you, Oh I might 
have made better use of it for God than I have done ? 
It is an ordinary thing, when a mercy is taken from 
one, for conscience to accuse then for the abuse of 
that mercy that he did enjoy ; as now, when a man 
buries a wife, the first thing that conscience will 
tell one, will be. Oh, I have not performed the duty 
that I owed to my wife, which I should have done ; 
and so for any mercy, when the mercy is taken away, 
conscience then hath greater liberty to charge one 
for the abuse of that mercy than formerly it had. And 
so we should put ourselves in their case, and put 
conscience to it and say, Suppose that all the out- 
ward comforts which I do enjoy in this w'orld were 
taken away from me, could I then have a clear con- 
science, and could I be able to say, Lord, thou that 
knowest all things knowest that while I did enjoy 
my estate, it was my care to serve thee with it, and 
to improve my estate to the iittermost for the glory 
of thy name. I am afraid that there are not many, 
which are deprived of their estates, that have their 
consciences so free in excusing of them ; and so I fear 
that there are not many of you, but if you Avould put 
yourselves into their sonditions, your conscience Avould 
deal more freely with you than now it doth ; and that 
is a second thing that conscience would do if you 
were in their case. 

And then the third thing, If you would but put 
yourselves into their condition it would be this : you 
would shorten your outward comforts, but you would 
enlarge your duties. I verily think that generally 
our brethren in those parts wliere the adversary hath 
been — I do not speak of such that are sottish, but any 
that have any work of grace — I verily believe they are 
larger in duties than ever they were before ; they 
do not cut short holy duties so much as formerly .- 
And certainly, if you were in their case, if the Lord 
should cut you short in respect of your outward com- 
forts, the larger would you be in the performance of 
holy duties. 



Fourthly, If you were in their case, you would 
have a more serious spirit than now you have. Now 
you enjoy an outward prosperity, you do not lay to 
heart how things are between God and you ; but now, 
if God should come and rend away all the outward 
comforts that now you have, oh that would cause 
many serious thoughts to be in your mind, and to 
consider how are things between God and my soul. 
Things are very sad with me in respect of the world, 
but how are they in respect of heaven ? Oh put your- 
selves into that condition, that the slightness and vanity 
of your spirits may be taken off, that you may be 
now as serious as you would be if you were in their 
condition. 

Fifthly, If you were in their condition, oh you 
would learn to be content with a little. Therefore 
now put yourselves into their condition, and think 
with yourselves. Suppose God should take all from 
me, then I .should bless his name if he would return 
but a little part of that again. But now I am in my 
family, and have abundance of comforts, and yet 
if any one thing doth but cross me, I am froward and 
discontent. Ay, but if God brought me as low as my 
brethren, I should bless his name for a little, then 
I would be glad of bread. Many of them that have 
lived as comfortably as you now live would be glad 
of bread and the smallest drink, if they might have 
but sufficient of that. Why, now put yourselves into 
their conditions, and bless God for that little you 
have ; and thus you should be in bonds, in affliction 
w'ith those that are in affliction. 

And then, sixthly. Prize peace with God. Those that 
are in an afflicted condition, oh how do they prize 
peace with God, and peace with conscience ! Now such 
of them as are godly, they think thus with them- 
selves: Oh, had not we laid up peace with God, and had 
we not peace with our own consciences, what should 
we do ? But blessed be the name of God, that wo 
have kept our peace with God, and we have peace in 
our own consciences. In these days of war it is this 
only that comforts their hearts, they prize it now. 
Oh, therefore, put yourselves- into their conditions, 
that you may learn to prize peace with God, and 
peace in your conscience. 

And then the seventh and last thing of all is this, 
If we put ourselves into their condition, certainly you 
would rise up against popery and tyranny. Suppose 
you were in Ireland, and there were under that heavy 
tyranny of those barbarous papists that are there, why, 
would not this make you to rise against those that 
are popish, and to think thus : Is this the popish 
religion ? Oh bloody religion, what wickedness would 
that religion countenance ! a cursed religion is popery. 
You would be ready to charge your children to hate 
popery as long as they lived ; oh the cruel usage of 
people that have been there! And so the popish 



70 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 5. 



party that have prevailed here should make all to 
rise against popery, and so against tyranny. What a 
miserable condition is a people in where a few men 
shall tyrannise over them. Oli let us join what. possibly 
we can to cast off the yoke of tyranny, that we may 
be governed by law, and know aforehand when it 
is that we do offend. Certainly the miseries that 
have been of late in these three kingdoms cannot 
but stir up. the spirits of those in the kingdom that 
are not sottish and willing to be slaves, to rise against 
tyranny, and never suffer it to prevail over them again. 
By putting ourselves into their- conditions, we may 
come to have our hearts affected in some measure as 
their hearts are ; and thus we shall be sensible, in a 
right way, of the mournful estate of our brethren. 

And to that end, that we may be sensible of the 
mournful estate of our brethren, it is good for us 
often to charge ourselves with the great evil of a 
selfish spirit. What ! because I am free myself, and 
feel nothing myself, shall none of the afflictions of all 
the churches of God, and the sufferings of all the coun- 
tries, come near to my heart? Oh base selfish spirit that 
I have ! what is my liesli more than the llesh of others? 
Charge this upon your souls as in the presence of God, 
and this will be a means to break your hearts. 

And secondly, Let all the mercies that you have 
be seasoned with the consideration of the thoughts 
of the afflictions of your brethren, when you sit at 
your table. Why, I have a full talsle ; but how is it 
with others ? Why, you go to bed, I go to bed, and 
have my house in peace ; but how is it with others 
of my brethren ? When I walk out into the streets, 
I go about my trade and business ; but how is it 
with others? When I come home again, I see my 
wife and children and all about me ; oh, but how is 
it still with my brethren ? So upon every mercy 
that you do enjoy, you should as it were season the 
mercy with the consideration. How stands it with 
my brethren ? As you season your meat with salt, 
so every mercy that you enjoy should have the con- 
sideration of the affliction of your bretlu-en, to be 
joined with it for the seasoning of that mercy. Cer- 
tainly your mercies would be a great deal more savoury 
to you if they were seasoned with the consideration 
of the afflictions that your brethren do endure. 

And then, further. Remember you are in the body. 
According to that scripture in the 13th of the Hebrews, 
you are liable to those things that they are ; and how 
just were it with God, if I should not be affected with 
the miseries of others, that God should bring as great, 
if not greater upon me. The Lord hath thousands of 
ways to bring as great afflictions upon you as ever 
were brought upon any part of the kingdom, and 
there is no such dangerous sign that God intends it 
towards you as the being unsensible of the aftiiclions 
of your brethren. Oh how soon may the Lord, by 



secret treachery, by massacres, &c., bring you into 
as woeful afflictions as they ; and therefore, consider- 
ing how liable you are to the same, or to much greater 
afflictions, oh be sensible of the miseries of your 
brethren ; the serious thoughts of them would be a 
mighty argument to work upon the heart. 

And then, lastly. Consider that of the apostle Peter : 
1 Pet. iv. 17, 18, ' If judgment begins at the house 
of God, what shall become of them that obey not the 
gospel of God? And if the righteous shall scarcely 
be saved, where shall the wicked and ungodly appear.' 
If so many of the righteous servants of God should 
suffer hard things, and that they should go through 
such great difficulties to hgaven, what shall become 
of me then ? Shall the righteous scarcely be saved ? 
— that is, saved through many difficulties and dangers 
and sufferings. Then what shall become of me ? 
where shall I appear ? for my conscience tells me 
that there is much unrighteousness in me. And if 
God's dear saints come to heaven through so much 
trouble, surely there is trouble reserved for me then. 
These kind of thoughts would break your hearts, and 
cause you to mourn with them that mourn ; blessed 
are they that do thus mourn, that are sensible of the 
afflictions of the people of God, for they shall be 
comforted. And thus now we have done with that 
blessedness, the second beautitude, the poor in spirit, 
and those that mourn. 

Now then we are to proceed to the third. 

Ver. 6. — ' Blessed are the meek : for they shall 
inherit the earth.' 

' Blessed are the meek.' 

First for the word ' meek.' Some think it comes 
from a Hebrew word that signfies to be thin, or low, 
or lean ; and sometimes I tind it expressed by the 
same word that is used for humility, for they are very 
near akin. Christ puts them together : ' Learn of 
me,' saith he, ' for I am humble and meek.' 

The Latins express it by the word mitis, one that 
is as it were mute, when he suffers any wrong, ad 
sustinenda injur iam tacens; or else from a word 
taken from beasts that are not fierce, but are accus- 
tomed to one's hand, meek. The word that is in my 
text it is one that is of a temper of spirit easy to be 
entreated ; of a facile spirit. And the nature of meek- 
ness consists especially in the right moderation of the 
passion of anger — the due gracious moderation of the 
passion of anger. Those men or women that have 
power over themselves to moderate the passion of 
their anger, they are meek. 

Now there is a natural meekness sometimes, from 
the constitution of man's body. Many men are not 
so prone to anger naturally as other men are, from 
their very temper of body ; others are more choleric 
in their very temper. And so there is a natural 
meekness that arises from the strength of reason — a 



Mat. V. 5.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



71 



man that is but a rational man, yet by bis reason 
may be able to curb bis anger in great measure. But 
this meekness must go beyond these — the natural 
meekness from the temper of the body, or that comes 
from the strength of reason. And if you would 
know how it goes beyond them, you may take it in 
these particulars : 

First, One that is meek naturally, he is meek in 
some outward thing wherein others would be angry ; 
but this meekness of his that is but natural, it doth 
quench all zeal for God, it doth not stand with the 
exercise of the grace of zeal for God. But now 
spiritual meekness is such, being a grace of the Holy 
Ghost, as there is no opposition to any other grace ; 
that is a certain rule. Several vices may be contrary 
one to another, yet no grace can be contrary to an- 
other grace ; therefore those men that are meek 
spirituallj', they are zealous too. They have spiritual 
principles in them, which makes them meek and 
able to moderate their anger in their own cause ; yet 
those principles will make them zealous for God. But 
now where the principle of meekness is but natural, 
from the constitution of a man's body, or only power 
of reason, why, this will quench zeal. Those that are 
meek thus, they are not acquainted with the grace of 
zeal for God, as it appears plainly. You have some 
men and women, you say you cannot anger them — they 
will never be angry. It may be their children and 
servants do such things as would anger you, but they 
are very patient and quiet and meek, and they bear 
all. Now it may be you think that this is from 
true grace. No ; and you will know it by this, that 
their children, when they do anything amiss against 
them, they are not angry — no, nor though their chil- 
dren sin against God they are not angry. Now this 
is no gracious meekness. Grace will teach men and 
women to be meek and gentle when they are crossed 
themselves, but grace will never teach them to be meek 
so as not to be angry when God is dishonoured. You 
shall find that those that are in Scripture set out as 
the most eminent men for meekness in their own 
cause, yet when it comes to God's cause they have 
been the most eminent in zeal. As for the example 
of Moses, if you read the 12th of Numbers, you shall 
find that the Lord doth give that testimony of Moses, 
that he was the meekest man upon earth ; but yet 
you know the story of Moses, when he came down 
from the mount and saw how the cliildren of Israel 
had set up an idol, the golden calf, Moses was all on 
fire ; and having the tables of stone where the law 
was written in his hands, and having received them 
from God himself, yet when he saw that idol, he 
took those tables and threw them down, and brake 
them to pieces in his zeal for God ; yea, and after he 
had done that, he stirs up the people to take their 
swords and slay their brethren ; and yet Moses was 



the meekest man that ever lived upon the face of the 
earth. We read of Christ himself, that he propounds 
himself as a pattern of meekness : ' Learn of me, tor 

1 am meek.' Yet when he comes to the scribes and 
pharisees, that were wretched enemies against the 
power of godliness, though they made an outward 
show, and so seduced the people, in makmg them 
believe that all religion did consist in outward forms, 
' Woe,' saith he, ' to you scribes and pharisees, hypo- 
crites.' He pronounces eight woes against them in 
one chapter, Mat. xxiii., and speaks in a most bitter 
way. Never did any godly man preach with a greater 
bitterness, as I may so speak ; for it was a bitter 
anger that Christ had against the scribes and pharisees 
in his speaking to them, and yet the meekest mau 
that ever was. It was a bitterness of spirit, and you 
cannot find more fiery zeal in any against sin than 
you find in Jesus Christ. When he came and saw 
how they did abuse the house of God, he threw down 
the tables of the money-changers, and took cords and 
made a whip, and whipped them out of the temple. 
' The zeal of God's house ate him up.' And so Paul, 
that was very meek, and writes to Timothy to instruct 
' with all meekness those that did oppose themselves,' 

2 Tim ii. 25 ; yet when Paul did but set his eyes upon 
Elymas, that did seek to draw away Sergius PauUus 
from the faith, why, ' thou child of the devil, and 
full of all subtlety,' Acts xiii. 10. What ! doth any 
man speak more terribly than he did to Elymas? 
So that this meekness is such as hath a mixture of 
zeal : when a man or woman can be meek in their own 
cause, can deny themselves in their own cause, and 
be able to moderate their anger ; but yet when it 
comes to the cause of God, they can there be all on 
fire for God — this is the right meekness, the meekness 
that here is pronounced to be blessed. 

But now this meekness, as it is distinguished from 
natural, so we must inquire wherein it consists. Li 
the moderation of anger in these six particulars : 

As, first, In regard of the object of anger. It is that 
gi'ace whereby we come to be enabled to moderate 
anger ; that is, first. Not to be angry and froward for 
nothing, and so as to be able to give an account of 
our anger. Where there is true meekness, the heart 
hath so much power, as if I am angry, I am able to 
give an account of it. 

Secondly, When men are angry for everything ; 

Or, thirdly, When they are angry for that that is 
good — angry at the good of our brethren, when they 
do but their duty ; these are not meek. But now 
when the soul hath a command of itself, that I will 
not be angry for anything but that I can give au 
account of it to God. Indeed many of you when you 
are angry, you think you are angry in a rational way, 
and when one asks you, Do you well to be angry ? 
you can say, Yes, I do well to be angry. But can 



72 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 5. 



you give such an account of it to God as you do to 
men ? Can you say, Lord, I was angry, but it was 
no more than thou wouldst have me to be, for it was 
upon such and such just grounds that I was angry ? 
Many are angry with insensible creatures ; sometimes 
a workman angry with his tool, and throws it away ; 
and so likewise angry with brute beasts. That is the 
first, a moderation of anger in respect of the object ; 
not to be angry at anything but that that we may 
give an account of to God, and say. Lord, this is the 
thing that hath provoked my anger, and thou wouldst 
have me, else I would not be angry. 

And then, secondly, A moderation of anger in 
respect of the time of anger ; that is, 

First, That it be not too sudden. 

Secondly, That it be not unseasonable. 

Thirdly, That it be not lasting. In these three 
things meekness doth moderate anger. 

First, That it be not sudden. There is nothing 
wherein men and women are more sudden than in 
the passion of anger ; and there is nothing wherein 
tliey should be more deliberate, if there be a thing 
wherein there is just cause why you should be angry. 
Why, you may be angry an hour hence ; and it were 
a good way, where there is anything falls out that 
provokes to anger you, first weigh and consider of the 
thing, and then, if there be sufficient cause, let out 
your anger after. But now, when men and women 
are suddenly angry, they have gunpowder spirits that 
a little spark puts them all on a fire in an instant, that 
one would wonder at the sudden change that is often- 
times in many men and women in a family ; all things 
are quiet now, and on a sudden all things are in a 
hurly-burly. 

And then, secondly. That it be not unseasonable, 
as now, when you are to perform duties ; oh take 
heed of anger then ! Are you to go to prayer ? why, 
whatsoever falls out, if you have the grace of meek- 
ness, you would so far curb yourselves as to say, Let 
passion stay till I have done my prayer. This were 
an excellent thing if there were this meekness in 
families. Why, when men and their wives and 
families, are going to prayer, many times the devil 
will lay before you some temptations to provoke 
your passion, and he knows that then your prayer is 
spoiled if he can but put you into a passion ; why 
now, if there be the grace of meekness to overpower 
anger, and can make anger to be a servant to you 
and not your lord, you frustrate Satan's design then. 
Suppose a servant, or neighbour, or child doth other- 
wise than they ouglit, yet you can say to anger. Stay 
here till I have done prayer, and afterwards I will 
consider of you then ; and so when you come to hear 
the word. Oh it is a dangerous thing to give way to 
passion at any time, but especially upon a Lord's 
day I If you be put into a passion then, a ten to one 



but you lose the Sabbath; for then your thoughts 
are rolling about the wrong that is done to you, and 
about thoughts of revenge, and then you will manifest 
your displeasure. But now meekness doth moderate 
anger, to give one power over one's anger so as it 
shall not be unseasonable. 

And then, thirdly. Meekness doth moderate anger 
in respect of the lastingness of it, that it shall not 
last longer than it ought to do. Many men's and 
women's anger is like the fire of hell — being once 
kindled, it is never quenched ; it is unquenchable as 
the fire of hell is ; their dog-days do continue all the 
year long. You shall have some men and women, if 
anything have fallen out in their families, and they 
be got into a fit of jjassion, you shall have them con- 
tinue day after day in that fit of passion, so that 
sometimes even man and wife will not speak one to 
another in two or three days ; this sinful, this far from 
meekness. If thou hadst this grace of meekness, it 
would say to anger. Thus far shall you go, and no 
further. As you can raise it up when you see cause, 
so you can keep it down too ; but many times you 
know the wind raises up the waves of the sea, and 
when the winds are down, yet the waves of the sea 
they are all in a broil, and do mightily rise still, and 
are very boisterous though the winds are down : so it 
is with many, though the cause of their anger be 
taken away, yet their anger having been raised, they 
are not able to overcome themselves. It is just with 
men and women here as with your children, if once 
they be displeased, put them into a cry, and though 
you give them the thing that they would have, yet 
they cannot overcome themselves presently : so it is 
with many, they are not lasting in other things, but 
in their anger there they last : in any good motion for 
God, there they are fickle and inconstant, but their 
passion, that holds. Now meekness it doth moderate 
anger in regard of the continuance of it. 

Fourthly, Meekness doth moderate anger in respect 
of the measure of it. Why, if I be angry, I will be angry 
no more than needs must. Why so violent, why so 
fierce, why so cruel in anger ? as many they know 
not how to be angry, but they must be mad. But 
now one that hath a meek spirit, he may be angry 
sometimes; ay, but his meekness will measure out his 
anger — so much anger and no more, after the pro- 
portion to that that I am angry for. 

And then the fifth is. The ground from whence 
anger arises. The ground it is from pride in your 
hearts, or from some other lust, or from weakness; but 
now meekness of spirit that doth so much moderate 
anger, that whensoever I am angry, it shall not be 
from my pride, nor lusts, nor weakness. Thus meek- 
ness moderates anger. 

And then the effects of anger. Oh the woeful, evil 
effects that come from the anger of men and women ! 



Mat. V. 5.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



73 



What acts of sin is there committed in one hour, 
■when you give way to passions ! There is more sin com- 
mitted sometimes by a man or woman in one day, 
when they are in a froward, pettish humour, than by 
others that are in a meek, quiet humour, for a year, 
yea, it may be all their lives. Thou mayest do that 
in one day, that it may be may cause thee to repent 
all thy life after. Oh, sin is multiplied almost infinitely 
when we come to a passion ! Passion and anger doth 
heat the lusts that are in the hearts of men and 
women, and therefore they are very active in their 
sin in the time of a passion — as Moses, when he came 
down, in his holy zeal he broke both the tables on 
which the law was written ; so we may say that 
people in their sinful passion they break both the 
tables of the law by their woeful distempers and 
sinful actions. "WTiat reviling speeches, what revenge- 
ful thoughts, what words and desperate resolutions 
are there in the time of anger ! But now, where there 
is meekness in the heart, it pulls anger back, and 
will not suffer it to proceed in any sinful effects. Nay, 
saitli meekness, what hath the Lord given me this 
affection in my soul for? is it not for his glory? What! 
is it for the producing of such base and sinful effects 
as these are ? The Lord forbid it. Oh the evil of 
anger ! Oh remember in the days of your humiliation 
to be humbled for the wonderful wicked effects of 
your sinful anger ! And you that have not matter to 
humble your souls before God when you are in 
secret, you want matter for prayer, oh do but con- 
sider of some fit of anger that you have been in, and 
see whether there are not sins enough when you have 
been in that to afford matter for your confessions. 

And then meekness doth moderate anger in respect 
of the end, that when I am angry I will not be angry 
for myself. You are angry sometimes, but what 
comes of it ? Now a meek heart, when it is angry, it 
will look at this. Oh let it be regulated so far as I 
may have good of it ; let me have holy ends and lioly 
aims in my anger. As now, am I angry with a child ; 
why, it is to the end that I might shew such dis- 
pleasure against such an offence as that the child 
may amend, and that the servant may amend. The 
Lord that knows all things, knows that when I do 
let out my anger against any man, or woman, or 
child, or servant, I do aim at the good of them ; and 
did I believe that to be gentle towards them, and not 
to manifest my anger, would do them more good, why, 
the)' should never see me angry. This should be the 
resolution of every godly parent, master, &c. Oh, 
' blessed are the meek ;' blessed are they that are thus 
meek, that have thus much power to overcome the 
passion of their anger — they are blessed. Now I 
should have shewn many ways why those who are 
thus meek are blessed here, and for ever shall be 
blessed. There is as much said of this grace of meek- 



ness to set out the blessedness of it, as almost any 
grace I know, next to faith itself, that is the great 
mother grace. 

Why, thou that art meek art like God thy Father. 
When God would shew his glory to Moses in Exod. 
xsxiii., xxxiv., was not this a great part of his glory, 
' The Lord long-suffering and gracious ' ? It is the 
glory of the Father to be so. 

And it is the glory of Jesus Christ to be so ; for, 
saith Christ, ' Learn of me, for I am meek.' Christ 
calls out no other grace that he would have his dis- 
ciples follow him in but humility and meekness. 
Why, blessed Saviour, why dost not thou speak of 
those other excellent graces of thine ? Thou hadst 
grace without measure, and when thou wouldst have 
thy disciples learn of thee, why dost not mention. 
Learn confidence of thee, and heavenly-mindedness of 
thee, and despising of the world, or any other gi-ace ? 
No, saith Christ ; if you would be my disciples, I 
would commend this to you — I am humble and 
meek. Why, was that the great. commendations of 
Christ ? Yes, the Lord Jesus accounted it his glory 
to be meek. Do not you account it a dishonour? 
Why, is that a dishonour to thee that was an honour 
to Jesus Christ ? Shall Jesus Christ reckon it his 
glory to be a meek man, and shalt not thou account 
it to be thy glory ? Oh blessed be those that are 
like God the Father and God the Son ! 

And they have much of the Spirit of God. What 
was the Spirit of God compared to more than meek- 
ness ? When the Holy Ghost did appear upon the 
head of Jesus Christ, John iii. 16, he did appear in 
the form, of a dove. Now they say of the dove it 
hath no gall ; it is the emblem of meekness. There- 
fore, if thou wouldst be like either Father, Son, or 
Holy Ghost, thou must be a man or woman of a 
meek and gentle spirit. ' Blessed are those that are 
meek,' for they have much of Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost in them. It is very observable that God in 
his sacrifices he would not have lions, and tigers, and 
such wild creatures to be offered in sacrifice to him, 
nor no bu-ds of prey, but he would have the dove and 
the pigeon, and the lamb and the sheep ; the Lord 
doth regard rather such sacrifices than the froward, 
perverse spuits of men. I will give you now but one 
scripture for the blessedness of meek spirits. There 
are many promises made to those that are meek. 
Here is one great one in my text; but for the pre- 
sent only this one scripture, that one would think all 
those who have found any good by Scripture should 
for ever lay upon their hearts to meeken their spirits, 
— and especially it is applied to women, for they are 
the weaker sex, and passion and anger comes from 
weakness. Therefore the Holy Ghost, in 1 Peter iii. 
1-3, where he is speaking unto women, exhorting them 
shew themselves the daughters of Sarah ; saith 



74 



BUBROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 5. 



' Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own 
husbands ; that, if any obey not the word, they also 
may without the word be won by the conversation of 
the wives; while they behold your chaste. conversa- 
tion coupled with fear. Whose adorning, let it not 
be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of 
wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel.' But 
how then ? women are much addicted to these things, 
therefore the Holy Ghost mentions these particulars. 
But, saith he, ' Let it be the hidden man of the heart, 
in that which is not corruptible.' What is that ? 
what particular will the Holy Ghost instance in for 
the hidden man of the heart ? Even, saith he, ' a 
meek and a quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God 
of great price.' Give me any scripture that puts such 
a commendation upon any particular grace. Indeed 
we have in effect other commendations, that come to 
as much, of faith, — for that is the great grace of the 
covenant by which Christ is made ours, — but for an 
explicit expression almost of any grace whatsoever, a 
meek and a quiet spirit is of great price with God, or, 
as some of your books have it, is much set by. Why 
would you have brave clothes and ornaments ? You 
account them to be precious ; to have costly laces 
and costly dressings and attire — you think to go in 
things that are costly. Ay, but what are these to 
God ? As if the Holy Ghost should say, H' you have 
but the plainest garment you are as acceptable wath 
God ; he looks into the inward man. Now to see a 



man or woman to have brave clothes, and have a fro- 
ward, perverse spirit, oh, such are loathsome to God, 
-^God looks upon those as having an ugly dress upon 
them. But now though you be never so clothed 
outwardly, yet have you a meek and a quiet spu'it, 
and that from the grace of the Spirit of God in you ? 
Oh, saith the Holy Gho.st, here is an ornament ! this is 
of gi-eat price with God ; it is much set by with God ; 
oh be in love with it. You use to say when you 
have a friend comes to you, If I did but know what 
you love I would have it for you. Now women and 
others say thus to God : Oh that I did but know 
what thou dost love, what God doth most value ! 
Can you say, as in the presence of God, that if you 
did but know what God loved most you would en- 
deavour to the uttermost you could that God should 
have it? Now behold here what the Holy Ghost' 
saith. The Holy Ghost saith this to all women, — 
and so it is true of men and women and servants, — 
that a meek and a quiet spirit is of great price with 
God. Therefore now though you cannot remember 
other things, yet go away and conclude I have been 
indeed of a froward and pettish temper heretofore, — ■ 
and oh the sins that I have committed in my fro- 
wardness !— but the Lord hath commended meekness 
to me. The text saith that they are blessed, and 
another scripture saith that it is much set by of 
God. Oh the Lord give us meek spirits that we may 
be blessed ! 



SERMON XII. 



MEEK PERSONS SUBJECTS FOR CHRIST TO COMFORT. 



'Blessed are the meel : for theij shall inhent the earth.'— Mat. v. 5. 



God doth not prize the gay things in the world. Gold 
and silver and land and possessions and crowns, 
what are these to God ? Wherefore the Lord saith 
in Isa. xl., that 'all the nations of the earth 
are to him but as the drop of the bucket, and as the 
small duet of the balance ; nothing, yea, less than no- 
thing.' He doth not regard the nations of the world 
with all their pomp and glory, but now a meek and 
a quiet spirit God prizes ; that is high in God's esteem, 
that is worth a great deal with God, though all the 



nations of the earth are no more worth than a little 
dust is worth. Blessed then is the meek. 

We add further, Blessed is the meek, for they are 
the subjects that Christ is anointed by the Father to 
comfort, to preach glad tidings to. Surely then they 
are blessed. I say, Christ, as he is anointed by the 
Father to preach the gospel to the poor, and to 
those that mourn, so unto the meek ; in Isa. Ixv., 
' The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the 
Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the 



Mat. V. 5.] 



BITRROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



75 



meek.' The truth is, they are sad and disconsolate ; 
therefore in the forefront Christ is designed by the 
Father to preach good tidings to ther meek, and there- 
fore they must needs be blessed that the Father hath 
sent Christ unto to preach good tidings. 

And then, thirdly, Surely they are blessed ; for 
this meekness, or ability to moderate and order anger, 
God himself accounts it his own glory, therefore it 
must needs put a glory upon those that are meek. 
In Exod. xxxiv. C, where God would shew his glory, 
this is among the rest, ' The Lord, the Lord God, 
merciful and gracious, long-suffering.' That he is 
able to moderate his anger when he is provoked, and 
to be long-suffering with men, that is the glory of 
the Father. 

Yea, and it is the glory of Christ. In Psalm 
xlv. you have a prophetical psalm of Christ, setting 
him out in his glory. And observe, when the Holy 
Ghost would set out Christ in his glory, what he 
saith of him : ' Thou art fairer than the children of 
men : grace is poured into thy lips ; therefore God 
hath blessed thee for ever. Gird thy sword upon thy 
thigh, most mighty, with thy glory and thy 
majesty. And in thy majesty ride prosperously, 
because of truth and meekness.' Here is the majesty 
of Christ set out, and his glory; and meekness is one 
thing that is made that puts the glory and majesty 
upon Christ. Therefore blessed are the meek. 

And then for the Holy Ghost. You know that he 
appears in the likeness of a dove, wliich, they say, 
hath no gall, which is an emblem of meekness ; so 
that the meek have that that is the glory of the 
Father, the glory of the Son, and the glory of the 
Holy Ghost upon them. Blessed, then, are the 
meek. 

Again, further. Blessed are the meek ; for meek- 
ness it is an argument of their election. It is a fruit 
of God's eternal love to them, of God's electing love. 
Wherever there is true Christian meekness, we may 
conclude that that soul was thought upon from all 
eternity by God, elected unto eternal life. In Col. 
iii. 12 — you that are acquainted with Scripture, you 
cannot but know these things — ' Put on therefore, as 
the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, 
kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, and long- 
suft'ering, as the elect of God.' That as if the apostle 
should say. Would you make it appear that you are 
the elect of God, put on then tlie bowels of mercy and 
kindness and meekness. It is not an argument that 
a man is the elect of God because he hath means 
coming in, because he hath excellent parts of nature 
and honours in the world, and because he gets a great 
deal of money ; this is no argument of God's elec- 
tion. But meekness and loving-kindness and long- 
suffering, these are the things that are the fruit even 
of election. 



And then the meek they are blessed, because 
meekness it is a special fruit of the Holy Ghost in 
the hearts of the saints, and an argument of the 
Holy Ghost's dwelling there. In Gal. v., you 
have there the most fuU setting out of the fruits 
of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit that I know 
in all the book of God. Now mark, in the fruits of 
the flesh you shall find anger and wrath ; and when 
he comes to set out the fruits of the Spirit, there saith 
he in the 22d verse, ' But the fruits of the Spu-it are 
love, joy, peace, long-sufl'ering, gentleness, goodness, 
faith, meekness, temperance ; against such there is 
no law.' You shall find in setting forth the fruits of 
the Spirit, though there be many words, yet the most 
of them are but as it were synonnmas of meekness. 
As now the fruit of the Spirit is love ; you know a 
meek spirit and a loving spirit have great likeness 
one to another. And joy, there is none have of that 
sweetness of spirit as meek ones ; and peace, they are 
those that are of peaceable dispositions, and long- 
sufl'ering, and gentleness, and goodness ; and then he 
comes with meekness. The truth is, in these there is 
meekness ; but all these words are here mentioned by 
the Holy Ghost on purpose to set out the excellency 
of this grace of meekne.?s ; therefore he uame§ so 
many graces that are so near akin to this grace of 
meelcness. And as kinsmen look one like another, 
so do these graces that are so near akin, and this is 
the fruit of the Spirit. Passion and anger is the 
fruit of the flesh, the fruit of the devil in the heart ; 
but meekness is the fruit of the Spirit. Therefore 
blessed are the meek. 

And then meekness it hath in it magnanimity ; it 
argues a magnanimous spirit to be of a meek and 
quiet spirit. Men do think that their passion and 
frowardness doth argue them to be of brave spirits, of 
jolly spirits ; and no men do pride themselves more 
in the bravery of their spirits than froward people, 
especially in the time of their passion. But certainly 
a meek spirit is the most brave spirit in the world ; 
and that is the judgment of the Holy Ghost in Prov. 
xvi. 32, ' He that is slow to anger is better than the 
mighty ; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that 
taketh a city.' Why, what greater bravery and 
magnanimity is there than in soldiers when they 
come to take cities ; and men that are full of courage, 
we account them to be men of brave and excellent 
spirits. Ay, but would you know who are the men 
and women that the Lord looks upon as the most 
brave and excellent spirits ; they are the meek ones : 
' He that is slow to wrath is better than the mighty ; 
and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a 
city.' It may be thou thinkest thou canst do no 
great service for God ; others are employed in great 
and brave works, and do much in a httle time ; but 
canst thou rule thy spirit with this grace of meek- 



76 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 5. 



ness, it is a more brave exploit, and more honour- 
able in the e3'e of God, than if thou wert able to 
overcome a city. Surely there is much spoken of 
this grace in Scripture to shew how blessed they are. 

And then meekness we find it much the walk- 
ing worthy of our calling ; in Eph. iv., those that 
are called to partake of the grace of the gospel, 
they never walk so worthy of it as in this grace 
of meekness : ' I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, 
beseech you that you walk worthy of the voca- 
tion wherewith you are called.' Now how should 
we walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are 
called ? The Lord hath called you out of your na- 
tural estate, out of darkness into light, and he would 
have you walk worthy of this calling. Oh, saith a 
poor soul, how is it possible for such a poor creature 
as I am to walk worthy of such a glorious calling ? 
What ! for the Lord to let others to go on in the way 
of sin and death, and to call me out of that way to 
the kingdom of bis dear Son, what can I do to walk 
worthy of this calling ? If there were anything in 
the world wherein I might testify my walking worthy 
of this glorious mercy of God to me, I would do it. 
Why, would you fain walk worthy of your calling? 
mark what follows in ver. 2, ' With all lowliness 
and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one an- 
other in love.' Here is the way to walk wortlty of 
our calling ; it is the way of walking worthy of all 
mercies, of God's delivering of us from our bondage, 
when we can in ' meekness and lowliness, and long- 
suffering, forbear one another.' This is the walking 
worthy of our calling. 

Now I come to that which I have here in the text : 

' For they shall inherit the earth.' 

It is as strange a promise as any we have in Scrip- 
ture ; as much against carnal reason as anything 
almost in all the book of God. ' Blessed are the 
meek.' Ay, you will say, they are blessed ; they may 
get to heaven when they die, but they are like to 
suffer a great deal of wrong while they live. Nay, if 
we do put up wrongs, and bear with others that do 
us injuries, we may have wrongs enough, and we may 
quickly lose all that ever we have ; this is the reason- 
ing of a carnal heart. But Jesus Christ, if you dare 
trust him, he professes that of all men in the world the 
meek are those that shall inherit the earth — it shall 
be better with them in the earth than with other men. 

Now you will say. Can that make them blessed, 
that they shall inherit the earth ? 

To that the answer is : Yes, that way of in- 
heritance of the earth is a great blessedness, and 
a certain argument of a man blessed by God, not 
because he shall have riches in the earth, but he 
shall inherit it as a child of God, he shall have the 
right unto the things of the earth as an heir. Men 
may have the things of the earth by a donation from 



God's bounty, and so I do not think they are 
usurpers of what they have ; God gives it them as a 
prince or judge should give a malefactor somewhat 
to maintain him for his diet two or three days after 
the sentence of death till he comes to be executed. 
Now he doth not usurp his meat that he doth eat, 
for it is given him freely. So wicked men they have 
the things of this earth in that way given them by 
donation to live ; though the sentence of death be 
upon them, and though they have ferfeited all the 
comforts of this world, it is given them, but they do 
not inherit. They have not that right to the things 
of this earth as they are co-heu's with Jesus Christ. 
Now this is a blessed thing to have all our right 
restored in Christ, even in the things of this earth, 
and to have it upon such a tenure. Certainly this 
love of God comes from the same fountain from, 
whence Jesus Christ himself came, though the things 
that are enjoyed are but outward in themselves. 
Those that have the care of God, the fatherly care 
of God, upon them here in this world to supply their 
wants, to help them in all their necessities, that have 
the inlluences of the love of God let out into them 
through all the comforts of the creature, that they 
can see God's love in them, and that have all things 
here in this earth sanctified unto them for the fur- 
therance of their eternal good, ' blessed are they, for 
they shall inherit the earth.' 

And there are some things else that we find in 
Scripture that Christ intends to his saints here upon 
the earth; for the Scripture tells us there shall be new 
heavens and new earth — not only new heavens, but 
new earth, wherein dwells righteousness. And so 
this blessedness may be fulfilled at that day when 
the new earth shall be : and in Rev. v. 10, ' And 
hast made us unto our God kings and priests ; and 
we shall reign on the earth.' I will not meddle with 
that matter of controversy about this, but take the 
words of Scripture as they lie. There is certainly a 
reigning of the saints upon the earth some way or 
other, for the Scri|)ture holds it out in so many 
words, it is so. Why then those that are meek ones 
they shall have a great share in this reigning with 
Christ, even upon the earth. 

Ay, but why meek ones rather than others ? 

Why, all God's people shall have one inheritance 
here in this world. It is said of Abraham, in Rom. 
iv., that be was ' the heir of the world ;' and so all 
the seed of Abraham doth inherit Abraham's inherit- 
ance, and every one of them is an heir of the world 
here as well as of heaven. But why the meek ones? 
Surely there is a special connexion between this 
promise of inheriting the earth and meekness. That 
I will shew you in divers particulars. As, 

First, Because those that are meek, they are not 
given so to wrangling as other men are ; they love to 



Mat. V. 5.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



77 



be quiet, and so by that means they enjoy their 
estates more comfortably here upon the earth. Men 
and women that are froward and passionate, and love 
wrangling and suing and lawing, many times they 
rend their estates, and squander away a fair inherit- 
ance that their parents have left them. There are 
many men of such disposition, as that for a good 
use, for the maintenance of the gospel, they would 
grudge at five shillings ; yet to have their wills in 
a way of law upon their neighbours they care not 
though they spend a hundred pounds ; yes, five 
hundred pounds. Do not you often hear them say, 
Well, I will have my will though it cost me a brace 
of hundred pounds ? Oh thou art a resohite, froward 
fool. But didst thou ever say. We will have the gospel 
set up among us whatsoever it cost us ? For a good 
use nothing comes from thee but as it were thy 
heart-blood, but now for thy will thou canst spend. 
Well, many times God lets thee do so, and yet it may 
be thou hast not thy will neither ; but now a meek one 
saves all this, and so comes to live a great deal better 
here in the earth ; and that is the first thing wherein 
meek ones have the advantage here of the earth. 

And then, secondly, That they have, though it be 
but a little, yet they have it with quietness and com- 
fort. Now ' a dish of green herbs is better with peace 
and quietness, than a stalled ox where there is con- 
tention.' Why, a poor man and his wife, that sits 
but at a stool, and hath but a little piece of bread 
and small-beer, and yet live sweetly together and 
meekly, why, they enjoy more comfort in this earth 
than your great men do that have great tables, but 
yet are froward ; when their diet is brought up to 
their table, why, this meat is not well dressed, and 
this bread is not well baked, and this servant doth 
thus and thus ! Men that have a great deal of busi- 
ness in the world, and have froward spirits, why, they 
enjoy nothing at quiet of all they have ; but now the 
meek ones, though they have but a little, yet they 
have it with comfort, with peace and quiet, and so 
they may be said to inherit the earth rather than 
others ; the truth is, you do not enjoy the things of 
the world any further than you do with quiet. 

Thirdly, Meek ones surely they shall inherit the 
earth, because meekness is such a beautiful grace that 
nobody will harm. Who will harm you if you follow 
that which is good ? Such as live meekly and quietly 
in a family, everybody will be ready to maintain 
their cause ; and so they come to have benefit here in 
the earth rather than others. 

Fourthly, The meek shall inherit the earth. Why, 
those that are meek they are more drawing than 
others ; as, for instance, if you should want a servant 
into your family, whom would you inquire for ? would 
not you have a man or maid-servant to be of a meek 
and quiet spirit ? And if you hear that they are of a 



froward, passionate spirit. Oh, say you, they shall not 
come into my house, and so you lose your good ser- 
vice by that means ; and another servant that is of a 
meek and quiet spirit. Nay, saith a master or mistress, 
I will have this servant though I give them more 
wages. Now here you see how the meek come to 
inherit the earth rather than other. Why, if a man 
be to seek a wife, one of the first qualities that he 
will look after is to see whether she be of a meek 
spirit ; and if she be not, let her have what she will 
else, she is oftentimes rejected ; but now let them be 
of meek and quiet spirits, though their portion be the 
less, yet they are accepted : so that meekness helps in 
the things of this earth. If a man were travelling, 
he would rather lie in an inn where the host and ser- 
vants are of quiet spirits, than in another place where 
they are not ; meekness doth much advantage the 
inheriting of the earth even in these things. 

Fifthly, Wherever there is meekness, there the soul 
doth give up its cause to God ; whatsoever wrongs a 
meek man hath here in this world, he doth interest 
God in liis cause, and by that means he comes to 
enjoy a great blessing in this earth. I beseech you 
mind this : I say a meek man is said to inherit the 
earth more than another, because his spirit comes to 
be so ordered that whatsoever wrongs he suffers in 
the world, he can keep his heart quiet, and by that 
means can interest God in his cause, and when you 
have once interested God in your cause, you are like 
to do well enough. As now sometimes when men 
cannot get some debts, if they can make the debt to 
be the king's, they could get it that way a great deal 
better than any other way. So now is there any 
cause that thou wouldst fain have success in here in 
this earth ? It may be thou wUt be wrangling and 
quarrelling thyself, and think to get it by thy own 
strength, and making of friends ; this will not do it, a 
hundred to one but thou wilt miscarry. But now if 
thou canst with meekness give it up to God, turn it 
over to God, and interest God in this cause, certainly 
then thou wilt have success in it, and so thou wilt 
come to have thy mind and will even here in this 
world. I will give you an excellent scripture for this ; 
in Num. xii., you have Moses commended there for 
the meekness of his spirit : ' And the man Moses was 
very meek above all the men that were upon the face 
of the earth,' I remember Ambrose saith concernino- 
Moses, that all his great works did not make him so 
honourable as his meekness did ; and Chrysostom 
gives the reason why God would speak face to face 
with Moses rather than with any other — it was be- 
cause of his extraordinary meekn«ss ; and ihe Jews 
have this tradition, that when Moses was to die, God 
came to him and embraced liim, and sucked out bis 
soul. However the tradition is, the soul is very dear 
to God, and if ever God vvould cbaw a soul out such 



78 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 5. 



a way, it would be the soul of Moses. And now see 
how he doth interest God in a great cause, and how 
God doth take it. We shall find in this chapter that 
Moses had a great deal of wrong done him ; it is said 
that Miriam and Aaron spake against ]\Ioses, be- 
cause of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married, 
and tliey said, ' Hath the Lord spoken only by Moses ? ' 
&c. ; ' And the Lord heard it,' saith the text. They 
came and wrangled with Moses : What is this Moses ? 
As if they should say, What ! hath the Lord spoken to 
Moses alone ? he would take all upon himself, and 
he would lift up himself above others. Ay, but 
Moses is but an ordinary man as others are, and hath 
married an Ethiopian woman, and so they spake 
against Moses. But now you do not hear that Moses 
began to exclaim against them, and cry out against 
them. No; but ' the man Moses was very meek above 
all the men that were upon the face of the earth.' 
Mark, now, how this meekness did interest God in 
his cause : And ' the Lord spake suddenly unto 
Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out 
ye three unto the tabernacle.' The Lord spake sud- 
denly; he breaks, as it were, forth from heaven. As if 
God should say. What ! is that servant Moses, that 
meek servant of mine, wronged? I will quickly appear 
for him. Mark, Moses was not sudden in passion, 
and therefore God was sudden. You are very sudden 
in your passion and anger, but if you would be less 
sudden in avenging yourselves, God would be more 
sudden in appearing for you. The Lord spake sud- 
denly, ' Come out you three to the tabernacle of the 
congregation:' come out; I will judge the cause, 
saith the Lord. Then it follows in the 5th verse, 
' And the Lord came down in the pillar of the cloud, 
and stood in the door of the tabernacle ' — the Lord 
comes down from heaven to right his meek servant 
Moses — ' and called Aaron and Miriam, and they 
both came forth.' Just as if a father that hath his 
children wrangling one with another, he calls those 
that did the wrong. Well, stand you forth. Then 
mark ; 'And he said. Hear now my words : If there be 
a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself 
known unto him in a vision, and will spealc unto him 
in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faith- 
ful in all my house.' Mark, in the 2d verse, ' And 
they said, Hath the Lord spoken only by Moses? hath 
he not spoken also by us?' Moses doth not come 
and tell them. Well, God hath spoken by others, but 
not so as by me ; no, Moses doth not so. But now 
mark, God saith, ' If there bo a prophet, I will speak 
to him in a dream, and vision, but my servant Moses 
is not so ;' now mark how God takes the part of a 
meek servant of his : ver. 8, ' With him will I speak 
mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark 
speeches, and the similitude of the Lord shall he be- 
hold : wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak 



against my servant Moses?' then ver. 9, 'And the 
auger of the Lord was kindled against them, and he 
departed.' Moses when he was -wronged he was 
the meekest man upon the earth ; his passion is 
not stirred, but God's auger is stirred. The less 
the anger of Moses is stirred, the more is the anger 
of God stirred for him to vindicate him in his 
cause. You think, Oh how others WTong you, 
and your anger is stu-red presently. Ay, but you 
do not interest God in the cause by this means ; 
whereas if you were but meek, God's anger would be 
kindled for you ; and do you not think that the 
anger of God being kindled against those that do you 
wrong will sooner right your cause than when your 
own anger is kindled? And so I find that when David, 
in Ps. xxxviu. 13, had wrong, and yet was very meek 
in his wrong, God was interested in the business. He 
complains of his wrong before : ' My lovers and my 
friends stand aloof from my sore ; and my kinsmen 
stand afar off. They also that seek after my life lay 
snares for me ; and they that seek my hurt speak mis- 
chievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long.' 
Well, was David's spirit stirred now in anger and 
frowardness ? No ; laut, saith he, ' I as a deaf man 
heard not ; and I was as a dumb man that openeth 
not his mouth.' Though they did speak mischievous 
things against me, I as a dumb man opened not my 
mouth. And mark in the 14th verse, ' Thus I was 
as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth 
there are no reproofs;' but then in the 15th verse, 
' For in thee, Lord, do I hope : thou wilt hear, O 
Lord my God.' Here is the reason that made him 
so meek : Lord, saith he, when they thus spake 
agiXinst me and wi'onged me, I was as a deaf man, 
and I heard not ; I opened not my mouth : and the 
reason why I did not was because T had a God to 
trust in. you that are carnal indeed, and know 
not the way of God, when you are angry you have 
nothing to help you but the raising of the passion of 
your auger. Ay, but a saint of God hath something 
else to help him : saith he, ' I did hope in thee, O 
Lord, thou wilt hear.' Mark, I heard not, but. Lord, 
I hope in thee that thou wilt hear. The less thou 
dost hear when thou art wronged, the more will God 
hear. Oh that we had but such a spirit as the ser- 
vants of God had in former times. Moses and David 
here, oh how do they interest God in the cause ! 

Sixthly, The meek shall have blessings here upon 
the earth because there are so many gracious pro- 
mises ; besides this, made to them of very great mercy 
that will help them even in the earth. This promise 
that you have here, it is in Ps. xxxvii. 11. It is a 
promise that was in the time of the law ; and mark, 
Christ would shew that the entail is not cut olf, it is 
renewed again in the gospel, though the promise of 
outward things in other places are but in the general, 



Mat. V. 5.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES, 



79 



that godliness hath the promise of this life, yet 
Christ will single out particular promises for the 
meek ones. In Ps. xxv. 9, ' The meek,' saith the 
text, ' will he guide in judgment, and the meek will 
he teach his way.' Oh what a promise is here I it is 
worth all your estates. If you were but acquainted 
with Scripture, you would account this promise worth 
thousands. Give me one scripture -where the qualifi- 
cation of the subject is named in so few words twice ; 
the Lord loves the subject here, as if he delighted to 
have the very name in his mouth. He doth not say. 
The meek will he guide in judgment, and teach him 
his way, but the Lord loves to have the name iir his 
mouth ; Oh the meek, the meek, twice together, I 
love him, and I will guide him in judgment, and 
teach him his way. Now this promise, it is to be 
understood of guiding in judgment and teaching a 
man his way in anything ; as, for instance, suppose a 
man hath an outward business befallen him in this 
world that hath a great deal of difficulty in it, so that 
he knows not what in the world to do to extricate 
himself out of the way. A meek spirit when he is 
in straits, the first thing he labours to do is this, to 
quiet his spirit in reposing him on God, and then 
when he hath quieted his spirit he looks up to the 
promise. Lord, hast not thou said, the meek wilt thou 
guide in judgment, thou wilt not leave him to his 
own thoughts, to bis own spirit; the counsel of the 
froward is carried headlong, but the meek wilt thou 
guide in judgment. Thou hast a promise that God 
will guide thee to order any affairs in the world, if 
thou canst but overcome thy passion ; and there is 
nothing will help a man more for understanding and 
judgment than meekness and quietness ; therefore in 
Prov. xvii. 27, ' He that hath knowledge spareth his 
words, and a man of understanding is of an excellent 
spirit.' But in the original it is, a man of under- 
standing is of a cool spirit. Men that are of hot 
spirits, hot-brained men, hot-spirited men, they 
think they have understanding more than others ; 
but the Holy Ghost saith otherwise^ — the man of un- 
derstanding is of a cool spirit. There is a great 
advantage that meekness hath even in a natural way 
to help a man's spirit, but much more when there is 
a promise too that he will teach them. There are 
many other promises in Scripture tending to the 
tha same thing. In Ps. Ixxvi. 9, ' When God arose 



to judgment to save all the meek of the earth.' 
When God comes to arise to judgment abroad in the 
world, the Lord doth not care for froward spirits. Let 
them go, saith God, those whose spirits are upon 
every little occasion set on fire ; but when God arises 
to judgment he will be sure to look to the meek ones. 
And then in Ps. cxlix. 4, ' For the Lord taketh plea- 
sure in his people ; he will beautify the meek with 
salvation.' Meekness is a beautiful grace, and the 
Lord will beautify the meek with salvation ; and in 
Isa. xxix. 19 there is a promise to the same effect; 
but tliat one more in Zeph. ii. 1, 2, there is a notable 
promise when there shall be times of common cala- 
mity. ' Gather yourselves together, yea, gather to- 
gether, nation not desired ; before the decree bring 
forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the 
fierce anger of the Lord come upon ynu, before the 
day of the Lord's anger come upon you.' Then 
mark, ver. .3, ' Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the 
earth, which have wrought his judgments; seek 
righteousness, seek meekness : it may be ye shall be 
hid in the day of the Lord's anger.' You will say, 
Through God's mercy I find I have some power over 
my passion. Ay, but mark, are you meek? seek the 
Lord then, and seek meekness still, and then it may 
be 'you shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger ;' 
as if the Holy Ghost should say. If there be any man 
in the world hid, you may be he. Oh these are the 
men that are public blessings in the places where they 
live. The prayers of the meek ones shall prevail with 
God, not the prayers of the froward. When you that 
are froward come to seek God, why, you cannot lift 
up your hands without wrath and without doubting ; 
but seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth. Oh 
the promises that God hath made to those that are 
the meek ones in the earth! and all these tend to the 
strengthening of this great promise that is here, ' The 
meek shall inherit the earth,' 

Now the main thing that hath been spoken hath 
been but in way of explication, to shew you how this 
promise is made good, ' that the meek shall inherit 
the earth.' But now we shall come to the applica- 
tion of it. This meekness is like our salt, that in 
everything we have some need of it to season our 
lives ; the lives of men and women are unsavoury in 
the places where God hath set them, because of the 
want of this grace of meekness. 



80 



BURROUGHS ON THE BK.\TITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 5. 



SERMON XIII. 



A REPREHENSION OF PROFESSORS THAT ARE NOT MEEIL 



' Blessed are the meek : for tlifi/ shall inlierit the earth' — il 



We shall now come to the application, -whicli I in- 
tend but in two particulars. The reprehension of 
those that profess themselves disciples of Christ, and 
yet we cannot see the stamp of the Spirit of Christ 
upon them ; in this particular, in regard of meekness, 
we have cause to draw buckets of tears to bewail, and 
to quench, if it were possible, the fire of the passion 
of men's spirits. And those that I shall direct myself 
to, shall be such as profess themselves willing to be 
Christ's disciples, to hear Christ, for it is Christ's 
sermon, and he directed himself to his disciples in 
this sermon. And it is no marvel to see men who are 
carnal, who are led by an earthly spirit, for them to 
be froward, passionate, and proud ; but for those that 
are godly to be so, this is that that goes very near to 
the Spirit of God. It is made a special argument 
against passion and frowardness, and so for meek- 
ness, because otherwise the Spirit of Christ would be 
grieved. In Eph. iv. 30, ' And grieve not the Holy 
Spirit of God, -whereby you are sealed.' Why, what 
will grieve it ? what should we take heed of, that we 
may not grieve the Spirit of God? Mark in ver. 31, 
' Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and evil- 
speaking, be put away from you, with all mahce : 
and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, for- 
giving one another, even as God for Christ's sake 
hath forgiven you.' The giving way to passion and 
frowardness will grieve the Spirit of God. You that 
ever have found any good by the Spirit of God in 
your hearts, take heed of frowardness ; labour for 
meekness and kindness, that the Spirit of God may 
delight in you, for that is very suitable to the Sjjirit 
of God, that is a dove. I confess I had some thoughts 
to speak of the vain pleas that many have for their 
passion and frowardness ; but I consider for that, if 
God gives life and liberty, in going on in the hand- 
ling of this sermon of Christ, I shall meet with that 
again in the 22d verse of this chapter, ' I say unto 
you, Whosoever is angry with his brother without a 
cause shall be in danger of the judgment.' There- 
fore I leave those things to that place. But now this 
one thing only in this use of reprehension, and that 



AT. v. 5. 



is to labour to shew those that profess themselves 
saints, that frowardness, want of meekness, it is that 
that is as much contrary to true grace as almost any 
corruption that can be named, which it may be they 
little think of. They think they have angry and 
passionate natures, they are somewhat hasty, but 
they are delivered from other corruptions that men 
do wallow in. Know that a hasty, froward spirit, a 
spirit that is not commanded by this grace of meek- 
ness, so far as it prevails, it is as contrary unto true 
grace almost as anything you can think of ; and 
truly there may be a great deal of suspicion whether 
there be true grace or no in those that have not, 
in some measure, this meekness prevailing in them, 
but rather passion and frowardness. As thus. 

First, Frowardness and anger is contrary to true 
grace ; for what is it that grace doth in the heart 
when it first comes ? The first thing is to shew unto 
the soul its own vileness, its own wretchedness and 
baseness by sin, and the danger that it is in through 
sin. Now how contrary to this is a froward, pas- 
sionate heart, to the sight of its own vileness and 
baseness. What ! dost thou see thyself to be a vile, 
base, sinful worm, and yet canst bear nothing that is 
against thee, but presently thy heart is in a flame if 
anything come cross to thee ? Surely thou knowest not 
thyself. And, 

Secondly, The first lesson that Christ teaches any 
that comes into his school, it is the lesson of self-denial ; 
that is the ABC of a Christian : ' Whosoever will 
follow me let him deny himself.' Now how contrary 
is a froward, passionate spirit to the grace of self- 
denial, which is the A B C of a Christian, the very 
first lesson that Christ doth teach any that come into 
his school ! Wilt thou come to learn of me ? let that 
be the foundation of alL You must deny yourselves, 
you must not be set upon your own mind, and own 
will, and own thoughts, so as you have been. Ay, but 
now there is no such self-seeker as a froward heart. 
What is it that raises passion, but because I con- 
ceive myself to be crossed ? I am crossed in my own 
will, and that I would have ; whereas did but self- 



Mat. V. 5.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



81 



denial prevail in the least, there would be way for 
meekness presently. 

Thirdly, When grace comes into the heart, doth it 
not discover to the heart the inlinite need it stands 
in of mercy ? I lie at the feet of mercy, at the dis- 
pose of mercy, and if mercy comes not in to save me, 
I am undone for ever. Now, how doth this stand 
with thy sight or sense and need of mercy, that art 
of a froward disposition, and canst bear nothing with 
others, and yet confessest thou staudest in so much 
need of mercy thyself ? 

Fourthly, When grace comes into the heart it brings 
the heart into subjection unto God, unto another 
rule than it walked by before. That is a principal work 
of grace, to subdue the heart of a sinner to God. The 
hearts of sinners are naturally stout and rebellious 
against God, and go on in a stubborn way till grace 
comes and lays them under. But now this is quite 
contrary to frowardness and passion. A froward 
heart would indeed be above God and any rule what- 
soever ; it cannot keep itself under and lie in subjec- 
tion unto rule ; and hence is the reason that froward 
and passionate people use to have such expressions, I 
will, and I will, and I care not ; their hearts are not 
subdued to the authority of God. The heart that is 
subdued to the Lord and to his authority, come and 
bring it but a scripture, it yields presently; but a fro- 
ward spirit i.3 not so. Hov^ contrary is frowardness 
to true grace ! 

Fifthly, As soon as ever there comes any grace, 
there comes in the spirit of Jesus Christ to the soul. 
That makes the soul, in some measure, to be like unto 
Jesus Christ. Now the spirit of Christ, as I shewed 
you in the opening the excellency of meekness the 
last day, it is a spirit of meekness : ' Learn of me, for 
I am meek.' Now this frowardness of thine being 
opposite so much to the spirit of Jesus Christ, it 
is opposite to the work of grace. 

Sixthly, Grace, when that comes in, it brings light 
into the soul, it brings wisdom to the soul, and guides 
it wisely. Naturally, we are foolish as well as dis- 
obedient, we are darkness itself ; but now there is 
no disposition of soul that is in greater and thicker 
darkness than froward and passionate people. Passion 
doth exalt folly ; such a soul is not guided by wisdom, 
and therefore very contrary to the work of grace. 

Again, seventhly, You know the promise of the 
gospel, it is to meeken spirits, to meeken men. AYhen 
tlie gospel comes, then the wolf and the lamb shall 
lie down together — those that were of wolfish spirits ; 
and the lion and the ox shall eat together ; there shall 
be a great deal of peace, love, and quietness, where 
the gospel comes. Now, then, that which is contrary 
to the work of the gospel is contrary to the work 
of grace in the heart. How hath the gospel been 
fulfilled then, if it hath come into thy soul, to cause 



a quietness in the heart, and there is none ? I 
beseech you that profess godliness, to consider there 
is more danger in a froward, passionate spirit than 
you are aware of ; and though you may think, because 
you make profession, and come to hear the word, and 
spend a great deal of time in prayer and fasting 
and longing after ordinances — you think now that 
certainly you have grace ; but you may be mistaken, 
the frowardness of your hearts may be your bane 
eternally. We read of Moses, though he be com- 
mended to be the meekest man that ever lived upon 
the earth, yet one froward, passionate act of his shut 
him out of Canaan ; though in the whole course 
of his life he was so meek that God commends him 
to be the meekest of all, yet shut out of Caanan for 
one act. Canaan, you know, was a type of heaven ; 
though Moses was pardoned so as he was received to 
heaven, yet as for Canaan God would not Iiearken to his 
prayer, but would take that advantage of him to shew 
his displeasure against that act of his of passion, 
and shut him out of Canaan. Take heed lest that 
froward heart of yours shut you out of heaven 
eternally. You mightily cry out of those that are 
drunkards ; you are no such, and you think that 
cannot stand with grace — they are shut out of the 
kingdom of heaven. Why should there not be as 
much danger in a drunken passion, as in drunken- 
ness by beer or wine ? Certainly the drunkenness 
that comes by passion doth cause often as many, 
as great sins as that that comes by wine or beer. 
You would think it a foul thing if it could be said that 
once a year you should be overcome with drunken- 
ness. Oh, how often have you been drunk with 
passion ! and that drunkenness may be as grievous to 
the Spirit of God as if you were drunken otherwise, 
by beer or wine ; and therefore look upon it as a 
greater evil than you are aware of. 

But we proceed to the use of exhortation. 

Blessed are the meek. Let us all learn to be of 
meek and quiet spirits. I remember in the sixth of 
Numbers it is said of the Nazarites, that they must 
drink no wine ; so the text saith, they must drink 
no vinegar neither. The Nazarites were a people 
separated for God — from thence they had their name, 
from separation — and all the saints of God they are 
Nazarites. As Christ was a Nazarite, so all that are 
Christ's are Nazarites — are separated for God's people, 
separated from others : the Lord separates the godly 
man for himself. Now this is the law upon all 
Nazarites : they must drink no vinegar — that i--, 
they must not be of vinegar spirits, of sour spirits, 
but must be of quiet spirits, of loving and meek 
spirits. It concerns us all, especially those that are 
inferiors, that they should be of meek spirits towards 
their superiors; those that are under afflictions, 
bodily or spiritual, they should be of meek and 



82 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 5. 



quiet spirits. It is unbeseeming any to be of a fro- 
ward, passionate heart, but especially those that are 
'inder afflictions. The Lord sends afflictions upon 
thee to humble thee, and to meeken thee; and if 
thou beest not meek now, when wilt thou be meek ? 
We ought to be meek towards our brethren, towards 
one another, and to be meek towards neighbours. 
There are many that are so used to frowardness and 
passion towards their servants, their children, or 
wives, that even when they have to deal with God 
himself they shew themselves froward and passionate 
then too. My brethren, let us learn to be in love with 
this amiable and lovely grace of meekness. And all 
that I intend to do therefore in this use, it shall be to 
propound unto you some various waj's or helps whereby 
youmaycometoget a habit of meekness, to behave your- 
selves meekly and gently in the places where you live, 
that so this promise may be made yours, that you are 
the blessed ones of Christ, and shall inherit the earth. 
In the first place. If you would have meek spirits, 
learn to set a high price upon the quiet and sweet- 
ness of your spirits. Set a high price upon it; account 
it to be a rich jewel of great worth, as we told you 
that God accounted the meek spirit to be of great 
price. It is one way to get it, to have a right esteem 
of the rest of spirit and quietness that meekness will 
cause in the soul. We may say of it as Tertullus 
the orator said to Felix, By thee we enjoy much 
quietness ; there is many good things done by thee, 
and by thee we enjoy much quietness. By meekness 
there is much quietness enjoyed in the heart ; there- 
fore saith Christ, ' Learn of me, who am humble and 
meek, and you shall find rest to your souls.' There 
is rest. Put a high price upon the rest and quiet of 
your spirits. Say as the fig-tree did. Should I lose my 
sweetness, and come and reign over you ? — when a 
temptation comes to passion, .Shall I lose the sweet- 
ness that I have had in my spirit, to have my will in 
6uch and such a thing? Through God's mercy I have 
found this, that when I have been able to overcome my 
passion I have had the sweetest time that ever I have 
had in all my life. When I could deny myself, and 
exercise meekess, oh the quiet of my heart ! it was 
worth a world ; and shall I lose this for a trifle now, 
for a toy? Oh the poor trifles and toys that men and 
women do cast away the quietness of their sj)irits for, 
as if they were nothing worth ! If a man had a golden 
ball in his hand, and any in the street should cast 
dirt upon him, would it not be accounted a folly in 
Iiim to throw his golden ball at them again that cast 
dirt upon him, to revenge himself that way ? Truly 
thus you do, you that have any of this grace of 
meekness in your hearts, and ever have had any 
quietness through the exercise of this grace. Now 
there comes a temptation ; such a one doth things 
displeasing to you, and crosses your will, how do you 



revenge yourselves ? You cast this golden ball away 
upon them — that is, the quietness and meekness of 
your spirits, you lose this upon them. Account it 
at a high rate, and therefore lose it not for a little. 
That is the first rule. 

A second rule to help us against passion, from the 
exercise of meekness and quietness. It is often to 
covenant with God, yet in the strength of Christ ; 
and though it be but for a little time, as thus, why 
may you not covenant thus with God, you that find 
that you are overcome in your passion, and you 
say you are troubled for them, and would fain get 
victory over them to the exercise of this grace of 
meekness, why may you not, when you rise in the 
morning, thus bethink yourselves. Why, it is like 
this day there may fall somewhat out that may stir 
my passion, and take away the comfort of meekness 
that I have had ; well, I will covenant, (through 
God's enabling of me,) now this day that, whatever 
shall befall me this day, I will be quiet tiU night at 
least. I will bear it but till that time, and upon 
this consideration, that if there be any cause for me 
to be stirred and angry, I may be stirred and angry 
afterwards for it, and I may right myself as well 
afterwards as this day; but for this day I am re- 
solved that I vi'ill set myself to curb my passion and 
my will for this one day. And if you think that be 
too long, do it but till noon ; to resolve that from this 
time till noon, whatever befalls me, I will manifest 
no passion, but I will rather take it into considera- 
tion after noon, or the next day, than now. One 
would think this were not impossible for a man, 
though of a very hasty spirit, yet to be resolved for 
one day that, whatever falls out, to bear -with it that 
day. But you will say, this will not mortify that 
corruption of jsassion. But though it will not mortify 
it, yet you cannot imagine what power there will bo 
in keeping down j'our passion but for a while. As fire, 
we know if it be but smothered it may be put out 
that way ; and that man or woman that can but 
overcome themselves for one day, will find such sweet- 
ness that day that they will begin to think with 
themselves. Why may not I covenant for to-morrow 
too? And then they will find so much sweetness for 
that day, they will think they may resolve for the 
next day. Oh, if you could but overcome yourselves 
for a day, you find so much good as it would ex- 
ceedingly help you against another day. 

But thirdly, This covenanting will not be suffi- 
cient, except there be humiliation for that that is 
past. Those that only resolve to set upon a duty, 
and are not humbled for the want of the duty before, 
they are like to do little good by their resolutions. 
You must therefore, if you would ovei'come your- 
selves, and set upon anything that God requires of 
you, you must be humbled for that that is past. 



Mat. V. 5.] 



BURROUGHS OX THE BEATITUDES. 



83 



Physicians use to purge out choler by bitter things ; 
and those that would tame wild creatures, it is by 
keeping them in the dark. So humiliation for the 
distempers of passion is a special means to purge out 
jjassion, and to tame and quiet the spirits of men 
and women. Many of you have been overcome in 
froward fits, and you have seen the inconveniency 
of them, and it may be after you have thought. Oh 
this is ill, and you hope you shall do so no more ; 
but although you think you will do so no more, 
yet except you be humbled for that you have done, 
you will fall to it again. And so it is a rule in all 
other things, that those who do resolve to amend in 
any particular, if they be not humbled for that that 
is past, they will fall to their sin again. It is a very 
remarkable example that we have of the people of 
Israel. Eead but the two or three chapters of 
Exodus. Chap, xv., towards the latter end, there 
you find that the people did chide with Moses 
l.iecause the waters were bitter. Well, they were not 
humbled for this. And in chap. xvi. you find them 
at it again ; though God was merciful to them then, 
yet when they came to another strait, they were 
froward and angry again ; and when God delivered 
them there, you shall find them at it again, in chap, 
xvii. 2 ; so that upon every new occasion they fall 
to it again. Why ? Because we do not find that in 
the interim they were humbled for their former dis- 
tempers. Therefore you that have such froward 
distempers, oh get alone, and apply the salt tears of 
humiliation unto that choler of yours, and see what 
this will do. Humiliation for that that is past will 
be a special help for time to come. 

Fourthly, If you would have meek and quiet 
spirits, take heed of the first beginning of passion. 
AVe know that when a fire is, we do not stay 
quenching of it till the house be all in a flame ; but 
if there be but a little fire kindled in any part of the 
house, if there be but a smoke, you will say. Where is 
it ? and are not quiet till you find it out. So should 
it be when passion begins to arise ; your house 
begins to be on a fire, your souls begin to be on fire ; 
and }'ou should be as much set upon quenching of it 
at the first rising as you would be when you see the 
fire break out in your house at the very first. Per- 
haps a dish of water may quench that now, that if 
you stay but till half an hour hence many pails of 
water will not. So it is in the point of passion. If 
so be that people would be careful at first, then with 
a little ado they may quench their passion, if they 
will take it when their passion begins to kindle ; but 
stay a while, and there ^^ill be no rule at all, no 
coming near a man. So poison : take it as soon as 
ever a man feels his body distempered, and there 
may be means to help against it; but if you stay 
a while till it hath got power over nature, there will 



be little help then. Oh, look upon passion as if it 
were poison, and take some remedy presently ; let 
not your passion be working any longer. So a fever ; 
it oftentimes may be easily cured at first. So 
passion ; it is a fever. Take the fever at the be- 
ginning. There have been most fearful distempers 
of passion risen from very small beginnings, which 
have broken out to most fearful outrages. As I 
remember in the history of Venice, I have read of 
two sons of the Duke of Florence, that having been 
a-hunting, there was contention about which of their 
dogs killed the hare. Saith one. My dog caught it 
first ; and the other, No, but it was mine. And so 
they continued till one drew the sword upon the other, 
and so slew his brother; and the brother's man that 
was slain, seeing his master slain, he draws ujion the 
other brother, and kills him. And so the duke loses 
two of his sons at the same time upon that occasion. 

How often is it in your families, that a little spark, 
what a fire doth it kindle ! At the first there may 
be but a word spoken amiss, that might easily have 
been passed over. No ; but that word begets another, 
and that word begets another, and that begets yet 
another, and so it grows to a most hideous flame. 
Take heed of the beginning of passion. Whenever 
any anger begins to arise in the family, or in your 
souls, oh it is time for you then to look to your- 
selves. vSometimes you shall have friends that at first 
their fallings-out begin but in the very countenance. 
One man thinks. Surely such a one looks not upon 
me with such a pleasant countenance as he was 
wont to do ; and from thence he begins to have 
surmises and suspicions, and then comes to make 
misinterpretations, and from thence there comes a 
strangeness ; and from being strange they begin to 
hearken to tales that are carried one against an- 
other, and to believe them, and to aggravate them ; 
and then they begin to speak some hard words one 
against another ; and then they begin to do some ill 
offices one against another ; and then break out into 
violent and eminent contention and actings one against 
another ; whereas, had there been but care taken at 
the beginning, all this might have been prevented : 
Prov. xvii. 14, ' The beginning of strife is as when 
one letteth out water : therefore leave olT contention, 
before it be meddled with.' Take heed of the be- 
ginnings of sin, if so be that you would keep your 
spirits in any meek and quiet frame. 

Then a fifth rule is this. If you would keep your 
spirits in quietnes.s, make account beforehand that 
you will meet with things that shall cross your wills. 
That is a good help against passion. And to quiet our 
hearts, as Anaxagoras said, when he heard of his son 
that was dead, saith he, I know that I begat him 
mortal ; so when you liire a servant at first, make 
account that there will be weakness in your servant 



8-1 



BUEROUGHSON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 5. 



beforehand — certainly there will be many things clone 
by him that will displease me. When you marry a 
wife, you should beforehand make account — there will 
something fall out between us that will displease one 
another. And so when you take a friend, before- 
hand you must make account — it is a friend that hath 
both his frailties and infirmities. Now if we make 
account beforehand that while we live in this world 
•we are not like to have our wills to be satisfied in 
everything, this will be a means to quiet our hearts. 
This is no more than I made account of. A soldier 
that goes into an array, when he meets with hardship, 
he is quieted with this, it is nothing but what I made 
account of beforehand. Mariners, when they are 
abroad and meet with storms, were it seemly for them 
to vex and fret ? they knew that it was likely they 
should meet with storms. So whenever anything falls 
out that crosses you, remember this : If I had wisdom 
beforehand, certainly I could think none other but 
that I .should have divers things would cross me ; 
and now God puts me to trial to see whether I will 
bear these crosses or no that doth befall me. 

The sixth rule is this. Consider thy own frailty. 
Others there are that do provoke thee and stir up 
thine anger ; but thou must go by that rule. We seek 
pardon, and we give it. I meet with such and such 
things in others, and it may be within a while they 
may meet with things amiss in me ; they olTend me, 
and I am like to offend them too ; and that is a 
marvellous help to quiet the S])irits of those that are 
truly gracious. Therefore in Gal. vi. mark the argu- 
ment of the apostle there, ' Brethren, it a man be 
overtaken with a fault, ye which are spiritual restore 
such a one in the spirit of meekness: considering thy- 
self, lest thou also be tempted;' and then it follows, 
' Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law 
of Christ.' Bear ye one another's burden; consider 
you may be tempted, and then bear ye one another's 
burden. The burden is like to be mutual ; I bear my 
brother's burden, and my brother is like to bear my 
burden ; I have a burden that may as well try his 
patience, as his tries mine ; and therefore let us bear 
one another's burden. As now among servants, when 
one of them is sick, we would account it an unreason- 
able thing if the other should murmur for the helping 
of his fellow-servant — No, he will not do it. But reason 
thus : I must help him now ; why, I may be sick ere- 
long, and then he will help me. So do others cross 
you, be you meek towards them, as you would expect 
that they should be meek towards you. It is ordi- 
nary for men that have the greatest weaknesses, for 
them to bear with the weaknesses of others, lest they 
be like, in this case, to the gouty leg, that must have 
all the attendance itself, but is useful for nothing ; so 
it is with many that have such proud and froward 
spirits, that everybody must seek to please them, and 



yet they will seek to jilease nobody themselves. Oh 
remember your own frailty ! 

And if any of you shall say, Ay, but I am not so 
great a burden to others as they are to me, and there- 
fore there is no equality for me to bear his burden 
because he is like to bear mine. 

I beseech you, do but observe what the answer to 
that is. 

First, Every one is ready to think that he is not 
so grievous to others as others are grievous to me. 
Grant it ; but then observe, it a^ijDcars that thou art 
stronger than thy brother, and therefore if the heavier 
end of the burden be upon thy shoidder, then thou 
shouldst quietly bear it, because it seems God hath 
made thy shoulder more able to bear it ; and it is not 
more difficult for a man to bear the offences of others 
against him, than it is for him not to be offensive to 
others. And therefore rather bless God when thou 
thinkest thus : The burden of my brother is greater 
than mine, and it is God's mercy to me that he hath 
made my strength greater than his, and so, consider- 
ing one another's burdens, let us labour to bear them 
meekly and quietly. 

Again, a seventh rule to help is this. Labour to 
keep thy peace with God. There is no such means to 
keep the heart in quiet as to keep peace with God. 
Let all be well between God and thy soul, and that 
will quiet thee when thou meetest with crosses. As 
if all be well within the earth, the tempests and 
storms that are about it will never shake it; and so 
that that disquiets men's hearts, it is the corru}>tion 
that is within, and not so much the temptation that 
is without. But for this peaceableness of spirit tliat 
comes from our peace with God, it may be we shall 
have some occasion to speak more of, when we come 
to speak of that blessedness, ' Blessed are the peace- 
makers ; ' and therefore I pass by that. 

The eighth rule is this. Convince thyself that thei'e 
can be nothing done in anger, but may be better done 
out of it. ' The wiath of man doth not accomplish 
the righteousness of God,' saith the apostle. As now, 
wouldst thou reprove a man, the best way is to 
reprove him in meekness; you that are spiritual, 
restore in meekness such as are fallen. Physicians 
must notgive physic scalding hot. Eeproofs are physic ; 
do not give it them scalding hot ; give it them but 
merely warm, in a spirit of love; no hotter than love 
will warm it. And so, whenever thou correctest thy 
children or servants, thou thinkest that if thou doest 
it not in a passion, thou must not do it at all ; that 
is thy folly. Thou mayest do it better out of a passion 
than in a passion ; and therefore divers of the heathen, 
they would not correct their servants merely because 
they were in a passion. If thou wouldst give an 
answer to another who speaks to thee that that is 
amiss, wouldst thou convince him, thou mayest do 



Mat. V. 5.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



85 



it better if thou canst overcome thy passion. Thou 
mayest reason the case with thy brother a great deal 
lietter out of thy passion than in thy passion. Ay, 
tlie truth is, those that have power over their passion 
liave a great advantage over any that they contend 
withaL Consider but of this, and this will be a 
means to meeken thy heart : when the heart is up in 
anger, it would fain be acting presently ; but keep 
down thy passion, and call in the grace of meekness. 
Consider, I would now be acting, but why may not 
I act as well out of passion as in passion ? yea, I 
may do it better, and therefore I will do it then. If 
passion do but stay a while, then it will be clarified. 
It is true, anger is the whetstone of virtue, if it be 
done in a right manner ; but it is as it is in physic — 
if the gross be given, it will do no good, but if it be 
clarified, then it may be of a great deal of use; and so 
it is with passion. 

In the ninth place, When thou feelest thy passion 
begm to arise, labour to turn thy passion another 
way, upon some other object : as thus — I feel anger 
begin to arise against my brother, or wife, or hus- 
band, or servant, now let me labour, instead of 
anger, to exercise moiirning ; such a one hath dis- 
pleased me, my wife, or child, or servant ; before thou 
givest way to thine anger, get alone and bemoan their 
sin. Thou sayest they have done exceeding ill. 
Have they ? then they have sinned against God as 
well as against thee ; and if so, then take this rule : 
before thou shewest any passion — get alone, and 
mourn for their sin against God ; then come out and 
see how thy passion will work after thy mourning 
for their sin. You would find this rule of very great 
use— if husbands and wives that have not lived 
quietly, or masters in their families — if you would 
but observe it that when anything is done amiss ; if 
it be not sin against God, then there is no great 
matter to stir your anger, but if it hath sin in it, 
then be sure to mourn for it. First before God you 
let out your passion, and so turn anger into love. 
Pliysicians, when they would stanch blood that runs 
too much in one vein, they seek to turn it into 
another ; and so should we do with our affections. 
And that Christian hath a great deal of skill, wisdom, 
and strength that is able to turn his affections : Now 
I will exercise anger, and now I will exercise love, 
and now I will exercise sorrow, and now I will 
exercise joy, and now I will exercise hope ; so that he 
is able to turn his affections this way and that way. 
If a man be not able to turn his affections this way 
and that way, surely there is some distemper; but 
this is the excellency of a Christian, he hath com- 
mand over his affections, he can turn them this way 
or that way. It is a good thing in dealing with 
childien, when they are dogged or sullen, not to fall 
upon them in a rage, but if you can turn their 



thoughts to something else. You have displeased them 
in one thing, do not be grating u])on them in that 
one thing, but see if you can turn them to be think- 
ing or looking after some other thing, and by that 
you shall get them sooner out of their sullen mood 
than by opposing it. So it is with ourselves ; many 
times there is a suUen, dogged, froward mood upon 
our hearts; now the way perhaps will not be to 
oppose directly that sullenness of our hearts, but the 
way will be to have some object before us to turn the 
stream of the heart to. 

Tenthly, Another rule to help against anger it is 
this : Do not multiply words ; take heed in froward 
passion that words be not multiplied. In Prov. viii. 
13, and in j\Iat. v. 22 — divers scriptures I might shew 
that the multiplying of words is very dangerous in 
time of passion, and especially to give liberty to wild 
speech. Words are wind ; ay, but they are that wind 
that blows up this fire to a mighty heat. In Prov. 
vii. 11, it is said of the whore that 'she is loud.' It 
is a most unbeseeming thing for women, though they 
be provoked by anger, to be loud in speech, to be 
loud in their words, and to multiply their words. The 
whorish woman is described by that she is loud ; and 
therefore those that would behave themselves as ma- 
trons in sobriety and modesty, take heed of loud 
speeches. And then of adding word to word ; the 
best way is rather to be silent, rather to turn away, 
as we read of David, when he had to deal with his 
froward brethren, in 1 Sam. 17, 'He turned away 
from them, and would answer no more.' I confess 
to turn away in a sullen manner, that is not good 
neither ; but to give a few gentle speeches and then 
to turn away — to turn away without any answer that 
may provoke as much ; but first to give some gentle 
answer and then to turn away, and resolve not to 
multiply words at such a time as this is; that is 
another rule. 

Eleventhly, If you would not be passionate, but of 
meek and quiet spirits, take heed of putting your- 
selves into too much business that God calls you not 
unto. And the reason is this, because there is no 
business but will have somewhat or other to fall 
cross ; therefore be sure to be about nothing but what 
God calls you to, and there you will have the blessing 
of God. But when men will have many irons in the 
fire, more than God calls them to, no marvel though 
their fingers be burnt ; we find that those men that 
are very busy are very froward. But now when you 
know that your business is but that that God calls 
you to, and you do it in obedience to God, you may 
expect the blessing of God upon you to quiet you ; 
but otherwise there will be many temptations in'it. 

Twelfthly, Further, take heed of too much curiosity. 
A man that is in a family, if he will be prying into 
everything in the family, he must have his eyes in 



SG 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 5. 



every room, and take notice of every passage in the 
family ; if so, a thousand to one but tliere will many 
things fall out that will disturb his passion. ' You 
must not take notice of every little fault in a servant, 
nor every small offence in wife or children ; but you 
must see and not see, if you will be of meek spirits. 
A foolish, nice curiosity in men in prying into every- 
thing in a family, and those things it may be that do 
not concern them, as it is very unbeseeming a man, 
so it is that that occasions a great deal of disturbance 
in the family. 

Thirteenthly, Another help will be to consider 
thus : Oh, what if this be now a temptation of the 
devil ! The devil owes me a spite, and who knows 
what the devil is now putting me upon ! If thou 
hadst but so mucli power over thy heart as to think 
thus : Whenever I am in a fit of passion, this is like 
to be a temptation ; the devil intends to do me some 
mischief at this time. It is an excellent similitude 
that Augustine hath about this : ' As it is with a 
fowler,' saith he, ' he sets Ins net near a hedge where 
the bu-ds are, and then he goes and takes stones and 
Hings into the hedge to scare the birds. The fowler 
doth not think to kill the birds by the stones, but it 
is to drive them by the stones out of the hedge, that 
so they may fly into the net.' So it is, saith he, 
when the devil hath an intention to draw thee to 
some sin ; saith tlie devil, I cannot tell how to draw 
them to such and such sins except I stir their passion ; 
let me but stu" their passion, and tlien I shall get 
them to that sin well enough. The thing that the 
devil aims at is some sin he would have them fall 
into. When the devil comes to stir up passion — as 
the fowlers throwing stones into the hedge — he cares 
not so much for thy passion ; but the thing that he 
aims at, it is the evil he would bring thee into by 
thy passion_: so that the very thoughts of this, now a 
passion is come, and if this should prove but a 
temptation to some vile sin, what would become of 
me ? and therefore I will sit still and do nothing 
rather than I will be thus hatched by the devil. 

Fourteenthly, Set the example of God, of Jesus 
Christ, and of his saints before you ; it is a mighty 
wa}' to help against passion and anger, considering 
liow meek the Lord is. When God had to deal with 
Cain, with what meekness and gentleness did God 
liimsclf deal with Cain. ' Why, where is thy brother ?' 
saith God ; and when Cain answered God churlishly, 
yet God goes on in a meek way, and saith, ' If thou 
dost well, shalt thou not be accepted ?' And so when 
God had to deal with Jonas, which was that froward, 
pettish jirophet — for so he was. ' Now,' saith God to 
him, 'Jonas, dost thou well to be angr}'?' when he 
saw him in a fit of anger. It is a good pattern for 
us, when we have to deal with others that ai-e of 
angry spirits, to say, Do you well to be angry? 



God did not come in a boisterous way to Jonas, but 
comes in a gentle and meek way : ' Dost thou well to 
be angry?' saith the Lord. Consider how God deals 
with his poor creatures ; and it is no dishonour to you 
to deal so with your servants and children, that are 
not so injurious to you as you are to God. 

I might also set before you the example of Jesus 
Christ. I remember 'I have read of one, that his 
wife asking of him how he was able to overcome 
himself when he had such wrongs and injuries offered 
him. Why, truly, this is the way that I take, saith 
he : I go and meditate on the sufferings of Jesus 
Christ ; what wrongs Jesus Christ had, and yet how 
he was as a lamb that opened not his mouth, and I 
never leave meditating until I get my spirit quieted. 
The medilation of the sufferings of .Jesus Christ, and 
of his wounds, and his wrongs, and how gently and 
meekly he bare them, oh it is a special means ! I re- 
member Camerarius tells of some, when they were in 
a mad rage they Avould set a sheep or lamb before 
them, and it would be a means to quiet them. When 
we are in a passion, in a mad rage, let us but set that 
meek lamb, the Lord Jesus, before us, and that will 
be a means to quiet us. So you have it in 1 Pet. ii. ; 
there the apostle makes use of the example of Christ 
to keep our spirits in a quiet and meek way, ' For,' 
saith he, ' hereunto were ye called,' — that is, to take 
patiently what wrongs were offered to us — ' because 
Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that 
you should follow his steps : who did no sin, neither 
was guile found in his mouth : who, when he was re- 
viled, reviled not again ; when he suffered, he threat- 
ened not ; but committed himself to liim that judgeth 
righteously.' Read but this text, and set but this 
example of Jesus Christ before you, and it will be a 
special means to quiet your spirits. 

And so I should have set before you the examjjle 
of the saints, of Abraham, of David, of Stephen, of 
Paul, and others ; but I will only name one or two 
others. I remember the example of Calvin towards 
Luther is very famous, and especially it concerns 
ministers. Though there were a great deal of differ- 
ence in judgment and ways — Luther was of a hot and 
fiery spirit, and Calvin more tender ; and Calvin had 
such a speech concerning Luther ; ' Well,' saith he, 
'let Luther call me devil, call me what he will, yet 
I will acknowledge Luther to be the servant of Jesus 
Christ, and one whom Christ doth use as an instru- 
ment of a great deal of good.' Here was a sweet and 
quiet spirit in Calvin, that was a man so instru- 
mental for God. There is no such way to heap coals 
of fire upon the heads of those that do oppose us, as 
to carry ourselves meekly and gently towards them. 

Therefore, for the close of all, I beseech you lay 
up these rules that you have heard. 

And let this one be added more. Fifteenthlv, 



Mat. V. 6.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



87 



Take lieed of the next temptation, if so be that you 
would exercise this grace of meekness — though you 
forget other rules, yet lay up this — take heed, I say, 
of the next temptation, go away but with this reso- 
lution : The Lord hath made me to hear of the ex- 
cellency of the grace of meekness, how it is com- 
mended by Christ, and that it hath such excellent 
promises ; and he hath shewn me somewhat of the 
evil of a froward spirit that is so contrary to it, and 
hath given me many rules for the helping of me that 
so I may live more quietly in my family. Well, now 
I shall go away, and after I have heard all this, it 
may be a temptation will come this night, for that is 
the way of the devil, that just at any time when you 
have heard against some particular sin, there will 
come some temptation to that sin. And when you 
have been put upon some duty, there will come some 
temptation to take you off of that duty ; for if the 
devil can but prevail with you after a sermon, then 
he makes account that all that sermon is gone, and 
will do you no good. So now, after you have heard 
of all this about meekness, it may be this night, or 
to-morrow morning, there is like to come some temp- 
tation to frowardness and passion in your spirits — for 
a hundred to one but you will meet with something. 
Well, had vou but a heart to think now — Well, this is 



the devil's work to take away all the profit of those 
sermons that I have heard of meekness, and there- 
fore, through God's grace, I hope I shall take heed of 
that temptation. And you cannot imagine what a 
deal of good the next temptation being resisted may 
do. But now, if either to-night or to-morrow, or 
two or three days hence in this next week, there 
comes some temptation, and the very first temptation 
of all overwhelms you and prevails against you, 
farewell these sermons then ; I have lost my labour 
as concerning you. And whether you may live to 
hear any more sermons about this again it is more 
than you know, and therefore look to yourselves that 
you may not lose the word ; and go away with such 
resolutions. Well, through God's grace, I will take an 
account of these truths for the ordering of my heart 
and of my life in my family ; and all that lives with 
me shall see by my life that I have heard some ser- 
mons of meekness. You that are women, and it 
may be have lived unquiet Avith your husbands ; and 
you that are husbands, that have been bitter to your 
wives, oh that it might appear that you have heard 
this blessedness, ' Blessed are the meek,' that so 
both husbands and wives may put this even into 
their prayers. Blessed be God that we have had this 
scripture opened to us. 



SERMON XIV. 



RULES AND HELPS TO CHRISTIAN MEEKNESS. 



' Blessed are they tchich do hunger and thirst after righteousness : for they shall he filed.' — ^Iat. v. 6. 



The last day you may remember we spoke to the 
close of the third beatitude here mentioned by Christ, 
' Blessed are the meek : for they shall inherit the earth.' 

And the close of it was an exhortation to this 
blessed and precious grace of meekness. Divers rules 
were given for the furtherance of this grace of meek- 
ness. I intend not to look back at all to what we 
then spake, only add this one thing further as a great 
help to the meekening of our hearts, and that is, 
especially to those that are godly, 

Sixteenthly, The want of this grace is a great dis- 
honour to them and to their profession. Let such 
remember their own prayers, their own expressions 
before God in prayer; it would mightilyhelpto meeken 



us. Remember how thou hast acknowledged thy vile- 
ness before God ; thou canst freely in m.any expres- 
sions tell God what a vile, unworth}', sinful, wretched 
creature thou art, and how through thy sin thou dost 
deserve the eternal wrath of God ; that it is a wonder 
thou art out of hell. Thus thou canst go on perhapis in 
prayer, or it may be in company, a long time speaking 
thus against thyself ; and yet as soon as thou hast 
done, if anybody cross thee, thou canst be as froward 
and as angry as any else. What ! art thou the man 
or woman that but a while since, a few hours or a 
day ago, wert before God acknowledging how vile, 
sinful, and wicked thou wert ; and that thou didst 
wonder thou wert out of hell all this while ? Art thou 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 6 



the man or woman that didst acknowledge this, and 
when thou comest to any cross in the world thou art 
not able to bear it ! Thou sayest thou deservest hell ; 
but if a child, or servant, or wife, or husband, or 
friend do cross thee, thou canst not bear it. If thou 
couldst but look back to thine expressions before 
God in prayer, it would cause thee to be vile in thine 
own eyes, and so to have thy heart to fall down when 
thy passion begins to rise. Thou that hast a pas- 
sionate, froward heart, either in the morning thou 
dost pray to God, or thou dost not. If thou dost 
not pray, thou shewest thyself to be atheistical ; if 
thou dust pray, I suppose one special part of thy 
prayer is the acknowledging of thy wretchedness, 
sinfulness, and vileness. Why hast thou done that 
in the morning, if when any temptation comes to 
passion in the daytime thou yieldest to it ? Now if 
thou couldst but have the power over thyself as to 
think of thy prayer, and to think how unsuitable 
this carriage of thine is to all those acknowledgments 
of thine, of thy sinfulness and wretchedness, it would 
tame thee in the midst of thy unruly passion. 

There should now have been mentioned several 
sorts of people that should especially labour for this 
grace of meekness. It concerns us all ; but some 
more than others. I will only speak a word to those 
thatare inan afflictedconditiou. Therefore the Hebrews 
have the same word that signifies afflicted, for meeh; 
meekness and affliction in the Hebrew tongue are 
expressed by the same word. To note that such as are 
under affliction, they should be of meek and quiet 
spirits, for the hand of God is then u]ion them. And 
yet it falls out quite contrary ordinarily, that such as 
are most afflicted, are most froward ; as many times 
those that are side, when they are sick, they are more 
pettish and more froward than at other times; whereas 
they should be m'ore meek, and quiet, and gentle un- 
der God's hand, i^nd so m;iny that are poor jaeople 
— where do you heaK such reviling communication as 
from such as are rniseKably poor? how do they lavish 
out words! Do but cross them in any one thing, what 
railing and revilingcomes from them ! shewing a proud, 
froward, passionate spirit. If God hath afflicted thee 
with poverty, it is, if he hath a love to thee, that he 
might keep thee low ; and if thy heart were low, thy 
heart would likewise be meek. 

But we let pass this of meekness, ' Blessed are the 
meek,' and come to that : read in ver. 6, ' Blessed are 
they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness.' 
' Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst.' This 
seems to be as contrary to the opinion of tlie world as 
anything can be. The world rather saith. Blessed are 
they that are full, than they that hunger and thirst; 
but the Holy Ghost pronounces a blessedness upon 
those that hunger and thirst, and a woe to those that 
are full: in Luke vi. 25, 'Woe unto you that are full.' 



You think it the greatest happiness that men have 
their full tables, and full dishes, and full cups, and full 
purses ; but the Holy Ghost doth not look upon men's 
happiness to be there. ' But woe be to those that are 
full ; and blessed are they that hunger and thirst' 

Some understand this hunger and thirst literally ; 
and the rather because, comparing it with what St 
Luke saith — as I told you in the beginning of this 
sermon, that, notwithstanding divers objections against 
it, it appears to be the same sermon — chap. vi. 21, 
' Blessed are ye that hunger now.' Luke doth not 
mention the word righteousness, but only ye that 
hunger now ; and opposes hunger to those that are 
full, and therefore they think it is literally meant. 
' Blessed are they that do hunger' — that is, such rnen 
as are godly, so it must be understood ; that want 
bread, and want drink ; such as being godly are put 
to such great extremities as they have not bread to 
put in their bodies, nor drink to quench their thirst ; 
as if Christ should say, ' Be not troubled ; though you 
should be put to such extremity as to want bread, and 
want drink, this will not hinder your blessedness ; you 
may be blessed for all that.' And whereas, when you 
are in great wants, you may be ready to look upon 
those that are full and have abundance, and to think 
them to be blessed ; but be not deceived. ' Woe to 
such as are full ; ' but you are blessed in these your 
great wants and extremities. And so they take this 
blessedness out of the Old Testament, as the former 
of meekness, in Ps. xxxvii. 11, from whence Christ 
takes that of meekness ; and this of hungering and 
thirsting out of Isa. Ixv. 13. But to rest in this in- 
terpretation is not my purpose ; and therefore we 
must proceed further, for the object here of their 
hunger and thirst leads us further than so, ' for they 
hunger and thirst after righteousness.' Yet I confess 
I find very learned interpreters and godly men, such 
as Calvin and Musculus, they carry these words no 
further than thus : Blessed are they that in their 
great extremity do but hunger and thirst to have that 
that is fit for them, that that is right. Those that 
are godly and brought to a low condition, and op- 
pressed, they hunger and thirst that they might have 
righteous dealings in the world, that they may be 
dealt withal righteously, and they go no further than 
this ; and you know Mr Calvin is one that doth 
usually hit the sense as right as any, and is as 
spiritual as any interpreter ordinarily, yet I say in 
tliese words he goes no further than this. By hunger 
and thirst, that clearly is meant earnest desires — 
desires that rise out of pain from the sense of the 
want of the thing that is desired, from whence the 
desires grow very strong and earnest ; for no desires 
are so strong and earnest as the desires of the hungry 
man, or the thirsty man ; and so do hunger and thirst 
after righteousness, either after righteous dealings, 



Mat. V. 6.] 



BUEROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



89 



that they may be dealt withal righteously, or that 
there might be righteousness in the world ; that is a 
little higher than they go, they only speak of hunger- 
ing and thirsting after this, that they themselves may 
be dealt withal righteously, and have righteousness ; 
but I think we may go further even in the interpre- 
tation of this righteousness, to speak of righteousness 
as from your dealing, such as hunger and thirst that 
righteousness might prevail in the world, and this 
indeed I verily think to be one special thing intended 
by the Holy Ghost. Christ he looks upon his dis- 
ciples, and as if he should say to them. You are like 
to meet with nmch unrighteous dealings in the world ; 
you will see how the world is carried on in injustice, 
and unrighteousness that prevails in the world ; but 
in the meantime this will go near' to your hearts, it 
will be a pain and grief to your souls to see the un- 
righteous carriages of things in the world, and you 
will long for the time wliereiu righteousness may pre- 
vail in the world and rule among men. Well, blessed 
are you ; do not you meddle with their unrighteous 
dealings, but when you see it among others, let your 
longing desires be for tlie time wherein righteousness 
shall prevail in the world ; and blessed are you that 
do thus hunger and thirst. This I verily do believe is 
a special thing that Christ intends in the pronouncing 
of this blessedness, and therefore I must not pass 
over this so lightly as many do in handling of this 
blessedness. I confess the other righteousness, the 
most of your latter men that especially speak of this 
in a preaching way, they look to that that they think 
to be most spiritual — as thus, that hunger and thirst 
after the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Blessed are 
they that have earnest, strong, and unsatisfying* de- 
sires after the righteousness of Christ, that they may 
be clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ, 
and stand righteous before God through the right- 
eousness of his Son : Blessed are they. 

And then, Blessed are they that do hunger and 
thirst after the power of righteousness in their own 
hearts, to be delivered from the power of sin, and to 
have further degrees of sanctification in their hearts. 
This is ordinarily, and I suppose in most of your 
thoughts that have minded this scripture — you have 
rather looked upon this righteousness to be meant the 
righteousness of justification by Jesus Christ, and 
the righteousness of sanctification by the work of the 
Spirit in the heart ; and these two are very godly 
interpretations, very spiritual, and we must not ex- 
clude them, but shall speak likewise to either of these 
two. But for this exercise I shall speak only of the 
first. 

'That hunger and thirst after righteousness,' after 
righteous dealing. And though the other are more 
excellent in themselves, yet I doubt much whether 
* Query, ' unsatisfied' ? or 'unsatisfialile'? — Ed. 



Christ had not this in his thoughts, even first, speak- 
ing to his disciples that were like to be in a poor and 
mean condition ; therefore he begins with those that 
are poor in sjiirit. We interpreted the meaning of 
that ; and so now you are like to meet with much 
unrighteous dealings, but blessed are you that are 
content to submit to such a condition that you are 
like to meet withal, and yet send up your desires to 
heaven from God to clear your righteousness. As if 
Christ should say. The world Avill accuse you and re- 
vile you for being troublesome, factious, and turbulent 
among them ; but blessed are you : can you appeal to 
God for your righteousness, and desire. Lord, while 
the world doth thus revile us, and account us to be 
hypocrites, to make a show of religion, and yet to 
have DO truth in us, Lord, do thou judge our right- 
eous cause; Lordweappeal to thee. Why, saith Christ, 
blessed are you while you do thus ; I will look upon 
you, and have an eye to you. When others shall say 
that you are false, and that you falsify your trust 
that is committed to you, you can appeal to God, 
and desire him to come and judge your righteous 
cause. Lord, let righteousness appear ; let it appear 
that under these accusations that I have behaved my- 
self righteously. Blessed are you ; be not now troubled. 
And so when the world accuses you of making a 
trouble in the world, you can appeal to God and say, 
Lord, thou knowest that there is nothing that I desire 
more than peace ; and so far as I can see it to be thy 
mind, I can yield in anything, and therefore, Lord, 
appear and manifest my righteousness before the 
world. Blessed are you, saith Christ ; be not over- 
much troubled that you are thus accused ; you hunger 
and thirst for the time when the Lord shall make 
your righteousness appear. And so if the world 
shall accuse you of self-seeking — that in all things 
that you do you do but aim at yourselves in all — why, 
you can appeal to God of the righteousness of your 
hearts in these things, and you thirst after the time 
when God will come to discover the secrets of all 
men's hearts. Lord, thou hast a time for to manifest 
the secrets of hearts, and then it shall appear whether 
I sought myself or thy glory. Blessed are you if you 
can do so, and hunger after the manifestation of God's 
righteousness in this. If they shall accuse you for 
partiality, or wronging others, it may be such accusa- 
tions are upon you, why, still you hunger after the 
time for God to clear up righteousness. There is 
nothing more ordinary in the world than for the 
wicked of the world to cast aspersions upon the saints 
of God for some evil or other to darken them in their 
holy profession ; but if they bear what is cast upon 
them patiently, and long for the time that the right- 
eous God will appear to manifest their righteousness, 
blessed are you when you thus hunger and thirst 
even after this righteousness. 



90 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 6 



Blessed are you, for, 

First, You liave the testimony of your own. con- 
sciences when men do accuse you. 

Secondly, You have the testimony of God; God 
witnesses ior you. 

Thirdly, Blessed are you, for God is working for you 
all this while, while you lie under these accusations. 

And you shall be satisfied one day, you shall be 
cleared ; God will clear your righteousness, and he 
will make it break forth as the noonday. Now you 
are bespattered, as if Christ should say. You are all 
to be smeared with accusations from evil men, but 
you shall be clothed with white linen : in Eev. xix. 8, 
' And to her,' that is, to the church, ' was granted 
that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and 
white : for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.' 
White linen, it is true, it is the righteousness of 
Christ ; but it may have reference to this righteous- 
ness that I am speaking of. As if so be that a matronly 
woman, being in the street, should have mad people 
cast dirt upon her, when she comes home she hath 
clean linen to put upon her ; so though the saints 
here are bespattered with dirt, to make their names 
to be odious in the world, yet Jesus Christ hath fine 
linen to put upon them, and they shall appear riglit- 
eous before the saints and angels, before all the 
world another day ; and so in Mat. xiii. 43, there is 
a promise that the righteous shall one day 'shine 
forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.' 
It is true, they shall shine forth then in a great deal 
of glory put upon them ; but this glory of their 
righteousness shall be as the shining of the sun, 
besides the other glory of their great reward in the 
kingdom of their Father. Now they are in the 
Ivino-dom of the world, and they are where the king- 
dom of darkness doth prevail; but when they come 
to the kingdom of their Father they shall shine forth 
as the sun. It is meant of all righteousness, either 
that perfect righteousness of Christ that they shall 
be clothed withal, or the perfection of sanctification, 
or this righteousness whereby they shall be cleared 
from all aspersions that are cast upon them. Blessed 
are they, for they shall be cleared. 

Yea, blessed are they, for they shall be filled. You 
shall be recompensed for all those accusations that 
are unrighteously cast upon you now ; you shall be 
rewarded so much the more, it will increase your 
glory, therefore blessed. Look upon yourselves as 
blessed creatures when you are accounted thus un- 
righteous, for you shall be honoured so much the 
more; therefore we have that notable scripture in 
1 Pet. iv. 14, 'If ye be reproached for the name of 
Christ, hapjiy are ye ; for the Spirit of glory and of 
God resteth upon you.' God will certainly recom- 
jiense you for all that you shall suffer this way. 
But further. Those that hunger and thirst after 



righteousness. Not only that God would clear their 
righteousness — that is one kind of righteousness that 
they hunger and thirst after — but that there might 
be righteousness among men in general ; that right- 
eousness might prevail in the world. Blessed are 
they that have their hearts pained when they see the 
unrighteousness that is abroad in the world. I say, 
such as find their hearts pained at the sight of that 
unrighteousness that is in the world ; and so they do 
long after righteousness, and cry out to God that he 
would appear and set up righteousness to rule in the 
world, such as are grieved in their hearts to see 
the unrighteous dealings among the children of men. 
This is that that Christ aims at: saith he, Indeed you 
will see a great deal of unrighteousness ; but you that 
are my disciples, it will trouble your hearts, and you 
will long for that time when righteousness shall 
prevail : Blessed are you : — ■ 

For, first. The people of God cannot but be pained 
in their hearts when they see unrighteous dealings in 
the world, as much pained as a man is that wants 
bread ; it more troubles them than all their persecu- 
tions, than all their afflictions ; and there is nothing 
in the world that they long for more than the coming 
of Jesus Christ — to this end, not only that they them- 
selves may be saved, but that then righteousness maj' 
prevail. 

For, first, When the saints see unrighteous deaUngs 
in the world, by that they see the honour of God 
is much eclipsed. Why, they think thus within them- 
selves, is not God a righteous God ? Oh, then what 
a dishonour is this to such a righteous God, that 
there should be so much unrighteousness in the world 
as there is ! 

Secondly, This unrighteousness that they see among 
men it is very unsuitable to their spirits; for the Lord 
hath put righteousness into their hearts. In some 
measure their hearts are for righteousness. Now 
when they see men in public place, or men that make 
profession of rehgion, to carry things unrighteously, 
this pains them ; it is that that is unsuitable to that 
gracious frame that God hath put into their hearts. 

Thirdly, By this unrighteousness of men they see 
how the godly suffer ; how precious servants of God 
are trodden under foot; and how wicked and ungodly 
men they shine and prosper, and they are made of. 
Now this cannot but grieve their hearts to see such a 
disorder ; yea, 

Fourthly, By the unrighteousness that they see in 
the world, there are many temptations to a great deal 
of evil; yea, sometimes temptations that do in some 
degree prevail with such as are truly godly, as they 
did with David, with his righteous soul. In Ps. Ixxiii., 
when he saw the wicked prosjier, and how the godly 
were afflicted, David began to fail, and his foot began 
to slide. When such as are godly see that men that 



Mat. V. 6.] 



BURR0UC4HS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



91 



carry things unrighteously, and yet have their designs 
and prosper ; and that others that are truly godly, 
that walk according to rule, they many times suffer 
much, this is a great temptation even to those that 
are godly. Now they long for the time to have this 
temptation taken away ; to have the dishonour of 
God taken away ; to have that that is unsuitable to 
their spirits taken away ; to have the sufferings of 
the saints taken away, and to have this temptation 
taken away. As if they should say, Lord, if right- 
eousness did prevail, then thou wouldst be honoured 
more than ever ; then we should have that that would 
be the joy of our hearts ; then thy saints should not 
suffer as they do ; then we should be delivered from 
those temptations that we meet withal. 

Fifthly, By unrighteousness they see how the wicked 
are burdened in their hearts. Now, say the saints, 
this is grievous, to see that men in unrighteous ways 
should so prosper as to be hardened, and think that 
God is like to them. Oh that there were righteousness 
prevailing, that wicked men may be ashamed and 
confounded ! 

Sixthly, By this means they see that many grow 
atheists, and they doubt whether there be a God or 
no, ruhng in the world ; therefore, Lord Jesus, let 
it appear that thou dost govern things in the world. 

Seventhly, By this unrighteousness they see the 
kingdom of Satan set up, and the kingdom of Christ, 
which is a righteous kingdom, that is mightily hin- 
dered by it. Why, Lord, shall the kingdom of Satan 
always prevail in the world ? Lord, when shall the 
righteous sceptre of Jesus Christ sway among the 
children of men ? 

Eighthly, lastly. This unrighteousness it tends to 
wickedness, to ruin, to bring all things to confusion. 
Now, Lord, except thou dost appear m thy righteous- 
ness to right all these things that through the unright- 
eousness of men are in such a disorder, all things will 
run to rum and confusion ; therefore, Lord, hasten 
and appear to be a righteous God. Thus the saints 
do hunger and thirst after righteousness, that there 
may be righteous dealings in the world ; and you see 
what it is that pains their hearts, what evil there is 
in unrighteousness, and what excellency they see in 
righteousness. 

They hunger and thirst after righteousness ; they 
have great desires, and they send forth many prayers 
to God. Oh that God would hasten those times ! 
They send up strong cries to God that righteousness 
might come into the world. How long, how long 
shall it be, holy and true ? &c. They send up mighty 
prayers to God that righteousness might prevail in 
the world. And for their own parts, therefore, they, 
whatsoever they do, will not meddle with any un- 
righteous ways, but rather suffer any misery in the 
world than to be any means to countenance or join with 



any unrighteous ways, much less to do any unright- 
eous actions themselves. And therefore though they 
be in any public place, though there be much coming 
in by their places, they will rather be content to lose 
all the advantages of their places, than to meddle with 
any unrighteous actions. A righteous heart doth 
more hunger and thirst after righteousness than after 
bread or drink ; and therefore will shake his hands 
of unrighteousness, though he lives in an unrighteous 
world ; yet, saith he, God forbid that I should have 
to do with this unrighteousness. No, it is righteous- 
ness that my soul doth hunger and thirst after ; and 
therefore though I lose all my friends, my estate, my 
outward enjoyments, yet I will be sure to keep my 
conscience right, and be a friend for righteousness as 
long as I live. I will manifest that I do not dally 
and trifle with God in hungering and thirsting after 
righteousness, and yet be unrighteous myself. I will 
labour to promote it as much as I can, that right- 
eousness may prevail in the world. Now blessed are 
these. 

For, first, They have for the present the image of 
God upon them. Thou that hast such a righteous 
heart hast the image of God ; just as God's heart is, 
so thy heart is. The Lord is a righteous God ; the 
Lord loveth righteousness, and so dost thou. Blessed 
art thou of the Lord, who hast the image of God in 
thee. 

Secondly, Such as do thus hunger and thirst after 
righteousness, they are witnesses for God in this un- 
righteous world. They live now in an unrighteous 
world ; but shall the great God have none to witness 
for him ? Yes, there are a generation of men that 
live among others that are unrighteous, that do stand 
up to witness for God's righteousness, that desire 
nothing in the world more than righteousness. Oh 
blessed, blessed are you of the Lord, you are witnesses 
unto God. 

Thirdly, You are blessed in this regard, for this 
your hungering and thu'sting after righteousness doth 
deliver you from many temptations that others are 
overcome withal. Other men that it may be have 
some resolutions not to be unrighteous, but yet when 
they see the unrighteousness of others, they are over- 
come, for theu' hearts are not so set against unright- 
eousness as thine is to hunger and thirst after it; but 
now when the heart is so grieved for the unrighteous- 
ness that is in the world, and so longing after the 
righteousness of God, this will deliver thee from 
temptations ; the temptation that takes other souls, 
it takes not thy heart; and that is a blessed thing, to 
be delivered from temptation. 

Fourthly, Those that do thus hunger and thirst 
after righteousness, they are blessed; for they are fit 
to be used in public service. They are not men that 
would bring righteousness down to their own ends, 



92 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. G. 



and. seek to make a gain of the public. Wliat use are 
they fit for? But now for such as do above all bhings 
hunger and thirst for setting up of righteousness in 
the world, these are men fit to be employed in public 
service ; the Lord delights to employ such. And 
men, when they come to see it, that their hearts are 
set upon righteousness, they will love to employ such, 
though it may be for a while those that seek to keep 
themselves to the rule, some will fret and vex at 
them ; but let such men go on in a constant way pro- 
moting righteousness, such will get honour before men 
in the conclusion. All that do converse with them 
will look upon them as blessed here, and such men 
as fire fit to be employed in public service. 

Fifthly, They are blessed, for they are the men that 
stand against the stream of unrighteousness, to hinder 
the floods of it, that it doth not overflow the world. 
Blessed are they that are willing to stand against the 
stream of unrighteous dealings, to keep it from over- 
flowing of all ; they are instruments of much good to 
others as well as to themselves. These the Scriptures 
saith are blessed. In Ps. v. 12, ' For thou, Lord, wilt 
bless the righteous,' Certainly the Lord he will bless 
the righteous; yea, 'the secret of the Lord is with 
the righteous,' Prov. iii. 32 ; ' The Lord loveth the 
righteous,' Ps. cxlvi. 8 ; ' The Lord upholdeth the 
righteous,' Ps. xxxvii. 17; 'And the eyes of the 
Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto 
their cry,' Ps. xxxiv. 15. Thus the Scripture is full 
of promises to the righteous, and shewing that they 
are blessed. But this promise here is, that they shall 
be filled. 

Those that hunger and thirst after righteousness, 
they shall be filled. Certainly there is a time coming 
that the Lord will fill the desires of his righteous 
ones ; as thus, 

First, He will fill their desires : Prov. xi. 23, ' The 
desire of the righteous is only good.' It is good, 
therefore God approves of it. He will fill it, for, 

First, There is a time coming that all those that 
love righteousness shall certainly see unrighteousness 
punished, and righteousness rewarded. Now and 
then you see unrighteousness punished and righteous- 
ness rewarded, but that doth not fill you. There is 
a time coming that thou shaltsee all unrighteousness 
in the world punished, and all righteousness in the 
world to be rewarded: in Ps. Iviii. 11, 'So that a man 
shall say. Verily there is a reward for the righteous : 
verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.' The 
time is coming for all men to be forced to say, that 
'Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he 
is a God that judgeth in the earth.' This will fill 
the hearts of the saints with joy, w'hen thfy shall see 
God's time to bring all the children of men ta an 
account, and to have all the unrighteousness that 
ever was in the world to be punished, and all the 



righteousness that ever was in the \yorld to be re- 
warded. This will fill them, and be a joyful day 
indeed. And from hence all the disorder that is in 
the world now through unrighteous dealing, it shall 
all be brought into order again. He will make a 
comely work out of that chaos of confusion. You 
shall see all things brought to a most beautiful and 
comely order ; and will not that fill you ? In the 
book of Ecclesiastes you read of Solomon speaking 
of injustice, chap. iii. 16, 'Moreover I saw under the 
sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was 
there ; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity 
was there.' In the very place where I thought judg- 
ment would have been, wickedness was there ; and in 
the place where I thought righteousness would have 
been, iniquity was there. What then? ' I said in 
mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the 
wicked, for there is a time there for every purpose 
and for every work.' God's righteous ones, that now 
hunger and thirst after righteousness, make much of 
this text, you shall be filled ; for there is a time that 
God will judge the righteous and the wicked ; there 
is a time for every purpose, for every work, and you 
shall be filled. 

And all the desires of all righteous persons since 
the beginning of the world shall be satisfied. From 
Abel that was killed by Cain, so all the patriarchs, 
and apostles, and prophets, and martyrs, and saints, 
all in their generations they did hunger after right- 
eousness ; righteous Abel, and so the rest : yea, their 
blood doth call to the righteous God that he would 
manifest righteousness in the world. ' God, my 
righteousness,' saith David ; and so of others. Now, 
when the time comes that all the prayers of all the 
servants of God, that ever they sent up unto God, 
when their prayers shall come to be all heard and all 
granted, surely it will be a blessed time. That will fill 
them. Will not that satisfy thee, to have every 
prayer of every righteous servant of God from the 
beginning of the world fully answered and fully made 
good what they desire. Surely this will satisfy thee. 
Blessed art thou, for thou shalt be satisfied. 

And for the satisfying of the righteous that are 
crying to God against the unrighteous dealings in the 
world, do but consider some texts of Scripture : there 
are a great many very famous scriptures tending 
this way, that there is a time coming that righteous- 
ness shall prevail in the world. In Isa. i. 26, 'And I 
will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy coun- 
sellors as at the beginning : afterward thou shalt be 
called. The city of righteousness, the faithful city;' 
and in Isa. iii. 10, ' Say ye to the righteous, that it 
shall be well with him ; for they shall eat the fruit of 
their doings.' Mark, Say ye to the righteous that it 
shall be well with him ; you that are rigliteous you 
are afraid that things will not go well. ' Say to the 



\ 



Mat. V. 6.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



93 



righteous, that it shall go well with them.' Why ? 
' For they shall eat the fruit of their doings.' You 
go on in a righteous way, committing your righteous- 
ness to God ; be content and quiet a while, you shall 
eat the fruit of your doings, and you shall be satisfied. 
Here is a promise that you should feed upon when 
any deal in an unrighteous way with you. It would 
be endless to speak of all the scriptures which shew 
how that shall prevail in the world .In Isa. xi. 4, 
there, speaking of Christ, he shews how he will come 
and judge the world with righteousness ; Isa. Ix. 1 7, 
' I will also make thine officers peace, and thine exac- 
tors righteousness;' chap. Ixi. 10. I could name near 
upon twenty scriptures out of the prophecy of Isaiah, 
that prophesy of a glorious time of righteousness, 
that violence and oppression shall be done away. My 
brethren, comfort we ourselves in this, whatsoever 
violence and wrong there is, yet there is a time, and 
we hope it may be even here in this world, that the 
Lord will deliver his people from violence, wrongs, 
oppression, and all unrighteousness. The exactor 
shall be righteousness : chap. Ix. 17, where the Lord 
makes a gracious promise to his church, ' For brass 
I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and 
for wood brass, and for stones iron : I will also make 
thine officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness.' 
This is apparently a prophecy of the times of the 
church. There are such times that the officers that 
the people of God shall have to deal with, shall be 
nothing but peace to them ; and those that are their 
exactors they shall be even righteousness itself ; they 
shall be as righteous as their hearts would desire. 
Is not that a blessed time when all men placed in 
public places shall be nothing but peace to the saints 
of God, and never wrong them more ? All those that 
were exactors before of them, that would lay heavy 
burdens upon them, the Lord will make them right- 
eousness itself. No marvel though Christ doth ex- 
press this by hunger and thirst, because it will be such 
a glorious time. And Christ knew that there was a 
very glorious time coming for righteousness to prevail 
in the world ; and the saints of God knew it in those 
times a great deal more I believe than we do now. 
The people of God they knew there would be such 
times ; and therefore Justin Martyr, that is one of 
the most ancient that we have, saith, there is no 
man or Christian but he doth believe such times 
a-coming. Speaking of the glorious times of the 
church and people of God, wherein they shall be 
delivered from the violence, wrongs, and oppressions 
of ungodly men ; none a Christian but doth believe 
it. And this interpretation of hungering and thirst- 
ing after righteousness being not so usual among 
you, yet I verily believe they in the primitive times 
would as suddenly have pitched upon such an inter- 
pretation as any. So in 2 Pet. iii. 13, mark there 



how the glorious condition of the saints is described : 
' Nevertheless,' saith he, ' we, according to his pro- 
mise, look for new heavens and a new earth,' — not 
only new heavens, but a new earth. What is that ? — • 
' wherein dwelleth righteousness.' And this is, accord- 
ing to the promise that we have in Isa. Ixv. 17, out 
of which chapter my text is taken, according to the 
opinion of all divines, ' Behold, I create new heavens, 
and a new earth : and the former shall not be remem- 
bered, nor come into mind. But be you glad and 
rejoice for ever in that which I create : for, behold, I 
create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.' 
A time of the church's restoration. Now a verse or 
two before this out of the same chapter is the scrip- 
ture where my text is taken ; for saith the text in 
ver. 13, 'Thus saith the Lord, Behold, my servants 
shall eat, but ye shall be hungry : behold, my ser- 
vants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty : behold, 
my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed,' 
&c. My servants that now hunger, they shall be 
satisfied ; when you that are full, you shall hunger, 
&c. So that it doth appear that Christ had a 
reference to such times. You that do hunger and 
thirst after such times — you, looking into the Scrip- 
ture, find promises there, that though the Lord shall 
suffer wicked men in the world to prevail a while, and 
unrighteousness to have the upper hand ; yet you find 
glorious promises in the Scripture, that there shall 
be a time that righteousness shall be magnified in the 
world, wherein the sceptre of the kingdom of Christ, 
that is, the sceptre of righteousness, shall prevail. 
And you long after these times. Oh that these 
times would come ! Why, blessed are you, they shall 
come — certainly they shall come ; you shall be satis- 
fied. As if he should say. There shall be as glorious 
times as you can think of, and righteousness shall pre- 
vail as much as possibly you can imagine ; you shall 
be filled. And so in Micah — almost all the pro- 
phecies are full of this — vii. 9, there you shall find 
that that time wherein Micah spake was a time 
wherein much unrighteousness was in the world ; 
but now mark, the prophet speaks in the person of 
the church, and, saith he, ' I will bear the indignation 
of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until 
he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me : he 
will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold 
his righteousness.' The church complains that now 
they did sutler most fearfully ; ver. 4, ' The best of 
them is a brier : the most upright is sharper than 
a thorn hedge.' And so he goes on in shewing the 
unrighteousness which there was in those times ; ver. 
5, ' Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in 
a guide : keep the doors of thy mouth from her that 
lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the 
father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the 
daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law ; a man's 



91 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 6. 



enemies are they of his own house.' But now mark, 
' Therefore I will look unto the Lord ; 1 will -wait 
fur the God of my salvation : my God will hear me ;' 
and in ver. 9, ' I wuU bear the indignation of the 
Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he 
plead my cause, and execute judgment for me,' &c. 
As if he should say, Lord, I will not murmur, but 
I will wait for thee, for I have sinned against thee ; 
though I do not deserve such unrighteous dealings at 
the hands of men, yet, in respect of thee, I deserve 
that thou shouldst use them as instruments to afflict 
me, therefore I will wait upon the Lord ; ' He will 
bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his 
righteousness.' This text should help us against the 
unrighteous dealings that are here ; and this makes 
way to the application of all. 

Let the consideration of this point be a means to 
take away that great stumbling-block that now is 
before men, at which they stumble — namely, that 
God suffers unrighteous men to prevail as they do. 
Be not offended at this, for there is a time that right- 
eousness shall reign, that the Lord Jesus Christ shall 
come and appear in his glory, and take the throne 
unto himself ; he shall judge the world in righteous- 
ness, Acts xvii. 3L This meditation doth mightily 
help those that are godly, that I am speaking of; 
whereas others that are not acquainted with this, 
when they see the unrighteous world to prevail, they 
will fall to them and be on their side ; but the saints 
'vill keep still to the righteous, and be still on their 
side, for they know there is a time that righteousness 
shall prevail. The Scripture speaks of the root of 
the righteous that shall prevail, and the Scripture 
speaks of the fruit of the righteous that shall come 
forth from that root, though it be under storms and 
tempests for a while. 

And then, in the second place. If those that hunger 
and thirst after righteousness be blessed, then cer- 
tainly cursed are unrighteous men, cursed are those 
that seek after unrighteousness. What ! shall Jesus 
Christ pronounce those that seek after unrighteous- 
ness, to promote that in the world, to be blessed? 
Then if there be man or woman in this place, whose 
conscience tells them that they love the ways of 
unrighteousness, that they seek to increase their 
estates by the ways of unrighteousness, by unrighteous 
mammon, to gain anything in unjust ways, — thou 
art the man or woman that dost join with this 
unrighteous world to uphold the kingdom of darkness 
in this world. Know that Christ curses thee ; it is so 
implied. When he blesses such as hunger and thirst 
after righteousness ; those are cursed that rather 
hunger and thirst after the ways of unrighteousness, 
and care not if they can get anything to themselves, 
though it be by hook or crook, as we use to say. Oh, 
fear and tremble for those servants of God that thou 



hast dealt unrighteously withal ! They cry to God, and 
tell God of all thine unrighteous dealings, and God hath 
promised them that they shall be satisfied in their cries, 
and their cries shall be answered. Whenas this servant 
of God shall manifest his desires to heaven, Lord, 
I have suffered unrighteous dealing from such a man 
or woman, why, know that these cries ilo lie in heaven 
to be answered one day ; and what will become of thee 
then ? We read in Acts xxiv. 25, that when Paul 
was preaching of tempeiance, righteousness, and judg- 
ment to come, before Felix, though Paul was a poor 
prisoner at the bar, and Felix sat upon the bench as 
a judge, yet he made him to tremble. What was 
Paul's sermon of ? It was of righteousness and judg- 
ment to come. As if he should say, Well, though you 
think you have me in your hands, and may do what 
you please, yet there is a righteous God that will call 
all over again ; and he being conscious to himself of 
unrighteousness, did shake and tremble, though at 
the preaching of a poor prisoner at the bar. You 
are here now hearing a poor minister of God preach- 
ing to you tliat righteousness shall prevail. Wliat will 
become of you then ? Let there be taken away from 
some rich men all that they have gotten by unright- 
eous dealings, and you may leave them poor enough. 
Now cursed is that estate and those enjoyments that 
are gotten by unrighteousness — thou must vomit it 
all up again. And therefore the Lord now strike thy 
heart, that thou mayest be willing to restore ! Now 
be a friend of righteousness so far as to restore, 
and labour to undo thy unrighteousness as much 
as possibly thou canst, that tliou mayest have 
comfort in the day of Jesus Christ, when he shall 
come to manifest righteousness before men and 
angels. 

And then the last thing should have been this. To 
encourage all the servants of God to go on in the 
ways of righteousness, follow after righteousness, and 
seek righteousness. In Rev. xxii., about ver. 11, 
' He that is righteous, let him be righteous still.' 
Are there any of you that the Lord hath sown the 
seed of righteousness in your hearts, that your hearts 
do now cleave to the love of righteousness, you can 
say. Well, let God do with me what he will, I will 
walk righteously. I will walk by rule, though God 
hath cast me into such a generation, where I see the 
generality of men and women to be unrighteous. Yet 
I am resolved to walk by rule in righteousness, and 
commit all to God. Well, be of good comfort, thou 
shalt be satisfied, and ' be righteous still.' The Lord, 
the righteous God, he is with thee ; and Christ, who is 
thy righteousness, he is with thee to fill thy soul with 
that that shall satisfy thee for ever. I will but give 
you one scripture which doth shew that both these 
shall be satisfied ; the wicked shall be satisfied, and 
the righteous shallbe satisfied: Prov. xiv. 14, ' The 



Mat. V. 6.] 



BURKOUGHS ON THK BEATITUDES. 



95 



backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ^yays : 
and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.' Mark, 
every man shall be satisfied one way or other. The 
apostate, such as was forward and made show of 
religion, and yet to provide for himself in an un- 
righteous way, because he would not trust God to 
make provision for himself and family, be would 



depart from righteousness. Well, saith the Holy 
Ghost, they shall be satisfied. God will fill them by 
giving them their own way ; but a good man is satis- 
fied from himself. Such as are good and righteous, 
and walk according to the rule of righteousness, peace 
be to them. ' They are now blessed, and they shall 
certainly be satisfied.' 



SEEM ON XV. 



TIMES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS PROMISED TO THE CHURCH. 



' Blessed are they which do himjer and thirst after righteousness : for thetj shall be filled^ — Mat. v. 6. 



There is a great blessedness in this hunger and thirst 
alter righteousness, and that I have shewed in many 
particulars. When the time comes that God shall 
appear to all the world righteous in his ways, it will 
be a blessed time indeed. The saints that know any- 
thing of it, cannot but hunger and thirst for that 
time. God's omniscience, his wisdom, power, holi- 
ness, justice, goodness, faithfulness, will then be glori- 
fied in another way than now they are. Then all the 
groans and sighs and complaints of the saints shall 
be heard by God, and it shall appear that they are 
heard ; then all their appeals unto God shall be 
examined and judged ; all their endeavours and ser- 
vices shall be rewarded ; all their sutt'erings shall be 
recompensed. And the end why God hath suftered 
so much unrighteousness in the world for so long a 
time shall be declared ; their enemies shall be subdued 
and ashamed ; all their innocency shall be cleared, all 
secrets shall be disclosed ; the base ends of men shall 
be discovered, mistakes shall be rectified, the vanity 
of the plots and designs and ways of the wisdom of 
the flesh shall be manifested ; and this will be a 
blessed time. Oh when will that time come, say the 
saints, that this will be, that there shall be this 
righteousness ? 

And the rather I took it to be the meaning here, 
because I find so mau}' promises in the Scripture of 
an estate of the church that shall be wherein right- 
eousness shall prevail, as in 2 Pet. iii. 13, 'New 
heavens and new earth wherein dwells righteousness.' 
Now that it is meant of a state of the church it is 
plain by comparing it with Isa. Ixv. 17. In Isa. xi. 
4, there is a promise that is suitable to this in the 



connexion of it with that that went before, ' Blessed 
are the meek;' and then, 'blessed are those that hunger 
and thirst after rigliteousness.' Mark now, ' But 
with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and re- 
prove with equity for the meek of the earth.' And 
then, ver. 5, ' And righteousness shall be the girdle 
of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. 
This is the promise of Christ, and many such pro- 
mises in Isaiah, for there is no prophet more full of 
the prophecy of the state "of the church, what yet it 
shall be, as Isaiah : chap, xxxii. 16, 17, ' Then judg- 
ment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteous- 
ness remain in the fruitful field. And the work of 
righteousness shall be peace ; and the eflect of right- 
eousness quietness and assurance for ever.' When 
was this ever yet fulfilled? There is such a time 
that the saints do long for, and in Isa. xxxiii. 5, 
' The Lord is exalted ; for he dwelleth on liigh : he 
hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness.' 
There is a time of filling Zion with judgment and 
righteousness ; and in Isa. Ix. yon have many ex- 
pressions, one of which we spake to the last time : 
' I will also make thine officers peace, and thine 
exactors righteousness.' And it follows, 'Violence 
shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor 
destruction within thy borders ; but thou shalt call 
thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise,' when God 
shall make their exactors to be righteousness to 
them ; and in ver. 21, ' Thy people also shall be all 
righteous : they shall inherit the land for ever.' 
Here is that suitable to the former promise, ' Blessed 
are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Thy 
people shall be all righteous, they shall inherit the 



96 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 6. 



land for ever, the brancli of my planting, the \vork 
of my hands, that I may be glorified.' Thus these 
promises shew there is a time for glorious righteous- 
ness. So in Mai. iv. 2, ' To them that fear the 
Lord shall the Sun of righteousness arise with heal- 
ing in his wings.' It is the latter end of the Old 
Testament, it is true ; he doth heal spiritually, and 
he doth heal outwardly too with righteousness. We 
might even spend this hour to shew the many pro- 
mises of the righteousness that God will have among 
his people one day, and those that are godly, that 
do understand the secrets of God ; for in Prov. iii. 
o2, ' His secret is with the righteous.' They under- 
stand the secrets of God, and they do believe that 
there is such a time coming wherein righteousness 
shall prevail, and this is that that upholds them 
from being overcome with those temptations that 
hypocrites are drawn aside withal : they keep on in 
their way uprightly, waiting for the time of this 
righteousness ; and blessed are they upon divers 
grounds, as hath been shewn. But we shall pass by 
what was spoken, or might further be said concern- 
ing that interpretation. But it God appear in his 
righteousness, who can stand? For are not the best 
conscious to themselves of much unrighteousness ? 
Can they hunger and thirst after the time when the 
righteousness of God shall appear to the full ? Yes, 
they can ; and this is the privilege of the saints, the 
more just and righteous God is that they have to 
deal with, the more do they long, hunger, and thirst 
for the appearing of that God. This is a great pri- 
vilege ; but how can that be ? There is another 
righteousness that enables them to stand before the 
infinite righteousness of God, and that is the right- 
eousness of Jesus Christ ; and to the end that when 
the Lord shall appear in the full glory of his right- 
eousness to the world, they may stand before him 
^Yith joy, therefore ' they hunger and thirst after the 
righteousness of Jesus Christ,' after the righteousness 
of Christ the mediator between God and them, the 
righteousness of justification ; for without that even 
our God with whom we have to deal is a consuming 
fire. So we are now coming to speak of that text in the 
second interpretation, ' Blessed are they that hunger 
and thirst after the righteousness of Jesus Christ.' 
Surely the spirit of Paul was very blessed in this. 
His heart was much upon this righteousness that 
we are speaking of; for in Phil. iii. 8, 9, he accounts 
all dung and dross — yea, dogs meat. For what ? 
That he might not be found in his own righteous- 
ness, but in the righteousness which is of faith in 
Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. 
All things are accounted dung and dross that he might 
appear in the i-ighteousness which is by faith in Christ, 
the righteousness of God in him — that is, the right- 
eousness of justification. Now for the handling of 



this point there are these particulars to be observed ; 
and in this method we shall speak to it : — 

First, We shall open what this righteousness of 
Jesus Christ is which the saints do hunger and thirst 
after. 

Secondly, We shall shew what their hunger and 
thirst is; the working of their hearts in their hunger- 
ing and thirsting after this righteousness. 

Thirdly, What a desirable object this righteous- 
ness is ; what there is in this righteousness that 
makes the saints so desire after it. 

Fourthly, Those that do thus desire after it are 
blessed. They are blessed for the present. 

Fifthly, That they certainly shall be filled with 
this righteousness. These are the five things for the 
explication of it. 

For the first. What this righteousness is that now 
we are speaking of. It is the righteousness which is 
for justification ; which I would describe thus : — 

That perfect satisfaction to divine justice in what- 
soever it requires, either in way of punishing for sin or 
obedience to the law, made by the Lord Jesus Christ, 
God and man, the mediator of the new covenant, as a 
common head representing all those whom the Father 
had given to him, and made over unto them that be- 
lieve in him ; this is the righteousness that Christ 
pronounces them blessed that hunger and thirst after. 
The other righteousness had some loveliness in it ; 
but you shall see this is to be a matter of greater 
moment and consequence than the other. 

Now for this we are to know that sin having made 
a most dreadful breach between God and man, God 
was resolved to have his justice satisfied, or none of 
the children of men should ever be saved. If his 
justice were not satisfied, they should be all in the 
same lost condition that the angels were that sinned 
against him. Therefore, saith God, punishment must 
be inflicted for sin committed ; and that law of mine 
it must be kept, or none shall be excepted ; Now 
when God stood upon this, that he would not merely 
through mercy say thus. You have sinned against 
me, and I will pardon you, and there is an end. No, 
saith God ; yon have now sinned, and I am resolved 
my justice shall be honoured, either in your eternal 
perdition, or some other way wherein my justice shall 
have as much honour as if you were eternally damned. 
Man is now in such a condition fallen that he hath 
lost all righteousness, that he is not able to think a 
thought, to speak a word, to do an action that is 
righteous, acceptable to God. But, saith God, I am 
resolved upon this, that I will have my righteous law 
kept if ever you be saved. What a dreadful condi- 
tion is man in now, knowing what God stands upon ! 
Why, then, must not all men perish eternally '? If 
that question had been asked in heaven, after God's 
revealing such a determination of his, surely all the 



Mat. V. 6] 



BURROUGHS OX THE BEATITUDES. 



07 



angels in heaven must liave given in their answer, 
Then man must perish ; we cannot see any way how 
it is possible for them to be saved, if God stands thus 
upon it. But now Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of the 
Father, the second person in Trinit}', he comes in 
and shews a way how the justice, the infinite justice 
of God may be satisfied, the law Icept, and wretched, 
sinful, corrupt man yet saved. The Lord Jesus Christ 
comes and tenders himself to be the head of a second 
covenant, saying, as it were, after this manner. Father, 
all mankind is fallen from thee in that first covenant 
that thou hast made with them, and they are all now 
shut up under sin and unrighteousness. But I am 
content to be the head of another covenant, for to be 
a mediator, to take their nature upon me ; and I will 
take such a way for their salvation as thy justice 
shall be no loser, — thou shalt have as much glory to 
thy justice as thou shouldst have if they were all 
damned ; and thy law shall have nothing to complain 
of, for it shall have full satisfaction. Upon this, 
God the Father and the Son did, as it w^ere, agree 
in that way of the second covenant, that we call the 
covenant of grace ; and the Father makes his Son to 
be the head of this covenant, — to take man's nature 
upon him as a public person, representing all such as 
the Father gives to him, for he will not that all in- 
dividually shall come to be saved, but those that the 
Father gave to him he should represent to him, and 
they should have the gospel in time preached to them. 
And this righteousness should be made known by 
the gospel, and by the Spirit of God they should come 
to be convinced of this righteousness, and by faith 
this should be made over to them, that the sufl'erings 
and obedience of Jesus Christ, which he tenders up 
to God the Father, should be made over unto be- 
lievers, and they by faith able to lay hold upon this 
righteousness, and to tender it likewise to God the 
Father for satisfaction ; this is the righteousness of 
Jesus Christ. Thus do poor wretched sinners come 
to be made righteous in Christ ; their sins are trans- 
ferred upon Christ, and Christ's righteousness trans- 
ferred upon them ; according to that scripture, 
2 Cor. V. 21, 'He that knew no sin was made sin 
for us, that we might be made the righteousness of 
God in him.' Tliis is a most glorious righteousness, 
as we shall speak to by and by. Now those that 
shall be enlightened by the Holy Ghost to see into 
the reality, the certainty, the beauty, the necessity, 
the glory of this righteousness, and upon that their 
hearts shall be set with hungering and thirsting after 
the assurance of their part in it, after the glorious 
effects that shall come fi'om it, blessed are those souls, 
for they shall be filled with this righteousness ; when 
they shall come to have all the good that is to be had 
by this righteousness, their souls shall say that they 
have enough. Well, though they have not yet the 



full comfort, and the full assurance, or the glorious 
fruit of this righteousness, yet they are in a blessed 
condition even now while they are hungering and 
thirsting after this righteousness. This is the second 
interpretation of this text, which indeed though the 
other hath a meaning which concerns the glory of 
God much, yet this much more ; and by this at any 
time, when you hear out of the word the preaching of 
the righteousness of Christ, or justification by Christ, 
you may come to know what it means by this short 
description. 

Now the second thing that is to be opened, it is the 
work of the soul in the hungering and thirsting after 
this righteousness. 

For the opening of that, we are to consider from 
whence this hunger and thirst arises. It rises from 
the clear apprehension and thorough conviction of 
these four things : — 

First, The soul doth clearly apprehend and is 
thoroughly convinced that it hath need of a right- 
eousness to enable it to stand before the holy and 
righteous God ; whenas men going on in the common 
way and course of the world, in the ways of unright- 
eousness, they little mind that they have to do with a 
righteous God, or, if they have to do with a righteous 
God, yet because they think that this God is merci- 
ful as well as righteous and just, therefore they do 
not apprehend any absolute necessity of having any 
righteousness to enable them to stand before this 
righteous God. You see it ordinary for people that 
have lived very ungodly all their days, when they ap- 
prehend death to be near, they apprehend themselves 
to be ready to appear before this righteous God, what 
thoughts have they but only thus : The Lord have 
mercy upon me! I am a gi'eat sinner ! God be merci- 
ful to me, and I trust in God's mercy ! They look at 
notliing else when they are just upon their appearing 
before God. But now that soul that understands the 
ways of God concerning sinners, and bringing of them 
to salvation, such a soul comes to see not only that 
God is merciful, but comes to see an absolute neces- 
sity of some righteousness to enable it to stand before 
the righteous God, and that no unrighteous thing 
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven ; and there- 
fore if I go out of this world an unrighteous soul, all 
the mercy that is in heaven cannot save me. My 
conscience tells me that I have been unrighteous iu 
my way, the course of my Ufe hath been unrighteous 
and ungodly ; well, now I am going to appear before 
the great and infinite righteous God, and it may be 
before the morning, must my soul stand before that 
righteous God to receive the sentence of my eternal 
doom from him. Now how shall I stand before this 
righteous God ? certainly I must have righteousness, 
or I cannot stand before him. That is the first thing 
that raises this hunger and thirst. 



98 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 6. 



Secondly, The sovil comes to be convinced of the 
insufficiency and imperfection of its own righteous- 
ness. Must I stand before this righteous God, and 
must I have a righteousness to enable me to stand 
before him ? then let me look to my heart, and ways, 
and life, what righteousness have I ? It may be some 
that have not lived so wickedly as others have done : 
Why, if I be to stand before the righteous God, I hope 
I may, for I have not been so as others have been — so 
wicked and ungodly; I have dealt righteously be- 
tween man and man, my life hath been fair ; I have 
been no whoremaster, uor drunkard, nor no swearer 
nor blasphemer ; and upon this they think they may 
stand before this righteous God. Oh these people 
are infinitely mistaken ! and as yet the Spirit of God 
hath not been at work upon them, to shew how 
things are between God and their souls. Certainly 
they know not God nor themselves that think so. 
But when the Lord works graciously by his Spirit in 
the soul, it comes to look into the life and heart, and 
there sees all its righteousness is but as a menstruous 
cloth. It may be it is not raised higher than a 
mere moral, civil righteousness, and then I have no 
true righteousness at all. But suppose my heart 
were sanctified, and my life sincere, holy, yet this 
righteousness being imperfect, it will never make me 
able to appear before this righteous God ; but that 
infinite burning justice that I must stand before, it will 
come as a mighty flame and consume me all for this. 
If I do set this between me and that infinite righteous 
God, it will be but as the putting of a piece of brown 
paper before a man to deliver him from a mighty 
flame of fire that is coming out against him. That is 
the secDnd thing. 

Thirdly, The soul comes to see that there is another 
righteousness beyond its own ; that notwithstanding 
whatsoe\'er righteousness is in me I see imperfect and 
unable to io what my soul now hath need of. Al- 
though my righteousness that I had with men may 
make me to ^■<e able to stand before men, so that they 
are not able tc. plead anything against me ; but it is 
God that I have to do with, therefore there must be 
■ another righteousness. N'ow this is revealed in the 
anu-„el. The gospel tv^l? me that the Son of God was 
Surely ^in^ and it is thj v.gh him that there is an 
His heart *-. made ; and lieM til.ade unto believers wis- 
we are speaki.'rliteousness, s.'^hil. ilpation and redemp- 
all dung and drot the soi;' dog's me. certa^ity of this. 
That he might not \ie''found in his owR^o* be done 
ness, but in the righteousness which is o^^ upon the 
Christ, the righteousness which is of God b^^y Jesus 
All things are accounted dung and dross that he fjtainty 
appear in the i ighteousness which is by faith in ChrS' ^o 
the righteousness of God in him— that is, the right'?'!'' 
eousness of justification. Now for the handlin" of" I 



of it, that it is so, and not only so, but the fulness 
of that righteoidsness, so that the soul sees it suf- 
ficient to satisfy God for whatsoever sin I have been 
guilty of ; though my sins have been very great, 
yet here is righteousness enough to satisfy an infinite 
justice. 

Fourthly, The soul likewise must be enlightened in 
the way of the gospel's making over this righteous- 
ness to the creature. It is true Jesus Christ is come 
as the great mediator to work righteousness for sin- 
ners ; but now how shall this be made over to my 
soul, to be made mine, that it should be as my right- 
eousness, that I should stand clothed with that right- 
eousness before the Father ? Therefore that is the last 
thing that the Lord discovers to the soul in the way 
of the gosjDel, that Christ is tendered to every wretched 
sinner freely with all his righteousness, and that upon 
their believing, or their casting their souls upon this 
righteousness, willing to venture their souls and eter- 
nal estates upon it, and wholly casting their souls 
here, that this shall be made over to them, made as 
their own righteousness before the Lord. When the 
soul comes to see this, that this is the tenor of the 
gospel, that Christ with his righteousness is freely 
ofl'ered, and it is not what the sinner hath been, 
either little or great, or what the condition of the 
sinner hath been : but here is righteousness enough 
to swallow up all unrighteousness whatsoever ; that all 
thine unrighteousness in comparison of this it is but 
as a drop to the infinite ocean, that can soon be swal- 
lowed up. Upon this the soul doth, as it were, 
launch forth into this infinite ocean of righteousness, 
and God the Father doth by an act of liis make it 
over to the soul, imputing the righteousness of Jesus 
Christ as really to this soul as ever the sin of Adam 
was imputed to the sons of Adam. Now, here you 
see the rise of this hungering and thirsting after this 
righteousness, now upon such a work of God as this 
is. 

Then mark how the soul puts forth itself in the 
hungering and thirsting after this righteousness. 

In the first place. It doth feel it, it gets an assur- 
ance of it, it feels a mighty pain for the want of it ; 
as you know in hunger and thirst there is a very 
great pain in the body till nature be supplied. There 
are not very many of you that have understood what 
the pain of hunger and thirst means ; yet it may be 
there are some here that may understand it, and 
some more than others, but few of you as some have 
done in former times. The pain of hunger and 
thirst it is one of the greatest pains that our bodies 
are capable of here ; and a man that were ready to 
starve would rather venture, though it were through 
the fire, to get meat, than he would not have it. 
'.gNow, that soul that understands with what a God it 
' ath to deal, 'and the infinite necessity of this kind 



Mat. V. G.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



99 



of righteousness to appear before this God, if it hath 
not the assurance of it, it cannot but be faint ; it is 
that that lies even throbbing at the heart, and till 
this comes the soul is in great extremity, in most 
lamentable extremity, if it doth come to understand 
these things, .and yet hath not got assurance of it. 

Secondly, All other things whatsoever that you 
can tender unto a man that wants bread or drink, 
that is ready to perish for want of those things, ten- 
der what you will they are all nothing to him — he 
regards them as nothing, there is no savour in any- 
thing; come and bring him bags of gold or silver, it 
is bread that he must have ; come and bring him 
brave suits of satin and velvet, what is that if he be 
ready to perish for want of bread ? If you wo\ild 
give him all the possessions in all the world, if you 
give him not bread, if you do not satisfy his hunger, 
they are nothing to him. What is my birthright, 
saith profane Esau, whenas I am ready to die for 
hunger ? and so it is with the soul that comes to un- 
derstand this righteousness. It is true, God hath 
given me these and these outward comforts in the 
world, but what is all this to righteousness, to my 
soul's standing righteous before the great God ? I 
must stand before him for the sentence of my eternal 
estate, and how long it will be before I shall be 
brought to him I know not ; and therefore it is right- 
eousness that I stand in need of, and such righteousT 
ness as shall be accepted of by the infinite, righteous 
God. 

Thirdly, As all things are nothing to him till this 
comes, so in hunger and thirst there is a mighty 
strong desire, such a strong desire as the body is 
ready to faint if the desire be not satisfied, even to 
faint and die. So it is with the soul here ; if I have 
not this righteousness I die, I faint and die — yea, I 
die eternally ; I see myself ready to perish eternally 
if I have not this righteousness ; there is a fainting 
in the spirit until this righteousness comes in. 

Fourthly, There are strong endeavours after it ; that 
must needs be in hunger and thirst. We use to say 
that hunger will break through stone walls ; there is 
no work accounted difficult to a man to get bread. If 
he be ready to starve, he will not stay at home be- 
cause it is ill weather, if there be bread to be had. 
Do we not hear, saith Jacob, that there is corn in 
Egy[)t ? So the soul that comes to understand the 
meaning of this righteousness, and the need of it, 
doth not plead or pretend the difficulty of God's 
ways ; such and such things are hard ; for me to 
leave such and such sinful kists and distempers of 
my heart, it is hard, very hard ; and for me to turn a 
new life, and set upon new ways, oh it is hard, very 
hard to me ; there is no such pleading of a soul that 
is in a hungering and tliirsting way after this right- 
eousness. Is it possible it may be had ? This is 



encugh to my soul that there is any possibility for 
righteousness. If the Lord will require such and 
such things, whatsoever they be, why, to attend upon 
him in the use of ordinances never so long here, I 
am content ; the soul puts forth its power, endea- 
vours, miglitily crying to God, and studying ^^hat it 
should do to know the way of the gospel, more than 
ever it did. 

Fifthly, One that hungers and thirsts, his desii'es 
are resolute ; there is power, and endeavours, and 
they are resolute ; he doth not stand upon conditions, 
to indent this or that way, but let the endeavours be 
what they will be, and indeed this is the work of 
grace in the heart where a hypocrite fails. When 
the soul oomes to resign itself up to God, it doth 
give up itself to God ; it subscribes to a blank as it 
were — that is, let God set down what he will, here I 
am willing to yield up myself, as Paul in his conver- 
sion with trembling and astonishment said, ' Lord, 
what wilt thou have me to do?' here I am content 
to yield up myself to do whatsoever thou requirest. 
Not that this is a condition stQl ; I only speak this in 
a way of metaphor to shew the submission of the 
soul to God, for indeed this is not a thing upon 
wliich God wiU give faith ; but this is the manner of 
the working of God upon the soul in bringing of it 
to this righteousness, when it is in this condition that 
Christ here speaks of, hungering and thirsting after 
this righteousness. It is true, God deals with a great 
deal more indulgence to some souls ; but if you have 
had it sooner than others, do not you be wanton, and 
say, What need so much ado in hungering and thirst- 
ing, and the like ? We do not impose this as a legal 
qualification, but we say this is the way that God 
doth work upon some, to keep them a great while 
before they come to know that they have part in this 
righteousness — to keep them hungering and thirsting 
after it, and so break their hearts. 

Sixthly, Which is very observable. The soul is un- 
satisfied in this hunger and thirst till this righteous- 
ness doth come. A child that doth but play with Iiis 
meat, or whose belly is full, may be crying after some- 
thing that he sees, but you may put ofl:' a chikl with 
a rattle when his belly is full ; but if he be thoroughly 
a-hungry, then offer him what rattles you wiU, yet he 
must have his hunger satisfied if he be hungry in- 
deed : and so it is with the soul. Many a man or 
woman hath some beginnings in the work of God 
upon them, and they begin to think they have need 
of some righteousness ; their lives have been wicked ; 
and how shall I be able to appear before God, whose ■ 
life hath been so wicked ? And I know not how 
soon I may appear, and therefore I had need look to 
make up my peace with God. Now upon this there 
are some desires, and such a one will fall to prayer, 
and to attend upon the word for a while ; but now 



100 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 6. 



mark it, within a while, being wearied and tired, be- 
cause he comes not off fully to God, and hath not 
this righteousness applied by faith, something or other 
doth satisfy this soul, and draws the heart away from 
those good beginnings. It may be, when they are 
hungering and thirsting after this righteousness, the 
devil persuades them that for them to live somewhat 
betterthan formerly, that that is righteousness enough; 
well, that they will do, and upon that they come to 
be satisfied, and so they will be forward in many 
public good works. This is good ; but if this satisfies 
the soul, I say the soul is undone, undone eternally, 
if it be satisfied with this. Now the soul that God 
works savingly upon, wheti God puts it to hunger 
and thirst thus, nothing in the world shall satisfy it ; 
though the world should come in never so fully, yet 
that shall not satisfy him when the soul is working 
after Christ to get pardon and mercy in him. The 
soul follows God in the use of all means and all 
ordinances ; but now it doth not look upon these as 
the righteousness that it must tender up to God, but 
only as means to reveal righteousness, and as those 
ordinances that God hath appointed, through which 
he will convey the work of his Spirit into the soul, to 
bruig the soul to the righteousness of Jesus Christ, 
and so to rest here ; and for want of the right know- 
ledge of this it is that many thousands do miscarry 
in their profession. In the time of their youth they 
were vain and loose, and after they came to be men and 
women of discretion, they live better than before, and 
they think this is conversion. Now this is miscar- 
riage, to mistake those things that are the means of re- 
vealing righteousness, or of conveying tlie work of the 
Spirit ; they mistake it, and think it is the righteous- 
ness itself tliat they should present to God. Oh no ; it 
is just here for all the world as it was with Abraham. 
God makes a promise to Abraham, that he should 
have a seed in whom all the nations of the world 
should be blessed. Now Abraham stayed a great 
while after the promise was made, and he began to 
grow very ancient, and his wife past bearing, after the 
manner of women, and no child comes. Why, now 
upon this Abraham's faith begins somewhat to stagger 
and fail, and therefore Abraham goes in to his hand- 
maid Hagar. Sarah's faith : she begins first to stagger, 
and she would give to Abraham Hagar, that he might 
bring forth children from Hagar. Why, Abraham 
doth it. Ay, but he should have stayed till the time 
of God's fulfilling his promise had come ; for though 
Abraham had a child of Hagar, yet that was not 
the promised seed, and the nations of the earth could 
never be blessed by that child ; but afterwards comes 
the child which he had by Sarah, and that was the 
promised seed. I make use of this because I find the 
Holy Ghost doth make use of it. The Holy Ghost 
compares the law to Hagar, and the gospel to Sarah, 



and the fruit that came by the law bred into bondage, 
saithhe; but that that comes by the gospel is the 
blessed seed indeed. It is thus with a soul that is 
hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and would 
fain come to have all made even between God and 
itself. The soul is using of means, praying, and attend- 
ing upon the word, and saith, Oh that God would 
reveal to me his mercy in Christ, and that his justice 
it satisfied for me in Christ, oh how happy should I be ! 
But now, when the soul hath been a long time seeking 
after assurance of mercy this way, through the right- 
eousness of Jesus Christ, and doth not find a real 
work upon it, the soul is weary ; and now it goes, as 
it were, in to Hagar — goes and seeks for this blessed- 
ness by some works of the law, that is, by reforming 
its life, and being otherwise than it was, and so rest- 
ing in an outward, civil, or moral righteousness. 
This is to be so weary of waiting, as to go from this 
blessed seed, from that righteousness that should 
make thy soul blessed for ever, to go in to a Hagar, 
in to the works of the law, and there to rest upon the 
works of the law, and think that they will make thee 
righteous. Take heed of this mistake, it is a danger- 
ous rock. Be forewarned all you that are seeking 
after the righteousness of Jesus Christ ; look to your- 
selves here, be unsatisfied therefore in your hunger- 
ing and desires ; let nothing quiet your souls but the 
application of the righteousness of Jesus Christ by 
faith, so as you may he able, by the hand of faith, to 
present this infinite righteousness of the Son of God 
unto the Father for your souls. That is that that 
only can make you stand with comfort before the 
great God. Luther had a notable expression this 
way about the difference of righteousness. Saith he, 
Eighteousness between man and man in a political 
way, it is a very sweet thing, for by that the peace of 
kingdoms doth stand ; but if therefore, because thou 
art a good citizen, a chaste husband, or a just mer- 
chant, dealing justly in your merchandise — if because 
of these thou wouldst be just before God, thou dost 
of the most sweet thing make an abomination that 
God cannot bear. That is Luther's expression con- 
cerning this, and it is a very excellent one. Take 
heed of that, you that are good citizens, and in the 
place where you live good townsmen, or good parish- 
ioners, and none of your neighbours can find any 
fault with you. It is true there is none that have 
the righteousness of Christ but attain to this : a 
man may attain to this, and yet miss of the right- 
eousness of Jesus Christ. If upon this you shall 
satisfy your souls, if you shall from this sweet thing 
think to be just before God, you do make of this 
sweet thing an abomination that the Spirit of God 
will not bear. Thus you see the work of the soul in 
hungering and thirsting after this righteousness. 
Now the main thing that yet remains, and that is, to 



Mat. V. 6] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



101 



set before you the loveliness of this righteousness — 
that is, what a desirable object this is the soul 
hungers and thirsts after. Now that we hunger and 
thirst after, we see much in that thing which makes 
us to desire it. In the opening what this righteous- 
ness was, and the work of God in causing this hunger 
and thii'st after this righteousness, you may see cause 
enough why the soul should be earnest after it ; but 
yet there be many things more to set before you, the 



beauty and excellency of this righteousness, so as if 
it be possible to draw hungering and thirsting in all 
your souls after it. This is certain, there is never a 
one of you but have infinite need of it. Those that 
never knew it, if they but knew it, their hearts would 
be taken off from other things and set upon this. 
And you that have some knowledge of it, yet if you 
knew it more, your hunger and thirst would be in- 
creased more abundantly. 



SERMON XV I. 



on. 



THE DESIRABLENESS OF THE OBJECT HUNGERED AFTER. 



'Blessed are they zchick do hunger and thirst after righteousness : for they shall be filled.^ — Mat. v. 6. 



1 COME now to the third thing, which is the desir- 
ableness of this object. " Blessed are they that hunger 
and thirst after righteousness.' Thus described, it is 
a most desirable object, and those that know it, they 
cannot but hunger and thirst after it, to have their 
share in it. For, 

First, By this righteousness all despairing tempta- 
tions and thoughts for want of any righteousness in 
ourselves are taken away. Whatsoever despairing 
temptations or thoughts may be in the mind for want 
of any righteousness in the creature, in one's self, these 
thoughts and temptations are by this righteousness 
removed from the soul. You do not understand, 
many of you, what strong despamng thoughts doth 
possess many souls when they come to apprehend 
how they have to deal with an infinite great God, 
and then come to see what the unrighteousness of 
their hearts and the unrighteousness of their lives 
have been ; you know not what throbs there are in 
their spirits, what warring in their thoughts ; they 
would give ten thousand thousand worlds that they 
might be delivered from the anguish and trouble of 
those sinking, despairing thoughts and temptations 
that their souls are afliicted withal ; but there is 
nothing in the world can do it but the sight and 
application of this righteousness of Jesus Christ, as 
it hath been before described. Therefore it is very 
desirable. 

Secondly, By this righteousness the soul comes to 
see a way for making up all the wrong that ever was 
done to God by his sin. I have wronged God by my 



sin, and ho^Y this can be made up it were impossible 
for angels and men to think of a way ; but the re- 
vealing of this righteousness of Christ, made over to 
the soul by faith, shews a way how all the wrong that 
ever my sin hath done to God may be quite made up. 
And is not this desirable ? Will not this draw the 
heart ? Thou that art any way sensible of the wrong 
that thy sin hath done to God, wouldst not thou give, 
if thou hadst, ten thousand worlds to make it up 
again ? Here is a way that all may be made up 
again. Oh what a desirable object is this righteous- 
ness ! 

Thirdly, By this righteousness the law is fully 
satisfied, and all the claim of the law is answered, 
that the law hath nothing to charge now upon the 
soul, to lay any claim to the soul for any breach of 
it. This is a desirable thing. There is no desirable- 
ness at all in being freed from the law as a rule of 
life ; that is no way desirable to a gracious heart. 
' Blessed are they that love thy law,' (as the rule of 
life,) ' nothing shall offend them.' They would choose 
the law to themselves ; therefore that is desirable. 
But the claim that the law lays to the soul, and the 
charge that the law brings against the soul for the 
breach of it, the soul desires to be delivered from 
this. This is a sore and dreadful evil, that I stand 
before the law of God, that hath infinite justice in it, 
that hath such and such a dreadful charge to charge 
upon me. Oh that I could be discharged from what- 
ever the law hath to charge ! Why, this righteous- 
ness wiU do it ; it will deliver the soul from whatever 



102 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[at. v. 6. 



the law hath to charge upon it. Therefore, in Rom. 
X. 4, it is said that ' Christ is the end of the Law for 
righteousness to every one that believetli.' He is the 
end of the law ; it hath its perfection in him. Thou 
mayest turn the demands of the law over to thy surety, 
and God will never come upon the principal in this 
case, but upon the surety. By having this righteous- 
ness thine, thou comest here to be able to give the 
law what it will claim, and to discharge it of what- 
ever it hath to charge upon thee. 

Fourthly, By this righteousness the hazard of mis- 
carrying to all eternity is quite over. When the 
soul comes to apprehend this righteousness, it may 
see in the bowels of it, as it were, an absolute safety 
and blessed security. May this but be made over to 
my soul, though it is true that yet there will remain 
much unrighteousness in me, yet I know that that 
unrighteousness that will remain in me shall never 
hazard the eternal miscarrying of my soul, but that 
all the hazard of that is quite over. Is not this de- 
sirable? What would any troubled soul give to 
know the hazard of eternal miscarrying over, that 
doth but understand what eternity means, and appre- 
hends any hazard of miscarrying in it ! There is 
nothing can satisfy the soul but this. If so be that 
I think to satisfy my soul in the matter of my eternal 
estate, and in the deliverance from the hazard of 
miscarrying by what I do, to think I will mend my 
life and do better, — (though every one should do so,) — 
yet still the fears will return upon the soul again — 
there will be an uncertainty whether I shall mis- 
carry for ever or no. It may be I shall, it may be I 
shfill not. I hope God will accept of me; but 
whether he will or no I cannot tell. But now, when 
the soul comes to understand such an infinite and a 
glorious righteousness to be made over to it in the 
way of the gospel, surely now the soul is able to 
bless itself in Jesus Christ, and to say, ' My soul, 
return unto thy rest, for the Lord hath dealt bounti- 
fully with thee.' Now, though thou beest unrighteous 
in thyself, yet there is that righteousness as doth free 
thee from any such danger of miscarrying. But thou 
art certainly safe ; this will certainly bring thee to 
eternal life, ' for there is no condemnation to them 
that are in Christ Jesus.' It is impossible for a soul 
that God the Father shall look upon in the righteous- 
ness of his Sou — a soul so righteous as a believer is 
through the righteousness of Christ — to miscarry to 
eternity, that even God should come to hate or to let 
out his revenging wrath upon such a soul; it is im- 
possible, it can never be. 

Fifthly, It is worth the hungering and thirsting 
after; for through this righteousness we come to 
have access to tlie throne of grace, and to be able 
to stand with boldness before the throne of grace, 
before God, yea, before God's infinite holiness and 



justice — not only before God's mercy, but before the 
very throne of justice, as well as the throne of grace. 
Though I have to deal witli an infinite holy and an 
infinite just God, yet here is a way to make me stand 
with boldness, with a holy boldness, before this in- 
finite holiness and infinite justice of God : Rom. 
V. 1, 'Being justified by faith, we have ])eace with 
God through our Lord Jesus Christ : by whom also 
we have access by faith into this grace wherein we 
stand.' By him we come to have access even to the 
tribunal of God's justice ; so that there needs no 
appeal now from the justice-seat of God to his mercy- 
seat. It is mercy that God will have such a way, 
that God will bring us to it, that God will accept of 
us in it. It is that that makes us, through him, 
stand before his justice-seat ; our pardon is sealed 
in the court of justice. 

Sixthly, This righteousness is a glorious robe. 
When Jesus Christ shall appear, and God the Father, 
and the holy angels, this shall be the glorious robe 
that shall cover the souls of the saints, of believers, 
in the presence of God and Christ and the holy 
angels at the great day ; they shall be clothed with 
this, and this is the robe that is prepared by Jesus 
Christ to cover, to adorn, and beautify the saints at 
the day of judgment in their appearing before God. 
You hear much of the dreadful day of judgment ; 
sometimes the shrill sound of the trumpet, and all 
appearing before the Lord to hear the sentence of 
your eternal doom, and it may be some terror may 
strike into some of your hearts ; but this robe of 
righteousness takes away all the terror of that day. 
The glorious condition of the saints in being clothed 
with this robe before the Lord, now those to whom 
this righteousness conies to be revealed, they see 
what the use of this righteousness will be at that 
day. And tliat is the sixth thing wherein it appears 
so desirable. 

Seventhly, There must certainly be a most glorious 
reward of this righteousness ; and this raises the con- 
dition of the saints above that of Adam in paradise — 
yea, in some respect, above the angels themselves. 
If Adam had stood in paradise there had been a 
righteousness suitable to such a creature, and the 
angels have a righteousness suitable to their natures ; 
but here is the righteousness of the Son of God, the 
righteousness of God-man, and this is of a higher 
nature than the righteousness of Adam was, or could 
be, of a higher nature than the righteousness of the 
angels themselves iu heaven ; and now for this to 
he made over to the soul as its own righteousness, 
there must needs be an expectation of a glorious 
reward of this righteousness. If Adam had con- 
tinued righteous he should have lived ; but it appears 
not that he should have lived but on'y in paradise, 
in this world ; but now this righteousness purchases 



Mat. V. 6.] 



BUREOUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



103 



a higher degree of glory than if ever Adam had 
stood. Glorious must needs the reward of this be ; 
and as the righteousness itself is made over to the 
soul, so all that tliis righteousness doth deserve, all 
the fruits of the good pleasure of God the Father for 
this righteousness that his Son doth tender to Lim, 
shall be made over to the soul too, and is made over ; 
the soul hath present right unto it. When a poor 
creature shall come to understand such a righteous- 
ness that is beyond Adam's in innocency, that is be- 
yond angels', the righteousness of the Son of God, to 
be made over to it ; and all the good that this righteous- 
ness doth deserve, all the fruits of the good pleasure 
of the Father for this righteousness of his Son, that 
is all mine too ; oh how desirable is this when appre- 
hended really by faith ! 

Eighthly, This righteousness is a perfect righteous- 
ness. There is no sinner whatsoever, but at the first 
instant wherein it becomes a believer, and hath this 
righteousness made over to it, it comes in the point 
of justification to be equal with Abraham, Isaac, and 
Jacob, with David, the patriarchs, prophets, angels, 
martyrs, with the most eminent saints. There is 
a great deal of difference between thee and those 
glorious prophets and saints that we read of, and 
martyrs, and many eminent Christians ; a great deal 
of difference when thou lookest upon that blind 
mind of thine, that dull spirit of thine, that dead 
heart of thine, those many strong lusts that are in 
thee ; and upon this thy heart is dejected, it may be. 
But though the difference be great in respect of 
sanctification, yet in respect of the righteousness of 
justification thou art equal with Abraham, Isaac, and 
Jacob — thou art equal with any of the prophets, or 
apostles, or martyrs. A perfect righteousness, that is 
made over to thee, and therefore it is a most desir- 
able object ; is not that desirable and worth the 
hungering and thirsting after for one that hath been 
a base, wicked, forlorn wretch in the whole course of 
his life — hath been nothing but a very lump of filth 
and abomination; for this man or woman at the very 
instant of the time of believing, to come to stand 
through a righteousness made over by Christ as per- 
fect as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or of any saint 
that ever lived in 4he world? Thy justification is equal 
to theirs ; certainly if you knew this, if you did be- 
lieve it, one would think it impossible but that you 
should have a stomach to it, you should have hunger- 
ing and thirsting desires after such a righteousness as 
this is. 

Ninthly, This righteousness is that that Jesus 
Christ, at the right hand of the Father, is continually 
presenting before the Father, that he might be well 
pleased with those to whom it is applied. It is a 
special work of the intercession of Jesus Christ, at 
the right hand of the Father, to be presenting this 



his righteousness before the Father for such and such 
souls that do belong unto him ; and for thee, though 
vile here in this world, and full of sin, yet to have such 
a mediator at the right hand of God the Father con- 
tinually presenting a perfect righteousness, to the end 
that it should be accepted for thee : as if he should 
say, Lord, though these and these poor creatures be 
fall of unrighteousness, yet behold the perfect righteous- 
ness of mine ; I perfectly obeyed, therefore accept of 
that righteousness of mine. Is not this an object 
desirable? doth not this call for strong desires, 
hungering and thirsting ? and are they not blessed 
that have such a righteousness as this is to be clothed 
with ? 

Tenthly and lastly, The acceptation that comes 
from this righteousness it doth not ebb and flow ac- 
cording to the difference of the gracious workings of 
our hearts, but it abides constant for ever. It is 
true the Lord looks upon the different workings of 
our hearts, and in respect of weakness of sanctifica- 
tion, or further degrees, there may be a complacency 
in God more or less — I mean in the manifestations 
for what is God's complacency but some way or other 
the letting out of himself towards his creature ; and 
the Lord is well pleased with the righteousness of 
sanctification too, as we shall speak to afterwards, 
as well as in this. But now though there may be a 
different letting out of God, and in some respect we 
may say the very complacency of God's heart may 
be towards his servants in a chtTerent way, according 
to the difference of their graces here ; but in respect 
of their acceptation of this righteousness, it is 
always the same. There is always the same accep- 
tation of this righteousness, and no ebbings and 
Sowings in the acceptation of this righteousness for 
any believer. Oh, how blessed is this righteousness 
of Jesus Christ, and what a desirable object is it ! 
Thus now you have bad the third thing opened — 
what the workings of the heart are in hungering and 
thu-sting after it, and what a desirable object this 
righteousness is. 

The fourth thing is the blessedness, which is to be 
spoken unto : Blessed are they that do hunger and 
thirst after this. Blessed are they. 

First, Because they come to see the great mystery 
of godliness, in the way of God's bringing man unto 
himself, and this is a blessed thing. It is a blessed 
thing for the eyes of the understanding to be so en- 
lightened, as to be able to see the great mystery of 
God in the way that he hath to bring man to him- 
self. Most peo])le in the world they think there is 
no other way of God to bring men to himself but 
this : Those that have been wicked sinners they 
must mourn, and be sorry that they have done so, 
and sin no more, and there is an end; but those 
that do hunger and thirst after this righteous- 



104 



BUKROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. G. 



Bess, they are eniightened by another manner of light 
from heaven. The beams of divine light hath shined 
into them, whereby they come to understand the 
deep counsels of God concerning his way in bringing 
man to himself, and blessed are those that have their 
eyes thus opened ; blessed are your eyes, because 
you see these things. Blessed are they that hunger 
and thirst because of the enlightening that they 
have. 

Secondly, Blessed are they for the present, for 
their hearts are taken with that which hath the 
greatest weight in it. There is nothing that ever 
concerned God himself, or that ever concerned man, 
or any creature, that had greater weight in it than this 
that I am speaking of; nothing of God's works, 
nothing, that is, ab extra, (for I speak of that,) 
nothing that ever concerned God in his working 
towards the creature, or in glory that he receives 
from the creature. There was never anything of 
such high concernment towards any creature as this 
is, the righteousness of the Son of God applied by 
faith. Now blessed are they who have their hearts 
taken with this righteousness. For the most of you, 
what are your hearts taken withal ? they are taken 
with meat and drink, to live merrily, to be in com- 
pany, and to play, and pour down wine, and to 
satisfy your lusts. Your hearts are taken with this ; 
here is no blessedness in this. But now for to have 
the heart of a man that had nothing but vanity and 
folly in it before, to be taken with a matter of such 
infinite weight and consequence as this righteousness 
is, blessed is that heart. 

Thirdly, Blessed are they, for now is the time 
when this righteousness of Christ is offered unto 
sinners ; and blessed are they that by the work of 
God are brought into the way that God brings those 
into that he intends to give the righteousness of his 
Son unto. In the time that he is ofl'ering of the 
righteousness of his Son to sinners, if so be that 
thou hadst but stayed a while, and God had but cut 
the thread of thy life off before thou hadst seen the 
excellency of this righteousness of Christ, and before 
thou hadst had strong desires after it, thou couldst 
not have been blest; but blessed art thou that in 
this time of tliy life, that is, the time that God offers 
this righteousness of his Son to sinners, that now 
thou seest thy need of it, and that thy heart works 
after it, and that thou art now in the way that God 
brings those into that he doth intend to bestow this 
righteousness of his Son upon ; for though it may 
be yet thou dost not thorouglily know tliat this is 
made over to thee, yet thou art blessed in this, be- 
cause thou art in the way that God doth use to 
bring those into that he hath a purpose to bless for 
ever in this his Son's righteousness. Thou wert not 
long since in a way of folly and vanity, minding 



nothing less than this, minding only those things 
that would have undone thee for ever, and doth God 
now bring thee into the way that he uses to bring 
those into that he hath a purpose to save ? blessed 
art thou that thou art come so far. 

Fourthly, Blessed art thou that hungerest and 
thirstest thus after this righteousness, for it is a good 
evidence that the soul hath some seed of faith 
wrought in it aheady, that it makes so much after 
Jesus Christ. Indeed thou hast not an assurance, 
thou art not able to say yet, that Christ's righteous- 
ness is mine ; but yet thou hast this blessedness, 
that there is some good evidence to thee, in these 
hungerings and thirstings of thine, that there is 
some seed of faith sown in thy heart already, for 
thou wouldst not otherwise cling so to Christ. 
Those makings of thy soul after Christ, that nothing 
in the world can take off thy soul from him, but 
still thou lingerest after him, and with mighty 
workings of spirit dost desire him ; surely he is 
there already, that makes thy soul so much to work 
after him. 

Fifthly, but especially, ' Blessed are they that do 
hunger and thirst after righteousness : for they shall 
be filled ; ' that is thus, — 

First, All fears, all misgiving thoughts shall one 
daj' be removed. Thou hast some hopes that do en- 
courage thee, but many doubts and fears mixed, but 
thou shalt be satisfied in respect of them. 

Secondly, All accusations of Satan shall be an- 
swered. Satan will be clamouring, but this right- 
eousness shall appear in that beauty and glory that 
shall stop Satan's mouth. 

Thirdly, Thou shalt be filled — that is, thou shalt 
have the good of this righteousness, as if thou' hadst 
satisfied and obeyed thyself. Consider of this, this 
will fill indeed, thou shalt have the fruit and the 
benefit of this righteousness as if thou thyself hadst 
satisfied the law, and hadst obeyed thyself. If it 
were possible for a creature to satisfy God's justice 
and to discharge the law, there would be expecting 
very great good to come of it. Thou shalt have as 
much as if thou thyself hadst borne the punishment 
of what thy sin had deserved ; yea, there shall be 
greater benefit come by what Christ hath satisfied 
and done than if thou hadst satisfied and done it 
thyself. If this had been the way of God, that so 
many as I intend to save, they shall lie ten thousand 
thousand years in flames to satisfy for their sin, and 
they shall perfectly obey my law, and so I will be 
reconciled to them ; now thou wouldst thinlc it a 
blessed thing that thou hadst gone through this 
work ; but know, if thou hadst gone through it, and 
so God reconciled, thou couldst not expect such love 
from God, such acceptation with God after this as 
now thou mayest expect upon the satisfaction that 



Mat. Y. 6.] 



BUEROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



105 



Christ hatli made by liis perfect righteousness. And 
therefore thou shalt be filled, for thou shalt have 
more than if thou hadst done it thyself. 

Fourthly, Thou shalt hereafter know that God, in 
sending his Son to work such a righteousness as this 
is, he had an intention at thee in particular. "When 
those eternal counsels of his will were that his Son 
should come into the world and work this glorious 
righteousness, the Lord had an intention toward thee, 
and said, Now I will send my Son to work this glorious 
and eternal righteousness for the good of this soul, 
and for the good of the other soul ; and will not this 
till thee ? 

Fifthly, Christ shall bring thee one day before his 
Father shining bright in this righteousness. That was 
the desu-ableness of it that I spoke of, and now I 
make use of it only to shew how such as do hunger 
and thirst after it shall be tilled. 

Sixthly, Thou shalt eternally enjoy all the fruits 
of this righteousness ; and certamly this will till 
thee as full as ever thou canst hold, when thou 
shalt come to enjoy all the benefits and fruits that 
will be the consequents of such a righteousness as 
this is. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst 
aft-ev this righteousness, for they shall be filled. 
Thus we have opened this second branch — viz., the 
hungering and thirsting after the righteousness of the 
Lord Jesus Christ 

By way of apphcation ,• — • . 

In the first place, The opening of what we have 
will presently rebuke those that never minded or 
regarded this righteousness that we are now speaking 
of, that never felt any want at all of it, and therefore 
never had any hungering and thirsting after it. I am 
afraid I speak this day but riddles to most people. 
I appeal to your consciences, as in the name of God. 
When hath God discovered the glory of this righteous- 
ness in the reality of it to your souls ? when have your 
hearts been taken with it? And can any closet of thine, 
any room of thine, testify those mighty cries to God 
for thy part in this righteousness '? when hath there 
been such stirrings in thy soul after this righteous- 
ness : Lord, I am undone, I perish for ever ; better I 
had never been born, but that I had been a toad, a dog, 
than not to have this righteousness of thy Son : I 
appeal to you, when was there ever any such kind of 
working in your hearts ? Certainly, if you be alto- 
gether unacquainted with these hungerings and thirst- 
ings after this, you are not one of those that Christ 
pronounces blessed ; you have hungerings and thirst- 
ings after other things that can do you no good ; 
here is an object to raise up the desires of a rational 
creature, here indeed is that that should whet your 
appetite. 

In the second place, Let what hath been said 
quicken and sharpen your appetites after this right- 



eousness, and make you say, Lord, thou hast this 
day set before me out of thy word a glorious mystery 
of reUgion, a righteousness of thy Son, that I either 
knew not, or little minded heretofore. Lord, I see 
my happiness to consist in that, I am for ever made 
if I have that ; no great matter what becomes of me 
in the world, what becomes of my name or estate, if 
I have but that to clothe me I shall be made for 
ever. Oh that the heavens might hear of the cries of 
some souls this evening after this righteousness! or if 
so be that some of you, upon the hearing of what is 
said, may but think what is the meaning of this. 
However, let there be this fruit of what hath been 
spoken, as to get alone between God and yourselves, 
and cry to him to help you to understand what hath 
been said; for certainly it is one of the great mysteries 
of godhness. You are undone for ever if you do not. 
Therefore at least do thus much : cry to God that he 
would reveal this to you, and that will be some good 
way made for the stirring up your appetites after 
this righteousness. There are two or three things 
that may serve for the quickening of our appe- 
tites. 

First, Consider that thou hast to deal with a right- 
eous God. We have a notable scripture in Rom. x. 
3, ' For they, being ignorant of God's righteousness, 
and going about to estabhsh their own righteousness, 
have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness 
of God.' Mark, they are ignorant of God's righteous- 
ness, and so they go about to establish their own, and 
have not submitted themselves to the righteousness 
of God ; as if the Holy Ghost should saj', Did they 
but know God's righteousness, they would never rest 
in their own righteousness, but, being ignorant of 
God's righteousness, they seek to establish their own 
righteousness. Oh that God would but this night 
cause one manifestation of his infinite righteousness 
to thy soul! ihis would cause thee to hunger and thirst 
after it indeed. 

Secondly, Consider this, That the Lord is absolutely 
resolved that he will have his justice satisfied, that 
no soul shall ever be saved but he will have justice 
satisfied for that soul. This is God's determination ; 
and the right understanding of this, and laying this 
for a certain conclusion, will mightily stir up the 
heart to seek after this righteousness : What! is God 
a God of infinite righteousness, and is this a certain 
truth, that no soul shall ever be saved but God will 
be honoured in his infinite justice as well as in his 
infinite mercy, what then shall become of the children 
of men ? Were it not for this satisfaction they 
would all perish ; and this is the reason why all the 
angels that sinned against God perish eternally, be- 
cause there is no righteousness for them, there is no 
way of satisfaction for their sin, and so it would be 
with the children of men, for God is resolved to have 



106 



BURROUGHS ON THE BKATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. G 



his justice honoured either upon them or upon a 
surety. 

Thirdly, Know tliat it would go very ill with 
Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob, with the most glorious 
righteous person that ever lived in the world, were 



it not for this ; yea, we may boldly say, Woe to Abra- 
ham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets and apostles, 
were it not for this righteousness. And if these things 
be so, we had need have our hearts to be making 
after this righteousness here mentioned. 



SERMON XVI I. 



OR, 



COMFORTS TO THOSE THAT HUNGER. 



'Blessed are they tvhich do hunger and thirst after rif/hteoimiess : for they shall he filled.' — Mat. v. G. 



For those that do find their hearts stirring after this 
righteousness, I have divers things to speak unto 
them by way of comfort and consolation. Tliere are 
many poor souls, which, in the sense and burden of 
their sins, do hunger and thirst after the rigliteousness 
of Jesus Christ, so as there is nothing more that their 
thoughts and hearts are upon than the righteous- 
ness of Jesus Christ, that they may find it applied 
unto them by faith and made theirs, that they may 
have the comfort of it. To such I shall only speak 
these things briefly by way of comfort and encourage- 
ment : 

First, If thy heart do in truth thirst after this right- 
eousness of Christ that thou hearest preached of in 
the gospel, and thou dost in thy soul bless those that 
are able to make it theirs, know that thy thirst and 
Christ's thirst are the same. Christ thirsts after souls 
as much as souls thirst after him ; and it is as great a 
satisfaction to Jesus Christ to see his righteousness 
applied unto souls for their discharge, as it can be any 
satisfaction to any soul to have the righteousness of 
Christ applied to it for its discharge. No soul can be 
more content in the assurance that Christ's righteous- 
ness belongs to it, tlian Christ dotli to have his right- 
eousness applied unto souls that do hunger and thu-st 
after it, as hath been spoken of in the text ; and for 
that I will give you only this scripture, Isa. liii., a clear 
prophecy concerning Christ : ver. 10, it is said, 'It 
pleased the Lord to bruise him ; he hath put him to 
grief : when thou shall make his soul an offering for sin, 
he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and 
the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands. 
He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satis- 
fied : for by his knowledge shall my righteous servant 



justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.' 
Mark, ' He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall 
be satisfied.' What is the travail of the soul of Christ ? 
Surely it is, that after he hath borne the burden of 
the wrath of the Father, that then there might be 
souls given to him, and discharged of their sin through 
his sufferings ; this is the travail of Christ's soul. Is 
thy soul travailing after the righteousness of Jesus 
Christ ? Thou art as it were in a travail, and longest 
after that, as any woman in travail longs to be delivered. 
Know the soul of Christ is in as much travail for to dis- 
charge sinners, as sinners are to be discharged; andsaith 
the text, ' He shall see of the travail of his soul, and he 
shall be satisfied.' There is nothing in the world can 
satisfy the soul of Christ as to have poor sinnei's come 
in to him, and to communicate his righteousness to 
them. ' For by his knowledge shall my righteous ser- 
vant justify many.' That shall satisfy his soul; as if the 
Holy Ghost should say. After all that Jesus Christ hath 
suffered for souls, when any soul shall come in and 
believe in him, the Lord Jesus shall apply his right- 
eousness to them and justify them ; and this is that 
that Christ shall account worth all his sufferings — 
shall, as it were, say, I do not grudge, I do not re- 
pent for all that I have suffered, seeing I have the 
fruit of it, that here are poor sinful souls discharged of 
their sins by my sufferings. This is a great help and 
comfort to those that are hungering and thirsting after 
the righteousness of Jesus Christ ; you see what the 
hunger of Christ is, the travail of his soul, and what 
it is that will satisfy. Surely if this be an object so 
satisfactory to his soul to justify sinners, then thou 
mayest have encouragement in this, that when thy 
soul travails for this, and longest after this righteous- 



Mat. V. 6.] 



BURROUGHS OX THE BEATITUDES. 



107 



ness above all things in the world, and nothing can 
satisfy thee but that, that thou shalt in due time see 
the travail of thy soul, and shalt be satisfied. 

Secondly, The great design that God hath in all 
the world to glorify himself by, it is by the honour- 
ing of the righteousness of his Son in the application 
of it unto sinful souls for their discharge. Of all things 
that ever God did, or ever shall be done in the world, 
the greatest design of God to honour himself is, that 
the righteousness of liis Son may be magnified in 
working such a course as this is, to deliver souls from 
the guilt of their sin, and to set them as righteous 
before the Father. The Lord takes delight in no 
work lilve unto this work. Here is the masterpiece, 
as I may so say, of God, and the glory of God. 
Now, then, think thus with thyself : Is this the work 
that, above all things, God glories in ? and is it his 
design to honour himself in the magnifying the right- 
eousness of his Son, in the fruit of that righteousness 
to discharge sinful and guilty sinners by it ? then 
who are they that God will honour himself in and 
upon, if not upon such whose souls he hath be- 
gun to stir to work after this righteousness, to 
long after it above all things in the world ? It is 
that that God's heart is in, to honour himself by 
above all things, and it is that that God hath put 
into my heart to desire above all things ; and I think 
— yea, I am sure, if I know anything of my heart — 
that if God would but once witness to my soul that 
tliis rigliteousness of liis Son is mine, I should for ever 
give up myself to honour him. Had I a thousand 
lives they should all go for the glory of his name. 
Surely God's heart and thy heart doth meet very 
near together in this thing, and therefore be com- 
forted and encouraged in thy hungering and thirsting 
after this thing. 

Thirdly, There is nothing offered more freely than 
the righteousness of Christ is. Of all mercies that 
God doth bestow upon sinners, the mercies of Jesus 
Christ are bestowed the most freely. There are 
many mercies that God bestowed in the time of the 
law, upon legal obedience ; but Jesus Christ and his 
righteousness was never given to any soul, but freely, 
upon mere free grace — nothing but free grace hath 
given him — he is the gift of God! And, together with 
the freedom, there is an invitation to souls to come and 
take it.' Thou that art thirsting after this righteous- 
ness, consider of that scripture in Rev. xxii. 1 7, ' The 
Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that 
heareth say. Come. And let him that is athirst come. 
And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life 
freely.' Thou thirstest after this righteousness, as 
the water of life, that would be life to thy soul. Now 
mark what invitation is here, ' the Spirit,' ' the bride,' 
that is, the church, they say, ' Come. And let him 
that heareth say. Come. And he that is athirst come.' 



Here is four times in one verse ' come.' 'And whoso- 
ever will, let him take of the water of life freely.' There 
is nothing more free than this water of life. God sells 
it not to any ; but whosoever he gives it to, he gives it 
freely. And now, is this the way of God in the dis- 
pensing of this great mercy, that whosoever hath had 
it, or ever shall have it, it must be given freely to 
them, that any former unrighteousness shall be no 
hindrance ? Whatsoever unrighteousness there hath 
been before, that is no hindrance ; for if it were, then 
it were not given freely. There is no unvi'orthiness, 
tlien, that can hinder ; and if so, why may not I 
have my portion in it as well as another ? why may 
not I be blessed by it as well as any ? It is true, I 
am vile, I am an unrighteous wretch, I am unworthy ; 
but the Lord gives this water of life freely, Isa. Iv. L 

Fourthly, I will add a fourth consideration for thy 
further comfort ; that there is nothing can give any 
right to any soul to apply the righteousness of Jesus 
Christ, but merely this free offer, and the soul's be- 
lieving, the soul's casting itself upon it. There is 
nothing before that that gives any right to this right- 
eousness of Christ. 

You will say, I could apply it, and believe it, and 
cast myself upon it, but that I fear I have no right 
in it. Now this is as certain a truth as any we have 
in the gospel, that there is nothing gives any soul a 
right to Jesus Christ but believing in him — the ven- 
turing of the soul upon this perfect, glorious right- 
eousness. It is this that gives right unto the soul ; 
and therefore do not fear, but come, then, thou 
hungering and thirsting soul after this righteousness, 
and open thy mouth and thy heart wide, that it may 
be filled, and cast thy soul here upon this righteous- 
ness, venture thy soul and thy eternal estate — that 
is the best way, and the soonest way, to have the 
comfort of it. 

Those that are hungering and thii-sting after this 
righteousness, take these cautions ; — 

The first caution I shall give you. Take heed, you 
that are seeking after your part in this, and to have 
your souls to be justified through this righteousness 
— take heed that you do not satisfy yourselves with 
any righteousness beneath this, with any under-right- 
eousness ; for the devil will be ready to come in here, 
and he doth prevail with many, when their sins do 
lie upon their consciences, and they see they stand 
as guilty before the great God as those that are bound 
over unto eternal death, and they hear that there is 
no way of salvation but by Christ, and they seek 
after Christ. Now the devil seeks to put them off 
with some other righteousness besides this. Oh take 
heed that nothing satisfies you but this righteousness ! 
It is true, through God's mercy I have broken off 
many of my sinful courses; and I find this in my 
heart, that I would not for all the world commit any 



108 



BURROUGHS OX THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 6. 



one known sin against conscience, though in secret. 
This is well ; but do not rest in this, but know there 
is a righteousness beyond this. Do not think this 
is enough to satisfy your consciences, that you are 
brought to this. No ; nothing shall satisfy my con- 
science but the application of the blood of Christ and 
his righteousness to my soul. 

Secondly, Take heed that you be not put off and 
satisfied with comfort. It may be you shall have 
mighty flashes of comfort given you. When you are 
at "prayer, perhaps you shall have such flashes of 
comfort and joy as are more than ever you have had ; 
some may, and have had it so, and yet afterwards 
it hath come to nothing. Therefore you must not 
satisfy yourselves in that, but think thus : Is this 
the fruit of Christ's righteousness, yea or no ? Have 
I the righteousness of Christ ? Do I feel the work 
of the Holy Ghost carrying my soul to Christ, and 
so enabling me to rest upon his righteousness ? and 
then is the Holy Ghost a comforter unto me as a 
fruit of this ? Then it is good, if thy comfort comes 
as a fruit of the act of thy faith, casting thyself upon 
the righteousness of Jesus Christ; otherwise thy com- 
fort may be but to please thee, and satisfy thee a 
while, and so take thee ofl' from further pursuit 
after this righteousness. That is the only thing will 
hold, and make thee to stand with peace before the 
judgment-seat of God. 

A tliird caution is this : In seeking after this riglit- 
eousness of Christ, take heed of reasoning with flesh 
and blood. Take heed of carnal reasonings, and 
arguing, How can this thing be, that such a one, so 
vile and wretched as I am, and so ungodly as I have 
been, that ever God should have such love and such 
regard as to send his Son to be made a curse, to die, 
and to work out a perfect righteousness to clothe my 
soul with. I have heard of the glory of this right- 
eousness, and how can it be that ever my soul should 
be partaker of it? This is to reason with flesh and 
blood ; thou must in thy pursuit after this have that 
reasoning of flesh and blood to be swallowed up, and 
faith alone must be advanced in it. If faith be not 
put to this great point, there wiU never be any good 
done of it. If reason come in, reason will spoil all; 
for it is above all reason — it is infinitely supernatural. 
' Eeason,' saith Luther, ' is a most terrible enemy to 
faith ;' and it is a great mystery of godliness that the 
angels themselves desire to pry into, and to wonder 
at ; and therefore Christians must even, as it were, 
shut the eye of reason, and exercise faith upon it : it 
is only that that can bring peace unto thy soul. 

Fourthly, And then the last thing is, Oh take heed, 
above all, of turning this grace of God into wanton- 
ness ! look to that. You have heard this righteous- 
ness of the Son of God opened, and the glorious 
properties of it, the excellency of it, the desnableness 



of it ; it is that that very few hearts can bear ; they 
cannot bear it. We find it by experience, that men 
and women that come to have any little glimmering 
about the righteousness of Christ, they run away 
with it, and draw most ■\\Tetched and vile conclusions 
from it. Then you say. What need we look after 
anything further — Christ hath done all ; and so grow 
loose in their conversations. Take heed of waiiton- 
ness. There is a very wanton generation among us ; 
and I verily believe that, if ever since Christ's time 
the grace of God hath been turned into wantonness, 
it hath been this four or five years ; only I find in 
the story of Germany, that when Luther began first 
to preach Jesus Christ, there were the very same 
wantons in his time, abusing what he said. When 
the gospel began to" break forth, men's bleared eyes 
were not able to bear the glorious light that God did 
cause to shine through the ministry of Luther, but 
did extremely abuse it ; and Luther himself was much 
perplexed and troubled with those wantons that 
abused the doctrine of free grace and justification by 
the righteousness of Christ. And as we find that 
men, through their weak and corrupt spirits, are 
ready to abuse this, so, above all sins, it is that that 
goes most to the heart of God, that the heart of God 
doth most hate ; and it is made, in the Epistle of 
Jude, a dreadful brand of those that are even ap- 
pointed to condemnation, that do turn the grace of 
God into wantonness. This grace of God in the 
righteousness of his Son, the Lord expects that all 
that come to know it should even fall down upon 
their faces and adore and magnify him for it, and 
spend then- days in adoring and magnifying of him, 
and not to make this as a means to nourish sin, to 
nourish unrighteousness and looseness ; as we find it 
in many, that since such times as they have spoken 
most of free grace, of the righteousness of Christ, 
their conversations have been more loose than for- 
merly. This is abominable wickedness, that the 
Spirit of God hates ; and if there could be any one 
sign given of a man or woman that were never like 
to have any part or portion in this righteousness, 
that sign would be the most probable, that should 
turn this rich and glorious grace of God into wanton- 
ness. But thus much concerning this great point of 
hungering after the righteousness of Jesus Christ. 

Now to proceed to the next point, the hungering 
and thirsting after the righteousness of sanetifica- 
tion, or inherent righteousness. I shall give you the 
method in the same way as we went in the former. 

First, What is this righteousness that now we are 
speaking of ? 

Secondly, What is the true hunger and thirst of 
the soul after this righteousness ? 

Thirdly, What the desirableness of this righteous- 



Mat. y. 6.] 



BURROUOnS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



109 



Fourthly, Why they are blessed that hunger and 
tliirst after this. 

Fifthly, That even these also shall be satisfied with 
this righteousness. 

Lastly, The application of all. 

For thefirst then, 'Blessed are they that hunger and 
thirst after righteousness.' You will say, What is 
this righteousness that here you are now speaking of? 

It is those gracious dispositions that God works in 
the soul by the Holy Ghost, or the principle of holi- 
ness that God puts into the soul by the Holy Ghost, 
whereby the soul is enabled to work unto God as its 
chief good, as it were in a right line, and therefore called 
righteousness. It is the same thing that is called 
holiness, or righteousness, or grace sometimes we 
have it, because it is given freely by God. When a 
soul that lay dead in sin before, hath the Holy Ghost 
come and breathe upon it, and puts into it gracious 
principles, that enables it to act and to work unto 
God as the last end of all, and the highest good, as 
it were, in a right line. In a right line ; therefore 
sometimes it is called uprightness — that is, when a 
soul that is convinced of the duty it owes unto God, 
and that it ought to work thus and thus unto God, 
whatsoever should come between God and the soul 
to hinder the gracious workings of it, the soul doth not 
fetch a compass, but goes through all difficulties ; that 
is going in a right Ime — goes through all kind of difti- 
culties that it may work itself to God. This is right- 
eousness in the heart, inherent righteousness, when 
thou hast received this work of the Holy Ghost upon 
thee that thou findest such acting and working prin- 
ciples, that works up thy soul to God as the last end; 
and whatsoever there is between God and thy soul, 
thy soul will work through it ; and work still, and 
never leave working till it works through it, that thou 
mayest get at God, and so come to enjoy him as thy 
God. 

Or thus, It is the levelling and acting of the heart 
according to a right rule, the rule of righteousness 
set in the word ; this is the righteousness that we are 
now speaking of. 

Or thus more fully. It is an impression of God's 
righteousness upon the soul, whereby the soul comes 
to be enabled to act according to his measure as 
God himself doth act. 

According to his measure. You will say, how is 
that ? Act as God acts. That is, look, as God him- 
self loves himself as the highest end of all things ; 
and all other things the Lord loves in order to him- 
self, and works for himself as the last end of all ; 
and doth work all other things in a suitable way to 
the attaining of himself as the last end ; so the soul 
who hath the impression of this upon it, comes to be 
enabled to work for God as the last end, and to love 
God for himself, and all things in order unto God, 



and to act for God as the highest end, and to act all 
things that it hath to do with in order unto God as 
this last end ; so that hereby the soul comes to act, 
even as God himself doth act, according to its 
measure and proportion. God he makes himself the 
last end; the soul makes God the last end too. God 
loves himself as the highest good, and all things in 
order to himself; the soul doth so too. God in all 
lis workings works towards himself, and orders all 
things so as he may come to enjoy himself as the last 
end ; so doth this righteous soul do, it works towards 
God, and so as he may enjoy all things in order unto 
God as the last end. This is the righteousness here 
to be spoken of : blessed are they that do hunger and 
thirst after this righteousness. Oh that it were so 
with me, saith this hungering and thirsting soul. I 
feel abundance of corruption that is in me, that keeps 
me from acting to God ; I am convinced that the 
Lord is worthy. Oh, the infinite glorious first-being 
of all things ! he is worthy of all praise and honour 
from all his creatures. I was made for him that I 
might live unto him ; and how happy should I be if 
I could make him to be my highest end, and my 
heart could be taken off from all other things, and 
enjoy him alone to be my portion ; and be acting to 
him, and working to him, and to make his will to be 
the rule of ray hfe ; then happy should I be. Oh 
that it were thus in my soul ! 

For the second thmg, Know that this hungering 
and thirsting proceeds first from this ground, that 
the soul comes to understand the great good that 
there is in this righteousness ; it looks upon itself as 
one that should be a most happy creature if it were en- 
abled to do so, to work so towards God. I were made 
if I could feel the Holy Ghost thus in my heart, 
working my heart thus after the Lord. 

Secondly, It doth thirst after this righteousness in 
a spiritual manner for itself, not only because I am 
convinced in my conscience I cannot go to heaven, 
or I must go to hell if I have it not, but I see this 
righteousness lovely and excellent in itself, and there- 
fore I long after it, because of the excellency there is 
in itself. A hypocrite may desire to overcome his 
sins, and to be enabled to do duties ; but mark it, it 
is in order to his or her peace; because I cannot have 
quiet and peace in conscience, therefore I would be 
glad if such a corruption were overcome, or I could 
have ability to do such and such duties that God 
requires. It is not because of any excellency that 
the soul doth see in this righteousness, but merely 
because it cannot have peace without it. But this 
blessed hunger and thirst that is here spoken of, it is 
that that makes the soul hunger after righteousness 
as for itself — my righteousness consists in it. What 
can be better to my soul than that I should live to 
God as the last end, that I should have my heart 



110 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDE^. 



[Mat. V. 6. 



working to God, and make his will to be my will ; 
■what can be better to my soul than this ? 

Thirdly, This hungering and thirsting it is illi- 
mited ; by that I mean this, the soul never stints 
itself what measure of holiness it would have, but 
would have it in the highest degree that it is possible 
for any creature to have it. And still, if the Lord doth 
enable such a soul to overcome some corruptions, and 
to walk towards God in a better and more gracious 
manner than formerly it hath done, it would have 
still more and more, the desires are still enlarged ; 
whereas a hypocrite may have a desire to overcome 
corruption and to perform some duty, but he desires 
only so much as he thinks may serve his turn to keep 
him from dangers that he doth apprehend ; and that 
is an evident argument that he desires it not for itself. 
As thus : there be two men that would have learning ; 
there is one man that is sent to the university, but it 
is only to give bis father content, and therefore he 
would fain have learning ; or thus, he would fain have 
learning that he might get some preferment — that is 
his end, and if he can but get so much as he may 
attain his end, then he loiters after that. But there is 
another that desires learning for itself ; he sees an ex- 
cellency that there is in learning, he sees that it doth 
raise a rational creature, and upon that he is never 
satisfied, but he would have more and more, and so 
studies to his dying day. Whether he have prefer- 
ment or no, whether he hath employment or no, yet 
still he will be studious ; whereas many wonder why 
such a man should be so studious ; he hath not so 
much employment as another hath, but the very love 
he liath to it makes him do so, because he loves learn- 
ing for itself. So one that doth desire grace to some 
inferior end, if he may have but so much as may serve 
the turn for his end, that quiets him ; but whosoever 
deskes righteousness for itself, he is never quieted, 
but yet would have more and more grace, even as 
long as he lives. That is the third thing in this desire. 

Fourthly, It is a ruling desire — that is, all desires 
are ordered by the desire after this righteousness. 
Whatsoever desires there are in the soul, saith the 
soul. Well, but let my desire after the furtherance of 
grace and righteousness, let that desire rule and order 
these desires. So far, therefore, as my other desires 
shall further this my desire unto this righteousness, 
so far I will nourish them, so far I will follow after 
them. But now if any desire that I have in my soul 
to anythmg else, if I find that it is rather a hindrance 
to me" in this my great desire of righteousness than a 
furtherance, I will abandon that desire, I will rather 
oppose it, and I will bless God if God will cross me 
in that desire. This is the right desire after this 
righteousness, when it is a ruling desire. It rules in 
the soul, it is the chief desire ; and no desbe can be 
cherished in the soul but such a desii-e as may be some 



way serviceable to this great desire of the soul in the 
hungei'ing and thiisting after righteousness. 

Fifthly, The desires of the soul in hungering and 
thirsting after this righteousness, it is a desire that pain 
goes with. As was shewed in the other hungering and 
thirsting after the righteousness of Christ there was a 
pain ; as in natural hunger there is a pain, so in that. 
The guilt of sin was painful to the soul ; and so here, 
the unruly corruptions of the heart how grievous are 
they to it ! When did you ever hear of Paul crying out 
for any of his sufferings, ' Oh wretched man that I 
am ' ? When he was buffeted, when he was imprisoned, 
he did not wring his hands and cry, I am undone be- 
cause of imprisonment ; when he was scourged he did 
not cry out ; he could sing when he was in the stocks ; 
but when he found his corruptions to be stirring in 
him, and the want of some degree of this righteous- 
ness, he gives a dreadful shriek, and cries out, ' Oh 
wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from 
this body of death ? ' how shall I come to get power over 
these corruptions, and be enabled to walk after God ? 
Oh that I could have but this ! then I were a happy 
man. And therefore you find that this hungering and 
thu'sting after righteousness follows upon mourning : 
' Blessed are they that mourn,' and then, ' Blessed are 
they that hunger and thirst after righteousness' — that 
is, those that first are afl:ected with mourning for the 
corruptions of their hearts, and then upon this mourn- 
ing there follows this hungering and thirsting after 
righteousness. 

Sixthly, This desire likewise must be very ear- 
nest ; it is not a wishing and a woulding, but a 
mighty earnest desire. A divine of ours saith, 
The desires of a hypocrite, they are faint desires ; 
but the sincere desires of the soul are such as 
make the soul faint — that is, they are so earnest 
as makes the soul even pant again. We have such 
expressions in Ps. cxix. 5, ' Oh that my ways,' saith 
David, ' were directed to keep thy statutes ! ' David 
had grace before to direct him, but he would have 
more : Oh that my ways were du'ected to keep ;thy 
statutes ! David that was a king, and had great con- 
tentment in the world, and yet the thing that makes 
him, with such a sigh, send up his desires to heaven, 
it was for the want of grace in his heart, and there- 
fore he cries out. Oh that my ways were directed to 
keep thy statutes ! as if he should say. Lord, thou 
that knowest all things, knowest there is nothing in 
the world that would be a greater contentment to my 
soul than if I could find my heart directed to keep 
thy statutes. And then in ver. 10, ' With my whole 
heart have I sought thee,' saith David. Why, what 
is the matter ? ' Oh let me not wander from thy com- 
mandments.' As if he should say. Lord, I account 
this to be the greatest evil that can befall me in this 
world, for me to wander from thy commandments ; if 



Mat. V. 6.] 



EUEROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



•Ill 



thou leavest me to myself, I shall wander from thy 
commandments. But, Lord, let me feel the work of 
thy grace powerfully in my heart, that I may not 
wander from thy commandments. And in ver. 20, 
' ily soul hreaketh ; ' for what ? ' For the longing that 
it hath unto thy judgments at all times.' There was 
a breaking of David's soul ; there was never any man 
that desired anything in this world with more earnest- 
ness. What expressions can be moi-e than these ? 
And in ver. 131, 'I opened my mouth and panted, 
for I longed for thy commandments.' Now, put all 
these together : ' Oh that my ways were directed to 
keep thy statutes ;' 'With my whole heart have I 
sought thee;' 'Oh let me not wander from thy com- 
mandents;' 'My soul breaketh for the longing it 
hath unto thy judgments at all times ;' and ' My soul 
panteth again.' These are the earnest desires of a 
gracious heart after righteousness. 

Seventhly, These desires are very industrious de- 
sires. They are not idle desu'es, as the desires of 
most people in the world after grace are — mere idle. 
The Lord give me grace, and when God gives me 
grace I shall do better ; and so go no further than I 
pray God give me grace. But I appeal to thee, what 
labouring, what striving is in thy spirit, what pains- 
taking, what working of thy soul after grace ? and 
therefore observe that scripture in Ps. Ixiii. 1, 8, 
compared : ' My soul tliirsteth for thee, my flesh 
longeth for thee,' saith the psalmist ; but then mark 
what follows in the 8th verse : ' My soul followeth 
hard after thee,' saith David. That will be the fruit 
of gracious desires. If thou hast a desire to get 
grace, to get righteousness, if thou dost thirst for it, 
then this will follow : thy heart will follow hard 
after God in the use of all means that God is pleased 
to afford. If there be any ordinance of God that 
may further the work of thy grace, thou wilt desire 
that too ; and if there be any pains, if ordinary means 
will not do it, thou wilt be willing to set upon extra- 
ordinary means. There is such a corruption that 
thou complainest of, and ordinary means will not do 
the work ; well, though it be to laeat down the body, 
to beat down tlie liesh, whatsoever thou dost cross 
thyself in, yet this is the thing that thou art resolved, 
if power against corruption can be had, thou wilt 
have it. Thou wilt rather do or suffer the hardest 
thing in the world than not have these thy desires 
accomplished. 

Eighthly, They are abiding desires. They will 
continue, and never be quiet until tlie thing be done. 
In Ps. cxix. 20, before named, 'My soul breaketh 
for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments' — 
mark, 'at all times.' There are some of you that, in 
some good moods, you have even breakings in your 
souls — mighty desires — oh that God would give me 
grace ! And you can pray mightily, and send mighty 



cries to heaven for gi'ace in some good moods. It 
may be when you have been upon your sick-beds, 
and afraid of death, or when you have been stirred 
in a sermon, you have gone home, and have mani- 
fested your desires to heaven, that the Lord would 
be pleased to help you, and purge your hearts, and 
give you grace ; but is it at all times ? At other 
times you are far enough from any such working of 
spirit after this righteousness. But it was in David ; 
his soul did break after the judgments of God at 
all times. By judgments we are to understand the 
statutes, the coaimandments, the will of God — that 
is, that he might have his heart suitable to the will 
of God, revealed in his word ; and in Ps. cxliii. 6, 
' My soul thirsteth after thee, as a thhsty land.' 
Now you know the thirsty land it gapes for want of 
water, and it never closes again till there be some 
showers, and so saith David, Lord, it is with me 
as the thirsty land. I am, as it were, chapped, and 
I find a gaping in my heart after some showers of 
thy grace ; and. Lord, till they come, I shall never 
have my heart closed, but as the thirsty land. Thus 
you have seen what kind of desires these are that the 
soul hath to this righteousness, as well as to the other. 
I should come now to the opening of the great de- 
sirableness that there is in this righteousness. But 
all that I sliall do now is, to desire you to take a 
review of this that hath been delivered to you in the 
description of this hungering and thirsting" soul after 
this righteousness of sanctification. I suppose that 
there is not any one of you but have had some kind 
of desires after grace, though you have little under- 
stood what it meant ; but now can you say, as in 
the presence of God, Lord, thou hast wrought 
such kind of desires in my soul ; in some measure I 
can say it. Lord, it hath been, not from ignorance, but 
from some enlightening of Christ's Spirit. I was an 
ignorant, sottish soul not long since, but the light of 
thy Spirit came into me, and shewed me the excel- 
lency of thy righteousness — what a blessed thing it 
was for the creature to live to God ! And, Lord, 
thou knowest that my desires for righteousness are 
for itself. And there is no degree can satisfy me till 
I come to heaven. I would have more and more. 
Lord, thou knowest that all my desires are ruled and 
ordered by this great desire of my soul after this 
righteousness, next to the desires of my soul after the 
righteousness of thy Son. Yea, Lord!| thou knowest 
how painful it is to me to want it. There is nothino- 
in the world more grievous to me than the body of 
death that I carry about with me ; so that if thou 
shouldst ask me from heaven, and say, Soul, what 
wouldst thou that I should do for thee ? the Lord 
knows I would make this answer. Lord, let me have 
the righteousness of thy Son for my justification, and let 
me have the righteousness of thy Spirit for my sancti- 



112 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. y. 6. 



fieation, to overcome my corruptions, and to enable me 
to live to thy praise. And, Lord, thou knowest that 
these desires have been earnest, and not at a mood or 
flash, but in a constant and settled way; and they have 
been industrious. Lord, thou knowest the pains that 
my soul hath taken, and still am willing to take. If 
I might but overcome such corruptions, and be en- 
abled to walk with thee in holiness and righteousness, 
I care not what pains I took. And, Lord, this liath 
been from year to year, and I am resolved that this 
shall continue, and through thy grace I hope it will 
continue to my dying day, so as if I should perish, I 
would perish crying to thee for the righteousness of 



thy Son, and for the righteousness of sanctification 
of my heart. Lord, this it is that thou hast wrought 
in my soul. Now, if thou canst be able thus to ap- 
peal to God, blessed art thou ; blessed are those that 
do hunger and thirst after righteousness in this man- 
ner. But now, though in the very naming of these 
things, perhaps the Lord may be pleased so far to 
work upon some hearts as to quicken some desires 
after the ways of God and righteousness, yet the main 
thing that is to be presented to you for the quicken- 
ing of your hearts, is the setting the beauty and the 
excellency of it before you. And so the comforting 
and encouraging of the soul in seeking after it. 



SERMON XVIII. 



THE EXCELLENCY OF THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF SANCTIFICATION. 



' Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after riffhteousness : for they shall he filed.' — Mat. v. 6. 



The third thing propounded in the opening of this 
great and weighty point of the righteousness of sanc- 
tification, or inherent righteousness, was the excel- 
lency of it. What is there in this righteousness that 
causes a soul thus to hunger and thirst after it ? 
There are many things that men hunger and thirst 
after that are but vanity, and not worth the spending 
of our thoughts, much less our spirits, upon ; and 
surely Christ would never pronounce them blessed 
that do so, that spend their time and their thoughts 
upon vanity. But there is a great excellency in this 
righteousness, whereby the soul is enabled to glorify 
God, and honour him as the infinite first being of all 
things. Now the excellency of this righteousness 
consists in these things : — 

Fu'st, This righteousness is the right temper of the 
soul. The health of the body it consists in the well 
and right constitution of it. Look, as the body when 
it is in health can relish and taste things for sweet- 
ness and delight, and can work and agitate in the 
place God hath set it in ; but if a man's Ijody be dis- 
tempered through sickness and weakness, then he can 
neither work nor relish anything, nor enjoy himself 
in anything that he hath ; and therefore it is that 
man desires health above all outward blessings. 
What is it for a rich man to have wealth and a great 
estate, and not to have health ? What is it to a man 



to have honours and preferments, to have friends, 
and all the delights this world can afford, whenas 
he doth not enjoy himself in those things ? Now 
sin it is the distemper of the soul — that which puts 
the soul out of taste, and takes away the excellency 
of all it doth enjoy. Therefore it is so oft in Scrip- 
ture compared unto things that are the most loath- 
some. Now when grace comes into the heart, it pre- 
vails against all the ill-humours of the soul, and 
brings health into the spii-it ; it makes the soul health- 
ful and hale in the service of God. 

Secondly, This righteousness is a spark of the 
divine nature. That expression we have in 2 Pet. 
i. 4 : ' Whereby are given to us exceeding great and 
precious promises ; that by these ye might be par- 
takers of the divine nature.' Grace and righteous- 
ness is all one, and it is nothing else but a sparkling 
of the divine nature that is in God himself. And 
the soul that understands what this is, how can it 
but long after it ; it sees a greater glory and a more 
worth in the least spark of this excellency than in 
all the glory of the world represented unto it in the 
most taking and beautiful show that can be. The 
soul by this comes to live even as God himself doth ; 
and is not this very desirable ? 

Thirdly, It is the very image of God in the soul, 
and an image represents a thing in the chief excel- 



Mat. V. 6.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



113 



lency of it. As the image or picture of a man, it 
doth not represent the legs and the feet of the man, 
which are the inferior parts, but his countenance, his 
face. The image of a man it is represented by his 
face, which is the glory of the man, or the head. So 
God's image in us is this righteousness, inherent 
grace. The creatures have the footsteps of God 
upon them. In all the creatures that are in the 
world we may there behold so many footsteps of 
God, as it were, but not God's image. If so be that 
a man trod on the sand of the sea, there would not 
remain the image of the man, but only the footsteps. 
We cannot say, the man being gone, that there is 
the image of such a man, but there is his footsteps. 
So all the manifestations of God in the world, in 
creation and providence, they shew forth the foot- 
steps of God, that God hath been here ; all the 
creation holds forth the footsteps of the Most High. 
But when we behold a saint we see the glory of God ; 
there we behold the face of God. As in Gen. i., 
where the council was called, ' Come, let us make 
man.' How ? after our footsteps ? No, but ' after 
our own image.' Now grace is the renewing of this 
glorious image ; for we must know that this excel- 
lent piece of God's image by man's fall was all de- 
faced and blurred ; there was a blackness and de- 
formity upon this glorious excellency, but now grace 
is a-renewing of this image again. The soul it repre- 
sents God in a lively way ; the image of a man in his 
child, it is more lively than in a piece of wood ; it is 
possible to draw it in such an excellency and feature 
that it may be every way like the man, but yet not 
so like a man's image as is his child. Grace in the 
heart is the image of God livelily represented. God 
may see himself thei-e, as a father sees himself in the 
face of his child. God cannot see himself so in all 
the world as in a saint. If so be God would say, Where 
shall I behold my image ? If he went to acts of pro- 
vidence, he might see his footsteps ; if he went to 
works of creation, he might see his power and wis- 
dom ; but surely when he goes into the heart of a 
saint, there he sees his image most glorious. Surely, 
then, grace it is an excellent thing. The prototype 
of this image was in Christ without measure ; he re- 
ceived of this grace without measure, and we from 
his fulness receive, even of this grace, grace for grace. 
Fourthly, The excellency of this righteousness it 
appears in this, in that it is the very life of God 
himself; a man may see his image, but not his life; 
but now grace it is God's life. That expression hints 
so much unto us that we have in Eph. iv. 1 8, ' Having 
the understanding darkened, being alienated from the 
life of God ;' intimating that when the soul comes 
to have this righteousness, it comes to live the life 
that God doth himself. How is that ? the same life 
that is in the nature of God; the soul acting as God 



acts comes to live the life of God. As when a crea- 
ture shall act as God acts, and make the same end 
that God makes, and works towards this end as God 
works, this is the life of God ; for God's life it con- 
sists in this, in willing himself the highest good, and 
acting as unto an ultimate end, and ordering all his 
undertakings to suit with this end. This is the 
excellency of God ; and a saint comes to live the life 
of God ; he propounds God to be the chiefest good, 
the glory of God the ultimate end of all his actions, 
and drives all his designs to this end. And herein 
consists the excellency of this life of sanctification, 
and thus a saint doth in his measure ; though he be 
not able to reach up to the top and height of this 
glory, yet every saint in his measure doth attain this 
end. How desirable, then, is this righteousness, that 
makes the soul to live that Ufe here which it must 
live, and shall to all eternity. 

Fifthly, It is the very glory of God in the soul of 
man. The soul doth not only come to live the life 
of God, but it comes to be the very glory of God. 
Eom. iii. 23, ' All have sinned and come short of the 
glory of God,' or, as it is in the original, ' deprived' 
of the glory of God. We are now deprived of the 
righteousness Adam was first made in. Adam he 
was stated in a glorious being in paradise, but he 
lost that righteousness ; and in that condition he was 
the glory of God, being the e^scellentest creature that 
God made ; but he sinning, did deface that excel- 
lency. Now when this is renewed in the soul, God's 
glory is come into the soul. Men desire glory in the 
world. What are the thoughts and the desires of all 
men almost after, but those things that may advance 
themselves and their own honour ? How desirous, 
then, is God's glory, or ought it to be unto us ; this 
shines in the souls of the saints ; and to have a prin- 
ciple that we shall hold forth this glory according to 
the measure of grace received, this is very excellent ; 
that a poor wretch should come to such a height of 
excellency to hold forth the glory of the eternal God. 
There is not only God shining upon the soul, but 
God shining in the soul that holds forth the glory of 
God to the world. And herein is a great mystery of 
the excellency of this righteousness, that it doth not 
only shine from God upon the soul, but there is a 
shining in the soul that holds forth the shine of the 
righteousness upon this soul to all the world. 

Sixthly, By this righteousness the glory of God is 
maintained in the world ; this is that which holds 
up God's honour in the world. What glory should 
God have in the world if all were as unrighteous 
as some are ? You think that the saints they are little 
worth ; let me tell you it is for their sakes that the 
world now stands. Had God no more honour from 
some than he hath from the most of you, what would 
become of you ? It is not for your sakes the world 



114 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 6. 



is continued. The world is not worthy of these ex- 
cellent ones ; but God doth continue these, that he 
might have glory from them. Saith God, I have 
made a world, and I have placed and filled it with 
variety of creatures ; but of ail the works of my hands, 
I have none that doth give me that glory that my 
saints do. God puts such a principle into some that 
they give him the glory of theii- being. Now, is not 
this a most excellent thing, and most desirable, that 
the creature should be able to live up to the fulfilling 
of the end which it was created for ? 

Seventhly, By this righteousness all natural and 
civil righteousness is raised higher and to a more 
glorious condition than possibly it could be before. 
There is no action that a man can do that hath any 
worth in it, any further than this righteousness is in 
it. Men in their natural estate they work from a 
natural principle; but when grace comes into the 
heart, this inherent righteousness, the soul works 
in natural actions from inward principles, and makes 
those righteous actions ; when a gracious heart fol^ 
lows his calling, and the things of the world, it is in 
a spiritual way. Carnal hearts are carnal in spiritual 
things, and gracious hearts are spiritual in natural 
things. 

Eighthly, Upon the receiving of this righteousness, 
every action, so far as this righteousness is in it, is 
more worth than heaven and earth. You who are 
saints, prize your parts, prize your duties. It was a 
speech of Luther, who extolled faith and righteous- 
ness as much as ever any did, when he met with an 
expression of righteousness or faith, he would be sure 
to carry it to exalt free grace. Yet he who was so 
full in the extolling of the righteousness of Christ, 
saith, that every good work that springs from faith 
is more precious to God than heaven and earth. 
Heaven and earth holds forth God's glory in a pas- 
sive way, these in an active way. Those actions that 
come from tliis righteousness hold forth the glory of 
God in an active way ; and one action done unto the 
glory of God in an active way, holds forth God's glory 
more eminently than all the world besides. 

Ninthly, This righteousness the excellency of it 
consists in this, this raises the heart above all crea- 
tures and enjoyments, and carries the soul beyond 
them all. Before righteousness comes into the heart, 
the heart lies below the creature, and is a slave unto 
every creature. When the creature bids go, it runs ; 
when that would be obeyed, it yields presently. But 
this righteousness it raises the soul above them all ; 
so as it now comes to have God alone to be higher 
than itself. The soul .acknowledges no supreme but 
God himself, and is subject unto him and him alone. 
The soul now knows its excellency and worth, that 
there is no creature fit and worthy to have converse 
with it; it is only a companion for God himself. 



If God will have it subject, it will in order to him 
submit to anything ; but its submission shall be only 
in order to him ; so that the good of the creature now 
consists not in anything the creature can give, nor 
the hurt in anything the creature can do, but only in 
God alone. The soul is now in a kind enlarged in- 
finitely, and can be satisfied with nothing but God ; 
nothing but a God only can fill up the cravings of 
the soul. Whereas before it was satisfied with every 
lust, with every filthy vanity, now nothing but real 
enjoyments, and only that which is real, can satisfy 
the soul. 

Tenthly, The excellency of this righteousness con- 
sists in this, that it is a principle of union and com- 
munion with God himself ; the soul now comes into 
relation, into near union, with the Father. When God 
made man at first he did not only give him a body 
and a soul, but he put a principle of enjoying com- 
munion with him ; for herein lies man's happiness, 
that he is made capable of enjoying communion with 
God. But now this happiness is lost ; man by his fall 
is now become a stranger unto God, and when God 
converts the soul this is restored ; at the first work of 
conversion the soul is made near unto God, who was 
before afar off. He that is joined to the Lord is one 
spirit, and now the soul comes to be fitted for com- 
munion with so high a good ; for no creature is fit for 
communion with God but angels and men. Now there 
must be a suitableness of lives in those that enjoy 
communion ; there cannot be communion where there 
is an unsuitableness in living. As a man cannot have 
communion with the beasts, because they live not the 
same life, and the beasts cannot have communion 
with the plant, because they live a contrary life, a 
natural man cannot have communion with God, be- 
cause he Hves not the same Ufe that God doth ; but 
a saint comes to enjoy communion with the Lord by 
virtue of this righteousness. Before, thou wanderedst 
from God, and soughtest after vanity, and never knew 
what it was to enjoy communion with God. Com- 
munion with God, it was but a light thing to thee 
before; thou didst look upon it as a thing that had 
not much in it — it was but a notion to thee ; thou 
didst hear of such a thing, and thou couldst relate it, 
but there was no worth in it to thee, thou didst not 
prize it ; but now the soul comes to enjoy that which 
is more worth than a thousand worlds to it, and the 
more righteousness the soul hath, the more commu- 
nion it hath with God. And this is the reason that 
the soul hungers and thirsts after more righteousness, 
for the more it enjoys of God the more sweetness it 
finds. 

Eleventhly, This righteousness is that which sanc- 
tifies all our actions unto God, and puts a worth upon 
them ; before, our actions they were not accepted, 
they were looked upon as filthy, polluted things : 



Mat. V. 6.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



115 



' To the pure all things are pure, but to the defiled 
and polluted, all things are filthy;' so God looks upon 
them. Now, what is it to sanctify a thing? To sanc- 
tify, it is to set a thing apart for God. It is grace 
that sanctifies the soul. Whereas the soul was em- 
ployed for common uses before, now it is separated 
for God; as when the vessels of the temple were sanc- 
tified, they were separated for holy uses, only for that 
use. So a godly man, he is separated for God, 
being taken out of the world and employed now in 
holy services. In Ps. iv. 5 ; not only separated for 
God by an act of God upon the soul, which hath 
been from all eternity — but though this be a bless- 
edness and a high privilege to be sanctified and set 
apart from all eternity for God ; but it is a sanc- 
tification by grace. There is that put into the soul 
whereby the soul is enabled to set itself apart for 
God, and so it comes to grow in grace more and more, 
and it is enabled for to make a sanctified use of all it 
enjoys ; it can now tell how to make use of all crea- 
tures for the glory of God, whereas before, the world 
had the use of the soul — but now, saith the soul, I am 
separated only for high ends, for the glory of that 
God from whom I receive my being. 

Twelfthly, This helps the soul to overcome the 
greatest evil in the world. Sin is the greatest evil, 
and one truly enlightened had rather suffer anything 
in the world than be overcome by the least sin ; a 
gracious heart looks with more indignation upon the 
least sin than upon any sufferings. Now it is nothing 
but the Holy Ghost can overcome sin ; it is the Spirit 
alone that can subdue iniquity. The soul it hath a 
principle within itself whereby it overcomes sin, and 
so goes on until the work be perfected ; so that a 
gracious heart doth not only overcome sin by the 
help of the Spirit, but also from an inward principle 
that there is working in the soul against that which 
is contrary unto God. 

Thirteenthly, The excellency of it consists in this, 
because Jesus Christ in it attains the end of his death ; 
and certainly that wherein Jesus Christ attains the 
end of his death must needs be very precious. It is a 
part of the end why the Father sent Jesus Christ into 
the world, that we, being delivered out of the hand 
of our enemies, might serve him without fear in holi- 
ness and righteousness all the days of our lives: Luke 
i. 74, ' Christ came into the world that he might 
have a people to serve him, that he might redeem a 
chosen generation.' "Wlio are they? Certainly they 
must be some rare people that must have such a one 
to come to redeem them. Man had lost all his holi- 
ness and righteousness that he had at the first, and 
lay under filth and misery ; but such was God's love 
to righteousness, that he saith to Christ, My Son, 
thou must go into the world to restore righteous- 
ness again ; such' is my love to righteousness that 



thou must go ; though thou art the only beloved of 
my soul, yet go thou must. Well, saith Christ, 
Father, I am willing to go, and though it cost me 
my life to procure righteousness, and righteous ones 
to be subjects for thy mercy to triumph in, I am 
willing to die to procure it. How excellent then is 
the righteousness, which is that in which Christ 
attains his end in dying ! 

Fourteenthly, This is the only thing, next to the 
righteousness of Christ, that will be of worth at 
death and judgment — next, I say, unto the righteous- 
ness of Jesus Christ. When all the world shall fail, 
their hearts shall quake within them, and all their 
civil righteousness, and all their formalit}', and their 
foolish pomp in the world, that wliicli they have made 
their hope, the rock of their confidence and their stay, 
shall all sink under them, this is that which, I say, 
next to the righteousness of Christ, will hold up the 
head above water ; this shall comfort thee, and then it 
will be desirable. Oh that we had oil in our lamps, 
and grace in our hearts ! When the foolish virgins 
saw the glory the wise virguis were possessed of, they 
then saw their folly in their neglect, and they cried 
then. Oh that we had grace ! oh that we had oil in 
our lamps ! Certainly that which wLU be of such 
excellency then, it is no less worth now. 

Fifteenthly, This is an immortal seed. When once 
the soul is insealed in righteousness, it is ever right- 
eous ; the least seed of it, it shall endure to eternity — 
and the lastingness of a thing, we say, puts a price 
upon it. If thou hast this, thou hast that in thee 
that all the devils in hell shall not overcome ; they 
may assault, trouble, and disquiet thy peace, but they 
shall never undermine this righteousness, they shall 
never undo thee in that which is thy righteousness, 
thy happiness ; and herein likewise is another excel- 
lency of this righteousness. 

Sixteenthly, lastly. This righteousness is nothing 
else but the beginning of heaven. In that golden 
chain in Rom. viii. there is no mention of sanctifica- 
tion ; sanctification is heaven begun. There is mention 
made of calling, of justification, of glorification, but 
no mention of sanctification ; so that sanctification it 
is heaven begun ; it is not only the way to heaven, but 
heaven itself, Now certainly tliis is very desirable : 
therefore put all these together, and we shall under- 
stand the meaning of that scripture in Prov. xii. 26, 
' The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour.' 
He is more excellent in that he is a healthful man ; 
more excellent in that he hath the divine nature. 
In that he hath the image of God. In that he lives 
the life of God. In that he is made partaker of 
exceeding great and precious promises. In that his 
sins are pardoned. In that he is accepted by the 
Father. In this the righteous is more excellent than 
his neighbour. It may be his neighbour is a rich man, 



116 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. Y. 6 



his landlord, his master, the best in the parish, but 
he a poor man, yet if godly he is better thaii his 
neighbour, though his neighbour be a lord, a prince, 
though he be never so great. The righteous is more 
excellent than his neighbour; for you that hunger and 
thirst after this righteousness, behold what a glorious 
object you have here which your thirst is placed upon. 
From this point abundance of comfort flows to 
you that can prove yourselves to be hungerers and 
thirsters. We see some excellency in it ; oh that we 
micht have more ! Do you say so, do you desire that 
you might have more ? then know. 

First, That these hungerings of thine are better 
than all the world's fillings ; these desires are better 
than all the cravings of worldlings. The worldly 
man saith. Who will shew us any good ? and thou 
sayest, Lord, hft thou up the light of thy counte- 
nance, Lord, clothe my soul with righteousness, 
Lord, bring me into such a condition that I may 
stand with boldness at the throne of thy grace. Know 
that thy hungerings are better than the world's 
fillings. 

Secondly, These desires of thine, they are better 
than all common gifts, the greatest parts and natural 
endowments that the most glorious hypocrite in the 
world hath. Many can pray excellently, repeat largely, 
and thou thinkest, hadst thou their gifts and parts, 
how happy shouldst thou be. Thy hungerings are 
better than those enlargements, for they are but com- 
mon workings, and no distinguishing characters; but 
these hungerings and thirstings after this righteous- 
ness, they are the breathings of the Spirit of God, 
the special workings of the Spirit. 

Thirdly, This is the thing that hath been the com- 



fort of the most precious saints in all the world. 
Those who are now at rest in the bosom of the Father, 
they have comforted themselves in these hungerings 
and thirstings. Perhaps thou canst not see the full 
manifestation of this in the assurance of it ; neither 
could they; but they hungered and thirsted after this, 
that God would lift up the light of his countenance 
upon them. Look that choice scripture, and meditate 
upon it as thy portion; mark how Nehemiah expresses 
himself, ' Lord, let thy ear be attentive to the prayer 
of thy servant, and thy servants who desire to fear thy 
name ; ' as if he should say. Lord, thou knowest 
though there be many weaknesses in us, yet the 
desires of our souls are to fear thee. Comfort thyself 
with this scripture when thou canst not find that 
righteousness thou wouldst have — when thou hast 
sad dejected thoughts within thee that God perhaps 
will reject thee, make use of this scripture, ' Lord, 
thou knowest the desires of our souls are to fear thy 
name ; ' Lord, let me have this and I am happy ; 
though corruption prevails over me, yet this spark is 
alive and in me, for which I bless thy name, I desire 
to fear thee. And Christ saith in the text, ' Blessed 
are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness.' 
It is very observable he doth not say. Blessed is he 
that rfo?A thus and thus. No; but blessed is he that 
hungers and thirsts after righteousness. Though they 
are blessed that do this, yet for the comfort of weak 
ones this is said, Blessed are they that do desire to 
hunger and thirst after righteousness, blessed are they 
who find the want of it ; and in the midst of that, the 
desire of their soul is to fear God. This scripture be- 
longs to thee ; comfort thyself with it as thy portion, 
but be sure that thy desires are right. 



Mat. V. 6.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



117 



SERMON XIX. 

OR, 

THEY THAT HUNGEE ARE BLESSED FOR THE PRESENT. 



' Blessed are they loldeh do hunger and thirst after righteousness : for they shall be filled.' — Mat. v. 6. 



There are two things yet to be opened about 
blessedness, and then we shall come fully to the 
application of it. 

They are blessed that do hunger and thirst after 
righteousness. They are blessed for the present. 

First, Blessed, because they are so enlightened to 
see wherein true excellency doth consist. Blessed 
are they in comparison of others, that see no higher 
excellency than to eat and drink, and to have con- 
tentment to the flesh. Blessed are they whose eyes 
God hath opened to see into the excellency of this 
righteousness, to understand what it means. Those 
■whose eyes God hath opened, and minds the Lord 
hath enlightened but to see the excellency of this 
righteousness above aH things that can be desired, 
they bless God for tliis ; and account it the greatest 
blessing under heaven, next the sight of the righte- 
ousness of Jesus Christ, that God hath shewn unto 
them the beauty, the excellency, and the glory of 
this righteousness. 

Secondly, Blessed are they ; they have a mag- 
nanimous sphit. The Lord hath given to such a 
spirit of magnanimity beyond other men. Men's 
desires are according to their spirits. A man of a 
poor base spirit doth bound his deshes to poor base 
things ; as some men, if they might have but so much 
money as to drink with their companions, they 
would look no higher for a blessed life. But now, 
another man's spirit is risen higher with desires after 
honours, preferments, and great things. According 
to the greatness of the tilings any man's or woman's 
spirit makes after, so is the greatness of their spirits. 
Now those whose spirits are after righteousness : 
first. The righteousness of Jesus Christ ; and then 
that righteousness — that is, the divine nature, the 
image of God, the life of God, nothing will satisfy 
them but that. It is not the world nor content- 
ments to the flesh that can satisfy them, but the 
righteousness of God. Here is an argument of a true 
magnanimous spirit. An Alexander desires great 
things, to be conqueror of the world, and then would 
fain have more worlds to conquer. "Why? because 



he had a great spirit, and therefore his desires are so 
great. A Christian hath a great spirit in a true, 
holy, and gracious sense, and therefore desires great 
things. It is not all the world that can sanctify'' the 
spirit of a Christian, it must have righteousness. 

Thirdly, This desu'e after righteousness, it is the 
seed of God, or rather it is a fruit of some right- 
eousness that is in the soul already, and therefore 
they are blessed. No soul can thus hunger and 
thu-st after righteousness, but it hath got righteous- 
ness ah'eady. There is some righteousness in the 
soul, for everything desires after that that is suitable 
to its nature. What is it that makes the ox desire 
grass, or the fish desire water, or the bird desire 
corn ? it is because these are suitable to the nature 
of these creatures. So a covetous man desires 
riches, a voluptuous man desires pleasure, an ambiti- 
ous man desires honour, because suitable to them. 
So where there is such a desire after righteousness, 
there is a suitableness between righteousness and the 
soul ; and therefore righteousness is begun already in 
the soul. That soul that hath a suitableness unto 
righteousness, certainly hath some principles of right- 
eousness within it, and therefore they are blessed. 

Fourthly, Blessed are they that hunger and thirst. 
Though they do not feel the righteousness that they 
desire, they are blessed, because in the covenant of 
grace God accepts of the will for the deed. Now 
they having righteousness manifested by their desire, 
they have some principles of it, the}' are there- 
fore within the covenant of grace ; and being within 
the covenant of grace, they have this blessing, 
that God accepts of the will for the deed. I beseech 
you consider of this; it is a great point, the under- 
standing how this privilege doth come of accepting 
the will for the deed. Those that are under the law 
have no such privilege. The law requires perfect 
obedience, or else casts away all ; and therefore, for 
men and women that are ignorant and graceless, 
have nothing of Christ in them, they yet think that 
God will accept of their desires, of the will for the 
* Query, ' satisfy ' ? — Ed. 



118 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 6. 



deed. But they are mistaken ; this is a privilege that 
belongs to such as are in the covenant of grace ; and 
it is a purchase of Jesus Christ that God should 
accept of the will for the deed. Now, those who 
have such a kind of hunger and thirst after right- 
eousness manifested as before, they have some princi- 
ples of righteousness in them, and so are under the 
covenant of grace ; they have this privilege, that 
God accepts of the will for the deed, especially if 
that hunger and thirst after this righteousness of 
grace be joined with the hunger and thirst after the 
righteousness of Christ that before hath been opened 
to you. Many people who say they would fain do 
better than they do, yet they never understood what 
it was to hunger after the righteousness of Christ, 
and so are not acquainted with the covenant of 
grace, they cannot have the comfort of this blessed- 
ness ; but such as having hungered and thirsted 
after the righteousness of Christ, and so manifested 
that they are acquainted with the covenant of grace, 
and now hunger and thirst after the rigliteousness of 
Banctification, they may hereby assure themselves 
that the blessing of the covenant of grace belongs to 
them, and that God accepts of the will for the deed. 
Now this is a mighty blessing, for it is a help to the 
soul in the midst of all infirmities. Though I find 
never such want of righteousness, yet having hunger- 
ing and thirsting desires after it, I may comfort 
myself in this, the blessing of the covenant of grace 
belongs to me ; it is accepted as if I had that very 
righteousness that I so much hunger and thirst for. 
And that is the fourth blessedness. 

Fifthly, Which is a main thing to be considered of, 
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteous- 
ness ; because this hunger and thirst of theirs it doth 
quench sinful and base desires in the soul, it helps to 
mortify them. There is no such way to mortify 
sinful desires as by gracious desires, as thus it is so 
in all other affections. The way to get base, sordid 
love in the soul to be mortified, it is by love to God 
and love to Jesus Christ ; the way to overcome 
sinful joy, it is by the joy of the Holy Ghost. So the 
way for to mortify base, sinful desires in the soul, 
wandering after this and the other thing, after a 
thousand vanities and follies in the world, that doth 
undo the souls of so many thousands, (for certainly 
the wandering of the desires after vanity and folly is 
the destruction of thousand of thousands of souls,) is 
to have their desires right set, to be taken olf from 
vain and base things, and to be set upon righteous- 
ness, upon the image of God, and the life of God, and 
upon the principles of union and communion with 
God ; they are blessed, for here are desires that do 
quench unlawful desires, sinful, wicked desires, and 
BO doth regulate the soul, so that blessed are they in 
that respect. 



Sixthly, Blessed are they, for this hungering and 
thirsting after righteousness makes the ordinances of 
God, and any beginnings of the influences of grace, to 
be very sweet unto the soul. How sweet is the word 
to that soul that hungers and thirsts after righteous- 
ness ! how sweet is any ordinance of God, because all 
ordinances are the conveyances of grace, appointed 
so by God, and any influence of grace to such a soul, 
how sweet is it ! When the Lord doth come into the 
soul in a prayer, or in the word, and doth quicken it 
a little, or help it with some resolutions against sin, 
and gives it any power against temptation, how sweet 
is this to the soul ! Blessed is the soul that hath this 
hunger, for it sweetens all ordinances, all beginnings 
of influence of grace. 

Blessed are those souls that hunger and thirst after 
righteousness, for they have many gracious invitations 
unto the Lord and unto Christ, to come in to receive 
mercy. The Lord invites those souls to come to him ; 
and as they therefore said in the Gospel to the poor 
blind man, Be of good comfort, he calleth thee, so I 
say to all such as can approve their souls, that 
though there be much weakness in them, yet if there 
be this hunger and thirst after righteousness. Be of 
good comfort, the Lord calls you, you are invited to 
come. I will give you these scriptures for invitation : 
in Isaiah Iv., (that known scripture), ' Ho, every 
one that thii'steth, come ye to the waters, and he that 
hath no money,' no worthiness, ' come ye, buy and 
eat ; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money, 
and without price.' The grace of God is compared 
to these excellent things, and here is a proclamation 
to all that hunger and thirst to come unto the waters. 
These waters are both the righteousness of Jesus 
Clu'ist and the righteousness of sanctification. And 
in John vii. 37 is another invitation. It is said, 
' That in the last day, the great day of the feast, 
Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let 
him come unto me and drink.' Mark, Christ cries 
unto those that hunger and thirst. They, it may be, 
are under some discouragements, because they cannot 
find that righteousness they do desire. Christ calls 
unto them, ' Come unto me.' Surely they are 
blessed that Christ doth invite to himself, and that 
by crying to them that they should come to him; and 
that place in Eev. xxii. 17, quoted for the righteous- 
ness of Christ, and so likewise is an invitation to them 
that hunger and thu'st after this righteousness. 

Eighthly, As they are blessed because they are in- 
vited, so they are blessed because they are under 
many promises. There are many promises to the hun- 
gering and thirsting soul : I will give you some few ; 
in Ps. X. 17, ' Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the 
humble : thou wilt prepare their heart.' The desire 
of such as are humble thou hast heard it ; God hears 
it, and he prepares their heart. ' Thou wilt cause 



Mat. V. 6.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



119 



thine ear to hear ; thou preparest their heart.' These 
desires that they have, they are of thy preparation ; 
thou dost prepare their heart with these desu-es, and 
thou wilt cause thine ear to hear. And then, in Ps. 
xxii. 26, 'The meek shall eat and be satisfied; they 
shall praise the Lord that seek him ; your heart shall 
live for ever.' They shall praise the Lord that seek him ; 
who are they but those that hunger and thirst after 
him ? Here is a promise, they shall praise God. You 
are now altogether in way of seeking, in hungering and 
thirsting. Here is a promise that you shall praise, and 
that your heart shall live for ever. There is a principle 
of life begun, and your heart shall live for ever. You 
think that, because of so much corruption that there 
is in your hearts, that you shall at length fall off, die, 
vanish, and come to nothing ; but they shall praise the 
Lord that seek him, and your hearts shall live for 
ever. You shall praise God one day for these desires, 
for this hungering and thirsting ; that is another 
promise. And then, in Isa. xli. 17, ' When the poor 
and the needy seek water, and there is none, and 
their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear 
them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them, but 
I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the 
midst of the valleys : I will make the wilderness a 
pool of water, and the dry land springs of water, &c. 
And I will set in the desert the fir-tree, the pine, and 
the box, together.' Mark how God's heart is in this 
promise to those that thirst. And we are to know 
that by these expressions of outward things, spiritual 
things are couched under them, for that was the way 
in the times of the Old Testament especially, that the 
Lord promised the graces of the gospel most under 
outward things, in an external way, but spiritual 
blessings were couched rmder them. And there is 
two things that I would observe in this promise. 
The first is, how many times God expresseth himself 
and saith, I will do this for thee ; I, I, I will do it. 
In ver. 17, there you have /, /, twice : 'I the Lord 
will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake 
them.' Then in ver. 18, ' I will open rivers in high 
places, and I will make the wilderness a pool of 
water,' &c. Then there is a fifth and sixth / in ver. 
19, 'I will plant m the wilderness the cedar, and I 
will set in the desert the fig-tree,' &c. I will do 
these things for such as hunger, as thirst after me ; 
they shall have water. Six times in a very few 
words of Scripture God saith, /, /, /, /, /, / will 
do it ; as if he should say, Poor hungering, thirst- 
ing soul, you cannot see how it can be done ; you 
find your heart so vile, corruption so prevailing, that 
you are ready to think it impossible it should be done, 
but /, /, /, /, /, / will do it. The second thing to be 
opened is, that the Lord takes away the objections 
that might discourage hungering and thirsting souls. 
Say they. How shall I come to have this righteous- 



ness ? I live in such a place where we have no means 
— we have no ministry at all, or to little purpose. I 
want the means. Let not that discourage thee, ' I 
will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the 
midst of the valleys : ' I will make the wilderness a 
pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.' 
Alas ! thirsty people that are in the wilderness, what 
shall become of them ? I will make the wilderness 
pools of water, and the dry land springs of water, 
saith God. Perhaps you may come to some places 
and hear the excellency of the gospel displayed before 
you, and you may think. Had we but the gospel so 
preached among us — as no question many poor peo- 
ple that have been forced to fly to this place for 
refuge have had such thoughts — if God would but 
send the gospel of the preaching of the excellency of 
Christ among us, how should we be satisfied ! But 
how shall our souls be satisfied when we have not 
this ? Mark this promise and make use of it, ' I 
will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry 
land springs of water.' God can bring into your wil- 
derness, and to your dry land, those springs of water 
that may refresh and satisfy your souls. And then, 
in Isa. xliv. 3, ' For I will pour water upon him that 
is thirsty,' saith God, 'and floods upon the dry ground : 
I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing 
upon thine offspring.' Here is an excellent pro- 
mise, even to you and your seed ; for that is a most 
uncharitable and a very evil opinion, that is much 
against the covenant of grace, and doth much darken 
the glory of the covenant of grace, for men to say 
that the children of believers — of the godly — have no 
more promise, and are in no sense in covenant with 
God, no more than any other. These, besides others, 
that God promises to ' circumcise their hearts, and the 
heart of their seed ;' and here, ' I will pour water upon 
him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground : I 
will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon 
thy ofl'spring ; ' so that the seed even of the hungerers 
and thirsters after righteousness, they are blessed. 
And it may be thou that art now hungering and 
thirsting, and perhaps all thy lifetime continuest so, 
it may be the Lord will grant these things iinto thy 
seed after thee, that thou hast been praying for thine 
own souk Thou shalt have as much as may save 
thee, and as much as shall satisfy thee, but for the 
particular of these things that thou hast been praying 
for, it may be God will grant it to thy seed after thee. 
But here is a promise that God will pour water upon 
him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground. 
And how lightly soever a carnal heart may think of 
the promises of the gospel, yet such as are gracious 
would not give their portion in them for a thousand 
worlds. Such a promise as this they would embrace, 
and make account that their riches consists more in 
it than the riches of a covetous man in many bonds 



120 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 6. 



and bills that he hath of many hundreds and thou- 
sands. 

But the main thing wherein they are blessed is in 
that -which Christ saith, ' They shall be satisfied.' 
And we have many promises for this besides this of 
Christ. In Prov. x. 24, ' The desire of the righteous 
shall be granted.' In Ps. cxlv. 19, there is another 
jn-omise, that ' God will fulfil the desire of them that 
fear him ;' and in Ps. ciii. 9, ' He satisfieth the long- 
ing soul, and fiUeth the hungry soul with goodness.' 
They shall be satisfied ; uow is that ? Thus, 
- Eil'Si, So far all hungering souls in this world shall 
be satisfied, as they shall find such contentment in 
the ways of righteousness, as their hearts shall never 
turn quite out of those ways, whatever temptations 
they meet with. Certainly this is some satisfaction ; 
certainly there is some satisfaction in a soul when it 
is in such a way as no temptation can possibly draw 
it out of that way. If there be a bee that fastens 
upon a flower, and is sucking of honey, if it cannot 
be got off of that flower, certainly the bee finds sweet- 
ness and honey there ; so all those that have but the 
least beginnings of true grace, though they be hunger- 
ing after more, they would fain have more, yet they 
find so much satisfaction as they wiU never turn 
into the ways of unrighteousness again — they will 
never leave the paths of God. It may be thou art 
complaining, and sayest, I have been desiring for 
many years, Oh that I might overcome such a cor- 
ruption, that I might be enabled to serve God with 
more freedom of spirit and cheerfulness, but I cannot 
get anything ; I find I do not grow, I get little. 
Why, then, temptation comes; If you can get nothing, 
if you strive and labour, and desire, and pray, and 
can get nothing, leave off all, saith temptation, and go 
to your former course again. God forbid, saith the 
gracious soul, I will never turn to my former ways ; 
for though I cannot get what I would, yet I have a 
thousand thousand times more peace and content- 
ment than ever I had in any former ways, and that 
is some satisfaction. 

Secondly, again, Those that hunger and thirst 
after righteousness, they shall have grace growing. 
There shall be more and more grace ; grace shall be 
always coming in. Perhaps they shall not be always 
sensible of it, but they shall have grace coming in 
to uphold them at least, if so be not so fully as to 
comfort them so as they desire, yet grace is coming 
in. And so their spirits are kept still a-working after 
grace, and they find something to uphold their hearts, 
though not so fully to comfort them as they would. 

Thirdly, There is certainly a time when all these 
hungering souls shall be in a sensible way satisfied to 
the full — that is, there is a time coming wherein thou 
shalt never sin more, wherein thou shalt never be 
troubled with that wretched heart of thine, with that 



proud, stubborn, carnal, distrustful heart of thine ; 
there is a time coming wherein thou shalt serve God 
as much as thou wilt, as much as thou dost desire ; 
thou shalt do God as much service as thou canst 
desire to do him ; thou shalt have as much grace 
as thou canst desire to have. Certainly that is a 
blessed time, and that will satisfy the souls of any 
that are gracious, that there is a time coming that 
they shall serve God as much as they can. Thou 
shalt have, as it were, thy belly full ; thou art now 
a vessel of mercy, and shalt be filled full with the grace 
of God in thee ; and the very thoughts of this, that 
there is such a time a-coming, doth in a great measure 
satisfy the soul for the present ; how will the soul 
then be satisfied when that time is come? ' Blessed are 
th€y that hunger and thirst after righteousness : they 
shall be satisfied.' 

Now, for application, here is a use of comfort 
and encouragement to those that hunger and thirst 
after righteousness. 

This hunger and thirst of thine after righteousness, 
be comforted in it ; it is a sign of life. If the child 
cry for the breast, surely it is alive : ' As new-born 
babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that they 
may grow thereby.' It is a sign that thou art a new- 
born babe at least ; that is the expression of the 
apostle in 1 Pet. ii. 2, ' As new-born babes, desire 
the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow 
thereby : if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is 
gracious.' Here is an argument of a new-born babe. 
Wherefore is it that thy soul doth desire so much 
after the word ? Is it not that thou mightest grow 
thereby ? What is that '? thou mayest have more 
power over thy corruptions, and be more enabled to 
serve the Lord in holiness and righteousness all the 
days of thy hfe; thou art a new-born babe, there is hfe. 
Secondly, It is a good sign of a thriving Chris- 
tian ; not only of a living Christian, but of a thriving 
Christian. As you find it by experience in the body, 
when a man or woman begins to have a good appe- 
tite to their meat, to be hungry, we say, then they 
mend. A man that begins to have a stomach, to be 
hungry, and to taste his beer, he begins now to 
thrive ; so it is with the soul. Thou hast not that 
growth that thy soul desires, but hast thou a stomach 
to thy meat, canst thou taste thy drink, canst thou 
taste the waters of life, canst thou say, These are 
sweet, oh that I might have more, I am athirst and 
desire after more ? When thou comest to the word, 
thou gettest some milk to nourish thee, and thou 
hungerest after more. It is an argument that thou 
art in a thriving condition, it is a sign of health, that 
thy soul is hale, that thou hast not those distempers 
and corruptions that other men have. Other men 
whose souls are clogged with the lusts of the flesh 
and the desires of the world, the preferments, hon- 



Mat. V. 6.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



121 



ours, riches, pleasures of it, they could be without 
the word if it were for a whole twelvemonth together, 
but only through custom they come and hear, whereas 
the poor hungry soul, when it hath been at the word 
but one day, it longs for the time to have another 
meal's meat, and for another meal's meat^ and cannot 
tell how to spare one meal's meat. Now that is a 
sign that such a soul is in a thriving condition ; be 
then encouraged from this. 

Thirdly, There is an infinite fountain of grace that 
is set open for poor souls. Thou that hungerest and 
thirstest after righteousness, there is an infinite foun- 
tain of grace, and there is bread enough in thy 
Father's house. Thou needest not seek to satisfy thy 
soul with husks, there is bread enough : ' My flesh is 
meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.' Jesus 
Christ is an infinite fountain of all grace; he is filled 
vi-ith all th« fulness of God, and to that end, that 
from him hungering and thirsting souls might be 
satisfied, therefore Christ is thus filled : John i. 16, 
' Of his fulness have all we received grace for grace.' 
There is grace answerable unto the grace of Christ, 
to be received from his fulness ; and though it is true 
there is emptiness in thy own heart, and emptiness 
in all ordinances any further than Christ is in them, 
yet there is a fountain of grace for thy satisfying — an 
infinite fountain, that hath been the fountain from 
whence all hungering souls since the world began 
have been satisfied ; and it is open for thee, and thou 
mayest come as freely for it as ever any soul did, to 
take that that may satisfy thy soul. 

Fourthly, These hungering desires of thine are 
raised by no other than the Holy Ghost himself. 
In Eom. viii. it is the Holy Ghost that teaches us 
how to pray and send up groans and sighs unutter- 
able ; it is the Spirit of God that helps our infirmi- 
ties. Now, in these hungerings and thirstings of 
thine, hast not thou been in the presence of God 
sending up groans and sighs unutterable? Surely 
thy petitions are like to be heard, that are indited 
by the Holy Ghost himself. When thou art crying 
for this bread of life to overcome thy sin, to enable 
thee to walk before God in holy duties, these sighs 
and groans unutterable are from the Holy Ghost. 
It may be thou canst not express these desires of 
thine, as a man that is hunger-starved he is not able 
to express the fulness of his desires after bread or 
drink, but though this be thy case, yet know, the 
Lord having stirred up those unutterable desires by 
his Spirit, he knows the meaning of his Spirit. 

Fifthly, Your desires and God's meet. There is 
nothing in the world that God doth more feeely 
bestow than righteousness. The Lord is more free 
and willing to bestow the righteousness of his Son 
(that was spoke to before) and the righteousness of 
his Spirit, than he is wiUing to bestow a piece of 



bread. Thou mayest as soon have one from God as 
the other, for his heart is in one more than in the other. 
Thou desirest that thou mightest overcome sin, that 
thou mightest serve the Lord in holiness and right- 
eousness, and God desires the same thing. God's 
heart and thy heart meet together in one. 

Sixthly, If God will fill vacuities in nature, and 
will hear the ravens when they cry unto him, will he 
not fill the emptiness of thy soul ? God hath so 
ordered things in nature that there shall be no va- 
cuity. Philosophers say ' that the world will sooner 
fall to nothing than there should be the least empti- 
ness in the world,' but it must be filled with some- 
thing or other. Now hath the Lord so appointed 
that there must not be the least vacuity in nature, 
but there must be something to till it, surely the Lord 
will not suffer a vacuity in an immortal soul ; but he 
hath something to fill that soul of thine that is empty 
for the present, and the Scripture tells us that the 
Lord tills every living thing with his blessing, and 
shall not a soul that hungers after righteousness, and 
the image of God, and the grace of the Spirit of God, 
shall it not be satistied ? shall God regard to satisfy 
the hunger of a raven, and give water to a raven that 
cries, and shall he not satisfy an immortal soul that 
hungers after that that is his own image, that he 
might overcome sin, and serve him in holiness and 
righteousness ? Certainly the Lord will satisfy thee. 

Seventhly, Yet further the Lord bids us, that if 
our enemy hunger, we should give him meat, and if 
he thirst, we should give him drink, Eom. xii. 20. 
This is the charge of God. Will the Lord give a 
charge to us poor creatures, that when our enemy 
hungers, we must give our enemy meat, and wlien 
our enemy thirsts, give him drink, and shall not God 
himself, the infinite fountain of aU mercy, when a 
child hungers, give meat, and when a child thirsts, 
give drink ? Saitli Christ, ' If you that are evil know 
how to give good things to your children, how much 
more shall your heavenly Father,' &o. Certainly, 
if so be thou hungerest and thirstest after righteous- 
ness, God will not deny thee when thou hungerest 
after that. He will give thee bread, he will give thee 
di'ink, for the satisfying of thy soul. We must do 
it to our enemies. The Lord will much more do it 
to the soul that desires above all things in the world 
to be reconciled to him. 

Eighthly, Be of comfort in this, you that are hung- 
erers and thirsters, these hungerings and thirstings 
of yours will make you to be praying Christians. 
They are mighty ingredients in prayer ; and it is a 
very great blessing to be a praying Christian, espe- 
cially in these times. There are no such praying 
Christians as your hungering and thusting Christians, 
that find the want of the righteousness, both of the 
Son of God and the Spirit of God. These are great 



122 



BUKROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. G. 



prayers in Israel. We have many tliat will enlarge 
themselves to God in prayer ; but for a prayer to 
come from a hungering and thirsting soul, it is a 
prayer worth a hundred of those prayers that come 
from parts and memory. 

Ninthly, Know further, that the ordinances of 
Jesus Christ are appointed to thee. There is a time 
when Jesus Christ will satisfy thy soul immediately ; 
till that time comes he hath appointed his ordinances, 
his word, and sacraments, for the satisfying these 
hungering and thirsting souls. And comfort thyself 
in this, blessed Saviour, I hope to have full com- 
munion with thee hereafter; but for the present thou 
hast not left me destitute, and I will take what thou 
hast left me thankfully for the present, expecting a 
more immediate satisfaction from thee hereafter. 
Now as I have laboured to encourage those that are 
hungry and thirsty, 

Secondly, I desire to propound some considera- 
tions to quicken our appetites after these desires of 
righteousness. You that have hungered and thirsted, 
take heed that you lose not your appetite and sto- 
mach. There was a time that you had a strong sto- 
mach after righteousness ; have you so still ? Take 
heed of losing it. When you come home, and find 
not yourself well, and have no stomach to your meat, 
your wife and children about you begin to be afraid, 
and you are troubled, saying, I have lost my stomach 
to my meat. It is many times a forerunner of death, 
and so it may be of the death of the soul. Lose 
not your appetites, but labour to quicken them. 
Now these considerations will serve to quicken your 
appetites after this righteousness that we are speak- 
ing of ; I speak to those I suppose have grace. Do 
not think thus : I hope God hath wrought some be- 
ginnings of grace, and that may serve my turn. No ; 
but hunger and thirst after much. Lord, more, more 
grace 1 Thou hast begun somewhat ; oh that I might 
have more ! 

First, Consider, Thou dost not know what work 
God may call thee to before thou diest ; and there- 
fore it is not for Christians to have a little grace, but 
they should desire after much. You may be called 
to a great deal of work. A little grace will help thee 
to do a little work, a great deal of grace will but 
help to do much work. These are times that God 
calls all his people to do much vfork. And it may 
- be thou mayest live to such times as thou mayest be 
called to do more work than ever thou wert called 
to, and therefore be hungering after more. Lord, 
strengthen me with more grace, that I may be en- 
abled to do all the service that thou shalt call me to. 
Secondly, Others who have began since you in the 
profession of religion, they have outgone you, they 
have got a great deal more than you. Perhaps thou 
hast been a kind of professor these twenty or thirty 



years, or more. Now, how many young ones that have 
begun since thou, though abundance of them vanish 
away in disputes and errors, yet some are very gra- 
cious and godly, and oh how much of Christ, of God, 
of heavenhness, of savouriness, of wisdom, of holi- 
ness, have they got within a few years, more than 
thou hast got for this twenty or thirty years I Then 
hadst not thou need to be hungering and thirsting 
after more ? 

Thirdly, By this means, the more grace thou hast, 
the more good thou shalt do to others. It is not 
enough to have grace merely to carry thee to heaven, 
but that thou mayest be useful in the place where 
God hath set thee. Weak Christians may make shift 
to uphold themselves here in this world, and to get to 
heaven with much ado ; but strong Christians are 
useful to others, and do abundance of good to others. 
Oh that I might have grace, then, to do good to 
others 1 

Fourthly, Consider what strong hungerings and 
thirstings you have had heretofore after the things of 
the world. Lord, I remember that in former times 
my heart was carnal, and what strong desires I had 
after the world. How did my thoughts run about 
my business, in my calling, that so I might thrive 
and prosper, and have good comings in. Lord, thou 
knowest that many times after base sinful lusts my 
soul hath been strong in the desires of them ; and 
shall not now my soul be strong in the desires after 
thy righteousness ? 

Fifthly, Know it is impossible for thee to have a 
heaven upon earth. All Christians may come to 
have a heaven upon earth, here in this world. There 
is such a condition wherein our hearts may be filled 
with joy unspeakable and glorious, in believing, in the 
ways of godliness ; but now this cannot be by weak 
grace. There must be strength of grace, whereby 
the soul of a Christian may be in heaven while they 
are upon the earth, and converse with God, his angels, 
and saints here in this world, as if they were in 
heaven. This may be had, and therefore hunger still, 
and thirst after further degrees of righteousness. 

Sixthly, It is the only way to help thee against 
temptations, to grow strong in grace. Thou that hast 
but a little grace, thou art hable to temptations on 
every hand, and the devil is ready to foil thee in this 
and the other thing ; but by strength of grace thou 
mayest be able to resist temptations — and it is a 
great mercy in this dangerous time wherein we live 
to resist temptations. A weak, sickly man or woman, 
they had need of a staff, they are ready to stumble 
at every stone ; and so a weak Christian is ready to 
stumble at every offence. But a man that hath got 
strength, he can go steadily ; and so strong Chris- 
tians they are able to do it ; and therefore you find 
that St Peter, when he would give a rule how men 



Mat. V. 6.] 



BURROUGHS ON THK BEATITUDES. 



123 



should come to be steadfast, in the Second Epistle, iii. 
17, 18, he saith, 'Beloved, seeing ye know these 
things before, beware lest ye also, being led away 
with the error of the wicked, fall from your own 
steadfastness. But grow in grace,' &c. As if the 
Christian should say. How should we take heed that 
we fall not from our steadfastness ! Notwithstanding 
the many errors there are in the times wherein we 
live, saith he, ' Grow in grace.' There is in these 
days a deluge of errors in the world, and they catch 
young ones, weak people, and women, and so they 
come to fall from their own steadfastness ; but the 
way to prevent this is to grow in grace, hunger after 
more, keep your appetites after more, and let your 
prayers and your endeavours be after increase of 
righteousness, that so you may keep your steadfast- 
ness. 

Seventhly, By the increase of grace you will be 
able to have a more abundant entrance into heaven 
when you die : you will die with more peace, and 
have an abundant entrance into the kingdom of our 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is not by having 
a little grace; though you may get to heaven, yet you 
cannot have that abundant entrance into heaven, as 
in 2 Pet. i. 5, ' And besides this, giving all dili- 
gence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue know- 
ledge; and to knowledge temperawce; and to temper- 
ance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godli- 
ness brotherly kindness ; and to brotherly kindness 
charity ; for if these things be in you and abound, 
they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor 



unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
'Wherefore,' saith he in the 10th verse, 'the rather, 
brethren, give diligence to make your calling and 
election sure ; for if you do these things, ye shall 
never fall ; for so an entrance shall be ministered to 
you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.' The apostle would 
have us add one grace to another. Have you got one 
grace ? then labour for, and add more and more 
thereby you shall make your calling and election sure 
thereby you shall never fall, but be helped against 
your many doubts and fears, and the power which 
the devil hath had over you ; the way to help against 
them is, by adding one grace to another, and growing 
up still in the ways of godliness ; and by that means, 
saith he, ' an entrance shall be ministered unto you 
abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord 
and Saviour Jesus Christ.' As if he should say. The 
broad gates of heaven shall be set open to you. As 
you know in great men's houses ordinarily you have 
the wicket, the Kttle gate, opened ; but if great men, 
earls, and princes should come, the broad gates are set 
open ; so it is true God will admit to heaven where 
there is the least grace ; but they are fain to crowd in 
with many discouragements, but those that have got 
a great deal of grace, an abundant entrance is made 
oijen for them. Oh, you Chi-istians that have any 
beginnings of grace, still, still be hungering and 
thirsting to get more, more righteousness ; for it will 
help you to an abundant entrance into the everlasting 
kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ ! 



124 



BURKOUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 6. 



SERMON XX. 



RULES TO HELP SOULS IN THE WAY OF HUNGEEING. 



'Blessed are they luliich do hunger and thirst after righteoxisness : for they shall be filled.'— Mat. v. 6. 



There are three things remaining in the text. 

First, The propounding some rules for the help of 
souls that are in a ■n^ay of hungering and thirsting 
after righteousness, and yet cannot find righteousness. 

Secondly, The shewing what may support souls 
that are in a hungering condition after righteousness, 
and yet cannot find that they do grow righteous. 

Thirdly, The rebuking of the want of this true 
hungering and thirsting after righteousness. 

For the first, Is it so that the Lord hath brought 
thy heart to hunger and thirst after righteousness ? 
Can ye say that this is your condition, else you can 
say Uttle ; or those have the weakest degree of grace 
should be able to say thus, at least, that they find a 
hungering and thirsting desu-e. Now, if it be so, 
observe these rules in thy hungering and thii-sting, 
that thou mayest not miscarry. 

First, Though thou hast not what righteousness 
thou wouldst have, yet be sure to renounce all un- 
righteousness. I am yet in a hungering way, and 
cannot find that righteousness I do desire ; but, 
Lord, this I hope shall be my care for ever, whatso- 
ever becomes of me, I will renounce unrighteousness. 
Indeed, I cannot get such ability to serve God with 
that enlargement of spirit that I desire ; I do not 
find that I do grow as I would grow in grace; but. 
Lord, this through thy mercy I hope I shall keep for 
ever in my heart, that whatever appears to be un- 
righteousness, I will not meddle with that, I will have 
nothing to do with that. In Ps. cxix. 2, 3, saith 
the psalmist there, ' Blessed are they that keep his 
testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart :' 
what follows ? ' They also do no inquity ; they walk 
in his ways.' They that seek the Lord with their 
whole heart, they do no iniquity — that is, in the 
meantime while they are seeking God, if it be with 
their whole heart, they do renounce all iniquity ; 
there is no way of sin but they do abhor it as hell, 
and will renounce it. Though I am not able to guide 
myself as I would, and to do what I ought, yet thus 
far I will have nothing to do with my former un- 
righteous way. This is of great use to those souls 



that God is bringing unto himself, in a way of seeking 
him, but yet do not apprehend they have found him ; 
they will renounce unrighteousness. Many men and 
v/omen they seek for righteousness — they think so 
at least ; but in the meantime they give way to them- 
selves to some unrighteousness ; and so they flatter 
themselves in their desires, and think that God will 
accept of their desires for righteousness, though they 
give way to themselves in some ways of unrighteous- 
ness. Take heed of that. 

Secondly, In thy hungering and thirsting after 
righteousness, do thou often express these thy desires 
before God, often express thy desires in the presence of 
God ; when thou art alone in secret tell God of all thy 
desires that thou hast after liis righteousness, after 
his ways ; appeal to God of thy deshes. It is an easy 
matter to tell men that thy desires are thus, but ex- 
press to God daily thy desires after his righteousness. 

Thirdly, Look to it that it be after his righteous- 
ness that thou dost hunger and thirst. Do not satisfy 
thyself in this, that thou hungerest and thirstest after 
somewhat, that thou hast a desire after something in 
the \yays of godhness, but let it be after all the ways 
of righteousness ; let there be no way of righteous- 
ness, but thou findest thy heart thus upright with 
God to hunger and thirst after it. And thou canst 
freely express thyself to God, that he that knows all 
things knows that thy heart doth make after all 
righteousness whatsoever ; it is that thou longest after 
all his ways and all his commandments that thou 
mightest fulfil them, that thou wilt not give liberty 
to thyself in anything that is not according to his 
ways. Hunger after all righteousness. 

Fourthly, When thou hast expressed thy desires to 
God, and that after all righteousness, look after thy 
desires ; often consider what becomes of thy desires. 
How long have I thus hungered and thirsted after 
righteousness ? When did God begin to open my 
conscience, and to stir my heart after righteousness ? 
Think, hath it not been ever since I can remember, 
or for a long time. What then hath become of my 
desires all this while ? What hath become of my 



Mat. V. 6.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



125 



many prayers that I have put up to God that he 
would come in with his grace and renew his image 
in my soul ? Look after thy desires ; see what be- 
comes of them. Many men and women have a kind 
of form in praying to God, and wishing that it were 
better with them ; but they do not look back to tlieir 
wishes. Either God grants my desires, or he doth 
not ; either I do get more power over my corruptions, 
and more ability to serve him in the ways of right- 
eousness, or I do not. If I do, then I have matter to 
praise and bless him ; if I do not, I have matter of 
humiliation. But where is the man or woman that 
every day examines what becomes of their prayers 
after grace, to make either God's granting their 
desires matter of praise, or God's denying their desires 
matter of humiliation. 

Fifthly, Be sure to manifest thy desires in the use 
of all means. Observe that rule, and observe this 
particular in it, that if some means will not do, then 
add others ; if ordinary will not do it, then add ex- 
traordinary ; but especially observe this in the use of 
means, let it be righteousness thy soul longs after and 
labours for. As, for instance, it may be you will say. 
As I have good desires, so I do use means ; I pray, 
I hear God's word, I read, and confer with God's 
people. But when thou art doing all these, is it right- 
eousness thy soul works after and longs for ? Canst 
thou say when thou goest to prayer, Lord, I pray, 
and that I would have in prayer is righteousness, that 
I might get somewhat this morning, some further im- 
provement of righteousness, and increase of it. And 
art thou not satisfied in thy prayer except thou find- 
est that thou hast got some further righteousness, that 
thou canst that day overcome thy corruptions more 
than before ? And so when thou goest to hear the 
word, Wh}', I am going to hear a sermon ; and what is 
it that 1 long for, saith a gi'acious soul. Oh, righteous- 
ness ! oh that God would speak to my heart, whereby 
I might get power over my corruptions, and be more 
strengthened in his way, and find grace increased, find 
more wisdom, humility, and the fear of his name, and 
more spuitual mindedness than ever I have had ! 
Oh that I tnight have that in the word ! That is a good 
sermon wherein God speaks to my heart, for the fur- 
therance of righteousness in my heart ; and if I come 
to the word and do not meet with God there for the 
furtherance of the graces of his Spirit in my soul, that 
sermon is not good to me, whatsoever it be to others, 
because I do not find the work of God's grace furthered 
in my heart anything the more. How many times 
do we come to sermons, one after another, and never 
think of this, to come with panting desires after right- 
eousness. 

Further, For the use of means, I will give you a 
scripture to shew that it is not enough for you to 
hunger and thirst after righteousness, except you ex- 



press it in the use of means. In Ps. cvii. 9, there is 
a gracious promise from God to such : ' He satisfieth 
the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with 
goodness.' He satisfieth the longing soul ; the longing 
and hungering soul are the same, but now the word 
that is translated in your books the longing soul, it 
is in the Hebrew nppK/ t^BJ, the running soul ; he 
satisfieth the soul that runs up and down, that is the 
propriety of the word, A longing soul is a soul that 
runs up and down from one means to another ; if one 
thing will not do it, another it must have ; its desires 
must be satisfied or it cannot tell how to live, but 
runs up and down from one means to another. So 
in Mark \ai. 24, 25, you have a notable scripture to 
shew that where the heart is set upon a thing it will 
leave no means unattempted. It is said of Christ 
that he arose and went into the ' borders of Tyre and 
Sidon, and went into an house, and would have no 
man know it : but he could not be hid. For a cer- 
tain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean 
spu-it,' &c. The meaning is this, that the poor 
woman being affected with the misery of her daughter 
having an unclean spirit, and believing Christ was 
able to help her, though Christ was hid, the poor 
woman resolves if he be above the ground to find him, 
and to have him one way or other. And therefore 
the scripture observes, that though Chi-ist would have 
none to know where he was, yet he could not be hid 
because of the poor woman. So it is here ; if the 
Lord shall be pleased to withdraw himself from the 
soul in one means, yet the soul that is sensible of 
want of righteousness it will follow after God in one 
means after another, and will never be at quiet and 
rest until it meet with God, until it come to enjoy 
God in the ways of righteousness according to his 
desire. That is the fifth rule, Let thy hungering and 
thu'sting work in the use of all means. 

Sixthly, In thy hunger and thirst, take heed that 
thou dost not rest in thy desires ; do not rest in this, 
and think it enough : I have desires ; God hath 
wrought desires in me, and that is sufficient — what 
need I any more ? Though it is true there are many 
encouragements to those that have true desires, but 
this is as true, that when desires are right, the soul 
will not rest in those desires. I have desires, but it 
is the thing itself that I look after for the obtain- 
ing of my desire. We read in Prov. xiii. 12, 'That 
hope deferred makes the heart sick; but when the 

desire cometh, it is a tree of life.' ' Hope deferred ' 

that is, when the soul would have a thing, and it 
comes not ; ' but when the desire cometh, that is the 
tree of life.' Therefore the soul that is rightly 
wrought upon will not rest in desires, will not think, 
God hath begun to work some desires in me, I hope 
that is grace ; and if I have but the least degree of 
grace, that will be enough to bring me to heaven. 



126 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 6. 



No ; I have desires, but nothing shall quiet my soul 
until I come to the obtaining of my desires. 

Seventhly, Exercise faith upon Jesus Christ for 
righteousness ; that is the way to come to have thy 
desires satisfied. Thou dost use means ? yea, that I 
dare not but do — my conscience puts me upon it, to 
pray, read, hear, and so to use all means I can, but 
yet I do not find my desire satisfied. This, there- 
fore, is another rule : thou must, in the use of means, 
look beyond the means, and take heed of resting upon 
means as well as upon thy desires, but look up to 
Jesus Christ, from whose fulness the heai-ts of the 
saints do receive grace for grace. The Father hath 
put a fulness into his Son ; all righteousness is in 
Jesus Christ ; there is all grace, righteousness, and 
holiness in Christ beyond all measure. Now the 
way to attain righteousness, it is not merely to pray, 
hear, and use means, but by an eye of faith to behokl 
Christ filled full of all grace as a fountain, so that the 
souls of those that hunger and thirst may, by acting 
upon him, fetch grace from him, and so come to be 
satisfied. It is Christ that is the tree of life ; it is 
from him that all grace doth come into the soul. 
And I verily believe that there are many kept under 
a great spirit of bondage in the times of their hunger^ 
ing and thirsting, labouring for grace, because they 
did not look beyond means. They do not look upon 
Christ, that is the fountain of all grace, to act their 
faith upon him. They think that they must have 
righteousness before they come to Jesus Christ. 
Now, there is a mistake : thou must come to Clirist 
that thou mayest have righteousness, for all right- 
eousness is in him. The truth is, there is no saving 
righteousness but it comes through union with Jesus 
Christ — it comes from communion with Jesus 
Christ — it comes from the Spirit of Christ let into 
the heart ; and therefore the first act should be a 
going to Christ for this righteousness. Act thy faith 
more upon Christ ; labour to look upon him as he 
that hath all treasures of grace in him from the 
Father on purpose to communicate to the souls of 
those that shall be saved ; and this is the way to 
have the desires of thy soul satisfied. Thou sayest 
thou hast been tugging and labouring, and nothing 
comes. Try this means, try this way, to act thy 
faith wpon Jesus Christ for righteousness. Thou 
sayest, I fear i shall presume ; but never fear pre- 
suming in acting upon Christ for righteousness. 
There is fear of presuming when thou dost act upon 
Christ merely to save thy soul, and to deliver thee 
from hell ; but when thou dost act upon him for 
righteousness, there is no fear there. When thy soul 
is after righteousness, and thou findest that Christ is 
appointed by the Father to be the conduit of convey- 
ance of all grace from the Father, and thou art called 
to cast thy soul upon him that thou mightest have 



some work of his Spirit conveyed to thee, for the 
subduing of thy corruptions, and for the enabling 
thee to live righteously before God in this world, fear 
not presuming in this case ; for presumptuous hypo- 
crites would believe in Christ only to be saved from 
hell, but they do not prize the righteousness of Christ 
much. They would seek the kingdom of heaven for 
deliverance from pain and torment, but to seek the 
kingdom of heaven and the righteousness thereof, 
they do not so much look at that ; it is not that that 
will feed their souls. But now, when thou hast a 
hungry soul after righteousness, and comest to Christ 
to close with him, know that his flesh is meat indeed, 
and his blood is drink indeed, both for justification 
and sanctification likewise. 

Eighthly, If thou findest in thy hungering and 
thirsting after righteousness that thou hast not yet 
thy desire, resolve this with thyself, If my desire can- 
not be satisfied in this, I will never suffer my desires 
to wander after other things any more, till I can be 
satisfied here. Keep thy heart in this resolution, and 
this will keep thy heart in such a frame as righteous- 
ness will come. Many men and women they have 
good desires stirred in them for a time, but they 
vanish away ; because, not having their desires ful- 
filled, they come to let out their desires to other 
things. But when the heart comes to this, O Lord, 
my desires are so set after the renewing of thy image, 
after righteousness, that, Lord, if I have not satisfac- 
tion here, I will not have satisfaction in anything else. 
It is of very gi'eat consequence for thee to labour to 
keep thine appetite continually after righteousness. 
Take heed of those things that will take away thy 
stomach after this righteousness. There are three 
things that will take away the stomach ; as in the 
body, so in the soul. 

First, A man hath his stomach taken away, either 
by somewhat that clogs his stomach. There is some 
humours that is got into his stomach, and so takes 
it away ; or. 

Secondly, By wind that may fill his stomach, and 
so he hath not an appetite to his meat ; or. 

Thirdly, For want of exercise ; because he doth 
not stir and act. So it is in the appetites of men 
after righteousness. These three things will take 
their appetites away, either, L when some ill-humours 
are got into their hearts ; by that I mean some cor- 
ruptions, some ill distempers that they have given 
way to themselves in, and so defiled their souls. 
Many in their young time were wont to have mighty 
appetites after righteousness. They would run to 
the word, and how earnestly would they pray, as if 
they would rend the heavens again ; but now we find 
no such thing in them. There hath got some fearful 
stuff into their hearts that hath defiled their souls. 

Or, secondly, Some windy stuff ; by that I mean. 



Mat. V. 6 ] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



1-27 



when tlie heart lets out itself to carnal contentments. 
There be many that have made forward professions, 
and mighty hungerings and thirstings they have 
seemed to have ; and the ordinances of Christ, how 
precious were they to them ; but now they are 
altogether for the world, and give themselves up 
unto the delights of the flesh. And what company 
is it that now they prize most, but that company 
wlierein they have most contentment to the flesh ; 
that they prize most. There hath got windy stuff 
into their stomachs that hath taken away their 
appetite. 

Thirdly, For want of exercise. Many Christians, 
they grow dull and heavy. It may be they keep 
themselves from the sin of the times, and from satis- 
fying the flesh in carnal things ; but they grow dull 
and sluggish and negligent, and there is no exercise 
in them, no stirrings of heart after God ; whereas, if 
thou wouldest keep thy heart warm, every morning 
do not for fashion sake merely go to prayer, but 
pray till thou gettest thy heart warm again. As if a 
man hath not a stomach, it is good to go abroad in 
the air — that may do somewhat ; but if his stomach 
be far gone he will not only walk abroad a little, but 
continue walking till he finds himself warm, and 
then he comes home and finds a good stomach. So 
let Christians be much in spiritual exercises, that 
will keep their appetites after spiritual things. 

Ninthly, Let not your desires after more righteous- 
ness make you forget that you have ; look to that. 
If God hath been pleased in any measure to give you 
any power over your corruptions, any ability to do 
any service for him, take notice of it, bless God for 
it. And because you have not all your desire, do 
not say you have none at all, do not wrong the grace 
of God, and think that all is but counterfeit, because 
you have not such a desire as you would have. As 
if a man should give a kinsman so many pieces of 
gold to set up his trade withal, and he should say. 
What hath he given me ? they are but a few counters ; 
a kinsman would think himself wronged by his 
saying so. So it is with many a soul that is seeking 
after righteousness. The Lord hath given thee the 
graces of his Spirit already, that are so much gold, 
that so thou mightest set up for heaven ; but because 
thou hast not so much as thou wouldest have, thou 
thinkest it is all but counterfeit. Take heed of this, 
thou shouldest bless him for every httle, every good 
motion, every good inclination ; bless God for this, 
and so expect more. For poor bodies that were 
ready to starve, if you should give them but a piece 
of bread, they would be ready to thank you for that, 
and bless God for that ; but if they should say. What 
is this — will this satisfy our hunger ? and so scorn it, 
you would give them no more. So it is with the 
soul ; if God gives anything, bless him for that, and 



say. Lord, I find this sweet, I find the beginnings of 
the work of thy grace sweet to my soul ; oh that I 
had more ! 

Tenthly, A further rule to be observed in this 
hungering and thirsting after righteousness, is. Take 
heed that thou seekest not after tliis righteousness for 
thy justification ; that is a rule that is of very great 
use. You have heard before what the righteousness of 
Christ is, and it is that only justifies the soul before 
God ; but now this righteousness of sanctification, it is 
that whereby we are enabled to serve God according to 
his way. But that is not the righteousness whereby 
I can stand just before his tribunal at the great day. 
Now there is a mighty mistake here. Many poor 
souls would fain have more grace; but why ? Because 
they think that by their grace they shall be enabled 
to stand before God for acceptation to eternal life. 
They thmk thus : Wei'e I enabled to overcome my 
corruptions more, and to do my duty more, by that 
means should I be able to look upon God's face with 
comfort and joy ; but thou art mistaken in this. It 
is true, it is a comfortable evidence of God's love to 
thy soul, even the work of his Spirit ; for it is that 
that God loves and takes delight in. But now thou 
must never think to tender up thy righteousness to 
God for justification ; therefore, hunger and thirst 
after this righteousness, but as in the second place, 
and say. Lord, it is the righteousness of thy Son by 
which I expect to be justified. But now that I 
might serve thee in ways of righteousness, therefore I 
desire this grace to be in my heart, not for my justi- 
fication, but for my sanctification. 

Eleventhly, In thy hungering after this righteous- 
ness, let thy soul be willing to go through all dis- 
couragements that thou meetest with, and trample 
down all difficulties, all hindrances that lie in thy 
way. When thou art hungering after righteousness, 
it may be thou mayest meet with more temptations 
than ever, more stirring of corruption than ever ; 
you must make account of this. And all those that 
have found this work of God in their hearts, they 
can by experience tell this, that when they began to 
stir and labour after righteousness they found more 
strong temptations than ever, more stirrings of 
corruption than ever. Ay, but this would not dis- 
courage them ; they got over this, as we read of the 
poor woman, Mat. xv. 22-28, ' A woman of Canaan 
came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, 
saying. Have mercy on me Lord, thou son of 
David ; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 
But he answered her not a word. And his disciples 
came and besought him, saying. Send her away ; for 
she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I 
am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of 
Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, 
Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not 



128 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. fi. 



meet to take the cliildren's bread, and to cast it to 
dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord : yet the dogs eat 
of the crumbs which fall from their master's table.' 
It is a most notable scripture of any we have in 
the book of God, to shew that where the heart is 
set upon a thing it will trample upon all discourage- 
ments. For mark, one cannot imagine more dis- 
couragements than this poor woman had at this 
time in seeking to Christ. 

First, She comes and seeks to Christ, and cries to 
him, Have mercy on me, Lord ; but he answers not 
a word. When thou art hungering and praying to 
God for grace, if God do not answer thee presently, 
thou art all-a-mortand discouraged. This woman cries, 
and Christ answers her not a word. This did not 
discourage her ; neither let it discourage thee, though 
Christ doth not answer thee presently upon thy seek- 
ing to him. 

Secondly, There eame the disciples, and they be- 
sought Christ, ' Send her away, for she crieth after 
us.' The disciples they speak churlishly ; so many 
poor souls that are seeking after Christ, their friends 
come and discourage them, they are churhsh towards 
them. Well, it may be this hinders thee, but if thy 
desires be right, this will not discourage thee neither. 
It did not discourage this poor woman. 

Thirdly, Christ answered, ' I am not sent but to 
the lost sheep of the house of Israel,' saith Christ ; 
' what have I to do with this woman ; she is none of the 
house of Israel, and I am not sent to her.' This was 
a fearful discouraging answer, when that Jesus Christ 
should say that he was not sent but to the lost sheep 
of Israel ; what should this poor woman do now ? Thus 
it is with many in their seeking after grace. Saith 
one, It may be I do not belong to the election of 
God ; I am none of that little number that Christ 
was sent for. Though Christ did say thus to her, yet 
this did not discourage her, but she oame and wor- 
shipped him, saying. Lord, help me. She would not 
stand answering what Christ said, but her desire was 
strong : Lord, help me. 

Fourthly, He answered and said, ' It is not meet to 
take the children's bread and cast it to dogs.' Here is 
a fourth discouragement. Saith Christ, You are a 
dog, and this is children's meat. If God should 
speak thus to you, as it may be you think sometimes 
that God speaks thus to you, you are crying for meat, 
that you might be satisfied with righteousness ; but if 
God denies you awhile, you think he rejects you as a 
dog. Christ did tell the woman she was a dog, and 
one would have thought this should have beaten her 
off, but this would not discourage her. She came and 
said. Truth, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs that 
fall from the children's table. Truth, Lord, I am a 
dog ; I am unworthy ; but. Lord, one crumb, one 
crumb even for a dog ; and upon this Christ heard 



her, and then she was satisfied. This was from a 
mighty work of the Spirit of God in the heart of this 
woman ; so in your desires after this righteousness, do 
you do thus. When you have discouragements, j'et 
get through them, and you will be satisfied at last. 
There is thousands that have had good beginnings, 
but they have been taken oft' by discouragements ; 
therefore labour to trample down hindrances what 
thou canst. It is very observable the story that we 
read of in the book of Kings. There was a time that 
there was a great famine in Samaria, and the prophet 
told them, that by the morrow this time, corn should 
be thus and thus cheap. Saith the captain, It cannot 
be,, though God should open the windows of heaven. 
Saith the prophet to him. You shall see it, but not 
taste of it. And when the time came the people did so 
unreasonably seek to get some part of the corn that 
they might satisfy their hunger, that they trod upon 
the captain ; and though he were the second man to 
the king, yet they trod him down to the ground, and 
all through their earnest desire that they might have 
to satisfy their hunger. And so the soul that is thus 
hunger-starved, as it were, saith. Oh that I might 
have grace, I am undone else ; let there be whatever 
hindrance in the way there will be, I care not, I will 
be willing to part with all, so be it I may have grace. 
As we read of the poor people in Egypt, they 
wanted corn, and were hunger-bitten. They came and 
brought their money to Joseph to buy corn ; then they 
brought their cattle, and they sold their lands and 
possessions that they might have corn ; and then they 
came and sold themselves to be as bond slaves unto 
Pharaoh, that they might have corn to satisfy their 
hunger. Nothing stood in their way that so they 
might have theii- hunger satisfied. Thus it is, the 
soul will trample down anything that is in its way, and 
will be contented to part with anything for the 
fuitherance of the grace of God in it. And thus 
much for the rules to be observed in our hungering 
and thirsting after righteousness. 

The next thing is to shew what may support the 
hearts of them that hunger and thirst after righteous- 
ness, but find not that they do grow righteous. 

The first is this. Consider that if there be but the 
least degree of grace, it is as true and as sure an earnest 
of eternal life as the greatest degree is. It may be 
some that are carnal may abuse what is said out of 
the word, but let not children lose their portion for 
that. The soul that finds such a working as this is 
after righteousness, though thou hast not righteous- 
ness as thou dost desire, yet this may support thee, 
that the least degree of true grace, the least seed of 
it — and some seeds there must needs be in that soul 
that hath this desire — is as true and as sure an 
earnest of eternal life as the greatest of all is. I do 
not speak this that you should rest in any degree of 



Mat. V. 6.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



129 



grace ; for that is a base spirit to say, Wliat need 
have i then of more ? But I speak to those whose 
hearts are upright — that will not so abuse it. It is 
called the earnest of the Spirit ; and a man in a bar- 
gain, when he gives earnest, thougli the matter be 
not great, he can bind a bargain if he give but twelve 
pence, as well as if he give twenty shillings. So it is 
here, though, it is true, where there is a little grace 
there cannot be so much honour to God as where 
there is a great deal ; yet the least degree of grace 
binds the bargain with God for eternal life, and makes 
it as sure to thee as it thou hadst as much grace as 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It may be because thou 
hast but a little thou shalt not know it so fully, and 
so have the assurance in thy conscience ; but it is as 
sure with God. Thou art as certainly translated 
from death to life, as if tliou hadst the greatest 
degrees of all. 

Secondly, Where there are true desires, there the 
Lord looks upon thy imperfections, not as thine, but 
as sin that dwelleth in thee. That is it the apostle 
saith, 'It is no longer I,' when I express mighty desu'es 
after grace, and found corru^otions strong, ' it is no 
longer I, but sin that dwelleth in me.' So I say to 
the soul that is strong in the desires of it after grace, 
though there be many imperfections remaining, the 
Lord doth not now look upon thy imperfections so 
much thine, as sin in thee ; there is a twofold self, as 
it were — there is a self corrupt, and a self grace. It 
is not I, but sin ; the Lord charges not the remainders 
of sin on the soul that hath these sincere desires after 
the work of his grace. 

Thirdly, Further, so long as thy corruptions are 
in thee, and be thy sickness, (observe it, for so doth 
the soul that is in this case find the remaining cor- 
ruptions that are in it to be its sickness,) so long as 
thou findest the want of this righteousness to be thy 
sickness, know that it makes thy soul to be an object 
of God's pity and compassion, and not an object of 
God's wrath and hatred. Here is the difference be- 
tween the remaining part of sin that is in tlie saints, 
and the corruptions in the ungodly. The sin that is 
in ungodly men and women makes their souls to be 
the object of God's wratli and hatred, for so the scrip- 
ture saith, ' The Lord hates the workers of iniquity;' 
but the saints that have any beginnings of grace, 
though there be much unrighteousness still in the 
soul, this unrighteousness being thy sickness, it makes 
thy soul now not an object of God's wrath, but an 
object of his pity and compassion. As your children, 
when they are sick and weak, do not you love them 
as well as when they are at the strongest and most 
healthy? I appeal to any tender mother; she loves the 
child when it is in health, and can go up and down, 
and so can play with it ; but when the child is sick, 
doth not her bowels yearn towards the child then? 



When it is sick, and can do nothing for the mother 
but lies sprawling, crying, and is troublesome to the 
house, what delight can she take in it then ; but her 
bowels yearn towards it, and the child is sick, saith 
she. So the unrighteousness that remains, it is the 
sickness of the soul, and the bowels of God's compas- 
sions are towards his sick children, as well as towards 
his strong children. I will put this to a father or 
mother — suppose that thou hast a child that is weak, 
but would fain do whatsoever you would have him, 
and this child is got alone into a room, and the door 
shut upon him, so that the child thinks nobody sees 
it. Well, it may be thou lookest through a keyhole and 
seest the child what he is a-doing ; he is crying and 
bemoaning himself, Oh that I should be so untoward 
as I am ! oh that I should not please my father and 
mother more ! oh how little am I able to do for my 
father and mother ! oh that I were able to shew my- 
self more dutiful than I have been ! oh that I could 
so walk before them as I might never be undutiful 
any more ! this would be th« happiness of my life, if 
I should never be any more undutilul to father and 
mother. Suppose any of you should look through the 
keyhole and see your child thus bemoaning himself 
because he can be no better, and thus desiring that 
he might live to be more dutiful, would not your 
bowels yearn towards such a child ? You know the 
child doth not think you see him, but by accident 
you do come to see him, would not your bowels yearn 
now toward him ? Know that God is a compas- 
sionate Father. From whence is it that you have such 
compassions toward your children ? is it not a drop of 
that infinite compassion is in God? When thou gettest 
alone, and art bewailing thyself that thou canst not 
live to the honour of God more, if thou couldst thou 
wouldst account thy hfe to be happy,- know God 
hears all this, God looks upon thee and observes all 
this. Surely God will not cast off such a one as 
hath his heart thus hungering and thirstino- after 
what might be acceptable unto God. You know the 
Scripture compares Christ to a shepherd, and be- 
lievers to sheep, now saith he. My sheep hear my 
voice. That expression is taken from the way of 
those countries where shepherds did use their sheep 
so to the voice of them, as if they called the sheep 
the sheep would come after them, (as when you call a 
dog,) and therefore saith Christ, ' Jly sheep hear my 
voice, and they will follow me.' Suppose, when the 
shepherd came, a great part of the Hock came after 
the shepherd upon his call, but one or two sheep that 
were entangled in the briars, and were striving and 
struggling to get out of the briars, but could not ; 
they knew the shejjherd's voice, and would have fol- 
lowed the .shepherd, but when they see they cannot 
follow him, then they fall a-bleating and crying after 
the shepherd, till the shepherd take notice of tliem ; 



130 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 6. 



and when this shepherd comes to the place and sees 
the poor sheep Lihouring to get after the shepherd, 
will he not pity this sheep, and so untangle it from 
the bushes that it is got into ? This is the poor weak 
Christian's case that is got into the briars of some 
corruption, and entangled in some distemper of heart 
or other, and Christ calls to the soul, and the soul 
knows the voice of Christ and loves Christ, and it 
would fain follow after Clu'ist, whose voice it hears, 
and the soul is tugging and striving, but it is got into 



the briars. Now Christ hears the voice of this sheep, 
and comes and sees it in the briars, and observes how 
it would fain get after him, and pities this poor sheep, 
and so at length gets it out of the briars, and doth 
provide for it as much as for any of the other. If 
this be thy condition, though gi'ace be not come yet, 
yet from thy desire thou mayest have comfort, and 
comfort from this veiy test : ' Blessed are they that 
hunger and thirst after righteousness : for they shall 
be satisfied.' 



SERMON XXI. 



OK, 



CONSIDERATIONS TO SUPPORT THE HEARTS OF THOSE THAT HUNGER AFTER 
RIGHTEOUSNESS, YET WANT GROWTH IN RIGHTEOUSNESS. 



' Blessed are (hey ivliich do hunger and thirst after righteousness : for they slmll he filled.' — Mat. v. 6. 



The fourth thing for the support of such souls as are 
seeking after grace in the use of means, but cannot 
find that they have obtained it, is this. Consider that 
the conquest of the will of a sinner is a principal 
work of God upon the soul, and it is such a work as 
God doth accept of. When God conquers the will 
the great work is done. The vnW it is the great 
wheel of the soul, which, when it turns, all the lesser 
and inferior wheels of the soul move likewise ; and 
the great difficulty of bringing a soul into eternal 
life it lies in this, the conquering of the will. All the 
inferior affections they are easily wrought upon, they 
are even compelled to obedience when the will is 
overcome ; the understanding it may be forced to 
assent to the truth when it is discovered ; the affec- 
tions they will close with the truth, love it, fear it, 
obey it, when the will is gained to yield itself up unto 
the truth. But now the will, that is the great hind- 
rance ; the difficulty lies in gahiing that. It is a 
greater work for the will to be conquered and brought 
into subjection unto God, than for any man to do 
the thing that God requires. God doth more look 
at the gaining of the will to obey than if so be we 
were able to do the thing that we desire. We would 
think that, could we but do the thing that we desire, 
we should be liapjiy, and that then we should be 
accepted. Kuow for thy comfort, that what thou 



wantest in obedience to the will of God, if thy will 
be gained with desire to obey God, God doth accept 
of the will, as if so be thou wert able to do the thing 
to the uttermost of thy desire. In 2 Cor. viii. 10, 
saith the apostle there, ' Who have begun before, not 
only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.' You 
did such a thing ; but herein I do not so much com- 
mend you, as in this, that you had a will to do it be- 
fore you had ability ; the will was present long before 
you had the ability to do. The apostle commends 
them more for having a will to fulfil the mind of God 
than to do it to their power. Thou hungerest after 
God, and thou wouldest enjoy communion with him ; 
thou wouldest serve and honour him to the utter- 
most ; thou wouldest look upon it as a great privilege 
if the Lord would enable thee to pray and sanctify 
his name as other saints do ; but thou canst not attain 
to the doing of what thou dost desire. Know that 
God is as much honoured in thy will to do, as if so 
be thou didst do the thing ; this is more than if 
thou couldst do the thing. A hypocrite may do 
any external act ; there is no external act of obe- 
dience but a hypocrite may come up to the managing 
of it, but the will of a hypocrite is never brought 
under the obedience of the truth. Therefore this may 
be a great support to our souls, when we find our 
wills brought under, though we want a power for to 



Mat. V. 6.] 



BUEROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



131 



do. Tliou art weak and bast many failings in thee, 
and thou canst not do what thou wouldest do ; thou 
wouldest obey more, thou wouldest pray better. Oh, 
know for thy comfort that God hath the better part 
of thee ; that which is thy best part God hath ob- 
tained, and that which he doth most prize. There- 
fore do thou look upon it as the best part, and do 
thou prize the gaining of thy will more than any 
service thou art able to do besides. Most people 
think the will is nothing, but would do better. Many 
say my heart is good, and my will too ; I would be 
better if I could. Thou dost not know what the 
changing of the will means, that hast such slight 
thoughts of the gaining of the will. It is the diffi- 
cultest work of all, even the gaining of the will of the 
soul of a sinner to the obedience of the truth. 

Fifthly, Know for thy further comfort, where there 
is the least degree of grace, there will be increasing, 
there will be a growth ; where there is true seed 
sown there is the blessing of God in it, and God, that 
hath begun his good work, will finish it in his good time. 
God never begins a work and lets it lie ; he doth 
always perfect his own works. God's works are like 
himself ; as God is perfect in himself, so whatever he 
works upon the soul he works perfectly ; and however 
weak and feeble grace may be at the first, yet know 
that God, as he hath begun, so he will carry on to 
perfecting the work. When thou findest thou hast 
a desire after good, and longest after this righteous- 
ness, and canst not do what thou wouldest, thy de- 
sires are better than thy ability. Thou shouldest 
reason thus : that God makes thee to see the vanity 
of thine own heart, in thinking it an easy matter to 
overcome corruption, a thing of nothing to stand 
against a temptation, herein thou shouldest support 
thyself. Now the Lord convinces thee of this thing, 
thou findest a difficulty in it, and canst not do it ; 
now hereby thou art convmced of thy folly and 
vanity; be quiet then in submitting to the dealings of 
God in this thing. God doth not intend me any 
hurt in this. We should not make such hard and 
ill constructions of God's dealing in this kind, but 
we should improve such chspensations of God for our 
good ; as thus to conclude, that the Lord in this doth 
not intend my ruin, but the discovery of that foolish 
opinion which I had formerly, what an easy matter 
it was to overcome the base distempers of mine own 
heart. The Lord now intends by keeping me low in 
a sad condition, that thereby he might raise me up 
unto higher glory, that he might prepare me for 
greater degrees of comfort. He keeps me low and 
in a sad condition, that he might keep my heart sen- 
sible of its former vanity, and that thereby he might 
make a discovery of the excellency of his gi-ace ; 
therefore thou must not now conclude that God hath 
forsaken thee, and that thou shalt never have the 



righteousness of Jesus Christ, because thou canst not 
lind upon the seeking of it that thou hast obtained 
it. No, but thou must reason thus : God's intentions 
are to humble me and not to leave me. 

In the last place. Consider, for thy support, when, 
after a long time in the use of means, thou dost not 
find that God doth come into thy apprehension, and 
to satisfy thee that thou hast grace, and that the 
righteousness of Jesus Christ is thine — consider this, 
that God would have the work of righteousness ap- 
pear in the abasing and humbling of thee, rather 
than in giving thee power over thy corruptions, it is 
God's design in this thing. And thou shouldest inter- 
pret the dealings of God with thee thus, that God 
hath various ways for the working of his own grace ; 
that this is God's dealing to keep thee humble and 
low, and herein grace is exercised : and thou shouldest 
say. Is this the will of God, to keep me in darkness, 
and not to know in what estate and condition I am ; 
that I should walk warily ? good is the will of the 
Lord. Thou shouldest believe God in this condition 
as much as if so be thou hadst sensible apprehensions 
of thy interest in righteousness. We would have 
righteousness many times to work upward in joy, in 
enlargements, and in comfort; and when it doth thus 
work, then we have good hopes, and then we think 
our peace is made with God, and our interest is sure. 
But if God will have it work downward in self-abase- 
ment, soul-humbUng, and spirit-dejecting, this is as 
well a working of the truth of righteousness in the 
heart as if it did work up never so high in joy and 
consolation, and this doth as much discover the truth 
of righteousness in thee as if thou hadgt the greatest 
raptures and elevations ; and therefore quiet your 
hearts in this, it is a mercy that the work of God is 
upon thee any way. There was a time, thou mayest 
say, that we did not mind anything of God, but that 
our faces were turned against God, and that we did 
mind the things of the flesh. But now the Lord he 
hath begun to work ; and if the work be but yet in 
humiliation, if it be but in working downwards in the 
root, bless God for tliis, and know it is a mercy which 
thou canst never be thankful enough for ; for when 
the work of grace works downwards, it is as sure an 
argument of the truth of righteousness in thee as if 
thou hadst the greatest elevations and raptures of joy. 
And thus I have done with the second thing pro- 
pounded in the first use. 

There remains but one thing more, and that is for 
rebuke and reproving of those that do not thus 
hunger and tlurst after righteousness. There are 
many who will say, this is a very choice point, and 
blessed be God we do hunger and thirst after right- 
eousness ; and though we are able to do but little, 
yet this we can say for ourselves, our desnes are good. 
But take heed you do not deceive yourselves in your 



132 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 6. 



desires, for there are many who do desire, but their 
desires will never com-e to any good. I did in part 
discover to you what those desires were before, which 
did demonstrate a soul that did truly hunger and 
thirst after this righteousness, but here I shall add 
something by way of reprehension of false desires. 

First, Such as see no excellency in grace, these are 
to be reproved. As those that do not desire after 
grace, how canst thou say thou desirest after that 
which thou seest no excellency in ? Are there not 
many among you that say as those in Job xiv. 21, 
' They say unto God, depart from us, for we desire 
not the knowledge of thy law'? These are a wicked 
generation. But you will say, it is not our case ; 
surely there are none amongst us that are so vile 
and wicked that shall dare to bid the Almighty de- 
part from them. Though few men dare be so wicked 
as' to say it in their words, yet how many are there 
that are so wicked as to say it in their practices. 
Many secretly in their hearts say this ; what are the 
meaning of those speeches of yours else to this effect ? 
what need we have so much means, so much preach- 
ing, such reformation? can we not have our old ways ? 
can we not go to heaven in the ways that we were 
formerly taught in ? these are new ways. We never 
heard of such talk about government and worship, 
and the straitness of the ways of heaven, as you tell 
us of; may we not do as others do, and yet be saved? 
Formerly it was accounted a dishonour to men to 
wait upon the word, and they were nicknamed and 
accounted for Puritans by this very sign, because 
they did constantly attend upon the means of grace ; 
but now it is accounted a dishonour for men not to 
come to the wor-d. Oh the change that tliere is 
among men 1 But yet among most, the preaching of 
the word it is a flat, dry thing to them. Let us 
have the fulness of the creature, say they, and let 
righteousness go where it will. There is a dog-like 
appetite in men to the creatures— they would have 
more still. The dog, when you have given him as 
much as you can, still he desires and craves : so men, 
when they have never so much of the creature, they 
are still craving, and their appetites are longing after 
the world stilL But you will say. We pray to God, 
and come to church, and we hear the word, and 
what would you have us do more? we live quietly 
and civilly, and we do no man any wrong ; and surely 
will not this carry us to heaven ? These men they 
have enough of righteousness ; they see no need of 
this glorious, excellent righteousness of Jesus Christ. 
But those that know what righteousness means, they 
desu'e it more and more ; they never are satisfied 
with any righteousness but this, neither are they 
satisfied with any degrees of righteousness attained. 

Secondly, But to come more close to the point in 
hand. A second sort that are reproved from this point 



are those that do content themselves in desires ; that 
when they have desires think the work is done, and 
that they need go no farther ; they will say this is a 
good point, and blessed be God they can find desires 
in them — we do desire. But let me tell you, are not 
your desires false? are your desires true? yea or nay. 
There are many that desire, but their desires are cold 
and lazy desires, such as shall never do them good; 
and therefore false desires they may be known by 
these characters : 

First, Their desires are false who satisfy themselves 
with ignorant desires. Hath God enlightened your 
hearts to see the excellency of grace, that is more pre- 
cious than rubies, of more worth than the gold of 
Ophir — hath God discovered to you the need of grace 
and your undone condition without righteousness ? If 
it come not from these grounds they are but false 
desires. Many have a false appetite ; as sick men 
think they could eat food, but when it is brought to 
them they cannot eat it — their stomachs fail them. 
So these men, they desire righteousness, they see 
worth in it, and nothing is dearer te them than right- 
eousness.; but when God in the ministry of his word 
tenders grace to them, holds forth his righteousness 
in the ministry of the gospel, they have no hearts, no 
raind to it. How often hath God moved thee by his 
Spirit, and then thou hast refused to hearken ; though 
thou sayest thou desirest with all thy soul, yet when 
God comes to make a proffer thou hast no desire. 
Were thy desires right at any time, they would be 
right at all times ; but this shews thy desires are not 
true, but that it is a false appetite which thou hast, 
because it is not constant. 

Secondly, Such desires are false who satisfy them- 
selves with foolish desires. When men desire the 
end I .\1 not the means, when men would be happy, 
but will not use the means that leads to happiness, 
will we not account that man a foolish man that shall 
desire food — Oh that I had something to eat ! oh that 
I had bread or meat ! — but will not seek for it, will 
not take pains to get it ? So a man would be at such 
a place, and he earnestly desires to be there, but he 
will not step one foot in the way that leads to it ; he 
hes still and stirs not : so when men desire grace, and 
not make use of all means, nor beg of God to bless 
the means to them. Can you say thus, are you able 
to appeal as in the presence of God : Lord, whatsoever 
means I know thou hast appointed in thy word to 
attain such a thing, I have made use of it, and I have 
neglected no opportunity wherein I could enjoy the 
means for the furthering of me to such an end. Art 
thou able to say thus ? Then thou mayest have corii- 
fort that thy desires are right ; but when thy desires 
are large, and thy endeavours cold, and dost not make 
use of all means, never flatter thyself — thy desires are 
not right. 



Mat. V. 6.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



133 



Thirdly, When men's desires are absurd, such de- 
sires are false. They desire grace, and yet liv« iu that 
which is quite contrary to grace, 'whicli is incon- 
sistent witli grace ; they would have grace and right- 
eousness, but they would have their lusts too. To 
desire righteousness, and yet to take pleasure in un- 
righteousness, how canst tliou say thou desirest 
after righteousness ? But you will say. Is there not 
some unrighteousness in the best, hava not they 
their weaknesses, do not they sin as well as others, 
those that make great profession ? A ns. Though 
there be unrighteousness in the best, yet there is no 
taking pleasure in unrighteousness ; taking pleasure 
in unrighteousness cannot stand with desire after 
righteousness. Therefore those desires which are so 
absurd as to desire grace, and yet to desire that also 
which is inconsistent with grace, is not true. 

Fourthly, Such as satisfy themselves in cold and 
weak desires, whose desires are turned aH into wishings 
and wouldings ; they could wish that they had grace, 
and oh that they liad righteousness, oh that they were 
delivered from wrath to come ! but they are not so 
peremptory upon it as to conclude, I must have it or 
I die. Now these desires they come to nothing, they 
will not grow up. A man that desires grace for it- 
self, he is resolved upon it, he must have it ; as the 
hungry man that is ready to famish for want of bread 
— give me bread or I die, give me food or I perish. 
So saith the soul. Give me grace, let me have Christ 
or I am undone for ever ; what will it do me good to 
have abundance here, and yet to have no grace ? 
These are like little sjjrigs ; their desires are superflu- 
ous, as the little sprigs that come out of the body or root 
of the tree, which do not bear any fruit, but doth the 
tree a great deal of hurt ; they draw sap from the root of 
the tree and hinders fruit-bearing. Such desires and 
wishes as these they will never satisfy God, neither 
will they ever be able to satisfy your own consciences. 

Fifthly, When men's desires are conditional. Con- 
ditional desires are false desires; that is thus, they would 
have grace and holiness so far as-mJght stand with such 
and such ends, and to carry on such and such designs 
of their own — as to keep their estates and their liberty, 
their ease and credit in the world. So far as religion 
will ride with their designs, so far they will bear it com- 
pany ; so far they like the ways of holiness as they 
stand and suit with their ends ; but if their desires were 
right they would be resolute. Let me have grace 
upon any terms ; grace is able alone to make me 
hapjjy, and therefore whatsoever becomes of me let 
me have grace. Though I perish, though I endure 
never so much hardship, so I may have grace, it will 
make amends for all ; I am willing to let go anything 
so I may have grace, for in it I shall be happy. 

Sixthly, When men's desires are fleeting and un- 
constant desires, they have desires in some good moods, 



and in some pangs of conscience when the terrors of 
God are upon their spirits. But such desires as these 
they are hypocritical ; they desire grace merely to 
serve their own turn, to stop the mouth of conscience, 
and not for grace sake. They do not see an excellency 
in grace which causes them to desire it, but for the 
ease of their tormenting consciences, andj the stopping 
the mouth of their disquieted spirits. 

Seventhly, When theii' desires are lazy desires, such 
are false desires; they are not willing to take pains 
for what they do desire. The Scripture is very re- 
markable ; and a terrible scripture for this we have 
in Prov. xxi. 25, ' The desire of the slothful killeth 
him; for his hands refuse to labour.' I much foar 
that this text may prove a most dreadful text to 
many. The desires of many they kill them. They 
desire after that which is good, but they rest in them, 
and trust to them, and think they have a work of 
grace upon their hearts, whenas in truth it is nothing 
so ; so that they deceive themselves in this great 
business. In Prov. xiii. 4, ' The soul of the slug- 
gard desireth, and hath nothing.' You are desiring 
that which is good, but you have nothing, like those 
women that the apostle speaks of iu Timothy, ' that 
are ever learning, but they never come to the know- 
ledge of the truth.' You have lazy desires, that take no 
pains to get what you do desire. People they do not 
examine what becomes of their desires. Have we got 
those things that we were so taken withal ? How 
many times have our spirits been wonderfully affected 
in the hearing of the word, but what pains have we 
taken for the obtaining of that, which we desire so 
strongly after? Luke xiv. 15, 'Blessed is he that 
shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.' Here they 
were mightily taken with the miracle that Christ had 
wrought, but it did vanish quickly. They were not 
truly taken with the things of the gospel ; for the 
text saith they minded their estates and outward 
enjoyments more than the offer of mercy. So many; 
they come to hear the word, and are taken with it, 
but it doth not stir them to purpose. This will lie 
sad upon the consciences of many thousands another 
day, that these things were no more observed and 
taken notice of by them. But you v/ill say. What 
would you have us do ? We do what we can — wo 
cannot do more ; we do what we can for our lives. 
It is well if you do so ; but let me propound two or 
thi'ee things to you. Take heed of the dangerous- 
ness of this plea. 

First, You say you do what you can. Will it 
prove so. in the end? Can you go into the presence 
of God, and say thus, Lord, I have done what I can. 
There is no means but that I have made use of to 
attain grace, and yet I cannot find it; and no other 
means there is that I knew to be made use of. Lord, 
I have done what I can. Go into the presence of 



134 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 7. 



God, and there faithfully examine your hearts, and 
see whether you have done your uttermost. Canst 
thou say that in the morning, when I arise, I arise 
with a spu'itual heart ; when I was up, I went to 
prayer, to seek God for myself and my family ; hut 
yet I cannot find my heart so as I desire ; and I 
pray that the Lord would keep my heart close with 
him. And after prayer I had a watchful eye over 
my heart and thoughts, and over all my words and 
actions, that they might be holy, that tliey might be 
such as are warrantable by the rule ; and what op- 
portunity thou. Lord, didst afford me for my soul's 
good, I did take it. At night, can you say you have 
done this ? Can you say so to God ? To men, it 
may be, you can say so, and put them easily off. 
But can you tell God that from the morning to the 
evening you have done so ? How comfortably might 
you live were you really earnest in this ! How 
sweetly might you sleep and lie down in the even- 
ing, when you have kept such a watch over your own 
hearts ! And though you have many weaknesses 
and failings, you might comfort yourselves in this, 
that your hearts have been right. Many never mind 
God at all in their lives. Now do you what you can 
when you never think of God ? And therefore they 
put this off, and say. What can we do without tire 
grace of God? But know for this, that God doth 
give tliee some common grace, which would enable 
thee to do more than thou dost ; but thou dost not 
put forth that strength whicli you might do by the 
power of common grace. Take heed of this plea, 
lest God take you at advantage. 

Secondly, Suppose God should take you at your 
word, at this advantage, and say. Sinner, dare you 
venture your eternal estate upon this plea? You 
say you do what you can, and you know nothing 
more but that you would do, did you know it. Be 
it so ; you shall be tried by tliis plea, that you -do 
what you can. If I am not able to convince you 
you might do more, then I will yield to you that you 
have done what you can ; but if you have not done 
what you can, you shall miscarry, your eternal estates 
shall be cast upon this plea. Dare you stand to such 
a plea as this in time of sicliness ? You find you 
could have done more than you have done, and you 
cry out, I might have done more than I have done; I 
might have liad more communion with God, more ac- 
quaintance with the saints. Now that which a man's 
conscience in sickness tells him he might have done in 
health, that he may do ; for sickness doth not infuse 
any power into man to act, but it stirs up men's 
parts, and convinces them what they were able to 
do. When men come to sick and dying beds, then 
they see they might have done more for God, and 
been more holy than they were in the time of their 
healths. 



Thirdly, For the convincing of thee that thou dost 
not do what thou canst, what dost thou think that a 
damned soul in hell would do if God should bid him 
go and improve his time, and according to its im- 
provement of such a stipend of time, it should either 
go to hell again or come to heaven ? Do you think 
such a one would neglect any opportunity ? What 
think you that these would not do ? The torments 
of hell they do not put any new strength into men, 
but they convince them that they might have done 
more. I might add many more things, but these 
may serve as so many convictions that we do not what 
we can. And therefore from this point we are to be 
reproved which plead this plea. ' But blessed are 
they' that do thus; ' that hunger and thirst after this 
righteousness, for they shall be filled.' And thus I 
have finished the fourth beatitude, which hath held 
us the longest of any, having the most in it. 

Ver. 7. ' Blessed are the merciful: for they shall 
obtain mercy,' 

Here we see in this beatitude a sweet conjunction 
between the two verses, ' Blessed are those that 
hunger and thirst after righteousness : for they shall 
be satisfied ; ' and ' Blessed are the merciful.' You 
would have mercy, saith Christ ; and that is a sweet 
argument to you ; and you would have a share in 
mercy, but do you desire righteousness as well ? You 
would have righteousness, you would have a share 
in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and you would 
have the mercy of God to pardon your sins, but are 
you merciful ? There is nothing tills the soul with 
more mercy than the consideration of this, that we 
have our sins pardoned in the righteousness of Jesus 
Christ. This is that tliat fills the soul with bowels of 
mercy. There are many arguments that may press 
a man on to mercy, kindness, and pity ; but there 
is no argument that prevails more with the soul unto 
mercifulness than this, that the soul hath obtained 
mercy in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Those 
that are acquainted with the righteousness of Christ, 
and the righteousness of inherent grace, they would 
have all others know what it is to have a share in 
the mercy of God as well as they themselves. Do 
you hunger and thirst after righteousness, and are 
you merciful ? Then ' blessed are the merciful : for 
they shall obtain mercy.' 

But who is this merciful man — what manner of 
man is he ? Mercy in the general, it may be thus 
described : — 

It is that grace of God whereby the soul comes to 
be truly grieved with tlie miseries of others, and un- 
feignedly desirous to help and relieve them according 
to their ability. Mercy hath misery for its object ; 
as an envious man hath the prosperity of others to 
be the object of his envy, so the misery of another 
man is the object of my pity and my compassion, 



Mat. V. 7.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



135 



■who am a merciful man. For my part, saith the soul 
of a merciful man, I bless God my estate is comfort- 
able ; I want nothing, I have everything about me 
my heart can desire, but the saints about me are in 
misery. Oh that I could help them that are in 
misery ! Men are made sensible by them that are in 
misery. A saint's mercy is drawn forth by the 
miseries of others that are about him. 



But you will say. The papists and the heathens 
they are merciful men, they are pitiful. But what 
difference is there then between the mercy of a man 
truly gracious and the mercy of others ? 

Therefore you may remember in the description of 
mercy in the general I told you that it was a grace 
of God's Spirit, whereby the mercy of a man is drawn 
forth to them that are in misery. 



SEEMON XXII. 



THE SEVERAL WORKINGS OF MERCY IN THE HEART. 



' Blessed are the merciful : for they shall obtain mercy.' — Mat. v. 7. 



The work we have now to do is to shew you. 

First, The several workings of mercy in the heart. 

Secondly, The motives unto it. 

Thu'dly, The object of mercy. 

Fourthly, The gracious manner of the work of 
mercy. And then we shall come to this promise that 
is here made to them that are merciful, that they 
shall obtain mercy. 

For the several workings of mercy in the heart, 
they are these : — 

The first act of mercy upon the taking notice of 
the miseries of others, it grieves for them ; there is a 
compassion towards those that are in misery. A 
merciful man will not slight the miseries of others, 
much less will he despise them, or contemn others 
that are in misery. A merciful man doth not think 
the miseries of others not at all to concern him, but 
he looks upon them as concerning himself ; he is 
grieved, his heart is touched with the miseries of 
others. 

Secondly, From these there is a working desire in 
his soul to relieve them. Oh that I could tell how 
to relieve and help souls as I see to be any way in 
misery, bodily misery, or spiritual misery ! 

Thii'dly, The heart is solicitously careful about 
ways of help ; not only wishes and desires to help, 
but the thoughts of the mind are very solicitous what 
way I may compass to be helpful to those that are 
in misery. You have an excellent scripture for that 
in Prov. xiv. 22, ' Mercy and truth shall be to them 
that devise good.' Here is the merciful man de- 
scribed, and the promise of mercy to him ; he is one 
that deviseth good. A merciful man looks upon 



others in misery, casts about him in his thoughts 
when he lies upon his bed, and is devising how he 
may do good. I am here lying quietly in my bed ; I 
am warm, others are in misery ; how may I be any 
ways useful to them, to do them any good ? He doth 
devise good : and in Isa. xxxii. 8, ' The liberal de- 
viseth liberal things.' A merciful man is not only 
liberal and helpful when you put him upon occa- 
sion, when you come to him, when he cannot for 
shame, but he must give you something. No ; but he 
himself deviseth liberal things ; he plots with himself 
what he may do to be instrumental for the good of 
those that are in a sad condition. A covetous man 
doth not more devise how he might gain to himself 
to get a good bargain, than a merciful man devises 
how he may distribute, how he may do good. That is 
the third act of mercy, it is sohcitously careful. 

Fourthly, A timely improvement. He doth not keep 
his mercy in his own thoughts, but he doth improve 
what he hath for the good of others that are in miseiy, 
if he hath an estate, parts, friends, strength of body; 
or if he be poor and mean, and hath nothing else, 
then his prayers, all that he hath, shall be some way 
or other improved for the help of such as are m 
misery. A merciful man doth not think that God 
hath given him any good thing merely for himself, 
but for improvement. I was not born for myself, 
I have not an estate for myself, neither have I parts 
of nature or grace for myself, but I have them for 
to be of public good as much as may be. That is 
the fourth thing, a careful improvement. 

Fifthly, The act of mercy is to be willing to part 
with much for others. Improve it I may for their 



136 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 7. 



good, or lend tliem, but part with it I will not ; but 
mercy will part with anything that it hath. It is my 
own. But how is it my own ? it is my own as a 
steward, and not to be used as I please ; therefore if 
I see that the Lord hath need of it, or my brother 
hath need, that God may have glory, and good may 
be done, I am as willing to part with it as ever I was 
to receive it. 

Sixthly, If any hath offended he is ready to par- 
don, full of pity that way. Therein men of mean 
estates may be merciful as well as others, though I 
see miscarriages in others that hath need of me ; 
though I see they are unthankful, they are unworthy, 
yet mercy passes by unworthiness and wrongs. 

Seventhly, It keeps back justice for a time. Though 
it will not hinder justice, but that it shall have her 
glory in time, yet mercy may cause a forbearance of 
the stroke of justice, when justice is ready to strike 
the stroke; mercy comes in, as the mercy of God, 
when justice is striking the stroke, it comes in and 
pleads, Lord spare, spare yet a little while ! As when 
Abraham was lifting up the knife to cut the throat of 
Isaac, the angel cries from heaven, Abraham, stay thy 
hand 1 As the mercy of God doth, so the mercy of man 
forbears justice, and will not have justice in the rigour 
and full extent of it to be executed ; it causes to for- 
bear a while, to see whether there may not something 
be done wherein the offender may be spared and jus- 
tice not wronged, and it will moderate the work of 
justice as much as it can. 

Eighthly and lastly, Mercy will cause one to put 
oneself into the same condition as tliose are in that 
are in misery. Whether it be in regard of poverty or 
pain, or what kind soever it be, mercy causes one to 
put himself into the same state, to be in bonds with 
those that are in bonds, and to weep with those that 
weep. It is true I am in this comfortable condition 
myself, and have abundance of choice enjoyments, 
but what are all these to me so long as others suffer 
hard things ? What if I were in bonds with them, and 
if I were spoiled of all that I have as they are — what 
if God had put me into the same condition that they 
are, how should I be affected ? And as I would have 
others to pity me if I were in the like condition, so 
I labour in my heart to pity them. Here is a merciful 
man, a merciful woman. These are the several work- 
ings of the bowels of mercy. 

Secondly, Mercy, when it is a work of the grace of 
God, and not merely some natural work, as may be 
in natural men, there mercy arises upon gracious 
motives; when the heart works in ways of mercy graci- 
ously, it hath gracious motives to raise up this work- 
ing, and to maintain these workings of mercy. 

First, The soul looks upon God as the God of 
mercy, and looks upon the excellency of mercy in God 
himself. Oh mercy, it is lively in God ! the bowels 



of God's compassion yearns towards his creatures in 
misery ; and therefore, if I be a child of God, why 
should it not yearn in me too ? why should there 
not be a likeness in me to the God that I profess to 
be my Father ? 

Secondly, I myself have need of mercy every day. 
I live upon mercy ; it is mercy that maintains me ; 
it is mercy that keeps me out of hell; it is mercy 
that provides for me; and if I have such need of 
mercy, and live upon it, then why should not I be 
merciful towards others ? 

Thirdly, I have not only need of it, but I have 
received mercy. The Lord hath been merciful to me, 
merciful to my body, merciful to my soul. I have 
had preventing mercy, delivering mercy, healing 
mercy, comforting mercy, saving mercies ; mercies of 
all sorts when I was in miseries. I have cried, the 
Lord pitied me, and hath helped me. Now, I that 
have received so much mercy, it is infinitely equal 
that I should be merciful towards my brethren. 

Fourthly, When the mercy of God comes from 
grace, it comes from a sight of the mercy of God in 
Christ ; not only that God is merciful, and hath been 
merciful to me in a way of common providence, but 
I look upon the mercy of God in Christ, the tender 
mercies of God in Christ. A man in a natural way 
may come to see and know that God is merciful; but 
when I am merciful from a sight of God's mercy to 
me in Jesus Christ, and therefore I shew mercy to 
others, this is right mercy. In Christ the beams of 
God's mercy are concentred as in a burning-glass ; 
they are all concentred together in one ; and when 
they shine through Christ to my soul, then they warm 
my heart. The beams of the sun, when they shine 
scattered up and down in the air, they cause some 
light, glory, and heat; but when they are concen- 
tred in a burning-glass, then they will be so hot as 
to burn one's clothes. ^ So the beams of God's mercy 
in common providence, they will heat the hearts of 
men, and move them to natural pity ; but when our 
mercy comes from the concentring of the mercy of 
God to my soul in Jesus Christ, as it were the burn- 
ing-glass, then how do they warm and enlarge the 
heart of a merciful man ; when he can set his soul 
under the beams of God's mercy, contracted and 
shining through the burning-glass of Jesus Christ 
himself, and when the heart comes to be warmed with 
mercy thus, then it is a gracious work indeed, and 
mercy beyond that of a natural man. 

Fifthly, The consideration of my unworthiness. I 
have had mercy, and not only common mercy, but 
mercy in Christ, who am so unworthy ; and why hath 
God made any difference between me and others ? 
What is it that causes a difference, so that such a one 
should be poor, and I have an estate ; that they are 
born of beggars, and I of parents that hath left me a 



Mat. V. 7.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



137 



comfortable estate? Or if providence liath cast it so, 
though born of as good parents as I, yet they are in 
misery and I in comfort. Many of you may say you 
came to the city but with a staif in your hand, and 
■what an estate hath God raised you to ! If the grace 
of mercy works in you the consideration of your un- 
worthiness of anything, that God should malve a dif- 
ference between you and others out of free-grace, and 
from nothing of yourselves, this doth mightily enlarge 
bowels of mercy. 

Sixthly, Further, the consideration of the relation 
that these have to God that ai'e in misery. Let it be 
any creature, yet it hath some relation to God ; any 
brute creature, it is the creature of God, and so it 
hath relation to him — it is the work of God's hands. 
But if he be a man, much more if he be a Christian, 
much more if a saint, much more the relation that a 
thing hath to God, and being in misery, that moves a 
gracious man ; it doth not move one that is moved 
in a way of natui'al jiity, but those that are merciful 
in a gracious way. The relation that anything hath 
to God, that is a mighty motive to mercy. 

Seventhly, The consideration that I shall honour 
God in this way of mercy. Not merely that I would 
help others in misery, or be well spoken of, or the 
like, but I shall honour God in this way of mercy ; 
and it is this that moves my heart. 

Eighthly, And the very love to the exercise of mercy 
itself ; and love to such as are in misery, though they 
be strangers, whosoever they be, this works in a mer- 
ciful heart. And that is the second thing, the motives, 
or what it is that sets a merciful man on work in the 
ways of mercy. 

For the object, but a word — for it was intimated 
in the relation that a thing hath to God. "We are to 
be merciful, 

First, To all that are in misery. A good man is 
merciful to his beast. Look upon your beast, and 
consider, there is not such a distance between you 
and that ; you are all of one lump. God might have 
made you a toad, the vilest creature that is, and 
therefore God expects that you should use his crea- 
tures that he hath an interest in, that you should 
use them mercifully, and not cruelly. 

Secondly, We are to be merciful to all mankind. 
If you do not give to such and such a one as a man, 
give it to human nature, so far as not to suffer them 
to perish, except it be in some cases that the Scrip- 
ture would have others to perish if they continue 
obstinately in wickedness. As, he that will not work, 
let him not eat, saith the Scripture ; or if they sin, in 
the way of justice, God doth will that wicked men 
should perish in their sin — that is, when in a way 
and course of justice they come to be dealt with ; but 
otherwise, excejjt it be iu a way and course of justice 
that they may be dealt with, we should have pity 



upon wicked men when the hand of God is upon them 
in bringing misery. It is true there is a time coming 
that the saints shall be so swallowed up with God, 
with love to God, as they shall pity wicked men no 
more — yea, shall have no kind of compassion towards 
them hereafter, whenas it shall be revealed fully that 
they are reprobates, and that this is the way to 
honour himself eternally, to withdraw all mercy from 
them, then the saints shall not pity them. But in 
the meantime, here m this world, we are to pity them ; 
because, though they be now wicked, we do not know 
but that they may belong to God, and be made vessels 
of mercy. Such a wicked blasphemer, and wicked 
unclean person — the most monstrous wretch that is — 
who knows but that God may set him apart to be a 
vessel of mercy to the glory of his free grace ; and 
therefore, because you know not yet the contrary, mercy 
should work towards him, to pity liis soul and body. 

Thirdly, The next thing is, that as we should be 
merciful to all that are in misery, so especially to 
them in respect of their souls. There is many men 
and wcftnen have pitiful hearts to others ; when they 
see them poor, naked, and ready to starve, then they 
pity them. But you shall have such pitiful men and 
women to have no compassion towards their souls ; 
but where mercy is true, it is towards the soul in the 
first place, and then towards their bodies. 

Fourthly, Further, for the object of mercy, the less 
guilt there is upon any, the more he is to be pitied 
in his misery. As thus, when any one cOmes into 
misery merely by the hand of God, and not by their 
own wickedness, then there is much mercy to be 
shewn. I confess, though men should be brought 
into misery by theh wickedness, yet still — except it 
be in a way and course of legal proceechng in a course 
of justice — they must not be left to perish ; but if it 
be merely the hand of God upon them, and not their 
own wickedness that hath brought it upon them, 
much mercy should be shewn to them. Such as by 
the providence of God, either by fire, or by wicked 
men that have broken in upon them, and not through 
their own fault, they have lived conscientiously, and 
yet God, by some hand of providence, hath swept 
away all their estate ; abundance of mercy should be 
shewn to them. 

But above all, though we are to do good unto all, 
yet especially unto the household of faith ; to the 
saints especially our mercy should be shewn unto, for 
God shews most mercy to them. But it shall be 
sufficient to name the objects of mercy. 

For the gracious manner of shewing mercy to those 
that are in misery, mercy must have these qualifi- 
cations : 

First, I must never be so merciful as to go against 
any rule of justice ; but there must be a sweet concord 
between both, Mark how they are knit together : 



138 



BURReUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 7. 



' Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after right- 
eousness,' which is not only the righteousness of 
Christ, but between man and man, and ' Blessed are 
the merciful.' We must be so merciful, as yet to be 
righteous. Grace hath a blessed mixture in it ; and 
though one vice be contrary to another, yet one grace 
is never contrary to another. Justice and mercy are 
never opposite one to another, but they may have a 
gracious mixture. I may be a merciful man, and yet 
hunwer after righteousness, that rigliteousness may 
prevail in the world. That must be considered in the 
first place, for the gracious manner of the work of 
mercy. 

Secondly, I must be so merciful as not to do hurt 
to those that I think to shew mercy to, or to do hurt to 
others by them. As thus, when men are in misery, 
for me to shew mercy so as to harden them in their 
evil way, this is no gracious act ; this is a foolish 
pity. Or to shew mercy to one so as to hurt others ; 
many times mercy may be shewn to one,' that is 
cruelty to many others. Now, in Ps. cxii. 6, there 
the Holy Ghost, speaking of a merciful man, he saith 
that ' he guides his affairs with discretion.' He 
guides them in a discreet way ; he dotli not do the 
work of mercy in a lavish way, but considers wisely of 
the poor, and guides his affairs witli discretion. 

Thirdly, In the exercise of mercy there must be 
mucli simplicity of heart : Kom. xii. 8, ' He that 
giveth, let him do it with simplicity.' You will say. 
What is the meaning of that ? The meaning of it 
is this : 

First, Not to have any by and squint-eyed aims in 
my giving ; but to do it in the simplicity of my heart, 
without any by and squint-eyed aims, and in sim- 
pUcity. Many are merciful ; they do things that are 
good, but they have squint-eyed aims at themselves. 

Secondly, Simplicity — that is, not to be partial in 
the ways of my mercy. God would have me to shew 
mercy to one more than to another, according as there 
is reason, but not to be merciful in a way of par- 
tiaUty — that is, though others stand in as much need 
of my mercy as this man doth, and every way deserves 
it as well, yet out of private respects I let the course 
of my mercy run this way rather than the other. 
This is not to do it out of simplicity. 

Lastly, We must so shew our mercy as that we 
must be sure to tender up that mercy that we shew 
to others for acceptation in Jesus Clu'ist ; to tender 
it up in Jesus Christ that it may be accepted by God. 
Lord, may such a soul say, I am unworthy thou 
shouldest shew any mercy to me, or that thou shouldest 
accept of any mercy that I tender \ip to thee. This 
we see admirably set forth in Nehemiah, who was ene 
of the meroifullest men that ever we read of ; yet 
saith he, chap. xi. 22, ' Remember me, my God, 
concerning this also, and spare me according to the 



greatness of thy mercy.' He was a merciful man, and 
yet he pleads to be accepted in mercy for the failings 
that passed from him in the shewuig of that mercy ; 
and here in the text, ' Blessed are the merciful : for 
they shall obtain mercy.' They shall obtain mercy 
for those failings that they commit in the shewing of 
their mercy. Thus you see who this merciful man is. 

We shall now come to shew that he is a blessed 
man : Prov. xxii. 9, ' He that hath a bountiful eye 
shall be blessed, for he giveth of his bread to the 
poor.' To open unto you the blessedness of this 
merciful man, take it in these particulars : 

First, When God would describe a man truly godly, 
he calls him- out by this very character, that he is a 
merciful man : Ps. xxxii. 6, ' For this shall every one 
that is godly pray unto thee;' in the original, l^DrT, 
it is the ' kind man.' Godly men are called by this 
denomination of kind ones ; and so wherever we have 
the word 'godly' and 'saints' in the Old Testament, 
it is the same with that we have in the New Testa- 
ment, where they are called 'godly saints' and 'godly 
ones.' It is the same with 'merciful men;' to note 
thus much, that mercy it is the same with godliness. 
Now take righteousness, as I opened it in the former 
verse, for the grace of sanctification, and so this mer- 
cifulness is a part of that sanctification. It is a part 
of that righteousness which I shewed you was of such 
excellency in Ps. xxxii. 6. God doth not instance in 
any particular grace but in this of mercy : ' The mer- 
ciful man shall seek him in a time when he may be 
found.' And in Ps. cxii., ' A good man sheweth 
favour, and lendeth ; he will guide his affairs with 
■descretion.' And then in ver. 9, ' He hath dispersed, 
he hath given to the poor, his righteousness endureth 
for ever.' Mercy, it is a special part of righteousness. 
In James iii. 17, the apostle there describing the 
wisdom that is from above, he saith thus, ' The wisdom 
that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, 
and easy to be entreated, full of mercy, and good fruits.' 
Mark the words, it is full of mercy and gentleness; 
therefore blessed are these merciful ones, for they are 
such as God doth cull out to give a character of, that 
they are godly men. 

Secondly, Blessed, because they have so much of 
that which is so nigh to God, and makes God so excel- 
lent and glorious. There is nothing in a saint is nearer 
unto God than this very disposition of mercifulness. 
Now God glories in nothing more than in his "mercy. 
This is that which God doth exalt himself withal, and 
that he doth glory in, that he is the merciful God. 
In Exod. XXV. the mercy-seat it was raised up on 
high above all, that it might be seen. And in Scrip- 
ture God is said to delight in mercy: Micah vii. 18, 
' Who is a God Uke unto thee ? that pardoneth 
iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the 
remnant of his heritage ; he retaineth not his anger 



Mat. V. 7.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



139 



for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.' It is a very 
pleasing thing for God to delight in his mercy ; and 
he is called the ' Father of mercy,' and a God ' rich 
in mercy.' A man accounts his glory to consist in 
his riches. If in anything a man doth esteem himself 
for, it is in his riches, in his wealth ; so God's riches are 
his mercies, and God glories in his mercies; and when 
God would shew, unto Moses his glory it is in this. 
Moses he desu-es to see the face of God, and that God 
would let him see his glory, Exod. xxxiv. G ; how 
doth the Lord give a demonstration of his glory ? 
Thus, ' The Lord God, gracious and merciful.' And 
the chief design that God hath in the world it is to 
glorify his mercy. In Eph. i. G, the Lord he delights 
to glorify his power, his wisdom, and his justice ; but 
he delights to glorify his mercy above all. When the 
power of God is exalted, when the wisdom of God is 
declared, God is glorified ; but when mercy is glori- 
fied, then God is exalted. If mercy make God so 
excellent, surely that man must needs be very happy 
that hath much of this disposition in him. And you 
have seen that the merciful man he hath much of this 
disposition in him, which is by God accounted to be 
his own gloiy. 

Thirdly, You are blessed, because you are under 
many precious promises. It were endless to mention 
all the promises wherein your blessedness is set forth. 
In Prov. xi. 25, ' The liberal soul shall be made fat ; 
and he that watereth shall be watered also himself ;' 
Ps. cxii. 9, ' He hath dispersed, he hath given to the 
poor ; his righteousness endureth for ever ; his horn 
shall be exalted with honour ;' 2 Cor. ix. 8, which is 
very remarkable, ' And God is able to make all grace 
abound towards you, that ye always, having all- 
sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good 
work,' See how words are heaped up here : ' to make 
grace, and all grace, and all gi'ace to abound.' And 
who is it to ? Unto the hberal, the merciful man. In 
Luke vi. 38, 'Give, and it shall be given to you.' 
The way for to receive more, it is to give out of what 
we have ; and God will so order it ' that you shall 
have good measure, pressed do\vii, and shaken together, 
and running over.' See here the latitude and height 
of expressions that can be. We account it good 
measure when it is heaped up ; but when it is heaped 
up and pressed down, that is more ; but when it is 
heaped up and pressed down, and then heaped up and 
running over again, this is as much as possibly can 
be made. So those that are of merciful spirits, they 
shall have mercy heaped up, pressed down, and 
running over. Surely thou must needs be a happy 
man when thou can^t not be in that condition in 
which thoir shalt not have mercy, but mercy heaped 
up, and running over, to supply thy necessity. 

Fourthly, Blessed art thou, because thou hast the 
blessing of those that are in misery upon thee. The 



blessing of the poor is upon thee who art thus mer- 
ciful; thy prayers are heard, and their prayers are for 
thee. They bless God for such a one who hath done 
them good in their straits : Job xxi.x. 13, ' The bless- 
ing of him that was ready to perish came upon me, 
and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.' 
They praise God for them ; and in the text, ' they 
shall obtain mercy.' This is a singular privileo-e, 
were there no other scripture in all the word to en- 
courage us to this duty but this, that we shall obtain 
mercy. We are ready to think that if we shew mercy 
we may want ourselves, we shall -come to beggary, we 
shall come to poverty, we had need to store up for 
ourselves. No, we shall grow ; therefore in Prov. xi. 
2,5, ' The liberal soul shall be made fat.' Here is a 
strange expression; what, to gain by liberality? We 
have many proverbs used among us that doth quite 
cross Scripture ; for we say, ' We had as good be out 
of the world as out of the fashion ;' and God saith, 
' Fashion not yourselves according to the world.' We 
say, ' He is too free to be fat ;' and yet God saith 
here, ' The liberal man shall be made fat.' Saith the 
Scripture, ' You shall have mercy ;' and is it not a 
sweet thing to find mercy from God? In 2 Sam' 
xxii. 26, ' With the merciful he will shew himself 
merciful ;' and therefore ' blessed are the merciful, for 
they shall obtain mercy.' With the froward God 
will shew himself froward. According to our walk- 
ing unto God we shall find God walking unto us : if 
we walk contrary unto him, he will walk contrary 
unto us ; if we walk mercifully towards our bretlireu, 
God will walk mercifully towards us. 

Fifthly, All the good that we have, it comes from 
the mercy of God ; there is not the least good that we 
enjoy in any creature but it comes originally from 
God's mercy. Saith God, Poor soul, thou art of a 
merciful disposition. Ai't thou merciful ? Dost thou 
do good to others, and doth thy bowels work towards 
them that are in misery ? Art thou in straits thy- 
self? Here is my mercy to help thee, here is my 
mercy to pardon thee. It is very observable that 
those that God intends to save, he doth so work upon 
them by his grace here as they shall be like him. 
There shall be such a work wrought upon them to 
answer God's will in all things. As, to instance, 
those that God intends to save, they shall choose him 
here ; as those whom he hath elected unto glory, they 
shall in time choose him here, and elect him. Those 
that God doth intend to justify by .Jesus Christ, they 
shall justify him and his ways ; those that God hath 
separated for glory hereafter, they shall be separated 
from the world here ; and those that God doth in- 
tend to shew mercy to hereafter, shall be of merciful 
dispositions. Hath God given thee a merciful heart ? 
thou mayest assure thyself that God will shew mercy 
to thee at the last. Blessed are the merciful, there- 



140 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 5. 



fore, for they shall have mercy ; they shall have sin 
pardoned, they shall have their souls blessed. This 
is a blessed and a fruitful promise ; for have not we 
need of mercy in our straits ? There is none of us 
all that enjoy the most of creature comforts here but 
we stand in need of mercy ourselves ; and when we 
shall come in any condition to stand in need of mercy, 
we may be sure we shall have mercy from God, be- 
cause the Lord hath wrought in us merciful disposi- 
tions towards them that are in misery. 

Sixthly, In this very thing thou hast a mighty 
encouragement and help to faith ; for mercy, it is thy 
own — tiiou mayest cast thyself upon mercy without 
presuming. Thou who hast a merciful, loving dis- 
position to the saints in their distress, it is no pre- 
suming for thee to cast thyself upon the mercy of God 
in thy straits. When thou art about to believe, what 
is the stumbling-block that lies in the way ? Saith 
such a poor soul, Shall such a wretched creature as I 
have mercy from God? Will the Lord ever look 
upon me ? Lord, thou mayest answer thus : Thou 
hast wrought in me a disposition to shev,' mercy to 
them that are in misery. Lord, if there be but one 
drop of mercy in, me to shew pity to others, is there 
not an infinite ocean of mercy in thee? Lord, is it 
not much easier for thee to shew mercy unto me, 
whenas by thai little drop of mercy which I have 
thou hast gained upon my heart to shew mercy unto 
others ? Here is a mighty help against temptations 
and discouragements from closing with the mercy of 
God ; for that mercy which is in us is but a drop of 
the fountain that Ls in God. Our mercy, if it be true 
and spiritual, as you have heard it described before, 
it is but an effect and fruit of the mercy which is in 
God himself. Lord,, it is more easy to thee to shew 
mercy to my soul than for me to pity them that are 
in misery. Lord, the misery that is in others requires 
more of us to relieve them than for thy majesty to 
relieve us. Lord, thou shalt part with nothing in 
shewing mercy to me. Thou art infinite in mercy, 
and thou partest witii nothing; but when we shew 
mercy we part with something, though it be that we 
receive from God ; and therefore it is easier with God 
to shew mercy. 

Lastly, Consider of this, That there is nothing holds 
men longer under bondage and terrors of conscience 
for sin than this very thing, than the rigid disposition 
that is in us towards them that are in misery. There- 
fore blessed are those that are merciful, that are of a 
gentle disposition, for this will be a special means to 
have those throbs and terrors of conscience that are 
inward in the soul to be removed. We are ready 
oftentimes to gather such conclusions as these are : 
Surely the Lord will never be merciful unto me. How 
can God shew mercy to such a wretch as I am, so 
stubborn and hard-hearted ? I cannot shew mercy 



to others that are in misery, I cannot forgive them 
that are in misery ; and surely how can the Lord for- 
give me, who have done more wrong to him than ever 
any other hath done to me, and yet I could not for- 
give them, nor pass by such wrongs myself? WeU, 
thou that art merciful mayest think thus : Lord, must 
I have a heart to forgive to seven times, yea, to seventy 
times- seven ? And, Lord, canst not thou do more to 
me ? Must I forgive till seventy times seven times in a 
day if my brother offend me ? Canst not thou forgive 
much more ? This is a mighty help to faith, and a 
miglity help to prayer, that the Lord would shew 
mercy to us in our straits, and help in the time of our 
troubles: Ps. cxii. 6, 7, ' Surely he shall not be moved 
for ever.' The way to be established, it is to be of a 
merciful spirit, and he shall not be afraid of evil tid- 
ings ; let what times come that will come, he shall 
not fear them. The days may be clouded, and troubles 
may grow bigger, but he shall not be afraid of them. 
These evil tidings shall not affright the merciful man ; 
and that is a famous text that we have in Isa. Iviii. 
7, 8, when he describes the manner of the fast both in 
the negative and the affirmative part. He shews what 
they did in their false humiliations, and then he comes 
to shev/ that if they did thus and thus, ' Then shall 
thy light break forth as the morning, and then shalt 
thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, 
and he shall say, Here am I.' God will say, Hearken, 
there is a merciful man ci'ies ; there is one that is now 
in distress and cries to me. I must go down and 
hearken unto this man's request ; I must go and hear 
what is the matter, it is a merciful man cries. Come, 
God will say, here am I, call upon me ; what wouldest 
thou have ? It is a merciful man that cries, I must 
go and relieve him. God will say to this soul. Here 
I am ; and ver. 10, ' The light of such a man shall 
rise in obscurity, and his darkness be as the noon- 
day;' and ver. 11, 'The Lord shall guide thee con- 
tmually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make 
fat thy bones, and thou shalt be like a watered 
garden, and like a spring of water whose waters fail 
not.' Thou complainest of deadness and barrenness 
of spirit ; this is the reason, it may be thou profitest 
no more under the means, because thou art of a 
wretched, harsh, cruel disposition. But for the 
merciful, they may go unto God and plead their 
cause, and sa}', Lord, I was merciful unto my brethren 
in their straits, and my mercy it was in obedience to 
thy command, and therefore, Lord, hear me. 

To make application of this point. 

First, Here is abundance of comfort to those that 
are of merciful spirits. Whoever you are that are 
thus merciful, wherever you are, (though I fear there 
are but few; like the gleanings .after the vintage, they 
stand but here and there even in great assemblies,) 
hearken unto your comfort. Hath the Lord drawn 



Mat. V. 7.] 



BURKOUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



141 



forth your hearts to melt at the sorrows of the saints 
abroad, though you have had plenty at home, yet you 
have been in bonds with them, and your comforts 
have not been so sweet to you as otherwise they 
would have been, because the church and people of 
God have been in such straits ? You have been in 
sorrow ; though you have enjoyed peace and plentj', 
this hath taken away the sweetness of your mercies. 
Know, if it be thus, take your comfort : 

First, Thou art eminent in that which is God's 
eminency ; and this is a great excellency. And this 
is the best service thou canst do ; thou canst not 
do a piece of service more acceptable to God than 
this thing is. Thou complainest thou canst not 
pray; thou art disquieted in thy spirits for thy dead- 
ness, and dulness, and indisposedness of heart ; but 
hast thou a merciful heart ? Know that this is most 
acceptable to God : Micah vi. 6, 7, ' Wherewithal 
shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before 
the high God ? shall I come before him with burnt- 
offerings, with calves of a year old ? will the Lord 
be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thou- 
sands of rivers of oil.' See what large proffers they 
made there to God ; shall we come with these ? 
' Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the 
fruit of my body for the sin of my soul ? ' No, saith 
God, none of these ; I regard them not, I require 
them not, 'only to do justice, and to love mercy;' 
herewithal may est thou come before God with bold- 
ness. It may be thou canst not bring rivers of oil, 
thou canst not bring such enlargements, such 
expressions, such fine placed words, yet canst 
thou bring a heart loving mercy ; hast thou but a 
merciful heart, thou hast that which God delights in. 

Secondly, This is a most certain argument of thy 
election unto mercy who hast a merciful heart : Col. 
iii. 12, ' Brethren, as the elect of God ' — what? ' put 
on bowels of mercy;' as the elect of God put on bowels 
of mercy. It is mercy that God gives thee means to 
relieve others, that God gives thee wherewithal to 
help them that are in distress. Know it is more to 
have a heart to shew mercy than an estate to shew 
mercy. It is a greater mercy to thee for God to 
make thee willing to shew mercj', than it thou hadst 
an estate and not willing to shew mercy. And there- 
fore, wherein do you account your riches ? In having 
the world at will, in being in great places, and to do 
what thou wilt, is here thy happiness ? Dost thou 
account it thy riches to be great in the world, and to 
have places and rule? If this be thy happiness, 
know that thou hast little evidence to thy soul of 
thy election. But if thou wert truly gracious, thou 
wouldest say, Lord, I bless thee for my estate, for my 
parts and riches. Ay, but Lord, I bless thee more for 
a heart to pity them that are in distress ; I bless thee 
that thou hast given me a heart to shew mercy to 



them that are in misery ; and I bless thee that I may 
be more serviceable than others by my estate to them 
which want such an estate. I therefore prize my 
estate because it doth help me to be more serviceable 
to God than others : this is as sure a sign of grace 
as can be. Suppose God hath given you an estate, 
but withal had left you to a penurious, covetous heart, 
know thy estate had been a curse to thee ; but if 
thou hast a large estate, and a large heart to do good 
with thy estate, it is a good sign of true grace. 

Thirdly, Thou mayest with comfort expect an en- 
larged heart in prayer. You complain many times 
that your hearts are so straitened and dead ; would 
you but examine, is not this the cause, you are so 
cruel to others ? 

And when thou comest to any affliction, the Lord 
will remember, and remember what thou wouldest have 
done, James ii. 13. Thou wouldest pray better ; the 
Lord will accept of that desire of thine to pray 
better : ' Mercy rejoiceth against judgment.' There 
is a scripture which, though you have often read, 
you do not, it may be, so well understand, or at least- 
wise it hath been carried contrary to what I conceive 
the meaning is. Many conceive this scripture to be 
meant of the mercy of God rejoicing against the 
judgment of the law and condemnation ; but I take 
it for judgment here — judgment is coming, mercy 
strives against. And how the Scripture saith, ' That 
a man shall have judgment without mercy, that was 
cruel.' When any judgment comes to be executed 
upon a kingdom, upon families, the mercy of those 
towards such as were in misery shall cry, and the 
Lord will hear the cries of mercy in the time of 
judgment ; the mercy which they had shewn to 
others shall plead for them. Let whatsoever judg- 
ments come, that soul may say, the Lord intends 
mercy to me in it ; this merciful man shall be de- 
livered. Though there is a storm abroad in the 
land, and miseries in all places, yet the Lord will 
remember this man ; he was merciful to them that 
were in misery, and I will regard this man ; his 
mercy shall come up into remembrance, and say, I 
am above judgment. A merciful man, he may rejoice 
in the midst of judgment as being above judgment. 
The Lord hath discovered himself to me in making 
me of a merciful disposition to others ; therefore, 
now the judgments of God are abroad. I question 
not but mercy will triumph over judgment. For me, 
I shall be preserved ; my mercy will plead for me 
that judgment shall not take hold of me, because, 
when others were in misery, I was pitiful unto them : 
'And therefore, blessed are the merciful, for they shall 
obtain mercy.' In their troubles the merciful man 
shall triumph and boast over judgment. Judgment 
shall not take hold of him, because his mercy shall 
be remembered in the day of his trouble. 



142 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 7. 



SERMON XX III. 



COMFOETS TO THOSE THAT AEE OF MEECIFUL SPIRITS. 



' Blessed are the merciful ; for they shall obtain mercy! — Mat. v. 7. 



4. Know that this is a special evidence that thou 
didst hunger and thirst after righteousness truly, 
therefore Christ doth join it thereto : ' Blessed are 
those that hunger and thirst after righteousness : 
they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful : for 
they shall obtain mercy.' Thou thinkest thy heart 
is after righteousness. God knows thou canst appeal 
to him that thou dost hunger and thirst after right- 
eousness, but sometimes thou art afraid whether thy 
hunger and thirst be true or no. Here is one rule : 
Hast thou a merciful heart towards others ? While 
thou art hungering after God's righteousness, doth 
thy soul hunger after the good of others, and wouldest 
thou do them all the good thou canst, both bodily 
and spiritual ? this is an argument of the truth of 
thy hungering after righteousness. But if so be that 
thou shalt please thyself with this, that thou hast a 
desire for righteousness, but in the meantime hast a 
cruel unmerciful heart towards others, certainly thy 
hunger after righteousness is not good, for these two 
are joined, and they cannot be parted one from 
another. Blessed are such as hunger and thirst after 
righteousness. Blessed are the merciful ; unmerciful 
men do not truly desire after grace. And this makes 
way to speak unto the second branch in the ajjplica- 
tion. Whatsoever might he further spoke by way of 
encouragement, we shall bring it into the use of 
exhortation. 

Wherefore, in the second place, here is a use of re- 
prehension to unmerciful men, to such as have not 
their hearts affected with the miseries of others, nor 
mind not what becomes of others, so be it they may 
have contentment to themselves. Perhaps some of you 
may think this point that I am about is au ordinary 
thing to speak for mercy, and but a moral point. 
I know not what you lay upon it, but I find, and 
you may find it too, if you will examine Scripture, not 
only in the Old Testament, but in the New, Christ 
lays not more weight upon any one thing, excepting 
faith itself, than upon mercy. Take but these three 
particulars — faith, mercy towards others, and union 
one with another. These be the three great things 



that the gospel doth most insist upon ; and I know no 
point that is so full of Scripture as this is, the point 
of mercy, and that out of the gospel. Many pro- 
fessors of religion lay too little weight upon this 
point, but look upon it as an ordinary point, and'so 
they make not that conscience of the exercise of this . 
grace as they ought. But how little you think of it, 
Christ puts much in it. ' Blessed are the merciful.' 
Therefore know. 

First, That an unmerciful heart is a wretched and 
a vile heart. You that mind nothing else but your- 
selves, if you can have your tables spread, your backs 
clothed, your houses furnished, your children pro- 
vided for, let others sink or swim and perish, no 
matter what becomes of them — oh wretched, vile 
heart of thine, what art thou more than others ? 
What is thy flesh more than others, that thou 
shouldest have so little regard to others? Should 
there be any regard to thee ? Some there are that if 
they get a little more than others, are so far from 
letting out their souls to the relief and help of others, 
that they look upon them with despicable eyes, de- 
spising the poor, as in Prov. xiv. 21 ; they despise, 
look contemptibly upon such as are under them, or 
in a meaner condition than they. ' He that despiselh 
his neighbour sinneth ; but he that hath mercy on 
the poor, happy is he.' Take heed you do not look 
upon poor people as despising them, for so it is meant 
of poor neighbours, both by the opposition and the 
verse before : ' The poor is hated even of his own 
neighbour ; but the rich hath many friends. He that 
despiseth his neighbour sinneth,' sinneth with a great 
sin ; ' but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is 
he.' Such a one is mean and poor, a'jd thou 
thinkest him a mean, poor fellow, and so lookest 
despicably upon him. Take heed of such & disposi- 
tion ; God will not take it well at thy hands. And 
others there are that are so far from shewing mercy 
to those that are in misery, as they rather ppend their 
estates that they have upon their lusts. They have 
more than others, and that which may serve to re- 
lieve the necessities of many poor cre&tures that 



Mat. V. 7.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



Its 



would bless God for their superfluities ; but their 
superfluities are laid out and spent upon their lusts, 
merely to satisfy their bellies, to satisfy their uncleau- 
]iess it may be, whenas they will not freely give twelve 
pence for good uses and for relieving others. There 
are pounds spent upon their filthy uncleanness, or 
upon their backs, and upon vanity in sporting, play- 
ing, di'inking. Where is conscience in the mean- 
time, when there are so many charges of God upon 
you to shew mercy, and there is so much spoken of 
the excellency of mercy ? What a blessed man the 
merciful man is ! And thou that hast an estate above 
others improvest it, and layest it out only to satisfy 
thy lusts, thou canst sin more freely possibly than 
others can, because thou hast an estate more fully 
than they. Oh thou unwise soul, how foolishly dost 
thou improve thy estate, whenas thou mightest 
lay it out so as hundreds might be blessing God for 
tU.ee ! thou employest it only in increasing guiltiness 
upon thy soul. And others, though perhaps some- 
what it is that they will give, yet grudgingly, and 
only that that is forced from them, what they cannot 
but for shame give ; but there is no freedom, no 
cheerfulness at all in their distribution unto others, 
and if anything be given, they think it is merely 
lost, it is gone. But what goes into their own belhes, 
and is put upon their own backs, that is not lost ; but 
whatsoever they give in a way of mercy to others, 
they look upon it as cast away : this is an argument 
of a carnal heart, that knoweth not the way of God. 
Didst thou uijderstand what is said in Scripture, thou 
wouldest account that estate of thine which thou 
givest out of a merciful heart for the relief of others, 
the best part of thy estate. And so others, when they 
are to die, then they think that they will give some- 
thing to the poor, or to others ; but in the meantime, 
while they live, all is for themselves, they cannot 
trust God for anything ; and as for such promises as 
these are, or others in Scripture, they are but as dry 
things unto them. I shall speak to these, and such 
as have cruel and hard hearts towards others, and 
are altogether selfish. 

First, Certainly thou knowest not God. Talk what 
thou wilt of religion, if thou hast an unmerciful heart 
towards others, thou art the man or woman that 
knowest not God. I will give you this scripture for 
it : in Hosea iv. 1, ' Because there is no truth, nor 
mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.' These 
two are put together — no mercy nor knowledge of 
God in the land ; certainly where there is the know- 
ledge of God, there will be mercy. ' The dark places 
of the earth are habitations of cruelty,' saith ihe 
psalmist ; in dark souls that know not God are works 
of cruelty. You may conclude of any man that is of 
a cruel disposition, a hard-hearted disposition, of a 
penurious, sordid disposition, of a selfish disposition — 



certainly this man, this woman knows not God ; if 
they knew what God were, what treasures of mercy 
there are in God, and how God delights in mercy, 
and that it is his glory to communicate of his good- 
ness to his creatures, it were impossible but their 
hearts would be more communicative. 

Secondly, God hath a great controversy against 
thee. Thou sayest thou art not bound to relieve such 
and such, thou thinkest it is no evil if thou dost not 
wrong others ; but thy unmercifulness is enough for to 
cause the Lord to have a controversy against thy 
soul: in the forenamed place, Hosea iv. 1, ' The Lord 
hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land,' 
— for what ? ' because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor 
knowledge of God in the land.' God hath a contro- 
versy with that land, with that family, with that 
person that hath no mercy; and canst thou stand out 
against the controversy of God ? 

Thirdly, Know that thy disposition is quite con- 
trary to God's. Surely it is a very base one then. 
There is no disposition whatsoever more contrary to 
the disjiosition of God than a cruel, harsh, hard- 
hearted disposition ; for God is mercy itself. Your 
heavenly Father is merciful; he is the God of mercy, 
(as we spake before,) so that thy heart is of a dispo- 
sition cross to God. There is a mighty diflerence 
and opposition between the disposition of God's 
heart, and the disposition of thy heart. 

Fourthly, There is a curse upon thy heart. Cer- 
tainly a hard heart hath a curse upon it. There are 
diseases m the bowels that are very terrible. Those 
that have hard hearts, their bowels are diseased — 
their bowels are corrupted ; they have not bowels of 
compassion, there is a curse upon their spirits. There 
can be no greater curse upon a man's heart than to 
be liardened- — to be hardened from God's fear, and to 
be hardened from doing good to others. 

Fifthly, There is a curse upon all thou hast. An 
unmerciful man or woman hath no sanctified use of 
anything they have. Y"ou keep your estates, and 
you think it is your own, and say. May I not do with 
my own what I please? may I not eat and drink, 
and please myself with my own ? Thy own, it is 
defiled to thee by thy unmercifulness, and cursed to 
thee. You have a strange expression in Luke xi. 41, 
' But rather give alms of such things that you have ; 
and behold, all things are clean unto you;' it is a 
very strange expression. So that it seems without this, 
nothing is clean to a man. Men that do not distri- 
bute of what they have, but keep it altogether to 
themselves, there is nothing that they have clean unto 
them — that is, there is nothing sanctified ; all is de- 
filed, all is cursed to them. But now, how are things 
clean by this ? You may see the meaning by the 
coherence in verse 39. The pharisees stood much 
upon the cleaning of the outside. 'And the Lord 



144 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 7. 



said unto' him, Now do ye pharisees make clean the 
outside of the cup and the platter, but your inward 
part is full of ravening and wickedness;' ye cleanse 
cups and platters and such things, and ye stand upon 
ceremonial cleannesses, and your own kind of super- 
stitious cleansings. But rather give alms of such 
things as ye have, and behold all things are clean ; 
raLher looiv to what God requires in the use of your 
estates. Do not stand to cleanse cups and platters, to 
have them very neat, as many of you have your cup- 
board heads furnished, your plate shining, and fur- 
niture in your houses, and you delight in that as 
much in one way as the iiharisees did in a supersti- 
tious way. You delight in it in a pompous way, but, 
saith Christ, rather give alms of such things as you 
have — that is, doth God give you estates beyond 
others, you have more than for necessity, and you 
liave for moderate dehght ; now with the remainder 
relieve such as are in misery, and so make the right 
use of your estates that God hath given them to you 
for, and then all things v^dll be clean to you. You 
shall sanctify all you have by this means ; but if you 
have a base, penurious, and selfish disposition, to 
keep all for yourselves, for pomp, bravery, and delight 
to yourselves, there is nothing clean to you; and how- 
ever you may make things so pompous and brave in 
your houses, they are all defiled, all cursed to you. 
Therefore it is an evil thing to have an unmerciful 
heart towards others. 

Sixthly, Further, know that the misery of others 
cries continually against you. Thou art in thy house, 
and hast all about thee well, and feelest no pain, no 
hunger, no trouble thou meetest withal. But how 
many fatherless children and widows, how many of 
the saints that are in great extremities, have their 
miseries cry to heaven against thee, as if they should 
say, Lord, thou hast given to such and such men estates, 
and here we want bread, and it is in thy cause too. We 
have poor children that are ready to starve, and if we 
have one bit now, we know not where to have another, 
and we are in nakedness. These things cry to heaven 
against those that have superfluity here, that have 
wherewithal to relieve others, and are altogether for 
themselves and the maintenance of their lusts. 

Seventhly, Know this, and this is a main thing, 
not only carnal people, but many that do profess 
religion, are very guilty herein ; they have many of 
them very rigid and cruel hearts ; they think to put 
off God with going to hear sermons, praying in their 
families, and it may be keeping themselves from the 
defilements of thetimes, and they look after ordinances, 
and purity of ordinances. In these things they do 
well to do so ; but while thou art doing so, for thee 
to slight the work of mercy towards those that are 
in misery, know that all the.se acts of thy religion 
axe thrown by God as filth and dung in thy face. 



God cares for none of the acts of rehgion where 
there is an unmerciful heart. Be never so forward 
in hearing, in praying, in fasting, in an}' ordinances 
of God, yet when thy heart is unmerciful, the Lord 
despises thy offering, despises all the duties of re- 
ligion that thou performest. Take two or three 
scriptures for this that are observable. The first is 
that in James i. 27, ' Pure religion, and undefiled 
before God and the Father is this, to visit the 
fatherless and widows in then- affliction, and to keep 
himself unspotted from the world.' This is pure 
religion, and undefiled before God and the Father, to 
visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction. If 
this text were in the Old Testament we should have 
some say that this is a legal thing ; but here you see 
the apostle hath it in the New Testament, and tells 
you that pure religion consists in this : You that 
would be kept from the defilements of the world, 
from defilements in worship, and have your religion 
more pure than others, look to your religion in this. 
Here is purity of religion : ' Pure religion and un- 
defiled before God and the Father is this, to visit 
the fatherless and widows in their affliction.' I 
would we had more puritans of this kind, such 
puritans that are pure in this religion, that have 
bowels of mercy towards others. And that scripture 
that you have likewise in Isa. Iviii. is very remark- 
able for this. If you read divers expressions that 
you have there, it is exceeding full. Ver. 3, ' Where- 
fore have we fasted,' say they, ' and thou seest not,' 
&c. ' Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to 
smite with the fist of wickedness.' It were well we 
had never any such fasts, to fast for strife and debate. 
Then in ver. 6, ' Is it such a fast that I have chosen ? 
a day for a man to afflict his soul ? is it to bow down 
his head like a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and 
ashes under him ? wilt thou call this a fast, and an 
acceptable day to the Lord?' as if they should say, 
Lord, what is the fast that thou hast chosen ? Ver. 
6, 7, 'Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose 
the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, 
and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break 
every yoke ? is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, 
and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy 
house ? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover 
him ; and that thou hide not thyself from thine 
own flesh?' For so we are to account all, even 
strangers, as our own flesh : ' Then shall thy light 
break forth in the morning.' So that in these times 
of fast let us look to this. This is the fast that God 
requires. Fasting and alms are to go together. The 
more we fast the more merciful we are to be to others, 
or otherwise our fasting is nothing. More scriptures 
may be named, but these two are prime ones, to shew 
where there is not mercifulness all is rejected, even 
our prayers are rejected. Zech. vii. 5, ' When ye 



Mat. V. 7.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



145 



fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, 
even those seventy years did ye at all fast unto me, 
even to me ? and when ye did eat, and when ye did 
drink, did ye not eat for yourselves, and drink for 
yourselves ? should ye not hear the words which the 
Lord hath cried by the former prophets, when Jeru- 
salem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities 
thereof round about her, when men inhabited the 
south and the plain ? ' Yer. 9, ' Thus speaketh the 
Lord of hosts, saying. Execute the true judgment, 
and shew mercy and compassion every man to Els 
brother.' You only minded yourselves, and regarded 
yourselves when you were fasting and praying ; and 
so we find, in Acts x., of Cornelius, when his prayers 
were accepted of God, the text saith that his alms 
and prayers came up to God both together. 

Eighthly, If thou hast an unmerciful heart, thy 
prayers are so far from being accepted and regarded 
of God, as they cry against thee, and are witnesses 
against thee ; for when thou comest to pray to God for 
mercy, and art unmerciful thyself, the Lord will 
bring thy prayers to be witnesses against thee. And 
whenever thou art crying to God, saith God, ' Here 
is a cruel, hard-hearted wretch ; if he get but ad- 
vantage over others, he will improve it to the utter- 
most, and, let others perish and suffer never so much, 
he cares not ; yet he comes to me for mercy. Know 
the Lord, in the time of thy prayer, will remember 
all thy cruelty, and all the hardness of thy heart 
towards others. This is the evil of thine unmerci- 
fulness. 

Ninthly, Thou mayest expect that God will harden 
others against thee. 

Tenthly, Know that this sin of cruelty and 
hardness of heart towards others, it is worse than a 
heathenish sin. Josephus in his ' Antiquities,' book 
XV. chap. 12, tells a notable story of Herod, whom 
you read of in Scripture, a wicked wretch. It was 
Herod Agrippa that was slain with worms. This 
Herod, .Josephus tells of him, that in the time of com- 
mon dearth and calamity, he melted all his plate that 
he had, all the gold and silver that he had in the 
court, he melted it all, and put it into money ; and 
he spai'ed nothing for the excellency of the fashion 
and workmanship. He had many curious pieces of 
plate that had excellent workmanship about them ; 
but he spared none, but melted all, and bought corn 
with it, and gave it out unto the poor for their relief, 
and provided work for them too, and gave a great 
part to strangers. And because that the dearth was 
so great that they had not so much as seed to sow 
their fields withal, he did not only provide bread for 
them, but provided seed-corn to sow their ground 
for another year. Thus even Herod, wicked Herod, 
that we cry out so much upon — for he was un- 
godly, and a reprobate — yet, for the outward work 



of mercy, he was thus merciful to those that were in 
misery. 

But here it is said, ' That they are blessed that are 
merciful.' 

It is true, if they be graciously merciful, if they 
exercise mercy as a work of faith, and tendered up 
in th« name of Christ ; but this was for the outward 
part of the work of mercy, and in this he went be- 
yond a great many among us that make great jjro- 
fession of religion. Unmercifulness is worse than a 
heathenish sin. 

Eleventhly, The Lord makes it to be the sin of 
Sodom and Gomorrah. One gi'eat charge that God 
gives against Sodom and Gomorrah, why they were 
destroyed with fire from heaven, was their unmerci- 
fulness, Ezek. xvi. 49 : there the Lord is charging 
of Sodom for their vile and great sins, and saith, 
' Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, 
pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness 
was in her, and in her daughters, neither did she 
strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.' Here 
is a sin which was one of the sins for which Sodom 
was destroyed with fire and brimstone from heaven ; 
and therefoi'e certainly this is a greater evil than we 
are aware of. The evil of unmercifulness is worse 
than we can imagine ; and therefore look to it, I 
beseech you. If I should be speaking of some other 
sin, it may be your consciences would fly in your 
faces. But you have a great deal of cause to have 
your consciences wound you, and to go and be hum- 
bled before the Lord for this sin of unmercifulness ; 
and who is there that hath any competent estate but 
upon examination his conscience will charge him with 
this ? Oh Lord, thou knowest that much of my estate 
hath been spent upon vanity and my lusts, or upon 
my will ; and yet this man for a good use will grudge 
to give five shillings, though hundreds of pounds shall 
go merely to have his Will and lusts. Be humbled 
for this sin ; the Lord looks upon it with another 
manner of eye than you do j and this may be the sin 
that may cause God in the time of your distress 
utterly to leave you. 

But the main thing in the point, it is a use of 
exhortation. If Christ pronounces him blessed that is 
merciful, let us be in love with this grace of mercy. 
Oh that we had more merciful men ! This is a time 
of crying for mercy; yet it is the worst time for hard- 
ness of heart and cruelty as ever was. Certainly 
whosoever shall get an estate in these times with 
base scraping together, may expect a curse upon that 
estate more than ever was upon any man's e.state 
that was gotten at another time ; and therefore this 
scripture is a seasonable scripture. The Lord fasten 
it upon your hearts, that you may go away with this 
written upon them, ' Blessed are the merciful : for 
they shall obtain mercy.' There were never such 



146 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 7. 



objects of mercy. "Woeful extremity have many en- 
dured, and that in the cause of God ; and others of 
the saints of God cry for mercy. We have received 
mercy ourselves ; it is a time of God's mercy to us. 
AVhat mercy do we hear of every day almost, every 
week ; still one mercy comes upon the heels of an- 
other. This town surrendered, and this army wholly 
routed and spoiled, whereas we were afraid we should 
have lain at the mercy of cruel bloody soldiers. The 
Lord hath delivered us from them, and hath magnified 
his mercy in keeping England alive, in keeping this 
city alive, in preserving your families, in preserving 
your estates so much as they have been preserved. 
-Jt is a time of mercy; the bowels of God's mercies 
are so enlarged, so yearning towards us, as calls for 
mercy to our brethren. Let lis look round about us, 
we see nothing but mercy. There are places that 
wherever they look, they see upthing but footsteps 
of God's displeasure^of justice, wrath, and misery. 
But wherever we look we see mercy ; when we are 
here now, we can every one of us look upon one 
another as objects of God's mercy. That we have 
these liberties thus to exercise ourselves, and to join 
thus publicly to call upon God, to pray to God, what 
mercy is here ! And since these times hath not God 
been merciful to your souls, in revealing his gospel 
and the glorious things of eternal life to you ? When 
thou goest home, what canst thou see but mercy ? 
Look upon thy yoke-fellow, there is mercy ; look 
upon thy children, there is mercy; look upon thy 
table, there is mercy ; look vipon thy servants, there 
is mercy ; look into thy bed, there is mercy ; look 
upon everything in thy house, there is mercy ^vl•itten 
thereon; look upon thy own body, there is mercy; 
take the Bible and read the eternal counsels of God 
concerning thy eternal estate, there is mercy ; that a 
family can fall down upon their knees, and there be 
blessing God for preserving and bringing in all out- 
ward comforts that they stand in need of, still there 
is nothing but mercy round about us. And what, 
shall we in the midst of mercies be unmerciful ? How 
do all these mercies call to thee for mercies towards 
others. 

Again, Set before you the beauty and excellency 
of mercy, and consider of it. Chrysostom hath an 
expression about mercy, that it is more excellent than 
to have the gift to raise from the dead ; if God should 
give one ability to raise from the dead, it were not 
a greater good than to have a heart to be merciful to 
those that are in misery ; we need not go to him but 
to the Scripture. There are the most excellent things 
spoken of it in Scripture, that would make a man 
admire that any man professing godliness should not 
have bowels of mercy towards those that are in 
misery. There be six notable Scripture expressions 
concerning the excellency of this grace. 



The first is this. It is called tlie administration of 
service, the service of God: 2 Cor. ix. 12, 'The 
ministry of this liturgy.' There are many stand for 
your old liturgy, and think it is a hard case that that 
is taken from them. Here you have a liturgy that 
you may keep, and that with the good-will of God 
and men too, and be in love with this liturgy — that 
is, the works of mercy, it is called God's liturgy. 
AVhereas you use to call the liturgy divine service, 
here is a divine service that you may tender up to 
God. All of you that have estates, you may have 
this divine service. You complain thus one to an- 
other, Would we had our divine service again. You 
may have this every day, and be as acceptable to God 
as ever that was certainly, and abundantly more ; and 
therefore seeing that is gone, make it up in this minis- 
try, in this liturgy, for so is the word in the original. 

The second commendation of this grace is this. That 
it is a grace doth manifest the professed subjection 
of men to the gospel ; and till men come to have mer- 
ciful hearts towards others, they do not come to have 
a professed subjection to the gospel. You are not 
brought under the subjection to the gospel in a pro- 
fessive way, till your hearts be brought to be merciful 
towards your brethren ; and that you have in the 
same scripture, 2 Cor. ix. 13; speaking of the relief 
of others, and mercy towards others, he calls it there, 
the ' professed subjection to the gospel.' So it is in 
your books, the subjection of the profession to the 
gospel ; so that, would you come and manifest a pro- 
fessive subjection to the gospel — viz., that whereas the 
Lord hath revealed in infinite mercy the gospel of his 
Son Jesus Christ unto you, and expects that all you 
should come and subject yourselves to this gospel, 
and make a profession that you do it. This is one 
thing wherein you should do it : thus. Lord, here we 
declare that the mercy which we have found from 
thee in thy glorious gospel, it takes off our hearts 
from all things in the world, and enlarges our hearts 
towards others that are in misery. In this, Lord, we 
manifest our professive subjection to thy gospel. And 
you shall find there is nothing doth more take off the 
hearts of men from scraping after the world than the 
knowledge of the gospel of Christ ; and as soon as 
ever we find in Scripture that the gospel had brought 
any into subjection to it, they presently were ready 
and willing to distribute anything that they had to 
the necessity of the saints. That is the second com- 
mendation, The professed subjection unto the gospel. 

Thirdly, It is called the exceeding grace of God ; 
and that you have in the 14th verse of this 2 Cor. ix. 
The apostle there calls it the exceeding grace of God, 
because the Lord was jileased to melt their hearts 
towards others, and enlarge their bowels towards 
others. The apostle was so affected with it, that he 
saith, it is the exceeding grace of God. This we look 



Mat. V. 7.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



147 



upon as the exceeding grace of God, more than the 
ordinary grace of God. 

The fourth commendation is this, It is called ' the 
unspealcable gift,' and that you have in the last verse. 
The unspeakable gift, saith the apostle, that God 
should thus enlarge your hearts in mercy towards 
others. Here is a gift of God ; you give to others 
that that he gives you. A heartr to be merciful unto 
others ; this is the unspeakable gift of God. 

The fifth expression from Scripture is this, It is 
called a sweet smell, and that in Phil. iv. 18, 'An 
odour of a sweet smell.' You that would have your 
houses sweet, you may have them perfumed thus ; it 
is the best perfume in the world. Great folks will 
have their frankincense to perfume their houses ; 
and would you have yours smell sweet, perfume them 
with the works of mercy. When you do works of 
mercy towards otheis, you have perfumed your 
houses, you have perfumed your bodies and souls. 
Now there is a sweet smell unto God. 

The si.xth expression is, It is a sacrifice acceptable 
and pleasing to God ; here be three in one. Would 
you offer a sacrifice to God ? The work of mercy, it 
is a sacrifice, and a sacrifice acceptable, and a sacri- 
fice well-pleasing to God, in Phil. iv. 18, ' A sacrifice, 
acceptable' or received, and 'well-pleasing to God.' 
Would you do a well-pleasing thing to God ? Do 
works of mercy; they are well-pleasing to God, and 
they are sacrifices. So that those that are in misery, 
are, as it were, the altars upon which you do offer 
this sacrifice to God. So in Heb. xiii. 16, you have 
an expression to the same purpose, that it is a sacri- 
fice well-pleasing to God. Consider, therefore, what 
comfort it will be to you when you die. Whether do 
you think it will be more comfort when you die to 
think thus: I have spent so much in a tavern, or I 
have relieved the necessities of so many poor people ; 
I have spent so much upon my lusts, or upon a whore, 
or I have been a means that so many poor distressed 
people will bless God for me ? Or thus, it may be 
when you die it shall be said that such a man died 
worth so much; but is it not a greater glory for so many 
families to come and bless the Lord for thee — I have 
found such a one a good master, I might have starved 
had it not been for such a one, I have cause to bless 
God for him. Would not this be a greater good to 
you when you die, than to think that you leave so 
much ? What if you reckon less ? Certainly a sweet 
memorial of the work of mercy were a great deal 
better than anything you could leave behind you. 
You know that the works of mercy will be a good 
testimony unto you in the day of Jesus Christ to 
witness for you. Luke xvi. 9, it is a scripture that 
hath some difficulty in it ; saith Christ, ' I say unto 
you, make unto yourselves friends of the mammon of 
unrighteousness ; that when ye fail, they may receive 



you into everlasting habitations.' He calls riches 
mammon, because men do ordinarily make it their 
god ; of unrighteousness, though all riches are not 
unrighteousness, but because for the most part they 
are got and used unrighteously ; therefore they have 
this title from God. Make you friends, that is, 
by the works of mercy, ' that when ye fail, they may 
receive you into everlasting habitations.' By this 
■we are to understand thus much : that, look what 
works of mercy any one doth by faith, when he shall 
come to fail, as ere long all rich men must fail — that 
is, they must leave their estates, or they must leave them 
— then their good works may be as testimonies unto 
God, whereby they may come to be received into those 
everlasting mansions that Christ is gone before to pre- 
pare for them ; not through the merit of these, as 
papists teach, but these will be a testimony to thee. 
Learned Chemnitius upon the place saith" thus,' It 
may be when rich men fail, those that have been 
merciful, and come to be sick and die, it may be here 
comes some minister of God, that when he was a poor 
scholar was relieved by him, and he comes to witness 
for him, and saith, Lord, I was a poor youth, and 
had not this man been pleased in mercy to look upon 
me I might have spent all my days in raking in 
kennels ; but he was pleased to bring me up in learn- 
ing, and through thy mercy thou hast made me an 
instrument of good in thy church ; and Lord, he was 
a great means of it, through his bounty and mercy. 
Here is a witness, and this comes to witness well for 
such a man at the great day. And there comes an- 
other poor family, and they come and witness. Lord, 
had it not been for such a man, we had like to have 
perished and starved ; Lord have mercy upon this 
man who" thus shewed mercy to us. Thus make 
friends by your unrighteous mammon, by those riches 
that are ordinarily used in the world as weapons of 
unrighteousness, as means to maintain men's lusts; 
the more you can come to make such friends, the 
Lord will accept of you, and you shall be received 
into everlasting habitations. And what an improve- 
ment will this be of your estate, when you shall have 
such a testimony before God, and come to be reward- 
ed with these everlasting habitations ! You think 
you must provide for your house, and make it all 
brave and handsome ; but here are everlasting habita- 
tions that are possible to be obtained. And those that 
are merciful in a gracious manner, they have such a 
promise as this. 

To answer some pretences of men that hinder this 
work of mercy. 

Say some, I am poor and mean. There is a scrip- 
ture to shew that even poor people should be merci- 
ful. Though thou canst do but little, do something. 
You know the poor widow's mite w-as accepted more 
than all the rich men's treasure. 2 Cor. viii. 1, 2, 



148 



BUKROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 7. 



' Moreover, brethren, we do you to "\vit of the grace 
of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia ; how 
that for a great trial of afflictions the abundance of 
their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the 
riches of their liberality.' It is as elegant an expres- 
sion as we can have in any author about such a busi- 
ness ; it is such a high phrase as we cannot imagine 
a higher. They were poor, and it was a depth of 
poverty, and yet their deep poverty did abound to 
the riches of their liberality. Secondly, You will 
say, Our estates are very uncertain. We have some- 
what now, but it may be all may quickly be gone ; 
we had best to reserve somewhat. There is an 
excellent scripture for this, that this should be no 
hindrance from mercy, Eccles. xi., beginning, ' Cast 
thy bread upon the waters : for thou shalt find it after 
many days. Give a portion to seven, and also to 
eight ; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon 
the earth.' Here the Holy Ghost makes that which 
thou wilt make an argument against it to be an argu- 
ment for it. What saith the Holy Ghost? Is it 
like there may come evils upon the earth — is it like 
there may come troublesome times — let us spare for 
ourselves? Nay; saith the Holy Ghost, Give the 
rather ; if thou beest afraid of evU times, give the 
rather, and be more abundant in the works of mercy 
because of that. ' If the clouds be full of rain, they 
empty themselves upon the earth ; ' as if the Holy 
Ghost should say. Look, do you see how the clouds 
are gathered by many vapours from the earth, and 
then are filled with rain ; they do not keep it to them- 
selves, but empty themselves upon the earth. So 
you that have estates, you have gathered it from 
many in your employment, from this providence and 
the other ; and now you are full, let it not be for 
yourselves — empty yourselves \ipon poor people that 
lie even upon the earth. ' And if the tree fall toward 
the south, or toward the north, in the place where 
the tree falleth, there it shall be,' saith the Holy 
Ghost. The meaning is this, whereas some may say, 
It may be we may give, and give to some that are 
good, and to some that are naught, and we do not 
know whether there will come good of what we give. 
Saith the Holy Ghost, as where a tree falls when it 
is cut down, yet still it is to the advantage and bene- 
fit of him that owns it. He finds it when it is fallen 
there ; he can make use of it. So you give some- 
times to good, and sometimes to bad, yet the fruit 
of your mercy shall lie, and you shall find the benefit 
of it. Or rather as others, thus : they make the tree 
falling to signify the death of men. Be merciful 
while you live ; the tree will fall, and look, how it falls 
there it lies. You know a tree, when it is cutting 
down, it will fall the way that there is most boughs, 
and that way it most inclines to whilst it was stand- 
ing. So saith the Holy Ghost, the way that your 



hearts most incline to, that way you will fall. If 
you have the fruits of mercy and good works, that 
you are abundant that way, and yo.ur hearts turning 
that way, you will fall that way ; and so you will lie 
and be found at the great day, according to what the 
proportion of your hearts and your works have been. 
Again, ' He that observes the wind shall not sow ; 
and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.' 
Mark the answer to the covetous heart that woukl 
be scant in the works of mercy : I have not fit ob- 
jects to bestow my mercy upon. He that observes 
the wind shall not sow. If a husbandman shall be 
looking every day, and see the wind in the clouds, 
and thinks it will not be fair weather, and so will not 
venture anything, he will never make any work of 
his ploughing or sowing ; so, saith the Holy Ghost, 
be not too prying and observing of these wants of 
mercy, whether the object be a tit object, yea or no. 
It may be I may and have bestown a great deal, 
but have seen no good come of it. Mark what fol- 
lows in the 5th verse : ' As thou knowest not what 
is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow 
in the womb of her that is with child : even so thou 
knowest not the works of God, who maketh all. In 
the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening with- 
hold not thy hand : for thou knowest not whether 
shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they 
both shall be alike good.' As if he should say. Go 
and do all the work you can ; though you see nothing 
come of it, yet know there are secret ways of the 
providence of God workmg about his own ends and 
your good ; and therefore be not discouraged in doing 
all the good you can. For as thou knowest not what 
is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow 
in the womb, as there is a secret providence in carry- 
ing on things in the womb, so there is a secret pro- 
vidence in working about good in those ways that 
thou art not able to understand ; and therefore be 
not discouraged. So in the 6th verse, ' In the morn- 
ing sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not 
thine hand ; for thou knowest not whether shall pros- 
per, this or that,' &c. I have done no great good 
with this good action, therefore I am discouraged ; 
yet let me try another and another. ' In the morn- 
ing sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not 
thine hand,' &c. There is likewise a notable scrip- 
ture in Heb. xiii. 14, 15, ' For here have we no con- 
tinuing city, but we seek one to come.' We have 
no continuance in this world ; we go up and down, 
and are driven from place to place. Then what fol- 
lows in the 15th verse, ' By him thei-efore let us offer 
the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the 
fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name.' That 
we will do, we will offer praise. But then what fol- 
lows, ver. 16, ' But to do good and to communicate 
forget not : for with such sacrifice God is well pleased.' 



Mat. V. 7.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



149 



We liave no abiding condition, yet let us bless God, 
and to do good and to communicate forget not. 
Thougb your estate be never so uncertain, yet do 
good, and to communicate forget not ; for ■with, such 
sacrifice God is well pleased. 

But I may want myself if I should give. See Prov. 
xxviii. 27, ' He that giveth unto the poor shall not 
lack.' Darest thou trust God for thy soul upon his 
promise, and not for thy body and outward estate ? 
There is no such way to come to want as to be of an 
unmerciful disposition towards others ; ' he that giveth 
to the poor shall not lack,' saith the text ; ' but he 
that hideth his eyes shall liave many a curse.' Thou 
art afraid thou shalt want ; why ! wilt thou engage 
God to thee that thou shalt not want ? Here is a 
scripture that will engage God to thee, ' He that giveth 
to the poor, he shall not want.' 

But that I do will quickly be forgotten ; let me do 
never so many good things, within a while all is for- 
gotten ; for this look into Heb. vi. 10. It may be 
thou hast done many good things, and thou hast done 
them in secret, which is a good sign that thou dost 
them in faith, and fearest they will be forgotten. No, 
* God is not unrighteous to forget your work and 
labour of love, which ye have shewed towards his 
name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and 
do minister.' Mark how God engages himself; what 
need God regard what we do ; can we do anything but 
that that we have from God before ? Yet God binds 
himself thus ; as if he should say, Art thou a mer- 
ciful man or woman ; dost thou do good in the place 
where thou livest ? I should be an unrighteous God 
if I forget thee. God is not unrighteous to forget 
your labour of love, and your work in ministering to 
the saints ; minister to the saints, and God will not 
forget your labour of love, he is not unrighteous to 
do it. As if he were unrighteous, if he should for- 
get ; men are unrighteous towards you — they in an 
unrighteous manner do forget what you do for them, 
but God will not be unrighteous to forget your labour 
of love in ministering to the saints. 

Very few do anything this "svay, and il do as 
much as others. That scripture in Phil. iv. 15, ' Now 
ye Philippians, know also that in the beginning of 
the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no 



church communicated with me, as concerning giving 
and receiving, but ye only. Here was the commen- 
dations of the Philippians. What a condition was 
Paul in, that though he was such an instrument of 
God's glory, yet no church did communicate to his 
necessities but only the Philippians. This is a high 
commendation, if God gives you a merciful heart 
rather than others. Do not you account it a great 
mercy and blessing if you grow rich more than others? 
Certainly to be rich in good works is more than to be 
rich in money ; and this wiU add to your great com- 
mendations, and will add to your comfortable account 
in the day of Christ. Therefore take heed of vain 
reasonings of your hearts against the works of mercy ; 
and whenever you are called upon for any works of 
mercy, take heed of such reasonings in your hearts 
against the same, and that for ever your vain reason- 
ings may be stopped. In Deut. xv. 7, 8, ' If there 
be among you a poor man, one of your brethren 
within thy gates, in the land which the Lord thy 
God giveth thee ; Thou shalt not harden thine heart, 
nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother.' Here 
is the charge, ' But thou shalt open thine hand wide 
unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his 
need, in that which he wanteth.' Then in ver. 9, 
' Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked 
heart, saying, the seventh year, the year of release is 
at hand, and thine eye be evil against thy poor bro- 
ther, and thou givest him nought, and he cry unto 
the Lord against thee, and it be sin unto thee.' Be- 
ware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, 
saying, the year of release is at hand. God would 
have his to talce heed, that there be not an evil thought 
in their hearts to object against it. There is a work 
of mercy propounded, and they have twenty objec- 
tions against it ; but beware, saith God, that there be 
not an evil thought in thy wicked heart. All objec- 
tions against works of mercy they do come from a 
wicked heart, from the wickedness of men's hearts. 
And so you shaU find the Scripture doth go on still 
in giving charge to relieve their poor brother, and to 
take heed that no objections do prevail against work 
of mercy. Remember, ' Blessed are the merciful, for 
they shall obtain mercy.' 



150 



BUKROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 7. 



SERMON XXIV. 



MOTIVES TO SHEW MERCY. 



' Blessed are the merciful : for they shall obtain merci/.' — Mat. v. 7. 



The commendation of this gi'ace of mercy you have 
had abundantly. Consider yet further, 

That the end why God shews mercy to you more 
than others, it is that you might do good to others. 
Why would God have some poor, some rich, but 
that he might crown patience in one, and mercy in 
another ? 2 Cor. i. 4, saith the apostle there, speak- 
ing of spiritual mercy, ' Who comforteth us in all 
our tribulations ' — why ? ' that we may be able to 
comfort them that are in any trouble, by the same 
comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of 
God.' This is the end why God comforteth us in our 
tribulations, that we may comfort those that are in 
trouble with the comfort wherewith we ourselves are 
comforted of God. This is a great argument to 
spiritual mercy, and so by consequent for relieving in 
outward afflictions. Hath God bestowed any com- 
fort upon your souls at any time, brought you out of 
sore distresses, answered very distracting doubts, and 
delivered you from dreadful fears ? Now .when you 
see others that are under dreadful and grievous 
temptations, know the way that God requires is that 
you should be merciful to them ; and he hath there- 
fore comforted you, delivered you from your spiritual 
afflictions, that you might help to deliver them. And 
so in bodily distress. Some of you have been poor 
heretofore ; the Lord hath helped you, and given 
you estates ; whether you have been poor or not, 
God hath given you estates plentifully. Certainly it 
is not for yourselves only, but that you might com- 
fort those that want comfort. It is one part of God's 
end in this, in making a difference between one man 
and another. 

A second motive that I would add, It is a mighty 
ease to those that are in affliction to consider. Though 
I be in afflictions, in straits, and in the depth of 
poverty, yet the Lord hath taken care for me, the 
Lord hath given the grace of his Spirit to his saints 
to be merciful to those that are in affliction ; and the 
Lord lays weight upon them, and gives great charge 
to them to exercise the grace of mercy. Surely the 
Lord hath a care of me ; though I want, yet the 



Lord doth therefore indue his saints with the grace 
of mercy, that they might help me in my misery. 
And, I beseech you, do not discourage the hearts of 
those that are in misery, that they may not make 
their moan to God, saying, Lord, hast thou made 
such a difterenee between me and others, and is there 
no care of me at all ? Hast thou given charge to 
none to look upon me, to pity me, to help me ? 
When thou shalt look upon the sorrows and miseries 
of thy brethren, and art merciful towards them, then 
they will acknowledge, if they be gracious, God's 
goodness, that the Lord hath been pleased to take 
care over them, and secretly to give thee a charge 
and a command to pity and help them. Therefore, 
be merciful. 

Agam, Hereby thou shalt honour God exceeding 
much. God accounts it his honour when his ser- 
vants do communicate of his goodness ; so it is a 
special part of the honour of God to be communi- 
cative ; so it is the honour of his saints. In Prov. 
xiv. 31, ' He that ojiprcsseth the poor reproacheth 
his Maker : but he that honoureth him hath mercy 
on the poor.' For men to oppress the poor, they do 
but reproach their Slaker ; as if so be that God 
would make such distance between man and man, 
and have no care of those that are in misery, you 
reproach God ; but he that honoureth him, hath 
mercy on the poor. This is a great way of honour- 
ing God; 1 Pet. iv. 11, 'If any man minister, let 
him do it out of the ability which God giveth, that 
God in all things may be glorified through Jesus 
Christ.' It is spoken first of the work of the minis- 
try in dispensing the word ; but likewise applied in 
general to all ministering of the gifts and graces of 
God, and any good thing that God gives us, that 
of all things God may be glorified through Jesus 
Cln-ist. 

Further, you know those scriptures that tells you 
that God accounts it as his own. Christ accounts it 
as given to him, what is given to a disciple in the 
name of a disciple ; ' and inasmuch as you gave it 
to these little ones, you gave it unto me.' 



Mat. V. 8.] 



btjeeoughs on the beatitudes. 



151 



AVe find that God stands so muck upon the works 
of mere)', that he is wiUing to have his own worship 
to stay upon it. If the matter lies thus, that either 
I must for the time be without worship, or those in 
necessity be without relief, saith God, I will rather 
be without worship than they shall be without relief. 
That scripture in Hosea vi., quoted divers times by 
Christ in the Gospel, ' I will have mercy and not 
sacrifice,' is a text that all that are acquainted with 
Scripture cannot be ignorant of. God stands much 
upon his sacrifice, but he stands more upon mercy. 
Saith God, If both be laid in the balance, either a 
sacrifice to be offered to me, or a work of mercy unto 
this poor brother — if there must but one be done, let 
the work of mercy be done rather than sacrifice. 
Surely it is that that God prizes highly. The Lord 
is content to be without sacrifice for mercy. Be mer- 
ciful therefore. 

By the work of mercy, you that are in a mean 
condition otherwise, may come to have as high a re- 
ward as the most eminent saints of God. In Mat. x. 
41, saith Christ, ' He that receiveth a prophet in the 
name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward ; 
and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of 
a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's re- 
ward.' Be merciful to those that are gracious ; you 
may come to have as great a reward as they. 

You that are poor men and poor women will say, 
We can do Uttle for God ; we can be employed but 
little in any service for God — we are weak ; but 
here is a way how you may come to have the reward 
of the prophets of God, and the most eminent of the 
saints, by shewing works of mercy unto them. 

And that these things may the rather sink into 
your hearts, labour to principle your hearts fully in 
this, That 'it is a better thing to give than to re- 
ceive ; ' you know they are the words of Christ. It 
will be very hard to get this principle into the hearts 
of many people, that it is a more blessed tiling to 
be merciful to others than to be rich to themselves ; 
j'et that is the wisdom of Christ. Christ saith so ; 
and did we account of mercies to be better than 
our riches, this would be a mighty help to the 
works of mercy. There is many people think that 
aU they bestow in works of mercy is lost. No ; ' He 
that giveth to the poor, lendeth to the Lord ; and he 
shall have it again.' It is better a great deal than 
anything he doth enjoy ; that that is given, you 
should look upon as the best part of your riches. 
It is a speech of an ancient, ' How much more 
glorious is it to do good to many, than to dwell 
sumptuously ! ' 

Secondly, If you would have these things take 
impression ; labour to make the times where you 
yourself heretofore have had need of mercy to be as 
present to you. When you see an object of mercy, 



think. Was I never miserable myself ? was I never 
an object of mercy myself ? did I never see need of . 
mercy myself. 

Again, It may be I am well now, and all well 
about me, may not I be an object of mercy ere 
long ? What if I were now in that condition, that 
all comfort from all creatures left me, were taken 
from me, that I had before — what if it were so with 
me now ? then I would prize mercy. Is mercy good 
then to you, and is it not good now? Oh make 
these times real to you. Men that have their health, 
and are in peace aud prosperity, they go on in their 
bravery and busthng as if there should never be a 
change ; but the very thought of thy change, and 
the sad condition that thou mayest be soon in, would 
mightily work upon your bowels to shew mercy 
towards others. 

Lastly, Let your eye affect your heart ; do not 
turn away your eyes from them, but look upon 
them ; Lam. iii. 51, ' Mine eye affecteth mine heart.' 
It is a mighty means to affect the heart, to have the 
eye look upon those in misery. You that enjoy all 
comforts, look upon the lamentable objects that 
there are in the world, that there are in the city ; 
look into the hospitals among wounded soldiers, 
among those that are miserably poor, and let your 
eye ati'ect your heart that you may be merciful, for 
' blessed are the merciful : they shall obtain mercy. 

We now pass by this point of mercifulness, and 
shall proceed to the sixth rule of happiness that here 
Christ propounds : 

Ver. 8. ' Blessed are the pure in heart : for they 
shall see God.' 

There is a good connexion of these two. Some men 
are willing to do good works, and to be very beneficial 
to others, having unclean and guilty consciences of 
their own, and think thereby to stop the mouths of 
their consciences. They are conscious to themselves 
of vile, base ways, and they Uve in some secret haunt 
of wickedness, and so they think that if they be merci- 
ful to others, and do some good works, that will serve 
turn to stop their consciences. I am persuaded that 
many stop their consciences with such things as those 
are. But, saith Christ, do not deceive yourselves in 
that : ' Blessed are the merciful, they shall obtain 
mercy ; ' but he adds this too, ' Blessed are the pure 
in heart.' There must be purity in heart as well as 
mercifulness. There may be many works of mercy done 
by such as are unclean and base-hearted ; and there- 
fore look to that, that your hearts be clean and pure. 

' Blessed are the pure in heart.' 

This Christ makes the rule of blessedness, in op- 
position to the way of the pharisees. They made 
blessedness to consist in outward purity, in their 
outward washings; but, saith Clirist, never satisfy 
yourselves in any ceremonial holiness, but look to 



152 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 8. 



your hearts. ' Blessed are the pure in heart.' We 
shall open this purity of heart: 

First, What this purity of heart is, and then shew 
you what a blessed thing it is to have a pure heart. 

Only premise this, that by heart we are to under- 
stand not only the will or affections, but all the fac- 
ulties of the soul — the mind, conscience, and thoughts, 
all is to be understood by heart. Blessed are those 
who have purity in their minds and consciences, in 
their thoughts, wills, and affections. 

Purity, what is that ? Purity consists in the im- 
mixedness of anything inferior — when a thing hath no 
mixture of anything inferior to itself. That we ac- 
count to be pure metal which hath not anything 
baser than itself mixed with it. If a metal hath an- 
other metal that is more excellent than itself mixed 
witli it, that doth not make it impure ; it may be 
pure still. As if silver hath gold mixed with it, the 
silver is not made impure by the mixture of gold ; 
but if it hath lead or tin mixed with it, it is made 
impure. So the soul of man. There is nothing 
more excellent but God himself. Now, when the soul 
is mixed with the divine nature, then it is made more 
excellent — that is the perfection of it ; but if the soul 
of man be mixed with anything of the creature not in 
order to God, then it is impure — there is a mixture of 
something that is worse than itself; when the mind 
hath principles that are beneath a right rational 
understanding. And so when the thoughts have those 
things mixed that are beneath the excellency of such 
a faculty as thinking and meditating is ; and so the 
will and affections, when they have anything mixed 
beneath the excellency of their faculty, then they 
come to be impure : and the more the thing is beneath 
the soul that they are mixed with, the more impure. 
As the sin of adultery and fornication, it is called by 
the Holy Ghost uncleanness itself, because it is one 
of the meanest and brutishest things for the faculty of 
a rational soul to mix itself with ; therefore that 
hath the denomination of uncleanness. Thus much 
for what purity is in general. 

But what is a pure heart ? 

You may take, instead of a description, these seven 
things to make up the purity of our hearts : 

First, The heart must be cleansed from the guilt of 
sin through faith, made pure that way, washed with 
the blood of Jesus Christ ; no heart is sure else : in 
Acts XV. 9j ' And he put no difference between us 
and them, purifying their hearts by faith.' This 
scripture is ordinarily taken for the work of sanctifi- 
cation, that comes into the heart by faith ; but if you 
observe the context, 3rou shall rather find it to be that 
purity that comes in by faith in justification ; for it is 
spoken of the Gentiles, that were accounted an un- 
clean people to the Jews. But, saith the apostle 
here, God hath taken away their uncleanness ; for he 



hath purified their hearts by faith. They by faith 
having believed in .Jesus Christ, the Lord accepts of 
them as of the children of Abraham. The Lord now 
hath taken away their uncleanness ; thi'ough their 
believing in Jesus Christ, he hath so purified their 
hearts by faith, that through faith they are accounted 
as clean before God as any child of Abraham. They 
are come into" the covenant with God, and so no more 
reckoned among the unclean ones, being purified by 
faith. We are all impure naturally; and though we 
think that by leaving some gross sins, as some men 
that, in the time of their youth, have lived in some 
gross sins, they leave them, and live better, and so 
think they are cleansed ; yet certainly the great work 
of cleansing the soul is the application of the blood of 
Jesus Christ unto it, to wash the soul from its former 
uncleanness. The lieai-t is never pure till then ; all 
thy breaking oft', and leaving thy sinful ways, and 
hving better, will never make thy heart pure before 
God ; it must be the washing of the blood of Jesus 
Christ. And so the very first moment the soul comes 
to believe in Jesus Christ, it is \Yashed from the guilt 
of sin ; for so the Scripture speaks of taking away the 
guilt of sin by that expression of washing with the 
blood of Jesus Christ, as in Rev. i. 6, ' Who hath 
loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own 
blood.' The soul, as soon as it believes in Jesus 
Christ, is washed from the guilt of sin, so as it stands 
as pure before the Lord as the child that is new born, 
and much more ; for there is original corruption ; but 
he is cleansed from the guilt of all those filthy and 
abominable sinful courses that he hath lived in, and 
that the soul is defiled withal — it stands clean before 
God through the blood of Christ, being washed. That 
must be first, or else all other purity is nothing. 

Secondly, A pure heart is a heart acted by pure 
principles. The Scripture speaks of men of corrupt 
minds, 2 Tim. iii. 8 ; and likewise of pure minds, 2 
Pet. iii. L There is much uncleanness in men's 
minds, in the upper chamber of the soul, as I may so 
call it ; and whereas the soul did act from corrupt 
principles, from unworthy apprehensions of God and 
the things of God, from base corrupt notions that it 
had of things it acted ; now it is cleansed, that is, 
those corrupt principles are done away, and it comes 
to have pure principles, right apprehensions of God 
and of the ways of God, of the covenant of grace and of 
the course of a Christian ; and whatever might further 
the ways of holiness in him, the soul hath right ap- 
prehensions of them, and the soul is filled with gra- 
cious and pure principles, and acts from them. We 
may easily see by men's ways and courses that they 
are of corrupt minds, and from these their hearts are 
so filthy and vile. 

Thirdly, A pure heart is such a one as hath cast 
out the love of every known sin, and mingles not with 



Mat. V. S; 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



153 



it tliongli never so small. Sucli a heart as hatli 
renounced every known way of evil, though there is 
remaining some impurity in it, yet it can appeal to 
God that there is no known way of sin but it hates 
and abominates it ; this is called purity of heart in 
all gospel language. If God should reward men 
according to the law, it would not be accounted purity; 
but in the gospel language, where a heart is sincere in 
the renouncing of known sin, and can appeal to God, 
Lord, thou that knowest all things, knowest that 
though I have many evils in my heart, yet they are 
such things that are loathsome to me, that I abomi- 
nate and renounce ; and there is nothing disagreeable 
to thy will, but Lord thou that knowest all things 
knowest my heart is against ; this is a pure heart in 
the gospel language, that hath cast out the love of 
every sin — let conscience speak whether it be so or 
no, for the blessedness is annexed to this ; and cer- 
tainly the contrary is that which makes the soul to 
be an object of God's curse. 

Fourthly, A pure heart is a heart that hath a gra- 
cious frame, suitable to God's holiness. Where there is 
a suitableness and agreeableness in the heart of a man 
or woman unto the holiness of God, to the holy na- 
ture of God, and unto the holiness of God's law, this 
is purity. 

Fifthly, Purity of heart is where there are right 
ends and aims ; or thus, where the heart is conse- 
crated, devoted, given up to God's service, making 
him the highest end of all things, and accordingly 
hath right ends and aims for God in all it doth. This 
is purity. What is the nature of God's holiness ? 
God is a holy God. What is that ? You know holi- 
ness it is the consecration of a thing, setting it apart 
for such an end ; God's holiness it is a kind of con- 
secration of himself, as it were, to himself as the last 
end. Himself is the last end, and the excellency of 
his nature whereby he works to himself as the last 
end, and wills all things in order to it, suitable to his 
own infinite excellency; this is God's purity. But if 
you will take his purity thus : that perfection of his 
will whereby he wills himself, and all things suitable 
to his ovra infinite excellency; that is God's purity. 
Now a pure heart is one that is thus consecrated to 
God as the last end of all, and so works as God works, 
and in all things hath right ends and right aims at 
God. This purity of heart is in opposition to false- 
ness of heart ; and so I find some divines carry 
this purity of heart for uprightness. When men's 
hearts are not double, they have not by-ends and 
squint-eyed aims in what they do, but theii- hearts 
are clean in this, that they are open for God, conse- 
crated to God; -their ends are for God, as for instance 
in the very work of mercy. But a man may be impure 
in the works of mercy if he hath base ends, to serve 
himself and cover his sin — his heart is very unclean. 



A man may do many good things, and yet be very 
impure in the doing of things that are materially 
good ; but now when a man doth not only do tilings 
that are right, but his ends are right, and he aims at 
God's glory, he is able to appeal to God, Lord, thou 
that searehest and triest the secrets of all hearts, try 
this heart of mine ; I am willing my heart should lie 
open to all the world in such and such things ; this 
is a pure heart. 

Sixthly, A pure heart is a heart working to good 
ends with plainness and simplicity ; for it is not 
enough for a man to have good ends, to say. Well, I 
aim at God's ends, but I will have such fetches 
about and such mixing of human and cunning de- 
vices. Many a man blesses himself that he hath 
general aims at God, but he hath a company of 
fetches and devices that are the stirrings of his own 
corruption, and so he spoils all ; so that this purity 
is that which in other scriptures is called the sim- 
plicity of the gospel. When a man walks accordino- 
to the simpUcity of the gospel in all candour and in- 
genuity, in all plainness of spirit, this is purity ; 
when having his ends to be good, and then in the 
attainment to those ends there is nothing but plain- 
ness and the simplicity of the gospel. As for policies 
and devices, they may beseem men in the matters of 
the world, yet when he comes to the matters of Christ 
he carries all on in the plainness and simpheity of 
the gospel. 

Seventhly, A pure heart is a heart suitable to all 
professions and duties that a man doth. When a 
man makes profession of God, and of the ways of 
God, and then hath a heart that doth come up to 
his profession, and when a man doth much service 
for God, and his heart comes up to his service, here 
is purity and agreement between the profession and 
services that a man makes or performs, and the dis- 
position of his heart. The impurity and unclean- 
ness that is in the hearts of hypocrites consists in 
this : their profession is great and glorious, but their 
hearts are not suitable. So, then, take all these 
together, and you see what a pure heart is — a heart 
washed in the blood of Christ from the guilt of sin • 
a heart acting by pure principles ; a heart casting 
out the love of every known sin ; a heart that hath 
a suitableness to the holiness of God and of his law ; 
a heart consecrated, devoted to God, that hath right 
ends for God in all it doth ; a heart working towards 
those good ends in the plainness and simpheity of the 
gospel ; a heart that hath an agi-eeableness to what- 
soever profession is made or services that are done — 
this is a pure heart. Now blessed is the pure in heart. 

If this be pure, where will you find this purity of 
heart in any '? Prov. xx. 9, ' Who can say he hath 
cleansed his heart ?' 

To that it is answered that Christ speaks here in 



154 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 8. 



a gospel way. That may be accepted for purity of 
heart that yet hath much uncleaiiuess remaining 
in it ; but though there be, yet together with these 
dispositions there is added, 

First, That there be pains taken to find out what 
corruption is remaining in thy heart. Lord, I believe 
I have corruption ; oh that I could find it out ! 
When the heart of a man or woman is willing to 
search to find out all the corruptions, yea, the secret 
wanderings and turnings of my heart, the Lord knows 
that if he would speak from heaven and ask me what 
I would have, he knows that this would be one peti- 
tion, that I might know my own heart. 

Secondly, There is an unfeigned mourning for all 
the remainders of that impurity. The heart, when it 
hath found out any corruption, it mourns over it ; 
it accounts it to be the evil, the distemper of the 
heart. And that is observable, that the more peace 
there is in the heart through the assurance that it is 
cleansed in the blood of Christ, the more doth it 
mourn and lament for any uncleanness that ever hath 
been, or is in it ; that Scripture is very observable, 
in Ezek. xxxvi. 25, ' Then will I sprinkle clean water 
upon you, and ye shall be clean : from all your filthi- 
ness and from all your idols will I cleanse you. A 
new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will 
I put within you.' And so he goes on ; and then, ' I 
will also save you from all your uncleannesses ; and 
I will call for the corn,' &o. And then in ver. 31, 
' Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and 
your doings that were not good, and shall loathe your- 
selves in your own sight for your iniquities and for 
your abominations.' And God accounts them to be 
cleansed that do loathe themselves for their iniquities 
and abominations. And no men and women do more 
loathe themselves for their iniquities and abominations, 
than those that are most cleansed from their iniqui- 
ties and abominations. It is a notable scripture for 
it, and speaks of the times of the gospel, that shews 
the evil of those vain and wanton spirits among us, 
that in magnifying of free grace grow foolish and 
wanton, and, never sensible of the remaining evils that 
are in their hearts, they think they are cleansed by 
the blood of Christ, and by the Spirit of Christ ; but 
the text promises that wlien the Lord shall cleanse 
his people, that then they shall loathe themselves for 
all their abominations, and for all their evils. 

Though there be evil remaining, yet still one that 
hath true purity doth watch over himself, to prevent 
the occasions of evil as much as may be. 

And fourthly. Such a one loves the strictest rule. 
I find much impurity in my heart, but God knows 
the strictest rule I aim at ; and those that grow up 
most in godliness my heart is most with them. 

Fifthly and lastl}'. My soul longs for perfection. 
I hope there is a time coming when all my defilement 



shall be done away. For the present my soul is 
washed, perfected in respect of its justification ; and 
I look for a time that it shall be perfect in respect of 
sanctification. Oh that that time were come ! Cer- 
tainly here is a pure heart ; and therefore do not say, 
Where is the pure heart ? and who can make his 
heart pure ? and are there any that are pure ? 

The next thing is to set out unto you the excellency 
that there is in a clean heart. 

First, A pure heart. That shews the excellency 
of it, that it is the fruit of the blood of Christ and the 
work of the Holy Ghost. Those two scriptures you 
had, Eev. i. and Ezek. xxxvi. clear this : It is 
washed with the blood of Christ, and by the Holy 
Ghost it is cleansed. Surely that that is the fruit of 
the blood of Christ, that is purity. When the blood 
of Christ and the Holy Ghost as water comes to be 
poured out upon the soul, surely these must work 
most glorious cleanness and purity. 

Secondly, This purity of heart is the cause of 
soundness of spirit. It is that will help against dis- 
tempers. So that, though there be outward occasions 
to distemper the heart, yet, where the heart is clean 
within, it will not be distempered as others are. As 
it is with the body : the body of a man that is foul, 
let such a one take but a little cold, presently there 
will grow sickness. If there be any external thing 
that puts him. out of any orderly course, then he will 
see the foulness of his body, and he saith. It was the 
cold I took at such a time. The cold thou tookest, it 
was the foulness of thy body, and this cold thou hast 
is but that hath occasioned the stirring of the humours 
of thy body some way or other. A foul body is very 
subject to diseases upon any occasion ; but one that 
hath a clean body, that is cleansed from such humours 
that are in others, let such a one endure cold or heat, 
whatsoever outward thing befalls him, yet his body is 
kept whole and sound. Why, it is from the clean- 
ness that is in the body ; so it is in the heart. The 
hearts of men that are impure, when any temptation 
comes to evil, it doth mightily distemper them : what 
a deal of filth appears in their hearts upon the occa- 
sion of any temptation, and they lay it upon the 
temptation. Though they had tempted thee never so 
much, yet if there had not been much foulness in 
thy heart, the temptation would never have prevailed. 
Saith Christ, ' The devil comes, and he finds nothing 
in me.' In that one thing of passion and anger, 
many of you seem to live very fair and plausibly in 
your course: let some come and anger you, that you 
are put into a passion, what a deal of filthiness and 
baseness will appear in you. You will say, It was 
such a one that angered me, and he provoked me, 
and why did he do thus and thus against me ? So 
j'ou are ready to lay all upon the temptation, when 
the truth is, it was from the filthiness of your cor- 



Mat. V. 8.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



155 



ruptions. For all the filthy stuff that appears iu a 
passion, it was there before, only there was an occa- 
sion to stir it ; but there it lay before, and this 
temptation doth but now make appear what was 
before in the heart. But now one that is pure in 
heart, one that hath those corruptions mortified, that 
is cleansed from pride and self-love and the like, 
though such a one be wronged, yet he can keep him- 
self in a meek and quiet temper ; he can commit his 
cause to God, and go and make his moan to God. 
' Blessed are the pure in heart,' they are of sound 
and hale spirits, and are not easily distempered as 
other men are, and hence follows they have sound 
hearts, (2 Tim. vii. 1.) 

Thirdly, ' Blessed are the pure in heart,' for the}' 
have much peace of conscience ; they are able to look 
upon the face of God with peace and joy. AVhen 
God appears in his great works abroad in the world, 
their consciences speak peace unto them, and they 
rejoice that they have to deal with such a holy God 
as the Lord is ; and all this comes from the cleanness 
that there is in their hearts: in Job xi. 14, 15, ' If 
iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not 
wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.' What then ? 
' For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot, 
yea, thou shalt be steadfast and shall not fear.' Mark, 
here it is spoken concerning the having of clean hands, 
and putting iniquity far from us; surely, when we have 
not only put iniquity from our hands, but from our 
hearts, when wickedness is not only far from our taber- 
nacles, but far from our hearts, then shall we be able 
to lift up our faces without spot, to be steadfast, and 
not to fear whatsoever evil tidings comes; we shall be 
able to look upon the face of God, to lift up our coun- 
tenances and not to fear. When a man hath guiltiness 
in his heart, and he hath an impure conscience, such a 
man, though he can Hft up his face when he is among 
his impure company, yet when God comes to call him 
before himself, and hath to deal with him, so that he 
shaU see plainly it is the just, right, and holy God that 
now I have to deal withal, that I stand before — an im- 
pure conscience, an impure heart will then cause terror 
to be in men, and be ready to overwhelm thee with hor- 
ror; the presence of God it is very dreadful toan impure 
heart. ' Blessed are the pure in heart : for they shall see 
God;' the presence of God shallbe joyful unto them, not 
to others. In Ps. li. 7, 8, David there having defiled his 
heart, began tolook upon thepresence of God as terrible 
to him; and therefore he cries out in ver. 2, 'Wash me 
thoroughly from mine iniquities, and cleanse me from 
my sin ; ' and then in ver. 6, ' Behold, thou desirest 
truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part 
thou shalt make me to know wisdom, purge me with 
hyssop and I shall be clean, wash me, and I shall be 
whiter than snow ; ' then what follows in ver. 8, 
' Make me to hear joy and gladness : that the bones 



which thou hast broken may rejoice.' Make me to 
hear joy and gladness, as if he should say, I have 
defiled my soul with this sin of mine, and the voice 
of joy and gladness is gone from my heart, and my 
very bones are broken with the burden that is upon 
me for my sin ; but. Lord, purge me and cleanse me, 
and then the voice of joy and gladness will be in my 
soul again. Can any of you, whose consciences are 
impure, and that tell you of base uncleanness that 
are in your hearts and ways — can you rejoice ? have 
you gladness in your countenances, Ln your ways ?■ 
Certainly you know not God, you know him not; for 
did you know what a God it is you have to deal withal, 
till the Lord had purged you, you could never have 
joy in your hearts. It is a sign that the grace of God 
is in the heart of a man or woman, when, as they have 
defiled themselves with any sin, there is nothing in all 
the world that can give joy and gladness to their hearts, 
till the Lord hath purged them and cleansed them : 
' Blessed, therefore, are the pure in heart.' There are 
very many excellencies in this purity of heart. 

Fourthly, ' Blessed are the pure in heart,' further, 
for these are the men that are fit to serve God's designs 
in the ways of the gospel. There be no men fit for the 
designs and ways of God in the gospel, but your clean- 
hearted men ; God takes no delight to make use of 
your cunning crafty men — that are crafty in a sinful 
way. It is true the Lord requires us, when we live 
among wicked men, to be wise as serpents and inno- 
cent as doves. But I speak of cunning and craftiness 
when they have to deal with God ; God takes no de- 
light to make use of these, hut your plain, upright, 
and sincere hearts are tit to serve the designs of God 
in the ways of the gospel. As in Ps. xxiv. 3, 4, 
' Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? and who 
shall stand iu his holy place ? He that hath clean 
hands and a pure heart ; who hath not lift up his 
soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall re- 
ceive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness 
from the God of his salvation.' Who is the man that 
shall ascend to the hill of God, that God will receive 
into his church, that is fit to be made an instrument 
of the honour of God in his church ? ' He that hath 
clean hands and a pure heart ; that hath not lift up 
his soul unto vanity.' That is a special uncleanness 
in men's hearts, when they lift up their souls to vanity 
— that is, they will mis their own by-ends with any 
services that thej' are employed in ; but such a one 
as lifts not up his soul to vanity, and looks at God 
with a single eye, this is the man that shall ascend 
up into God's holy hill, this is the generation of them 
that seek the Lord. The blessing of God shall be upon 
such as these are. 

Fifthly, And then another should have been this, they 
are under many gracious and blessed promises : Blessed 
are the pure in heart, for they are under many blessed 



156 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 8. 



promises. In Ps. xviii. 26, ' With the pure thou 
wilt shew thyself pure'; and so in Ps. Ixxiii. 1, 
' Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of 
a clean heart ;' as if he should say, Let the world go 
which way it will, yet truly God is good to Israel, 
even to such as these are. A clean heart is worth a 
world, therefore go on you whose hearts the Lord 
hath begun to cleanse, and labour to get them clean 
more and more, and keep them clean. You that are 
holy be holy still ; account it your riches, account it 
more than all the world that you have a clean heart. 
There is such a man it may be hath a greater 
estate, and is more brave in the world ; but tlie more 
men and women have to do with the vanity of the 
world, the more their hearts are defiled. The Lord 
hath cut me short of those things, but blessed be his 
name, my heart in some measure is clean more than 
others. There are they that have greater parts than I, 
but many times there are very foul liearts that are 
joined with excellent parts. But though I cannot do 
what they can, yet my conscience testifies this to me, 
my heart is clean. Whenever I go to prayer, I can go 
into the presence of God with a clean heart. This 
should comfort thee against the want of any comforts 
whatsoever ; this will keep thee from the defilements 
of the times wherein thou livest. In Ps. cxix. 1, 



' Blessed are the undefiled in the way : they walk in 
the law of the Lord.' It is a blessed thing to be un- 
defiled in our way, that is, when we live in the world 
and can keep ourselves cleansed from the pollutions 
of the world, unspotted in the world, can have our 
hearts clean. There be very few of us hath done 
so ; but when we look back to the times wherein we 
lived before, the times wherein there were so great 
temptations to that that was evil, where is the man 
or woman but doth see cause to lament the defilements 
of their consciences and of their hearts by the pollu- 
tions of the times wherein they lived ? We have 
sullied ourselves by superstitious vanities heretofore, 
and not only in our actions have been defiled, but in 
our very consciences, and just it were with the Lord 
that we should never come to see the good land that 
he is bringing his people unto, because we have so 
sullied ourselves by the superstitious vanities of the 
times wherein we lived. How happy is the man or 
woman that lived in former times wherein there were 
so many pollutions, that yet kept themselves undefiled 
in their way ! I lost more, it may be, than others did, 
yet I kept my heart and conscience clean, and this is 
that that is the comfort of my soul. Blessed are such ; 
the blessing of God is upon them, and shall certainly 
be upon them in a glorious manner. 



SERMON XXV. 

OE, 

WHEREIN A PURE HEART IS BLESSED. 



'Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.' — Mat. v. 8. 



AVe entered upon this sixth rule of blessedness the 
last day, and shall now proceed. 

' Blessed are the pure in heart.' That spiritual 
cleanness of the soul of a man or woman is a very 
blessed thing. It is blessed, 

Fu-st, If we consider the excellency of a man's soul. 
The more excellent a thing is, the more good there is 
in the keeping of it clean and pure from defilements; 
as now, if you have a piece of coarse cloth, you do 
not so much care to keep that clean as you do to keep 
fine lawn and cambric ; it is worse for that to have a 
stain in it than for a piece of sackcloth to have a 
stain in it. Why the excellency of a man's soul is such 
as it is beyond all creatures that ever God made, ex- 



cept the angels, all the works of nature, and there- 
fore the cleanness of a man's soul, to be kept from 
stains and from filth, must needs be an excellent 
thing. 

Secondly, and besides, in the second place. By the 
cleanness of a man's heart, a man comes to savour 
the word of God, to relish spiritual and heavenly 
truths. They are blessed that have clean hearts, for 
such, when they hear the word of God that is pure, 
when they hear the holy truths of God, oh how do 
their hearts rehsh them, and savour them, being 
clean ! As the stomach when it is clean, it relishes 
and savours wholesome food ; whereas, on the other 
side, when men have defiled their hearts, then 



Mat. V. 8.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



157 



the most wholesome and the most blessed truths of 
God are sapless to them, they have no savour nor 
relish, and all because of the uncleanness of their 
hearts. Some of you may remember a time when 
you could relish and savour spiritual things better 
than now you can. Oh, examine your hearts ! look 
into your hearts ; you will find it is through the de- 
filement of your hearts ; you have defiled your con- 
sciences in some sin against conscience. You live in 
some secret haunt of evil, and no marvel though you 
cannot relish and savour the word as you were wont 
to do. 

Thirdly, A clean heart makes one fit to draw near 
to God, to draw nigh to God in all duties of worship, 
and it commends all the duties of worship that any 
one performs : in James iv. 8, ' Draw nigh to God, 
and he will draw nigh to you.' How will you draw 
nigh to God? ' Cleanse your hands, ye sinners ; and 
purify your hearts, ye double-minded.' Purify your 
hearts, you double-minded, and thereby shall you be 
able to draw nigh to God. Men that have unclean 
hearts they dare not come nigh to God ; or if they 
would, conscience cannot draw nigh to God. You 
may go into your closets sometimes, conscience put- 
ting you upon it; but when you are there you cannot 
draw nigh to God, your hearts are foul. But, there- 
fore, purify your heai'ts, labour for cleansed hearts, 
and then, oh how will your heart spring in God's pre- 
sence, and presently get nigh to him ! It commends 
all services that we tender up to God. In Mai. iii. 3, 
there is a prophecy that Christ when he comes 
' will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver : and he 
will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold 
and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offer- 
ing in righteousness.' You come and offer many things 
to God, make many prayers to God, and think that 
God will save you for your good prayers ; but cer- 
tainly there is no offering that ever an impure heart 
did tender up to God, but it is defiled and loathsome 
before the Lord. But then is the offering of right- 
eousness, when the Lord hath purified the heart. 
And in Prov. xxi. 8, ' As for the pure,' saith Solo- 
mon, ' his work is right.' The way of a man is fro- 
ward and strange, but as for the pure his work is 
right. When the Lord hatli cleansed the heart, though 
it may be there be much weakness, yet the work is 
right in God's eyes. 2 Tim. ii. 21, ' If a man there- 
fore purge liimself from these, he shall be a vessel 
unto honour, sanctified and meet for the Master's use, 
and prepared unto every good work.' A purged ves- 
sel is a vessel sanctified and fit for the Master's use, 
and prepared for every good work ; wliereas those 
that have unclean spirits are like filthy, unclean ves- 
sels, unfit to be brought in to the presence of the 
Master. And therefore St Paul, speaking of the ser- 
vice that he did to God, it was ' out of a pure con- 



science.' 2 Tim. i. 3, ' I thank God, whom I serve 
from my forefathers with pure conscience,' saith the 
apostle. He was able to say this as in the presence 
of God — I endeavour to serve God, and do serve him, 
and it is from a pure conscience. ' Oh blessed are the 
pure in heart,' for they are fit to draw nigh to God, 
they are fit for every work that God shall employ 
them in. And it commends all the services that they 
do for God. 

Fourthly, Again, a man that hath a pure heart, his 
life will be convincing before others. There is a great 
deal of beauty and excellency in grace, will appear in 
the conversation of that man or woman who keeps a 
clean heart towards God. There is an excellent 
scripture in Prov. xxii. 11, 'He that loveth pureness 
of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his 
friend.' Oh that God would make good this word of 
his ! that God would make the king the friend of 
Puritans. We know a time there was, that of all 
men in England, those that were called Puritans, and 
many of them who sought to worship God in purity, 
were looked upon by the eye of the king as the most 
odious in the land ; yet there is this promise made, 
that ' He that loveth pureness of heart, for the "race 
of his lips the king shall be his friend.' God is able 
to make the king a friend to Puritans. To those 
that love pureness of heart, the pureness of their hearts 
will so guide them in their ways as to speak and to 
behave themselves in such a manner, that he shall be 
convinced in his conscience. These, certainly, are 
upright men. And others that have been about me, 
they have but flattered me, and deceived me, and led 
me into evil ways— into ways that have done abund- 
ance of mischief in the kingdom, whereby thousands 
have been oppressed, and their blood hath been shed. 
But I see these walk uprightly, according to their 
principles. I find that in one thing as well as in 
another they walk according to rule, and therefore I 
will be their friend. Oh let us pray that God would 
make good this promise ! Certainly, if there be any- 
thing in the world to eonvmce, it is a clean conversa- 
tion out of a clean heart. Not that men only pro- 
fess purity more than others, but that they walk 
answerably, and that they manifest the beauty and 
the excellency of a clean heart in their conversations 
before men. This will convince any in the world. 
Men may speak ill of them, and cry out of them, and 
say they are hypocrites. Well, let the world speak 
like the world ; let them speak according to their own 
skill, as they have in the ways of religion. Do thou 
go on in the ways of hohness, still in a constant way, 
and let there be an evenness in thy conversation in 
one thing as well as another ; manifest the purity of 
thy heart, and at length their consciences will tell 
them that thy ways are better than theirs. Thou 
wilt be honourable in the very consciences of those 



158 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 8. 



that liave cried out against tliee. It is a mighty con- 
vincing thing purity of heart, when it shines forth in 
the life and conversation. 

Fifthly, Again, Blessed are the pure, for all things 
are pure to them: Titus i. 15, 'Unto the pure all 
things are pure ; but unto them that are defiled 
and unbelieving, is nothing pure ; but even their 
mind and conscience is defiled.' Oh, thou hast a 
sanctified use of everything ! hath God sanctified thy 
heart, and dost thou endeavour to sanctify the name 
of God in all thy ways ; know that all things are 
sanctified to thee. And this one word it is worth a 
kingdom, worth a world, that all things should be 
made pure to those that are clean. And this the 
Lord saith, that thou hast a pure use, a sanctified use 
of everything, who labourest to keep thy heart clean 
before the Lord. 

Sixthly, Further, Certainly those will hold out ; 
They will never prove apostates that have clean hearts. 
Indeed, a man may make much profession, and be an 
apostate at last ; but a man that hath a clean heart, 
and walks in sincerity before God, such a man will 
hold out. As it is with gold, gold that is of 
pure metal, put it into the fire and it will not con- 
sume. Indeed, if there be but only a gilding over, 
and the most that is in the thing is but dross — if it 
be put into the fire, it will there consume ; but if it 
be pure gold, it will hold the fire. And so let the 
Lord cast his people into afflictions, into the fiery 
furnace ; if indeed they be such as make profession to 
be his people, and have but an outside of holiness, 
there they will consume. But if they be men and 
women of clean hearts, they will hold out in their 
afflictions, they will hold out unto the end. 

Seventhly, lastly. Purity of heart will make fruitful, 
fruitful in the ways of holiness, such who keep their 
hearts and consciences clean. Oh how will they grow 
up in the ways of holiness ! they mightily thrive and 
grow : in John xv. 2, ' My Father purges it, that it 
may bring forth more fruit ' — speaking of the vine. 
If there be any uncleanness got into thy heart, and 
the Lord, either by afflictions or any other way, shall 
purge thine heart, oh this is that that will make 
thee bring forth much fruit. As it is with childi-en 
that are full of ill humours, they do not thrive and 
grow ; but if you give them anything to purge out 
that ill humour, in a little time how will they thrive 
and shoot up and grow exceedingly. So it is with 
many of you : you do not thrive in the ways of re- 
Hgion ; you do not grow up at all in godliness ; you 
do not bring forth fruit to the glory of God. -Oh, 
there is much uncleanness and filthiness got into 
your liearts ; but if the Lord would please to purge 
you, by the renewing of the Spirit, and washing of 
the blood of Christ, and the renewing of the work 
of repentance, you would grow up in godliness, and 



bring forth much fruit to the glory of God. Oh 
blessed are the pure in heart ! 

And therefore, my brethren, this point may comfort 
those whose consciences testify to them, that though 
there be many weaknesses, yet still their hearts do not 
mix with the time's evils. It is one thing for evil to 
be there, and to mix there. There may be dross, 
but not mixed with the heart ; the heart mingles not 
with it. If thy conscience testify this, thou may- 
est have abundance of comfort from this point ; and 
though some sin remains, yet this purity of heart may 
quiet thy spirits, even in the sense of many sins that 
are upon thee. In Isa. i. 16, 'Wash ye, make you 
clean ; put away the evil of your doings from before 
mine eyes ; cease to do evil,' &c. Then in ver. 18, 
' Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord : 
though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as 
snow ; though they be red hke crimson, they shall be 
as wool' AVhen they are washed and made clean, they 
are then as \vhite as snow, as wool ; and now the 
Lord will reason with the soul. Thou mayest go 
reason with God, and God will reason with thee, when 
thou hast washed thee, and made thyself clean. And 
though there hath not only been sins, but like scarlet 
and crimson, though there be great sins, yet when thy 
heart doth not mix with these sins, when thou canst 
renew the act of faith and repentance, and thou canst 
appeal to God of thy sincerity and endeavours to walk 
with God in what purity thou art able. It is not the 
greatness of thy sins that thy conscience tells thee 
are through infirmity, that thou dost not give way to, 
that thou dost not entertain in thy heart, as that that is 
suitable to thee. The Lord will reason the case with 
thee, and thou mayest reason then the case with him. 
Blessed are the pure in heart. Oh labour to keep 
your hearts clean and pure, and therefore be daily 
watching over your hearts. Take heed that soil and 
filth do not get into your hearts, and be daily cleans- 
ing of them by the renewed work of faith and repent- 
ance ; for though a Christian may keep his heart from 
being spotted with the gross sins of the world, yet 
there will dust get into thee every day. Oh labour 
to keep your hearts bright ! Some of you love clean- 
ness in everything, in all the furniture of your houses, 
your stools, tables, linen, in everything ; you will not 
be satisfied that there is not a deal of du't upon them, 
but if they be but any way sullied, you are not well 
pleased. Oh look thus unto your hearts ! the Lord 
loves as it were a neat Christian, as I may so call it, 
that every day will be cleansing of his heart anew, and 
especially if you have been overcome with any sin, 
and so brouglit greater defilement upon your hearts, 
do not lie in that sin, never be at rest and peace with 
your souls till you have got that sin washed away in 
the blood of Christ, until you have got peace in your 
consciences in respect of that sin. I fear some of you 



Mat. V. 8.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



159 



may have your consciences tell you that you have lain 
in some sins for a long time together. David had 
lain a long time in sin. Oh take heed of lying in any 
sin, hut cleanse presently. 

And lastly, hecause I would come to the promise, 
Oh how far are most of us from this cleanness of 
heart ! and what infinite cause there is that shame 
and confusion of face should be among many of us! 
The Lord knows, and our consciences know, that there 
is woeful uncleanness and tilthiness in many of our 
hearts. Oh, what defiled consciences have many men 
and women in this place ! It may be you are neat 
in your bodies, neat garments, clean linen ; but oh, 
the filthy, nasty souls that you have within ! God 
doth look upon your souls as filthy as a carrion that 
lies in a ditch. How canst thou come into the pre- 
sence of God so as thou dost — so boldly, so pre- 
sumptuously, when thou art conscious to thyself of 
such filthiness ? Men of corrupt consciences, that 
have committed many acts of injustice, that have 
defiled their consciences many years together, yet they 
lie in it still, and never have made any restitution. 
Now, so long as thou hast got anything that is not 
thine own, and thou hast not restored it, all this 
while thy conscience hath been putrifying, and become 
more and more rotten ; as long, I say, as thou con- 
tinuest in that sin without making restitution, if God 
doth anyway enable thee. And then the consciences 
of men are impure, abundance of sin conscience hath 
to charge them withal. If God should hut bid con- 
science speak, it would say. Lord, this sin was com- 
mitted against my counsel and advice, and I shewed 
them to the contrary; and yet for all that, this and 
the other sin committed. And then the impurity of 
our hearts. Oh, what a filthy sty of uncleanness is 
the faculty of thinking in many men and women ! 
In the thoughts of men's minds, there is the most 
aboroinable uncleanness, that one would wonder that 
an infinite holy God should be able to look upon such 
filthy creatures, and not come out against them in 
his wrath. The best of us all may find much un- 
cleanness in our thoughts. Sometime, when thou 
hast been in the presence of God in prayer, how hast 
thou defiled thyself with unclean thoughts ! How 
hast thou come into God's presence with a soul all- 
besmeared with filtliiness, and come out of God's 
presence with a soul all-defiled with the abominable 
uncleanness of thy thoughts ! And then the unclean- 
ness of thy will and affections and desires. What 
desires hast thou had to sin, and so defiled thy soul ! 
Oh, the faculties of men and women's souls are as 
filthy as any cf.ge of unclean birds ! And didst thou 
hut understand what the infinite purity of God's 
nature means, and the infinite purity of God's law 
means, and then but understand what thy own heart 
is, thou wouldest abhor thyself. Many of you thank 



God you have good hearts. Oh, but it is because 
God is not known, and the holiness of his law is not 
known, and your own hearts are not known. Did 
you but know these three things, you would see cause, 
I say, to abhor yourselves. I put this to you, some- 
times when you have been brought upou sick-beds, 
then, when you have come to see that you have had 
to deal with God, have you not had misgiving thoughts 
then ? When you have been ready to go into the 
presence of the infinite holy God, then hath not your 
consciences reproved you for your uncleanness ? — 
then hath not your consciences told you, how canst 
thou stand in the presence of this holy God ? We 
read in the prophet Isaiah, though he were a holy 
man, a man that had much purity and cleanness in 
him, yet, because there was but some remainders of 
uncleanness — mark in Isa. vi. — when he had but a 
sight of God, the angels did but cry, ' Holy, holy, 
holy is the Lord of hosts,' &c. Then, in ver. 5, 
' Then said I, Woe is me, for I am undone, because 
I am a man of unclean Hps,' (and certainly if of 
unclean lips, then he saw some uncleanness in the 
heart further.) ' for mine eyes have seen the King, 
the Lord of hosts.' The sight of God did cause him 
to cry out, Woe to him, he was undone. Now, then, 
if so be that God should bring thee to have to deal 
immediately with him, oh the terror that thy conscience 
would bring upon thee. Those uncleannesses of thy 
heart, though they trouble thee not now, they may 
trouble thee one day. As we know it is in a chimney 
that is very foul, if the fire get into it, then it makes 
a flame, and it is hard to quench it ; and so, when 
afflictions come upon men and women that have 
sooty hearts, filthy, unclean hearts, oh then afflic- 
tions are like to burn dreadfully. Ay, I do but appeal 
to your consciences in this : Suppose God should 
say, Well,»all the congregation and men in the world 
shall know what uncleanness there is in every one of 
your hearts; they shall know all the unclean thoughts 
that ever you had, and all the unclean desires that 
ever you had, all the unclean secret workings of your 
hearts, it shall be known to the city and to all the 
world. Now would it not trouble you to think that 
God should turn your inside outward. Why, the 
infinite God he knows all ; his piercing eye looks 
through and through ; all that uncleanness of your 
hearts, they are before him as any actions that ever 
you have done. And consider this, especially you 
that make profession of holiness and purity, and yet 
God and your consciences tell you that you live in 
secret haunts of wickedness. Some servants that 
perhaps are false to their masters and governors, or 
are guilty of secret uncleanness, and that they might 
cover their uncleanness, will make great show of much 
forwardness in prayer and going to hear the word, 
and who would suspect these for falseness, for un- 



160 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 8. 



cleanness, and so for others. Oh this is a most 
abominable thing, to have an unclean heart, and 
think to cover it by making a profession of religion ! 
Thou dost take the name of God in vain in a most 
dreadful manner, and know that the wickedness of 
thy heart will find thee out. And just it is with God 
to leave thee to the wickedness of thy heart, to break 
into outward, actual sins. This is the curse of God 
upon hypocrites : they do maintain much secret 
wickedness in their hearts for a long time together, 
and the saints think well of them because of their 
profession. But this is the curse of God upon them : 
the Lord leaves them to the filthiness of their hearts, 
and lets them break out into some scandalous sins, 
to be a reproach upon them that shall never be 
blotted out. But we have now done with this part 
of the text. We come to the other part. 

' For they shall see God.' 

The world perhaps saith concerning these that are 
so pure and strict and nice, and dare not do anything 
against their consciences, they are poor, ignorant, 
silly people — silly, ignorant women, and the like. 
Well, as silly as they are, as ignorant as thou thinkest 
them to be in the matters of the world, yet they shall 
see God, they shall know God. Perhaps then- know- 
ledge is but weak in other things, but this is the 
promise, ' They shall see God,' they shall know him. 
Such as would walk in purity in the world, and dare 
not defile themselves so as others, they are subject to 
a great deal of wrongs in the world ; the men of the 
world they will be too wise, too cunning for them. 
Well, though the men of the world do outgo them in 
cunning, because they have simple, plain hearts, yet 
this is their comfort, though I have not the cunning 
and craftiness to provide for myself in the world, 
but men in the world that have unclean hearts, that 
are full of cunning and craft, go beyond me, yet this 
is the blessing of God upon me, I shall see his face. 
' They shall see God.' 

See him : ' No man hath ever seen God' — that is, 
with bodily eyes. God is invisible ; and you must 
not think that God hath any shape or fashion like 
man, or any creature : he is a spirit, an infinite simple 
being, and therefore cannot be seen with bodily eyes. 
But ° they shall see God' — that is, they shall know- 
God by the eye of their understanding, and they 
shall come to enjoy God ; for so ' seeing' is taken in 
Scripture. ' They shall see God,' they shall see him 
here in this world ; and the more and more clean 
their hearts are, the more sight they shall have of 
God. And they shall see him hereafter in glory; for 
the more clear a glass is, the more bright will the 
beams of the sun be upon it when it shines. Take 
your ordinary glasses, as your thick green glass, when 
the sun shines upon that, it doth not make such a 
reflection as upon a clear crystal glass ; or if there be 



dirt upon the glass, the sun w;ill not appear so bright 
and glorious ; but take a bright and clear glass, and 
the sun will be very glorious indeed. So the heai'ts 
of men that are foul, there is no lustre of the glory 
of God upon them ; but the hearts of men that are 
clean, God shines in his glory upon them, and there 
is a reflection of God's glory again upon their hearts. 
' They shall see God,' saith Austin ; ' oh most sweet 
light of minds that are cleansed !' He calls God the 
most sweet hght of cleansed minds. Now before we 
come to the main promise of the sight of God, there 
is one or two notes that are very useful. 

Observe, The first note is this. That according to 
the cleanness or uncleanness of men's spirits, so is 
their sight in reference unto God and the things of 
God. It arises from the connexion, ' Blessed are the 
pure in heart, for they shall see God.' I say, accord- 
ing to the cleanness or uncleanness of men's spirits, 
so is their understandings in reference to God and 
the things of God — that is, if men have clean spirits, 
then they will come to have higher understanding in 
spiritual things ; if their hearts be unclean, then 
their spirits will not be able to have that right un- 
derstanding in spiritual things: in Prov. ix. 10, 
' And the knowledge of the holy is understanding.' 
Men that have holy hearts, if they come to know, 
they have understanding ; and it is an excellent 
understanding that a man or woman hath of heaven 
and the things of God, that hath a holy heart. The 
knowledge of the holy is understanding ; no man's 
knowledge is w-orthy the name of understanding, 
but the knowledge of the holy ; if his heart be clean 
then his sight will be clean. And in Dan. ix. 1.3, 
there is a notable scripture that shews how our un-- 
derstaudiug of the things of God depend upon the 
cleanness of our hearts : ' That we might turn,' saith 
Daniel, ' from our iniquities, and understand thy 
truth ; ' as if he should say. So long as we live in our 
iniquities, and defile our souls by our iniquities, we 
shall never be able to understand thy truth. But 
when we come to turn from our iniquities, then our 
understandings will be clear, then we shall know 
God, and the things of God, in another manner than 
ever we knew them before. And in Dan. xii. 10, 
saith the text, ' Many shall be purified, and made 
white, and tried ; but the wicked shall do wickedly : 
and none of the wicked shall understand; but the 
wise shall understand.' When God purifies the 
heart, then he makes them to understand his ways ; 
but none of the wicked shall understand God's mind; 
their hearts being unclean, they cannot come to 
understand the mind of God and the things of God. 
The understanding of man it hath a dye from the 
will and the afl'ections, that, look, as the will and 
afl'ections are, so there is, I say, a dye upon man's 
understanding, as it is in the body. Look how the 



Mat. V. 8.] 



BUEEOUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



161 



stomach, is, and the distemper of divers diseases are, 
so there is a tincture upon the eye. The eyes of 
men by some kind of diseases are mightily infected 
by ill fumes that do arise from the stomach ; so the 
eye of the soul is very much infected from the will 
and from the affections. As the body, when there 
ascends no ill vapours up to the eyes, the eyes are 
clear and are able to see ; but now in some diseases 
where vapours do ascend up to the eyes, the eye is 
distempered and sees according to those vapours ; 
so if the heart of man be clean, then it sees the 
truths of God plainly and clearly ; but if the heart 
of man be unclean, then it is not able to see God- 
nor the tilings of God. 

Secondly, The Avill of man, it hath a great com- 
mand over the understanding. The will of man, it is 
able to command the understanding, to work about 
such a work or about another, to turn away from 
this object or the other object ; so that if the will of 
man and the affections are clean, then the will will 
put the understanding upon meditating on God and 
the things of God, of fastening the eye upon spuitual 
things. But now, if the heart be unclean, then it 
will turn away the understanding, it will not suffer 
the understanding of a man to fix itself upon God, 
or the things of God; those are objects unsuitable to 
an unclean heart. Or if at any time God himself shall 
present himself before a man or woman that hath an 
unclean heart, the heart will not suffer the eye of 
the understanding to think on God, but turns away 
from God to something else that is suitable to that 
uncleanness that is in the heart ; therefore no marvel 
that they understand not the things of God, when 
their unclean spirits will not suffer the understanding 
to be acting upon that that should enlighten and 
convince them. But, on the other hand, if there be 
but any temptation presented that is suitable to the 
uncleanness of their hearts, then they presently 
fasten upon that, and the corrupt will and affections 
cause the understanding to work upon that altogether, 
and to tliink upon nothing but what will serve for 
the countenance and maintenance of that that is 
filthy and evil. 

Thirdly, The Lord takes no delight at all to reveal 
himself to one that hath an unclean heart — a man or 
woman that hath a filthy, defiled conscience or heart, 
and so lies wallowing in filthiness. I say the Lord 
takes no dehght or pleasure in revealing himself to 
such a one ; for the Lord sees that such a one will 
reject the truth. Saith God, What ! should I dis- 
cover myself to such an unclean heart, that will abuse 
every truth that is presented to it ! And therefore, 
in just judgment, the Lord will give them up to those 
things that shall rather be a means to harden their 
hearts in the ways of their uncleanness. There is a 
most dreadful scripture for that — for the Lord's not 



taking delight to reveal liimself to men of unclean spirits 
— in Ezelc. xiv. 4, ' Therefore, saith the Lord, speak 
unto them, and say, Thus saith the Lord God ; Every 
man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols 
in his heart, and putteth the stumbling-block of his 
iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet ; 
I the Lord will answer him that cometh, according to 
the multitude of his idols.' This is a most dreadful 
scripture. If any one shall come to you that are my 
prophets, and setteth up his idols in his heart — there 
are some secret evils that he doth mamtain in his 
heart — let be said what will, he vdW have his lusts 
in such and such evil ways. I5ut he comes to inquire, 
and would know what the mind of God is. I will 
answer him, saith he, according to the idols that are 
in his heart ; he shall have no other thing from me, 
but what shall be to harden him in his sin. He 
that will be filthy, he shall be filthy ; and when he 
comes to hear the word, he shall hear nothing but 
what his corrupt heart shall gather to harden him in 
his sins. 

And hence, here is the strange difference in men's 
apprehensions: when before they lived in unclean- 
ness, and afterwards, when God comes to purge them, 
a man or woman that lived in unclean ways, why, 
they have come a hundred times to hear the word, 
and have heard the attributes of God opened to them, 
and heard the mysteries of -Jesus Christ preached, and 
the glorious things of the kingdom of God ; but they 
never saw any excellency in these things at all — never 
had any apprehensions of God to strike fear into them ; 
it may be thirty, forty, fifty years they have been 
hearers, and these things went away as a mere 
sound. But now let tliis man, though he hath no 
more to improve his understanding than he had be- 
fore — let God but come and purge his heart by some 
work of his Spirit, I say, then this man comes and 
hears the word, hears sermons of the glory of God 
opened to him ; why, he sees God now in another 
manner than ever he saw him ; he doth not hear any 
attribute of God but his heart is possessed with the 
fear of the .glory of God, and now he wonders that all 
the world doth not fear God. I could before live 
many years together in ways of enmity against this 
God and never be troubled ; why, now I would not 
for a thousand worlds be one hour in that condition 
I was in before, because I see it is such a dreadful 
thing to be but a moment in ways of enmity to God. 
Why, what is the matter with thee ? Thou hearest 
the same truths that thou didst before. Ay, but 
now thine eyes are opened; when thou hearest of 
Jesus Christ, thou hearest and rejoicest at the riches 
of that glorious grace of God in Jesus Christ, and 
it is no new thing that you hear now. Ay, but now 
thine heart is cleansed, and tliine eyes come to be 
opened ; and a great deal of difference there is in the 



1G2 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 8- 



apprehensions of one, -when God hath been pleased to 
cleanse the heart, to what there was before. Here 
now you may see the ground of the great ignorance 
that there is in the world. It is not because the 
things of God are so hard to be understood, and that 
because they have no means to understand them, but 
because of the filthiness of their hearts. No marvel 
though men and women live under means, and hear 
sermons, but yet have not known what Jesus Christ 
hath meant, seeing their hearts are so filthy and un- 
clean. In 2 Tim. iii. 7, you find there the apostle 
speaks of women that ' were ever learning, and never 
were able to come to the knowledge of the truth.' 
And so it may be applied to men — to those that are 
laden with sin, and led away ^^'ith divers lusts, ' They 
are ever learning, and never able to come to the know- 



ledge of the truth.' Why do they not come to the 
knowledge of the truth ? Why, because they are led 
away with lusts, and laden with sins. When men 
and women have uncleanness in their hearts, and are 
laden with corruptions in their spirits, why, no mar- 
vel though they never come to the knowledge of the 
truth ; and therefore do not think your ignorance 
can excuse you to say. Why, I do according to my 
knowledge, and all men cannot attain to the like know- 
ledge as other men. Alas ! I am a poor creature, and 
am but weak, and not able to understand things 
so as others do. Oh, it is not for want of the 
.strength "of thy understanding so much, but the 
filthiness of thy heart ; those filthy steams that arise 
from thy corrupt heart, they darken the hght of the 
truth, that it cannot shine into the understandin'^. 



SERMON XXVI. 



THE UNCLEANNESS OF HEART CAUSE OF EEROR. 



' Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.' — Mat. v. 8. 



The reason why there are such errors among us about 
God and his ways, it comes from the uncleanness of 
men's hearts. And mark it, either such men as here- 
tofore have been professors of religion and fall ofi', and 
grow drossy and sensual and carnal, and give way to 
their lusts, they fall to strange opinions ; or otherwise 
young ones, that have had very profane and unclean 
hearts, and as soon as ever their consciences begin to 
stir in them, why, they will make a kind of profession 
of religion, but their hearts never emptied of their 
lusts, never humbled for their sins ; yea, and the devil 
hath got a way now to keep men from that, to tell 
them it is but mere legal, and it will rather hinder 
them from Jesus Christ than further them, and so 
they fall upon profession of religion, and never know 
any work of humihation, so that their hearts are as 
unclean as ever they were. And no marvel though 
these men have such misshapen thoughts of God and 
Christ, and the covenant of gi'ace, and the things of 
eternal life ; their hearts were never cleansed. Yet 
I say, mark it, your erroneous men that fall to so 
many vile and damnable errors, they are of one of 
those two sorts, either men that have been forward 
professors, and beginning to be carnal and sensual 



and vain ; or otherwise young ones that take upon 
them the profession of religion, yet never knew what 
the sight of sin meant. These see not God ; their 
hearts are so foul and vile, they cannot see God as 
God, nor the things of God in the true beauty and 
excellency of them. I will give you a scripture or 
two to shew you how errors do follow from the lusts 
of men's hearts, rather than from the mistakes of the 
head : 2 Tim. iii. 5, 8 — that is, for those that are but 
formal professors of religion, they come to fall — 
' Having a form of godliness, but denying the power 
thereof,' saith the text. But what are they ? ' As 
Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these 
also resist the truth : men of corrupt minds, reprobate 
concerning the faith.' 'Men before described to have 
the form of godliness, but denying the power, that 
have made some profession of religion, and denied 
the power ; saith the apostle, turn away from them ; 
there is no meddling with such men. Then he tells 
what kind of dispositions they are of : they are those 
that resist the truth — men of corrupt minds, and 
reprobate concerning the faith. And so others that 
are drawn aside by their own lusts: 2 Peter ii. 18, 
speaking of false teachers, 'For when they speak 



Mat. V. 8.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



163 



great swelling words of vanity, they allure through 
the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those 
that were clean escaped from those who live in error.' 
It is a very remarkable scripture, and much concern- 
ing our times ; and saith he in ver. 1 9, ' While they 
promise them liberty, they themselves are servants of 
corruption.' False teachers, that speak great swell- 
ing words, you shall have them have no religion but 
words, to amuse people withal, that people do not under- 
stand ; and people think that there are great matters 
in those great words which they have, but they are 
but a bladder swelled up with wind; do but prick 
them, do but examine them, and there is nothing in 
them — they are swelling words of vanity. You may 
have some cause of suspecting \yhen you hear them 
preaching, or otherwise a great bane-basted words, 
as I may so speak — words that seem to have great 
things in them, and yet when they come to be 
examined, are but mere vanity and emptiness. And 
' they allure through the lusts of the flesh.' There is 
more strength in the suitableness of what they speak 
to men's lusts, than there is of the evidence of truth 
in what they say. They allure through the lusts of 
the flesh, through much wantonness: 'those that were 
clean escaped ;' the word is ' really escaped.' So it is 
apparently spoken of men that are drawn aside into 
errors. 'While they promise them libei'ty;' they 
tell them much of liberty, that they shall be delivered 
from such and such bondages, and no more be kejit 
in a legal way of bondage : ' They promise them 
liberty, but are themselves the servants of corruption.' 
Oh, hence the many errors of our times do prevail 
from the uncleanness of the hearts of men, and from 
thence comes apostasy from the truth. The best way, 
then, to keep ourselves from the errors of the times, 
it is to keep our hearts clean. Purge your hearts, 
walk before God in uprightness, and the Spirit of 
God shall guide you then into all truth ; and when 
you are required to know God or his mind in any- 
thing, oh make it a great part of your work to 
cleanse your hearts first, for otherwise you will mis- 
take, when you are about asking of counsel, what the 
mind of God is ! Oh I would fain know what the 
mind of God is ! Be sure you come with a clean 
heart to know it, or otherwise I say it is a hundred 
to one but you miscarry. How many are there that 
seem to desu'e to know the mind of God, and yet in 
the 

First place. It is not through any willingness, but 
they cannot tell how to help it, they must inquire. 
And then, 

Secondly, Wlien they do inquire, they are loath 
that such things should be true ; they are loath that 
the mind of God should go such a way that is against 
them. And oh they would fain have the mind of 
God come to them, rather than to have their hearts 



come to the mind of God. Here is uncleanness of 
the heart in these two. And, 

Thirdly, When they are inquiring concerning the 
mind of God there is a principle in their spirits that 
doth turn their hearts, and sets them strongly another 
way. And hence it is so hard to convince men of the 
mind of God, if it be that that is against the bias of 
their hearts. And then, 

Fourthly, They are uuwilHng upon that to ex- 
amine throughly anything that is presented to them. 
When a thing is presented to them that they are 
afraid will make against them, they will turn away 
their thoughts from it, and are loath to examine it, 
and are very desirous to have anything they can to 
object against it — and all this through the unclean- 
ness of their hearts. Now it is just with God that 
these should not be blessed ; that they should never 
see God, that they should never see his ways. Oh, 
take heed of this ! Come with plain, naked hearts. 
Whatsoever my thoughts have been, whatsoever my 
justification is, whatsoever would be suitable to my 
ends, let God reveal his truth ; and here I am ready 
to yield to it with a pure and plain heart. But when 
God sees men have cunning hearts and devices, and 
propounding their ends, and they will have this and 
the other thing wrapped in it, I say it is just with 
God that they should never see God in any way of 
his, but that they should be blinded. The way to 
know the mind of God, it is to cleanse your hearts. 
Many there are that will say, Well, I desire to know 
what is God's mind. Did I but know what were the 
mind of God in such a business, God knows I would 
do it ; and the Lord knows I would not do anything 
that were apparent against God's mind. Well, now, 
do you find that in your hearts that you can freely 
yield up your own ends, and counsels, and ways, 
whatsoever your hearts have been set upon before ? 
And shall any evidence of truth be entertained, 
though it be never so much cross to your own minds 
and thoughts ? Then it is like you shall know God's 
mind ; but if you say that you would fain know the 
mind of God, and yet have a corrupt heart, which is 
so much opposite to God, the mind of God, never 
expect to know it. But that is the clean heart that 
yields to it, though never so contrary to what it had 
in its heart before. Ay, ' Blessed are these, for they 
shall see God.' That is the next note. 

Observe, That the sight of God depends not upon 
the sight of men's natural understanding, but upon 
their cleanness of heart. 

Poor Christians think, oh, how shall I be able to 
know God ! — to know the mysteries of God that are 
revealed in his word ; I cannot tell how to reach 
unto them. Be of good comfort if thy heart be clean. 
Keep but a clean heart from vile lusts, entertain no 
lusts within thy heart, and this is a promise made to 



164 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. Y. 8. 



thee, ' That thou shalt see God.' The sight of God 
depends not upon man's natural understanding, but 
depends upon tlie cleanness of the heart. "When the 
great Eabbis of the workl shall be blinded, when they 
shall never see God savingly, God shall reveal himself 
to thy soul, having a clean and pure heart ; for the 
sight of God depends upon the revelation by .Jesus 
Christ, the great prophet of his church, and lie can 
instruct one of weak parts as easily as one of the 
strongest parts of all; and God delights to make 
himself known to such. When one hath a clean and 
pure heart, and desires to know truth, what God is, 
and what his truth is, when he is ready to embrace 
it, and yield up himself to every truth, and will en- 
tertain whatsoever God reveals of himself or his ways 
— oh, the Lord takes delight and pleasure to make 
himself known to such a one. But the main point 
that we come now upon — ' Blessed are the j)ure in 
heart, for they shall see God,' — is this : 

The sight of God is man's blessedness. That is 
our point. 

By the sight of God, in the opening we shewed 
j'ou, it was meant the understanding both God and 
his counsels, and ways and will ; and those things 
concern our enjoyment of him. The sight of God, I 
say, is man's blessedness. I have read of a philo- 
sopher, Eudoxius, that was so desirous to have a full 
sight of the sun, that he professed if he might but 
come near it any little time, and be but enabled to 
look upon it, to see th« nature of it, and the mo- 
tion of it, he would be willing to be burnt by it 
presently.* He thought there was so much ex- 
cellency in the knowledge of that one creature. Oh 
what excellency is there in the knowledge of God 
himself, in the sight of God ! It was a speech of 
Philip unto Christ, in John xiv. 8, ' Lord, shew us 
the Father, and it sufficeth us,' saith PhiUp. Do but 
shew us the Father, let us see God, and it sufficeth 
us, we have enough, whatsoever becomes of us ; oh, 
may we but see the Father, it is enough. And the 
great desire that Moses had in Exod. xxxiii. 1, 18 : 
he said, ' I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.' Let 
me but see thee, and it is enough for me. Oh the 
sight of God, it is a blessed thing ! The sight of the 
infinite and glorious first-being of all things — that is, 
the fountain of all good — oh, how blessed is it I Men 
love to see such as have been great instruments of 
good. Oh what flocking would there be to see them! 
As in former times, when we heard that great things 
were done by such a man as Alexander — if such a 
man were alive, who would not but press hard to see 
him ; and of late such a one as the king of Sweth- 
land ; and now Sir Thomas Fairfax, or those men 
that God hath made public instruments of good, 
every one would see such a man. Oh then to he ad- 
* Plut. Mor. V. 90. 



mitted to the sight of the first-being of all things, 
that hath been the cause of all the good that ever 
hath been, or shall be — to have the sight of that 
principal, it must needs be an infinite blessedness. 
If a man had never seen his father or mother, but 
had lived in another country since his birth to his 
man's estate, oh, what a desire would he have to see 
the woman out of whose bowels he came, and father 
from whose loins he came. But oh the blessed sight 
of God, who is the first-bemg of all things, our 
Creator ! This is that that only the rational creature 
is capable of. The reasonable creature is not satisfied, 
as the sensitive creature is, merely to have a sight of 
that that pleases the sense for the present ; but the 
rational creature inquires presently at the cause of its 
being. Here is such an excellency ; from whence is 
it ? What is the cause of it ? And when he sees 
that, then he inquires after the cause of that, and 
then the cause of that ; and if he understands that, 
why then he would know the cause of that ; and so 
he gets up a link higher. Such is the nature of the 
understanding of a rational creature, to look from 
the efl'ect to the cause, and then that other's cause ; 
and so higher and higher, and never leaves till it 
comes to the supreme cause, the highest cause of all 
things : now ' they shall see God.' This is man's 
blessedness. 

They shall see God, and shall see his counsels and 
will — all those counsels of God that do concern their 
eternal enjoyment of himself. That is the meaning : 
shall see God, and know his mind ; and they shall 
see God as their God. That must be taken into 
these three things : 

First, See God, the first-being of all things. 

Secondly, Know the mind and the very heart of God; 
his will concerning them and their eternal estate. 

Thirdly, They shall see God as their God, as having 
an interest in God, in all that good and excellency 
and glory they see in God ; they shall see it as theu's, 
as having a propriety in it. There is a great deal of 
difference between a queen's looking upon the king 
sitting upon his throne, and a stranger's ; a stranger 
comes and sees the king with his crown upon his 
head, his scej^tre in his hand, upon his throne, with 
all the nobles about him ; and it is a glorious sight 
for a stranger to see. But now if the queen, or the 
king's eldest son, should look upon her husband, and 
he upon his father, as he sits upon the throne with 
all his glory about him ; the queen she looks upon 
all this glory as her glory, it all reflects upon me, I 
have an interest in all this glory : and so the prince 
looks upon all this gloiy as his glory, as his inherit- 
ance ; this is my father that is in this glory. Why, 
so the promise must be understood, ' Thej' shall see 
God,' they shall see the excellency, and glory, and 
majesty, and greatness of God — that is, the first-being 



Mat. V. 8.] 



BUREOUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



165 



of all beings, an J the cause of all things — and know his 
mind and heart ; and then thy shall see all this as 
then' good. Here is my excellency and my glory, 
my happiness it is in this God that I now behold. 
This is the promise, ' They shall see God.' 

Now God reveals himself and fulfils this promise 
many ways. By an immediate revelation of himself 
to the soul ; for the soul of man it is cajjable of an 
immediate joining with God. 

You will say, God's being and essence is infinite, 
and man's soul is but finite. Ay, but yet there may 
be an immediate conjunction between an infinite and 
a iinite thing. As now, the soul of Jesus Christ, that 
was God-man, why, his soul was but a finite thing, a 
creature ; and yet what a conjunction had the soul of 
Christ with the divine nature ; for there was a 
hypostatical union between both soul and body of 
Christ and the divine nature. Therefore now the 
finiteness of the soul of man doth not hinder an im- 
mediate touch, as I may so speak, with the infinite 
being of God himself, and it is capable of a more im- 
mediate revelation of God himself than we are able to 
express or conceive ; but that shall be most hereafter, 
the immediate revelation of God. Only for the pre- 
sent there is somewhat of that glory that there shall 
be in heaven — it is begun here in the world ; as now, 
the union with God, or the communion with God that 
shall be in heaven, there is some degree of it here 
in this world. And so the beatifical vision of God, 
the very touch and close of the soul with the essence 
of God that shall be in heaven, there is some degree 
of it even here in this world, in the sight of God, but 
we are not able to express it. As the eye of a man, 
though it sees other things, yet it cannot see itself; 
so the soul of a man, though it act upon God, yet it 
cannot tell the way of its acting. They cannot tell 
how they see God ; but this they know, that they see 
God other ways than ever they did. As that poor 
man said, ' This I know, that whereas I was blind, 
now I see;' so many poor Christians that are mean, 
and women of weaker parts, and others that are of 
stronger parts, why, before this purity of heart now, 
if you asked them what God was, they would say, 
God was a spirit, and he must be worshipped in spirit 
and truth. They would tell you God was eternal, and 
God was almighty, and God was the creator of heaven 
and earth, and God was infinitely wise and infinitely 
holy ; and many that had good strong parts, they 
could discourse of the attributes of God. But yet, 
when their hearts come to be cleansed, and God re- 
vealing himself unto them, if you should ask them, 
What do you know of God now more than you have 
done ? they are not able to express, only this. We 
can say. We were blind, but now we see — we do 
see God in another manner than ever we have done. 

And besides this more immediate revelation of God 



to the soul, one that is pure in heart sees God in his 
works, in the beholding of the great works of God in 
the glass of the creature, in the heavens and earth and 
seas ; it beholds God in another way than ever it did 
before. Oh, the glory of God that appears, when it 
looks upon the rising of the sun, and the moon and 
stars, and the vastness of the seas, and the body of 
the earth ! Perhaps such days as these, after sermon 
is done, many of you vnll be walking up and down 
the fields ; bnt what do you see ? Why, you see the 
green grass, and other men walkmg up and down, 
and you see trees ; but what of God do you see here ? 
Now, if you did walk merely to contemplate of God 
appearing in his works, then it were another matter. 
A spiritual heart, when it looks upon the works of 
God, it gets through the work presently to God ; it 
looks up to heaven, and sees the God of heaven, and 
the God of the earth and plants. And this is my 
God ; and the glory of God that appears in all the 
creatures, it is the glory of my God. Indeed, when 
he goes abroad he may see more land than his own ; 
ay, but I cannot see more land than is my Father's. 

And though God shines much in his works, yet he 
appears more clearly in his word.. And it is a good 
argument of one that is spiritual, that can see more 
of the glory of God in the word than in all the great 
works that ever were done in the world. If the Lord 
should carry a man or woman over all the world, and 
shew them all the countries in the world ; yea, carry 
them up to heaven, and shew them the sun, moon, 
and stars, and enable them to understand all the 
motions of them, and shew them the seas, and be able 
to understand the motion of the seas, the ebbings and 
the tlowings, and all the vastness of that creature ; 
and so if he were able to understand all the nature of 
the plants, as Solomon did, and the mysteries of all 
arts and sciences ; yet when he hath done all, coming 
to read the word, he shall say, 'Well, I have seen an end 
of all perfection, but thy word is exceeding broad,' Ps. 
exix. 90 ; I see more in thy word than I do in all the 
book of nature. A few lines of thy word doth discover 
more unto me than all the book of nature besides. Ay, 
this were a good argument of purity of heart. A pure 
heart goes and reads in the word, and doth not read it 
as other books, but sees the wisdom of God there, 
the purity of God there, the authority of God there ; 
the word is not a sealed book to such a soul, but it is 
open to it. And then it sees God in all his ordinances ; 
they are the glasses by which he sees God. Likewise 
the ministry of the word and sacraments, and all 
other ordinances ; God comes into the soul, and the 
soul finds those but as glasses to represent God unto 
it. And it sees God again in the saints; in the 
saints there is the image of God. There is the picture 
of God in the creature; but in the saints there is the 
lively image of God, as the image of the father is in 



166 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 8. 



tlie child. The men of the workl, they see httle of 
God m the saints ; but now, when their eyes come to 
be opened, and their hearts purilied, they cannot look 
upon any godly men or women but they see much of 
the glory of God in them : and it is this that makes 
them so love the communion of the saints, because 
so much of God appears in them. Yea, and they see 
God in then- own spirits more than ever before. There 
was nothing but darkness in their own spirits before ; 
but now, being sanctified, there is the presence of God 
within them — they see God within them in their own 
hearts. But above all that that is here in this Avorld, 
they see God in the face of Jesus Christ ; there they 
see the glory of God, those that are of pure hearts or 
spu'its. In Heb. i. Christ is said ' to be the character 
and engraven form of the image of God, the bright- 
ness of his glory.' You have not such an expression 
of ail the angels in heaven nor men in the world. It 
is true, man was made accordmg to the image of God; 
ay, but Christ is said to be the brightness of God's 
glory, and the express image of his person, the ex- 
press image of the person of God, and therefore Christ 
saith that no man can know the Father, but they must 
do it by him : John xiv. 6, ' No man cometh unto the 
Father but by me. If you had known me, you should 
have known the Father also: and from henceforth ye 
know him, and have seen him.' There is no know- 
ledge of the Father but it is by Jesus Christ, by the 
understanding of Jesus Christ : ' No man knows the 
Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son 
will reveal him,' Col. ii. 3. ' In him are hid all the 
treasures oi wisdom and knowledge : ' and ver. 9, 
' For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead 
bodily.' A very strange expression ; it would not have 
beseemed the mouth of any man, no, nor beseemed 
any angel, to have had such an expression as this, 
' In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead 
bodily ; ' it is in Christ ; the glory of God appears 
m Christ. If we may make a comparison of low things 
with high : as now, you cannot look upon the sun 
in its glory, as in the firmament, but when the sun 
shines upon the water, there you may see the lustre 
of the sun. So take God as in himself considered, 
as infinite creator of all things. As we are here in 
this world, our eyes do dazzle to behold God's 
es.sence; we cannot behold it, or not able to express it 
at least : but in Jesus Christ we come nearest to the 
beholding of God ; in Jesus Christ as God-man, there 
we may come to behold very much of the glory, yea, 
of the face of God ; and therefore you find that in 
the gospel we are said to behold God with open face : 
2_Cor. iii. 18, ' But we all with open face beholding 
as in a glass the glory of the Lord.' He speaks of it 
in way of distinction from the law ; we could under- 
stand but little of God then. And then, indeed, in 
the Old Testament we find such an expression as this. 



' No man can see God and live.' But here, in the 
New Testament, you find such an expression, that 
' we all with open face beholding as in a glass the 
glory of the Lord.' With open face ; not needing a 
veil, as Moses had, but with open face we behold the 
glory of God ; but it is as in a glass. The word is 
one glass, the ordinances are another glass, and then 
the creatures, which is the tliickest glass. There is 
the word, the ordinances, the saints, our own spirits, 
but the bright glass of all is Jesus Christ. And 
therefore in 2 Cor. iv. 6, it is said, ' That God who 
commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath 
shined in our hearts, to give the light of the know- 
ledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.' 
God who commanded the light to shine out of dark- 
ness. All the knowledge of God that man hath be- 
fore his conversion, it is but as darkness ; and God, 
when he comes to shew himself to the soul, he doth 
as great a work as when he made the world — he did 
then command hght to shine out of darkness. And 
what is the fruits of it ? Hath shined in our hearts ; 
not only in our heads, but hearts, and it shines there 
to give light, to give the hght of the knowledge of the 
glory of God. Mark these gradations : he hath shined 
in our hearts to give the knowledge of God ; to give 
the light of the knowledge of God ; to give the light of 
the knowledge of the glory of God ; and all this in the 
face of Jesus Christ. Oh the blessedness of the pure 
in heart, that comes to see God in the face of Jesus 
Christ I This is a mystery that none can understand, 
like the white stone, Eev.ii. 17, but those that have it ; 
those that do see God in Christ, they know what it is 
to see God in Christ, and they would not for ten thou- 
sand worlds lose any one sight that they have of God 
in the face of Jesus Christ; but it is impossible for them 
to express it to others. Oh blessed are they that do 
thus see God ! It is a good thing to see the light, 
saith Solomon. Suppose that God had made us that 
we had had but four senses, only the hearing and 
smeUing, the feeling and tasting, and had left out the 
sense of sight. Now I say, if this had been that God 
had made only four senses, and afterwards, in our 
days, had been pleased to add to the beauty and e.x- 
cellency of man's nature a fifth sense — that is, sight — 
oh what a glorious thing would it have been to us ! As 
now, a man that had lived in a dungeon all the days 
of his life and never had seen hght, if this man, after 
he is grown up in years, should be let out of this 
dungeon and come to see this glorious sun, what a 
glorious thing would it be to such a one ! Or further, 
the beast, \\'ho have only the sight of the hght, if God 
should add unto them understanding, to be able to 
conceive of things, why, what a glorious change would 
there be there ! But now, when God gives us a spiritual 
sight of himself, there is as great a change, and that is 
abundantly more glorious, and more blessed it would 



Mat. V. 8.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



167 



be than tlie adding of seeing to a man that never had 
such a sense, or the adding of reason to the beasts. 
It is a blessed thing to see God, and that we find in 
Scripture set out to us many ways. 

As, first, It is made to be the fruit of the covenant 
of grace, howsoever men may tliink light of it that 
do not know it. As the beasts that know not what 
reason is, they are not troubled for the want of it ; 
and if we had not known what the sense of sight 
meant, we should not have been troubled for the 
want of it • so the world is not troubled for the want 
of the sight of God, because they know no more 
what it means than the beast knows reason, or a 
man that had had the four senses could have known 
what a fifth had meant. But the Scripture makes it 
to be a fruit of the covenant of grace. In Jeremiah, 
mark how the Lord expresses himself, chap. xxxi. 
34, ' They shall teach no more every man his neigh- 
bour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the 
Lord ; for they shall all know me, from the least of 
them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord ; for I 
will forgive their iniquity, and will remember their sin 
no more.' It is a fruit both of the covenant of grace 
and of the pardon of sin, that is the special mercy in 
the covenant. The reason why there are so many of 
you that know not God, it is because your iniquities 
are not forgiven ; but God remembers your sin. You 
are not in covenant with God. When God brings 
you into covenant with himself, and forgives your 
sin, he makes you to know himself. 

Secondly, For God to reveal himself ; it is a great 
fruit of love, of the love of God to the soul, for God 
to manifest himself to it : in John xiv. 21, ' He that 
hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is 
that loveth me ; and he that loveth me shall be loved 
of my Father, and I will love him.' How will that 
be manifested? 'and will manifest myself to him.' 
Christ's manifesting himself to the soul is a fruit of 
his love, and of his Father's love. Yea, 

Thirdly, It is the blessedness of the glorious church. 
When the Lord shall raise his church to the greatest 
height of glory, one of the special blessednesses that 
shall be then, shall be the sight of God : in Eev. 
xxii. 4, ' And they shall see his face.' There were 
many things named to set forth the excellency and 
glory of the state of the church, but this is the special, 
' And they shall see his face.' The truth is, in com- 
parison of what shall be hereafter, we see little or 
nothing at all ; we see the back parts of God. But 
there is a time for the church to enjoy so much of 
God, and it is spoken of a time in this world ; for the 
chapter before shews that it is a time when the kings 
of the earth shall bring their glory to the church, 
they shall not bring it to heaven, and they shall see 
the face of God. 

Fourthly, The sight of God here is the beginning 



of life, yea, the beginning of eternal life. ' This is life 
eternal, to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus 
Christ, whom thou bast sent into the world,' John 
xvii. 3. Men do not hve till they come to know God. 
Men in the world are dead carcases ; but when they 
come to know God, they come to live, yea, they be- 
gin to live the life of eternity. Oh blessed are they ! 

Fifthly, It is the glory of heaven for the saints to 
see God : 1 John iii. 2, ' Beloved, now are we the 
sons of God ; and it doth not yet appear what we shall 
be : but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall 
be like him ; for we shall see him as he is,' saith the 
text. Now, the seeing him as he is, we speak not to 
for the present. I only mention this text now to 
shew that it is a very blessed thing to see God ; for 
it is that whereby the blessedness of the saints in 
heaven is expressed by the Holy Ghost. ' We shall 
be like him.' Why ? How ? ' We shall see liim as 
he is.' That will be the happiness we shall have when 
we come to heaven, that we shall see God. 

Sixthly, It is the happiness of the angels. Not only 
the saints, but the angels, have not a higher happi- 
ness in heaven than the sight of the face of God ; 
and therefore, in Mat. xviii. 10, where we read of a 
description of the happiness of the angels — the words 
are, ' In heaven their angels do always behold the face 
of my Father which is in heaven.' Christ here doth 
forewarn men of taking heed of offending the little 
ones; for their angels do always behold his Father's face. 

Seventhly, Yea, shall I say further, it is the happi- 
ness, as I may so speak, even of Christ himself, to see 
the Father : that you have in John x. 15^ ' As the 
Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father,' 
saith Christ. Christ would set forth his excellency 
here. ' Why,' saith he, ' the Father knows me, and I 
know the Father.' It is that that Jesus Christ doth 
glory in himself, that he knows the Father. Now 
he promises this happiness to the pure in heart, that 
they lilvewise shall see God. 

But whereiu doth it appear to be such a happy 
thing? It appears many ways. I will name one or 
two now. 

First, Oh it is a blessed thing to see God ! It is 
the perfection of man's understanding. God hath 
given to man an understanding of such large capacity 
that it is able to be conversant with everything that 
is true, that is, truth in general; and therefore no- 
thing can perfect the understanding tUl it come to 
have that that is the principal truth discovered to it. 

Secondly, And an infinite satisfaction it is to the 
understanding ; they two must needs go together ; for 
in the perfection of a thing there must needs be the 
satisfaction and rest of it. Suppose all the beautiful 
things that ever were in the world were put into one 
object, that would be a beautiful thing to behold. 
Why, now all beauty, all excellency, all glory in all 



168 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 8. 



creatm-es are all in God. And in the sight of God 
the soul sees all things that are excellent, and there- 
fore must needs he a kind of infinite satisfaction. 
Saith David, in Ps. xvii. 15, 'As for me, I will he- 
hold thy face in righteousness : I shall be satisfied, 
when I awake, with thy likeness.' It is a psalm that 
David made, it is very like, when he was driven from 
Saul's court. Now, as if he should have said, Well, 
I cannot behold the face of the king ; he hath hard 
thoughts of me. Ay, but as for me, I will behold thy 
face in righteousness, and I shall be satisfied, when I 
awake, with thy likeness. There is an infinite satis- 
faction to the mind of man. Many of you seek to 
satisfy yourselves in base and brutish lusts. If you 
can be fine and gay, and eat and drink, and be un- 
clean and filthy, there is your satisfaction. Oh the 
difference between tlie satisfaction of a soul in the 
sight of an infinite God, and the satisfaction of a soul 
in a base, brutish lust ! Blessed are they that do see 
God, they shall be satisfied. In Ps. xxxvi. likewise, 
saith the psalmist there, speaking but of the sight of 
God, even in hjs house, ' How excellent is thy loving- 
kindness, God ! therefore the children of men put 
their trust under the shadow of thy wings. They 
shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy 
house ; and thou shalt make them drink of the river 
of thy pleasures.' Why so ? ' For with thee is the 
fountain of life : in thy light shall we see light.' 
Hence comes the satisfaction, hence comes the rivers 
of pleasure, hence is the fountain of all good unto them. 
' For in thy light shall we see light.' They come to 
see God by God, as a man comes to see the sun by the 
light of the sun. The sun sends his beams upon tlie 
world, and by those beams of light that the sun sends 
down upon our eyes we come to see the sun itself. 
So in thy light shall we see light. The light of God 
shall shine upon the souls of the saints that are pure 
in heart, and so they shall come to see that God 
which is the fountain of all life. And oh the draw- 
ing of the soul to God then. 

Thirdly, It is made in Scripture the very spring of 
all grace in the soul, being made partaker of the 
divine nature, and of the transformmg of the soul 
into the very image of God : 2 Pet. i. 2, ' Grace and 
peace be multiplied unto you.' How ? ' Through the 



knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.' All grace 
and peace it comes through the knowledge of God, 
and Jesus our Lord : ' According,' saith he, ' as his 
divine power hath given unto us all things that per- 
tain to life and godliness.' How ? ' Through the know- 
ledge of him that hath called us.' Oh, the kno\v'ledge of 
God is a fountain of good indeed unto the soul ! 
' Whereby,' saith he, 'are given unto us exceeding great 
and precious promises, that by these you might be 
partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the 
corruption that is in the world through lust : ' and all 
this still 'through the knowledge of God.' ' Whereby,' 
saith he — that is, by the knowledge of God ' we come 
to be partakers of the divine nature.' And that fore- 
named place in 2 Cor. iii. 18, 'We beholding as in a 
glass, with open face, the glory of the Lord.' What 
follows ? ' We are changed into the same image, from 
glory to glory.' The sight of God doth change the 
soul into the very natui'e of God, so far as can be. 
What is it that makes the saints in heaven to be so 
like God ? it is by the sight of him ; saith the Holy 
Ghost there, ' We shall be like him, for we shall see 
him as he is.' So that the sight of God in heaven as 
he is, doth transform the souls of the saints, so as 
they come to be like God. They have the image of 
God perfectly in them — they see God perfectly; and 
according to the measure that any soul doth see God 
in this world, so they come to be transformed into 
the image of God. Oh blessed are they that see God 
then, for by the sight of him they come to be trans- 
formed into the likeness of him. Is it not a blessed 
thing for the creature to be raised to that excellency, 
as to be made like to God himself '? This comes 
through the knowledge of God. Oh that men would 
be but in love with this sight of God ; thereby they 
would come to know that there is another kind of 
excellency for mankind than to wallow in the lusts of 
the flesh. Alas ! poor creature, while thou art satisfy- 
ing thy flesh, what dost thou see ? Thou seest thy 
money, or thy cups, or full dishes. Oh, what is tliis 
sight to the sight of God ! thou hast an impure and 
unclean heart, and therefore thinkest there is nothing 
better than the beholding of these things. ' But 
blessed are the pure in heart : for they shall see 
God.' 



Mat. V. 8.] 



BURKOUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



169 



SERMON XXVII. 

OR, 

WHEREIN THE SIGHT OF GOD APPEARS TO BE SUCH A HAPPY THING. 



'Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.' — Mat. v. 8. 



Fourthly, The sight of God is a blessed thing ; it is 
that that draws forth and acts the graces of the 
saints. The very setting God before the soul is that, 
I say, that draws forth and acts whatsoever grace the 
saints have, because God is such a suitable object 
unto the soul. As the setting before one that hath 
an unclean heart an object suitable unto unclean- 
ness, draws forth that corruption ; so the setting be- 
fore the soul, a clean soul, the setting before it the 
holiness of God, and the glory and excellency of God, 
it hath a kind of infinite power to draw all the graces 
of the saints to act, to make them lively and quick. 

Fifthly, Further, by this the soul comes to worship 
God as a God, when it comes to see him. Men and 
women that are ignorant of God, they worship they 
know not what ; but when the soul comes to have a 
sight of God, even here in this world, then, and never 
till then, is the name of God sanctified by the soul ; 
the soul worships God in a holy manner. 

Sixthly, The sight of God darkens all the glory of 
the world before the soul, takes off the heart from 
creature comforts. Now the soul comes to see the 
comforts of the creature, that before were admii'ed, to 
be as nothing ; one sight of God presently darkens 
all the world. As the light of a candle is darkened 
when the sun arises, so when God arises in the heart. 
Acts vii. 2, it is said that Abraham saw the God of 
glory : the ' God of glory' appeared to Abraham, and 
so he came out of his own country. It was that that 
took Abraham's heart off from his kindred, from his 
father's house, from all things in the world : the 
God of glory appeared to him. Let the God of glory 
appear to the soul, and it will take off the soul from 
anything, whatsoever engagements there are upon the 
heart. Many of you, perhaps, have your hearts set 
upon some vain thing, some strong lust is in your 
heart, and you think it is impossible to have your 
hearts taken off. Let me tell you, one sight of God 
will do it; if God would but let one beam of his glory 
in upon you, it would take off your hearts from the 
strongest lust that is, and only himself would be sanc- 
tified by you. They are blessed that have seen God. 



Seventhly, Yea, it would make all afflictions to be 
but little, and carry the soul through all difficulties 
whatsoever. You complain how hard it is to suffer, 
and that there is this and the other trouble in the 
ways of God ; the appearing of God to your souls 
would presently strengthen you against all difficulties, 
and it would be nothing in your esteem that you suffer 
here in the world for his sake. That is a famous 
scripture which we have in the 1 1th of the Hebrews — 
it is the example of Moses — ver. 27, ' By faith he 
forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king.' 
Why ? ' For he endured.' How came that to pass ? 
' As seeing him who is invisible.' By faith he for- 
sook Egypt. It was one of the difficultest works 
that ever a man undertook ; for Moses, that had so 
much glory in Egypt, the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 
and like, as some report, to have been her heir — for 
Pharaoh's daughter had no child (so Josephus) and 
adopted him — so that it is conceived he might have 
inherited the kingdom after Pharaoh. But now, 
though he were in all that glory that possibly a man 
could be in a kingdom, yet he forsook Egypt ; away 
he goes out of Egypt,, not fearing the displeasure of 
the king, that the king would pursue him. When 
he went out, why, he went out over a great deal of 
difficulties ; carrying along with him so many thou- 
sands, and not knowing how to provide for them ; 
passing through the Red Sea, yet not discouraged 
with fears ; yea, he doth not repent him after he is 
come into any difficulties. Many men undertake 
businesses, but when they meet with difficulties they 
begin to repent themselves that they were so far en- 
gaged. Moses repents not upon any difficulty ; for 
why? the text saith ' he endured,' he went through 
all; and all upon this ground, 'for he saw him that 
is invisible.' If invisible, how could he see him ? If 
he saw him, how was he invisible ? Invisible to the 
eye of sense ; yea, and that kind of the glory of God 
that IMoses saw was invisible to the eye of reason ; it 
was by a principle elevating reason ; by a principle 
of faith, that is reason's prospective glass. He saw the 
invisible God, and that carried him through all. 



170 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 8. 



Certainly tliose men and women that are quiclcly 
discouraged in the ways of God never had a sight of 
God : the sight of God would carry through all diffi- 
culties. For God to say, I am he, as it humbled 
Saul, and stopped him in his way in which he was 
going against God, so it will raise and encourage the 
heart of a saint in his way, when it comes to see that 
it is the Lord that I have to deal with, a sight of the 
invisible God. Oh blessed, therefore, are the pure 
in heart, for they shall see God. The sight of God is 
a blessed thing ; even the sight of God that we have 
here. It is by that we come to have communion with 
him ; we cannot have communion with God without 
the sight of him. And how many saints are there 
that can speak by their own experience, they would 
not lose some one sight of God that they have had in 
their converse with God, not for a world. Oh they 
see it is blessed ; it is blessed here, but much more 
hereafter. They shall see God. 

This promise seems to refer to what shall be here- 
after; the sight of God hereafter. We sometimes 
think that God hath revealed much of himself now, 
in bis great works, in his word, in his Son. Oh but 
there are other manner of things to be known of God 
than ever yet we have known. No man can see God 
and live. There is that sight of God that cannot 
stand with this life. They shall see God in heaven. 
There is a manifestation of God beyond what we 
have here ; we walk here by faith and not by sight, 
but then we shall walk by sight and not by faith, 
(2 Cor. V. 7 ;) here it is faith that must help us when 
God withdraws himself from us, but there the saints 
shall hve by sight, they shall have no need of that 
faith that should uphold them in God's absence and 
withdrawing himself. In Mat. xviii. 10, ' Take 
heed that ye despise not one of these Httle ones ; for 
I say unto you. That in heaven their angels do always 
behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.' 
It is a note of a learned interpreter upon this place : 
Observe, saith he, that heaven is named twice here — 
' I say unto you that in heaven their angels do always 
behold the face of my Father which is in heaven ;' 
why was it not enough to say. That in heaven their 
angels do always behold the face of my Father. But 
Christ repeats it twice — '. In heaven their angels do 
always behold the face of my Father which is in 
heaven ' — to note that that is the place of the face of 
God, and in comparison of that, we have but the 
back parts of God— that is, the throne of God, and 
then the saints shall see God upon his throne. There 
is a great deal of difference between seeing of a prince 
in an obscure cottage, and seeing of this prince upon 
his throne, with the crown upon his head, and all his 
nobles about him, and in all his royal robes. Now 
all the sight we have of God here it is but the sight 
of the prince in a cottage ; but our sight in heaven is 



like the sight of the prince upon his throne in his 
glory. Isa. xxxiii. 17, we have there a promise to 
the same that here are said to be pure in heart — 
namely, to those that are upright. In ver. 15, there 
is described those to whom this promise is made, 
' He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly,' 
<tc., and then the promise is, ' He shall dwell on high;' 
and in ver. 17, ' Thine eyes shall see the King in his 
beauty.' It is more to see the King in his beauty 
than to see the Kiug another way. Now this is pro- 
mised to the upright, to the pure in heart, to see 
God in his beauty. I make little question but God 
will appear with .more beauty in the world than yet 
he hath done, even in this world. There is a pro- 
mise in Fs. cii. 16, 'When the Lord shall build up 
Sion, he shall appear in his glory :' he shall put on 
his glorious robes. As in the time when noblemen 
and princes marry they put on their best attire, so 
when God shall build up Sion, which is the rejoicing 
of his soul, he shall appear in his glory. And blessed 
are those that shall see God then in that glory of his. 
But when they shall see him in his beauty and glory 
in heaven, upon his throne, they will be much more 
blessed. Then they shall see indeed all the counsels 
of God concerning themselves from all eternity, yea, 
and concerning all creatures, and the nature of all 
creatures. They shall see all things in God when 
they come to see him there. For so it must needs 
be, otherwise man could not be perfectly blessed ex- 
cept he came to understand all creatures. Man in 
his first creation did understand all creatures : now 
this l^nowledge must be restored again, or else man 
by Christ should not come to be as happy as he was 
in the first Adam. But certainly the happiness of 
man is more in the second Adam than in the first ; 
therefore the knowledge shall be higher than this, 
and this must be in the sight of God that he shall 
have. 

The sight of God that he shall have in heaven shall 
bo more immediate than it is now. It shall not only 
be the sight of him by such and such ways and irra- 
diations as now we have from him, by any interven- 
ing thing, but by an immediate union with the very 
being and essence of God, and so a sight of his es- 
sence. And that it must needs be, that this sight of 
God must be of his very being and essence is clear, 
not only from many scriptures that we might' name, 
as that in 1 Cor. xiii., latter end, ' Now we see 
through a glass darkly, but then face to face ; now I 
know in part, but then shall I know even as I am 
known.' We see through a glass, that is, through a 
medium ; we see by seeing something else ; first we 
see something else, and then we come to see God. 
But then we shall see him face to face ; then shall I 
know even as I am known. Now God knows us with- 
out anything intervening, so we shall know as we 



Mat. V. 8.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



171 



are known ; it is a great mystery. And that place 
in 1 John iii. 2, ' We shall see him as he is ' — as he 
is in himself. The reason is this, because if we saw 
anything but God's being, that would be but a crea- 
ture ; whatsoever irradiation, whatsoever glory should 
flow from God, conceive it to be the most glorious 
thing that can be, that God should represent the 
most glorious sight that can be imagined ; yet if it be 
not God's being and essence, it is but a creature, and 
if a creature, then it cannot be the object of man's 
happiness. It is impossible for a man to be happy 
by the sight of that that is not God. Now if there 
be anything intervening, so as we see that that God 
doth, but more out of himself, and not himself, I say 
we cannot be happy, for it would follow then that 
man's happiness consisted in a creature. No ; there- 
fore we shall see him as he is. Christ saith ' That 
he knows the Father, as the Father knows him ; ' he 
doth not speak of himself as he is second person in 
Trinity, but as he is God-man — so he knows the Father 
as the Father knows him ; so that by that you may 
see that even a finite creature is capable of such a 
knowledge, of the knowledge of the very being of 
God. You cannot comprehend it, because it is in- 
finite ; and if it had not been revealed to us in the 
Scriptures it had been impossible for us to have 
conceived that a finite creature could be hypostati- 
cally united to an infinite ; but when the Scripture 
makes that out to us, that that which is finite, as the 
Boul and body of Christ is, can be so united to an 
infinite, this clearly holds forth thus much to us, 
that the nature of man is capable of another manner 
of revelation of God, and union with God, than pos- 
sibly by reason can be understood. The saints in 
heaven shall be filled with God's presence, shall see 
God in themselves. As the fulness of the Godhead 
did dwell bodily in Christ, so it shall dwell sphitually 
in the saints : Col. ii. 9, ' The fulness of the Godhead 
dwelt bodily in him.' Now, spiritually, the fulness 
of the Godhead shall be in the saints ; and certainly 
Christ doth see God, the very being of God, the ful- 
ness of the Godhead, being bodily in him ; why, then, 
the saints that shall have the fulness of the Godhead 
spiritually in them shall see him, see him imme- 
diately — not as we see a colour, but as we see the 
light. The light is first in our eyes, and hj that the 
colour ; so then God's very being shall be first in the 
eye of the soul. We see God here in this world by 
his effects; we see the glory of God from the effects of 
God's wisdom, and liis power, and his goodness. 
What dost thou see of God, oh thou soul in this 
world, who art contemplating of God in the most 
serious manner ? Why, the soul will say, Lord, I see 
glorious beams of thy wisdom, and thy power, and 
thy goodness in the creature, the great works that 
thou hast made. Tliis is but to see God in the 



eft'ects of what he hath done ; but we shall see him 
face to face. You see a workman in some piece of 
work that he hath done, and oh, you long to see 
the face of that man. Now God hath wrought this 
world — it is the work of his fingers ; but you shall 
not see God then by effects so much as immediately. 
We come here to know rather what God is not than 
what he is ; as thus, when we say God is infinite, 
what do we mean by that but that there is no bounds 
of his being ? When we say that God is incompre- 
hensible, what is that but that God cannot be com- 
prehended in any place ? When we say that God is 
eternal, that he hath no beginning, no end, no sue- ' 
cession of time ; when we say God is immutable, still 
it speaks rather what God is not than what he is — 
that is, he doth not change. "UTien we come to say 
that he is a spirit, that seems to be an affirmation. 
What do we mean by that ? It is but to take off 
from any conceit of bodily substance, that God is 
not corporeal ; for if we should speak properly, God 
is not a spirit, not of the same nature that angels 
and men's souls are of, for they are but creatures. 
And God cannot be said jn-operly to be the same 
thing that a creature is ; but because he would take 
away all conceit from him of being bodily, therefore 
we say he is a spirit. When we say God is holy, 
what do we do when we come to describe his holi- 
ness but this — he is that whereby he hath not the 
least spot and stain of sin, and such kind of things ; 
so that the truth is, the most of our knowledge of 
God here it is but by negations rather than any 
other way. But then we shall see him as he is, not 
only what his being is not, but what it is. 

And we shall see God likewise in the unity of his 
nature. Here we see God in several parts ; we can- 
not understand the excellency of God to be all one 
here. As thus, when we would know God, how come 
we to know and see him here? Why, by those several 
shines of his attributes, as by the power, and wisdom, 
and holiness, and goodness, and faithfulness, and 
eternity, and simplicity, and infiniteness of God. 
These now are several things; but certainly there 
are not many things in God. All these attributes 
are but that one infinite excellency of God ; only 
they are diverse according to the several ways of the 
manifestation of that one excellency of God. As 
sometimes I have told you of the shine of the sun 
through several glasses of several colours ; the same 
beam of the sun through a blue glass gives a blue 
reflection, and through a green a green, and through 
a red a red, but there is no such change of the sun ; 
so the same excellency of God, working several ways, 
appears diversely to us ; and so we see God as if he 
were one great excellency, made up of many excel- 
lencies. But certainly this is not so; God is not such 
a glorious excellency as made up of many, for he is 



172 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 8. 



but one. Blessed are the pure in heart : for they 
shall see God in the unity of his being. 

And come to see the great mystery of the Trinity — 
how three persons but one God ; what the work of the 
Father is in begetting, and what the Son is in being 
begotten, and the Holy Ghost is in proceeding ; we 
see these things by faith now, but then by sight. 

And we shall see God in his eminency, and infinite 
above all creatures whatsoever, and see him in heaven 
as he is, and see whatever he shall do, whatever he 
shall be working to all eternity. The saints shall see 
God, (besides the being of God,) I say, see him in 
all his workings that shall be to eternity. The Lord, 
in less than these six thousand years, how glorious 
hath he been in his workings ! And would it not be a 
blessed thing if any one of you had been admitted to 
have been with God, and have seen what God hath 
done from the beginning of the world to this day. 
Ay, but now surely, God being eternal, after this 
world should be at an end, as it will within a little 
time, why, God remains everlasting, and the saints 
shall remain everlasting, and they shall be with God 
for ever ; why, then, they shall be there where they 
shall see what God will do for ever. Why, God he will 
be working for ever ; after this six thousand years will 
be at an end God will still be working, and it is like 
that the meanest of his works are laid first, and he 
will be working still higher and higher, and more and 
more glorious things to all eternity. Now, for a 
creature to be admitted to live with God, and not 
only to see what himself is, and to see mdeed his 
heart, and counsels, and will, and ways, but to see 
what God shall be doing to all eternity ; this must 
needs be a blessed sight. 

And this sight of God shall be without any kind 
of discourse from one thing to another, as we have 
now ; but we shall see all at once, without any labour 
and without any pains. As now, we are fain to 
take a great deal of pains from one thing to another ; 
but then intuitive — that is, it shall be with the un- 
derstanding as with the eye ; the darting of the eye 
presently takes in the object, and so the object shall 
be taken in without any wearisomeness. We shall 
see him then fully — that is, the understanding of 
man shall be so elevated as it shall be able to look 
upon the face of God fully, without any kind of 
weariness at all. Now, the eye of man is not able to 
look upon the sun, for it would destroy the sight if 
we should look upon it long ; it is too eminent an 
object. And so we cannot steadily behold the face of 
God now ; but then there shall be the elevation of 
the soul — the soul shall be raised to that strength as 
it shall be able to stand and gaze upon the face of 
God for ever, upon the fulness of his glory ; the eye 
of the body shall be able to see the glory of God 
that doth irradiate from him, which shall be a 



thousand times more glorious than the sun. As the 
Scripture tells us that the body of man shall be 
raised to that height, as it shall shine like the sun in 
the firmament. Now, if this lump of clay shall have 
such a glory put ujDon it, then what glory shall be 
put upon the soul of man, and how shall that be 
raised ; and, indeed, if man's eye were not raised to 
be able to look steadily upon a more glorious object 
than the sun, it would be a misery for the body to 
be in heaven. For the light of heaven will be 
abundantly more glorious than the sun in the firma- 
ment, the lustre of it, and the saints shall not be 
wearied with it ; but the glory of heaven shall per- 
fect the eye of the saints, and then the glory of 
God shall perfect their souls ; they shall be able 
fully to look upon God, and they shall so see him 
as never to lose the sight of him. Here in this 
world the saints many times have some glimmerings 
of God, some little sight of it ; oh but they lose it — 
and oh how sweet were it, if it were not so little and 
quickly gone ; but then they shall ever see his 
face. What would many a godly man or woman 
give that they might have but those beams of God's 
glory in a constant way shining upon them that 
sometimes they have had ; but then you shall have 
them ahvays shining upon you. ' blessed are the 
pure in heart, for they shall see God.' And the reason 
that some give why Christ doth annex the sight of 
God to purity of heart, is this among others, because 
that the Scripture tells us that by faith the heart is 
purified. Now when the soul believes, and comes to 
be purified by faith, it is willing to give up its reason, 
to have its reason swallowed up. Now, because it 
doth here believe that which it cannot see, it shall 
hereafter see whatsoever it doth believe, — that is (as 
Austin calls it) the reAvard of faith. That because 
faith doth believe what the soul cannot see, that is, 
faith goes beyond reason, therefore the Lord will 
gi-ant this reward unto it, that it shall hereafter 
see whatsoever it doth believe. Thou now hast the 
glorious revelation of God, and of the mysteries of 
salvation. Well, they are above thy reason, thou 
canst not understand them now, yet by faith thou 
dost believe them though thou canst not understand 
them. Why now wilt thou glorify God by believ- 
ing when thou canst not see ? God hereafter will 
make thee see what thou hast believed. Thou shalt 
see it fully, thou shalt see into all the reasons of the 
mystery of the gospel, and the things of God, that 
now thou dost take in by faith. Oh it is good 
for us now to be willing to have our reason to 
be swallowed up in faith ; for hereafter God will by 
sight make known all tilings to us, that any way a 
rational soul shall be capable of. ' They shall see God.' 
And tliis shall be one further circumstance that will 
much set out the blessedness of the sight of God, 



Mat. V. 8.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



173 



They shall then see him when God shall be letting out 
himself fully to them, and so God shall he the more 
amiable and satisfying object to them. As thus, now 
you see a beauty in some creature, suppose a tulip ; 
but now, if this tulip had the sweetness of a violet, had 
as much sweetness as all sweets together in the world, 
it would be a more dehghtful thing to behold. So it 
shall be here — the saints shall see God, and it shall 
be wonderful delight to them ; for, together with all 
the glorious excellency that they shall see iu God, 
there shall be fragrancy come from God — God's let- 
ting out himself to their souls, in whom they shall be 
blessed for ever. !Many things might be said about 
this argument, and there is as much written and 
curious notions about it as anything ; but I conceive 
that it will not be fit or profitable to enter further 
into the explication of this, or endeavour to acquaint 
you with such kind of notions as many men have had 
about this in their writings. I shall only make some 
application of this excellent point. 

' Blessed are the pure in heart : for they shall see 
God.' 

First, If it be such a blessedness to see God, and 
this promised to the pure in heart, oh, do you con- 
sider, you that hve in uncleanness and filthiness, what 
ymi lose by your sin, and what you are like to lose ! 
This is promised to the pure in heart : but do not 
your consciences, many of you, misgive you, and tell 
you that there is woeful impurity in your hearts, base 
uncleanness, and so in your lives and conversations ? 
Why, now, what dost thou lose in this ? Thou losest 
this glorious sight of God, thou livest here in the 
world without the sight of God, and so shall never 
come to see the face of God for good unto thee ; cer- 
tainly thy lusts will cost thee dear. If a man were 
set upon his lusts, so as he must certainly lose the 
sight of his eyes if he would have his lusts, as I re- 
member Ambrose tells of PhUotimus, that had such 
a disease upon him through drinking and unclean- 
ness, that the physicians told him that if he did not 
reform, he would certainly lose his eyes for it. When 
he heard this, his heart was so set upon his lusts, 
Well, saith he, desperately, vale lumen amicum, fare- 
well sight, then ; as if he should say, Eather than I 
will lose my lusts, I will lose my sight. Lord, how 
many such desperate wretches are there amongst us ? 
Are there none this day here before the Lord ? If 
there be any, the Lord of heaven rebuke them, and 
speak unto their hearts. This is thy condition, thou 
art set upon thy lusts. What thinkest thou now 
about this little glimpse of heaven's excellency ? of 
the "sight of God, what thinkest thou ? Either part 
with thy lusts or lose thy sight. What will thy 
answer be before God this day, if thou shalt after this, 
when thou hearest that the sight of God is so annexed 
to purity of heart ? And as the apostle in that known 



place of the Hebrews, chap. xii. 14, 'Without holi- 
ness no man shall see God ' — I say, if thou dost yet 
continue in any known sinful way, that thy heart is 
set upon any such beloved lust, and that for all this 
thy heart cannot be taken off from it, this, then, is 
thy desperate resolution. Farewell, pleasant sight, fare- 
well the sight of God himself — I will venture it; I 
will rather please the sight of my eyes and the lusts 
of mine heart than I will be partaker of that blessed 
and glorious sight of God. Oh, thy lusts will cost 
thee dear ; look to it therefore here in this world. 
How do men live without God in the world ? They 
have no sight of God. You may speak of God, but 
certainly there is a sight of God that cannot stand 
with the love of any sin ; and therefore, though we 
cannot tell how to express the difference between the 
sight of God that one hath in this hfe and another, 
yet the Scripture is clear, that whosoever walks on in 
the way of sin, he knows not God : 1 John ii. 4, 
' He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his 
commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.' 
As if the Holy Ghost should say here, There is so 
much in the sight of God, as that it is impossible it 
can stand with the ways of sin. 

Secondly, If it be such a blessedness to see God, 
then how vile are they that take no delight at all in 
seeing of him, and would rather not see him than see 
him. This is the cursed disposition of the hearts of 
many men, yea, generally of all that have guilty con- 
sciences. I say, all men and women that have guilty 
consciences are brought to this thi'ough the guilt of 
their consciences, that they had rather not see God 
than see him. Oh, what a pass art thou in ! what 
hast thou brought thyself to ? Oh, miserable crea- 
ture, what is there in thy lusts that can so counter- 
vail this, the loss of the sight of God, and bring thee 
to such a condition as thou dost desire, never to see 
the face of God ? Thou accountest it not a misery 
not to see God, but thy happiness. Oh, cursed dis- 
position indeed ! You would say a child were very 
desperately wicked if he should say to his father that 
begat him, or the mother that bare him, I would I 
might never see your face ; but this doth every un- 
godly man say. Oh, that I might never see thy face ! 
You will say, is there any so vile as to say so? 
Certainly, it is the language of your actions ; and we 
read in Job xxi. 14, concerning the description of the 
wicked man, thus : ' Therefore they say unto God, 
Depart from us ; for we desire not the knowledge of 
thy ways.' Why, we cannot hear men in their lan- 
guage say so, and I do not think that Job did hear 
men say so ; but this was the language of their 
actions : ' They say unto God, Depart from us ; we 
desire not the knowledge of thy ways.' For indeed 
the sight of God engages the soul to duty ; and the 
truth is, for a man to have a sight of God, and yet to 



174 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 8. 



resolve to continue in his sin, these two things are 
incompatible one with another ; and therefore wicked 
men, rather tlian they would lose their lusts, away 
with holiness, they care not to see God. 

Thirdly, What a misery are those in, that shall have 
the sight of God to be their greatest misery, and to 
be a curse unto them, to be dreadful to them ; cer- 
tainly their sin hath Ijrought them to an evil condi- 
tion indeed. Yet this is the state of impure hearts and 
consciences ; of all sights in the world, the sight of 
God will trouble it, and be the most dreadful to it. 
They shall see God too, but see him to be the terror 
of their souls ; their sight of God will be their curse 
and their misery. ' They shall see God,' but see him 
as an enemy ; see that infinite holy face of God, and 
by that see how infinitely God hates them. When 
thou comest to see how God is holy, thou shalt see 
how infinitely he doth hate thee, and what an enemy 
he is to thee, and will be to thee to all eternity. We 
read in Rev. vi., latter end, that the kings and the 
mighty men of the earth cry out to the mountains 
and rocks to fall upon them, and to cover them. 
Why ? ' That they might be hid from the sight of the 
Lamb.' And so certainly at the day of judgment, 
when God shall appear in his glory, that they shall 
see what an infinite God they have to do with, what 
an infinite power there will be stretched out for their 
misery, what an infinite justice will lie upon them, 
and the strolces of it be upon them for ever ; this will 
be so dreadful, as they would rather have hills and 
mountains to fall upon them, than to have the sight 
of God. Oh, poor creature, what misery art thou 
brought into, whenas at that day, when the saints 
shall look upon the face of God, when God comes in all 
his glory and shall say. Oh this God is our God, this 
infinite all-sufficiency is ours, this infinite wisdom is 
ours, this infinite power shall work for good to us — 
and infinite mercy is ours, and so rejoice in that God. 
' Oh, lo, this is our God, we have waited for him ; ' this 
is the God of our salvation, and their hearts leap 
within them to go and meet this God that appears in 
his glory ; then for thee to stand shaking and trembling 
before this great God, Oh, this is the infinite God that 
I have sinned against, tliat I have rebelled against, 
that infinite God that comes against me in all this 
glory, to be avenged upon me to all eternity. This 
will be thy condition that hast an unclean heart; it is 
the pure in heart that shall see God with coiyic-ii 
And if I would say but any one thing for to ient an 
the evil of an unclean heart, and to cause yo^ce of 
restless until you get your hearts cleansed in the bX of 
of Christ, and purified by his Spirit, I would say tliig 
one thing, your uncleanness will make God's presence^ 
dreadful to you. Now you can defile yourselves with 
unclean thoughts, with covetous thoughts : now 
secretly you defile your hearts, you defile yourselves 



with injustice by false gain, and think to get to your- 
selves that way, and so your souls are defiled. Well, 
this defilement of your souls will make God dreadful 
to you one day ; therefore, go away with this as your 
portion, all you that have defiled your consciences 
with unjust gain, and with the lusts of the flesh, go 
away with this from God darted upon you. Well, 
this will make the sight of God the most scaring that 
ever can be, when God shall appear. Oh then, learn 
we to purify our hearts what we can. You whose 
consciences tell you there is much uncleanness in 
you, rest not until you come to find your consciences 
cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, sanctified by his 
Spirit ; fall down before the Lord — Lord, I am an 
unclean wretch, and by that that I have heard this 
day, there is that truth presented to me that strikes 
upon my conscience, that this secret uncleanness that 
no eye in the world ever saw, yet thy eyes having 
seen, it is that that will make thy presence terrible to 
me. Lord, cleanse me, wash me, and purge me with 
hyssop. We read in Jer. xxxiv. 3, ' And thou shalt 
not escape out of his hand ; but shalt surely be taken, 
and delivered into his hand ; and thine eyes shall 
behold the king of Babylon, and he shall speak to 
thee mouth to mouth, and thou shalt go to Babylon.' 
Here is a threatening to Zedekiah that his eyes 
should behold the eyes of the king of Babylon ; that 
is thus : Zedekiah had dealt treacherously with the 
king of Babylon, and thought to shift and provide for 
himself, and thought he was far enough from the king 
of Babylon. Well, saith God in a way of threatening. 
Thou thinkest to shift and provide for thyself thus, 
but thine eyes shall see the king of Babylon. So I 
say to all you who deal treacherously with God, who 
live in any unclean lusts, and yet make shew as if 
you would serve God, and make profession of his 
name. Oh you hypocrites, that make profession of 
religiog, Ond yet deal treacherously with God, this 
I say <^. JJU this day, Your eyes shall see him, 
but it// 9^ %!^® ^ most dreadful thing to you. 
Labovi) ^, T^ ■'cleanse your hearts; take heed of 
uncle ■\^''/'^o •'fe^.lfibour for pure hearts. And 
if yo% P, ^ "^"^^ j-e in your hearts, be pure in 
your^o <%. '°>, ^•'^ .■'?^y- 19, 20. Out of the heart 
correal ^ji'^.j '^-o"' ^^^^ ''° defile the man. And the 
fii ;^ <A, %°c'e unclean thoughts. ' Out of the heart 
'^/ ?^ Aee i thoughts, murders, adulteries,' &c. Take 
see it fully tig your hearts with unclean thoughts, if 
mystery of tie God with comfort ; and take heed of 
now thou dosU'selves in any business any further 
for us now to God go before you. If a man once 
v^b swallowed up iifs, oh, if things do not go accord- 
^\ ght make known il ^vill he shift up and down, and 
ational soul shall be capaCfe of by-ways he will have 
tSs^nd tliis shall be one furtl ake heed of that ! And 
tak* set out the blessed^/x Labour to live above 



.^«' 



,o*>^:>" 



Mat. V. 8.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



175 



sense. When men and women have sensual lives, 
are earthly, and they must have creature comforts 
here, oh, they defile themselves every day exceedingly. 
No marvel though worldlings and unclean wretches 
know so little of God, and have such poor, low 
thoughts of God. Oh, they do defile their souls, so 
as they cannot see God ! Labour to keep yourselves 
clean. And you that have, through the mercy of 
God, had your consciences and souls purified, keep 
your souls still pure, and labour for more and more 
purity, upon this ground, because you may more and 
more see God. Is it not comfortable to see the face 
of God ! ' Light is comfortable,' Eccles. xi. 7. Oh 
how comfortable is it to see God ! therefore cleanse 
your souls more and more, and improve this privi- 
lege of your eyesight ; improve it. What doth Jesus 
Christ promise ? that you shall see God. And is 
this the blessing promised to you ? Why, then, im- 
prove it, make use of it, and set your eyes upon God 
while you live in this world, and make it your work 
to contemplate upon God. Many, even Christians, 
they live as if there were no blessing in seeing God ; 
but if there be such a blessing, then why are not 
your thoughts more upon God than they are? Every 
time you see God in his creatures, you should even 
gaze upon the glory of God. Oh this is my God ! 
And when you look into his word, and come to his 
ordinances and worship him, why do not you fix 
your hearts and eyes upon him ? A Christian that 
fixes his eye upon God, oh, he will come to be a 
glorious Christian indeed. If we would converse 
with God, and fix our eyes upon him, we might grow 
up in holiness exceedingly. As purity of heart doth 



make us fit to see God, so the .sight of God will make 
us more clean and more pure in heart daily, so as 
every night thou canst appeal to God, Lord, through 
thy mercy I have kept my conscience clear. Though 
there be many frailties and infirmities in my ways, 
yet, Lord, there is nothing that I have deliberately 
gone about this day, but I bless thee for it. Oh, 
then, when you lie down and close your eyes, you 
may have a sight of God ; and when you open your 
eyes again in the morning, you may have a sight of 
God, to fill your hearts with joy. Oh, thou mayest 
live comfortably! Let become of the world what 
will, thou mayest live above the world, if thou keepest 
thyself in the sight of God. Set the Lord before 
your eyes continually. God sets you before his eyes; 
set you God, then, before yours. And by this you 
shall come to die comfortably. No man can see God 
and live, it is true ; while we live here in the flesh, 
we cannot have the full sight of God. Ay, but a 
Christian, when he is to die, he may die comfortably. 
Well, let me close my eyes with death. I shall go 
out of this world, but I shall see God in another 
world. Thou hearest many things of God now that 
are great mysteries to thee. Be of good comfort, 
when thou art to die, thou mayest think thus : I go 
to the place where I shall come to know as I am 
known, to know God perfectly, to know all the mys- 
teries of the gospel perfectly. This will make death 
to be comfortable to the saints in their departing 
here. And therefore rejoice in this blessing of Christ, 
and exercise now thy faith upon it, and let it run in 
thy thoughts : ' Blessed are the pure in heart, for 
they shall see God.' 



176 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 9 



SERMON XXVIII. 



THE OEDER OF THIS BEATITUDE. 



■ Blessed are the peacemakers : for they shall he called the children of God.' — Mat. v. 9. 



We finished, you may remember, the last day, the 
sLxth beatitude — the promise to the pure in heart 
that they shall see God. We come to this seventh 
beatitude, ' Blessed are the peacemakers : for they 
shall be called the children of God.' 

This blessedness, for the order, it is in the seventh 
place. As we read in Prov. vi. the contrary unto this, 
that God saith he hates, it is the seventh thing which 
is there revealed as an object of God's hatred: ver. 16, 
' These six things doth the Lord hate, yea, seven are 
an abomination unto him.' Then the Holy Ghost 
having named the six, the seventh thing that is 
named it is, ' Him that soweth discord among breth- 
ren :' that is the seventh thing that God hates. And 
here the seventh thing that God promises blessedness 
unto is the peace-makers, ' Blessed are the peace- 
makers, for they shall be called the children of God.' 
And it well follows the former, ' Blessed are the 
pure in heart'— and then 'Blessed are the peace- 
makers ;' for it is from the impurity of men's spirits 
that there is so much discord in the world. TChere 
would be more peace if there were more holiness. 
'Follow peace and holiness, without which no man 
can see God.' They cannot see God without peace 
and holiness. Those two are joined together in the 
Epistle to the Hebrews. And purity of heart and 
peacemaking are joined together here. A pure head 
and a pure heart will make peace. In James iii. 17, 
mark there what the scripture speaks of the head : 
' The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then 
peaceable.' The wisdom that is from above is pure — 
that is, not defiled ; there is no by and base ends and 
tricks and devices, and cunning, crafty ways, in the 
wisdom that is from above, that is first pure, then 
peaceable. And here the heart is first pure, then 
peaceable. The pure in heart, and then the peace- 
makers. There is nothing makes more disturbance 
than men's corruptions: James iv. 1, ' From whence 
come wars and fightings among you ? come they not 
hence, even of your lusts, that war in your members.' 
Here is a question, ' From whence come wars and 
fightings among you?' If so be that this question 



were asked among us, From whence are wars and 
fightings ? from whence are jars and divisions among 
us ? One would say. It is from such a party that 
would have such a thing ; and the other would say, 
It is from such a party that would have such a thing; 
but few would answer it as the apostle doth here. Oh 
it is from the lusts that are in our hearts ; wars and 
fightings between nations and in commonwealths are 
from the lusts of men's hearts. And wars in the 
church, and divisions there, are from the lusts in 
men's hearts ; wars and divisions in cities, divisions 
in families, and contentions in men's own spirits, they 
are all from the lusts of our hearts. Saul, before he had 
defiled himself so grossly, as after he did, was of a 
very quiet and peaceable disposition ; but when he 
came to be corrupt, and had a defiled conscience and 
heart, oh then he was of a cruel, rugged, and very 
perverse spirit. Those that keep themselves pure, 
whose consciences and hearts are clean, they are 
peaceable, and fit to make peace with others ; but 
corrupt hearts, they make all the stir among us, and 
therefore so much division, so much corruption, so 
much impurity in a family, in a particular person. 
So far as thou art contentious and troublesome in the 
place where thou art, there is so much impurity in 
thy spirit. Wicked men, that are full of sin, cannot 
but be full of trouble. In Isa. Ivii. 20, 21, ' But the 
wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, 
whose waters cast up mu'e and dirt. There is no 
peace, saith my God, to the wicked.' The wicked are 
troublesome ; they are troublesome wheresoever they 
live. In Gal. v. 20, you find what the fruits of the 
flesh are, ' Now the works of the flesh are manifest;' 
first he speaks of uncleanness, then in ver. 20, 
' Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, 
wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, 
drunkenness, revellings, and such like.' These are the 
fruits of the flesh. Mark how many words there are 
that tend almost to the same thing : ' hatred, variance, 
emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, 
murders.' AU comes from thefruitoftheflesh. Blessed, 
then, are the pure in heart, for then, as they shall see 



Mat. V. 9.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



177 



God, so they will be peacemakers. Although ordinarily 
men lay all the trouble upon such as desire to walk 
most conscionably, that desire to keep their hearts and 
ways most clean. Indeed, men who can yield to any- 
thing this way or that way, they are accounted quiet 
men ; but men that must walk according to the rule 
that God hath appointed, so far as they can see light 
for, and whatsoever becomes of their private interests 
or private peace, dare not go contrary to the rule, dare 
not go one step in the dark, these are accounted the 
troublers of Israel. And who were they in former 
times that were accounted the troublers of the state, 
but those that were called Puritans ? but Christ 
accounts them the best for making peace. The pure 
in heart first, and then peacemakers. Yea, it was 
Jeremiah's lot, chap. xv. 10, to be accounted a 
troublesome man : ' Woe is me, my mother, that thou 
hast borne me a man of strife, and a man of conten- 
tion to the whole earth.' Jeremiah a man of strife 
and contention to the whole earth ! And yet he 
pleads his innocency, he walked with a pure con- 
science before them all; and yet they all did account 
of Jeremiah as a man of strife and contention to the 
whole world. This is the perverse judgment of wicked 
men. It was just so in the primitive times, they were 
accounted the great troublers of states. Paul, you 
know, was cried out of 'as a man that turned the 
world upside down.' And whatsoever trouble they 
had, presently they cried out of the Christians, that 
they were the cause of it. And what kind of men 
now are cried out of, as causes of trouble and disturb- 
ance ? You know, and God knows, that the Lord 
will clear those men one day for walkuig according to 
the rule that Christ would have them, and keeping 
themselves from uncleanness and impurity. They are 
they who bear up the world ; and let the world think 
what they will of those that walk most closely and 
strictly with God, according to the rule of his word, 
yet these are the peacemakers and the sons of God. 
But thus much for the order of this beatitude, 
' Blessed are the peacemakers.' We come to the 
beatitude itself, to the subjects who are blessed, and 
to the blessedness, what it is that is here promised to 
them. 

' The peacemakers.' 

The word that is translated ' peacemakers,' I find 
it generally understood by interpreters, those that 
either keep peace or make peace; any that are further- 
ances of peace any way, for the preserving of it where 
it is, or the procuring of it where it is not. It is a 
blessed thing to have a peaceable heart one's-self, to 
keep peace within one's own soul, that is blessed. It 
is blessed to be of a peaceable disposition towards all 
with whom we live. A froward, a perverse disposi- 
tion, it is a cursed disposition ; but a peaceable, 
quiet, and gentle disposition, it is a blessed disposition. 



But further, it is more blessed for to be a means to 
procure peace in the places where we live, among 
those with whom we converse ; and if ever we had 
cause to account it a blessed thing to be a peacemaker, 
then at this day : ' Blessed are the peacemakers.' 

First, Those that labour to make peace between 
man and God. 

And, secondly. Those that do labour to make peace 
between man and man. 

Blessed are those that labour to make peace be- 
tween man and God. They are the words of Christ, 
and therefore we must understand them in the most 
spiritual sense ; we must not exclude that, however. 
Blessed are those who, having found the blessedness 
of peace themselves, and so having peace with God, 
they are very desirous to make peace between other 
men and God too; they finding the sweetness in 
their own hearts of their peace with God, their ear- 
nest desires are. Oh that they could bring others to be 
at peace with God too. When the husband hath had 
the work of God in purifying his heart by faith, and 
hath found the sweetness of peace with God ; Oh that 
I could be a means to make peace between the soul 
of my wife and God too ; and so tlie wife that hath 
made her peace with God, having her heart purified 
by faith, and feels the sweetness of it ; Oh, now that 
I could do anything in the world, any way, with 
prayers and tears, and walking convincingly before 
my husband, to work his heart to God, that there 
may be peace between God and his soul likewise ; so 
one brother having his heart purified by faith, and 
having the sweetness of peace with God ; Oh that I 
could but do anything before I die to further this 
great work of peace between the soul of my brother 
and God. Oh the grace of God to my soul, in bring- 
ing it to be at peace with him ; and oh that I could be 
any way instrumental for the furtherance of the work 
of the grace of God on the soul of my brother ; and 
so one kinsman to another, and one neighbour to an- 
other. Certainly those that ever knew what the 
peace of God meant, will endeavour what possibly 
they can to make peace between their brethren and 
God, by telling of them what their condition was. 
There was a time that I went on in a wretched way, 
as you are now going on in. I was an enemy to 
God; there was nothing in my heart but enmity 
against God. Oh, I would not for ten thousand 
worlds be one hour in that condition that I was 
once in, for fear I should die in it, and so be eternally 
an enemy to God. Oh that you would consider yoar 
ways ! The way that you go on in, it is certainly a 
way of enmity against the blessed and eternal God. 
Oh, consider what God hath revealed in his word 
concerning the glorious work of reconciliation of sin- 
ners to himself. Thus we should be pleading one 
with another, and praying one for another, and la- 



178 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 9. 



bouring to instruct one another to be at peace witli 
God. Oh, blessed is that man or woman that hath in 
a gracious way laboured to draw any to be at peace 
with God, and whom God hath blessed in these endea- 
vours. Hath God brought thy heart to be at peace 
with him, and to desire tliat others might be brought 
in to love the ways of God ? Oh blessed, that ever 
thou wert born to be an instrument of so great a 
good, if it be but to bring in one soul to be at peace 
with God, so that God hath one enemy in the world 
less through thy means and endeavours. Thou mayest 
bless God, I say, that ever thou hadst a being, that 
canst have this comfort to thy soul : though I 
am a poor \wetch myself, and was a long time an 
enemy to God, yet the Lord did not only bring my 
soul to be at peace with him, but made me an instru- 
ment to bring others to be at peace with him like- 
wise, so that the Lord hath one enemy less in the 
world through my endeavours. Oh, it is that that 
would rejoice thy soul ! Blessed art thou that hast a 
hand in this work, for it is the greatest work that 
ever took up the heart of God from all eternity. Of 
all the works that ever were in the heart of God from 
eternity, the work of reconciling souls to himself was 
the greatest work of all ; and of all the things that 
God expects glory from unto all eternity, the work of 
reconciling souls to himself is the thing that God 
makes account to have the greatest glory from, that 
ever he shall have to all eternity. Now then, if God 
shall employ thee to be instrumental in so great a 
work as this is, blessed art thou that ever thou didst 
live in the world. That man is not blessed that 
is great in the world, or hath tine clothes, but that is 
the man that is a blessed man, that the Lord makes 
instrumental for the furtherance of that work; for 
that, above all things, his heart is most in. Besides, 
we might speak of the great evils that thou deliverest 
the soul of thy brother from, and the great good that 
thou bringest to the soul of thy brother, and the 
great blessing that thy brother's soul does bless thee 
withal, if thou beest an instrument to make peace be- 
tween him and God. Oh, those that are instrumental 
this way have the blessing of such as they have been 
instrumental of good unto. They bless God that 
ever they saw such a one's face. Oh, the blessing of 
God be upon such a man or woman ! I was going 
on in the ways of eternal death, and partly through 
the holy carriage of such a one I was convinced, and 
partly through their holy persuasions I was brought 
to the word, and there I met with those things that 
wrought upon my heart, that I would not have been 
without for ten thousand worlds. Oh, the blessing 
of God be upon the soul of such a man — of such a 
woman ! Why, when such a one shall lie a-dying, 
going the way of all flesh, launching into the infinite 
ocean of eternity, he shall lie blessing God that ever 



he knew thee ; yea, and when he shall come to heaven, 
shall be there blessing God that ever he knew you. 
Is it not a blessed thing to labour to draw others to 
be at peace with (jod? 

What a blessed work is the work of the ministry 
then 1 and the calling is a blessed calling. ' Oh, how 
beautiful are the feet of those that bring the glad 
tidings of peace ! ' So people should account it. 
And the first work that a minister hath to do 
when he comes to a place, is to say. Peace to that 
place. ' To us,' saith Paul, ' is committed the w'ord 
of reconciliation ; ' that is our great embassage ; tliis 
is the work that the Lord hath designed some men 
to. God may bless the endeavours of some private 
men to bo peacemakers in this sense ; but the work 
of the ministry is appointed by God. God hath set 
them apart to be his great ordinance for the recon- 
ciling the world to himself. Saith the Lord, There 
are a company of poor wretches that are now in 
ways of enmity against me, yet I have thoughts of 
peace towards them, and I send you among them for 
to carry the embassage of peace unto them, and I re- 
quire and command you that you open the glad 
tidings of peace to them, and that you tell them 
how my heart is towards peace with them, and 
that you shew them the way how they may come 
to be reconciled to me, and that you do woe and 
labour with them with all your might, though it be 
to spend your lives with them. Yet if you can but 
labour to bring them to be at peace with me, it would 
be worth your lives, had you a thousand. This is the 
work that I require of you. Oh, it is a blessed and 
honovirable woric, and look upon it so ! Look upon 
it as the great ordinance of God, appointed b}' God 
to make peace between God and souls that are in a 
way of enmity against him. And then indeed hath 
the word had its proper work upon a people, when it 
hath made peace. And oh how careful should 
minsters be in this, in this their work. What a cursed 
thing is it for ministers to be neghgent in such a 
work as this is, when they have such a glorious end 
appointed by God. And if any of you have been 
brought in by the ministry of the word, and peace 
made between God and your souls through it, you are 
not only to bless God, but to bless the instruments 
of it. This is that the ministers of God may require 
as what is due to them ; for it is promised here, 
' Blessed are the peacemakers.' All those whom the 
Lord hath pleased to work this good upon by their 
ministry, they should bless them. When you are 
alone in your closets, blessing God for peace made 
between God and you, you are bound in conscience to 
bless the instruments of this, to bless those ministers 
of God, and to pray for a blessing upon them ; be- 
cause the Lord made them instruments of so great a 
good unto you. And this certainly must needs be 



Mat. V. 9.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



179 



an encouragement to any minister to be faithful and 
laborious, to spend their lives in labouring to reveal 
Christ to men's souls, when they know that if they 
do but gain any man's soul to be at peace with God, 
that soul will bless them, and bless them for ever, 
and even in the day of Jesus Christ they shall find 
the blessing. ' Blessed are the peacemakers ' in that 
sense. 

And if so, oh how blessed is that great peacemaker 
Jesus Christ, who is designed by the Father to make 
up peace between man and him. All the children 
of men being fallen from God in Adam, they are all 
in an estate of enmity against God; that is certain. 
And all the angels in heaven and men upon earth, 
all the creatures in heaven and earth, could not make 
peace between God and one sinful soul ; it was too 
great a work for any creature. But now Jesus 
Christ, the wisdom of the Father, the second person, 
he looks upon the wretched, miserable estate of the 
children of men, and saw that if they were left to 
themselves they were all undone, and would be 
eternal enemies to God, and God an eternal enemy to 
them. He now steps in between, and, through the 
appointment of the Father, he mediates between 
wretched man and God to make up peace. He 
stands, I say, as the great mediator of the second 
covenant. And his heart was so much in the work 
of making peace between man and God, as he was 
content to lay down his life to the end he might 
make peace : Col. i. 20, ' And, having made peace 
through the blood of his cross.' Mai'k, Jesus Christ's 
heart was so much iu being a peacemaker between 
the world and God, as, though he knew it would cost 
him his dearest heart blood, saith Christ, It shall go. 
Yea, the Scripture tells us he was content to be a 
curse for man. Oh, do but consider, you children of 
men, what a distance there was between God and 
you, that Christ, God and man, must come to make 
peace between God and you ; and he must shed his 
blood, he must be made a curse for the accomplish- 
ing of this great work of God. This, my brethren, 
is the great mystery of godliness ; this is that that 
we should spend all our days in admiring in, in 
standing and wondering, and blessing our Saviour, 
the great peacemtiker. Had it not been for him, we 
had all been eternally enemies to God. Oh, let our 
souls bless Jesus Christ ; and the greater the curae 
was upon Christ in this work, the more let our souls 
bless Christ. It is the work that the angels and the 
saints shall be exercised in to all eternity, in saying, 
' Blessing, and honour, and praise, and worship, and 
service be to him that sitteth upon the throne, and 
to the Lamb for evermore ; ' for he hath redeemed 
us by his blood, as in Kev. v. Those that ever knew 
what the blessing of peace with God means, they 
know how to bless God for Jesus Christ. And any 



of you that sometimes will be blessing of God for 
outward peace, for plenty and comfort that you have 
in this world, I appeal to your consciences in this 
question, demanding of you, in the name of God, 
AVhen did you spend time above in your closets in 
admiring at the glory of God in that great work of 
the mediation of Jesus Christ, in making peace be- 
tween God and your souls ? When was ever your 
hearts taken with that great work above all things 
in the world, and your spirits raised in admiring and 
worshipping of God and of Jesus Christ, that great 
peacemaker, blessing and magnifying and praising 
the name of God, and blessing Christ his Son, who 
was God blessed for ever, for this great work of his 
in making peace between your souls and God ? It 
would be one good argument that Christ hath been 
a peacemaker for your souls, if you have had your 
hearts so affected. But if there be nothing in this 
work of Christ in making peace between man and 
God, but you only give it the hearing, and let the 
great mystery of godliness iu the gospel pass lightly 
away; when you hear it, and your hearts never taken 
with it, it is much to be feared, nay, it may be con- 
cluded as a certain truth, that to this day yet peace 
is not made between your souls and God. What his 
blood may do, what the effects of it afterwards may 
be, we know not, but yet it hath not this gracious 
efl'ect upon you. But now we come unto the second 
thing : 

' Blessed are the peacemakers.' 

Peacemakers between man and man, they are 
blessed. As for this point I confess I intended to 
speak but very little of it at this time, nor out of 
this Scripture ; for in another place many sermons I 
have preached about the point of heart-divisions ; 
and almost every head that is needful about this 
point there I handled — namely, the evil of divisions, 
the causes of them, and the means how to heal them ; 
and therefore thought to have passed very briefly over 
this. But yet because many there are that either have 
not heard, or have not use of those things for the pre- 
sent, and because of the necessity of the point, I shall 
speak a little about peacemaking between man and 
man. 

This work is a very delightful work to meddle in, 
in these times especially. To meddle with the point 
of peace between man and man, it is one of the diffi- 
ciiltest arguments that any minister can speak of in 
such times as these ; and there is scarce any one 
thing wherein a minister is more put to it, to shew 
the wisdom and the meekness and the spirit of Christ, 
than when he meddles with this argument at such a 
time as this is. Very difficult it is, because men's 
hearts are so impure, such filth and uncleanness is 
upon the spirits of men ; and to make peace with 
them, how should one go about it ? Difficult it is, 



ISO 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 9. 



because there is no man almost in the world can he 
brought to judge himself as any cause of want of 
peace among others. If all the people in England 
were together, and you should go from one to another, 
and ask, What! are you any cause of the divisions 
that are in England ? he would profess against it. 
Ask every man, and he would disavow it : God for- 
bid that I should have any hand in breaches and 
divisions. One party casts it upon another, and the 
other casts it upon them again. All cry for peace, 
and many times even those that cry much for it are 
the great hindrances of it ; yea, cry after it in such a 
manner as do very much hinder it when they are 
speaking about it. It is very difficult to meddle with 
this, because a man cannot tell how to come to the 
practice part of this ; but he must intrench upon one 
side or other — he must bring some to yield some- 
thing. It is impossible there should be any peace 
between any two that are fallen out, if there be no 
yielding on either side. The Spaniards have a pro- 
verb, that stone and mortar makes a wall, because 
one yields ; but two hard things will not. Now, be- 
cause it is so hard for any to yield to another, there- 
fore it is hard for any to meddle with the point of 
peace ; yea, it is more difficult now than ever, because 
we find all sorts of men that are the greatest means 
of division and contention, yet they will all plead the 
National Covenant, that was a covenant for union — 
they will all plead it for their parties, and for the 
fomenting and maintaining of disunion. It is just 
here as it falls out in the point of the sacrament, that 
is appointed by God to be the means of union in the 
churches, it is therefore called the communion. It 
is an ordinance for the union of the churches, and 
through man's corruption there is nothing that ever 
hath been occasion of so much disunion as the sacra- 
ment hath been. And so even our covenant, though 
certainly intended for union, yet through man's cor- 
ruption, if heed be not taken, as it hath been made 
use of, so may be further, for as great breaches as can 
be. Now, to come as it were between parties that are 
at variance and division, oh, how should a man 
behave himself ! Truly, thinking of it at first, I was 
almost discouraged to speak any word about it, be- 
cause of the indisposition of men's hearts at this time 
for peace. The prophet Hosea saith, chap. vii. 7, 
that the people were hot as an oven. The meaning 
is this, that the people had their hearts so set upon 
that way and course which they were in, that what- 
ever the prophet spake to them it was in vain ; as if 
a man should throw a few sticks into an oven when 
it was red hot, they are devoured presently and con- 
sumed into ashes. As if the prophet should say. All 
my speech to tliem hath no more effect, and there 
appears no more of what I say to them, than there 
will appear of a little straw that is cast into a hot 



oven. And truly, my brethren, are not men's hearts 
heated in their way of divisions, some in one way and 
some in another, and seem to be resolute, and even 
set on fire almost at this time, that what is said to 
them is as presently devoured and comes to nothing, 
as, I say, a little straw or stubble in a hot oven, 
and therefore like to be as unprofitable at such a time 
as this as anything, though nothing more needful ? 
But though it ma}' be so unprofitable, yet because 
there is so much blessedness in it, I shall address my- 
self to speak a little. It is a blessed thing to be a peace- 
maker. Now, certainly, those that can carry it well 
shew that they have a gracious temper of heart, and 
therefore are blessed. It doth argue a very gracious 
and holy spiritual temper of heart to be a peacemaker 
between man and man, if it be done in a spiritual 
way, for spiritual ends. That man that would meddle 
in point of peace with others, he had need have all 
well between God and his own soul first, and had need 
be of a very peaceable disposition himself; for any one 
that is of a froward or turbulent disposition himself, 
if he should come to talk of peace and cry out of 
divisions, every one would be ready to fly in his face. 
He need have much self-denial, not at aU to look at 
himself, at his own party any way in respect to him- 
self, but to have pure aims ; he need come with a pure 
heart, to have pure aims at God and his glory, and at 
public good; and then, I say, it is an evidence of 
much grace in the heart, and therefore he is blessed. 
He is a blessed man that carries this wisely and pru- 
dently and graciously. 

And then blessed, because by this means he shall 
prevent abundance of evil. Oh the woeful evils_that 
do proceed from jars and divisions, from national 
divisions, from sea divisions, church divisions, family 
divisions, personal divisions, divisions between neigh- 
bour and neighbour, and the like ! I had thought to 
have spoken a few words to all of them. Oh the 
abundance of sin that is committed in the time of 
division ! There were many great sins committed 
among the people of God in former times, but I am 
verily persuaded there was never, in any thirty years 
since the gospel was known in England, so much 
sins among godly people as there hath been these 
last three years ; the people of God have more defiled 
themselves by sinful distempers in these last three 
years than ever they Avere defiled in any thirty since 
the gospel was known in England. As in a family, 
sometimes there is more sin committed in one hour, 
where there are brawls and contentions and strife, 
than in another family in a whole twelvemonth ; yea, 
I verily believe sometimes in some persons, some one 
man put into a passionate fit, into a way of contend- 
ing with others, doth sometimes commit more sin in 
one hour, when he is in a passionate fit, than at 
another time in a whole quarter of a year ; he may 



Mat. V. 9.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



181 



reckon that hour an hour that contracts more guilti- 
ness than, I say, all the sins that he commits some- 
times in a quarter of a year besides. I fear that many 
of you may find this by experience, as we read of 
Moses, when he came down from the mount he 
brake the two tables, when he was in a fit of anger; 
but that was holy anger, it was for God. Truly so 
it is; many men and women, 'in the fit of a sinful 
anger, breaks both the tables, all the ten command- 
ments, in one fit. Oh there is abundance of evil, of 
sin, that is committed by divisions. The apostle 
James saith, that where there is strife and anger 
and debates ' there is every evil work,' James iii. 16. 
Oh, my brethren, this it is that makes the devil so 
foment our divisions, because he sees that there is so 
much sin committed. What railing and reviling, what 
hatred, what brawling, what sins in thought, plotting, 
contriving, counselling, and what sins in word, what 
sins in actions, are where there is strife and envy! no- 
thing but labouring to mischief one another what 
possibly they can. The devil looks at the sin and 
aims at that. It is not so much the division that the 
devil so much cares for, as the sin that is committed by 
it. As sometimes I have made use of a similitude that 
Austin hath; saith he, ' When a fowler goes to catch 
fowl, he sets his net on the other side of the hedge, 
and then he takes stones and flings into the hedge.' 
Why, he doth not expect to kill the bird by his stones, 
but to make a disturbance, and to cause the bird to 
fly out, and hopes that he shall catch the bird in the 
net, that is on the other side of the hedge : that is 
that which he aims at. So, saith he, it is when the 
devil would make divisions and stirs, he tempts men, 
as it were, to throw stones one at another, and stirs 
\\p strife one against another, and makes a great deal 
of stir ; but that the devil aims at is the net on the 
other side of the hedge — he sees that this will be the 
occasion of abundance of sin, there will be bitterness 
of spirit and wrath, and there will be wicked words 
and actions, and so he shall catch poor souls. When 
you are tempted to a fit of passion, know then the 
devil expects a great deal of sin that will follow. 
Now blessed are the peacemakers, for they are the 
means to prevent abundance of sin ; and that is a most 
blessed thing. What blessed work can a man be more 
blessed in than to be a means to prevent sin ; it is a 
blessed thing to prevent any one sin, but to be an in- 
strument to prevent so much sin, that must needs be 
blessed. 

'. ' Blessed are the peacemakers,' for they are instru- 
ments of abundance of good likewise. All things 
flourish where there is peace; spiritual things flourish 
where there is peace ; little things grow to a great 
height where there is peace. ' O blessed are the peace- 
makers,'theyare the causeof much good. To shew both 
the evil of the want of it, and the good that is in peace, 



either of these would be a large point; and I having 
done it elsewhere, .shall not mention particulars now. 
' Blessed are the peacemakers,' for they are in- 
strumental for God in the work that God takes much 
delight in. Bead but the Scripture ; you will find 
there is no duty in all the book of God more urged, 
more backed with arguments and motives and per- 
suasions — no duty hath stronger exhortations to it 
than peace. Bead but the Epistles to the Philip- 
pians, Ephesians, Colossians, Eomans, Corinthians ; 
when you read them you shall find continually peace 
is the thing that the Holy Ghost doth most persuade 
men to. And Christ himself, who is the great peace- 
maker, he is tender of peace, not only between God 
and us, but between man and man. He glories in 
this title. Other great captains did use to glory in 
the places where they had wars, as Scipio Africanus, 
but Christ he takes his denomination from peace ; 
he was typed out by Solomon, who was the prince of 
peace ; and he came into the world in the time of 
peace. And the angels they sung a song of peace, 
'Glory to God on high, peace on earth;' and his 
ministers were appointed to go and preach peace ; and 
his kingdom it consists in righteousness and peace; 
and his blessing is a blessing of peace. And when 
he rose again he Spake peace; and his legacy is a 
legacy of peace, ' My peace I leave with you.' And 
an apostolical benediction, it is 'grace and peace' 
still. So that by these things we may easily con- 
clude that there is no one thing that God's heart is 
more upon than to see peace. Blessed then are 
the peacemakers in being so instrumental in such 
a thing, in which the Lord hath so much glory 
in. 

Certainly they shall have the blessing likewise of 
many upon them. As when David ha<l an unpeace- 
able disposition in his spirit towards Nabal, and he 
would do this and that against Nabal ; when Abi- 
gail came, and through her wisdom, and the peace- 
ableness of her spirit, did allay the heat of David's 
anger, and so brought David into a more quiet and 
peaceable disposition ; why, presently David blessed 
God for Abigail, and blessed Abigail; 'Blessed be 
thou, and blessed be thy counsel,' saith David to her, 
1 Sam. XXV. 33 ; for I intended to do thus and thus. 
And so if men have not very wicked and vile hearts, 
though when their corruption is stirred, then they 
will do thus and thus, and they will have their minds, 
and make men thus to yield thus unto them ; and they 
have most bitter thoughts and desperate resolutions ; 
but if it jjleases God to send a son of peace to them, 
some that shall come with a quiet and peaceable 
spirit, and by persuasion, by laying scripture to them, 
shall be a means to ap]5ease their boiling spirits, to 
cool that boiling passionate heart of theirs, and so to 
allay those desperate resolutions of theirs, I say, if 



182 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 9. 



tliey be not desperately wicked, they will see cause 
to bless God for this : well, blessed be God that sent 
such a man to me to prevent me, for I see I should 



have done that that I should have repented of. 
' Blessed are the peacemakers : for they shall be called 
the children of God.' 



SERMON XXIX. 

OR, 

BLESSED ARE THEY THAT MAKE PEACE BETWEEN MAN AND MAN. 



'Blessed are (he peacemtd-ers : for they shall he called the children of God.' — Mat. v. 9. 



It is a blessed thing to be an instrument of peace 
between man and man. I find the story of Moses, 
in Exod. ii. 30, wherein he doth engage himself in a 
quarrelsome business, but to the end that he might 
make peace, to be recorded by the Holy Ghost after- 
wards in the New Testament as a high and great 
commendation of Moses. ' And when he went out 
the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews 
strove together ; and he said unto him that did the 
wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?' Why, 
now Moses he might have lived at the court, and had 
all the delights that possibly might be, why would 
he meddle with the Hebrews that were striving to- 
gether ? In Acts vii., we find there among the great 
commendations of Moses, this set forth ; ver. 26, 
' And the next day he shewed himself unto them as 
they strove, and would have set them at one again, 
saying, Sirs, ye are brethren ; why do ye wrong one 
to another?' He would have set them at one again. 
The Holy Ghost forgets not this, that Moses would 
not content himself to live at the court, and have all 
kind of pleasure and delight there, but he would 
interest himself in the fallings-out of his brethren, 
so as if possibly he could to set them at one again. 
The Holy Ghost remembers this in after ages. Then 
somewhat is to be said about this of making and 
keeping peace between men and men. It is not, 
blessed are those that are at peace with sin, or seek 
to make peace with men's sins and corruptions, but 
peacemakers that make peace between brethren and 
brethren, neighbour and neighbour ; for though we 
should labour to be at peace with all men as much as 
possibly we can, yet we must not so much as endea- 
vour nor desire to be at peace with any sin. Though 
God were infinitely willing and desirous to reconcile 
the world to himself, yet he would never reconcile 
sin ; God and sin can never be reconciled — God and 
the least sin cannot. All the angels in heaven and 
men upon earth can never reconcile God and sin ; 



yea, whatever Christ did, as it was not intended by 
him, so it could never reconcile God and sin together ; 
but God would remain to be an eternal enemy to sin, 
and that is the glory of God. So when we are en- 
deavouring to make peace, we must not think to 
make peace with men's corruptions, with men's sins ; 
we must not so love peace as to swallow it wrapt up 
with the dirt of guiltiness and of sin, not so as to 
soothe and humour men's corruptions. Certainly 
there is no blessedness here, but a curse. But yet 
thus far, though we ought never to be at peace with 
men's sins, yet we may forbear men though sinful — 
we may forbear sinners ; yea, and when we come to 
oppose their sins, we must oppose them only with 
those weapons that God hath appointed. The magis- 
trate in his place, and the church in its place, must 
oppose siu. There may be a great deal of turbulency 
ot spirit, more than God allows in men, in opposing 
men's distempers and corruptions ; but that that we 
are now speaking of is peace between man and man. 
I shall therefore first labour to propound some general 
rules of peace between man and man. Secondly, 
Some more special rules in reference unto family 
peace. Thuxlly, Some rules in reference unto neigh- 
bourly peace. And I confess I had some thoughts 
of rules about church peace, and commonwealth 
peace ; but I shall tell you after why we shall not 
speak to that now. 

First, then. Some rules in general for peace between 
man and man. 

That is the first : That we should never use any vio- 
lence to any man, but where there is a necessity. If 
what we would do may be done by any means but by 
violence, we should rather try it. When we see such 
and such walk disordei'l}', otherwise than we would, 
they do wrong. First, We should study whether there 
may be any means to recall them before any violence 
be used ; use that always as the last help. It is quite 
otherwise with most men and women. When any- 



Mat. V. 9.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



183 



thing displeases them in another, they fly upon their 
faces presently, and the first way which they take for 
help to reduce men, it is in a violent way. Now this 
is not to be the child of God. ' Blessed are the peace- 
makers : they shall be called the children of God ; ' 
that is, as I shall shew afterwards, they shall be like 
God. Now the Lord himself doth not love to 'grieve 
the children of men.' So the Scripture saith, ' He 
delights not in the death of a sinner ; he doth not 
willingly punish.' Why, we should be like our Father. 
If there can be any means that can be used besides 
violence, let that be first tried ; let us first engage our- 
selves there. 

Secondly, If violence must needs be used, let there 
not be an extent of this violence any further than 
needs must. By the extent of it, I mean either in 
regard of the subject against whom, or in regard of 
the violeuce itself. Let it not be extended to a further 
degree than needs, but mix it what possibly you can 
with gentleness and love, if there be any hope of good 
that way ; and extend -it not further than needs 
must in respect of the subject that you do oppose. 
By that I mean this, that when any do displease you, 
and you must act in opposition to them ; fly not out 
against all others that have any kind of likeness to 
them in anything else. Indeed, you may oppose all 
others that do that very unjust thing that £uch a one 
doth ; but this is the frowardness and the turbulency of 
men's spirits, that if any one do displease them, they 
do not satisfy themselves in opposing the person that 
doth it, or the thmg that is unjust, but they will fly 
out against all men that have but any kind of corre- 
spondency with such that are of the way that they 
are of, and will not only oppose them that do displease 
them in the thing wherein they are displeased, but in 
all things else. Oh, this is an unpeaceable spirit! As 
we read of Haman, when IMordecai had displeased 
him, he did not think it enough to proceed against 
Mordecai's person, but against all the people of the 
Jews; his heart was against them all. And thus it is 
with many; if they be but angered with any one that 
is in such a way different from others, they will pre- 
sently fall upon all that are of that way. It was just 
the prelaticai way in former times ; if any that were 
called a Puritan did but anger them, they would fall 
upon all that went on in that way, and cry out of 
them all ; and if they were displeased in one thing, 
they would seek to revenge themselves all the ways 
they could, in opposing of them in all other things. 
Now this is a way of turbulency, and not the way of 
peace. That is the second rule : When violence is 
to be used, yet let it extend no further (either in re- 
gard of the measure or the subject) than needs must. 
Such a one hath done amiss ; why, I will deal with 
him in his person, and deal with him about that par- 
ticular thing wherein he hath done amiss. It is a 



very usual thing in neighbours, if one be but angry 
with one in a family, they are presently angry with 
all in the family; and this causes a great deal of divi- 
sion. So likewise in a town, a church, or common- 
wealth. But these rules are in general. 

Thirdly, If you would have peace in the world, you 
must resolve beforehand to be willing that it should 
cost you something. Every man would fain have 
peace. When we speak of peace, saith Austin, in 
his Comment upon the Psalms, all mankind desires 
it presently. When you speak of peace, with one 
mouth — Oh I desire it, I would wish it, I would 
have it, I love it. Every one would fain have peace ; 
but men and women are loath that it should cost them 
anything. What is the meaning of that ? Oh they 
would fain have peace, but they would fain have 
everybody to be all of their mind ; they would fain 
that they might do everything whatsoever they pleased, 
and nobody speak against it. But now, when the 
heart is set upon peace, and is used by Christ to be 
a peacemaker, such a one is set upon peace, so as to be 
willing to purchase it at a dear rate, yea, to purchase 
it at any rate but sin. The truth is, peace is never 
bought too dear but by sin. And as we say, we may 
buy gold too dear ; so we may buy peace too dear, if 
we betray our consciences for peace sake, or the truth 
for peace sake. But let us be willing to sacrifice 
what is our own and not God's, especially when it is 
public peace. If every man or woman had this reso- 
lution strongly set — Well, I am resolved so long as I 
live, wheresoever God casts me, I will make it my 
endeavour that there may be peace where I live, and 
I will be at any cost that so I may procure it. Yea, 
whatsoever shall be proposed as a way of peace be- 
sides sin, I am resolved that that way I will take 
where I see that God may have glory, and the public 
good may go on. Yea, where I see the good of my 
brother's soul doth depend upon it — for where there 
are jars and contentions, I have heard that there 13 
abundance of sin, and I find it so by experience. Now, 
where I may prevent sin, and do good, I am resolved, 
though it cost me dear, I will not be wanting for the 
furtherance of this. This resolution must be in every 
man, to be willing that it must cost him dear ; for 
peace is a precious commodity, and it comes not by 
wishing. Oh I would have peace ! and it comes not 
by crying out one upon another, but be willing that 
it should cost me something. You that cry out so 
much for peace, I appeal to you, what doth it cost you? 
And then the fourth rule for the furtherance of 
peace is, That every man or woman should account 
it the mo.st honourable thing to yield first. That 
cursed principle that there is in men's hearts, that it 
is a disgrace to begin to yield, if is that that makes 
disturbance in the world, in all societies. But if men 
were principled in this, that where there are any 



184 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. v. 9. 



breaches, that man or woman begins first to yield is 
the most honourable, this would be a mighty further- 
ance to peace. Believe it, it is so. It is a great part 
of the honour of God to begin to be reconciled to us; 
so saith the Scripture : ' God was in Christ, reconcil- 
ing the world unto himself.' He was in Christ — yea, 
he was from all eternity in Christ. Alas! if God had 
not begun with us, we should have stood out with 
him to all eternity. Mankind would have been an 
enemy to God eternally, if God had not begun with 
him to be reconciled first. Now, is it the honour of 
God to begin with us poor creatures, and is it not 
the honour of his creature to begin with his fellow- 
creature? Thou sayest. Let him come to me and yield 
to me — I am his better; or, he hath done me the wrong, 
and the inferior ought to yield. If God had stood 
out with you upon these terras, and had said. Let the 
creature yield which is the inferior, and any creature 
that liath been unjust and done me wrong ; and what 
would become of you? Well, would you be called 
the child of God? then be such a peacemaker as God 
is — begin the work of reconciliation first. If another 
doth begin, you have lost the honour of it,- and lost a 
great part of the reward of it. It is no thanks, when 
another begins to be at peace, that then you come in ; 
any base spirit can be brought to that. But if you for 
peace sake can yield to an inferior, and seek it first, 
oh, this is honourable in the eyes of God and in the 
eyes of man I That is a fourth rule. 

Fifthly, Look to breaches betimes. When there is 
any breach between you and another — it is a gene- 
ral rule that concerns states, churches, neighbours, 
families — where there is any breach, begin to stop 
the breach betimes ; let it not go far before you come 
in with help against it. Contention and strife is 
compared in Scripture to the breach of waters ; and 
where there is a breach of waters, it is not to stand 
and look upon it, and say. Hereafter I will stop it ; 
but it concerns thee to stop it presently ; you know 
not what the end of it may be. Very great breaches 
do come often with very little beginnings, and a little 
at the first would be a means to help very great evils 
that afterwards great means will not help : that is a 
further rule of peace. 

Sixthly, If you find peace be hard to make, pursue 
it. Pursue peace, and try one means after another ; 
let it not be sufficient for you to say, Well, God 
knows, I would fain be at peace, and I have used 
means to be at peace ; I have made fair offers. Well, 
but hath not that done the work that you desire ? 
Fall to it again and again ; try more conclusions. 
Whatsoever the heart of a man is in, and set upon, 
he will try all the conclusions that he can for the 
effecting of it. If your hearts be set upon peace, 
though you have a repulse the first and second time, 
you will on again. The Scripture bids us ' pursue 



peace, and follow peace :' and mark my text, ' Blessed 
are the peacemakers ;' he doth not say. Blessed are 
the peace-wishers. Some men have good affections, 
and say, I would there were peace ; and it may be 
they use some slight endeavours : As for my part 
I have done something for peace. Ay, but is the 
thing effected, hast thou made peace ? Thou shouldest 
never be at rest till thou hast made it. If there be 
any means in the world untried, try what that means 
will do. 

Seventhly, Further, if after all the means used that 
you can, you do not find it come, but still men will 
be of contentious spirits, then observe this rule. How- 
ever, for thine own part, resolve to walk before such in a 
convincing way. They are of troublesome spirits, and 
wrest every word you speak. You cannot meddle but 
you foul your fingers ; yet, for all this, break off with 
this resolution, I say : I will do what I can to con- 
vince them in a constant way of good, of holiness, 
and justice, and righteousness; if it may be, I will 
heap ' coals of fire upon their head,' and melt their 
hearts that way. I am resolved, whatsoever evil they 
do to me, I will do good to them. As Calvin said 
concerning Luther — Luther was of a violent, hot 
spirit. Well, saith Calvin, let Luther call me a 
devil, let him call me what he will, I will acknow- 
ledge Luther to be a precious servant of God, whom 
God doth use as an instrument of great good. Here 
is a peaceable spirit. This is the way to make peace, 
When the means have been tried, and yet it cannot 
be done, men's spirits will not be quieted, yet walk 
convincingly before them ; and a convincing conver- 
sation, in a few months it may be — but what if it be 
years? — will prevail with their hearts more than all 
other means that you did use to make peace between 
you and them. And truly now, in these days, the 
people of God are put to as much trial in this as in 
any age. I would to God he would but fasten this 
one thing I am speaking of upon their hearts ! Such 
clamours and outcries and reports there are among 
us, that one would wonder how so much dust should 
come to be raised. How men that heretofore seemed 
to be godly and religious, their spirits are so embit- 
tered, and even mad again, one would wonder at it. 
But the best way is this, wait on the Lord and keep 
his way; walk strictl}', inoffensively, commit thy cause 
to God, and in time all these clamours and stirs will 
wash away, will come to nothing, and thy light will 
break forth as the noon-day, and God will incline 
the hearts of others to thee, and they shall be con- 
vinced, and say, Verily, here is a son of God, observe 
his way and course ; there is nothing but the Spirit 
of God appears in him. This is our way, to walk in 
a convincing conversation, in a constant way; when 
we cannot quiet men other ways, this will do it. 

Eighthly, And then, in the last place, use much 



Mat. V. 9.] 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



185 



prayer. ' Pray for tlie peace of Jerusalem,' pray for 
the peace of kingdoms, cities, churches, neighbours, 
towns, families ; be much in prayer for it. This is a 
good spiritual help. I might shew you Scripture for 
everything ; but the point is so large, and I have 
spoken heretofore about it, so that I shall but only 
name the very heads of things. There is many of 
you cry out of the troubles of the times, and of the 
contentions that there are among men, and bitter- 
ness of men's spirits ; you cry out of this, but I ap- 
peal this day, in the name of God, to your con- 
sciences, what time have you spent in secret to make 
your moan to God, to complain to God in secret be- 
tween God and your souls ? Perhaps some men, in 
prayer with others, will speak of the contentions, 
and it is with a spirit of contention ; but when you 
have been in secret, have you poured out your hearts 
with earnest prayer that God would find out means of 
reconciliation ? Lord, we cannot see how men 
can be reconciled, men's hearts are at such a dis- 
tance ; but, Lord, thou that knowest how to recon- 
cile heaven and earth together, thou knowest how to 
reconcile men and men ! Pray much fcr this, and 
know that thy prayers at last shall return into thine 
own bosom. This now in the general. 

Now for the particulars. For peace in families 
ohserve these rules: — 

First, thus, Observe men's tempers in your family. 
The husband observe the temper of the wife, and con- 
sider then what she is to be indulged in in regard of 
her temper; so the wife the temper of her husband, 
the parent of the child, the master of the servant, and 
servants to their masters; every one observe the 
tempers one of another, one fellow-servant observe 
the temper of the other, and it will help much to 
peace in the family. 

Secondly, Observe the fittest times and seasons to 
debate things in a family. You have the opportunity 
of any time. Be not rash in contesting one with an- 
other. The husband is not to fall a-debating things 
when he sees the wife in a distemper, and so the wife. 
No, rather forbear. A wife would live at peace. 
She complains of such and such evil carriages in her 
husband ; but I appeal to you, what do you do when 
there is any evil miscarriage in a husband ? Why, 
you presently fly out in words against him, and then 
you will debate the business when he is in a passion ; 
whereas you should observe the fittest time, when 
you see him to be in the most loving disposition, then 
in a loving way debate what hath been unjust and 
amiss in him, then set it before him, and then tell 
him of it when he is in the fittest condition to hear ; 
and so the husband should do accordingly to the wife. 
Something, I observe, hath been done amiss ; watch 
now for the time when it may be most like an admoni- 
tion will take, and this would much conduce to peace. 



Thirdly, If any be angry with one another for 
some one thing, let them take heed that they be not 
angry w^ith them for all things because there is one 
thing amiss. That now you find ordinarily, if there 
be anything amiss in a family, there is nothing will 
please a contentious spirit, but they are angry with 
everything in the family. Now wisdom would teach 
you thus : there is such a thing displeases me ; ay, 
but because that displeases me, what doth the other 
displease me ? The other is as well done as it was 
done when I was most pleased. I am now displeased 
with this one thing. Let me keep the expression of 
my displeasure within bounds to the thing that hath 
displeased me ; let not me have my gall to run over. 
That is a great disease that physicians observe in the 
body, when the gall runs over, and doth not keep in 
its proper place. So when anything displeases me, 
for me to have a heart angry and bitter against all 
things, this is a great make-bate in a family. 

Fourthly, Let superiors desire obedience out of 
love rather than out of fear; and let inferiors obey 
rather from love than from fear, or from necessity. 
What is the cause of the disturbance in families but 
this, the servants they will never care for obedience, 
nor children, but merely out of fear, when they must 
needs, or out of necessity they must do it, and there- 
fore they do it ; and governors they carry themselves 
towards their children and servants as if they did not 
regard their love at all, but they regard to have their 
will. Let my servant do my work and will, and 
there is all that I care for. Now, if you will be car- 
ried by such principles as these are in a family, cer- 
tainly there will be a great deal of disturbance there ; 
but now when in a family the master or mistress 
would have them obey, and their care is, oh that I 
might have obedience from love, that what they do 
they may do for me out of love; and so the husband 
not only care to have his wife to be under him, but 
to do all she doth out of love, and not out of neces- 
sity. Now it is not a little will breed disturbance in 
that family, but there is abundance of peace there, 
where the superiors do desire and endeavour obedi- 
ence out of love rather than fear, and where the 
inferiors do obey and serve rather from love to 
their superiors than from necessity that they must 
doit. 

Fifthly, Observe that when at any time there is 
most cause to oppose others in the family for any 
evil, be sure to labour at that time to shew most love; 
then, above all times, manifest your greatest love 
unto them, that they may be persuaded that you do 
intend their good. Let a man love me and beat me, 
as the proverb is. If you have occasion to manifest 
displeasure in your family, then your care should be 
to manifest love, that those that you manifest dis- 
pleasure against may be convinced that even at that 



186 



BURROUGHS ON THE BEATITUDES. 



[Mat. V. 9. 



time you love them. Certainly this -svill mightily 
allay the bitterness of spirit ; for otherwise, if you 
oppose them out of bitterness, though the cause be just 
why they should be opposed, yet if it be out of bitter- 
uess, bitterness will raise bitterness. And so, though 
the other be the guilty person, yet instead of subdu- 
ing his corruption, you will but only stir up his cor- 
ruption ; but now, if you shall so oppose him in his 
way as to reprove him, or if there be cause punish 
him, yet so as to carry yourselves towards him so as 
he cannot but be convinced you intend good, and no 
hurt to him, this will mightily overcome his spirit, 
and so will be much peace in the family. It is the 
promise made to Jerusalem, in the prophecy of 
Isaiah, ' That it shall be a quiet habitation.' Oh, it 
is a great blessing upon a family if it may be said, 
this is a quiet habitation ! Come from morning to 
night, from the beginning of the week to the end, 
yea, from the beginning of the year to the end, you 
shall see nothing but quietness here. It is the bless- 
ing upon Jerusalem, and so upon your families. Oh 
these are the children of God ! Here is nothing but 
peace and quiet here. Every one knows how to do 
his duty — the governors theirs, children and servants 
theirs ; and so it is a quiet habitation. 

Now then for neighbours. Whosoever will meddle 
in that had need be much self-denying, and very wise, 
and very loving, and very meek in dealing with them. 
And these rules are to be observed for peace between 
neighbour and neighbour : — 

First, Entertain nothing against a neighbour merely 
upon hearsay. Take heed of that. A great deal of 
fire is kindled, and stir there is between one neighbour 
and another. Why, what is the matter ? When it 
comes to be examined, it is nothing at all ; it was a 
mere fancy — as sometimes soldiers have a false alarm — 
and there is no truth in anything ; but as soon as 
they come to confer one with another, they shake 
hands and are friends together. Oh, take heed of 
entertaining anything merely by hearsay. Consider 
this peace between me and my neighbour ; it is pre- 
cious, and I am loath to lose the benefit, the sweet- 
ness| of it, for nothing. Therefore I will inquire 
whether it be true or no, and if need be I will rather 
go to him himself to know it, than I will entertain 
grudges, and that that may breed contention between 
us. That is the first rule. 

Secondly, Take heed of being peremptory in thy 
judgment in thine own cause, but be willing to hear 
those that are not interested in the cause ; and, 
above all times, take heed of your judgment in time 
of passion. Though men are never so resolute as 
they are in time of passion, yet the truth is, men are 
never so unable to judge as they are when they are 
angry. Of all times, do not believe your own judg- 
ment, if anger be once got up. When once the thing 



is got into the affections, the judgment then vanishes; ^ 
men have the weakest judgments in their passion, 
and yet they will be the most peremptory in their 
judgments then. That is the second rule : If you 
would have peace among neighbours, be not too 
peremptory in your judgments in your own cause, 
and especially believe not your judgments in your 
time of passion, but rather go and think of it — pray 
over it. 

Thirdly, (that may be a distinct one,) Do not fall 
out with any neighbour till you have been before at 
prayer, that God would direct you in this business. 
Oh, here is a business falls out that is like to bring a 
great deal of disturbance. Lord direct me ; Lord 
help me. Guide me in this, that I may do nothing 
dishonourable to thy great name — nothing disagree- 
able to thy will. I appeal to your consciences in 
this, you that have had to deal with neighbours, I 
appeal but to your consciences in this thing ; can 
you say thus : There was never any falling out be- 
tween me and any neighbour, but I went first to God 
to direct me in the business, and to teach me how I 
should behave myself about it, with a resolution to 
walk according to what directions God should grant 
to me by his word and by his Spirit ? Certainly your 
contentious men, and unpeaceable men, they seldom 
pray — they seldom commend the cause to God ; and 
therefore God leaves them to themselves, to ^hring 
such a deal of trouble, both to themselves and unto 
others. 

Fourthly, Let nothing be brought into public view 
before private means have^been used. Whatsoever of- 
fence there is between one neighbour and another, 
yet observe this rule — it is a rule that Christ tells iis — 
If thy brother offend thee, tel